Northern Mexico

November 30, 2009 to March 6, 2010
The Summary

  • Miles with Dapple (My Scion xB): 6,422
  • Miles with Casa del Panza (My Teardrop) in tow: 5,647
  • Interstate Highway Miles: 103
  • Fuel Economy: 33.84 mpg
  • Duration of the trip: 97 days
  • Nights in Pandora: 96
  • States Visited: 9
  • Teardrops in tow sightings: 1
The Details


30 November 2009 - Jackson Rancheria (Jackson, CA)

I got everything packed up this morning after taking my last few things to storage, going to breakfast and checking mail for the last time.

I had planned on camping at Dutch Flat RV Resort near Gold Run but when I stopped there was no one available for check in and the camp was a dump, bathrooms and showers not very good either.

I then drove through Coloma, CA before going to Camp Lotus in Lotus, CA. That campground was closed for the winter but it didn't look much better than Dutch Flat.

So I moved on to my third choice which was Jackson Rancheria; an Indian Casino with very nice RV Park. Every site is full hookup with 50/30 amp service and cable TV; the bathrooms and showers are very clean; there is a clubhouse with TV and coffee; also have WIFI throughout all sites. The only down side is the $31.50 Mon-Thur or $36.50 Fri-Sun; that is a good price for the Park but more than I wanted to pay.

I didn't try to avoid Interstate driving today so my route was I-80, CA49, Lotus Rd, Green Valley Rd/Missouri Flat Rd, CA49, CA88 & Dalton Rd for a short day of 163 miles rather than my past Road Trips that usually covered twice that.

I took a shuttle bus to the buffet dinner at the Casino and walked through it – the place was packed. This is where all of Reno's customers have gone; casinos in Reno are closing and they are all empty at this time of the year.

Even though I am “out of it” I thought I would offer up some follow up comments on the Health Insurance bill that is soon to become law. They will probably make my more liberal readers mad; it seems that any criticism of policy is read as an attack upon President Obama but so be it.

If any of the numbers that are being presented by the media are accurate then what we appear to have ended up with is 31 million additional people insured in the USA leaving some 16 million still uninsured. I haven't seen any numbers on how many of that 16 million will fall into the category of criminals that have refused to buy insurance either from the government or some private company.

However lets assume it is only 10%, that would mean that the number of criminals in this country would be increased by 1.6 million with the stroke of a pen. Furthermore let us assume that only 10% of those refuse to pay the fine, then the possible addition to our prison system would be increased by some 160,000. But the government won't be able to catch them all so a realistic number of new prison inmates may only be somewhere around 16,000 – I wonder if Guantanamo can hold them all?

The 31 million that will now receive insurance coverage will do so at a cost of about $3,160 per person per year. This cost will be paid for with increased taxes on the “rich” however some of that tax burden will trickle down to the not so rich and they can expect to be paying for some of it.

Research published in the American Journal of Public Health, December 2009 issue, estimates that 45,000 deaths per year in the United States are associated with the lack of health insurance. If a person is uninsured, "it means you're at mortal risk," said one of the authors, Dr. David Himmelstein, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

The latest numbers that I can find at dcd.gov are for 2006 when 2,426,264 people died in the USA. Therefore, if Dr. Himmelstein is correct in his assessment then almost 2,380,000 people die every year that have insurance coverage and are also “at mortal risk”. So even with the passage of this bill, over 2 million people will die every year that have insurance and there will still be some 16,000 die that are not covered by insurance.

1 December, 2009 - Jackson Rancheria (Jackson, CA)

I drove into Jackson for breakfast at Mel's Dinner and then to the Club House to use my computer.

I have power at my campsite now but the outside sunlight is too much for my computer screen and I can not see anything.

I finished in the Club House and went back to my site and sat inside my trailer where I typed up 30 November's travel notes and other comments. I then thought I would try to connect to the Internet using my Verizon Air Card so I dis-enabled from Wireless as I always have and tried to connect to Mobile Broadband. It would not connect so I went back to enable Wireless and could not do so.

I then devoted most of the afternoon to solving this failure. After repeated failures, I went to the Casino Hotel and used their Business Center computer to access the Internet and the Ubuntu Forum where I found a lot of postings about similar failures with my version 9.10 – however, no solutions that I could understand. Maybe better luck tomorrow!

2 December, 2009 - Jackson Rancheria (Jackson, CA)

I awoke in the middle of the night with the solution to my computer problem – my subconscious had worked on all the information that I had taken in and arrived at an answer.

I knew from a test that had performed on my computer that the Wireless was Hard Blocked rather than Soft Blocked. Then from my reading of the Ubuntu Forum I did read that the Wireless MANUAL switch must be on before any software changes can take effect.

I did not understand what I had read at the time but since I had Wireless one minute and then did not have it the next and I had made no changes to the software my subconscious determined that I had a MANUAL switch somewhere.

Therefore, when I got up this morning I looked for a switch and found one on the left front of my computer that I had never used (intentionally) so I moved it before powering up. What do you know – I FIXED IT! I had somehow moved the switch without knowing it and without knowing that it was there or what it controlled.

I then posted my 30 November travel log and comments before going to Jackson for breakfast at the Waffle House. Returned to camp and typed/posted 1 December to my web site plus changed my Zee Map by deleting all the test markers and updating with my fist camp information.

I completed my day with dinner at the Casino once again; they have 4 restaurants and I'll try them all when I go again tomorrow night.

3 December, 2009 - Jackson Rancheria (Jackson, CA)

I went back to Mel's in Jackson for breakfast and then devoted some time to web browsing to determine were my next camps were going to be.

I need to check out before 11:00 but will most likely be on the road some time between 8 & 9. I think I'll stop in Joshua Tree National Park for a few days but have an overnight parking-lot stop near Bakersfield tomorrow. As I have said before this trip will be done more like I am fulltiming rather than road-tripping.

I am leaving at a good time, there were about there were about 25 Class A rigs (maybe $8-10 million worth of motor-homes) pull into the campground yesterday afternoon and the 40-50 people in them have taken over the Club House for the weekend. A man and his two sons were walking from the far end of the camp to the Club House and he came over to me and wanted to shake my hand. He said “You are in a Class of your own. As I was walking past all these big rigs I was wandering how many of them were paid for and the people out of debt. I saw yours and I thought to my self I need to shake his hand – there is a one that is debt free!”

My final dinner at the Casino was Vietnamese Phu soup; they also have a buffet, a burger place, Italian and a coffee shop – I stopped at them all except the coffee shop (free coffee in the Club House).

