Mar and Gar's Adventures

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A Man Possessed

I don’t know if Garry has been a man possessed or a man obsessed, but ever since we got home from Mexico he has been on a mission to find a different motorhome.  He had been hinting strongly that he wanted me to like a new style out that is life a class A, but part class C.  I didn’t take the bait, though.  I like the style we have.

He has his reasons for hunting for another rig and I won’t discount them.  While everything pretty much works on ours it is getting up there in years (it is a 2003) and in miles.  We have done 3 trips to Mexico in it plus a few other jaunts so it really adds up.  Top that off with a complaint that I didn’t have was that towing the car trailer with Stubby in it he no longer has enough power to pass vehicles when going up mountain passes.  To that I say, boo hoo, but I guess it was a fairly big deal to him.   Something about horsepower and torque.  Yada yada yada….

So, back to the quest.  He has spent numerous hours scouring Craigslist, Ebay, and numerous other websites searching for the right motorhome.  We love the layout we have but it is hard to find.

First he found one to look at in Hadlock, Wa.  He drove over one day and told me about it that night, so on an early Saturday morning we drove the 1 hour 45 minute pretty trip to Hadlock.  He was so enamored with some of the bells and whistles that he didn’t notice the dirt, smell, and other things.  I wouldn’t even do a test drive.  When I questioned the current owner (who had only put 2500 miles on it) he did state the previous owner or owners were bird hunters.   I have no problem with hunting or hunters but my guess is they weren’t the tidiest of people.  I don’t think the upkeep of the motorhome was their primary focus.

A week later or so we drove to the Tacoma area and looked at a nice one but it was larger than we wanted and it was pretty pricey for its age.

Then he found one down in Oregon.  I agreed to an early morning drive to Sandy Oregon.  We left at 5:15 a.m. and thanks to spring break and good weather made excellent time and were at the RV lot by 8:15 – a full 45 minutes before they opened.  I napped in the van while Garry snooped around.  He was quickly back and said we would be leaving soon.  He took me out and showed it to me.  Now, we knew it had not yet been detailed but the video they RV people sent us neglected to show the four different places that needed body work.  And it wasn’t just dirty, it was REALLY dirty.   We left and were home before noon.  It was a 350 miles trip but I slept most of it.  When Garry talked to the salesman later he told him that it looked like the homeless had been living in it and then had taken it for a run around a Nascar track or demolition derby.

So, imagine my joy when he found a motorhome in Colorado – just exactly what we want, almost.  In a very spur of the moment decision he had me book him a flight to Grand Junction, Colorado one afternoon with a return the next evening.  He fell in love with the motorhome.  He called me several times when no one was around him so he could tell me about it.  I had already run a Carfax so I knew it was well taken care of.  Soooo, he made an offer…. they countered…. he countered…. they split the difference and we are flying Sunday early evening to Grand Junction to pick it up.  They needed to put new batteries in it and do a couple things, but assuming all is as we except we will be driving it home next week.

So, the big reveal!  What is it??  Right?  It is a 35′ 2008 Gulfstream Endura.  Diesel engine, Kodiak chassis (I think).  Anyway, it looks more like a truck front than our current one that looks like a van front.  It is four feet longer than what we have now but most of that is the chassis.  It has two slide-outs and the slide-outs are deeper than what we have now so more space when we open things up.

Keep your fingers crossed for us… both for the purchase and for the trip home!

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Heading North

If you could see us, you would see sad faces. We are back in the USA and that means we are heading toward home. It is raining and I hear freeway noise. Back to the real world. The only thing that helps a little is that it is raining in Puerto Penasco, too. Let me bring you up to date.

After leaving Puerto Lobos and heading to Puerto Penasco, we got an awakening of how much fuel we had burned running our our generator several hours a day for several days when we were dry camping. It looked like we didn’t have enough fuel to get to Puerto Penasco. We stopped in a tiny town at a little cafe. There were 4 young men at their truck having lunch and talking. Armed with iPad and iPhone I attempted to ask if there was any place closer for fuel. Lots of gesturing, some Spanish and thanks to google maps we learned we could take a road and drive for about 20 miles to a gas station. That was much better than the 90 miles to Puerto Penasco, so off we went. It was totally the wrong direction but we didn’t want to take a chance. Sure enough, we found the town, fueled up and got back on track.

