September 5, 2014-One lap of North America
wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Somewhere East of Bakersfield
Somewhere East of Bakersfield in the Mojave Desert lies China Lake Naval Air Station and there we slid our Chrysler to a stop in front of a red stucco apartment where our granddaughter Candace answered the door and offered us an orange flavored craft beer. More importantly she gave us each a big hug and as we sat down to chat we were delighted to find that in the previous four years she has turned from a sharp navy boot to a confident and composed 29-year old woman.
Family in Twin Peaks
This has been the story of our 7500 mile loop in America; at each stop we have found that our family and friends have grown up, matured, and changed from the wonderful people we remembered into delightful people even more wonderful than we could have ever imagined. And our timing was good, for family events and tourism too. We got to Seattle just in time for the birth of our newest granddaughter, Helena Anne, we made it to Oregon for Jenny and Gabe’s wedding, we were in San Diego in time to be with the Waldrups as they celebrated the life of Aunt Levis. We even hit Sturgis South Dakota for the great motorcycle rally.
Gabe & Jenny's Wedding
So, so far, the trip it has been a success; we’ve spent quality time with my brother and sister, son and daughter, and all of their families. We’ve been together with most of Judy’s family, and we’ve reconnected with many of our friends, particularly ones we missed last time we were in the US. The car is running well, and we completed all of our shopping and bought everything on the boat list. Even the weather has been great. From Oregon south we’ve barely had a cloud in the sky, but it’s been hot; in San Diego it was over 100, and in Indio, California we had temperatures over 112. Never mind that, in the low humidity of the southwest desert, it didn’t seem too bad.
Now we’re back in Mexico. We drove through the Sonora Desert and it was stunning. We visited Mazatlan and boy has it changed; the marina area has been totally built up and then been run down. Now there is a tacky air about the marina which might cause us to reconsider whether we will bring the boat there. We’ll see.
We stopped in small towns like Tecuala, and in old cities like Cuidad Obregon, Morelia, which was historic and gorgeous, and Oaxaca. We had great meals in outdoor restaurants on centuries-old plazas. We dropped into the Valley of Mexico and struggled through Mexico City traffic for hours. We had been in Mexico City before and could have by-passed it but we wanted to experience the size of hemisphere’s largest city by driving through it and we did. Whew! Big!
Yesterday was the toughest drive. After the hours of Mexico City we finally broke free of the gridlock and climbed from the city’s 7500 ft altitude up into higher Sierra Nevada on a four lane freeway with sweeping curves and traffic moving faster than we were comfortable with, but you have to go with the flow, right? Then down the other side into Puebla with more curves and even higher speeds. The driving was tense and definitely tended to focus the mind. But too, it was exciting.
Because of the traffic jams in the Valley of Mexico we were behind schedule and to get to Cordoba where we had reserved a room we had to drive into the night. In the last set of mountains we had fog, rain, road construction everywhere, poorly marked lanes, and darkness. It was exhausting, but we arrived safely in Codoba. Today we had another exciting day in the mountains with more stunning scenery and arrived in Oaxaca this afternoon.
Tomorrow we hope to be back at Marina Chiapas and back onboard Wings.
We have been driving long days and stopping rarely so there are few photos of the trip, but we have some of the people we stopped to see.
Click here to see photos from our lap of North America
Click here to see Gabe & Jenny's Wedding
Click here for photos from Sturgis.
Fred & Judy, Oaxaca, Mexico