Nov 18, 2017

Getting things in order…

..poco a poco, little by little.  Another long day but things are coming together, enough that our yard is organized and we can just now deal with one project at a time as we feel like doing something.  We have a place for all the little piles of to dos and other areas to sit and relax and enjoy the view.

Colin and Ismael (the park handy man ) went out in the Jeep and hired two drivers and two trucks to get all of our things from the bodega ( our storage area ).  Colin commented on how we had much less this year.  It is because we gave away many things after the girls passed last March.  No need for fencing or dog beds or ramps, etc.

The next thing was for Ismael and Colin to put up our dust screen. This helps keep the dust from the road on the other side of the fence from coming into our site.  Most of the dust is kicked up from horses going past or ATV’s.

Meanwhile my job was to power wash most everything that came out of storage.

After a good six hours we decided to call it a day and walked up the beach for an early dinner. The meal was good but the margarita not so much. This was our second walk of the day, we had walked down the beach about 7AM just before the high tide came in.  I walked close to 13,000 steps today.  Quite the step up from sitting around all day traveling in the RV.

A colorful sunset as we walked back to the motorhome.

The view out of our front window.

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Nov 17, 2017

We are back on the Isla

Our home away from home.  It was a short drive @ 194 miles but as I type this I am beyond tired.  We have driven 2,591 miles over the last 11 days 😉

A lot of new greenhouses in the Culiacan area and they are all sporting new netting.

Great news,the road from the airport to Estrella del Mar has been recently repaved. It had pot holes last year but we didn’t find it all that bad. They are currently installing guard rails. What a treat!

Even better there are finally some signs for Tres Amigos with directions.

The best news of all is that the last unpaved km is being worked on right now.

We had to wait a few minutes for the grader to move out the pile of soil and for this machine to smooth it out. He was rolling backwards as we followed him. Likely this project will be completed in just a few days.

The rest of the road was finished over the last two years. There is no reason to not stop in for even just a few days as you head further south for the winter. Or just come to the Isla for the rest of the winter.

Once the pavement ends the signs show you were to go.  Left for a very short period of time and you have arrived in paradise.  We suspect that by next year this area will also be paved.

Sadly the photo I took of our empty site was blurry.  That’s okay as we want to create some new memories this trip.  It is very hot here as well as humid, right now at 6:30PM, 70% 😯   Everyone says that it is getting much better and cooler.  Perhaps tomorrow I will notice a difference.  Meanwhile we are living in AC.  The inside of the RV becomes very hot as we travel as the engine is under the bed.  I know that in a few days we will acclimatize, we always do.  Due to the heat we did the minimum outside and concentrated on sorting out the inside while staying cool.  So now we have the rest of the evening off but first I need to make us some dinner.

Our first sunset. Not a great shot but the jejenes were out and biting. The other RVers continued to sit outside as they are now used to the noseeums.

Sadly we did not get out for a beach walk but it was really too hot and sticky.  Tomorrow promises to be a full day and then we may just let some of our stuff sit while we relax.  However we both prefer to push through and get it all done and then we will truly relax.  No matter, it is still wonderful to finally be here.

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Nov 16, 2017

Almost there

What a long day 🙄 Even though we only drove 317 miles today it was tiring.  When the roads were good they were excellent but when they were bad they were the worst we have ever experienced in our 18 years of RVing in Mexico.  What we called bad roads last year have deteriorated and today it was either good or bad.   Colin says that it gave the black tank a good shake up.  Seriously, the roads were so bad at times that at our slowest we were were only going 20Kph or 12.5Mph.  I had to wait for the smooth new concrete roads to be able to take a sip of my hot drink.  We usually average 60 – 63 Mph in the US and here in Mexico it is down to 50 – 55 Mph.  The slower speeds today made us just over an hour later than our anticipated arrival.  Tonight we are staying at Pemex 3970 which is at about KM 75, south of Los Mochis.  They have free WiFi here 😀 and it is much faster that the one we paid 420 pesos for last night.  By the way we found out that several folks had burned out electrical devices, etc. this morning, which is why we never plugin at Totonaka.  This morning it was spiking to 145 volts.  We boiled our water outside at the electrical post.  Colin spoke to an RVer who says that he bought a special device to bring the voltage down.  Tonight we are running the generator as it was so hot today that the RV was like a sauna.  We have a heavy curtain that we pull closed behind our driving seats and that keeps the AC right where we are sitting where we need it the most as we drive into the sun.

There is so much more road construction happening in Sonora.  In this photo they are working on both sides of the road.  As you can see it is a two lane road and rather than being two lanes in one direction as intended it is now single lane in both directions.

