Archive for the 'Caravans' Category

New WBCCI Caravan Website

WBCCI has a new national caravans website with links to the websites of the caravan. Take a look at the website, as it provides much good information about one of the best deals in WBCCI! A link to this website is on our website in the “Links” section.

March 14 2011 | Caravans | Comments Off on New WBCCI Caravan Website

Journal of the “Taste of Carolina” caravan by Dick Martiny

Judy and Dick Martiny are currently on the Taste of Carolina caravan and Dick is writing a journal. Here are his first two chapters.

“Taste of Carolina” Caravan
Saturday, April 18

We were packed and pulling up the driveway by 8:00 am in 52 F temperatures. Half way to the road, the Smartire pressure alarm indicated we had a tire with below recommended pressure. We returned to the barn and inflated all tires to the recommended levels. By 8:30, we were again on the road and headed north. At Jackson, GA, we refueled at Flying J for 2.109/ gallon diesel.

With a few miles of delay south of Atlanta, we cruised smoothly all day. The sky was clear, the dogwoods were in full bloom and the trees had discovered spring. By 3:30 pm, we arrived at the BMW visitor center in Spartanburg, SC. It is a beautiful facility but closed for visitors on Saturdays and Sundays. At 5:30 pm, we were parked and shopping at the Wal-Mart in Gastonia, NC.

Sunday, April 19

The sun was out as we awoke. We completed breakfast and pulled onto the road by 8:30 am. The traffic was light so we arrived at the rendezvous campground in Asheboro, NC by 10:00 am. We were 2 hours early but the parkers had a site for us. We set up in 15 minutes and joined other campers for church service at the pavilion. After church, we reconnected with the Scudders, the Carligs, David Knight, Tom Cotter, the Blockers and the Yeates. Each caravan has a large number of persons we have travelled with previously. After a short meal and a nap, we drove to Asheboro to pick up items at CVS and locate the NC Zoo Park.

The official opening of the caravan was a dinner of Brunswick stew, hush puppies and peach cobbler. Each unit received their driver’s manual and was introduced. We had two “first-timers” and 18 experienced caravan units. The caravan leaders’ motor home failed enroute and is getting the water pump replaced. The Scudder’s were appointed to provide leadership as necessary while the Kings arrange for the repair of their Isuzu engine.

A hot shower and a glass of wine preceded a good night’s sleep.

Monday, April 20

The Scudder’s picked us up at 9 am for the short drive to Richard Petty’s museum in Randleman. We were given a guided tour of the magnificent facility by a close family friend and admirer. The family values of the four generations of drivers were clearly All-American. Each generation has won major car racing events while contributing to their church and their community. Richard’s 200 victories and community service were highlighted with recognitions from thought leaders from all walks of life. He continues to attend every NASCAR event and purchase the #43 issue of every commemorative rifle made by Remington. His collections are fantastic.

Lunch was at the Blue Mist Restaurant for barbeque or chicken plates with dessert. It was too much good food to consume in one setting and most took some home. The group drove out to Victory Junction. This is a memorial to Richard’s grandson, Adam who died in a race accident at the age of 19. Adam had visited Paul Neuman’s camp for troubled children and returned home to recommend his family create something like that. After his death, his family and their many friends created this amazing camp for children with health problems. It was built and is operated on donations from admirers, businesses, and colleagues. Every part of the facilities paraphrases their race car history, i.e. the cafeteria is the Fuel Stop, the hospital is the Body Shop, etc. 2500 youngsters and their parents are guests each year. Every guest has a personal counselor and team of medical support needed to assure a great experience without unpleasant difficulties. This is a truly remarkable memorial. We were given an escorted tour by an experienced tram operator who has served this cause for several years.

We drove to Bob Timberlake’s Store in Lexington. This remarkable painter also designs home furnishings, and special use canoes and sailboats. We bought a print to celebrate Judy’s 70th. It took a few miles to detour to find the Candy Factory before returning to camp via country roads. Back at camp, we had our first GAM, supper and a meeting to plan the breakfast we will serve on Thursday. Dick had enough free time to repair the igniter problem on our water heater.

Tuesday, April 22

Dave and Kathy Carlig picked us up to go to the Potteries just minutes after the Kings dropped off their cooker, tablecloths, and money for the breakfast on Thursday morning. The road to the Ben Owen’s family pottery was filled with local potteries. Dozens of small pottery businesses are the heritage of the unique clay from this area of North Carolina. Ben gave a demonstration of forming many different size objects while answering our questions about this skill. His facility has eight large kilns to cure his products. The largest vessels were over 3 feet high and packed for shipment to a business office in New York. Much of his six month backlog is commissioned by customers around the world. His education was family taught and reinforced by world travels to the artisans around the world for vacations .The museum on site include works from many artists including his grandfather.

Down the road was the “original” Owens Pottery. We were given additional talks and demonstrations about clays, glazes, and painting of their products. Their objects are more utilitarian than artistic but very nice. They made dinnerware, soup bowls, casseroles, mugs, etc. The economy has hurt their business but they seem to supplement with other interests and staffing reductions. Our lunch was at Woodson Family restaurant in Seagrove where we enjoyed too much BBQ, chicken, vegetables, and homemade desserts. The BBQ was made with vinegar and mustard instead of tomato sauce.

After a long nap, we had GAM #2 at 5 pm at the Hall’s. Judy went to Wal-Mart to purchase ingredients for Thursday’s breakfast with Jo Hobbs. She received a message from her husband enroute that his last Aunt had passed and they will be leaving the caravan for an emergency trip to Arkansas. Tomorrow will be a day of rearranging to provide coverage for this meals preparation and execution. The hot water heater repair continued to function properly.

Taste of Carolina
Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cooler weather greeted us. The sun was shining and the forecast was for a high of 70. The igniter on the hot water heater had stopped working but the tank had warm water for the morning needs. After breakfast, we walked to the Hobbs trailer to say goodbyes and offer to provide whatever help they needed for the trailer storage in their absence. They had arranged to leave it on this site for 5 days connected to power (for only $5 per day). The Carligs offered to replace the Hobbs on the breakfast responsibilities. The breakfast will be using Gracie Buchanan’s recipe for omelets in a bag, three fresh fruits, coffee cake, and bread. We set up the pavilion for seating 50 of us with tables for the food serving. We headed to town to buy an additional propane burner. The plan was to provide five pots of boiling water to cook the omelet bags in less than 15 minutes.

Wal-Mart had a good assortment of camping stoves but no turkey cookers. Dick thought a high BTU (10k or bigger) burner would be needed to reheat water after the first use. We discovered Lowe’s had also stopped selling this cookers because of customer complaints after they put partially thawed birds into hot oil. We thought about electric heaters but it would have required 3300 watts or greater. We headed for the NC Aviation Museum while we considered our options. The displays and videos are good but not extensive. The one person in attendance does everything needed to keep the place operating. They were restoring a Rutan Vari-Eze for display next year. All the displayed planes are fully restored. We headed south to see the Pisgah covered bridge. It is parallel to the main road on a walking path with picnic area. The wood structure and bridge supports are picture perfect. Back to Wal-Mart to purchase a 20,000 BTU two burner propane cook stove made in China and selling for less than $30. This completed the hardware preparations and food prep was performed around supper time. 50 bags of ham & cheese omelet, three gallons of pineapple, strawberry and blueberries, two large coffee cakes and two loaves of bread were prepared for the 39 persons coming for breakfast.

We went to bed with the water heater still being fussy. Dick lit it with a propane igniter but it would not provide its own spark.

Thursday, April 23

We awoke at 5:30 am to start heating water for cooking the eggs in a bag for the 41 members of the caravan. Cathy and Dave Carlig and Linda Robinson joined us. We had everyone fed by 8:30 am and it went very well. The site was cleaned and driver’s meeting was conducted quickly. By 10:00 am we are prepared to leave for Dublin, NC. We traveled with Duell and Linda Robinson and David Knight. It was a very pleasant drive with one fuel stop, one ice cream stop, and one historical stop (Lumber Bridge, NC). The local church had been burned by Sherman, restored by local efforts, and alive today. The cemetery had markers dated back to 1780s. The nearest neighbor was building beautiful multiple room bird houses.

We arrived at LuMil Vineyards about 2:30 pm. The vineyard has been built during the past five years to replace the tobacco fields that had existed here for over 50 years. After a nap, we walked to the tasting room and porch for sampling the products. It was fine but will take a great promoter. We enjoyed conversations with the Robinsons and the Peacocks. Dinner was catered in the converted equipment shed and was delicious. Pig pickings, chicken and lots of veggies filled our bodies. The dinner speaker was the owner, Ron Taylor. He was a very engaging, a local politician, and activist for North Carolina agriculture. Judy won a centerpiece (wine bottle holder) door prize. We took an evening walk before bedtime.

Friday, April 24

The Scudders and Yeates were with us for travels today. We started with Harmony House Plantation, a family home during the American Revolution. Though locked up, we could look through windows at furnished rooms in all the buildings. The area included a school, a store, a church, and a one room family cabin. Several men joined us to set up for their Civil War reenactment scheduled for tomorrow.

Our next site was White Lake. We drove the entire shoreline without finding a public access so we went to Elizabethtown and had one on Melvin’s world famous hamburgers. The service was personal, fast, and yielded a tasty meal. After returning to Dublin, we found the peanut store and the strawberry fields before returning to the camp for a GAM with strawberry shortcake for all. We sat on the porch for conversations with the Scudder’s and others. A double decked bus owned by the vineyard took us for an evening tour of their facilities. Ron Taylor narrated the trip with stories about his family, the area and this new business venture.

