Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Warm & sunny weather in Mazatlan

Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009

Yesterday was a quiet day cloudy, muggy and still quite warm. I didn't walk yesterday as it was raining in the morning but today is again sunny and warm and I had a good trudge up the beach.

We got down to the beach yesterday afternoon and there were some pretty good swells. The young guys from the back of the park (on Christmas break) had a ball. They boogied until they could hardly walk. Ah, to be that young again! Eric got in the water but I declined as it isn't much fun dodging the waves. The weather was cloudy but warm and we sat on the beach watching people swim and the pelicans do their ballet. The form a line and soar along the crest of the wave only inches above the water. They are really poetry in motion.

Last night quite a few people from the park went to one of the new condo outfits for free drinks and food and some sort of a sales pitch. We declined as we have no interest in buying a condo here and don't need the hassle of extra emails from a salesman. Late in the night we were treated to really loud Karaoke in Spanish by a woman who really couldn't sing at all. Bad enough in English but horrible in Spanish. It went on for a few hours at "you guessed it, maximum volume" and meant closing all the windows and vents to sleep. I'll bet it was coming from the condos that were giving out free food and booze as they are just up the street. Ah Mexico!

Daughters Krista and Erika don't read this next part!

Eric and I got out on the Harley for a short ride today and it was okay. Sam had asked us to go for a ride with he and wife Rita but since I haven't ridden much in the last couple of years we thought we'd better practise first. Eric has to really watch because - you guessed, it the Mexicans really like to pass on blind curves and the crest of hills! Anyway it's nice to get out on the Harley because you can really smell the countryside and you know cow shit, fresh dirt and okay, some garbage smells and a few dead animals too. It was nice and we'll do it again.

So tomorrow is New Years Eve and we have no plans to go out. We may take a ride on the Harley on New Years Day because if it's like Christmas day it will be really quiet. We'll see. We're getting better at navigating through traffic and are feeling more comfortable with the driving.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sunday was a good day

Monday Dec. 28, 2009

Yesterday we finally got out in the truck and did a tour of Mazatlan as we needed to do a bit of shopping. We went down the beach road toward the Gold Zone and since it was Sunday the traffic was relatively light. This was my first journey around the town although Eric had been out and around on the Harley. We made it to the Mega mall where we picked up a good supply of groceries and then continued on to find Walmart. We then headed back down to the beach road and the Gold Zone and made a circle back up to try and get back to the water guy to fill our jugs. Bad luck he's closed on Sundays. Oh well it was a good trip anyway.

Some food items are really cheap here. A loaf of fresh bread and nine hoagie type buns - about $1.70 total - 4 fresh grapefruit .84cents total and as long as you stick to non North American name brands groceries are a good price. Currently our grocery bill is running about $100.00 per week including beer which is not too shabby.

Eric was out on the bicycle yesterday and was exploring the property right behind us and he was tracked down by a Mexican guard on an ATV who escorted him off the property. With a little sign language the guard informed Eric that insurance was a problem and he was not allowed on the property.

Today Eric went out on another little Harley journey and I stayed home to clean out the cupboards in the RV. Sounds a little boring for me but it's something I really don't want to do in the summer while we are at home. Late this afternoon it has clouded over and light rain is falling. Not a bad thing as it is still warm and is not like last year in Mesa when it was close to freezing when it rained. It's a restful sound to us, much like being at home only warmer!

We had a little walk on the beach this afternoon and again saw a Mexican fishing. He caught a nice small tuna like fish but then unhooked it and threw it back. We must find out why they don't keep these nice looking fish. I suppose they must not be good to eat.

So things are quiet here right now although a few rigs have come in from Alberta today and so who knows how many people will still arrive. This included two more Harleys and Sam is really excited. He says this is the first time he's seen so many Harleys here in the park. He and Eric will check that out tomorrow.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas comes and goes again

Dec. 26, 2009


The weather has cooled down a little over the last few days with clouds and a couple of nights of rain. The moisture has dampened the dust and freshened up the air so that is a good thing. That has also meant not much swimming as we have also had that nice cool breeze that comes from Alberta. The beach has many Mexican families on it over Christmas and they have really been enjoying the water. They really love and enjoy their families, especially the children.

Christmas eve day was quiet after our dinner the day before. I finally washed our windows and screens as you could hardly see out of them. The built-in vacumn even got a work out so we are a little cleaner now. Even when you are away all those mundane things like shopping, laundry and house cleaning have to be done. It is easy to get so lazy you can hardly muster up the energy to do anything at all. Eric has that down to a science now and is still sliding into his winter coma! He finds it a big effort even to shave and though that Don Johnson look is cute on a young guy it just makes an old guy look like a bum!

This park is very laid back with no organized activities so that is right up our alley although the people are very friendly. We were lucky to meet up with Marilyn&(Dennis from Alberta), Connie&(Manny from Oregon) and Sandi&(Frank from Iowa) on the way down and they have included us in their circle from time to time. Dennis got out of the hospital (pneumonia) on Wednesday and then had to have a tooth pulled on Thursday following a broken crown but he is now on the mend. Yesterday Frank & Sandi had an appy party late in the day with their friends, two other couples and us. I brought over some smoked salmon that either Ken Blanes or son-in-law Wade had given us. It was a hit! We always end our evening get togethers early here due to you know what - the no-see-ums! Nasty little things.

Connie's little adopted Mexican dog has been entertaining us with her tricks. She knows a little spanish and when you say gatto she perks right up. Gatto is the name for cat and also the name of the cat that Connie adopted with Ramona. They were the same size as a puppy and a kitten and apparently Gatto is as big as Ramona now. Gatto is at home in Oregon so Ramona is always looking for a gatto to play with but they don't like her. Poor Ramona! She also drops over dead when Connie points her finger and goes "Bang!" She can sit up for a treat even though she is quite long and looks a lot like a cartoon. Funny! People do bring their cats with them but of course they are always on a string.

