The time had come once again for the Rocky Point Skydiving
Boogie, which takes place every year at the end of April in Puerto Peñasco,
Mexico. This year, the boogie would be held April 26-29, and, as usual, would
be organized by Mark and Dawn Rae Hogue. Larry Hill, the owner of Skydive
Arizona, would be bringing down the Super Otter, and the jumpers would be
landing on Sandy Beach, next to the Playa Bonita RV Park. Naturally, John and
Mary and I would be going to the boogie this year, as would John's parents,
Bill and Erika (they would be bringing the motor home). As soon as we had the
dates for the boogie, we all requested the time off of work.
This was going to be my third Rocky Point Boogie. In the years before I began
going to Rocky Point with John, there had been two fatalities during the
event, which led to problems with the local authorities. During the
boogie, the "federales" stepped up security at the airport and indicated that
if there was another fatality, the skydivers would not be allowed to return
next year. Fortunately, there weren't any fatalities in 1999 - and there
weren't any in 2000, either...but that didn't mean that the boogie went off
without a hitch. Larry Hill had problems trying to get the fuel for the Otter
into Mexico. In Mexico, all of the fuel is controlled by the government, and
no one is allowed to import fuel into the country without the proper
authorization - that, of course, includes the Jet A that Larry uses for his
planes. In 1999, he was able to get some of the fuel across, but not all of
it. In 2000, he managed to come into the country with the appropriate
paperwork for importing fuel, only to be told upon arrival, "This is not
valid. This paperwork is for gasoline. You have Jet A." Eventually, they let
him pass, but it meant that he wasn't able to fly any skydiving loads until
With that in mind, Bill and Erika decided to change their plans. Instead of
arriving in Rocky Point on Thursday, they would arrive on Friday and stay
until Monday. They would also be taking Janice and Danny and little Joshua
with them - they would all be staying in the motor home. John and I, in turn,
also decided to drive to Rocky Point on Friday and stay until Monday...but
since we already had Thursday off, we thought it would be a great idea to do
something we have always wanted to do: visit the
Organ Pipe National Monument
and camp there overnight.
John spent countless hours doing research about Organ Pipe to find out where
we could hike during the day and where we could camp overnight. He learned
that there are only a few maintained trails in the park, and the rest of them
are just routes. The maintained trails were fairly easy; the routes were more
difficult and required good route-finding skills and the ability to scramble.
The one that interested him was the Estes Canyon/Bull Pasture Loop, a 4.1-mile
long loop trail on Ajo Mountain. At a certain point along the trail, one can
scramble up to the top of Ajo Mountain. It is listed as a difficult hike, as
the trail is steep and rough, with lots of slippery rocks along the way. In
fact, the jaunt up Ajo Mountain is described as so difficult that John did not
expect me to complete it, if we did it. He expected me to wait for him while
he hiked alone.
Later that week, John abandoned the idea in favor of another route: the Grass
Canyon Loop, which is a six-mile loop that begins and ends at the Alamo
Campground. That was where we were planning to camp, as it was the lesser-used
campground. (Organ Pipe only has two campgrounds: the Visitor Center
campground has 208 spaces, fully equipped with facilities; Alamo has four
primitive sites.) The Grass Canyon Loop seemed to be much easier, so I agreed
If we were done hiking early enough, John suggested that we go on the Ajo
Scenic Drive, a twenty-one mile-long dirt road that begins and ends across
from the Visitor Center. The scenic drive was supposed to be very beautiful,
and, of course, we could never pass up travel on a dirt road - it just won't
be an adventure without a little dirt on the van (which had not been washed in
almost a year).
We were supposed to spend the week preparing for our five-day weekend, but on
Monday, I came down with a miserable case of the stomach flu - not exactly
what I needed! I was so sick that I couldn't get out of bed to go to work, nor
could I begin packing for our trip. Although I felt fine the next day, I knew
that I had already lost a whole day that I could have used to get everything
done - it was going to be a stressful week!
