Florida in the upper left, Venezuela along the bottom.
Southern Mexico & Northern Central America
Our Travel Route: May, 2007 - June 2012
Starting in May, 2007, our travels have taken us to these places:
2007 - RV: New Mexico, California, Oregon, Washington, Canada, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Arizona
2008 - RV: Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, Kansas, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Arizona
2009 - RV: California, Florida, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kansas, Arizona, California
RV: Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Arizona
Airplane/hotel: SE Caribbean
2010 - Sailboat: California, Mexico's Baja Pacific Coast
2011 - Sailboat: Mexico's Mainland Pacific Coast, Sea of Cortez
RV: Arizona, Utah, Arizona
Sailboat: Sea of Cortez, Mexico's Pacific Coast
2012 - Sailboat: Mexico's Pacific Coast + inland trips by bus
RV: Arizona, Colorado, Utah
A complete chronological listing of all our travels (with links) follows:
FIRST YEAR TRAVELS - Western
Loop and Southern Loop
In May, 2007, we left our just-leased home in
Phoenix, Arizona and picked up our new Lynx
travel trailer in Kemp, Texas outside of Dallas.
We arrived at Marshall's RV with everything we
needed for our new lifestyle packed into the back
of our truck. After staying near the dealership for
ten days, just to make sure all the systems
worked okay, we headed west. We traveled
between I-10 and I-40 on small country roads
through west Texas and New Mexico. We
arrived in Flagstaff, Arizona, and installed a solar
panel and finished some personal odds and ends,
wrapping up our old life in Phoenix.
We left Flagstaff in June, 2007 and went to
Mammoth Lakes, California where we enjoyed
snow-capped mountains and crystal clear lakes.
From there we went to Yosemite National Park via Tioga Pass on the eastern side, and then took the tiny roads out of the
mountains to the west, skirting Sacramento and landing at the California coast at Fort Bragg, 150 miles north of San Francisco. We
wandered north along the Oregon Coast in July, 2007, awestruck by the rugged beauty of the craggy cliffs and crashing surf. At the
Washington, where we visited Olympic National Park and Mt. Rainier.
In August, 2007 we took a ferry from Port Angeles, Washington to Vancouver Island and spent most of the month on the southern
half of the island. At the end of our visit we spent several days in Victoria, BC, before boarding a ferry for Anacortes, Washington.
in northeastern Wyoming.
At the end of September, 2007, we reached our turnaround point at Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota in the
southwest corner of the state. We could feel the chill of fall in the air. We headed west through Wyoming along I-80 and dropped
down into northern Utah, wandering from Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area over to Park City outside of Salt Lake City, Utah.
Caught in an early snow storm we quickly dropped south again to Green River, Utah, and the San Rafael Swell where we were awed
by the easy access to ancient petroglyphs and dinosaur tracks. We dipped down from there, in October, 2007, to Goblin Valley,
Utah. Chased by cold weather, we went south to the outskirts of Las Vegas, Nevada, where we found the stunning Valley of Fire
State Park. Here we saw sunrises that looked like sunsets and cycled on an exquisite road through geological formations of every
shape and color. As the nights grew cold in November, 2007, we sought warmth at Death Valley National Park in California and
then cruised into southern Arizona in early December, 2007, where we made our first visit to Quartzsite, Arizona.
We had completed a loop tour of the western states, and we were pooped! We recovered completely during Christmas, 2007, visiting
with family in Phoenix before returning to Quartzsite, Arizona in January, 2008 for their big RV show. While freezing in howling
winds under grey skies, we kept looking at the weather map on the back page of USA Today and seeing that Florida was toasty
warm. It was time to leave. We made our way east through Texas the long way, skimming the Rio Grande and the Gulf Coast,
dashing across Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on I-10 and arriving in Florida in February, 2008. We spent three months in
Spring Break. Then we cruised along the southern and western coasts of Florida, swimming at beaches near Miami and
Sarasota as we looped around to the Florida panhandle.
At the end of April, 2007 we visited the Gulf coast town of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, amazed at this town's enthusiastic revival
following Katrina. From there we traveled north to Natchez, Mississippi where the great river was cresting higher than it had since
the 1930's and the historic mansions told stories of a different culture in a different era. We drove along the Natchez Trace Parkway
north to Jackson, Mississippi, exploring ancient Indian mounds and cycling this unique commercial-traffic free road.
