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June 17, 2021

June Gloom - Finally sunshine!

The May Gray stepped right into June Gloom without missing a beat.  More of the dismal gray skies for the first two weeks of June and then … SUMMER!  Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Dayz of Summer!  It’s 80 F. on the beach and 116 in Borrego.  Skipped right past Spring.

Our only outings since the last blog are a couple bike rides around Mission Bay.  Nothing really blog worthy, except to mention the Mission Bay Dump Station is again open and the OB Pier is being repaired.

Fran lost a crown from one of her molars, so we were once again off to Washington Dental Clinic in Tijuana.  The western pedestrian crossing, PedWest, remains closed.  Thus, the east crossing at San Ysidro, is taking the full load of foot traffic.


It’s an easy crossing and we are waived thru immigration with no paperwork.  That’s a nice change.


It’s fun to tell the cabdriver we want to go to Washington D.C.  They all get the play on words and know the location.


I’ve blogged the dental facility a couple times already (HERE), but there are a few changes.

Streaming movies in English are still offered, as is free, very, usable WiFi and a fridge of beverages.  However, the Fanta now has a warning “No recomendable en ninos’; “Exceso Calorias”; Exceso Azucares”.  Too much calorie and sugar intake for kids, but served at the dentist office.  Hmm, we'll stick with water.


And their hand sanitizer contains hemp oil.  Yes, personal Marijuana is now permitted in Mexico, but cannot be transported across the border in either direction.  I Had to try the sanitizer to see if the ICE border dogs might notice.  They didn’t care.

Across the street from the dental office is the former Jai Alai Palace, which is now a music/cultural venue.  


Adjacent to the palace is Tia Juana Tilly’s, a nice place to enjoy a margarita with Fran, once her dental work is completed.

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We took our time walking back to check out some of the renovated shops along the way.

A Hookah Lounge? 

On our return, we got a chuckle as outside the office was a wheelbarrow full of “dulces” – confectionary treats and sweets off all kinds.  


Washington DC provides a cab to return us to the border.  They pay for the cab to/from the border, another nice touch.  After about 3pm the border crossing line is shorter, but there are fewer border agents … it’s always a bit of a wait going north.

Today - June 15th, California officially relaxed its Covid and face mask restrictions!  The caveats are lengthy and confusing.  A more complete explanation is HERE, if you like to read the press release and limitations.

The county libraries have been open for a few weeks, while the city continues to keep its libraries closed.  It is possible to request books online and pick them up at one of the pickup libraries.  Our local library is completely closed, and the closest pickup location is the Pacific Beach Library.  This makes for a good excuse for a bike ride, and some days we choose to complete the loop around Mission Bay.


The view from the West Mission Bay Drive Bridge looking west toward Hospitality Point. 

This trip we stopped at the Seaforth Landing for an adult beverage.  It's nice to sit and be tourists once in awhile when the boardwalk is quiet.


On premise beer/wine was originally planned for the De Anza Revitalization, but alas the city reneged on that and failed to issue the required permits.  The Mission Bay Beach Club has become a snack bar and rental facility for beach toys.  :(


Grandgirl #1 graduated high school last week.  Congrats Kg!

May 21, 2021

Salvation Mountain - Paint recycling

The heavy May Gray morning was thick with mist.  

It was time to find some sunshine, lest I melt!  With the windshield wipers on I went east leaving the coast behind.  

Salvation Mountain will be my day-trip destination.


I left San Diego on I-8 east, my first stop as usual is the Golden Acorn Casino.  Not to gamble, but to take advantage of their clean restrooms and free coffee/soda.


Note to boondockers: overnight parking on the far side of the lot is permitted for self-contained RVs.  Fran and I have taken advantage of their hospitality on several occasions.

Salvation Mountain and The Slabs are located just east of Niland CA along Beal Road.


Leonard Knight began construction of Salvation Mountain in 1984, as he put into art his beliefs.  During the early days he would repeat his version of the Sinners Prayer, “Jesus, I am a sinner, please come into my body and upon my heart”, as he toiled every day in the desert sun.


With the state wide Stay-At-Home-Order in 2020, for a year, all maintenance on the mountain was suspended.


During that time, the harsh desert has taken a toll on the monument.


