I am happily visiting my grandson Michael and his new baby daughter, my FIRST great-granddaughter, Ava Rose. In mid-January I was delighted to learn that my first baby great-grandchild was born in Southern California and by March it’s time to go to see her. I was rightly hoping she’d be old enough to focus and start smiling. It’s been a wonderful time with my grandson Mikey and his girlfriend Charlene. In the next post I will put photos of the baby and her happy family. But to go back — I didn’t write in this online journal since January, but have taken lots of pictures and had many adventures. It’s been a wonderful winter on the beach, and I need to share pictures of my dear San Carlos neighbors and friends.
It was fun to make new friends and spend time with old friends again. The weather was absolutely perfect, with only a couple days with rain in December. The mud then is hard to describe: sticky, thick and tenacious, and we were all relieved when it finally dried up! My neighbors on the beach were absolutely great, and we enjoyed many happy hours with all sorts of snacks, group potluck meals, long walks, and discussions that were both deep and hilarious. In February I took a remarkable cooking class that included traditional Mexican ingredients and techniques. I joined the San Carlos Rotary Club and hope to spend some time with them every winter as long as I’m able to do it. They are a very active club with a great reputation for doing good throughout the community, and I’m proud to be a member of the group. One day I volunteered as a hostess for the annual Rotary Tour of Homes and got to see many beautiful houses around the area. Getting water and propane services out on the beach and living off the grid in Mexico were a real education and I became an expert. Finally, a lovely woman who is a talented artist making stained glass created panels of my favorite water birds for my motor home, blue heron and great egret. I loved my special RV already, but now it is even more enjoyable with the panels mounted on the upper cabinet doors. Overall it was a restful, peaceful, happy and fun winter and I enjoyed every minute of it. Living beside our little pond was heavenly, with many birds, small fish, visiting local families, little daily adventures, and fabulous sunshine during the daytime and glorious sunrises and sunsets in the mornings and evenings.
This is the life I adore! Camping potlucks have lots of good food, and often a long sharing of hysterical jokes. I’m always surprised how some people collect many jokes and perfectly present them! I love laughing, but can rarely repeat jokes later. I especially enjoy watching long-time couples who have clearly heard the same jokes dozens of times, but both still giggle and laugh together replaying them another time. Usually the husband is the joke-teller while the wife is smiling and laughing, but once in a while it’s the other way around. I believe this is one of the signs of a healthy marriage. My own parents did the same thing, and even now when things happen to me, I hear in my head the punch line to one of my dad’s dry jokes and laugh like a crazy woman, or even say the line out loud, making no sense at all to anyone who overhears me.
Fun and yummy group potlucks at our beach –
Rotary Tour of Homes gallery –
And my sister hostesses for the Home on the tour where we were stationed –
With a new friend Carole from Bellingham, Washington, we visited the big Sunday “mercado” in nearby Empalme –
Near the public square was a remarkable kiddie train, hand-built from 55-gallon drums cut in half. Great job and a money-maker for an enterprising fellow! Fun for kids and their mommies too!
I attended a cooking class in Mexico! This was a fun class which lasted 4 1/2 hours every Thursday, and at the end we all sat down together to enjoy the meal. It’s great to make new friends and to learn about Mexican history and culture, getting specific details about the cuisine, especially the unusual cooking ingredients and utensils. Our teacher Ruth is a German woman who has lived here for over 30 years, she’s married to a sweet Mexican man and both are obviously happy. They own a popular European bakery where the classes are held. I’ll insert a snapshot of the class program for anyone who is curious about what we’ll be cooking and eating. Some of the more traditional dishes are extremely complicated and take more than one day to fix, also use supplies that aren’t available in the U.S., so it’s unlikely that we’ll be making them often in the future. Others dishes are more familiar or so delicious that any extra effort is worth it. I always enjoy taking cooking classes wherever I travel, and always learn something new. I loved this! It was educational, a lot of laughs, and a great way to meet other people who like to cook!
