San Carlos, Sonora

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Hot Sunny
Mileage 529048 km
Last night we stayed at Catalina State Park

Awesomeness: The birds that sleep in the eves and in the morning are chirping, fluttering about in the bushes by the restrooms.

Happy birthday to me or should I say - hoy es mi cumpleanos. I am continuing to work at learning to speak Spanish using Duolingo. For me is seems better then Rosetta Stone. I have covered more ground language wise in the month to six weeks I have been doing Spanish using Duolingo than I did in a year of Rosetta Stone. This is, of course, not really fair because I did get a basic Spanish before using Duolingo.

We were up and at 'em early so we could get going to the border and off to Mexico. That is what I wanted to do for my birthday - go to Mexico. I would have liked to have been farther along and have gone to Poncho's in Mazatlan or to have been in PV and gone to the veggie buffet but actually just going to Mexico is pretty special. I love it!

Once at the border both of us kind of lose it. 

We always seem to do something odd or uncharacteristic. You would think we had not done this before. Right at the boarder we found the office of "Migracion" or immigration so we could get our Tourist Cards. Our silly thing for this trip was not having enough pecos pulled out to pay for those cards. Back to the van we went. We did have enough money plus enough money for tolls on the "cuota" highways. Once we had our "tarjetas de turismo" we tried to get to the toll highway but had to drove right through Nogales, Son, MX in order to get back to the highway. Dumb move on our part but we did get to see a bit of the city. Nogales is definitely not the horrible place you would think of it as when you hear - do not stop at border cities, they are dangerous. We saw wonder art and school children waiting for buses. We stopped at a Telmex to get a new SIM card and get our iPad hooked up. Ken found a fellow that taught himself English and he gave Ken the excellent of service. It did take a long time to get hooked up.

We did not stop much along the way as we had a mission - to get to San Carlos and Totonaka RV Park as close to after dark as possible. We did, however, get to stop at a Pemex for gas and an OXXO. When we did stop we found people to be friendly and helpful.

It was fun to take in all the new sights, smells and sounds that are Mexico. Finally we made it to this wonderful, exciting country. Once in San Carlos, with Pepe safely parked for the night, we found a little Italian restaurant for supper. It was a clam linguini. The clams, however, were still in their shells, a bit unusual. Ken loved it. I thought it was ok. I was just happy to be in Mexico for my birthday.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Hot Sunny
Mileage 529474 km
Last night we stayed at Totonaka RV Park in San Carlos,

Awesomeness: The tamarind trees, some even have those characteristic orange blooms.

I started the day off doing yoga on the cement pad by our van. I felt a bit odd doing yoga outside but really who cares. I need to get my body back into some kind of shape. Sitting for many kilometres is hard on a person's low back, at least this person's. It was nice and cool as it was quite early. My task for the day was to sort out my clothes and repack for hot weather. I did that early before it got hot. Believe me, it was a challenge because I had purchased some new attire in Tucson, AZ. I found a few items to discard.

We met the lady, Susan, in the camping coach next door to us. She has a part Dalmatian dog call Maisy. She has kennelling set up so Maisy has lots of room to roam just outside the door of her RV coach. Once talking to Susan she told us about a great place to go for lunch on the Pacific Ocean - Palapa del Greige.

We slathered on the sunscrean, donned our hats and off we went walking in the heat of the day to find a lunch spot. We only had rough directions. Our phones were not working for a town map. In fact, internet for the whole town seemed to be down. We had quite the walk in the heat. We are not used to the heat of Mexico yet, we do like it but this was a really hot day and really hot time of day. We were at the end of our rope, so to speak, as it was so hot and no Palapa yet. We had come to what we thought was a dead end, but it was not. We found ourselves walking down stairs to the beach. The beach was not well used and we saw many pieces of sand worn seashells and even pieces of coral. Best of all we saw the Palapa we were searching for. Ken had his first avocado and with seafood inside. Very creamy an delicious. The fish tacos also made the grade. We took the bus back as it was just too hot.

We went to the pool to cool off. Susan joined us. it was nice to talk to someone else about their adventures in Mexico. The pool certainly did it's job of cooling us off. The pool is not heated, except my the sun, so solar heated. It was chilly to enter but awe so refreshing.

