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December 08, 2021

San Felipe - Bahia Santa Maria

We received a note from our SIL, Aleida, that she was going to San Felipe with Fran’s brother Bobby for a couple months.  We decided to join them!

As has become the norm for us we cross the border at Tecate.  The gateway to Baja’s Wine Trail, but alas we’re going east not south :)

With the early sunsets we elect to take the MX-2D, the toll road, with it’s 3 booths, it's the fastest means of reaching MX-5 and it joins south of Mexicali, avoiding that traffic mess.

MX-5 is a highway in very good condition with speeds posted at 110km (~65 mph).  The road crosses Laguna Salada (Salty Lagoon) for much of the way.

Bar Miramar does not serve food, and as a result was again Covid-Closed.  We did not get our desired Strawberry Margarita, but did stop at Rosita next door for a regular Margarita.  We like to walk the Malecon to loosen our stiff legs and enjoy an adult beverage after the long drive.  OMG check out the size of their Margarita!!!

There are many fun, new to us, ceramic art along the Malecon break wall.

and my favorite, a shrimp

We walked the entire Malecon.  Fran and Bobby together in front of the San Felipe sign, now painted pink to honor Breast Cancer, and neither of us finished that Margarita!

We arrived at the Bahia Santa Maria beach house with just enough time to open it up and clear much of the sand from the rear porch.

In the process of opening things up we noticed a large crack across the front deck.

And the cover from the deck has separated from the house.

Neither Bobby nor I wanted to spend our day taking on the task tearing it down.  We ended up hiring a local laborer and split his cost.

He can’t fix that crack, but we can at least sit out on the deck for another day.

While the deck overhead was being removed we stayed out of the way with one of many golf outings on our Bahia Santa Maria North 8 (we’re still missing our 9th flag).

Fran is without question the best golfer, but this trip she showed off her slice … A LOT!  She spent quite a bit of time in the water hazard, even lost a ball there.

And she still kicked our butts!

Fran stayed behind to kayak, while Bobby and I ran into town, with a long list of supplies needed.  We also went back to Rosita to try their food.  Notice I ordered a Margarita Chica (small girl) this time!

We stopped to fill up the gas can for the generator at 20.99 pesos per liter.  I thought Yikes!, but then realized that is under $4/gallon ... much less than San Diego.

Aleida came down with friends and fresh Tilapia, which was a nice treat for dinner.

Tilapia, avocado salad, salsa picante

Friends and family around the table.

Armando and Mayra, Bobby and Aleida, and Fran

Here’s a few picks from inside the casa.

The wood spiral staircase took a lot of work to figure out

Living room as seen from the kitchen

Dinning as seen from the entry, Fran likes the Greeter!

And from what remains of the porch.  Looking north and south.

North at mid tide

South at mid tide

We returned home with 6 kilos of San Felipe’s jumbo blue shrimp, a few packets of fresh hand made tortillas, and a couple bottles of wine.

One project I've been plugging away at for the past few years is to correct the wiring.  The house will fall into the ocean before I finish, but it is now down to a single AC point.  Either a single generator or inverter and battery pack.  That's down from three inverters!  And i may stop there, and enjoy what time is left.

It was a good trip, and we're looking forward to the next.

November 22, 2021

Corpse Flower - Encinitas

The “Corpse Flower” is indeed a ‘Stinking Beauty’!!! 

I was so totally unprepared to blog our outing to San Diego Botanical Gardens, I was only armed with a cell phone with low batteries, and Fran did not bring hers.  This turned out to be a SOOO blog worthy outing.

Corpse Flower

From their web page:

‘The corpse flower’s common name comes from the smell of the flowers, a rancid carrion scent that attracts the carcass-eating insects that pollinate it. The bloom of a corpse flower is a rare and special event, as most plants require seven to ten years to produce their first blooms and then bloom only every four to five years thereafter. The fully opened bloom lasts around 48 hours.

The flower spike of the corpse plant is the longest unbranched flower spike of any plant in the world. During the bloom, the massive floral spike (up to 12 feet tall, in the wild), which looks like one enormous flower, opens its deep red, petal-like spathe, to reveal hundreds of tiny flowers at the base of the spadix, the tall, yellow pillar of the structure. Each bloom spike has both female flowers, which are deep red, and male flowers, which are white. The spathe and spadix wilt within a few days of the bloom.’

The Corpse Flower (Amorphophallus titanum) a Sumatran endangered plant.  The plant last bloomed in 2018.  The single (up to) 12 foot bloom is the largest in the world.

To simulate its native Sumatran climate the plant is maintained in a large greenhouse. 

Other than the Corpse Flower, only the Bird of Paradise was in full bloom.

Fran and I took our time walking though the ‘Shade Plants’ section.  The north side of our house gets little to no sun ever.  We’ll have to check out this little ground cover from South Africa.