We will venture out on the bus over the next few days so I'll let you know how that goes. Who knows where we will end up! We are starting to feel more like home here so that is a good thing. We don't know where we want to end up yet but that will come. The people that we met here like it because there is always something to do. In a very small beach town you are likely get bored unless you were prepared to move frequently. So far, we are at our best when we are stationary!

Eric got out on the Harley and had a ride to La Noria which is northwest of Mazatlan. He had adjusted the timing on the bike so he wanted to see if it had made any improvement. It did, so that is good. La Noria is just a small Mexican town that someone had said had a Tequila factory but all he saw was a dairy. He has now put the back seat on the Harley so I guess I will be invited for a ride!

On yesterday mornings walk I had to dodge a rather large horned milk cow on the edge of the sidewalk. There are still a couple of little ranchos on the east side of the beach road. I guess this area was all pretty quiet a few years ago before they started building mega tall hotels along the beach side of the road. There doesn't seem to be any regulations on size etc. so you can have your view blocked pretty easily. We have been lucky with this park as we have vacant lots on both sides of us so the noise level is pretty good. The Mexican people really like to party which is fine but you don't want them right next to you if you ever want to get any sleep.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The orphans sing for us here in Mazatlan

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Yesterday I spent most of the day preparing the ingredients for the broccoli salad. I had forgotten what a pain in the rump it is to make so it's a good thing it's so tasty. Between that and a walk on the beach not much else happened. Late in the day it clouded over so there was some concern about our outdoor party for today.

It did rain over night and we had to get up and close the roof vents in the middle of the night but this morning it is again sunny and warm.

This morning I got my plum cake in the oven and then continued on with the turkey. I was supposed to bone it out and then heat it up in the oven. I have never had a smoked turkey before so I don't know what they are supposed to look or smell like. It didn't smell great and Eric was sure there was something wrong with it. After I'd spent about an hour deboning I sent him to get Connie & Manny to come and sniff. They thought it was all right and then Frank and Dick came over and they said it was not good. Great! So into the garbage and then a major clean up of rotten turkey. We had to bleach everything. We're not sure what the problem was but it really wasn't hardly smoked and sort of half cooked so who knows what happened. Manny took the wrapper back to Walmart for a refund and they said they wanted to see the turkey and so he and Connie had to come back and dig it out of the garbage! What a pain!

We all trooped up to the front of the park at 3pm to listen to the Mexican orphans who had come to sing for us. They arrived in the back of an open pick-up with wire sides to keep them from falling out. Strange to us safety wise but normal for them. They ranged in age from about 3 to 14 and boy were they cute. All in Santa hats with black pants or black skirts with their white Salvation Army shirts on. They entertained us with many Christmas carols in Spanish complete with hand gestures and little turns like the Four Tops! They were well rehearsed and needed no one to keep them in time or prompt them. They were stupendous and brought tears to my eyes. When they finished they were each presented with the gifts we had bought for them and there were some pretty happy faces then. They opened their gifts and then proceeded to come out to thank us with hugs! It was so special. We all had name tags on and one boy spotted Eric's tag and grinned and said he was Eric too! Eric says most little boys he sees who are named Eric are little dicks and says there is something about the name that makes that happen. This boy seemed not at all like that! I took lots of pictures and even a little video on the camera and then they were back in their truck and gone. It really made it seem like Christmas and everyone said it made them miss their own families less.

Dinner was excellent with a huge variety of salads, vegetables, (not rotten turkey) and desert. Since we got started by 4:30 we were all done and home by 6pm. Unfortunately the no-see-ums and mosquitoes come out just after 5 and it makes sitting outside uncomfortable without a lot of bug dope on. Anyway a good time was had by all and it's now 9pm and guess what, it's raining! Oh well it keeps the dust down and maybe it will clean the truck and RV off a little.

Merry Christmas all!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas is coming

Monday December 21, 2009

After my morning walk Eric and I headed off to Soriana's for a little Christmas shopping. As I mentioned the park is buying gifts for the Salvation Army orphans. It made me feel better to actually be doing some shopping for children and in this case for kids who really need the presents. I had picked two children, a boy and a girl both 11 years old. I bought nice jeans, a shirt and t-shirt for the boy and jeans, a nice top, pyjamas and some hair scrunchees for the girl. Wrapped up the presents and now I'm done. I'll make a brocolli salad and plum cake for our dinner on Wednesday and have been asked to heat up one of the smoked turkeys that Felipe the owner bought for the dinner. It should be fun. It's pretty lonely without your family and grandchildren at Christmas but this is way better that sitting alone in the trailor last year in Mesa. It was raining and cold there and here it is 30C and sunny. Bueno!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blue gets a ride.

Sunday December 20, 2009

This morning I headed out for my walk just after 7:30. Up the pavement to the castle as I call it and then down the access road to the beach. I could hear loud music as I walked and there at the edge of the access road to the beach was an expensive black car with all doors open and really, really, really loud mariachi music playing! Two young Mexican senoritas were dancing and the older Mexican man was watching. They must have been there quite a while as there was quite a pile of broken glass on the pavement around them. I'm sure the RV park next to them was enjoying the 8am serenade. It just can never be too loud for the Mexicans!