4 December 2009 Flying J (Bakersfield, CA)

On my way out of town I stopped at the Waffle house again for breakfast and on the road around 8:30. The route was back on Dalton Road, CA88, CA49, CA41, CA99 and Merced Av for a total of 254 miles.

I have now driven all of CA49 from north to south, just not all at one time, and the section from CA120 ( goes to Yosemite) to Mariposa is spectacular. It could be a problem for rigs over 30' and it is a “driving road” so it might also be a problem if your not ready to drive it.

After turning onto CA41 it was scenic until I got out of the Sierra foothills and then it became a Freeway near Fresno, CA and CA99 is now almost the same as I-5; I can remember driving it many years ago when most of it was two lane.

I have parked at the rear of the big rig truckers parking lot (no separate RV section) with only one truck close to me. I doubt that I'll make it through the night without a lot of company but I'll see how it goes – my trailer is reasonably quiet but I'm also close to very busy CA99.

5 December 2009 Black Rock Campground, Joshua Tree National Park (Yucca Valley, CA)

Last nights black-top boondock was not too bad, I did wake up this morning with a big rig on each side of me and my rig looked silly sitting between them.

I drove more today than I had hoped. I checked out at RV Park in Inyokern, CA where I could have got a 50% discount but it looked rather shabby and full of “residents”. The wind was kicking up by this time and I would have been wise to have driven south on US395 but took CA14 to Mojave. There was another RV Park there that I could also get a discount but it looked full and was a long way from anything. Mojave, CA is not close to anything and this RV Park was not close to Mojave. LOL

So my route was Merced Av, CA99, CA178, (through Kern Canyon), CA14, CA58, Main St (part of Historic US66 in Barstow), CA247 and Joshua Lane.

This was a total of 304 miles, more like my usual road trip days rather than what I was planning to do on this trip. The drive through Kern Canyon is well worth doing but rigs over 30' may have some problems, the road is narrower than CA49 and more twisty if possible.

The wind was bad after I crossed over the Sierra and became worse as the day went by. I had no problem getting a campsite at Black Rock Campground although it is a reservation campground but may have to move if my site become reserved. About half the sites are for tents, the other half will take shorter trailers or motor homes but finding a level spot will be a challenge. The landscaping is mostly grease wood and Joshua Trees with lot, lots of sand that is moving because of the wind.

All of the wind is bringing in a storm during the next 3-4 days and I'll probably just wait for it to pass through before moving on.

6 December, 2009 Black Rock Campground, Joshua Tree National Park (Yucca Valley, CA)

My Teardrop was rock-n-rolling last night because of the wind. When I got up I saw damp ground so assumed that there had been some very light rain but was very surprised to see a dusting of snow on the ground at a lower elevation as I drove into town.

I went to Starbucks to use their WIFI to update my blog and do some web surfing. I have access to Verizon, therefore the Internet with my Air Card, at my campsite but have only battery power – no hook-ups at the campground although I do have flush toilets and there is a dumb station for self-contained Rvs.

I considered doing a short hike from the trail head near my campsite but there were storm clouds rolling in. It is also still quite windy and cold, it became even windier after sundown and I was rocked to sleep once again.

It looks like my next few days will be spent in the car or trailer reading or at Starbucks where I can get on the Internet. Therefore, my days are now about the same as when I was in my sticks n bricks except I had power available there.LOL

7 December, 2009 Black Rock Campground, Joshua Tree National Park (Yucca Valley, CA)

When I got up around 6:00 there was a very fine grained snow or sleet falling which changed to rain by 6:30 when I started to Starbucks. This light rain then continued until mid-afternoon; the only good thing that could be said about the weather was the reduced wind

I continue to get the Reno weather from Yahoo when I connect to the Internet and saw that the low last night there was 11 degrees and all the schools were closed because of snow.

I was still gloating over this bit of news when it started snowing big wet flakes while I was in Yucca Valley for lunch/dinner. Then as I drove back up the hill to the campground I drove out of the snow and back into rain once again. It seemed strange that it was snowing at 2,750 feet but raining at 4,000 feet. It had snowed about 1” at the campground while I was gone but with the rain it was turning into a slick icy slush.

I snuggled up in my sleeping bags in the trailer and listened to it rain and/or sleet on the roof until it lulled me to sleep. Woke up my normal 2-3 times during the night and found that it had stopped raining around midnight and the wind had finally quit except for an occasional gust.

I'm hoping that I'll now get a few days of sunshine and warmer weather so I can enjoy Joshua Tree.

8 December, 2009 Black Rock Campground, Joshua Tree National Park (Yucca Valley, CA)

I woke up to a ground that was partially covered by ice and the doors of my xB were frozen shut. The good news was that my trailer doors were not and there was a cloud free sky and bright sunshine.

I was entertained yesterday by the arrival of a very long, long motor home (with 4 slide outs) towing a small pickup and carrying a motorcycle on a rack behind the motor home plus an electric bike on a rack behind the pickup. I didn't see all the activity but he changed sites at least twice – all of this going on during the rain and snow storm. This morning I saw the result of his final set-up; the front wheels of the motor home are both 6” off the ground supported by its jacks. Very Funny!

It stayed bright and sunny all day but never became very warm. There are a lot of snow patches remaining in the shadows around my campsite and a cool breeze started up again in the afternoon. I'm also at 4,000' and in the desert; when the sun starts to set it gets cold like someone flipped a switch.

9 December, 2009 Black Rock Campground, Joshua Tree National Park (Yucca Valley, CA)

I had a hard frost on the car windshield this morning and a lot of condensation inside my trailer. I have had condensation every night but nothing as bad as what built up last night. It is unbelievable how much moisture I exhale during the night and mow much heat my body puts out.

I finally did get out for a short hike today (2.76 miles) while the weather was good. It was still cool but that was fine because the first mile was a 500' climb (about 400' in the second half mile) – the trail name (High View) should have given me a clue. LOL

The downhill portion was through a small canyon with the trail completely covered with snow. I was also very confused by the few trail sign that were available; there were signs for a trail that was not on my map and a lot of spur trails that added to the confusion.

It was good to get out again, I haven't been walking for the last few weeks and need to make it my habit while living on the road as well as when in a sticks n bricks. The weather forecast is for more rain today but maybe not until later and perhaps I can go out again.

10 December, 2009 Black Rock Campground, Joshua Tree National Park (Yucca Valley, CA)

Today was warmer than yesterday and with the forecast for rain during the next 3 days I thought I should get out again for a hike on the Short Loop (4.33 miles). This trail also topped out at a 4,500' pass but it was not as steep as the High View climb. There also wasn't as much snow on the Short Loop because the trail went through wider canyons that has allowed the sun to do its thing.