Evening found us on the long walk to JJ's Palapa and Taco Stand. It was so good! I will tell you about it tomorrow as we are going back for supper. High praise I would say.

JJ's Palapa and Taco Stand - Our San Carlos goto location.

Thursday, October 23, 2014
Hot Sunny
Last night we stayed at Totonaka RV

Awesomeness: It was kind of hot last night when we went to bed or at least we felt hot. Perhaps it was the walk to JJ's Palapa and Taco stand which is very far away from us.

Today is my little Sister's birthday! Happy Birthday, Sis. Hope you are having a good one.
Today was not as hot as the day before. Was it because there is less humidity or what, we do not know. There is certainly not less sun.

We start the day off on a walk to Ley's, grocery store about a kilometre down the main type street. We were in search of ice coffee. NOB we seemed to every day get cheap coffee in the morning at McDonalds. They do not have a McDonalds here, in fact they do not have iced coffee at the McDonalds in Mexico anyway. We bought a litre of the sweetest, creamiest ice coffee at the store. It was very good and did a very decent job of waking us up.

Ley's for morning coffee was another spot.

Once back at Toto's we hung out in the Club House under the coolness of the fan for almost the whole day. Ken and I both attached to our computers pumping our words. Better internet in the Club House. We did not even have to take a dip in the pool to cool off the fan had done its job.

Around sunset we walked to JJ's Palapa and Taco stand which is about three kilometres away so a six K round trip of walking. Susan our camping neighbour is playing at the restaurant along with a Mexican band from the area called The Twins. The Twins are two brothers, obviously twins and one brother's son. Susan was playing percussion of steel drums or . Fun was had by one and all at JJ's. He is a very gregarious Mexican fellow who greets one and all when they enter his establishement. The food is well worth the effort, along with the taco bar and music.

The Pool at Toto's

The shade was much appreciated at Toto's

Friday, October 24, 2014
Hot Sunny
Last night we stayed at Totonaka RV Park - San Carlos, M

Awesomeness: The cat who seems to like us and he/she is always hanging out somewhere cool.

Breakfast at the campsite , again.

We are such creatures of habit. We walked to Ley's again and had the same ice coffee. At least this time we bought a big water, some veggies and fruit for lunch. It seems to be hotter today. We think it is the humidity.

We saw "El Gato" by the Club House. This time he was willing to properly pose for some shots. We do not know if this calico cat is a male or female but it is very friendly with us. He always finds a cool place to be including sneaking into the front office that has air conditioning.
We decide to do the club house hanging out again. We have quite a bit of office type work to complete before heading out to other parts of Mexico. In other words, we are being adults and completing our obligations even though we are on holidays. Darn, would love to just goof off and enjoy ourselves but maturity reins.

At supper time we headed off to our new usual place - JJ's for a feed of tacos. The guy is so friendly, the staff is friendly, too. I would highly recommend this place if you like good tacos in a casual atmosphere. I am sure I mentioned this before but the walk to JJ's is about three kilometres, so we walked about six kilometres there and back. I am quite happy about that because lately we had not walked much but hopefully we are back to our regular Mexico walking standards. If we keep it up some of the extra poundage will melt off. Who needs that extra ugly fat anyway?

While we were at JJ's another customer bought us each a drink. In fact, we think he bought every customer at JJ's a drink. Nice gesture I'd say. The Twins came and played two songs at JJ's. One was picked especially for us - Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones. They sang it in Spanish and did a great job, too.

Once we got our tired selves back here to Toto's it was pool time. It gets early faster down here or should I say the farther south you go the sooner it gets darl. It was dark but Toto's has a light in the pool. The water was so cool and refreshing. Cooling off, when it is this hot, before you try to sleep is so important. Otherwise you wake up because you are so hot.

Saturday, October 25, 2014
Hot Sunny
Last night we stayed at Totonaka's RV Park - San Carlos,

Awesomeness: We such a nice neighbour lady, Susan from Texas.