When I returned Eric was just crawling out of bed and it was time for coffee. Sam across the way showed up to ask if Eric wanted to go for a ride on the bike. His wife Rita wasn't feeling well and I didn't want to go so off they went together. They stopped for gas and Sam spotted a Mexican guy on his Harley and went to say Hi. The Mexican was up for a ride and offered to show them where to go but first he had to go find some cerveza because he had a hangover. He spoke excellent English and had lived in Chicago before moving to Mexico. They started out through town and when they hit the highway there was nowhere to go. The main and only highway south was plugged solid as there was a bridge out and with all the holiday traffic it was backed up for miles. The Mexican knew how to get down the shoulder and then cut across to get out of the mess of traffic. From there they headed down a side road out past the airport until they ran out of pavement and then down some dirt roads through a village to a large palapa at the very end of the road. They stopped for a lunch of shrimp and more cerveza and the Mexican was greeted with hugs and kisses as he had been there for a wedding before. He spent his time chatting up the waitresses and managed to score a phone number from the big bootied one! After lunch there was a return through all the traffic crossing the highway and up another paved side road through four or five little villages and muchos topes, topes, topes until the road ended in a really nice clean village. It was then time to see the pool hall where the Mexican said he had been when a cow wearing a bell came in while he was playing pool! There was also a desperate need to find the banyo. They were directed out the back to a walled courtyard where they were told to just pee on the wall which was apparently normal practise there. I wonder what the woman did? Sam picked up some cold cervezas and from there they headed down a gravel bank of boulders and four wheeling on the Harleys to the river where they stopped for some tunes and guess what...... more cervezas. Eric declined at this point as he said he didn't want to leave me a widow and his grandchildren minus a grandfather. Then it was time to head back the way they came and after they shook hands at a stop light Eric and Sam headed home and the Mexican back to his home behind the bowling alley.

While they were out I had a chat with Frank and he said that Dennis (they are two of the people we met at the Pemex station outside Los Mochis) had been coughing for the last couple of days. He had been unable to sleep and was thinking he would go to the doctor tomorrow. When I mentioned the Swiss woman's husband had pneumonia and was in the hospital Frank thought Dennis should probably go and get it checked out. Apparently another couple had ended up in the hospital when they were here last year with pneumonia. Well, now Dennis is in the hospital with pneumonia too. What is going on! Hopefully this is all just a coincidence and not part of a bigger problem. It could be viral, bacterial or who knows.

I chatted with a lady from B.C. who had arrived with her husband yesterday in a really old VW van. She said they had been driving non-stop day and night in Mexico. A bit naive and they know it now. They stopped for gas at three in the morning and gave the Mexican money before they got gas. Then they got to pay again. Lesson learned, pay after you get the gas not before! They are heading south tomorrow and I hope they drive in the daylight. It would not be fun to hit a cow or horse in the dark.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Small things

Saturday Dec. 19, 2009

Well, I didn't post anything yesterday and so that tells you nothing big is happening. Eric and I were still both exhausted yesterday but today things were better. Yesterday "Blue" got a wash. She was really dirty from our stay in the desert at the Imperial Dam. Eric had washed her in San Carlos but the water there was too hard and she was covered in spots. The water here is better and so she is shiny and clean. We are not people who like to spend a whole lot of time washing trucks, motorcycles or RV's even when we have time so that is all you'll probably all you'll hear about vehicle washing from us.

We had our swim yesterday and again today. However, today was great because the surf was just right for a little body surfing for Eric and a good swim for me. When we got back from our swim today we were having a cerveza on the patio and the Swiss woman that we had met in San Carlos passed by. I asked her how her shopping went and she shared that she had actually been to see her husband in hospital. She told us earlier that he only has one lung (cancer 11 years ago) and only 40% of the remaining lung is working so he has to be careful about his health. He hadn't been feeling well and friends commented that he didn't look well so off to the hospital. Pneumonia and a three day stay so far. It's a good thing they are in a bigger city with good medical care instead somewhere out in the boondocks. They are here on a one year trip after having shipped the RV from Switzerland and have been travelling throughout Canada, U.S. and now Mexico. They, like many of us are looking for a winter retreat in a quiet, beautiful paradise that probably doesn't exist . They have tried South Africa, Vietnam, Arizona etc. and are still looking. Interesting and gutsy people. Her comment was " Well, we could have just stayed home because of his health but now we have had 11 good years travelling!"

Today I did my first laundry here in Mazatlan and decided to just use the park machines. 60 pesos for a wash and dry per load which works out to just over $5.00. However, we didn't have to drive anywhere and I really prefer to do our laundry myself and since it is close enough I can walk back and forth to check on it while it runs through so it is quite pleasant. Well, as pleasant as laundry can be.

Tomorrow we will have to get out and get our Christmas presents bought for the orphans. Sam, across they way says Sorianas is just fine so I guess that's where we will go. Eric ventured out on the motorcycle today and feared for his life with the crazy traffic. It is a marvel that you don't see hardly any vehicles with dings because they drive in every direction weaving in an out cutting each other off at any opportunity. Maybe the vehicles are completely wrecked so they are never seen! Sam the guy with the motorcycle from Winnipeg wants to get out and travel with Eric which would be good because he knows where all the good roads are.

Yesterday we had lunch at the palapa restaurant out at the front of the property. The owner (Arnaldo?) is a very personable guy who speaks good English. Eric had the beef burrito and I the marlin taco. I know now that I don't care for Marlin ( a little like chewy, fishy ham to me) but Eric's burrito was great. Eric and Arnaldo got to talking about natural resources in Canada and other political type stuff and Arnoldo's wife and daughters changed to the next table! I guess they have heard him voice his opinions before. A really nice man that everyone seems to like. We talked a little about rivers and fish and he said how much he loved salmon. After lunch I took him back some of our frozen coho salmon that son-in-law Wade had given us and he was thrilled. I think it made his day.

I guess it just proves that life is all about the small things.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thursday December 17, 2009

A quiet day for us today and the first one where we have felt really settled in since we left home. I got up early and walked the beach and took the camera with me hoping to get some good pictures. Eric was exhausted and was still in bed when I got back and I think all the driving has really caught up with him. We are so busy at home during the summer we really need some down time during the winter. As luck would have it yesterday's light and opportunities for good photos were a lot better than today. I did take a few pictures and some are of the building being constructed across the street. The building is a long way up now but the Mexican workers at the top have very good eyesight. They are able to spot women on the beach or the street and then you hear their catcalls of " Hey mujere" and whistling from way up high. This goes on throughout the day and I guess this just proves that men are the same the world over!

