Saturday, November 29, 2008

Barra de Navidad

We took a drive to the neighbouring town of Barra de Navidad. We got there in time for breakfast which we had at a little sidewalk cafe. Norma had crepes and I had a vegetable egg scramble washed down with a glass of freshly squeezed Jugo de Noranja (Orange Juice). It was very good.

When I published my budget for last winter in Mexico a couple of people commented that they could not believe we eat out so often. Last year it averaged once a day and this year is looking like it will be the same if not even more. I really enjoy the local food and even more,I enjoy being around the people. Street side restaurants are usually very reasonable and we do not have the most expensive thing on the menu. When you sit at a table in Mexico, that table is yours for the night. No one will give you a bill until you ask for it so your table is a ringside seat for all the action on the square that evening. You can people watch, eat, have a drink, order desert or a cafecito and just take your time. The waiter will never give you the impression that he wants you to leave. This is one of the nice things about Mexico.

Sidewalk Cafe


Jugo de Noranja


Playa Bara de Navidad


Sand Fleas

We took a walk around the RV park last night and after stopping to chat with a couple of fellow RV’ers we had to run back to our space because we were being eaten alive by the tiny, vicious little sand fleas. They come out as soon as the sun goes down and they attack anything below the knees as well as your arms.  You can stop the sting with rubbing alcohol but you are in misery in the meantime. Like the black flies around Terrace, BC you must develop an immunity to them eventually as the kids playing around here do not seem to be affected.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Or maybe alligators. I must confess that I do not know the difference as we had neither when I grew up in Vancouver. I had been patrolling the shore of the Laguna watching for these guys all morning and finally found them. They are two of the three that call the Laguna home and were the smaller of the three. For me, who has never seen a crocodile (or an alligator for that matter) in the wild it was however, very impressive.

The larger one was dozing in some weeds about twenty feet away and the small one was sitting at the water’s edge right in front of me. I took some photos of the larger one and then moved in on the little guy. It posed for me while I got a few shots and he quickly moved into the shallow water where he showed off his imitation of a half submerged log. He soon got bored with me and glided away to where there was no “Gringo” with a camera to frighten away his lunch. Their Big Brother usually cruises along the main channel of the Laguna. He does not frequent this side of the Laguna except perhaps for the odd meal.

Blog 1

Blog 2

Blog 4

Blog 5

Blog 3

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Laguna del Tule - Melaque

It was a short, uneventful drive yesterday to Melaque where we are now parked in a beautiful RV Park right on the Laguna del Tule. The RV park is part of a hotel with a pool and clean showers. The world famous Laguna ecosystem is in front of us and the ocean behind. We are backed in with the rear window about five feet from the beach. Once again we fall asleep to the soothing sound of the crashing surf. The cost is a little more reasonable at $500 USA per month with un-metered electricity so we can run the air conditioning without watching the $ signs flying out the window. Electricity in Mexico is much more expensive than in Canada as most of it is diesel generated. The last park we were in was metered and charged us $250 Pesos for five nights ($5 CAN per day) for electricity and we were being careful with the A/C. We have booked here for one week.

There are a couple of crocodiles that make their home in the laguna and I have seen the larger one cruising offshore a couple of times but never close enough for a photo. Other residents tell me he comes close to the shore the odd time looking for a meal, particularly if an RV’er has a tasty looking dog who just might want to go for a swim. I will keep watching and I might be lucky enough to get some photos to share. In the meantime, here are some photos of this unique laguna.


DSC_7989 DSC_7980

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Torch Carriers

On the highway to day we came up behind a slow moving vehicle full of young people and one person running on the highway carrying a burning torch. There was no indication of what was going on but they were obviously young athletes and the torch bore a strong resemblance to the Olympic Torch.


Seafood Salad

We stopped at a little roadside restaurant on the Puerto Vallarta bypass for some lunch and found this  Seafood Salad on the menu. It was unbelievably good! It was more of a ceviche with most of the fish simply “cooked” by marinating in lime juice. It contained prawns, octopus and scallops for the seafood and avocado, tomatoes and onions. It was $99 Pesos ($10) and served with plenty of taco chips, salsa and crackers, was big enough for two. Sorry, I started eating before I took the photo…


Lo de Marcos to Perula

Today’s trip involved taking the bypass road through the hills behind Puerto Vallarta. If one does not know about this road or misses it then before you know it you are in the narrow, busy streets of downtown Puerto Vallarta and one of a couple of things could happen. You could find yourself in the embarrassing situation of not being able to get by one of the many double-parked vehicles and holding up traffic for a long time or you could find yourself getting a very large ticket for being there and escorted out of town by the Police. It is unlikely that you would simply be able to drive through town unscathed.

