Baja, Encenada to Catavena, March 23rd 2002.

We made such good time the day before that Penny convinced us we should take our time and do some tourist things. She wanted to visit the onyx mine at El Marmul, which I had already seen when on a trip down here with Konstantin and Sid. I told everyone that the petrographs at the San Fernando Mission were much more interesting, so we went there first. After that we still had lots of time so we went to El Marmul anyway! This required driving 9 miles of bad dirt road (twice) and Bob punctured a tire on his SUV and had to put on the spare. It was getting late in the afternoon before we got back to the paved road and even Penny was considering skipping a stop at the Shrine of the Virgin. This is a rock in the Catavena Boulder Field with a painting of Our Lady of Guadeloupe on it.

I had a secret agenda and canvassed strongly to stop at the shrine. Fortunately Bob wanted to stop and since the two of us were driving we hijacked everyone else and made the stop anyway. Penny recommends that everyone bring a secret treat along on these trips to bring out “at the right moment”. On my last trip I had purchased Cheep Plastic Glow-In-The-Dark Magnetic Statues of the Virgin Mary to put on my dashboard and kayak as a deterrent to crime. Before this trip, I ordered a dozen more Virgins and had one for everyone on this trip and several to spare! When we stopped at the Shrine of the Virgin I pulled out my secret treat and gave a cheep plastic Virgin to everyone! I even left one stuck on a steel platform that someone had constructed under the painting. It will be interesting to see if it is still there the next time I come by here.

The sun was setting as we drove into Santa Ynez Ranchero to stay for the evening. Unfortunately they were full and had no room! Apparently Spring Break was filling all the best places and we had to settle for a motel a few miles back the road called Cabanas Linda which was almost as nice, except the hot water did not work in the showers.

All text and images Copyright © 2002 by Mike Higgins / contact