Mexico 2002 and Southern California February 2002
We start out, Jim Ousley and myself, in El Segundo, getting our last week of Oracle DBA training,
so we decided to get some pictures of the Oracle building and the Doubletree Club Hotel where we spent two
weeks of our lives, one in November 2001 and another in February 2002. El Segundo is about 2 miles south
Los Angeles International Airport. We had a spectacular view of the area including the airport from the
Oracle building roof one day, 25 floors up, but when we came back with a camera the next day, the door was locked.
On Friday afternoon, since class let out at noon, we picked up my rental car and Jim and I drove down to Hermosa Beach
for lunch and a walk on the pier. We had come here one evening in November for dinner with Lynne from our class so we wanted
to see what it looked like in the daytime. Hermosa Beach is only 5 or 6 miles from El Segundo.
Friday afternoon at 5:00 I left Jim and headed east amongst the rush hour traffic toward the high desert. By 9:00
I had reached the Salton Sea and drove off Highway 86 into the desert. I parked there and relaxed for an hour or so and marveled
at the number of stars visible on a clear night in the desert. Deciding it was too cold to sleep in the car, I found a room
at the Brawley Inn and slept comfortably. Next morning after a long bath in the enormous tub I started towards Mexico, stopping in the
border town of Calexico for Mexican insurance, $40.73 for 3 days.
At 10:45 I crossed into Mexicali and handed out a few dollars to beggars along the road. By 2:00 I had reached
El Dorado Ranch, 110 miles south of the border, and got my first look at the Ranch I had been hearing so much about for 10 years.
Juanito's Cantina, where I had dinner Saturday evening, had a Mardi Gras party that night. I was one of the youngest people
there and felt a little out of place.
I rented a nice house for $65 a night. It's a 2 bedroom place, very nicely furnished and well insulated. I found
out later it was made out of styrofoam. You can't tell by looking. This house is located in the Los Medanos area of
the community. As I found out, the property I actually own is in an area that hasn't been surveyed or permitted
for building. The whole area is called a biosphere and Mexican authorities are being careful about how much building
they will allow. I would have to trade my deed for a lot in one of the buildable communities if I wanted to live there
and that would cost an additional $5000 to $20000 depending on the type of structure I want, RV, camping, electric, solar
or mixed use. I don't think I like this area enough to ever do that, however. This house, as all others, had its own supply
of water in a tank, trucked in.
On Sunday morning I drove the 7 miles south into the sleepy little town of San Felipe. I had breakfast, excellent Spanish
Omelette, bought some t-shirts, caps and shorts and found a boat named after my daughter and another named after my daughter's
home town. Small world.
I needed to rest back at the styrofoam house for awhile before going back to the beach club and Juanito's Cantina
for dinner. They are building a golf course there right now due to be open by Spring of 2003. Will have real grass
fairways, too. They are using a grass that thrives on salt water, which they have plenty of there. Said there are a couple
courses using this grass already in Florida. Sounds interesting but I didn't ask how they were going to keep the pipes
cleared of the salt.
All day Saturday and Sunday the wind blew constantly, sometimes 30 or 40 miles an hour. The temperature was around 80 and
it was sunny but the wind made it difficult to take at times, especially on the beach itself. But Monday morning it was still
as could be as I prepared for the long drive back to LA airport and my red eye flight that night. These are some of the
houses that are in the communities of El Dorado.
I had passed through 2 Mexican Military checkpoints on the way down on Saturday but they flagged me through them
and I didn't have to stop. But on Monday, heading north out of the country, I passed through 4 checkpoints and was stopped, searched
and questionned at every one. It took about 30 minutes to go through the line of traffic into customs and then I was
promptly herded into the extended search area there where a dog sniffed around, customs looked through all parts of the
car and asked me many questions. He got quite a laugh when I told him I had owned this property for ten years and had never seen
it before now. Thankfully, I passed all of these checkpoints easily but it didn't ease my nervousness
at the situation any the less. I was so happy to be back in the good old USA!!! I celebrated with breakfast at Denny's in El Centro,
I had spent many good times in the Laguna Mountains east of San Diego when I lived there, so when I saw the sign for
Julian as I headed west on I-8, I had to take the mountain road and see what it looked like 20 years later. I must say
it looked nearly as I remember it and I took the opportunity to photograph many of their quaint buildings. I had some
coffee and apple pie at the Rongbranch Restaurant where an old, dear friend of mine, Saro Brown, used to hang out. I asked
the waitress if by any chance she might still live around there, but was met with blank stares.
Julian, California also reminded me of another dear friend, Beverly Keogh, later Brown, who shared a great night
with me one time in this small town and the surrounding mountains. Memories, whether being newly created or brought back to life, are incredible.