We knew about this road and the day we drove the car into Puerto Vallarta, we made a point of watching for it for future reference. We got all the way into town without seeing it. That was ominous! We asked the waiter about it when when we had breakfast and he gave us a map of town and pointed out the road. He said it was well marked. The problem with these tourist maps is they do not show all the streets, only the ones with their advertisers businesses on and they are not to scale! As were were leaving town later in the day we watched again and there was the road! Well marked (from the South only) with all the highway signs you would expect.  We took note of what businesses were near the turnoff and went home.

Today as we were driving the rig looking for the bypass we were watching very carefully. We got to a landmark we had noticed yesterday and Norma said, “This is where we turn!”. I was in the wrong lane and looked frantically for a sign. There was none, and the name of the street was not even posted. I made an illegal left turn and we were on the bypass! It was a narrow, rough road with lots of topes and potholes but it eventually got us through two tunnels and onto the road South.

Below Puerto Vallarta Mex 200 becomes a narrow, rough road with vegetation encroaching on both sides as well as forming a canopy over the road. Pulling over for oncoming traffic is less of a problem than being passed by huge busses doing at least 20 or 30 KM/hr more than me. That gets the heart going!

We drove a couple of hours to Perula where we slept in a quiet RV Park a few feet from the surf which crashed all night! We did not bother setting up the TV dish but fell asleep to the sound of the pounding surf. We were asleep by 9 PM so in Perula, Mexico, Life is Good!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Blog Visitors

I was checking to see where visitors to my Blog are viewing from (click the "SiteMeter" button) and one location jumped out at me. It was Wasilla, Alaska, home of Sarah Palin, recent applicant for the job of Vice President of the USA. I have no idea if it was actually her but since there are only a couple of dozen residents of Wasilla, the odds are pretty good.

I have also noticed that every time I mention the name of the (thankfully) soon-to-be former President of the USA, I get hits from Chesterfield, Virginia, home of the Science and Technology Departments of the CIA. Are their little "robots" busy watching me or am I just being paranoid? Or are we all being watched? That, of course, is a rhetorical question...

Lo de Marcos

The Pueblo of Lo De Marcos is a small seaside village just North of Puerto Vallarta. It is mainly a tourist area now with many very reasonably priced seafood restaurants, street taco stands, small hotels and a couple of RV parks. In times past it was known for it’s palm oil production. These golf ball sized oil rich nuts can still be found along the beach.

The RV Park we are in is called El Refugio and is probably one of the nicest parks we have seen in Mexico. It has two pools, spotless showers and a beautiful beach area. On the other side of the coin, at $390 Pesos per night, it is also one of the most expensive we have encountered. Just outside the gate are most of the fine restaurants and taco stands. It is a Mexican Gem!


Our site.


The Park


The walk to the beach.

We decided to stay an extra day so I could watch the Grey Cup Game. Tomorrow we have to find our way through Puerto Vallarta on an elusive bypass road as the main street through town is too narrow and congested for a motorhome to pass.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Puerto Vallarta

We took a drive fifty Kilometres down the coast into Puerto Vallarta today. It is an interesting little town but not one that I would go back to. English is the most common language and if that is what you are looking for, you will find it there. Condo salesmen approach you four or five to the block and the beach is not as nice as we have seen in Mexico. I am afraid we have become badly spoiled by our exposure to the "Real" Mexico and this is not it. I long to hear the Spanish language, smell the aromas of rural Mexico and watch children play. I do not want a condo.

We found a place to park, had breakfast and walked part of the Malecon. Norma bought a shirt and I found a pretty good bottle of tequila that I bought after a good sized free sample. We stopped in a streetside restaurant for a margarita and then headed back to our refuge at Lo de Marcos. Here are some photos I snapped along the way today:


Oyster Shucking


Sand Sculpture




Artists on the Malecon


Side Street


Margarita stop

Friday, November 21, 2008

Revolution Day

Yesterday was Día de la Revolution, the anniversary of the November 20, 1910 start of the Revolution to depose dictator and then president of Mexico, Porfirio Diaz. Diaz developed a unique method of ensuring continued power that would make even the likes of George Bush blush. After he was elected he simply banned further elections. Problem solved!