The rain is forecast for late tonight and then through the weekend. If that comes to pass I may be through hiking but will stay here in Black Rock until Monday.

Some of my liberal readers have pointed out that I'm “so out of it” that I have actively tried to pay attention to what is happening in the world while on the road. It is difficult with the daily release of another womans name involved with Tiger Wood; I am “so out of it” with this story – why should I care?

But I did pay attention to President Obama's Nobel Peace prize acceptance speech. The man truly has a gift when presenting a prepared speech; he said all the right things, with perfect delivery and the added electronic reverberation gave it that just right “god-like” tonality.

I also paid attention to his announcement of the “Obama Surge” in Afghanistan. I think is was a very shrewd political decision but perhaps not so as a military one. It may be me but I don't think that you tell your opponent how long you are going to fight before you quit. Wars are won by completely destroying your opponent or destroying his will to fight. If he knows that he only needs to survive for 18 months that gives him a huge advantage.

However, I have no doubt that President Obama will claim the War on Terror at an end when his 18 months have passed – he will be ramping up for re-election. I also believe his Peace Doctrine can be stated in somewhat the following terms: “There is Peace in the absence of War; if the United States is not warring against another country then we are at Peace. If another country is warring against us that is a criminal act and it only becomes War when we actively engage our defense forces, therefore we can remain at Peace for all time by simply not engaging.”

11 December, 2009 Black Rock Campground, Joshua Tree National Park (Yucca Valley, CA)

The weather forecasters got it correct this time; we had rain start here in the middle of the night. They also seem to have forecast correctly that there will be scattered showers today. Made it through most of the day before getting some of those showers soon after sundown. During the day there was increased winds once again and it was colder.

Yesterday I received an email from Art (Auditor at First Trust Bank) that I last saw/talked to on March 30, 1990 when I quit the Bank. He had received my email address from Jody who had found me on the Internet a few years ago. The ability to connect with people through the Internet is amazing compared to pre-Internet days. I'm somewhat a Luddite (don't own a TV, no electronic music devices, don't use a cell phone except as a pay phone which are now almost obsolete and don't belong to any of the “social” web sites) but I do like the Internet.

12 December, 2009 Black Rock Campground, Joshua Tree National Park (Yucca Valley, CA)

There was a lot more cloud cover this morning than any day since I have been here. It was also colder during the day than it has been since it snowed; there were light showers throughout the day but no snow.

Since I did nothing but hunker down and try to stay warm it gave me some time to think about the email comments that I sent my Senior Senator - Harry Reid. This may not be exactly what I sent him but is the thrust of my comments.

Senator Reid, your last reply, in part, to my health care bill concern was as follows: “Amid our health care crisis, however, I believe there are opportunities for members of Congress, the President and his Administration, the private sector, and other stakeholders to work together for the benefit of the American people. It is my hope that the solutions we develop and enact will ensure quality, affordable health care coverage for all Americans, regardless of their age, income, employment, or health status. Those fortunate enough to have adequate coverage, I am also mindful of minimizing disruptions of the care they are already receiving.”

Since your Health Bill is now about to pass into law I thought I would bring another crisis to your attention. The new crisis is the “hunger” problem in the United States with some 49 million people suffering hunger, many of them children. Are these the same 47 million that don't have medical insurance? These 49 million are in addition to the 32 million that are already on the Food Stamp program.

I think you have found the formula for solving these social problems therefore suggest that you pass another law that specifies what each and every person must buy, who they can buy it from, how much it will cost and when they must eat it to eliminate this “hunger” problem in the United States. If the Health Insurance law will provide quality, affordable health care coverage for all Americans, regardless of their age, income, or employment then a Food Bill should solve the hunger problem! Oh, don't forget to include the penalty for not buying as the government specifies.

There must be many other social crisis in the the United States that the government can solve by mandating what to buy, who to buy from and how much must be payed or suffer a penalty. Don't let my suggestion regarding food and hunger limit your thinking now that you see how easily the Health Insurance crisis can be fixed.

13 December, 2009 Black Rock Campground, Joshua Tree National Park (Yucca Valley, CA)

I had the strongest wind gusts this morning around 3:30 am that I have ever had while in my Teardrop; a lot worse than a week ago when I was rocking-n-rolling.

The highlight of my eventful day was doing laundry and stopping at a Wells Fargo ATM. Both of these activities were in preparation for “moving day” tomorrow. I will probably be more like 3 moving days as I proceed to my next longer term camp.

A few comments about Yucca Valley Restaurants and Black Rock Campground after I have been here for 9 days.

Joshua Tree N.P. and Black Rock will be on my list of places to stop again for a couple of weeks if I'm near by. The campground has water but not at the sites, flush toilets but no showers, there is a dump station, there is no electric available, the roads in the campground are in terrible disrepair, the sites are not very large with no pads so level is a problem – doesn't sound like a great place does it but as a boondocking spot it is fine and I pay $7.50/day.

If I return in a Class C I will not be using restaurants as much as with my Teardrop but I have learned a few things. Starbucks has WIFI which has worked out great because I had no power. La Casita Mexican restaurant has decent food but service is so slow that I walked out yesterday after they seated me and never came back. Jose's Mexican restaurant has great breakfast and Algobertos Taco Shop had wonderful lunch/dinner; neither of these places look like much but have good food. Then there is a Carrows and a Dennys that are what they are.

14 December 2009 Potrero Park (Potrero, CA)

My route today was Joshua Lane out of Black Rock, CA62, Park Blvd & Pinto Basin Rd (in Joshua Tree N. P.), Box Canyon Rd, CA111, CA195, CA86, County S22, S3 & CA78 (in Anza-Borrego S.P.), CA79, County S1, S1/Historic US80, S1, CA94 & Streets to Potrero Park.

This was probably one of the more diverse drives that I have ever done in one day. I went from about 4,000' through two different types of desert landscape to below sea level. Then climbed back through desert into pine forests with snow on the ground at over 6,000' then back down to about 1,000'.

All of the roads through Joshua Tree N. P. and Anza-Borrego S. P. were great as was Box Canyon Rd from I-10 to Mecca, CA. Rigs over 30' may have some problems on CA78 from County S2 to Julian, CA. Almost all of the roads were “driving roads”, you do need to actively drive the constant twists, turns, dips and climbs. The view from County S1 toward the east is looking out over Anza-Borrega S. P. and is worth more than the price of admission. It was a joyous 221 miles of driving today!

