On The Road

On The Road
Dutch Star and Subaru ready to go

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Finally took the car to a tire shop today to get the nail out of the rear tire.  It's been in the tire for a couple of weeks with no loss of air pressure but I thought it best to get it looked at before it decided to go flat.  What I didn't realize and found out when the tire was off the car was that there were two nails stuck in the tire.  But now all is repaired and unless more nails are picked up everything should be fine.
The surprising thing is... although there's construction taking place in the area... almost all construction of buildings here are concrete. No wood = No nails.

The check engine light came on again as I was on the way to get the tire looked at and when there I asked if they had a computer to see what the problem was. They did and problem turned out to be with the gas cap not sealing properly.  The mechanic advised buying a new gas cap when we returned home. But at least I know there's nothing serious happening if the check engine light goes on and I know how to cancel the computer when or if the light comes on in the future.

Our grocery supply was getting a little low so we went grocery shopping in the afternoon. Yesterday we bought a BBQ chicken so there's lots of left overs for supper.

We have a call in to the dog groomer for an appointment for Leo and Hayley as they're looking a little scruffy. Sometimes it's hard to tell if they're getting fat or their hair is getting long.  

Monday, January 28, 2013

On Sunday we drove to Sayulita, about 20 miles south for breakfast at Rollies.  Rollie is a retired teacher from California who after retirement opened his restaurant in Sayulita. He has quite a reputation for not only his food but also the restaurant's atmosphere. He gives everyone a warm greeting and you never leave the place hungry.

After eating we walked through town and found a small store selling authentic Oaxaca/Zapotec carpets. Not only was the walls covered with carpets for sale, there was a loom set up with a new carpet being made.  Although we had just bought a carpet a few days ago at the market, hanging on the wall was another runner that we liked. So now we have two of them.

Each Zapotec Carpet is an original with no two being the same. The weaver designs each one as it's being made.

     Zapotec carpet runner bought at Market in La Penita

          Zapotec carpet runner bought in Sayulita

      Carpet Loom

      Carpets for Sale

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Yesterday was Sherry's birthday and we planned to meet at one of the local beach restaurants for dinner however the place was crowded and the only table was in front of the live band. The noise level was so loud we could hardly hear ourselves so we decided to leave and find a quieter place.  We ended up at another of our favorite restaurants about half a mile down the beach and had a nice birthday celebration diner.

Today was Tianguis Day (market day) in La Penita and we found a carpet runner that Diane has been wanting for our house back in Livingston. It's about 2ft by 6ft and made of wool woven by Mayan Indians.

     Artist using only fingernails
      Fingernail paintings

     Mariachi Band at the market

     Lots of baskets for sale

The market seemed busy today. Nice to see lots of people spending money which helps out the local economy (people).

We ran into a couple of friends (Des and Joanie) from Saskatchewan who we haven't seen since last year. They're also friends of Fred and Sherry and we told them we were meeting for lunch and invited them to join us which they did.

Vegetables are abundant and inexpensive down here and I especially like the local radishes that are much better tasting than the ones you find back home. When leaving the market we came across a truck filled with them and bought a large bunch (about 60 radishes) for 10 pesos. (approx .85 cents)

     Truck full of radishes

Saturday, January 19, 2013

We arrived back to La Penita on Friday afternoon. Our trip to Tonala was to the most part fun but there was still a few unwanted moments.
We met Fred and Sherry and  John and Christine on Wednesday at 9:00am and off we went. The four of them in Fred and Sherry's car.

Because of the concerns we had with the PT Cruiser, Fred suggested that they follow us in case something happened. .. Well, it did, about 40 miles from La Penita the "check engine" light came on and the car's power went down. One thing to remember, Tonala is at about 5,000 ft and of course La Penita is at sea level and going up-hill most of the way might have contributed to the cause. But with my trusty 1/2 wrench I was able to quickly disconnect the battery which canceled the computer and the car regained it power.

During one of our rest area breaks we discovered a screw embedded in one of our rear tires. As our tire pressure  didn't seem to be affected, we decided not to pull the screw out and get it fixed later.

Fred's usual route to Tonala takes him right through the middle of Guadalajara and the traffic in the country's second largest city is pretty intense. But we made it with no further problems and checked into our motel in the early afternoon.

Hotel Arana is about a block from the main market area and with the cost of 450 pesos per night allows you to park within the motels court yard for your security. You have to like firm mattresses in Mexico as most of the beds in motels are built on a raised concrete base.

As soon as we checked in we walked to one of the restaurants we've been to before and had a late lunch.

Although the main market day wasn't until the next day (Thursday) there was still a lot of stores open and we spent a few hours walking up and down the town's streets looking at things.

On Thursday morning the town's main street and many side streets are transformed into a big market. How the hundreds (maybe thousands) of vendors manage to put up their stalls each Wednesday night and again on Saturday night and then take them down market day night is one of the mysteries of Mexico. (Tonala's market is every Thursday and Sunday)

Using our walkie-talkies..(one each for the guys and one for the girls) we started out Thursday morning, first to a restaurant for breakfast and then wandering through the vendor stalls looking for that thing we couldn't do without.

     Pemex bathroom signs

     Motel court yard parking

     Day of the Dead Male and Female

     Street Vendor making hand made Tortillas

     Fred walking through Vendor stalls

     Sidewalk baking

     Sidewalk Cook

     Sidewalk Cafe

They do a lot of glass blowing in Tonala and I was able to get a number of pictures of the workers in the Glass Blowing Factory.

     Glass bottles made at Glass Blowing Factory

There's also a lot of pottery made and for sale in Tonala.  Everything from little things to big things. I heard a couple of ladies laughing and saying that a painted face in the bowl of a toilet would be funny.