I did a little baking this morning and managed to whip up a couple of chocolate zucchini loaves for Eric. The little propane oven in the trailer does a much better job of baking than my oven at home. Eric really loves to eat and although he doesn't put on much weight he is looking at his belly with dismay these days!


We had a good swim at the beach today and there were a few people from the park there as well. One young couple has a golden lab whose enthusiasm for the water is outstanding. They bash a tennis ball with a racquet for him and he brings it back and drops it on the racquet so they can hit it again. Today he was wearing his life jacket and followed them into the surf while they were boogie boarding time and time again. The waves were a good size but he followed out into the surf each time and never seemed to tire of swimming or chasing the ball. Fun to watch. There are a few dogs in the park and it always amazes me how much dogs look like their owners. There is a well trimmed, buff colored, female Scottie dog and she looks just like her owner with his well trimmed mustache. A good little girl who sits and stays and then happily comes for her cookie. Ramona, Connie and Manny's little Mexican rescue dog seems to think she owns the park. Although not visibly spoiled she definitely has some separation issues with Connie. Whenever Connie leaves her behind with Manny she squeals loudly until Connie comes to get her. That would get old really quick! Abby a pretty little brown and white (Maltese/Shitzu?) loves to run at top speed on the beach and ruin her very pretty look! She chases the waves in and out just like one of the shore birds. She puts a smile on every one's face! She runs laps, rolls in the sand and is quite a mess by the time she goes home to the park. However, when you see her next she has had a bath and looks good as new. Our own old dog Moxie would find all this confinement a problem and we are so lucky that daughter, Erika and family will take her for the winter. Now that she has her own dog house she seems to have settled down and of course she has taken to lolling around in the house every evening and so I guess that means that she is really happy. She won't want to come home in the spring!

The propane truck showed up in the park this afternoon so we were able to get our empty second tank filled. A lot cheaper than the U.S. or Canada but it is not clear whether it is propane or butane. That saved us from a trip out l00king for propane and apparently Maria will call the truck whenever someone needs it. Good to know.

So the day is done and we are having happy hour in the trailer. By five o'clock the little biting midges (no see ums) and mosquitoes are out and sitting outside becomes uncomfortable. They are also outside in morning early and we have been told they will get worse as we go south. I got a few early evening pictures and the late light is good for that, so supper and bed and tomorrow is a new day.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

We got to Sorianas for groceries!

Wednesday December 16, 2009

Well it's about 8:30 pm and Eric is doing the dishes. How great is that! We ventured out today and made it to Sorianas for groceries. Since Sam had taken Eric for a spin yesterday it really helped us to find our way. Mazatlan is not a small Mexican town and the roads are what I would call convoluted. Eric says they were designed by someone on crack but of course he says that about a lot of roads at home too! We did take a bit of a scenic route coming home but we were not lost because we could see where we should be, it's just that we just couldn't get there from where we were! The shopping at Sorianas was good because they had everything we needed and since I am somewhat familiar with Mexican supermarkets it was not too confusing. I did ask one "Gringo woman" if I needed a Sorianas card and she said "Yes, but they'll give you one at the check-out" and of course that wasn't the case. Luckily they were quick at the information desk and I didn't hold anyone up too much. We managed to get money at an ATM (cajero) and we must remember that word when we want money. The prices were good at Sorianas and the store was like a small Walmart because it sold everything and they also had a great bakery and so all is good in the food department. We have found that the Mexican people really like sweet bread, buns, pastry etc. so you have to be careful to buy what you want.

We received an email from Sandi and Adrian and they made it to Rincon. They had no trouble and Sandi said navigating was easy with the On The Road again papers that we gave them. They are in the Oasis trailer park and had stayed in the Flamingo the first night. They went down to Los de Marcos and said they could only find two RV parks and that the roads were in bad shape from a big rain two weeks ago. They will stay in Rincon until the end of January and then who knows. Apparently there are lots of people from the Okanagan in the Oasis and since they are from Summerland that makes it like old home week for them. They also said that they thought that due to the width of our rig we should make a dry run before we head down that way. We have decided to go to Teacipan on a day trip to check that out to see if that is a place we would like and then probably make a two day trip to Rincon to have a look. They are concerned there might not be room down that way after Christmas so we will keep that in mind. We would plan to go through San Blas on the way to Rincon and come back through Tepic if we thought the first way wouldn't work. If we find we don't feel comfortable with a move this trip there is always next year.

I finally got out on the beach this morning early at 7am and walked north up the beach and it was hard going as the sand was soft since the tide was pretty close in. I made it to the hotel that looks like a castle and then headed to the road for my return and it was a nice walk so I'll try to do it every day. Good for my caboose! Tomorrow I'll carry the camera as the light this morning was perfect and I should be able to get some good pictures. If so, I'll try posting them. We did not swim today as there was a lot of wind wave and that doesn't make it much fun but of course there is always tomorrow.

There will be a Christmas get together here in the Las Jaibas park and it is to be a pot luck. The Salvation Army will bring 23 orphans to sing for us. We have been asked to donate two gifts for two of the forty orphan children ages 3 to 14 that the Salvation Army looks after. I think the ladies we met in the Pemex parking lot in Los Mochis are organizing it (Sandi (&Frank) and Connie (& Manny) and we will join in. We will buy gifts and bring food and that of course means we have to go shopping so I guess we will take the bus to do that!