I got to THE restaurant in Potrero, CA after 3:00 pm and they were closed but the owner was very nice and made me a huge burrito. I'll be back there at 7:00 tomorrow for breakfast. Then it was back to the campground and my first shower since Jackson Rancheria; the baby wipes work but it is still nice to get a shower. LOL

15 December 2009 Don Eddie's Landing (San Quintin, Baja Norte, Mexico)

I got back into the Mexico mindset before crossing the border. I'm certain that the restaurant owner told me that she would open at 7:00 am today but I found it closed and she opened at 7:30. I might as well start to adjust my expectations. LOL

I got to Tecate, MX a few minutes after 8:00 and saw no place to park on the USA side so continued across the border. I then had the same parking problem plus I did not see any sign for Migration.

I found a place to park in-line with a bunch of big rigs along a street a few blocks from the border crossing and flagged down a police car to ask directions. The police officer motioned for me to get in the car ; I asked if where I was parked was OK and he just shrugged and indicated for me to get in the car. He then drove the few blocks to Migration and dropped me off where I got the tourist permit paperwork filled out.

I then had to walk two blocks to Bancomer to make payment which took a little while. Then walk back to Migration with my payment receipt and receive my copy of the tourist permit (more on this later).

Highway MX3 is now lined with vineyards and wineries for much of its length from Tecate to MX1. With maybe 20 Km remaining before MX1 I met with road construction that had some bad road detours that were poorly signed. As I entered a small town I took a road through town in error and ended up about 3 Km north of MX3. There was a sign pointing me back on route on a dirt road that was horrible! It did take me past a lot more vineyards and wineries but I would not recommend taking the dirt road to reach them although I think it is the only way.

After getting back on route I was soon in Ensanada which is now a big city rather than the small town of 1975 or 1986. There are now vineyards and vegetable fields as well as thousands of greenhouses everywhere from Ensanada to San Quintin. In 1986 there was some agriculture to the north of San Quintin and vineyard in Santo Tomas but not nearly as much.

During todays 297 miles I went through one military check point and one Federal Police check point. The military waved me on and the Federals only wanted to know where I was coming from and going to; they did not check any of my paperwork nor do any search.

The last part of the day was a 3 mile dirt road into The Old Mill which my RV Camping Guide (by Church) said had RV campsites. This road was almost as bad as my earlier “off road” drive of the day. When I arrived at The Old Mill a guy that I assumed was the owner said that they had not had a campground for 15 years. He also said that the RV Camping Guide writers have never contacted him and the listed telephone number has been wrong for years. I was able to get a site next door at Don Eddie's Landing for $20 which is overpriced although they do have a bathroom, showers and restaurant.

The only other campers there were Chuck & Janet that have a campsite in Naco, AZ but were doing a short trip through Mexico. We talked during dinner and they have invited me to stop by their place in Naco when I get there in February.

16 December 2009 Rice & Beans (San Ignacio, Baja Sur, Mexico)

The first thing that I had to do today was get back to MX1 on the 3 miles of bad dirt road; I will never stay at any of the places on this road again unless I see some evidence of improvement.

I once again drove past thousands of greenhouses south of San Quintin and did not enter the Baja that I remembered until I started through the mountains. I don't remember much of anything about my bicycle ride from San Quintin to Catavina in 1986. I think the reason for that is that I was probably “whipped” by the end of that day. It is a very rugged ride of about 115 miles with a lot of climbs.

I stopped at the Desert Inn (former La Pinta) in Catavina, where I had stayed when on the bicycle ride, for breakfast and to ask about RV camping. The RV Camping Guide said that they has sites available which was once again not correct although there is a campground to the north of the hotel. My Baja map indicated that there was gas available in Catavina but this was not correct either; however a guy was selling 1 and 5 gallons fro bottles and cans and I bought a gallon to be on the safe side. I thought I could make it to next gas but with the wind blowing I wanted some insurance, I loose a lot of MPG if I'm driving into a headwind.

At the 28th parallel, divides Baja into two states, where the monument to the completion of MX1 stands there is now a military base completely around it. The pictures that I took in 1975 are not possible any more. I do not remember seeing any military camps in 1975 or 1986 but have seen at least 6 on this trip.

It was also at the 28th parallel that they have a fruit fly inspection/spraying/10 peso charge plus a Migration inspection. They asked for my tourist permit and told me it was missing a stamp and I must go to the Migration office. There I found that the Tecate clerk had ripped me off! I don't believe he accidentally forgot to stamp my paperwork; when I told my story to some of the Mexicans here they just smiled and shrugged like they had heard the story before. I had to get a new tourist permit and pay another 262 pesos.

Here are two pictures of my camp at Rice and Beans in San Ignacio, Baja Sur.

In addition to this inspection I also went through 3 military check points during the day. Two of them asked me where I was coming from and where I was going but none of them asked for paperwork of did any search.

Because of the slow driving, inspections, going to the bank again, and a time change at the 28th parallel I didn't arrive at Beans & Rice until after 5:00 pm. I was tiered after the 329 miles of difficult driving and mad at Mexico for ripping me off. Then I met Ricardo, the owner of Beans & Rice, who has shown me the goodness of most Mexican people. When I asked for a RV site and told him that my trailer did not need any hook-ups he told me it would be 100 pesos/day – a good rate. Then when I told him I would stay for one week he said my 8th day was free! I got set-up and returned for dinner and he said that my second beer was “on the house”.

The weather is just great with a gentle breeze! There are flowers blooming and since I'm the only camper everyone is at my service. I'm parked almost next door to the bathroom and showers with maybe a 50 yard walk to the restaurant and WIFI – I think I'm going to like it here!


17 December, 2009 Rice & Beans (San Ignacio, Baja Sur, Mexico)

I walked from Rice & Beans to the San Ignacio square and mission (4.67 miles), I last saw them in 1975 and they have not changed from what I remembered although much of Baja has changed a lot. I was asking Ricardo if there has been a lot more rain in the last 25 years and he said there had been. The Vizcaino Desert has a lot more vegetation that in 1975 or 1986 with much larger plants and cactus.

While I was at the square I talked to a young couple (twenty something) that are riding bicycles to Cabo San Lucas. I think they crossed the border at Mexicali then down to San Felipe. From there they continued south on some very bad roads along the Sea of Cortez, past Bahia San Luis Gonzago to join MX1 at Chapala (about 10 Km north of the junction to Bahia de los Angles).

