Lunar Photography-Keeping ourselves out of trouble;) hahahaha…not really:)

Photography, both Mike and I have a passion for what we do, his type of photography is far more difficult than mine. I can grab my camera and pop out to shoot a sunset or some amazing flowers, or sit quietly and wait for the hummingbirds (it is good for the soul, this patient waiting) Mike well, he has to set up his telescope, that is an effort in itself….

Set up telescope

Getting ready for a night of observing

First it, the telescope, I don’t think it has a name;) has to be rolled out of the pass through storage on finger pinching ramps, speaking from experience, provided it is even a clear cloudless day/night. Then assembled, not too much of a chore, he waits until dark and starts to check the conditions. It is an 18″ Starstructure aluminium Dobsonian telescope with a fabulous Zambuto mirror for inquiring minds. Earlier he would have been looking through his virtual moon atlas deciding what he might want to focus on, and what phase the moon is in decides that. Once it is dark, and he has checked that the atmospheric conditions are good, “whaaaat is that you ask?” well, steady non turbulent air, and what the heck does that mean. Just like ocean currents, air currents can be clear, or not really murky, but not steady. Mike’s good friend and fellow OAF (Ottawa Astronomy Friends) Attilla and Alan Rahill started Clear Sky Charts.

Clear sky chart

This particular one is for the ranch in Baja but there are over 6000 worldwide! They are astronomer forecasts for “seeing” conditions. It predicts cloud cover, obviously a big deal;) no clouds good, cloudy…very very bad:) as well as transparency, as Attilla wrote: ‘transparency’ means just what astronomers mean by the word: the total transparency of the atmosphere from ground to space. It’s calculated from the total amount of water vapor in the air. It is somewhat independent of the cloud cover forecast in that there can be isolated clouds in a transparent air mass, and poor transparency can occur when there is very little cloud.

Then there is: Seeing, it forecasts astronomical seeing. (It’s an experimental forecast.) Excellent seeing means at high magnification you will see fine detail on planets. In bad seeing, planets might look like they are under a layer of rippling water and show little detail at any magnification, but the view of galaxies is probably undiminished. Bad seeing is caused by turbulence combined with temperature differences in the atmosphere. This forecast attempts to predict turbulence and temperature differences that affect seeing for all altitudes.

Bad seeing can occur during perfectly clear weather. Often good seeing occurs during poor transparency. It’s because seeing is not very related to the water vapor content of the air.

 

Then there is: Darkness, not the Darth Vader kind my geek friends but it shows when the sky will be dark, assuming no light pollution and a clear sky. Black is a dark sky. Deep blue shows interference from moonlight. Light blue is the full moon. Turquoise is twilight. Yellow is dusk and white is daylight. For those who prefer numbers, the scale is also calibrated. The numbers are the visual limiting magnitude at the zenith. (The brightness of the faintest star a standard observer can see straight up.

Then there is Wind-This forecasts wind speed at about tree-top level. The wind forecast won’t determine whether or not you can observe, but it may affect your comfort and the type observing you might be limited to. In particular, long-focal length astrophotography, or observing with large dobsonians require light wind conditions. High wind may be particularly dangerous for larger truss-tube dobsonians which must be disassembled in the vertical position.

and humidity-This forecasts ground-level relative humidity.

Humidity variations can indicate the likelihood of optics and eyepieces dewing.

But dewing is not simply correlated to relative humidity. Dewing tends to happen when the sky is clear, the temperature is dropping and there isn’t much wind. Being on a hilltop or in a small valley can make the difference between no dew and dripping telescopes. Unfortunately, the humidity forecast does not have the spatial resolution to know about small hills, valleys, or observatory walls. All of which can reduce dewing.A sudden spike in the humidity forecast, an hour or so after the cloud forecast predicts a sudden transition from cloudy to clear, when there is no wind, means that ground fog will form. Also, when the cloud forecast is opaque and the humidity forecast is 95%, rain is likely: a good time to cover the telescopes.

and then-temperatures-This forecasts temperatures near the ground. While temperature variations won’t determine if you can observe, the forecast can be handy choosing clothing for cold observing conditions. (In general, dress as if it were 20 degrees F or 10 degrees C colder than the forecast.) Observers with thick primary mirrors should take note of falling temperature conditions because their mirrors may require additional cooling to reach equilibrium and so prevent tube currents.

