Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Los Mochis to Hotel Playa de Cortez in Miramar.

Tuesday March 29, 2011

We arrived safe and sound yesterday around 3:30 p.m.  Travelled from Los Mohis at 80 to 90 km which saves the rig and gives us better mileage.  The overnight in the Los Mochis Pemex truck stop was a bit noisy but what we expected.  The noisiest thing was a rig from Saskatchewan that pulled in next to us with a barking dog and a generator that they ran for 5 hours.  Who needs that much power?


Here we are lined up with the trucks before we got a neighbor. 

We ate in the restaurant at the Pemex and although my dinner was good Eric’s was horrible.  A hamburger that was so greasy (bun included) he could hardly eat it.  We’d waited 45 minutes to eat so he wasn’t going to send it back.  I had shrimp brochettes which were good.  Oh well!

No issues along the way and we came in through Empalme and Guaymas to Miramar where the RV park next to the Hotel Playa de Cortez is situated.  An easy right onto the overpass and a straight shot to the end of the road.  Same thing out just head over the overpass and north to Hermisillo. 


Looking out at the gate where you come into the RV park.


Lots of empty spaces.


The only issue was when we were parked and set up.  Eric was setting up the satellite dish and there was an enormous boom inside the rig.  Sounded like a gun shot and scared the hell out of me!  Turned out that I’d left the water pump on (although Eric says that was not the problem) and the connection to the pump blew off.  There is some clip that holds the connection that had wiggled loose along the way and it let go.  We had to unload the pass through and pull apart the wall to get at it but it was not a real big issue although it seemed like it at the time.  Eric put the clip back and wrapped it in “black magic” so it should hold.  When I tried the water at the kitchen sink the water at the cold tap was once again clogged with calcium from the hot water tank so that took a bit to get unclogged.  We do run a water filter but it isn’t enough to stop the calcium.  For some reason the hot water is never affected.   Whew it was really time for a beer after that.  Another good reason for short days and not arriving late just in case something goes wrong. 

It is very quiet here and there was only one rig other than us last night.  Now there are two more.  We can get internet here in the lobby of the hotel so that is fine.  We were just up to Totanaka and their internet is off again.  The hotel was very grand in it’s time, built in 1934 by a railroad millionaire at his wife’s suggestion.  You can look at their web site for more info. 


Walking toward the entry into the hotel Playa de Cortes.


The lobby.


Reception desk in the lobby.


Ceiling in the lobby.  Note the intricate timber frame work.


Bar and restaurant where the wood sculptures are situated.


The four sculptures tell the history of Hernan Cortes and the Rape of Mexico.  They are 1/4 life size and are in 4 inch relief and are in plied mahogany.  The artist was Dick Wiken.  Google him for more info. 






Once the best hotel in northern Mexico.  Still pretty nice.


Imagine this room in the late 1930’s filled with people in evening dress dancing.

P1010376 The Conquistador room with it’s expansive wood dance floor. The fireplace is in stained glass and the ceiling holds beautiful glass chandeliers. 


Information plaques on the walls.




This is the grand dining room.  Imagine how many people could be seated here. 


Right on the beach with a swimming pool we can use.


Out front towards Miramar and it’s beach.


The hotel from the beach.


Towards the hotel from the beach.  Note the large areas for dancing?

  As we are leaving tomorrow I won’t get the chance to use the pool but on the other hand it isn’t heated.   Maybe next time.  The cost is 270 pesos a night or $22.50.  We like it better than San Carlos and the power and water service seems okay.


A look back at the park from the entry to the hotel. 

Today we drove into San Carlos to Totonaka to see if George and Sharen were still there.  The rig was there but the vehicle wasn’t so we knew they were out.  Just as we were leaving they came “walking” in.  Turns out the Honda was severely damaged when they hit metal on the road this side of Los Mochis.  They think it was something like a crowbar and John hit it first and blew a front tire.  Boomer hit it (no damage) Manny missed it and George at the end of the line hit it too.  Blew a tire on the car and it turns out the metal put a hole in the differential casting the size of a nickel and all the oil leaked out.  They shouldn’t have towed it but they didn’t know what the damage was at the time so they just changed the tire and  carried on.   So, it may or may not be repairable and they don’t know yet.   Bad luck. 

