Lone Butte Cemetery

Lone Butte Cemetery, where the tall grass grows and the prairie wind blows. What a lovely place to explore!

On a recent trip to Calgary for a dental appointment – I know, “dental appointment” is the kind of hook that keeps the reader wanting more – we discovered Lone Butte Cemetery located on Secondary Highway 570 east of Dorothy, Alberta.

Here’s a map of the area that we drove through on our way. We came south down Highway 884 from Youngstown and Big Stone, and turned west onto Secondary Highway 570.

Listen to me read this post:

What I loved the most about this cemetery is that it appears to have been established on virgin prairie, unbroken land never gouged by a plow blade. Tall prairie grasses blow softly in the wind in this final resting place and meadowlarks sing that closing hymn. The graveyard feels exposed to the prairie elements but so were its silent residents when they lived in that open, lonesome land. Somehow that makes this cemetery feel appropriate. These folks worked with the land and now they’ve joined it, two old friends. Well, mostly friends except when the land was trying to kill them with drought and snowstorms, mercifully not at the same time.

In 1913 the Dorothy Improvement District No. 246 was created and in 1932, it was incorporated into the Municipal District of Lone Butte. The Lone Butte Cemetery serves this M.D. Lone Butte joined the Municipal District of Berry Creek in 1933 and, in 1936 the M.D. of Berry Creek became part of the Special Areas.

I found the Everybody Has to Be Somewhere blog while researching the Dorothy/Finnegan area and found that the author had posted some beautiful photos of Lone Butte Cemetery in what looks like early spring. Also as I snooped around the internet, I found a very nice history and photo blog of Finnegan that made me want to visit. Maybe I will someday and I’ll bring my camera.

This corner of Alberta is often overlooked because it is so sparsely populated, but it is full of history and of a peace that is difficult to come by these days.

This is a very touching, western-themed monument. Note the horseshoe-filled cross, the empty saddle, and the cat on the white cross. This one tells a story.

These three Clyne graves are tucked away from the wind and snow in a stand of Caragana bushes. When exploring Canadian the prairies you can always tell where a homestead once was by the continuing existence of Caragana and rhubarb!

Wildflowers bloomed among the native grasses during our late June visit. I had only my phone with me to photograph this place. It was a drive-by photo shooting.

“Waiting Patiently” Together forever, but not quite yet. It looks like they shared a full life and that he is fondly remembered.

This is the view looking south to the entrance of the graveyard between two clumps of Caraganas. See the survey stakes and the twine in the foreground?

This welcoming bench in memory of Edna Pugh is situated in the shade of the Caragana stand that also provides shade to the Clyne family.

I’ve always enjoyed exploring graveyards but recently reading Remember Me As You Pass By has caused me to stop the car this season instead of drive by a roadside cemetery.

Rarely have I seen grave sites so lovingly adorned. I really like these weathered crosses reminiscent of the cemeteries in old western movies.

I love history. If there’s a family history project that you’d like me to help you write, please get in touch. Thanks for visiting my blog and I hope you enjoyed the Lone Butte Cemetery tour! Take care and enjoy life. ~ Lori

Merna United Church and Cemetery

Merna United Church, currently under the care of the Merna Cemetery Maintenance Society. These folks have done a great job in the upkeep of this building and of the cemetery.

I love visiting cemeteries, especially the older ones that tell their own stories of the people who came before and of their struggles and triumphs, their lives and their deaths. The other day we went to Big Knife Provincial Park in east-central Alberta, about an hour and a half’s drive from our village. On the way back we stopped at Merna United Church and cemetery in Flagstaff County, 27 kilometres east of Forestburg.