Cold temperatures also mean reduced battery capacity, stiffer lubricants, stiffer electrical cables and slower LCD displays. Camera sensors will have reduced noise. But, in general, electronics have a lowest temperature at which they will work.

Thank you Attilla for all this amazing information, all this before Mike even gets his camera out…I think I have it easy, I just put my camera under my shirt if it starts to rain:) As I’ve said, Mike’s work is an amazing undertaking. Everything has to be just right to capture the types of images he did above. I can tell when it is going to be a good night, lots of smiles and he is burning the candle well after I have slipped into bed, in the morning he is still processing his thousands of images, taken with a Asi 174mm ZW Optical astronomy video camera, picking out the clearest shots and stacking them with programs on his computer, I just have to open photoshop to crop something:) or get my cell phone out when he is setting up, usually before it is completely dark and start snapping, or clicking, well, my phone doesn’t even make a noise..Ha! This is fun:)

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Now this is too easy-through the eyepiece, taken with my cell phone:)

So, if you see this weirdness going on, don’t hesitate to walk on over and ask as many questions as you’d like and take a look for yourself through this amazing telescope, I’m really thinking it should have a name, the truck is Hagrid, the trailer Myrtle…I’ll put my imaginative name thinking cap on.

FYI, Mike is not an astrologer, nor can he read tea leaves or coffee grounds;)

Saludos amigos. May your skies be dark clear and steady

Baja-so much beauty in the light

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It has to do with light doesn’t it, ask any photographer, amateur or professional and that will be the number one thing we think about, light, and its magical ways of transforming everything it touches. From shadows to illumination, I chase it, hunt it and try to capture the way it works. Now having a spectacular landscape set out in front of you doesn’t hurt does it. Our trip up the mountainside in the mid day light left me feeling disappointed, everything seemed flat, but as soon as the late day shadows started to arrive it was transformed. Layers upon layers appear in the distance as the low clouds reflect the last colour of the day…truly magical.

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And then what happens when we add water and reflections…oh my…a whole new dimension unfurls before us as colours dance across the beach and estuary and colours shimmer across the sky. Light, magical light! Baja is so diverse, you can go from the beach in Camalu to the top of the Sierra de San Pedro Martír to see Picacho del Diablo in an hour and a half…0 to 10,157 feet…remarkable.

This is an enchanted land, all this less than 200 miles South of San Diego. and the food, and the people, and those smiles in the street, genuine smiles. We can live with so little and be happy, it is a lesson many of us need to learn.

Playa Santa Maria

Playa Santa Maria

You can have your choice of beaches as well…this is Playa Santa Maria south of San Quintin at El Pabellon El Pabellon…the crowds are…missing;)

Lengueta arañosa

Lengueta arañosa

or, if you are looking for white sand beaches and…no crowds…Lengueta Arañosa opposite Estero Beach, you can walk for a few miles, sometimes you might meet someone:)

Bahia Camalu

Bahia Camalu

or maybe you want to sit on the cliff tops and watch the birds and surf and rainbows, Cueva del Pirata in Camalu would be your choice.

The long and winding road

The roads will be long, and curvy, most likely full of pot holes, you won’t be travelling too far, too fast but isn’t that the best way to go? Where you can have a California Condor wave good night to you as you head down the long and winding road:)

Saludos amigos-stay tuned.

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If you are interested in the flora and bird life at 5000′ in the Sierra de San Pedro Martír at Baja Dark Skies check out the below links:)

San Pedro Martir Wildflowers            Sierra de San Pedro Martír birds

A day fishing with the Great Egret

Sometimes pictures say so much more than words can:) Sitting on the stone seawall watching this Great Egret, Ardea albain the late day light was fascinating. So much work for such a small fish, tapas, must be better than a buffet:)

I see it!

I think I see a snack!

