The Cortez Chronicles
 

 

In search of solitude in a raging world . . .

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Of Sand and Wind

A Salinas Family Thanksgiving

November 22-30, 1996

 

(Transcribed directly from the original voice log)
 

Ok, this is our Salinas trip --
Friday, November 22 through Sunday, December 2.
This is the Jeep's maiden voyage to Salinas,
and Veroncia and Doug and M--- went with us.

I'm starting this tape on Tuesday the 26th,
so I've gotta catch up some stuff:
Doug & M--- flew down in a whirlwind
late Thursday night
so we could take off on Friday morning.
Veroncia picked them up at about 11:30 PM
And drove them around getting everything they needed.
We provided a tent.
My soul mate bought two chairs at a used store
and we provided them with the mattress
that looses air
[it lasts about half a night];
and they borrowed a sleeping bag
from their mother;
and so we were on our way
on Friday morning.

We didn't get out of there until about 11:00 AM,
something like that.
Packing was really a problem this time
because we had a bunch of new equipment --
the EZ-Up sun shade, which is working out pretty well,
and a bunch of containers like these ice chest...
these soft ice chest things --
containers to carry things,
and tent stakes,
toys...
a water jug...a two gallon water jug,
a smaller ice chest in addition to the big one --
that you can reach into the top of --
uh, I dunno, bags all over the place...
(we're out of plastic bags for the most part, finally;
And it's really quite nice...)
a container for the spares -- bottle gas and stuff.
Anyway, [packing] took us quite a while, it seemed like.

We didn't do too well getting to the border
because we stopped everywhere,
but [the various vehicles] met
out where loop 101 comes down from Sun City
at I-10,
and [while waiting for the latecomers],
Doug had gone to make some phone calls;
and that took some time.
M--- was looking for a place to live
or Doug and M---, I dunno;
and anyway, they finally got that done
and we got on the road.

Our insurance for this stay through Saturday, 3:00 PM
was eighty dollars and a few-odd cents...
that's with the Jeep valued at $15K...
Friday through Saturday, eight days --
at the Farmers place in Ajo.
Actually, it used to be a Farmers place,
and now its not, suddenly;
but they claim they still have the best insurance rates.

So it took us forever getting through the border...
we managed to get that done
and...uh...it took us until dark (or dusk) to get to Rocky Point.
We gassed up at Rocky Point, filled our cans,
and took off south for Salinas.
We got to the Aduana check point and the guy asked
where we were going and what we were doing,
and...uh...
when he saw the two cases of Modelo he said, oh, uh...
"cerveza Mexicana";
and I said "muy bueno!",
and so then he let us through immediately
without any further check.

And we got down here,
and it was nice
and fairly warm.
There was a bit of a dew,
but we got our camp set up
in our shirt sleeves
and never froze out at all that night
because it was cloudy.
Some wind came up later,
and blew for a day and a half -- through Saturday.
It let down substantially on Saturday,
then kicked up that night;
but by Sunday there was starting to be less wind.
Was it Sunday morning the cloud cover was gone?
And there hasn't been any cloud cover since,
except I looked out in the middle of the night
tonight and saw some clouds...some on Tuesday...
but it's burned off already at about 9:00 this
morning, on Tuesday.

 
Next Nav

Tuesday

And so Veroncia had her tent
with the dog, Shadow --
a dog who doesn't bark at anybody or anything,
but gets antsy if even a non-stranger walks up
and she can't tell who it is.

We camped at our favorite camp spot here, I guess you'd call it --
opposite Bird Island1, on the peninsula,
down a ways [past the cabaņas], where it's clean.

And so Veroncia and Doug and M---...
Doug and M--- had their tent,
and they stayed until yesterday morning...Monday morning.
Doug and M--- have to be back, I guess, sometime Tuesday;
so they're gonna to run back [to San Francisco].
Doug was going to check in with his mother or something
in the evening [before they left].

