Rosita Casita and Tacoma

Rosita Casita and Tacoma
2012 near Big Sur, CA

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

10-Palm Springs - home

19:00, The American RV Park, Talent, Oregon

We have just arrived here after a long day of driving from South Lake Tahoe. You really have to take the park descriptions in the Passport America guidebook with a grain of salt. We are the only visiting RV in a full RV park. Everyone else is permanent with many in very tacky trailers and RVs. KInda scarey, in a way.... Thankfully we are only staying the night and continuing on to Portland in the morning.
Tacky trailer; one of many here

We have done a lot of mileage in the last week. After leaving Yuma we had an uneventful drive to Palm Springs through some beautiful agricultural areas, watered by the Colorado River, then through the arid wastes along the east side of the Salton Sea. Friends had recommended that we stop at the Fountain of Youth, a hot spring attraction along the way.
I wish, I wish

It ain't going to happen!

Afterwards we passed through another green zone, predominantly date farms, as we neared Indio. We had to stop and get some mehjool dates, our favourites, and we had a chance to taste a wide variety of other varieties grown there.
Our visit with our Indian Wells friends, Reno and Nina was a lot of fun, as it always is. Their beautiful home is now finished. They are in a very nice neighbourhood but subject to strict rules. We had to park the trailer inside their Walled garden so it didn't show from the street. Reno and I spent many hours reminiscing about our few years together in St Jean, Quebec, just before we both entered Military College and we spent a morning at the College of the Desert where Nina has a booth where she sells her hand-made jewelry.
Nina and Reno

After a short 3-day visit we were off again, this time towards South Lake Tahoe to visit other ex-cruisers, Pam and Steve (Full Quiver). On the way there we went through some very different landscapes including an area of incredible sand dunes.

Big beach, no water

We left Indian Wells in a scorching 90-95 degrees and arrived at Lake Tahoe with daytime temps in the 70's and below freezing during the night.
Colder country

Most expensive gas, Bridgeport CA

The remnants of deep snow banks beside driveways were disappearing quickly. Pam and Steve are now land cruisers with the bucket list of visiting every national park in the US. They only have 3 left to go, quite an accomplishment when you realize that there are 59 in all. They acknowledge that they will probably miss a few that are only accessible by air. Rosie and Willie, their border collie, greeted each other like old friends. Their home is on the edge of a forested area and they are frequently visited by a variety of wildlife, including bears, which have frequently broken into homes and RVs in search of food. We didn't see any bears but we think Fran saw a bobcat one morning.
Our 2-day visit with them was also too short but the weather was beautiful. We seem to be bringing the sun north with us. Our drive today, from Lake Tahoe was super but long. We were glad to get settled, even though this park is a bit iffy.

That evening we stopped for the night at Keough Hot Springs, lovely but under-developed. There is so much potential here but, I guess, over the years they have tried but the crowds didn't come. there is an 8 inch pipe spilling huge amounts of scalding hot water into a ditch to be carried away. A hot house complex would be a beneficial add-on.

tacky but full of potential

Such a waste of a precious resource

13:00, Friday, 8 April, 15. enroute to Canada

A cloudy day, the first we have had on our trip to date. We are on our way to the Canadian border from Portland, Oregon.
The drive to Portland, from Talent was uneventful. We had time to stop at our favourite stores, Cabella's and Camping World, along the way but, by the time we arrived at the outskirts of Portland it was rush hour and we hadn't experienced that in several years. What a pain! Our destination was the home of other cruiser freinds, Chris and Sandy, SV Faith, another boat for sale in Guaymas by our broker, Marisa. Looks like most of our friends have swallowed the anchor and have decided on another conveyance to continue their adventures. Chris and Sandy have a big motor home parked in the driveway, ready for another big trip this summer. We spent 2 days with them, got a chance to do some more shopping in tax free Oregon and see two other sets of friends, Mike and Judy (Pura Vida) and Trish and Doug (Ke-Em-Te). We had met the latter in Magdalena Bay on our first trip down the coast in 2008 and have been fast friends ever since. This morning, after leaving Chris and Sandy's we met up with Trish and Doug (Ke-Em-Te) for a quick breakfast visit. We had first met Trish and Doug in Magdalena Bay on our trip from San Diego in 2008 and had sailed with them, on and off for the next few years. Cruising friends are a very special breed! You can never get enough of them.

16:30, Sunday, 10 April, 15. Waiting at the ferry terminal, Tsawassen

Home is within sight. We are sitting outside the ferry terminal Starbuck's shop. Our ferry doesn't depart until 18:40 and we have been here for 2 hours already. It is sunny but quite cool, something we will have to get used to again.
Last night we stayed with Janet Jackson in White Rock, our normal stopover when she is home. We were pleased to see that she has recovered very well from her medical issues of a few years ago and the loss of her husband and appears to have a whole new lease on life.
With our ferry late in the afternoon we had time to loiter in Vancouver so we had lunch with our grand-daughter, Jessica and her beau, Sam, shopped for dishes for the boat at IKEA and bought a new mainsail that we had seen advertised on a Craigslist ad by a chap in Vancouver.
Holy shit! $215.00 for the ferry ride to Mayne Island! What a rip-off. Almost feels like they are punishing us for leaving in the first place. On the other hand, it is a beautiful day and the weather is ideal for a cruise in the Gulf Islands, so why complain?

