Mar and Gar's Adventures

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Home Again, Home Again

I had better write now about the last of the trip before I forget things!  That seems to happen more and more these days!

When we left Quartzsite we headed to Lake Havasu and spent a couple nights with friends Bill and Jan, from Des Moines.  They rent a home for a few months during the winter.  We did some darn good eating, drinking and a little sight-seeing.  It had rained quite hard the day before we got there so things were much greener than we are used to seeing.  Bill walks down by the lake for 3.5 to 4 miles most mornings so I went with him one morning.  It is a great place to walk.  It is almost completely flat and there is plenty to look at while you walk… even fairly early in the morning there were softball games and bocce ball games being played.  People were kayaking and jet skis were starting to head out onto the lake.

When we left Havasu our intent was to travel based on weather in northern California and the Siskiyou mountains so we had days built in for weather delays but were also ready to put in some fairly long days to be traveling on the better weather days.  Based on all that we headed to Bullhead City to stay a night or two.  We stayed at a county park right on the Colorado River looking down toward the casinos in Laughlin.  We picked a dry camp area because we could be right on the river.  We were the only RV in this particular area which was really nice.  During the day there were people enjoying lunch on the river and several people fishing.

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Our motorhome as the tour boat passes by

 

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Enjoying the sun on the Colorado River

 

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The view at night

 

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Complimentary birthday dessert at Harrah’s in Laughlin

The day before my birthday we went to Harrah’s for a great dinner at their steakhouse.  It was fabulous but way too much food!   We actually took most home and had it for dinner the next night.  We did a little gambling at the Blackjack tables and made enough to almost cover our dinner and bottle of champagne.  Not shabby.  When you factor in that we ate the leftovers the next night we were actually ahead!

After two nights on the river we headed to Bakersfield, then a night in Redding.  We stayed in a small RV area in Redding that was part of a casino and had an OK dinner in the bar and gambled some more.  Blackjack once again paid for our dinners!

Weather reports showed it snowing in the pass that night but the next was to be fairly dry so we headed out fairly early.  We hit All Star Liquor in Hilt, Ca at 10:00 a.m. and filled the motorhome and Stubby’s trailer with stuff for us and several family members and a few friends.

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Mt. Shasta

By this time we caught the scent of Washington and home so we put in a long day.  We got Dale and Christy’s lake house (for those new to my blog, that is Garry’s son and his wife) to Mossyrock on Saturday night just in time for dinner.  We spent Saturday and Sunday nights there and drove home on Monday.  Saturday was a 10 hour day but Monday only two hours.

So, since we got home it has been unpacking, laundry, seeing family (Yay!!!), going to a funeral and then to our youngest granddaughter’s 4th birthday party.  We miss the warm weather we had in Mexico but thanks to some new links and contacts  I am able to follow what is happening in Kino Bay, Puerto Lobos and Puerto Penasco.   Several times a day I can hear Garry muttering things about Mexico, warm weather, fishing.  He is already planning next year down there.

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Hail at 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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Road Trip/Leaving Kino Bay

There is nothing like a long road trip in Stubby! On Wednesday after Garry was done helping with the baking we hopped in Stubby and drove 150 miles north, up the coast, to research a tiny fishing town called Puerto Lobos. We passed it last year on our way home and again on our way down and it just looked fascinating. When I googled it the most recent information was several years old. At that time there was no power to the town and now water. But the beach, the view, the fishing and the peace was highly praised. Since the new road has been in for a few years we didn’t know what to expect but our hope was that we could find a play to dry camp on our way back to Puerto Penasco. We didn’t want to try driving the motorhome and the trailer out to the point and find out it was a mistake, hence the road trip.

It took 2.5 hours to go the 110 miles to Puerto Libertad. It is a small town but has a lot going on…. one of the largest power plants in Mexico and a large old heavy oil burning power station. It is a proposed location for a biofuel project.
It was lunch time but all blogs, chat rooms, etc., said no real restaurants in town. Again, it was not current information because we found a great little place called The Green Cup Cafe. The wonderful owner Malena said they had been there four years. It was a shock to see a menu with paninis, lasagna, smoothies, mochas, pizza and yummy desserts. It is so different from anything else we have seen on our trip so far. The place was clean and the food amazing. All the breads are made right there. Most in Libertad speak little or no english but Malena has what she called a love of language and grammar and speaks slowly and clearly with a beautiful accent. She grilled us on a few proper ways to ask things of a customer. It was a great find and we will definitely go back next year.

We found the dirt road turn-off to Puerto Lobos and after 3 miles of dusty washboard driving made it to the village. There is electricity there to some places now and a water delivery truck was leaving as we were driving in. They also have a coin operated pure water dispensing station. It costs 2 pesos for a gallon… about 50 cents. It is cheaper in volume.