So how does the Corpse Flower really smell?  For sure it is not pleasant!  Our niece compares it to a dirty diaper.  With the good ventilation in the green house, I’d say more of a nasty fart.  While Fran did not smell it – I don’t blame her! 

We have visited the gardens before.  For more info on the San Diego Botanical Gardens follow the link.  I blogged a previous visit, which contains more flower photos HERE.
The garden has a time lapse video posted that shows the previous 24 hours.  View ’What a Difference a Day Makes’ HERE.

We're now preparing for a week on 'The Fun Side of the Wall'.  I'm sure we'll have a great Thanksgiving and I trust you will too.

October 26, 2021

Borrego Springs - Borrego Days

The 55th annual Borrego Days Desert Festival took place over this past weekend at Christmas Circle in Borrego Springs. 


The theme Eyes to the Skies seemed appropriate as the peak of the Orionids Meteor Shower would also be at the same time.  Alas we did not see a single meteor.

On our way we stopped for lunch in Santa Ysabel, and noticed Don’s Market had a fresh load of Julian apples on display.


Fran selected a few for the trip

As usual we had to visit Dudley’s for lunch.

We split the Baja Chicken sandwich for lunch, but skipped the Apple Mango pie.

That just doesn't even sound good!

It’s a fun shop to wander while waiting for the deli to make up our sandwich

The Borrego Chamber of Commerce has a quiz section in their newsletter on street names  taken from local cattle brands.  There’s a nice display of some brands at Dudley’s.

My entry has been selected twice, but I only win bragging rights for a week.  Here’s the quiz from last week.

Can you name this street?  Leave your guess in a comment. 

We stopped briefly at the airport to view the brightly colored planes from Air Group One based in El Cajon.


We set up at Pegleg Smith camping area with only one other rig there.

That first night I set up my metal fire tub over the location where a previous ground fire had been.  The tub puts out a lot of heat, so I always place it on rocks.  Ground fires are not permitted within the Anza Borrego State Park.  All fires need to be built in a metal container.

“-Illegal ground fires are prohibited.  Campfires must be kept inside a camp stove or in a metal container provided [by] the camper with a bottom and sides.”
Ref: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=638

As the winds became stronger I still managed to rekindle those coals left behind.  Fortunately I was able to extinguish both fires before the desert burned down!

Covid kept the schools closed last year.  Hence the parade lacked the local bands and groups.  In fact only CalFire was listed.  So here is the entire parade.

But what’s a Borrego Days Parade without Miss Borrego.  This photo is a quite fuzzy, I was not expecting another entry.

The wind increased overnight!  I was pleasantly surprised the slideout topper was still there in the morning!  The wind was still going strong enough to force Air Group One to remain grounded.

I took a short walk around while waiting to see if their ‘air parade’ would occur.

Carlee’s has repainted their sign.  you may recall it was dark blue and sky blue before.  I like the change.  We often order their Jerk Chicken Salad to-go.  It's more than enough to split.

The Bayfield Bunch likes to stop at Los Jilbertos for a quick bite.  This picture is for Al, who remains stuck in the Ontario cold.

The work on the  ‘shadeway’ still has not begun, but there are now shaded picnic tables at the Community Garden.  Guess that's a start of sorts.

The first band at the festival was Soul Frenzi, who played some Jimmy Buffet and ZZ Top tunes.

They did not capture us, so we went over to check out the entries at the show-n-shine.

Not very shiny, the chalkboard says:
187 lbs; goes fast; makes left turns; no brakes

Quite a few desert toys were on display

And Fran’s favorite a 1960 Ford Thunderbird.

Miss Borrego and court made an appearance at the mainstage.

After the announcements The Sound of My Voice Band took the mainstage.  They are billed as the Ultimate Linda Ronstadt Experience.  And they are really good, Micaella has that ability to sound so much like her.  She is not just singing the songs, but she captures the music.

Their website contains samples of their music.  We really enjoyed them.

Back at the airport we went up to the viewing deck of the Propeller Bar and Grill.

It was fun finally seeing these planes getting to fly.

Almost every trip to Borrego includes a visit to Font’s Point.  It’s been over a decade since I released my dad’s ashes there.

I’ve taken Fran to the Great Snake of Clark Lake a few times and she’s gone up once by herself.  She felt totally qualified to act as guide for one of her gal-pals.
They got lost!

The mature landscaping at The Springs golf course looks very inviting.

A Buddy Holly tribute band will be there in March.  Maybe we will too.

Between the Road Runner Club and the Circle this lonely mailbox has been there for years.  This is the first time we used it.  It does have a pick-up schedule on it that promises 12:45 M-F, let's see how long it takes a postcard to arrive in Ohio.

The hard cold wind was blowing again in Ranchita.  I stopped to take this picture of the heavy dark clouds that were coming from the coast.

We were able to make it home and settled before the rain came.  It did indeed rain all night – YAY!