Well, this season has been a learning experience, to say the least. We have concluded that RVing is very different from cruising in a sailboat. In an RV park you are stuck with the residents, good and bad. You can't go back to your floating, isolated refuge to escape. Don't get me wrong. There were no really bad people in the parks we went to but, at times, getting away from it all, can be a good thing.
We have also realized that we could have been better prepared for the conditions we encountered. Meal preparation, dining, lounging, entertaining in a 17-foot trailer can be difficult. Our awning was a godsend but an enclosed shelter would have been much better. We now have one thanks to and our Arizona delivery service, (AKA Bill and Linda). A camper-kitchen setup is on our shopping list, but all of these new acquisitions require storage/carrying space, something we are short of with the set-up we have now. Before we head out again we will have to re-examine our capabilities and decide whether our existing truck and trailer combination will be adequate. With the new boat on the horizon we will not be using the trailer that much but we still have not seen much of the north end of Vancouver Island and that is on our bucket list for the near future.

Here are some stats about our Winter trip: (conversion rates from mid-April)
Total mileage: 8550 miles, 13,760 km
Total road tolls in Mexico: 3708 pesos ($272.00 Cdn)
Total fuel costs: Mexico: 9100 pesos ($667.43 Cdn)
USA: 632.81 ($809.43 Cdn)
Gas price in Mexico was 13.57 pesos/li ($1.00 Cdn) the entire time we were there.
Max gas price in USA: $3.00/gal just south of Bishop, California
Min gas price in USA: $ 1.88/gal in Tempe, AZ.
Total fuel consumption: 482.1 (US gal), 1825 li.
Mpg: 17.73
Km/li: 7.5

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9-Guaymas north

11:30, 25 Mar, 16 On the road between Casa Grande and Yuma, AZ

We have been on the road since yesterday morning. We left Guaymas just as the Semana Santa madness was beginning. During the previous few days there had been a steady influx of revellers, setting up camp on the beach, partying at the local bars and being watched by an ever-growing number of police who seemed to be everywhere. In a few days the main street will be so crowded that traffic will not be able to get through.

 Ourt last week was a busy one. Once we had all the stuff out of Bill and Linda's storage locker back to the RV park we spent a good day re-organizing the truck bed. Once the dinghy was lashed to the back there was no way we'd want to remove it, unless the border officials asked. We managed to find a place for most of the stuff but we still had a few bins, chairs and bags, some of which will encroach on Rosie's back seat while the remainder will have to be man-handled out of the trailer in order to use it.

Full load

In the few days before we left we spent mre quality time with Bill and Linda. We owe them so much. They have been a Godsend to us over the years acting as a B&B, mailbox, shipping address, delivery service and storage facility, not to mention, great sailing buddies. I got a chance to, finally, sail with Bill aboard their boat for a day when he was doing a sea trial for a prospective buyer. Once he sells Tanque de Tiburon he will be able to concentrate more of his time on his new acquisition, a 48 ft trawler, The Darkside, now in Ensenada. We hope to be his crew when they take her south to Mexico in the next year or so.
St Paddies Day

We are also able to spend some time with Virgil, Gosling's (now renamed, Halcyon Days) new owner. Most of that time was spent trying to transfer some Mexican transfer papers to his name. After many failed attempts we think we have a solution but will be holding our breath until it is finally done. It was good to see her again but not as emotional as our last parting.
We left the Totonaka RV park with a number of other rigs heading north. The drive to the border was non-eventful. We had to stop at KM 21 where the vehicle and visa paperwork had to be done. When we got to the border we had a long lineup ahead of us. We hadn't expected Semana Santa to affect the US border crossing but there were many Mexicans heading north. After a 2-hour wait we were finally processed through, relieved of our bacon (any pork product) and sent on our way. This was another good US border experience for us. The staff was pleasant and courteous, very different from the officious pricks of previous years.

It is so nice to get back on decent roadways and buy gas that is properly metered and much cheaper! Even with the difference in our dollar values gas is still way cheaper, on average, half the Canadian price.

Rosie has been a real trooper this winter. She has handled the heat, enjoyed the beach, has been so patient during our long drives and so loyal. Everyone has loved her and she has behaved so well. Everyone have met has remarked on how good a temperament she has. We have to thank her breeders, Blackadder kennels, of Manotick, Ontario for their superb breeding program. She is a bit timid and a barker when someone comes to the door
but she is a beautiful dog, loyal and very smart.

16:00, 29 Mar, 15 Desert Holiday RV Park, Yuma, AZ
We are in our last day in Arizona. We have stayed at 3 different RV parks since crossing the border last week. Our first night was in an upscale RV park just east of Casa Grande and the next day we drove to Yuma passing through some very fertile farming areas, fed by the waters of the Colorado River, surrounded by desert terrain. There were also many feedlots for beef with extensive solar panel farms providing cover from the sun for the stock.
Green desert

Shaded stock pens

Once in Yuma we settled in for a few days at a park situated on the bank of the Colorado River. The mighty Colorado has such an ominous ring to it but by the time it reaches these parts much of it has been redirected into canals that feed the agriculture of Southern California; water management at its best. By the time it empties in the Sea of Cortez there isn't much left. In Yuma, there is some river left and, by the remnants of fish heads nailed to a post by the river there are some very big catfish lurking in those depths.
Redneck totem pole

Colorado River
We stayed there for 2 days, saw some of the old parts of the city that we had missed the last time we had driven through in 2011. On Easter Sunday we moved to this park to meet up with two couples we had met in Rincon. We were invited to their Easter Dinner that night. We seem to be at the right place at the right time with this group. This is the second celebratory meal we have enjoyed with them.

