Mar and Gar's Adventures

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Trying to catch up

We have had four days of non-stop wind but with the days getting warmer. This morning (the 29th) we woke up to calm seas and an expected 86 degrees today. Time to put the awning back out, for sure! Because of the winds, though, we had to cancel our adventure with Jose Luis and Juanita.

For a sleepy fishing village and a small rv park there sure seems plenty to keep us busy. We continue to meet more of our neighbors. The bulk of the people are here for several months. Some keep their rv here year round and drive here off and on. A few live hear year round. The cost to stay annually is about $250 a month, so for many it is cheaper to pay annually even if they are not here all year. We paid for our first week by the week which is cheaper than the daily rate. Since we are going to stay more than 14 days they are going to give us our 2nd week at the monthly rate so that is saving some.

On Thursday Garry and I drove around and found the estuary south of town. They farm oysters there and there are a couple small restaurants. There is also a large whiten house/building at the very very VERY end of the road. It looked really out of place for the area. We found out later is is rented out for retreats and events. Still seemed pretty out of place but a great location.

On the way back toward town we spotted the restaurant we we ate lobster at last year so we tried to find a back road to it. The next thing you know we are driving through some kind of massive construction project. They nicely waved us through. Stubby caught their eyes , I guess. I tried to interpret their sign and it said something about a park and to be done in March. Well, it for sure won’t be this March. It is mostly dirt being cleared now. We asked about it later and found out it will be a tourist water park. This doesn’t make sense to us or any of the locals we talk to. This is not a big tourist area at all. There are very few young people here who would use the park. Most are saying the money could have been spent on electricity and plumbing for the homes in the barrio that have neither and for road upgrades…. you know, things like pavement? But they say that it is typical of decisions made to benefit the. People who have thee construction businesses, etc., get the business.

Friday night we went with Jose Luis and Juanita back to that restaurant for dinner and to listen to our neighbor Ray and his band play. It is a six person band and they were pretty darn good, playing mostly country music and a little rock and roll. They play from 6:30 to 9:00. The place was packed with gringos and locals. It was pretty funny because happy hour is from 6:30 to 8:30 and it is half price drinks. One gringo was waiting until exactly 6:30 to order his first drink. When happy hour ended at 8:30 the place started emptying quickly. We stayed until about 9:30. I will post pictures at some point when I can upload them. There were lots of people from Islandia there having a good time. Ray and Jackie from Montana (not Colorado like I said before) sat with us. It was a great night.

Saturday started out a bit slower thanks to Friday night. Garry slept in and was wondering (aka whining) about being hungry and luckily for him Philippe knocked on the RV and delivered fresh baked croissants and a chocolate filled pastry, still warm from his oven. Our day was off to a great start!! It was a pretty lazy day as we got to know more of our neighbors.

Skipping over a few days, yesterday Ray from Kalispell took garry to where he fishes. They caught four bulls eye puffer fish. Gar says the are sooo ugly! I guess they have huge front teeth like a horse and when you have them out of the water the keep biting and he says it is really loud and creepy. Ray knows how to clean them because their liver is poisonous so you have to be very careful. He must have done a good job because we cooked fish and chips for him and Jackie and we all lived to tell about it.

Ok, more to tell, but I am losing tack of all the stories so will get back to this later.

P.S.  I think as I read back before I hit “post” it gets confusing what days I am writing about.  Sorry about that.  I start writing then wait a day or so and just assume you know my calendar….. as I pause and then start again.  Oh, well!



Meet Philippe

Boy, this is where I hope I can upload pictures!  But, I don’t think that will happen.  Philippe is one of the winter residents here at Islandia.  He and his wife are French but live in Santa Fe, New Mexico now.  We met them last year but know much more now.  Philippe is an amazing baker.  He has built a kitchen area on his rv patio and twice a week bakes incredible breads and rolls.  He takes orders from all over Kino Bay by Tuesday and starts baking at 4:00 a.m. On Wednesday you can pick up your baked goods later in the morning or if you go to Wednesday bingo, you can get them there.  He then bakes again on Saturday and gives it all to the poor in Kino Bay.

img_3182I was  given a nice tour of his place this week.  He has a double Wolf oven that he bought used from a place here that was upgrading to new equipment.  He gets huge bags of flour from the states.  I asked how on earth he could get so much and basically anyone who is heading down here and knows him will call and ask if he needs flour.  If he says yes they buy it and bring it down.  He said Mexican flour is too sweet.  He prefers flour from colder areas such as northern U.S. states.