Saturday, April 25

After cleaning the truck, we picked up the Scudder’s by 8:30 am. The “Storytelling Festival of Carolina” was in Laurinburg, NC 45 miles away. Joe knows the newest roads so we travel under his guidance with help from the Driver’s manual and the GPS. The last two are not as accurate as Joe. The Boy Scouts were parking the festival visitors in a farm field opposite the John Blue House as we arrive at 9:30 am.

The festival had drawn presenters from across the US for 3 days of enjoyable, entertaining, morally correct stories based on some facts with appropriate exaggerations and a few lies. We laughed, we thought, and we laughed some more. The sunny day flashed by with 30 minute breaks between entertainment blocks. Collards, sandwiches, sausages, funnel cakes, kettle corn, and sodas kept us nourished. Mary and Judy took time to tour the John Blue House built in 1890’s by a self taught business man that manufactured agricultural equipment until a fire destroyed their plan in 1945. The 12 room home was furnished with antiques from the turn of the century and decorated with ornate carved woodwork both inside and out. It would be a good visit anytime. The temperatures had dropped into the 70s when we returned to camp for a light supper and a quiet night’s sleep.

Sunday, April 26
We began the day with a sausage biscuit breakfast, specialty breads, jams and grape cider on the porch of LuMil vineyard. It was a lovely, clear morning and the driver’s meeting was short before we moved to Smithfield. We traveled with Joe and Mary and took our time to enjoy the beauty of this countryside. Some of the cornfields had been planted – some tobacco also. The blueberry farms were larger than we expected and the economic impact was significant to this area. For lunch we stopped in Newton Grove for a good Chinese meal, then over to the Dollar Store and Food Lion for a stretch/walk. We still were too early for arrival at the campground so we drove north to the Outlet Mall. Dick purchased a $40 Lodge Logic cast iron grill for placing on his new $30 two burner propane grill. We returned to the KOA campground by 2:45 pm to set up. Dinner was a Blue Moon pig-pickin’ with all the extras – again too much food (except if you wanted some leftovers for your trailer). The Carligs and the Scudders joined us for an animated, noisy game of Mexican Train before we headed for bed.

Taste of Carolina Caravan
Monday, April 27

We chose to drive by ourselves today. We left camp before the others, stopped at a huge antique mall in Selma (the finest collection of consignments we had ever seen), before arriving at the oldest water powered corn grist mill in NC – Atkinson Milling Company has been in business over 250 years. The current owner (with 50 years here) toured us through the numerous transformations he has made to this $8 million dollar sales business. His humble pride and pleasure was obvious. He was transitioning the operations to three sons.

We had lunch at Moore’s Barbeque and ordered off their menu. The frequency of non-barbeque requests indicated many of us have been BBQ saturated. After lunch, we stopped at a new outfitter’s shop north of town to admire another business transitioning out of tobacco dependency. His offerings of automatic and assault weapons would have boiled any liberals that passed through his new store. Our afternoon tour was the Tobacco Farm Life museum exhibits, buildings and videos. It reflected on a life style 50-75 years ago. Enroute home, we again visited the Outlet mall and Judy found a shirt she will enjoy. Back at camp, we had GAM #4 at the Yeates. Eating and talking lasted over two hours. A snack for dinner and we went to the laundry before bedtime. We played checkers while waiting for the washers/dryers. Some things never get too old to enjoy. We slept well.

Tuesday, April 28
We awoke and had a leisurely breakfast before riding with Mary & Joe Scudder to the Bentonville Battlefield. This was the last major confrontation of the Civil War. For three days, the two armies fought before the Confederate Forces withdrew to protect their surviving membership. Both sides had lost large numbers.

We ate at Holt’s Restaurant. Dick’s liver and gizzards with several different dressings was not the only sign of overeating. We wandered through the main business district enjoying nice second hand stores until 2:30 pm – when we are scheduled to tour the Ava Gardner museum. About 2:15 pm a car slowed on the street and the driver waved. It was Carol Montague and her Aunt. What a nice surprise. We committed to reconnecting this evening and tomorrow.

Dinner was a good home prepared pasta salad. Joe Scudder and Judy Hice joined us for a game of Mexican train. Carol and Winston Montague joined us for good fun, great updates, and laughter. We were in bed by 11 pm.

Wednesday, April 29
KOA provided a courtesy breakfast of waffles with the Scudders. Some email and odd jobs filled the hour before departing for Benson and a reconnect with the Montagues and to meet Carol’s mother, Mary Lee.

After a nice visit, we enjoyed getting acquainted with the family including Rusty and Streamer. We followed the Montagues to Raleigh and the Farmer’s market. Great veggies, fruits flowers, bakeries, trees, etc. before a big lunch of seafood. The Carligs, Hices, and Dave Knight had made the same choice for lunch. We left and drove to the fairgrounds to acquaint us with that facility before leaving our rig there as we fly to Minnesota on May 8 for Kaitlin’s confirmation. The ride back to the camp was not smooth as we lost confidence in our GPS and made some bad choices. Several neighbors joined us for a couple hours of small talk, snacks and fun stories before dinner. Fresh veggies and more pasta salad for supper and a listen to the President’s news conference, we are ready for bed at 9:30 pm.

Thursday, April 30

The group breakfast was Texas toast sausage, egg & cheese sandwiches from Hardees. Jamie conducted the driver’s meeting 30 minutes early. We joined the Scudders as parkers at Rocky Hoc. The ride was filled with CB talk about a variety of topics. We stopped for a very good lunch in Windsor. We arrived at the park about 1:45 pm and prepped for the arrival of others by 2:30 pm. About half of the power boxes had been occupied by wasps which were removed quickly. By 3:45 pm, all had arrived and were parked on the same side of the fishing pond. The grass was filled with sandspurs and many were tracked into the trailers.

We rode with Scudders to Nixon’s for supper. It was too much good seafood and crab legs. We returned to the camp, watched the geese come in for supper, and the sun set. Two of the geese couples have about a half dozen goslings.

Friday, May 1

About 8:45 am, we picked up the Scudders. The visitor’s center showed us a movie about Edenton and its historic sites, toured the Iredell House/grounds, and toured the city in a bus/trolley. Like many coastal cities this town was a major harbor for the British before the Revolutionary War. After lunch, we walked the business district and made purchases at the True Value hardware and a consignment shop. The hardware store had everything including fishing equipment, gifts, artwork, jewelry plus all the usual hardware items. The consignment shop was filled with stylish, quality women’s clothes. Joe and Dick were patient.

The town was developing its water front, Mallards, geese, cypress trees and an old lighthouse awaiting restoration filled the park. The lighthouse had been moved to this location in 1955 after serving as a private residence for 30 years. It is the last example of a rectangular frame building built on a screw pile base in the US. A nap refreshed all of us before dinner and musical entertainment at the Red Barn. Dick spent some time trying to understand why the trailer converter only returned the batteries to 12.3 volts but the battery charger raises it to 13.9 volts. The literature says the convert should get to 13.5. The music and dancing at the Barn was good clean fun for families of the area. Most of our group attended – the others seem to be recovering from an assortment of ailments. No swine flu virus here but it fills the air on the evening news reports. We thank our Lord we are not required to inhabit all the areas visited by national news reporters in search of the weird and horrendous events of some lives.

Taste of Carolina Caravan
Saturday, May 2

The Carligs drove the Scudders and us to Hertford and Elizabeth City. The museum in Elizabeth City was very well done. We also went to the Farmer’s Market downtown. The lunch at groupers was very nice. The Chocolate Shop was willing to fill any remaining voids we had. Dick and Mary continued their search for “Oil of Oregano” – a reported herbal cure for arthritis. Two members of this caravan describe friends which left their wheelchairs when they began using this treatment. One might have gained mobility at the price of loss of memory. The local herbal shops don’t have the magic mixture.

The hardware store in Hertford sold glass door knobs until two members of the caravan bought his remaining stock. The drugstore had a soda fountain with scoops of homemade ice cream for $0.60. We had our fill before heading to the Newbold White house but we arrived after closing time. Back at the camp, we had a 20 minute nap before joining the others for going to Church at the local Catholic parish. It was a friendly group with a good Father. Service was conducted in the fellowship hall because a large number of the parishioners needed to avoid the 15 steps up the sanctuary. This is the oldest Catholic congregation in NC still meeting since its construction in 1858. The renovation 25 years ago has given them a very nice place to expand and meet in.

A sandwich for supper was squeezed in before returning to the Red Barn for the Saturday night music. The friendly crowd of last night had returned for both couples and line dancing to music by a trio of local musicians on an assortment of instruments. We drop into bed tired and smiling. We would be even more tired if we knew how to dance.

Sunday, May 3

Joe joined us as we headed for the Alligator River refuge area at the intersection of 64 and 264 to find the red wolves and alligators being protected there. Our critter count didn’t include either. One deer, two quail, a rabbit, and many, many turtles tried to fill the bill. It was an interesting ride through farmland made workable by making channels through the area to drop the water table. We stopped in Engelhard for lunch – a buffet meal with a great assortment of southern favorites, dessert and drink for $10. We ate too much barbeque, chicken, and pot roast with plenty of vegetables and pig pickin’ cake.

On the way home, we toured the Somerset Place Plantation. At its peak it was staffed by 288 slaves on 100,000 acres of land by a forward planning owner who provided secure housing and medical care (including a hospital). The original family occupied the site for only 30 years before the Civil War and fires made the place unlivable. It is now owned and shown by the State Historic Department. The people presenting the facilities are very good.