Easter dins
The park is situated within sight of the Marine Corps air station. At all hours of the day we can hear a variety of jet aircraft taking off, screaming overhead and landing again.
Our main reason for stopping here was to go across to the Mexican border town of Algodones to get glasses made for each of us. We arrived there about 9AM, each of us was eye tested, frames chosen and, 2 hours later, they were ready. Algodones, like many of the border towns caters almost exclusively to the US (and Canadian snowbirds) for cheap medical and dental work, prescription drugs, vision care,plastic surgery and a host of other services. There is a huge parking lot on the US side of the border run by the local native band where you can park all day for $6 and then you walk through the border crossing and are immediately assaulted by hawkers trying to get you to come to their doctor/dentist/optician. Some are even dressed in hospital scrubs. Along with the facilities mentioned above, there are the usual souvenir stands selling, for the most part, the same, made in China Mexican crap we have seen everywhere in our travels.

Tomorrow we enter California, where gas is more expensive, and head to Indian Wells and a few days with Reno and Nina, then onto Lake Tahoe.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

7-Rincon to Mazatlan

15:00, 5 March, 15, Mar Rosa RV Park, Mazatlan

We are comfortably set up in this very nice RV park, again, close to the water but also close to one of the main drags of Mazatlan. Another beautiful beach but, again, much more populated than Punta Perula. We were truly spoiled there.
Our drive here from Rincon was quite uneventful but as we were leaving, a few of the park ladies insisted on giving us the Flamingo departure.
Beautiful but polluted

Flamingo girls

Do the flamingo.... Wasn't there a song by that name?

We followed the coastal road through San Blas and ended up joining the toll highway just past Tepic. I would not recommend this coastal road to anyone driving a big rig. Although there was very little traffic the road was narrow, often without any shoulders and with vegetation growing right to the edge of the pavement. High rigs would be knocking branches above, not a good thing for those extra antennas, AC boxes, TV dishes and all the other protrusions most rigs carry. There were lots of topes (traffic calming humps) and curves making it impossible to keep up any semblance of speed until we arrived at the toll road. Speed comes at a cost, unfortunately. From Tepic to Mazatlan we had to pay about $50 Cdn in tolls.
Our Garmin GPS continues to be a pain. The machine, itself, is ok but the maps it uses are poor, even though they were updated online recently. Some roads that have been built in the last 5 years don't appear and the unit occasionally has us driving over blank areas on the maps. Obviously, routes are affected too and often it wants to take us miles out of our way to get to the objective. When entering co-ordinates it sometimes refuses to take what we enter and chooses something close but no cigar. I can't imagine having to rely solely on one source. We have loaded on the I-Pad and this free app is more accurate than the Garmin so we often have both running simultaneously.
The coast road was very picturesque and took us through some important agricultural areas, mostly fruit producing. Roadside stands were everywhere and sold fruit in season, mainly watermelon, jackfruit, bananas and pumpkins. There were fields of tobacco, pineapples and huge orchards of mangos but it will be another few months before they are ready.
Speaking of food, I must comment on the Mexican version of Wonderbread. Bimbo is the national bakery in Mexico and they produce some amazing products. Amazing, because of their longevity. Whereas a loaf of bread will start turning hard and mouldy within a few days back home, Bimbo bread will stay fresh and edible for weeks without being refrigerated. It makes you wonder what preservatives the use. We don't eat much bread anymore, so this product lasts us quite a while. We are looking fwd to making our own when we get home. We have noticed that many RVers are using bread machines and making their own gluten free options. Jackfruit has always amazed me. I first tasted it in Kuwait when the Bangladeshi airforce people brought some in and invited some of us over for the treat. It was a big event for them. The following photos describe it quite well. It tastes like a cross between a mango and pineapple but without the acidity, an acquired taste for some.

Jackfruit trees
Fruit pods
The edible bits

We arrived in Mazatlan after a leisurely 5-hr drive, found the park easily and had our choice of spots. There were only a handful of rigs and the manager said that they were having a very bad winter and the park was up for sale. There will probably be another resort-style building erected here in the near future. We have heard of 2 other RV parks nearby that have closed. Nevertheless,this park is well maintained, has nice facilities, 24 hr security, easy access to the beach and is very close to our favourite restaurant, Fat Fish. Bus service anywhere down town is just outside the gate. Actually, we are just next door to the Quijote Inn, one of the resorts where we had stayed in 2007 while working on Royal Exchange.

