Adventures crossing the border

Days 5 and 6 were devoted to visits to the dentist in Mexico. I had my teeth cleaned for a measly $30 and I think it was a better job than here at home. I paid $171 for the same procedure back home. I had been hearing so much about this dental tourism, that I had to give it a try. I didn’t need enough work to make the savings worth the trip, except the trip and the adventure were well worth it.Mexico-0157Walking across the border was a piece of cake. Punto de reunión translates to “meeting point”. Presumably that’s the actual border. Mexico-0159Ridiculously bad shot with the point and shoot (I didn’t take the DSLR with me), but they INSISTED when they saw me snapping pictures. Despite the poses and snarling faces, they were quite friendly, but trying to get me to go see their dentist, or pharmacist, or whatever…. Likely the closest I’ll ever come to street photography. You can judge for yourself my great talent for it! ;) I laughed the whole time at the antics of the hawkers.Mexico-0160It’s all so busy and high energy… the vivid colors (though a bit washed out by the glare of the sun), So many people milling about. Liqui’s Liquors? It was all pretty fun and cool. I must say it also felt totally safe.Mexico-0169With so many American tourists all around, it didn’t seem all that different from California.Mexico-0167Couldn’t resist this shot of a Mexican perro… he/she didn’t bark in Spanish for me.Mexico-0164The dental office itself… clean, modern, up to date… friendly, efficient.Mexico-0170I think I was done in about a half hour and it was back to the border crossing once more. Getting back to the USA took a bit longer with a cursory passport check. Mexico-0171Where the cars cross…Mexico-0203The infamous fence…Mexico-0204The parking lot for the many, many cars from all over the states and Canada. I wonder if our overpriced dentists might take a lesson from this scenario. The quotes I’ve heard about more complicated work such as implants or dentures are absurd when compared to what American dentists charge. Most (many) folks I’ve talked to have been utterly satisfied with the work. Granted, there may be exceptions, but I’ve had some horrible work done here in the states, so you take your chances either way.

leaving Mojave

 

“Just do it! Reach for the stars, even if you have to stand on a cactus …”
Susan Longacre

 

Mojave sunrise

That’s right. SunRISE. Those of you who know me will realize that this is a bit remarkable… me being up in time to catch a sunrise and it was well worth the effort.Mojave_sunrise-0157The sun just kissing the tops of the mountains in the distance.Mojave_sunrise-0163I stopped every few minutes while fixing breakfast to snap some shots.Mojave_sunrise-0165Until the show was over…. Next stop Yuma, Arizona

Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself. 
Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

Mojave sunset

I’m enthralled with the beauty and serenity to be found in the desert…
(click on any image for the slideshow)

One day, I saw a tiny nopalito (cactus sapling) growing not too far from an old tree. I wanted to dig it up and replant it near our house in Zacatecas. I told my mom that I would protect it from the wind and that I would water it every day so that it could grow nice and tall and strong. My mom frowned at me. “You’d be destroying what makes it special,” she said. “It’s a nopalito, it is its struggle that makes it so beautiful… 
José N. Harris, MI VIDA: A Story of Faith, Hope and Love

Travels in the SW – US -day 4

day 4 – part one

Camping at the Mojave National Preserve changed my idea (born of interstate travel) about boring deserts forever. The Mojave Preserve was totally enchanting. I’m tempted to devote more than a single post to the surprising beauty I found.

Mojave-0089Approaching the fringes of desert country, spotting Joshua Trees and Cholla Cactus and mountains in the distance.Mojave-0095Add in some Yucca and we’re off to a good start.Mojave-0108The RoadRunner seemed to be a theme throughout this trip. :)Mojave-0109The sticker and broken window (in the previous picture) were found in the tiny town of Inyokern on the way to the Mojave Desert. Mojave-0110After brunch, we did a bit of window (chain link fence?) shopping. A friend had been looking for a clawfoot bathtub. We rather hoped we’d found one for her, but wondered how we’d get it back to Oregon?Mojave-0113Creative spirit alive even in Inyokern. Mojave-0124Arriving at Mojave Desert National Preserve.Mojave-0136Cholla… being careful because everything seems so prickly, albeit beautiful when viewed up close.

The cactus of the high desert is a small grubby, obscure and humble vegetable associated with cattle dung and overgrazing, interesting only when you tangle with it the wrong way. Yet from this nest of thorns, this snare of hooks and fiery spines, is born once each year a splendid flower. It is unpluckable and except to an insect almost unapproachable, yet soft, lovely, sweet, desirable, exemplifying better than the rose among thorns the unity of opposites. 
Edward Abbey “Desert Solitaire

Travels in the SW – US – day 3

Some spectacles are simply too awesome to capture with a camera, no matter the skill of the photographer.

