About Us

The Pack Family Journal is a place where we gather text and images of our lives, adventures and travels. This is a very personal site, written openly and honestly. Enjoy.

Monday, October 19, 2015

San Felipe Here We Come.....via Mexicali

John and Rachel Pack
On the road again. We've pulled up anchor today, or in this case lifted the levels and we are back on the road. And like most of our trips, we always start by going the wrong way. So, today we are heading north to Mexicali and with any luck we'll be pointed south by no later than Wednesday. We are so looking forward to getting home to San Felipe.

We have lots of fun planned and want to start working on our halloween party.

Last year Rachel and I discussed taking a couple years off from Baja. We even have the most awesome team to run the club while we were away (we'd of course, just be an internet click away). But this summer while relaxing and enjoying Pacific Baja; Punta Banda, Rosarito and Ensenada we had the time to sit and think and formulate a new plan. Our new plan includes traveling each summer, or in the case of music, we plan to tour every summer, then come back home to San Felipe to a season of huge parties, tours and adventures around Baja with our club members. We now have almost 700 members in just San Felipe, and think that is 700 reasons to come home each winter for fun. Afterall, it is a beautiful place to spend winter.

Our first event of the season is our HAUNTED CIRCUS HALLOWEEN PARTY at Margarita House on Halloween. We are going to make this a new annual party. That way we can make it bigger and wilder each year. Hope to see you there, we are learning some new scary songs (even scarier than our originals) and Oscar Quiñones Nogueira, who has been our drummer on the Pacific side all summer is coming to San Felipe to perform with us. It's going to be a fun party, lots of games, food, costume contests, circus acts and more. 

In any case, we're both excited to get home and see many of you again.

Monday, October 12, 2015

We've Recorded an Album - Aqui En El Siete

Rachel and I spent the summer in Punta Banda, north west of Ensenada, across the bay. It was very slow, very relaxing, and time enough for us to record an album with many local musicians.

Aqui En Siete is a very special place in Baja. This is the title track on the debut album by Wild Pack, entitled "Aqui En El Siete", which translate to "Here at 7".

All tracks were recorded in a palapa at Campo #7 in La Bufadora, Punta Banda, Baja California, México. Each track features different musicians living in the area. Performing on this track is John Pack on guitars and vocals, Rachel Pack on bass and vocals, Oscar Quiñones Nogueira on drums, Noema Ferreyra Cruz on keyboards.

  https://soundcloud.com/wildpackband/aqui-en-el-siete-by-wild-pack

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Aqui en el Siete - Thank you

Rachel and I make it a point of living life to the fullest, we try and make every moment an adventure. However, this summer was more about fun than adventure and I must say it has been absolutely incredible and we have got to know the Pacific Baja better than ever before. We've been very knowledgeable about the area, but that is not knowing the area, not until you get to know the people.

This summer we got to know some really wonderful people, and got reacquainted with many others. We need to thank George at the Lighthouse Restaurant in La Mision, thanks for the great times at your place. You know how to party. We need to thank Joanie and Tina, and Kim, Chris, Court, Pris, and John at Mama Bear's Pizza, Jan and Alex at La Bufadora, Judy at La Marina, Jeanne at Paradise Cove. Thank you all so much for giving us the opportunity to perform in your business for your customers. You introduced us to lots of wonderful people.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

AQUI EN LA SIETE CD

We are really excited, tomorrow - Sept. 2, 2015 we will start recording our first CD entitled "AQUI EN LA SIETE" (Here at Seven), which is also the title of one of the songs on the CD. Our current drummer Oscar Quiñones will be recording with us. We are planning for the CD to have 11-12 songs. We'll see how it goes, we will be recording every day this week. All originals and one blues/jazz song from 1923 called Saint James Infirmary.

"Crossroads" Guitar by Strung Junk

Our friend Steve Kinney, the guitar maker from Strung Junk drove all the way to Punta Banda on Friday to watch us perform at La Marina and was cool enough to bring his original "Crossroads" guitar, with the Highway 61 and 49 signs on either side. Very cool sounding guitar with a single, single coil vintage Harmony pickup. Played it an entire set and really enjoyed the feel. Thanks amigo. Looking forward to your building my guitar - MORE PHOTOS - wink emoticon

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Saltine Tostadas

What do you do when get everything ready to make tostadas and find out you don't have any tostada tortillas left? You put it on a saltine cracker of course!

