Welcome and thanks for stopping by.
My reference links will open in a new tab.

If you have any corrections, suggestions, comments please use the Comments at the end of the post.
I do respond to all comments. - Thanks!

March 22, 2020

San Felipe - a couple weeks on the beach

To avoid the madness and congestion of Mexicali for the past few years we’ve been crossing the border in the little pueblo of Tecate.

I’d not recommend this route for larger rigs, but it’s just fine for us.

From Tecate we drove the rural free road (Mexico  2) to La Rumarosa.  It’s always interesting what traffic we see along this route.

We could have picked up the federal toll road (Mexico 2D) in Tecate, it is a much faster route, but not as scenic.  We do have to pick up Mexico 2D in La Rumarosa.  From La Rumarosa there is a nearly 3000 meter elevation drop in the 30 km to La Cuesta.  There are rest areas along the way to enjoy the view.

The view from the top of the little lookout gives an idea of the workout the brakes will get on the way down ... and the transmission on the way back up!

At each of the rest stops are baskets for graffiti.  The spray can artists are encouraged to decorate rocks and leave them for others to enjoy.  It seems to be working as there is a minimal of graffiti elsewhere. 

As is our custom we stopped for lunch and fuel at La Cuesta, before continuing on to San Felipe.  It has clean restrooms, fuel and a beautiful modern restaurant.

Fran’s brother, Bobby, is in town at his wife’s house, Aleida enjoys her house in town a few months out of the year and helps take care of her mother.  We stopped to pick him up, only to discover he fell a few days earlier and broke his clavicle in 2 places.

He’s in good spirits and is anxious to join us at the Beach House to see if the sand berm we put up in November is holding.  I too would rather be sitting in a beach chair, than cooped up in town.

Good news that the berm and sandbags have held!  

Although we have been through a few high tides, we have not yet weathered it through the storm season.

We take advantage of the opportunity to add to the berm, when the front loader was moving sand on another section of the beach.

For Aleida’s birthday, she decided to host her own party at the Beach House. 
Preparations take one day, Fran does the cleaning, I do windows and Aleida cooks.  Lucky Bobby gets to watch and read his book.

The party starts at lunchtime and lasts another TWO days!  Lots of Karaoke, music, dancing, food and beer.  These folks know how to party!

I think only Bobby appreciated Paradise by the Dashboard Lights as Fran and I tried our hand at the duet.  I did better at Rave On ...

Despite the singing and dancing going on below, I headed out on the roof to my customary spot to call it a night.

The morning dawns over the Sea of Cortez.

And the sunset over the Back Bay, easy to see why I usually sleep on the roof.

We buttoned the Beach House up for the summer, or until travel returns to more normal.  The work on the Puertocitos Road, I mentioned in my last post HERE,  is mostly completed.  Even the Oh Shit Dip has been repaved.  It still deserves lots of respect.

We only stopped in town to see if Popeye’s had shrimp – nope.  We did pick up some fresh tortillas and a bottle of Monte Xanic, my favorite Mexican wine.

After dropping Bobby back a Aleida’s house we retraced our route back to Tecate.  After being off-the-grid for over a week, (no electricity, no TV, no radio, no cell) we were totally surprised by the nearly 3 hour wait to return to the US.

That's Trump's new wall on the right, with the old border fence at the top of the hill.  

The Border Guard only wanted to know what cleaning and paper products we were bringing back.  I replied “None, just a bottle of wine and a couple packets of tortillas”.

This is the first we heard that America’s panic buying had spread to Mexico.

In hindsight we could have purchased anything we’d need for the next couple months in San Felipe, and wait for the border to close before returning.   So far all returning US and Canadian citizens are allowed to cross the border on their way home.

March 18, 2020

OH! San Diego - a look behind-the-scenes

Once a year OH! San Diego (Open House San Diego) offers a free weekend event that offers Open House tours of buildings that are of architectural significance at various city locations.

New for this year's Open House is Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO).  Although outdoor guided walking tours are available the 2nd Saturday each month, this is the first time some of the buildings are open to the public.

SIO was founded on 177 acres of land in 1903.  From the initial study of the ocean, it has grown into a major contributor in earth/sea/atmosphere sciences.

The tour check-in is at Pawka Green, a public park on the campus.  

Across Pawka Green we toured the George H. Scripps building, the oldest building on the campus.  The Old Scripps Building was completed in 1909 and housed the original public aquarium, research laboratories, offices and the home for the founder William Ritter and his family.