Fishing The Inlet - Salinas, 1996

And what's been going on?
We saw 2 coyotes.
All of us drove out to the outer dune [via]
the other side of the narrow estuary --
and it was quite a job
getting around the estuary.
Ours were the first vehicles around there
since the recent high tides.
Although I got through the worst area myself,
when Veroncia came around...
I had suggested she put her heavy ice chest in car,
because -- to protect from theft --
there are a few other people up and down the peninsula this weekend.
Uh...that was a mistake!
She had a real hard time.
Oh, it was the maiden voyage to Salinas, I think,
for their vehicle, too, their Toyota --
the one they inherited from G---'s father.
They both [the vehicles] performed well on the [normal] beach.
Ours is running at 20 lbs [tire pressure]
and doesn't have the best floatation,
but it's really doing quite well --
and we went out there and back
without any trouble.
I could let it down further if we really needed to.
Veroncia let hers down to, I think, 14 lbs
due to a problem getting stuck,
but we managed...
we had to unload some people [and the ice chest]
and we took the long way around
due to my taking the right fork
instead of the left fork in the road2.
The left fork in the road is much shorter
and not any sign of water in the roadway
so it was an unnecessary [measure].

That was my soul mate's first shot around to outer dune.
I took them down earlier that day, Sunday,
to fish for a few minutes.
Veroncia had gotten low enough on fuel
she didn't want to use any more,
didn't dare use any more;
and they've been down to the point once or twice...I dunno,
but anyway we saw 2 coyotes out in there
running together on outer dune.
Yesterday evening we saw a fish jump,
about an 8 inch fish jumping like mad,
trying to get away from something out here.
We've seen porpoises up and down the coast,
and lots of pelicans,
and some speed boats that looked like they were run by Americans,
that were going south.

Oh, and they're taking those bones back with them [Doug and M---];
they packed them yesterday, trying to get them through Customs.
I understand Customs doesn't like to let bones through anymore...
I guess they think people are going to kill whales
to take the whale bones back;
but these are old bleached white bones --
good finds!

In addition to the one truckload of men
going by every day [to the point]
standing up in the back of the truck,
there have been 4, 5, 6 pickups back and forth
all day long, maybe 1 or 2 trips a day in each direction
with people and with crates.
We saw one pickup that looked like it had a load of crab
just dumped high in the pickup, of cancer crabs;
and most of them have these crates in the back that I s'pose
are full of oysters, but I'd say it's a
much larger operation than it usta-was --
or it's collecting season or something --
but a they've been going like mad.

We had visitors over the weekend down at the last cabaņa.
Thank goodness we're not there.
We drove through there yesterday...the day before yesterday...
and saw how dirty it was
at the cabaņa we all stayed at [a couple of years ago].
The visitors down there at the cabaņa had a motor home or two --
they had a motor home,
and they had a live-in trailer,
and they had a pickup or so,
and then a trailer with a rail-job3 on it
that looked about like a boat --
metal sides on it --
and it's come up and down here a couple of times,
over the dunes a couple of times;
and we had two people yesterday,
two couples, come down on ATV's
really using the ATV's for transportation --
going along the edge of the water...
out there on the road...
one of them pulling a trailer;
and they went and picked the beach down
north of us for a while and then later came back,
and I think they're camped south of us a ways.

We haven't seen any Mexican visitors,
but its a bit too far for people walking on the weekend --
to come down from where the road meets the beach.

We walked up on top the dunes
the day before yesterday
and looked around up there,
and there's a new fishing installation
that I never saw before
nestled down in the shadows of St. George Bay
down along the base of the peninsula on the inside.

We noticed on our map that the upper part,
the major open part of St. George Bay
is called St. George Bay,
but the lower part, the shallow part, is called Salina Bay,
which surprises me that I never noticed that before.

Pretty chilly this morning outside,
but it was warm in the tent all night, pretty much,
except the air got pretty cold finally,
but we stayed warm.
The night before, my feet were cold.