Splashdown

Splashdown!

Did we get it?

Did we get it?

 

It's a tiny minnow!

It’s a tiny minnow!

 

Just a tiny morsel

Hang on to it!

Down the hatch!

A flip and down the hatch….

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Now on to the next minnow….fishing with an Egret:)

Vive la différence

We met a lovely Canadian couple here camping and spent several evenings socializing and sharing camping stories and information over glasses of wine, and Pernod. I say Canadian because they are, Christine is from England, and Robert is from France, with Spanish origins…but they are Canadian. We discussed what separates Canadians from Americans at times and Robert hit in on the head when he said, you can be in a roomful of Canadians, and every one of them can be from another country, hardly ever is that the case in the US. Vive la différence he said, what a wonderful way of looking at Canadians. Perhaps that was truer to the point several generations ago in the US, but not so much now it seems, especially among RV’ers. They tend to be a homogenous crowd at times.

We cherish our times spent in National Parks, it gives us that “vive la différence” feeling, hearing other languages, sharing stories from other places and listening and learning about other cultures, something we should all spend time doing. It is delightful!

Baja is like that as well, it has attracted an international crowd of visitors and residents at times. Not many people are actually “from” Baja, yes of course, there are many born and raised here and unless your forefathers came over with the Jesuits or the Spanish soldiers in 1697 or if you are of indigenous origins you are probably a new comer to this peninsula, it is a fairly new state, entering into the Estados Unidos de Mexico in 1952 previously it was a territory. Maybe that is why we enjoy it so much.

The differences, the food is a fine example, from Japanese/Baja cuisine at SEKI, to delicious Greek dishes at Taberna Dimitri’s in Valle de la Guadalupe to the fusion of Mexican at Boules. Mexicans LOVE food, perhaps that is also why we enjoy being here so very very much:) With our friends the conversation always shifts to eating. Is there a bad taco? Perhaps, but hard to find here if you look for a crowd at a foodstand, chances are it is very good:) Damn…I’m getting hungry, always seem to want to go eat something delicious here or enjoy a glass of vino tinto, it’s 11am, maybe I’ll wait on the tinto, but lunch is coming up soon, how about a shrimp cocktail, or…ceviche de pulpo…

Pulpo ceviche

I’m off to eat lunch now-Saludos amigos and remember….Vive la différence!!!!

April 2039CSs

Spring…please…

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Those first daffodils and sweet peas send shivers up and down my spine, Spring-please…the latest bit of rain will let life explode as the temperatures warm during the day and the hummingbirds will be wild. So much bad news in our world, guns, death…I think I’ll simply try to focus on what is right with our world. Not that these guys are exactly peace mongers, they fight quite viciously for their territories and ladies.

 

…at least it is hand to hand, er, I mean beak to beak…so far I have not seen any gun-toting hummingbirds, that’s a relief;) I often wonder what is wrong with a society that feels the need to arm itself to the teeth, and does not think twice about taking lives over pocessions or material things. It’s all just stuff and these weird things we call beliefs, that we are somehow better than some other human being because of our race, or religion, or who the hell knows what…the current trend in Christianity seems to not exactly be following its own rules about brotherly love…or any of its sacred commandments. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Christian, I don’t believe in any organized religion, if that is your thing, I respect that, but the only thing I can worship is this amazing world we live on…our pale blue dot…that amazing planet called Earth.

 

I saw a great cartoon last week, can’t find it now, of Darwinist’s going door to door, preaching evolution, at least it made me smile:) not much in our current world that does but I hope that the next generation gets to marvel at the same things we have…the animals, the wild, the moon and planets…

 

The fact we flew to the moon…gives me hope, not that we want to run away from this amazing planet we live on, just that we may find some hope in exploration, not wars, not greed, not in bipartisan politics but in curiosity and a longing for knowledge…a thirst that can be something bigger than us…there is still hope:) I hope:(

Saludos amigos, a bientot! We did go here:)

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Blue Moon, Red Moon, Super Moon, enough hype, let’s just all look at OUR moon:)