Mar Rosa RV Park

We have been able to see a few friends while here. Lin and Debbie (Dolphin Tales) are still at the El Cid marina. We had coffee with them and caught up on all of the local cruising news. Gary Moore, a friend from my RMC days and his friend Jane have escaped the Canadian winter for a few weeks, he from Calgary and she from Ottawa. They are staying at a resort further down the beach and we have had some quality time with them over the past few days, first at Fat Fish and Twisted Mamas and last night in Old Town. Also. Our RV pals from Punta Perula, Craig and Allison, from Duncan arrived the day after we arrived and are parked just next door.

With Gary and Jane at Twisted Mama's

Fat Fish, great ribs!

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Sunday, April 3, 2016

8- Mazatlan to Guaymas

14:00, Wednesday, 9 Mar15, Villa Celeste RV Park and Resort, Celestino, Gazca, Sin. MX

We are again set up just a few hundred feet from the beach at a lovely site, 75 km north of Mazatlan. This is much more remote than our previous stops but the beach is wide, the surf is intense and we are loving it.

We departed Mazatlan on Monday morning after another fun night at Twisted Mama's. It as a fitting end to our visit to Mazatlan and our last evening with Gary and Jane. Gary had promised that the Sunday night band would be better than on our first visit and we were not disappointed. The tunes were a bit heavier and the performance was spectacular. The two lead guitarists, a father and son (17 years old), were fantastic. Their rendition of Guns and Roses' Sweet Child of Mine was as good, if not better, than the original version. It was interesting to see Fran in awe of the two lead guitarists, the younger one, in particular, even when he was playing some heavy metal riffs. Now, a guitar player, she has a new appreciation of guitar talent and skill.

Mare Rosa, Mazatlan

Monday morning we packed up, said our good byes to Craig and Allison and drove north, passing through the Tropic of Cancer, just a few kilometres north of Mazatlan. We arrived at Celestino Gazca by late morning and found the RV site we were planing to stay at to be locked up tight. We retraced our steps and found the Villa Celeste site to be the only one open of 4 along that road. The manager said that there have been very few RVs staying here this year. The US warnings of drug activity in this area have seriously affected tourism here. The federal police ambush of a drug cartel gang a few years ago, at the highway exit to Celestino has probably contributed to the bad publicity. 7 cartel members were killed and within days all the parks along the strip here were vacated of nervous RVers.
Celestino Gasca

Green flash was there but didn't get it on camera

The night we arrived we had a significant change in weather. Fran read about the weather warning on the net and by sunset clouds began to move inshore. During the night we had several showers and by morning the sky was dark and threatening. What better time to drive east into the hills to visit a 'magic town'..... Cosala was on Fran's 'trip home bucket list' and it had to be today or never. As we drove east into the hills the sky behind us got progressively darker and, by the time we arrived, the wind was blowing hard and rain was intermittent. It was a quick visit and we were not that impressed. After a few hours of wandering around town, a great taco lunch while waiting for a heavy shower to pass, we headed back to the beach. By the time we arrived back at the park it was blowing a gale with an occasional rain shower and temperatures in the mid teens (C), time to dig out sweaters and long pants. Back in Mazatlan Gary and Jane were pelted by walnut size hail and in Chamela, Kirk and Charlene observed 2 waterspouts in the distance, not something you want to tangle with in a sailboat. This morning the gale had passed and the sea was calm with light winds but still a heavy surf in the bay. As I look at the horizon now I can see heavy TC clouds to the south. Mazatlan and points south must still be getting hammered.
This morning Craig and Allison rolled in for the night. Their destination was a 7 hour drive away from Mazatlan so they decided to break it up by stopping here.
Tomorrow we continue our journey. We are aiming for El Fuerte where Zorro was reputed to have come from. Rosie will be upset. She has really enjoyed her time on the beaches. From now on it will be more controlled walks and less free rein.

Advert for a local band. Seems to be a pre-occupation with drugs and guns......

Ancient petroglyphs on the beach, south of Celestino
Lower one is a pelican.

15:30, Monday, 14 Mar, Playa Cortez Hotel and RV park, Guaymas, Son

We have had a few days of intense driving and are back to within a few miles of where we started from last November. This playa pales in comparison to the beaches we have become used to but we are here only for a few days while finishing business in Guaymas. We will be moving on to San Carlos on Thursday.
The drive to El Fuerte was quite pleasant but made for along day. We passed some of the best market garden areas of Mexico and the source of much of the vegetables sold back home. There were huge fields of tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, peppers, watermelons, pumpkins (oddly enough, types we never see back home), beans and potatoes to mention a few. We also passed processing plants for some of the products where tomatoe sauces were made. As we approached El Fuerte we passed through ares of citrus orchards and where we saw some of the few roadside stands selling fruit. You would think that in an area so rich in produce there would be lots of stands but, up to that point, we had only seen roadside entrepreneurs selling potatoes and oranges but the huge sack. These stands had limes,oranges and grapefruit. We paid the equivalent of about $1.50 for a bag of 8 pink grapefruit. They are super sweet and delicious. Wish we could afford them back home.....
We arrived in El Fuerte by mid-afternoon, set up the trailer and set off for a recce downtown. El Fuerte (the Fort) is another magic town and worthy of that classification. It is full of charming old haciendas surrounded by walls but now many have been converted to hotels and restaurants. The fort/museum was closed for renovations but we had our sights set on the Hotel Posada Hidalgo, the original home and birthplace of Don Juan de la Vega who became Zorro. There is a very nice statue of him in the hotel courtyard and the bar serves a Zorro tequila, made by the Herradura tequila company in Guadalajara. We both agree that this was the smoothest tequila we have ever tasted. When we arrived back at the RV site we found Al and Sue, friends from the Rincon Flamingo park set up beside us.
The following day we took a sight seeing trip down the El Fuerte river with Philipe, a guide from the Hotel Rio Vista, who had been recommended by other RVers. The aim of the tour was to see many types of birds and some petroglyphs that had been discovered in the 1990's after the river level was lowered by upstream dams. It was a good tour but for the bugs. They have a black fly there that is voracious and Fran, who never gets 'bugged' and refuses to use bug spray was eaten alive and has since developed a reaction to the bites. We had to see Dr Sanchez this morning, the same Doctor who had treated her years ago. She will have to undergo a 3-day course of anti-biotic injections.

