Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mazatlan to Playa de Cortes in Guaymas.

Saturday March 31, 2012

We left Mazatlan on Thursday morning about 8:45 am on our way to our first stop in Los Mochis.  Good-byes to all left in the park.  Dick, Mary, Glen, Hal and Helene…bye bye…see you in the fall.  Sam/Rita and Judy were leaving about an hour after us and we planned to meet up over night.  We took the Libre from Mazatlan to Culiacan and it was a pretty good road.   The good news is that even though there were areas of bad pavement we didn’t have to pay tolls.  We found our way from the Libre to the Cuota or toll road in Culiacan even though there was no sign under the overpass where you have to turn left.  Eric had looked at in on Google Earth so he knew where to turn and I had the Tom-tom running and it also knew where to turn.  A quick stop for lunch at the toll booth just south of Culiacan and on our way.  The only bad thing that happened was a nice big rock chip in the windshield.  An open pick-up box carrying gravel with the tail gate down hit a bump at high speed and you guessed it…gravel in the air and a rock chip.  Thought we were done with that when we left the ice and snow with gravel on the roads at home.  Guess not!  Good thing it didn’t go through the radiator. 

We made an easy retourno just south of Los Mochis and headed south to our favorite gated Pemex.  Surprisingly the Tom-tom knew where the retourno actually was.  Pretty detailed mapping and it has been working correctly lately after all it’s earlier failures.   In and parked by 3:30 pm.  Sam and Rita in their rig and Judy in her rig rolled in about an hour after us.   We had a parking lot happy hour and then into the restaurant for dinner.  Good for Gas Station food.  I had Chile Relleno’s and Eric had Machaca Burritos and both meals were very good.  Not too noisy over night but there was a horrible smell in the air so I had to keep the windows closed.  Hot, hot!  Maybe the chemical plant or the processing plant….who knows! 


Lined up in the morning in the Pemex.  Most of the trucks have already hit the road. 


Sam walks Chico around the razor wire fence.  Keep out you banditos!

On the road just before 8am on our way to Guaymas.  The highway wasn’t bad until we hit Navojoa and then it was horrible from there to Obregon.  They are still working on the highway laying down concrete instead of asphalt so it was all still under construction or old pavement.  Pounding and banging and for that we got to pay two tolls!! Eric says it is just robbery!  Unbelievable and Eric wore out the word F…k while he drove.  Crazy through Obregon and then things settled down a bit.  We took the newly opened bypass through San Jose from the north end of Empalme  (first right after the bridge) that goes to the east of Guaymas towards the airport where you make a left turn and head back to the north end of Guaymas.  Much better because you eliminate the drive through the downtown Guaymas area.  Much better! 

We were into the Playa de Cortes RV park and set up by 4:30.  Sam/Rita and Judy had left Los Mochis ahead of us so they were already parked.  Quiet, breezy, hot and lovely.  However, it is the start of Semana Santa or Easter Holy week so it will probably get noisy.  Oh well…that’s what wax ear plugs are for.  Happy hour with Sam/Rita & Judy and then dinner and bed.  Tired, tired, tired!


Happy hour.

Today we made a quick trip into San Carlos for lunch at the Marina Cantina, a jug of water, a few groceries and some beer.  Back in the park a few more rigs have pulled in for the night and it is busy in the hotel.  Eric says they are set up for about 250 in the courtyard on the ocean side of the hotel along with a big band and now the big froofy dresses are starting to arrive.  One was bright orange and looked like it was from Gone with the Wind!  Colorful here in Mexico. 

I’ll let you know how much sleep we get tonight on tomorrow’s Muppet News Update!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Packed up and ready to go.

Thursday March 29, 2012

We spent yesterday morning packing up.  The motorcycle was loaded and most everything stowed and tied down.  The Toy hauler is easy because of the garage and beyond that we don’t drag a huge amount with us.  Every year we leave more behind at home and adjust what we bring.  Always changing.

After lunch I went down for a last sit on the beach for this season.  So calming to sit and watch the waves in the sunshine.  Eric joined me around 3:30 and we did our walk up to Cerritos.  Big waves coming in but no one boogey boarding or surfing.  Back to the rig to sit in the sun and enjoy happy hour.  Life is good!


Relaxing with a cold Pacifico! 


This bougainvillea has looked like it was dying all winter.  Look at it now! 


This is all that’s left of happy hour!  Dick, Mary (in her little girl chair) and Glenn.  Only a few rigs left in the park now.