The Happy Campers - Salinas, 1996

Oh, yeah, my soul mate woke up
and found that water had come up around the tent4,
but that's another story. . .

My love has cooked me the most fantastic breakfasts every day --
eggs, hash browns, sausage, jalapeņos, toast, coffee --
all kinds of good stuff...

Well, some Mexicanos went by a little bit ago
[in a large truck --
most were standing in the bed of the vehicle] --
and sort of got stuck in front of us;
it looked like they just
stopped [on beach below us]
and couldn't get started again.
They borrowed the shovel when offered,
and dug out and went on,
then stopped down the beach again --
[they're fighting the sand
with two-wheel drive and duals,
and I imagine they hardly have
the power to keep it going.]
This is some of the hombres
who work at the tip of the peninsula.

There are lots and lots of dolphins going by today;
"Look up there, sweetheart, there're
another four to five in a cluster right up here".

A few pelicans flying back and forth today; not many.
Or are they gulls? A few gulls, I guess.
There's absolutely no wind today;
glassy sea and warmest yet.
My soul mate has decided to sketch Bird Island, over there.
Lots and lots of dolphins going by in groups.
They're going south today;
yesterday they went north, I think.
And this being November,
the latest in year that I think we've ever camped...
uh...not the coldest, but the latest in the year,
I wish to note that there are lots of flies
that have come into the tent;
and we saw one stink bug a couple days ago
out on the ground,
and we see lizard tracks
and heard one coyote in the distance one night,
and that's all5.

We hear a lot of droning of boat engines at night,
but there aren't that many boats out there
like you sometimes see in the summertime.

Well, it looks like the people down there by the cabaņas
with the rail-job have gone home.
I don't think I said before that
this is still Tuesday -- Tuesday evening.
We drove to the tip of the peninsula today
and looked around.
We picked up shells; didn't find much,
but we found a few little things.
We found a nice Black Murex,
and a nice tube worm and some other shells,
but nothing spectacular, really.

We've determined that there is a light
on top of the highest peak at Bird Island
that flashes at night.
Hmmm...I think maybe this thing is about do die.
[Batteries going down]

With all this traffic, trucks going back and forth,
we could not see a single float out...
well...we saw one float on the other side of the peninsula
that looked like it got away;
but other than that
we have not seen any floats
suggesting they're still farming oysters6.
It didn't look like they were doing the oyster thing now,
but we've seen several pickup loads of crabs...
I mean heaped --
just crabs, freshly killed -- go by.
We've also seen what looks like crates of something,
and I figured up to now
they were crates of oysters,
but maybe they're crates of crabs or something.
Also, there are a lot of boats out there [in the bay],
a lot more boats than there used to be,
and although we didn't see any of the floats
the operation is certainly bigger than it was,
whatever they're doing.

No wind all day today again,
or yet for the first time, I dunno.
It's been a bit quieter today
and it's a beautiful day;
I mean it's going way too fast
this beautiful day with a beautiful wife.

Well, we're sitting here talking [at dusk].
The moon hasn't come up yet;
we turned off the lantern after supper
for better visibility, and there are
lots of boats on the water.
Rocky Point was lighting up in sky quite a bit.
My soul mate just saw a fairly magnificent flash
low on the horizon roughly to the north.
It was a bit like an explosion;
it went from a central point outward in both directions
and then disappeared, all in the space of a second.
It was over the water,
between the glow of Rocky Point and bird island;
maybe a rocket taking off,
but I guess we're not gonna know what it is.

 
Next Nav

Wednesday

Wednesday morning;
we've got a wind again.
It's not bad, but sure as heck is cooling off the day a lot.
It's not doing much blowing the tent around or anything,
but it's making good size waves
compared with what we had,
compared with the glass we had yesterday.
It came up during the night.

