Sunday, January 31, 2016

So, what is Baja like, you ask......
For a start, I'll say, spectacular, rugged, unforgiving, limited, friendly, exotic and confusing,

SPECTACULAR!  Sunrises and sunsets along the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean; magnificent mountains rising up, so close to the beaches;
RUGGED!  The roads, though vastly improved since our last trip, at times and in certain places, provide a jarring, slow and arduous ride.  Elsewhere, (Cabo San Lucas to Todos Santos for example), the quality of the roads far surpasses that of highways in the United States.
UNFORGIVING!  The weather can be ferocious!  Hurricanes occur regularly each year, wreaking havoc on makeshift homes, crafted from palm fronds and tree branches, with floors of woven mats.  Floods rip through arroyos and wash away even the sturdier homes. 
LIMITED!  The influx of people from the north seeking adventure, create pressure on local resources, sometimes taking away needed resources and services for local communities.    
FRIENDLY!  The local population seems to be incredibly tolerant of the business interests and visitors from the US and Canada, despite the inconveniences caused.  Yes, the local economy and people are benefiting in many ways from tourism, though the development seems to be out of control in places and not always well thought out. Certain business entities show little sensitivity to planning projects in a way that considers the impact on the local residents and businesses.  These are my personal impressions after talking with a few business owners about the impact of development on them personally.
EXOTIC!  Plant and animal life!  Food!  Language! Customs!
CONFUSING !  It's easy to get lost!  We are lucky to be traveling with Kathy and Lonnie, who have done all the important research about places to camp and sights to see!  We've learned to be careful about what we order off the menu! ;-)

In closing this blog entry, I have to confess that my limited resources and skills with technology is preventing me from uploading photos at this time.    I appreciate your patience and plan on doing a LOT of editing of our blog when we get home!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Buenas Dias from Loreto, Baja California Sur!

First, lo siento (apologies) for the lack of blog entries...  not much Wi-Fi available on the beaches!

We are taking a couple of days to rest, relax and re-provision here in Loreto; hot showers, fresh sheets, clean clothes, lights at night, and (yes) internet access!  That said, this initial blog entry will be  a quick look at our journey to the Mexican border.  Now that I've waded through the login "instruciones" en espagnol and Larry's computer recognizes me as a friendly user, hopefully, posting will be less sporadic......  Unfortunately, glorious seaside sunrises over the bahias along the Sea of Cortez do not always coincide......  We'll do our best to share the Baja experience!

We departed Oregon City the morning of January 7; heads down, with our sights set on the Baja border at Mexicali.  Later in the afternoon, after traversing the Siskiyou Pass and enjoying a look at Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen, we joined our travel companions Kathy and Lonnie in Corning, CA at the Rolling Hills RV Park.  After a good night's sleep, the travelers in their sibling campers headed out in the cool of he sunny morning at about 9.  All the passing sights kept us entertained along the stretch of I-5 through the heart of California - fields of produce and orchards of gnarly trees, snow geese, wetlands and waterfowl; hawks hunting for breakfast at the roadside rodent buffet.....  A quick stop for Mexican fishing licenses at the Vagabundo office in Rio Vista and we were on our way, past Sacramento and Fresno and on to Bakersfield for a stay at the Orange grove RV Park.  Before departure the next morning, we harvested a grocery bag of ripe, juicy oranges from the trees around our camp site. - up we climbed over the pass to Tehachapi, Boron and Borax Road.  An army of mega windmills stood at attention as we passed by.  Settled in at the 29 Palms RV Resort for the evening, fretting about the lack of rear lights on the camper. 
January 10 - Lighting problem solved the next morning and we ventured our way through Joshua Tree National Park.  Rock formations, plant and animal life was breath-taking!  I'll say no more, but will get some photos uploaded ASAP!  I PROMISE!  We pulled into El Centro fairly late, so we "boondocked" in the far corner of the Costco parking lot.  A little bit of a stretch for us, but El Centro accommodations were limited......
January 11 - up and out early and headed for the border crossing at Mexicali....

More to follow!  Thanks for joining us!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Over the water!

St Helens with Rainer in the background

Beautiful Mt Rainier!
We knew we were home when Mt Hood came into view!
The journey home started at 11:55 PM on January 22 as we departed Chiang Mai, bound for Incheon International Airport, near Seoul, South Korea.  We arrived about 6 AM after having crossed two time zones.  Anticipating the 10 hour flight across The Water at 6 that night, we booked a room with a bed and shower (and NOT much else) and slept, showered and emerged fresh and ready for the second and longest leg of the trip.  We flew through the darkness and awoke to Washington in the distance.  With little time to spare, we booked through immigration; picked up our luggage; made it through customs; dropped the luggage with airport ground crew and hustled to our gate, just in time to board the Portland flight.  The air was crisp, the sky was blue and we were happy to be on our way home!   

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Krabi Town Highlights

True story!
Jane, Larry & Jerry at our hotel

Monkeys in the mangroves
We've spent our third week in Krabi Town, a bustling metropolis on the Southern Thailand coast on the Andaman Sea.  Our adventures have included a day-long tour of five islands, a sunset river cruise, shopping at the night market and at shops along the streets of the city center.  The food continues to WOW us...though we are looking forward to a Burger King meal at the Chiang Mai airport this evening and a good old fashioned American breakfast tomorrow!  We all feel a little bit like how the poor, frightened puffer fish pictured below appears!

Puffer fish at the fish farm

Jerry, Maut & Jane
River dwelling

River cruise sunset

Bonnie & her buddy

Jerry & Maut living the good life on the front deck of Maut,s long tail boat!

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Long Tail Boat Cruise

January 17, 2014

Has Larry found religion?
The boat hostess serving refreshments!
 Today. we hired a "long tail" boat to take us around some islands off the coast outside the seaside town of Krabi.  It was quite an adventure!  The boat's long tail is created by a 10 foot long extension of pipe which connects a car engine perched on the back of the boat to a prop, and was expertly maneuvered by the ship's barefoot captain.  The floor of the boat was bamboo, which hid water sloshing below, created by seepage at seams around the water line.   Lunch was provided at a restaurant on one of the islands.  The six of us waded back to the boat through water that (for me) was waist deep.  I wonder if this was for the amusement of the captain and his friends????  We were rewarded with a dessert of fresh fruit as we motored back to shore.   The scenery was breath-taking!

AMAZING geologic formations!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Ha Long Bay Vietnam

Our three day cruise in and around Halong Bay was a highlight of our trip to Vietnam.  The crew was charming and attentive to our every need.  The food was delectable.  The company was delightful!  We kayaked, biked and "spelunked".  VERY fun!

Breathtaking rock formations!
Our luxury cruise ship

Drummed onto our ship!

Mike enjoying a refreshing beverage!

Larry preparing to depart the harbor

Dining in style!

Nap Time!

New shawl; comfy cabin, happy traveler!

Romantic moments!

Krabi, Southern Thailand

We arrived here in Krabi yesterday afternoon; settled into our hotel and took a short rest. Dinner was the most AMAZING meal so far!  (Well, maybe the Indian food in Hanoi was a close match)

This is a lovely coastal town on the Southern Thailand peninsula.  The weather is soft and warm.  The bird calls are unfamiliar and exotic......
A view of the mountains surrounding Karabi
Another view of the mountains surrounding Krabi

Rooftop water garden

And HOW FAR are we from Oregon????