Our guide and bateau

A rare tiger heron

Kara Kara hawks

more petroglyphs

Yaqui Indians

We spent that evening with Al and Sue who were leaving for the Copper Canyon in the morning and had supper at another old hacienda restaurant. This is probably a good spot to mention the cost of eating of eating out in Mexico. So far we have not spent more that $50 (for 2) for a meal in Mexico. This one was at an upscale restaurant and, with drinks, we still managed under $50. Local bass was the main item on the menu and it as delicious. In Mazatlan, at our favourite rib place, Fat Fish, we were all in for under $20. Yesterday, on our way here we stopped at a small roadside restaurant on the causeway and had a great fish meal for under $15. Ohh to have prices like that in Canada!
The roads along the route varied from poor to excellent. We relied mainly on the toll highways as they are supposed to be much better quality but along the 15D there are some new and some old sections that are being renewed. The new roads are solid re-inforced concrete 8 inches thick and made with a purpose built machine. Just hope their roadbeds have improved. This will make for a much better driving experience in the future. We found the tolls to be a bit exorbitant, but, then again, new roads are expensive. In total we spent about $135 in tolls since Mazatlan. Kind of reminds me of the prices on the BC ferry system.
The price of gas everywhere else in the world fluctuates with the price of a barrel of oil. Not in Mexico! The price per litre of gas has been a steady 13.16 pesos/li. since we arrived and it was close to that last year, similar to what we were paying at home last summer. There is only one fuel (automotive gas and diesel) company in Mexico, Pemex, owned privately but very well regulated and, undoubtedly, well protected by the government. They have a comfortable monopoly and must pay big bucks (pesos) to the higher ups to maintain that status. Fuel has always been the major expense in Mexico. Propane, on the other hand, fluctuates depending on where you are. Several companies provide for auto and home use, however, I am told that it really isn't the propane we are familiar with but butane.
We visited Ariana at her new ice cream shop, Good Choice, in Guaymas. Since being let go from the Fonatur marina and since her wedding last November she has resurrected her mother's former business and is making a go of it. She seems happy and is looking fwd to moving into their new house in a few days. We sampled some of her wares, delicious!!

Wednesday, 16 Mar 16, same location.
Yesterday we went to our old boatyard to pick up the dinghy we had purchased the day we left the yard last November. Bill and MIrjam, now the owners of Tigger, having had their old ferro-cement boat condemned and destroyed, were busy making Tigger their own. It will be a while before they complete the long list of modifications they want to do but their determination and energy is high and they are young enough to get it all done. What a relief it was to find that he dinghy fit on the back of the truck. It has an overlap of about 18" but will not interfere with the trailer setu
Once back at the park it was time to get the truck washed. When we went to the petroglyphs near Celestino we had gone through some muddy patches and the truck was filthy. Add to that 4 months of beach life and the sand and dust. There are several auto washer/cleaners on the road here and I found one that did a complete cleaning inside and out for 100 pesos ($8 ish). They did a very good job. The suspension of the truck had begun to worry me. With a full load in the back and cab and a heavy tongue weight the springs were overloaded and the ride was quite rough, especially over some of the bad roads we have been travelling. I found a suspension specialist garage in town that will install an extra leaf on both sides for less than $200. What a bargain. Hope it does the job.
PS. The entire job, with an oil change was about $200. The end result was a lift of 2 1/2 inches. That will solve the immediate problem. Now to see if truck and trailer will handle the extra weight We also took the timer to have one last feed at Compa Juan's, near Gabriel's yard. We have been having some of the best seafood at this small stand for the past 7 years and have been introduced to most of Juan's family over the years.
Compa Juan's

Friday, 18 Mar, Totonaka RV Park, San Carlos
This park is the most populated one we have stayed in to date. This is the time of year when many snowbirds are on their way home and this is a popular stop prior to heading north towards the border. After we arrived yesterday there must have been another 15 rigs that arrived, some to just stay the night before motoring on, while others appear to be long-term residents.
A few hours after we arrived Bill and Linda arrived, just in time to go out to a few pubs to celebrate St Patrick's Day. Linda brought the appropriated assortment of shirts, hats and other paraphernalia for us to stand out, and we did.