Rehearsal

Rehearsal time again, here is Rachel posing with our gear during a rehearsal break at our summer retreat.
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I Love My...

Our girls napping like a couple of bookends...or Bobbsey twins. Love my girls!

Zombie or Grandson

Oooh scary zombie kid!
This is Shaddon our grandson trying to be scary...he still looks cute to us. xoxoxoxoxo

Two PA's and a Taillight

SUNDAY, AUGUST 23rd - Last night at La Marina turned out to be one of our best shows to date, although we started slow, we got cooking! We had our mojo working and our grove on! It was only the 4 of us; Oscar on drums, Rachel on bass, Phillip on sax and me on guitar and vocals. Although we did have a couple of hick ups, it couldn't stop the music.
The first problem came when one of the cables in our Bose PA started shorting and causing all the sound to cut out. Fortunately, it was just during sound check, so I had time to run back home to get our other Peavey PA. It's a much larger system used primarily for outdoors, but we had to have it. So I lined up the monster speakers next to the car and one was leaning because of a rock, a wind gust blew and the damn thing fell over and onto our car and busted our taillight. After a few quick choice words, I was loaded and back at the venue.
During our second break, as we walked around saying hello to people in the audience, a man said "I love you guys, and dig your sound, but there is just a little too much bass in your voice". So,

Friday, August 21, 2015

Terrific Lineup

We had a wonderful time jamming last night (Aug 20, 2015) at The Lighthouse in La Mision. It was a terrific lineup of musicians from left to right: Oscar Quiñones on drums, Fred Soto on harmonica, Phillip Singletary on saxophone, John B Packon vocals, rhythm and lead guitar, Rachel Pack on vocals and bass, Ferreyra Cruz Noema on keyboard, and Juan Carlos on lead guitar.

Keep Getting Better


Thanks to Maureen Minehan and her trusty phone, she captured a couple short vids of us jamming last night. Here we are playing a Wild Pack original called "Keep Getting Better". It is always fun to jam jam and let the other musicians kick butt all around! So much fun...and great bunch of musicians. Thanks for a wonderful experience.

--> WATCH THE VIDEO <--

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Hand Picked Mushrooms

At every gig, Rachel and I start with a good meal. Last night was no exception,The Lighthouse Sports Bar and Restaurant had a really nice portobello mushroom burgers, and some new battered french fries, which they didn't have the last time we played. The burger was great, which is why we ordered it, since we had had it before. The owner George wanted us to know he picked the mushroom himself, and yes from the store shelf not from the ground. He was also proud of his new fries, and rightly so, they were very good. Needless to say we started our first set, fat and happy (I'm sure Rachel would prefer I said "full and happy", but I don't think that is the phrase).

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sushi Wednesdays!

Anyone that knows me, knows I LOVE SUSHI! I would go so far as to give up all others foods if only I had an endless supply of sushi. Last night I had a wonderful SURPRIZE! Paradise Cove Tiki Bar & Grill where we played have ahi tuna sushi rolls that are out of this world. They were amazing, the fish was delicious and the flavors were addictive. Rachel and I had one each, and one more each for the ride home....and a side order of french fries - maybe not the greatest combo platter, but damn they were good...the fries were battered and season to perfection. In any case, Rachel and I are very excited about Wild Pack Wednesdays at Paradise Cove, because for us it's going to be Sushi (and french fries) Day Wednesday!

Day Off at Short Notice

Last night - Aug 14, 2015 we got the day off in short notice, so got to go out for dinner and watch a cool band perform. It wasn't exactly what our day was supposed to be, but it worked out for the best. Plus we got to have dinner with Paul and Linda, a fun couple from the area that are literally at ever function in the area, and they always love to dance. Dinner was great, we had coconut shrimp,Rachel had mashed potatoes and I had fries. Very good, and Judy the manager said she was "saving us Ahi tuna for tomorrow night when we perform." She's great.
Last week she asked which day of the week we wanted to play. We thought about it, and thought

Three Years Ago 2012 Baja Walk

Three years ago on Aug 16, 2012. Rachel and I made camp under a mesquite tree to get out of the heat while walking to Cabo.