After serving one term he succumbed to public pressure and announced that there would, after all, be an election. Two people announced their intention to run against him. One, popular Liberal Bernardo Reyes, Governor of Nuevo Leon, was sent on a long mission to Europe to remove him from Mexico for the duration of the campaign. The other candidate, Francisco Madero, a popular land owner was thrown into prison to prevent him from campaigning.

The election went on and when the vote was announced, Diaz was declared re-elected (almost) unanimously! Angered by this massive electoral fraud the population, led by the jailed Francisco Madero, revolted. Diaz was forced from office and fled to France to live in exile until he died three years later.

Revolution Day Party in Lo de Marcos

There was a huge party in the Centro yesterday to celebrate Día de la Revolution. Vendors were selling inexpensive food and everybody was dressed in their finest. Spotlessly dressed girls gathered together on one side of the Square to watch the equally spotlessly dressed boys gathered on the other side who in turn watched the girls. Few ventured into the "no man's land" in between.

Horses were scrubbed, saddles polished and their riders proudly paraded their mounts around the Village Square. Music was played at deafening levels by a DJ and people danced. As usual in Mexico, some beer and tequila was in evidence but no one was drunk. It was a Family Day and it was a great party and for today at least, life in Lo de Marcos is Good!







Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kiva Revisited

I Blogged about Kiva some time ago when I joined it. You can read that Blog here. I now have a total of eight outstanding $25 loans. Not much in the overall scope of things but enough to make a small difference in several lives.

This morning I was reading Michael Dickson's extremely entertaining Blog and read that he had established a Kiva "Team" in the name of his son, Ian Lee. I am now a proud member of that "Team".

I can't say enough about the efforts of Kiva. You make tiny, "Micro" loans to entrepreneurs in Developing Countries through PayPal who have waived their fees as their contribution to the effort. You get to pick the people you loan to and after these interest free loans are repaid, you can either take your money out or re-loan it. It is a great program.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Aticama to Lo de Marcos

We left the Pueblo of Aticama and Tioga George this morning and proceeded down the very narrow winding highway to our next stop at the beach community of Lo de Marcos. The road is bordered by jungle and is so narrow that most of the time I was driving with my left rear tire in the oncoming lane. There was very little traffic and the odd time a truck did approach, we simply slowed to a crawl or stopped , waiting for it to pass.

Oil Change, Part Two!

In the tiny Pueblo of Zacualpan we passed a Taller Mechanico shop at the side of the road with enough room in front to park the motorhome. I brought the mechanic out to the motorhome, showed him the oil and filter I had bought in Yuma and asked him if he could change the oil for me. Remember, this was too complicated a job for Ford to do in Yuma and is the job I was quoted $120 USA labour for by Pep Boys in Yuma.

“No Problema”, he said. I love this expression and you hear it a lot in Mexico! He got his crawler, laid it on the gravel, slid under and did his work. He was a very meticulous worker, making sure all his tools were clean and in order. He lubricated the seal and filled the new filter with oil before he installed it and then got a funnel to add the new oil, cleaning the funnel with a rag as he walked back. He added the gallon of oil and checked the level. It was a tiny bit low so he added a little more from my second gallon. He then had me start the engine while he crawled back under the rig to check for leaks and to clean the oil pan.

He climbed out and cleaned up his mess, polishing the bumper where he had left a few fingerprints. His white uniform was just as clean as it was when he started. I asked him how much and he told me $40 Pesos ($4.00). I gave him $50 Pesos and shook his hand, telling him I was very pleased. I find that Mexican workers are surprised when I shake their hand. They act as if they do not want to get my hand dirty. I should learn something to say in this instance because a worker's hand is never too dirty to shake. I regret that I failed to get the gentleman’s name.


Getting ready to start.


Draining the oil the old fashioned way.

$116 USA cheaper than getting it done in Yuma.

Mazatlan to Aticama

We had a leisurely departure from Mazatlan as it was going to be a pretty short drive today. We had our last breakfast with Arnoldo, I had my usual Vegetable omelette with Ranchero sauce and Norma had poached eggs. We said our goodbye’s and left before eleven.