We continued on down to the Marina for lunch and it was very good.  Fish tacos and crab tostadas with of course a Pacifico! 


Looking back through the marina to the Hotel Marina Terra where we stayed for a month 4 years ago on our first trip to Mexico.  It’s all been repainted and looks great. 

Into Guaymas for some bolillos (buns) for the trip and all done.  Back to the rig for beer and relaxation.

There are now three more rigs in the park stopping on their way north. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mazatlan to Los Mochis

Sunday March 27th 2011

We left the park at 9:30 am right on time.  A quick good-bye to Pepe and hug for both of us.  I told him he had been the most pleasant manager and although I would like to see him next year I hoped he got a better job!  He said if he did he’d come back and see us all anyway.  Didn’t get to say bye to Henado as he was on vacation.  Left him an envelope and our alumina as he was a great quiet happy worker all winter.  A hug for Hal and Helene and on the road.  Made a Mexican 4 way stop at the store for bolillos and onward.  The worst section of the maxipista is from Mazatlan to La Cruz and just about loosens the fillings out of your teeth!  After that just regular crappy road.  No problems along the way although we saw lots of Federales and though we were followed and pulled over he looked at the back of the rig (license plate?) and then he waved us on without talking to us.  Check points at many overpasses although we didn’t have to stop there.  We had lunch at the first toll booth and the temperature was over 30C.  Caliente.  A quick check by the agrigultural inspectors in the fridge and saw lettuce and a carrot and let us go.  He didn’t see the fruit in the basket in the garage.  This is still in Sinaloa so we don’t know what they are checking for.  The rest of drive was no problemo and we rolled into the most southern Pemex in Los Mochis around 3:30.  The guard followed us out to the end of the lot where we parked so we gave him 50pesos and he was happy.  Good deal.  Parked, generator on, A.C. on and a cerveza, a good day.  We’ll have dinner in the hotel restaurant and then bed.  Tomorrow Miramar by Guaymas.  Hope the road is okay.  We had an email from Connie and it said they hit metal on the road between here and San Carlos.  A flat tire for George and John and although Boomer hit it too he was alright.  Manny missed it.  Tires changed and into San Carlos at 4:30 although something is wrong under George’s rig, possibly a damaged drive train.  Hope everything is okay.  Bad Luck!

Wind calm, sea calm, Kathy calm and Eric calm.  Entered in the ship’s log.

Buenos notches!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Wednesday to Saturday and ready to go!

Saturday March 26, 2011

Well not too much going on this week except people leaving to go home.  Wednesday was the day to clean things up and just chill out.  There had been a Quebec caravan in the park since last Wednesday and today was their day to head out. They left in two groups of 13 with the bigger rigs heading out first.  In our world a caravan  just would not be fun.  You’d be staring at the hind end of the rig ahead of you and would likely have no idea where you actually are.  I guess if you were only going to do an RV trip once in your life it might work but if you want to learn anything you have to make it small enough so that you will learn something.  Oh well, again, each to their own.


The first wave of R.V.’s


Heading out.

Thursday I hit the bus early to get my last haircut and pedicure at Gaby’s.  Not too many gringos left and when we all leave it will be slow for them.  I had a little chat with Rosie the owner who cuts my hair and we had a bit of a laugh about Spanish/English words.  I said a word and she explained that I couldn’t put two vowels together as in ‘la araina which is sand – and it should be el araina’  Okay, now it got funny because when Mexicans say a’ v’  it’s a ‘ b’ so what she said was bowel not vowel and when I explained that a bowel was where the poop came from Rosie was in stitches!  She said it was really good to know this and she and everyone in the shop were practicing their ‘V,s.’  We all have to try to speak Spanish or English and just laugh at our mistakes. 


Not a North American shop but all the ladies are happy to be here.



That’s Rosie the owner on the right.