     Lots of sinks to choose from

     Sinks and Cabinets already made up

At the end of the day's shopping we found another nice restaurant for supper. We made our plans to head home in the morning but Fred and Sherry and John and Christine wanted to make a trip to Guadalajara and then to the town of Tequila on the way home.

As our purchases were not large and they have twice the people in their car, we took several of their purchases with us. We hoped that the car wouldn't give us problems but confident that our little 1/2 wrench would solve the "check engine" light problem.  I was more concerned about the screw in the back tire but as it didn't affect the tire pressure during the night, I thought it best to leave it alone until getting to La Penita.

The car must have liked going down hill from Tonala to La Penita because it didn't give us any problem all the way home and the tire stayed inflated.

After unloading all our things we called the dog boarding place and made arrangements to pick up Leo and Hayley.  They were excited to see us but we could see that they were in good hands while we were away.

By supper time we were too tired to do much else so decided on a treat of BBQ ribs.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Not much has been happening this past week.. at least nothing out of the ordinary. One thing however... the top to our roof air conditioning unit was finally returned. All the pieces were fiber glassed together like a jigsaw puzzle. I'll do a bit of sanding and painting when we get home.

Yesterday we took the pups to the boarding kennel in Lo De Marcos and this morning we're heading to Tonala with Fred and Sherry.  We'll be back on Friday and I'll post about our adventure with pictures then.. Just hope the PT Cruiser doesn't give us trouble.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

We've been making plans for a several day trip to Tonala which is the biggest outdoor market in all of Mexico. Anything you can think of.. they have it.  Our plans were to go with Jeremy and Jane in their truck and follow Fred and Sherry in their car. We made reservations at the motel in Tonala we like to stay in and made arrangements with a very nice dog boarding facility in Lo De Marcos.  Our plan was to leave next Wednesday morning and get to Tonala that afternoon. The market day is Thursday and would spend the day shopping and then drive back to La Penita on Friday.

Something often goes wrong with best laid plans and yesterday we got an email from Jeremy and Jane telling us that their condo in Florida that they've had for sale, has a buyer. However the buyers want to close the end of January and Jane must fly back to Florida to sign all the papers and so they are unable to go to Tonala.

That left us wondering what we could do. No room with Fred and Sherry as they already have four in their car.  Because the PT Cruiser was giving us problems lately we were a little hesitant to chance driving it a couple of hundred miles to Tonala. However the car drove perfectly when I was able to cancel out the check engine light. I decided to take the car to a local mechanic that had a computer diagnostic system in his shop however when hooked to the computer no problem was evident.

Several people have told me that if the gas cap is not securely on, it might cause the car's computer to believe something is wrong and have the check engine light come on.
So.. if the car keeps running fine from now until next Wednesday, we're going to chance it.

Its been a little cool here the past several days with a little rain as well however today is bright and sunny again with warm temperatures. 

We took a little walk through the Thursday market today and I bought one of those big fancy sombreros.  It was funny as when I asked the vendor the price, he said "750 pesos" I laughed and said I saw a guy on the beach selling them for 300 pesos.  Immediately the vendor said.."ok.. give me 300 pesos"

Sunday, January 6, 2013

We made plans to meet this morning with Fred and Sherry and drive to Sayulita about 20 miles south of La Penita for breakfast.  Unfortunately about 10 miles south of La Penita the engine light on the PT Cruiser came on and the engine seemed to lose power.  We pulled off the highway and checked the oil etc and everything seemed ok. And when we started the car the engine seemed to run ok except that the check engine light remained on.

We decided not to chance continuing on to Sayulita and turned around and headed home. Fred and Sherry were nice enough to follow us back to La Penita in case the car died.  I know how to cancel out the car's computer in order to turn off the check engine light and did that after we got back to the park.

Although there's no shortage of good mechanics in La Penita, I'm not sure if any of them have a computer that can diagnose the car's problem.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

On Thursday we met up with our friends Fred and Sherry who live in Quartzite, Arizona and had lunch together after spending some time at the weekly market. They come down to Mexico after New Years and stay a couple of months. We've known Fred and Sherry since 2005 when we met them during our first trip to the La Penita area.

A visit to Tonala, the biggest market in Mexico is an annual thing and we like to go with Fred and Sherry.  This year they will be taking another couple in their car who traveled with them in their motorhome from Arizona.  So we've invited Jeremy and Jane to go with us. All of us will be heading to Tonala on Wednesday, January 16th and returning Friday the 18th.  I was able to use my new Mexico phone to call and reserve our rooms at the hotel in Tonala where we like to stay.

On Monday we plan on driving to Lo De Marcos to check out a dog boarding place that is supposed to be real nice. Leo and Hayley will have a little holiday themselves while we're in Tonala.

At the restaurant where we had lunch on Thursday there was a young boy and girl who had their dog sitting in a highchair. The photo-op was too good to pass up.

I was running a little low on coffee so stopped and bought a few kilos.. This is the best coffee we've ever discovered and I like to buy enough to last until we're here again next year.

Last year during the summer when no one was here at Heaven's Gate park the owner's house was broken into. The bad guys simply climbed over the fence. So the owner's parents bought something to put on top of walls that gives anyone who attempts to climb over something to think about. These things are made of steel and bolted to the top of the concrete wall. They're about 4 inches long and sharp as razors.  They're for sale here at Home Depot but not available north of the border.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Day and its been raining since we got up... everything is wet (outside that is) with big puddles filling the pot holes in the road.

Ventured out to a local BBQ chicken place and brought home supper.