We may live far from our sons, and their families are far from each other, but we're all near the Pacific coast. This year is the first year I've had a camera to take photos of the road trip that we take each year to see our family. We go from the southern tip of the Baja peninsula all the way to Mendocino 1800 miles north of here (and back, of course!). It's a wondrous panorama that includes green desert, salt flats, chaparral, redwood forests, wine country, large cities, vast agricultural regions and views of mountains, the ocean and the Sea of Cortez. For the next 3 posts I'm going to show you the last section of the trip, from Santa Barbara south through the Baja peninsula.
We left Santa Barbara on Wednesday morning and took freeways that skirt the San Gabriel mountains and go east of the LA basin in order to miss the ever-horrible LA traffic. Although one would expect this part of the trip to be the easiest (due to uncrowded multi-lane freeways) it is actually the most exhausting. We always cross the border at Tecate, which is about 45 minutes east of San Diego, because the freeway ends in San Diego and from that point on there is a lovely country road (Highway 94) that takes you to the border.
There are a few horse farms along the route, and a couple of small communities. One of them is named Dulzura, which means "sweetness" in spanish.
One thing that we love about the mountains around Tecate is the boulders. These mountains look just like the ones surrounding Santa Barbara.
I've loved rocks all my life, ever since I took a geology class at the Junior Museum in Sacramento when I was nine. I've always wanted to have a house with a stone fireplace, or a stone foundation (which I now have). So every time we pass this boulder-rich area, my heart sings. "Bless the Lord, you mountains and hills; sing praise to Him and highly exalt Him forever." (Dan. 3:82)
It took 5 1/2 hours to get from Santa Barbara to Tecate. We stayed in a nice hotel/restaurant near the edge of town. It took me several years to find a decent hotel in Tecate. It's a working town - the Tecate beer plant is the largest employer, and there is also a Toyota plant there along with other manufacturers. Definitely NOT a charming town, but it's quite a bit smaller than Tijuana (about 65,000 people rather than a couple of million). But before we found out a good place to stay there, we would have to drive all the way to Ensenada to find a hotel, and that's another 2 1/2 hours. So now we make the first day of travel a short one, to rest up a bit after all the stress of driving in the U.S. And this hotel is the last place where I can be sure of an internet connection for the rest of the journey.
TOMORROW: Wine country, El dia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, and farming in Baja.