On The Road

On The Road
Dutch Star and Subaru ready to go

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
We've been out of internet service for several days but we arrived in La Penita on Monday night about 5:00pm monday night. No one was at our campsite to open the gate so the first night was spent at a Pemex on the north side of town. We've done the same thing in the past, the only bad thing was the loud music starting in the early morning hours followed by rooster crows soon after.

Our drive from Matehuala to south of San Louis Potosi was on some very rough roads that shook everything on the motorhome. We spent the night in a small truck stop on highway 80 where we stayed before. There were no hook-ups but the price was only 70 pesos and that included breakfast in the morning. While there Jeremy our travel buddy discovered a broken pin on his tow hitch but was able to replace it with a spare.
The next morning, shortly after we were on the road, Jeremy called on the walkie-talkie to say something was wrong with his hitch. One arm of his hitch was not locking in place allowing his towed truck to move side to side. We decided this was a dangerous situation and detached the truck so that Jane and Diane could drive it while following Jeremy and me in our motorhomes.

We continued on to Guadalajara taking the by-pass around the city to highway 15 north. The road down the coast from highway 15 is a very windy, narrow road that is terrible to drive at the best of times. However it was a long holiday weekend in Mexico (independence day) and thousands of people were returning home from the coast. We were almost run off the road several times by big tour buses.
We're all alone here in the park although the little gate house is rented to a lady we have yet to meet. She is gone for several days but expected to return soon.

We were able to contact Jack, the park owner's father who opened the gate and guided us in. Caution needed to be taken getting the Dutch Star through the small streets to the park with cars parked on both sides of the street.  Jack had to climb up on the roof of the Dutch Star as a low hanging telephone cable got hung up on our DataStorm dish. Fortunately I didn't pull the whole cable down..

In the afternoon we walked to our favorite restaurant where we were greeted by the waitress we became friends with last year. Tomorrow we'll finish getting the Dutch Star settled in and maybe take the pups to the beach.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

On Saturday morning we headed to the Columbia border crossing and got there about 8:30.  We had to park on the road as the big parking lot be side the immigration building was being worked on.There were several people already in line for both tourist visas and vehicle permits but it all went well.
They wanted to search the motorhome after we got our permits and then just a few minutes later were stopped at an army check point and searched again.
We got fuel just after crossing and headed towards Monterry with no problems and no transit police involvement.
It started to rain and get foggy in the mountains and we were stopped as there was a bad accident ahead and we had to take an alternate route traveling about 15 miles an hour in the fog. We arrived at La Palmas motel/rv park about 6:00 after traveling 386 miles. Parked our rigs and headed to the restaurant for supper.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Well, the first day of the trip had a few "mis-adventures" as well as adventures. We're traveling with Jeremy and Jane who have been staying with us for the last week.  The first little problem happened barely a mile from home with the tow hitch between his Beaver motorhome and towed truck. Apparently it failed to lock one arm in position but was easily fixed.
We stayed on highway 59 through Houston where traffic wasn't too bad and we made our first stop for lunch and puppy potty break at Warton.
Our plan was to spend the night in the Walmart parking lot in Beeville, Tx as this is where we stayed last year. I remember last year having a hard time finding the Walmart in Beeville and we had the same problem this year. But after wandering through the streets of town and asking directions at a gas station we finally found the store. However what we found when we drove into the parking lot was numerous signs saying "no overnight parking".. (I don't remember seeing them last year)
So.. off we went hoping to find a rest area or some other place we could stay between Beeville and Laredo. Nothing was seen except for a couple of highway picnic areas that were small and strewn with garbage. (These places give a terrible image of Texas)
Our idea of never driving at night didn't last long as it was dark by the time we reached Laredo and found Casa Blanca State Park.
Fortunately the park's gate office was still open and we paid for two nights as our plans are to cross the border on Saturday.  Unfortunately the park is quite large with no street lights and when given our site location needed to drive quite far from the gate entrance. In the dark I made a mistake by turning into a boat launch area which was too small to turn around. So Diane and I had to unhitch the PT Cruiser in order to get out of the boat launch area and finally find our site.
We'll stay the day on Friday and head out Saturday morning when we'll cross the Columbia bridge remembering to drive slow and careful along the first 15 or so miles in Mexico as this is a favorite hangout of Transit Police. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

After a week's delay we're all packed and ready to go. Together with our travel buddies, Jeremy and Jane, we leave Livingston tomorrow November 15th heading for Laredo. We'll cross the border at Columbia bridge on Saturday, Nov. 17th and hope to arrive at La Penita, Mexico Nov. 19th or 20th.