On the way to Tepec Norma was reading the Church’s “Mexican Camping” and read about a bypass route that avoids Tepic. This route heads to the ocean at San Blas and then turns South following the coast until it joins Mex 200 to Puerto Vallarta. Along the coast we started looking for an RV park to stop for the night and as we crossed a bridge, I noticed a Class “C” parked in a field on the ocean. I did a double take and announced, “That’s Tioga George!” We had met George in Mazatlan last year and I have been following his Blog for several years. The place where he was parked is an empty lot beside a small Palapa taco stand. I recalled from his Blog that the owner was charging him very little to boondock there. It is an idyllic spot right on the ocean with a small creek running alongside it. We pulled in beside George and I walked over to say “hola”. He was working on the computer but dropped everything to come over to talk to us. We chatted for a while and then the three of us walked into the tiny village of Aticama for something to eat. It was a wonderful evening and it was quite dark when we said “Good Night”.


The view out our window. Life is tough!


George’s Ms. Tioga with his DataStorm uplink for his Internet.


George and his buddy, Boid.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Leaving Mazatlan

Tomorrow morning we are pulling out and heading South. We have decided to follow the coast down further than we originally planned on the newly improved Mex 200. We enjoyed Maz but stayed a much shorter time than last year when we had tons of (welcomed) company. Unfortunately, we did not have a chance to get together with our friend Lee who has a house here. Next year, Lee!

This afternoon we walked across the road to the beach and had a nice swim in the Tropical waters. While there we met a great couple from Nanoose Bay, BC who we had over for a drink after. They have a sail boat which they sailed down from Canada and will be sailing around Mexico for two years! What an adventure!

We will likely boondock tomorrow night and I will Blog again when I can.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Los Moches to Mazatlan

There was some symmetry to the day. Seventy dollars worth of gas and seventy dollars worth of tolls! Some as low as $7 and one at $30 with the rest of them somewhere in between. There does not seem to be any reason to them. They count the wheels and axles and then charge you whatever the heck they want. There is a chart on the wall but none of the illustrations show a motorhome towing a car. Sometimes I am a truck and trailer and other times a motorhome being followed closely by a car.

I know I sound harsh about the tolls but it is not really that bad. In Canada we pay a high tax on our gas for highway maintenance and construction but in Mexico they choose to do it this way. Gas is only about $.70 per litre here and the roads, although narrow, are quite well maintained. It just gets frustrating to see all those toll booths. Mexican Law however prevents tolls being charged unless there is an alternate, toll free route. The locals use these "Libre" highways which are even narrower and go through every village along the way. Potholes are rampant and maintenance is seldom done on the Libres.

We are at Las Jaibas RV Park, the same one as we were in last year. It is only about ten percent filled. Rumour has it there have been many cancellations in Mazatlan this winter. Maybe the recent hike in gas prices, maybe the economy, who knows. They added many back-in sites over the summer and upgraded the electrical. We booked three nights and will head further south after that. We are toying with the idea of following the coast down for a bit before heading inland. This is what I really like about RV travel. You make up your route and timing as you go.

Morning in Los Moches

Morning in Los Moches


Five am.

Am I awake?

I refuse to open my eyes.

But my brain is awake.

Half of it anyway.

Why? I know it is dark.

Ah, that is why.

The rooster next door.

Starting his morning duties.

Wake up the sun,

Get his chickens laying.

Wake up Croft.

The bass guitar starts it's pounding intro.

The song that will stay in my head.

Until something more important replaces it.

That could be a long time.


Not the State of Grace.

Grace Slick.

The Rooster has awoken her.

White Rabbit throbs in the inner masses of my brain.

“Go ask Alice.

When she's ten feet tall”.

I refuse to open my eyes.

It is five-thirty.

The rooster, exhausted, has done his duty.

He has dragged the Sun from her slumber.

And cast her into the Sky.

His chickens are laying.

Grace starts her song for the (n)th time.

The other side of Croft's brain stirs.

It is morning.

It is Los Moches.

San Carlos to Los Moches

Not much to say about today. Seventy dollars worth of gas and fifty dollars worth of tolls... We took the Toll Road or Cuota all the way but it was hard to tell at times. The road was pretty narrow with no shoulder most of the way and the odd tope to surprise us. They put a series of gentle speed bumps in the road every once in a while followed by a large size tope that forces you to slow down to a crawl. At this point vendors rush out to try to sell something. They offer plastic cups of mixed fruit, fresh juice and Ziplock bags of something that looks like pancakes. Actually, cold pancakes with some sort of spread on them are a very popular treat here as they are very cheap and quite tasty. You always find vendors on the streets selling them. You usually have your choice of two or three different spreads like honey, jam or apple paste.

