Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A couple of days at the Playa de Cortez

We spent two days and three nights at the Playa de Cortez and it was the warmest it has ever been there.  Well actually it was cloudy and that made it steamy….we even had to run our air conditioner which rarely happens until we get into Arizona. 

Sunday night there was a Mexican wedding and it wasn’t too loud and didn’t go too late.  No problem.

Monday Eric was tired and so was I.  Always stressful when something on the rig breaks on the road. 


We did manage to rally ourselves and go into San Carlos for a few errands and lunch on Monday.  We usually eat at the Yacht Club restaurant which is always changing hands.  This time the decor and furnishings were redone along with the menu. 


Now called Hammerhead’s and the staff was Mexican.


I had a chili burger and ….


Eric had a mushroom cheese burger.  Very good!  His first burger in about six months.


This sign was on the wall in the ladies washroom.  It gave me a chuckle!

After lunch we were off to fuel up.  The gas attendant said it would be really busy from Thursday to Sunday for Semana Santa …..actually he said it would be “loco!”  We were in San Carlos for Semana Santa six years ago when we stayed at the Marina Terra in a condo.  Not our cup of tea!

After lunch I did a quick shop at the small Ley’s store in town and picked up what I needed until we cross the border.

Next stop Totonaka RV park for a visit with Dennis and Marilyn who wintered with us in Las Jaibas.  They have been there a week and were leaving on Tuesday morning to drive to Ajo, AZ.  Noticed that the park was quite full and Dennis said it was due to a Quebecois caravan (22) and a half a dozen others who had just pulled in.  They were all leaving the next morning (Tuesday)  so we decided to stay an extra day and not run into them on the road.  Makes it too busy at toll booths, gas stations etc. and …..we are not in a hurry!


Looking at Miramar on our way back to the Playa de Cortez which is in the distance.

A quiet night on Monday, a quiet day around the rig on Tuesday and a small party up the road on Tuesday night.  The hotel is moderately full and may really fill up over the weekend. 

On the road tomorrow for Edgar and Ana’s Punta Vista RV park in Santa Ana. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Mazatlan to Los Mochis “Bad Day”….Los Mochis to Guaymas …..Okay.

We were hooked up and on the road out of Mazatlan by 9:45 on Saturday morning on our way to our first stop in Los Mochis.

IMG_3162Lots of construction everywhere in Mazatlan.  They are building a huge amount of residential housing on the road out of town by Emerald Bay. IMG_3163

Land is being cleared off everywhere.  I wonder where all the people are coming from to fill these homes.IMG_3164

Turn right for 15D and the Cuota to Culiacan.IMG_3165

Lots of agriculture along the way.  The highway is not bad from Mazatlan to Culiacan if you stay in the fast lane.  We got honked at a few times but Eric is long past caring whether he gets honked at.  We aren’t paying big tolls to drive in the slow lane and have our teeth jarred out of our heads!IMG_3167We are past Culiacan and have just stopped for lunch we are now on the road again and you can see that the temperature is a smoking 35 C.  At this point I hear a whooshing noise and look in the passenger side view mirror and see smoke!  I said “ We are on fire!!!”  Eric pulled over quickly and said” Get the fire extinguisher from inside the rig.”  By the time we stopped the smoke had started to dissipate and Eric had a look.  The back two tires on the passenger side were rubbing together and Eric’s first thought was that we’d broken another spring.  Block the wheels and on with the coveralls. 


Not a broken spring.  The rear bolt that holds the spring to the spring hanger had completely fallen out and was gone!  How the heck could that happen.  He’d lubed all the bolts and they were all in their proper position before we left Maz and everything was okay.  Somehow the nut had come off and the bolt had walked it’s way right out of the spring.  You wouldn’t think that would even be possible.  With no bolt to hold the spring in place the rear axle moved forward and tires were rubbing together and the friction heated up the tires and created smoke.  Lucky we have deep tread truck tires on because the trailer tires would have caught fire or peeled. IMG_3169

That’s our rubber on the road.  I put out cones to keep the traffic away from the rig and Eric got out the jacks, blocks and tools.  Two lucky things….it happened on the passenger side so he wasn’t in the traffic doing a repair and since we are still in Sinaloa there is a shoulder.  Small mercies. 


Eric is under the rig.  The broken spring on the way down was on the drivers side at the front and this is at the back on the passenger side.  There was a huge amount of traffic whizzing by at high speed and “most” of them moved into the fast lane!

While he was under the trailer a vehicle did a quick U turn and came back to see if Eric needed a ride to the Llantera (tire shop) that was up ahead.  The Mexican gentleman spoke good English and said he’d studied in Montreal, Canada.  Eric said thanks but he was okay.  Nice. 


