Cole and I decided to go to Baja California to visit Mel and Anita. They had suggested we meet them in Mulugé to watch the Super Bowl in a bar they enjoyed. On the drive down, we toured the delightful Kartchner Caverns State Park and did some birding on the San Pedro River near Sierra Vista. We went to Tucson to visit one of Cole's professors and to get Mexican car insurance from AAA. We toured Sonora from Nogales to Guaymas, where we caught the ferry to Santa Rosalia, Baja California Sur.
NB: [click] means you may click the image to see a larger or different image.

We encountered long delays at an entry station about 30KM past Nogales, Sonora, for tourist and temporary importation permits for my Chinook. Sonora wants to be sure you don't leave your vehicle in Mexico! We arrived by late afternoon at San Carlos. [click]^

San Carlos had many real-estate developments, ¡se vende! signs, and a large contingent of American snow-birds in the RV parks and shops along the shore. [click]^

We dined with the other ex-pats at a restaurant over-looking the bay, then spent the night in the Chinook at Totonaka RV Park --it featured internet access.

We discovered that Mexican towns control speed with very large Topes, speed bumps known as sleeping policemen!

The next morning, we drove on down to Guaymas. Cole posed before a memorial to pescadores lost at sea.

While the fishing fleet was in, boats at anchor found tenants, including these Cormorants:

An Egret scanned the shallows for food near the ferry [click]:

The Santa Rosalia Ferry was small--holding about five-six cars or medium trucks. The ferry company purchased this ship from the Alaskan Ferry system, then re-furbished it by installing used Boeing 707 seats on the lower deck for passengers. [click] Its Mexican skipper had sailed with the British Navy; he spoke excellent English, with a Brit-Mex accent. Seas were high (4'-6' waves) on the Gulf that night--few folks lurched onto the deck to look for sea life.

The ferry arrived in Santa Rosalia just before dawn, so we set off immediately to Mulugé to find breakfast. When we got to the bar where we planned to watch the Super Bowl, we found this sign:

"In compliance with Mexican Election Law
We will be closed Sunday and Saturday. Sorry for the inconvenience..." (the bar opened Monday and showed a tape of the game, with play-by-play commentary in Spanish). [click]

So, we met up with Mel and Anita, then went to the beach to search for shells. [click]^

After two nights in Mulugé, we headed north through cacti forests, and found an off-road spot to spend the night

I parked the Chinook deep in Cirios, Datilillos (tree yuccas), and Cardónes cacti. [click]

Anita provides scale for a Cardón in the early-morning light
[click]. =>

The slipper plant is an evergreen succulent whose green stems are photosynthetic. [click]

The very rough dirt road to Mel and Anita's cabin in Puertecitos took us through Coco's Corner, just after the Tope:

You can see the speed bump (asphalt) across the dirt road behind Cole's head.

Coco provides upscale baños, decorated with empty beer cans.

We persuaded Coco to pose for a photo. [click]

Granite boulders line this relatively smooth section of the rough road north. At some point along the road, my spare tire bounced loose from its shackle--no doubt it was salvaged by other travelers!

One of the many unusual plants in the cactus forest is the Elephant Tree:

This one grew among granite boulders. [click]

We stopped for lunch at Gonzaga Bay, where we shared the beach with Pelicans, gulls and other birds

Nearing Puertocitos, the granites give way to other igneous rocks and ash flows. [click]

Rob lines the road into the camp at Puertocitos with "cactus" and "palms" of his own design, built from plastic plumbing:

He has many decorations about his camp, including a "King Kong" climbing his TV tower and a menagerie of cartoon characters! [click]

Our arrival coincided with a period of rain that coaxed the Copal (Manzanita) and Ocotillo into bloom. [click]

We spent three days hiking, fishing, watching birds, eating at
Cow Patty, kayaking and watching pelicans skim the surface around Puertocitos:

A heron also fished, taking advantage of the grunion running:

We slept on the porch and listened to waves crash just below us. Each morning, the rising sun covered us in a red-gold glow through the porch arch:

We returned north along colorful igneous rocks. The rain made the Arizona desert bloom and kept travel through Bisbee, Silver City, T or C and Albuquerque comfortably cool. [click]

As we crossed New Mexico, we composed a Haiku for the Armolds =>

Baja Haiku

Zonas de vado
Camino muy malo
Topes de Coco

Red sky at sunrise
Rain, surf echo big dipper
Coffee by hosts’ hands

Kayak, fish, clams
Slip under Baja Airforce
Skimming smooth surface

Say’s Phoebe flits
Blue Heron snatches grunion
Ocean's joyous gift

Soggy, sober sky
Slivered moon, unblinking stars
Blending lambent glow

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