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Ahhh back in Mexico

Posted on Saturday Oct 23, 2010

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We've been in Mazatlan for almost a week now and already had the pleasure of going to a dock party (our first in about 5 years as docks are few and far between). Now we are gearing up to store the RV, load everything into a TINY car (cats too!) and drive ourselves to Guadalajara to meet friends and do Sherrell's 5 year milestone checkup (and celebrate her b-day). After that we're continuing to drive our little rental car another 800 miles down to the boat and get it back into shape.

It's great to be back in Mexico and we're excited to see our friends and return to the boat!

I promise to sort through our photos from Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Arizona soon and post them. Really we'll get to it, what else are we busy doing?

Here's a teaser photo of us on a cliff in Zion. You can dangle your feet off the edge and watch the dots of buses straight below drive underneath them 1000's of feet down.

Traveling the US

Posted on Saturday Oct 2, 2010

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Since internet access is almost impossible to find, I'll have to just give a brief update.

We toured Kuna, Idaho. All I can say is I have seen the future and it is grim. Can you say sprawl? The tiny town I grew up in now has a 4 lane road leading to it and the town is overrun with development communities. It's a mess. Strip malls are everywhere for as far as the eye can see in Boise.

Well, anyway, we went to Craters of the moon, where it SNOWED on us. Our heater and solar panel broke. If that wasn't enough the window which I've tried to fix twice now, leaked onto my side of the bed again. So there we were with low batteries, no heater and a wet bed in below freezing temperatures. Good times! Oh to top it off at the same time, the fridge decided to konk out for 3 days allowing everything to slowly melt before I discovered the problem caused by dust in one of the jets.

The heater turned out to be related to having a low battery because the free solar panel (it was damaged by lightening) someone gave me finally quit working. It was so cold that we were immediately thinking of canceling the rest of the trip and heading back to Mexico. Fortunately I patched everything back together and we were underway again but relying on the engine only for charging the battery (which sucks).

We hiked like mad in Yellow Stone! We went everywhere looking for elusive wolfs, bears and moose. I think we saw just about every other animal in Yellow Stone except those three....

The Tetons where fabulous and we discovered a trail off Jenny lake which was probably one of the best hikes we've done! Again no moose....

We also went to Wasatch mountain in Utah where the fall colors where mind boggling.

Then we went to Escalante, Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon, Vermilion Cliffs, and now Sedona. Pretty soon we'll be in Phoenix and then Mexico.

In total after leaving Seattle we've probably hiked about 150 miles of trails and taken almost 700 photos. We'll post some when we have time to sort them out. Right now internet access is very scarce and so we probably won't post again until we are in Mexico.

Seaya Seattle

Posted on Thursday Sep 2, 2010

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We had a great time seeing family and friends here in Seattle. There's no doubt we ate the WTM's weight in food during this past month. There are so many good places to eat: South Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, Mediterranean, Ethiopian, Italian... I think I'm making myself hungry.

Anyway it was great being here again seeing everyone and trying to stay warm in the 45F nights. However we're off to the next leg of our trip and headed East to Idaho, Yellow Stone, and the Tetons.

We are going to miss everyone. Thanks for all the good times and good food! Don't forget you're welcome to come see us too.

Who doesn't like videos of forests, lakes, glaciers and snow?

Posted on Thursday Aug 12, 2010

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I know it has been a while. But there is just so much good stuff to sort through, edit and post. Life has been very busy seeing friends and family. You'll have to forgive me if these videos are a bit rough. I slapped them together with duct tape and swear words. Unfortunately I still haven't had time to go through all the Yosemite and Tahoe material, which creates a large 3 week gap in this little on-line show. Nonetheless, I will try to bring part of our trip to life for you.

On our trip north from Tahoe we went to Lassen. While we only spent 4 days there, it was magical place with volcanoes, hydrothermal vents and TONS of snow.

After hiking Lassen we spent a night at Crater Lake, which was like a refugee camp. The snow covered campground had Fourth of July hopefuls screaming at each other, swatting large mosquitoes, draining mud from their sites with sticks, shivering inside their cars and trying to heat food over flames that had the life sucked out of them by the cold. We of course were warm and dry in the WTM.

We worked our way up the coast to the Olympic National Rain Forest. Exploring the southern end of the park is something we had never done and the trails, rivers, and mountains were breathtaking. And I mean that in the cheesy sense of the word as well as tough to climb in places. Our photos don't do it justice. This video shows some of the sites along the way.

Last but not least: Mount Baker. Skiing is the only time I've been in this park, and we both thought it would be a good time to see more and take Sherrell's mom with us. She did great hiking around and again we saw lots of snow and ice. This time we even had classic lightening squalls complete with tropical style downpours.

I hope you enjoy the videos. I hope perl jam, foo fighters and underground don't mind me using some of their tunes either....

I will post some stuff from Tahoe and Yosemite, but even I don't know when that will happen.

Our updates are oh so slow.

