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Sunday, 19 January 2014 00:00

1999 Trip report - Copper Canyon, Mexico

The Lost Tribe Mini Trip Report

written by Neal Johns

Most photos by John Page, but some by Marian Johns, Marilyn Martin, and Virginia Hammerness

Copper Canyon again? Seems like we were just there, but I guess it has been over three years! You would think it would get easier each time, but it must be like childbirth; you forget the pain after a while. This time I will remember the pain for a long, long time. It wasn’t the people, they were great, but the gods seemed to snow on me (euphemism). Seven vehicles (Charles and Mary Hughes, John Page/Paul Ferry, Virginia Hammerness/Pat Loomis, Warren Alksnis, Ann Marie Nelson/Bill Turpin, Bob and Marilyn Martin and the Johns) met in Tucson where, to my horror, AAA would not process the border crossing paperwork as in past years. Then Warren got lost in the restaurant (thus The Lost Tribe name), and I started to get that funny feeling about things. Was this trip going to be like the task of herding cats? Short answer: Yes.           

(click below to  read more [there is 1 more related article], and see the photo gallery)

 

Published in 1999 Trips
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 00:00

2000 Trip report - Baja California

Baja Xmas

by Neal Johns

December 23, 2000

Met son Dave Cox, friends Ken and Diane Sears, and Dave McFarland at 11:00 a.m. in the mini-mall (very) parking lot just left of the Tecate border crossing. Tecate is the only way to go; no crowds, no wait, no hassle. We asked permission to park in the few custom inspection spots and received it with two of us sent to park across the street in the reserved spots. Dave McFarland inadvertently parked on a gardener's hose and quickly moved when the gardener complained. The upset gardener told him $25 dollars or he would report his license plate number to the authorities. No deal said Dave M. So far Dave M. is still a free man but who knows who the gardener knows? 

(click Read More to continue story and see the photos)

 

Published in 2000 Trips

The story of Neal's Mexico Rescue - All five versions!

Size Counts (story #1)

by Marian Johns

I know what all of you are thinking, but in this case, it was a bigger hammer we needed, rather than the smaller one we pack along on our desert travels. A big hammer and a small Mexican named Pancho saved the day. Actually, the real heroes of this drama were some incredible friends – Bob and Marilyn Martin and John Page – who came 500 miles when we called for help. Plus, there was a little instrument of modern technology called a satellite phone, courtesy of son (and satellite tester), Jonathan, which was an indispensable item that enabled our rescue. 

  

A week of exploring and wildflower viewing near Cataviña in Baja (about 300 miles south of the border) started off well enough as we “oohed” and “aahed” at the solid blankets of orange poppies covering the hills along I-15 between Corona and Lake Elsinore. But fate had other plans, and she dealt us a hand with a few unpleasant surprises. First of all, Neal’s bridge broke as he was pigging out on Jelly Bellies we had just purchased at Tom’s Farms. After considering different options, we found a dentist in Escondido who temporarily cemented it back in place. By the time Neal’s teeth were fixed, it was too late to cross the border, so we camped in the boonies near Tecate on the U.S. side.

(click Read More, below, to continue reading)

Published in 2003 Trips
Tuesday, 04 February 2014 00:00

2009 Trip Report - Baja, The Last Frontier

Baja, The Last Frontier

March 24 - 29, 2009

by Neal Johns

Time to go to Baja! The group was a great assembly of long time friends and  fellow Baja nuts. John Marnell had a long background with Score and knew Coco  before he left Ensenada many years ago for Coco's Corner. Jay Lawrence wore out  a Jeep down there and is now abusing a Tundra. Alan Romspert is the retired  Coordinator at Zzyzx, the Desert Studies Center (with passenger Tim, a former  manager of the DSC) and has done quite a bit of botany in Baja. Bossing the  whole outfit was Dixie Johns, the Siberian Husky. She kept asking Are we there  yet? This doesn't look like the Siberia I remember! Oh yeah, Marian, my current  wife, was along. Note: All WiW's, remember your numbers!

(click Read More, below, to continue)

Published in 2009 Trips
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 00:00

2010 Trip Report - Baja

Baja, Oops!
By Neal Johns


It all started out so well, then everything turned to mush. Several fellow Baja  lovers on the internet planned a trip to the most inaccessible Mission ruins in  Baja, Mission Santa Maria. The road is about 14 miles long and starts off of  Highway One 300 miles below the border. We gathered at the village of El Rosario  at the BajaCactus Motel. The owner, Antonio Munoz, had supported our expeditions  for years and was a good and faithful friend. It did not hurt that his Motel was  built to American standards and was also inexpensive.
Marian had just returned from Tibet (yes, she saw Mount Everest from Base Camp,  but did not climb it. :-) and had chipped a bone in her foot the second day of  her trip, Being somewhat cheap, I mean frugal, she limped around until she got  back to Kaiser. She declined to go on another trip with a limp.
What could I do but ask one of my WiW's (Wife-in-Waiting) to accompany me? Teddi  was already in Baja where she had been indulging in her hobby of riding mules  over the El Camino Real mule/foot trail that connected the Missions. She met me  in El Rosario with her dog, an aging Shepard named Dixie she claimed would  protect her from my advances. Dixie ambled over and licked my hand. So much for  protection. Threatening to tell Marian (whom she knew) did work.

(click Read More, below, to continue)

Published in 2010 Trips
Sunday, 03 August 2014 00:00

Member Doings - Baja Bucket List

Baja Bucket List

by Neal Johns

Friend and follow Desert Explorer Jay (Taco Feliz on the Baja Nomad board) offered to lead a laid back trip to Baja with the main goal being a mile hike over a pristine section of the El Camino Real (a centuries old mule/foot trail connecting the Missions) about 370 miles below the border. Since I had wanted to do this hike for some time, I jumped at the offer. Our crew consisted of three vehicles (two Tacoma’s and a Tundra) and six people (Jay and his friend, Stan, Marian and me, and Ivan and Janet – new Desert Explorer members from Colorado).

(click Read More, below, to continue reading and view photos)

Published in 2014 Trips