The little white church stands right where it was built in 1907. It was dedicated on Sunday, July 29th, 1908. In the half an hour or so that we wandered around the cemetery, I located the oldest grave as cited in the article from “Heritage Barns of Flagstaff.” According to the post’s author, this earliest marker belongs to Mary Winfred Stewart who was born in 1871 and died in 1905. The updated stone tells her story a bit differently:

Mary Winnifred Stewart, first wife of [William?] H. Stewart was born in 1871 and died in 1908, the year after the Merna church and cemetery had been established. I really appreciate that both wives are listed here along with their husband and that the original stone is topped with a new marker.
Archibald Brown died October 29, 1909, aged 58 years. “Blessed is the Peacemaker”
I see now that William Charboneau also died in 1919. That’s not why I photographed his monument, though. I was fascinated by how they kept two pieces of the original stone and set between them the updated marker. It’s a beautiful way to preserve history.

When the Merna district school closed in 1969, its bell was removed and placed in the brand new bell tower of Merna United Church in 1970. I’m so glad that bell got to live on and serve its purpose elsewhere in the community. I didn’t spot the bell in the enclosed tower when I toured the church the other day, but I assume it’s still there waiting to ring.

If you enjoy exploring cemeteries or cemetery history or both, Remember Me As You Pass By is an excellent book full of mostly Alberta cemetery stories and history. Here is my review of it.

This stained-glass transom window is above the church’s front door.
I just had to capture this gorgeous replacement plate belonging to the grave of a Mason Lodge member, John Nicol. There were other [brass?] plates like this in the graveyard, but no others that I saw featured the Masonic symbol.
“In affectionate remembrance of Marion McPherson beloved wife of D.L. McPherson Died January 1st 1917. Aged 65 years. To be with Christ is far better.”

If you’re exploring the countryside this summer, drop by a cemetery or two. I’ll do the same. They’re peaceful and contemplative places where physical distancing is not an issue. Thanks for reading and take good care. ~ Lori

I Sipped Margaritas While the World Burned

IMG_1015 (2)It’s astonishing how quickly the world can change both on individual and collective levels. It’s also surprising how while disasters touch some, others are left relatively (or completely) unscathed.

Me? I’m pretty much unscathed. We booked a last-minute trip to Mazatlán, Sinaloa, MX, just before the world went to pieces. Admittedly, some moments were a little unnerving. One evening, we sat on our king size bed, comfortably scrolling through the headlines and videos regarding the rapid descent of the coronavirus. “Snowbirds and travelers outside of Canada, come home immediately.” The Prime Minister’s message was clear. We returned on our previously-scheduled flight a few days before the airlines shut down completely to tourist traffic.

During our time in paradise we stayed at a beach hotel and every night, we listened to the waters of the Sea of Cortez moving in and moving out over the rocks that lay close to the shoreline. One night as I slept peacefully with the sound of the waves echoing in my dreams, our friends’ house burnt to the ground. That old house’s wiring didn’t care if its inhabitants were in the midst of a global pandemic. It started a fire that burned hotly and swiftly, leaving nothing but ashes and memories where, for a long time, lives had been lived.

Fortunately, our friends were the only ones home on the night of the fire. Their grandchild had gone home with her mom earlier in that evening, and our friends’ adult son who sometimes stayed at home when not on shift was at work. The smoke detectors did their job and our friends found their way through the patio door off their bedroom and out into the frigid night from where they called 911.

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A lamp post in the Historic District of Mazatlan.

I felt terrible about this fire! Of course, I sent a cheerful text when we got home safe and sound. “Had a great trip! Made it back safe. How are you guys doing?” I had no clue what had happened until I received a text in return: “Did you hear we had a house fire?”

After that, I called. I needed to know what kind of house fire. Was it a small grease fire that singed the wall behind the stove or was the house gone? Sadly, it was the latter.

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The rocks at Cerritos Beach.

But that’s how it goes. Rain falls on the rich and poor, and life happens differently to individual people. From some reason (or more likely for no reason), I live in this rural Alberta village and not in a Syrian refugee camp. This is a good fact to remember when I’d like to go for a walk with a friend because Netflix is not living up to my expectations.

Still, it was a stark contrast, my-lime-and-sun-drenched days compared to the destruction of my friends’ home during the world’s general upheaval.