We spent the night at the Los Moches RV Park. It is not much to talk about. Spots so narrow that the passenger side of the motorhome is about four feet from our neighbors slide. The $22 per night park has good 20 Amp power but the water pressure is non-existent. We are using our water tank in the motorhome. The sewer dump is too far away for my hose to reach so we will just store the sewage until tomorrow night. No Problema! This park is used by many to store their rig while they take the train through the Copper Canyon. This, however is the wrong season for that trip as there could be snow at that altitude. April or May is the best time for that trip.

There is no cable in the park and it is not worth the effort to hook up the StarChoice for one night so we may just watch one of our movies, read or play Scrabble. One day we shall play Scrabble in Epanol.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Alternative Medicine

I really have no opinion on Alternative Medicine.

At breakfast yesterday we met a couple at the next table. He had bandages on his nose and forehead and when his wife noticed us looking at them told us he was seeing "Doctor" Walker in San Carlos, a practitioner of Alternative cancer treatment.

Tonight we went out for dinner at the hotel across the street from the RV Park. A couple sat at the next table and ordered "Cadillac Margaritas". We asked them what they were and they described them. Next a couple from Oklahoma sat at the table on the other side of us and started up a conversation with the first couple. We were in the middle of the conversation so we joined in. Eventually the second couple told us about the first couple, that he was a biochemist (not an MD) who practiced Alternative cancer treatment and that he was World Famous.

Eventually we all ended up introducing ourselves and we had a brief conversation with him. I told him we had met one of his patients and he told us that skin cancer was pretty simple. He treats people and guarantees the results. Complete satisfaction or no charge. He said he studied and understands the chemistry of the disease. I asked him if he "treats" lung cancer as I have a friend who has just suffered from it. He said he does.

As I said, I really have no opinion on Alternative Medicine. I also believe that "conventional" Doctors do not understand the disease either.

A Great Invention

This is a liter of milk that has been "Ultrapasturized" and can be stored in the cupboard until needed. It is a great product for Mexico where cold storage is not always available and also for us RVers with tiny (compared to home) fridges. This carton has an expiry date of March/09. I am sure it must be available at home but I never see it there.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


We drove into Guaymas today for lunch with fellow Bloggers Brenda and Roy. They recommended La Barca, a nice little restaurant on a side street where the Chile Relenos were great! After lunch we walked to the historic Guaymas City Jail which is in the process of restoration. It is a small place that once housed up to 300 prisoners, a separated mixture of male, female and youths. It was a wonderful afternoon meeting new friends.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Exploring San Carlos

We went exploring today and stopped for breakfast at a place down by the Yacht Basin. While we were eating we struck up a conversation with a Mexican couple with two teenagers at the next table. It turns out that he was a Professional Baseball player who played for the L.A. Dodgers for several years until he was injured and went on to be a Baseball Scout. When that ended he became a Probation Officer in Las Angeles. They were here for a funeral.

After breakfast we went on towards Algodones Beach where the 1973 movie “Catch-22” was filmed. When we were here last year there were still a few remnants of the movie set remaining but this year there is a large Condo development going up in near the site. A little further down the same road is the Club Paridisio Resort which is the former San Carlos Club Med. It retains some of it’s former glory but is showing it’s age. The pool area is beautiful but there are very few customers. The rooms are quite expensive by Mexican standards at $1250 Posos a night (about $100), and with so few facilities operating it is not all that appealing.

Tomorrow we are going into Guyamas to have lunch with fellow Bloggers, Brenda And Roy. We have been following each other’s Blogs for some time and when Brenda saw we were in San Carlos she asked if we would like to get together. I am looking forward to it.

Unfortunately, the Internet connection here prevents me from adding photos to the Blog.

Vehicle Washing


The four detours between Sonoita and Santa Ana deposited about a hundred pounds of dried mud on the motorhome and especially on the towed Honda. There was no rain but the water trucks were busy keeping the dust down and we followed one through two of the detours. Something had to be done and I do not have the equipment for this kind of heavy duty cleaning.

One of the services of the Totonaka RV Park is vehicle washing. We arranged with the office for both vehicles to be washed and waxed and promptly at nine yesterday morning Victor knocked on the door. He first spent two hours washing and waxing the Honda. It came out looking as near to new as a twenty year old car can look! He then started on the motorhome and spent the rest of the day washing it from the roof down and hand waxing the whole thing. It is now gleaming clean and should be good until we head home in the spring when we will have it done again.

