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Eunice suggested breakfast at Mimmie’s, the same one where I received complimentary muffins on my first visit. Ian enjoyed a fruit salad the size of a small greengrocer’s shop and yes, each of the ‘Mimmie Virgins’ received their complimentary box of 4 muffins each.

We had promised to visit Jürgen Menzel again, as he had been very helpful in giving me tips on finding various Baja cacti and we had promised to show him the pictures of our trip. Jürgen has a collection of some of the more unusual cacti, not often seen in general or hobby collections and enjoys propagation and seed producing to ensure their distribution, via the trade, to hobbyists. We were fortunate that he also had a small stock of Franziska & Richard Wolf’s book ‘The Ferocacti of Baja California’ at a ‘better than ELK’ price. Ian was impressed with a map book of detailed Baja maps and noted details, so that hopefully we can acquire a copy for any future trips, because I for one would like to return some time in the future to track down the few species that we missed this time, including most of the endemic island species.

Eunice and I had intended to take Cliff & Ian to Torrey Pines for the last ‘field experience’ of seeing cacti in habitat, but Jürgen suggested two alternative locations where Ferocactus viridiscens still survived on small plots of land, waiting perhaps to be developed, in an urban environment.

He took us to the first location where we found some 20 plants, hidden in the tall grass. These plants were much heavier spined than the plants I had seen at Torrey Pines. Jürgen explained that many more plants had grown here, but a forest fire some 10 years ago had severely reduced their number. Ironically, most of the Feros had survived the fire, but their spined had been burned off, so that, without this protection, they made juicy snacks for rodents who had lost their regular food source in the fire. Perhaps as a result, natural selection showed much heavier spined plant here today. I use my camera as a note book, so went to take a picture of the signs near the entrance to the site, after we had completed the picture session, to read:

NO TRESPASSING

Warning: Army Corps of Engineers has designated this site for future sweep of potentially unexploded ordnance.

Well, it’s a new approach to protecting plants. We are glad to report that we didn’t find anything explosive on ‘our sweep’.

The next stop was a narrow strip of waste land opposite a school. At first we thought that any cacti had been destroyed, but after a bit of searching we found Ferocactus viridescens again, in very tall grass and agricultural wheat! Growing there as well, a Dudleya sp.. On the way back to the car I found an attractive Oxalis sp., just one group – perhaps the result of someone dumping their garden waste there. Nearby grew Crassula  argentea, The Money Tree, an African native.

Ian & Cliff were getting tired and clearly their mind was already occupied with the journey home and the packing that precedes it, so it was back to The Motel At The End Of The Runway, where Eunice and I decided to make a quick trip to Fry’s, the discount electronics outlet, where I managed to pick up a 500 GByte external HD for just under GBP 60, as my 250GByte disc only had 12 GByte left!

When we got back, Eunice’s daughter Lachelle, had arrived to pick her Mum up, but first we went for the long awaited Chinese meal, in an interesting setting, resembling a Hollywood film set, but where the service left a lot to be desired.

Eunice, Ian and Cliff said their goodbyes and Ian set his alarm clock for 7:30. He need not have bothered, as the train right behind the Motel and the planes landing & taking off from 5 a.m. onwards made sure that we were already awake.

I dropped them off at the Airport and went back to the motel, where by midday I moved from room 117, to 128 – just around the corner from the swimming pool, I did not know that there were rooms there too.

I’m now enjoying organising my pics on the new HD and putting stop data on Google Earth for a virtual trip sometime in the future.

This will be the last Diary in the series – so, Diary Addicts, you have to get a real life, and perhaps join in with the next adventure in cactus country!

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