Saturday, April 04, 2009

Families tied

I've been lazy about posting, it's true, but my excuse is: we are having too much fun. Our friends and fellow home owners, the Allens,' were in town for a week. They merged with us and the Browns' for one fun-filled, kid-centered day after another: boating, swimming, tennis, hikes, mule-rides, sleep-overs. We traveled as a pack from one activity to another becoming a moving mass of big and little bodies, requiring tables in restaurants to be pushed together, and complex permutations over how 12 people can fit into 2 cars so that 3 certain girls can always sit together and the only two boys are never separated.

Our mule ride near San Javier was especially fun. Actually, the kids rode the mules while we parents trailed behind on foot. It was just less than an hour ride up a gravel trail to a watering hole, no challenge at all. The most interesting aspect of the event, to me, was the little ranch where the ride originated. A open-air shack with an outhouse that requires each user to fill a bucket from the well to dump in the toilet so it could flush. Does that disqualify it from being an outhouse, I wonder? After all, it did have a ceramic toilet.

I guess you could say the owners lived very primitively and self sufficiently. They had a vegetable garden. The goats were all milk goats. The pigs were being fattened. A table in the "house" was strewn with leather and shoe cobbling tools. A windmill served two purposes, one being the landmark to find this remote homestead on the road to San Javier. Of course the car ride itself is half the adventure. Having done it twice I am less easy to scare. The rocky cliff drop-offs on the narrow mountain passes aren't as daunting the second or third time around. However the wreathed memorial spot where the Professor and his lady went sailing off Thelma-and-Louise style to their deaths still elicits a shudder.

There was a flurry of construction in the beginning stretch of the road to San Javier. The state of Baja California Sur intends to pave the entire 32-kilometer road to the Mission. We had to maneuver around the heavy machinery and workers and over some chunky rocks. We even picked up a hitch-hiker. Or rather, Doug Brown did. The man was obviously a worker hoping to catch a ride up a to a waiting crew. Doug hollered for him to go around back. We all waited, uneasy, as we expected him to open the hatch and hop in the car. Instead he stepped onto the bumper and braced himself against the roof rack. Off we went. A mile later he hopped off to join his waiting buddies under a tree.

I'd say the mule adventure was a success meaning no one was injured or bitten by a rattlesnake. A dip in the shallow pool at the end of the ride was another highlight followed by a stop at Del Barrachos for hamburgers and milkshakes and re-entry to the present times.

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