Garry found a guy who spoke some English who put him on the phone with his son who spoke great English. They found us a safe free place right on their bay to dry camp for a few days. While there a couple from Arizona drove past us, then after they parked came and talked. They are staying right by where we will be. They are in a friend’s guest house for three months. If we are there on Sunday, he will have a beer waiting for us and we can watch the Super Bowl with them.

Our plan is to leave here tomorrow. We are going to follow Ray and Jackie out into the desert with the motorhome and trailer to see a local rodeo. Or at least that is the plan. They have been to it a few times and it is always the first weekend of February but they are not sure if it really will be there this weekend. We hope to dry camp there then head to Puerto Lobos Sunday late morning. If no rodeo will head there Saturday. This could really be an adventure! Both Ray and Philippe say we shouldn’t have a problem getting the motorhome and trailer there.. it will just be dusty and bumpy the last 7 miles. So, fingers crossed!!

Hopefully when we are back in Puerto Penasco I can upload pictures. Then I will post with explanatory captions.


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It Is Just A Name

Miguel Aleman ? Or is it Calle Doce?

Since last year I have been confused about something down here. Well, actually, many things. But the one I finally got Jose Luis to explain to me. There is one small town between Hermosillo and Kino Bay. It has 2 stoplights, 2 banks, 2 and soon a third gas (Pemex) station, etc. It is not a tourist town but a good place for things you can’t get or do in Kino Bay. An example is banking. There is no bank in Kino Bay…just one ATM in a tiny building next to the Red Cross building.
Back to my confusion. I never knew what the name of the town was. I would overhear conversations about people going somewhere but I could never figure out what they were saying and hated to ask! Well, several days ago Jose Luis had to go to this town to do some banking so he took us along. I took the opportunity to quiz him on many things.
The town’s formal name is Miguel Aleman, named after a former President of Mexico. But no one calls it that. It is called Calle Doce (call yay doe say) which means road 12. Road 12 intersects with the Hermosillo – Kino Bay road, hence the nickname. There is even a department store which is the Calle Doce branch of the store.
On the half hour drive to Calle Doce I asked Jose Luis about the crops we see on the drive. The trees that are bare right now are walnut trees. Way off in this distance you can see orange groves. There are nurseries where they have starts of peppers growing. There is a field that has leftover melons laying out in the sun. Kinda like when see the leftover pumpkins in the fall.


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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 perlas.com.mx.  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.

 

 

 


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Hi From San Carlos

Yay!  The Seahawks won!  So that decided the next leg of our trip.  We got all organized and left Puerto Penasco at 8:00 Sunday morning.  After fueling and making our way through town it was about 8:30 before we hit the road to San Carlos.  I estimated about a 7.5 to 8 hour trip depending on road conditions and stops.  That would have been pretty much right on except for a couple last minute route changes by me.  But it all ended well.  We took the new highway which is pretty good for the most part.  It is the same road we took on our way back last year but doing it in reverse was confusing.  Even though it is called the new highway it has been usable a few years but has no highway number signs and does not show up on google maps as a recommended route.  I had fortunately found a blog post with mileposts to help me know where  to make turns.  I had printed it off before we left home.  With the exception of where the friendly police check point would be, it was a big help.  The check point is pretty mobile… a pop-up tent and a car so it was about 20 miles further down the road than expected.

Much of the new highway has beautiful views, nice roads and some rest area/Viewpoints.  It was Sunday morning and we would go miles and miles and be the only car.  After passing the small port town of Libertad the roads deteriorated.  They have made some progress but there are many pot holes and route and youbdo your best to dodge them.  As we got close to the Hermisillo/Kino Bay highway I made my first error.  One of the side roads looked fabulous and so we decided to take it.  It was brand new asphalt… so nice and smooth… until halfway through it and the construction ended and we are now on a dirt road with huge ruts.  We could look longingly over at the new, not quite finished new road.  This boo-boo lasted a short while.

Once on the correct highway we made a fuel stop and headed toward Hermisillo.  Now came the next navigation error.  The thought process was smart, but not the result.  In an attempt to avoid driving through downtown Hermisillo I spotted a sign to Guaymas!  Eureka!  A car ahead of us took it, so I said “Let’s try it!!”  If I was right it could easily cut 1/2 hour off our trip.  It started out great.  Then not great.  Then too late to turn around. Then just awful.  By that, it was potholes everywhere.  If we followed a local and we saw them slow down we knew to get prepared!!!  Poor Stubby back in the trailer!  And the dust!!  Let’s not even go there!  So instead of saving 1/2 hour it added about 45 minutes of really bad road.   We just kept telling ourselves that now we knew, and that we had plenty of fuel and lots of daylight.

We got to San Carlos about 4:45.  Knowing we wanted to have a vacation from our vacation as we had done last year, we drove right to the La Posada Condominiums and got a nice room.  The top floor room we had last year was booked but we are currently 2 floors below in the same type of room,    After a little refreshment we walked to the palapa next door, had dinner and then an early night.

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View from our balcony