November 26, 2011


This year's Thanksgiving was at home, but the day after was shared with our Death Valley group, while camping at Jake's place. We got kicked out of our usual camp site near Tecopa, so we met this weekend to discuss alternatives. Chuck suggested an old World War II airstrip in the desert between Ridgecrest and Boron. I started doing some research on the area, and found the place is actually called Goler Gulch. Being a Disney dude, I couldn't help but think of Goofy, saying Goler and Garsh, but the more I look into the place, the more interesting it becomes.

In 1893, a prospector named John Goler found several 10 ounce gold nuggets in the area, and soon there were several mines pulling out over a million dollars of gold from the many washes in the area. Seven miles southwest of the area was another goldfield where they cashed in over $8 million. There is plenty of exploring to be done in this area, and we'll have to pick up some gold pans before we go.

Click for larger view

November 15, 2011

Just Cruising this Month

Our once a month camping routine was interrupted by a cruise this month. Sherry and I just got back from a seven-day Carnival cruise to Mexico. Because of the narco-politics in Mexico, we only visited two ports: Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta.

I won't spend too much time talking about this non-camping trip, but you can check out a gallery of photos at this link. We spent Tuesday lounging at the Me-Cabo resort. On Wednesday, we had a personal tour with a guide from San Jose del Cabo, which we decided was a much better place than Cabo San Lucas. San Jose is a place where the desert meets the Sea of Cortez. The streets are narrow cobblestones, and the village is built around a centuries old adobe mission. There are art walks and farmer's markets in the courtyard -- a thousand times nicer than the frat party in Cabo.

A rare piece of solitude at the end of Baja

We couldn't spend the night in Cabo, so the cruise ship tooled around at sea overnight and came back to port the next day. They didn't officially tell us why we didn't stay anchored overnight, but I know from the behind the scenes tour I took that they have to be twelve-miles out in order to discharge black and gray water, and a food-waste smoothie into the deep.

After crossing the Sea of Cortez, we docked in Puerto Vallarta (next to a Walmart and Sam's Club). Vallarta is less a desert and more like a jungle. We went on a tour through the city, visited a Tequila Distillery and then were taken deep into the jungle to dine at the most incredible family-run restaurant. The surrounding community looked like that town in The Run Down. The seating area was on a concrete slab, covered only by a steel roof. A large rooster roamed the area looking for scraps. There was no menu, the owner just showed us a cooler of sea food. We ordered a plate for the two of us, and this is what he gave us: a lobster, two red snappers, eight shrimp and two mahi-mahi filets. AMAZING!

Best seafood dinner ever!