We've got a lot of birds around here
on the various points of land;
some cranes, a pelican or two, sea gulls.

Oh...we got rained on a few minutes ago.
It's not even noon yet,
and there's not a cloud in the sky
except this one little thing --
and its off to the west --
and suddenly its sprinkling on us like mad.
It didn't last long.
It was really funny --
my soul mate saw a rainbow about 2 hours earlier over bird island.
Anyway, other than a cool day because of the wind,
everything is fantastic!

I got another great breakfast this morning
and now my love is reading all the health tips,
while I'm having my 2nd cup of coffee.

Oh, the lightning last night...
the flashes of light last night were lightening,
my soul mate has decided...
I never really got to see it,
but she finally saw a streak
behind a cloud or something, I guess.

It started out fairly warm in the tent last night,
then suddenly we got a horrible chill;
but I was warm enough with my socks on again...
dressed up heavily in my socks [in the sleeping bag].
And then when I awoke in the middle of the night,
it seemed freezing at first,
but by the time I was done writing down those dreams
it didn't...a...it seemed warm.
The surf hitting the beach up here,
was making those white strip lines,
like lighting up in the moonlight, or diatoms or something
and running along the beach...down the beach
as the surf hit7.
It was lighting up like those nose strips that I use
when you tear 'em8.

 
Next Nav

Thursday - Thanksgiving Day

Thursday, after breakfast.
It's a bit after lunch time --
12:00 or something.
The tide is on its way in.
There's about a...what'd I figure out?
About an 8 foot tide today, I think, is all;
and a 12 foot tide tonight
maybe it's more'n that...
a 12 foot one tonight, I know, I'm not sure about today's.

We had a horrible, horrible blow last night.
Well, it wasn't as bad as I've seen;
we didn't let the tent down,
but we took the shade off the sun shade...
took the top part of the...the cloth off the sun shade [frame].
We had to reinforce the tent
because the main cross support kept coming apart at the top.
We roped it down,
not only the front and the back, but across the top,
which is I think the first time we've ever reinforced
across the top of that thing9.
And we sat in...about mid-afternoon we went into the tent to stay --
ate our supper in there,
cooked our supper in there
and played cards until about 1:30 AM,
until it got too cold and too tired to stay awake.
And it blew all night...we had, a...
just before dark we had to put a bunch more sand around the tent
because it was blowing away from the front of the tent like mad,
exposing our stakes,
down to the moist part;
but I figured if it blew all night it would dry out,
and by morning we'd have a big hole in the ground around the tent.
We threw the chairs down in front of the tent
to keep it from eroding,
and it did a pretty good job...
we filled in with sand and threw the chairs down.
It was a kind of a miserable night
because of the blow.
I know my soul mate got really tired of the sound of the wind
and the flapping and stuff,
but I tend to be comforted by a certain amount
of friendly raucous flapping.

All of the boats went home early,
the crabbers or whatever, from the tip of the peninsula,
went home early yesterday,
leaving us the only humans within fifteen miles of the area...
and, I dunno, we stayed out here until about 3:00 PM, I guess,
before going into the tent.

Now, this morning when we got up
there wasn't much wind -- a dab...
but its gaining again,
so I don't know what we have in store.

A Sweetheart Valentine - Salinas, 1996

We had breakfast outside, and it's been a nice morning,
but I hope it doesn't get going real heavy again tonight.
We went out and had a magnificent breakfast --
a Thanksgiving breakfast -- again this morning.
We put the sunshade back up and reinforced everything again;
and my soul mate has drawn me a very wonderful sweetheart valentine
in the sand this morning,
which I've taken a picture of.

 


 
Next Nav

Friday

Friday evening at 6:12 PM;
we just passed Black Gap.
A number of interesting things have happened...
interesting in the course of history,
but not so interesting in other ways...
on our way home, as planned yesterday.