I am not really pleased with the cost as it was more in line with a rich "Gringo" area that it was with "Real" Mexico. The RV Park charged us $85 USA (we supplied the car wash, wax and rags) and I am positive Victor did not receive anywhere near that amount for doing the work. Anyway, he spent almost eight hours here and did a great job so we are not complaining. I had promised myself that after paying that much up front I was not going to add a tip but after watching Victor work so hard I tipped him anyway. He said he would take his wife out for dinner so for Victor and his wife in San Carlos, Mexico, Life Is Good.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Santa Ana To San Carlos

We rose early (for us) and left Santa Ana by nine. We stopped for breakfast at a small roadside truck stop where Norma had Huevos Rancheros and I had a perfectly done vegetable omelet. We asked for coffee and got two cups of hot water and a jar of instant coffee. There was an automatic coffee maker brewing on the counter but we obviously asked for the wrong thing. Oh well, time to work on the Espanol!

There was a young Mexican family at the next table with two extremely charming children. The dad spoke perfect English so we had a good conversation with our breakfast. The children learned to say "Bye" and repeated it hundreds of times all the way to the door and into the parking lot. I love Mexican children! They were very well behaved and ate everything that was put in front of them without question.

Anna from the Santa Ana RV Park gave us directions for by-passing Hermasillo, the Capital of the State of Sonora, so that saved us a bit of time and frustration. The roads in Mexico, at least the free ones, are very narrow with no shoulders. There is a very severe drop-off at the edge of the pavement and thinking about what would happen if you went off the road keeps your attention centered on what you are doing. The memory of my encounter with a shoulder last year also kept me focused.

We checked into the Totonaka RV Park right across the street from the ocean. We set up, found the StarChoice signal and walked across the road to Charly's Rock for a Margurita and dinner. Norma had crab and I had garlic prawns. They were both just as good as we remembered. After dinner we returned to the motorhome and met our neighbours Bob and Linda from Vernon, BC for a nightcap. He is retired BC Hydro and she a retired teacher. We are now settled down in our little "Casa Mobile" for the night and here in San Carlos, MX, Life Is Good!

Sonoita To Santa Ana

Crossing at Sonoita is very simple! For the first time ever, we got the dreaded "Red Light" at the border. We pulled into the Inspection Lane expecting the rubber glove treatment but the Border guy came over, took a very quick glance at our passports, climbed onto the drivers side step to peek into the interior and told us to go ahead. No problem.

At KM 18 we stopped at Mexico Immigration and had the office to ourselves. We were a little apprehensive because we had been asked for our Marriage License last year and managed to finesse our way out of producing it and had gone and forgotten to bring it again this year. Fortunately they did not ask so after paying the required fees and filing the paperwork, we were on our way.

Highway 2 from Sonoita to Santa Anna was in pretty good shape but there are four detours around bridge construction and one major detour around a small town so we picked up a few hundred pounds of dried mud on the motorhome before we ended up at Edgar and Anna's Punta Vista RV Park in Santa Ana. They are a neat couple, he Mexican and she from Mississippi. Very friendly people and eager to offer advice for Mexican travel. If you have to spend the night in Santa Ana, don't hesitate stopping there.

We got set up and I walked next door to the OXXO for an eight pack of ice cold Pacifico which I took back and we met our neighbours. One couple from Bowen Island in BC and the other couple from Oregon. We had a very early night so we could hit the road in the morning. I also bought some milk which we really did not need so the old milk went into Anna's cat's dish. It was very much appreciated and for six well-milked cats in Santa Ana, Mexico, Life is Good!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ajo, AZ

We are in the Shadow Ridge RV Park in Ajo ("Ah-Ho", Spanish for garlic) tonight. Ajo is the site of the first Open Pit Copper Mine in Arizona. It operated from 1847 until 1985, longer than that if you consider the years it was used and then abandoned by the local First Nations people. In 1983, Phelps Dodge "laid off" all it's Union Miners and replaced them with scabs. A bitter, sometimes violent strike continued for two years until the declining world copper prices closed the mine. The area is now home to retirees and Border Patrol officers taking advantage of the very affordable housing available.

Tomorrow it is a short forty mile run to Lukeville and the border and then another twenty Kilometers or so to the Immigration Office on the highway. Immigration is located this distance from the border so that visitors only wanting to go a short distance into Mexico are not required to obtain a Visa (FMT). The beach town of Puerto Penasco is within this "Free Zone" and many Arizonans take advantage of this to get some beach time. This weekend however is "Biker Weekend" in Puerto Penasco, also known as "Rocky Point", and the little seaside town will be filled with up to 50,000 partying motorcyclists including our friend Kim from Tucson. We met Kim and Charlette last year in Mexico. Puerto Penasco will be a good place to stay away from this weekend and we shall.

