Saturday, September 20, 2008

Our Trip back to the U.S. - End June to End September

The time has flown by since our end June departure from Punta Mita for Colorado Springs in our trusty green Blazer. Since we're now better acquainted the Mexican roads and the sometimes very impatient Mexican drivers (in a big hurry to go who knows where??), our trip north seemed much easier than the drive south last December. Most of the time we could even come up with the correct peso amount at the dozen or so toll booths along the way. We also went through several check points set up by the Mexican military which we presume is part of the country's effort to slow down the flow of illegal drugs. In almost every case when they saw two confused and harmless looking gringos we were waived right through while they carefully searched others. It would save a lot of hassle if our TSA could use the same tactics. After one last $2.70/gal fill up at Pemex we went through the boarder at Agua Verde into Douglas, AZ and headed for Albuquerque, NM where we spent the night. The 2.5 day drive through Mexico went well but it was great to be back on American roads and know that if something bad happens we could find help much more easily than in Mexico.

The next day we arrived in Los Alamos, NM where we spent the night with John's high school friend, Brad Duni and his wife Patti. They have a beautiful home nestled in a forest setting at 7,500 feet with a spectacular view. We also had a chance to visit Taos and Santa Fe both of which are must return places so, Brad & Patti, watch out because we're coming back!!

On July 2 we arrived at Scott & Hillary's home in Colorado Springs and liked it so much that we decided to stay for the whole month of July except for a brief five day visit to Nick & Natalie in Charlotte. We absolutely love being immersed in Scott & Hillary's family life which gives us, among many other things, almost unlimited time with Brynn and Callie and their various activities. Trust us when we say we were on the go from early in the morning until sometime after 8:00 PM when the kids finally settle in for the night. It's a true all-American household with 2 young kids, 2 cats, a dog, a productive vegetable garden and more love than you can imagine. Colorado Springs has a wonderful family environment and we're so happy to see the Dickman family living it to the fullest. Check out Scott and Hill's hike, two weeks ago, to the top of the 14,200' Mt. Yale.

Even though it was way too brief, our stay with Nick & Natalie was super . We had not been to Charlotte since shortly after Nick bought what we think is the cutest house ever with tons of curb appeal. Last time we visited we had to sleep on a blow up mattress on the floor but things have changed and this time we slept on a real bed. While in the area the four of us drove to Asheville, NC to visit our friends Pat & Susie Cunningham who have a lovely summer home in the Smokey Mountains. It was a real treat to catch up with them while we had an opportunity to fish and even do some skeet shooting which was a first for all of us. Unbelievably, Nick the rookie shooter, was the man by hitting his first two clay pigeons.

On August 2 we loaded up the Blazer with way too much stuff purchased for the boat and condo and headed for the Bay Area. We were both blown away by the gorgeous scenery along the way. After being constantly bombarded by the media about how bad things are in America, it's so refreshing to get out on the road witness the magnificent beauty of our great country. Our infrastructure may have some problems but compared to what we see in Mexico, driving down the road here is a breeze. We're sick of America bashing and can't wait to get back on the boat where we have our own set of responsibilities and problems away from the constant haranguing.

Our first stop was Wendover, UT and then through Reno, NV and on into Carson City, NV where we spent the night. Whoa, have those two cities changed!! Neither of us had been there for some time and were amazed by the growth. The next day we arrived at South Lake Tahoe where we spent two nights with sailing friends, Steve & Pam Lannen whom we met in Mexico. They live in a beautiful mountain setting and we got an insider's tour of the area from two long time residents as well as an introduction into “Mexican Train”. We're really looking forward to seeing them again this winter in Mexico.

Our next stop was Lafayette where we spent two nights with Jeff & Adrienne Rogers before heading to the Delta for our 11th consecutive year, this time aboard Mike & Ina's Catalina 42, "Nova". Wow, it was great to once again be on a boat and spending time with many of our good friends from Encinal Yacht Club. Our Baja Ha-Ha crew, Rod & Peggy Kidd, gave Mike & Ina a break by taking us for two nights. After coming back from the Delta George & Maxine were so very generous in allowing us to stay on their power boat "This is It" for three weeks. It was very much like, "Old home week" as their boat is docked very close to where we lived aboard "Destiny" for six years. It's unbelievable how much we did during those three weeks and we really cannot cover all of it here. The list of friends who invited us for dinner or, in some other way made us feel so warm and welcome, was overwhelming. We are truly blessed to have so many wonderful friends which is what we really miss the most by being away in Mexico.

On September 2 we left the Blazer at Jeff & Adrienne's and flew back to Colorado Springs for another stay with the Dickman family. We will fly back to San Francisco on September 27 for some last minute doctor appointments and then take off for Punta Mita. While in the Bay Are we picking up more items for the boat and condo and are not really sure how we will get everything stuffed into the car, but we'll find a way. After three months away from "Destiny" and our condo we're anxious to get back and plan new adventures for the winter.

Sea Turtle visits our beach

Late one evening in June, a couple of weeks before we headed back to the U.S., we were sitting on our deck watching the surf and spotted something crawling out of the ocean. We guessed it was a turtle and ran down to the beach accompanied by our building’s security guard to check it out.

A turtle had crawled up the beach to lay her eggs. Surprisingly, she headed straight for our fence and, with her back to the security lights, started digging her hole. It was amazing to watch her awkwardly dig with her flippers. She worked at it for about 20 minutes then suddenly turned and filled in the hole. We assumed it was because of the bright light.

She wandered off and got stuck in a drainage ditch, our security guard and his friend lifted her out and she made her way back to the water.

It was so sad, the turtles come back to the beach where they originally hatched up to 30 years before to make their nests. With all the development and the security lights dotted along beaches it is disorienting them and likely limiting their nesting locations. It would be great if, during their nesting season, the buildings could turn off the lights.

The Mexicans are very protective of the turtles. The Marines are in charge of collecting the eggs when a nest is found and taking them to a secure location to hatch.

Following are some photos we took.