Nancy's Travel Journal
Baja Riding Adventure - Rancho La Bellota (Acorn), Oct 23 – 26, 2008

We went on a short 4-day getaway in Baja California to ride horses with a group of friends.

View Slide Show
(Photos: Nancy Bamberger, Janet Fairbanks and Julie Wylie)


For months the words, “Baja Horse Riding” was scrawled over the dates October 23 through October 26, on our calendar hanging in the kitchen. Last summer, Debra, from our Wednesday hiking group, arranged to take a group of ten on a horseback riding get-away in Baja. Debra visited the ranch several times and wanted to share her find with her friends. She spoke fondly of Rancho La Bellota, a 2800 acre horse ranch located just 40 miles south of the Tecate border crossing, and 75 miles from our house. She adored the owners, Raul Aguiar and Caroline Kane, and the amazing trails the ranch had to offer in Baja's Northern Sierras.

The adventure begins

Will this be a dream or a nightmare?

Debra is an experienced rider and owns her own horse. Bill and I have spent little time in the saddle and I’ve only been on a few rent-a-horse junkets. I didn’t know what to expect, but we signed up. We knew by the time the Baja adventure rolled around, our house would be under the worse of remodel conditions, and we figured it would be a good time to get away.

By October, we were absorbed in the remodel project and gave little thought to the fast approaching horse riding trip. Our house was unlivable (we were, in fact, living next door), which made packing for the trip problematic at best.

Oct. 23 - Thursday

We managed to gather some stuff and tossed it in a suitcase and loaded it up in Bev’s van. The grand plan was to take two cars to Tecate. Bev drove her van with five buckaroos – Susan B., Suzy, Steve S., Bill, myself and of course, Bev. Steve W. would take his big ole truck with his wife Julie, Janet and Debra. We would all rendezvous at the OXXO, a convenience store just a couple of blocks south of the border in Tecate. At 4 o’clock, Caroline, from the ranch, would gather Bev’s riders at the store and take us to the ranch while Steve and his group would caravan in his truck.

Our adventure in Mexico began in earnest after Bev parked her van on the U.S. side of the border. We retrieved our luggage and rolled it a few blocks across the border into the town of Tecate in Baja California, Mexico.

We did have one incident on the way. The group, not paying attention, followed confident Bev and trotted into the U.S. Border Station, assuming this would lead to Mexico. Bill stayed outside the building knowing full well that U.S. meant entry into U.S. Us gals entered the air-conditioned sanctuary. The American border agent, leaning in his chair against the wall, stared at me bewildered when I asked him, “Are we in U.S.A. now?” “Yes,” he answered. My follow up question put him over the edge, “If we go through that turnstile, will we be in Mexico?” “No, you’ll still be in the U.S.” End of conversation. We exited the building immediately, picked up Bill and found our way across the street and into Mexico without any sign of an official Mexican border crossing station.

A few blocks make such a difference. The Mexican streets are dustier, the paint colors brighter, the music happier, and the smells from little cafes so much more enticing. I embraced the smells, sites and sounds and waited for a festival to erupt at every corner.

We found the OXXO store, the designated place to meet the other carload of gringos from San Diego. Our group was early so we crossed the street to get a coke at a sidewalk café. We soaked up the laid back atmosphere. It was great to be south of the border with a bunch of pals rearing for a good weekend adventure.

We finished our cokes just as the other group pulled up into OXXO’s parking lot. We grabbed our suitcases, rolled across the street and made a quick stop in the OXXO. We quickly bought out their inventory of beer. In no time at all, Steve iced down our loot in a cooler in the back of his truck and we were ready to go!

A few minutes later, Caroline, driving the Chevy Suburban from Rancho La Bellota, arrived to take some of us weekend cowboys to the ranch. Debra introduced us to Caroline. I liked her immediately. She was in her early 40’s – a little shy and had the most genuine smile. With her thick auburn hair pulled back into a ponytail, she looked much younger than her years.

We took off in the Suburban with Steve’s truck following behind us. We weren’t even out of Tecate when we faced our first challenge – an overheated radiator. We watched safely from the curb, as the mechanic hosed down the steaming radiator. Only in Mexico can they get you back up and running in a matter of minutes.

The radiator man

Waiting for repairs

After the brief delay, we were on the road again, watching the high desert landscape become sparser and more dramatic. A few vineyards and olive tree’s, and scattered towns broke up the desert vegetation.