Dinner was assembled by grilling the four bass Joe had caught yesterday, salads by Judy, Cathy and Mary and wine. The bonfire by the pond had been prepared by Gary Brocker and enjoyed by most of the caravan members. Rain is forecast for tomorrow.

Monday, May 4

We drove to our final campsite after a group continental breakfast of packaged pastries and fresh fruit. The drivers meeting was conducted quickly before our departure.

On our way south, we tried unsuccessfully to find the Dutch flower fields in Terra Ceia and to visit the estuarium in Washington (it was closed). We parked near the river and had a good lunch at a local deli. We arrived at the KOA campsite and got set up before a major rainstorm hit. We called the Watson’s to arrange a visit with them while we are in the New Bern area. At 5:30, we gathered at the pavilion for a Smithfield catered meal of chicken, barbeque, Brunswick stew, and fixings’ before playing Joker with Linda Robinson and Nora Guros. Dick and Linda won all three games. More rain is forecast for tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 5

We drove to the Tryon Palace and historic homes before the rain began and continued intermittently all day. The Palace was constructed by the first governor of the British colony of North Carolina as his residence and the meeting place for his cabinet and assembly. It was very well presented. The restoration was completed at a cost of $3MM in 1950’s. The original structures were destroyed by neglect and fire after the Revolutionary War and the site was taken by the state for a highway right of way. Three dedicated wealthy ladies bought it back after the bridge on this highway failed. The original construction was only 3% of the restoration cost. Tom and Ellen Watson met us after lunch. We had several hours to talk over coffee, have ice cream at the Cow’s Café, a visit to their home, and a meal at Captain Ratty’s filled with reminiscing conversations and a visit to the Arts museum being headed up by Jim Bisbee. It was a good afternoon and we appreciated the time they were willing to spend with us.

The rain stopped and we looked forward to better weather tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 6

Joe & Mary took us to Bennett Winery where we listened to the owner, Mr. Harrell, tell us about his way of making wines, growing grapes, the damage Democrats are doing, the economic situation, etc. This 80 year old has strong opinions, a sense of humor, and a struggling winery. For lunch, we traveled to Aurora, home of the PCS Phosphate mining operations. They have sponsored a fossil museum filled with findings from there mining operations. They transport large piles of dregs into town for fossil searches by visitors. Dick found a large sharks tooth. Many small teeth were discovered. The displayed fossils were of many plants and animals. A 20 minute video described how these formations were developed and are mined.

After returning to the campground, we napped, Judy did laundry, updated our caravan journal, joined the group for Pizza and ice cream, and played regular dominos until dark. Better weather is forecast for tomorrow.

April 28 2009 | Caravans | Comments Off on Journal of the “Taste of Carolina” caravan by Dick Martiny

Dick Martiny’s Journal of the Baja Caravan

These are the final pages in Dick Martiny’s Journal about their “just completed” Baja Caravan. Two other members of our unit were on that caravan, Montagues and Whites. They had a great adventure.

Baja Adventure
Page 17

Sunday, March 1

The caravan was split into two groups for our whale watching experience. The first group departed in vans at 8 am promptly. The dog and cat owners among us have been split between the two groups to allow coverage for animal needs while their owners spend an overnight at the whale viewing campground. At 10 am, ten of the 22 remaining here, gathered on the porch of the camp restaurant for an impromptu Sunday School discussion based on Psalm 90 (WDs favorite). Everyone chimed in to share their thoughts about today’s application of this 2000 old text. The group included Whites, Richardsons, Montagues, Bowen, Knight, and us. A variety of backgrounds but a common belief emerged.

After this, we shared a dog walking session down the road to the “new campground”. Like many things in Mexico, it has been under construction for many years. It will be a nice improvement when finished. Currently, it is jammed every year with Baja 1000 participants as this is an official stop.

We went with four couples to a nice hotel restaurant in town for lunch. After lunch we toured the mission and the associated plaza. About 5 pm, all the members of the 2nd whale watch group gathered for a potluck supper. It went well, included a large variety and quantity of foods and desserts. After supper, we packed clothes, toiletries and supplies for our departure tomorrow.

Monday, March 2

At 8:30 am, the 22 members of group 22 packed into two vans for the 1 ½ hour ride to the San Ignacia lagoon. This lagoon is the winter breeding/birthing area for thousands of grey whales. It is the only place known where the whales come to the boats to be petted and to show off. The same vans will retrieve and return Group 1.

Upon arrival at the beach, we stowed our gear in the office and headed for the boats. Three boats took us out on beautiful smooth waters. The mama whales brought their babies to the boats to be petted. It was great. The weather was perfect – no sea sickness. These mammals are remarkable. They lounge like manatees, they dive like dolphins and they show off like sea otters. They are big – 50 feet long and 20 tons of barnacle covered hide which feels like a Jelly filled rubber tire. When they came to our boat, we petted them, some kissed them and they often showered us from the exhaust of their blowholes – only a few feet away. They rolled on their side to be rubbed and patted and winked their big eyes. They lift their bodies out of the water straight up and do belly flops to show off. It is certainly one of the finest shows on earth. The visitors from Holland, Italy and Germany at the camp agreed with this assessment as they travel numerous times to this area to have the experience.

Supper was provided by the campsite. Tacos, beans, rice and salad filled our smiling faces. We moved our gear into our huts. The members of the group napped, walked the beach, played cards and read until supper time. The temperatures were ideal. Supper was creamed scallops over rice with beans and a fresh salad. Everyone enjoyed and relaxed until bedtime.

Tuesday, March 3

We were up at 7 am to prepare for our second day. Breakfast was scrambled eggs with vegetables and beans. The wind is higher and four persons chose not to go out on the water. Yesterday had been a very full day and sea sickness would not have improved the memory.

The adult whales were more active. The males had come in from the ocean and the females were frolicking. It was tons of excited motion with acrobatics that would make an Olympian proud. The belly flops could be seen and heard from a mile away. A large female rubbed the bottom of one boat to scratch her barnacles as John White rubbed her back from his position in the boat. She turned around to express her appreciation – lifting her large head to view the participants before exhausting her spent air and diving out of sight.

At 10:30, the vans arrived to take us back home and deliver the next group of tourists. After getting back to camp, we had a drivers meeting and prepared for our departure to the next campsite. Our next 6 days will be without sewer, water or power supplies at two beach front locations.

Baja Adventure
Page 19

Thursday, March 5

At 10 am, the biologist of the local turtle project toured us through their facilities and explained the 7 types of sea turtles in this area. It is the world’s largest breeding area and the adults come here from Alaska and Japan and all the waters in between. This project has provided evidence of these travels since it began in the 70s. Over hunting and fish netting mistakes has placed most sea turtles on the endangered species listings. People in this area still harvest some for food but the laws are being violated when they do. Three turtles were in the hospital tanks after being delivered by fisherman who had caught them by mistake. Their injuries are being treated so they can be released to the wild again.

Before lunch, 14 members of our group mounted a local van to be transported to Mission San Borja – a two hour drive over rough gravel roads, through a colorful blooming desert, into the mountains. The cactus, elephant trees, cirios trees, and desert wild flowers were enjoying recovery from several days of rain the previous week.

Our guide at the mission was the 18 year old member of the family owning 3500 acres of land and the remains of the mission abandoned in the 1800s. He is a self taught seventh generation Indian and has headed up the beautiful restoration work done over the past 8 years. His family lives on the site and his father has taught all the skills he has needed. Their farm has 7 springs (two are hot and have become the bathtubs for the family), olive trees, grape arbors, full vegetable garden, a herd of 12 cattle (for milk and meat), a herd of 9 goats (for cheese and meat) and it is maintained with no traditional farm equipment. They are self sufficient and proud of their work on the farm and in the restoration. The 19 year old brother was replacing the engine in their diesel 4 wheel drive pickup truck. This 18 year old has set up a TV dish, internet service for himself and knew more about our cameras than we did. He helped several people shut off their flash units when they could not do it themselves. He lives in one room of the mission on a cot, with a suitcase, beginning each day a daybreak and returning to bed when the sun set. He and his brother have cut the heavy stones needed from the local mountains, shaped them and replaced the failed blocks of the mission walls. The stones gutters they have made are works of art and the arched entry stones are engineering masterpieces. Yes, we were impressed. The mission is his labor of love. It was started by Jesuits, operated later by Dominicans and then closed after operation by the Franciscan order. He had a museum with the vestments from each order along with gold, silver, and copper mined by the local Indians to support the mission work. The cemetery behind the mission was the mass grave of over 1500 persons that perished from disease in one event. Other sites were his great grandparents and family members.

It was an eye-opening day. After returning to the trailers, we had a quick supper and drove to the community center to hear last night’s speaker share the history of the Turtle Project, receive our monetary donations for the high school and the library, and receive an opportunity to purchase handmade jewelry by local artisans. His 35-40 years of work with the Turtles Project and as an entrepreneur in this community were remarkable. Yes, bed felt good after a full day.

Friday, March 6

Everyone was up early and into seven local fishing boats by 7:00am to tour the islands in this harbor. We observed osprey nests with babies, a window rock formation, a “white” island (bird waste covered),
sea lions, cormorants, and blue boobies. The water was rougher than desirable. We went to an alternate beach location to gather several buckets of clams for our clambake this evening. It felt good to get home and warm up.

After a short shopping trip with the Montagues, we assisted in steaming the clams. The meal was fun and good tasting. After the meal, we celebrated the 50th wedding anniversary of Felix and Joann. The celebration included a Mexican wedding cake (2’x2’) baked locally. The decorations were first class. The group retired to a beach campfire before going to bed.