As I read over my posts I realize the blog is a bit long winded but for me this is a diary of our travels. I used to write all this in a book and now it is on the computer. I have never been a history or geography buff and so most of what I write is just my impressions of the small everyday stuff. I could make all this Walt Disneyish but in the end no matter where you go you find people just like us trying to make a living, feed their families and just get through life as best they can. We can idealize what they do but in end they all just want to have a happy life.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Tycho's prepare to venture out.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Yesterday was pretty quiet and we spent most of the day obsessing over the next leg of the journey. We will get a handle on that but right now we are waiting to see how Adrian & Sandi made out getting to Rincon. They went through Tepic so hopefully they made it without mishap. We have not wanted to go anywhere or drive anywhere since we got here. We went to the beach in the afternoon yesterday for a swim and it would seem not many people in the park do that. We are pretty used to the waves from so many years swimming in Kihei, Maui. That doesn't mean you don't get knocked down getting in as every beach is different but at least it doesn't terrorize us! The waves were smaller yesterday so it was more pleasant to get in and swim. We watched some Mexican para sail guys take people out in the bay and it sure wasn't very safe by our standards. The first one went okay and he dropped her right on the beach. Second time out the lady was quite large and he had a hard time getting her very high in the air. We could see it wasn't going to end well and he dropped her into the surf trying to put her down. Mass panic as everyone hurried into the water to get her out. She had a life jacket on but with all the lines, the chute and big waves it was a bit scary. No one else went out after that one! When they were packing up later we could see that the guys were having a bit of a laugh over it all. When we came back to the rig the Mexican barber was passing by and Eric decided to get a haircut. He sat Eric out on the patio and buzzed his hair off, massaged him and now he is as cute as a bug! I took a couple of pictures of this. We are in shorts and the old Mexican man said he was cold wearing shirt, pants and a wool vest. They are a cold people we have been told and I guess that confirms it. These people work so hard just to get by and many of them are very old. The cut was 60 pesos and we gave him 70. He said business was bad as there are not many people here in Mazatlan. This park is only 1/2 full and the manager (owner?) may have something to with that. Croft mentioned in his blog the raise in rates last year and that though they came down this year that the damage may have been done. He tried to charge an overnighter $50 last night and the man left in a rage. That is not good for business. The owner is probably feeling the pinch but he could use some PR lessons from Joe at Totonaka or Edgar in Santa Ana. They are both the nicest men you would want to meet. Maria on the front desk here is a gem! So today Eric hooked up with Sam from Manitoba who has a Harley and they have gone off in Sam's vehicle for a tour around town. We need to know where shopping, laundry, water, etc. is so we can go out in the truck. For all else we will take the bus downtown to sight see. We have been a bit paralyzed since we got here and have not ventured out yet. Luckily there is a beer store next to us as that is the most important thing!

Sam is happy to have found someone to ride with so now Eric will unload the Harley and they can venture out together. Maybe they can ride down to Los de Marcos and check it out! When Eric returned from his tour Sam had told him the story of how the owner of this park had been kidnapped! Apparently he fired some workers and didn't pay them for their last two months and so they kidnapped him. They wanted $20,000.00 for his return from the owners wife. She checked with her lawyer and he said "Well they are going to kill him whether you pay or not so if I were you I wouldn't pay!" Yikes! She decided she would be happy just to be left with the park for herself so she didn't pay and in the end they let him go anyway. However he didn't learn much because he turned the men in and then fired another young worker who he had decided had masterminded the whole kidnapping scheme. I'd say he is lucky to be alive. True? Who knows. So the bike and Eric are out now checking things out and all we need to for the rest of the day is go for a swim. Not too shabby! Oh, I just about forgot that Eric got called a gringo yesterday. He was riding his bicycle through a construction site and one guy yelled to another "Hey, what's that gringo doing in here? Eric pretended he didn't hear and just cycled out. I said we should get him a great big stick-on Mexican mustache so he would fit in. Then he could say with a heavy Mexican accent "What gringo, I don't see no stinking gringo!" Ah Mexico.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

We have decided to spend Christmas in Mazatlan

Sunday Dec. 13, 2009

It is about 1:30 in the afternoon and 30C with a gentle breeze. Absolutely lovely. We went for a swim this morning and although it was a bit hard to get in (good sized waves) the water was warm and it's great to be back in the ocean. We spent some time on the beach and then back home for lunch. We have decided that we have had enough driving for awhile and will spend a month here in Mazatlan. There is lots to see and do if we can muster up the energy and the air and water are both warm. Since we have never even been to Mazatlan on vacation it is all new to us. The Las Jaibas park is quiet and the people are really nice. It is not near any noisy bars and it is really close to the beach and the bus stops right out front. The buses run every 8-10 minutes unit about 8:30pm and after that a taxi is cheap and since we are not very social it probably doesn't matter about late transportation. We rarely eat out except for lunch and right now just need to chill out. There is a Tecate beer store next door (not our favorite beer) but they also have Sol and it is quite nice. Adrian & Sandi dropped by last night for a visit to tell us how their trip from San Carlos to Mazatlan went and it was not so good. They do not have Church's book (they know they have to get it!) and it would seem without that book it is difficult to navigate. They left San Carlos and entered Los Mochis where we stopped overnight at about 2pm and Adrian decided to push on. Not a good idea because it was getting dark when they got to Culiacan and they missed the toll road and ended up on the libre. They spent the night in Culican at a Pemex truck stop. The libre road is okay except that's not where they wanted to be and it takes way longer, has way more trucks on it and it's only two lanes and not four. They then missed the sign for Mazatlan Playas (it's really hard to see) and ended up lost in downtown Mazatlan with the RV . When they finally got to Punta Cerritos which is the first RV park at the top of the beach road that they missed coming in they discovered a chair had tipped and cracked their back window. So although we are glad it wasn't us it could happen to anyone as the signs are in Spanish and many of them are very hard to see. We loaned them our On the Road again papers overnight and they copied them to help out with their next leg of the journey. They just laughed this morning when we said we were going to stay a month here and told us we were just chickens to drive the road. Too true, at least right now! We have promised to meet them in Rincon in January and they will email back to tell us how their trip went. They will go south on the toll road to Tepic and then south on 200. We may take a day trip to Rincon de Guayabitos and stay the night and come back to check it all out. Frank who we met at the Pemex has a good map and some suggestions of alternate routes. Of concern is that some of the quieter roads are narrow and the trees are not trimmed back making RV damage a possibility. Adrian & Sandi are great people and we are seeing how quickly you can make friends with people who are doing what you are. They have bounced back and are ready to push on and we give them credit for that. Everyone has something to share to help you out and it is much appreciated. So all is well at this point and tomorrow we must venture out in the truck to find groceries. For the most part I think we will take the bus to sight see and drive for trips out of town and to get groceries. All this RV travel is a huge learning curve but today it all seems worthwhile!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Monasano plant with vegetables growing in front.
Just us left at the Pemex everyone else is on the road to Mazatlan.