View from the Suburban

Olive groves on the way to La Bellota

We were feeling free and easy as the miles clicked by. Someone spotted a huge smoke cloud looming in the distance, looking very much like an atomic bomb spreading its destruction. For a short distance we drove through the smoke cloud that hovered above the hazy landscape. The air cleared again and the clear crisp views of olive trees and vineyards returned.

Caroline, our chauffer

Winding road

The once-straight road began to twist and turn as the rolling hills became undulating mountains. Just 15 minutes from Rancho La Bellota’s main gate, as the sun was setting, we encountered another challenge – a flat tire--and no jack.

We climbed out and huddled around the right rear tire. Caroline asked Steve W. to drive his truck on to the ranch to get Raul, her husband, to save the day. Before Steve left, he had the wisdom and foresight to pull out some cold brew from his ice chest in the back of his truck and tossed one to each of us. No problema – I always carry a beer bottle opener in my purse.

Disabled Suburban

Flat tire

We waited for Raul on that windy desert road littered with flat tires, but the beer and the laughter made us a happy group. It was getting dark and chilly as the last rays of the sun dipped behind the rugged mountain range. We wished we had another ration of beer while waiting to be rescued. It was only a little longer before Raul pulled up in a truck with his trusty horse tied up in the back. Armed with a jack, he went right to work. Without a light to guide him, he fixed the tire in a matter of minutes and we were back on the road again. No problema. Nothing is ever really a problem in Mexico (that’s one of the reasons why I love Mexico).

Waiting for Raul

Raul to the rescue

The night was dark and quiet and the road was very rough – especially tough on the two backseat passengers, Bev and Steve S. We didn’t get to see the sheer drop off (that Caroline said was on our right), or the vineyards or the rugged country. We forged on with only the headlights illuminating sides of boulders and parts of twisted oak tree limbs. It was a magnificent mysterious introduction to the Shangri-La that lay shrouded in darkness and silence.

We spotted the glowing kerosene lanterns in the distance. They guided us to the heart of the ranch – a compound of 4 or 5 structures nestled in a valley of oak trees. Our compadres who went ahead in Steve’s truck, came out to greet us with more cold beer. After a brief reunion, we found our way to our cabins.

The ranch, designed to look like a working ranch of the 1800’s, was built only about 5 years ago. There’s no generator or electricity – but lots of water (and hot water at that for a nice shower). It’s a wonderful place.

Arriving in the dark, I could imagine what it was like to be a vaquero here a hundred years ago, finding his way to this cozy ranch at nightfall. It must have been an oasis after a long hard day on a horse in this rugged country. Even in the dark, we knew we’d love the place and couldn’t wait to see it in the daylight.

Bill and I stumbled to Cabin #3 to claim our bunks and put away our stuff. We lit the candles and the kerosene lantern on the table and tried to organize our things. In an atmosphere meant for romance, I struggled to find a shelf for my toothbrush.

Horseshoe door handle

Room at night

We were drawn, like moths, to the mess hall. Through the screen door, we could see the large communal room glowing, lit only by candles and kerosene lanterns. The sounds of the clanking triangle called us to dinner and we took our place in line at the counter.

Lupe was busy in the kitchen finishing up the fresh flour tortillas. We found our places under the chandelier of dripping candle wax and woofed down a fabulous dinner – cactus and beef stew, beans and rice (along with chips and fresh salsa). This was home cooking at its best. I had never eaten cactus before. It was tender and mild and I was hooked.

Bev helping Lupe

The whole gang

After dinner, we followed Raul into the night air to the courtyard. With a little diesel fuel, he had a ragging campfire going in a matter of minutes. We sat huddled around the fire watching the flames leap into the night sky. Then we watched Chef Caroline cook up a blueberry cake in the Dutch oven placed directly over the coals. Cooking with a Dutch oven on an open fire is essential, especially on a ranch with no electricity. The recipe said to place the Dutch oven on 6 burning coals, place 3 burning coals on top and bake for 20 minutes. After the allotted time, Caroline scooped up our blueberry cake into bowls and passed the steaming bowls around the circle. It was delicious – done perfectly. We were happy campers -- Oops, I mean happy cowboys. I still remember the contented faces lit by the glow of the fire – feeling fat, happy, and a little tipsy.


Dutch oven with blueberry cake

The conversation was pure without any distractions – no TV, no generator, just an occasional hoot of an owl or a whinny of a horse in the distance.

In the early evening conversations, I could hear stress in the voices of the working colleagues debriefing on issues at work. The rest of us retirees, older (but certainly not wiser), remembered those days of work-a-day frustrations. We were glad those issues were behind us. However, we had replaced them with new stresses, which seemed to melt away by the open fire, with wine and blueberry cake to warm us.

