On The Road

On The Road
Dutch Star and Subaru ready to go

Monday, December 31, 2012

To All Our Friends...

.........Feliz Ano Nuevo

................Happy New Year

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Trent and Janelle the owners of Heaven's Gate park left this morning, heading back to Sacramento where both of them have to return to work.  As they did last year, they left us sets of keys to the gates and information forms for anyone wishing to stay at the park.

We took it easy the rest of the day. The beach is still a little more crowded than usual with many Mexican families still at the coast during the Christmas holidays. Although we did manage to take the pups to the beach for a little while so they could tire themselves out playing in the surf.

The pictures below are taken from the beach in front of Heaven's Gate park looking south to La Penita, a short walk away.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Today was market day in La Penita. We walked over and looked around the various vendor's stalls for things to take back home. Nothing was decided on so we ended up just buying a few groceries before heading back home.

I remembered to bring my camera today and took a few pictures when walking through town.

     Small Mercado (grocery store)

     La Penita Sidewalk

     Sidewalk lunch tables

     Sidewalk Mercado

     Sidewalk Carnicero (butcher)

     Selling Fruit from truck


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

We've spent a quiet but nice few days over Christmas with both new friends and those we've know for a couple of years.

Christmas eve we went out for dinner at a popular BBQ restaurant with Jeremy and Jane. There was a DJ playing a range of music and a dance floor that was used extensively by a French Canadian senior who danced with all the ladies in his party and by himself if no one joined him.  The restaurant staff supplied free Tequila to everyone so that might have kept him going.

On Christmas Day we were invited to have dinner with Janelle and Trent the park owners and her parents here in their home at the park. It was a pot-luck with enough food for about 20 people, not just the six of us.

Jeremy and Jane dropped by to wish us Merry Christmas and Jeremy was again measuring out the size of the sites here at Heaven's Gate park. He's pretty sure he can get in with his big motorhome and will think about moving from his current park during the next few days.

We slept in today (Wednesday) and later in the day followed Janelle and Trent to a somewhat remote beach about six miles south of La Penita. The road from the highway to the beach was about three miles and was much more suited for a Jeep than our little PT Cruiser that bottomed out when going over a big rock in the middle of the road. That's twice I've bottomed out on roads down here and I'm convinced that a PT Cruiser is not the car to have if you intend to drive off the main highways in Mexico.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

First thing this morning, Martin, the mobile wash guy who is getting the cover to one of the roof air conditioners showed up. He said they were unable to patch the cover as the plastic was too brittle and kept breaking. So he is having a whole new cover made. He said it should take them about a week to get it finished. Maybe we'll see it this year.

Drinking water delivery is on Thursday and we needed to get two 5gal bottles. We waited until they showed up and then off to the Thursday market we went. Diane bought a new little carpet for the motorhome and also a new pair of sandals from the sandal maker we've gotten to know. He always remembers us because last year I made him a hatband.

This is a picture of a Santa we saw when walking in town today.

The sun goes down early and this was the sunset shortly after 5:00pm

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

After breakfast this morning I jumped in the car and headed to the beach at Guayabitos where local fishermen sell their catch early each morning.  There were three boats there this morning all with fish covering the bow of their boats.  These boats are small probably 18 to 20 ft in length and the fishermen spend all night out in the ocean.
When they come in they place their catch on the bow of the boat and their wives or other family member weighs and determines the price of the fish you choose.  The fisherman or one of his helpers will then fillet the fish if you want.

Bow of boat with fish to choose from

Getting my dorado filleted

They also bring in shrimp that they get from the big shrimp boats that are seen off shore and these are separated by size and are in coolers with the wife who sells them along with weighing your fish.

Coolers of shrimp
 They were also selling a variety of sea shells

I bought a small dorado fish (about two feet long) for 65 pesos and a kilo (about 50 shrimp)  for 125 pesos. After stopping at a store in La Penita for a supply of fresh vegetables, one dorado fillet and about a dozen shrimp together with a variety of vegetables went in the crock pot... sea-food stew for supper..yum

The weather is sunny and warm with not too much wind so we let the pups run and play on the beach later in the morning.. They tired themselves out chasing the tennis balls thrown for them.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Not much happening today. The wind has been blowing pretty strong the past few days making the ocean kind of rough. Not very good for the pups so maybe we'll take them down to LoDeMarcos tomorrow.. to the south end of the beach where its calmer with no riptide.

A French Canadian couple stopped at the park this afternoon and asked about prices and wanted to see if their 36ft 5th wheel would fit. After measuring the sites they decided they were too big. So we're still the only RV here.

