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Published: September 5th 2014
Playas de Rosarito
Another Beautiful Pacific Sunset
We celebrated our 3rd
anniversary of consecutive travel in the small Baja California town of Playas de Rosarito, Mexico. Our life was beginning to remind us of an extended episode of Amazing Race. We could hear Phil making his speech to us as we reached the mat at the end of the race. (Three years, 16 countries, 3 continents, 65,000 miles and untold number of beds, you are the winners of the Amazing Race….). We were tired and needed a nice place to rest up for a while.
We had visited Rosarito before our Europe trip and had liked it. Rosarito is 20 miles south of the US border at Tijuana and has virtually the same beaches and weather as San Diego for less than half the price. The weather is nearly perfect all year round, the residents are friendly and the food is good. We had never revisited anywhere we had stayed during our trip, but Rosarito seemed like a good place to hole up while we decided what to do next.
When we had visited Rosarito earlier, we stayed in a twelve story gated condo on a private beach. Gorgeous views, but not
San Xavier del Bac
Mission outside of Tucson, Arizona
much of a real Mexican town vibe. It was winter then and the town had less visitors and maybe a bit of a “see you next summer” feel. This visit would be more “in season” so we decided to take a small apartment in a local neighborhood in town so we could see what Rosarito was all about.
We spent our time walking the beach in the afternoons, making friends with the local stray dogs and meeting our neighbors. We discovered our favorite places for fish tacos and ceviche. Most of Baja California is extremely hot during June and July and many families from Mexicali and Tecate flock to Rosarito to enjoy the cooler Pacific temperatures. The beaches were full of tents and grills on most weekends. Even though only a small number of Americans visit, the 4th
of July was celebrated with vigor on the beach. Nearly every family had a large arsenal of rockets and for a couple of hours the beach resembled a scene from some war movie while everyone competed for the best display.
Daily we discussed what we should do next. We discussed going back to Europe or perhaps
returning to mainland Mexico to visit some of the cities that we had missed during our earlier travels. Neither had enough pull to cause us to leave the easy life in Baja and in the end we decided to stay for a second month.
After a couple of months in Baja we were itching to get going again, but to be honest we were still lacking momentum to plan too far ahead. In the end we decided to rent a historic 1920’s adobe house in a well preserved neighborhood in Tucson, Arizona. We were both familiar with Tucson somewhat from past trips and David had even lived here many years ago during his high school years.
We spent the days enjoying the comforts of touring our first city in the United States in 3 years. The roads were wide and driving was easy for a change. Tucson was shockingly hot after living by the Pacific Ocean for 2 months, but we adjusted quickly and learned to avoid the afternoon heat. We enjoyed beautiful sunsets in the evening and hikes in the desert in the mornings. The many-armed Saguaro cactus were impressive in size and
Another Taos Sunset
Our back yard in Arroyo Seco, New Mexico
a surprising number of animals could be found during our walks. We even saw a Roadrunner and a Coyote on the same day which kind of made us laugh when we thought of the famous cartoon.
We escaped the heat one day by going high into the nearby Catalina Mountains where we enjoyed the unbelievable views from Windy Point which looks out from hundreds of feet above the entire valley that Tucson is located in. Many airplanes are stored in the area near Tucson because of the low humidity of the high desert. We visited an air museum that contained planes from many eras. Tucson has many well restored motor court motels dating from the 1950’s. It was like going back in time as we drove the streets after dark looking at the brightly lit neon signs that have been restored to their original splendor.
We had nice visits with relatives who live in the area and even got to meet some new members of our extended family. It made us realize how old we are getting when we visited our niece who we still think of as being a little girl, but now
New Mexico Truck
In Eagle's Nest, New Mexico
has children of her own.
We stayed busy each day and August passed rapidly. Again we were pressed to figure out what to do next. We waited to the last minute and finally ran out of time to make a decision. We had to quickly decide between a couple of apartments in different states that seemed like they would work for us. In the end we decided to visit Northern New Mexico. Neither of us had been to the Santa Fe area and we decided to move to the mountain ski town of Taos, New Mexico.
Taos is a town of only 7000 people located more than 7000 feet above sea level on a vast mesa and surrounded by pine tree clad mountains. Taos has excellent skiing in winter and fills the rest of the year with arts and music festivals. Many authors and artists have made their home in Taos or the nearby area and it has an international feel that belies its small size.
Scores of art galleries and boutiques fill the main plaza and live music can be heard during the week in the nicely restored square. Most
Desert Hikes in Tucson
Windy Point, high above Tucson
of the houses are built in a style to resemble the Native American Pueblo that is located just outside of town. New Mexico has its own unique cuisine heavily influenced by Mexican food and the delicious local peppers that seemed to be incorporated into just about every dish.
We live in a comfortable cabin-like house located just outside of Taos in the small village of Arroyo Seco. We enjoy spectacular sunsets from our kitchen window as we prepare dinner. Often we put preparations on hold to go outside and watch the Technicolor shows. After the sun sets the coyotes begin their nightly serenades to each other. We saw one pass a few feet behind our house one afternoon recently. The Milky Way brightly lights the nightly sky on clear nights, often interrupted by the flash of a falling star. If clouds block the stars, we are equally as entertained by distant lightning that periodically lights up the sky.
We occupy our days with long drives to Bandelier National Monument to tour the ancient Native American cliff dwellings or taking the so-called Enchanted Loop to visit the small towns that surround Mt. Wheeler, the highest
Last Rays of Sun
The view from our Taos Kitchen
point in New Mexico.
As much as we have enjoyed our time visiting Arizona and New Mexico, time is rapidly passing and we will soon be on our way again. Or perhaps, like so many visitors before us, we may end up staying longer than we had originally planned.
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