One by one, we wandered off to our bunks. I turned off the kerosene lantern and crawled into my little cozy bunk, feeling so happy to be here and wondering what tomorrow would bring.

Oct. 24 - Friday

The roosters woke the light sleepers at 5 am. Those with hearing problems (and a little sleep medication) managed an hour or so more of sleep. About 7, I rolled out of the bottom bunk and peered out the window. Sunlight confirmed what I had imagined last night in the dark -- this is a truly lovely place. In the morning light, I saw neatly planted rows of grape vines right outside my cabin window. Then, in the distance, I spotted the rugged surrounding mountains, standing guard over the ranch. The setting was serene. I couldn’t wait to get dressed and explore the ranch.

Grape vines

Horses before a long day on the trail

A series of buildings, with white painted bricks set with thick oozing mortar, made up the ranch compound. The grounds were immaculate with landscaping that included perfectly sculptured cactus intermingled with delicate flowers and a freshly mowed lawn.

The main house

Front porch



Bill and Nancy in front of our room

Fire pit

For years the owners, Caroline and Raul, dreamed of building such a place. They first met in 1986 in Los Angeles, California over dogs and horses and have filled their 22 years of marriage with dogs and horses, plus a couple of kids who came along later. Their children are now in college. Their son is studying to be a vet and continue the ranch while their daughter is pursuing studies in eco-tourism.

Raul and Caroline

Five years ago, Caroline and Raul were able to purchase this incredible patch of land -- 2800 acres worth -- and start the hard work required to build such a spectacular place. They knew right away they wanted to locate the ranch in a valley of oak trees, nestled in the mountain ranges. They spent many days just walking through the valley, deciding where to place the kitchen, the main house, the bunkhouses, the corral and other structures. Their decisions were determined by the best views of the mountains and surrounding valley. And now we were here to enjoy what they had created.

The gringos were stirring. We gathered in the kitchen for coffee and sweet rolls while we waited for breakfast. Raul says that people come from miles around for Lupe’s coffee – and it was wonderful, made in a tin coffee pot over a wood-burning stove. Some of us sat sipping our coffee in the over stuffed couches in the main room. Some enjoyed their coffee in the courtyard. I gulped down a cup of Lupe’s fine java and dashed around the grounds photographing everything in sight, with fresh, excited eyes.

Lupe cooking

Steve and his morning coffee

From the back porch of the kitchen, I watched Raul and his hired hand, Mundo. The two of them in action really got my shutter finger going. I was in awe at how they jumped up on the horses, rode like the wind, make stops on a dime and controlled every animal. The lassoing was an added bonus. The rope landed on the horses’ neck on every try.

Rounding up our horses

Raul and one of our horses

Mundo and Raul

Raul lassoing

Horses in corral

Mundo never misses

Horses in morning light

Mundo with horse

These guys were the real deal. I was fascinated by Mundo, the main hombre and cowboy extraordinaire. He could have been cast in any Western with his chiseled features, piercing eyes and cool, expressionless face.


Mundo and horse

Mundo and horse

Mundo and horses

All of this cowboy activity was under the watchful eye of Whisky, one of the border collies that lives and works on the ranch. Brandy, Mini and Gypsy, the other working dogs, were always close by. They loved their jobs -- gathering the horses, blazing the trails and watching out for our safety. They would never be happy confined to a yard after knowing the freedom of this great outdoors. (Now this is really a dog’s life.) After work, the dogs were always eager to find a place by the ranch guests and wait for love pats.



Bill and Whiskey


The clank of the triangle beckoned me to breakfast. Lupe was warming up flour tortillas for us as we loaded our plates with eggs, beans, and sweet rolls. I ate everything in sight and then some.

After breakfast, we hung out watching the horses and petting the dogs. Then about 10 o’clock, we waddled over to the corral where the horses were tied. It was time to put on our chaps, meet our horses and saddle up.

Nancy at the bunkhouse

Susan G.--chapped up and ready to ride

Janet--chapped up and ready to ride

Bev bribing her horse

Horses waiting for us

Debra giving us last minute tips

Cinching up

Cowboy Steve S.

Dead rattler

Steve S.

Nancy ready to ride

Bill and Nancy

Susan B.

Steve and Julie

Julie and Susan G.