My conversation with them reminded me that just south of Catavina I saw a Dad on a triple with two children on the back; the youngest one on the back was VERY small. Mom was on a tandem with another child, probably the middle aged one. They might make it to San Ignacio in 2-3 days if they are riding all the way south and perhaps I'll get a chance to talk to them.

I got more company last night. The first was a Chevrolet Astro van from CA with a man and woman that got a hotel room. The woman went into the room and then the man made about 6 trips with 1-2 bags each time. Neither of them looked at me; no greeting, nothing.

Then a huge fifth wheel pulled in from British Columbia, Canada. I talked to the owner for a few minutes , he and his wife will stay with friends (also from BC, Canada) that own property further south of here. They will stay through the winter and go back north in April – Canada snow geese and snowbirds. LOL

After I went to bed there was another pick-up with a boat come in and took a hotel room. Also, a pick-up with a RV camper that I think is the Canadian friend of the fifth wheel.

18 December, 2009 Rice & Beans (San Ignacio, Baja Sur, Mexico )

I was sitting on the restaurant porch waiting for them to open and writing up yesterday's notes when the two BC, Canadians left at about 7:00 am. Soon after that the restaurant opened and the guy with the Astro came in. He did say good morning but that was about the extent of his conversation; placed his breakfast order and then tried to use one of the restaurant's computers. I told him what the user/passwords were but also told him that I had not seen that computer used, the staff had used the one at the other end of the bar. He never did connect to the Internet, picked up his take-out order and left.

The fellow with the boat then came in and we had a long conversation over breakfast. He was from Bend, OR; a retired Army pilot. He flew the small spotter planes while in Viet Nam during 1968-1969 so we traded some war stories (his are better than mine). LOL

Later in the morning I walked (1.71 miles) toward the west from Beans & Rice through the village of Colonia Paredones and climbed a volcanic flow hill that overlooks the village. It is a very small place with maybe 150 people however there must be twice that number of cars going to or coming from there past my campsite. I asked about this and was told that there is a fiesta in the village but I saw only a tiny Christmas creche at a traffic circle and a little activity around the small school.

In the late afternoon, after my lunch/dinner, another Chuck (this one from BC, Canada), wife, two year old daughter and dog camped near me. I sat and watched their set-up antics for about 30 minutes – they have a VW pop-top van. After they got settled I went over to say hello and we had a long talk; I try not to impose on people while they are setting up – my rule of thumb is to not disturb them until I see them with drink in hand. They are on their way to Todos Santos (the same area as the previous Canadians) where they will rent a house for about six weeks.

19 December, 2009 Rice & Beans (San Ignacio, Baja Sur, Mexico )

My exercise for today was a 2.00 mile walk to the Suprermercado next to the Pemex station on MX1 at the turn to the town of San Ignacio. I needed to buy some “papel higienico” which you need to carry while in Mexico, there may or may not be any available in the restrooms when you really need it. While I was buying that I also picked up a couple of bottles of water although I can buy it at Rice & Beans if I want.

Around noon there was a man and wife driving a relatively new Mercedes Benz sedan from CA stop for lunch and I talked to them for a few minutes. They drive down frequently it seems and Rice & Beans is always a lunch stop for them. During the conversation I mentioned that I was going back to Los Algodones because I had a dental cleaning appointment that was necessary due of prior periodontal problems and it was my scheduled time for a cleaning. The man said that was a wise thing for me to do and the wife volunteered the information that he was a practicing dentist in CA.

Not too long after that the was a young guy wander into the camping area with a hiking bag on his back. He was looking around like he had no idea where he was so I asked him if he was hiking; he said no that he had just been dropped off. From that I assumed that he was hitching rides and had got off his ride when he saw Bean & Rice. He said that he had been layed off from work in Santa Cruz, CA and decided to travel while he was unemployed. Not much more to the conversation except I told him that the only other hotel that I knew off was the Desert Inn closer to San Ignacio and he didn't even know that there was such a town under the palms. I got the impression he might not be the brightest bulb on the string . LOL

My third visitor for the day was Don from Boise, ID. He was on his way to Todos Santos where he also has built a house. He said that this was only his second time to drive down, he usually flies, and previously he had driven his new Nissan truck. This time he was driving an older Ford while towing a utility trailer; both of them were loaded with “stuff” for his house. He said that the Ford was beating him up on the Baja roads but he planned on leaving it at Todos Santos.

I haven't said much about the weather – I tend to not write much about what is EXCELLENT! LOL Early in the morning (6:30 sunrise) when I get up I need to put on a windbreaker and I'll usually keep it on until later in the afternoon if I'm sitting in the shade. There is usually a breeze that comes up with the sun and will build to a 10-15 mph wind in the afternoon and then turn calm at sundown. I'm guessing that the temperatures range from the 40s up to the 70s – it is tough to live here in the winter but someone must do it! LOL

20 December, 2009 Rice & Beans (San Ignacio, Baja Sur, Mexico )

I did another walk to the Suprermercado today but made it more interesting and added some distance for a total of 2.63 miles. To add interest I climbed the volcanic mesa that is just across MX1 from Rice & Beans which has a pig sty and spring or cistern about half way to the top. There were about two dozen pigs of various ages in 6 different pens.

In this first picture from the top of the mesa north of San Ignacio the other volcanic ridges are shown and the small village of Colonia Paredones. The second picture shows the canyon filled with palm trees, the town of San Ignacio is under the palms, and Rice and Bean in the foreground. The last one is from the same position but zooming in on my campsite.

After checking out the pigs I continued to the top of the mesa and found that from that vantage point I could see the very top of the mission in San Ignacio.In 1975 and 1986 it could be seen from MX1 but the palms have grown enough that you need the additional height to see it now.

I then followed the mesa to the east and did some rock scrambling down the southeastern face of it to get to the Supramercado and back on MX1. I don't think I'll be doing that anymore; I don't have the balance that I once did and lost it. I fell into a thorny bush and with my thin skin I got poked and bleed like a stuck hog from what was just a minor scratch – this has been a problem for the past few years.

21 December, 2009 Rice & Beans (San Ignacio, Baja Sur, Mexico )

This is the Mission San Ignacio founded by the Jesuit missionary Juan Bautista de Luyando in 1728. The Baja 1000 Off Road Race passes in front of the Mission moving from the right to left.

I went back to the square and mission but by way of a short-cut through the palms on some rocky dirt roads and trails for a total of 3.73 miles.