Then, on Wednesday, both Mary and John became sick, too. John had a very mild
case of the stomach flu, but Mary had diarrhea! She was so sick that the owner
of the day care center and asked me to take her to the doctor. I took two
hours off of work to take her to the pediatrician. It turns out that she had a
viral infection that caused the diarrhea and the crusty eyes, as well as an
ear infection - not exactly the news we needed to hear just before going on
vacation! Fortunately, Mary was still in good spirits, and her pediatrician
indicated that we were fine to take her on vacation, as long as we weren't
flying to our destination. He gave us a prescription for eye drops and a
bottle of ear drops then sent us on our way. (Of course, I couldn't take her
back to day care because she was sick, so I had to take her back to work with
me, so that I could get my work done before leaving on vacation.)
So, with all of that going on, it came time for us to finish packing for our
trip, so that we could leave bright and early on Thursday morning.
The plan was to leave at 5:00 a.m. on Thursday morning, so that we could be at
Organ Pipe National Monument by 8:00 a.m. That would give us plenty of time to
set up camp and complete our day hike before it got too hot. Of course, the
morning didn't go according to plan, and we didn't make it out of the house
until 5:20. Since Einstein's didn't open until 5:30 a.m., we skipped breakfast
and stopped at Circle K for ice before beginning our trip. (We stopped at
another Einstein's en route to I-10 West and had breakfast there - why break
And while we were at Circle K, I realized that I had forgotten to bring a hair
tie to put my hair into a ponytail. I was wearing my giant hair clip, but with
that in my hair, I would be unable to wear a hat.
After leaving town, we drove non-stop until we reached Ajo, AZ, where we would
be picking up our Mexican insurance - we would also top off the gas tank
there, so that we would have two full gas tanks upon driving into Mexico on
Friday. Additionally, we bought firewood so that we could have a campfire - John had
read that wood gathering was illegal but that fires were allowed as long as
you brought in your own logs to be used in the fire rings.
Once we were done in Ajo, we drove away, only to realize that we had forgotten
to buy wine to drink with our steaks that evening. So, we stopped in Why and
bought a box at the Why Not General Store - and, of course, we remembered to
get a receipt, just in case we were accused of not paying again!
Finally, we arrived in the Organ Pipe National Monument a little after 8:00
that morning. After passing through the Border Patrol checkpoint, we drove
into the park on Highway 85 and went straight to the visitor center (which is
fifteen miles from the park entrance) to reserve our campsite at the Alamo
Campground. Upon our arrival, we paid for our campground permit then purchased
a book about the Ajo Scenic Drive for $.75. John also asked the park ranger
about the Grass Canyon Loop, to find out if it was possible to complete the
hike in one day, even with a late start. The ranger said, "Oh, sure, yeah,
it's possible." With that, we thanked him for the information and left the
It was an eight-mile drive back to the turn-off for the Alamo Campground,
which, if you're not paying attention, is very difficult to find. Had we not
paid attention on the way into the park, we might not have known where it was.
The only sign marking the dirt road that goes into the campground is a stop
sign. We could see it in the distance as we approached, so John tapped the
brakes on the van to take us out of cruise control in order to start slowing
down for the turn...
...And just as we turned onto the dirt road, we hear a siren behind us. "What
the hell?" John frowned. We both knew that we hadn't done anything wrong -
John hadn't been speeding, and everything was current on the van. So why were
we being stopped by the police?
It turns out that it was just the Border Patrol. The agent had been following
us for about a mile, and when he saw us slow down and turn onto the campground
road, he got a little suspicious. To him, we probably seemed like we were a
group of illegals trying to get the Border Patrol off of our tail. We
explained to him that we were just heading towards the campground, and after
showing him our permits, he sent us on our way. "That is the
FOURTH time I've
been stopped without getting a ticket during a Rocky Point trip!" John
"I guess it wouldn't be a Rocky Point adventure without one run-in with the
law," I said.