I was just as hot today, if not hotter than yesterday. As you can tell we are not used to the heat at all yet. I am not complaining. At home in BC the rains have begun in earnest. I remember what that was like. One great reason to be SOB in Mexico. Not only is it raining, it is cloudy and cold and damp, too. We lived in likely the warmest part of Canada for fall and winter weather. Some parts of Canada likely have snow right now, it would definitely be very cold.

Yesterday some big rigs drove into Toto's to overnight. 

They were headed south to Mazatlan. They had found out that their usual RV park had closed there since last year and they did not know where they would go. We had heard that the particular RV park they were talking about had the owner pass away during the spring or summer. The kids that inherited the park have already been to the real estate agents. Land on the water in Maz would be very valuable. I am worried that our favourite park will be inundated with too many RVs by the time we arrive in a week or so.

We did do something different today. We had tomato based drinks instead of our usual coffee, sugar sweetened, fattening drinks (trying to persuade myself to not drink them anymore, but do feel kind of addicted). We went to JJ's for supper and had our usual swim in the pool here after we walked the three kilometres back from supper. For a Saturday night the town was not really rocking. We did see in a restaurant near hear that perhaps a wedding party was happening. We heard fireworks going off just before we went to bed. It seemed pretty quiet for a Saturday night in a Mexican town.

Sunday, October 26, 2014
Hot Sunny
Last night we stayed at Totonaka RV Park - San Carlos, M

Awesomeness: There are cement and tiled benches to put all your shower gear on. There is also a hook by each shower, another must have for showers in campgrounds.

We were going on a road trip to the parts of San Carlos that you can not really walk to from Totos. We are also driving into Guayamas a neighbouring city. We have to ready the van for the big adventure. That means unplugging the trickle charger, taking off the bug screens, taking the curtains off and stowing everything away safely.

JJ's Palapa and Taco Stand

Once our Sunday was off and started, we drove to Marinaterra Hotel and Spa which houses the Restaurant Embarcadero. We walked through the hotel and the fabulous courtyard, desert garden. Lots of art and lots of cactus. This restaurant is right on the water, right by the marina. The desayuno or breakfast was served buffet style. A chef took your order for eggs any style. Then he made the huevos right in front of you. Wow, my eggs Mexicano was delicious. The restaurant was packed with Mexican families, from babies to people in their 90s. Everyone was dressed up, some of us were casually dressed. It was definitely pricey compared to what we have been eating, a Sunday treat for ourselves. The usual happened for a buffet - we both ate too much. But like JJ always says,"who cares!"

By the time we left the Marinaterra Hotel it was later on in the morning and hot. We drove to a look out or mirador. We drove passed where The Soggy Peso Pub is located. 

Generally we saw a part of San Carlos we had not seen before. There are many rocky hills with cactus on them. The dirt or rocks are a red color. We drove passed many beautiful homes set up on hills.

The Walmart in Guayamas presented us with needed respite from the heat, twice actually. We always seek out shade for the van when it is extremely hot. All the shade we could find was the shade made by the Walmart sign.The taxi drivers were wanting this little shade oasis, too. We drove around Guaymas, too hot to appreciate any of it and too hot to go for any walks, not even on the treeless malecon. We found areas of beautiful, big homes and areas of small shacks -very diverse.

Once back at Totos we sat by the pool to keep cool. Susan and Maisy her dog came over and kept us company for awhile. We discussed moving and packing, etc. We also discussed computers and cell phones for down here in Mexico.

It is the first night that it seemed to cool down, so not dip in the pool. We finished off the day by driving to JJ's, new for us. He has a sort of hot plate affair by the taco bar with cooked peppers and onions. These items were so tasty. I am nor sure why I did not notice these tasty treats before.

Monday, October 27, 2014
Hot Sunny
Last night we stayed at Toto's in San Carlos

Awesomeness: We have seen hummingbirds, woodpeckers, doves, etc. I saw a gecko in the bathroom. We actually saw people that we met in PV last year coming through to go to PV again.

It does not seem quite as hot today, at least not in the shade. On our way to coffee (which was V8 juice) we saw and talked to people we had met in PV last year. They are on their way to PV again.

