Archive for November, 2007


Thursday, November 15th, 2007

Mañana means tomorrow. But in Mexico it really means not today (some other day). If we had taken our truck in to get fixed in the states the mechanics would get to it either today or tomorrow. They could get NAPA to bring the parts to them quickly that day. It would be repaired within a day. In Mexico they do not keep many parts in stock so they have to go get the parts usually in some other town. We took our truck in on Monday. They looked at it on Tues. Wed. they fixed it except for the missing parts. On Thurs. someone took a bus to Puerto Vallarta to pick up dust seals, the parts they are missing. The trip takes an hour to get there and an hour back. We are very pleased that they are as far along as they are on repairing the truck.

They said the truck would be finished at 4:00 PM and they would bring it to the RV Park to us. They showed up at 5:00. Not bad at all. Would they have delivered it to our door in the US? I think not. We took it for a test drive to see if the brakes worked and no screechy sound of metal to metal. We can finally head to Sayulita, our final destination, tomorrow.

Oops – Didn’t make it.

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

First of all, we want to wish our granddaughter, Gracie, a happy 6th birthday.


Now, for the rest of the story.  We left Mazatlan on Saturday morning at 7:30 AM.  For the second time in a row we were right on time.  All was going well over the new, 200 mile, toll road to the town of Tepic.  Tepic is at the top of a mountain at about 3500 feet.  This is where the fun begins.

For the first time since entering Mexico we left Hwy 15 behind and headed down Hwy 200 towards Sayulita, which is our ultimate destination for the winter.  We had only about 70 miles to go, so we thought we had it made.  Just a note about Hwy 200.  It is mostly downhill, narrow, and extremely curvy for the first 40 miles past Tepic.

Here is your typical downhill curve. Note the lack of shoulder.  In some places the drop-off is hundreds of feet.


Anyway, as luck would have it, we ended up following an extremely slow truck.  You wouldn’t necessarily think of this as a problem, but, it was.  He was traveling so slow that we could not build up enough speed for our exhaust brake to activate.  This is bad, because we were forced to use our brakes extensively.

About 30 miles into this ordeal, we spotted a place that we could pull out.  When I braked to stop, billows of smoke started coming out of our left front wheel.  We got to a stop and discovered that the wheel was on fire.  What was burning was brake fluid and grease, not tire.  We carry a fire extinquisher in the cab, so I gave that a whirl.  The fire stopped momentarily, but the heat from the wheel re-ignited it.

A young man came running from across the street with a liter bottle of coke, shook it up  and began spraying the foam on the wheel.  We grabbed a couple of more liters from the restaurant on our side of the road.  The fire was out at this point, but we kept squirting large quantities of water on the wheels through openings in the hub caps.  After the excitement, we sat down with the young man and joined him in a beer and waited about an hour for the wheels to cool off before starting out again.

Well, off we started.  The left front wheel was making a horrible metal-to-metal noise.  It didn’t appear to be the brakes, therefore, our assumption was a wheel bearing.  We continued on for about 20 miles at about 20 – 25 mph.  Every couple of miles we stopped to wet down the wheel with water.  I was driving in first and rarely used the brake.

When we entered the town of La Penita we noticed the La Penita RV Park.  We had met the owners of that resort in San Carlos when the caravan came through the RV Park.  We continued a few more miles and stopped to check the wheels out again.  A retired military gentleman from the US  that lives in the area pulled up beside us to see if we were having trouble.  He indicated that if we were to continue and break down in our final 20 miles that there are no places to pull off the narrow road.  We opted to head back to La Penita RV Park and wait there until Monday so we could get the wheel fixed.  Manana has stretched out for a couple of days and we expect to have our diagnosis Wednesday, the 14th.

Anyway, La Penita RV park is large and nearly full of mostly Canadians.  The owner is also Canadian.  We put up our Texas flag.  The park is quite hilly and the trailers and motor homes are all up and down the hill.  We’re at the top.  The property goes all the way to the beach.

Here’s a shot from the sun deck at the rv park.


From the beach toward the park.


View from the beach. 


And a little wildlife (Iguana)


Hopefully, we’ll continue our journey towards Sayulita in a day or two. 

Our thanks go out to Carole and Grant, the owners of La Penita RV Park for their hospitality and help with our problems.

North Mazatlan and Stone Island

Friday, November 9th, 2007

The past couple of days have been spent exploring the Mazatlan area.  Wednesday we went north of the city and scouted out a few other RV parks.

There is a new one, still under construction, called Cerritos.  Even though it is under construction, many of the guests that had reservations for this year have arrived.  This park is a somewhat different in that it is a coop.  Each person has a ten-year contract, and pay $2500 each year for the facility.

We traveled a gravel road on up the coast until it became a path.  There were some beautiful houses along the way but not terribly many.  Only one vehicle passed us.  What you see in this photo are two postal mailmen on one motorcycle.  They rode to the last building on the road and returned.


We had the pleasure of crossing this wooden bridge in both directions.   Believe it or not, it was just as scary going over it the second time.


