Tag Archives: weather

Misty Mornings in Harris Beach State Park, Oregon


I knew about the fog but I didn’t really KNOW about the fog.  Being an English person I pride myself and my nation on our national past time of talking about the weather.  In England the weather is generally damp and Heathrow grey with a splattering of sunshine at odd times of the year that excites the nation into a skin baring frenzy.  Occasionally we have fog too, but nothing beats the fog I witnessed over the 4 days spent at Harris Beach State Park. You always knew it was on it’s way even when the sky was a bold and cloudless blue.

Harris Beach

Harris Beach

And when it came it was just splendid, rearranging the view before your eyes, erasing some of the green rocky islands and creating a blinding whiteness and movement in the sky that was just dazzling, swirling around the handful of people brave enough to be in the water and making the crashing waves rising up the beach appear to be coming out of the void.

And then 20 minutes later the huge rocks jutting out the misty landscape start to re-appear again sometimes slowly and sometimes fast.  These small islands are home of all sorts of life including harbor seals who hang out on the rocks placing bets on how long it will take the fog to hurry away to the next beach.  There are other beachs too, drive about 4 miles up the road there are some really deserted beaches full of driftwood where you can roam to your hearts desire jumping from one beach to the next.

Harris Beach View

Harris Beach View

The campground here is great too.  We just about squeezed in with a booking on July 4th so it was max’ed out, but the sites were all roomy with hot showers and even an iceman delivering ice each evening.  There are also lots of trails, albeit short to keep you entertained and the hard packed sand on the beach proved a great running track.

The Oregon coast is a place that I shall come back too as I know I have just tasted a little of the wildness that is on offer and no doubt coming back at different times of the year would bring an altogether different experience.

How to Get There

2 miles north of Brookings of highway 101

Where to Stay

You can’t beat Harris Beach Campground

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Patzcuaro, Mexico


The more time I spend in Mexico the more excited I am by the people, the culture and the landscape. Driving into the western highlands of the Mexican state of Michoacan past old volcano’s and rolling fertile plains rich with a diverse flora and fauna I am struck by the how different Mexico feels as I move around the country. The Mexican experience is one that is continually varied. Here in Patzcuaro the center-point for the surrounding Purepecha Indian villagers who flock to the town to sell their crafts and food I can feel the spirit of the indigenous peoples striking in their traditional clothes. The air is rich with varied smells of foods and fruits and there are plenty of street cafes to hangout in and just watch the world go by, but never expect quiet because you are likely to have a mariachi band stroll up and start playing beside you at any moment. While your there try the local Tarascan soup which is on most menu’s made with blended beans, dryed chilies and tomatoes, poured over fried tortilla strips, with melted cheese, avocado and cream on top.

Plaza Don Vasco

Patzcuaro (pop: 50,000) in the western highlands situated in the Lake Pátzcuaro region of the Mexican state of Michoacán is famous for the Day of the Dead celebrations in November which is a mix of pre-Hispanic beliefs and Catholicism. The original meaning of Patzcuaro in the Purepecha language is “door to heaven” and this is not far off the mark even today. It is situated in an area thickly forested with pine, oak and eucalyptus so in the cool mornings the air smells divine. The town is a colonial gem with 16th century architecture, stucco walls painted white with dark red borders, friendly people, colourful markets, good food and a laid backness that gets into the bones. There are no major stores or chains just amazing buildings. Peak into any given tienda or store and you will see a long hallway leading to a courtyard garden. It’s is packed with churches, beautiful plaza’s that transform into markets depending on what day it is, Fridays are great as this is the major market day for the villagers from all around the lake who sell their wares in the main plaza’s such as Plaza Vasco de Quiroga. This plaza is named after the still revered Don Vasco , a bishop who fought for the rights of the local population rebelling against any ideas that they should loose their liberty and introduced the concept and skills which still persists today of each village producing a particular craft. Paracho is known as the guitar capital of the world, Tzintzuntzán pottery, Santa Clara copper products and Nurío woven woolens.

