Mar and Gar's Adventures

Just another WordPress.com weblog


Leave a comment

One Of Those Days

Ah, the day that would be nice to have a do over. One big lesson learned is when one of the two of us feels really bad, then it would be better not to make it a day of travel. But our plan had been to spend Saturday and Sunday nights in Hermosillo before getting to San Carlos on Monday, so off we went.

About 45 minutes down the road Garry asked if I could drive because he just didn’t feel that great. I drove for about and hour and a half. And then he did again for awhile. Soon though he said he just needed to rest – the cold medicine was putting him to sleep. So I took over again. Fortunately the roads were not horrible, traffic was light and so I had no problems. He woke up when we were on the toll road and I had to stop and pay the toll. The. He went back to sleep.

Side note about the toll roads… if you take them and keep your receipt, then if you have any accident, breakdown, flat tire, your help comes and is paid for by the government. If you are on non-toll roads, you are on your own. We went through 2 toll stops and they were about $8 each for motorhome and trailer.

Garry took over driving just before Hermosillo so I could navigate us to the small RV park in the city that Google had found me. I was really nervous about it even existing because this the same Google that sent us last year to the wrong neighborhood for Costco and Walmart. We ended up winding through narrow crowded roads to only discover my fears were right. No RV park in existence. In fact it was 66 miles away, the wrong direction for us.

It is now late afternoon so we headed to Walmart with plan B…staying in their parking lot. After asking if that was possible we were warned there is no security and they did not recommend it at all.

Plan C was next. We had passed a Hampton Inn, so if they had enough parking we would stay there and just park the motorhome. Once again, I google the address and it show 2 Hampton Inns pretty close to each other so we head to the one closest to us. Darn Google again!!! There is only one and there never has been two. And we are on the wrong side of the river with all kinds of one way roads. We finally made it there and got a room. On the side of the river we had just left is a mall, but not safe to walk to at night and not what you want to do when you don’t feel well, but there were restaurants there and we needed dinner. Fortunately the hotel would shuttle us over and then we could call and they would pick us up. The shuttle was one of their employees cars. We went to Buffalo Wild Wings because it was familiar and easy to deal with when you are tired, grumpy and not feeling good. We had an ok dinner but when we called for the shuttle it had broken down. Sigh.. ok now what. Well they sent a taxi for us. Just as we got back to the hotel Garry realized he couldn’t find his wallet…. well, that created a bit of a panic. I had paid for dinner but he was worried it had fallen out. I waited in the taxi while he went through the motorhome then went up and checked our room….where he found it. Whew!! So I paid the taxi (it was all of $4) and we went to the room and just crashed. Well, we did watch the NFL playsoff game in Spanish, but who needs sound for football.

Sunday was not as bad, thank goodness. We decided to stay another night at the hotel, so off loaded Stubby and headed for Costco. We didn’t need a lot but it was fun to go through the whole store. Then we hit a place for lunch, then Walmart, then back to the hotel so Garry could rest. He was still feeling pretty miserable. That night we didn’t want to be driving looking for a restaurant and I didn’t feel like cooking in the motorhome so I went down to the desk and found out Dominos delivers! Between my translate app and trial and error pizza was ordered and it arrived about 45 minutes later. It was fine and we made it an early night.

Monday morning Garry was feeling better and we headed to San Carlos. It was an easy 2 hour drive and it was really nice roads. There has been much construction over the last few years and almost all that part of the new highway is complete. In the past we have had lots of detours as we zig zagged from old bumpy old road to sections of new. This year was so nice! We arrived at our condo, La Posada, at noon, too early to check in so we off loaded Stubby and Garry did a little driving around while I organized what to take into the condo.

Today is Thursday… we have had some great days already, met some nice people and Garry is finally feeling good. I will write about those adventures later.

 

Advertisements


Leave a comment

New Year’s In Mexico

We survived another trip across the border into Mexico. Garry’s forgotten New Year’s clothes arrived late morning in Ajo courtesy of UPS (thank you, again, Robin, for getting them packaged and to us!)

Probably because it was a Friday and the beginning of the holiday weekend for the first time there was a line at customs at Lukeville /Sonoyta border crossing. As usual we had to open the trailer and show them Stubby and the registration for the car. Then one hour later we arrived safely at the Reef RV Park. We made it to the Wrecked At The Reef bar to get our New Years tickets and see some of our favorite waiters and have dinner. It was great to be back and recognized. They call Garry “Forever Young” because of his tattoo.