Saturday, March 7

We prepared for tomorrows departure by submitting our journal draft for the Rice and Beans location, dumping/flushing both waste water tanks, refilling our fresh water storage, and cleaning the cooking equipment used for last night’s clam dinner. We toured the local museum – very good. The group celebrated the 50th wedding anniversary again with a piñata party. Angelini’s planned and conducted a clam polenta dinner. Vicki declared polenta to be coarse ground Italian cheese grits. It was very good with fresh clams and clam broth.

Sunday, March 8

Before 7:30 am, we were hooked up and ready to depart. During our wait for the others, we refilled the batteries of the trailer and the truck (it required almost a ½ gallon of distilled water and none of them of them looked low at first glance). By 10:30 am we arrived at Santa Inez and prepared to receive the balance of the caravan about noon. We have only a single water faucet here and no other services. Everyone had arrived safely and was parked by 1 pm. There is some free time before we meet at a local restaurant for dinner at 5:00 pm. This caravan has 17 days of dry camping in the 46 day schedule. That was not a problem to properly prepared units.

This morning’s 40 F daybreak contrasted the 114F afternoon we experienced at San Ignacio.

The nice dinner was at Desert Inn. The layout was identical to the location of our lunch meal at San Ignacio. The chain has several additional locations on the Baja. The Montagues came over to play joker. This was Winston’s birthday. We had had a full day and slept well.

Baja Adventure
Page 21

Monday, March 9

This was a great day. The DeWolfes and Matches rejoined the caravan after six days of absence to repair the transmission of Matches Suburban. This brought us all together again for the final days.

A local gringo rancher named Ralph offered to lead our group up to the cave paintings located a few miles north of the campsite. Dick stayed back at the camp to transport the team auditing the caravan books after they finished their task. The paintings were in a small cave a few hundred yards up a rocky hillside. It was a significant climb but not too difficult on a beautiful day. The paintings were on the roof and walls of the 150 ft2 cave entered through one person size holes on either of two sides. They looked too new to be 100 years old but the guide said they had been dated by some experts. They are very well protected from the weather. Some previous visitors had made small graffiti additions to show their ignorance to all who followed them.

After lunch, we played Joker with Dorothy and Kent Charles. They games were close and fun. At 4 pm, we had our final GAM. The Angelini’s and Montagues joined us for six person joker in the evening.

Tuesday, March 10

We departed the Catavinia campground at 5:45 am for 225 miles of winding mountain roads back to Estero Beach. We stopped for breakfast at the leader’s favorite restaurant. The place was filled with Baja off-road mountain bikers preparing for their ride. This location is another stop for the Baja 1000 mile vehicle race. We arrived at Estero Beach at 1:30 pm and set up a parking plan with Winston Montague and David Knight. The first arrivals told us Jack Bowen had failed the transmission in his motor home 150 miles back and was riding in with the Gariepys. Jack had coasted the motor home into a small, dirt country road, took out what he needed to live for a couple of days and locked it up under the watchful eyes of our Lord. We reserved a wonderful room for Jack at the hotel on site. He was very appreciative. His plan is to ride the tow truck back tomorrow and retrieve the motor home for replacement of the Chevy transmission at this location.

John White and WD Richardson were uncharacteristically late also. They limped in 2 hours later with the spare tire on John’s trailer and a significant hole in the lowest panel ahead of the failed wheel on the passenger side (opened by the tread departing the tire). John’s CB failed to reach WD but WD had noted he was missing after about 10 miles. Both were grateful the damage was limited to a tire failure not a more significant accident.

Everyone enjoyed full WES services, the cash bar, and shrimp and chicken dinner in a clean restaurant. Again, we slept well.

Wednesday, March 11

Three local men washed the trailer and truck for $45. They did a good job and it looked much better without the Mexican dust/dirt. We returned the equipment we had been carrying for the Paulks. Judy did laundry and vacuumed the inside of the trailer. We joined the Montagues for a trip to Costco to purchase steaks and snacks for the final banquet cookout. We exchanged more dollars for pesos to buy fuel and pay tolls on the road back to the border. Fuel remained at $2.09/ gallon for diesel and we anticipated paying more in the US. We stopped at two gift shops. Carol purchased several items. We all admired the artistic metal work done by the shopkeeper (excellent birds, turtles, cactus as wall hangings and full size animals). John and Judy had a visit by the insurance adjuster. We had dinner in our trailer and went up to the clubhouse for an ice cream social and the movie (Wild Hogs). The humor in the movie was off color and a little slapstick and the storyline was simple (rebels without either cause or plans but eventually doing something respectable).

Thursday, March 12

We started our day flushing black and grey water tanks, refilling fresh water, and retrieving email. Our new neighbors are interesting folks who had covered much of the same ground we had. After a good nap, we joined the cook crew preparing for our final banquet and departure celebration. Jack Bowen had recovered his motor home, the transmission had been removed and he anticipated being ready to roll again in two days. A final group picture was taken for the journal. Tom Angelini had prepared a slide presentation of the entire trip with music. Linda Agree MC’d a humorous series of recollections and recognitions while dressed as a bag lady. Bruce recognized the first timers and all participants with complements, certificates and caravan plaques. It was a relaxing enjoyable evening.

Bruce advised everyone to stay off the toll road through Tijuana to Tecate and take the mountain road. He expected the total trip would be less than two hours and the border crossing would be quick. He noted the population centers were not as friendly and predictable as the country roads. Tom and Roth had talked to locals who indicated the mountain road had construction areas, was narrow, and full of potholes. We decided to take the toll road and expected it would take about an hour longer but would have a smooth ride on multiple lane pavements for less than$20 in tolls. Bruce planned to depart at 8 am for the mountain road. We planned to depart at the same time via the toll roads. Both groups planned to have breakfast at the restaurant before departing.

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Unlucky Friday, March 13

We pulled our trailer to the lot by the office before heading to the restaurant for breakfast at 7 am. The meal was very good, the final farewells were gracious, and the wait for Whites and Richardsons began by 8 am. Bruce Paulk and his group headed out at 8 am. The planning had failed to communicate our desire to get off before traffic built up in the cities. The Montagues, the Showers, Whites, and Richardsons got rolling by 8:40 am, passed through Ensenada in going-to-work traffic, cruised the ocean north on the toll road and after 90 minutes concluded we had missed our turnoff for the toll road west to Tecate. At the final toll booth into Tijuana, we were instructed to take the right hand turn onto Hwy 2 to reconnect with our road. We were not told that Hwy 2 runs through midtown Tijuana during rush traffic and with many miles of construction and detours. The 12 miles of urban sprawl was impressive and clarified the fact that Tijuana is the largest city on the west coast of North America. Road signs were missing, people rudely squeezed through narrow roads, one way streets and assorted obstacles to get to their appointed destinations. Our two motor homes and three truck trailer rigs were out of place in this traffic jungle. After another 90 minutes, we emerged onto our road to Tecate. We arrived in Tecate at 12:15 pm (more than two hours later than those who had taken the mountain road), and had paid over $30 in tolls for our trip. Sometimes caravan leaders look very smart and should be listened to even after the caravan has disbanded.

After a very short wait, we passed through the US border without incident and regrouped at the first rest stop available. After another mile, all five of us pulled off for hamburgers and ice cream at a roadside restaurant (run by a fine Mexican couple). WD and the Showers separated to take their own paths. Dick failed to refill in the local K station because an elderly man was in no hurry to leave. The three remaining vehicles started a search for a campground because the Whites had failed to refill their fresh water tank. The chosen campground was 9 miles north of I-8 at the end of a mile of dirt road. The campground rates for Passport customers had doubled to $20 but include a complementary pizza dinner celebrating the end of the Fly in Days in Yuma (10 miles further east). We had covered 273 miles. Before bedtime, we returned a phone call to the Angelini’s. Their group had missed the same turnoff as we did but traveled through Tijuana two hours earlier with much less traffic. Bruce had beaten them to the border also (even though they had started two hour before him). We all learned something about ourselves today.

Saturday, March 14

Our alarm woke us at 5:45 am. We prepared a small breakfast and drove into the sunrise by 6:15 am. Yuma was a breeze – no traffic and four lanes of good highway. The trip across the desert to Deming, NM was uneventful. We included two breaks and a nap enroute. We purchased our first US diesel at $1.81/ gallon. After 473 miles, we pulled into the Wal Mart parking lot and were joined by the Skiebouts and Gariepys from our caravan. Both had taken Bruce’s recommended path north. Judy prepared pork chops and pasta salad to go with our wine for supper.

Sunday, March 15

We departed at 6 am for the two day drive across Texas.

We refueled in El Paso and took a nap break after joining I-20. Judy did several hours of driving. After 516 miles, we arrived in Sweetwater and parked again at Wal Mart. We shopped and Dick repaired the mirror on our large gas tank gauge. It had broken a few times on the Baja roads and needed an epoxy fix. The truck turned 170,000 miles. Steve called to confirm our location. We placed calls to Mike, Sharon and the Hanson’s. We had only six RVs to share this lot with as we tucked into bed.

Monday, March 16

We slept well and departed at 9 am. We saw a partially disassembled plane being trailered to Kentucky from the sale in Yuma. The driver said plane prices really dropped this year. He had been ticketed for too long a load and was required to cut off the tail section before continuing his journey home. The Oscar Meyer Weiner truck passed. We played our new Mexican CDs as we drove. At the Flying J in Shreveport, LA we again intersected the Skiebouts. After refueling and dumping our black tank, we drove to Ruston LA for the night. Our purchases include a fold away step stool for the trailer. Today totaled 486 miles but Judy shared the driving load.

