Nov 15, 2018

It’s good to be back

Seven weeks ago today we left our home in Kelowna.  We have driven 3,797.4 miles, I have written 48 blog posts, we have had many adventures and seen untold new sights but now the wheels have stopped rolling.  I am looking forward to staying in one place for the next four months.  But oh to be back here on the Isla, to see the ocean, to hear the ocean and to breathe the fresh air, what can I say?  My heart actually stopped for a beat as I took in the beauty right at our doorstep.

We were driving by 7:10 this morning on a mostly broken road.

We felt like we were riding a bucking bronco.  The worst ever this section of road has been. ( right to the start of the Culiacan- Mazatlan autopista ).  We even complained at the first toll both and the senora just agreed that yes it was terrible.  Our cost to drive these 178 miles on a high end toll road is 697 pesos/$45.28CAD or $34.39USD.  The American dollar is doing very well against the Mexican peso.

First time we have ever been stopped by a police check on the autopista.

As we came off the autopista and around the curve we were startled to see cattle on the road.  Good thing that we had slowed for the curve.

Now that is a truck full of junk!  If you look closely, the rear axle on the left doesn’t even have a tire on it.

Almost two weeks after the Dia de Muertos ( Day of the Dead) celebrations the cemeteries are still full of flowers.  Sitting up high in the RV we get to see different things.

Well this was a total surprise.  Most of the road to the Isla is being made into two lanes in each direction, starting from the turn off the airport road.  There are sections where the narrow road ( because they removed the shoulder ) has a good three foot drop off with only inches to spare when you pass oncoming traffic.  It wasn’t fun being a passenger, can’t imagine driving it.

Yet more cattle on the road. This time there was a young boy on a horse working to keep control of his charges.

Things did not go as planned once we arrived but no worries, we turned on the AC and did a deep clean within the RV and set up the inside of our home.  Tomorrow we will deal with the rest.  We had planned to possibly meet a few friends at El Velero for a live music early dinner but we worked right through to 5PM and we were both tired.  Tomorrow promises to be a full day.

Two boats in the bay and Mother Nature did not disappoint.

So very happy to be home.  Our drive today was only 194 miles.


Nov 14, 2018

A good travel day and we got a glimpse of the immigrant caravan

We were driving by 8:30AM.  No need to rush as we would be spending the evening in a Pemex ( gas station ) parking lot.

This looked like a very recent accident.

Overall the roads are better than last year but still some back and forth and sharing the new road with two way traffic.

First town was Vicam where once again we saw a bird seller who had quite a few birds in tiny cages.  For my new readers this is illegal.  Not much else going on in Vicam this time, it is becoming  a sleepy town with very few vendors at all the topes.

We noticed a great deal of water in the ditches along here, likely from the hurricanes and tropical storms.

This is what the old road looks like.  I was surprised to see that some of the new cement roads are already breaking down; repair work is already happening.

Topes aka speed bumps are the best places for vendors to sell their wares.  This fellow was selling nuts.

Many places along the highway to stop for some nourishment.

Shortly after 10AM I noticed a bunch of buses passing us.  They were mostly all different and had a number in the front window.  It was the migrant caravan.  I had read that they had arrived in Culiacan Tuesday.

We think there were at least 35 – 40 vehicles but possibly 50 as we never noticed the first bunch that passed us.

Every so many buses there was a police vehicle with lights flashing. I was happy to see that they were being driven North.  Good for the Mexican government.  I read today that “Other members of the caravan have splintered off in different directions to reach other northern cities including Hermosillo, Sonora; Escuinapa, Sinaloa; and Monterrey, Nuevo León.”

I always love to see this large Yaqui statue just before CD Obregon.

Contrary to what I have read the exit to the CD Obregon bypass is very well marked.  We saw three signs before the turn off.  It is being called the Navojoa Cuota.  We did this road April 4th on our way North and it was called the Guaymas Cuota, it all depends on which direction you are traveling.

The actual turnoff.

The bypass is also being called the Libramiento de Ciudad Obregon.

We have not paid any tolls in Sonora due to a protest which we have no idea what it is about.  However I once again suggest giving at least a few coins or 20 pesos to support their cause.   So when we came to the toll for this bypass we were surprised to see them collecting money.  No it was not free today.  They charge by the axle so we were charged 301 pesos for four axles ( ejes in Spanish ), two for the RV and two for the car.  Last spring we only paid 160 pesos but the project was not complete and we had some detours through some small towns.  The bypass is fully operational and I think that it is a fair price to pay to avoid all the chaos and horrible roads in CD  Obregon.

A beautiful 25 km drive through the hills.  Everything is a very lush green due to all the recent rains.

I loved all the color of these bougainvilleas just before we got off the bypass which took us about 25 minutes to complete.

Some important notes here.  If you need fuel get it before you do the bypass as there is no Pemex until Navojoa.  Also when you come off the bypass to rejoin Hwy 15 there is no merge at all.  Be very cautious here.  You come out at KM2013 right by the Virgin on the Hill.   From here we drove right through Navojoa by choice.  The bypass is too long and not necessary in my opinion.

