Thursday, January 19, 2017

Chiricahua National Monument and a Little Surprise

As 2016 was coming to a close, we made our way from the deserts of Baja to the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico. Winter started to slap us in the face with temps near freezing. We hastily spent many days getting El Tigre ready for the upcoming winter months, while parked in Tuscon, Arizona.

Our eventual goal was to arrive in Denver where our friends, Melissa and Dave, had our winter toys stored in their basement. On the way, we hit Chiricahua National Monument.

This national monument protects the amazing rock formations that formed over the past 27 million years (!!!) due to erosion. Erosion is pretty cool.

Heather getting ready for a failed attempt of a head stand

We were amused with all of the "named" rock formations. Try to guess what these formations are named - some of them are more obvious than others (answers follow the set of pics):

Answers: Old Maid, Camel, Punch and Judy, Duck on a Rock

On to Denver we went, where we spent a couple of nights with Melissa and Dave. We ate yummy food, played cards, and enjoyed their cute pets.

Scott and Oscar enjoying their beds

My buddy Melissa making us some delicious dinner!

Cody finally got his bed back

YUMMY dinner! Thanks Melissa and Dave

Prior to arriving to Denver, I checked flights to Detroit and found an amazing deal. Soooo, we flew back to Michigan on Christmas day to surprise my (Heather's) family in Ann Arbor. I am a horrible liar so it took a lot out of me to pull this surprise off.

The surprise worked! We arrived just in time for dinner (although this picture was taken before dessert)!

Winter is tough for us in Michigan because we can't spend as much time outdoors as we are accustomed to.

Aunt Heather and Braxson jumping away the winter blues

Uncle Scott and Braxson playing football during a frigid Michigan winter

My sister introduced us to the art of selfies with a "photo booth" app. We promised we wouldn't share the pics of anyone.

This is how we entertain ourselves in Michigan during the winter

After quality time with friends and family, we headed back to Denver. Next blog post - The Planny Plan Part IV!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Kid Time in Baja

We reluctantly chose to leave our happy place in Baja, and head north back to the USA. Our happy place wasn't delivering (waves, that is) so we decided to head north, do some chores, and start the snowboarding season.

On our way north, we stopped in the Cataviña desert. We've passed this unique area many times, oohing and ahhing at the boulder fields and cacti, but never stopped long enough to really experience it. This time, we spent the night among the cacti and boulders, and in the morning got right to business exploring the area.

Camping in the Cataviña desert, Baja

Within a 0.5 mile area, we explored for more than an hour without retracing our steps. It was very easy to get disoriented. The rock formations, with caves and crevices, kept us climbing and descending the entire time. Our only mistake was not wearing gloves to deal with the abrasive rock.

The elusive Scott-bird, hatching out of his rock egg

Our favorite cactus of Baja, especially prevalent in the Cataviña desert, is the Boojum tree (or Cirio). It's like an upside-down carrot that can grow (slowly) up to 70 feet tall.

A blooming Boojum Tree (straight out of a Dr. Seuss book)

We decided to devote an entire blog post to this place, because we've passed by it so many times without taking the time to explore. If you happen to pass through the area during the winter (when it isn't so hot), take an hour or two to explore. You'll feel like a kid again.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Make America Mexico Again

I guess it's about time we checked in. It's been almost 5 months since our last update, and people are getting worried.

The Pacific coast of Baja has been our home for the past few months. Once we leave, it will sound and feel weird not to smell the salty, desert air, or hear the roar of waves while we sleep. If I've said it once, I've said it a million times - Baja is our happy place.

Some of the beaches we've been calling home:

El Cardón

At one with the pokey desert landscape

My mom recently asked, "what do you DOOOO all day?". My answer, we kitesurf, surf, paddleboard, yoga, run, bike, read, do chores, play instruments (Scott), chat with new friends, get weird flu viruses (related to previous), eat a lots of avocados, cook delicious food, wrangle snakes, and watch the world go by - including cute sea lions and surfing dolphins.

This little rattlesnake had a full belly and was resting under a rock near our tire

The best snake-wrangling husband ever - Mom, you would've FREAKED if you saw this snake!

Just when you think you're alone in the dunes

Watching the world go by

Luckily, for our sanity, we've had very little internet access over the past few months. It's been especially healthy to be free of most media after the election, save some updates via AM radio out of Los Angeles.

We slammed on the brakes and made a u-turn for this picture. This was in the middle of the desert with no other buildings for hundreds of miles.

Specifically, we spent June/July/Sept/Oct in our favorite kitesurf spot - Punta San Carlos. Some of our favorite people also make San Carlos their home during Spring/Summer/Fall.

Julie and Heather enjoying an evening session alone, surfing and paddleboarding

Doing that kitesurfing thing

Some of our favorite San Carlos friends (missing Gordon and Julie/Simon though)

August was jam-packed with quick visits with friends and family in Portland, Oregon and Ann Arbor, Michigan. For anyone bored enough to check, I quickly uploaded ALL the pictures I took of those visits here: Portland and Ann Arbor Visit

During November and now December, we have been exploring the Seven Sisters region, so named for 7 surf spots along a remote stretch of coastline near the middle of the Baja Peninsula. It's amazing that this sort of undeveloped coast still exists so close to California.

Undisclosed spot in the Seven Sisters

We're still in Baja and hope to be here through December. We promise to update more often!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Heating Up In The California Desert

While slowly driving towards our happy place in Baja, we hit Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave desert of California. You would not want to visit these hot, dry places in the summer - we were even pushing it visiting them at the end of May.

We climbed the Kelso Dunes in Mojave National Preserve as the sun was setting and were stunned by the views, lighting, and of course jumping opportunities (pictured below).

The weirdest surprise was the sound we heard while walking at the top of the dunes. It has been termed "singing sand" or "booming dunes". As you walk across the sand, it sounds like a loud, roaring, low-pitch rumble - like a large aircraft is about to crash land on your head. Apparently this happens in only 35 desert locations across the world.

Joshua Tree NP is famous for the copious amount of places to rock climb and of course, the Joshua Tree (pictured below). The name "Joshua Tree" was termed by traveling Mormon settlers in the Mojave Desert in the mid-1800s. The tree's unique shape reminded them of a Biblical story where Joshua reaches his hands up to the sky in prayer.

We worked our way south towards San Diego where we picked up our summer toys (surfboards, kiting gear, wetsuits, etc.) from a storage unit. Stuffed with toys and good beer (well-hidden of course), we crossed the border to spend a couple of months at Punta San Carlos, Baja.

All of that needs to fit in the box?!