Tuesday, March 17

We departed by 7:30 am. The roads through urban sections of I-20 are in need of repairs. We talked with Johnsons, Hollingshead’s, Thompsons and Hanson’s by phone as we traveled. We helped a group of young men change a tire in Alabama. They lacked a tire wrench and their jack was not good. We kept driving and arrived home at 8:30 pm after 543 miles. We were tired but glad to be home. A shot of scotch with cold beer, a glass of wine, a bowl of soup, and a log hot bath all preceded a good night’s sleep. The Hanson’s had left fresh strawberries and a welcome home note on our kitchen counter. The place looks great and we are ready to relax.

March 27 2009 | Caravans | Comments Off on Dick Martiny’s Journal of the Baja Caravan

The Baja Caravan – Journal by Dick Martiny

Baja Adventure
Saturday, January 17

It is 19 F outside. We finished loading the trailer and discovered we had locked both of our sets of truck keys inside the truck. Quick response from the local paint/repair shop (W&R) had it opened and on the road by 9:30 am.

We drove to Demopolis, Alabama – a beautiful day. The 275 miles brought us to our night camp at the Wal-Mart. We contacted the Angelini’s and the Reaves to confirm arrangements for our meeting enroute tomorrow. Three short trips to the store filled all our needs and gave us a little exercise. We slept well.

Sunday, January 18

It has warmed up to the 50s – a nice improvement from yesterday morning. The Angelini’s and Reaves are waiting at the visitor center when we arrive. The Krups coffee pot does not cooperate when brewing manually – our first mess and will be replaced at our next stop. After a chat and coffee, the three of us head west to intercept the Whites. Our Ford turned 164,000 and pulled like a new one – but noisier. We lunched at the Louisiana visitor center, called Mike and Steve, and completed 370 miles before pulling into a Cracker Barrel in Shreveport, LA for the night. Happy hour was at the Angelini’s and dinner was in the restaurant.

Monday, January 19

We left the Cracker Barrel (which had no crackers) at 7:30 am for the Flying J (fuel and breakfast). By 8:45 we are continuing west on I-20. It is a long day across Texas with lunch and a nap at a roadside rest. We make it to Abilene, park at a Wal-Mart; have dinner at Red Robin and tuck in to sleep well.

Tuesday, January 20

We left at 7:30 am. and headed for El Paso, TX (450 miles with a lunch stop). It is Inauguration Day and every news station on the satellite radio is covering the event. Gossip, philosophy, chatter and foolish questions fill the airways between meaningful news coverage. This pair drives faster and longer than we were planning to travel. The new coffee pot works great. We talked with Whites and confirmed our intercept. They will be at a RV park in Willcox, NM for two nights. We are ahead of plan and the planned intercept with the Montagues will be difficult. We stay at Wal-Mart and go to Hooters for dinner – the wildest Hooters we have ever been in. After many laughs, we retire for a night’s sleep. We are seeing some nice countryside but moving ahead without any extra stops. Maybe we will slow a bit tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 21

We travel just 250 miles (whew). It is 39F as we depart El Paso for Fort Willcox RV in New Mexico. Morning g traffic is hazardous and we have our first near miss event. We arrive at Gila Bend, AZ by 1:00 pm. Judy does laundry, dick dumps waste tanks and we refill with fresh water. It is good to have electric power, hot showers with lots of water, and good friends to share it all with. Happy hour is at our trailer and Whites have a plan to slow us down a bit. We sleep even better.

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Thursday, January 22

We departed at 8:30 am in rainy, dour weather. The roads were good. The rain stopped before we arrived at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. The story about this 1400 BC to 400 BC village was interesting. They had developed an agricultural system to irrigate the desert into croplands. The tens of thousands of residents had a well developed system of governing which did not fail until the water supply faltered for several years. The main building remains with some restoration under a protective cover. Holes in the adobe construction of the building telescope the time of the year for planting and harvesting by positions of the stars and the moon.

By 3 pm we had arrived at Holt’s RV park in Gila bend. Dick purchased a new firestick CB antenna in an attempt to improve communication with the Whites and the Angelinis. No luck. We switched back to the old one after the new one showed no improvement and the winds gave the new one trouble. The mileage dropped to 126 miles for the day.

Friday, January 23

Gila Bend to Yuma to El Centre, CA covered 190 miles. We departed at 8:30 am and arrived at the newest Wal Mart in Yuma before lunch. It was an overcast day in the high 50s. City ordinances barr Wal mart from overnight parking but we had oil changed on three trucks before departing. We refilled our propane tanks and headed for California. The roadsides were vegetable fields and sand dunes. At El Centre we parked in the lot of an old Wal Mart. Homeless people shared the lot with us. An officer from the City Police came by and gave us his home and office number to use in case of trouble. He indicated the homeless fight frequently if possessions are lost or drinking becomes excessive. We had no problems. Dick and Judy took an evening walk to put on a few miles. We are averaging 3-4 miles each day.

Crackers and seafood salad were our dinner. We have gained another hour by moving into Pacific time zone. Montagues have closed the gap and will probably catch us on the road tomorrow.

Saturday, January 24

We departed at 7:30 am for the 120 mile trip to our final caravan rendezvous location of Chula Vista, CA. The terrain is mountainous, rocky and beautiful along this border Interstate road. We arrived at 10:30 am and Montagues pullup behind us at the registration desk. Bruce and Enid Paulk meet with us and assign us some responsibilities. We move some caravan cooking equipment into my truck’s trunk for the caravan. We went out for Vietnamese food with the Paulks and discussed more of their backgrounds and expectations. Vietnamese food is not our favorite but we tried. Bed felt good.

Baja Adventure
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Sunday, January 25

We went to church with the Montagues and Whites. Yes, six adults in his Chevy pickup. The members of the Hilltop Baptist Church were very friendly and the pastor was preaching on the biblical basis for tithing. Young people led the music with a variety of contemporary and traditional songs. It was a good service. We had lunch at KFC before heading north to the San Diego zoo. As seniors, we qualified for $28.50 tickets. The parking lot and zoo entrance were jammed with vehicles and Girl Scouts on a special events day. We left and headed for the USS Midway aircraft parked in the harbor as a permanent museum. The audio tour was great, the volunteer help was cheerful, and the $13.00 ticket was in our price range. We had dinner and played Joker with the Montagues before bedtime.

Monday, January 26

This is the first official day of the caravan and first day of life for Elizabeth Kay Martiny (born to John and Mollie at 5# 6oz). We did laundry and finished distributing the gate keys to late arrivals. Everyone was in by noon. Carol and Judy made a Wal-Mart run and returned for the introductory meeting at 12:30 pm. This took 2 hours and much information. Dick took one couple and a single man back to San Diego to get their tourist permits and Mexican insurance. We had group dinner at a local restaurant and had identification pictures taken for our journal. Women received a Baja ornament and men received a new caravan cap. Carol and Winston came over to chat and then into bed for the night.

Tuesday, January 27

The group drove to E street station to catch the trolley to “little Italy” in San Diego. The historic walking tour with a guide and individual headsets covered the years 1740 to present. The group luncheon was a wonderful Italian dinner with salad, bread, pizza, red sauce pasta, white sauce pasta, and spumoni. Excellent!! The trolley ride back was uneventful and by 2:30 we were enjoying a nice nap.

Dick lubricated the fan seals and repaired the cabinet support that had broken on the way out. Penny and Tom came down to learn Joker and eat popcorn. It was a good night.

Wednesday, January 28

We left for Tijuana with the Whites in our truck to get our tourist visas stamped and to exchange money for some pesos. Marcia drove her scooter for the first time. The trolley ride both ways was pleasant and clean.

Dick decided to exchange the 2004 trailer batteries with new ones before we left. Interstate provided the replacements at a reasonable price. We took another Wal-Mart stop for wine and bottled water. The black and grey tanks were flushed and the level sensors worked well.

Steve (in Louisville, KY) has been without power for the past week and had some roof damage from the storm. The Warrens and the Joneses came over from the Northern California Caravan and we all joined that group for the happy hour. At 6:30 pm we had our own dinner and celebrated a birthday with Arlene Matches. We finished the day prepping for departure tomorrow.
Thursday, January 29

We left with the early party of eight rigs in convoy style to safely bypass Tijuana. The drive was beautiful but a little nerve wracking because of all the traffic, construction, etc. The city is very busy building for the future. We passed through the border checks without problems.

We arrived in Ensenada about 11:00 am, parked our group, and prepared for the arrival of the other two convoy groups led by Angelini’s and Montague. With only minor problems, we had all the units parked before lunch. The first GAM (called fiesta on this caravan) was hosted by the Showers and was completed before happy hour and a group dinner at the resort restaurant conducted at 6:30 pm. A full day led to a good night’s sleep.

Friday, January 30

The day started with early breakfast at the resort restaurant. The service was wonderful and the breakfast plate was fit for the finest. From this we walked to the private museum of the resort owner to learn and see artifacts of the history of Mexico from the times before Christ and the Spaniards. His collection of coral and shell was beyond beautiful.

Later in the morning, we drove to Buffadoro, a village of vendors. The main street was lined with shops selling clothing, jewelry, Mexican blankets, hats, T-shirts, and you name it. We enjoyed but didn’t buy much. After returning home, we washed the truck and trailer before the Driver’s meeting and had a glass of wine with the Angelini’s before bedtime.

Saturday, January 31

We left Ensenada at 6:30 with the other members of the leaders-parking crew. The drive to El Pabellion RV campground took 4 ½ hours. The area was filled with agricultural activity – strawberries, broccoli, celery, cilantro, edible cactus, grapes, and beautiful fields. The tomato hot houses measured miles on each side. The Mexican roads include speed bumps called topes to reduce the traffic speed very often. It is more effective than American State patrols cars. The passage through most cities is limited to 25 mph.