It was obvious who had horse experience and who didn’t. I didn’t. The rest of the group was comfortable with horses and three of them owned their own horses. The two or three hours total of my limited “rent-a-horse” experience didn’t count much around here with real horses and real cowboys.

Raul’s job was to match us with horses that fit our size and personality. I mounted Bandini and then didn’t know what to do with him. At first glance, it was obvious Bandini and I were not a match. I sensed the concern in Raul’s eyes as he hung on to the bridle and said, “This horse has too much spirit for you.” He quickly called on Cuate (which means “pal” in Spanish) to carry the rookie.

Nice portrait

Nancy getting started

Nancy mounting (or is she falling off?)

Ready to ride


Steve S.

All my cowpoke pals gave me wonderful support and encouragement in my brave new experience. However, my brain was exploding from instructions – hold the reins this way, kick to move forward, lean forward when going uphill, lean back when going down, pull back on the reins to stop, lean forward when the horse is peeing, and always let the horse know you are the boss. I wasn’t anyone’s boss, I was just a wreck. Negotiating with Cuate in each step he took in this rugged countryside with steep up and down ravines and trails that clung to the side of sheer cliffs was not for the faint of heart.

Janet and her desperados

Nancy and Steve W.

Steve and Julie

Bev on the trail

Bill, Nancy and Raul

Susan G.and Bev


Susan B.

I’ve learned something about myself that I already knew -- I’m a control freak and don’t trust anyone with my life. Raul reassured me, as I clutched the bridle, that Cuate could ride these trails with me blindfolded. He knew what he was doing – I did not. Raul said that the horse wasn’t going to commit suicide. I wasn’t sure. I was afraid Cuate would be so sick of me that he would hurl himself into the canyon below to end it all for both of us.

This wasn’t the “rent-a-horse” riding experience that I had known. After a couple hours of riding in terror, we returned to the ranch. I dismounted and hugged Cuate’s neck and thanked him for saving my life. (I can only imagine what he thought!)

Nancy's horse, Caute

I celebrated life with a cold beer followed by the freshest of tostados for lunch. Lupe is a really good cook.

Bill and Debra

Well earned refreshment

The gang on the porch

After lunch, the group went their own ways. Some went back to their cabins for a little siesta, some to read and some to sit in the shade and take in the beauty of the place. I sat out by the pool. For some unknown reason, Whiskey, the Border collie, bonded with me. He couldn’t keep his paws off me. Once, when I got up, he even tried to hump me – now that’s humiliating. I seem to have problems with animals. I let Whiskey dominate me while I tried to be cool and listen to some talk about politics and the future of the U.S. Now that I knew what the horse ride was all about, I quietly dreaded the afternoon ride, but I never, NEVER give up.

Susan G.

Susan and Debra

Susan B. and Janet

Janet, Susan B. and Susan G.

Steve W. and Steve S.

Steve W.

Debra sitting by pool

Nancy, Whiskey and beer

About 4, we strapped our chaps on again to prepare for the afternoon ride. We mounted our horses. I held the reins in my left hand, two inches above the saddle horn. I was ready. Then something happened to Cuate and me. We became a team. I didn’t control and let him be the horse. I trusted him and he appreciated my new management style. However, he did take advantage of my good nature and munched on the plants all along the trail – a no-no. But now I could relax and enjoy this beautiful ranch with its magnificence views. Cuate did all the work as I sat back in the saddle and felt the warm breeze caress me.

Nancy and Cuate

Bill and Alzuma

The horses stirred up dusty clouds on the trail. Raul lead us to a secret river at the bottom of canyon. We stopped and let the horses drink. Someone had to tell me to release the reins so Cuate could stretch his neck down to the water – now that’s inexperience. Whisky took a bath in the river to revive his frisky spirit.

Steve W. and Steve S.

At the river

We climbed out of the river and high up to a ridge trail. The warm breeze turned cool as the late afternoon shadows filled the deep canyons. Ahhhh, beautiful, and even more beautiful to see from the saddle of a trusty horse.

Raul said this dry, rugged high desert is a completely different place in the spring--covered with wildflowers and waterfalls roaring down the canyon. I’d love to see it then.

We watched the last golden rays as the sun dropped behind the cliff. My need to control Cuate was gone along with my terror. I was free to soak up the beauty and watch my fellow horsemen snaking along the trail. I watched the dogs dash ahead of us – excited to be free and part of the cowboy life.