There is some Irish in all of us....
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Friday, March 4, 2016

6-Counting down to departure and to Rincon de Guayabidos

12:00, 14 Feb, 2016 Happy Valentine's Day

Finally managed to post the last blog while having breakfast in La Manzanilla, we were there for market day. Good to know that this app is working and that I am able to upload a video, but didn't know that it had to be uploaded via You Tube. I now have my first video published there but, so far, have been unable to add any details to the listing. Will have to wait till our next good internet connection.

We are into our last week of this RV park. We are planning to up stakes on Friday or Saturday and head up to La Cruz for a night or two then on to Lodo de Marcos or Rincon de Guayabidos, for a few days, to see Marg and Bruce Walton, who have been wintering there for a few years. Ian and Ellen are leaving Saturday but are on a much more pressing timetable so we will not be travelling together beyond La Cruz. We will have 3 weeks to get to Guaymas to pick up our stuff in storage, have a last visit with Bill and Linda (Tanque de Tiburon and, more recently, The Darkside) and begin our final trek north.

The park has begun to thin out. Several units have departed, some to other Mexican destinations, others towards home. To name a few: Kathy and Spencer (Colorado) are headed to Texas to pick up a motor home. They have outgrown their camper and want the next degree of comfort. Fred and Charlene (Comox) left last week and should be well on their way by now after a few stops in southern California. Craig and (Maple Bay, BC) left a few days ago and John and Ida ( Sooke) left a few weeks ago.

Leneita and Doug (Ka'Sala) arrived in the bay a few days ago from La Cruz, on their way south to Barra and Manzanillo. It had been 5 years since we first met and 4 since they returned home to BC, via Hawaii, on their Coast 34. It was a lovely visit, too short, but typical of normal cruising visits where 4-5 days of time together is concentrated in a matter of hours. They have decided to delay their Pacific crossing for a year in favour of some quality time up in the Sea of Cortez and a summer on the hard in Guaymas.

Ka'Sala (telephoto)

Today is another shitty of this days in Paradise. Bright blue sky, light northerly breeze, some big surf and ohhh, so hot. It is hard to decide on an agenda beyond the comfort of our lawn chairs and shaded patio here beside the Casita. The sound of the surf calls so we will probably move the chairs to the beach palapa soon. We can't help but think of our family and friends back in eastern Canada where temperatures are dipping to the -30 to -50 mark. We recall those frigid times when we lived in Ottawa. The cold is one of the main reasons we chose Victoria to retire. It is +8 there today.

Sunrise today

Living as we are on a Mexican beach isn't all that bad. ( a comment contrary to what was the theme of earlier rants, huh?) if you can get used to the RV mentality, overcome the park politics and be open to the activities available to you it can be quite pleasant. The ice maker (churning away beside me here) makes this quite bearable. Even with my bum shoulder I would rather be here than there..... Next year the plan is that we will be staying home for the winter, after our trip to Tazmania. It will be interesting to see how our first winter home in 9 years will pan out and whether we will be planning another getaway for the following winter.
Supper: Surf and surf and suds

Punta Perula is a fairly remote and small village as villages go. The main industry in town is fishing and managing the large number of seasonable gringos that live in pockets all over town. There is a school and a clinic with a resident MD. On long weekends there is a sizeable increase of Mexican tourists like any other seaside location but during the week and non-holidays you see mainly gringos on the beach, in the restaurants and on their 4x4 ATV's on the main street keeping the local businesses busy. The village population is a mixture of fishermen, service industry, (restaurant, shops, laundry, Internet/video games store, small hotels and RV park employees), a few craftsmen (welder, sawyer, etc) and the odd entrepreneur such as the owners of the 2 pool halls, the two who compete for the gringo pesos with their veg and fruit trucks, the lad with the scooter with cooler on the back selling fresh chicken, the water filtration store and the water delivery and propane delivery service. If there is a service required, there is a Mexican that will provide that service if it is worth the setup expense. These people are so enterprising! As I write this I can hear the ice cream vendor pushing his cart over the beach with that irritating tune blaring but it is not nearly as irritating as the loud music and pater announcing the veg and fruit trucks.
It is hard to imagine what this population does during the long interval when the gringos go home, normally from April to late Oct.

Pescado zarandeado at one of the beachside restaurants

15:00, Sunday, 22 Feb, Bungalows Costa Bahia, RV park, La Cruz

We left Punta Perula on Saturday morning after saying farewell to all of the others in the park. We drove north along the coastal road, #200, in company with Ian and Ellen. Apart from a couple of construction areas the road was quite good and had very little traffic until we arrived at the approaches to Puerto Vallarta. Ian and Ellen were continuing north on a faster schedule to get back to their boat so we bid them farewell in PV and continued on to La Cruz. We chose a small RV park close to the marina, just big enough for 4 RVs but there were only 2 when we arrived. The owner makes his living with the 20 or so bungalows on the same property. They are sold out mostly to people who return year after year. We noticed a group of them sporting Scottish flags, actually a group of Scot Canadians who meet up here every winter.
Our main reason for stopping here was to see if there were any people we knew at the marina and to spend some time with the boating community. We couldn't have chosen a better weekend. On Friday night there was a food festival on the breakwater where local eateries were handing out samples of their specialties hoping to entice samplers back to their establishments. There was also live music and a few other exhibits. Looking over the boats in the marina we were disappointed in not recognizing any of the names, however, as we walked along the exhibits we ran into several old friends, mostly on boats that were anchored out: John and Jennifer (Spinnaker) who we first met at the end of last season, the folks of Dodger 2, Girl 4, from 2012 and Chayenne who we had first met in 2007 when we were preparing to sail off in Royal Exchange.
The following morning was one of the few annual markets at the marina where hundreds of exhibitors displayed and/or sold a wide variety of goods. There we met Lynn and Howard Bradshaw (Swift Current), and, to our utter surprise, Lin Learie (Royal Exchange) who was responsible for our venture into cruising. We certainly hope to be able to meet those people again in the near future as we had so little time to catch up at the market.