Total Eclipse, January 31 2018

Total Eclipse, January 31 2018-yes, the moon here is actually a reddish colour;)

So, we were all bombarded with the media hype about the eclipse, the blue moon, the red moon, the friggin’ super moon, geez, enough of all the hype and crap! Are we as a populous so blasé and laissez-faire that we need to ignore this event and not go out and look at one of Mother Natures amazing sights  ( it’s free, no charge, how often does that happen)…and if that is the case, wow, humanity, you are doomed…wake up folks! It is about our WORLD, an astounding place that so many people do not stop and even think about as they go about their daily lives, replenished by the air we breathe and the fresh water we drink, the less than healthy”comida chattara” or fast food you eat…are so many so asleep. I dare not even try to answer that question…

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Moonrise in the Sierra de San Pedro Martir-breath in that air!

So, a few rules here, if you have not watched Neil de Grasse Tyson rant about this, I’ll cover it again…Super Moon…if you have two pizzas on a table, one is 16″ and one is 17″, do you call the 17″ pizza a SUPER pizza, or is it just a slightly larger pizza, correct answer, it is just a slightly larger pizza, you would not be able to tell the difference in the sky between the two if your life depended on it, especially if I am having to explain this to you…read, be informed:) This particular full moon is closer to the Earth in its orbit, known as perigee. Since the lunar orbit around the Earth is elliptical there are times when full moon coincides with its nearest position to Earth….science 101…

Blue Moon, enough, leave that to Billie Holiday to sing about in her stupendous way, it IS NOT blue for the millionth time;) It is simply the 2nd full moon that happens in the same month. Since the 2nd of January was a full moon and the next was the 31st of January, the 2nd full moon of any month is known as the ‘Blue moon’. It’s nothing to do with Blue color…OK, got it!

Red Moon-Ok, here we do have a red moon, or blood moon, are we still cavemen? The reason why the “Blood Moon” takes on a reddish colour during totality of an eclipse is due to a phenomenon called “Rayleigh” scattering. The Blood Moon turns red because of the way the moon is illuminated by sunlight which has been filtered and refracted by the earth’s atmosphere as it lines up during a total lunar eclipse…OK, that is settled…

So, did you actually get your lazy ass up out of bed and go watch it? I’m sure some of you have circumstances in your life that did not allow you to get up and look out a window, maybe you were in prison, or trapped in a well, where is Lassie when we need her, or maybe it was cloudy, or not visible from where you are located, I’m truly sorry if that was the case for you, then disregard my rant.)  We live in a world dominated by our little devices, some relied on the pictures they saw there but they did not “experience” it, the darkening of the sky, the drop in temperature, the light slowly fading as a red hue overtook the moon, that is what it is all about, experiencing it, not just reading about it…

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These guys are up early:)

Next eclipse in North America…check out the link and try to experience this amazing phenomenon:) we only live once and it is a fleeting amount of time:)

Saludos amigos-get out there and try to breathe in some fresh night air and enjoy a sunrise or two:)

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Sunrise Ensenada-Baja California

“What if I fall?” Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?

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Birds, it all started with my fascination with the hundreds of hummingbirds that passed in migration at the ranch in Baja, many stayed all year, in the snow and cold ( yes, it snows in Baja, our ranch was at an elevation of 5000′) it was fascinating to watch them, both the visitors and the residents. From that grew a love to just sit and watch these beautiful creatures and also a study of their everyday life, some are comical, some are quite serious, all have something to offer, be it a song, a dance, or as a clean up crew.

The Reddish Egret is the king of the dancers here at Estero Estuary. Watching it leap and prance, twist and twirl after a fish is remarkable, the agility is astounding and the comic relief, well, priceless:) Sometimes I can watch from the stone seawall, other times I don the reef shoes and venture out into the mud and sand flats where the Egrets are fishing. As the tide goes out schools of fish caught in the pools are easy prey.