Garry had decided we would stay in a condo for this part of our trip, but we still put the RV back at our normal RV park. We stayed in it the first night and the next day explored some places to decide where to stay. About a mile from the RV park is Las Palomas Beach and Golf Resort. We had a great guy who toured us through room after room after room until we found the one we wanted. That took about an hour. I must say we got a little carried away. From dry camping in the motorhome we ended up with a 4 bedroom, 5 bathroom gorgeous condo with incredible views of the town one direction and a view toward the Sandy Beach area where our motorhome was in the other direction. This place was amazing! It had 35 feet of sliding doors that opened out onto the huge balcony.

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Living room of our condo

I was in heaven! Long long showers! A King size bed. TV. Laundry. Ice maker. Ahhhh!!!!!

We went out to eat a lot but I also cooked in the condo some. Isn’t it strange that cooking familiar food in a place like this is more fun than at home? And doing laundry was fun. I washed everything I could think of… some things more than once, just because I could!

Garry went for a ultralight ride one day and I took pictures and a video of him as he flew by our balcony. It was a tandem ride and cost $45. It is motorized and has wheels so you strap in and the pilot starts driving down the dirt road until he gets lift-off. Then he just lands back on the road again when the ride ends. Pretty easy.

We spent one entire day exploring parts of Puerto Penasco that we had not visited before. There is a neighborhood called Las Conchas and it is several blocks of newer homes right on the water or just a street or two away. A lot of Americans and Canadians have homes there. Some are available as rentals. We grabbed a bunch of for sale flyers….and the prices ranged from $250,000 to $575,000. Some were selling their share in a jointly owned home. It was a nice area but not convenient to stores. Then way out of town about 25 miles is the Mayan Palace. It is a time share place but you can rent rooms there like in a hotel. There is a nice golf course, beautiful grounds, but nothing else out there. If you don’t eat or drink there, it is way back to town. Just before the turn to the Mayan Palace I had seen a sign to the Sand Castle so I made Garry follow the signs because I was really curious what it was. Well, it was a 11 bedroom, 10 bath mansion on the beach… sleeps 35. It is only $1300 a night plus maid service so you break it down and it isn’t bad. It is often booked for family things….reunions, weddings, etc., but also for business retreats.

Another day Garry decided we would go golfing. There are 3 golf courses, but we drove out to Laguna Del Mar where there is a nice 9 hole course with the other 9 holes getting started. Stubby looked pretty funny with his top down and a golf bag sticking up out of the top. There were about 10 people total on the course so we could take our time and enjoy ourselves. That was a good thing because neither one of us had golfed in at least 5 years. We learned we could see better taking our glasses off. That way everything was the same blur instead of the bifocal effect. There is a lagoon all around the course so the “occasional” ball found its way there but amazingly I always found another one to play with. Nine holes was plenty since we hadn’t played in such a long time.

One day while I was relaxing at the condo, Garry went to town to look for who knows what. It was lunch time so he decided to try their Burger King. He met a lady having lunch and found out she was originally from Forks, Washington. She and her husband (Jim and Terri) were staying in a condo not far from us so we met them for drinks on our last night in town. They currently live in Las Vegas but when they go home are going to put their house in the market and are going to build or buy in Puerto Penasco. They are about our ages and it was fun swapping stories. They have done a lot of house exchange vacations which I have always thought would be interesting.

Before we left town to head north we made sure to stop and say goodbye to our friends at Wrecked at the Reef. Omar always greeted me with a hug and a kiss in the check and the same when we left. Bartender extrordinaire Emilio always gave a hug when he could….

So, with heavy hearts we left. We did get boarded at US Customs for the first time coming across the border. They were mostly concerned about certain foods not to bring in, even if in shrink wrap, so my uncooked chicken, bacon, 2 eggs and 2 potatoes went bye bye. Since they seem to be stricter we will be more careful next year. He suggested either cooking things nor giving to the poor. Strangely, we can bring beef home, but not chicken or pork.

Of the two border patrol stops between the border and highway I-10, only one was manned. Two quick questions and we were sent on our way.

We are currently in Quartzsite, Arizona. I had been watching the weather reports and everything all around was to be nasty today -lots of rain and wind- so we got here yesterday. It got so windy yesterday evening and night that the sand/dust hurt when it hit you. The rain started at 4:00 this morning. It has been off and on rain so far, but not much wind.