One little thing I would like to mention is that they are no longer selling wild parrots at Vicam.  Nancy will appreciate that.  There is a long story that goes with this but suffice to say that this is a good thing.  I was too caught up with the roads today to take many photos.

This giant Yaqui statue is just north of Ciudad Obregon and is meant to be a memorial but the park is not yet open.

I love all these bright city signs going up all over Mexico.

Finally we are in Sinaloa 🙂 This is the state where Mazatlan and Isla de la Piedra are located.  I can’t crop out all the bug splatters but you get the idea.

We came across some lovely countryside today.  The dirty windshield hides the stunning beauty of these hills.

There are always interesting things to see in Mexico that likely would not be allowed north of its border.

Then there is the price of fuel which has gone up 4.65 pesos per litre since this last November.  But Mexico is worth every extra penny.  Having said that we had a wee incident earlier this afternoon when the Pemex attendant attempted to trick us out of 1000 pesos ( 66.87CAD or 52.60USD ).  The cost for our diesel was 4200 pesos and I gave the guy 4 x 1000 peso note and 1 X 200 peso note.  I watched as he palmed one of the 1000 peso notes and put it into his lower jacket pocket. He then turned back to me and said that it was 4200 pesos and not 3200 pesos.  I told him in English ( which he suddenly understood ) that  I saw him put the bill into his pocket.  He reached into his breast pocket and pulled out a few small bills to show me that I was mistaken.  I pointed to his lower pocket and pointed to my eyes and asked him to take the large bill out of his pocket which he did.  He then said in English “it’s okay” and walked away.  Colin always does the money transactions at the Pemex stations but today I did for some reason.  I simply handed over the 5 bills splayed out like a hand of cards.  Colin would have placed one bill at a time in the attendants hand and count out 1000 pesos, 2000 thousands pesos, etc.  We think that they had us pegged as mere tourists as we started with one guy pumping fuel and another came and took over.  FYI this was Pemex 3539 @ km 210 just south of C. Obregon.   Just another incident in our lives.

Meanwhile we are counting every hour until we reach paradise.

PS  Welcome to all the new commenters to my blog.  You are the inspiration to keep me going.  Last night it took so many hours to post, tonight less than half that time.  Sometimes it just doesn’t seem worth it and then I get a lovely comment, so thank you for leaving your comments.  It means a lot to me.   I hope to go back later this evening and answer your individual questions.

 

 

 

 

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Nov 15, 2017

Woohoo!! We are officially back in Mexico….

…but first I have to finish telling you about our last day in the US.  Monday morning we drove to Lake Havasu City to see a very dear friend of mine.

From Las Vegas we crossed into California, our 5th state.

Talk about a ribbon of highway.

The last US state this trip.

As we drove I got a call from Canon Canada telling me that through the photos we had sent of the blown up battery that they decided that our battery was a fake!!!!  So it appears that we have purchased according Canon, fake batteries even though they say Canon on them and look the same.  Therefore they are not responsible for the damage and expenses occurred.  We just could not deal with this as were we less than a day from crossing into Mexico.  How would I know that I was buying a phony battery?  We just put it all aside until we reach the Isla.  Then we will check with a lawyer or possibly just Kevin/Ruth as he knows all the ins and out outs of things.  It took a while to shake that horrid call off but I did.

We were staying at the Lake Havasu State Park where we had a a great view ( site 4 ). Sadly we were not there more than a few hours total.

Great view from the Safeway parking lot.

The view from my friends front door, can you see the lake with the sunset reflection?

Libby and I have been friends from when we started nursing school together back in 1971.  Yes that means that we have been friends for over 46 years.  We have been through thick and thin together and everything in between.  If Libby called me tomorrow and said she needed my help I would be on the first plane out of Mexico.  We managed to have a wonderful visit in the short amount of time we had together.

We had to drive about 1388 miles from home to visit Libby 🙂 Good thing she happens to live on our route to Mexico.

Since we left Lake Havasu on Tuesday morning ( yesterday ) we have driven 635 miles. I posted yesterday about the drive to Lake Havasu. We also had a fellow come at 8AM yesterday ( Tuesday ) to fill a rock ship in the windshield just before we left for Amado, AZ.  Sorry we missed you R & M.  Stay well.

About 7:25AM this morning we were welcomed into Mexico.

I know that I might have confused some of you with my back and forth catch up but we are in real time now.  However the internet here at Totonaka RV Park in San Carlos is beyond slow and it has taken me two hours to get this far in the post and I already had my photos edited.  Plus the power is out of whack and we have a heater running outside the RV to try and draw the voltage down.  So many tricks one needs to know to function in Mexico.