We had lunch with the Montagues before the first units arrived at 2 pm. We had everyone parked by 3:15 pm. We walked the sand dunes in search of sand dollars and other shells along the beach. It was a beautiful sunset. The evening was cool and jackets were comfortable. We joined Montagues, Reaves, Angelini’s and Whites for dinner in the adjacent town. The waitress spoke no English and we have no Spanish skills. The meals were ordered with the help of an ag-manager at an adjacent table. We ended up with only soup but some received the meals and drinks they had ordered. Lots of laughs and good conversation filled the meal hour. We were home and in bed by 8:30 pm.

Sunday, February 1

We went to town to refuel and walk through shops. There was nothing special here. Lots of dust, dirt, and smiling faces filled the streets. Back at our campsite, a group had prepared a steak dinner with all the fixings. The air was cool and windy but spirits were warm. A campfire continued into the evening. Angelini’s joined us for a Joker game before bedtime.

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Monday, February 2

We left for Guererro Negro at 6:30 am for 7 hours of driving through a mix of good country and desert lands. Many types of cactus had replaced trees and shrubs. The road had been improved since the previous year’s caravan. The bulk of the others arrived early and we decided to park them to get them off the highway. The power supply to the campground was poorly maintained and low voltage. The water supply needed chlorination and had low pressure. The group was quiet as we gathered for dinner, fined the early arrivals, and reinforced the importance of following the caravan schedule. The money from the fines will be used for an ice cream social at the end of the caravan.

The dinner was very good. The restaurant had Wi-Fi. We caught up on news from home. Steve and Sabrena have a plateful with bad weather at home and worse news about the health of Sabrena’s mother. The good news was Kaitlin’s Team took National Championship of jazz dance and a second in POM Squad.

Tuesday, February 3

We worked with the journal until time to depart for whale watching. They were amazing. They swam so close as to rub their barnacles off on the 10 person boat and get touched by some of the passengers before spouting and driving playfully. It is hard to describe 40 foot mammals playing with our 25 foot boat – rolling, diving and showing off like children but over 25 tons in size. After returning to shore, we received a briefing as we passed through a salt manufacturing plant producing salt for the Japanese market.

Fiesta time was 4 pm and the drivers’ meeting was at 7 pm. We prepared our rig for departure at 7 am.

Wednesday, February 4

A low pressure tire alarm sounded before we got to the highway and we pulled over and changed the center tire on the passenger side of the trailer. The rest of the work group drove ahead expecting us to catch up somewhere down the road. The tire exchange went well and we had caught up after an hour of driving as they took their first break. We arrived at the campsite to find our entrance road closed by a spring washout. We continued on the highway for 10 miles before finding an acceptable place to turn our trailer rigs around. After another 20 mile return trip we found a “first-come” beach side campground with enough space for our 25 rigs. It was located on the beach at Santispac. It was perfect. The first arrivals came on time and were called in by CB. We had everyone in safely an hour later. Another Fiesta, another dinner, another joker game, and we are ready for bed.

The other shocker was a terrible truck accident close to our campground which killed two persons and destroyed their 18 wheel truck and it left the highway and rolled over crushing the cab. It was a very sad site reinforcing the hazards of shoulderless Mexican highways.

Thursday, February 5

We headed to town early to get our tire repaired, do our laundry, and some shopping. The burned skeleton of the truck accident lay alongside the road. Our tire had a sharp stone in it which had wiggled and worked its way through the steel belts enough to slowly deflate the tire. The tire repair went well and cost $3.54. The laundry was clean, late brunch was in the courtyard of a local hotel, we shopped some and Dick lost his set of keys somewhere along the way. We will retrace our steps to try to recover the key set tomorrow.

Dick replaced the tire and we were ready for the group cookout by 4:30 pm. A Mariachi band and another campfire filled the evening. Judy received an update on JoAnn’s condition from Sabrena. It is not good news. The family members will all get to Chattanooga quickly. Megan and Sabrena are there now and Thomas and Steve will join them very soon.

Friday, February 6

We loaded our 46 persons into 3 vans for a tour of Mulege. The town has a historic mission church, was the original capital of this state, and enjoys a good tourist trade. The mission was built on a hill of volcanic stone bound by limestone cement in early 1700s and stands proudly serving mass yet today. It was the hub of the missionary outreach for this district. The missionaries had planted thousands of date palms along the river and developed farmlands for other crops on the adjacent properties. Their outreach included two large sailing ships to deliver materials to the other five centers along this coast. The federal jail in the town was open until the early 1980s and was replaced by a larger modern facility in LaPaz. The community converted the building into a museum but lost the roof during the hurricane of 2007. It remains closed, except for tour talks at the entrance gates, until money for the repairs can be received from “FEMA of Mexico”. The historic lighthouse still provides guidance into the city’s harbor area. The harbor is lined with nice housing priced at half the cost of their American equivalents. The city streets are narrow, often unmarked, and frequently congested with traffic.

While waiting for our group luncheon at a local hotel, Dick retraced his steps and amazingly recovered his set of keys at a local ice cream shop. A keyboard singer provided wonderful music during our luncheon.

We returned to camp by 2:30 pm, got a nap and joined the group for happy hour on the beach until the temperature started to drop. A nice long beach walk, popcorn and wine, and good conversation wrapped up the day by 8:30 pm.

Saturday, February 8

The vans returned to take 28 of us to the cave paintings located in the mountains west of town. The roads are horrible and we make two stops enroute. The first stop is a citrus farm. We hear about this business, sample some recently picked product and buy some to take home. The second stop was in the desert to receive a talk about how to use the desert plants for pharmaceutical applications. The spokesman says many still cure everything, including cancers, with extracts from desert plants. The road passed through a farm and we paid the farm owner $11.30 (100 pesos) for each person for use of the access. Our guides name is Salvidore. He leads the 28 of us (average age about 73) up a ¾ mile rocky hill climb to the viewing site. Most persons agree it was great but they would never do it again. The walk included two water crossings in cold water over our knees. But the drawings, dating back to 7000, BC are remarkable treasures. Salvidore’s wife had packed a tortilla lunch we shared before the 1 ½ hour trip back home of many of the same horrible roads and ditches.

The drivers meeting was at 5:30 pm to prepare for tomorrow. After dinner, we walked up the beach to a restaurant for drinks with the Angelini’s, Reaves, and Skiebouts. The place was jammed with tourists having a great time on Saturday night.

Sunday, February 8

At sunrise, we are on the road south from Santispac. The drive plan is 150 miles of mountains and deserts – lots of hills, curves, and wonderful scenery. The group stopped every hour for a stretch. The pulls off locations are about an hour apart. The road has no shoulders but was recently resurfaced. The scenery is unbelievably beautiful. Beaches follow the road to Loretta and then the road turns west to climb to 1400 feet with switchbacks over the mountains. The mountain views seem to go on forever but we crest and drop gently down the western side into a 40 mile descent to Ciudad Insurgentee. Agricultural land replaces desert space as we approached the city. In the 1950s and 60s, the Mexican government relocated people here to farm this land of corn fields, sorghum, orange groves, dairy farms, alfalfa fields, and local support businesses.

We turned south on Highway 1, to our campground at Ciudad Constitucion. We plan and park all our units before 3:15 pm. We showered, vacuumed, emptied and filled trailer tanks before happy hour at 4:30 pm. Dinner was served at 5 (pork in pineapple, fish casserole, cactus salad, peppers, onions, refried beans and tortillas) and continued until everyone was full.

Dancers and singers, from the University extension here, delighted this audience with a two hour program of Mexican entertainment. It was very well done. The weather turned chilly but the young people were delightful. We collected email from the Wi-Fi of the office area. JoAnn is more comfortable, Steve’s home has power, and Thomas/ Mike/Susan have been updated. Life is easier but still includes tough days ahead.

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Monday, February 9

The campground served the entire group an American style breakfast. After breakfast, we combined a write-up with some pictures to describe our travels on January 31-February 1 for the caravan journal being assembled by Alex and Arlene Matches. They plan to distribute completed sections of the journal every couple weeks. This is a “free day” so we worked on our to-do list. First priority was to pull the rearmost wheel and drum from the driver’s side axle to determine why it is running warm but not alarming level hot. The disassembled wheel exposed a brake pad had pulled off the shoe and was dragging on the adjustment mechanism. We had a spare brake assembly but Dick broke one of the five face plate mounting bolts during disassembly. The fourth auto repair shop in town had two replacements of similar size. (NAPA and Chevrolet dealer had none.) We completed the reassembly by 2:00 pm. WD Richardson took our empty propane tank for refilling. All propane refill stations are required to build outside the city limits with adequate fire free space around them. We went to the local grocery for fresh fruit and the Premex station for refueling. Mileage had averaged 13-14 mpg and cost has been $2.11 – 2.14 per gallon. We toured the main street markets and Dick bought branded Polo Club shirt and Dickies slacks (priced about same as Wal-Mart in US). The locals seem to be shopping off the main street and we planned a return visit tomorrow. By 5:30 pm all our jobs are complete and Happy Hour begins. A great pasta salad and fresh oranges are prepared by my favorite cook (Judy) for supper. We made another run at email before spending an evening with Angelini’s for small talk. We returned to our trailer, washed dirty dishes and tucked into bed by 9 pm.