Our goal for tomorrow night is Santa Ana, MX. The last time we were there there was a weak WIFI signal at the RV park from a nearby motel and hopefully it will still be there. The next day we will head South to San Carlos. I will post when I can. The adventure has started!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

One Hand Giveth,


While the other hand taketh away! The Initiatives financed by the Mormon Church and other fanatic, right wing, so-called “Religious” groups have taken away the rights of millions of Americans by banning Same Sex Marriage in California, Arizona and Florida. One of the proudest days for the Civil Rights Movement, the day Barack Obama was elected President was also one of the most disappointing. They have turned the most joyous day into one of the saddest days for all of us.

I fail to understand how anyone's “God” could possibly object to the marriage of two people who love each other and want to share their lives. This misguided effort discriminates against all of us. We believe “An injury to one is an injury to all” and millions of people have been injured by this Hate Legislation.

I have been told that Gay Marriage threatens heterosexual marriage. I would sure like to hear a rational (even an irrational) explanation of that! I can assure you, there is no intention to make it mandatory! Don't worry, you are safe!

When they can’t back up that argument, they resort to the equally ridiculous argument that marriage is to create children. Well, someone should tell people beyond child bearing years that it would somehow be “immoral” for them to marry. Same with people who are sterile through birth defect, accident or genetics. What about those who simply chose to not have children? Is that now "immoral" as well?

Another Initiative bans Gay Adoption in Arkansas. Once again, the “Religious Right" imposes their own “morals” on us by insisting a child would be better off in the Foster Care System or on the streets than in a loving home cared for and supported by two parents. No, they say, a child needs both a mother and a father. What then do they propose to do if one parent is killed? If a marriage dissolves? If one parent has no interest in helping to raise a child?

No, there is no rational reason for any of this, it is simply what it is, Hate Legislation, and they have turned this into a very sad day for all of us!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I Am Overwhelmed


I have so much to say about last nights election but I can’s get the words out. I am simply overwhelmed with Obama’s victory. As a Citizen of the World, I know things will be so much better than they were under the last Administration and as a Canadian, I am happy that my American neighbours will soon be able to hold their heads up proudly when they travel and quit pretending to be Canadians!

If someone had told me that in my lifetime I would see a Black Man elected President of the USA, I would have laughed at them. This is a once in a lifetime event and my feelings are similar, I am sure, to what they would have been had Bobby Kennedy lived to become President.

There are tens of thousands of Heroes responsible for this momentous occasion and we should take a minute to remember them. They are the children who braved the menacing crowds to simply walk into their schools, the people who dared to sit at the Zellers lunch counter or to take their seat in the front of the bus. They are the workers who marched peacefully into the fire hoses, police dogs, night sticks of the "authorities" and the bullets of the KKK. They are the white volunteers murdered for helping Blacks to register to vote and they are leaders like Malcolm X, Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King who were murdered for expressing the dream of the possibility of what took place last night. They are the thousands of young people who got their friends, family and neighbours out to vote last night.

Martin Luther King’s Dream is still far from being fulfilled but it is now a bit closer. He has peeked over the Mountaintop and has glimpsed the fulfillment of his Dream but he has much further to go. We all have further to go and more work to do.

Obama won all his constituencies except uneducated white males and seniors. Not much can be done for the first group but I think it is time for us seniors do some serious thinking. As for this senior, I do not want to be lumped in with the first group!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Shopping In Algodones, MX

We walked over the border to Algodones, Mexico to get a few chores done for the year. Norma and I both needed new glasses so the first stop was at Algodones Optical where they took us right in. Norma got some new Progressives for $170 and they were ready in less than two hours. My $240 Progressives were a little more complicated and will take 10 days to order some special glass. They will mail them home when they are done and my old glasses will work fine until we get home in April. Norma's brother in Victoria gave us his prescription and asked us to get two "regular" pair made for him so we did that and his were on sale with the second pair at 50% off so his bill is only $190 for two pair. They will mail them home to him.