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This has made me feel grateful, a little guilty, and has reminded me that sh*t happens and to not take it too personally. After all, it’s not personal. It’s just life.

Please take care, dear friends, and thanks for making me part of today’s distraction! ~ Lori

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Never Judge a Man by His Pants

Do you know what a foreign accent is? It’s a sign of bravery. Amy Chua

He approached us as we stood on the corner studying Google Maps on my husband’s phone and asked, “Can I help you find something?”

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An inviting doorway with a big step up.

I glanced up and there he stood with a garbage bag of empty cans slung over his shoulder, wearing pants with flared legs that ended about six inches above his well-worn Crocs, and a stained linen shirt. Many of the teeth were missing from his sunny smile and as he smiled, his deeply-creased face wrinkled a little more making his eyes shine even brighter.

“Yes,” we answered, “We’re looking for the basilica. Which direction do we need to go?”

He pointed back the way we came and we laughed. “Guess we got turned around.”

“Yes,” he agreed. “You don’t want to be on these streets. They’re not that safe.”

To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world. – Chinese Proverb

No, this wasn’t another tale of dangerous Mexico, not another dire warning. He went on to explain, “The sidewalks are steep and uneven, and there’s lots of traffic with not much room to drive.” The kind stranger was right. We’d gone the opposite direction of the main square in Mazatlán and made our way into a neighbourhood with a mixture of beautiful homes and rundown villas. The curbs were treacherously high and the narrow sidewalks often ended at a driveway in a steep drop of two or three feet. We had wandered out of tourista-land.

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Look at all these gorgeous inlaid ceramic tiles!

He gave us further directions, “Just head back, cross the main street but be careful. It’s very busy. The main square is where City Hall is, too, along with the church. Just turn left after you cross that main street.” We thanked him and eventually stumbled into the main square, two happy tourists.

All of this exchange was in his perfect English and some of our short Spanish phrases. I don’t expect people from Mexico to speak perfect English because Mexico is not an English-speaking country, and yet I often hear criticisms about Mexican nationals’ lack of English. This irritates me.

Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things. ‒ Flora Lewis

We watch a lot of YouTube videos about travel in Mexico. The other day, one YouTuber was recounting his adventure of leaving Mexico to return to Canada for the duration of the pandemic. He encountered some confusion at the airport, conflicting information posted on the flight boards, so he approached airport staff for help.

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See the water on the sidewalk in the bottom-right of this photo? It was pouring out of that second-floor suite, far-right, and streaming down the side of the road for a long way and down several streets.

“The problem was, her English wasn’t very good,” he explained to which I responded out loud, “No, the problem was that your Spanish wasn’t good enough.” With apps like Google Translate easily available on our cell phones, we can make the effort to communicate with folks in their own language.

This interaction was one of the many pleasant surprises that Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico, held for us. We were so lucky to visit there before the world changed so quickly! I wish you and yours all the best.

Thanks for reading and take care of each other. ~ Lori

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Machado Square in the Historical Centre of Mazatlan.

 

 

 

Natural Hot Springs Adventure

IMG_6311Here’s a post I wrote a while ago about an unexpected experience at a river’s edge where there was a natural hot spring. I think next time I’ll spend the $6.00. I’ll miss the naked guy, but I’ll appreciate a shower and a nice place to change. Take care! – Lori

“If you want to save some money, there is a natural hot spring down by the river’s edge. It’s beautiful and hardly anyone ever goes down there. Just follow the second logging road in through the trees. You’ll find it.”

The woman at the tourist information centre made it sound like paradise: towering cedars, clear water, and bubbling hot springs. And all for free. Who could resist? And, really, why would you want to?

Listen to me read this post:

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She was right. It wasn’t hard to find. The logging road was well used and, although deeply rutted here and there, quite comfortably passable until we got to the spot where a tree had fallen across the road. A vehicle was already stopped at the tree because there was no way around the tree. Three people were working away to move the barrier. With our muscle added to the effort, the very heavy tree was rolled off the roadway.