Raul, ahead of me, turned in his saddle with a big smile on his face. He announced in his strong, confident voice, “You graduated to a cowgirl.” My heart soared. I didn’t want to forget this moment – the dusty trail, the sound of the horses’ hoofs on the rock, Cuate’s gentle nature, yet powerful surges going up the steep ravines. I had faced my fear. Just when I was thinking I’m too old to be learning to ride horses through the wild, I did it. Where else would I have such an opportunity?

We returned to the ranch just about dark. I showered by candlelight and then sucked down two beers. Everyone was celebrating my new official, “cowgirl” status.

We sat around the fire pit, faces aglow, then Raul fired up the BBQ pit for his famous carne asada. We were in for another fabulous meal.

After dinner we found our spot around the fire pit. We told lots of stories under that amazing starry night -- scary stories of haunted houses, strange stories of fetishes, and stories from the heart.

About 10:30, as the fire was dieing and we were getting cold, we ambled off to our cabins in the light of the lanterns and snuggled into our warm bunk beds.

Oct. 25 - Saturday

I slept in until 7. I quickly dressed and joined the others in the kitchen for Lupe’s sweet rolls and coffee. A few of us found a place in the main room to sit and sip coffee. From the window, we watched Raul and Mundo corral the horses and bring them into a fenced area. In a matter of seconds some of the animals reared up and made loud desperate whinnying sounds. The peaceful scene became a fight in the old corral. Later, we learned that Steve’s big horse, a rather unpleasant fellow, started the altercation. He attacked and bit a couple of horses on the butt during feeding time. The wounds were deep and raw. The horses had time to settle down, make up and lick their wounds while they finished breakfast.

We had planned an all day ride out to the Oasis Canyon and back. However, the packhorse called in sick. Raul said the limping packhorse wasn’t up for the full day ride. Instead, we’d do a couple of shorter rides. (That suited me just fine.)

After another big breakfast, we put on our chaps and were ready to go about 10. The horses seemed much calmer. My horse was very mellow (as was Bill’s). My nerves had settled from yesterday after I learned to let Cuate be a horse while I sat back and enjoyed the scenery. The steep ravines still got to me. I knew Cuate liked to power up the steep trails to get some momentum going, but the surges still frightened me.

Heading to the top

On the trail

Susan G.and Julie

Susan G.

Bill and Nancy


The scenic trails crisscrossed this incredible ranch. We stopped at the top of a plateau and had a bottle of water while we ogled at the 360-degree view of this amazing place. Caroline said she still pinches herself to see if this is real. I noticed that on the trail, Raul would ride up next to Caroline and they would exchange smiles and pats. Later, after a few tequila shooters, Raul said that the day he and Caroline couldn’t ride would be a very sad day.

Overlooking the rancy

Heading back to the ranch

Caroline and Susan

Raul and Caroline

It was getting close to lunch so we headed back. On the way, Suzy’s horse went down to roll in the dirt. She thought the horse had died. She quickly jumped off and within a few seconds, Mundo was there to save the day.


We stopped at the watering wagon to give the horses a drink. I loved how Raul understood each horse. He made them take turns drinking the water and could tell if they were just playing in the water or really wanted to drink. He kept them all in line. Just after Steve’s horse had his drink, it decided to take a roll in the dirt. I’m so glad that Cuate wasn’t lured into the dirt. That would scare me to death.

Watering station

Thirsty horse

Raul and Whiskey supervising

Debra's horse drinking

We got back to the ranch about 1. Raul declared me not just a “cowgirl,” but a real “horsewoman” – that sounded good. With a bounce in my step, I headed straight to the kitchen for Lupe’s tasty burritos. Life is good. Everyone took a siesta after lunch while I jotted down some notes for my journal.

At 4:30, we were ready for our last ride. (Bev and Julie decided not to go.) The ride was gorgeous, topped all the other rides. We started straight up the canyon and then rode along the ridge for miles overwhelmed by the wide-open landscape. Raul was in the lead and Mundo alert to every movement of the horses. At times we could look down at birds soaring below us. We watched the scenery change and the long afternoon shadows grow, little by little filling in the canyons with darkness.

On this, our last ride, Cuate seemed a little more frisky and rebellious. Naturally, I assumed he was getting sick of me telling him what to do. He had my number. At one point, he broke away from the line of horses and made his own trail. Mundo, alert to every action in the group, quickly rode up to set him straight. Cuate fell back in line without incident. He knew he couldn’t mess around with Mundo.

Mundo on his trusty steed

Raul and Whiskey

I drank in the views and the cowgirl experience that would be forever etched into my memory as truly one of my great life adventures. The trail dogs were dashing along watching out for us. The gang was so happy and having fun. Everyone was smiling, except for Mundo who is a real cowboy and real cowboys don’t smile. Mundo kept his eyes focused on Cuate and other horses that were prone to misbehaving.