SECOND YEAR TRAVELS - Southwestern Loop, Florida Dash & Heartland Detour Back West
In May, 2008, we arrived in Chanute, Kansas, putting our sightseeing on hold for a month as we immersed ourselves in learning all
we could about NuWa fifth wheel trailers. After a lot of thought, we decided to take the plunge. We made a deal at the factory with
local dealer H&K Camper Sales to buy a new Hitchhiker fifth wheel trailer. We moved into the new trailer on May 20, 2008, the exact
same day that we had left Phoenix to begin this new fulltime RV lifestyle a year ago. Thrilled with our new purchase, we needed to
get it set up for solar battery charging, so we returned to Flagstaff, Arizona where we upgraded the solar system we had had on the
Lynx. We felt a little like we were repeating history--but with greater knowledge and sophistication: we stayed in the same
campground and had a similar (though more complex) solar installation project as we had had during the same time period one year
before. We had learned something important during this year of travel, however: to slow down. Taking a break from our solar
installation work on the buggy, we cycled and hiked through the sights of Sunset Crater National Monument.
In late June, 2008, we left Flagstaff, Arizona and went all the way around the Grand Canyon to its North Rim. We stayed for three
weeks in an idyllic setting about 18 miles from the Rim. From there we wandered north through Kanab, Utah and discovered one of
Canyon where we spent a month in a bucolic setting. In a past visit in our former lives, we had squeezed the North Rim and Bryce
into a few days. We were really learning to sloooow waaaay down.
At the end of August, 2008, we wandering among the small communities that dot the mountainous and red rock strewn terrain of
southern Utah. We basked in the small town comfort of Kanab and Alton, meandering along their pretty streets on brilliant blue-sky
filled days. And we enjoyed the hometown fun of a three-day Labor Day county fair in Parowan, Utah. During September we
stopped in at Pioche, Nevada, a once bustling mining town might have been the wildest frontier town in the heyday of the wild west.
From there we revisited our former lives with a stopover at Interbike, the annual bicycle industry trade-show in Las Vegas. We
caught up on the latest bike gear and saw Lance Armstrong in a night-time cyclo-cross race (but forgot to bring our cameras, so
there's no proof!).
Sweltering in the 100 degree Vegas heat, we dashed across the California desert (hot hot hot!) to San Diego's Shelter Island and
Mission Bay where the cool breezes, bright sunshine and salt air seduced us into staying for the entire month of October, 2008.
Heading inland, we spent November in Yuma, Arizona, where we enjoyed the last warm days of 2008 before the start of winter.
freezing winter storm hit. This kept us warm through the holidays in Phoenix, til we hit the San Diego waterfront once again to attend
the sailboat show in January. We were reluctant to leave the unusually warm, sunny coast, but great friends, good times and the RV
show awaited us back in Quartzsite.
Ready for a change of pace, we made a mad dash across country, and spent six weeks on the quiet rivers and sugar-white sand
beaches that fringe the Florida Panhandle's emerald waters. State parks and seaside villages highlighted our visit and made our
followed by a long slog back along I-40 to Arizona.
We stopped at Roosevelt Lake in Arizona and had two blissful weeks of cycling, kayaking and photography. Spurred by a desire to
expand our travels onto the seven seas, we went boat shopping around San Francisco & Los Angeles.
THIRD YEAR TRAVELS - IN AND OUT OF THE TRAILER:
Midwest (by car/hotel), West (in trailer), SE Caribbean (by hotel) & Mexico (by sailboat)
An accident in May, 2009 put us in Michigan for seven weeks with friends and family but without our trailer. We looped around Lake
stopping in the charming waterfront town of South Haven. Continuing north, we traveled along the scenic coastal roads of Lake
Michigan (with a detour through Detroit) to hit Saugatuck, Higgins Lake and Traverse City, alternating between seeing new sights
and having Mark take me on nostalgic trips down memory lane. We continued north along the Lake Michigan coast, visiting the
harborfront villages of Charlevoix and Harbor Springs and driving under the unique green limbed canopy of the Tunnel of Trees.
In late June we crossed the Macinaw Bridge into the Upper Peninsula and visited the towns of St. Ignace and Hessel, making a brief
stop at the Great Lakes Boat Building School. A trip to the Soo Locks revealed both north and southbound freighters in the locks
simultaneously, one going up and one going down. We ended our Michigan visit with a trip down the Lake Huron shoreline,
marveling at lighthouses, shipwrecks and hydroplane boat races, and finally wrapping it all up with a stroll through the German
immigrant town of Frankenmuth.
We flew back to California and moved back into our trailer just in time for San Diego's 4th of July bash. Taking the long route north
and east, we traveled to Ketchum, Idaho, where we unwound in bliss and rediscovered our inner joy for a month. We worked our
way down much of the Visitors Center's 50 Fun Free Things To Do in Ketchum/Sun Valley list. There was the symphony's free
summer concert series, the Sun Valley Lodge itself, and winter sports memorabilia all over Sun Valley, ID. A little further north we
stopped in Stanley, ID, enjoying several blissful kayak rides in the crystal clear lakes among the mountains. We got a lesson in
salmon lifecycles too. As August, 2009 ended, our lessons shifted from fish biology to cattle ranching in Stevensville, MT (just south
of Missoula) at our good friends' neighbor's ranch. They took us to the annual Labor Day Weekend Hemville Rodeo to see how
ranchers unwind on the weekend. This event was so much fun we had to create a second Rodeo page.
In September, 2009, we hustled south along I-15, stopping several times between Logan and Cedar City, Utah to take in the sights
and drive the scenic roads through the mountains. A stint in Las Vegas, Nevada split us up between the glitzy annual Interbike
bicycle industry trade show and the soaring peaks at Red Rock Canyon. A brief detour along I-15 finally landed us at Valley of Fire
State Park for a second visit (first was in 2007). Red rocks, petroglyphs, jaw-dropping drives and exhilerating bike rides. A little
further down the Colorado River, we stopped at Laughlin, Nevada where the RV snowbirds were flocking on their flight south. By
the end of October we were back in Arizona for a free stay at Havasu Springs Resort in exchange for listening to an RV
membership program presentation. We returned to our home front, Phoenix, Arizona in November, 2009, and visited two Phoenix
Looking for new excitement and warmer climes, we jetted to Grenada in the southeastern Caribbean to begin a 10-week tropical
adventure. Going aboard a 75' wooden yacht that Frank Sinatra used to sail on was one of many highlights as we stayed on
Vincent & The Grenadines where Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations were in colorful full swing. Next day, a 15 minute
flight landed us on the island of Bequia, at one time a charming oasis of peace and tranquility where we planned to spend a month.
Accosted by scam artists at the airport and finding the locals both sullen and mean, we searched hard to find the pretty side of this
Meanwhile, an online search had turned up our dream boat for sale at a rock bottom price in San Diego. We submitted an online bid
as a lark and suddenly found ourselves thrust into the boat buying process once again. A wild 33 hour walk/ferry/taxi/jet ride to San
Diego put us face to face with Groovy, our new home. After two weeks of non-stop preparations, on January 31, 2010 we left San
Diego and went south to Ensenada, Mexico via ports at Puerto La Salina and Hotel Coral & Marina. We lived on our new boat
Groovy at Hotel Coral & Marina in Ensenada, Mexico for the next six months.
Getting out and about in Ensenada, we found small thrills in the markets and in "Gringo Gulch," the tourist zone. Over Valentine's
weekend we got downtown to witness the amazing spectacle of the Carnaval Parade. Returning to the US a few times we learned a
little about the border and were grateful at last to return home to the boat in Ensenada. Despite an El Nino year, a tsunami and an
and the Newport-Ensenada sailboat race. Settling back into our routine, we continued to prepare the boat for cruising and
discovered some colorful neighborhoods in Ensenada.
