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Now, on with our story
I have always said (for the last two years) that home is where we drop our anchor. It was weird being away from the Victory for the past month. It feels like we are home now, moved in again on the Victory in Chula Vista Marina at the south end of San Diego Bay.
As you know, we committed to watch Mary Lou’s villa in La Paz for the summer. After last summer, I swore that I would not spend another summer in La Paz. Then we met Mary Lou. We loved her house. Three lots fenced in with a high concrete wall, luscious gardens, a pool, a guest house with two bedrooms. She asked us if we would like to house sit for her for the summer. It was six month gig, from May to October.
We knew it got beastly hot in the summer. And we knew that Mary Lou didn’t have air conditioning. But, we did have a portable air conditioning unit on the boat, and we’d spend the afternoons in the pool. The big attraction was the yard. Odin would have all that room to run around instead of being cooped up on the deck of a boat.
Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans. Our little air conditioning unit could not keep Mary Lou’s bedroom cool. The temperatures in the house hit one hundred during the days. In the bedroom, we managed to keep it around ninety degrees. We had three big floor flans to move the air around and make it bearable.
Then there was the pool. It was a life saver in May when the temperatures soared into the hundreds, fully two months before expected. By July, the water in the pool reached ninety-four degrees. It was like swimming in bath water.
Probably the biggest disappointment was the yard. The whole reason we agreed to house sit was so Odin could have all that room to run around in. It was so hot, he wouldn’t go outside. He dashed into the yard to do his business, then came right back and lay down in front of the air conditioner. His mama didn’t raise any dummies.
We were really ready to get out of La Paz, but we made a commitment to Mary Lou. Thank God, she sold the house. The sale went through quickly and closed on August first. We were so out of there.
Dawn planned a leisurely drive from La Paz up to San Diego. We had made the drive several times in the past, always in two days. It was a killer. We decided to take an extra day, stay at a couple of nice hotels, and take our time driving north.
The first day was a seven hour drive from La Paz to Santa Rosalia. Santa Rosalia is the last town on the Sea of Cortez before the highway turns inland and eventually crosses over to the Pacific side of the peninsula.
The woman who took Dawn’s reservation told her to plan for about an hour in construction delays. She was right. Our seven hour drive took eight hours. We had several delays in the flat, straight stretch from La Paz to Ciudad Insurgentes. At that point, the road curls up into the mountains and we twisted, turned, went up and down to Santa Rosalia.
Normally, I wouldn’t dwell on the twisty mountain road, but Dawn had Odin in her car. I should mention that we both drove, since we had two vehicles to get north. When we moved into Casa Mary Lou, we took a bunch of stuff from the boat with us. Now we had to load it into the SUV and my Toyota pickup.
The GMC Yukon is Odin’s car, he just lets Dawn drive it for him. Dawn put the back seat down so Odin had lots of room. Then she loaded the back of the vehicle with stuff from the house. Odin still had lots of room. Dawn put the arm rest down in the front seat, making an opening between the two front seats just wide enough for Odin to sit in. He puts his hind end down on the arm rest, and sits with his front legs extended out. He refuses to lie down while the car is in motion.
Okay, you get the picture, Odin sitting, wedging himself into the opening between the seat backs. Now add in a twisty, torturous mountain road. He did not like the drive. Dawn spent the last three hours of the drive worrying about Odin and how he was doing.
Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention that the GMC Yukon is a truck. It really handles like a truck on a mountain road. My little Toyota pickup didn’t have much problem with the curvy road, but Dawn kept falling behind because she couldn’t take the curves very fast.
Add this all up, plus unscheduled stops for Odin to relieve himself, and she was a wreck by the time we reached Santa Rosalia.
The room was delightful and comfy, for about seventy dollars a night, US. The best part was the view. From the bed, we could look out the windows right onto the sea. When I woke up in the morning, it was so still, I could have sworn it was a seascape painting.
We had a nice meal in town and quickly dropped off to sleep.
The next day’s drive was, if anything, worse than day one.
The scenery in Baja is spectacular. We are in the “rainy season.” That means that two or three times during the summer a tropical storm passes close enough by to drench the southern tip of the peninsula. Then the dessert blooms.
I am not a dessert person. I prefer green plants and flowers, but when the rains come, the dessert turns green. Dried up old sticks turn into beautiful trees. Grass springs up along side of the road. The cactus bloom. All of the weird, Dr. Seuss looking plants come to life.
As soon as we left Santa Rosalia, we turned west into the mountains. The road is one of the steepest, curviest mountain roads I’ve ever encountered. We climb from sea level to several thousand feet in the matter of a few miles. There are sheer drop offs from the road to the valley two thousand feet below, with no guard rails on the side of the road. There are no turnoffs for slow vehicles and it is impossible to pass a truck if you’re unlucky enough to get behind one.
After we reached the summit, the road straightened and leveled out until we got to Guerrero Negro. Then we turned north and were back into twisty mountain roads. Dawn was a mess when we arrived at San Quintín.
Another day of winding up and down the mountain trails did nothing to calm her nerves.
We stayed the second night at San Quintín. Once again, Dawn found us a nice hotel on friends’ recommendations. The Mission Santa Maria Hotel looked like something out of a Zorro movie.
There was a large courtyard with a tile covered fountain. Arcades surrounded the courtyard with the lobby to one side and a nice restaurant to the other. The food was good and the prices reasonable. The Sunday morning brunch buffet was marvelous.
We loafed around the hotel until about noon on Sunday. No point in getting going too early, we wanted to cross the border in the evening when the traffic had settled down.
The road between Ensenada and Tijuana crumbled and fell into the sea during an earthquake last spring. There is another road still open, but it goes through every little whistle stop town along the way, is narrow and twisty. I opted to take the cut off to the Tecate border crossing.
We had not been this way before. The scenery was beautiful. We drove through rich farm country and vast vineyards. This is Mexico’s wine growing region.
The drive added about an hour to our trip. However, I thought, we’d make that up with a quick border crossing.
Boy was I wrong. We had been told about how sleepy the Tecate border crossing was. Never any traffic. Much easier to get across than at Tijuana.
We waited in line for almost three hours to get across.
Then, we were way out in the middle of nowhere. Once again, we had to negotiate twisty mountain roads to get back to civilization, this time in the dark.
We finally rolled into the marina parking lot at about one in the morning, tired, sore and with raw nerves. But we were home.
The Victory welcomed us home. By the time we got all of our stuff unloaded (the security guard warned us about leaving it in the cars. They’ve had a lot of theft problems.), it was four thirty in the morning.
But we’re here. Back in the USA. Ready to start the newest chapter in our lives. I don’t know how long we’ll be here, but we need to get some medical problems taken care of. Then who knows? We’ll figure out where we’re going next then.