I have a soft spot for the Egrets and Herons, they are so large some of them, perhaps easier to photograph than the tiny lbb’s, or lgb’s…little brown birds, or little grey birds;) They tend not to be too flighty, if you walk slowly and stop and just sit and watch they seem to stick about. Sometimes I bring my tripod along but mostly I just shoot handheld, could explain why my shoulder hurts here;) at over 5.5 lbs for the lens and Canon 6D it is heavy…I should use perhaps a monopod, I need to get into the practice of that. I have discovered I need to back away from the 400, it is soft, at 350, I get a sharper image with my older 100-400 L IS, one day I’ll spring for the newest lens,  a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens…sigh…pricey or an alternative are the Sigma or Tamron 150-600MM…you can lighten your pocket-book very quickly with all these amazing lens and cameras! Anyone want to buy me a new one? Just checking:) In the mean time, I make do with what I have, I’m still learning daily things I can change!

I’ve learned I can speed up, or decelerate the autofocus, the tracking sensitivity, will probably drive myself mad doing this as every time I change it I’m not sure if it really helps or not;) Especially useful when trying to focus on the hummingbirds:) They still are my favourites. I have only seen the Anna’s here at the estuary but I’m sure Allen’s and Rufous come through in the late Fall and early Spring.

Photographing birds and walking cats does not always go together but can produce some interesting results;) They are usually on the leash but here we can let them go to run in the sand and play, supervised. Gamora stalked the Great Blue Heron a few days ago but as she got closer realized just HOW big it was and sat and just watched. They are very quick to see what is flying overhead as well. The Long Billed Curlew puts up quite the squawk at a 100 feet away and the cats just watch. I do worry about the Northern Harrier female, she took a look at them the other day as she flew over…

Most people point out the Vermilion Flycatcher as they walk by. Such a colourful bird. They always want to know what it is:) There are several pairs about here and they are constantly landing very close on signs and the seawall. There are the regular cast of House Finches and White Crowned Finches as well as a few Warblers and Phoebes catching flies by the edge of the sand. I should spend more time walking inland, I’m sure I would see some new residents, it is just there is so much to see in the water!

Every year the estuary changes, last year it was full of deeper tide pools with anemones, more storms, more turbulence, this year all the deeper pools are gone, flatter shallow ones have taken over. The residents are still here, Long Billed Curlews and Whimbrels, I can finally tell the difference, that eye stripe! The flocks of Willets and Dowitchers and Sandpipers, Plovers and Killdeers. I still have trouble with all the yellow legged guys, keeping them separate;)

So, as you can see, there are a few birds here:) The question I get asked the most..is it safe. Over and over again. I have to tell you, I feel safer here in Ensenada than in San Diego so birders…be brave…drive South a few hours and experience this amazing place, not only is there a great restaurant here at Estero Beach, beautiful rooms, and many things for SOB’s (Spouses of birders) to do:) including a museum!

Did I mention the flocks? not of sunburned tourists but these;)

There is such an amazing variety of life here. Yes, over a few seasons, mostly we are here in December and January, but have spent parts of March here as well as a few weeks over the summer. Migration is always interesting as well as breeding season.

and…did I mention tacos? Mariscos? wonderful wine country, am I sounding like I work for the Ensenada tourism board? I should:) Are there dangerous creatures…why of course, if you are a fish for example;) or a small to medium-sized plump bird…

You might be in trouble if, lets say if you are mixed up with the drug trade…then these guys are here to clean up;)

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Vulture humour;) It’s not 85 degrees here I might add. The Pacific keeps the temperatures moderate, if you want heat you can go inland to wine country…salud…or stay out at the somewhat cooler coast. Either way you are in for a treat, friendly people, bring your phrase book, it never hurts to try, amazing food and wine and birds…lots and lots of birds, so you birders try something new…if you’re still apprehensive and want information on insurance, roads, hotels etc, send me an email…astrogypsies@gmail.com and I can help you with questions you might have…Happy New Year 2018 friends, let’s make it an adventurous one! Viva Baja!

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FYI, all these bird and landscape shots were taken here at Estero Beach Hotel and RV Park-Ensenada-Baja California Norte:)

The challenge of full-time Rving-Part 2 of….?