The Baja Walk 2012
On May 12 of 2012, John and Rachel Pack embarked on the journey of their lives. The Baja Walk in 2012 was a great adventure that you never would expected. The rugged terrain, the harsh weather, the unexpected hardships – they all contributed to an outcome neither of them could have ever anticipated. The most astonishing occurrence was related to John’s health. Even though he had always been an avid hiker, he was caught by surprise when the injuries made by the car accident he had in his 20s came back to him. This was caused by his heavy 80 lbs. backpack which was later on replaced with a cart. Read More...

Saturday, August 15, 2015

256/142/85/74

Saturday Aug 15 (256/142/85/74) - Woke up to a cool foggy morning, which is a nice change from the heat we're been having each afternoon. Not that I am complaining, because I know it's hotter elsewhere. Rachel's mom and dad and many friends are in San Felipe right now, and boy oh boy I am sure it is hot. Love and miss you all, but we wish you were here. Since the weather was so pleasant, Rachel and I and the girls went for a nice cool foggy morning walk, then sat and watched the fog roll up the hill. Great way to start the day. Make your day great.

Friday, August 14, 2015

To Be Lazy or Not To Be Lazy

John - I am often asked "why am I always sitting when we perform?", well it's not because I am lazy, although I am, but it is not the reason. The reason, as my wife Rachel likes to say "you're broken". When I was in my mid 20's I was the victim of a hit and run. I was run over by a car, and actually declared dead at the scene and had my body covered. Fortunately, while being put in "the wagon" vital signs were found. I had both my legs and ankles broken, my pelvis crushed, a busted sternum, and my right clavicle was virtually turn to dust from being crushed. As a doctor told me later, "my right side is held together only by tissue, not bone.

Friday, Aug 14. (260/141/85/76)

Friday, Aug 14. (260/141/85/76) - Just came back from a nice walk and did some thinking. On Wednesday my back went out bad and when I was laying on my back in the bed, Rachel had to lift my head to give me water with a straw, so I could take a pill. I thought, "this can't be what I look forward to", my beautiful wife taking care of me - hell no. I am now 51 and want so much more. Things are going to change.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

First Gig in Paradise

John and Rachel Pack

Last night was our first show at Paradise Cove Tiki Bar & Grill and we had a wonderful time, started slow and built up, just like we like it. Thanks Jeanne Pepler for having us. It was great to meet Franny for the first time. Its cool to meet someone for the first time and they know all about you from Facebook. Franny said I was a "great Facebooker". Sorry Franny we didn't get to meet your friend, however I did see her bobbing her head at the bar wink emoticon. It was also terrific to see our musicians friends Eloy Miron and Ed Torriente, thanks for the compliments guys, always good to be appreciated by other musicians. Hope to see you Saturday. Dennis and Maureen

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lost of Ibuprofen

John - While sitting perfectly still playing my guitar my back went out - completely debilitating! Not sure I ever felt that much pain, not ever. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, because of the nerve damage in my back, we had some medicated pain patches, a lot of ibuprofen and a lot of moaning a groaning later, I was able to move. Our concern was last night was our first night at Paradise Cove Tiki Bar & Grill in Rosarito. It's almost a 2 hour drive, then 3 hours of playing and two hours home (1.5 actually because no traffic at night). We waited until noon to decided whether we were going to contact our friend Jeanne the manager, or just go for it. Which we have never done. Fortunately, we still have a perfect record. Other than Rachel and Oscar doing most of the lifting the night went on without a hitch. The show must go on.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Mama Bears We Love You!