Yesterday evening wound up pretty well
after the picture of the heart in the sand.
We had supper before dark,
then we went into our tent
expecting the moon not to come up for about 3 hours,
and it didn't;
and we played cards until about 10:30 or 11:00 pm --
somewhere in there.

The moon finally came up about the time we went to bed,
or maybe right after;
but it sort of promised to be a heavy night for some reason,
so we went to bed, planning on getting up this morning.
About the time we went to bed
the wind began to blow,
and it blew worse and worse and worse and worse and worse
all night.
At 3:00 in the morning we got up,
and it was just shaking the tent to pieces
and we got out...

I guess before we went to bed
it was beginning to blow
and we staked the rear part, is what we did;
we staked the rear --
not clear across, but just the main piece,
or maybe that was the night before [that]
it was coming apart -- I don't remember;
maybe that's what it was -- the night before.
So anyway, going to bed,
[the wind] was just beginning to come up
and about 3:00 in the morning
like it was really coming apart --
just really blowing the tent.
We decided, well...
like this tent's gonna come down or it's gonna rip,
so finally...
we had to repair the door last night, too,
before we really got to bed,
'cause it kept coming open a little bit
near the bottom...
there were some teeth out [of the zipper],
and we figured it was gonna be flapping,
come completely open and flap during the night.
We wired the zipper where the thing wouldn't go past there,
and...wired it closed.
Anyway, 3:00 in the morning we get up
and decided after a little while
the thing to do was to bring the tent down
before it ripped.

So we brought the tent down at 3:00 am
before it ripped;
and it was really wailing
so we got out.
We leveled everything off inside and did all of our...
so anyway, we brought the tent down,
and, you know, got everything inside down where it wouldn't hurt;
laid stuff down and put stuff away,
[then] laid the tent down [with the stuff inside,
and leaving it staked to the ground,
we threw our folding chairs on it and heaped sand on it],
and got in the car.

And it blew like the very devil
the rest of the night.
We sat in the car feeling rotten,
and I tried to sleep;
and my soul mate pretty much watched the tide all night --
which was really high --
and of course the moon was very bright
until morning, and it was easy
watching the tide in the moonlight...
it was really bright moonlight,
[and the breakers were about 9 feet high].

Clouds At Sunset - Salinas, 1996

[And there was so much noise that you couldn't sleep anyway;
and the vehicle kept settling every couple of minutes --
creak, shudder...
as the sand blew from around the tires,
and it sank deeper into the sand.]

And about 5:30 in the morning or something,
when it got light
we decided, you know, it's time to pack up.

So we got out [of the jeep, dug the chairs off the tent,
and scraped off about a thousand pounds of sand,
and brought it up,
staking and roping and reinforcing it in about every direction] --
and it wasn't that easy in the high wind10,
and there was more tearing...
but we got it done --
and in doing so, got sand in our teeth and eyes and hair,
[and some more private areas.]

So we cleaned out the tent and packed up --
put it back up and went inside
and began to pack --
and it took us until about 11:00 am
to get out of there
[with all the extra complications of the wind]11.
And then we had to pump up the tires
once we got off the beach,
(and the new tire pump worked very well --
the electric tire pump that we bought last summer --
not particularly fast as pumps go,
but particularly relieving
as a replacement of human energy --
at least as good as a spark plug pump, or better,
and with the gauge on it and everything
it was really easy to use,
really wonderful!)

So we had some [hot] coffee
after getting sand in our eyes and teeth and hair,
putting the tent back up in the blow.
And by the time we got off the beach
[the wind] had slowed down considerably,
and it was down to a dull roar
as we finished pumping up our tires.

[The wind continued to decrease]
and it began to look like a pretty nice day about noon,
but I'm sure it was gonna come back.