After the Border Patrol agent drove away, John and I continued driving towards
the campground. We drove for four miles on a bumpy but passable dirt road
until it dead-ended at a series of four campsites, each one numbered. About a
hundred yards from campsite number four (our campsite), there was a pit
toilet, and in the middle of the road was an island with a kiosk and trash
cans. Each campsite had a wooden picnic table and a charcoal grill...but no
fire ring. (John later learned that only charcoal fires were allowed on the
grill; wood fires were prohibited.)
We parked at campsite number four and began to unload our hiking equipment in
order to prepare for our hike. While I sunscreened and changed Mary, John put
together our sandwiches for lunch. Then, he prepared the limo...and that was
when he announced that he had forgotten to pack our hiking sticks and his hat!
All I kept thinking was, "You're taking me on a scramble WITHOUT my hiking
stick! This is not sounding good!"
Needless to say, we went hiking anyway. At 10:00 a.m., we began our trek to
Grass Canyon. As I had mentioned earlier, the Grass Canyon Loop is actually a
route. There is no trail, so hikers must go cross-country through the desert,
across the bajada (the slopes at the base of the mountains). To accomplish
this difficult task, one must possess excellent route-finding skills and be
equipped with a good map and a compass (or a GPS). Also, it is very important
to pay attention where you step, lest you walk away with a cholla branch on
your leg or a snakebite on your ankle!
At first, the hike across the bajada was very easy - and it was very
beautiful, too. Organ Pipe National Monument is filled with many species of
cactus and other desert plants, everything from saguaros to hedgehogs, from
ocotillos to creosote, palo verde trees, and, yes, lots and lots of organ
pipes! Some of these organ pipes were about two stories tall, with twenty or
thirty arms each, which gives them the appearance of the pipes of a church
organ. These cacti grow solely in the Organ Pipe Monument and in parts of
Sonora, Mexico, because the soil conditions of the bajadas in those parts are
ideal for them to thrive.
Another interesting thing about Organ Pipe National Monument is its proximity
to the Barry Goldwater Firing Range, which is between Gila Bend and Ajo on SR
85. Just before embarking on our hike, we heard a "boom"; then, seconds later,
a low-flying F-15 fighter appeared from the south and buzzed over us at an
altitude of about five or six hundred feet. "Wow!" I exclaimed, my heart
racing with excitement. During our hike, I kept a sharp eye out for more
fighters - we could hear them, but we didn't see anymore that afternoon.
About a third of a mile into the desert, we came to the first in a series of
washes that we would have to cross before reaching the canyon. The first few
washes were shallow - only one foot deep - but as we progressed, they became
deeper and deeper. Worse yet, the sides of these "arroyos" became steeper and
steeper, which made it very difficult for me to descend into them without the
assistance of my hiking stick. This began to slow our progress, and I soon
became very frustrated.
To add to my frustration, the heat was beginning to get to me. Although it was
still late in the morning, it was already close to a hundred degrees out there
in the desert, and I was starting to feel like I was overheating. Eventually,
during one of the wash-crossings, John finally suggested that we abort the
hike, because I just wasn't having any fun.
We headed back to the campground and made it back there by 11:30 a.m. By that
time, Mary was awake and cranky, and I was completely overheated. I had
already sucked down most of my water, and I was getting dizzy. Upon reaching
the van, John grabbed an ice-cold soda out of the ice chest for me and told me
to sit down until I felt better; in the meantime, he would set up the tent at
Once we had set up camp, John and I decided to take a drive into Why to get
some more ice and some beer. Before we could get into the van, we noticed that
the rear tire was a little low, so John thought it would be a good idea to get
some air for it while we were in town.