Tuesday, February 10

The entire group was served another good breakfast at the campground – Mexican style. The Whites, Montagues, Showers and we two go to town to explore the backstreet markets. Carol and both Judys had their haircut ($6-7 each) and each looks great. The men discover a bakery tucked away on a side street with fresh pies, custards, whole wheat biscuits (and much more). Norm declared the Mocha pie as the best he had ever eaten. Dick purchased a shirt identical to yesterdays at half the price.

We returned the white’s to the campground to do laundry and the rest of us drove to San Carlos – a beach town 35 miles away. The nice little restaurant reopened for us to serve 6 lunch meals (mostly seafood combination platters but Dick consumed a 3 dozen oyster cocktail while Judy had seafood soup was so full of meat it required a fork to eat it). The food was great and inexpensive – 1/3 the USA prices.

We returned to camp by 4 pm for a Fiesta with 4 other couples and a Driver’s meeting with the whole group. We prepped for departing at 6:30 am and went to bed by 8:30 pm.

Wednesday, February 11

After jockeying the Larkin’s out of their parking space, the early crew left the park by 6:30 am for Los Barillos. We had three stops enroute; a stretch after an hour, a pause to checkout and confirm a campground the group will use on the return trip, and a third time in the small town of El Triunfo where we purchased hand-made baskets and the music museum of Professor Nicholas Carrillo. He gave our four couples a wonderful concert of Chopin, etc. It was magnificent, the acoustics accentuated every note and his mastery of the piano was unbelievable. He no longer does world tours but hasn’t lost his touch. He dressed in a suit, wore special platform shoes, had an obvious neck position handicap as he proudly described his many pianos, instruments of mixed origins, and displays of many years in the music field. He sat at his concert piano, relaxed and left us to play magnificently – no longer thinking about anything earthly. WOW, what a gift.

Dick bought some Mango tarts at a street market and was offered gallon bags of shredded marijuana for 20 pesos (18 cents). The sales person assured us it would make us loco. He went without a sale. This was the most difficult drive day we have had across the mountains on narrow roads of marginal quality. We made it to our RV camp by 2 pm and everyone was parked by 4:30 pm.

The Happy Hour began at 5:30 pm at Hotel Palonas de Cortez and the buffet dinner was served at 6:30 pm. The Montagues, Angelini’s and we two met for 6 person Joker. It was great fun. Dick’s pedometer said 4.5 miles as we headed for bed at 9:00 pm.

Thursday, February 12

The group breakfast was served at the hotel from 7:30 am until 9:00 am. It was American style meal and all you could eat of everything offered by a good eating place. The hotel has free internet in the plaza entrance area. We thank those who responded to the first publication of our Journal. Sabrena’s mother has been relocated to a nursing facility and is more comfortable with better control of the liquid buildup.

We returned to the park for ATV driver training. Almost everyone took to it very well. Tomorrow is a multi-hour ride up a river bed. After updated the journal pages, the Richardson’s joined us for a trip up the seashore recommended by Tom Angelini. The roads went from poor, to hazardous, to horrible and finished impassible. We backed down a goat trail cut into the side of a rock mountain and turned around when impassible became obvious. Never have any of us traveled on such poor roads. The early sections had American mansions with hired help, the next was vacation size homes, then came Mexican family homes and the final section was poorly constructed shacks with dilapidated motor homes as a guest house. We would never travel this route again. It was truly hazardous to your health. We came back safely.

Over half of the caravan members have experienced diarrhea. This could be a partial explanation of why there seem to be fewer over weight Mexicans.

Judy prepared soup for Angelini’s and us. Montagues came over for 6 person Joker and a game of Nines. We were in bed by 10, hoping to sleep off our discomforts.


Nice Campsite. View from Montague’s window


A marachi band played one night for dinner on the beach

Baja Adventure
Page 10

Friday, February 13

We returned to the hotel for breakfast with the group. Dick’s intestinal problems are quieter but we stayed with toast, fruit, tea and juices. The Montagues joined us as we both needed to do laundry. The small but clean Laundromat was full of members of our caravan as soon as it opened. Dick and Winston returned to the hotel to connect to the internet. Steve had written. JoAnn Saluk had passed away in her sleep the night before. There will be a graveside ceremony next Tuesday. Our lunch consisted of toast and tea due to Dick’s unsettled stomach.

At 1:30 pm, after a quick nap, we mounted 4 wheel ATVs for a 4 hour tour of the beach, some washboard sand roads, a river bed and up to a small waterfall. The waterfall and surrounding oasis stands out among date palms in this arid desert environment. The source of the water is reportedly the mountain area a few miles away. The water drops over a large rock system. Jerome Reaves attempted to climb the rocks following Sandra Stalmack. His feet slipped and he dropped headfirst into a small water pool breaking three teeth, straining his neck and raising a large welt on this lower back. It would have been much worse if the 4 foot deep water pool had not broken his fall. On our return trip to the campground, Dick (Judy hanging on) and Firman Skiebout (riding single) drove at maximum speed. We must have been quite a sight to the native animals. We were successful at catching up with the earlier ATV group and getting to the camp’s toilet before any problems. There are no restrooms in the desert and the cactus provides only minimum cover for diarrhea patients.

The driver’s meeting was at 6 pm. We and the Montagues went to a hamburger place recommended by the Whites. We mistakenly got the wrong one. The hamburgers were Ok but not good. The place had two drunken Americans drawing attention to them with load talk and dancing with the wife of the bartender. The next morning, we were told we had the wrong place and Carol had been sick enough to have her body reject her hamburger. Mexico has many surprises built into their landscape of adventure.

Saturday, February 14 – Valentine’s Day

After 11 years of retirement and fifty years of marriage, we awake in a desert, have a quick breakfast, connect the trailer and depart with the early crew for the next campground. After a short ride of 70 miles, we cross the Tropic of Cancer – marked with hard surfaced sphere surrounded by several strands of barb-wire fence. We arrived at our next park by 11am and are told we had only 22 locations to park our 25 units (each needing a sewer connection since we have been four nights without a working dump station). The other units begin to arrive at noon and we double part three units to give everyone access to a sewer. The parking configuration is difficult but Dick received excellent cooperation from a weary travel group.

We napped and showered for dinner. Kent and Dorothy Charles came over to invite us to ride with them to the dinner place. We had a very good meal at Puerto Viego and decided to walk with some of the others back to the campground. This allowed Fred Larkin to ride with the Charles. We gathered at Angelini’s to play joker with the Montagues (the men won again). The majority of the group is having some stomach intestinal problems. Judy seems to have dodged most of it.

We spoke with Steve via Verizon. Thomas will not make a return trip to Chattanooga for the burial because he had spent the previous weekend with JoAnn and the family. We will get a better night’s sleep.

Sunday, February 15

Judy set up her barber shop and gave haircuts to Dick and Winston before 9:30 am. Montagues, Whites, Richardsons, and we two headed for Cabo San Lucas to find an English speaking church service. We located a non-denominational congregation meeting at 10:00am. The praise service, Holy Communion, and sermon had none of the familiar trappings of our Baptist & Methodist training. The 150 + congregation jammed the building, using every available seat and some standing room to sing unfamiliar simple but meaningful praise songs with arm waving and hand clapping. The sermon was good thoughts about how Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit communicate with each of us in the same manner they did with Joshua, Moses and Elijah. The service climaxed at 11:30 am.

We headed for the harbor area for lunch and ended up at Burger King. The harbor was filled with expensive boats sitting on clear blue water in bright warm sunlight. We walked the streets after lunch to view the many shops, to purchase some jewelry, blankets and wood carvings. Judy and Carol have new silver bracelets purchased at better than Wal-Mart prices. We headed home for a nap and dinner. Judy’s fresh pasta tasted great and calmed our tummies. We retrieved email and played Joker with six (men won again) before heading to bed.

Monday, February 16

At 7:00 am, we lined up to depart for a very nice breakfast at Hotel Finisterra. It is a lovely resort hotel with all the amenities overlooking the harbor and the ocean. The meal was everything it could be and more than any of us needed – but nice. The hotel was built recently and is an architect’s dream job. Enroute back with the Montagues, we shopped at the new Wal Mart plaza, Sam’s and Costco. Dick put our generator on Montagues power system, Winston walked his two boys, and we reloaded the car for a quick trip to San Jose del Cabo – about 20 miles away. The town plaza was beautiful, the shops were traditional, and the shopping was limited to looking.

We returned to camp, dumped the grey and black storage tanks, refilled with fresh water and prepared to meet our taxis for a caravan planned tour of a glass factory and dinner cruise. A beautiful sunset, a few whale spottings, a good meal and many drinks surrounded with fellowship took us until 7 pm. Some of our ailing seemed to forget their troubles before we returned quietly to camp and a good night’s sleep.

Baja Adventure
Page 12

Tuesday, February 17

The 8 am Drivers meeting prepared everyone for the trip to LaPaz. As a member of the work crew, we departed at 9 am and had an uneventful drive on a beautiful day. We arrived at the Marantha campground after lunch. The lot had been truckload piles of sand as we passed here two weeks ago. It now has the sand spread, a water system in around the perimeter, a new fence and entrance gate. The owner was very proud of what they have accomplished. The campground is part of a Mennonite mission with showers, bathrooms and laundry machines available to us. The little coffee café on the corner has free Wi-Fi internet for the campers. The sand is loosely packed but we have everyone parked by 3:15 pm.

At 4 pm, we carpooled downtown to the LaBoehme restaurant for a delicious French meal of beef and potatoes or a seafood casserole. Dick’s beef was excellent and Judy seafood casserole was also – except for the “chewy” bits of squid. Elegant desserts topped the meal with coffee.