Posted on Thursday Jul 8, 2010

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Internet access in the US is a little harder to find on a regular basis because everyone has it in their house.... Anyway let's recap.

Tahoe was a blast. Then we spent 4 days in Lassen National park. We tried to get to the summit, but the road was still closed. There was probably 20' of snow still up there in many places. We hiked up the road to where the road crews were still clearing the peak. It was an amazing place with some FANTASTIC volcanoes. This park had everything and we were entranced. So we decided to check out the other parts of the park: Devil's Kitchen full of hydrothermal vents, Boiling Springs Lake, a HUGE volcanic cinder cone, "Fantastic Lava Fields", and on and on.

After hiking there we went to Crater Lake where the lake was fogged in, the campsites were still under 2 feet of snow and the private company running the camp ground in the public park (a bad idea) was charging $26/night almost double the norm. It probably costs a lot to rename the crapper a "Comfort Station".

From there we went to hike at WATSON FALLS, which was beautiful NW-style hiking. Green mosses and ferns and waterfalls dominated the trail. And from there we visited our friends in Salem and Tualitan where we did more hiking, beer tasting and watched the Timbers play soccer. Did I mention vegan donuts?

So where are we now? Well we are on the Oregon coast where we camped at Cape Lookout and toured the area around Tillamook including Sand Lake a bizarre place.

Now we are on the road to Long Beach and the Olympic Forest. We literally have 10,000 pictures from our trip but no time to post them right now...sorry! Stay tuned.

Leaving Tahoe

Posted on Sunday Jun 27, 2010

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Our sailing friends on Desiderata gave us their luxury cabin for a week while they traveled and all we had to do was play with their cat. Not a bad deal because their cool cabin is about a block from the lake and is surrounded by monster trees. They gave us some good hiking tips and let us use their bikes.

The only downside is at times the temperature is in the low 30's! We've been trying to get used to actually being cold, but the freezing part is asking too much. We did a lot of hiking and a friend from when we used to work at moto came to visit too. One of the hikes we did together had a great panoramic view of Tahoe.

We also hiked through some snow fields, but that alien substance was a bit too cold for our tropical blood.
What is this stuff?

After enjoying "our" vacation home we hung out for a few more days to visit with everyone and we did some more hikes. One of them was up to a nice lake where even Hopper went swimming.
Eagle Lake
Hopper cools down

We also got watch some fun baseball games, went out for dinner and spent a lot of time swapping stories because we haven't seen them for almost two years. While we are still stuck in cruising mode, they have adapted well to modern life again and are having a great time living next to the lake, skiing all winter and hiking the forests in the summer. We even went to the beach together like old times, just no surfing and the water felt refrigerated. Despite their best antics they couldn't sucker us into that ice water.
Come on in! The water's nice!

Now it's time to say goodbye (yet again) and hit the road. We are headed towards a place called Lassen National Park (most of which is still closed due to snow) to see what we can find there.

Trip Through Yosemite

Posted on Friday Jun 18, 2010

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Three days in Yosemite was not nearly enough time. The waterfalls pouring over sheer granite cliffs reminded us of the fjords in Alaska and Northern Canada. There was so much snow that the upper campsites were all closed and Half Dome still didn't have cables installed for climbing.

Because of the limited number of campsites, and the fact that we didn't have reservations, we had to play the daily game of getting on the waitlist at 8am (which meant being in line by 7am)and returning by 3pm for the site assignment. This limited us to about 5 hours of hiking each day, but we always managed to get a site.

The Yosemite Valley is run a bit like Disneyland with lots of crowds and people who don't seem to know how to enjoy the wilderness with their cell phones, mp3 players and all the park services (swimming pool, restaurants, stores, tram rides, etc.) This aside the scenery is fantastic and it is impossible to take a bad photo.

Here's a slide show of our 3 day trip of some of the cool places we hiked/drove.

And a couple of videos:

Calling Dr. Baicy STAT

Posted on Sunday Jun 6, 2010

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My sister Kate has been in school for over two decades. I can't fathom how she did it. Her accomplishment is even more impressive because she completed the college portion all on scholarships. Family members from all over the country as well as from Singapore and Mexico, drove or flew to LA to share in the celebration.

On June 4th, Dr. Kate Baicy, MD PhD graduated from UCLA Med School with a concurrent PhD in Neuroscience. Oh, and we had the additional celebration of her marriage to Michael Tapper, who has been with her since the early days of grad school. They had a simple and private ceremony in Hawaii on May 14th.

For Kate, this is just one break in a long and difficult road. At the end of this week, she will be moving to New York where she will begin the intensive underpaid work as a Resident at NYU, in Obstetrics/Gynecology. She will be working at Bellevue Hospital where she will work a required 80 hours a week for 4 years, in a stressful environment with someone watching and critiquing her every move.

What really brought us to this day was not Kate's graduation but Kate. In her humble and quiet way was hidden a powerful mind and spirit. There were so many ways things could have gone wrong for her, when it was easier to give up, to do something else, to just quit. However she found something she loved and in the process she began to discover herself and her own abilities.