New Year’s Eve day started with watching then UW lose at the Fiesta Bowl but the day got better with a great dinner at Mare Blu restaurant and the fun fun party at Wrecked at the Reef. New Year’s Day was a total waste…. just resting and napping and being a total slug.

We spent the next several days reacquainting ourselves with Puerto Penasco, learning how to fly Garry’s new drone, ride the electric bicycle, eat lots of local prawns and pretty much organize things in the new motor home.

Thursday we drove out of town about 15 miles to visit Terri and Jim, people we met last year. They sold their condo near where we stay and had purchased one at Luna Blanca. It is definitely out of town a bit but their unit is very nice and they have a great beach, 3 pools and other nice features. They plan on living there pretty much October through May but rent it out the other months. It is very close to the Mayan Palace resort that boasts a nice golf course and restaurant and bar. It was great catching up with them. They have connections to Oregon, but most recently relocated from Las Vegas. Give or take a few years, they are similar in ages to us and love to travel. They do many home exchanges and love traveling that way.

On Friday we drove 100 miles west to Golfo de Santa Clara. It is almost a straight shot down from Yuma and supposedly had an RV park so it was worth checking out for possible future trips. The road from Rocky Point to there is pretty new so in really good shape. The town is pretty small…. a quiet fishing village. We managed to get Stubby stuck in the sand and with the help of 5 Mexicans got it out. You know how people who don’t speak the same language seem to think talking louder helps? Picture 5 Mexicans and one Garry all shouting instructions to each other —— go/stop/turn the wheel/the other way/ No, the other way!!!!… it was all I could do not to laugh! We did find the RV Park but you have join a membership. It was right on the gulf but nothing that caught our attention. It is pretty much at the tip of the beginning of the Sea of Cortez and almost an estuary so a lot of sand but not as much water. Well, at least we looked.

We both managed to come down with colds on Friday. We planned to leave Saturday and spend Saturday and Sunday in Hermosillo before heading to San Carlos. I felt good by Saturday but looking back we should have stayed one more day… Garry didn’t feel good and there were issue in Hermosillo but I will save that for later. It just became One Of Those Days, if you get my drift!

 


1 Comment

Ah, Sun and Warm

The winter trip has officially begun.  We flew into Phoenix late last night (Wednesday the 27th) and got to our hotel before 1:00 a.m.  We had been bumped from our Thursday morning flight but all is good because we just started our winter trip 12 hours sooner.

Our first “oops” happened this morning.  Garry forgot to pack his new special New Years Eve clothes for the party we are going to.  Hmmmm…. what to do.  Well, thank goodness for friend Robin (Theresa was back-up plan).  Robin went to our house, grabbed the clothes and they will arrive Friday via UPS. As soon as they arrive we head to Puerto Peñasco.  Thank you, Robin!!!

We Uber’d For the first time this morning from our hotel to our RV park in Buckeye.  That went really  well.  We then stocked up on all sorts of fresh things at a Frys’s grocery store and now are at a really nice KOA in Gila Bend.  Dinner was at Little Italy.  I recommend their pesto chicken.

We are now back in the motor home. Watching the WSU Cougars in the Holiday Bowl.

Will be posting from Mexico next time.


1 Comment

South near the Border

Winter Trip 2017-2018

I am sitting in sunny Arizona writing this post. We took off in the motor home very early the morning after Thanksgiving. The plan this year is to take the motor home to an RV Park in Arizona and fly home from Phoenix until after Christmas, then fly back to get to Mexico in time for our New Years reservations but without the stress of leaving on Christmas Day and worrying about weather.

It actually is turning out to be a great plan. The only real issue was that this motor home is new to us and Garry wanted to do a lot of modifications to it before we left without much time to do those modifications. As usual he kept saying “if I only had 2 more days!” Funny, I dont think that would have done it. And besides…. if he had done everything before we left what projects would he have while we are in Mexico???

We have traveled approximately 1450 miles in 3.5 days and tomorrow will be at our destination in less than 2 hours. We have lucked out on weather because it has been nice the entire way with weather reports saying bad weather was coming into all the places along our route… just a day or two behind us. I sure know how to plan, right??