I met a woman, another (BC, Canadian) at the square that told me about a place in town where I could get some hand drawn maps of the area but when I looked at them I was more confused than going without. The woman has rented a house here near Rice & Beans and she seems to be doing some kind of work at the mission but did not volunteer what it might be.

All of my neighbors for the night came in after I climbed into my trailer for the evening and most of them after I went to sleep.

The first two came in together just as I was preparing for my night at about sundown. They were a fifth wheel/toy hauler (maybe 36' long) towed by a Ford 2500 ans also an older motorhome perhaps 40'. The fifth wheel worked at getting hooked up to electric for about an hour, part of that time in the dark with flashlights – I don't know if he ever did get lights, I went to sleep.

My later arrivals were a Dodge diesel pick-up with RV camper in the bed that parked next to me and woke me up around 8:30. There were also 3 other pick-ups with campers that dry camped and two motorcycles that got a hotel room near me. I slept through their arrival but saw them when I had one of my normal wake up calls.

Ricardo has been away to his mothers, and other restaurant, in San Felipe for a couple of days. To celebrate his return he gave me lunch/dinner “on the house” because I have stayed here for a long time. HA HA I don't know how his business is other than when the Baja 1000 is being held but he has not been very busy since I have been here except for the few overnight stays by people coming and going to lower Baja.

I have been asking everyone that has stopped here about the family on the triple and double that I saw on the 16th near Catavina. I received a couple of reports but no one said that had seen them for the past 3 days. At about 3:00 this afternoon I saw them on MX1 from my camp chair and promptly jumped in the car and caught up with them at the San Ignacio turn off. They are from Calgary, Alberta, Canada and will be on the road for one year. The children are all boys; the 5 year old is on the back and the 8 year old is in the center with Dad, the 7 year old is on the tandem with Mom. The 5 year old is the coolest, most self-possessed little guy that I've ever met. He is going to have a lot to tell at Show-n-Tell when he starts school. LOL

22 December, 2009 Rice & Beans (San Ignacio, Baja Sur, Mexico )

My hike today was just out an back from Rice & Beans to Chula Vista (3.74 miles). Chula Vista is another small pueblo built along both sides of MX1 to the east of the turn off to San Ignacio. It didn't exist until sometime in the early 1990s. As with almost all Mexican towns and villages you can guess at its age by the number of failed business that are standing empty. This village has a quite a few – the ones that have survived seem to be auto repair related and one nice looking motel (The Oasis, open but empty now).

I then did nothing much for the remainder of the day as has been my normal routine. I did make some inquiry about the quarry where the stone for the mission came from. So far I haven't received much info but will make that my educational project while I'm here.

I did join a Happy Hour with a couple from near Jackson, CA that arrived with a smaller fifth wheel towed by a Toyota Tundra. We were also joined by another BC, Canadian (Art) from Vancouver Island that has a big motorhome with a “toad”. He will stay here through Christmas – made that decision when he learned that Ricardo was going to have turkey with all the “fixins” for Christmas dinner.

The CA couple and Art have been traveling at the same pace since Potrero, CA but have made different side trips – they have now been in the same campground three times. The couple will go on to El Coyote, south of Mulege, tomorrow and Art may join them again after Christmas.

There was also two twenty-something year old guys from BC, Canada stop by for lunch. They are staying a week with the aunt and uncle, that own a B&B here in San Ignacio, of one of them; then will probably go to La Paz for the greater excitement at New Years.

There was also an overnighter with another VW Westfalia pop-top van from CA but they came in late and I didn't talk to them.

23 December, 2009 Rice & Beans (San Ignacio, Baja Sur, Mexico )

No hike today, I replaced that activity with some white wall tire and wheels cleaning. Yesterday I had my car and trailer washed by Ricard's “workers” and they did not do the wheels.

I had told Ricardo not to use an bleach on the tires and I think that by the time the instructions were translated they were understood to be – don't wash the tires and wheels. I really didn't mind because I cleaned them up well with some Simple Green. However, it seems that the workings of nature are in direct opposition with what man does and it started a light rain just as I was finishing the wheels. LOL

At breakfast I talked to the couple that had arrived on one motorcycle after I had gone to bed last night. They are going on to Loreto for Christmas and then back to the US. They are traveling VERY light and staying in hotels. The guy usually comes down alone on a dirt bike motorcycle traveling the same way. His first trip through Baja was from south to north after crossing on the ferry with a Toyota Land Rover in about 1970; that was when the road was almost all unpaved and really bad.

Art, the Canadian in the big Class A motorhome staying through Christmas, went to Santa Rosalia today as did Ricardo. They did have the common objective of going to the bank there. However, Art's bigger concern was to lay in a supply of Scotch liquor; apparently the stock available at the San Ignacio store was not adequate to get him through Christmas. He went to the local store the day he arrived.

I think he is the only Class A owner that has spoken to me while on this trip but that was two days ago when he arrived. Yesterday he said little more than hello when I spoke to him. I did sit and watch him go in and out of his motohome about 10 times over a period of about a half hour trying to set-up his dish TV. I guess he got it connected and is now settled – he has his Scotch, has his TV and more living space than most of my apartments since 1992!

There were three late arrivals last night after I went to bed. All three were traveling in cars/SUVs/pick-ups and took hotel rooms which I guess will be the pattern for the next few days. I think most of the US and Canadian travelers that intend to stay for a while have come through until after Jan 1st.

24 December, 2009 Rice & Beans (San Ignacio, Baja Sur, Mexico )

I went back to the mission and square again today to ask about the mission stone quarry. I was told that there was a woman there that runs a small hotel/B&B that knew a lot about the history of the area. She was gone for the day, taking some people on a tour to the painted cave in the area. Ricardo had told me to ask the old priest at the mission but I found that he had been replaced at the mission by two young priest that have only been here one or two months.

While I was there I did see the Calgary family once again. They are staying with some people that they met who own a house near the square. They will stay through Christmas and then move on.

I also went back to Rice & Beans the longer way so that I could stop by the Canadian owned Ignacio Springs B&B. The rooms there are canvas covered yurts set-up on cement pads with air conditioning for at least some of them. They have a web site which gives prices that are US/Canadian prices – not bargain prices, but that is now true for most hotels or RV camping in Baja. The very cheap places are not very attractive and most Americans/Canadians would not stay at them.

It was very windy, cloudy and cold today. The wind finally did die down around midnight but I didn't see any stars so it must have continued to be cloudy.

I had a very quiet Christmas Eve which was good. I snuggled in even earlier than normal to avoid the wind and cold (cold being relative, it was probably still in the low 40s). The only late arrivals came in around sundown so I had not gone to sleep yet and no one else came in to wake me.