We will leave Mazatlan this morning and spend our first night in a Pemex just south of Los Mochis.  We’ll take the Libre or free road from Mazatlan to Culiacan.  Better pavement and we’ll save a little on tolls.  Tomorrow night we will arrive in Guaymas and stay at the RV park at the Hotel Playa de Cortes.  It will be the weekend so hopefully not too many weddings!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Travel updates and ride to Concordia.

Tuesday March 27, 2012

We got an email from Connie this morning telling us that their trip from Mazatlan to San Carlos was uneventful.  They ended up on the libre at Culiacan when they were slowed down by construction and they turned off the cuota in error.  She said the libre road was good (better than the toll road) and the drive was more interesting and of course …no tolls!  It took an hour longer to get from Culiacan to Los Mochis.  We have already planned to take the Libre to Culiacan, not sure if we will take it from Culiacan north to San Rafael where it joins up with the Toll Road.


The Libre joins up with the Toll Road just south of San Rafael.

   They did a retourno at Los Mochis on the toll road to the Pemex south of Los Mochis (the one we stay at on the way south) and then did a retourno south of the Pemex the next morning to head back north.   A good gated stop with a nice restaurant and not much dust!  We have stayed in this Pemex heading south each year but this will be the first time while heading north. 


Here is a picture of the retourno that you need to take to head north after staying at the Pemex.  Thanks Connie!


I also got an email from Dennis and Marilyn who left San Carlos yesterday morning on their way out to Ajo, AZ.  They had no problems and said that the detour at Hermosillo is now short and well marked.  Thanks for the info.  Short military check at Benjamin Hill and easy stop at San Emeterio where you turn in your stickers and tourist visa before heading out through Sonoyta, Mexico to Lukeville, AZ. 

Left the park at about 10am yesterday morning for a ride to Concordia for lunch.  Blake and Laurie were hooked up and ready to go at the same time but had a little issue as they were leaving.  Seems that Blake got nipped by a Scorpion while he was under his trailer hooking up and his finger was now all swollen!  They decided to stop at the Nuevo Mazatlan medical station down the road on their way out and make sure all was okay. 

We had our usual crazy ride through the traffic in Mazatlan on our way south to Concordia…people cutting you off….bicycles…small motorcycles dodging everywhere and the all time favorite…passing where there is no room to pass.  The buses pass and then stop right in front of you…and so on….and so on!  I think I am tired of Mexico traffic for this year!  If we go north for a ride we avoid Mazatlan and it is a much quieter and more restful.  Not too hot yesterday which was a good thing because the ride we took to Cosala last week was so hot we just about melted.  On arrival in Concordia we rode to the restaurant we’d eaten at before.  Oh, oh “Cerrado Lunes”  closed on Monday!  Luckily after asking where another restaurant was and wandering around the town we found another nice place to eat.  I tried to order a bowl of soup with lots of different things in it but ended up with noodle soup!  In addition to the soup I got the fish lunch that I thought I had cancelled…Eric helped me eat it as his lunch didn’t have rice or salad and mine did.  It’s always a surprise when you order lunch in Mexico!  Good and with a couple of light beers each and still only 150 pesos for two people. 

On our way home Eric and I stopped at Soriana’s on the highway into town because I needed some more medication and a couple of grocery items.  This was a bust as they didn’t have anything I needed and no one was working in the pharmacy.  Onward to our usual Soriana’s where I got what I needed.  Unfortunately they never have more than one box of Rantudill and I was trying to stock up till I get home so on to Mega for another box.  Another bust as they only they had the small boxes which cost way more if you have to buy two instead of one big box.  We’ll try again tomorrow.  Of course while we are riding from store to store we are dodging traffic and trying not to get run over.  Did I mention that I am tired of Mexican drivers for this year! 

Sunny when we got home, beer, supper and bed. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Catching up!

Sunday March 25, 2012

So let's see what’s been going on. 

Thursday was grocery shopping, cards and the last night of bingo.  I was too tired for bingo so I just sent my money with Mary and she played for me.  I ended up 75 pesos ahead and Mary won  4 times and won over a 1000 pesos….how lucky is that.  She should buy lottery tickets!

Friday was the last night for people in the park to go to happy hour at Los Flores before we all leave so Eric and I decided to join in.  A beautiful sunny night to start and then turned cold and windy.   There were 13 of us at the table for happy hour and then a few people moved on to Fat Fish for ribs while the rest of us stayed behind to eat.  As the sun started to set we decided to move inside to the dining room so we wouldn’t freeze to death because the wind had picked up and was really cold and howling.


Two for one drinks at Happy Hour.  Those margaritas are huge but Marilyn said they tasted like soda pop!


Happy people at Happy Hour!


It was freezing cold and windy by the time the sun was setting but Judy, Hal and Helene stuck it out to the end!   The rest of us were all  looking out the window from inside where it was warm.