Our friend Susan was jolted into action by an urgent family matter. She had to lock everything up and get ready for her and Maisy the part dalmatian to take a road trip. She was off to New Orleans. I am thinking she will be gone for a couple of weeks. She left early as she wanted to get as far as Tucson or maybe even El Paso. Too bad! We all feel we are in a different reality down here in Mexico. Far from the worries of the everyday back home. Just a phone call or e-mail can pull us back into that NOB world. I hope she is safe and drives carefully.

We were not really prepared for today. We did buy soy milk for breakfast but have run out of granola. We did not buy any iced coffee or anything for lunch. We ended up walking for both out in the day's hot sun. We ate at Ley's lunch counter - very reasonably priced and delicious food, too.
Ken is having a terrible time being coming fully awake and conscious today. Maybe it is an allergic reaction to mosquito bites, maybe it is from the unrelenting heat or tiredness from the drive yesterday. Ken gets very bugged by bugs. It must be his type O blood. They swarm him and leave me alone.

Once the sun is setting is does start to cool down now. We decided to have our cool drinks poolside under the big palapa. Not sure why but being under a palapa is much cooler, I realize it provides shade, but still it is just so much cooler. Decisions had to be made about where we would go next and what we want to do in the immediate future. Day of the Dead it coming up soon so hotels will be booked. It seems to us to be too hot along the coast, so should we go inland?

For supper we reluctantly walked to JJ's. Not that JJ's does not have outstanding food, just that we were far too lazy to walk the three K. JJ greeted us as usual. When we were us at the taco bar he even put his arms around us and said he was happy that we come and eat there every night. I guess it lets him know his food is great and it it!

Once we made the trek back to Toto's we took a quick dip in the pool. By that time of night it was kind of chill and we winced at the cool water. We needed the dip for proper sleep.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Hot Sunny
Last night we stayed at Totonaka's RV Park - San Carlos.

Awesomeness: Seeing the black moth on the ceiling of the shower. It is also nice to be able to pet the big black and white standard bred poodle puppy that is in the trailer close to us.

We have been waking up around sunrise which is here is about 5:45 AM. We do not jump out of bed or anything but we are awake. We both did yoga today outside on the cement pad. The little no-see-um bugs were annoying.

Inside the shower stall and up on the ceiling was a huge, black-witch moth. I took my entire shower with it not moving. Good thing cause it would have freaked me out.

We decided a good breakfast out was in order. We went to Rosa's Restaurant for a wonderful breakfast in a well appointed brick building. It was very much Mexican decorated. The food -delicious. We split two different breakfasts. We had an omelette with hash-browns and cheese inside of it. The omelette had a Spanish red sauce full of big chunks of veggies - to die for. Ken ordered delicious hot cakes with syrup and fruit. Everything was so good. I even had some of the coffee it was so good.

The rest of the morning and the afternoon were spent in the club house. We still have lots of paper work to complete. Ken found out that Gabriola Radio was awarded a $30,000. grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada. Yahoo, that is incredible for the Station! He now has even more paper work to do but that is ok. This will be a real boost for the Station. Too bad their accountant is quite sick right now. Let's hope he gets better soon to bask in the glory of the grant.

We had drinks by the pool once the sun started to go down. The big palapa is very cool in more ways than one. The calico cat came and joined us for awhile, very casually giving itself a bath as cats do. We has such an amazing breakfast at Rosa's we decided to go back there for supper. According to our rating Rosa's is another amazing restaurant in a small Mexican town. The supper was so delicious. Ken has chicken tacos and I had cheese quesadillas. We each got a big serving of salad along with beans (I had to, unfortunately, pick the pieces of meat out). Some kind of pico de gallo was served in a little transparent container with a lid. It was wowzer! The cheese really made it. They must also have hand made soft shell tortillas.

On our walk home we heard a live band playing amazing and loud blues. It was coming from Froggies. We walked through, caught a song or two. There were lots of older folks totally enjoying the atmosphere and music being played. It was very refreshing to see. We walked on wanting to relax and watch some Netflix back at the camp.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Hot Sunny
Last night we stayed at Toto's RV Park - San Carlos, MX

Awesomeness: Last night we were able to get Netflix's with little problems with slowness of the internet. We watched "The Americans".