Mama Bears was great. We just love this place, the customers are very nice, and always incredible tippers...truly amazing, more than any other place we have ever played. Plus the owners Tina and Joanie are way cool and the staff are too. Next week is their last week and the new owners will be taking over...and they too seem very cool. I know one of them Cort is already cooking all the pizza and he is really a nice guy, very laid back bunch. When we were done, Tina got so excited she even picked up Rachel wink emoticon Our good friend Phillip Singletary joined us on his sax, plus other San Felipe friends Marilyn, JC and NickiNomi and local friends too. Oh and of course, the food is amazing...we even have our own pizza, now called the "veggie cracker", veggie pizza with red sauce, and no cheese and added garlic. Ate two of them last night yum!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

New RV Spot

Today we moved the RV to a new location in the park. Our new spot that has an awesome view of the La Bufadora Cove and big beautiful palapa in the other side. We will have fun using it for our rehearsal/practice space. - MORE PHOTOS - 

Before we moved John thought that one of the RV's tires where going flat, certainly appeared low. Turned out it was fine, but Richardo, the manager and all around guy here came to the rescue. He had a hose hooked up under the hood, with a push button switch on a long wire attached to his battery. So he can pump up a tire with his jeep and use the button to stop and start the pump. Oh and all his wrenches were stuck inside the engine compartment with a giant magnet. I love Mexican ingenuity!  - MORE PHOTOS -

Difference - Ordeal - Adventure

"The only difference between an ordeal and an adventure is your attitude!" and we just had a great adventure. We drove through downtown Ensenada without any brakes! Yep, none at all. It was a pure adrenaline rush - I loved it!! Rachel not so much. I just used the transmission and emergency brake to slow and stop. From the way people in Ensenada traffic drive, I think a good number of them where driving the same way.

I LOVE BAJA!! I always think it, but sometimes I want to say it outloud. Just got back from a trip the get the brakes fixed. Rachel and I thought it a good idea to go to a dealer and not just any mechanico on the side of the road. So with the help of our good buddy Oscar, he recommended the Michelin dealer in front of the Ensenada Costco. They had the car on the rack for about an hour, had all 4 tires removed and the TOTAL BILL was $176 PESOS. That is about $15 dollars for my Americana amigos. We now have perfect brakes and all is great in our universe...however the drive home was boring compared to the drive there. July 6, 2015

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Eating In or Out?

We really only eat out on Sundays for breakfast, or when we eat at a gig. It's usually included when we perform. Even then, because of our diet, the menu items are limited. So, for that reason we do most of our cooking at home. Tonight we made a really tasty stir fry. We used whole wheat spaghetti pasta boiled then fried up in sesame oil. We got it so some were crispy, and some noodles still soft. Then we added a whole head of garlic, sweet yellow peppers, carrots, and then oyster sauce, spinach and tomatoes just before plating. It was really, really good. Try it, you'll like it.- MORE PHOTOS -

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Where Is My Damn Lemonade?

Sometimes life doesn't play fair. Before the summer began we needed to replace our refrigerator in our RV, once it arrived the shippers had dropped and bent it, so we had it repaired and paid to have it installed...with all that had to be done, it wasn't until the day before we left that it finally got installed. Of course, the refrigerator didn't work. So all summer we have a extra pantry and we have to live out of an ice chest. No problem.
We also thought it was a good idea to get new brakes before we left, again no problem. They even went out of their way and installed porcelain brakes (which we didn't ask for), we figured fine, its an upgrade. Although it cost 75% more than any brakes we had previously purchased, but again no problem they will last longer - WRONG. Day before yesterday our brakes went out completely.

Great Last Night

July 31, 2015 - Last night at La Marina in Punta Banda, really great crowd all night; every table taken, every barstool taken, and the outside patio full too. fun blues lovin' group. Rachel, Oscar and I had lots of fun. 

Oh yah, and before we played the La Marina Restaurant served us a very nice blackened yellow-tail tuna with the best organic green salad I have ever been served in Mexico. Great night all the way around. Thank you to everyone that attended and Teresa Martinez for giving us the pictures.


- See All Photos -

I LOVE THE BLUES

John Pack - I LOVE THE BLUES. I have been a promoter my entire life, promoted my first festival at 19 and never stopped, more than 30 years later and literally hundreds of concerts later, none of the music or concerts I produced changed my life, other than to put food on the table. Until 10 years ago, when my wife Rachel and I were asked to help promote a blues festival, then 6 years later we were asked to help start another blues festival. It was 8 years we were involved in promoting blues. Then 2 years ago, on the suggestion of two wonderful musician friends of ours, Pancho and Sal Pace, we started performing blues ourselves. I never would have thought a music that was in its prime before I was born, would alter my life and my own future in such a profound way. Thank you to all the musicians and especially the blues musicians that we have come to know and love, you have brought much passion and joy into our lives and have changed our lives forever.

