A Year of Dreaming …

It was always the dream. When I first purchased the beach house and the adjoining lot in Loreto, I dreamed of expanding the property with a guest house, pool and entertainment area.  After nine years of dreaming, I took the steps with local architect Yvo Leonardo Arias Salorio to draft the plans to manifest my dream.  Contractor Jose Rochin and his crew worked with me to craft a magical home and outdoor world.

The photos below capture the transition from plan stage to completion.  Yes, dreams do come true!

After a couple of dry runs with family and friends, “Casita de Catalina” is finally ready for prime time rental. If you or your friends are interested – first in vacationing in lovely Loreto – and second staying in a dream property just feet from the Sea of Cortez, the property is listed with VRBO .  Photos and rental information can be found by clicking here:  https://www.vrbo.com/966177?unitId=1514132


southward bound

Gads .. Have I really been ‘north’ for over two months?  A 10 day road trip turned into 5 weeks!  Guess I was having a good time 🙂

Cobb Mansion

Started out in Virginia City at the Cobb Mansion, owned by Jeff & Paul (buddies from Loreto).  Friend Carol (used to be from Loreto) flew in from her new home in Austin and we partied and took in the sights for four days.  Met new friends, got to hang out with Lacy J. Dalton, and wandered around Virginia City.

Next stop : Idaho.  My sister Claudia lives in Bellevue, and friend Cynthia (from San Juanico) has a summer home in Hailey.  Buster got reunited with his Baja dog buddies, Pancho and Chica, and Cynthia I had some fine hikes in the Sun Valley area.  Even took in an outdoor symphony!

Buster and Claudia : Silver Creek Float

Claudia and husband Jimmy kept saying ‘stay’ .. so I did.  Jimmy took us flying, Claudia and I floated Silver Creek in their canoe, we took the canoe up to Petit Lake and paddled in ferocious winds (reminder : Jimmy : get another lightweight paddle!), took more dog walks, and then took the big boat out to Magic Reservoir and fished, swam, lunched and laughed.  Alan, from Laguna Beach, showed up in his RV with his kids in the midst of their summer drive.  He and daughter, Lili, joined Claudia, Denise (a Laguna Beach girl from way back) at Z – a sushi spot that has killer rolls.

It was hard to leave sunny Idaho – but I had a bug to go and visit Lila and Diedre in Bandon, and Buster and I took off on small roads, large roads, any roads .. exploring the eastern section of Oregon.  Beautiful country.  We stayed in Bend, drove to and sort of around Crater Lake, and on to the Oregon Coast.

Since I hadn’t planned on Oregon, I’d left surfboards, paddleboards and wetsuits at home. BIG MISTAKE!  There was surf, rivers to paddle and just good fun that next trip, I’ll be sure to be better prepared.

In Bandon, I ran into Norm, who spends his winter’s kite surfing and/or surfing surfing in Baja. Such fun to see friends I know from Mex in out of the way corners of the USA.

I missed ‘home’ .. I didn’t miss the overwhelming heat that blanked the peninsula this summer.  There was one day when the heat index was 135°.  Okay, that might not be quite human!

Glad to be heading south this week.  Can’t wait for whatever surprises wait for me. Time to touch that magical Sea of Cortez.

Pizza and Good Friends

Catharine Cooper & Patrick Humphrey

Catharine & Patrick walking home after (and with) pizza.

One of the treats in San Juanico is the Friday/Saturday night dinners at Dan Alacran Pizza.  The food is great, and the proprietors – Dan & Jackie – make the place almost feel like home.  In such a small community, it kind of is like eating with your family & friends.  And the possibility is great, that if you didn’t know someone when you came in, you will know them when you leave.  Such was the case a year ago when I met/got to know Cynthia Wagstaff, who is now one of my best friends.

Cathy, Pat & I were definitely ready for a shift from fish tacos.  After a fun day of surf and hanging out at the beach, a pizza and cold beer were on the agenda.  We watched surf videos – a staple of the pizza house –  always hopeful to catch a shot of ourselves (ha ha) in amongst the hot doggers with fabulous rides from second point all the way to first.  Perfect SJ friendships.

After dinner, we walked the short dusty street back to Cynthia’s house for ‘movie date.’   Another great end to a great day!

2 days and counting …..