I don’t remember if I wrote about our Dish satellite receiver quitting on us. Well, I found a dealer here and for $15 and a couple hours it is working just fine and they explained everything that had gone wrong with it. They taught me all sorts of things about it so it was well worth the $15!!

So, now you are current. Stay dry and warm wherever you are!


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Puerto Lobos

We had an uneventful drive from the rodeo to Puerto Lobos other than the cafe in Libertad was closed for a national holiday .. Constitution Day.. so we found a nice pullout on the new highway and I cooked breakfast.img_2722  This was Super Bowl Sunday.  We pretty much figured we would be listening to the game on XM radio but we met Rocky and Pat from Arizona.  They were staying in a friend’s guest cabana but were going to watch the game at Don and Cynthia’s down the road and we were invited.  Why not!  Don and Cynthia built a nice home right on the Bay and have lived there full time for 5 years.  Electricity had arrived in Puerto Lobos about 6 years ago so building something was more appealing after that.

It was a treat watching the game on a big screen.  There was a ton of food and we had a great time.  We were able ask lots of questions about where they shop, etc.  For the most part they go to Sam’s’ Club in Puerto Penasco to stock up on things.  That is about a 2 .5 hour drive.  Other times they will go all the way to Ajo, Arizona for things that you can’t get in Mexico.  For mail, you get a P.O. Box in Lukeville Arizona which is the American border town when you drive to Ajo.  Then on one your trips to Ajo, you pick up your mail….and probably all your friend’s mail, too!

Garry really wanted to go fishing so he hired Arturo of Arturo’s Dive and Fish to take him out.  He invited Rocky along and they were out from 8:30 in the morning until almost 4:00 in the afternoon.  They had a blast and caught tons of fish… all kinds..  A fishing trip next year is definitely on the agenda.  It was the best fishing of the trip so far.

We were dry camping so no power, water or septic.  We managed four very careful days of conserving, plus I learned how to use the purified water vending machine for drinking and cooking, but when the holding tanks were full we decided to move on to Puerto Penasco.


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Meet Some Friends

Here are are some of the people we have met along the way.

 

Ray – the neighbor next to us in Kino Bay. Ray is in his mid 80’s and is from Canada and has been here for several years. He told me his passport expired and it is hard to renew from there so probably won’t be going back. He is a great musician and has a band that plays every other Friday at a local restaurant/bar…. mostly country music from the ’80’s and ’90’s plus some rock n roll.

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Jackie and Ray

Ray and Jackie – nice people from Montana. They have been coming down here for almost 30 years every winter. Ray took Garry fishing. Jackie filled me in on many of the residents here in the park. Good gossip. They were the ones who told us about the rodeo. Can’t wait to see what adventures we might have with them next year.

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Donald and his dog, Cookie

Donald – he is from Detroit but lives here full time. He gave me a tour of his home. It is part 5th wheel and part cabana. He has traveled all over the world. I saw pictures of him years ago when he rode a horse all over Ireland. He met and married a lady there… but after several years She missed Ireland so headed home.

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Sid’s place

Sid – no picture of him, just his home. He is originally from England but was recruited by Fluke Engineering in Everett, then later moved to Portland. He has been wintering here 10 years. His wife died about 4 years ago. He ended up selling his RV and now drives down and stays in this place that is here permanently. He told me a funny story about when he came to Everett. Fluke was paying his moving expenses but they wouldn’t pay to ship his sailboat. Clever man that he was, he bought a kit to build a sailboat. They never questioned what was in the box, so he got his sailboat after all! It is in Kino Bay with him.

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Marta in her office

Marta – we didn’t meet Marta last year. She was on maternity leave. She runs the office and speaks pretty good English which is a big help. She is a very kind, helpful person. Whenever there was an issue in the park she would walk to everyone to fill them in. We had 2 power outages to deal with while a transformer was being replaced and she made sure we all knew. She also helped me figure out postage for some postcards…and warned me they will take a long time to get to the people back in the states.

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Lisbett

Lisbett – what a sweet girl. When I took my Spanish/English class we sat on a couch next to each other and basically laughed all the time and wrote cheat notes to each other. We got “shushed” a few times. Whenever she saw me she gave me a huge hug. She was thrilled to be learning some English. The picture is her with a son, and her son’s friend. Lisbett cleans the cabanas and does laundry for them.