Beach Time

Beach Time - We took the girls (our dogs) to the beach so they could frolic in the waves. They had a great time on a beautiful day. The beach is on the end of "The Spit" as they call it around here in Punta Banda, Baja California. It's just down from La Marina Rest. Bar where we having been playing. Beautiful weather sunny and warm and the sand was that fine silky texture great to laying out a picnic and relaxing. - MORE PHOTOS - 

Monday, July 27, 2015

3 Mile Hike

Yesterday we went for a nice foggy, cool (at least started that way) 3 mile walk from our place to Los-gordos Bar at La Bufadora for breakfast with friends and all our dogs. I learned 3 very important things during the walk: #1 ZZ Top is good walking music, #2 cold Pacifico is best served with breakfast, #3 exercise is painful...I woke up this morning and I am so sore!- MORE PHOTOS - 

Mama Bears Gig

Rachel and I getting ready for our weekly gig at Mama Bears. This is the coolest place; the staff are awesome, the food is the best, and the customers are the coolest. We actually have people that come each week to see us. Plus, we talked them into two pizzas as part of our pay...1 pizza when we get there and 1 pizza to take home when we're done. Oh yah baby! - More Photos -


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Flamenco Nights in La Bufadora

From John - I don't know how many of you remember a couple of events Rachel and I have produced; one was several years back at Playa De Oro called Flamenco Nights, and more recently the Latino Fest. Although Rachel are big blues fans (obviously), our second love is Flamenco guitar, Flamenco dance and many styles of Spanish guitar (huge fans of The Gipsy Kings). We are in the process of doing another such event, only this time at a very unique rancho called Rosa Negra, with an amazing chef, and the best Flamenco performances anywhere outside of Spain. Today we scaled the mountainside above the location of the event, to give you another view of where this incredible night will be held. We'll continue to share the details as they become available...the date it set for September 12.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Coconut Dinner

Dinner tonight is coconut, curry, butternut squash soup. Slow cooked in a castiron Dutch oven, then served with grilled coconut shavings, cilantro, diced roma tomatoes and whole wheat garlic and olive oil bread. Disfrutar! - see more photos -

Other People

From John - I always consider others first - always. I make it a point to always be courteous to those around me, to a fault sometimes. I guess that is why when people don't do the same, it really pisses me off. The problem with me being pissed off, is I don't handle it well. Normally, I am a big, sweet teddy bear, but when I get angry I become a wounded Alaskan Grizzly. Once again, I loveRachel, she sees the transformation taking place before I do, and after 13 years is really good at taming the beast before bad things happen. I'm blessed....and those rude people...well all I can say is they have no idea how lucky they are to have her too.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Pizza with the SOBs



John and I just enjoyed pizza with our favorites SOBs (Suns of Beaches) Denny Flannigan and Phillip Singletary at Mama Bear's Pizza in Punta Banda, they were great as usual and so was the awesome pizza. We almost ate two whole veggie pizzas; we forgot to say no cheese, so we had to order a second pizza when the first came out. So, there is one pizza with cheese (mine) and one without cheese (John's), we left with only 2 slices of cheese. We'll be playing at Mama Bears Pizza as 2Wild our acoustic duo, should be fun on Monday- July 14, 2015. 
— with John B Pack at Mama Bear's Pizza.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Amping Up The Blues in Baja!

The Wild Pack blues power trio wink emoticon! We had a really great time last night (July 11, 2015) at La Bufadora Restaurant and look forward to next Saturday. Last week a lady (Rose) and her girlfriend (Sue) came to see us. They both had a great time and danced most of the night. This week Rose came back and this time brought her husband (Richard). During our break she introduced us to her hubby and she said "I just love you guys, I'm not really a bluesy girl, but you guys really amp up the blues". Rachel and I both chimed in stereo "AMP UP THE BLUES"! We love it! I think we need to put it on a t-shirt. Thank you everyone for letting us share our passion for music with you. 