I haven't been down to Guayabitos early in the morning to buy fresh fish and shrimp from the fishermen.  I plan to do so tomorrow and will take pictures.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Today was a slow day... not much going on. The weather has been getting a little cooler, especially in the early morning when the dogs let me know they want out by sitting on me while we're still in bed.

La Penita's water supply has been off for the past several days. The RV park is set up so that there's two water cisterns that the city water comes into. From the cisterns the water is pumped to the house and the RV sites.  One cistern feeds the house and the little casita at the gate plus one side of the park's RV sites. The other side of the park is fed by the second cistern. We're fortunate to be on the side having its own cistern. Anyway, Janelle, the park owner has had to call a water delivery truck that holds about 10 thousand gallons to fill up the cisterns every couple of days.

When asking why the town's water system is not working, the explanation runs from mechanical problems to political problems as every level of government is changing since the recent elections. The estimate is 10 to 12 days before things get back to normal. Of course that's Mexico time.

In the afternoon our Mexican friend Hector who we met last year walked into the park with his little boy. Hector is the person who helped us last year when our Jeep's starter quit in Guayabitos. He took Diane and the dogs back to the park in La Penita and found a mechanic who repaired the starter.  Hector works in the U.S. but his family lives here in La Penita and he comes down each winter season for a couple of months. We had a nice visit and we'll certainly be seeing him again while we're here.

The cover to our air conditioner has yet to show up. If you remember, the mobile wash guy took it to get it repaired by a fiberglass guy.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

After breakfast we decided to take the dogs to the beach.. not the beach in front of our park but down to the beach in Guayabitos.. about 2 miles away. When we got there we found the beach packed with people and beach vendors. We decided this was not the place to be and decided to drive down the coast about 10 miles to Lo De Marcos. We've been there before and remember the beach was usually uncrowded.

When we got there we found the beach practically empty and were able to take the dogs off their leashes so they could run and play in the surf. We had to be careful not to throw anything out for the dogs to retrieve as there's a strong undertow.  However as you can see in the pictures, they had fun playing in the surf.

                  Diane at Lo De Marcos Beach watching Leo and Hayley

We returned home about noon and a short time later, Martin who had washed and waxed the motorhome yesterday showed up. He noticed a piece of the cover on one of the air conditioners had broken off and wanted to take the cover to a friend who could do a fiberglass repair. We got the air conditioner cover off and he said he'd return it Monday.

I still hadn't been able to find any of the Mayan shirts that I like but was told that a couple of Mayan girls were usually at the north end of Guayabitos beach in the afternoon.  We also wanted to find one of the restaurants we frequented last year that moved from La Penita to Guayabitos so off we went back to Guayabitos to look for Mayan shirts and the restaurant we enjoyed going to last year.

We lucked out on both of our searches. We were about ready to give up when we spotted the Mayan girls. One selling dresses and the other selling shirts. The shirt seller only had a few in my size but two of them I liked... total for two.. $300 pesos. I didn't even try to bargain.

The restaurant's new location was at the south end of the beach so back to the car to drive the couple of miles to where we hoped it would be.  We were able to find it without too much trouble but found that the food was not up to their last year's standard. .. We'll probably not go back again as it's kind of out of our way and the food not that good.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Today was wash day for the Dutch Star and the PT Cruiser.  I met with Martin, the owner of "Washanwear Mobile Wash" a couple of days ago and made an appointment for 8:30am. At 9:30 I'm still waiting but realize that this is Mexico and keeping exact appointment times is not common.

Martin and his family arrived shortly after 9:30 in his old pick-up hauling a large drum of water and small gas engine to power his pressure washer. Martin and one other person climbed up on the roof, one with a scrub brush and one with the pressure washer. They worked steady and soon had the Dutch Star looking much better.

It was soon lunch time and everyone jumped into the pick-up with Martin saying they'd be back in half an hour which really turned into two hours. But the washing was done before they left for lunch and was completely dry when they came back and ready for the wax.

When they finished about 4:00pm the old Dutch Star was looking like new.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

We've been a little under the weather for the last few days... feeling kind of "Blaaa" with sore throat so we haven't been doing much.  Hopefully we'll be back to normal soon.

I saw the guy who does RV washing yesterday across the street so made an appointment for him to do ours tomorrow morning (Friday)..  wash and wax the RV and car.. $1,000 pesos.. about $85 dollars.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Today was spent on our annual photography project.  After setting the timer on the camera numerous times bribing the pups with doggy treats then running back to get in the picture... this is our 2012 Christmas Card.