My measly efforts don’t begin to do the massive trees at Sequoia National Park any justice. After all, they are one of the oldest living trees and simply massive and tall.  Luckily this was one spot that wasn’t totally overrun with visitors, but we didn’t see a bear. :(

Here’s an interesting comparison of Sequoias and Redwoods from OhRanger.com:

GIANT
SEQUOIA
CALIFORNIA COAST REDWOOD

To 311 feet

Height

To 367.8 feet

To 3,200 years

Age

To 2,000 years

To 2.7 million lbs.

Weight

To 1.6 million lbs.

To 31 in. thick

Bark

To 12 in. thick

To 8 ft. diameter

Branches

To 5 ft. diameter

To 40 ft. diameter

Bases

To 22 ft. diameter

By seed only

Reproduce

By seed or root sprout

As large as oat flakes

Seed Size

As large as tomato seeds

Shaped like a
chicken’s egg

Cones

Shaped like a
large olive

Small, overlapping,
awl-shaped needles

Foliage

Single needles that
fall off in sprays

Travels in the SW-US – day 2

“Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.” –John Muir in a letter to his wife Louie in July 1888

Well… not so much these days. This pretty much sums up the Yosemite experience the way it’s seen by most tourists:Yosemite-If one were to hike into the back country, I’m sure it would be an entirely different thing altogether, but I had neither the time nor stamina for that sort of adventure. I have some pretty ambivalent feelings about the overcrowding at the National Parks. It’s wonderful to see folks enjoying them, but the jostling tends to take away from the awestruck feeling I experienced when I visited them in the 70s.Yosemite-0041Still… there’s no taking away from the utter beauty and majesty of these marvelous places. If only we can manage to preserve and safeguard them for generations to come. (El Capitan in the mist as seen above)

Ere dawn had kissed the level valley floor / He climbed to summits through the sleeping wood / By the inerrant guide of forest lore, / And found companionship in solitude / He feared no beast and by no beast was feared / And none was startled when his shape appeared.” — Excerpted from the poem, “With Muir in Yosemite,” by Robert Underwood Johnson (as printed in the 1938 Yosemite Nature Notes, 17)

Day two stats: more miles to get us closer to our destination, but couldn’t pass up Yosemite on the way. Arrived at Coarsegold campground after dark.
Roughly 300 miles (483 km)- at least 6 plus hours of driving.

Travels in the SW-US – day 1

starting off wet and slow…

We left Oregon on the tail-end of the torrential downpours known as the Pineapple Express. I was worn out from packing and stressing over having everything in order. Tired generally makes me crabby, so while Eric took the wheel, I rolled out the bed in the back of the van and caught up on some much needed sleep. It was pretty exciting and soothing at the same time to listen to the rain and the wind as he drove down I-5.

We stopped in Yreka, California for some lunch/dinner. That was when I woke up, having traveled roughly 200 miles and ditched the grumpiness. I missed the rainbow over Mt Shasta, so you’ll just have to imagine that part along with me.

Actually… I never took a photo that entire day. Perhaps you’ll make do with the souvenir I picked up later in the Mojave (since I had neglected to pack a hat for the desert adventures!) The Roadrunner seemed to be a good symbol for the adventures we were having. It didn’t hurt that I finally sighted a real live one for the first time. Sadly it disappeared before I could grab the camera.road_runner-0443

First night in a campground in Oroville, CA was actually fun in spite of some rain showers. Nearly 400 miles (644 km) covered the first day. Far too much driving, but we had an appointment to keep in Mexico.

To be continued…

The bridge will only take you halfway there, to those mysterious lands you long to see. Through gypsy camps and swirling Arab fair, and moonlit woods where unicorns run free. So come and walk awhile with me and share the twisting trails and wondrous worlds I’ve known. But this bridge will only take you halfway there. The last few steps you have to take alone. 
Shel Silverstein

I’m baaack…

Found on the way home from a heavenly tour of Oregon, California, Arizona and even a bit of Mexico….Marines-0681This was somewhere in southern Oregon. There’s quite a bit of detail here. Hopefully the slide show (click on any image) shows the bits.

Have lots to show from two weeks worth of wonderful scenery.

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered. 
Nelson Mandela

on the rocks

Another walk along a lesser visited beach known as Seven Devils. We walked about a mile and a half before turning around as the tide was coming in. There are several outcrops where the incoming tide might get shoes wet, or could even get one stranded during a high tide.SevenDevils-0006Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame. 
W.B. Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire

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