Wine and Waterfalls

Last week raced by in a blur of activity. Dave & Anne, two of our VERY favorite peeps and our most frequent visitors arrived in Baja. Although they visit the fancy resorts of Cabo often, this was their first trip to Los Barriles and the week was packed with a variety of activities highlighted by wine and waterfalls.

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Los Barriles is often considered very “gringo” by travelers. And they’re not wrong in many ways. However, compared to the mini-California atmosphere of Cabo it is positively authentic. Small enough to walk everywhere but big enough to have “most” things you might think you need, it’s a comfortable spot to hang your hat for a bit.

Here at Verdugo’s campground, there is also a hotel. Not fancy but clean and oceanfront for a bargain price. Dave & Anne’s room, overlooking the pool, beach bar, and Sea of Cortez, came complete with his and hers rocking chairs to better enjoy the scene.

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When we hit the road full-time we removed the back seat of the truck. It is far more pertinent to our life to have storage and a big bed for Aspen than to have to seat for four. This situation can cause a predicament, however, when guests come a visiting. As with many things in our life the daily cost of a car rental here did not begin and end in the same place. Over a month ago we began stopping by the local Thrifty Car Rental where the daily for a mid-size started at $48/day. A couple of weeks later we hit $40/day. By the time of the rental $35/day including all insurance was the winner. Not inexpensive but certainly less than the cost of a shuttle for our guests combined with a day or two of car rental added on for sightseeing.

A relaxing stroll down the beach and a festive seafood dinner began a week of fun where we enjoyed our first great bottle; a Cheval Sauvage from Wild Horse Winery in Paso Robles.OMG, we’ve so been missing good wine.

2014 Wild Horse Cheval Sauvage Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley

First up… the Superbowl. Now, everyone who knows us understands Jim and I aren’t sports nuts. Sure, we root for the Beavers and Ducks but with no tv for the last couple of years and only passing interest, most of the sports we’ve watched have been at Dave & Anne’s house while we were residing in their side yard for a bit. However, the Superbowl is always something we like to watch. What used to be more about the commercials actually proved to be a great game this year, further accentuated by the fact that we went in with them on a square and won over $800USD. Okay. Now, this week can really begin!

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Some of the activities seemed close to normal. With Jim battling a bit of a cold and Dave enjoying merely relaxing with a view, Anne joined me for Monday yoga class and Tuesday hiking. Tuesday night had us schlepping our chairs to the park for movie night viewing the thoroughly interesting movie Molly’s Game. If you haven’t seen it be sure to check it out.

One day we delighted in an Artist Studio Tour in town. We had seen the ads and not thought much of it but at the urging of others decided to check it out. Visiting the artists in their homes/studios was fantastic. Some great artwork but even more incredible houses in my opinion.

We did take advantage of the offerings to pick up a new tiled drink table from Christine Comstock and some artwork from one of our favorite local painters, Mary Naylor. After all, how could we say no to an Aspen look-a-like?

Dave & Anne are also close to Jims’s sister Wendy and our brother-in-law Ken, two guests we are sadly missing this year with their attention held elsewhere. But we made sure to take a day trip to their preferred winter spot of La Ventana so Dave & Anne now have an image in their minds when they hear stories from that kiteboarding mecca. We stopped in at Kurt n Marina’s, our home in LV, to see friends and check out Art’s new camper update. How amazing are the colors and that TILE FLOOR!

But the highlight of the day was the lunch stop in El Triunfo. HOW I wonder did we go two years and easily a dozen trips past this town without stopping. This was our third visit in two months so never fear, we’re correcting our previous errors! The re-emergence of elegance is worth the trip alone but no one should pass by without stopping at Cafe El Triunfo for a gorgeously renovated building and amazing food.

With our big Superbowl savings, their final day of the trip had us renting quads and heading to the waterfalls. By this point, Jim was feeling well and I had the sniffles. No matter, pop some meds and hit the trails. This day was a perfect example of following the path less traveled. Several different people had told us to not waste our time on the first of two waterfalls heading into the first arroyo. And so we traveled to the far region, enjoyed splashy our way to the waterfall, and enjoyed a beer.

Heading back towards the beach we decided to give that first falls a look-see and boy, are we glad we did. As we’d been told yes, the first pool was a somewhat stagnant and not so appealing sight. However, a short and relatively easy climb over some rocks led us to the pristine pool located directly beneath the falls. We immediately stripped to our suits and took the plunge.. absolutely amazing and with the pool all to ourselves for nearly 30 minutes a real treat.

Back to the beach we checked out the Geezer Shack, swam with Aspen, and generally enjoyed a stunning day at the beach before the time for a final, and memorable last evening with friends.

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One juxtaposition of our lives revolves around the overwhelming magic of being able to appreciate vastly different realities. For Dave & Anne’s final night we did not head to one of the nicer restaurants in town. Nope. We instead wandered just next door from camp to one of our favorite local restaurants Pelapapapitas. Our savory papa Rellenos and creamy chicken super burro’s were accented by two incredible bottles of wine.

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One sent by Jim’s sister Wendy, her favorite Domaine Serene Etoile Chardonnay followed by an amazing Zinfandel from Peachy Canyon we had picked up in Paso Robles on our way south. Either would be considered more than adequate for any food combination but somehow they both felt just right over our $5 per person dinners shared with great friends.

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The evening continued with cocktails and camp friends. For just a short time these good friends were able to experience a bit of our life on the road~ topes, camp friends, beach days, and the magic of “No Bad Days”.

Too soon the time had come to return them back to the airport. Thanks for stopping by sweet friends. We will see you soon!

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