As we left Lake Havasu City Colin decided to stop using our brake device on the Jeep.  It just was not functioning as it should and Colin felt safer not using it.  He was worried about damaging the tow car brakes.  The current plan is to call a Blue Ox Patriot Assist Device tech guy once we get to the Isla and then make a decision if we need to ship it back to the US for repairs or ???  I suspect that this may be an ongoing saga this winter.

I has some sad moments today as I realized that all of my road logs and maps had notations about stopping here and there for the girls, a good spot with grass, etc.  We did spend time talking about memories along the way of things that had happened here and there.  We did make excellent time today which was mostly due to no pee stops for the girls.  Overall it was a lovely travel day and the temps certainly warmed up.  We had to turn the A/C on about 11:45AM 😉

I want to give a brief rundown of the roads as there are others who are coming behind us and I know they check my posts to help plan their travels.

For the most part the roads were good, at least to San Carlos. Because of the ongoing construction we ended up doing a great deal of one way single lane driving and alternating from one side of the highway to the other.

The important thing to note is that if you are entering Mexico via Nogales they are now ( for the second year ) doing a very thorough entry search just a few miles after you cross into Mexico.  This stop is not far from the very first toll after crossing the border.  They asked for the paperwork for the RV and the Jeep, the 10 year RV permit and our passports.  First of all we had to wait 10 minutes for an official to come and speak with us once we had arrived.  He showed up in a vehicle with lights flashing.  After checking all of our papers he came into the RV and verified the VIN which is in a closet in the bedroom.  As we went through this last year and got questioned rather strongly on the desktop we placed it so that it was out of sight.  We also did the same with most of the wine we had with us.  Has we been asked if we had wine I would have said yes and shown what we had in the fridge as well as in a cupboard.  Today this fellow simply said ‘wine’ and before Colin would answer, said ‘beer’!  Colin said that we don’t drink beer but preferred margaritas, the guy was bored and moved on.  He never asked if we had any alcohol or what we had.  Next he went to search the Jeep and that was it.  In all, it took about  15 minutes.

In a nutshell, there is road construction from the border to Santa Ana but it moves long.  From Santa Ana to Hermosillo the road is pretty good with a few rough areas.  Hermosillo itself never gets better, just deeper pot holes and more of them.  Once you get thru the craters of Hermosillo the road to San Carlos is amazing.  You are on new roads 98% of the time even though it is for the most part single lane alternating sides of the road.  We were thrown off a bit as we approached the exit to San Carlos, the road is all torn up.  However a sign said to head to either CD Obregon or Guaymas.  We did not want Guaymas but it eventually lead to the original road to San Carlos, thank goodness.

We got here the earliest ever, again because we no longer had the girls to deal with as we traveled.  Very warm here at 85F.  Sadly as we are parked hooked up along side the main road, we only have 15 Amps with very high voltage.  At the moment we have a heater plugged in outside to deflect some of the voltage so that our inverter does not shut off my computer.

We wanted to break from our usual routine with the girls and chose to head out to Charly’s Rock to view the sunset and have dinner.

An excellent margarita for 50 pesos and the best coconut shrimp since long ago Acapulco.

Sorry but I can’t proof this, it has been close to 4 hours since I started this post and due to slow internet or ??? I just can’t keep going.  Time to shower and ago to bed where Colin already is.  Tomorrow will be a new adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nov 14, 2017

Catch up time

We are in Amado, Arizona, less than an hour from crossing into Mexico.  It is 8:20PM and I am ready with pesos, paper work, photo copies, US dollars to import the Jeep and whatever else I might need.  I am enjoying wine  but we haven’t had dinner yet.  First I must catch you up to the que pasa of it all.

Where we spent the night with only about 90 miles to drive to Vegas. Sadly it turns out that tree dropped some sort of sap all over the RV and the Jeep.  So much for our hand wash vehicle job the other day.

Some lovely art all over Las Vegas, especially along the on/off ramps.

We were in a rush to drop the Jeep off at the dealership but got caught in rush hour!  We were crawling along the freeway, it took an hour to drive 24 miles.

Once we dropped off the Jeep we headed back up the same freeway in the opposite direction that we had come from.  Just an aside here.  Once we got to Freightliner, Colin approached to owner of this Safari with an offer to buy his coach anytime he wants to sell it.  What!  They even exchanged information.