So, he gets his dough ready on Tuesdays based on his orders. When we did our order for his famous raisin rolls he already had a list of at least 40 orders before us of various things.  He does French bread, rye bread, baguettes, cinnamon rolls, raisin rolls.  The list goes on.  On Wednesdays everything is bagged and labeled and priced, laid out in his motorhome for you to come by, pay and pick up.  We bought 4 raisin rolls and a French baguette and it was 102 pesos, so about $5.  Next week we will order more because it is already gone!


Lunch Break Over

Whew, back to the story.  Monday, equipped with better directions, we took Stubby into Hermisillo.  It turns out there are 3 Walmarts in  Hermosillo and the Costco wasn’t all that far off from the “B in the Box” instructions but what a difference the correct address was!!!  Right next to Costco was a large store called Mega so we decided to window shop both stores before shopping.  We had taken along a small cooler if we bought something that needed to be kept cool but had no ice so didn’t want to really shop until we had everything scoped out.

At Mega a man dropped $100 peso bill in front of Garry which is about $5.  Gar returned it and it turned out it was an American from New Mexico , Greg and his wife, Pat, who winter in Kino Bay in a home near Kino Nuevo which is the newer part of town.  We kept running into them as we went up and down the isles of the store.  They showed where the international isle was which had a few things I was hoping to find.  We chatted awhile about some things that you just can’t find here and the one thing I wished I had was Lipton Onion Soup mix.  Well, Greg’s mom is flying in from Chicago this week so he is going to have her pick some up for me and we will meet up later so I can get it from them. How cool is that!!!

Costco was next door to Mega, so we wandered the isles there next and kept running into our new friends!  The layout of the Costco is identical to the Wilsonville, Oregon store that we were in in November.  Most of the products are the same as home with prices in pesos.  We were able get some Kirkland brand potato chips and prosecco.  They also had Florida’s Natural grapefruit juice!  Woo hoo!  It is in a large gallon container but I was determined I could make it fit in our fridge.  It cost about $5.60.  I pay around $4.49 a half gallon at home. Finding these two stores changes a lot of my shopping planning for next winter, that’s for sure.

We have enjoyed spending time with friends from last year, especially Jose Luis and Juanita.  They are heading to California in a few days to celebrate a granddaughter’s 1st birthday.  We also have talked a lot with Paula (PJ) and Dan from Oregon.  They have been coming here for over 30 years.  Last year we knew PJ was recovering from a stroke.  It really affected her speech, but we were happy to see huge improvements.  She is happy that she is now able to read some and even some if out loud.  She had really missed that.  She and Dan are huge advocates of having a positive attitude and never giving up and it sure is paying off for her.  We also have reconnected with David, from Bisbee Arizona.  He spent a lot of time in Washington as a surveyor for the state and has brothers in Sequim.  Last year he had a pop-up van and cooked outside on a table.  This year he is in a cabana which is better.  We are parked next to Ray from Canada.  Last year he had pneumonia when we were here so saw very little of him.  He is in his mid 80’s and he and one or two others play music about once a week at a local restaurant.  We are going  on Friday to hear him play. I guess it is a big draw so we will make sure to get there early.  We have met Ray and Jackie from Colorado.  They have been coming for years also.  I would guess they are in there late 50s.

We were going to go to a little pizza place called Luigi’s for dinner tonight.  We heard they did Chinese food on Wednesdays   Unfortunately  I just found out that if you are not there by 3:00 or so it is all gone so we will maybe do that next Wednesday.



Kino Bay

Wow, time really does zoom by!  It seems like I just posted but it has been at least a week.  We left San Carlos on Thursday, the 19th, because of bad weather predictions for Friday and Saturday and we didn’t really want to be traveling in heavy rain.  The place where we were staying is applying our extra days we had paid for toward our stay next year.  I did not expect that at all!

Garry wanted to go to Walmart in Hermosillo and I wanted to find the Costco so we navigated our way into the city.  We found the Walmart easily but Google Maps did not get us to Costco.  Now I know why my friend Yvonne calls the voice on Google Maps “The Bitch in the Box”!!!  She took us through an old neighborhood, some unmarked one-ways and lots of ruts in the narrow roads.  We gave up on Costco and I was able to finally get us out of town and on the road to Kino Bay.  I am not on speaking terms right now with the B in the Box!