Market

And if you have a fascination with the catholic crafts step into the arcade called Casa De Los Naranjos on the corner of Plaza Vasco de Quiroga where you can buy many Dia de Los Muertos figurines, local CD’s and further into the arcade try making a selection from a wall plastered with hundreds of catholic crosses and iconography in that truly Mexican style. When I visited in April there were very few overseas tourists so if you have the desire to experience real Mexico this is the place to visit.

Crosses

Getting There

Patzcuaro Location – By air, there is a small airport that connects with Houston (4 hours), LA (3 hours), Mexico City (55 minutes) or take the luxury air-conditioned bus Primera Plus which is 5 hours direct from Mexico City for about $50 return. Getting to Patzcuaro from any place is Mexico is easy as long as you go through a major city.

Where to Stay

Camping – There are two parks here, I stayed at Villa Patzcuaro Hotel and RV Park has rooms and RV camping in a large garden out the back surrounded by eucalyptus and many birds. Not far from town to drive or jump in a collective.

There are many beautiful historic hotels at great prices in the town center.
Hotel Meson del Gallo, Dr. Jose Maria Coss 20. Single or double, $28; (52-434) 21474.
Hotel Fiesta Plaza, Plaza Bocanegra 24, single $37; double $43; (52-434) 22516.
Hotel Mansion Iturbe, Portal Morelos 59, (52-434) 20360, on the main plaza. is an elegant bed-and-breakfast; $70 for either a single or a double , breakfast included. Discounts for longer stays.

When to go

In terms of the weather, day-time temperatures are consistent year round but winter nights can be very cold as the town is at 7200ft altitude.

Major Fiestas

March 14. Don Vasco de Quiroga week: art and cultural fair, concerts. Patzcuaro.
March-April. Holy Week: processions, passion plays, Stations of the Cross, feasts. All towns.
May 3. Santa Cruz Day. Patzcuaro, Tzintzuntzan, Erongaricuaro, Quiroga, Zirahuen, Tingambato.
Oct. 31. Kuirsi-atakua: ceremonial preparation of duck casserole in advance of Night of the Dead: Janitzio, Jaracuaro, Tzin tzuntzan.
Nov. 1 and 2. All Saints’ Day and Dia De Las Muertos: offerings to the dead (food, flowers, candy)
Dec. 8. La Senora de la Salud Day: Dances, Indian artisan fair, parades, bullfights. Patzcuaro.
Dec. 12. Virgen de Guadalupe Day
Dec. 16 to 24. Christmas processions in the streets, fiestas, fireworks, pinatas.

Interesting Articles

Deep in the Heart of Mexico, The New York Times

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Lo De Marcos, Nayarit, Mexico


It’s always the way that on your journey to get to one place you find a little piece of paradise along the way, the trick is to recognise it before you continue on your quest to find the right place. I was looking for somewhere to be still, somewhere I could call home for just a short while. Baja is a stunning place to stay but my itchy feet were too curious about mainland Mexico to be still so on Dec 29th we took the ferry leaving Baja behind for now. After a uneventful but expensive ferry trip from La Paz, Baja to Topolabampo we drove south towards Puerto Vallarta heading for Sayulita in Nayarit for a quick stop with a plan to drive onto Barra De Navidad. I won’t bore you with the details of getting the ferry tickets but the three key points you should take note of; 1) you can’t buy a ferry ticket unless you have your vehicle documents for the mainland, 2) you can’t get your vehicle registered if you don’t have your vehicles at the Banjercito which is at the port in La Paz 3) you will have to back your vehicle onto the ferry which gets tricky in a large RV. Tickets are expensive for truck and trailer combo ($800 for 8 metres length plus $70 per person). Good news is that the ferry is new and only a 6 hour crossing. The ferry will get you in at around 10pm so head for the nearest town which is Los Mochis, but be warned there are no RV parks open here as we had to just park up in the street with our trailer.

So we arrived in the once sleepy fishing village of Sayulita and felt crowded out. It is packed with eager surfers enjoying the surfing paradise and of course partying plus those that like to hang out in a cool town. You can get custom surf boards made by dingbatz for the same cost for one bought off the peg or you can buy your little bit of property in Mexico at a high price. Real estates agents are two a penny alongside bars and restaurants and you would have no problem finding an apartment to rent out in this funky little Mexican town. There was no room at the RV park when we arrived on New Years Eve so we were forced to check out the next town 16km north of Sayulita, the truly sleepy town of Lo De Marcos with a beach to die for and the kind of laid back ambience that Sayulita must have had when the hippes discovered it in the sixties.