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Arturo Sr. and Arturo Jr cleaning Garry’s fish

Arturo Jr. – What an interesting young man. He lives in Puerto Lobos now and does fishing and diving trips. He was Garrys fishing guide. He is from Puerto Lobos but when he was done with 6th grade his dad moved them to the much larger town of Caborca about 2 hours away for a better education. He has finished college, is engaged to a girl named Bianca, who is in college now. They are getting married March 2018. His dad, Arturo Sr, is who found us the place to park the RV in Puerto Lobos. Sr. runs the boat launch in the area and is the unofficial harbormaster.

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Garry and Malena

Malena – Malena owns and runs the Green Cup Cafe in Puerto Libertad. Great food! We went back on a Sunday because she said she makes a great omelette but the Cafe was closed for a national holiday. There is always next year.


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Rodeo Drive

There is no possible way I can describe the rodeo day we had on Saturday. It was a fun experience we won’t forgot. Thanks to Ray and Jackie for guiding us and two other cars from Kino Bay to the remote village where the event took place… It was a 30 mile drive on paved road then 7 miles in dirt road and all of a sudden we are in a big dirt parking lot/ballfield looking at the grandstands.

In the scale of size the arena is not huge and the grandstands hold altogether about 3000 people. People also sit on the railings of the arena or the more agile guys stand on the inside. Around the outside of the arena are some games, lots of food vendors, beer sales, a few souvenir places. These are all very small if you compared to something like a fair at home.

The rodeo is a 3 day event ending on Monday. It is the biggest event in the area with people coming from all over. All the young people (like in their 20’s) really dress for the occasion. Everyone in jeans but trendy shirts and tops, popular sunglasses, girls wearing great jewelry. Most in cowboy hats, all wearing boots. Everyone had cell phones taking pictures, selfies, group shots.

It cost a little to get in and there was security there. You can’t take any alcohol in because you buy it there. The big seller is Tecate beer. There was a drink stand that advertised margaritas, pina coladas, tequila sunrises, vodka drinks, and so on. The only problem was that they were only selling Bloody Marys.

When we got in and got in the top of the grandstands it was so hot! We were dying. It was probably high 80’s, no shade, and no wind. Garry just can’t handle the heat so we went back to the motorhome and cooled off for a little bit. I put on jeans on instead of shorts. This probably sounds wrong but it kept me from burning my legs. If you were in the top row you could have an umbrella for shade so Jackie and I did that. Garry brought in a folding chair and sat below in the shade of Bloody Mary vendor’s stand. He made lots of friends down there.

So let me explain the rodeo. It is more a dance than a rodeo. All the hip cool young ones were dancing in the arena when we got there. The band ( which was loud and darn good) played almost non-stop until 6:00. The rodeo itself is bull riding only. They would get a bull ready, then shoo the dancers off, do the very short bull ride, then the dancers are all back. There would be 10 minutes of dancing for every few seconds of bull riding. If you could ride the bull successfully you won a 6 pack of beer. As the day went on and more beer was consumed the young agile non-rider guys would taunt the bull trying to get it to go after them. They usually weren’t successful, but not for lack of trying. The funniest ride of the day was the bull that would buck and then just stand there. The rider really wanted his beer so he did everything he could to make it kick and buck. The bull finally just laid down and the guy stood on the bull’s side and did a Rocky pose. They gave him his beer. The bull was not hurt, just very bored. He was big, the rider not, so all was good.

Speaking of beer, when you finished one you just threw the can on the ground. Kids were there immediately to swoop them up into big bags for recycling money. Those kids are going to be rich. I could of believe how much beer was consumed!!! And this was only day one!!

One of the games you could play was to throw and try to break a coke bottle. There were 3 bottles each hanging from a rope about 2 feet apart. You used chunks of broken up concrete to try to break them. The vendor was quite the entrepreneur. He was right next to the bathrooms so he sold toilet paper too!

As the day went on the dancing got more and more people out there. You had to climb up the arena fence, then down the other side, then back up and out at bull riding time. You know who absolutely had to do it, right? Yep, Garry. He couldn’t stand it so got out there, danced around, made more friends and got out again. He said it was hard to dance in the soft dirt. I wonder what else the bulls might have left in the soft dirt.