We drove a bit farther and finally a little orange sign nailed to a massive tree trunk along the road indicated that this was where to get out and start walking.

The first path was wide and with many twists and turns, and it ended up at a large wooden tub that someone had built by hand. A green garden hose ran into the huge vat from an unseen source. The big wooden tub was full to the brim with steaming water. I stuck my finger in, pulled it out with lightning speed and thought, “If I had 4000 potatoes I needed to boil almost instantly, this set up would be perfect!”

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From where we stood next to the deathtrap hot tub, I could hear   water moving swiftly over rocks. We followed a narrower path around a bend and for a few metres before the river came into view.

There, at water’s edge, someone had painstakingly constructed a piled-stone wall enclosing a little hot pool area six by eight feet or so. A dirty and tattered blue plastic tarp also helped to dam up the separate pool. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked.

Inside that roughly walled off section near the river’s shore, the water was still. Another green garden hose stuck out of the rocks that lined the riverbank. From this flowed more of the potato-boiling hot water I was telling you about. This hot water poured out of the garden hose and splashed into the cold water of the Arrow Lakes chain. Where hot and cold met in the rock pool, the water was pleasantly warm.

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A forest path.

We stripped down to our swimming suits, left our clothes on a rock and gingerly stepped in. Not bad. We hadn’t been in there long before someone emerged from the trees on that narrow path. In one hand he held a paperback novel and in the other, half a bottle of red wine. We greeted him. He quietly answered in French and smiled, the light brightening his dreadlocks as he moved out of the shade and into the sun closer to the water’s edge.

Then I watched in fascination as this young man set down his book and his bottle on a flat rock, and proceeded to remove every stitch of clothing. I knew I should look away but this was way too good to believe!

I assumed he was a tree planter, planting new trees in the forests that had been logged. Naked as the day he was born, he scooped up the novel and his wine, and sat down on a boulder. There he read and drank and let his toes dangle in the hot water. From where I sat, I couldn’t argue that he seemed right at home and I envied, just a little, this young stranger’s comfort with himself and the world.

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Although I admired his youth and sense of freedom, I decided to leave some of my own clothes on that afternoon because I no longer share his youth and I’ve never quite been that free. Still, the tree planter made the experience of the natural hot springs just a little more natural, and that was great!

Thanks for reading. Have a great new week! – Lori

 

 

 

 

Live Dangerously

 

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Beachfront bar in Sayulita, Mexico.

I have to admit that I re-read this the other day and laughed out loud. I was so irritated by the travel advice given in the photocopies I received when I went to get my Twinrix vaccination. I really resent being made to feel afraid of the big world around me.

Yes, I realize that I could get sick or attacked or injured while traveling. But any number of terrible things could happen to me at any time and anywhere. I refuse to let this fact keep me from experiencing life.

Am I sometimes afraid? Of course! I’m nervous about entering a lot of new situations. I try to explore those unfamiliar sights and tastes and sounds anyway. No, it doesn’t always work out and occasionally I feel disappointed or a little ill or generally let down. And then I get over it.

I hope you have a very nice weekend and, if you’re in my neck of the woods, keep warm and take care!

~ Lori

Not so long ago when I went to get my Twinrix vaccination, I received from the pharmacy what I call The Red Folder of Fear. In it was information about all the devastating things that could happen to me if I leave my house.

For your benefit, dear reader, I’ll share some of these tips with you here. You can find more information to keep you at home at or, at the very least, keep you afraid at Health Canada’s website.

After all, travelling isn’t about enjoying the world. It’s about enjoying safety precautions.

“Too much sun can be harmful, so be careful!”

Yes. Here’s a newsflash: Sun can cause sunburn and sun can cause us to age, just like life does.

Listen to me read this post:

“If you are in the sun between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., [You daredevil!] wear long pants, long sleeves and a hat with a wide brim.”

