Irregular Post; Cruise Miami to San Diego – Mexico

Mexico and San Diego Thursday May 12, 2016 Buenas, We’d been there before.  Puerta Vallarta was much smaller in 2001 but Cabo San Lucas seemed much the same as in 2009.  North of the city of PV, there are now MANY familiar American bigbox stores and restaurant chains; Walmart, Sam’s Club, Starbucks, Outback Steak House.  What was open scrub fields that we rode past on the bus into PV is now DEVELOPED. Downtown PV looks and feels the same with the cobbled streets and local businesses.  The shore excursion guide said the population is now 325,000!! with the last decade’s explosion from snowbirds and expats from US and Canada. Our excursion was for “Hiking in the Sierra Madre”.  A few miles south of town, through local villages, we arrived at an adventure site.  The ATV and the Hiking Excursions got off the small bus, went in different directions, got different colored plastic bracelets.  The seven of us cruisers with two guides, set out in a smaller vehicle.  Twisty bumpy dirt mountain road to the trail head. Now at the end of the dry season, everything looks and smells dry dusty.  Stream beds are dry and the Rio Caule that flows thru PV is weak and shallow.  We were to have hiked to a waterfall but there is “really no flow” to see so we took a different path.  “We need the rainy season.” said the guide as we started up the mountain trail. The 20-some assistant guide had excellent slightly accented English.  He was born in PV, grew up in Chicago, and recently returned to PV.  Now he was...

Irregular Posts; California 5, Santa Monica

On the Road; Friday 15th Good Whatevertimeitiswhereyouarereadinghthis. Meg got a phone call at 4AM Friday while at the Wu’s home in Santa Monica.  It was an 800 number so she didn’t answer the junkcall.  4AM are you kidding me?  Back to sleep for a couple of hours.  Peter and Elsie drive us over to LAX for our 9AM flight.  We say good bye and off they drive. OOPPSS!  Our flight was cancelled.  The departure board said so.   Large lines everywhere.  We were directed to a short line for rebooking.  The line was not moving.  I guess it was the troubled line.  While standing there, Meg checked the 4AM phone call and found out that it was United Airlines telling us that we had been rebooked onto an earlier flight to BOS via Denver instead of Dulles.   She could get boarding passes at a self check-in kiosk.  We left the stationary trouble line.  Now we found long TSA lines.  Again we’re directed to a short line.  This one actually moves.  The guy behind me, who I had been talking to, was pulled into the secret room for further security checking.  The door closed behind him, and we quickly walked towards our gate. We got to the gate with 15 minutes to spare. But first let me tell about driving south from Big Sur. ……………….. Update from the California Coast; Wednesday 13th We arrived at the Bixby Bridge, 10 miles north of Big Sur where Rt 1 is closed. Foot traffic is allowed to cross the work zone at 7AM and 4PM.  School children, workers, foot and bike travelers...

PhotoEssay; Big Sur

Photo Essay; Cabrillo Highway – Route 1 by Jack Holmes. Copyright 2011. Big Sur is spectacular coast.  Roads twist, following the cliff contours above the surf.  A few beaches are accessible for an up close with the Pacific.       To the east of the Santa Lucia Range, that separates the Pacific from the valleys, farm land and vineyards thrive.                    ...

Irregular Posts; California 4, Big Sur

Big Sur CA,   Tuesday evening, April 12 Monday, we drove out of Solvang, west on the road and into the Foley Estate Winery in Lompoc just minutes after it opened at 10AM.  It took a couple of side canyon roads looking for wildflowers to get to the 10AM opening.  It would have been unseemly to be waiting in the car in the parking lot for the clock’s big hand to get to the 12. Cousin Jon Foley had shared, and given us a bottle of pinot noir from this vineyard.  Imagine the delight to find it up the road from Solvang where we spent Sunday night.  A flight of reds and a white; various years of pinot noir and syrahs.  The flight of six reds ascended in complexity, and price.  The high end pinot noir was very nice.  Meg wanted to try a steel fermented chardonnay. It was light and fruity not heavy oaky buttery.  I hope my NH sister Jane will be home to sign for the half case of Foley Wine to be delivered by FedEx.  Massachusetts doesn’t allow wine shipments, but NH does. In Lompoc, there is a Mission La Purisima State Park.  It is a restored mission from the Spanish days. The CCC did the work in the 1930s and did a fine job when there was a need for jobs in the Depression.  It did a masterful recreation of buildings and grounds using old techniques and materials.  But also, hidden in the adobe was steel re-bar to protect against earthquake.   La Purissma is a large complex with the land to show what a...

PhotoPost; Central California Coast

PhotoEssay;  Central Coast, California by Jack Holmes.  All images copyrighted 2011. La Purisima by Jack Holmes La Purisma is a California State Park on the Camino Real.  It reflects what a mission and the grounds would have been like in it’s day. Morro Bay presents a different view of California.   Above Morro Bay the coast becomes spectacular.  The Cabrillo Parkway borders the ocean on a road that hangs above the surf below the cliffs.                                                      ...

Irregular Posts; California 3, Plan B

El Camino, Solvang CA    Monday April 11 Good Morning.   Plan B is under way. The threatened Federal shut down cancelled our planned government sponsored research trip.  A plan B was needed as our flight home was still a week away.  Go home a week early from Ontario CA?  NO.  What to do?  First we needed to find a new flight date. We rebooked our flight to Friday morning, April 15 from Los Angeles.  We had decided to use five days to drive the Pacific coast above LA. Leaving the high desert Sunday the morning of the10th, we drove three hours to Santa Monica, where our friends and hosts Peter and Elsie live.  Into Avis Rental we strolled and asked for the cheapest car that they had.  Mike, the guy in charge, had a small bright red one ready.  He must have sensed that I was coming.  No, he did not have a red California Mustang convertible.  It was a little Chevy sedan. “Where are you headed?” asked Mike. “No itinerary, a free float up the Big Sur Highway, perhaps Monterey or maybe Sequoia NP, if it looks like there is time to get back by Thursday afternoon.” Goodbyes to Peter and Elsie…now they can unwind from our days in the desert.  Our few packs went into the tiny “trunk”, cameras in front.  West on Broadway to the Pacific Coast Highway, PCH as it is called on the signs, also called Route 1, and El Camino Real, and sometimes “Freeway” 101.  Drive north, keep the Pacific on your left and the hills on the right. Surfers in the...