The new motor home is really nice; new being a relative term. We went from a 2003 31 foot Class C with a single 18” slide out to a 2008 34 foot diesel Class C with 2 slide outs, the largest one sliding out 36”. It feels so much roomier than the old one. It has a truck style cab and so we sit higher and see a lot more. It is really comfortable to ride in for those long days on the road. The storage inside is very different so I continue to move things around but there is much more storage overall.
Everything seems to work just fine with the biggest problem being a need to tighten the microwave in place. For you truck techie people it has Banks Power for better climbing those steep mountain passes and it has Jake brakes for compression braking going down the passes. Garry likes the Banks. I love the Jake. We have a much larger fuel tank so can go more than twice as long between fuel ups. Our mpg is better than the old motor home  and that is nice too since diesel costs so much more than gas.

Day one in Oregon around Salem we had our first funny incident. Well, it was funny to us, but not the other car. We were moving right along and could hear a noisy vehicle coming up on our left side. It sounded like a large motorcycle but it was a car with a loud muffler system and the kind that sits low to the ground. The guy was hot dogging around big time and showing off. And just as he was almost past us he blew a tire. Smoke was everywhere. Rubber was going everywhere. He had to quickly swerve over in front of us and to the curb with rubber chunks Flying all over  but completely missing us. As we passed him Garry did a friendly honk on the horn and waved. Ok, maybe it wasn’t funny. No, it was. ( Garry has corrected my version… as the guy swerved over in front of us after passing us is when he blew the tire.. and I think that is correct.)

In Northern California near Redding we saw a flock of wild turkeys in a field. They were looking really calm and delaxed . I guess they decided they didn’t have to worry until next Thanksgiving.

Our biggest dilemma so far was trying to be somewhere Saturday for the Apple Cup. I had a plan A but then decided we could make it a few hours more to Fresno and called and got a reservation at the only decent sounding RV Park. It was non-refundable but we took it. Then I realized with satellite or cable unless the game was going to be on a local station or ESPN we could not get it on tv. Gar just shook his head when I called a bar in Fresno and asked if the game would be on and what channel. He said yes, and on Fox. Great news! That works for cable and satellite. But then he told me the time of the game. I had forgotten that the XM radio lineup I had been looking at for games and game times were all east coast time. Fresno is now out because we won’t make it in time. I called the RV park and told her a story about RV problems and we had to stop in Sacramento for repairs and couldn’t make it. I also said I understood it was non-refundable but I thought she should know we weren’t coming in case someone else could use the spot. She felt bad for us so refunded the payment. Yay! And we went back Tom plan A.

The only other real story to tell so far is fuel. We fueled up in Oregon before we crossed into California because fuel is so expensive in California ..in fact diesel is almost $1 more per gallon. We knew we wouldn’t make the whole state on one tank so we put a little in near Bakersfield. Then realizing we had not done enough we put a little more in when we drove through Barstow. Then as we headed toward Needles those mountains really messed up our consumption predictions so in Needles we out in a whopping 3 gallons to get us to the first Arizona station that we always go to. We out in 79 gallons in an 80 gallon tank!!!! Yikes! But we made it!!

We fly home tomorrow night and I will be able to do some Christmas decorating this year. More updates after we fly back down after Christmas.CAD0A0C5-0794-4F74-8D0B-0FE5DB66A691


1 Comment

It’s A Wrap

I promised Garry I would wrap up our trip to Europe before too much time went by so I guess I had better get to it!

Our river cruise had many great stops, all of them really nice. Like all cruises you don’t get to do everything in a short time but with river cruises there is more time on shore, sometimes not leaving until late at night which means you can do meals on shore if you like. There were even two overnight stops. Our stops in this order were Basel, Switzerland (where we started), Breisach, Germany; Strasbourg, France; Mannheim, Germany; Rudesheim, Germany; Koblenz, Germany; Bonn and Cologne, Germany; and Amsterdam, Netherlands. At each town we had a choice of tours. We usually opted for the bus/walking tours and passed on the biking tours and hiking tours. Of course staying on the ship or walking around unguided was also an option.

The trip is pretty impossible to describe. There was no favorite part that we can pick. It was all so good. We met some of the best people in towns along the way and also on the cruise ship. We have cards we exchanged with people and now we need to share some pictures with them. We saw beautiful countries, each with their own personality and feel.