The Islandia RV park is pretty darn full, but we had a space reserved.  Office manager, Marta, showed us two options.  We lucked out in that the spot we took is for smaller RVs like us, but there were two front and back available so we took both.  This way Stubby’s trailer can stay with us and not be put in storage somewhere.  Paying by the week, the two spots are costing us about $120 for 7 days.  Not bad at all.  We are in one of the same spaces we were in last year so see some familiar faces but also some new ones.

The bad weather predicted for Friday and Saturday arrived Friday afternoon, starting with heavy rain.  By night the winds had really picked up.  We tied our rv down to the vacant one next to us and we rocked and rolled all night.  Fortunately most of the bad weather hit earlier than predicted so by Saturday we had cool weather and clouds but no more rain and much less wind. Everyone here is saying it is the coldest winter they have ever had here.  It gets down to the mid 40’s at night and anywhere from 62 to 75 during the day, but mostly in the 60’s.  It is supposed to be 79 by Sunday.

I met a lady named Julie in Saturday.  She is a retired English teacher and is from PeEll Washington.  She had been camping in a tent (in that wind!!!)  with her two dogs but a cabana here at the park become open so she was moving into one.  She has started giving English classes to some of the workers here in exchange for Spanish lessons.. basically, a barter deal.  I went to the Saturday afternoon class at the office.  I learned some things but mostly had a great time laughing with everyone as we mangled each other’s language!  I will go some more if I am around at class time.  It is free for anyone who wants to show up.

There  are hummingbirds here and I thought it would be nice to have a feeder.  So it was put on my “next year” list,  but a trailer left and forgot their feeder so their neighbors took it down and gave it so me.  I cleaned it up, made some sugar water for it and now it hangs from our palm tree getting frequent visitors.

I have learned to not believe everything you read or hear.  Or at least, don’t take it literally.  Last year we were told there were no bars in Kino Bay and it didn’t appear there was a way to watch American football and enjoy beer or a margarita.  Not true!  Most restaurants here do not serve alcohol so you bring your own.  And there is o real sports bar, but walking distance from the rv park is a place called Marlins.  We went there Sunday for dinner.  The not only had a small bar but they had an ancient… and I mean really ancient… old big screen tv and the employees/family was watching an old movie.  We were the only customers and the owner, Sammy, seated us and gave us menus then went to the tv and changed it to the NFL play-off game.  We never said a word.  He just saw Americans and made a good assumption.  Sammy makes a great margarita, good pork chops and really nice prawns in a Mexican sauce.  I also enjoyed a nice green salad with my dinner.  We also learned that on Fridays it is a popular place because of his specials.

I have much more to write but will stop here for now.  Time to fix lunch.

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Kino Bay…aka

Bahia de Kino.  We have been at the Islandia RV Park in Kino Bay since Thursday.  There is plenty to write about but most will be in a day or so.  We have been very busy navigating here, settling in, meeting old friends, making new friends.

For now, just wanted you all to know we are here.  The weather is cooler than any year the regulars can remember.  It gets down to the mid 40’s at night but today got up to 77 degrees.  This is the first time over 70.  We even had a crazy wind storm and then big rain our second night here.

So, more later!  Doing a road trip tomorrow so will a better post after that.




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San Carlos Odds and Ends

We are probably leaving San Carlos on Thursday for Bahia de Kino (Kino Bay) so I thought I would do a post while I have time and really good wifi.

One of the first things we noticed when we checked into our room last week was that the beach looked a little different.  Well, on September 12, 2016, Hurricane Newton hit Guaymas and San Carlos.  It was a category 1 hurricane but did a fair mount of damage to homes, boats, and beaches.  Much of the beach in front of our condo disappeared so new beach was brought in.  We have no idea where it came from but it is not as sandy yet.  This resort had mostly broken glass in some of the units.img_2534

San Carlos is not a fancy resort town like some Mexican towns are.  This condo building is one of the first in town and shows its age some.  The newer condos further out of town are fancier but we like being so close to town.  That being said, there are a few things you deal with when you are in an older building. Water pressure is one of those things.   Actually, plumbing in general can be a challenge.  These condo units all have on demand hot water systems.  The unit we are in now has 2 systems.  The one for our bathroom works well, but the other one that is for the kitchen, laundry and other two bathrooms doesn’t always work.  That made washing dishes a challenge for 2 days when  it just wouldn’t heat the water.  I ended up heating pots of water on the stove and also getting some hot water from the bathroom that works.