Of course we slowed and waited for them to cross the road.  The male dog waited until the female was safely across.

Just hanging out in the median.  Do not drive after dark in Mexico as you never know what you will encounter on the road.

Last year the road just before the Sinaloa border was simply horrific.  You can click here for that post.  We honestly believe that overall the roads are much much better than last year.  Yet there are some very specific spots that are still frightful.  It all starts at KM 86 just before the Sinaloa border with a very rough crossover to the new road and then at KM 82 a crossover to the narrow and very slow old road.  Still 0verall better than last year but it is bad for a few KMs.  You then crossover  to the new road again and back to the very old road to shake and rattle for 1/2 km.

The last bit of new road is so new that there are no bridge railings, etc.

A final warning.  There is an extremely bad dip as you crossover to the right from the new road onto the Sinaloa road where the road has numerous potholes as you can see above.  Go slow on this last crossover.  The roads do get somewhat better but until they do, straddle the lanes as best you can.

Once in Sinaloa we start to see the signs of the rains from the hurricanes and the tropical storms.

So much land eroded.  So much destruction.  You can even see it in the fields.  The farmers are out there redoing their fields and re seeding.

The amount of water over the land is surprising.  I can’t begin to imagine how it must have been at the time of the storms.

It took us eight hours to drive 318.6 miles today.   We took less than a one hour break in bits and pieces through the day.  Fortunately our RV is like sitting in a business class seat on an airplane.  Love our airbags.

A great spot in a Pemex with free WiFi and a fabulous sunset.  Nice and cool @ 74F outside at 8:30PM.  We will sleep well tonight but first, time for some dinner.  Life is good.





Nov 13, 2018

Safe and successful crossing into Mexico

This year we chose to cross the border into Mexico later than normal.  We thought that by being later there would be other RV’s crossing and there might be less attention on us.  After all we have two precious cargoes with us, the AC units being more important than the wine 😕

For the very first time ever we had our direct route into Mexico @ Nogales blocked.  We cautiously went in via the lane marked CLOSED and were able to get back to the lane that went to the extreme right of the US customs area.

Not speed bumps but HUMPS.

Thus far the toll booths in Sonora have been taken over by groups protesting the government or what have you, we have no idea.  So you don’t have to pay the toll but I suggest that you consider making a token 20 pesos donation as you pass through.  Support the cause 🙂

Just after the first toll booth comes the inspection station.  Unlike last year where we were very thoroughly checked this year the border agent’s duty appeared to be to simply check the VIN number against your registration papers.  Be sure to have your vehicle(s) papers ready along with your passport.  As you can see we would be third in line.  It is clearly marked to cross over to the far right marked autobus.  Our VIN for the RV is in a bedroom closet so the agent had to come in.  However he was not interested in what we had inside the RV, not the alcohol nor food contents, etc.  He checked the Jeep VIN but unlike last year did not ask to see what lay under the blankets (my garden soil ).  I believe that going in a little later worked to our advantage.

For those coming behind us please note that due to construction the turn off to KM 21 is off on to a gravel road.  It is easy to miss, so be alert.  The exit is not more that ten minutes past the VIN inspection station. Very quiet here and our paperwork was completed in under thirty minutes, a new record for us.

Saw about five of these military units pass us by at top speed.

Good news for us wine drinkers, Sonora is growing grapes.

No traffic.  The roads have been great, very little back and forth and mostly new roads.  Hermosillo requires the usual slow speeds but all is well.

We drove 290 miles today and all with mostly great roads and no issues and no tolls to pay 😀 We made great time traveling just below the speed limit and got to Totonaka RV park in San Carlos by 4:25PM.  There are a lot of confusing construction detours around here but the signs are very clear, so stay alert ( to those coming behind us ).  Two things surprised us here in San Carlos.  The first being how very quiet the RV park was, we were the only ones parked on the road.  The second, as to how very cool the temperature was.  Last year it was 85F when we arrived and today at 5:45PM is was only 69F.  There was a cool breeze as well.

Last year in an effort to change our routine based on the girls we went out to Charly’s Rock for dinner and it was beyond wonderful.  So we went back tonight.

This year it was great but certainly not over the top.  We will look for another place next season.

We still had a wonderful meal and it was good to get out of the RV and do something different.  Before we went for dinner we met a fellow who is here for the winter.  Turns out that he is from our RV Park back in Kelowna, small world.  Being as it is so cool out and with a slight breeze I know that I am going to have a very good rest tonight.

Adios all.  Stay tuned for the next chapter.


Nov 12, 2018

Heading even further South

I forgot to include this in my last post.  These two not so young girls were pulling a toy behind them like they were taking their toy for a walk.  Is this  a new fad?

They have cleared and leveled some land here in the state park and have almost completed these cabins which I assume will be for rent.  There are a least a dozen in the completion phase.

The wind picked up Sunday morning which shut down the R/C flying club.  Here Colin is taking down our dish as the wind was constantly gusting.  Last thing we need is a broken LNB before we cross the border.