On Saturday morning Manny/Connie, Marilyn/Dennis and George/Sharen left the park.  They were only going to Los Mochis and a Pemex  on the first day so they didn’t need to leave early and that left us all time for long good-byes!  Ramona had to come over for a last treat with Eric and I didn’t give her a healthy dog cookie…I gave her cheddar cheese…her favorite.  We’ve had a good winter together and we’ll see them again in the fall.  We spend way more time with our winter friends than our friends at home because we are all so close together here.   We are lucky to have such a nice bunch of people in this park. 



Chico will miss his friend Ramona too!


Dennis/Marilyn and George/Sharen ready to go…where is Manny?


Here he comes with the yellow Bug in tow!


Bye, bye….there they go!

We’ve had a Quebecois Caravan in the park all week so there has been a few more people around.  They were out and about in a couple of large tour buses and pulmonias on different excursions. 


Big green tour bus loaded for a day out.


Now the open topped yellow one!

The Quebecois are not very friendly but I did talk to a couple of English speaking women when I gave them directions as to what bus to take to get downtown to Centro.  They all left this morning and had been set up in the very back of the park.  Felipe (the owner) had added this area a few years ago when he expanded the park and it is a nice place for large groups to stop.  There were about 30 rigs and they varied in size from camper vans to large motor homes.  As they headed out we once again remarked that we couldn’t see why anyone would want to travel in a caravan.  You wouldn’t learn anything about the roads you are travelling because all you would see is the bumper of the rig ahead of you. 


Here they come!

P1020668 The first wave heading out. 

They split the group in two leaving about 1/2 hour between each wave.  It would still be a horror to be behind them at toll booths or trying to pass on a single lane road. There are so many of them that fuel stops would be an issue as well and I guess that’s why the smaller rigs and vans were in a second group because they need fuel more often.  

It is not something we would ever do.

Today I caught up on the laundry and baked some cookies.  Eric and I took a late walk on the beach and boy was the surf ever pounding.  You could really get hurt if you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Eric put 30 gallons of water in our fresh water tank today and we will run off the pump and see how long it lasts.  On the way south we put 30 gallons in when we were in Guaymas and when we got to Los Mochis and tried to use it there wasn’t any water and we don’t know what happened to it.  It could be that the bottom of the tank is bowed and the filler is too far up but so far it seems to to be okay!

We will be leaving Mazatlan on Thursday so it will soon be time to pack up but tomorrow we will take a last ride for this year with Sam and Rita to Concordia. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A ride to Estacion, Dimas & San Ignacio

Wednesday March 21, 2012

Eric has been reading about local points of interest to visit and today we rode to Estacion, Dimas and San Ignacio for lunch. 

We set off at 9:30 am out to the free road for a ride by ourselves. A far cry from two years ago when I was afraid to ride because of the traffic. Today the traffic was light and the temperature was cool so a great day for a ride. We turned west just north of the turn-off to San Ignacio and headed over to Estacion, Dimas.  Lots of agriculture along the way and then we were up and over the Toll road and into Estacion, Dimas.


Hugely wide streets with very little traffic. 

Recently there was an article in El Debate about Estacion, Dimas and the history of the area.  I have tried to copy some of the article and also the link to it but it seems to be locked so…briefly…here it is. 

The railway was constructed back in the 1890’s and the people from nearby areas came to Estacion, Dimas  for work and good wages.  Buildings were needed to store the ore and the  Cordobas built a grand building to hold the gold that was been sent from San Dimas, Durango by pack mule.  It was then either shipped overseas or sent by railroad to San Francisco.  The article states that this was a very grand building that housed a room sized safe for the gold and was also furnished to entertain royalty.  At this point the building is in such disrepair from the elements it is unlikely anything could be done to save it.  The town at that time was prosperous due to mining and now that is all finished it is just another small agricultural town with an old derelict building.  The streets are wide and divided which means there must have been grand plans and this never happened.


Today’s ride from Mazatlan to Dimas, back to San Ignacio for lunch and then home. 



These are pictures of the actual railroad station which is no longer in use.  Built in ???



Cordoba House built to house the ore from San Dimas. 


Cordoba house….once a building of grandeur.






A beautiful building but it wouldn’t seem like there is any chance of repair.


The church was built in repayment of a bill and replicates a church in Guadalajara. 

We rode back over to the free road and on to San Ignacio for lunch.  A nice ride without much traffic. 


Coming into San Ignacio. 

Last year when we were here with Sam and Rita we ate at a restaurant in the square that had a performing arts theatre attached to it.  We walked over to have a look but there were a few guys drinking beer and no one else around.   I had a look in the kitchen but it didn’t look like much was happening so we walked back to the Taco stand in the square. 