Safe and attractive. Don’t go out after dark, either, because that’s unsafe for a whole heap of other reasons. That gives you two or three hours in the morning, and another two hours before supper to experience the paradise you flew five hours to see and the vacation you spent a month’s wages on.

What’s my recommendation for avoiding the afternoon sun? Find a shady bar or a lawn chair under an umbrella and keep hydrating with whatever they’re serving. Prefer not to sample the local beverages? Go for a massage. That’s pretty safe, and it will get you out of that ridiculous hat and those long pants.

For the sake of all that’s good in the world, even if that dangerous sun is shining, leave your hotel room.

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Iguana at the Marina in Puerto Vallarta.

Here’s a good one:

“Wash your own salad greens in a solution of six drops of chlorine bleach in one litre of safe water. Soak for thirty minutes, and then rinse with safe water.”

Is the water safe? How can you know for sure? This whole water scenario sounds risky to me.

“Lori, are you coming downstairs for a margarita?”

“No, you go ahead. I’ve got lettuce soaking in the bathroom sink and I still need to peel some vegetables. Also, I’m frightened of the sunshine.”

Yes, peeling your own vegetables (and nuts?) is also advised in The Red Folder of Fear:

“Peel your own fruits, vegetables, and nuts.”

It’s been a long time since I’ve peeled a nut. It might be fun to try that again.

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A dangerous heap of coconuts.

“Beware of local buses. They are often overcrowded, poorly maintained, and in a hurry.”

Suggested interpretation: If it’s good enough for the locals, it’s not good enough for me.

Local buses can be your ticket to affordable adventure. Seriously. Local public transportation can take you places you’d never think to visit on your own. Riding the bus is a great way to tour and a good chance to rub elbows with the locals.

Sure, don’t lick your fingers after clutching the bar on the back of the seat in front of you. But why would you do that? You’re a world-travelling bus rider. You’ll wash your hands and then lick your fingers.

Why were you clutching the seat bar or the one above your head? Because, often, these buses are in a hurry, so hold on tight and enjoy the scenery!

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Some of the 24 suggested first aid items.

Don’t leave home without it.

The Red Folder of Fear lists twenty-four handy items you could pack in your travel medical kit depending on a list of ten factors I’m not going to mention. I suggest antihistamines, a pain reliever, bandages, antibiotic ointment, tweezers, something for nausea, and sunscreen.

Within its comprehensive list of twenty-four items, The Red Folder of Fear suggests bringing:

  • A thermometer.
  • A first aid book.
  • Shampoo for treating lice and scabies.
  • Disposable gloves.
  • Disinfectant.
  • A Swiss army knife. (I love this one and so do the folks at airport security!)

By the end of this list, I’m wondering if I’m becoming less of a tourist and more of a serial killer.

I get the impression from The Red Folder of Fear that the only safe place to vacation is on my big red couch at home. If I stay there, I decrease my chances of illness and injury, of trauma during and following a wild bus ride, and of having any fun.

While that folder increases my chances of staying alive, it greatly reduces the chance that I’ll get to experience life at all.

Did you like what you read here? Consider following my blog either right here on WordPress or through email. This way, you won’t miss any of my posts. Thanks for reading! ~ Lori

 

 

 

 

 

My Summer – A Photo Blog

Hello everyone! This has been far and away the laziest, least productive summer I’ve had in years. It’s been delicious! Early on in the season, we traveled to Mexico twice. The first time was to Puerto Vallarta where we stayed right downtown. We made this decision based on the fact that whenever we go to that Vallarta area, we end up hopping on a bus and trying to get downtown. It took us several visits to realize that we could just stay downtown…

When we returned home, we discovered that the neighbour’s cat, George, had gone missing. I’m still sad! George treated us like family and really liked to “help” me out around the yard.

After being home for two weeks, we headed off to San Jose del Cabo. This is a trip we’d scheduled earlier in the year with my brother and sister-in-law. We loved exploring a new part of Mexico.