Photos from the class – our teacher Ruth is in the back row, far right, and the next photo is of Ana her wonderful hard-working sou chef –
Another Rotary activity was making and selling hamburgers at the Rescate Emergency Services annual bazaar. It was a colorful and terrific event! –
During the Walk for Life, Cheyenne and I did the 5K Caminata por la Vida. I think my dog was much more tired than I was! –
One of the highlights for me was to meet Lisa Rowe and her husband Todd. She is a talented stained glass artist who created two panels for the overhead cabinet doors of my motor home. They are beautiful and uplifting and are a constant reminder of the gorgeous water birds that I live with in the winters. –
Here are a couple final shots of my beautiful campsite at my pond beside the beach at the Sea of Cortez, San Carlos Bay –
I can’t forget my friends who lived along the beach near me, and made the experience so rich and fantastic! –
And a special thank you and goodbye to Wendy! –
Our final goodbye night for dear friends Jan and Bob, Wendy and Bill –
Finally, I must add some pictures of the birds who were my closest neighbors at the beach –
… and especially my blue heron, always entertaining and amazing! –
I’ve been on the beach near San Carlos for more than a month now, and still love it here. It’s strange that this place almost feels more like home than my house in Alaska. My first year camping at this same spot in March 2013 I stayed less than two weeks, but the following winter in 2014 I stayed in Puerto Peñasco instead of continuing south. That fall I returned to Mexico and by the first of January 2015 I arrived at my “camp home” again from a rough drive down the “new” coastal highway, coming through Kino Bay. This time I stayed more than three weeks. It was painful to leave, but I wanted to try the Baja side “new” coastal highway along the Sea of Cortez, so headed back to Puerto Peñasco, where I got my poor beat-up car repaired and repainted, and then headed to Mexicali and south to San Felipe, into another driving adventure. However this year I was determined to stay longer in San Carlos, so after two weeks in PP after Thanksgiving, I headed south again.
I arrived Dec 14, so was here for Christmas and New Year’s, through days of rainy mud and weeks of warming sun, near friends and suffering through a nasty bronchial virus. Looking back through my web journal I see that I have spent some time sick every winter, but thankfully recover each time after a rest and good meds. Next month I will leave before Valentine’s Day to head to California to see my new great-granddaughter Ava Rose. I can see now that even being here for two months isn’t enough to satisfy my nesting urge.
It’s been decades that I’ve been coming to Mexico, and I first visited this place in the mid-1980s to find my friends Jo and David’s dear Healy Burnham. I returned every winter to visit him until 1994, including the time I sailed here to leave my storage boxes with Healy and drove back the next year to get them. After that Healy’s health declined and soon he was taken back to Iowa to die. I didn’t return for nearly 20 years, and by then it had changed a lot. It’s much more “Americanized” now, but the city of Guaymas only ten miles away is completely Mexican, so we get the best of both worlds. Ever since my first visit so many years ago, this place has felt like I belong here, and by now I think I do… at least annually for a few winter months.
One more perfect evening –
Every time I’m here I attend the San Carlos Rotary Club and really enjoy getting involved in their activities. My experience with our Alaska District eclub has been a little disappointing and I’m tempted to join this Mexico club. I enjoy Rotary but need to feel bonded with some group members, and this club allows us to attend whenever we are in the area instead of being permanently in residence. Some others are only here for a couple of months, so that would suit me fine. On February 9th will be the big Rotary Tour of Homes and I’ve been asked to be hostess for one of the houses on the tour. I’m even signed up to sell tickets a couple of days next week. After the event I’ll prepare to leave, and I know I’ll be sad about going away. This Rotary Club conducts their meetings in English, one of the only clubs in Mexico that does. During years abroad of attending meetings in languages other than my own, that’s a relief.
It makes me happy to be here, I feel contented to wake up to a glorious sunrise and visits from my beautiful hummingbirds, only a couple feet away right now from my fingers on the keyboard. I enjoy having group happy hours with my neighbor campers and they are always amazed to see the hummingbirds whizzing by their heads to my window, and hovering under my outdoor shade fearlessly as if they own the place. The blue heron visits every morning and night, fishing in our little pond, great white egrets and many bright-colored birds are frequent visitors. The fishing terns crash into the water outside my door hundreds of times a day, and we even have brown pelicans fly over our little protective dune to glide around our water, getting a rest from the sea waves. If I walk a few steps to the outside beach I can watch the dolphins follow schools of fish and the afternoon cruise boats showing off our neighborhood to the tourists.
A local family comes out to fish in our little pond –
Even on the rare days it clouds over and rains, my solar panels recharge my batteries to 100% by early afternoon. I’ve learned to have the propane delivery trucks follow me out here to deliver “Gas” and the reverse osmosis water delivery guys come to fill my freshwater tanks whenever I get low. I only have to move the motor home once a month to empty and clean the holding tanks, which only takes a couple of hours away from “home”. There are many places in town with high-speed internet when I want to download something bigger, but my Telcel aircard works fine at home. It costs about $23 for 3 gigs, so I refill it every couple of weeks and can get current news podcasts every morning and enjoy them all day on my little mp3 player as I walk the beach or desert to get exercise for me and my dog Cheyenne. She also loves it here, we have a very good calm and peaceful life. This is a good way to get older, hopefully wiser, or at least to gain some perspective on my varied and interesting life..
I do miss my family, kids and offspring now number a dozen, but none miss or worry about me at all. Since they are scattered all over the world, it will be up to me to go visit them and that suits me fine. Maybe someday one might come and see my beloved Mexico home too. And with any luck I’ll live long enough to visit the ones in Europe and then spend some months RVing around the continent. In any case, this is a wonderful time of life and I’m grateful every day to be in such a wonderful place — emotionally… physically… and environmentally.