We pay for things either by credit card or with pesos.  The only way to get pesos here is at an ATM because banks won’t exchange U.S. dollars, fearing counterfeits.  Also, we are regularly asked for I.D. when using credit cards because of stolen cards.  At one place we kinda yanked their chain by saying we had found the I.D., too.  Haha..

img_3141More Direct TV info…. so since it is not Mexican satellite there are times of the day when the signal is weak as those satellites make their way around the earth.  That is usually in the morning when we are watching news or at night during prime time.  That is when we lose the local (Tucson)  channels.  We can still a variety of shows but most not worth watching.  The other thing that is a problem with satellite TV is bad weather.  That is why I prefer cable…. and of course for the Seahawks game we had a huge rain storm so lost signal right at kick-off.  If was spotty but between texting with Robin M at home and the occasional picture or sound we made it to half-time.  ATM that pint we headed to Hammerheads Bar at the marina.  It was packed but 4 nice and super cute Mexican guys in their mid-twenties invited us to sit with them.  They had come to town from Obregon for some fun over the weekend.  Three were huge Seahawk fans.  The 4th guy just was enjoying everything. Obregon is a nice town about an hour past Guaymas.  Two of the guys were college graduates, and the others in college. Three were majoring in agriculture and one has an engineering degree.   There is a lot of agriculture down here.  Anyway, we had a great time with them and learned so much.   Meeting them helped make up for the Seahawk loss.img_2536

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Guaymas, Direct TV, Pearls and Apps

How is all that for a bunch of topics!!!  Yesterday we hopped in Stubby to head to Guaymas and other areas.  Last year I had read about a pearl farm but we could never find it.  It was on my “must find” list this year.  Persistence paid off.  As it turns out we were only 3 blocks or so away from it last year when we gave up!  Go figure!

The Sea of Cortez is home to 2 types of oysters only found there and they happen to produce the most gorgeous pearls.  Natural pearls became almost distinct in the 1800’s due to their rarity.  Pearl farming began, ended and began again.  The farm produces a limited number of pearls each year making these pearls still among the rarest.  Read more on these beauties at  We enjoyed our stop there and I acquired a gorgeous Mabe pearl pendant.

After visiting the pearl farm we drove around Guaymas.  We visited the port where Stubby got his picture taken.  We also found the ferry terminal for the ferry crossing across the Baja to La Paz.  We are considering doing that next year.

img_3126We were getting hungry so got super creative.  We found a small shopping mall and hit the food court.  It is all part of the experience, right?  So why not have Chinese food!  It was really good.  After lunch we went to Super Ley, which is a major grocery store chain.  This particular store was huge!


It was super clean and organized but no tonic water and now Parmesan cheese.  So off we go to Walmart.  It was also large but Suoer Ley was nicer.  However, Walmart had tonic and Parmesan so it was a successful stop.  It was tie to hit an ATM for more pesos and that is when I discovered my VISA card missing.  A quick call to the Pearl farm and it was located and we picked it up on our way home.  Whew!  Close call!!!

Here is our direct TV update.  We were able to get someone to get the closed captioning off the screen and get the menu in English, but the remote was and is still a problem but we changed rooms today so that is no longer our problem.

I need to tell you about the most awesome Google App!  Christina, who works in the office here, saw  I was trying to learn more Spanish.  She downloaded the Translate app on my iPhone and iPad and it is so amazing.  All you techies out there are laughing at me, I am sure, but it is like a miracle.  There is a camera function and you just point at the words and it translates it.  Magazines!  Medicine! Menus! It is soooo cool! I am hooked!

Garry went fishing this morning for  a few hours  they had no luck trolling but did ok bottom fishing.  He had a great time.

img_0225We also moved into our new room today since the old one is booked by someone else starting today.  We moved up one floor, and this unit, as I explained in an earlier post, is larger.  It also has nicer decor.  We will stay in this unit til we leave San Carlos.