My first thought when I asked my husband Mike what he found challenging about RVing was he might just say, “Well, you”…he has a wonderful dark sense of humour…I think;) Ha! We get along very well, never yell at each other when we are backing into hideous sardine like RV spots, or when branches nearly wipe out our AC units on the roof, or well, anytime, we’re not yellers;) He gave me some of what he considers challenges in Rving.

#1-Being led astray by your GPS, I think he was referring to one state park in particular in Missouri that we were led down what could only be called an extremely narrow and branch covered small road that DID not lead to the State Park, we were not certain we would be able to turn around let alone back all the way out! Luckily a small what I would call dirt path swung around and we manged to get going back the direction in which we came…I’m still buffing scratches out of the paint. “Yeah”, the lady at the park entrance said” it happens all the time”…”Could you not put A BETTER SIGN UP AS$%LE” was going through my mind as I checked in…so, double-check your routes and use google earth and other maps to check on where you are going, makes life easier especially after a long day driving…drivers get cranky;) Check out the many blogs as well as RV park review sites…it might save your marriage;)

#2-Rough roads with multiple dips that have you feel like you’re on a bronco ride for real, in a 9,500 lb truck pulling the 18,500 lb. trailer, once it gets going it can be scary, especially if there are no dip signs to warn you that you are about to be bounced about, the 405 through LA is like that…OMG, will never do that freeway again and parts of 52 in San Diego that were built on top of a garbage dump…crazy once that rig gets a bouncing, Hang on cowgirl!! YIKES!

…or roads so narrow your husband accuses you of trying to kill him, he doesn’t like heights or drop-offs, but hey, I’m a photographer…hahahahahahahaha! I like a view!

If you can’t guess by now, Mike does most of the driving:) yup, I navigate, mostly quite well but I do occasionally get him off on a road we should not be on..oops…we are used to really bad roads after living in Baja for 8 years but man, some states, Indiana and Illinois fix your toll roads, I have to pay for that crap and lose my fillings to boot!

Our fix for these sometimes small and at times wonderful little roads that take you to amazing places is scouting. We’ll find a place nearby and do a day trip out to see if can we get in, is the ground too soft, can we actually get over that dip…and frequently all of the above, hauling a 37′ trailer about makes you think twice sometimes about where to go but it can take you to magical places where your jaw drops and a perma smile comes over your face:) That is Playa Santispac above in Southern Baja…:)PR D

#3-Driving on windy days…don’t do it, as they say here in Baja-No vale la pena-not worth the pain… If you can’t stand against it, you shouldn’t drive in it:) and try to park parallel to it if you can, geez, and I didn’t think a trailer could move about like a boat, I was wrong:) Do they have spring lines for trailers?;)

#4-Unpalatable neighbours selling crystal meth and pit bull puppies right next door…yes, it does happen from time to time. Especially those county parks. I don’t have pictures of them;) The staff do their best to keep these places well stocked with friendly neighbours and honestly I have much admiration for the camp hosts that have to help the police chase people about in their parks…not something I am quite willing to do yet;)

So that was all the significant other could come up with, he scratched his head for quite a while. He has a wealth of experience backing hay wagons up into small barn mows and into riding arenas so I think he was in pretraining for years for this, as well as parking large horse trailers in lots with very inexperienced folk learning how to do the same:) Isn’t life an adventure:) There have been a couple of times we have wanted to go over and offer to park a couples trailer but the mood surrounding their disastrous parking attempts made it feel quite dangerous;) Ah…the challenges of RV living:)

What makes you crazy in the rving world my friends? I’d love to hear!

Saludos amigos and stay tuned, perhaps time for the positive sides of RV living:) Here is one:) The ever changing view out our back window:)

Ensenada sunset

The view out the back window:)

The challenge of full-time Rving-Part 1 of….?

It was a great question. I just joined a group on Facebook called Full Time Freedom, it looked interesting and we’ve had so many helpful hints I thought we might be able to add a few things after doing this for almost two and a half years now, hard to believe we left from here in August 2015 on our maiden trip on Myrtle 1. Seems like such a distant memory. So what can be challenging….these views, nah….but….

