Cruising ~ The Cat’s Meow Style ~  August &September, 2007




Welcome back! We sure are glad to be back aboard our home, The Cat’s Meow, and to be back in the Sea of Cortez after another stateside trip! We were both mentally ready for spending about three weeks stateside, but as usual, the trip was extended. Those last few days were difficult. Don’t get us wrong, we LOVE seeing our friends and our family, but all the hustle & bustle, traffic, media noise, and expense is wearing on us when we are “up there”. It is always a good feeling for both of us to return to TCM and to our life across the border.


Instead of driving the 800 +/- miles from Puerto Escondido to the San Diego area in two days as usual, we decided to break the trip up a bit more, and we spent two nights on the road in the Baja. This took some of the pressure off from the start, and was a good idea. We stayed in Santa Rosalia, only about 3 hours north of PE, where we met Susan & Dennis on Two Can Play – they were at the Singlar marina. After sneaking the cats into the sparse-but-OK-for-one-night room, the four of us had pizza and enjoyed the evening. It was still waaaay hottt, and the AC in the restaurant and in the room was appreciated. The second night we stayed at the Cactus Hotel in El Rosario, about another 6 or 7 hours drive from Santa Rosalia. It is on the Pacific side of the Baja, cooler because of fog and the Pacific Ocean breezes. We like to eat at the restaurant next door to the hotel, Mama Espinoza’s – good food and very well priced. The Cactus is an older hotel but has some very nice modern rooms, all tile and old-style Mexican décor, for a little less than $35US, complete with coffee in the room and TV with cable. A good way to prepare for re-entry into the States!


Our first few nights Stateside were spent in Chula Vista with friend Kathleen and her three pooches. Robin had a hankerin’ for Kentucky Fried Chicken of all things, so after a visit to KFC and the purchase of some good wine, we were set. A few days later, Martin flew to the home of his daughter Debbie and family in the SF area, while Robin & Kathleen drove the van, with kitties aboard, to Sedona, AZ. Martin had an appointment at the San Francisco VA for checkups, and Kathleen & Robin attended a seminar in beautiful Sedona. Martin’s checkups went well, all is OK, and he had a few days to spend with Deb & family before he drove a rental car to visit with his son Bill who lives in the Nevada City area, in the foothills of the Sierras. Martin continued his family tour, driving into Oregon where he was able to see and visit with his other daughter, Robin and her daughter Brianna, as well as with his brother Jim & wife Ginny, AND his mum! Another brother, Ken & wife Rhonda, arrived in their motorhome, to make it a well-rounded family visit. It was real good for Martin to spend time with his family members, and to have some time with each of his grown children and some of his grandchildren. He definitely enjoyed his family tour. (Too bad that Martin didn’t take any photos during his stays, but Robin did take a few during her travels.) 


Meanwhile, Robin and Kathleen were enjoying the red rock country of Sedona. It was fun for Robin to play “tourist” for a change in her former home. Kathleen flew back to SoCal, and Robin continued seeing as many friends in the Verde Valley as she could in one week. She stayed a few nights with JoAnna in her neat little hideaway in Jerome, an old mining town on the hill overlooking all of the Verde Valley; then she moved to Phyllis’ home in Cottonwood where Phyllis organized a nice get-together with some of Robin’s old chums (Ooops - not “old”…um…”long-time” chums!). Bob & Kristen, and a friend (Bill?) who was visiting them, along with Phyllis & Robin all had a luscious dining experience at a new-ish wine bar in Cottonwood. It is nice to see some more upscale things happening in that area. There are so many people Robin likes to see while in the VV, so she had to visit one friend, Camille, at her place of business, the 50’s style eatery. And, it is always very special for her to spend time with a young man named Skye. They yakked and laughed over lunch one afternoon in Cottonwood, and caught up with all of his travels and adventures.



                      JoAnna enjoying her cute new home, and……                                           …her great view of Jerome, on the hillside




   Dining at a new upscale wine bar & restaurant in Cottonwood                                 Robin, Camille, and Camille’s daughter in the diner



Robin’s favorite YOUNG man, Skye 



While Robin was in that area, there were some great thunderstorms – they are called monsoons – which she remembered fondly from her years living in northern Arizona. There was a very nice double rainbow, as well, while she & Phyllis enjoyed a glass of wine on the veranda of Phyllis’ home.



     Rainbows & wine at Phyllis’ home            



Next stop for Robin was to see good friends who were part of the after-Marty hurricane rescue episode in the Baja, and with whom we have made many other great memories here in the Sea. Bill is now teaching science & math at the Orme School, which is somewhat near Prescott, AZ. Orme is a private prep type of high school. Stephanie is directing all the transportation vehicles for the school, besides making their on-campus home cozy. It was soooo good to see them!!