Ricardo was cooking turkeys in an outdoor dome oven that I associate with bread baking. He would then have a big dinner with turkey, mashed potatoess, other “fixins” and chocolatet flan for desert. Their tradition is to eat the big Christmas dinner late on Christmas Eve so I'm hoping for some left-overs tomorrow. LOL

25 December, 2009 Rice & Beans (San Ignacio, Baja Sur, Mexico )

MERRY CHRISTMAS



Today was quiet also with no late arrivals waking me up after I went to sleep. The only disruption during the day was the wind until about mid-afternoon. This kept me at my computer longer in the restaurant where I can access a WIFI signal and stay out of the wind.

The WIFI connection here is from a satellite dish receiver that is sitting up on the second floor balcony behind an iron railing which can not improve the reception. Under the best of situations it will disconnect every few minutes and you must sign back on; I think this is due to the controlling software set-up to reduce the connect time with the satellite.

Under worse situations the transmission time is very slow. Ricardo told me it slowed down because of cloud cover but on two cloudy days I had one that was slow and one that was normal. Perhaps it has something to do with the thickness of the cloud cover but just clouds does not seem to be the reason.

The other thing that I did yesterday to avoid the wind was crawl into my trailer and read. I did that a lot while at Joshua Tree and have been back in there the past couple of days slowly working on a translated version of the Iliad by Homer. I thought I would read at least one of the Classics after all the other “stuff' that I have read. LOL

I picked up five books from the Friends of the Washoe Library book sale in November but it looks like the Iliad will last me for another month or more at my current rate.

26 December, 2009 Rice & Beans (San Ignacio, Baja Sur, Mexico )

I did another hike to “town” to talk to the woman I had been told could probably help me with information on the mission quarry. I found her this time but she could not help me; she thought that the stone came for far away, Ricardo said the same thing.

When I asked them both how the stone was transported they didn't know. The woman thought the smaller stone was formed from individual small stones found on the nearby mesas but that doesn't make much sense. You transport the large quarried stones for a long distance but you cut all six sides of each small stone? I don't think I'm going to get an answer from anyone here in the area.

The 5.50 mile hike was mostly my following trails and roads through a badly burned portion of the palm grove. When you are within the palms it is hard to determine your position and/or your directions but I arrived almost right at the mission when I was going into town. I then took a different route out of town and was able to strike by tracks again in the middle of the palms on the return.

I had a lot of company last night! The first came in before I went to bed, another BC, Canadian family in a 30 foot Class C motorhome. I talked to the Dad & Mom, the two teenage daughters stayed inside, about the Class C which is built on a Ford 4500 chassis and looks longer than 30'.

At about that same time another BC, Canada fifth wheel parked at the other end of the lot near the restaurant. While during the night a CA pick-up with a RV camper parked right next to me and and a CA Ford Excursion parked near me on the other side where they had a hotel room.

Near the restaurant, and the rooms over it, there was an AZ Ford pick-up towing an old Ford flatbed. Loaded on top of the flat-bed was a boat trailer with an inflated boat on the trailer; both of them appeared to have been out in the weather for quite some time. There was also three other cars in that same area one from CA and two with Baja plates – none of these late comes woke me up!

I had Ricardo's Christmas Day menudo for breakfast today and was not impressed. It was rather bland, not cooked with much seasoning. I was also expecting the added condiments of lime, oregano, crushed red pepper and chopped green onion. I got the lime and some bland chopped herb (unidentified) and chopped yellow onion. This has been my only disappointment from the kitchen so far.

For dinner I had left-over turkey again with an unusual but good dressing and some incompletely mashed yet watery mashed potatoes; all better than perhaps it sounds. There was also some home baked bread about the size of sliced baguette. The day before yesterday the bread came as nice slices of toasted garlic bread but today it didn't taste of nearly as much garlic.

27 December, 2009 Rice & Beans (San Ignacio, Baja Sur, Mexico )

Today was another colder, windier day that had me in the trailer reading more of the Iliad until later in the afternoon.

After my lunch/dinner (which was “on the house” scallops cooked on a garlic butter with a salad and baked potato – EXCELLENT) I happened to see a bit of paper under my windshield wiper. When I removed it I found it to be an invitation from the Canadian woman that has rented a short way up the road from me. The invitation was a very kind and thoughtful thing for her to do and I would have gladly accepted however it was to join her for Christmas Day breakfast. I was 2-3 days late in responding to the invitation!

I jumped in the car and drove up to see if she was at home and I could make my apologies and excuses (I had not been in the drivers seat since December 21st). We had a nice conversation over cup of coffee and I found out that she had worked for 7 months, 7 days a week so that she could have 5 months off for this trip. Her final stop going south will be in a small town on the Pacific Coast a little north of Acapulco; she said it is as cold here as she wants to be for the 5 months. LOL

That was the pleasant part of my short drive. The very unpleasant part was that my car Engine, TRAC OFF & VSC indicator lights remained on. When I left her place I drove a few miles until the heat indicator changed from cold and then back to Rice & Beans – the lights stayed on. I have no idea why they have done so but it is a worry that I don't need; I'm probably 5 or 6 hundred miles from warranty service.

When I got back to my campsite I had a 5x10 American Teardrop parked next to me. It is owned by a couple from CA that bought it from a dealer located in Auburn, CA; they said is built by the same company that makes the Lil Guy. We talked “Teardrops” for a few minutes but it was getting late a dark by that time so it was way past my bedtime. LOL

The late arriving neighbors included an older ¾ ton Ford van that had some interior conversion work but nothing on the exterior. I also had a couple of CA cars/SUVs plus two motorcycles that I think stayed here before that all took hotel rooms.

The big plans for tomorrow are to get my laundry taken care of and see what I can find out about my car warning lights – more excitement than I really had hoped for.

28 December, 2009 Rice & Beans (San Ignacio, Baja Sur, Mexico )

I had wonderful weather once again today until late in the day when the wind increased as it always does late in the day; most of the day I was sitting in the shade with no windbreaker.

Art left while I was at breakfast, I saw him getting ready yesterday. The other Canadian that had the fifth wheel also left at about 10:00; I only saw him one time and that was out in the lot talking to Art. I don't think it is a Canadians vs Americans thing that they were somewhat standoffish I think it is more the class consciousness of Class A mortorhomes and big fifth wheel RV owners.

The indicator light issue with my xB seems to be a rather common occurrence if the number of post on the Scion Forum is any proof. The general advice is to get a code scan done to see why they are on but it is not a big worry. Perhaps the Mexican gas has caused it, or a cam sensor, or maybe some other sensor and there is nothing wrong.