We stayed up late, at least for us watching a new show for us on Netflix - The Americans. It takes place in the States during the late seventies. It is about Russian spies that come to the US and integrate in as an American family. It caught our attention even after the first episode because it is so character driven. Anyway, we slept in a bit more than usual and almost missed the breakfast special at Rosa's. Yes, we went back cause yesterday it was so delicious. Again, we split two different breakfasts. An outstanding poblano pepper omelette was the special, along with hashbrowns. I even had coffee, something I never have. In Mexico the coffee is different, not bitter. Hope I do not get too addicted, caffeine, the gateway drug ;)

It was cooler today. Going for a walk was easier. We did not even really need a swim. Ken did have one later on, just before we went to bed.

I have been working on selecting and editing the blog pictures. Ken has been doing radio work.

Guess this is kind of a food day. We had a pineapple for lunch along with small tostado chips. At supper time we walked to Rosa's again. I had the usual cheese quesadillas and Ken some kind of chicken with a baked potatoe. I think we ate too much today. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

Thursday, October 30, 2014
Hot Sunny
Last night we stayed at Totonaka's RV Park - San Carlos,

Awesomeness: The big, black moth is still in the bathroom. I go buzz bombed by small birds or big butterflies while waiting on a bench doing laundry.

We must eat at the campsite today. I say this cause it is real tempting to go to Rosa's again. We, however, have granola and eat a good breakfast at our sight. It does not take us long to decide we must go for a drink or treat or something. Off we go in the hot sun to get a cool drink. Not sure the cooling off with a cold drink after walking in the hot sun is working for us.

We arrive back to do the laundry. I actually do the laundry, Ken does not. It is just one of those things. I do not want any "red" socks ending up in the white underwear. I thought the laundry room was locked but it was a pump room that was locked. I apologized, "lo siento", to the maid who had to walk quite a ways back in the sun and heat to the lavenderia. She had to unlock a room that was not locked in the first place, oops! The laundry room had lots of washing machines and dryers, it was well equipped. I sat outside the room on a bench in the shade to do Spanish and flip the laundry. The laundry came out of the dryer quite damp. Ken pulled out some rope and we put it between trees for a clothes line. The some clothes were dry by the time I had the last clothes hung up.

We moseyed on to eat a cheap lunch a Ley's. My mistake was not putting on sun screen which I usually do. I burnt my shoulders. You would think that someone my age and having had this skin colour all my life I would know better. Well, now I had my memory jogged by the sun.
We swam early after lunch to cool off. We still found it cool in the pool.

We flagged down a bus to take us in the area of the Marinaterra Hotel. Back in behind is the SBCA which is a type of animal rescue association. It is located right by Ruby Wine Bar. The SBCA is sponsoring a Doggie Parade for pooches in Halloween costumes. There were some extra cute pooches there. The costumes were varied - crab, elephant, skeleton, clown, bat, wedding dress or bride, flowered outfits, pirate, lots of tutus, sport outfits and many more. The clown dog won in one of the categories. It was hard to pick winners so the judges would pick three and audience applause chose the winner. I was particularly partial to a poodle that looked like a lamb with no tail and a schnauzer. They topped the cute list in my books. Their person mom has sewn a flowered outfit for herself and made little outfits for the dogs to match. I totally enjoyed myself. We even met a lady in her seventies. She said she lives in San Carlos not because it is beautiful or nice but because it is close to medical in the States.

We went to JJ's for supper. He said he missed us. We did have very good tacos there. Then we walked back.

Friday, October 31, 2014
Hot OverCast
Last night we stayed at Totonaka's RV Resort - San Carlos

Awesomeness: The workers here, at least the manager, give the little dressed up kids Halloween candy. No body hurt the calico cat either.

This is the first overcast day we have experienced for awhile. It is till hot and muggy. Today I am slathering on the sunscreen. No more burns for me.

Ken wanted to go back to Rosa's for breakfast. I was very quick to agree with him. What great food we always have there. It does not have table service. They call your number and your go pick up what you odered. We noticed in town today the children, ninos, seem to be off school. Must be a holiday today having to do with Day of the Dead. Oh, by the way, Happy Halloween is in order.