12-12-Crescent moon sign

Borders.We love our voyages across North America but the border crossings can be a challenge, getting there, and figuring out how to get back without waiting in line for most of your day…getting into Mexico, always a relief, but heading back across and dealing with the Stazi at the US border..always intimidating, even when you have nothing to hide, or maybe, that extra bottle of mezcal…sigh…the cats FYI have never been an issue except at State Parks in New York where you have to fork over a copy of their rabies certificate or leave…at least you can eat well waiting at the Tijuana border:) It can be a challenge to negotiate the various food carts and umbrellas with a large trailer, we once wiped out a stop sign at the pedestrian cross walk in TJ just before the US stalls…oops, we go Tecate now on our way back;)

Moving too fast and too often, it is a waste of money and effort, there are often sizable reductions in weekly/monthly fees compared to a few nights. So, slow down, hopefully it will all be there tomorrow, well, you might want to visit Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Monument in Utah first, who know what the nasty orange mop will do next, what’s a few million acres less to see…

Finding people who think like you, feel like you and are passionate about some of the same things. We run into them in Canada and Baja more frequently but they are out there everywhere, somewhat more adventurous, less fearful and viewing the world with an open mind. We tend to avoid all talk of politics until we know if we will be lynched or not…”All RVers are Republican” an older gentleman told me last week…no….sorry Jim, they are not, the challenge can be finding them…we often feel like teenagers at many of the SW parks in winter, yeah, we’re just not quite that old yet and golf is not on our daily to do list.

Eating well…yes, a challenge we ran into running the midwest gauntlet of discount grocery stores that were entirely filled with frozen food aisles…0_0….

We love farmers markets and taco stands, small local grocers and bakeries and free range eggs, preferably from the farm. It takes an effort in many places to find these spots but it is extremely worthwhile. We love the Latin, Lebanese and Asian markets, the prices are right and so much less packaging, and you can learn how to cook that weird-looking green you picked up at Ranch 99:)

Letting go of all that stuff…now that is a hard one as we still have a 20′ x 8′ shipping containers at my brothers, we have been paring it down each visit, deciding what we really don’t need and why did I pack that and keep it? You may always want that storage unit, who knows, just saying, you don’t have to let everything go right away, or maybe never:) but, for those hoarders out there…well…you will be limited to post card and stamp collections perhaps;)

So that’s a start, challenge wise, I’m sure I will come up with a few more as we go and I’ll add-on in part 2, but for now, I need to go eat a shrimp coktel…oh dear…it can be a challenge for Vegans as well…

Stay tuned Amigos, that will be another story to share from our house to yours, whether it be large, small, on wheels or in the water. Saludos amigos!2016-12-24 131Asign

I bearly made it through the week, and other bad bear puns;)

Groot had quite the surprise yesterday morning, a new visitor to the trailer, not the usual Golden Lab, Lucas, that Regan and Sheila have but…a black one…wait a minute, Groot was pretty sure this was not one of those evil dog things but something completely different so he let us know…meow….!!!

Groot and bear

That is NOT a dog!

Come and take a look! He was jumping from window to window. Mike said “Bear”…I said, “yeah, right”, I’m not getting up before sunrise…”NO REALLY! BEAR!!!” that did get me up! Holy guacamole….a bear indeed.

 

He was feasting on the sunflower seeds in the “squirrel” but not bear proof bird feeder. I sent the feeder manufacturer a shot as well, they had a chuckle and hoped my feeder survived, it did! We watched him for 15 minutes as he picked the seeds out of the feeder, finally shaking them out before licking them up off of the ground. He eventually wandered off to the other cottages along the lake, I’m sure he has his routine:)

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I think I will sit and eat

Another day at Otty Lake, life is an adventure isn’t it! So wonderful to be able to experience nature this close and marvel at the wonder of it.