15:00, Monday, 29 Feb, Flamingos RV Park, Rincon de Guayabidos, Nayarit

We left La Cruz on Monday morning and drove an hour north to Rincon de Guayabidos, where we are now, within a 5 minute walk to Marg and Bruce Walton's winter place. The park residents are mainly Canadians, and most from Vancouver Island. They welcomed us with open arms, included us in their events and insisted we participate in their farewell dinner last night. And, what a dinner! Even though it was potluck style, one of the regulars, from Kelowna, prepared a moose and an elk roast. Together with other assorted dishes it made for a memorable evening.

Flamingo park big dins.

This park is right on the shoreline of the bay. We are no more than 50 ft from the waves and the surf can be very loud at times. The trailer often shudders from the force of the surf on the beach, however, it is a nice sloping beach without any apparent shoreline current or undertow, although we are told that there has been 7 drownings this year alone. The beach is much more crowded than Punta Perula. Canadians are definitely in the majority for long and short stay hotels,however, on the weekends throngs of Mexicans arrive and fill up any available rooms. Like any other beach location in Mexico, inland residents throng to the beaches for Semana Santa so all of the northerners leave before that.
We did hear from a fellow RVer (supported by a few other long-term gringos) that this is one of the most polluted beaches on the coast. Only the newer hotels have sewage service while the others have makeshift septic systems. A number of rivers empty into the bay carrying the effluent of many villages upstream. Rain exacerbates the problem by flooding the lagoon where much of the pollution is contained, causing it to overflow into the bay. The bay's orientation and shape creates a circular current passing along the beaches. The hazards are not evident to the normal beach-goer but there have been some weird infections suffered by visitors. I can imagine the same conditions in Acapulco.

On Saturday night there was a concert in the local park, the last in a series put on by the local hotel association. Paco Renteria, reputed to be one of the the 5 best guitar players in the world and a protégée of Carlos Slim of Telmex Fame, and his band, composed of drums, rhythm guitar, bass guitar and a very talented violinist, kept the audience in awe with a high energy and very entertaining concert with many different styles of music.
Tomorrow we leave for Mazatlan.

Market day sights:

When you can't buy shoes, buy bras.....

Probably male chicks 90 cents each, plain ones probably hens at $1.20

Cute and only $80 but most likely puppy milled.

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Friday, February 12, 2016

5-Lounging around in Punta Perula

14:00, Tuesday, 19 Jan 2015

This will take a bit longer to draft. The keyboard on the laptop has decided to crap out so I am trying this IPad app to publish the next few entries.

8 Feb: Looks like I will not be able to publish this for another few weeks, or until I can get to a better internet site. Also could be the features of this IPad app. Whatever it is I am unable to upload this to the website with the Internet we have here, even at the local I-net cafe.

Another shitty day in Paradise.... It is in the low 30’S, the surf is higher today and is pounding the beach mercilessly and we will probably take advantage of it later and see if we can 'ride the wild surf' on our boogie board without breaking anything. Some of these waves are 6 ft and breaking all along the beach, no curl to be had. Well, I have to do something exciting.

Hmmmm, not today.


More my size
Fran has been riding on the beach with a lady who has 2 horses and lives quite close by. She and her husband/partner are from California and have lived here, off and on, for many years. It is amazing sometimes how a single request can lead to amazing results. Fran asked her if she needed anyone to ride with one day and after a 'check ride' Fran has become her regular partner, 2-3 times a week riding down the beach, something Fran has always had in her bucket list.
Juanita and Fran

Since then we have been to a Polo match in Careyes, just down the road, yes, Polo and not just a few locals playing. This was the finals in a Mexican competition, on an official regulated field, among local teams who had recruited ringers from Argentina and Mexico City to supplement their teams. Since then Fran has had the opportunity, twice, to exercise the polo ponies stabled at the facility. She hasn't stopped smiling since, except when she ate that piece of chilli the other night...

The teams and officials

The backup team

I had a chance to do a SCUBA refresher course and 2 spectacular dives last week. We were so fortunate to pick a perfect day for the open water dives. The visibility was almost as good as the San Blas islands in Panama where we snorkeled a few years ago. The SCUBA Republic shop is owned by Gilles, a Frenchman who is also part owner of the Scuba Jazz Cafe, the most popular establishment in town. He is also a very accomplished guitar player and entertains his customers on weekend evenings.