Sunrise in Loreto

Countdown to Friday departure as the Baja Peninusla lures me south once again.  This trip, I’ll again have the joy experiencing the extraordinary and diversified beauty of the long finger of desert, rock and mountainous terrain.  If you’ve never done the drive, then you don’t really know Baja.

Cathy and Patrick are packing their respective bags.  This will be Cathy’s first road trip, and I’m excited for her to experience the open spaces.  We’re still jockeying between one or two cars .. but in any event, the clock is ticking and soon the open road will be under our wheels.

Plan is first night at El Jardin, the most serene motel tucked off the road just north of San Quintin.  The gardens surrounding the motel are amazing – even a small grove of orange trees fills out the back.  Early Saturday, we’ll book it for Loreto, checking into “Casa de Catalina” for a day’s road rest.  Supplies will be gathered and a joy trip to the Tiligues (Sunday open air market) to fill out the fresh veggie/fruit part of our food group.  Either late Sunday, or early Monday – depending on surf and social life conditions 🙂  – we’ll make the drive to San Juanico, surfboards and suntan lotion loaded on the Explorer.

The last two days have been registration, insurance – and the procurment of a sentri transponder for my car – the second in the ‘fleet’ – for easier crossing back into the United States.  It’s part of the Trusted Traveler Program of Homeland Security and it’s nice to be a vetted American.

Promises to self this trip : Stop for more photographs. Take time to sketch and to paint. Surf ’til you drop!

Dreaming gets Easier …

Always looking for waves ……

Baja dreaming gets easier/sweeter when I’ve another trip that’s within striking distance .. This one, just ten days out, and I will head south.  I’ve got a short stop in Loreto to pick up extra boards and supplies .. and then head to San Juanico for a few days of sun and play.

With luck, we’ll get a bit of a bump from a New Zealand ‘disturbance’ due to coincide with our arrival.

Party On!

Oh Grand Birthday Party .. Thank you everyone – esp. Cynthia & Cal

San Juanico Dreaming

perfect wave

Dropping down the face of a perfect wave

Swells hit the points in the sleepy Mexican village – at least that’s what my girlfriend, Cynthia emails to me.  My  mind drifts to turquoise waters and waves that wrap around the points across the open bays.  Some of my most fun surfing – ever- happens here.  For the most part, everyone in the water is friendly, no one is too agro about sharing waves, and the energies of the sea, the sky and the desert all come together to make surfing bliss.

When I’m stuck in the states, my heart wanders… to the waves, the friends that are shared.

Last trip I met the “La Ventana” Group .. Irene & Ron, Norm, Kento & Jeff .. all who camped above second point and spent their hours on the water on their SUPs – Stand Up Paddle Boards.  The boards are a new addition to the SJ waters – and not loved by all.  What they can do is surf during the tides that are not conducive to normal surf.  Waves that are too slow .. or don’t ever really get around to breaking.

As with all journeys, there were high points and low points.  Good times at John Fields house ..of Juan & Juan .. I’ve never met the other Juan, but John and his wife, Carol are the sweetest folks.  He started with a garage, expanded it to several, and it makes up his ‘play box’. With a prime location overlooking the surf, parties at John’s house are always fun.  He cooks a mean hamburger – but watch out for his margaritas – or so I’ve been told.

Donn Stein – who had first loaned me a surfboard a year ago and sent me down my re-surfing passage – was already in town with his girlfriend and her daughter when I arrived.  Ran into them at Pizza Friday – and then again in the water.  Donn always wears a big smile.

Spent some time in the water with Dennis Choate.  Fun to surf with him both north and south of the border.  Still waiting for that promised surfboard 🙂

The waves came up .. the waves went down.  George Granger had been in town with his to-be-inlaws – his daughter is marrying a sweetheart, and when the party-goers left, George stayed to surf for a few days.  I gave him a ride back to Loreto and the airport.  It was a nice chance to get to know him better.  He spent a lot of time in Laguna when he was growing up – and we were able to share stories about old times, old houses, and old surf 🙂

Now .. three weeks later, I’m jonesing for some SJ surf.  Coming up!  I’ve got a trip planned for the end of the month  … Going to celebrate my birthday -and with good luck, the wave gods will be with us, and all the folks who said they’d show up will actually make it down and over.

Yep .. San Juanico dreaming ……………