Wednesday April 16th. Las Vegas.
Mazatlan- San Carlos- Santa Ana- Phoenix- Flagstaff- Grand Canyon
In San Carlos we checked two RV Parks and then decided to find a free place by the water. Our spot was perfect. A rocky beach. A solitary tree- perfect for climbing and our hammock. Bird islands a stone’s throw away. Pelicans diving all around. The Baja visible in the distance. We had a rice dinner. Gauthier worked on the Rainbow, Bit made the tree her home. A kind security man from a nearby Beach Club filled up our water jugs. We skipped rocks. The starry sky seemed to stretch endlessly.
In the morning we rented a paddle boat to explore around the islands. Pelicans, sea guls, cormorants, cranes and blue footed boobies. All of these seemed to have their own areas of the islands- and it was wonderful to be some friendly intruders. At one point we looked up to see 3 cranes guarding a huge nest built into a cactus at the peak of an island. A majestic sight.
We drove to Santa Ana where we would spend our last night in Mexico at a little RV park run by Anna and Edgar– a kind old couple who gave toys and chocolates to Bit, oh and a shower sponge : ) The shower was freezing and the bathroom was covered in dust and cobwebs, but we were able to pick up wifi from a neighboring hotel and spent a nice night there- St. Gauthier’s Day in France.
So, heading toward the US border we had multiple concerns:
-My fake registration for the van
-Bitty’s passport showing a hyphenated name
-Paco our illegal pet turtle
-Gauthier entering the country
As we approached the stop point we were totally nervous, and of course, we were told that our van needed to be inspected, and that Gauthier would need entry permission from immigration…
Well everyone was very nice and all went smoothly! A great surprise! One of the agents even saw Paco’s little tank, asked if we had a turtle, and then put it down and shut the door. And Gauthier was given 90 days in the states!
We spent two nights in Phoenix with our friend Justin, went to dinner at PF Changs, rented the movie Gravity. It was a strange adjustment being back in America. Everything instantly seemed very American. The next day we spent time at the pool and then went to a little party to meet some of Justin’s friends.
A sad thing happened that morning.
Paco died. I picked him up to change his water, his eyes were closed and his little body still. We buried him in the rocks and marked the spot with his little plastic palm tree. We miss him, but I’m sure that his short life was full of anxiety and now he can rest 😥
P.S. Don’t feed beef jerky to a little turtle from Antigua.
We went North from Phoenix to Sedona. I’d forgotten how truly breathtaking the scenery is there. And then we went to Slide Rock- which was icy cold and windy, so we did not slide or jump of the cliff at the end. And no-one actually doing those things looked very happy : ) I slipped and fell on a wet rock and still have a bruise.
We spent the night in a cul-de-sac on Route 66. The pines surrounding us were beautiful until the night when they became spooky and kept me from being able to leave the van to go to the bathroom and therefore caused me a restless sleep with a full bladder.
The next day we spent at a gas station. The Maverick. Waiting for help from Pastor Daniel. We were there from 9:30- 3:30. After finding a mechanic, walking around looking for pants for Bitty in the cold and wind, we ended up going to the Williamsons and staying there for the night. We played Apples to Apples, watched Jumanji, Bit suffered from asthma problems, and she and I slept together in little Hope’s bed. In the morning, P. Daniel made us coffee and mickey mouse waffles. At 2 o’clock the brakes were fixed, the back brakes, and P Daniel graciously offered to pay the bill. The brake issue that we had, however, was not fixed : (
We drove to the Grand Canyon and found a place to park right on the edge of a cliff. We watched as the sun turned the canyon flaming red before ducking below the horizon. We also were up to watch the sunrise and bath the canyon in morning light and shadows. It was magnificent.
The next day we drove to Vegas. And spent most of our time in the Auto Zone parking lot where Gauthier completely fixed the brakes. What a guy.
Today is Friday, April 18th.
We are in Tehapachi, CA. Last night we watched Father of the Bride (did I ever mention that the van has VHS player?) and had pizza. After the movie Bit said “mom, I’ll never leave you, even when I’m grown up- but I’m still excited to grow up, I can’t help it.” We brilliantly parked right across the street from a railroad, it is apparently a 24 hour service they run. I didn’t get much sleep. We are now getting the muffler fixed. Bit and I brought chairs outside to wait in the sun. She’s my best little buddy.