We sat out on the street and had tacos with chunks of barbecued chicken on the side.  It was a little smoky because the barbecue was actually inside the restaurant and the chimney didn’t seem to be working.  All the smoke came right out at us!  Oh well, the food was good.

P1020651There was a hardware/feed store next to the restaurant and this wooden form for a saddle was attracting quite a few looks.  Just needs a little leather….right!


When we moved out into the square to sit on a bench I pulled out the camera to take a picture of the restaurant and the owner saw me….the Mexicans love to have their picture taken! 


Relaxing.  While we were there the ice cream guy passed by with his wheelbarrow of ice cream and Eric bought us each one.  Delicious!


The motorcycle always attracts attention and today it was the children playing in the square.  A couple of the boys came over and we all made attempts at communication.  They are learning a bit of English and we all introduced ourselves.  This is one of the many times that our inability to speak Spanish is hugely frustrating.  I am learning more and more vocabulary words and can order food and shop but light conversation is impossible.  Next year!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Day Out With The Ladies

Tuesday March 20, 2012

I haven’t been downtown to Centro at all this year to have a look at the market or even to have lunch so today was the day. 

Six of us (Connie, Val, Mary, Marilyn, Sharen and myself) set off on the big green bus for lunch at a restaurant Marilyn had seen rated as a best… “Macaws.”  The big green bus costs 9.5 pesos or about 75 cents to travel downtown.  We call these buses “snail” buses since they move at a slow to normal speed.  The older buses are fine too but are apt to give you a wild ride!


The bus.

We got off the bus right where it turns off the Malecon and headed out on foot to find the restaurant.  It turns out we could have stayed on the bus until we hit the market and then walked west towards the Malecon and the restaurant but we did get to see lots of the back streets.  Marilyn was our leader and she did admit that since she and Dennis walk everywhere she didn’t really think much about having to do a big walk.  Good exercise before lunch and it sure didn’t hurt any of us!


Way off in the distance to the other side of the bay is where we are all staying.


Over hill, over dale ….we have hit the dusty trail and the walkers just keep walking along!


Are we there yet?


Always another beautiful door.  Arches, gates and doors are big in Mexico even if there is nothing behind them!

After a little wandering around we found the restaurant and it was time to eat!


Timed pictures are always awful!  Me, Mary peeking out, Val, Marilyn, Sharen in front and Connie to the right. 

The Macaw’s restaurant is not too big but we had a really nice lunch and a cold drink or two.  It is attached to an art gallery and a bed and breakfast.  Val had been here a number of years ago to look at the bed and breakfast so she had a chat with the gringo lady who owns it about the changes that have taken place.  The restaurant used to be a garage!


Outside the restaurant there was a beautiful tree in flower.  Mary pulled this bloom down so I could get a picture.  Gorgeous! The lady who owned the bed and breakfast told us what it was but….of course I forget!

The restaurant is across the street from an Art Museum and they were dragging things out to set up in the square for some sort of exhibition.  While we waited for lunch we had a look at the prints that were upstairs in the restaurant.  Marilyn and Sharen bought a couple of Mazatlan prints which are photos on canvas and they were quite pretty but you would have to have the right place to put them.   I don’t have that kind of place so I didn’t buy anything.

After lunch we continued on towards the main square and there were tons of younger Mexican students getting ready to head into the Angela Peralta Theatre for a performance.  Turns out it was International Day.  When I brought out the camera they all started yelling and waving to have their picture taken.  I obliged!




Overwhelming enthusiasm and energy!  Super!

We popped into a little designer shop along the way and had a look at t-shirts and other “objets de art.”


Connie liked this one.

I did buy a t-shirt made and designed in Mexico City which was a bit different.  Pricey for Mexico but really only $32 so still an okay buy for something unusual. 


We passed this restaurant and popped in for a look.  Very gracious and I have always wanted to eat there.  Maybe next year.



We passed a Dulceria (candy shop) and this fellow was stirring up a local treat of nuts in sugar over a gas flame.  They turn out delicious and kind of taste like candy corn to me.  I bought a guava log which is like a very sweet fruit leather.  Once again the Mexicans just love sugar!

From there it was on to the Centro Market where you can buy everything from watches and clothing to all types of vegetables and meat including a pig’s head!  No gracias!  A couple of watches for a few of us…a couple of t-shirts for me….flowers for Mary and Val…cheap wallets and then some material across the street for Connie.  By this time we were all hot tired and ready to go home.

Back on the green bus to the park for happy hour.  A good day.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A freaking hot ride to Cosala!