Friday, Dec. 12, 2009

We made it to Mazatlan. We arrived about 3pm yesterday with only a moderate amount of screaming and yelling. Need I say again how stressful this is or should I just say it is not for the faint of heart! But, we are doing it and it will get easier, right Croft? We left San Carlos on Thursday morning and were happy to leave our charming neighbour behind. She was very gassed by the afternoon and playing conga drums under our window by 5pm. Since they are living in a camper van they spend most of their awake time outside drinking and smoking. Not fun. Eric says we seem to be magnets for that type of people. Nice people when they were sober. We rolled through Guaymas with no problems and hit the highway. Still horrible highway with no shoulders and for that they charge you a toll and another toll and another toll! We got through Obregon with no problems and then on to Navahoa. The bypass route to the west was open again and we saw trucks heading that way. We had lunch in the Pemex and headed out. I had the GPS running on the lap top and could see us on Map Point. As we headed south into the state of Sinaloa the roads became better, wider with an actual shoulder. Okay there were still tractors on it (traffic moving at 100km) and the odd cow at the edge of the road. As we approached Los Mochis we tried to find the Pemex that Croft had stayed at but the traffic was heavy and it was on the other side of the highway. For those of you who don't know who Croft is try his blog, very interesting reading. We passed that Pemex up and carried on. We do have printed directions from an On The Road Again download and it shows most Pemex stations so we knew there were more just ahead.
A short way south we spotted Pemex 4925 on our side. It looked huge and Eric saw some RV's parked in the back corner. A screech to a halt and we were in right next to some fields of potatoes and beans and a Monasano plant spewing black smoke. Sweet! So anyone who thinks the earth isn't choking to death better not come to Mexico as all those banned chemicals are in Mexico and they are on your produce. But, enough doom and gloom as we were stopped and happy to be there. There were two motorhomes and a trailer next to us and out popped a really nice guy, Frank who invited us over for happy hour! How nice was that. Turns out all three couples were heading for Las Jaibas, the same as us, they had been in Totonaka and also of course stay with Edgar in Santa Ana! They stay in Mazatlan for the winter and have become best friends after many times in the same park. Again, small, small world. We soaked up as much information as we could from them and then went back to the 5th wheel, had a couple of beers, a bowl of soup ( too tired to go to the restaurant) and off to bed. Everybody else always seems so perky and we are always dishrags. Maybe it's just they have more experience or maybe they are just more relaxed people. Next morning they left just before us and said they were taking 15 the libre road. We said we'll stay on 15D the toll road (cuato) and just buck up. Well, you really get to buck up! The highway south was now better but the air pollution is absolutely unbelievable through the farming areas and between the spraying and the vehicles spewing diesel and oil smoke we both had a sore throat. When you get to Culiacan you really have to watch for the toll road. I as usual tell Eric to turn when he shouldn't and he tries not to yell at me. You need to get fuel there because that's it until Mazatlan. As we drove south the air cleared up and we stopped at an SOS rest stop between 70 and 75 km mark. While having lunch a large chicken truck pulled in with chickens in cages stacked about 10 high and perched right on top was an escapee riding along at 100km per hour! He had a look around but with not many wing or tail feathers he was reluctant to fly. The truck driver crawled on top and snuck up on him and poor chicken he was back in his cage. I should have taken a picture but I was too busy feeling sorry for the chickens. What an idiot as I'm not exactly a vegetarian! So onwards to Mazatlan. We had been warned not to miss the Mazatlan playa beach road so we were very careful. Got on it and though it is under repair we came through fine. No mud. Found the park with the GPS and pulled in just up from the people from the night before. They had just arrived too and did not take the libra but bucked up just like us. We were totally bagged but got parked and set up. The park is old but okay and we stayed up front because the neighbour said there could be some problems with wifi at the back. We must get a hawking antenna for next year because it is really noisy up by the road. The traffic is much like the Kihei road in Maui and we never wanted to be next to that either. It is hot 30C and humid and we are not in a sleepy little Mexican town. Eric had his first difficulty finding the Starchoice signal and got help from a guy down the way who couldn't find it either. He just mucked it up worse but at least he tried. Eric then got help from Leonard behind us who has a Radio Shack satellite tone finder. It turns out Leonard who lives in Campbell River used to work up the Nass back in the sixties. He said some of the natives had never seen a white man at that time. Again, small world. We got it and it's at 54 so that is good. Dennis next to us still hasn't got his even though Eric gave him the readings. This morning we were up early and Eric was in the water by 10am and I just watched and talked to people on the beach. It's a beautiful beach and I will get up and walk tomorrow morning. Eric is a happier boy now he has found the oceon and he is now off on his bicycle looking for a beer store. There is a Tecate store (worlds worst beer in our book) next door so we hope to find a Pacifico store. We will stay here a week and plan our next move. It gets dicey at Christmas because all the Mexicans like to go the beach then and it gets crowded. We will see Adrian and Sandi who are moving ahead of us and try to keep in contact as they move. They are planning on Rincon to Guayabitos and that is close to where we think we want to be. Hard to think about moving when we just got here but this is not a final destination for us. Well that's enough for now and I will post again soon. Eric says, one sweet ride, oh yeah in the carefree RV lifestyle!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wednesday Dec. 9, 2009