  Bill and Stephanie at home, Orme School



We had left The Cat’s Meow attached to our mooring ball in Pto. Escondido during the height of the hurricane season in that part of the world. While we knew TCM to be on a very strong mooring in a relatively safe location for such storms, both of us did worry and we did consult weather information while we were away from our home, our boat. It sounded as though hurricane Henriette had skirted La Paz and Pto. Escondido in late September, so we were surprised and saddened to hear that at least four boats there had been sunk and others damaged during that storm. Friends sent emails to us, assuring that The Cat’s Meow was OK, sitting where we had left her, and looking alright. That was a relief! Susan & Dennis had brought Two Can Play into the harbor a few weeks later to prepare for hurricane Ivo, but he did not make it to the Baja – and that was another relief for everyone. Here is a photo of TCM, in the harbor of Puerto Escondido, with the moon rising behind her, taken from Two Can Play:


TCM in moonlight  


Right about this point in the trip and the month of September, it was our 7th wedding anniversary. Martin had flown to Phoenix to meet up with Robin at the home of another good friend, Diane. Well, it is always fun to celebrate special occasions with good pals, so we did! A group of eight of us dined on Thai food, one of those things we miss down here, and it was a nice way to see folks and enjoy a special day at the same time.



Celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary with friends in Phoenix



After doing some of the “yearly shopping” while in Phoenix – a city that Robin has decided must be the “capital of shopping malls” – we drove to Southern California. Vito & Dianna live in a beautiful area just outside of Paso Robles, in what is now wine country. We had not seen them for quite a number of years, so we spent an enjoyable couple of nights with them and all of their animals: cats, dogs, and horses. Vito and Martin had worked together for many years, and it is always fun for them to see each other and spin yarns. Dianna is making a name for herself in the wearable art arena, with shows in a variety of locations. 




Vito and Martin solve the world’s problems                                                  Vito and Dianna’s property near Paso Robles



  Dianna and some of her wearable art – gorgeous!!



Martin squeezed in another VA visit in Long Beach, and we proceeded to spend lots of time and money doing more of the big shopping, filling the van as we went. One of our “regular” stops during stateside visits is with Hans & Dianne (jeeez, we have so many “Diane’s” around!!) who live in the greater Long Beach area. We have posted a number of photos of visits to their beautiful home on other pages of this website, and it is truly a lovely, quiet place to regroup after doing a lot of running around.


19-year-old Rocket with his dad, Hans 


One last stop in Chula Vista again, one last last minute shopping spree and a visit with Kathleen, and we were off to the border. With our suitcases on the top rack of the van, and a cooler in view, cats riding in the back, we hopefully looked like a coupla folks off for a camping trip in the Baja as we went to the Tijuana border crossing. It must have worked (again), and we “sailed” across the border. Unfortunately, during the middle of the three days going south, we had (another) tire blow-out. The one-and-only “highway” on the Baja is not very wide, with no shoulder, desert on both sides of the road and steep embankments in most places, lots of big busses and trucks, and nothing for mile and miles and miles… So, when there is road trouble, it can be anxiety producing. We found a more or less level place to pull off the road, put the cats in their carriers, and unloaded all the stuff at the back of the van onto the ground. It was hot. Not long after Martin began to attempt using the jack, a pickup truck with California license plates pulling a big fishing boat pulled in behind us. The nice couple, John & Linda, were on their way to Bahia de Los Angeles, which is a village on the Sea side of the Baja. They had a good jack and some chocks, which helped immensely in getting the bad tire off and the “pretend” tire on for the ride down the road. Thanks to all the great people who are willing to help each other! Catavina is a tiny little “pueblita” that was not too far away, and where we knew there to be a “yard”, full of junk, cars, tires…and hopefully one for us. As it happened, there was a nice looking Aerostar van sitting there amongst all the rubble, with a bashed-in front end. And tires. For the equivalent of a little less than $30US, we had ourselves a good tire! Off we went again!


 Manuel & Martin fixin’ a tire in the middle of the Baja desert



After a couple of quick stops along the way to deliver packages and boat parts to friends on the Sea side, we arrived in Puerto Escondido, grateful to have completed yet another Stateside trip with no big problems. It is always great to spend time with our friends, and family, and love it when they to come visit us here, on our floating home, The Cat’s Meow.


                                                                 One misty morning back in Puerto Escondido….. 



The holiday season is coming up fast, we plan to be on the mainland side of Mexico, enjoying tropical breezes during the winter months. Let us know where you will be. We will be…..Cruising  ~  The Cat’s Meow Style.