Downtown LaPaz had many of the beach streets blocked off for their Carnivol (like a Mardi Gras) which starts on Friday and goes through next Sunday. With GPS help, we made it back to the camp safely.

Wednesday, February 18

At 7:30 am a horn beeped to announce the pastry truck in the campground. Our pastry was purchased from the kitty fee and enjoyed with fresh coffee in our trailer. Both were very good. At 8:45 am, we boarded a classy tour bus for a city tour. Our guide, Betty, spoke both good English and Spanish. The Catholic Mission Church was adjacent to the old city square. The Stations of the Cross were in English and everything else was in Spanish. La Paz does not cater to the tourist trade and believes the capital should retain its historical appearance and behaviors. Earlier in the 20th century, the chief pearl merchant had given the world’s largest pearl to the Queen of England for placing in her crown after his only daughters (the apparent heirs) had died unexpectedly. The Queen was grateful and visited LaPaz to gift the church with the 13 stations (and that is why they are in English).

We visited two family businesses. The pottery (hand painted) demonstrated all phases of their process and sold items at a very reasonable price. We watched as they turned plates and mugs and painted them with bright colored glazes. We were told their products were lead free. The second family business was a weaving factory. Their looms looked like the ones in our museums. All their yarn is hand spun and hand dyed. Their work was very good and their prices were very low also. A rug requiring four effort days to make was priced at the equivalent of $20 US. The bus drove along parks of the Malecon (tiled broad walk along the ocean) and returned us to our campsite.

We picked up email and took a short nap before leaving the camp with the Whites, Montagues and Showers for a trip up the coast to find the “mushroom rock” at Playa Balandra. It was a very pretty drive along the coast, past the ferry boat landings and cruise ship docks past many white sand beaches with blue waters washing ashore. We drove out to the island of Espiritu – reported as the best kayaking site in the Baja. Snorkeling, diving, and whale watching are offered by the local vendors. Several of our women purchased jewelry from the beach merchants before we returned to Sam’s club enroute home. Judy prepared fresh large shrimp and wine for us before bedtime.
Thursday, February 19

This was a “free day”. We chose to shop at the new Wal Mart, walk the public market, and tour the cultural museum. Judy found a pair of leather shoes she liked for $20. She is getting confused as we travel around the town’s narrow one way streets with buildings of every description blocking our view of the Bahia de la Paz. We headed east out of town looking for the village San Juan de los Planes. After 45 minutes of bad directions, and unmarked highways, we found the correct road on our GPS with the help of a hardware clerk. The trip to the east coast is 28 miles of hilly desert country. We picked up two chicken (pollo) plates for a meal at the beach. The Bay of Dreams beach was the home of massive 4000 acre construction project around a beautiful cove. The condominiums and golf course are laid out among large dense cardone cactus – most over a hundred years of age. We returned to the campsite, joined a large happy hour gathering, and shared pasta prepared by the Angelini’s. Judy fixed a fruit plate for salad and dessert. We were in bed by 9 pm because tomorrow is a walking tour of Todos Santos.

Friday, February 20

Our carpool caravan left the campground at 8:45 for the 50 mile trip to Todos Santos – a quaint “tourist” oriented town south of La Paz. The tour buses from the cruise ships are headed to the same place. There are lots of cafes, small shops selling Mexican made items, jewelry of every description, and local artists work. The large 1750s mission church is wonderfully maintained and active. There are several small but highly rated hotels with excellent dining rooms. Their cultural center was inscribed in both Spanish and English. We are riding with the Montagues – which is always great fun. We returned to our campsite, to discover another member of our caravan has had health problems requiring hospitalization for corrective actions. IVs were given to both persons to relieve dehydration. The caravan leaders believe we are experiencing many more sickness events than their previous caravans have had. They also noted the local population (including the police) are less receptive to tourists. Winston Montague set up his grill for cooking out and Angelini’s joined us for a couple games of Joker before going to bed.

Saturday, February 21

It was 42 F as we awoke. This was our fourth day on battery power and all is going well. We took a short walk through the campground which is hosting a three day gathering for young folks. Dick helped Larkin’s with their inverter problem. Jack Bowen has had his radiator repaired. The Reaves towed vehicle remains locked in four wheel drive because of a broken part which is not available until he gets back to the US. We head back to town to walk along the Malecon, buy some spare fuses, and view the Carnivol shops. At 3:30, we meet the rest of our group at Ciao Milans to be entertained by a dozen dancers from the University. Their Mexican/Spanish/Chilean dances are very active and their costumes are beautiful. Our meal was chicken or shrimp fettuccini, an excellent salad, bread and very sweet chocolate cake. We return to camp to prepare the trailer for tomorrow’s travel.

February 14 2009 | Caravans | Comments Off on The Baja Caravan – Journal by Dick Martiny

Region 3 SW Georgia Caravan

A new caravan is being offered which will explore the western part of Georgia. Julian Clements is setting it up and it will be a good short caravan which is also close to us. The following is Julian’s description.

“Region 3 SW Georgia Caravan will be April 26th to May 14th, 2009. We will meet at Twin Oaks Campground in Hawkinsville, GA with stops in Cordele, Albany, Columbus and Pine Mountain. We will be touring harness racing farms, train to Plains, Andersonville National Historic Site, The Parks at Chehaw, Albany aquarium, Westville 1850’s living museum, Providence Canyon, Callaway Gardens and Warm Springs Historic Village. Several meals are planned and deposit is $250 with kitty fee TBD, limit 10 rigs. Contact: Julian Clements, email , (706) 244-2129.”

November 04 2008 | Caravans | Comments Off on Region 3 SW Georgia Caravan

Big Bend Members at the source of the Mississippi River

These Big Bend members are on the Great River Road Caravan and started with a visit to the source of the river. As you can see, the weather is cool, but the companionship is warm. The members are: Judy and Dick Martiny, Carol and Winston Montague, Elna and Jay Thompson, and John Thompson

Big Bend members at the source of the Mississippi River

September 05 2008 | Caravans | Comments Off on Big Bend Members at the source of the Mississippi River

The Tale of the Nor’ by Nor’ East Caravan Critters

The Tale of the Nor’ by Nor’ East Caravan Critters

Written by Carol Montague

Apparently in St John, New Brunswick, Canada, 3 or more mice decided to join the Big Benders traveling on the 2007Airstream Nor’ by Nor’ East Caravan. One mouse hopped aboard Jay and Elna Thompson’s trailer. The other two (perhaps husband and wife or maybe brother and sister) thought Mac and Mary Palmer’s trailer looked like a nice new home. They all played happily until mouse #1 became a little too brave. One evening Elna washed dishes and left some water in the sink. Off she and Jay went to dinner out with the Group. When they returned she noticed that there were some Canadian maple cookies (mmm, good!) open on the counter. She reached into the sink to let the standing water out and when she reached for the strainer she came up with a handful of soft wet, drowned mouse. Suppressing a scream, she dropped the mouse back into the water. When Jay came in, she asked him to let the water out of the sink without telling him. Suspicious, he noticed the tail floating near the top. Out went the mouse! Thinking there may still be another mouse he set out a trap with peanut butter as bait and carefully placed it in the cupboard.
Mouse #2 quickly bit the bullet. BANG went the trap that had been moved to Mac and Mary’s from Jay’s and Elna’s trailer. The trap was placed in the Palmer’s rollout pantry after signs had been seen and remnants of food had been found. Mouse #3 was smarter or so he/she thought! He would not be caught. The trap was again set – same place. The temptation was too much. Mac, being tired that evening, hit the bed early. Mary said she heard noises , but wasn’t about to check. The next morning, while both were in the kitchen area, Mac heard noises. Opening the drawer there was the trap upside down and moving. Mouse #3 was caught by his tail – still trying to get away. According to Mac, Mary ran – ran as fast as you can in a 28’ trailer. He did say she didn’t jump up on the bed. Mac carefully did away with Mouse #3.
We heard there were rumors of Mouse #4. Could there be yet another? John and Judy White reported Mouse #4. He waited to appear until Halifax. If he joined the caravan in St John he certainly hid well. John borrowed two traps that Mac had bought as precautionary equipment. John set them with peanut butter and waited. The next morning there the traps were with all of the peanut butter gone and no mouse. John says he did take the staple used for packaging off so the trap would work. Apparently the White’s mouse stayed only one night and moved on to Bobby and Pat Laycock’s trailer. (He must have known they were from Florida, not Georgia, and thought being a snowbird would be nice.) The Laycock’s noticed the tell-tale signs and set traps but after one evening’s visit he moved on to other more destinations, California perhaps.
The Martinys have other critters visiting them. At the last caravan stop in Cornwall, PEI, Judy was outside talking with a little squirrel. He chattered at her extensively. She had trash she had placed outside their trailer door. Thinking that perhaps that was not such a good idea, she placed the bag back inside the trailer before joining a number of others for breakfast in the campground. She left the main door open with the screen door closed. When she and Dick returned an hour later there was a hole the size of a baseball chewed through the bottom of their screen. Mr. Squirrel had chewed his way in to eat the Georgia peanut shells he found in the trash. We kept noticing him and he scolded Judy a few more times as he looked for another way in. Dick carefully repaired the screen with duct tape.
John White’s twin brother Jack and his wife Sherry joined us in PEI. They reported that perhaps this very same squirrel was caught climbing up their screen door. When Sherry hit the door with a fly swatter he jumped down swiftly but the language he used should not be repeated.
Hopefully no more varmits for Big Benders!! However we hear more and more Airstreamers are buying mouse traps as standard RV equipment.

September 21 2007 | Caravans | No Comments »