The wind blew all afternoon. We eventually brought in the bedroom slide out which is something we have never had to do before because of wind.

Despite the wind we still enjoyed our time here.

We were on the road by 7:30 today/Monday.  You never know what is going to pass you on I10.  The road may be boring but some neat things may catch your attention.

Lots of dust in the distance.  ??farmers in the field.

What the heck is this?

However did this transformation happen?

Quite the change in scenery.

We got to our stop for the night.  Usually we stay at the Passport America park called Mountain View in Amado for $16.00 per night but they are having major issues with electrical sites that we could fit into and their credit card payment machine is down, so we ended up next door at Deanza RV Park which cost us $49.80 for one night with our Good Sam discount 😯  $33.00 more per night 🙄

It has not been an easy last night here in the US.   We are having major problems transferring our business cell to our home phone number which will send any voice message to us via our email.  It is refusing to work.  We are three hours in for a solution.  Not looking good.

Mi Telcel will not recognize my Mexican cell phone number.  That is a minor problem.  Worse case I will just get a new SIM.

It was a long driving day.  It took 8 hours with a 30 minute break and we covered 358 miles.

Last night ( Sunday ) in Lake Havasu,  the sun set and the wind finally slowed down.

Can you spot the birds nest at the top?

Working on fitting our new AC units behind our seats before we leave in the morning.

Looks like we are good to go.


Nov 11, 2018

A fun Saturday

Yesterday we woke up to a perfect day.  The sun was shining, the sky was blue and the lake was calm. There was no wind at all.   It was going to be a good day.

First off we had Matt, a fellow who lives here in Lake Havasu, come to the RV to repair yet another chip in the RV windshield.  This time it was in my line of vision.  We got it on the way down when someone who was passing us cut in to close to the RV and sent up some road gravel.  We have been using Matt for a several years now and he does a great job for $50.00.  Once he did two chip repairs for $60.00.  I can’t see where he did the repair yesterday.  Great job.  You can reach him at 928 453 8772.

Nice to have some down time and to sit and enjoy the view and to read my book a bit. We went for a walk around noon to check out the Desert Hawks R/C Club, located here in Lake Havasu. They were having a three day weekend of flying, featuring float planes. Sadly they were shut done by wind both on Friday and again on Sunday.

Some of the planes were rather large.

Others smaller.

It really was a perfect day for this event.  This group had a large selection of planes.

This was one of my favorites but it did not fly while we were there.

Intensely watching their planes as they played with the controls.  Only six were allowed to fly at the same time and they flew in a counterclockwise direction.

Meanwhile I caught a shot of the ferry that goes from Lake Havasu to the casino across the lake on the California side.  Here it is coming back, going up the channel to dock.  I hear that they have a nice restaurant there.  Likely a good deal for $2.00 round trip.

About to take off.

This fellow owns a hobby shop in Seattle.

He put on quite the show.  Obviously he was the best flyer that we saw, doing flips, loops,  dives, spins, flying upside down and backwards.  It was like watching an airshow.

Not everyone had a good day.

After a light snack we loaded the car as we were heading over to visit my longtime friend who lives here in Lake Havasu during the winter months.  You might recall that I met up with her this past July while I was in Edmonton which is much too cold for her to be in the winter.  While we were here Colin was going to do a few chores for Libby.

Libby now flies back and forth between Lake Havasu and Edmonton, instead of driving as she had done for many years.  The nearest airport is in Las Vegas.   She had a friend pick her up in her own van a few weeks ago.  The fellow is 6’4″ and pushed the drivers seat all the way back for leg room.  Sadly he must have pushed it too far and it won’t come forward which makes it extremely difficult for her to drive as she is too far away from the steering wheel and her controls.  Colin tried everything he could think of and in this photo he is pulling he seat forward while Libby is pushing with her wheelchair but no go.  It appears to be stuck in that extended position.  She will  have to find a mechanic to look at it.

Next was moving this bookcase out to the curb for someone to pick up for free.  What is amazing is that she got the tall thing out of the guest room and moved it to the garage on her own.  She is wheelchair bound and has limited movement.  Crazy lady.

One of the last things was replacing hinges on a kitchen cabinet.  Colin is holding the cabinet up with his foot.  Libby had placed a can of stew under the door to hold it into place.  Clever!

Meanwhile I was on sunset patrol.

Colin took this one as I was inside checking on the dinner that I had brought which was almost ready.

But first I had some time to play with her real slot machine that had come from a casino many years ago.   I did eventually tire of feeding it quarters.  Good thing I was playing with Libby’s money.

Dinner was Caesar salad and a fish chowder that I made earlier in the morning and had been slow cooking in the crockpot for about 7.5 hours.  It was delicious and there was lots left over for Libby to enjoy in the week to come.  We also left her the rest of the pumpkin pie and vanilla ice cream we had brought.

It was so nice to see her again.  But it is always difficult to say goodbye.  Fortunately we will be able to see her again in March as we head North.  Meanwhile I need to come up with a way to get that slot machine back to Edmonton for her 😉




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