Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hit the Road Jack

Now contrary to the casual, relaxed look and feel of this blog, generally I'm a thoughtful, forward thinking blogger and put articles in the queue when I plan to travel away from good bandwidth for any significant length of time. This road trip, however, is proving the exception that proves the rule. This road trip started with weeks of decommissioning the boat in heinous heat, proceeded with the van from hell on the road to nowhere, and now continues in the back of friggin' beyond where "free wifi" consists of a router attached to a dial-up connection.

So no pictures. No well thought out funny stories. No electricity, no showers, no running water, and lukewarm beer.

We traded the sleek sailing catamaran Don Quixote for the lumbering van Rucio on July 22 and headed north. Mera, Aeron and I made our way with alacrity from Santa Rosalia to the border, pausing overnight in El Rosario and Ensenada. Traveling with a car instead of a boat inspired me to write at length about speed. See future post for that subject. Dulcinea adjusted rapidly and readily to van life. The girls spread out into every crack and crevice of the van. We had crap piled to the ceiling which made it difficult to see out the back.

We crossed the border in Tecate. The American Border Control folks are very very scary. The Mexicans very very polite. We then drove through southern Arizona, stopping briefly to take in the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert before heading into New Mexico to meet up with DrC and Jaime. Then up to Abiqui, NM for a lovely wedding at the Ghost Ranch. Horrid campground. Absolutely the driest most horrible campground I have ever stayed in. Back down to Albuquerque to pick up Grandma Sue this time.

Now this is where things went to shit. First, I got the date wrong and sent DrC to the airport to pick up Grandma Sue a day early. Better than a day late, right? DrC wasn't impressed with that logic. Second, DrC got clever with the hood of the van so it decided to flip up and smash the front windshield. Another story or maybe just an appendix for my treatise on the many ways in which Land Sucks. We couldn't initially get it fixed since the van is so damn old that the safety glass folks wouldn't replace it. But! We found a Mexican -would- fix it. I love Mexicans. I love Mexico. I want to go home.

Then the cat ran away.

Okay, technically Dulcinea didn't run away. Technically, she went exploring across a gulch which the New Mexico water control folks decided to fill while she was on the other side. Unfortunately, Dulci doesn't carry a cell phone and couldn't let us know where she was so we thought she'd been eaten, carried away by aliens, or found a more comfortable van to stay in. Let's be clear, every van in the western states is a more comfortable van so it wouldn't have been a great challenge. After waiting a full day, we went to bed completely and utterly depressed, certain we'd leave the next day cat-less. At about 3 AM the wind shifted, carrying her rather annoyed meows and bell ringing back to us in our tents across the high, rushing river of a gulch. DrC went swimming and mud-wrangling and got her back on our side.

So off we go with Grandma Sue, DrC, the cat, three children, two tents, six sleeping bags, and enough food, electronics, and miscellaneous sundries to stock a small WalMart. We've managed to successfully visit the following (in basically chronological order): Albuquerque Natural History Museum, Los Alamos Science Museum, Don Quixote Distillery, Bandalier National Park (NP), Navajo Lake State Park, Aztec Ruins NP, Navajo National Monument NP, and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We stayed at the Desert View Campground on the South Rim and did an endless series of ranger led activities. We've been hiking everywhere. Jaime, DrC and I even dropped halfway down into the canyon on the South Kaibab trail. Jaime tried to lose me, but I'm stronger than I look.

We're now hunkered down at a KOA Campground near Bryce/Zion trying to scrape off a week of accumulated dirt and stink. I'm surprised they let us in. I'm not surprised they stuck us on a tent site 10 feet from about a 1000 pounds of horse shit.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

It is cold and rainy here in MN and I am pining away for our shack in Bahia de Kino.
We were on a bus populated entirely with Mexicans, (except us) as we crossed the boarder earlier this year. The bus was a 2008 Volvo; a more beautiful bus I have never seen. The US boarder patrol decided the brand new bus needed to be "inspected" for safety issues. It took five minutes to "inspect" after a three hour wait for the inspector. The Mexicans took all this with quiet dignity. I did not!