Today we get organized to move. That's makes me a bit nervous as we have not been south of San Carlos. Eric says it's time to go and find some warm water and it's always easier to stay tied up to the dock than take the boat out for a sail. That's sailor talk. Pretty good eh! I've got washing hanging out to dry and Eric's out for a bicycle ride. That's okay by me because he is a very good boy and does the days dishes every night since I do all the cooking. We will go to Los Mochis (Pemex station) tomorrow and then to Mazatlan on Friday. We will stay at Las Jaibas per Croft's and also Ron Townley's sister Bev's recommendation. I mentioned Croft's name when I emailed and the reply said we could have Mr. & Mrs. Croft's #8 site if we were less than 40 feet. Funny! We don't eat out much but we did go to Ernie's today and had the lunch special. Homemade soup, chile reneno, and a couple of other taco type things. Really good for 60 pesos. Light supper tonight. So nothing much else to do but go for a walk on the beach and have an early night. The couple next door are already into their cups so hopefully they'll have an early night too. I won't have internet tomorrow and will add to this when we get to Mazatlan. I am finding the blog a good way to keep track of our day to day happenings and plans as well as a records of our travels. So even if I'm the only one who ever reads this and I know I'm not it is worthwhile. Thanks Croft. To all of you relatives and friends at home keep in touch when you have time. We miss you all.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A look at the front of the Totonaka Park.

A look up the beach toward Tetakawi

Our rig sitting next to the Swiss people
and the loud neighbour behind us!

Good Morning from San Carlos:

So yesterday was a cloudy day but still warm. Eric set off on his bicycle and I on foot looking for a haircut. I found an esteticia a.k.a. hairdresser with three young Mexican woman watching a Spanish soap opera! The hairdresser didn't speak English but the pedicure girls did. I explained I wanted it really short and one of the young woman couldn't understand why. I explained it is easier and that grey hair looks better short. The hairdresser got started and by the time she was finished it was really, really short. They were amazed at how much hair I had and they decided I looked like a pixie. A really old one I guess! I picked up vegetables on the way back and I would think that San Carlos being quite anglo is much more expensive both for the haircut and the vegetables than a smaller Mexican town. I had a late walk on the beach and when I got back we had new people moved in behind us. Seems a little strange since we were the only one in this row and they could have gone anywhere. It seems they are here for the winter and are living in a camper van with a pull behind storage trailer full of all their stuff and a big whiny dog. We had to get Joe the fellow who runs the park to clarify where we should all have our stuff. It seems he forgot to tell us that we should be close to the pad and our vehicle is to be on the other side of the pad. So, we have their outside propane campfire right under our bedroom window. Great! Another thing to keep track of, make sure you know exactly where your spot begins and ends. They already have their Christmas lights up! Eric thinks that is really dopey. They are both smokers so a lot of late night coughing. Today we will go into Guaymas and look at the trailer park there, try to find some fruit and then start emailing ahead so we have somewhere to go in Mazatlan. I'm not sure how full all the parks are this year but it seems many of them are quite small. There have been lots of rigs overnighting in the park and then moving on the next morning. I hope we can find places to stay down the road. Eric and I will bike down to the Marina and have a look around and since I haven't biked much it is good that it's quite quiet.

Well it's Tuesday afternoon and we have just scouted out the trailer park in Guaymas (Hotel Playa de Cortes Trailer Park). We came in on the ocean road through Miramar and found it that way. Lots of room and big spaces so it could be a place to stopover in the future. We picked up pesos at the Banemex and bought orange juice and fruit from a Mexican out of the back of his truck. Articulate with friends in the Okanagan and Sask. Loves Canadians and Americans not so much. We got bread at Ruth & Rudy's European bakery and it was very expensive but it is nice to have good bread. Bought a bunch of Pacifico at the beer store and it was expensive so we will have to scout out better places to buy down the road. We are cut off from the main road right now and must detour back to town and around to get out. They are digging up the flood destroyed bridge out front and who knows how long that will take to fix. The park is very empty and I'm sure it's not good for business. It's also hard to get to the beach as there is a wall and the good place to get down is past the dug up area. So that's all for today and we'll see what tomorrow brings.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Kathy creates a blog.

Dec. 6, 2009

Well Croft suggested I create a blog and I have decided that it would make all this easier. So here it is starting with my last saved document from Dec. 4th, 2009. It's all pretty rough but I'll keep working on it.


Dec 4, 2009

From Quartzite Az., Imperial Dam, Yuma Az., Ajo, Az., Santa Ana Mexico to San Carlos, Mexico in one fell swoop!