As we drove off the beach
the breakers were still unbelievable.
They were beautiful all night
from what we could see --
breakers and mist;
but there was sand blowing at eye level [standing]
and breakers -- right up until noon --
were still bombing out there like mad,
just really heavy breakers, even though
we were quite a ways from the water by then;
and the water came up on shore
during the high tide last night
at least as far as it has in times we've recorded
during [the high tide of the month].
But it's several days past now;
the highest tide was supposed to be Monday,
the new moon -- maybe even Sunday before that --
it [looked] like the new moon occurred very early Monday.

(Here, the original log becomes much quieter
in the absence of wind and gear noise.)

But, anyway, we got away from the beach.
We've eaten sardines and had a couple of beers
for sustenance.
There was a scorpion under the tent
when we pulled it, finally,
and folded it up --
there was a scorpion, a little one, you know,
a really poisonous kind...

Coming [up] the highway about 1:30 or 2:00 in the afternoon
we found the road!
We passed the road that goes north past the gold mine
[from] Gillespie's crossing...
we found Gillespie's crossing
[and the road to the gold mine of old],
and we took it!

You, a...coming up the highway from Salinas...
cross through the [Aduana] check point,
and within one to two miles after that, not far,
you pass Al Mejas, the empty railroad station of old --
lines of buildings out by the railroad track.
Right immediately after the check point
or almost right at it
you sort of slowly climb a gradual rise,
and you get to a place on the left-hand side...
it says, "ostion", and there's oyster sales going on there,
and right there, right there, is a road
coming up across the highway, perpendicular,
and going on past the oyster place -- right through
the main oyster sales buildings,
and you look off to the right
and it crosses the track and heads straight out
into oblivion, as far as you can see!
That is the place!12
It's in the right terrain and everything,
and we took it, and it was the original road;
it was very much the same as it ever was --
[several miles across a gently sloping drainage plain to distant mountains,
Over some very precarious washouts,]
past the gold mine13,
through the...between the [granite] mountains,
[a few more miles across a dusty plain] close to the Rocky Point - Sonoita highway,
finally coming out about 3 or 4 miles,
maybe 5 -- east of the highway14.
It comes out on a very good graded...
fairly natural, but graded,
[and rougher than a cob]...road
that is perpendicular to the highway;
and you turn left,
and it's straight as an arrow for quite a ways,
and then winds around [past several ranches --
which used to be thriving,
but I'm sorry to report are now all abandoned],
and comes to the highway.

You come out to an ordinary pasture gate --
with [vertical] sticks and barbed wire;
and you put your shoulder against the post
to remove the [barbed wire] hoop to open the gate
[and slip the post into the loop at the bottom
and back into the upper one] to close it.

And the sign says,
"PARA FAVOR CERRAR"
(please close the gate).

So it comes out on the highway,
and it must be very close
to where kilometer post 32 used to be,
but it doesn't come out the same
because it's a graded road.
It doesn't come out [between] the same stone [pillars]
with the iron gate --
sheep gate stuff...wire...in it15;
it comes out a little bit different somehow.

[So the Gillespie Highway dips through the ditch
and comes right up onto the pavement;]
and immediately, within a quarter mile or less going north
you come to 3 or 4 new buildings
that are being built --
concrete block buildings --
something that looks like a shopping mall or industrial park
that's still [under construction], "Parque Industriale";
and right after that you come to kilometer post 29,
so it ought to be very easy to find.
These concrete buildings look like modern...
like they plan on putting in some kind of a shopping center there.16;

Coming across this road, this Gillespie road,
there are signs over the last third of it,
coming through the granite mountains,
that say you cannot leave the road
because it's a protected area.
I think it has to do with the fauna and flora,
a part of the biosphera protection program.

Anyway, the whole trip across the Gillespie Highway
is as beautiful as ever,
with very thick foliage between the mountains
and some very pretty, yet now vacant, ranches...
some with a lot of shade from mature Salt Cedars...
along the way.
We were very pleased...
[we clocked 3.5 hours on the road
as opposed to five pulling a trailer in the seventies.]