Patients will be lucky to have Dr. Kate Baicy with her string of alphebetic letters behind her name on their side. Lucky not because she has a fancy degree from a highly respected medical school, but because of who she is. She cares, listens and understands, then puts her mind and soul into helping and learning.

She will be working as an OB/GYN in both private and public environments for NYU, the hospital's affiliate university. Bellevue Hospital is the oldest, and one of the largest public hospitals in the country, with a private hospital attached. Kate will see cases from all over the world and learn how to cope with a huge spectrum of problems ranging from language barriers to rare illnesses. Bellevue is also the home of the US's very first maternity ward, so Kate will be at the start of it all.

While I was absent from much of her life, I am so happy we could be here and share this day with her. Enough about that...photos!

Kate and her new husband Michael!

An extremely rare collector's item: Kate's Family together! (our dad John, brother Eric, husband Michael, (Kate), her mom Sandy and brother Andrew)

And finally all the siblings together (Eric, Kate, John, Yazmeen, Andrew):

In LA after AZ and Joshua Tree Park

Posted on Thursday Jun 3, 2010

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We spent about a week with our friends Robert and Liz and their family in Phoenix. Where they had the pleasure of helping us after we broke down about a mile from there house! Hopefully the new fuel pump and filter will fix the problem as the old pump was the wrong size and I don't think the fuel filter was ever changed.

Anyway I think we mananged to successfully lower the properity values of most of the neighborhood before we left.

On our way to LA we decided to stop at the Joshua Tree National Park. And we were glad we did. There were very few people there and we felt like the massive park was all ours. We spent the night at Jumbo Rock campground. There were massive boulders around and just us, the animals and our wild kitties. (Can you see the WTM?)

The desert park was in full bloom with lots of flowers and bright colors. I don't know how we got so lucky. There are also several oasises deep in the desert with lots of animals and no one around. If we had more time we probably would have done some of the longer hikes, but we got to see a good portion of the park.

WTM breaks down but we found the wave cave

Posted on Sunday May 9, 2010

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We left Huatulco and found a nice beach town called Zipolite. Within yards of the beach we parked our beast and took the cat for a walk. It was a beautiful place with powderlike sand. We spent a quiet night there and an early morning fixing stuff on the RV.

Our goal was to make it to another beach on the other side of Acapulco. But after leaving the town of Santiago Pinotepa Nacional our engine acted up. We noticed a relay had been clicking on and off about every 5 seconds and I tried to locate it, but with no luck. Outside of town in the middle of nowhere the engine died.

Totally dead, no spark, no go. Fortuantely this didn`t happen on a blind curve. I was able to coast to the only pull-out for miles. I still couldn`t find the problem so we let it cool off and it started fine. So we turned around to buy some parts to jumper in a relay. After getting the parts we went to get some cash but the ATM machine ATE my card!! The bank couldn`t do anything until the next morning. So after watching the military raid a hotel and block off the street, then getting kicked out of a Pemex (mexican gas station which normally lets people park overnight) by a rude old dude, we finally found another Pemex whose guard even offered to keep an eye on us during the night. We waited most of the next day to get our card back only to discover it was EXPIRED. It would have been nice if the machine had at least told us why it kept our card.

On the way past Acapulco the engine clicking wouldn`t stop. Fearing another engine failure on a blind curve in the middle of nowhere, we sucked it up and skipped the bypass and plunged headlong into the road nightmare that is downtown Acapulco. Acapulco has become the slum town of Mexico. There is no other way to say it. We found a little RV park that was totally run down but was right near all the auto repair places. The next day we found this guy in an dusty lot and a small cinder block room with "Electrico" on the side. Not holding out much hope, we pulled in.

The owner wanted to buy our RV, but his mechanic and I ignored him as we poured over the engine, which refused to reproduce the problem. At one point I got so fed up I started moving and pulling things randomly until a large spark shot out of something and the CLICK of the ignition coil relay caused me to excitedly shout "Eso es la sonida!" We traced it to a bad diode that was shorting to ground and killing the power to the ignition relay. I was shocked when the mechanic reappeared 10 seconds later from behind the concrete hovel with a brand new version of this chassis mounted toyota diode. $22 later we were back on the road and better than new.

Our next stop was Playa Linda which is a spot we surfed 3 years ago with some other boats just outside of Ixtapa. It was so quiet and relaxing parked next to the surf. We slept hard knowing the WTM was running well again.

The next day we wound our way up the coast to a funky little RV park/restaurant/mini-store on the beach. We were the only ones there.... Jordan went bonko in the bushes and ended up covered in stickers.

So today we decided to go a short ways to Maruata. Wow is it beautiful. We are parked right by the main beach (i.e. free) with fantasic sand, clear water, cliffs and reefs all around.

Then we discovered the WAVE CAVE. We`ve probably seen thousands of caves and cliffs and blowholes, but the wave cave is cooler. From this hole in the wall comes spouting rushing waves. It creates its own little beach. See for yourself: