Day 8 Miles: 74

Day 8:

A 9:00 a.m. departure from the beach, and a drive of only 74 miles landed us in Loreto – civilization!

Loreto was the first permanent settlement anywhere in the Californias, including the U.S. state to the north. In fact, it was the capital of both Californias for over 130 years.

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After boondocking in the desert and on the beach, we were ready for all the amenities a city has to offer. We dropped off our laundry at the lavanderia, then headed out to explore the tree-arched shopping areas:

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the town square:

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beautiful old hotels:

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a coffeehouse:

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And the madre of all missions – Our Lady of Loreto – the very first mission in the Californias (est. 1697):

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Day 9:

Rivera Del Mar is the nicest RV park we have visited thus far, and it is a short walk to the center of town.

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Sure, space is a little tight, but that helps cut down on the sun baking the sides of the rigs.

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Today we visited the second oldest mission in the Californias, built in 1699 – two years later than Our Lady of Loreto. It is a 30-kilometer trek up a mountain and sometimes down dirt roads, so thankfully we traveled by taxi and not in our rigs!

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The town square is quaint and clean. It must teem with pilgrims on December 2 during the Feast of Saint Javier, the patron saint of the mission and one of the original Jesuits.

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It took over 70 years to complete the mission, with the local indigenous people bringing rock from a quarry via horseback 15 kilometers away.

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Figuring I can use all the help I can get, I purchased two Saint Javier amulets, guaranteed to bring good fortune in travels, home, and work. They are both on suction cups, which will make it easy to mount them in the rig.

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I decided to coin a new phrase because of this. Sometimes as an expletive people will say, “Christ on a cracker!” or “Christ on crutches!” From now on, when you want to express surprise or frustration and take the name of a religious icon in vain, please say, “Saints on suction cups!” (Copyright theladyisatramp.net, all rights reserved.)

We stopped for lunch at Del Baracho (“The Drunk”), which made me chuckle because it is the name of the bar in “The Three Amigos.”

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They even had saddle barstools!

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Maria and I decided to take a side trip to the local cemetery, known in Mexico as a Panteon. Mausoleums like little houses are built for the dearly departed, which must come alive during family celebrations and Dia de Los Muertos. At first we thought the dead could not be buried underground because of the water table, similar to New Orleans, but these mausoleums seem to be a phenomenon throughout Mexico, sea level or not.

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After grocery shopping at the local bodega and a brief rest at the rig, Maria and I set out to walk the malecon, or boardwalk, by the water.

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(How do you like my new jewelry – mother of pearl and silver?)

We finished the evening feasting on chicken fajitas and tres leches cake while listening to a mariachi band at the Giggling Dolphin, a mostly outdoor restaurant with a nautical theme that makes you feel like a castaway.

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Just look at that bar!

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And the grill:

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We were treated to the classics by the band, like “Guantanamera,” “Quisas, Quisas, Quisas,” “Perfidia,” “Dos Gardenias,” “Cielito Lindo,” and even “Oye Como Va.”

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Day 9 was a great day.