In a nut shell, the RV problem was the secondary fan used by the A/C which is what Colin had diagnosed.  We had to wait for 3 hours for them to even look at the RV and then it took over an hour to locate the part.  We did tell them where the part came from as it had already been replaced once before.  Then they had to order the part.  By 2PM we knew that we were done for the day as they shut down at 4:30PM and of course the part would never get there in time.  So we moved the RV to their over-nite site that is nothing but a piece of concrete, no power, no water, etc.  Meanwhile we had contacted the Jeep dealer who said that all was okay and there were no issues at all 😯   It took over 2 hours for their shuttle to pick us up.  Meanwhile we were able to open the RV slides for the first time in months and finally start to put things away.  The cold, snow and ice had prevented us from doing so as we were loading.

When we got to the dealership we realized that we had left the tow shield on and it was now dark.  So we had to somehow get it into the back of the Jeep on top of all our other stuff.  We did run a few errands on the way back to our RV at Freightliner.  I have to say that I now love the GPS.  We only used to use the CPS but it is getting old and weary ( Contessa Positioning System).  The Jeep GPS truly made our getting around Vegas so very much easier.

The next morning we were at the Freightliner office by 7:45AM as the part was to have come late the day prior.  It  actually never came until about 11AM.  While waiting I worked for hours with help from a friend and finally by a Bitdefender Tech to rid my computers of the program.  No go.  Thank goodness I was able to do so a few days later.  Such a relief.

At 11:45 Friday morning we were told that the ordered part had finally arrived but did not fit 😥   That was it for me.  We had already told them where to get it but no that is not the way Freightliner does things and no we could not go get our own part.  If we let them order the part we knew the we would be there until at  least Monday ( maybe longer if it was the wrong part yet again ) and there was no guarantee that the part would fit.  We took the damaged part and headed out in the Jeep.  We knew that part could be found at Auto Zone and GPS told us it was only 3KM away 😀   We were back within 35 minutes and  I felt so very good dropping the part on the managers desk.  However what should have been a 20 minute install took two hours and then as the computers were acting up we had to wait another 45 minutes for the bill.  They charged us for 2 hours of labor.  Plus our purchase of the part for $70.00 which they would have marked up.

We finally got settled into the Las Vegas Resort about 30 hours late. They did not charge us for checking in a day later, I of course had let them know the day prior.

We made friends with several people in the Freightliner waiting area including two other couples who live in BC.  In fact we all live within an hour of each other.  What are the chances of us meeting up at the same place with RV issues.  What is most amusing is that we ended up parked right next to the fellow with the Safari that Colin wants to buy.  What are the chances?

We spent the next two days doing all errands that should have taken 3.5 days.

This was my favorite spot:)  In fact we had been there the night before and purchased a few bottles to sample to chose some favorites.  Wow, how we love US Costco.  So many food choices and so many organic products.  I had the best ever eggplant parmigiana for dinner that first evening.  At one point we had 6, yes six, open bottles in the fridge.  As we were only sampling we didn’t drink t00 much.

We had so many errands to run from buying more paint for our patio on the Isla which became an issue as they no longer have one of the color codes that our color choice last year had, so the paint came out the wrong yellow color and then it was a big to do to try and get it right ( never did but by then I no longer cared ), to good soil for my veggie pots, to more wine and specialty items, to sandpaper and polish cloths re waxing the Jeep and RV, etc.

Of course you now know about the Canon camera battery issue and fire on Sunday.  Once we got ourselves together we were off yet again for a final shop at Walmart but now we had to get Best Buy to check my melted hard drive ( it is okay ) and buy a few new things that had been destroyed.  Rush back to the RV and laundry for me while Colin unloaded and also set up the tire sensors on the Jeep.

As a surprise to me, while still back in Kelowna Colin had booked us a table at Nacho Daddy’s for dinner Sunday night.  The perfect way to unwind.  The margaritas were fabulous as was the meal.

I had a seafood taco and a lobster enchilada while Colin had two lobster enchiladas.

A stroll along Fremont Street helped wear off our dinner.

Always so much to observe.  It helped take my mind off the events of the day.

Love the colors and the energy. Las Vegas was unseasonably cool while we were there.  I used the seat heater on the way home.

Somehow on the way back to the car I stumbled into a casino.  Colin loves to watch as I manage to make $10.00 last a very long time.  We had fun.  It was the perfect way to end the crazy day we had had.

Perhaps he did.

This post is long enough and it is getting late. ( 10:20PM ).  Must get to bed soon as we are up at 5:30AM.  I will finish up with the US side of things tomorrow along with our first day in Mexico.

 

 

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