Wednesday, November 1, 2006


We are at the Casa Blanca RV Park in La Paz (map).  The drive up Mexico 19 from Cabo yesterday was beautiful, over moderately hilly terrain and through forests of cardón cacti, with periodic views of an azure Pacific.  We did have one moment of excitement, where we had to maneuver around a giant water-filled hole in the roadway.  The road was under repair, but we couldn't tell if the hole was the cause or the result.

There was no way Odyssey could make it across on a straight shot -- we had to angle around to the far left, in the oncoming lane.  Unfortunately, as we were trying to maneuver in that direction, the conga line of oncoming traffic would not give way, and they jammed up at the narrow single-lane section immediately behind us, which, of course, was full of other caravan rigs.  If you will pardon the pun, it was a Mexican standoff -- we couldn't move, and they couldn't move.  Louise got out to direct traffic, since clearly no one in the other lane could fathom what it was we needed, and, with the help of one of the construction workers, they finally convinced enough cars to move aside to let us through.  I nearly got the coach stuck in the mud anyway, as it was still deep enough on the left side for our tail skids to land on the ground, even with the air bags all the way up.  As soon as I felt the drivers start to slip, I gunned it and rocketed out of the puddle on the other side, Louise shouting on the radio the whole time to "go, go, go."

After shooting through the puddle, I dared not stop on the wet sandy ground in the construction area, and then there was no place to pull over for nearly half a mile.  Louise had to hitch a ride with some random Mexican in a pickup truck to catch up to me at a turnout down the road.  Quite the adventure.  One of the other rigs smashed a PVC pipe they were using to carry fishing rods, and several of the rigs scraped parts coming through it, but everyone eventually made it.

Just south of La Paz we closed the loop, with Mexico 19 rejoining Mexico 1, so the last couple miles into town were familiar.  Getting into the park was the next adventure -- it's a very tight turn from the street into the narrow driveway, then under an arch.  Said arch sheared off the second CB antenna of the trip, the first one having been lost to a tree in Mazatlan.  Once in the park, there is barely enough room to maneuver.  Odyssey fit nicely into one of the larger spaces, but some of the fivers struggled mightily, as well as some of the long coaches with wider turning radii.

The park turns out to be fairly nice, despite the small spaces.  The 20-amp electric service has good, steady voltage, and there is a lovely pool and gazebo, and even a modern and well-kept tennis court (which appears to be rented out for lessons at certain times).  The one major problem seems to be sewer gas -- apparently, the full masonry wall that surrounds the entire park traps the gas in the park.  We didn't really notice it until they closed the gates for the night, exacerbating the problem, since we are right near the gate.  Folks parked over by the opposite wall are having a worse time of it.  It was so bad last night, that we are thinking seriously of bailing out, and spending one or both of our remaining two nights in La Paz over at Playa Tecolote, the nice beach we stayed at our first night in Baja.  You may recall that I felt deprived since our scheduled two-night stay there had been cut short, and Louise didn't really experience it at all, as she was ill.

Today we had a bus tour of La Paz, with stops at a ceramic pottery business and a weaving business (can't miss those opportunities to hawk overpriced hand-crafted merchandise to the tourists), the cathedral (Nuestra Señora del Pilar), lunch along the malecón, and a brief stop at the mercado.  We took advantage of being downtown to make a much-needed visit to the bank.

Tonight is the group hamburger cookout, if we don't bail for Playa Tecolote first, and tomorrow is a free day.

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