Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Mazatlan - Settled In For Another Week


I think most of the big party stuff is over until New Year's Eve.   The last couple of nights have been around the fire with good conversation.  I've done my morning walking around the island getting in my exercise.   We've had a chance to visit with quite a few people, made new friends and catching up with old.   Sue and Gerry are here but we haven't caught up with them yet.  Sue has been under the weather but she sent me an email last night.   We had run into Gerry while we were out riding bikes on our way to the ferreteria.  

As always, rvers have some type of minor issues mostly encountered by bumpy roads.   When we travel, we find those roads.  I've discovered over time that toll roads are no guarantee and that many times the libre or free road is better.   That was the case of our trip down here this year.  We stuck to the Espinazo del Diablo and even though it's a real twisting and curvy route.   The scenery is just too beautiful to miss.   The pavement is truly the best but we drove in 1st gear the last hour and a half occasionally pumping the breaks.

Oh, so our minor issues.   We came with only one LP tank.  The other was supposed to get a valve change but it wasn't ready in time and we left with only one.  There is a small leak in the double valve so we need a cap for the empty tank side.   They didn't have it here on the island so today we go to Mazatlan to see Wandering Mike off on the ferry to Baja and we'll pick that up.    A water leak appeared behind the toilet.   I tighted the nut, put tape on the nut and finally bought a cap that stopped the leak but rendered the toilet useless except for a nightly #1 run.   Today I will look up the model number and see what other parts are back there that can leak.  It's not leaking now so I know the connection isn't the issue it is something up above it.

Today we take off for a walk up to the faro or lighthouse.   We've done it before but we need something a bit more vigorous or challenging than my walk around the island although I get a good view of island life.   There has been a bit of chit chat about the island history so I have begun researching it.   Too many stories and some are a bit sketchy or not very believable.   I did find out that the Plaza Machado was a piece of land donated by Juan Nepomuceno Machado who was  Philipine merchant.   He left the majority of his wealth to Mazatlan for the development of public places, parks and churches.  

The island history is a bit more complicated and I continue searching.   Anyway, we're in a cold spell now but I like it.   Off we go and I will be posting pics of the lighthouse and the views from above.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015 Mazatlan Sinaloa


We had a great Christmas Eve with a wonderful group of people.   We met Marketa and Lieber from Kelowna who had contacted me via email over the last month along with other couples from the park; Debbie and Russ, Fernanda, Marjorie and Bob, Doris, Jose,  Mike, and Rae along with Contessa and Colin.  We talked up a storm and missed having Ruth, Kevin, Norma and Croft here not to mention others.   Sue and Jerry are in Mazatlan but we will see them later.

This morning, Debbie and Russ had a Christmas breakfast.   The food was fantastic; an egg casserole, fried potatoes and onions, fresh blueberries on top of the best pancakes I have ever had along with all our rv neighbors.  A good time had by all.

Later on I hung out in the rv and at the beach reading a birding book.   Locals swarmed the beach having fun riding the banana boat, renting cuatrimotos and lanchas.   It was fun just to sit there and soak up the sun dozing off and on during the afternoon.  

Juan put together a wonder green bean casserole for our Christmas dinner that Contessa and Colin threw at their place.   It was really a treat.   Contessa prepared a wonderful enchilada dish that was to die for along with Rae's au gratin potatoes.   Very good dinner and camaraderie and we were joined later by Fernanda, Debbie and Russ.

Colin and Juan set off a lantern and we watched at it sailed through the sky out to sea.   Truly something we all enjoyed.   We continued with conversation and finally ended the evening albeit a bit early.  

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Mazatlan - Christmas Here We Come!


We took off yesterday and made good time to just north of Saltillo.  We have our route planned and know our stops.  We got to our favorite gas stop and guess what?  Out of fuel.  They promised the truck would be there in an hour and a half so we ate an early lunch and took a nap.   Only to find out later that the owner of the station was battling Pemex over invoicing.  When you fight the big one you usually lose.  We headed back toward Saltillo (which is against my rules, I never turn around no matter what we may have left behind)  and got gas.   Headed out again passing the same station and still no fuel.  Some folks were stranded.   

We made good time though and spent the night at Leon Guzman.  They now have a new Circle K and it is a very nice store with very helpful and friendly staff.  We turned in our garrafon and got another five gallons of water.   Great spaghetti dinner and a glass of wine and we kicked back and watched some videos.  Early to bed to make our 7 a.m. departure.

Up early and off we went on the libre.  Passed three horrible accidents, one with at least three fatalities.   We didn't stop other than to fill up and pick up a burrito to go.   Mine was pure bean with salsa and it was fantastic.   Heading toward El Espinazo del Diablo we were again in awe with the scenery.   So much to see and do and we are so happy to live on a part of the continent that has so much to offer in terms of geography.   The scenery is just amazing.   I will post pictures this week.

Much more time consuming and a bit stressful for the driver heading east to west on the Espinazo but well worth it.   I thought we would be late but I forgot about the time change.   We arrived to the park without a hitch and to let everyone know, the road to the Isla is well underway and over 50% is paved and the work in progress as we passed.  That was good news for us.

Arriving to the park it was great to see so many people.   Bob met us with a beer in hand for weary travelers and it was lots of hugs and howdy dos to new people we had not met yet.   I think we will have a great 10 days here. 