Eagle ray
Puffer fish

In addition to the daily RV Park activities described in the last post some of the residents organize events such as the Sunday farm visit where you can have a glass of milk directly from the udder and fortified with a shot of Kahlua. Yesterday we had an old fogey Olympics event consisting of 5 events. Bowling: a set of full (water) 3 litre Coke bottles with 3 coconuts, that game with the small bolos that you have to wrap around a ladder thing, boules: that had to be thrown into a hoop about 30 ft away, blindfolded ball toss to a partner with a bucket who tries to catch them with a bucket and a steel washer toss into a foot square box with a verticals piece of 5in pipe in the centre. 3 points for the pipe, 1 point for the box. Tomorrow there is a at trip to a very nice beach but with the surf this high that trip is doubtful, at present. Last week we had a pool night at one of the 2 pool halls in town. 15 of us invaded the 2-table establishment for a 3-hour fun tourney. Amazing how some people get serious about a fun tourney..... Sunday nights is Texas Hold-me. Fran won the two pots last Sunday. Tonight we have an evening at a restaurant owned by a family who had their Taxi (his livelihood, apart from the restaurant) confiscated by the police and ransomed while visiting in Guadalajara a few weeks ago. The episode smelt like a squeeze play by the police to obtain a taxi for one of their own who's brother's car had been wrecked.

We are still in a quandary about going to Zihuatanejo. We have heard conflicting reports of the safety along the coastal road we would have to take. Official tourist alerts from Canada and the US advise against it and stories of vehicle highjackings in the past few years abound.

Saturday, 23 Jan 15, same location.
Ian and Ellen, friends from Cedar near Nanaimo have arrived. They were sailing buddies a few years ago (Kasasa) and have taken to the RV lifestyle. Their boat is up for sale in Guaymas, close to where we kept Gosling.
We have finally decided to stay put and not go to Zihuatanejo for Kirk and Charlene's wedding. It was a painful decision to make but the warnings of travelling along the coastal road between Manzanillo and Zihuatanejo are too worry some. Besides, the roads are not good and any damage to the running gear of the truck or trailer would be next to impossible to repair. The road goes through the state of Michioacan which has been a hot bed of drug activity for the past decade. The official warnings state that the highjackers are mainly targeting 4-door pickup trucks, Toyotas being their favourites. We might as well have a 'highjack me' sign on the front bumper if we travelled that road. Two other couples who were intending on going that way have also cancelled.
Charlene and Kirk, our heartfelt apologies.

14:00, Monday, 25 January, same location.
Another day at the beach and another heavy surf day. I can hear it crashing on the beach from here. It sometimes sounds like a 747 warming up ready for takeoff. Today is overcast so we don't have to cover up up and it is a bit cooler, actually a few degrees cooler than the water (84F).

Big surf

If it wasn't for the date on the blog and yesterday's football madness we would never know that another weekend has passed. The time here just washes over us without any consequence of date or day of the week.Yesterday we went to the beach in front of the anchorage at Tenecatita with Ian and Ellen. There were 22 boats there but only 2 of them were familiar. We had a nice visit with Gia and Overheated and walked the beach. The hurricane last year washed a lot of the beach away and exposed a lot of the bedrock by the charm of the location was not altered. It seems like the political/landowner issues of a few years ago have evaporated. The main beach has re-opened to the public and the boat channel through the mangroves has re-opened. The palapa restaurant on the beach has become an established venue, operated by a professional outfit rather than the rag tag operators of the past. Unfortunately, prices have been adjusted in the change.

When we got back yesterday the football hysteria was in full swing. The few Americans (mainly from Colorado, Bronco fans) in the park have affected most of the others. Two colour TV's were set up and food and refreshments were set up like a pot luck. Thankfully the last game ended just before the start of the weekly Texas-hold-me event.

Today was supposed to be a snorkelling day but because of the heavy surf and overcast we decided to lounge about. Mañana.....

We are now owners of Callisto, a C&C 35. We have concluded the deal with Fred and Charlene, another RV couple here in the park from Comox. It is an older boat but, from all the reports, it has been well maintained and loved. We will be sailing her back to Mayne Island in May or June where we have a mooring ball already arranged. She will need some upgrades but the price is right and, when we get a berth at CFSA it will only be a short walk from home to work on her.

11:45, Sunday, 31 Jan 2015, Same location

Hard to imagine that we have been here for 2 months already. It is another beautiful sunny Mexican day and another heavy surf day. Fran is off to a village just south of Tenecatita for an art walk event with Ellen and the Americans are already preparing up for next Sunday's Super Bowl craziness while the group from Quebec is setting up for the hockey game at the same time. Lots of Montreal fans here but they no longer admit it too loudly.

Not much happening here besides that. There were 15 boats in the bay at sunset last night. The surf is keeping most of them from landing ashore. We are waiting for the arrival of K'sala, a couple from Comox who we met several years ago. They are off to the South Pacific in a few months. This week we had two Canadian boats from Campbell River and Thetis Is pass through. St Leger and Patron have been cruising for over 20 years and are back in Mexico for the season.


Fish wave


The front yard on a good day.

We have modified our plans yet again. We will be leaving here on or about the 20th and heading up to an RV site just south of Rincon de Guayabitos. Our freinds, Bruce and Marge will be just up the road so we will have a chance to see them on our way north from there.

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