Next, Norma's three year old $40,000 Canadian dental implant job had developed three chipped teeth so we went to get an opinion on a repair job. We stopped at Dr. Sandra Ochoa's Dentist Office where we were told they could replace the whole upper plate for $125 or replace the individual teeth for $20 per tooth. She was a little nervous taking the full new plate deal because the manufacturing process would require destroying the old plate to get the parts out of it to reuse so she went for just having the three damaged teeth replaced. An impression was made and a runner took everything to the Lab. We were told to come back in an hour and a half when everything was perfectly done. Cost? $60 with no charge for the impression. No self-important "specialists" huffing and strutting around showing off their Degrees and delays of days or weeks in the Lab. You just walk in off the street, sit right down and the job is done in a couple of hours. No Problema! Welcome to Mexico!

It was an expensive day but if we had these jobs all done in Canada it would have been several thousand dollars instead of several hundred! The savings today will finance a good portion of our winter in Mexico! I have the feeling that we are being ripped off at home. Viva Mexico!

Oil Change Blues

We have to get the oil changed in the motorhome as I am already 1000 miles over the scheduled service. This should be a simple matter, right? Wrong! I called the Ford Dealer here in Yuma and was told they could not fit motorhomes in the shop and would not do it the way I do it by simply crawling under the vehicle and draining the old oil into a pan. No, it was "Sorry, go away and don't bother us."

I called Pep Boys and they will do it without the hoist but they want $120 per hour plus materials. I asked how long the job would take and they said they could "probably" do it in one hour! Sorry, I am not going to pay $150 USA for an oil change! I may have been born on a Sunday, but it wasn't yesterday!

I will drive down to the Ford dealer tomorrow and buy some oil and a filter. There are hundreds of "Taller Mechanico" shops in Mexico that would be happy to take my money at a lot less than $120 USA per hour and I am also sure they will do it in less than an hour! I will let you know.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Old Friends

Tonight we had some old friends over for dinner here in Cocopah RV Resort in Yuma, AZ. Muff McMurphy and I started working together for BC Telephone Company back in the 60's and worked together off and on over the years. Over this time Muff and Val have become very good friends, the kind of friends that whenever you get together (even after two years like now) it feels like you have never been apart.

Cocopah is an RV Park on a golf course that has all the bells and whistles like a pool, hot tubs, library and even a Pub!. It is situated just outside of Yuma on the land of the Cocopah Nation and is one of the most well maintained Parks we have been in.

We had shrimp sandwiches made from BC shrimp with potato salad. Good conversation with good friends.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Gas Prices

Before we left Canada I did a little research into the price of gas here in the USA. At that time the average seemed to be around $3.00 a US Gallon. By the time we got into the USA, these prices had dropped quite a bit and were around $2.65 in Washington and Oregon but California is another story! Depending on which town we were in and even which side of the street, prices ranged from a low of $2.59 to a high of $3.69. We watched for stations at the more reasonable end of this range and filled up. We once got caught on Interstate 5 where all the little towns were sporting the higher prices and I had to buy $50 worth at $3.49 to get us to the next larger town.


At Blithe, CA regular gas was $3.49 and three miles down the I-10, across the Arizona State Line, it was only $2.49. I am looking forward to Mexico where prices are Government controlled at about $.70 CAN per litre.


We are in Yuma, AZ right now and I have to set up my StarChoice to watch the BC Lions at 2:00 this afternoon. My work is never done!

New Batteries!

When we got the new motorhome back to Canada I checked the 6 Volt RV batteries and found both of them to be very low on water. In fact, it took a full gallon of distilled water between them to fill! I filled and charged them and they seemed to come back up but I never had any real confidence that they were going to be good enough. I priced new batteries in Canada and found some 195 Amp Hour for $100 and some 220 Amp Hour for $140. I was sure I could do better than that in the USA.

We stopped at a Sam’s Club in Sacramento, CA and found some 220 Amp Hour batteries on sale for $71. We immediately joined Sam’s Club and bought two of them. As I was putting them into the cart I noticed a sign stating “Free Installation”. I asked the service guy and he said, no problem, he would be happy to install these 100 pound batteries for me. One hour later we were on our way with the batteries happily charging.

We boondocked that night and it was very noticeable how much better the batteries performed. We used the lights, Norma watched TV and I watched a DVD and when we went to bed the batteries were still sitting at 12.6 volts, where the old ones would have been down to 12 or 12.1 after the same usage. A big difference and I will sleep much easier in Mexico where batteries are much more expensive, if you could find 6 volt batteries at all. Strange because 99% of all North American batteries are made in Mexico...

While we were in Sam's Club waiting for the batteries, we bought two huge lobster tails for under $20! These are going to be delicious with butter and garlic and proves once again that Life Is Good!