When I got back I made a quick trip to the orphanage with John/Jeri and a couple of ladies and a little girl to take our winter potted plants and an assortment of goods that the ladies had bought for the orphans.  It was a good trip and it was nice to give the plants to someone who will enjoy them.  Left here they will of course just die. 

When I got back it was time to get some appetizer food ready for the last get together.  Jeri had suggested that an appetizer party would be easier that cooking before they left.  Everyone brought a dish or two (me a sockeye salmon fillet on the barbecue and some ham roll-ups) and lots of other yummy things by other people.  A quick meal, chat and a beer and home. John/Jeri,George/Sharen,Connie/Manny,Betty and Boomer will all leave in the morning. 


Hal and Helene.


The last get together.

Friday morning the above crew hit the road but not at 10am when they had planned.  It turned out to be 11am by the time they were ready to go.  As they were only going to Los Mochis it was no big deal.  Too big of a group for us.  We had a good winter with everyone but it’s time for us all to start our journey home.


P1010325 Waiting.


Dick and Betty.


Manny’s bug heading out.


Sharen and Connie.


Bye, Bye!


Boomer hooking up.

When the group fiiiiiiinalllly left we went shopping and then came home to get some of our packing done.  Lots of things washed and packed and ready to go.

Saturday and time to get the washing done and finish packing.  Loaded the motorcycle, made some chili and had time for a last walk on the beach.  A bit cloudy today so it will be good for travelling.  Time to roll!

We’ll head out tomorrow morning around 10am and make an overnight stop in Los Mochis.  Monday/Tuesday  we plan to stay in Miramar in the RV park at the old hotel next to Guaymas and Wednesday on to Santa Ana.  Thursday into Arizona and we’ll park in the Casino RV park in Why.  When I get the next internet I’ll let you know how this plan turned out. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A whirlwind shopping trip.

Tuesday March 22, 2011 (the afternoon.)

Betty and I hit the bus together at about 10am this morning.  It was an early morning  since Sam and Rita left at 7am and I’d been up to say good-bye.  It was already smoking hot so we decided to get the shopping done as quick as possible.  Off to the Golden Zone for Betty’s tops and I managed to get some huge t-shirts for the son-in-laws.  On to the bus and back to the tents that I had visited earlier in the week.  I had a list and was in shopping mode so I filled up my bag in no time flat.  Everything is good quality and cheap as well so you can’t go wrong.  The vendors have been there just over a week and they are sure looking tired.  I think I bought enough to satisfy my gift list and if not….oh well!  Betty and I walked down the street to Henderson’s to pick up some beef and then went out to wait for the bus.  Usually the buses come quickly but of course since we had frozen meat, were hot, tired, hungry and had to pee it took a long time to come.  We made it home and then it was time for some lunch and off to the beach!




The pictures above are of the tents as you come in and this vendor with the very beautiful bark wall hangings. 

Sam and Rita pack up to leave.

Monday/Tuesday March 22/23rd 2011

Well the weather is really warming up and everyone is leaving.  Boohoo! 

It’s Monday and Sam and Rita are packing up the rig and will load the bike later in the day.  They didn’t need any help with anything so Eric decided to wash Blue and I went off with Manny/Connie and Betty to Sam’s Club.  I don’t have a card so Manny took us and used his card.  Sam’s Club is a Wal-Mart /Costco and has mostly large quantities of food.  I was looking for a big jar of peanut butter and a few other things that I can’t get in other stores so I bought the most.  In the end it turned out to be a bad day to go because the Mexicans were really stocking up.  This is a holiday Monday for them and they are taking an opportunity to shop.   I think they must have come in from other small towns because it looked like their carts were full of goods to be sold in small stores.  Lets just say it took awhile to get through the check out.  We stopped at Henderson’s for meat on the way home but…..they decided to close at 1:30.   Ah Mexico. 

When I got home the crowd on the other side of the park were dashing off to the other end of town for a fish dinner.  They left at 3pm!  I guess this place is hard to get into and you have to be there early.  Shades of retirement in Yuma!!!!   Lots of people are eating out every night trying to cram every restaurant they haven’t eaten in into the last few days.  No thanks! 

