Mar and Gar's Adventures

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Bikers, Parmesan Cheese and Coffee

We rarely see motorcycles in Mexico. In our month here so far we can count on one hand real motorcycles we have seen. We see scooters and small motorcycles, but things like Harleys are rare. So imagine our surprise coming home from dinner last night at a small hotel near our place we saw at least 100 bikers… a huge party…band playing super loud. We did an u-turn and drove through the parking lot of the hotel. Got some smiles and waves at us in Stubby, but I didn’t see anyone laughing. Or maybe could not hear them laughing over the band. We found out this morning there is a large biker rally once a year here. They come from all over the state of Sonora. It looked like a really good time by all.

Last year I could not find any Parmesan cheese anywhere so this year bought a bunch and keep it frozen. But guess what I see in every store this year. Parmesan cheese! Go figure.

Yesterday Garry brought in a new container of coffee from our motorhome. I used the old one for cleaning out the food going bad in the fridge. Imagine my dismay when I opened it this morning and found out I had thrown away the new coffee and kept the one full of garbage. Rats!!!



The Cow Plop

I have been way too lazy about writing. So I guess it is time to finally tell you about the Cow Plop. Officially it is a Rotary scholarship fund raiser called Cow Plop Bingo. It is held out in a dirt field a short drive from where we are staying. Picture a really big dirt field with white line grids making 2000 squares. Each square has a number posted on a big board in random order. I think that is to drive you a bit crazy because you buy tickets that are numbered and you have to find your number on the huge sign posted, then find that square on the field. The fields have number markers every 10 spots to help you. So if you have one ticket first you find that number on the large posted board, then you look at the markings on the field and see your space. We had 5 numbers so it got a little confusing.

Next there is lots of music, some ribs, corn, hotdogs, beer, bloody Mary’s, sodas and water for sale for a good hour or so. Then with much fanfare a cow who has had a big diet of silage lately is let into the roped off square area. He is controlled some by a cowboy in a horse who keeps a rope to him. Then as he is encouraged by the cowboy, the judges and the crowd we wait for him to drop some plop. There are judges to determine which square in case of plop overlap. Or maybe where first part of plop landed. I was never too sure on that.

Anyway, after the first plop is done and the winning ticket is announced there is some wonderful local dancing, more music, food, beverages, the another plop. The second cow was not a happy camper when he finally barely plopped, then got away and headed down the road. There is a third plop after another entertainment intermission. Cow number 3 cooperated but there was no winner present and the cow’s work was done so they threw a frisbee to land on a backup square.

All in all it was a fun 3 hours. Very warm and little shade, but we learned to bring chairs, umbrella for shade, any other beverage we might want other than what they have.

Garry took the opportunity to fly his drone there and he had a little audience of some of the little kids for awhile.

The scholarship money raised is for high school and college or trade schools. High schools are not free and there isn’t one in San Carlos. Kids have to take a bus to Guaymas. Many are not able to afford the tuition so the Rotary has been doing scholarships for several years. I think they have 15 right now and they commit to paying for all 4 years of high school if attendance is good, commitment to work is there and decent grades are maintained.

I would post pictures but our internet is down today. Will try later.

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Writing from Alamos

Boy, the time and the days fly by. People have been wondering what on earth we do all day, every day.

First, Garry goes walking almost every morning for 2 to 3 Miles. During his walks he has met many people and now will frequently have a cup of coffee with a group of men at a small cafe by the marina. That gives me all morning long to be be lazy.

This being our 3rd year here we have learned another more about the town. For example, every Monday night is Silent Movie Night at the Captains Club restaurant, with Omar the piano player providing the music. Tuesday morning are Rotary at the golf course. Garry went once and almost joined! Wednesday’s there are lots of choices for the evening. Next door has good food and Mark Mulligan singing. But we could go to the San Carlos Yacht Club and for 150 pesos have burger and movie night. A couple weeks ago they showed Dunkirk. Or we could go to a new restaurant that does 2 for 1 burger and margarita night. On Fridays you can sign up for a kayak adventure out of town a ways. I did it once and it was lots of fun. $500 pesos for kayak rental and lunch. Not a bad deal. On Saturdays you can go to the Saturday market by the local thrift store. I bought grapefruit and squeezed them for delicious juice that went nicely with vodka.

We have met Mike and Carol, a nice couple from Bellingham, who are staying right by us and one day we hired a boat and the 4 of us went fishing and sightseeing. No fish that day but Mike and Carol have been wintering here for year so we learned lots about the history of the area, the neighborhoods, the best kayaking and diving areas….lots and lots of good stuff.

Garry seems to want a boat down here so he is actively looking but is thinking probably more like next year since we will only be in San Carlos a little longer. It is pretty funny though because he has people calling him all the time with boats to look at. Jack, Craig, Omar, Danny, Roberto…Are just  a few of those who call him about boats.

We are currently in the town of Álamos which is about 3 1/2 hours south east of San Carlos. There is an annual international music festival here every January for 9 days so we came for 3 days. The town was founded in the late 1700s heavily influenced by Spain. It was a wealthy silver mining town until the silver dwindled. Many of the original beautiful haciendas fell into ruin until after WWII when Americans, Canadians and some Mexicans started restoring the haciendas. A 4000 ft airstrip was built and many of the home owners fly in on their private jets after clearing customs in the city of Obregon a short hop away.

We are staying in the Hacienda de los Santa’s Resort and Spa. It is owned by the Swickard family from the U.S. we have met the owner and also his daughter who is the general manager. Over the past 20 years they have restored 5 colonial mansions and connected them with bridges and walkways. It is fabulous here! It is warm during the day but really cool at night because we are at a higher altitude in the Sierra Madre mountains. If we ever come back I will know to bring warmer clothes for the nights.

The music festival is interesting to say the least. We attended last nights performances at the Municipal Palace featuring a tenor and a pianist. It was nice but also entertaining in that the tenor sang all German songs but they showed on a screen the lyrics in Spanish. If people didn’t like exactly where their chair was they just moved it elsewhere. Every night after the 8:00 performances in the Palace there is a mariachi band waiting outside. You can follow it as they wander the town streets, along with an elderly man and his donkey that has a pack carrying wine if you want to sample some during your walk.

Tonight in the town plaza there is a free performance by the Sonoran Philharmonic orchestra. Over the 9 days there is everything from Indie folk rock to opera to classical guitarists to swing and to hip hop and rock. Some of it lasts until the wee small hours. We pretty much are done by 10 or so but can hear lots of it in our room. Most is free but even the performances that are not, the fee is small… less than $10 per person.

I just realized I haven’t talked about the Rotary Cow Plop we went to one Sunday. I will do that later because I am heading to the Indie folk rock performance.

Stay tuned!

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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.


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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!


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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.

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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 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