Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mexican 1000 - and back again - part 2

Saturday morning we left La Paz and headed up the coast.

I decided that Arwen, Mary and the kids needed to see San Javier.  It had stuck in my head since the third day of the race and it would be our last chance to see the town before the paved road reach it.

We got to Loretto and headed up the hill.  Arwen got to drive the land cruiser and have her first experience behind the wheel on a dirt road.  The main road was pretty easy but the detours gave us some rough bits.

Horses in trucks!

San Javier was extremely quite.  Almost as if it were waiting for the pavement to get there.  The Mission wasn't open but we had a chance to run around it.  

We stopped and had a soda at the local bar/families living room, and then headed back down the hill and up the coast.  The detour took us a little longer than we expected.

As the sun set we got to El Requeseon, one of my favorite spots on the sea of Cortez.  It's a small island connected to the shore by a sand spit.  The story goes that shepperds would use the island as a safe haven for their goats.  Thus the name Requeseon, goat cheese.

When we arrived the moon was coming up and it was going to be the highest tide of the year.  We talked to the care taker and wished we could've stayed but the lack of sleeping bags or any camping gear made that a bit too much of a challenge.

We headed north, Mary remembered a hotel just south of Mulege that mom and dad loved.  She spotted the sign for El Serenidad and we headed to the hotel to find Ned Bacon's "Killer Bee" parked int the lot.

The Killer Bee -tucked behind the black truck

We wandered in  and ran into Bacon and the crew of the 332 Bronco.  It turned out it was the Saturday night pig roast.  My mom had told me about it but I couldn't remember where it was.  The pigs at El Serenidad are raised on dates from the palm trees which creates some of the sweetest pork ever.  We enjoyed the bbq, conversation and too many of the best margaritas we had in Baja.  We chatted with the owner, Don Johnson (not the Don Johnson), he'd been there since the 60s and remembered my folks.

Eventually we settled into our room for a good nights sleep.  The rooms were old and funky while being clean and comfy.  It was a great place to stay.

The next morning we got up, had a swim and headed to Catavina.

the story continues here

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

2012 Mexican 1000 - and back again - part 1

The race ended with two nights at the Cabo Azul Resort which was relaxing and much too nice.

When it was time to go we took Rhonda to the airport and the rest of us headed north.

This was a tradition of my dad's.  Drive to the starting line, run the race to La Paz, and then turn around and drive back.  It's a great testament to my family's love of Baja and the durability of the Toyota Land Cruiser.

We needed to stop in La Paz to check on some of Mary's friends and on the way we swung by Rancho Leonero.

Now a hotel, when I was a kid Rancho Leonero was the house of a family friend, Gil Powell.   In 1974 Gil passed away and the house was eventually sold and turned into a hotel.  My parents drove by it at some point and hated it.  They described it as too fancy and exclusive and not the "real Baja."  So Mary and I were a little surprised when we turned down the dirt road and saw the hotel.  It was really nice.  A series of rock bungalos and Gil's house had been converted into a bar/restaurant.  Even though it was much much larger it kept some of the spirit of the original place.

We wandered around the hotel and into the bar where we ran into Tom Swift and his son.  They had raced the Stroppe Edsel and were spending a couple days at Leonero to recover.  We hung out and chatted and had a beer..

I found these photos on the Rancho Leonero site.  We got our first Lab from Gil.

As a kid I spent hours snorkeling around the far rock, looking for eels.
Mary spreading some of dad's ashes
Even though we really wanted to stay at Leonero, eventually we headed to La Paz where we realized we'd missed Mary's friend.  So we stopped had dinner on El Malecon and decided to stay at the same hotel we stayed on the way down.  It was on the northern edge of town and we'd miss the La Paz traffic the next morning.

our adventure continues here