At this point Eric got more help than he needed.  A Federalie vehicle stopped to give assistance and before we knew it one of them was under the trailer trying to help and giving him directions on how to repair it in Spanish!  Eric’s had the axles off several times and knows how to do a repair, even when they are under load.    The big problem was that he had a Mexican spring eye bushing that did not fit the bolt or the spring properly and had to be pounded in with a hammer.   Truth be told I am the right helper.  Sit in a lawn chair, keep your mouth shut and help when you are asked!  It’s all stressful enough without extra help “if” you know what you’re doing.  The “in charge” also called for a mechanic to come help. 


The mechanic vehicle showed up just as Eric was finishing up.  Now don’t get me wrong….we certainly appreciate the fact that in Mexico someone will always stop to see if they can help.  You will never be left at the side of the road with no aid. 

The tires had lost some rubber but were okay to travel on so that was a good thing. 


The Federales seemed to enjoy the excitement of helping us gringos and even took pictures.  I didn’t take too many pictures as they are the are police and I wasn’t sure what was appropriate.  So after a 1 1/2 hour repair in the blazing heat we were on our way.  I’m sure glad I have a competent mechanic driving our rig.

We arrived at the Pemex south of Los Mochis just after 5pm so we didn’t have to travel in the dark.  We always plan short days so there is room for a disaster to occur!


We are tucked tight in the corner at the north (upwind side) blocked in by doubles in front of us.  Right beside us are semi trailers with no trucks attached. 

So how was our evening?   Well there is an irrigation ditch right beside us and the mosquitoes had done a big hatch.  Small daytime ones and big hungry night time ones.  Swell….some got into the rig and had a feast on us.  Added to that was a symphony of “sex crazed bull frogs!” that sounded like a billion Jake brakes!  At one point a Mexican driver with a semi truck hooked up to the trailer a few spaces away.  He couldn’t get out but he started moving back and forth wiggling it our way so he could make a right turn out.  Eventually Eric went out and moved us forward (with our slides out) so he could angle behind us and have enough room to get out.  Eric then backed us up to where we’d been parked.  Never thought the driver would get that rig out.   

In the end we had a few beers, ate dinner, started the generator and turned on the A/C for a couple of hours.  Then….ear plugs in and nighty  night.  Another exciting day in Mexico!



In the morning we were all alone in our corner of the lot.  All the rigs ahead of us were gone.  While we ate breakfast the sparrows were busy “logging” the long grass for nest material. They quickly cut the grass off and flew away!  Very efficient and I’m sure the “husband sparrow” gets the best gal if he builds the best nest!


The tomatoes next to the lot are ready to pick.  You can see the Monasanto chemical plant in the background.  We always get a few “interesting” odors from that!IMG_3179

7:45 am and on the road out of Los Mochis.  We know that the roads will be horrible today once we hit Sonora. IMG_3180

Lots of grain crops growing along the way.  Eric doesn’t get to look at any scenery as he is busy dodging potholes.  Today he travelled in the fast lane where ever possible and hardly anyone honked because they didn’t want to travel in the slow lane either.  IMG_3181

Welcome to Sonora…..the shoulder is gone.IMG_3182

Do you want to drive in the slow lane?  In many places the fast lane wasn’t any better.  It seems that they are just not doing any repairs at all. IMG_3183


Now we get to pay a toll for the lovely road and even the road leading up to the toll booth is barely drivable.IMG_3185

Good thing we aren’t in a hurry!IMG_3186

We are nearing the best road that we have driven on in Mexico. IMG_3187

Navojoa to Obregon and the concrete road where you can actually do the speed limit. IMG_3188

Cows and horses grazing at the edge of a road where people are doing 110km per hour.  Sigh!!!  I’m sure their owner gave them a talk before he took them out and told them to stay off the highway!  IMG_3189

It is Sunday morning and the usually busy Obregon is almost deserted.  Sweet!


Selling hay at the edge of the road in the city.  Looks nice and green.


We stopped for lunch at the tollbooth just north of Obregon and were soon on our way.  We ended up with the south bound traffic on our side for many, many kilometers as they are redoing the south bound lanes with……CONCRETE!   What great idea as they certainly can’t make a decent paved road.  I’m sure it costs ten times as much but they won’t have to redo it every year. IMG_3192

We look forward to travelling on that when we head south next fall. IMG_3193

Do I dare hope that the north bound lanes are slated for concrete as well.IMG_3194

We left the maxipista 15D to head into Guaymas through Empalme.  Lots of pangas at the dock where you travel over the water. It’s Sunday and these musicians are looking for a “gig!”