Yesterday we went the other direction towards the south end of the penensula.  We were heading for a day at Stone Island.  We headed for South Beach which is the area of Mazatlan where fishing boats, water taxis are located and near the cruise line piers.  Our quest was a water taxi to take us to Stone Island.  (It isn’t really an island, but more of a peninsula across the bay from Mazatlan.)  The first place we tried was closed; however, we located water taxies about a quarter mile away.

Here’s a view of the sea from the first water taxi area.  Pretty spectacular.


On the way across the bay we could see the ships and ocean liners at the pier.  The Carnival Pride was in port.


When we reached the other side we hopped a taxi (a pickup with planks in the bed to sit on) and headed off to our destination which was one of the restaurants along the beach.  We had been told to try Lety’s.  Lety’s is near the end of the row of restaurants.

All of the tables were under the thatched roof (Palapa) and a few lounges were located under umbrellas at the edge of the restaurant and even hamocks in the restaurant.  We plopped down at a table near the edge of the palapa.  With the exception of one trip into the water, we stayed put enjoying good food and adult beverages.


A continual parade of beach vendors marched by and asked us if we needed any of their goods.  There were mariachis, blankets, ceramics, dresses, clothing, purses, beads, silver and just about anything else you might need.  They politely disappear when you say “no gracias”.  I’ve decided that if fortunes turn down and I need to take up being a mariachi, I certainly won’t be lugging a cello around.


All of the restaurants were renting fourwheelers for rides up and down the beach. ($30.00 USD per hour)  From my stationary position, this is the best shot of fourwheelers that I could get.


By the look on Tinka’s face you can tell that it was a very relaxing and enjoyable day.


At about 3:00 we headed back to the dock and water taxi for the return to Mazatlan.

In general, we have had a nice time here.  The traffic, as in most Mexican cities, is pretty horrible.  They have outgrown the infrastructure.  They do have all of the conveniences.  I was able to get my oil changed and today had the truck cleaned (detailed) for about $8.00 USD. We also made a quick trip to both Sam’s and Wal-mart in preparation for our trip south.

Mazatlan November 7, 2007

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

We’ve done quite a bit of driving around and getting to know Mazatlan.  The town is a bit larger and busier than we would prefer, however, the place is beautiful.

Here’s a view of the hotel area from the downtown beach.


This old “Fisherman’s Statue” is pretty much the center of the downtown beach.  Several streets go off at different angles from there.  Please excuse the “drive-by” photo.


Downtown Beaches.


New Developments on the north side of town.


The old part of Mazatlan reminds you of parts of the French Quarter in New Orleans with the wrought iron balconies.


There are numerous places to purchase fresh shrimp and seafood.  The entire block where this photo was taken was lined with shrimp.  Each container has a different size shrimp.


We’re staying at the Mar Rosa RV Park.  It is owned by an 87 year old woman.  The land is under contract from a hotel or condo developer and they will take over when she dies.  (See comments about the previous statement) This is a shot of the front gate through a dirty windshield.


The park is pretty empty right now, but will be full by December and stay that way until April.  We are right on the beach and the property is fenced in.  There are two gates that get us to the sea. Here’s a shot at the RV park from the beach, through the fence.


The waves have been pretty large.  Here’s a shot, at dusk, of some ten foot waves from the RV Park patio (palapa).


The park is next door to the Holiday Inn.  Here’s a shot from the other side of the HI toward our “beach”.


Life, as we know it, doesn’t suck!!!

Mazatlan November 3, 2007

Sunday, November 4th, 2007

On the 2nd, we were walking on the beach at Huatabampito and spotted hundreds of these Marlinspike, auger type seashells.  Here’s a close-up of a couple. 


This picture was taken when the tide was a little higher and doesn’t reflect the nearly solid rows of shells that lined the beach.


We drove about 350 miles yesterday to get to our destination of Mazatlan.  Now in the USA 350 miles would not take all day long.  But in MX a 350 mile drive can be a killer day.  We were up at 6 AM and on the road by 7 AM.  Along the route we have been taking here in MX, we have always chosen the toll roads.  We went through 6 toll roads with the cost of these at  771  pesos which is about  75.00 dollars.  The roads were much better than the earlier part of our trip here in MX.


After missing our first turn off into Mazatlan and having to drive through town we arrived at our RV park at 4 PM.  Keep in mind we are about 60 feet long and driving on very narrow roads with lots of traffic. The RV park is located on the main tourist and hotel beach road.  We are surrounded by high rise buildings.  For instance, next door is the Holiday Inn. We can not believe this RV park has not been swallowed up by big developments.  Of course, everyone is saying it is just a matter of time.  There are about 4 rows of RV slots with the first row right on the beach.  We are on the 4th row and can still hear the sound of the waves.  Since the park is not full we have a view of the ocean from our window.


After we set up the RV for our week’s stay, we walked to the palapa (a thatched covered patio) here in the gated and walled compound and watched the sun set about 6 PM.  There were still plenty of people on the beach and surfers still trying to catch the last wave of the night.


Tomorrow we will start to explore the area and tomorrow night find a sports bar that is showing the Dallas Cowboys game.