I lowered my camera, sniffing the air around me like a dog. Jim and I looked at each other with the same silent question reverberating between us. Where was the smell of roasting coffee coming from? We wandered around corners and down cobblestone alleys, never quite finding what we were searching for, that elusive scent seeming to ebb and flow with each turn. Reluctantly, we returned to our hacienda for dinner, unsure that we hadn’t dreamed the entire olfactory experience. Tired, we called it an early night, sure that our quest for the coffee of Alamos was for naught.
Cactus. Giant Cactus. Tree-like Cactus. Small, blooming Cactus. The drive to San Carlos is filled with Cactus! We began in Phoenix, driving south and over the border. The continuing display of cactus followed as we went, ebbing slightly at times, but a nearly constant reminder that we were not in Oregon anymore!
The forecast said 50-70% chance of rain. Perhaps high winds. It didn’t matter. We were going to the beach. Some are drawn to the vast, dramatic vistas of the desert. Some feel more attuned to lush mountains. While we love being out in nature in general, the ocean has a special place in our souls. I long ago realized that, while I love the contrast of the desert, the presence of water is what feeds my soul. Time in the mountains is always treasured, but needs to include water in form of lakes or streams for me to be fully happy. But the ocean, I am so drawn to the ocean, a curious enigma considering I get sea sick and am terrified of big waves and strong currents. I suspect growing up in the Midwest has scarred me for life! After a fantastic weekend camping with friends the week before, we packed up our little foursome and headed off into the weather to get our fix.
Cambodia remains one of the countries that ranks highest on our list of those places that most pulled at our heartstrings, and makes us long to return. There is, undeniably, the crown jewel of the ruins of Angkor Wat, the long boat trip to Battambang, and the traumatic and powerful sites of Tuol Sleng and Choueng Ek at Pol Pot’s Killing Fields. There are gorgeous beaches, that we still need to get to ourselves. But, during our time in the country we experienced so much more of this very poor, and yet vibrant country, particularly in the capital city of Phnom Penh.
We spend a lot of time exploring Oregon’s many state parks. A LOT. So we were beyond thrilled to finally make our way to experience Cottonwood Canyon, Oregon’s newest state park, and check it out for ourselves. Opened in 2014, Cottonwood is a mere 30minute drive off of the mighty Columbia Gorge Highway, sitting scenically next to the John Day river.
We have long dreamed of visiting Alamos, one of the Pueblo Magico towns of Mexico. In fact, one quest on our route south is going to be our attempt to visit ALL of these magic towns, an epic quest if there ever was one, with 64 currently on the list! On our recent Trafalgar trip around Northern Mexico, we were lucky enough to check three of the list. All wonderful, but alas, all scream out to be further explored at a later time!
Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows how totally IN LOVE we are with Mexico. Having just returned from a trip into the less touristed regions of Sonora, northern Sinaloa and Chihuahua states, our love affair has only increased. Stories are racing through my head, all to come out on these pages soon enough, but below please enjoy a short photo essay of our magical time away to whet your appetite.
We have, quite simply, been really busy lately. Busy at work, busy at the house, busy with friends. Simply busy. While this keeps us, somewhat, out of trouble, it also means we have been able to indulge less often than we prefer in our favorite activity ~ camping and convening with nature.