Johnny at the Crossroads

July 9, 2015 - I had the privilege of playing a original one of a kind "Crossroad" guitar. Crossroads being the place where famed blues guitarist "Robert Johnson" allegedly sold his soul to the devil...it was where HWY 61 and HWY 49 cross in Clarksdale Mississippi. The guitar is an original "Strung Junk" guitar built by Steve Kinney and is made with a HWY 61 roadsign on one side, and a HWY 49 roadsign on the other and uses vintage pickups and components. Beautiful, great action and easy to play...Steve also makes a variety of other guitars, including some of my favorite which are made from vinatge cerca 1925 gas cans used in Model T fords and others. Steve will be at this years Baja Blues Fest in Rosarito...

Our Backyard This Summer

Our backyard this summer, a beautiful area all to ourselves...the dogs are loving it as much as we are..Rachel gets to go running each morning up and down and around the hillsides overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean. Of course Rachel will also walk with her old man, when she is feeling less rambunctious.

* Click the title to see more photos *

Girl in Waiting

John Pack wrote:
All my girls waiting for me to finish breakfast...the ultimate hangover cure; garlic papas, over easy eggs, whole wheat garlic toast, with fresh roma tomatoes. Of course, I was the only one with a hangover.








Saturday, July 11, 2015

Jaws Grilled with Coconut

Oh boy, Rachel knocked it out of the park for dinner. She did a baked Mako shark steaks encrusted in fresh coconut and seasoning, with roasted carrots and sweet peppers with an avocado salad. The shark was literally just out of the water, and the steak was only 29 pesos (less than $2). Oh yah, and a Mexican vodkatini. Out of this world!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Hangin' with Friends

It is really cool to hang with friends away from your normal environment. I mean, when you reconnect with people from one community in another community it seems to make you feel closer in some odd way...in any case, I really like it. Just spent the afternoon with Phillip and NickiNomi at their cool casa in Punta Banda and really enjoyed the day. Plus, our dogs all got along which is a plus, just another great baja day.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Live and Love

From John Pack
I don't know how I could live without Rachel. In addition to being an amazing wife, business partner, music partner and everything else...she also makes it possible for me to continue living. Sometimes the pain I feel is so bad, I'm not sure I could live with it...but she takes the pain away. When I was in my 20's I was run over by a car, actually killed me, chalked around my body, the works...just like in the movies. Broke most of the bones in body: ankles, knees, pelvis, sternum, clavicle and on and on..in any case, the nerve damage was immense and the older I get the worse and more frequent the pain...sure there are drugs, and this and that...but it is my Rachel that relieves me of the pain better than any of it, by killing the inflamed nerves with her hands. I am blessed to have her.

Movie Night!

It's movie time! You gotta have a snack with the movies, so Rachel made us hummus, with black bean fingers, fresh veggies and crackers. The movie was pretty good too...it was "Dragon Blade" with Jackie Chan and John Cusack about the Romans and Chinese on the silk road.

Our Baby Girls

Our baby girls Trixie and Cai enjoying the view.




Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sunday Breakfast

Yesterday was the first Sunday (July 5, 2015) in a very long time that I didn't cook breakfast for the whole family. So, in honor of the family Sunday breakfast we cooked up a big em' breakfast anyways...garlic wheat toast, eggs and country papas....wish I could have shared it: Joyce Reid LawrenceRichard Lawrence, & Gene Jensen.







Dinner of Champions

Dinner of champions...homemade black bean burgers, topped with the works and garlic pasta on the side. Yummy!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Banda At My Front Door

Banda At My Front Door
Another music first for me...we apparently have the RV spot backstage. Today our campo is having a fiesta and the band is setting up directly out our front door. These shots are taken through our door and kitchen window. I think it might get loud. The celebrations begin...we have a band right outside our door and in 4 hours we play ourselves just a few miles away...a day of music. 

A Mexican band (banda) is playing outside our front door for the 4th of July celebration. Its a warm up for ourselves that are playing a few miles away 4 hours from now. This band ends when at the time we begin.

 - Watch Video -