The Sea of Galilee has cracks and is filling with sand.  It will take a lot of volunteers and many gallons of paint to restore.


In 2000 Salvation Mountain was declared a National Folk Art Site. 
In 2002 it was entered into the Congressional Record as a National Treasure.

I have never been a volunteer there, but do bring out USABLE LATEX paint when I collect a few gallons.

Meet Ron, the only full time resident and caretaker.  He brought out his skip loader to collect my donation.  If he was disappointed in the small haul he didn’t express it, in fact was quite exuberant of having a little more paint to work with.


“We’ve got to start loving God more”. ~Leonard Knight


Most desert boondockers have been past Salvation Mountain to Slab City, “The Slabs”.  The old WWII Camp Dunlap was a training facility, when it was dismantled only the concrete slabs remained.  Hence the name Slab City, with its slogan “Last Free Place on Earth”, which refers to the lack of structure and infrastructure among the residents.  The land is now owned by the State of California. 


Slab City has several ‘Neighborhoods’, such as The California Ponderosa or Mojo's.  These areas have there own personalities, and rent spaces within their claimed territory.  The rent includes amenities such as composting toilets, showers, food service and even WiFi.


The California Ponderosa might be better known as it is on the main street and has been around longer, and has listings on Air B&BBut Mojo's also has an Air B&B presence, their sign caught my eye as it offers a family environment and WiFi.  Guess out there Alcohol and Marijuana are considered family friendly ;P


One of the better known neighborhoods is East Jesus.  


An artsy community.  Unlike most residents Slab City the folks at East Jesus have combined their resources to provide electricity and sanitation.  Although there are music festivals, the area is best known for its sculpture garden.  But the Day Care Center caught my attention ...

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Most of the sculptures are left to decay and be reclaimed by the desert.  New to me is the Pirate Ship 

With its Dusty Junk booty


Helios, the Greek Sun God, continues to overlook East Jesus.


When you next visit Niland bring along any usable latex paint laying around and an old pair of shoes.

There are now ~200 Full Time residents at The Slabs.  The nearby town Niland provides services, water and pump outs, even school busses.

Slab City has attracted a variety of residents – artists, addicts, outcasts and impoverished that make up much of its population.  They are camped next to mega-buck RVs and permanent structures.

The future of Slab City is in doubt, last year the state of California received a proposal to install a solar array on the property.  This might be a good fit as the Niland Substation is already nearby on Beal Road.  However this is not the first offer to purchase the property, a land developer previously placed a bid.

The state is currently assessing the land value and the cost of cleanup of not just the surface trash, but ground pollution left from the military and the residents.  Neither offer has yet received any action.

I should have taken the RV and spent a night or two.  It was a pleasant 80 degrees there and I awoke at home to a chilly morning with heavy clouds and showers.  UGH!

I'll close this post with a few hieroglyphics for you to ponder.



May 16, 2021

SoCal Meritage - Mission Bay, Blogger, OB, Bentley

Nothing really ‘Blog Worthy’ in my laid back lazy life these past few weeks.  In addition to returning from San Felipe with shrimp, we picked up a couple bottles of wine from Monte Xanic – my favorite winery of the famous Guadeloupe Valley. This one is a Meritage, 'Selección' a select blend of Melbec, Merlot and Cabernet.


Hence the title of this blog which will be a blending of a few things that might be of interest to the reader.

GOOGLE
Google will no longer allow streaming of its services via Roku.  A Google streaming device is required.  Some TVs have Google's Chromecast integrated in.  The Visio in the RV does, but none of the Samsung TVs in the house do.  So we have switched to AT&T TV to continue using our 3 Roku devices, of course there’s a gotchya: the Visio can’t get AT&T!, it has a Google OS :(

BLOGGER
Goggle’s Blogger has announced the end of Follow by Email.

FollowByEmail widget (Feedburner)
"This widget is no longer available to be activated.  Recently, the Feedburner team released a system wide announcement, that the email subscription service will be discontinued in Jul 2021
."

As of today they have not announced a replacement widget.  I have 16 email followers, since as yet I cannot offer an option I have removed the widget from my blog.

MISSION BAY
No new progress on the removal of the derelict homes at the Mission Bay Resort.  On my walk this morning every site was occupied, and the guest parking area nearly full.