 Merry Christmas everybody..

Friday, December 7, 2012

Diane went to the dentist to have her teeth cleaned this morning.. we do this each year in La Penita. The dentists are highly trained and have the newest of equipment.  I'll be making an appointment soon and will ask if I can take some pictures of the dental office.

We needed to do some shopping so later in the day we gathered up our dirty clothes to drop off at the laundry and then drove to one of the grocery stores in town. There's always a good selection of fresh vegetables and the only thing we couldn't find is liquid coffee mate. However the owner of one of the stores we went to assured us that when he went for supplies in Puerto Vallarta tomorrow he would find some and to check with him on Sunday. .. we'll see.  On the way home we stopped at a small shop where they make fresh tortillas. Twelve fresh tortillas for 5 and a half pesos

The fireworks guy is still doing his thing.. off and on last night and during the day today...pups are not happy. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Today was Market Day in La Penita so we called our travel buddies, Jeremy and Jane and agreed to meet them there at 10:00.  There seemed to be more people there than last week as more and more snowbirds show up.

Heres a few pictures I took at the market today

After an hour or so we decided to stop for lunch and introduced Jeremy and Jane to our favourite restaurant La Casita.
We needed to get home as the two girls Diane helps with their English come to our motorhome at 1:00pm.

While Diane was working with the girls, I took it easy reading. I like my Kindle.

The pups start to get anxious in the afternoon using every way they know to tell us it's beach time so we grabbed our beach chairs and umbrella and off we went.

Mexicans love their fireworks and the louder the better but we're hoping that the person who's been setting them off starting about 4:00am has used them all up.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The aunt of the two girls that Diane is helping with their English is a masseuse and offered us a massage at a cut rate cost.  I decided to take her up on her offer yesterday and opted for a "relaxing massage".

Later in the day the organizer of the Kindergarten Program gave Diane a large suitcase jammed with donated school supplies that she can use in her class. She has 18 four and five year old kids in her class so we put various pencils, erasers, scissors etc in plastic pencil boxes for her to to take to her school.

Even though we're in Mexico, we felt like having a pizza for supper and drove up the hill to Las Compadres restaurant and enjoyed the sunset while munching on a medium combo with added pinas. (pineapple)

Monday, December 3, 2012

After dropping off some things to be washed at the laundry we drove down to Guayabitos. We had plans to meet Jeremy and Jane at the Monday market.  There was hardly any people at the market as tourist season has yet to hit its highpoint. As a result the vendors were eager to get the few potential customers to buy their items and they all called out to us as we walked by.

               Guayabitos Monday Market

We did buy a few items.. Diane a dress and a blanket and for me a t-shirt. But we knew of a store in Guayabitos that sold t-shirt at a cheaper price so all four of us got into the PT Cruiser and headed that way. I bought 3 more t-shirts for 100pesos and Jeremy bought 3 as well.

Diane and I headed for home and shortly after getting there her two young students showed up eager to continue their practice of improving their English.

The pups were eager to get to the beach so as soon as Diane and the two girls were finished for the day off to the beach we went.

We thought we had a busy day so decided to treat ourselves to a visit to our favorite restaurant for supper.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

On Saturday morning a street vendor with a wheel barrow full of Poinsettias walked by the gate to the park. He had a nice selection and was selling them for 50 pesos. We had to buy one and took his picture as he stood beside his wheelbarrow.  (Did you know the Poinsettia flower was named after a 19th century U.S. ambassador to Mexico)
               Poinsettia Street Vendor

Each year a popular beach restaurant in Guayabitos holds an anniversary fund raising dinner to raise money for various local charities. We went last year with Janelle and Trent the park owners and her parents and were invited again this year.  The dinner was very good, the free beer was cold and the band played songs from the 70's and 80's.  All the guests were gringos and as most of the winter crowd has yet to arrive, I think most who were there were permanent residents with most people knowing each other. A good time had by all...

When at the beach you can always expect to see numerous vendors selling their wares.

               Hat Vendor
               Sombrero Vendor
               Beach Toys
And always a great sunset

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The temperature and humidy has been getting a little better lately and the pups are happy with their hair cuts. The pups enjoy going to the beach but we have to limit them to every other day as swallowing salt water results in runny poops.
                                  Veterinaria and Groomer

 Leo's new haircut

Hayley's new haircut

Work is being done at the campground. All the weeds and wild grass that was growing all over has been cleaned up and today the owners are having the main building and fence power washed and repainted. They've also had all the old tiles removed from the roof and will be getting a new roof installed. This whole project will take about a week so we're going to wait until its all finished before we call the car wash guy to clean the motorhome.