Next time, we will take three days to come and go if not more.   We could spend weeks in the mountains of Durango even with the cold.   

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Where We Are Now


Sunday evening and watching the Miss Universe pageant.  Why?  Because while you know who is watching I'm surfing the internet.  The weather here is still up and down and right now we have the heat on because the house is chilly.  Soon, we'll be in Mazatlan at the beach.   We won't stay but about 10 days as we need to be back.  My schedule for January and February is filled now and they are all travel related.   My Texas work will keep me in the Laredo-San Antonio corridor and I was able to strike a deal so that all my hotel nights are covered even though Texas is supposed to be my home base.

The trailer is just about ready to roll and I have a "to do" is well under way for tomorrow.  Easy stuff the only time consuming item is a check up on belts, hoses and fluids.   New shocks were put on the front of the SUV and the difference is quite notable.

The weekend was a great start to vacation and we went to the family posada last night.  A good time had by all and it was a meat lovers delight.   I had pasta with tomato sauce and I brought my own bread for an avocado torta.   

Contessa reminds me that we need to have a dish for the dinner and we are bringing an excellent green bean casserole that is meat free.  No animal fat or bacon.   

We are long overdue for a trip.   Tuesday morning is takeoff so we have two more sleeps (I always wanted to say that :) )   First stop is Leon Guzman where we always boondock.  It's an even split in terms of kms but I think we need to get an early start on Wednesday because we are taking the Espinazo de Diablo to Mazatlan which will be slow going but beautiful.  We hope to get to the isla in time for Christmas Eve and happy hour.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Getting The Rv Ready To Roll


What I saw on my morning walk.  

Great weekend here at home.    Got some Christmas shopping done.   I don't buy much of anything and I am not the world's greatest consumer.   Now with the digitalization of Mexico I can no longer watch television for local news.  Bummer.  There is a converter but it didn't work out here in the sticks.  City signals don't come this far.  Solution?  Well, after having the same television for more than 20 years it was time to get something new.   This one will last until I die I suppose.   It has wifi, Netflix, YouTube and a great digital signal.   It needs to be hung on the wall but that can wait. 

This last week was the Christmas posada at school.  I won a gift card for 500 pesos and a raffle for a 500 peso bill.   That was pretty good.  It was a great dinner although I only had a couple of corn gorditas.   Large platters of meat and chicken were served and there was no veggie of any kind in sight.

The rv seems to be in good shape.  I am going to clean up the batteries and terminals.   The panel is charging well and the batteries are holding their charge.   I guess I can hold off another year on changing out the batteries.   New shocks for the SUV and a check of all the belts, hoses and fluid levels.   I have all the belts and hoses so if they need to be replaced they are on hand.

We're really looking forward to driving the Devil's Backbone (El Espinazo del Diablo).  We may spend a day or two boondocking there on our way to and from Mazatlan.  Can't wait.  

Another loaf of homemade vegan bread.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

It's Cold and I'm Through


Driving home from McAllen on Thursday morning I took some great shots of Nuevo Leon.

A cold front moved in earlier this week and it just seems to hang around.  On Wednesday there was ice on my rental car in Palestine, Tx which is about four hours from Dallas with city traffic.  It dropped down to 5C the other night here at home, heat is on and the electric blanket is doing its job.  Little Bit doesn't seem to want to go outside unless he really really needs to.  I have to tell him to go outside to do his business.

The trip to Dallas was a marathoner.   I left home on Tuesday at 6:30 a.m. and flew out of McAllen at 12:30.   I picked up a rental car from a company that's called EZ Rental.  The office in Kenosha made the reservation.  Never again.  The car was fine but it's one of those super discount rentals that nickle and dimes you to death.   Outrageous pricing.   I'm sure I'll hear about charging for a GPS.   

Nice hotel, nice teaching staff.  I didn't like the fact that the students call the principal by his first name.  You could see the over-relaxed conduct of the students.   When you have 2000 people in a building you have to have some sense of order.  14 year olds don't have that yet as a general rule.   D.O.C., discipline, order and control.   Most adults don't have that.   Anyway, 175 students and it was all good.   I receive evaluations from the students.   Most have never been taught what an evaluation is or how to evaluate someone.   I always receive two or three smart ass remarks.   Their funny sometimes and some can be downright nasty.   I am saving them.  Like I said, at that age they aren't quite smart enough.   I find them on Facebook and someday when I no longer work for the company and the kids are 18 or over, I'll send them a message.  One kid has been told how "awesome" he is one too many times and it has gone to his head.  

Our GPS is finished.   I had attempted to add Mexico maps and an update to ours.   It was on sale and so I did it.  It never worked.  The GPS is so old that there is no memory card and there wasn't enough space for the update.   It had to erase the old maps first so after I found out about the space problem I called TomTom and they attempted to fix it only to refund my money and said I should just throw it away as they couldn't retrieve the old maps.   No big deal, I only use it once in awhile anyway.

This is the door I bought before I went to San Miguel de Allende during the summer.  It took all this time to get it hung.  First I had to sand it, stain it and varnish it and then it cured for another three months before we found someone to come and install it.  Easy job but I don't have the tools.

Other than that we are ready for take off on around December 20th.   Now I am free from all my work to spend the afternoons working on the rv.   I want to get new shocks on the front end of the SUV.  The VW needs some clutch work too.  I am taking it to the dealer for an inspection and with that I will have the repairs done at local shops.