Of course, leaving the park to go into Why meant that we would have to pass
through "Checkpoint Charlie": the Border Patrol checkpoint at the entrance to
the monument. Border Patrol agents were stopping everyone to check for illegal
immigrants trying to come into the country from Mexico. Naturally, we were
stopped, too, and as one officer asked us questions, two others tried to look
through the dirty windows of the van. When they couldn't see anything, they
asked John to open his door so that the first officer could take a peek
inside. Finding only camping equipment and Mary (in her car seat), they
finally let us proceed.
We stopped at the Chevron gas station in Why. While I purchased beer and ice,
John filled the rear tire with air; five minutes later, we returned to the
park, waving to the Border Patrol agents as we passed by them - we knew that
they recognized us, for we hadn't been gone long.
Having given up on hiking, John and I decided to do the Ajo Scenic Drive, the
twenty-one mile loop drive that begins across from the visitor center. There
is a sign posted at the turn-off, and after a mile, there is a fee self-pay
station, for those who did not pay their entrance fee at the visitor center.
At that point, the dirt road becomes one-way - the only way out is to finish
the entire twenty-one mile loop.
Along the way, there are numbered signs, which correspond to the numbered
explanations in the book that we purchased at the visitor center. John paused
by each numbered pull-out so that I could read to him the narration provided
in the book. One of the numbered narratives taught us about "nurse trees",
which are trees that "nurture" young saguaro cacti until they are strong
enough to survive on their own. These saguaros eventually take over and kill
off their nurse trees. A fine example could be seen on the side of the road,
opposite the numbered pull-out. The saguaro had grown to about ten feet tall,
and its nurse tree, a palo verde, was beginning to turn brown.
Many of the numbered pull-outs were there to point out the desert plant life,
and we found that it was very educational. We learned, for example, that
ocotillos are not members of the cactus family at all, despite the fact that
they have thorny spines like cacti. We also learned to tell the difference
between the desert trees, like mesquite, Mexican jumping bean, creosote, and
so on. In addition to that, we learned about all of the different varieties of
cholla cactus - teddy bear, chain link, pencil, and Christmas - and how to
tell them apart.
Other points of interest along the way included Arch Canyon and the very
colorful Ajo Mountain. Arch Canyon was fascinating because there was a giant
arch up on the mountain. This arch, unlike Rainbow Bridge (in Lake Powell),
had been carved by the wind instead of water.
We were also interested to see that part of the road was paved, and part of
was not! We had been expecting a two-hour drive on a bumpy dirt road, but
instead, we were able to drive part of the road on pavement. That was quite
The drive did not take us two hours as expected, so once we were done, we
decided to go back to the visitor center to take a look around the other
campground. As we drove around the not-so-primitive camping spaces, only a few
of which were occupied, we came to the trailhead for one of the few maintained
trails in the park: the Victoria Mine Trail. Although it was getting late in
the afternoon, John suggested that we go hiking on this easy, two mile-long
trail. I said okay, so John got all of our gear together while I fed Mary her
lunch. After she was done, we began hiking.
The Victoria Mine Trail was indeed a very easy one. Unlike the Grass Canyon
Loop, this trail did not involve any sort of route finding; there was an
actual maintained trail there that wound through the desert, dipping in and
out of washes along the way. I can say that I did enjoy this trail a lot, but
I would have enjoyed it more had it not been one hundred degrees that
afternoon. It was for that reason that we aborted that hike, too: I was
getting heat exhaustion, and John did not want to risk one of us getting sick.
Having given up on hiking for the day, we returned to camp and finished
unloading our camping equipment before resting. As I tied a garbage bag to the
back of the van, I suddenly heard a hissing sound - the unmistakable sound of
air escaping from a tire. It was coming from the tire that we had just filled
while we were in Why. Upon closer inspection, I found that there was a nail in
the tire, so I pointed it out to John. He was going to pull the nail out and
put in a plug, but he couldn't remember how to use the plug kit. So, he put a
little adhesive around the nail to slow the leaking air and decided to wait
until we reached Rocky Point to deal with it.
