Thursday, March 30, 2017

San Carlos and Green Valley

It's Thursday morning and this must be Green Valley. It's so nice to be able to read again. I mean, well what I mean is... and it's no ones fault but my own.... after all these years I'm still getting by with Spanglish. It gets better each season, and every year I add a new phrase or two to my collection, but it's still Spanglish with very little understanding of whole sentences and even less ability to take in new words. Kathy on the other hand, is doing very well. She seems to have a natural ability to grasp the feeling of a conversation and is now engaging in full blown conversations about practically everything. You'd swear she'd been in Spanish classes for years. And so we get by; she taking the lead in most non-English conversations and me holding my own when I'm out and about by myself - due in large part to the kindness of those I converse with.

The reading I referred to is about road signs on the highway. 'Tis true, after all these years, I have a solid grasp on the usual signs about dangerous curves and Tope (those massive speed bumps requiring you to slow down to a crawl while the highway goes through small villages or risk losing your undercarriage) warnings. But the Mexican highways under repair (as most are these days, thanks to hurricanes and other weather and climate phenomena's) have all kinds of different signage... like detours and explanations. There's also a new set reminding you that being a good driver and obeying the various rules will give you a better day and a better world. True of course, in a kind of preachy way. Perhaps all the signage has been designed to keep language-challenged drivers (such as myself) awake. Hmmmmm.

Anyway, back to our story. We're here! Left San Carlos after two lazy days. Couldn't believe how exhausted we were (after the major last push to ready SSpirit and then the 13 hour journey by bus and taxi to get from Mazatlan to San Carlos). We took the time to totally unpack, inventory and repack the truck (answering the "what's in the back?" question with "just a bunch of stuff" type answers just doesn't cut it at the borders these days). Mostly we slept, rested, and enjoyed the company of a few good friends over meals.

We left SC yesterday (Wednesday) at 0600 precisely and headed north just as dawn was breaking. As this was likely our last drive on this route, we took the time to enjoy the scenery (the white, red, and yellow desert flower blooms are just beautiful) and remember all the wonderful folks we met during our stays in the little coastal, marina town. Crossing the border went well. No hard questions, no paperwork hassle, just a short conversation with a friendly Border guard and we were through.

Green Valley is a good place to stop, either before crossing southbound early in the morning or after crossing the border north bound after a long drive. For the past several years we have always stayed at the Best Western (and always been somewhat disappointed in the condition of our room and the hotel in general). This time we decided to try somewhere different. The BW had put their rates up and it just didn't seem right. We are now fans of the Vagabond Inn. What a difference. This hotel is just as close to the border, just as safe (we prefer Green Valley to Nogales for safety reasons), cleaner and brighter, also provides breakfast, and is about $50 (US) cheaper.

Today, after breakfast, we head west to Yuma and will be staying at the Microtel (two nights for the same price as one night at the BW in Green Valley) for a couple nights. That will give us time to prep Lucy (the trailer) and get Rikki (the truck) his 32,000 km service. And then we will head to Buckskin Mountain State Park for some R&R.

That's our story for now.... Hope all is well with all of you. We are well. TTFN. CJ



Sent from my iPad

Sunday, March 26, 2017

SSpirit sleeps.....

Finally. It's been a long, hot, humid week of intense labour... all part of the fun. As they say, blue water cruising is all about working on your boat in exotic places. For us... this year... the places were San Carlos, La Paz, and Mazatlan.

As our winter cruising season winds down we can look back and cherish the moments. Not only did we finally get away from the dock and explore new remote anchorages, but we had some great visits with friends old and new. We were treated to a taste of the "all inclusive" life (thank you Don and Carol) and we enjoyed the company of dear friends Sue and John for a significant portion of this years adventure (thank you for your good humour and patience :-) All in all it's been a great season in the Sea of Cortez.

Today, as our thoughts turn to the road ahead, we begin our journey home. The taxi picked us up at 0500 and we're currently sitting at the TAPS Terminal de Auto Bus, waiting to board the 0630 bus to Guaymas. After what we hope will be a pleasant but long bus ride to Guaymas (10-12 hours) we will grab a cab to San Carlos. Tomorrow and the next day will be about getting Rikki ready for the trip home and seeing a few friends.

It's now 0630 and we've just loaded onto the bus and are leaving the terminal. Bye bye Mazatlan. Thank goodness they accepted our luggage :-) The goal of travelling light has, again, escaped us... but the bus isn't full so I guess they had room. Turns out there's actually WiFi o the bus... yippee! But first...

Time to catch up on our sleep. Will check in again from San Carlos before we leave.

Adios amigos. CJ

Sent from my iPad

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Hot 'n humid... Mazatlan 😅

Hola my friends... we're still here and doing well. It's been a while since I've checked in... didn't want to bore you with descriptions of boat prep. You'll remember the process we had to go through recommissioning the boat after we brought her out from storage? Well, getting her ready to leave when we head home... is pretty much the same, only in reverse.

Even the temperatures are similar. But I must tell you this is the most humidity we have ever experienced. It's almost raining inside the boat! I kid you not. Temperatures in the high 70's to mid 80's ... coupled with humidity ranging from 80% to 95% inside the boat, have us scrambling to find a de-humidifier to try and dry us out a bit. Unfortunately the ones they sell down here are huge; big enough for our house but too large to squeeze into a smallish boat. We shall keep looking. Fortunately we're leaving SSpirit in the care of a boat management company and they will, at least, be airing her out once a week.. but a de-humidifier would really help. If we can't find one to buy, a friend may loan us his... we shall see.

We move down the way to Marina Mazatlan on Sunday. We will miss the luxuries (and pools) of Marina El Cid, but it's time to really focus on our work now anyway and, with the daytime temperatures described above, working through the afternoon is difficult. As well, there has been the rare appearance of morning fog this week. Pea soupers... it's kind of like a moving steam bath. Hopefully the fog thing will move on.

We have bus tickets in hand for Sunday, March 26th and will take the bus from Mazatlan to Guaymas and taxi to San Carlos on that day. We plan to spend Monday and Tuesday retrieving the truck, repacking it, and seeing a few friends. Our plan has us on the road heading north early Wednesday morning (the 29th).

Lots to do before then so best get up and get at it.... heck it's 0700 and only 75 with 95% humidity. 😅

Hope all is well with each of you... and that you had a good St. Patrick's Day ☘☘☘.
Adios for now... CJ

Sent from my iPad