FOURTH YEAR TRAVELS - Ensenada Mexico, San Diego & Mexican coastline (by sailboat)
As May, 2010 ended, we continued exploring the area around Ensenada, Mexico, including La Bufadora, the famed blow hole. In
back-to-back contrasting adventures, we experienced both the genteel and the raucous at the Riviera Cultural Center and Baja 500
beyond our skill set, and said farewell to Ensenada.
Towards the end of August, 2010, we sailed up to San Diego and enjoyed the free anchorages that are available to cruisers there,
learning how to boondock on the water. In September we continued visiting the various anchorages around the bay as our many
projects to prepare the boat for cruising kept us in the San Diego.
In addition to the above map, there is more geographical detail on coastal Mexico here: Mexico Maps.
Harbor hopping a little and doing a few overnight trips, we continued along the Baja coast further until dawn of November 19th when
we motored past the gorgeous cliffside properties on approach to Cabo San Lucas. Following a brief stay there, we tackled 330
miles of open ocean to cross the Sea of Cortez to Chamela Bay on Mexico's mainland Pacific coast, called the "Costa Algre" ("Happy
Coast") for Thanksgiving. 55 miles further south, we were charmed by Manzanillo. "THIS is why we went cruising," we agreed,
remaining anchored off Manzanillo's Las Hadas Resort for 10 days. New friends persuaded us to keep moving south another 180
miles, taking us first to mini island paradise Isla Ixtapa where we swam and snorkeled and enjoyed the tropical air, and then on to
charming Zihuatanejo for Christmas and New Year's.
We stayed in Zihuatanejo for most of January, 2011, finding ever more enchantments in its nooks and crannies. At last we hauled
anchor and motored 200 miles back north to Manzanillo where we met my mom and took her to visit lovely Santiago Bay. We
hovered between Santiago and neighboring Las Hadas resort for a few weeks, enjoying a wide variety of scenery and activities.
Wandering just a little north for Valentine's Day, we discovered the unique charm of Barra de Navidad, an enclosed, serene lagoon
anchorage. From Cuastecomate to Tenacatita, once considered paradise, we experienced the human and ecological challenges
facing this area. A tsunami caused by a record earthquake in Japan sent us out to sea and up the coast where we discovered a
hidden island paradise among the islands in Chamela Bay.
At the end of March, 2011, we left the "gold coast" anchorages of the Costa Alegre, rounded Cabo Corrientes to the north, and found
ourselves immersed in the sailing and gringo oriented town of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle outside Puerto Vallarta. Further north we
visited the famed bells of San Blas and Isla Isabel's frigate bird colony and blue footed boobies. An overnight passage took us to
Mazatlan where we found a city in turmoil. So we quickly hustled across the Sea of Cortez on another overnight passage to the
bottom of the Baja peninsula. La Paz & Puerto Balandra were total delights in mid-April where we got caught up with provisioning
and learned firsthand about the potentially horrifying springtime Coromuel winds that haunt the area.
At the end of April, 2011, we started heading north into the Sea of Cortez, stopping at Isla Partida's Ensenada Grande and Isla San
Just a few miles up the coast we witnessed both the natural side and the resort side of the Sea of Cortez at Isla Coronado and
Ensenada Blanca, set against the backdrop of reading Steinbeck's Log of the Sea of Cortez.
FIFTH YEAR TRAVELS - Sea of Cortez (boat), US Southwest (RV), Sea of Cortez again (boat),
Mexico's Pacific Mainland (boat) and inland (bus/hotel)
On May 22, 2011, we toasted the end of our fourth year of travel and beginning of our fifth while anchored off Loreto, a pretty, laid
back town. We stayed in the Loreto area for several weeks, enjoying the civilized pleasures of Puerto Escondido as well as Loreto,
and then we ventured north to San Juanico and Bahía Concepción where we immersed ourselves in nature and hung out with the
local ex-pats. At the end of June, 2011, we left the boat in San Carlos Marina in Mexico and went to Phoenix to catch up on a long
list of chores and re-lease our townhouse.