Since there was no shade at our campsite - and since it would be too hot to
sit in the tent - we put a blanket down in the shade created by the van and
sat there until dinnertime. It had just become a very lazy afternoon. While we
drank our frozen beers (actually, only mine were frozen - John's beers were
not!), Mary played with her toys (except for her teething beads, which had
gotten lost, never to be found again). Had it not been for Mary's shrill
laughter, John and I probably would have fallen asleep that afternoon.
Around 5:00 p.m., John pulled out the camp stove and started cooking dinner.
Our dinner consisted of juicy steaks (but without ketchup, because I had
forgotten to pack it), green beans, and butter herb pasta - and, to drink, we
had "Chillable Red" wine in the box, which is nothing more than alcoholic
grape juice. (Oh, if only we had remembered a nice bottle of Merlot!) The
sunset that we viewed during dinner more than made up for our lack of
preparedness. As soon as the sun began to set, the mountains to the east of us
became a vivid orange-red - it was one of the most vibrant sunsets that I had
ever seen. I excitedly took pictures of it in hopes of capturing the beauty
that was displayed there.
I also took pictures of Mary doing her latest trick: standing! I stood her up
on the seat of picnic table, and she managed to hold herself up by putting her
hands on the table! That was so wonderful - and at the same time, so
frightening! It won't be long now before she starts running...
Once the sun finally set and dinner was over, John and I spent the rest of the
evening enjoying the coolness of the air against our sunburned skin...until
suddenly, we heard the high-pitched buzzing of mosquitoes as they began to
surround us. Now, who would have thought that, in a place as dry as Organ Pipe
National Monument, there would be a swarm of mosquitoes? We managed to last
about an hour before we decided to escape to our tent to keep from being eaten
alive by those blood-sucking pests. At that point, we called it a night and
went to sleep.
Although Mary woke up twice during the warm night, John and I were able to
sleep quite peacefully until about 5:00 a.m., at which time first light broke.
As we slowly started to come around, we could hear the buzz of mosquitoes both
inside and outside of our tent. When John left the tent to start the morning,
he was soon chased back inside by those biting little bastards - so he came
back inside, zipped up the tent, and started killing the mosquitoes one by
Eventually, we decided to brave the swarm and leave the tent so that we could
get ready to leave for Mexico. Although we would have loved to enjoy a lazy
morning in Organ Pipe, we were tired of the mosquitoes and the other flying
pests that were buzzing around us. Without even stopping to make coffee, we
quickly ate coffee cake then loaded our camping equipment in the van. At 6:50
a.m., we left the Alamo Campground and continued on our trip to Rocky Point.
We arrived at the Playa Bonita RV Park at 8:30 a.m. and immediately pitched
our tent. Then, while we waited for Bill and Erika to arrive in the motor
home, John and I took Mary down to see the beach. Oh, what a fascinating sight
it was for her! Chewing on her little shovel, she stared all around her,
taking in all of the new and exciting things to see. John took her into a tide
pool, where he let her splash around for a little bit in the cool water. Then,
he set her down on the wet sand and built a sandcastle for her, using her
little plastic bucket - she eventually knocked most of it down by grabbing big
chunks of it. Mary thought that the sand was very neat, and she managed to
consume large quantities of it before we could stop her. She also loved how it
felt, as she picked up handfuls of it and let it sift through her fingers as
The other Verleys and the Guckenburgs arrived sometime after 9:00 a.m., while
John and I were unloading our camping equipment. They occupied the space
directly behind us, and once the awning was down, we set up the playpen so
that the babies could have a cool and comfortable spot to play. Around the
same time, manifest finally opened, so John and Bill went to register for the
boogie (that was when he realized that he had forgotten his log book!) while
the rest of us finished setting up our home for the next four days.
