Tuesday, February 28

Why & Ajo

After leaving Organ Pipe the first little crossroad town we encountered was "Why" - after eating breakfast we departed Why not knowing why, which I guess was appropriate?
Next up was the bigger little town of Ajo (pronounced AH-hoh) where we had a delightful visit with Pam and Ralph - fellow ProMaster owners.
We, of course, talked about our vans (way too much, sorry Pam), travel and other interesting stuff, had a great dinner, and, after spending the night, got a nice hot shower and breakfast before hitting the road. Many thanks guys, had a great time!
On the way out of town I snapped these pics.

Monday, February 27

Back In The USA

While much can be said about how great it is to travel and experience a foreign country it's always nice to be back on home soil. When you travel as I do, camping in a van, it doesn't take long to appreciate an often overlooked perk we have here in the USA - our national parklands. Just an hour and a half after crossing the border we are pulling into our campsite in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Then it's off on a self guided tour in the van. After dinner Don attends a ranger program on stargazing (courtesy of the "dark skies" that surround the campground). The next day we drive a 21 mile gravel loop road thru the park and get in a good hike. We really enjoyed our two night stay - so, as the Park Service says, "Welcome to Your Park" - everyone should get out and enjoy these national treasures.
The "Organ Pipe Cactus" is on the left

Sunday, February 26

Baja Farewell

After 33 days on the Baja peninsula we're back in the USA. Had a great time. What surprised us most about Baja? How mountainous and rugged it is - we expected all beaches and dessert. That, and the fact that our worst fear never materialized - we expected it to be much hotter and thought staying cool would be an issue, we spent a lot more time trying to stay warm!
Our last night in Mexico was in the Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco) a touristy area which provides Arizona residents with easy access to a beach (which they don't have in their state). Wandered around town, had a nice dinner and walked the beach - nothing exciting.

Saturday, February 25

Where We Stay

On a trip like this, our overnight parking spot can be almost anywhere - from the side of the road to RV parks. These last five nights are a pretty good sampling of what we've done for the last month.

From the cool and snow (stuck overnight in a parking lot) of a couple of days ago we headed to Rancho El Coyote and a campsite on a 50,000 acre working cattle ranch - nice and quiet as there were only three of us staying the night, and it was one of the nicest camp experiences we've had in Baja!

The next night, Rancho San Carlos Hot Springs and soaking in the pool alongside a small mountain stream. Can't deny that Baja is a place of contrasts. The only constant - the challenging "road" (with multiple stream crossings) we had to endure to reach this place. It seems to me that Baja makes you work to find its gems, but is very happy to share if you make the effort.

After getting rejuvenated at the hot springs our next "campsite" was anything but plush - just off the main highway in a dry stream bed.

The next day, a little side trip to check out some rocks.

Then back to the water - this time a campground on a lagoon just off the Rio Hardy, Campo Mosquede. Nice and quiet, and it had lagoon side hammock trees for Don.

Tuesday, February 21

Baja High

After spending the night stuck in the parking lot (29 degrees outside) and getting pulled out of the snow this morning, we continued up the mountain to the Observatorio Astonomico Nacional - the reward for our perseverance, tours of two separate telescopes and some fantastic views. At over 9,000 feet we could see both the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortes.

Monday, February 20

Baja Surprise!

Remember the rainy day post? Today, on down the road we saw some of the results from that rain. First, all the dusty little towns along Mex1 had been turned into muddy (lots and lots of mud) little towns - not pretty. Then I spotted a sign for the Parque Nacional Sierra de San Pedro Martir and the Observatorio Astonomico Nacional, and we decided to make one of our infamous sidetrips! Off we go, nice road, winding our way up into the mountains.

Then the Baja Surprise! SNOW!
The Park Ranger said they got almost two feet and that the campground was closed.

The campground was closed because of the snow (20+ inches) but the Park Ranger let us park overnight in the parking lot. And, to complete the saga, we got stuck and the Ranger had to pull us out. I pretty sure being stuck in beach sand and snow in the same week must be some sort of Baja record.

Sunday, February 19

Off & On

Off and on rain for most of today - so it was another quiet day. We're now heading north on the peninsula's Pacific shore.