In August, 2011 we jumped in the fifth wheel and went to Bonito Campground / Wupatki Nat'l Monument in Flagstaff, Arizona. We
explored caves, marveled at 2,000 year old pine trees and hiked red rock canyons in Dixie National Forest, Utah. Seeking more
red rock vistas, we did two hikes at another hidden jewel, Cedar Breaks National Monument where we were surprised by the
abundance of colorful wildflowers. Still not saturated with red rocks, we hiked all over Red Canyon and visited nearby Panguitch and
Tropic for some Mormon pioneer history lessons. We ended our RVing season with a county fair in Parowan, Utah, the Interbike
bicycle trade show in Las Vegas and some Route 66 nostalgia and discovery of Sycamore Canyon in Williams, Arizona.
We returned to Groovy in San Carlos, Mexico in early October, 2011. After crossing to the Baja side of the Sea of Cortez, we
stopped in at Punta Chivato and Bahía Concepción, where we found a cool wilderness school and met Geary the Cruisers'
Weatherman. Continuing south to the Loreto area, we swam and snorkeled in pretty La Ramada Cove and Isla Coronado before
seeing civilization again at Loreto and Puerto Escondido. Further south, the island anchorages near La Paz reveal a tiny
community, a long distance avian traveler, surprise treasure under water, and tropical beauty. The La Paz area gave us great tacos
and the La Paz Waltz, while nearby Playa Bonanza and Bahía Falsa soothed our souls. At the beginning of December, 2011 we
crossed the Sea of Cortez to La Cruz and then Paradise Village Resort Marina in Puerto Vallarta where we luxuriated in the
gorgeous resort surroundings. Swinging through Manzanillo Bay we were entertained by a whale, reconnected with old
acquaintances and made some incredible new ones. Christmas on Las Gatas beach followed by a tour of the could-be haunted
"Parthenon" of Arturo Durazo in Zihuatanejo wrapped up a fantastic 2011.
We started 2012 in the beautiful, warm and friendly Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa area. Heading south, we found high end yacht races,
soaring cliff divers, a fancy yacht club and several pretty anchorages in Acapulco. After the frightening discovery of a corpse at sea,
towns we met some young Zapotecs and out of town we explored an Eco-Archaeology Park. Taking a bus over the mountains in
were thrilled to witness a wedding in the Cathedral. Just outside town we discovered Zapotec pyramid ruins at Monte Alban and
wonderful relics at Oaxaca's Cultural Center. We took a daytrip tour to see the world's widest tree, learn traditional weaving
techniques, admire petrified waterfalls, marvel at ancient ruins at Mitla and taste some mezcals.
In late February, 2012, we crossed the Gulf of Tehantepec and stopped at the brand new Marina Chiapas next to the Guatemala
border. Taking the bus to Antigua, Guatemala we found a tourism-driven city that has an pretty veneer but a bullied soul. After a
few days back in Puerto Chiapas, we drove inland through the Mexican state of Chiapas on another unforgettable 200 mile bus ride.
In early March we took intensive Spanish classes in San Cristóbal and walked the pretty colonial streets. Five hours up the road on
a gorgeous mountain bus ride we stopped in Palenque where we saw amazing Mayan ruins and heard scary jungle sounds.
Narrow, bumpy roads and a boat ride up a river took us to the exotic, inspiring ruins of Yaxchilán & Bonampak. We said goodbye to
the Mayan world by visiting the gorgeous waterfalls of Misol-Ha & Agua Azul and celebrating the Spring Equinox at the Tenem
Puente ruins. In April, 2012 we left Groovy in Marina Chiapas for the summer and flew hurriedly to Michigan to see Mark's suddenly
SIXTH YEAR TRAVELS - US Southwest (RV)
In May, 2012, we began our summer RVing travels with visits to Arizona's Mogollon Rim & Petrified Forest National Park.
Heading into Indian Country we visited Window Rock and stunning Canyon de Chelly National Park. Seeking a little more ancient
Indian exploration, we visited Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado and followed that up with some special encounters with the
locals in nearby Blanding, Utah. Following Utah's spectacular Bicentennial Highway, we visited Natural Bridges National
vistas and pioneer history. Leaving red rocks for green rolling hills, Fish Lake, UT took us into the rural Utah countryside where we
heard the funny story behind Five Wives Vodka. With scenic drives as our theme, we continued north along the Provo Canyon
Scenic Byway and Alpine Loop Scenic Byway, home of Sundance Resort.