« September 2007 | Main | November 2007 »

October 31, 2007

San Carlos to Mazatlan Mexico

San Carlos RV Park
















San Carlos Site




Oct. 29th, 2007  We left San Carlos, Mexico in groups of five or six this morning and although the park we were in had adequate power and we ran the A/C through the night we were anxious to get on down the road.  Our destination for the day was to be Los Mochis, Mexico some 400 kilometers down the road.  We were forewarned by our group leaders that the park we were headed for was probably one of the poorest ones in Mexico but in the Los Mochis area there just wasn’t much to choose from.  They said we would have a hard time getting the larger coaches (that’s us) into the park as the turns were tight and the spaces narrow, and oh, yes, the power was probably going to be deplorable.
     We arrived at about 3:00 and entered the park one at a time.  What we did not know in advance of arriving was that there was a large caravan already in the park as they were headed for the copper canyon and had arrived yesterday.  They were parked in such a manner as to make it even more difficult for our group to get to any of the sites.  Cool heads prevailed and with lots of help and guidance we all got in a site.  At first there was no electric and it took a while for that to get fixed.  Actually as I look at the voltage situation now it is very good steady power, holding right on 120 volts.  That to me is amazing as the park is nearly full and some do have their A/C running.  Both guys on either side of me have a dangerous situation with the polarity reversed on their outlets, mine is correct.  My old neighbor, Paul, in Stoddard would have a heart attack if he were to check out this situation.
     When were first arrived here, there was so much confusion and running around trying to get electricity, that Kathleen and I started our generator, turned on both roof A/C units, drew the shades, and fell fast asleep.  Two hours later when all was calm and sorted out I went out to find the electric working and the polarity correct.
     It is currently 7:30 p.m. and has been dark for a couple hours.  When we arrived the sun was hot and it was 103 degree’s outside.  With the night air cooling we are showing 89 at the moment outside and 82 in the coach.  Remember now, this is dry desert air, and to one who does not like the heat, I can tell you that it is quite comfortable.  We will no doubt need a blanket tonight.

     Our team leader stopped by to inform us that we were going to start pulling out at 6:30 in the a.m.  He said we should pull out individually when we felt we could navigate the space to do so.  We would then regroup at the Pemex gas station at the edge of town.  Regardless, I think I will be able to navigate my way out at about 9:00 a.m.  Our destination will be Mazatlan and a very nice park for two nights.  6:30 seems just a bit early to this retiree!

Mazatlan Site



 Oct. 31st, 2007  We made Mazatlan about 2:00 p.m. yesterday and are now well in to our second day.  We will have tonight yet and then will leave for La Penita out destination for at least the month of November.  Our drive from San Carlos to Mazatlan was interesting from a picturesque sense.  Started out as desert, reminded me a lot of what it used to look like when I trucked from Las Vegas to L.A.  Then as we got closer to Mazatlan and crossed the Tropic of Cancer it became much more like a jungle atmosphere.
     The park that we are in has electrical power that comes and goes.  When it is on it is quite good and steady.  The WiFi for computing is about the same.  One has to walk to the office area, sit out under a palapa for shade and hope that the dude in the office has his computer on so you can jump the signal.
     Our site is rather nice as we are under some palms and do get a little shade.  We are also positioned so that in the heat of the day our coach provides the shade and it is quite nice sitting out under the awning.
     We went out in a group of 12 last evening for dinner and rode the open air cabs in to the down town district of Mazatlan.  We had a great meal with our new friends, lots of laughter, stories flowed freely, and the margaritas were good!  Our open air cab ride back was a little noisy as our cab driver cranked up the rock and roll music and we made a complete circle through the entire RV park before bidding our cabbie adios.  We figure the twelve of us will have to stick together as we are not likely to have many friends come morning.
     We made a run to Walmart in the open air cabs this afternoon and found it very much like shopping at home except they do many things quite differently.  What one needs to do is just stand back and see how or what the locals are doing and then just copy them.  For example in the large bakery area everything is out in the open for display but there are no bags or boxes to put the rolls or bread or whatever in.  We soon learned that you picked up a large silver tray and a pair of tongs and then picked out what you wanted.  Then take the tray to the counter and it was individually packaged and priced for you.  We are learning.
     This afternoon at 5:00 we are meeting under the palms in the center of the RV park as our Team leaders are supplying the hamburger patties and condiments and we all are bringing a dish to pass for a good ole’ barbeque.  Should be fun.  We will hit the hay early as the drive tomorrow will be interesting and long.







