Don't miss Kelley's Crabs in Brighton -- one of the best meals I ever had in my life. Not fancy -- you eat outside on a picnic table. Bring a sweater and an appetite. Make sure they recommend one of the local beers.
JohnES, there are some folks who still take their RVs to Baja, and they say I am worried about nothing. But I also know some very experienced Baja travelers who have stopped going due to the problem of crime. Check out the Mexico forum for more info. Beware -- there are a lot of people on that forum who are way too alarmist, and others who ignore all danger.
By the way, the problems are confined to Northern Baja -- the south is fine. Unfortunately, I have to drive through the north to get to the south. and that is why I am hesitant.
My wife and I drove down there (without the trailer) in 2006, just before the drug wars started. It was wonderful -- we went whale watching in San Ignacio, and the baby whales came swimming up to the boat to be petted.
As soon as it is safe to go, we are returning. The people were wonderful, the food was great, the beaches were great. The roads were not, but that was part of the adventure.
We are on our second Fun Finder. The first was used, and we then used it a lot more. We were happy with it and bought a new one, with extensive modifications -- see link below. We use it about 60 to 80 nights a year, towing thousands of miles a year. We like it a lot -- light, reasonably well built, not expensive.
But like all manufacturers, Cruiser has occasional quality control issues. They just got bought out by Thor. I would definitely buy another Fun Finder, when the time comes.
I don't know if this is a true story -- but an astronomer told me that he was showing M13, M51, and M31 to a young lady -- she said, "They sure are fuzzy. I can see why they are called messier objects!"
Every time we boondock, I try to get my poor wife to look at the Andromeda Galaxy, which is hard to find even in a very dark sky if you don't know where to look. By the time I get through explaining how to use Cassiopeia as a pointing device, she invariably falls asleep.
When we lived in Texas in the early 1960s, my dad had a foolproof method for finding good bbq on the road -- look for smoke drifting across the highway! These were two lane blacktop country roads, not interstates.
Then, when you find the source of the smoke, check out the parking lot -- if there were beat up old pickups crowding the lot, the food was good. If there were shiny new pickups or hardly anyone in the lot, keep driving.
Tiger, if you ever get a chance to visit that area during wildflower season in a really rainy year, do it! There is a place east of SLO, Shell Road, with acres of densely packed flowers -- the air smells like honey. We did a bike tour there, ten years ago:
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If you are interested, there are more pictures on our blog -- see the link below -- but this was posted in the early days of my blog, when I did not really know what I was doing. The photos were taken with a point and shoot, before we got a digital SLR:
Wildflower bike tour in the Central Coast area, April of 2005
For folks who are not bicyclists or hikers, you are in luck -- the Shell Road area has paved access, and the only problem is finding a place to park because so many people flock to this area to see the flowers in a really good year!
I had a blowout on my old trailer -- it tore up the wheel well. So when I got my new trailer, I used gorilla glue to fasten thick slabs of truck mud flaps, cut to shape, inside the wheel well, as a sort of armor. I don't know if it will stand up to a blowout -- I hope I never find out -- but if you are interested in armoring your wheel wells, here is how I did it:
In my dreams, we are on a deserted beach on the Pacific in Baja. In the real world, that is not going to happen -- it is now too dangerous. Maybe someday things will calm down.
This summer?? Maybe a remote part of the Wind River Range of Wyoming, or some obscure provincial park in British Columbia.
Thanks for the tip! This product is similar and has gotten good reviews:
It looks like they are not too expensive -- maybe the labor and materials involved in making your own might not be worthwhile? I know that is heresy -- I try to do everything myself -- but there are times, sadly, when store-bought is the right way to go.
If you decide to go to the Bryce area, and the weather is not too hot, don't miss Kodachrome Basin State Park -- great hiking, great slot canyons, very nice campground (with full hookups, amazingly). This is an overview of part of the park:
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Here is a blog link, if you'd like more info -- this post contains some detailed trail descriptions:
Bryce, Zion, and Kodachrome
Two more points about Zion: if you are a bicyclist, the canyon road is terrific -- long, gently uphill, long glide back down. For much of the year, cars are not allowed in the canyon -- I am not sure about September -- but when cars are banned, the shuttle buses are very courteous to bikes.
Second, we have never done the Narrows hike, but we saw quite a few folks who had obtained equipment for that hike from outfitters in Springdale -- wetsuits, special shoes, etc. They all said that it was worth renting the equipment. I am not sure whether you would need all of that stuff in September, but it was necessary in November -- quite chilly at times!
Diana, if you have never shot with a digital SLR, you gotta try it -- you can tweak the settings in the field until the image is just right, and the editing software is terrific. Many things in life today are not as good as they were in the old days, but as an experienced film photographer, I can tell you that digital is so much more flexible and fun!
If you can taste the difference between one kind of coffee and another (some can, some can't), I say why not treat yourself to the best? Coffee is wonderful stuff -- enjoyable without being fattening. There are not too many things in life that fall into that category!
Plus, there is the mystery of camping coffee -- why does it taste so much better than it does at home??