Don’t look too closely at any of the photos of me or you’ll soon notice that I wear the same clothes over and over again. I pack very lightly when we travel so clothing repeats are nearly impossible to avoid. If it’s a good traveling outfit, you’ll see it again and again!

We spent a lot of July at home doing some projects and just enjoying life. At the end of July we headed out to British Columbia where we visited my dad for his birthday and stayed in our first B&B.

From BC, we drove down into Washington and flew from Seattle to Las Vegas where we had discounted rooms for the small price of attending a two-hour time share presentation. No. We did not buy a time share, but I did enjoy the room. I also enjoyed meeting the showgirls on Freemont Street in downtown Vegas.

We traveled back through Washington and up to BC, seeing Dad again on the way back. After leaving BC and returning to Alberta, we also had a chance to visit a place I’ve wanted to see forever: the Historic Bar U Ranch in southern Alberta.

When we got home from this jaunt, I spent a little time buidling a WordPress website for our local historical society. It would be great if you’d check it out and consider giving us a follow there.

Thanks for joining me on this short journey down a very recent memory lane! It was nice to remember it with someone. Have a great weekend, as lazy or productive as you want it to be.

~ Lori

To B&B or Not to B&B

If that’s your question, then this article might help you to decide if staying at a bed & breakfast is right for you.

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The view from the lower deck at The White Horse Bed & Breakfast.

On our recent vacation through southern British Columbia and then down into Washington, we spent two nights in a lovely bed & breakfast in Osoyoos, BC, situated right on the border between Canada and the United States.

The White Horse Bed & Breakfast is positioned above the Osoyoos town site and offers stunning views of the valley and lake. There are three guest rooms downstairs: The Prairie Room, The Northern Room, and The Wine Room. We stayed in The Wine Room. Our hosts, Ron and Darlene, made us feel welcome and both mornings, Ron prepared a full, two-course breakfast at the dining room table located just off their top deck and with views overlooking Osoyoos. Delicious and beautiful!

Our hosts, although new to the bed & breakfast business, ran the B&B smoothly and professionally. Both seemed relaxed and genuinely happy to have all of us strangers sleeping in their basement and eating their food. Ron and Darlene are great people, and I admire their adventurous attitude and their business-savvy.

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Me on the Osoyoos Desert Walk.

At breakfast on the morning of our second night there, a fellow guest asked a good (but rhetorical) question: If you can stay in a place like this, why would you ever stay in a hotel? Immediately and silently, I began compiling my reasons. I’ll share these with you now.

A Stranger’s Home

For me, there was no way to feel completely at ease in someone else’s home. We whispered and tip-toed around so as not to disturb the owners or other guests. When in the common areas, the spacious TV room with wet bar and fridge and the lower deck, I was always on edge, nervous that someone would walk in and join us. I’m an outgoing and friendly person, perhaps a bit above average in this respect. And yet I felt I had to brace myself to meet someone new around every corner. At the bed & breakfast, I could never fully relax.

At a hotel, I pay for the service of staying there and then do whatever the heck I want. I’m quiet and courteous but I am also relaxed. I’m not worried that other guests will be disturbed by my presence in this big hotel. If I see other hotel guests in the hallways, elevator, or common areas, I can greet them or not. Friendliness is optional. I don’t have to be “on” all the time. I can lock that heavy door and fully enjoy the privacy I paid for.

Schedule

Breakfast was at 8:30 every morning. This was necessary, of course, as it’s a sit-down affair with all guests (usually six) seated around a formally-set table. Everyone is fed at one time.

I felt really hemmed in by this set breakfast time. Not because this time is unreasonable or unusual, but because I’m used to staying in hotels where breakfast is often available for several hours and I can eat whenever I want or not at all, which is also a nice option. At a hotel, no one is waiting for me to come to breakfast and wondering where I am if I don’t show.

At a hotel, I eat as little or as much as I want to. No one dishes me up and I clean up my own mess when I’m done eating. I’m most comfortable with this arrangement.