Back to civilization,
we got through the border,
arrived in Ajo by 6:00 pm
and reached Gila Bend before 7:00.

The Cabaņas In Better Times - Salinas, 1995

Ohyeah, while we were
pumping up tires on the high road above the cabaņas --
combing the sand out of our hair,
nursing our wounds and having hot coffee --
we noticed that the wind last night
had blown down the largest cabaņa,
the one we had on occasion camped under
in the early days of my current life.
It was sitting flat on the sand like a hat;
and it was fine yesterday,
so the wind had to have done it last night.
I wish we'd have been there to see it [go down],
but I'm glad we weren't camped under it.

 
November 22-30, 1996
 

 
Navigation

1Actually, anywhere on the Salinas peninsula is opposite Bird Island.

2This is backward; it is the left fork that is far longer and dryer than the right fork when headed around the estuary toward the outer dune.

3Rail-job: home-made sand buggy.

4Shadow Walker: 11/26/1996.

5Not the usual amount of wildlife, except for the insects.

6In past years there have been numerous strings of floats strung out in the mouth of the bay, consisting of perforated flat plastic trays about two or three feet square and containing thick sheets of Styrofoam. A weekend velador once explained to us that oysters attach themselves to the undersides of the floats and grow to over four inches across in four to six months. These are then harvested and taken to market in Caborca via the eight mile stretch of beach, another eight washboard miles of unimproved road, and some 40-50 miles of pavement.

7This is an unusually inarticulate description of what is sometimes incorrectly referred to as a "rip tide". When breakers come in almost (but not quite) perpendicular to the shoreline, the point at which the breaker hits the beach moves laterally along the beach, creating the illusion that something at water's edge is moving down the beach at high speed.

8Stiff adhesive strips which are placed across the bridge of the nose to improve breathing by lifting the nostrils slightly. The adhesive used in the sleeves they are individually packaged in produces light along the tear line when opened, which is easily observable at night when camping or by opening the product in a dark room.

9This is not unusual in a Sea of Cortez blow. Through a lifetime of camping on the playa we have noticed that although many elements repeat from blow to blow, managing a tent under such conditions is always a complete crap shoot. So variable are the effects of wind on a particular tent on a particular beach on a particular night that fresh ingenuity is required each time the election is made to reinforce the moorings instead of letting the tent down; and it is often necessary to heap sand on it to keep it there after you've let it down.

10This is an understatement. In nearly gale-force wind there is only so much that can physically be done to put up a cabin tent. Beyond ingenuity and perseverance in a completely untenable situation, the difference between success and failure is essentially one of shear willpower.

11This was one of the last times we used our 10 by 18 foot cabin tent. It was a fabulous home on the playa, designed to stand in a wind-free environment without ropes; and through over thirty years of roping, tying and sometimes letting down to be covered by blowing sand, it never once let us down in all those years. It was old, walls finally prone to ripping easily, and was no doubt tired; but it had an extraordinary life, used hundreds of times in all manner of terrain, especially deep sand. After this and one later ordeal we committed it to storage for a couple of years and then found a temporary home for it at the Salvation Army in hopes a more permanent one would be found. It made us very sad to loose such an old friend.

12During the waning years of my first life -- children in high school and Mexico travel falling off -- knowledge of how to find the Gillespie Highway was lost in the doldrums of the period, and now in my second life had been one of those timeless jewels awaiting re-discovery.

13It is not advisable to approach the gold mine; and if doing so, extreme caution should be used. It is active and protected around the clock, reportedly with live firearms (even though firearms are illegal for ordinary citizens to possess in Mexico).

14Actually, it is over 7 miles.

15Wire sheep fencing. We've realized since then that the road does meet the highway in exactly the same place; only the gate has been replaced, probably after wearing out in the 20+ years since our last visit. Kilometer post 32 had been temporarily removed for highway construction, but has since been replaced.

16In fact, Parque Industriale had not been completed as of autumn, 2002.
 

 
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