Mazatlan Beauty
















Mazatlan Beach
















Mazatlan RV Park

















Mazatlan Sailing
















La Penita here we come!



October 28, 2007

In Mexico

Beaudry RV Park Tucson Arizona 

     Above is the Beaudry RV Park in Tucson Arizona where we hung out for about a week preparing for our South of the Border trip and where we hooked up with the other group of coaches that we would be traveling with.  A few came early to prepare as we were doing and some came at the last minute, totally unprepared, and scrambling.  Arriving early allowed us to make some early acquaintances and fast friends.

     We departed Beaudry early in the a.m. of the 24th of October in groups of five or six and proceeded to the border crossing.  It took approximately three to four hours for us all to clear the border process and we were on our way.  A very tedious process to say the least but we survived it.  We were waved through about 3 inspection points so we still have our freezer full of meat, chicken, bacon, cheese, etc. in tact.  We should have no more of those kinds of inspections for the rest of our stay in Mexico.

     It was late in the evening when we arrived at the Totonacan RV Park here in San Carlos Mexico.  When I plugged in to power our surge protector would not let any voltage through to the Coach.  I got out my meter and using a near by outlet determined that the voltage coming across was about 137 to 140 volts.  Our surge protector won't allow anything over 134 volts.  I put a draw on the line in the form of a fan and then got the voltage to drop below 135 volts and we powered up the coach.  Once that was accomplished we could turn on all the fans, a/c, etc and with all systems humming along we are showing 121 volts at the moment, (perfect).  Everyone around us was oblivious to the high voltage and don't have the kind of on board protection that we have.  I will bet there will be some devices that will be fried and if not they can consider themselves very lucky.

     We went out to dinner last night with a couple from Minnesota who like us are making their first trip south of the border in their RV.  They are also full timers and we have hit it off from the start.  They will be great fun to hang with.

     We went out to lunch today with the five couples that are traveling with our group.  A great bunch to be with.

     We are already getting accustomed to dealing with pesos rather than dollars but in a future blog I will have to tell you how I embarrassed myself big time when we stopped to top off our diesel at the local Mexican Pemex station.  Or then again maybe I won't tell you!

     The following are a group of pictures from our stop here at the Totonacan RV Park in San Carlos Mexico.  The one water shot you see is taken from along the sea wall some 50 yrds from our coach, and shows the town of Guaymas Mexico in the background.

     We are here for two days to recover from our border crossing and then will continue our trek south.  We are on our way to a pool party where everyone will bring a little snack and all will share.



Entry to Park San Carlos MX
















Our Site
















Park Office
















Looking out from Park
















San Carlos Totonaca RV Park















     We depart in the morning and our next stop will be somewhere around Los Mochis Mexico, again along the ocean.

October 23, 2007

Preperation for Our Mexico Adventure

Oct 23rd - Our sole purpose of being at the Beaudry RV Park in Tucson, Arizona is to meet with our fellow traveling companions and sit through an informative presentation by Bill and Dorothy Bell, the renowned authorities on RV travel in Mexico.  Bill and Dorothy will then on the 27th lead us all, over a four day span, some 920 miles south of the border to La Penita, Mexico and what has been billed as a pristine RV park about 40 kilometers north of Puerto Vallarta.

     Officially we were to have arrived here a couple days from now and over a two day period prior to departure on the 27th, we would meet as a group to get acquainted and be given a lot of instruction from those who have "been there, done that."  And that will happen, but?

     Due to our A/C problem as I mentioned in the previous blog, we booked in to Beaudry a few days early and to our surprise so did several of our group including Bill and Dorothy Bell, and Carole and Grant Thacker.  Carole and Grant are the La Penita RV Park managers.

     We have now met those who are present as our caravan will all be staying in the same row in this park and earlier this evening we held an informal get acquainted gathering at the pool.  The discussion was lively as there were a zillion questions from those of us who are first timers to RV travel in Mexico and especially questions about the park that will be our home for the winter so very far from the States.

