Loading Map

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Mosquitoes and Rain and Bears, oh my!

August 9, 2005
Seaquest Washington State Park, about 150 miles South of Seattle

We didn't have far to go from Portland to Seattle, but didn't want to arrive in Seattle before our motel check-in time, so we decided to find a camp ground somewhere in the middle. There were a couple of possibilities and we stopped at Seaquest first.

Seaquest, contrary to its name, is nowhere near the ocean. It's about 15 miles east of I-5, on the highway to Mount St. Helens. From the entry kiosk it looked like a nice park, so we headed into the camp ground to set up. On the way in we passed a bicyclist heading out of the tent camping area carrying all his camping gear. This should have been our first warning. We pulled into our camp site at around 4:30 PM and I started setting up while Linda wandered off to find the bathroom. When she got back she said there was a group of bicyclists leaving their camp site all complaining about the mosquitoes. Linda asked them, 'What time do the mosquitoes come out?' thinking that they would, as usual, come out at dusk. The cyclist replied, 'They're out now!' Of course I already knew that, because of the swarm buzzing around me as I set up the tent. Linda madly searched the camping gear for some bug repellant and found some years old industrial strength stuff which seemed to dissuade the little beasts even though I'm sure it was well past its expiration date.

Our first disaster averted we sat down (in the tent) to read and while away the evening hours. After a nice hot shower and a bite to eat we bedded down for a cozy nights sleep... which was interrupted at about 1:00 AM by the sound of some slobbery animal nosing around outside the tent. Linda was the first to awake, which was amazing because she can sleep through a gale on NAKIA, and promptly roused me with an urgent whisper, 'John, there's an animal outside the tent!' Being not too very awake, I listened carefully and found that whatever it was was either getting quieter or farther away. I sat for a few seconds and confirmed what I suspected - the animal gave us a slobbery sniff or two, decided we were not good to eat and moved on. I then told Linda to go back to sleep. She never follows my advice on these things so while I reacquainted myself with the inside of my eyelids she sat awake making sure the animal didn't change its mind about its dinner options.

The night went quietly by for another couple of hours until I was awakened by a loud splat somewhere near the tent. I sat up and waited and heard another, then another. It was raining, and I hadn't put the rain cover over the tent the night before. The only thing we had between our nice dry sleeping bags and the rain clouds was a layer of no-see-um netting. So I put my shoes on, not bothering with my pants, and hastily threw the rain cover over the tent while Linda slept soundly in her bag. I guess I should have made some bear noises if I wanted to get her attention.

John and Linda

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Moving North

August 8, 2005
Vally of the Rogue Oregon State Park
About 250 miles South of Portland

We started our long trip North from San Diego on Saturday afternoon. We didn't have far to go the first day, just to Long Beach to spend the night with Linda's friend Patti. We got to see the results of the extensive renovation done on the house; when we were there many years ago it was just getting started.

We left Patti's house early the next morning (Sunday) and enjoyed a very quick trip into the Bay Area, only 6.5 hours drive from Long Beach. We were amazed that we didn't have any heavy traffic in the LA area or in the Bay Area. We spent the night on Mrs. Robinson (that's a boat, not a person) after having dinner with friends at our favorite U.S. taqueria, La Azteca in Redwood City.

Monday morning found us in line at the DMV before it opened. We want to get our truck back on the road and before we would be able to do that we had to get it registered. When we left it at my sister's house we submitted a certificate of non-opperation. This allowed us to keep from registering it, or so we thought. After standing in line at the DMV we were informed that since we only had it in non-op for 11 months, we had to pay regististration on the 11 months. So we didn't save anything. That's the DMV for you.

After the DMV we made a trip to the Post Office to turn in applications for new passports. That only took a short time so we were on the road to OR before 9:30. Once again we didn't have any traffic to speak of and made it all the way to the Rogue River before we stopped for the night. On the way we couldn't resist stopping for hamburgers at the Weed bowling alley, the best burgers, fries and shakes in Northern California. The camp site at Valley of the Rogue was quiet and clean and there were hardly any mosquitoes in the evening, perfect for a couple of out of practice campers.

The next day we got going bright and early to get to the Portland area to pick up the truck from my sister's house. This we did and then headed to the airport to drop off the rental car. This seemingly simple activity was complicated by having to FIND the rental car office. Which, after driving around the airport, we found is not located at the airport and instead is located in a hotel complex some 3 miles east. We almost had to pay for an extra day because of traffic getting to the return counter.

We made it though and then returned to Milwaulkie to go to Bob's Red Mill for food for the boat. We like a lot of stuff at Bob's Red Mill, especially the Cous Cous and Granola. So, we bought 25 lb bags of both. That may seem like a lot of Cous Cous and Granola (no, we don't mix them together) but we're going to be away from this kind of thing for at least another year so we need to get stocked up.

Our final erand in the Portland area was to investigate puting a cover over the bed of the truck. We'd been thinking about this for awhile and when we noticed a place along the highway that sold pickup tops we decided to stop in and take a look. We were met by a very nice salesman who, after listening to what we wanted, told me it would be about $800 USD to put a shell over the bed of my truck. Now, since the truck itself isn't worth more than $2000 USD, I didn't want to put that much into it. After informing the nice salesman, he remembered a used shell they had in the back - price: $250. Much better. Of course we wouldn't have our choice of color or model, but we could at least take a look and see if we could live with it. Well, it turns out that the used shell matches the paint on the truck pretty close, and is 'high rise' just like I wanted in the first place. Also, it came off an older model Toyota pickup truck. Perfect! So after $20 to have it installed, $20 for a new lock and $20 for a tip to the nice salesman we drove out with a $310 top for our truck. Now we can lock things in the bed and not worry about them getting wet or dirty or stolen.