The Rocky Point Boogie 2001 went off without a hitch. For one thing, Larry
Hill was able to get the Otter and all of its fuel across the border without a
single hassle, meaning that they were able to fly a few loads on Thursday
after all. There were also only two injuries to be reported, both of which
were minor. And the only fatality was a 1999 or 2000 Nissan Xterra, which
belonged to a free-flyer. He had been driving it on the beach when it broke
down. Since it happened late Thursday night, he decided to leave it there
overnight and have it towed out in the morning. In theory, it was a good plan,
but there was one variable that he had forgotten: the tide! The SUV had broken
down during low tide, and when the tide came in, it completely covered the car
with seawater and sand! He had to wait until low tide to have it towed away,
and by then, it was a total loss. By Sunday afternoon, after the last load had
flown and everyone was going home, the rear axles on the SUV had frozen and
would not turn. Unable to tow it back to the United States, he had no choice
but to abandon it at the RV Park.
Despite the absence of Team Flail at the boogie this year, John and his father
still managed to do some nice jumps. During one of their jumps, Danny came
along to do an observer ride - that was the first time he had ever been in a
skydiving plane (beer!). I also did my third observer ride, during John's last
jump of the day on Saturday, towards sunset. And wouldn't you know it, but I
ended up riding with eighteen rowdy skydivers who were getting ready to
participate in a Hit-n-Chug! Although they had some trouble getting the rules
straight, we all got the basic idea. The eighteen participants would exit the
plane and do a "Hop and Pop", meaning that they would immediately deploy their
parachutes. Upon landing, they would have to try to land in a circle drawn on
the beach, in the center of which were cans of Tecate beer. The parachutist
would have to land, remove his gear, grab a beer, run out of the circle, and
chug the beer - and the winner would be the one who did this in the fastest
It seemed like a good game, but there were lots of logistical problems with
it, which they all argued about in the cattle truck, all the way to the
airport. One of the logistical problems was canopy wing-loading: some guys
were going to come down faster than others because of a) canopy size, and b)
their body weight. Additionally, Kevin Vetter, who is a world champion in
accuracy, was on the load - everyone knew that he would win. What they ended
up doing is letting the lightest wing-loaders out first, at 9,000 feet, and
the others exited the airplane at 13,000 feet.
I'm not quite sure who won the Hit-n-Chug, but I can tell you this: John
managed to get booed by the spectators on the ground. Upon his final approach
to the landing area, he realized that he was coming in too fast, so he got a
brilliant idea: he would try to kick a can of beer into his hand! Well, he
caused three cans of beer to explode when he kicked them, and he didn't catch
any of them at all. D'oh! So, when he landed, he had to drop his gear and run
several feet back to the circle, grab his beer, run out of the circle, and
Unfortunately, I missed the landing, but I managed to make it back from the
airport just minutes before the Otter did a buzz job across the beach. John
took Mary out to the water's edge so that she could experience it. (Of course,
this was not her first buzz job. She had already seen the DC-3 buzz the Drop
Zone in Eloy during the Halloween Boogie. She was only three months old at the
time and was trying to sleep through it...the look of terror on her face
during that first buzz job was classic!)
Mary enjoyed the buzz job, but she enjoyed watching the parachutists land more
than anything. Every time she saw a brightly colored canopy fly by her, she
would squeal with glee and wave her arms in the air. She and I spent a lot of
time on the beach during jump run so that she could watch them land all around
When we weren't on the beach, Mary and I spent a lot of time in the shade
under the awning of the motor home, where Mary played quietly in her playpen
with Joshua while I worked a crossword puzzle and relaxed. There was a nice,
cool breeze blowing every day, but it was just warm enough outside that all I
wanted to do was be lazy. On one occasion, I did go shopping with Erika and
Janice and Danny; and since we had forgotten to take the stroller with us, I
was forced to carry Mary around in the Limo. Although it wasn't that heavy
when it was fully unpacked, the bulk of it did present a problem for me while
walking through the narrow aisles of the Mexican shops in the "Mall"! And, of
course, things got worse when Mary started reaching for the brightly colored
ceramic bowls on a nearby shelf - at that point, it was time to go, before I
had to pay for something!