The rodeo officially ended at 6:00. Then the real dancing started with other bands. We listened and watched from just outside in our motorhome, along with a few others from Kino Bay. Then from 9:00 to 2:00 in the morning the dance moved a few blocks away to another place in the village. We passed on going.

We were planning to dry camp for the night so Garry found a policeman to ask if it was safe. Which reminds me, there was a lot of police here keeping an eye on things. Anyway, the guy he asked turned out to be the Chief of Police of Kino Bay assisting at the event. He said it was 110% safe and if we needed anything, just let him know. Everyone else from our group from Kino Bay headed back and were in the big dirt parking area all alone.

The night was fairly uneventful. An occasional car drove by and we could hear the music from the dance place…. well, I could….Garry justmook his hearing aids out. But the loudest music was done by about 11:30. At 1:30 something disturbed the bulls and they made some noise. Then at 5:00 in the morning a car decided to park 10 feet away from us, roll down windows and blast music. It shook the whole motorhome. We would turn it down to make a phone call, then more music. This went on for 45 minutes and then he left. I was awake so started the generator, made coffee and started writing this before I forgot most of it.

Before we left on Sunday morning we drove the couple blocks into the little town and saw the town center where the dance had been. There was even a very small carnival there. The we hit the road for Puerto Lobos. That will be in the next post.


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Police, Costco, Haircuts

I forgot three stories, so here they are in order.

1. We were coming home from our road trip to Puerto Lobos and we had just passed through Libertad when the local policeman pulled us over. Well, Garry could see he was going to so he just stopped. I got everything ready and we assumed a small bribe would be needed. The officer spoke no English but with my extremely limited Spanish and lots of gesturing and nodding, he was warning us to go slower because we were a small car and something ahead was big and it could be bad. I had remembered several beware of animal signs and also a truck entering and leaving road sign, so we proceeded a bit slower and soon ran across several very large cattle along the road. Turns out many a car has met the cattle at high rates of speed and it is usually disastrous to both. So no shakedown, just a courteous warning.

2. We went to Hermosillo yesterday to get a few things from Costco. Boy, Stubby can hold a lot if you work at it. Anyway, neighbor Ray from Canada asked us to get him some Campbell’s Tomato Soup. He said it would be a 12 pack. Well, we looked and looked and looked. There was a regional manager there walking around with the local manager and they said they don’t carry it. They were super nice when Garry asked if they could have some here by the next day. Then when I was checking out and garry was on the other side of the checkout area they came to him with two double packs of gourmet soups that we have at home at Costco. Ivan’s clam Chowder and Tomato Bisque Soup. They said pick one… it was free… and maybe we would like it. Well, we picked to tomato soup for Ray, then went next door to the Mega grocery store for a few smaller items. Lo and behold they had Campbell’s soup so we got that for Ray and kept the good stuff!!!

3. Garry went to try to get a haircut today. First he went to the hardware store for a hose part. He gestured around his head and the guy tried to sell him some hair clippers. No no! More gesturing. AH, the barber was next to the billiard hall a couple doors away. It was really busy. The barber was a little person… he was barely taller than Garry when he was in the chair. The haircut was $2.50. Not a bad job. I will do a little fine tuning on the back of the neck for him but he looks a lot better!

Ok, I think that is all for now.


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Baking Lessons

Garry was so interested in Philippe’s baking he asked if he could watch and learn him this week. Philippe probably didn’t know what he was getting himself into! He had so many orders this week that he was going to bake Tuesday and Wednesday. For those of you who know Garry’s cooking style, it is pretty ‘by the seat of the pants’ when it comes to measuring, etc. He was surprised how important exact measurements were and the temperature of the dough and butter. Philippe is very skilled and was great about explaining everything to Garry as he went along. While things rested, rose, whatever, Garry would come back to the motorhome and make sure I knew exactly when he had to be back for the next step.

On Wednesday Garry was at Philippe’s at 4:30 a.m. to learn the baking part. He was even allowed to do the egg wash and take some out of the oven. When he progressed to mixing he made an error with the yeast so Philippe was hoping it would still turn out. (It did, but took longer to raise). Garry was worried he would be fired but Philippe just docked his wages. Since he wasn’t getting paid anyway, that worked out fine. This week we got more raisin rolls, a French bread baguette, and a loaf of wheat bread. Most of it is in the freezer for next week.

Garry can’t wait until next year to help even more. Look out, Philippe!!!