Off we went with our 'new truck' to find a camp site somewhere between Portland and Seattle...

John and Linda

Thursday, August 11, 2005

New Pics!

Hi Everyone,
We haven't posted any pics in a while, mostly because it takes real internet access to do and we haven't had that in months. So here are a few pictures from our recent advenctures.

John and Linda

Back in the USA, here's our campsite in Rogue River on our way north.

The Dorado we caught coming across the Sea of Cortez to San Carlos

Here is a pic of Santa Rosalia in the morning, it looks so peaceful doesn't it?

Here's a picture of Linda and her buddy Rocky at the 'noodle party'. A noodle party is where we all sit around on noodles or other pool toys in the water on hot afternoons.

Here is NAKIA decked out for 4th of July at Burro Bay. Unfortunately you can't see all the flags very well because the sun awning is in the way, but there's no way we were going to take the sun awning down on a 96 degree day!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Here is NAKIA and SOL MATE at anchor in Medano Blanco. Nice Beach!

These are blossoms on a large cactus. This picture is from La Ramada North of San Juanico.

Two 'bugs' we got at Isla Carmen, very tasty.

Linda and John at Rancho Viejo in La Paz, having dinner to say good-bye to Dave and Debbie and Jan and Rich.

West Coast Tour

August 9, 2005
Seaquest Washington State Park, Approx 80 nm S of Seattle (46o 25' N 122o 32' W)

We departed San Carlos/Guaymas late Friday afternoon (the 5th) and started our long driving adventure that will take us up and back down the entire west coast of the United States. Our journey began with the shuttle bus from Marina Real to San Carlos. Just as the shuttle was dropping us off at the bus stop a bus pulled up. We thought this was going to be a good omen (not having to wait for the bus) and boarded the rattle trap local bus for the 15 minute ride to Guaymas. On arrival in town we walked the three blocks to the main bus terminal (actually four separate bus companies located on the four corners of an intersection) and went in to inquire about tickets. We chose to take the TAP line, because the pictures of the busses at their ticket counter were fancier then the pictures at the other line's ticket counters. TAP is $10 more expensive than the other lines too, so we figured it had to be better. The only problem is that the TAP line only has three busses that go from Guaymas to Tijuana 6pm, 7pm and 9pm. All the other lines have busses that leave every hour. We were about two hours early for the 6pm bus and didn't mind waiting. Unfortunately the 6pm bus was sold out so we had to buy tickets for the 7pm bus. No problem, we sat back to wait... and wait... and wait... it would have been nice if the terminal were air conditioned, considering it was about 95 degrees and 80% humidity. Oh well, we had a great bus coming, we were sure. We watched 5 or 6 busses leave the other terminals with 'TIJUANA' showing in their destination board and decided that they were all inferior rides, our bus would be much better, if it would only arrive. 7:15 rolled around and the 6pm bus finally arrived. Great, were we going to have to wait until 8:15 for our 7pm bus? No, the ticket attendant assured me that our 7pm bus would arrive shortly and sure enough, it arrived 'right on time' at 7:45. The rest of the 14 hour ride to Tijuana was uneventful, except for having our passports checked by immigration. We're convinced the only reason Mexican's check gringo's papers is because Mexican's are always getting checked when they're in the US.

We arrived in Tijuana early Saturday morning, ready for our next battle with Aduana, otherwise known as Mexican Customs. We want to bring a few things back with us to the boat. We're bringing our truck back to store in Mexico so this is an opportunity to bring things that won't fit in a carry-on bag. We were advised by other cruisers to get a letter from the marina stating that these things were parts for a boat which was on a temporary import permit. Then we wouldn't have to pay duty. The letter, and a list of the items, would need to be stamped by Customs before we left Mexico to prove that we didn't have these things on departure (or some other similarly confusing reason). Then when we return with the things, we show Customs the stamped letter and list and no duty is paid. Wonderful, no? As they say, it sounds good on paper. The problem was that we couldn't find a single Customs official in Tijuana willing to stamp the letter and list. We tried. Very hard. We spent 2 hours and went to 4 different customs officials and no one would get out their stamp pad. Finally we decided to give up and try again when we return (I'll walk back into Mexico via Nogales the day before we drive in and try to get the stamp then, stay tuned for further developments).

Finally we continued our journey by waiting in line for 45 minutes to walk through the boarder crossing. This wasn't as bad as it could have been, the line was reported to be 90 minutes long that day and it was only because of our search for a Customs agent that we entered the line half way in from the back of the line. We boarded the North bound trolley to meet our friends Ron and Anita who agreed to give us a ride to the airport to pick up our rental car. Not before going to lunch at Point Loma Seafood though. We can't come through San Diego and pass that up! After lunch Anita and Ron drove us to the rental car office to pick up our next ride, a Pontiac Sunfire which we'd be driving to Portland, OR over the next few days.

To Be Continued...

John and Linda