Naturally, I did buy a few things in Rocky Point. I bought Mary a Rocky Point
outfit and a pink and purple Mexican blanket; I also replaced all of the
wineglasses that John had broken when he knocked over the seville that I had
bought in Rocky Point two years ago!
Upon returning from shopping, though, the laziness kicked in, and I decided
that all I wanted to do was relax. A few times, I went over to manifest to
talk to Dawn Rae, who had also just become a mother - her baby, Lauren, was
just over two months old. She was quite the cutie, and to top it off, she was
wearing the most appropriate T-shirt - it read, "Eat, Poop, Skydive"!
During the evening, it was time to celebrate the end of a good day of jumping.
Although we all decided to skip the traditional skydiver party at La Curva on
Friday night, we decided to stick around for the Tecate party, under the
Tecate tent, on Saturday night. That evening, we put Mary in a lovely pink and
white "señorita" dress, which had been given to her by her Uncle Clyde. She
drew quite a bit of attention in that dress!
On Sunday, the Rocky Point Skydiving Boogie ended, and slowly, one by one, all
of the skydivers began to leave...except for us, because we had decided to
stay until Monday. It was also Janice's birthday, so once John made his last
jump, it was time to celebrate. For lunch, we went to La Curva and drank "Especiales"
until Janice got sick.
While Janice slept off the "Especiales", the rest of us watched as the locals
washed the motor home...and later, the van! Yes, John finally decided to have
the van washed - after all, it hadn't been done in a year. And when they were
finished, it looked like a completely different vehicle. The chrome on the
bumper actually sparkled, and we could finally see through the back windows.
It looked so good after they were done that John gave them extra money for
Later that evening, we hung up a piñata for Janice to break. Erika had
purchased it secretly on Saturday, after sneaking away from all of us, and
after she and I filled it with candy, we had John and Bill hang it up under
the Tecate tent, next to manifest, while Janice and Danny went for a walk to
Puesta del Sol. Just before they returned, we called over the last few
remaining skydivers (including Mike Putz, the one who owns the "World's
Ugliest Bus") to come and watch the violence that was about to unfold.
Upon their return, we blindfolded Janice and gave her a broomstick to use on
the piñata. Then, John spun her around and let her go at it. At first, she got
a few good whacks at the Tecate tent, but soon she found the piñata and
started wailing on it. (Danny and I took the babies and stepped back to keep
them out of harm's way!) Finally, the tough piñata fell to the ground, and
Janice proceeded to stab it with the broom handle until it broke open and the
candy spilled onto the ground. We gave most of the candy away to Mike Putz'
kids, some of whom were calling out hints to Janice.
That evening, at sunset, John and I took Mary with us down to the beach so
that we could have some quiet time to ourselves. We sat by the water's edge
and watched the waves rolling in and the sun set behind Competition Hill. Mary
squealed at each wave that came in and lapped the beach, and me, I couldn't
help but watch the fascination in her face. At nine months old, she has
already seen more things than most people ever see in an entire lifetime, and
each time she sees something new, like the ocean, she reacts with such
excitement. I only hope that she continues to enjoy new things with the same
enthusiasm as she grows older.
Monday morning, it came time for us to go home. We spent part of the morning
on the beach, where we let Mary splash around in the seawater one last time
before packing up camp. Then, at 11:00 a.m., we checked out of our campsites
and went to Manny's for lunch, as tradition dictates. Finally, around 1:00
p.m., we bid farewell to Rocky Point and began our long journey back to
Fortunately, the four-hour drive back home passed without incident. The line
at the border wasn't long, and we did not get stopped by any DPS officers on
SR 85. (We even coasted through rush hour traffic on SR 51, which came as a
big surprise to us.) Of course, when we arrived at home, we knew that our
vacation was indeed over, as all of the problems that we had left behind
greeted us at the door...
...And thus ended another great Verley adventure.