Enjoying the view

Figuratively and literary, I was sitting on top of the world, enjoying the views from a high and feeling high. All that changed when Raul rode back to remind me: straighten your legs in the stirrups, lean way back and hang onto the reins when we go down the canyon.


Pointing out the landmarks

Janet and Raul

Steve S.

I knew I was in for it when Caroline lead her horse in front of mine and said, “We’re going down.” From the top of my world, I viewed the steep cliff with the trail etched into the side. My palms were sweating. My horse was rebelling against my tight grip on the reins. My body, pumping with adrenalin, leaned back as I hung on for dear life. The horse hoofs stumbled down the rocks and dust, stirring up dust clouds that rose from the trail. Bill, ahead of me, kept looking back to see if I was still hanging on. I decided to have a heart to heart conversation with Cuate, who, by the way, knew no English. “We’ve got to do this, Pal. We’re going to make it. I’m counting on you.” In the meantime, Caroline was having a comforting, calming conversation with me to get me down this cliff. I thought to myself why didn’t they warn me before the ride? Surely they knew I was not capable of riding a horse down this impossible trail. I had no choice but to forge on.

Going down a steep trail

When we came to the dried riverbed at the bottom, I finally relaxed. Then I thought to myself, “I’m so glad that nobody warned me about the steep downhill trail on this ride. I would have missed the experience of a lifetime.” I had faced my fears and won. It was a personal victory. From that time until we returned to the ranch, the hills and ravines that once frightened me were nothing. However, just as I was thinking I was oh so brave, I looked around and noticed nobody else went through such trauma and we all rode the same trail. In spite of this observation, I still felt good about myself.

It was getting dark when we arrived at the ranch for our last night. We tied up the horses. I jumped off and hugged Cuate and thanked him for showing me a great time.


I sucked down a beer – I was so dry from all my mouth breathing. I jumped in the shower, lit by the Kerosene lantern and then joined the others in the courtyard. Raul built a fire and the group shared tequila and stories and laughter. Raul toasted me, declaring me a real horsewoman. I thanked everyone for getting me down the canyon and praised Mundo as my knight in shining armor. Then I said, “I feel most alive when I’m closest to death.” And boy did I feel alive on that beautiful late afternoon horse ride. Something I’ll never forget.

Tequilla shooters

Nancy and Raul toasting

Julie and Steve W.

Bill and Bev

Susan B. and Susan G.

Steve S. and Debra

Raul and Caroline

Feeling warm and happy from the tequila, we went inside for chicken burritos, rice and beans. Caroline sat by us and we chatted about life on the ranch and all the fun we had.

After dinner, we found our places around the campfire and finished off Janet’s tequila and agavera. The group had bonded in this great place and on this grand adventure. Raul told wonderful stories about his life – and Caroline, how they met and when they feel in love. He could feel the joy in our group. He shared with us that he and Caroline dreamed of creating a place where people could come and have fun. Raul and Caroline lived up to their mission statement because our gang of ten wanna-be cowboys had nothing but fun on the wonderful place they had created.

Nobody wanted to leave the warmth of the fire or the warmth of the group. Bill and I, the documented party poopers, finally broke it up when we went off to our cabin -- kerosene lights out at 11.

Oct. 26 - Sunday

We had one last great breakfast before we packed up and said good-bye to Caroline, Lupe, Mundo, Whiskey, Gypsy and all the new friends we had met on our weekend get away. I noticed a sign displayed in the poolroom that summed up my experience on the ranch: “Do What You’re Afraid Of.” Maybe that should be my motto for my later years.

Empty bottle--the morning after


Raul drove us to Tecate. I watched the ranch from the window. It went on for miles and miles, then it faded. I begin to see signs of civilization – telephone poles, houses, and stores, dotted with occasional people going about life.

Raul dropped us off at the bakery in the heart of Tecate so we could fill up on yummy Mexican pastries. We rolled our luggage a few blocks across the border and we were back. Bev drove us home. By mid afternoon we were back to life as we know it.

Bakery in Tecate


I think often about that magic ranch tucked up in the Baja’s Northern Sierras. Life should be like that - filled with friendships, adventures, beauty, and excitement. But then I tell myself, “You’re too old to be running off and pursing the cowgirl life.”

The whole gang

 visit © Bill and Nancy Interactive, 2005-09. All Rights Reserved