So the last time I wrote we were in Laughlin. We moved on to Quartzite and stayed there for four days. The weather was good but cold at night. We were on the search for a heater and found one at Gramma’s Heaters. We bought a Glow Warm propane blue flame with a thermostat and although we paid too much we really needed it and wanted one with a thermostat. The small heaters mostly have high, med, low and a thermostat is better. Eric already had the propane plumbed and ready to go so we are set now. Warm, warm, warm! We looked at batteries and solar panels but as we don’t know how much boon docking we will do we didn’t buy. We then moved closer to Yuma to the Imperial Dam site and spent ten days there. A couple of days the wind didn’t blow and it was nice but the rest of the time it was windy as hell. Eric says we are never going back to that dump! He really hates the wind. It was so windy the day we packed up it took both of us to open the door. We picked up our stereo equipment from Bill & Arlie and Eric now has his tunes back and he is a happy man. We shopped, visited and saw Brian & Bobbie Phillips from Terrace and then were ready to move on. Brian & Bobbie usually go to southern Baja but are in a park in Yuma this year and seem to be in every activity there is. Quite a change after boondock camping on a beach for ten winters. Apparently Brian has some concerns with Mexican high sulphur fuel and their new truck and so they are in Yuma for the winter. We moved from the Imperial Dam site to Ajo just north of the Soyonita crossing into Mexico and spent two nights there plugged in. I had hoped to eat at the Chinese Restaurant there but they are closed on Mondays. We ate there two years ago and it was outstanding. Oh well, next time. On to the Organ Pipe national park for one night and it was great. So quiet it was deafening! We will stay there again for a few days another time and do some hiking. We went through the border on Tuesday morning and it took about 2 hours to get the paperwork done. There have been big issues with trailer paperwork for many people so we wanted to get it right. They give you a hologram for each vehicle that you turn in when you go back so that they know you didn’t sell any vehicles in Mexico. Now they give you a ten year permit for the trailer (and also motor homes) and that creates a problem if you don’t turn in the hologram and then sell the trailer or it gets wrecked. They will not take back the hologram for the trailer unless it is attached to the trailer. So, many people now cannot bring a trailer (ever again) back into Mexico because of this. The hologram is registered to your tourist visa and you are now hooped. We will turn in our trailer hologram whether they want it or not and just pay again next year. We went through Sonoyta the first Mexican town over the border and we were amazed at how much they had cleaned it up. Brightly painted and not much garbage. The Mexican government has committed a lot of money to the state of Sonora and that must be part of it. As we left town we passed a Mexican inspecting his dead Hereford beef at the edge of the road and a Mexican with his transport truck tipped over in the ditch. Ah Mexico! The road south was quite clean so they are working on that too. The Mexican truck drivers are insane and with no shoulder and a big drop off it is quite nerve wracking. From Caborca to Altar the drivers were out of their minds. Only two lanes and they were driving at top speed in every direction. You just hold on and hope they don’t hit you. We pulled into Santa Ana about 2pm on Thursday and stayed at Edgar’s Punta Vista Park. Just a city lot sized park with lots of people from B.C. Met some people from Coquitlam (Fred & Jean) who have been going to Mexico for 20 years. She went blind over the last five years and although elderly she is still up for the trip. She can see shadows and so still swims because she can see the shore! Quite gutsy. Fred has a Hobie cat and loves to sail it. He is German and remembers the Second World War so who knows how old he is. They travel to Teacipan just south of Mazatlan. Another set of couples from the island traveling together for awhile and they had lots of good information. They also had lots of horror stories about being lost and tires burning up etc. Somehow that makes you feel better. One of the women, Barb was born in Rupert and was excited that we knew some people that she did. Small, small world. So yesterday we left Santa Ana for San Carlos and made our way through the capital city of Hermisillo. We had two sets of written directions but were worried because you DO NOT WANT TO GET LOST IN A BIG CITY WITH AN RV! The signage was good and we made it through with no problems. Again back on the highway with large trucks passing and those incredibly narrow shoulders. As we passed south the military checkpoint going north had created the hugest traffic jam you have ever seen. There must have been a thousand trucks over 10km stopped dead. Not to mention that they had pulled into the fast lane and blocked the car traffic as well. Not a good thing for anyone but I guess it is standard procedure. Note to self make sure you always have extra fuel on board. We headed south and as we approached San Carlos the four lane traffic became two lanes due to the huge flood damage that had occurred in September. They got 50 inches of rain and huge damage was done. Bridges washed out and much flooding. We pulled into the Totonaka Park and had to wiggle our way into a spot. Too many trees to deal with. Live and learn and next time pick a spot with no trees. The bridge on the road out front is gone and again four lanes down to two. It is quite quiet in here and again most of the people are from B.C. So, it is good to be back in San Carlos as it is a nice town and we know it and like it from staying here two years ago. Eric has the Harley unloaded, the Star choice set up and has taken a ride through town on his bicycle. We will stay a week and then move on. I will email again next week. Take care all and email us if you have time as it’s always good to hear from home. Oh by the way it is 20C and sunny. Sorry for that!

Dec 6, 2009

San Carlos, Mexico

Thursday late afternoon I took a walk on the beach. It is so good for the soul! As I was walking I noticed a Mexican woman looking out at the water and turned to see what she saw. The dolphins were about 15ft from shore lazily swimming and having a late afternoon snack. A lady I passed walking said she and her grandchildren had been swimming with them a few days ago and it was just amazing. They have a dolphin wellness centre for people just up the bay and I perhaps we’ll go have a look. It’s good to be back by the sea. Late Friday some people from Summerland pulled in beside us and we struck up a brief friendship while they were here. Adrian & Sandi have moved on to Mazatlan today and will email back to us what they see along the way. Every bit helps and this is their first trip pulling an RV south so they are in the same boat as we are. They expect to get just north of Puerto Vallarta the same as us so we may see them down the road. At the same time they arrived a couple of rigs from B.C. pulled in across the way and it was the loudest, longest most embarrassing RV docking you have ever seen. Not only Americans can be loud and embarrassing! We toured the area of San Carlos yesterday and found it much damaged by the loss of the Yankee bucks. Tons of places for sale, places started and not finished and lots of businesses gone and closed up. The project that Sheldon and Holly (who we met here two years ago) bought into has never started and the realtor (Pelican Pete) has pulled up shop and moved. I hope they got their money back out of it. Last night the bar across the road had the loudest Mexican band playing from 8pm to 2am. It was so bad (congas and tubas) and loud I couldn't hear the T.V. Ah Mexico! Larry from across the way said it used to be disco so I guess we should be grateful for that. Eric is out on the Harley and I have done some washing and have it hanging behind the rig. Seems to be permissible to hang laundry in the park so it’s a good thing I brought a clothesline and some pegs. Well that’s all for now and I’ll continue to email later in the week.