Travelogue II

Greetings from warm, sunny Mexico,

We had a nice trip down to Cabo San Lucas and took a boat ride out to the famous rock arch, lovers beach and seen the nice water. It is desert all around and lots of tourists. It is quite spread out with the airport, then the hotel zone and then a lot farther the old downtown with some hotels. There is a toll road from the airport so that gets rid of the stoplights; however the other road is a good 4 lane, just lots of stoplights. We did not do the shops as we have been in almost every tourist town in Mexico! FYI there is a parking area beyond the marina in old downtown which has lots of room to park, seemed safe and it is a short walk to get on the waterfront. When you are there BE SURE and pick up your free copy of the Gringo Gazette. It is fancinating reading. I think it is bi-weekly. On the loop road from La Paz down the one that goes to the Pacific side is very curvy and mountainous so it is not a good RV road. The one on the Sea of Cortez side is a good RV road. There is a good free camping area south of San Todas and that is a good town to spend some time in looking around. Dates are readily available in the Baja and I thought reasonably priced so we got some and should of gotten a lot more!!!

We liked La Paz and parking on the free beach at Tocolate about 5 miles from the ferry terminal. We stayed there for about 4 nights waiting for the Friday ferry. You can take the ferry to Mazatlan or Topolobampo. We chose Topolobampo and it cost us about $650 and we got free meals. You have to pull on and then back but it is not bad. This is the nicest ferry we have ever been on as far as being fancy and clean. The service is good and there is lots of room. It is mainly Mexican truckers and Mexican foot passengers and some have cars so because of this I see the ferry staying in business and doing well. It is coming down in price. It was not cheap but when you figure diesel fuel, campgrounds, toll road fees and days it made no sense not to take the ferry. Anyone needing ferry info can contact us.

We stayed over-night in the ferry yard which is no problem as it is only a 6 hour ride over. The ferry was the fasted on I have been on and we seen a whale come clear up out of the water. I have never seen that before. He did it twice. We also seen quite a few delphins.

From the ferry yard we made it to Mazatlan in a fairly easy day using the toll roads. It was much easier than our 2002 trip as we could read all the road signs, had a better map and just have a bunch more experience. The road was good but is not all toll. We were shocked when we got to a CG we had been to before to find it full! In 2002 it was nearly empty. We finally found a place to park and found a ham friend, Blake VE7DO who was there in 2002 was there again this year so we had a good visit. They had been to Australia last year rather than Mexico. We got lots of notes about Australia from him.

The next morning we headed for our destination in Rincon De Guayabitos to meet up with our friends, friends of Bruce and Eunice who we traveled with last year for many a day on the caravan. We sent e-mails as to when we would be arriving. It is quite a steep down hill trip from Tepic and the road after the CUOTA south of Mazatlan to Tepic is very bumpy and the traffic was horrible. I used second and low gear a lot. We barely missed a sugar cane truck on a sharp corner who was over the center line but other than that it went fine. We found Phil and Sue and they had great news there was a spot open in the park which is amazing and we got in. It was tight quarters but we pulled it off.

Where we are here at Rincon De Guayabitos about 40 miles north of PV it is nice and warm, prices are cheap but in the bay here the water is not as nice of a blue as say Cancun, Acapulco or Cabo San Lucas. We will go to some low cost places south of PV. I am very interested in what that will be like. We have some encouraging reports from people here in our trailer park who drove down for a few days. We are going inland into Michocan into the mountains and not many tourists go there so we have heard it is very pretty and even pine trees. It is pretty high so it will be chilly at night. We will make a circle and come back to Colima which is a colonial town and has two volcano's one of which smokes and has put out some lava from time to time. We may go to the butterfly preserve east and north of Morelia but probably not as they have restricted the access and the numbers are down. We will stay in the tent in CG or in hotels; probably both! The Spanish keeps getting better but still a long, long ways from listening to a Spanish conversation or a TV or Radio program and getting much. Some of the TV down here has the English movies and are sub-titiled in Spanish. One could learn a lot of Spanish watching them. We see it in some of the stores. One of the main ways I have been learning words are the street and store signs

It looks like I am going to get to go fishing with Phil here at the RV park if the rough ocean settles down as there have been fronts coming in and he has had a terrible cough but is getting over it.

We you have to have some guts but we have been going to a dentist here that speaks very little English but we have been doing fine. It is amazingly cheap, it is $120 for a crown. I found out he fills a tooth for $35 and pulls one for $25. I think a root canal and crown runs about $275 dollars. It is pretty clean and reminds you the way things were set up quite a few years ago in the states. He does not have an assistant. There are some more modern and they speak more English and have more modern equipment. They run about 40 per cent of USA prices. This fellow Abraham is about 25 per cent.