     Some of the things I can recall from the discussions are in random order:

     The setting for the RV park is jungle and therefore although not really dangerous some precautions are in order.  For example there are "Crocs", "Scorpions", "Iguanas", "Jelly Fish", and occasionally someone gets stung by a "Sting Ray".  Using common sense, troubles are usually avoided.

     There are a couple inland lakes less than an hours drive away that have excellent Bass fishing.  Wonder who asked that question? :)

     Bring as many swimming suits as you can afford to buy and find as you will be in them all day every day.  Sometimes changing several times a day.  Pool volley ball is quite popular.  Swimming in the Ocean at the beautiful beach is not as popular as the pool as a lot of people don't like dealing with the salt water issues, but there are those who prefer the ocean to the pool.  Boogie boarding is popular on the gentle waves that crash the beach.

     There are many excellent restaurants in the area.  The small town of La Penita is a short walking distance from the park.  There are market days in the village and several small grocery outlets, however everyone usually makes a run to Walmart and Sams Club which are about an hour drive.  The fresh fish, Dorado, Red Snapper, Mahi Mahi, and shrimp are plentiful everyday directly from the local fishermen who are easily found around the village.

     Is there organized partying?  Followed by lots of laughter from those in the know!  Answered in several different ways such as:  Mary's Margaritas are to die for.  Tuesday nights are Taco nights.  You have to buy the Taco's but the Margaritas are freeeee.

     As you can see the information we are getting is very informative and valuable.  This is all unofficial and pre-emps the scheduled get together.  I can't wait for when we get in to the real organized part of this trip preparation!

October 22, 2007

Headed South

Oct. 15th - We departed Black Diamond RV Park mid day and headed South West so as to bump in to the Coast (ocean shore) near where we had intersected it when we headed North from the FMCA rally some months ago.  We had enjoyed the upper Oregon and Washington Coast for the better part of two months and now it was time to see what the rest of the Oregon and Upper California Coast looked like as we made our way South.

     We eventually did intersect with the coast but to see much of it was difficult as it was raining cats and dogs and was from time to time foggy as well.  We did get to experience enough of it to know we will return as there are many places to explore.

     Our first night was spent at a really nice RPI RV Resort called Neskowin Creek.  Kathleen took the following picture of the Resort setting while standing next to our coach while looking toward the Lodge.



Neskowin Creek Oregon Resort
















     Our drive the next day was the spectacular scenery of the Oregon Coast and even though it rained all day and the wipers worked overtime we did enjoy it.  Our next stay was at another RPI Resort called Redwood Trails as we were now in Northern California along the Coast.  What we didn't know or expect was that this park was overrun with elk as the rut was in full swing and they had come down out of the mountains to do their thing and enjoy what green grass there was in the RV park.  It was literally difficult to get to ones assigned space as the elk were everywhere.  I might add, once out of the vehicle, elk poop was also everywhere!  I got some pretty good pictures of the park and the elk but Kathleen has vetoed putting up some of the more interesting pictures of the elk, doing their thing!



elk everywhere
















face off
































herd top dog














     We left this fascinating park and the elk to continue a short way along the California Coast and then decided to head inland "over hill and dale" so to speak, to connect with the I-5, which would allow us to make better time as we had just discovered that our dash A/C wasn't working and we would need to scramble to find a Newmar sanctioned repair facility.  With several phone calls and the help of Newmar we made contact with Lodi California RV repair and following two days of repair and waiting on getting parts we were up and running with our A/C working again.  We drove a little further than we had planned after leaving Lodi but we were anxious to get back on the road.  It was dark when we finally pulled in to our next stop, the Orange Grove RV Park just at the foot of Tehachapi outside Bakersfield California.  Even in the dark we could tell it was going to be one of the finest parks we have ever been in.  We were literally in an orange grove with trees loaded with oranges on both sides of the coach.  We regret not getting a picture of this setting and will have to return in the future just to get a picture, and of course to enjoy a longer stay.

     It was very warm as always in Bakersfield and upon turning on the roof A/C for the front of the coach we discovered it was not working.  What next.  Early the next morning I made a call to our final destination, Beaudry RV in Tucson Arizona and got the earliest appointment I could get to have them look at this A/C problem.