Late in the day Eric helped Sam with the loading of his Harley.  An interesting lift on the back of the motor home. 


On the lift ready to raise.


Strapping her down.


It’s up and Eric holds it with one hand.  Strong eh! 


Chico in the motor home window.  He knows something is up!


Tuesday morning ready to roll.


On the road.  Bye Sam, Rita and Chico, see you next winter!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Last ride to Copala with Sam & Rita

Sunday March 20, 2011

Today was the day to finish our winter’s riding with Sam and Rita on another trip to Copala.  We’d been up that way before  Christmas with Sam/Rita and Mark and Claire (the travelers from Great Britain) so it had been awhile since we’d ridden that way. 

It was hot this morning so we all dressed light because, if it’s hot on the beach it will be smoking hot inland.    We left the park at 9:30 and headed south along the Malecon to get out of town.  The traffic was lighter than we expected since it is a holiday week end (Benito Jaurez day weekend) here in Mexico and Monday is a holiday as well. 

Sam and Rita have decided to leave Mazatlan and head for Arizona on their own but had decided to wait until Tuesday as the traffic will likely be heavy on Monday.  This gave us an opportunity for a last ride and it was a good one. 

We made a quick stop in Concordia which is on our way to Copala to go to the Dulceria (candy store) to pick up some coconut bars.  I had looked all over downtown on Friday and found none but I knew I’d find them in Concordia.  Success for me and Sam and Rita got the peanut bars that they wanted as well. 

Onward to Copala and it was really hot riding now that we were inland and off the beach.  Hot air, hot pavement, hot bikes and hot riders!  No whining, just a comment!  We arrived in Copala around noon and decided to eat in Daniel’s restaurant for a change as we usually eat in the other large restaurant in town.  Daniel’s is known for it’s coconut pie and many people come just for that.

When we arrived at Daniel’s we parked the bikes and stopped  to have a cerveza outside.  Sam had stopped in a beer store in  Concordia so we had some cold ones with us.   We had a nice cold cerveza and a little chat in the open porch in front of the “motel?” that is out front of the restaurant.  Very pleasant!  We relaxed in the rocking chairs that have leather seats and the would likely come from Concordia which is know for it’s wood furniture. 


A nice place to sit and have a cool cerveza.


Sam & Rita


Eric and Rita (Edith Ann!) note the feet do not touch the floor sitting in the rocker!

When we entered the restaurant we had a look at the leather masks that are in the entry way.  I bought one last year and this year decided to buy another one to give away.  Rita found a nice  one and so did I.  They are made in the little town of La Noria by a local craftsmen but you can’t go there because they have so much trouble with the “narcos.”  Sad.  Anyway it was nice to buy such a good gift.


Sam and Rita’s mask! 

Looks good Sam!


Everyone has a place where we can make a fool of ourselves!

Into the restaurant to eat and we all had another beer that we brought with us and ordered lunch.  It is odd to us that Mexican restaurants don’t care that you bring your beer in with you.  Lots of them don’t have beer at all and if they don’t have it they have  to send someone down the street to buy it for you.  A pain for them.  It doesn’t matter where you go they don’t seem to care if you bring you’re own even if they don’t have a liquor license. 


A good lunch of Tortilla soup for Rita and a  hambergisa and fries for Sam and a Chile Reno plate each for Eric and I.  Yummy for all of us and cheap too.  Bueno!    A good choice for a meal.  I might mention that we were the only tourists in Copala which has been the norm this year as no one seems to travel out of town.  Sad and hard for the people to make a buck (or peso.)  We have travelled out and about all winter and have not had an issue anywhere.  It was all good. 


Lunch was done and we mounted up and rode home.  It was still really hot but started to cool down a bit as we got closer to Mazatlan.  As we rode down the Malecon on our way home Sam suggested ice cream……okay, sounds good.  We stopped and have a cold treat before we finished the ride.  Yummy and perfect for the end of the day.


We were all home by 3:30 and it was a good day.  

I dashed off to the beach for a quick walk to loosen up my bum and legs after the ride and then home for ……happy hour.