This post took a long time to do so….it is out of order.

Tuesday March 13, 2012

We set off early today as it was going to be hot inland.  We left the park with Sam and Rita by 8:15 am and it was already quite warm.  Our destination today was Cosala which is northeast of Mazatlan. 

> Mainmap

This map doesn’t show the roads very well… but you get the idea.  It was about 100 miles each way and it would have been a great ride if it wasn’t so hot. 

Cosalá, Sinaloa - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Once again…no history lesson or geography lesson….read about it if you want!


On the road.


First stop for fuel at the Pemex just south of the turn off to San Ignacio and San Javier.  Once again the gas attendant we met last year was on duty.  A real nice guy who lives in San Javier and speaks great English.  We asked about the safety of going to Cosala and he said it was no problem.


Turn off to San Ignacio.  This is another nice ride we haven’t done this year.  Earlier on we’d talked about it but there had been some shootings so we decided not to go!  Apparently okay now!


Turn off to El Salto Lakes, Vado Hondo and Cosala.  Lots of Bass fishing in the El Salto Lakes and a big waterfall at Vado Hondo.  


Big mountains toward Cosala.


We could see a body of water off to the right which must be El Salto but the road was dirt so we opted out.  It didn’t look like there was much water in the lakes which is no surprise because it is very very dry!


There are always cattle as you ride along and I could see this little fellow getting his morning wash from Momma!  These Brahma type cattle seem to be able to survive on the poorest of grazing.  We saw nothing green to eat anywhere.


As we got closer to Cosala the road got windier and windier.  Eric really had to pay attention to the curves but Big Red with his new front tire was much easier to handle.


Big mountains in the distance.  There were some fires burning and since we had just been passed by truck loads of Federalies we wondered if they were burning marijuana fields in the mountains.  Who knows!


Every town has it’s big gate.  Cosala is no exception.

P1020545Pretty, narrow, clean streets as we rode in towards the church which is always where you will find the town square. 


Always a huge beautiful church no matter how big or small the town.  A monstrous financial burden for the people. 


We tucked the bikes in at the edge of the round about around the square.  We were on the yellow no parking line and the Policia Municipal stopped to have a look.  We said we were going to have lunch and they said we could stay there.  Sam asked about a restaurant and they suggested one up the street.  It was at this point that Sam and Rita remembered they had been here two years ago with Hal and Helene.  They had also stopped at Vado Hondo (dirt road) before Cosala and saw the waterfall.  It is now so dry there may not even be a waterfall. 


Obviously the wrong exposure setting but it gives you the idea of the white hot heat of the day.  We were all sweating like pigs by this time.  Hot Hot Hot!





Aerial photo from Wikipedia.

As we wandered along the street toward the restaurant I took these pictures.  This is a very very old town!  Based on mining.


Clean as a whistle and the trees are all trimmed up for spring.  Eric really liked the streets as there were no cobblestones….just pavers….a much easier ride. 


Sam and Rita outside the restaurant.  Up on the right where the balconies are is where we will eat. 


Heading inside and it’s already much cooler.


The obligatory parrot.  A little molty and not too happy looking. 


Upstairs to where we will eat.


A timed photo of us waiting for food.  We had to drink Tecate since they didn’t have anything else.  Not too bad if it’s really cold and drowned in lime!

The lunch was okay but generic.  The restaurant was so nice we expected more.  We’ve had better lunches at a taco stand.  Also not real cheap which is fine if the meal is great.  The tortillas were black which is the first time we have seen that.  


I took a picture of this lady off the balcony of the restaurant playing with her little girl and then a bit later there were Federalies there as well.  Go figure!


The walls in this restaurant are about 3 feet thick.  That really holds in the cooler night air (if there is any) to keep out the heat of the day.  It is only March now and it will get hotter and hotter as the months pass.  Too hot for us gringos. 


This restaurant had a lovely washroom that was spiffy clean which you don’t often find in Mexico.  Who the heck is that in the mirror?


A really nice framed shot of the town through the bathroom portal.


Lunch is done time to head outside.


Waiting for the women.


We were really full after lunch but….then there was this ice cream shop and….a small frozen treat seemed just the thing.


Not too full for ice cream!


Ore car.  Cosala’s roots are in mining even to this day although the mine is now closed.


Wandering the street around the square looking at old buildings.    Cosala has the distinction of being designated Pueblo Magico.


Locals looking at the bikes.


Happy couple!


Sam and Rita mounted up and ready to head back to Mazatlan. 


Bye bye Cosala.  Worth another look and maybe next time Eric and I will stay over night and see a little more. 

A hot ride home and everyone is tired.