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A selfie in the desert heat.

Anonymity

At a hotel, no one cares about my life. I like that. Pleasantries and credit card information is exchanged at check in. New arrivals are told about the pool, the breakfast, and about check out time. That’s it and that’s enough. No one asks where you live or about your family or about where you’re headed next. No one cares and that’s fabulous.

At a B&B, especially around the breakfast table, there’s a mild expectation that guests will introduce themselves to other guests and share a bit about themselves. Sometimes I don’t want to share. I’m barely interested in myself. Why would I expect anyone else to be interested?

Sometimes I want to eat with my life partner without sharing a table with four total strangers. This shared breakfast experience was a little more than awkward both mornings. The other guests were all great, easy conversationalists with good-humoured dispositions. Yet I dreaded those morning meet and greets. The pressure of meeting strangers for a formal breakfast was anxiety inducing and is probably the biggest reason I didn’t enjoy the B&B experience.

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The Sonora Desert. There is a beautiful lake in Osoyoos. We never photographed it.

A Very Nice B&B

If you enjoy meeting new people and exchanging stories, a bed and breakfast is probably a great choice for you. I think The White Horse is a good B&B for those who like staying at B&Bs. The rooms are large and luxuriously appointed. Each guestroom has its own bathroom complete with bathrobes. Tea and coffee are available at the wet bar in the common area at all times, and in the evening, Ron brings down snacks for the guests. How nice is that?

I’m always learning new things about myself and my first B&B visit taught me that I’m a more private person than I thought. I enjoy my own space and I enjoy not feeling like I’m staying in my parents’ basement. I want to feel free to come and go and eat when I like. Above all, I want to be free and I guess that’s why a B&B is not for me.

Thanks for being with me today. I hope this piece gave you some insight in the B&B experience. If you haven’t tried one, definitely do! B&Bs may be just what you’re looking for and leave you wondering why you ever stayed in hotels at all. Until next time, take care.

Cheers!

Lori

What? Weren’t You Just in Mexico?

Well, yes, I was just there but Mexico is a very large and diverse country. This journey took us to the Baja California Peninsula. The only other place we’ve visited in Mexico is the Puerto Vallarta region spanning the states of Nayarit and Jalisco.

One thing I love about Mexico is the food! Most meals in the Cabo area were about the same price as Canadian restaurant meals. My husband and I had an all-inclusive hotel package which included all meals. Our traveling companions, however, did not. This meant that we accompanied them a couple times for meals out. We are cheap and we were shocked! But the service was superb everywhere and so was the food.

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Love at first bite – baked manicotti stuffed with ricotta cheese and spinach.

One evening, we visited the Italian restaurant called La Dolce located right in the centre of San Jose del Cabo. There I ate the BEST Italian food I’ve ever had. I sampled the ricotta-stuffed manicotti and then proposed marriage to it. This is one of the only times I’ve taken a picture of my food, but when you’re in love, you want to cherish an image of that special someone and gaze at it during those lonely, hungry nights.

I’m not a huge carnivore and I really love all the readily-available vegetarian options in restaurants throughout Mexico.

Our hotel, the Posada Real Los Cabos, has a beautiful desert garden onto which our first- floor room faced. I sat there in the shade and watched the birds and the iguanas frolic. (Can reptiles frolic?)

The beaches at Cabo are wide and long. I walked early most mornings, rolled up my pant legs, and let the salty water kiss my toes. It was fun to watch the crabs skitter quickly into the outgoing waves that carried those little creatures into the Sea of Cortez. Crabs do all right in this water but humans are not allowed to swim here. It’s too dangerous.

Our group of four spent a short afternoon in neighbouring Cabo San Lucas, just known as Cabo by the locals. I felt like a tiny, tasty fish in a school of starving sharks. We were  hounded by salespeople the moment we stepped out of our taxi. During low tourist season, the deals are better but the pressure is greater. We did visit Sammy Hagar’s nightclub Cabo Wabo Cantina. It was fun! A glass of mineral water there cost 60 pesos. A three course meal in Puerto Vallarta can cost 70 pesos, but the hotdogs were delicious! (So say my carnivore friends.)