Ken finished up the Radio stuff and other business stuff. I did lots of Spanish today. I was quite tired today. I think the heat is getting to me.

We had a big eventos on Friday. It was mailing a letter in Mexico, or first mail to be sent out of Mexido. First we had to find the post office which was back in a little courtyard office space. We had walked by it several times not having a clue there was a post office in that spot. The entrance had locked post office boxes just like in Canada. The worker could speak English so we had zero difficulties. It was fourteen pesos to send the letter to Canada.

Once we were almost back to the campground we saw little skeletons, bandits, witches, etc. running with their loot bags. They had already started visiting Toto's for a candy haul. It was pretty early. I guess they did not want to go out in the dark. Just like in Canada the Moms were accompanying the little Trick or Treaters. It seemed to finish up early compared to Canada. We saw the cutest little child on Facebook. It was a skunk, or "kunk" as she calls it. The skunk was our little great niece Hunter back in Estevan, Saskatchewan. I bet she was taken out early, too. She looked pretty happy and excited.

On the way back we heard and saw lots of fire trucks driving speedily toward some fire. Next day we saw it was a grass fire close to the end of the road near JJ's Tacos. At the time it seemed like such an emergency and was a bit scary.

Saturday, November 1, 2014
Hot OverCast
Mileage 529 717 km
Last night we stayed at Toto's RV park - San Carlos, MX

Awesomeness: The friendly, could speak English manager of Toto's.

The decision was made to move on from San Carlos. The Wunderground map for Mazatlan was the decision maker. We had, the night before, decided that Sunday would be the day of departure until looking at a weather map. Wunderground had a new symbol which appeared to be right over the campground we like to stay at in Mazatlan. Ken checked it out and it was a tropical depression landing early in the week. 

Yep! That is a huge storm landing at the planned campground in Mazatlan.

That and the heat up in San Carlos was motivation enough to move on. Usually San Carlos to Maz is a two day journey. We aimed to do the whole thing in one day. We packed up the van ready to move on to a bigger centre.

Before we left we had to wish our host, the manager at Toto's, farewell. Such a pleasant stay and such a warm and friendly host. The cat that had been like a mini welcoming committee for the past almost two weeks got lots of pets before we left.

We could not resist the urge have another delicious breakfast at Rosa Cantina. The desayuno special was divorced eggs with Christmas sauce (green and red sauce). We split the meal because we will be sitting in the car all day.

We went through part of Guayamas and picked up iced coffee for the road. First time I had Andatti Cafe Frio for a long time. It was so delicious in a cup with ice. We drove and drove for what seemed like an endless amount of time. We then stopped in Navojoa, Son., MX. We have a favourite hotel there - Hotel El Mayo. I would have loved to have stopped and jumped in the pool. It was so hot, my head and face were sweating badly. I am not a sweaty person, so if I do prespire it is very hot. We had the curtains up in the back of the van with the big curtain between the front and back drawn shut. The air conditioning was cranked to full blast. Still it was hot in the van. We have sun shields for the side windows, too.

We stopped for a snack at a Walmart on the highway in Guayasave. We have arrived into real Mexico now. We were the only Gringos there. It appeared the covers had blown off the parking spots in the parking lot, they were missing at any rate. I had a delicious chili relleno with a fruit salad spit with Ken. It was so reasonably priced - cheap by Canadian standards. One thing we noticed happening in the area was that there were lots of grass fires along the highway, etc. We wondered if it had something to do with the Dia Los Muertus festivities. I started getting tired before Culiacan. We thought we might stay there. It was dark by this time and everyone says not to drive at night in Mexico. It was cooler but somewhat unnerving. Lots of big trucks on the big, toll road. Ken was fine with driving and would tuck in behind another bigger vehicle for safety. We had not Telcel with internet to get a map to our camp ground. Close to Maz we got a map, safely turned. Soon we were in the Golden Zone with hotels. Odd thing our van had so much humidity on it that it looked like it was sweating, too. We arrived safely in Mazatlan at San Fernando RV Park.

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