So until next week amigos. We’re off to do some fishing from the canoe, perfect day. I’ll see if I can contain myself bearly 🙂  I’ll need to get my bearings, oops, after we bearicade the door, or yes, these puns are unbearable;)

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Wonderful day

 

The “me” people…go back to your safe worlds

4-12-Tranquilidad

At the end of my life, whenever that may be, I’ll have no regrets. I try to live my life with a passion and spirit. I don’t expect safety nets and guaranteed results, I build with my hands and use my mind to do what I do, be it photographing and learning more of the craft, or looking back at the amazing building we have done at the ranch with the help of many non “me” people. Humble people, who take the time to think about someone else, offer them food, when they have little, or their time when things do not go right. They often get taken advantage of, these nice people sadly it what seems like a world of burgeoning “me” folk. The US is currently being run by one of these types of humans, and others seem to worship and admire this kind of animal. the money-making animal…

They are like the Rufous of the hummingbird world ( though nowhere near as cute) 🙂 everything revolves around them with no consideration for anyone else they may be affecting…it is a sad commentary that these people exist all over the globe, some more in some countries than others, privileged people…educated people pursuing PhD’s and being successful financiers, well, they think they are, or someone perhaps has told them they are…

They are dead inside, from fear, from taking any risk, so much fear, Maybe that is what drives this type of person. Fear. So very sad to see but Karma has a way of dealing with things in the world.

I’d like to say I’m a trusting person, I’m not, but I can be accommodating and compromising. But maybe no more, perhaps I should take a stance more often and demand what I think is right, and walk away from what seems unethical. Think more about me? no, us…:) I’ve been used, and it doesn’t feel nice when that happens but it generally clears the way to move on to something better and brighter, which it has, strange how that can happen:)

Saludos amigos-peace to all-live a life you love:)1-18-Long exposure

 

 

Good Bye 2017

Where did it go, it just seems like a few months ago we were here, 2016…

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Now we look upon another challenge, writing 2018 instead of 2017, less and less of a challenge as we are increasingly digital,we don’t have to ask anyone what the date is anymore, let alone the year;) Is it a time to reflect? make goals? I’m not really sure. I don’t spend a lot of time looking back, yes I have wonderful memories, maybe I’d like to keep them stashed until I have to make a withdrawal, right now, I’m still busy filling the memory bank:)

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Whadya mean the year is almost over???

We consider ourselves to be so very very lucky, healthy, except for the current stomach flu that has Mike layed up, first time either of us have been sick this year.  Able to travel and see the world from our trailer, our mobile home on wheels:) We love this lifestyle of change and new exploration. Do we long for home? That faraway mythical place you feel for, long for, sentimentalize. The German word, Sehnsucht (German pronunciation: [ˈzeːnˌzʊxt]) is a German noun translated as “longing”, “pining”, “yearning”, or “craving”, or in a wider sense a type of “intensely missing” something. That is the thing or feeling, usually when we end up somewhere we find not unlivable, but just not right, for us. Does that happen a lot? No, we pick and choose our spots as carefully as we can, we know what brings us peace, no traffic, no noise, just the sound of the wind in the trees and dark skies, those are our favourite places, all over North America. wonderful to have the choice of so many.

And here we are in a city, Ensenada, vibrant and jostling with life, that is wonderful too. It takes so many places to make an experience come to life. Here, it is on the street, food, juggling, life, lots and lots of life. Not shut away in shopping malls or everyone in their cars hurrying to one place or another, that has such an empty feeling of disconnect for us.

Here the feeling is one of a slower more deliberate pace, I like that. Food gets prepared in front of you, you watch, and wait, and it is OK to wait, we don’t need everything NOW NOW NOW…that is trap. Maybe that is what I need to take away from 2017, a feeling of slowing down…it is wondrous thing. Play with your cats, kids, dogs…smile at strangers, sit still, smell the air, close your eyes, breathe…

Be amazed…at anything and everything….at anyone…

Marvel at our universe and try to feel very very small…it truly puts everything into perspective:)

We raise a glass of cheer to you at the end of this year and share here, tidbits of our lives, what we have learned, looked at and loved. We hope 2018 will bring very much more of the same. We hope you have enjoyed our journey and continue to do so, we are thankful for so many friends, new and from the past… and the kindness of strangers:)2017-12-28 042AS

Feliz Año Nuevo amigos and here is to more adventures under the sun and moon:)