Just another average sunset in paradise!

Monday, December 26, 2011

A room with a view!

I am counting down the days!  January 2nd is departure day for me.  For the past 4 months I have changed my destination plan almost as often as my underwear.  La Paz on the Baja peninsula was one possibility and San Blas on the mainland was the other.  I found a bungalow in San Blas that I can rent for $100. per month and planned to make that my home base.

There is a small town on the beach just south of San Blas named Aticama.  There is a beautiful home on a hill in Aticama overlooking the ocean.  I have known of this house for a couple of years and planned to visit the family that owns it during my travels.  I learned last week that the family will not be staying there this winter and so I sent an email asking if they were interested in renting the house.  Another email and a phone call later and I have a beautiful home  base.

View of Hill Top House from the patio

The patio viewed from the house

Patio bath tub

What a view!

There is also a great parking spot for Dod.  The town is only a few hours south of Mazatlan and even less driving time north of Puerto Vallarta so I am envisioning many great day trips.

Now I have to really concentrate on Dod so I can make my departure deadline!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

30 days of planning and 8 hours of work

The patio project was planned well over a month ago!  I changed my mind about 10 times before deciding on the final design.


and after

After a month of careful planning (procrastination) the actual construction time was only about 8 hours.  I now have just two small projects to complete at my brother's house and hope to have them finished this afternoon.

I still have a couple of upgrades I want to do on Dod but I plan to head for the border no later than Monday, January 2nd which should put me at my final destination of San Blas by the middle of January.  It is 51 degrees outside as I write this and it is 81 degrees right now in San Blas!

I also purchased another piece of medical equipment in an online auction yesterday and need to sell it.  If it hasn't sold by the 2nd I will leave it for my brother to sell.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Is Mexico safe?

When I share my plans to RV all over Mexico, almost everyone has the same advice: Don't go!  Most tell me they have never been there and that they wouldn't even think of going.  I used to explain to them that I lived in Mexico for almost 2 years and that I felt safer there than I would in most big cities in the U.S. but now I just say I will be careful.

The per capita murder rate in Washington, D.C. is eight times higher than in Mexico City and the rate in most large U.S. cities is also higher than Mexico City.  The murder rate for U.S. citizens in Mexico is about 1 per 100,00 or less than one fifth the rate in the U.S.

Anyone who has spent much time in a large U.S. city knows that there are certain areas that you just don't visit.  It is the same in Mexico.  I have been driving all over Mexico since 1972 and have had only two minor incidents.  I had some tools sitting in the back of my Jeep at a hotel in La Paz and they were stolen.  My fault for leaving them there with no top on the Jeep.  In Tijuana, a young Mexican-American, gang-banger type grabbed my cell phone off my belt and ran off.  I chased him down and got my phone back. Pretty dumb move on my part as I was 58 at the time and he was in his early 20s.

I always exercise caution when deciding where to camp for the night and avoid any section of town that does not look safe.  The vast majority of Mexicans are happy to have tourists around as without us their economy would suffer.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Work on Dod progresses

Although nothing was actually wrong with Dod, I wanted to replace the three engine belts and the rear shock absorbers.  I got an estimate of $152.30 to replace the belts and $285.00 to replace the two rear shocks.  I went to a local auto parts store and bought all the parts for less than $140.00 and did the installations with the help of a good friend of my brother's who wouldn't accept any money.  Total time of actual work was about two hours.

Next on the list are a couple of new tires, another solar panel and one or two more house batteries.  I am also thinking about adding the capability of using regular propane bottles in addition to my built-in tank.  I want to be prepared to spend a month in one spot just in case I find my personal paradise.

I also built a shelf unit for the cab-over sleeper area which probably doubled my storage space.  It is filling up fast as I stockpile groceries for Mexico.  I spent $60. today and due to the super bargains and a 5% Senior Discount, my register receipt showed that I had paid about 40% of the normal prices.  While you can get anything you want in Mexican supermarkets, items from the US usually cost much more than you would pay here.  I stocked up on Best Foods Mayo, Ritz crackers,  Rice-a-roni, Betty Crocker side dishes, and Folger's coffee.  I think I probably have enough food on board for well over one month.

I am really getting antsy about heading out!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Am I really going to Mexico?

The answer is yes but now I will be leaving just after Christmas.  I stayed through Monday to purchase some medical equipment in an online auction.  I got everything I wanted and at lower prices than I had expected.  Sold everything within 3 days at almost 20 times what I paid for them!  My brother Rick helped and we have set up an account in his name so he will be able to handle future transactions with my email and telephone help.

Rick's whole family never stopped pressuring me to spend Christmas with them and I finally made the decision to stay yesterday.  It is chilly here with night time temps dropping below freezing and high temps just over 60 degrees.  I follow a lot of blogs from RVers in Mexico and keep La Paz, Loreto and Puerto Vallarta weather reports on my Google Chrome home page.  Lows in all three cities rarely go below 60 and the highs are typically in the mid to upper 70s.  I sure do miss that weather.

As you may recall, I lived in Mexico for almost 2 years.  It seems that  changes occur more slowly there so I expect everything to be nearly the same as when I left.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New campsite at Kern River

When I checked out the two sites Christen and I occupied last week, I was disappointed in their condition.  After just one week both campsites were a mess: paper plates, diapers, broken beer bottles and other assorted trash littered the entire area.  This campground is totally free and includes beautiful views in all directions and includes a dumpster for trash.  Why are people so disrespectful of our environment?

The above picture shows how I left my campsite around the fire ring.  I am not including a picture of how I found it because in addition to the load of trash around the site, someone had taken a dump less than a foot from this fire ring.

Rick enjoying the view and sounds of the river.

I had to do some clean-up at this new site but due to the remote location, there was less trash than at my old site.  I think I have made my last trip this season to the Kern River so I am spared having to witness what I am almost certain is now a trash laden site.

Firewood supply that Rick and I gathered in about an hour.

These rapids are directly down the hill from my campsite.

The remainder of my stay involved many hours of hiking, reading in the warm sunshine and sleeping with the sounds of the river lulling me to sleep.  No gold panning for me this trip but the same prospectors were there in force each day.

Sorry for the rant as I usually give everyone the benefit of the doubt, however in this case there is no doubt that the individuals involved are inconsiderate slobs.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dod goes off-roading!

When I arrived back at the Keyesville South Camp on the Kern River I parked for the first night at the camp where Christen's trailer had been the week before. To get to this camp I had to cross the following hazards on the only access road to the campsite.

Yes, they are just as bad as they look!  In all of my travels driving my Jeep CJ7 in Mexico,  I cannot remember taking any roads in worse condition than this one.  It was worth it to me to arrive at the site.  I took a short walk over this road:

Yes, this is the road and it is just as steep as it appears.  At the top of the hill, this is the road down the other side:

The next morning my brother Rick came up and I decided to risk it and take Dod over the hill.  I know it was risky taking a 32 year old RV over this type of terrain but it was worth it to wind up in this site:

Dod's new site as viewed from across the Kern River.