We've been settleing in. Next week Diane will be going over to the school where she's volunteering with kindergarten kids helping them with English. We drove over to see the school yesterday and almost lost the PT Cruiser in the pot holes. A taxi will be used to get back and forth. She also has two sisters coming over to our motorhome a couple of times a week to practice their English.
                         Diane helping kids with their English

My Verizon phone doesn't seem to work down  here, even with their Mexico Global Plan so I bought a cheap cell phone that allows me to make calls within Mexico. You're charged by the minute (8.5 pesos) and you buy time on the SIM card. The minutes never expire and are good until you use them.. Then you just buy more time/minutes.

Some people prefer fresh milk straight from the cow and this fellow is seen around town each morning on his mule selling milk by the jug. (you supply the jug)
                                    Milk Delivery

We buy our purified water in 5 gallon bottles and have been using a little pump to get the water out but today at the weekly market we bought a water dispenser that holds a couple of gallons. Much nicer but we won't be able to use it when driving the motorhome.

                                           Water Dispenser           

Monday, November 26, 2012

Its still pretty warm here during the day but it rained last night.. probably just going to raise the humidly.

Janelle and Trent the park owners arrived yesterday afternoon after a drive down from Sacramento. Their house here at the park was burglarized several months ago and all the small appliances and dishes were stolen. Fortunately no windows were broken but they're still having to replace a bunch of things.

There's five dogs here at the park now, Leo & Hayley, Janelle and Trent's two beagles "Buddy & Jake" and "Tinto" the little pup owned by the lady who rents the gate house.

                                    Leo and little friend

We met a local family (mother and two young daughters) who wanted to improve their English skills so Diane volunteered to help them a couple of times a week after school. Maybe we can do a bit of a trade and they can help with our Spanish.

                Diane helping local family with English

I took Leo to the groomer this morning. We decided instead of leaving both dogs there all day we'd do them one at a time and one of us would stay there the whole time. Because of Leo's tight curry coat, it took about four hours for a trim and bath. Cost $300 pesos. It's Hayley's turn tomorrow morning.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Yesterday, Thanksgiving Day we took it easy in the morning then drove to town to pick up  our laundry we had left at the laundramat the day before. The owner of the laundramat recognized us and welcomed us back to La Penita.
As we were already in town we walked to the Thursday market looking for a table cloth and small carpet for the motorhome. There were fewer people at the market, at least fewer "gringos" as most of the winter snowbirds have yet to arrive.
While walking through the market we came  upon a young Mexican making eye glass holders, the kind you hang around your neck. He had a big collection of ones with people's name woven into them but none with my name.  He said "no problema, I'll make one for you in 10 minutes" I didn't necessarily want my name on one but asked him to make one with the word "Mexico" woven into it. It was interesting to watch him weave the name and background with different colours of thread and as he said, it took him about 10 minutes.

Later in the day we were to meet Jeremy and Jane our travel buddies at 4:00 pm at Las Compadres Restaurant for Thanksgiving Dinner. We got messed up with the time zone thing and got there an hour early and at about what we thought was 4:30 but was really 3:30 we decided to order, thinking that Jeremy and Jane couldn't find the restaurant. However when we told the waitress we'd like to order, she said "sorry but you can't order until 4:00 and its only 3:30. ...It kind of dawned on us why Jeremy and Jane had yet to show up.  But they did shortly after and we had a delicious dinner although not turkey.

Shortly after getting up this morning this area of La Penita had an electrical brown out that lasted about 4 hours. It didn't really affect us too much as we could switch our refridgerator over to L.P. gas and our solar panels on the roof provide electrical power for any other needs we have.
The front of our motorhome is facing south so that it gets really hot when the sun shines in the big front windshield so this morning Diane and I covered the inside of the windows with thin mylar reflective emergency blanket sheeting. It's made a big difference in the temperature inside the rv.
In the afternoon the pups were letting us know they came to Mexico play in the surf so we gathered up our umbrella and beach chairs and we all headed to the beach.

The sunsets here in La Penita are still some of the nicest.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Columbia Bridge Mexico Immigration
Parking at La Palmas Motel
Arrived at Heaven's Gate RV Park in La Penita
Graydon and pups at Heaven's Gate
Diane's lunch in La Penita
Monse, our favorite waitress in La Penita
Graydon having a beer and lunch