Would we change anything? The only thing we could think of was one place we stayed 3 nights and 2 would have given us more time in Austria, but we still enjoyed those 3 nights…. so maybe we would not change it.

In Amsterdam we missed meeting up with a friend from Des Moines… Lisa and her son. They arrived the afternoon the day before we were leaving and the timing and location where we were staying didn’t work out. And then we found out our friend from Seattle, Tanya, was going to be on a morning flight from Amsterdam to Seattle. She had been visiting family in Russia. We kept looking for her but we found out later she was one flight ahead of us. Wouldn’t that have been something if both of those meet-ups had happened!!??!!

Our flight home was uneventful and long but we arrived a little early, zoomed through customs and our travel agent had a driver and car waiting for us for our short ride home.

So, I guess it’s a wrap!!!!


2 Comments

Odds and Ends

 

1. Many fuel/ rest stops on the main highways have cafes. Some of those are McDonalds and Burger King (I mentioned that before). McDonalds has the best free restrooms. Burger King was a pay restroom. Many public restrooms are pay. Usually 50 cents (euro). We did have a burger once at each. Burger King was best.

2. River cruising is great. Probably won’t ever go back to the floating hotel cruise ships again, but maybe another river cruise some time.

3. Packing light worked for the most part. I have bought a few clothes but mostly because I liked them, not because it was necessary.

4. 99% of the passengers on this cruise are Americans… from all over. There is a group of about 30 here from South Carolina all paid for by one of their local tv stations. All are advertisers on that station. They are really enjoying the cruise.

5. You rarely hear politics discussed on the ship.

6. There are interesting rivalries here between towns; sometimes between their soccer teams or their wine or their castles or their beer or their food. The tour guides give interesting and numerous insight on those topics.

7. There are an amazing amount of RV (caravan) parks over here. There are many right on banks of the Rhine River.

8. Cologne was the first town we were warned about pick pockets.

9. Have seen a total of 6 beggars the whole time we have traveled. And no homeless camps.

10. The 9 hour time difference is really frustrating. I keep forgetting what time it is at home, so forget to call people.

11. Sometimes river cruise boats raft to each other in port. You have to be careful at night about closing your curtain because you don’t know what or who might be staring into your stateroom when you wake up. If you walk on the top deck of your ship you can chat with people on the top deck of their ship. If you are rafted to the outside you walk through the other boat to get to shore.

12. Their were 5 cruise ships in one port but that is still only about 700 tourists.

13. The pilot house on the ship can go up and down if needed so we can clear bridges.

14. You are told not to touch the walls of the locks as you go through them. Most of the men touched the walls anyway. It figures.

15. Garry got to tour the engine room.

16. There are 800,000 people in Amsterdam, but 2.5 million bicycles. Bicycles have right of way over everything. Cars are lowest in priority.

17. It is legal to text and bike but not no texting and driving a car.

18. You don’t need to buy pot to get high in Amsterdam. Just inhale while you are walking around town.

19. Amsterdam is very confusing when walking. Thank goodness for google maps.

20. A huge marathon was in Amsterdam today. Someone said 40,000 runners. No wonder it is so crowded this weekend.

21. There was a marathon when we were in Salzburg, too, but only a half marathon.

22. Home tomorrow!!

 


1 Comment

The Adventure Continues

We feel like we have been speeding through Europe. We spent so much time in Germany that we were almost rushed in Austria and Switzerland. We boarded the AMA Kristina river cruise ship yesterday in Basel, Switzerland so this is a good time for a quick catch up.

When we left Binz we made a meandering trip toward Austria . What could have been done in 1 or 2 days took us four, I think. Since we tried our best to stay off the autobahn everything took longer. The advantage is seeing more of the real towns and villages and meeting some great people.

We learned to stop driving by 4:00 p.m. if you want to try to find a hotel when you have no reservations. In one small town there was 1 hotel and it was full. They sent us 4 kilometers down the road to another one and it was full. They sent us another 4 kilometers down the road and we got a nice room overlooking a lake. They had a nice restaurant so dinner was great. I can’t remember the name of the town, but somewhere in my pile of receipts I have the name.