     We drove as far as we could and our stop put us at the North Shore Resort along the Colorado River at Needles, California.  This was a nice park but with the wind howling at a constant 30 mph and gusts to 50 mph it was a bit dusty.  Had it not been so dusty we might have stayed a couple of days because we had plenty of time to make our final destination for this leg of the journey, Beaudry RV in Tucson and the rendezvous with our Mexico traveling companions.  We pulled up stake early and drove along the Colorado River through Lake Havasu City (the London Bridge), and then the desert areas of Southern Arizona around Quartzsite, before deciding that we could easily make it to Tucson and the Beaudry RV Park.

     We are here to meet with our fellow traveling companions.  There are to be 29 coaches and or 5th wheels, or other modes of vehicles that will be traveling together under the direction of the Bell's, Bill and Dorothy.  Bill and Dorothy are noted authorities on RV parks of Mexico and traveling in Mexico.  As this all comes together I will report on each aspect of it.

     Beaudry RV Service was able to move up our appointment and I am happy to report our roof A/C was fixed with a $25.00 part.  The labor cost however was another matter, but then isn't it always.

October 14, 2007

Skype to Communicate

     The planning for our trip in to Mexico for the Winter is taking shape and one of the most interesting challenges is how to communicate with friends and family during what could be a relatively long five months.  Mexico has long been and continues to be a place that lacks a good mail service like we are used to in the States.  Their phone system although good is very expensive.  The Mexican RV Parks are big on having WiFi installed, much more than here in the States, and the speed is usually quite good.  At the very least every small town has at least two Internet cafes where one can get high speed Internet access.

     We for sure will be stationary for the whole month of November in a park that has WiFi and Skype is the method of choice for staying in touch with those from the States.  We are close to committing to being stationary for the months of December and January in another park which may have WiFi installed between now and our arrival.

     Skype is a small download and an easy program to set up and use.  Skype for those who do not know is a program that allows verbal communication between computers, or between land line and computer, etc.  I have us set up for both and would be happy to help anyone who has an interest in giving it a try to get set up.  It would require high speed Internet access on your end for it to work efficiently.  All that is required on your end besides installing the program on your computer is a microphone.  The inexpensive headsets are the best but not necessary.  The nice part of all this is that the communication back and forth is "Free".  Imagine being able to talk computer to computer with very little delay in the speech from one country to another.  That is awesome.

     Just Google Skype, download the program, give me a shout via e-mail if you have any questions and or so I can give you the information you will need for contacting me.

     Of course, there is always e-mail, but actually talking to one another would be a hoot!  I promise I won't rub in how nice it is on the beach when you have just come in from shoveling snow.

Black Diamond Sunrise Resort RV Park

 Black Diamond













Oct 9th - 15th  

      After arriving back in the Seattle area from our trip to Wisconsin for Kathleen's check up we stayed an extra night at Lost Lake RV Park.   After leaving there we hung out in the Muckleshoot Indian Bingo Hall parking lot for about 3 days as we wanted to "boondock" for a few days and be close to the Kids. 

     We moved to the Black Diamond RV Park on October 9th and will be leaving here on the 15th or 16th.  This park is about as close to Bill, Heidi, Mason and Maddie as we can get.  It is a bit of a drive for Scott and his family but they visited today in fact.  Bill and Heidi are on a short three day cruise put on by Bill's employer and we are looking after Mason and Maddie.  I will go to the Cruise line dock in the morning to pick up Bill and Heidi and once they are back home with the Kids, Kathleen and I will say our good-bys and head South.

     We will be taking our time traveling down the Oregon and California coast before heading a bit east to Tucson Arizona where we will be meeting up with the small group of RV's that are traveling together to La Penita, Mexico

     It will be bitter sweet to leave the Brosius Families and especially the little ones.  We have had a fantastic couple of months out in this area, but we are anxious now to see what is around the next corner and we are looking forward to our planned Mexican Winter Journey. 

October 06, 2007

Grandpa Here !

     Being a Grandpa is about as special a thing in life as it can get.  Having the four grand kids that I have, (ya I know I'm biased) is absolutely awesome.  There is just no other way to put it.  From time to time one of them will especially touch my heart and when they do I am going to shout it to the roof top.  This time its Zak that has center stage.