Most people in the RV parks get Star Choice out of Canada with a small dish or Direct TV with about a 4 foot dish. We are going to have a Super Bowl party and will get to see the game right here in the park. Everybody keeps us up on the news. With my full time WiFi DSL free hook up here in the CG I can check the news on the web and I get my E-mail every minute. Not to shabby! We also have been listening to Radio Canada at 6 pm local as they have a 30 minutes world news program. I have a radio antenna up about 30 feet and that has worked pretty well for schedules with some of the fellows. For the Mexicans down here SKY is the main satellite TV.

We go to the market which is every Thursday, they have everything and fruit and vegetables are cheap so we have a lot of those. We have all the orange juice you can drinik. We get 50 lbs. of oranges for $5.50. For $5 we are getting a press. We also peel some and chop them up with the food processor. The hookups have been good in the Baja and here. Much, much better than anyplace else we have been in Mexico. Also the restaurants are good and safe to eat at. We actually have had good meals everytime we have ate out which has been about 5 times. In the past we did not have much for food to get excited about in Mexico but here it is great! Last night I had huge shrimp with coconut all over them with a great sauce to dip them in. Most of the stuff is quite reasonable. Both of us can get plenty for $10-$12 most of the time. The steaks or chicken is not like the USA but the porkchops are not bad and the sea food and other Mexican dishes are good. We had a huge bowl of fajitas in a lava rock bowl. Both of us could barely eat it all and it was 110 peso's which is about $10.00 USA. Coke is cheap down here! Pepsi barely exists, same as in Africa. Fanta and Sprite are big. The beer is not all that cheap but not terrible high priced.

Last week Wednesday I went on a 11 mile hike over the mountains and along the beach to Lo De Marcos and it about did me in. I was as exhausted as I was in the Grand Canyon going down. I have not been doing that much since we got back from Africa and it really showed. I did lots of things wrong! I had about 10 pounds on my back. Since then I have walked 3-6 miles a day on the beach or around town or both and this morning I got up and had pancakes with pure honey on them. I had Gatorade rather than water and had two Snickers bars along, a tangerine, a bun with pure honey soaked into it and some Ritz crackers. I took it more easy than last time staying toward the rear of the group of hikers who get pretty spead out. The only trouble today is we did not stop to rest but it was cloudy so not nearly as hot. I used the camelbak and we stopped about a minute and I got the two Snickers out and got about half of it eaten and we were off so I had to finish them while walking. The hills are tough but what is surprising is there are a couple of long beach walks and in the loose sand it is VERY TOUGH walking. Before the last two hills we stopped about 3 minutes and I ate the honey soaked bun. Anyway last time I did good until these hills and then almost instantly I was just OUT OF GAS! No strength left at all! I would rest and get up and just the effort of getting up seemed to about wipe out the rest. Fortunately a couple of guys stuck with me as I would of got lost as it is the jungle!!! Anyway today I had energy and was able to go right up the two hills. WOW! What a difference all these things made. Last week it took 4 hours and 40 minutes and today it was 4 hours and 5 minutes. There are some crazy guys that do it in 3 hours and 20 minutes, the next group in 3 hours and 40-45 minutes and then we came in at 4 hours and 5 minutes so actually only about 20 minutes behind. I felt decent today after we got back. Last Wednesday I felt rotten and slept for about 3 hours before I had any appetite at all. Today I ate some after we got back. I guess we averaged about 2.5 miles per hour for 4 hours straight. That seems slow but it is straight up these mountains in a lot of places and like I said the beaches are tough. The scenery is just fantastic! Next week I will get pictures.

Just a ton of Canadians down here, way more than USA people. BTW prices in Wal-Mart and SAMS are not all that cheap! The best deal is here at the market or some of the fruit and vegetable stands. There is a good, safe meat market here but it is expensive. Bread is cheap at Sams.Fortunately we have canned meat along. Hopefully we can catch a couple of big fish! Tomorrow we go to the market, Friday the dentist and Saturday is a flea market here in town. We are getting to know most of the people in the park. I sure screwed up not getting a bicycle before coming down. That is going to be one of the first things I do when I get home. I am going to try and get one like Tim has that I rode at family camp. It just glides along and shiftsgreat and great brakes. I seen a new way to carry a bike, it is on the hitch on the front of the 5th and goes up high so when you turn they clear the cab. I will either do that or just do like Tim does and carry it inside. BTW by far the easiest way to walk the beach is barefoot just above where the waves come.

forgot in the last travelogue that in Sierra Vista, Az the metal hangers from the frame of the 5th wheel that hold the back spring on the frame. I had to rotate a couple of tires so I will have to get the axles aligned when I get home. With all the spring changes and now welding I am surprised I did not have to do this before. The temperatures run in the 80's during the day and 60's at night. I am convinced if you are a snow bird and want to get away from the cold and snow this is the place to come. You can be here in 3 easy days from Nogales or 2 hard days. Most of the people here take about 2.5 days. It is by and large a good road other than south of Mazatlan. It is a lot better if you avoid the week end. It is steep coming down from Tepic but using your transmission or better yet a jake break it is fine. A class A or C would be fine. I would stay away from Puerta Vallarta other than short visits as it is terribly high priced.

Ed and Edith.