I took a few pictures at the Marina in San Lucas. The water was so clear that I could see schools of beautiful fish swimming right close by.

We spent a lovely evening back in San Jose del Cabo later on in the week. What a beautiful place! We listened to live music at the Baja Brewery after talking to some junior high students who were in the square to practice their English language skills on tourists. This was great because we had an intercambio, an exchange.  We got to practice our Spanish on them. Poor kids. They never saw it coming.

It was another great trip, and I’m so lucky to be alive and to travel to the places I love. Have a really good week wherever you are!

~ Lori

One Bag Fits All

Peter and Me
Not the most flattering photo of me but my little green friend (Peter) is too cute not to include.

Hello again! After I posted my most recent Mexico travel piece, a reader asked me to share my carry-on packing secrets. This is a post I wrote the first time I packed super lightly and it includes a few handy tips. I hope you can use some of this information to lighten your load – both mentally and physically! Happy traveling!

Freedom From Luggage

For our last trip to Mexico, I packed one small carry-on bag. I felt so light and free. It was fantastic and here’s how I did it just in case, for your next week-long vacation, you want to enjoy that same feeling of freedom from luggage.

Do Your Research

First, I visited informative websites. These sites told me what is allowed in carry-on luggage and what is not, and how much of each allowed item each traveler can bring. I needed to pack my personal items in a one-litre, clear Ziploc bag and to pull that bag out of my luggage, and set it in a tray when going through airport security. This was very useful information because, when I packed my stuff on the afternoon of the flight, I knew to leave my Ziploc bag right on top so I wouldn’t be digging around for it in the line-up at security. I felt so prepared and the security officials didn’t bat an eye at what I’d packed.

Listen to me read this post:

The next thing I did was to purchase tiny bottles created for packing in carry-on luggage. Into these I poured body spray, sunscreen, aloe gel and mouthwash. These are other items I bought in the travel section of the drugstore: a 43-gram hairspray, a 14-gram deodorant, and 2 packages of 7 facial cleansing cloths. Of course, I also tucked in one of those sample tubes of toothpaste the dentist always sends home with me.

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Here’s everything I packed for that first carry-on trip.

What did I bring for clothes? Glad you asked! I brought 2 pairs of pants, 2 shirts, one sundress, a swimsuit and a swimsuit cover-up which pulled double duty as a nightgown, a T-shirt, 2 tank tops, a foldable sunhat and a pair of sandals. I also brought a down-filled vest that can be rolled up and stuffed into its own small pouch. This kept me warm back and forth from the Calgary airport and on the flights to and from Mexico. I also found room for my water-resistant camera and my sunglasses.

To save space in my luggage, I wore on the plane about half of the clothes I’d wear in Mexico. For the flight, I had on my light Skecher walking shoes, pants (Airline officials frown upon pants-less passengers.), a tank top, a T-shirt, a white button-up shirt, and my down-filled vest. I was cozy but not uncomfortable.

Everything Fit!

Everything I needed for a week surprisingly and easily fit into one carry-on bag. By the end of the trip, I realized that I could’ve survived without my red T-shirt, too, except that it kept me warmer on the airplane. I didn’t even bring a purse, just my wallet and passport placed into one of the bag’s exterior pockets for easy retrieval.

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Iguanas are not allowed in carry-on luggage.

I did have lots of time to plan what to pack for this adventure when at other times, I’ve been pretty rushed. But now that I’ve successfully done this once, I’d definitely just pack one carry-on bag again.

Thanks for being here with me again today. If you like what I write, please share it! And please stay connected. Follow me here on WordPress, write a comment, or just send me a friendly email. I’d love to hear from you! Have a really great day wherever you are.

Cheers,

~ Lori

Ya no puedo mas . . . If you haven’t heard this, click it! It’s too fun.