     Zak is six years old now.  When he was younger, on a couple of occasions I had the opportunity to introduce him to my passion of fishing.  We would get a few hours together either on the dock or in my bass boat and for whatever length of time a little ones attention span would last I would cast the line out, hook a fish and then let him reel it in.  I could tell from the start that he was a quick study and one day would become a pretty good fisherman.

Zak and Sunfish on dock
















Zak and 1st Bass
















growing up now about 4














     In the above first two pictures Zak was about two and a half, and in the last picture Zak was about four.

     Now to what touched my heart!  Zak and his family live on a large sail boat.  www.ghostsailors.com/.  This is their home like the "tininthewind" motor home is Grandma and Grandpa's home.  We have been told that Zak really likes spending time on the docks fishing, and exploring all kinds of sea life around.

     The other day we stopped by to visit and planned to stay awhile as Angela, Zak's mom, was planning a special supper.  Zak waited patiently while we adults caught up on the latest and when he got his turn he asked me if I wanted to go fishing.  Hanging above our heads in the cabin below deck was a selection of rods and Zak suggested I should pick one and he would grab his so we could go up on the docks to fish.  I reminded Zak that I did not have a license and it would be best if I just tagged along and watched him as he fished.  What a great opportunity.  I was going to get to see him at the ripe old age of six trying his hand at jigging for fish some thirty feet down to the bottom of the harbour sea floor from the dock. 

     As we made our way out on the docks Zak called to me to follow him as his hot spot was at the end of a dock a short distance from their boat.  Walking along we were greeted by a neighbor who assured me that Zak was the resident expert and kept them all in fish.  Zak proceeded to drop his bait to the bottom, (30 feet or so) and proceeded to jig the bait up and down in short jerks.  All at once he called out, "there's one" and he began to reel with haste.  Suddenly he announced that it wasn't a fish but rather a piece of sea weed.  Sure enough when he got it to the surface he had a small piece of sea weed on the hook.  Pretty good for a little guy to have that kind of sense of touch and I was recalling how over the years I could pretty well announce what kind of fish I had on my line simply by the way it acted long before I was to see it.  I was impressed.

     Time passed and Zak continued to do everything in his power to hook a fish as I know he wanted to show me how it was done.  Fishing was slow but it allowed us to discuss other things while he continued to try.

     I was sitting in a chair watching him from a short distance and we had been silent for awhile when he turned to me and looking at me sitting in the chair, said "Grandpa, I'll hook-em and you can reel em in, OK?".

October 05, 2007

Home and Home

Oct. 5th   We still consider the Stoddard/LaCrosse area home even though with our home on wheels our new home is where we park it, thus the title of this entry to the blog "Home and Home".

     We flew home to LaCrosse on Saturday Sept. 29th as Kathleen had her 3 month check up for the Breast Cancer issue.  Getting to LaCrosse is always a bit of a challenge for us as we use our parental privileges to fly stand by as our son Scott is a pilot.  We flew Alaska Airlines in to Chicago and then rented a car for our drive to LaCrosse.

     Our arrival to my moms place was late on the evening of Sept. 29th but in spite of being tired it was so good to get those mom hugs and we had so much to talk about and catch up on we were late getting to bed.

     Kathleen's appointments were all for Tuesday Oct. 2nd and prior to those we had time to conduct some business in the La Crosse area, visit with friends, make a trip to Cabela's in Praire du Chien, and get together with Kathleen's brother Jim and members of the May family for dinner at the "Boat" in Marquette, Iowa.

     The important news!  Kathleen's check up and exams were all negative for any return of the dreaded "enemy".  There is always apprehension to face leading up to these follow up exams and we are both greatly relieved that all is well and we can continue with our future plans and travels.

     We departed LaCrosse early on Thursday Oct. 4th and got on the second plane that we were listed on for stand-by out of O'hare airport and are now back in our "home" on wheels.

     We will be leaving this area of Washington State, our Sons and their families, for our winter destinations in Mexico on the 15th of October and look forward to having a ton of things to blog about as our future travels unfold.

     Thanks for coming along on our travels and we look forward to having you all along in the future.  We love hearing from you with your comments and or just that you are reading what we write.  That lets us know that we are not waisting our time with these entries.  

Hosting by Yahoo!