I had read a Rick Steves travel article about a town called Rothenburg ob der Tauber, so we headed there. It is possibly the largest medieval town in Europe. It is an old walled city, with some more modern city outside. Within the walls, though, the buildings go back hundreds and hundreds of years. There are many hotels within the city walls so we stayed in one for a couple nights. Even though it is a huge tourist stop, and souvenir stores are everywhere the buildings are amazing. There is an incredible four story crime museum that is all about how people were “disciplined” (tortured). Fascinating, creepy… I learned too much about the Iron Maiden. Also, if accused of a crime the only way to be found innocent was if you passed 3 levels of torture… not many passed.

We climbed the 200 foot tower to look over the city. That was an experience! It would not pass many safety tests but we made it. Garry also got a haircut in a salon in the city…. but it was done with modern instruments. One night we were having a beverage in a bar and met a nice young American couple. The guy was in the service, stationed in Kuwait. He had a couple days leave so his girlfriend flew over from New York. They were going to miss their haunted town tour waiting for their drink tab so we said we would take care of it, thanking the guy for his service.

Rothenburg was primarily spared from damage during WWII. There are varying stories of how this happened but one story is of an American commander who knew the importance of the city so sent 3 soldiers in with a white flag. They gave the town a choice – surrender within 3 hours or be bombed. The city chose surrender against their own orders and the damage to the city was minimal. Because of the history of the ancient city donations came from around the world to help with restoration.

After Rothenburg we headed toward Salzburg. I actually made a reservation on the way because it is such a busy city. It was a good thing. The town was packed but we had a pretty decent place not far from the old town. Just before we arrived there we got a call from an old business friend of Garry’s who lives in Linz…about 80 miles east. He had been on holiday in Italy so we didn’t think we would be able to see him but he got back and returned our call so we only spent one night in Salzburg, then headed to Linz.

Not knowing Linz at all I planned a day ahead and got a reservation at a very new very modern hotel adjacent to the New Cathedral. It is the largest church in Austria, but not the oldest. It was built starting in 1862 so it is just a baby compared to others. The contrast of our hotel and the cathedral was really something.

Back in the day, when Garry owned Insulate Industries the majority of their manufacturing equipment came from Austria. The man we visited in Linz (Walter) used to own a company called Actual where most of the equipment was from. Walter is retired and that part of the company was sold but his 3 sons run their window company. I had met Walter twice in the past on trips to Europe with Garry. Those two started talking and it was like they had seen each other last week not 25 years ago. Walter’s youngest son, Klaus, joined us for drinks and dinner. It was a great night and then the next morning we toured the window company before we left the area.

After Linz we started diving through the alps, staying in a variety of places. Our favorite was in a town called Worgl. We found an incredible 5 room bed and breakfast called Alexado Residenz Tirol. The room was fabulous, the food wonderful and the owner, Barbara, made us feel like we were home.

We had a very short drive through Lichtenstein and finally got to Switzerland. We spent a few days with Felix, a friend we had not seen in 25 years. We had met him and his then

cwife Linda on their honeymoon in about 1982 or 1983 on a Caribbean cruise, our first ever cruise.. we had seen him twice since then, but not since our last trip to Europe which is when we had also seen Walter.

You have to worry when you are going to stay in someone’s home and you have not seen that person in 25 years but thank goodness most of our changes were in looks, not senses of humor or philosophies on various topics.
Felix doesn’t like to be called a tour guide but he was a great one. One day we drove to Lucerne, a beautiful city, and it was having a its annual 2 week fair. It was packed with families enjoying the food, games, typical fair stuff. The next day we drove to Blausee (Blue Lake). The lake is so clear and even though we were at about 3000 ft elevation, it never freezes. It stays a constant 4 to 8 degrees centigrade year round. There are trout in the lake and we had a great lunch there. We had trout, of course. We drove from there to Interlaken. Now that is really a tourist place but for the really rich or the pretend to be really rich people. There must have been 30 watch stores if there was one.. many ranging in the $20,000 to $40,000 range. Yikes.

We got on the cruise ship yesterday. Our ship is the Kristina with AMA river cruises. She is only 6 months old and very modern. There are 150 passengers on board, so it is tons different than the other type of cruising we have done before. We have one of the four suites and our butler will bring us whatever we need. It seems to be mostly Americans on the cruise but we are just starting to meet people more today. We left Basel at 10:00 last night and I wrapped myself in the blanket provided and sat out on the balcony watching lights go by.

So now you are mostly up to date. Home next Monday.

Here are pictures in random order.