There is not much I can do about it now so I'll just have to see how it runs as I head back toward Yuma, AZ; it seems to be running fine now. IF the lights don't go away on the way back I'll get it checked out in Yuma. IF the car starts to run badly then I'll have to see what a Mexican mechanic can do with it.

The only overnighter to stop before I got in my trailer for the night was a “surfer dude” riding a very small dirt bike motorcycle (maybe a 125cc or 250 cc) and towing a small narrow mono-wheel cargo trailer (like a BOB for bicycles). We talked for a few minutes and he then set up his hammock between two car port posts and I thought that was his camp but then later I saw that he also had a 1-2 man ½ dome tent set up to sleep in.

There was one other SUV tent camping family come in at about sun down and the a VW Westphalia pop-top van after I had gone to bed. A couple of pick-ups took hotel rooms near me again. One of them had a couple of barking dogs that were an irritant. I'm not sure which is worse undisciplined dogs or undisciplined children – I do notice that the owners/parents tend to treat them much the same.

29 December, 2009 Rice & Beans (San Ignacio, Baja Sur, Mexico )

I fixed the indicator lights (referred to as The Three Stooges on the Forum) on my xB today. When I say fixed what I mean is that I made them go away. I then did a short drive and they did not come back on so what tripped them the first time does not seem to be a serious problem.

Therefore, for now they are “out of sight, out of mind” although I know that I'll be on edge about them for the first few days when I start driving back toward Yuma.

The weather was wonderful once again – a clear sky most of the day with big puffy clouds building in the east near sundown and only slightly cooler than yesterday. Most of my weather reports could read this same way so I tend to report on the bad days rather than the good.

My next door neighbor last night was a couple from Meeker, CO that were towing a travel trailer (with slide out) with a 4x4 Ford 350. I call it a travel trailer because it is towed with a hitch and ball rather than a fifth wheel. I don't know what the advantages/disadvantages of one over the other might be – maybe the fifth wheel gives the owner more social status?

We talked Teardrops for a bit and about my current travel plans. When I mentioned that I might stop in San Miguel de Allende, MX they said that there son lived there. I don't know if I'm going to make it to San Miguel but I have the phone number for their son and may try to contact him. He has widely traveled in Mexico, speaks the language fluently and is working in San Miguel – would probably be a big help to me if I wanted to do another trip to Mexico.

There were also a couple of CA cars and a motorcycle near the hotel rooms over the restaurant that came in after I went to bed but I didn't have anyone else near me last night.

30 December, 2009 Rice & Beans (San Ignacio, Baja Sur, Mexico )

Today's adventure took me to Santa Rosalia on a shopping trip with Ricardo. I had not intended to go any further south than San Ignacio but Ricardo asked me if I wanted to ride along with him because he had to go to the bank. I asked him how long we would be and he said it would be only about 1 ½ hours. I knew that any time he gave me would be less but the 3 ½ hours that it took was even more than I had estimated – but what else did I have to do.

What we actually did while in Santa Rosalia was pay the telephone bill, then go to a “mercado” (grocery store), then the bank, another “mercado” and stopped for gas. LOL It was a good drive, glad I got to see Santa Rosalia again (would never stay there now) and I had a good talk with Ricardo.

Santa Rosalia is much, much larger that it was in 1986; the Church, the old train engine, the bakery , the harbor and the old mining buildings being the only places that I recognized. I showed Ricardo pictures of the hotel that I stayed at and he said it is still there but looks different now. There is a Canadian company starting to develop a copper mine in the area again however the project has slowed because of the world economy.

On the road on the way there and back I saw a small town that did not exist in 1986 and some greenhouses in the middle of miles and miles of desert (watered by deep wells). There is also now a geothermal electric power plant on the east side of the Las Tres Virgines Mountains that provides power to the area including San Iganacio.

My near by hotel room neighbor was a Baja plated SUV last night. The few Mexican cars that I have seen previously have stayed at the room over the restaurant; I'm not sure why this one was different. They opened the room, unloaded three pieces of luggage and drove away again; then returned after I went to sleep.

The only other overnighters were two pick-ups with RV campers and a lot of surf boards. They set up next to each other with a big dome tent between them; I'm not sure what that was about, I would think the campers would be big enough to sleep in.

31 December, 2009 Rice & Beans (San Ignacio, Baja Sur, Mexico )

I had a hard wind blowing all day, the worse that I have had while here. I don't see any storm clouds being blown in by the wind and they are coming from the east rather than the west where I would expect a storm to come from. It is cool but not bad if you can get out of the wind which I did most of the day – more computer time and reading.

Although my liberal readers say that I'm “out of it” I am continuing to keep abreast (if I can) of the Health Care reforms that are being passed by the Senate and now to be resolved with the House bill.

I first want to comment on this repeated use of the word reform. I don't believe that either bill is a reform of health care, President Oboma promised to remake the United States and this is a part of that effort. Both bills are a “remaking” of the Health Insurance Industry, they do nothing to improve health care and may have the opposite effect.

Secondly, I don't have access to the data that the Congressional Budget Office seems to have but based on what I have read I don't see how they came up with a reduction in the deficit. The primary funding for the governments premium subsidies will come from: Big Pharmacy - 2.3 Billion/year, Medical Device Makers – 2.0 Billion/year and Health Insurance Companies – 6.7 Billion/year. This is a total of 11.0 Billion/year plus other individual taxes and the excise tax (fine) for not buying insurance.

In my assement I have assumed that the individual taxes or fines will offset the yearly increase in premiums and have exclude any savings from Medicare in their entirety (I don't think anyone outside the government believes there will be any savings). Therefore, with 30 million more people to have their insurance premiums paid for by the government at a price of $3,160/year the cost is 94.8 Billion to be paid for with an 11.0 Billion/year funding source. I don't see any deficit reduction in those numbers!

I thought that my hotel neighbor had left yesterday but it seems that they were only away from their room for the day because they came back into their same parking spot last night. Then parked next to them were two vehicles that I saw before that also took hotel rooms. I think they stopped here overnight on 12/23 but I did not make a note about them that day. The Ford Explorer had a very unique rear carrier and ladder to the roof that I remember and it was accompanied by a second pick-up as they are today.

There were also a couple of cars near the rooms over the restaurant. I asked Ricardo about the rooms and prices and he said that they were all the same, so the guests are making the selection. It is interesting that the Mexican traveler seems to usually select the ones over the restaurant.