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The tide is out. IMG_3196

Seafood for sale everywhere.  Clams, shrimp….fish etc. IMG_3197


Today Eric decided not to take the bypass that circles around Guaymas past the airport.  He doesn’t mind driving through the city and says it’s easier anyway unless your are going to San Carlos.  It wasn’t very busy and not a problem.  Today was the day for Red Cross fund raising and we’d donated at a few toll booths.  Here in downtown Guaymas the band was playing, the senoritas were dancing and they were collecting right out on the street.  IMG_3199

We pulled into the Hotel Playa de Cortez and RV park at about 3pm.  We were alerted to the fact that there was going to be a wedding tonight by some RVers in a van and that maybe we’d want to park far away from the hotel.  Eric said “We like Mexican weddings….no problem!”  In reality you’d have to move 2 miles to get away from it.  As long as the deep bass isn’t being used it’s all fine….that’s what silicone earplugs are for!

So….set up, including satellite TV, showered and having a beer by 5pm.  Bueno!

At about 6pm a pair of Canadian rigs blasted into the park…..and I mean blasted……so fast they looked like they were tipping over as they went around the corner.  What the hell people….where are your manners!   Obviously they were overtired and wild eyed from a drive from Mazatlan.   Too bad….that’s your choice…..slow down in an RV park.  Darn Canadians….(B.C. and Alberta rigs) smarten up!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

This and that, Bits and Pieces etc. etc……

It is the end of the season and all the snow birds are flying north.


This is our German/Canadian friend Regina helping her husband Gunter back up after he hooked up the night before they left. IMG_2899

Gunter said he ran over whatever is in his hand but it was okay.  Regina helped out by…..drinking her vino tinto. IMG_2900

They are fun. IMG_2901


Ursula and Max were finishing their packing up as well.  They fly to Canada from Germany every winter and travel south with their friends Gunter and Regina.  They are all lovely people and even though they are not sure if they’ll be back next year….we hope they will come.   IMG_2903

Always a few last minute chores. 


This is the cook in the family and that night we were having tuna. 


With some mango salsa and tomatoes. IMG_2908

I gently sautéed the tuna in butter but I didn’t really like it done that way.  Diane tells me that she grilled theirs on the barbecue, 2 1/2 minutes each side and it was delicious.  I’ll try it that way next time. IMG_2909

Over the last week we have been cleaning things up.  This day Eric was washing the roof of the RV.  It hadn’t been done in couple of years but he said it wasn’t bad.  Maybe it was all those torrential tropical rainstorms that we had this winter.  IMG_2910

There must have been a huge hatch of bugs over the last couple of weeks as the sparrows were flying by the thousands to catch them. IMG_2911

Hard to see them all but there was a huge amount of them.


Time to wash the rest of the rig. IMG_2913

Eric spied this iguana on the tire of the truck but by the time I got the camera he was down. IMG_2914

I shot this out the window through the screen so it’s not really clear.  IMG_2916

A little snack as he moved along. IMG_2917


This is Eric’s pet frog.  He discovered it up inside the water connection area inside the rig.  


He must have climbed up the water hose to get there.  Eric picked it up with a rag and set him on the ground and he hopped under the rig. 

When he washed the motorcycle and lifted the cover off he was on the engine.  Back on the ground and he hopped under the rig. 

Then Eric was filling the water tank and he was back up in the rig.    Enough already!  He picked it up with a rag and took him over to the fence by the bush…..bye bye frog!  Must have been a tree frog.


Time for Fred and Marion to head home.  Fred had a little electrical problem with the rig that morning but he got that figured out and all was okay.  Now it was time to hook up the car. IMG_3116

Two heads are better than one!  Have a good trip home. IMG_3117

Dennis/Marilyn along with Alex and Valerie are heading out so this was their final happy hour.  They are all tucked in behind Rocky and Nancy’s rig in the shade. IMG_3118



Diane and Marilyn.   IMG_3121

Next morning and Dennis is hooking up and soon will be ready to go.  IMG_3122

Bye bye. IMG_3123

They are on their way to the chicken ranch in Los Mochis and then San Carlos before they head home.  Safe travels!


Luis showed up just in time to give Eric a hair cut before we head home.  IMG_3125

A spruce up in the shade.  Convenient to have your barber show up in the park.  


Looks pretty lonely down our way.   Just the way we like it!!!IMG_3150

It’s spring and the trees are flowering. 


The mango trees flowered earlier and they are already growing their fruit. IMG_3153

Won’t be long before their ready. IMG_3154

Lots and lots of mangos.  Felipe (park owner) says the workers pick a few and when they fall on the ground the Chachalacas get the rest.   IMG_3156


The branches are already drooping.  IMG_3159

There is a small plumeria tree that is blooming. IMG_3160

We saw many of these in Maui and they have a very sweet scent. IMG_3161

Perhaps they are the culprit in the evening that really get Eric’s allergies going. 

So….tomorrow is Saturday the 28th of March and we are hitting the road.  First stop (Saturday) a Pemex in Los Mochis and then on to the Playa de Cortes in Guaymas on Sunday where we’ll stay for a few days.  We know that the road between Obregon and Guaymas is hideous so it will be a slow trip.  We will travel slow and try to do as little damage as possible and no more broken springs.

Ahhh Mexico!