We met Kirk, who is the guide for the outdoor portion of the open house, on the green.  His tour concludes with a walk on the iconic Scripps Pier.
Ocean conditions have been recorded continuously from the pier since 1916.   Providing the most complete and accurate information on the ocean conditions.  And yes – water levels are rising.
The pumphouse at the end of the pier provides a constant source of sea water for study or as needed by the aquarium.

Walking the pier provides views of the cliffs that are not appreciated from the beach.

Scripps Beach is a popular surf spot.

At the foot of the pier is the Center for Coastal Studies.  The concrete base was originally a test facility for converting seawater into fresh water.  The Reverse Osmosis process was developed here.

The building has since been converted into research laboratories with new office space added above.  Nice view from the office window.

The Old Director’s House was completed in 1913 and the Ritter family called it home until his retirement.

The house has since been converted into office space and lounge for visiting scientists.

Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics Laboratory (IGPP) is a long building of redwood and glass housing the office of the professors and research scientists.   A weird building with absolutely awesome sunset views 

and the PGK Dance Project.

Once the campus library and archives the Eckart Building is now used by students in advanced study programs.

It was my favorite, not for any architectural reason, but simply the Coral Reef Garden in front.

The effort to find cactus that would thrive in the coastal environment, must have taken a bit of research.  Then to find them the right color to create the appearance of a coral reef.  And to find them crested!  Yes most of the succulents in the reef are crested cactus!


 OH! San Diego sponsors Open Houses in other locations in La Jolla, Gaslamp, Downtown, Bankers Hill, Balboa Park, Barrio Logan, East Village, Point Loma and Coronado.  

If we do this again I like the idea of taking our bikes on the ferry to Coronado for an educational day.

March 04, 2020

Tecolote Canyon Revisited - Urban Hiking San Diego

I’ve mentioned in past posts that Tecolote Canyon is our go-to local hike, in that we can hike the lower section as a loop from our front door.

My old Merrill hiking boots are well worn, hence I wore tennis shoes in our failed attempt to complete Rainbow Canyon.  I found a pair of near-new used Keen boots in my size in the ‘used gear’ at REI for a third the cost of new.

Feet meet boots

the Keen boots have a bigger toe box and grab the foot at the ankle, making downhill stretches much more comfortable. 

Tecolote Canyon is in it’s 4th year of restoration projects.  I volunteer here for the cleanup, but have left the last couple years of replanting to the pros.

Tecolote (owl in Spanish) may not have been named for the abundance of owls, but the vines the native Americans called “tecolil”.  Although several species of owl call the canyon home, I've not seen any owls in the canyon, but the vines still remain.

Instead of entering the park from home off September Street I want to see the updates to the Nature Center and will enter the park there.  One of the first items I noticed is the little trail map case had maps!  a first ... a copy of the map can be downloaded HERE.

New displays have been added in order to benefit and educate visitors and local residents.  It will be open by the time I return.

Behind the Nature Center, the Kumeyaay village and native plant exhibits remain unchanged.

However, the fence is decorated with paintings of the many creatures who make their home here.

To facilitate access for the trucks and equipment needed in the restoration projects the main trail is now a dirt road.

The Battle Trail has had some restoration and improvement projects completed, but remains mostly a 'trail'. 

There was no 'Battle of Tecolote', the trail is named for M. Eloise Battle who argued tirelessly for the city to acquire the canyon as open space.  In 1974 the canyon was acquired with Battle asked to take charge of the new nature preserve.

The Battle Trail follows the base of the southern side of the canyon.  This side does not get as much sun.  Runoff from the USD campus and Linda Vista in general leave the ground wet well into summer.

The typical muddy areas are now covered with wooden walkways.  It's nice that I can keep the mud off my new-to-me boots.

An inviting oak tree has become home to the bees. 

The hive is within this hollow base.

The non-native plants are being removed, to be replaced with native vegetation.  Lots of work has been done on this section.

The tall stocks of the invasive wild radish indicate that this area has not yet been reclaimed.

The Battle Trail returns to the main dirt road, with previous restoration efforts just to the west.

Which continues on past the natural gas bumping site to the Tecolote Golf Course.  The map shows the trails that exit the canyon to the east.

The main trail heads northeast to the trailhead on Genesee, however I stay left following the rolling hills along the Tecolote Golf Course.

Not shown on the 'official' map is that there is a brand new foot bridge crossing Tecolote Creek at the golf course club house.  

 Fran is playing golf today, with better coordination I could catch a ride home!  But we typically exit the park here and walk up the hill home, and that's what I do again.