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The Mission Bay Beach Club will be open this summer.  During the early discussions on the DeAnza Cove Revitalization Plan a restaurant with on premise beer/wine.  Instead the historic Visitor Center now has these offerings:

Mission Bay Beach Club


Beach Bunny Rentals

On the left is Super Bloom (vegan coffee/juice); in back is Summer Afternoons ('nice' cream)


The RV Dump Station is temporarily closed.


The notice redirects users to South Shores.  At South Shores there were 42 not-so Stealth Campers when I decided to check it out!

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Almost as crowed as the RV park!

OCEAN BEACH PIER
Although the 55 year Ocean Beach Pier has long since reached the end of its service life,  the city has yet to decide to do further repairs or replace the pier.  It has been closed since January with no reopening plan announced.  It will cost ~$50 million to repair or ~$60 million to replace the pier.

The gates to the pier are locked.


This photo from San Diego UT shows the Jan 11 storm that caused the damage


Well, while I had a parking spot in OB I thought I'd get a To-Go order.  Oh yeah Hodad's!  Don't tell Fran that I have fallen off my diet ... again!


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I've not tried it, but for the beer drinkers ... Hodad's has their own.  I'll have to give it a try.


BENTLEY
Meet Bentley, a new member of the grandgirls' household.  He’s a St. Bernard mix, cute and friendly as can be!

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April 30, 2021

San Felipe - Race week

We arrived as the Baja 250 was just about to finish up.  Poor timing on our part and we were stuck in a massive traffic jam!  UGH!

Seems every time we come down, the San Felipe welcome sign has fresh paint and a new theme.  This time it clearly relates to race week.


Looking forward to a ‘World Famous’ Strawberry Margarita at Bar Miramar that would settle us down.  They really are good.  We like to get one and walk along the Malecon.

But, ALL bars are still shuttered under Covid restrictions.  Did I mention it’s race week?  That’s gotta hurt.


At least the restaurants serve Margaritas.  Although we did avoid the ‘DREADED’ Fish Fillet at Anisetos.  But did enjoy an icy cold Margarita.

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The Beach House has lost its last 20 yards of beach.  The Sea of Cortez is now undercutting the deck.  And overflowing the golf course at the Bahia Santa Maria North Nine.  Sad but we’ve enjoyed the last 20+ years there and leave with many great memories.


This massive 6x6 RV drove across the golf course for a peaceful night.  But the ruts it created left a new challenge for our three-some.


Bobby and Fran at the ruts near the 3rd tee.


The Full Pink ‘Super’ Moon rose under cloudy skies.  And it created some very high tides.


These kids were able to sail from the Back-Bay around to the Sea of Cortez and home again.


The high tide flooded the road faster than I could walk!  Check out my video, it shows how fast the tide came in.


We brought a 12 pack of Diet Pepsi with us.  This entire package added new meaning to the “Pepsi Challenge”.  All the cans had the bottom blown out and would not sit upright.  I think they must have been caught in the Texas Deep Freeze!

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We played a lot of golf when the tide was out.  And Fran managed to get in a few nice kayak rides when the tide was in.


Her route took her out to check on the resident pelican population, who are also losing their sandbar.


The NORRA 1000 (National Off-Road Racing Association) passed behind the Beach House.  This race originally started with ‘classic’ off-road vehicles.  However it now has categories for all racers.

I still like the classic Ford Broncos that a good Shade Tree mechanic might enter.


Our local McNeil Racing is running their 6-door pickup truck.


There were a lot of buggies in different configurations.  COPS Racing Team had a couple entries.


There was only one Volkswagen.


And of course more then a few Trophy Trucks, being shadowed by helicopter film crews.


Alas it is time for us to return home.  A final sunset over the Peninsular Range toward Sierra San Pedro Matir.


And a final sunrise over the Sea of Cortez.


As we make the climb to cross the border at Tecate, we can see we are leaving the Fun Side of Trump’s Wall.  I think it is an ugly scar on the desert landscape.


Oh - forgot to mention the shrimp!  Not only did get the best rate of exchange ever!  19.82 pesos to the dollar, we also came home with 4 kilos (8.8 lbs) of shrimp at the best price ever (less than $10/lb.).