Lo De Marcos Beach

Lo De Marcos, a town of 3,000 is going through continual transition to accommodate the increasing visitors feels positively Mexican. The town is frequented by Mexican families during the major holidays and weekends with some long stay RV’ers campers here. Most of the streets are cobble-stoned with dogs lying camouflaged into the dusty grey cobbles with their dirty creamy curly coats, spread eagled and relaxed. On the rare occasion I need to drive the truck I have to be careful to skirt around the dogs and keep a keen eye on the children playing on the corners, some aged as young as 3 or 4 never wandering far from a small radius in front of their houses, laughing and chasing the dogs who also seem to have an unmarked territory from which they explore and guard. Altars sparkle outside houses. Our Lady of Guadalupe always the centerpiece with her gold beams and ribbons lit by the xmas lights. Old people sit outside their houses which look like shops. I find myself peering into open doorways expecting to see items for sale and then once closer look away quickly realizing that I am peering into someones home. Shops which look like houses are equally confusing selling a handful of items outside their front door. Men play dominoes outside the plaza wearing shirts and cowboy hats whilst cowboys trot pass on their horses. In the mornings all manner of people are selling their wares, the bin men ringing their bells, the gas man tooting his ice cream van style horn with interspersed with cry of “calour, calour”. Street stands sell taco’s and churros, mariachi CD’s and jewelry and like everywhere in Mexico there are always the internet cafes around to make those cheap calls home (thank god for Skype ).

The beach is sandy and wide with , the waves crash in and wallop onto the beach providing a constant background noise. Mexican families adorn the beach in groups sitting under beach umbrellas with picnics but between the major holiday seasons the beach mostly empty. Mornings bring out the mostly Canadian golden brigade who are out for their morning constitutionals walking, jogging, strolling with rarely a car to be seen. When the tide conditions are right a handful of surfers and boogie boarders race out to the rocks on the western edge of the beach bobbing on the waves waiting to catch the big waves. The local fishermen compete with the pelicans for catching the fish out by the rocks in the late afternoons with the heavily laden shrimp boats hanging out in the water resting from the nights fishing. The cicadas break into their singing in the evenings with a variety of sounds that rush at your ears all wanting to be heard. The referee whistle reaching out over the rest of the sounds as regular as a heartbeat.

Vampire Bats

The small pond along the road behind the beach houses egrets sitting alongside the turtles taking a break from the slow creeping around the waters. Iguanas race across the road to get to the pond in a rush of luminous green that disappears into the undergrowth. Hummingbirds fill the air like fighter jets swooping and collating mid air in a fight to the death over the feeders hung from the houses. The birdlife is intense every day bringing a new and wonderful specimen to wonder at. Huge butterflies gorge on the feast of bouganvillias that are bursting out everywhere, vampire bats rest during the day in the roofs of buildings. Lo De Marcos is the place to be right now because in effect the two smaller beaches frequented by the Mexican holiday makers have been bought, well the access roads have been bought (always a work-around in Mexico) and the plan is for the Japanese developers to put up the hotel and the bungalows. The sleepy charm will soon be lost but for the locals there will be more job opportunities.  While I was there I saw more estate agents opening their doors and Lo De Marcos is for sale in terms of property and houses.  The price is going up substantially each year.

If you want to get involved with the local community there is a non for profit organisation La Casa De Los Ninos that is always looking for help.

GETTING THERE The closest airport is Puerto Vallarta; either take a taxi (45 minutes) or hire a car.

WHEN TO GO It is surrounded by jungle and receives 345 days of sunshine per year with temperatures reaching 90 degrees F (32 C) during the summer, along with high humidity, but at night, the onshore breeze. The rainy season is June through September, however, August and September are considered the two “rainy” months. December and January, the peak tourist season, are generally warm, sunny and dry, with comfortable, balmy nights.

WHERE TO STAY There are plenty of places whether RV camping, renting houses or bungalows.

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