1 January, 2010 Rice & Beans (San Ignacio, Baja Sur, Mexico )
The New Year blew in just like the old year blew out! I had the same hard wind blowing all day, not quite as bad as yesterday but still blowing!
A near by hotel room was taken by a couple from OR in a 21 foot Leisure Travel built in a Sprinter with a SUV “toad” behind. They arrived early in the afternoon, maybe 2:00, got settled and then took
a seat front-n-center of the TV to watch the Rose Bowl (Oregon State vs Ohio).
There was also a very big Class C from CA park next to me and another VW Westphalia pop-top van camped for the night.
The bigger traffic during the day was for lunch and dinner. It was the busiest day that I have seen and Ricardo's day waitress left at her normal 3:00 quiting time. There was no evening waitress coming in and he had about 15 customers seated by 4:00 with most of them waiting for food or waiting to order.
Ricardo is a great guy, a marvelous cook but has very little management or people management skills. His customer management skills are great but managing employees is rather poor. I have watched him directing his employees (not understanding what is said) but by their facial expressions and body language I get the impression that they have little respect or liking for him.
He has made a couple of disparaging remarks about the education of his workers, which may be true, but his apparent interaction with them doesn't help. There may be something else going, he speaks and understands English wells enough but I don't think he is literate in English or Spanish so I think the disparagement of his employees education may be a reflection of his own lack.
He has some grand plans for the restaurants future but I see a lot of problems for him unless he does some work on “self” before attempting to implement them. Enough of that! Maybe the wind will stop blowing tomorrow, I'll feel better about the world in general and I can get back to working on my own faults! Sheesh
2 January, 2010 Rice & Beans (San Ignacio, Baja Sur, Mexico )
The wind finally died down during the night but had built back up by 10:00 in the morning and had driven me back inside by 11:00. I then tolerated it after my 3:00 lunch/dinner but was back in the trailer by 4:00. I have had enough!
I'm not sure if it is only the wind that is irritating me so much or if I have a bad case of “hitch itch” and looking for an excuse to leave. I had planned to leave on the 4th when I arrived so I don't think that is it. The wind did not bother me as much while I was at Joshua Tree so I'm not sure what me high level of irritation is about.
"Hitch Itch", for those readers not fluent in Recreation Vehicle (RV) jargon is that affliction that requires a change in location to scratch it.
I had two motorcyclist stay in a hotel room near me and one car plus one car near the restaurant, it was a rather slow night with no campers at all. Maybe the wind has blown everyone off the road! LOL
3 January, 2010 Rice & Beans (San Ignacio, Baja Sur, Mexico )
Ricardo left to take his wife, daughter and two sons back to the north (I assumed back to San Felipe) today at about 10:00. He will not be back until Tuesday so we said our goodbyes today when he left; don't know when or if we will ever meet again.
The wind started again at about that same time, continuing to blow steadily from the east. I still have not seen any storm clouds, not many clouds of any kind and what few there have been have been very high and moving from west to east.
In the previous 18 days I have never had another camper park in the space right next to me. There are 10 spaces on the south side of a big dirt lot that seemed to work out that each camper could have a space between themselves and anyone else. No one said that was how everyone must park it just seemed to work out that way – sort of like giving space in a waiting line.
That changed this afternoon at 2:00 when a older OR pick-up with a RV camper came in and drove past 8 other spaces to park right next to me. When I finished my lunch/dinner (which the new campers also had) I moved. I was already hitched and ready to go early tomorrow so it was not a big deal for me . They then had the entire south side to themselves until almost dark when another pick-up and camper parked two spaces from them. I'm not sure what they were thinking and didn't ask.
4 January 2010 Posada Don Diego (Vicente Guerrero, Baja Norte, Mexico )
The wind was starting to come up with the sun today as I crawled out of my trailer at San Ignacio for the last time to get on the road. I then had an easterly or east by northeast wind for most of the day but was surprised that there was none at Guerro Negro when I stopped at the Desert Inn for breakfast.
I had planned on camping at Catavina but I arrived there at noon, it would have been 1:00 but there was a time change at the 28th parallel. This seemed to be too early to stop for the day and there was a wind blowing there also.
I decided to go for the RV park north of San Quinton in Vicente Guerrero that my Traveler's Guide to Mexico Camping described as having WIFI. The guide was helpful but I still went astray somewhat and got to drive around on some rough streets looking for the campground. I found Posada Don Diego at last and have put it on my “camp keeper list” - do not go to San Quinton, stop here.
They wanted 200 pesos but I pleaded that I needed no hook-ups and got an overnight for 100 pesos. My xB was also a big hit with the staff and they crowded around to take a look. I then had an excellent Vera Cruz style fish with a salad which I have been craving (Rice & Beans have very small Honeymoon Salads – that is “lettuce alone without any dressing”).
Rice & Beans also did not have “nopala”, cactus pads, on their menu and I could not find any at the “mercados” in San Ignacio or Santa Rosalia. However, the Desert Inn in Guerro Negro had three item that included them and I saw them on the menu here. When we in the USA think of Mexican food we think of what has become the norm there. It is not really Mexican food and when in Mexico the food is VERY regional where even 90 miles seems to make a big difference.
I went through three military checkpoints again today and they all wanted to poke around in the car. None of them have yet asked to look inside the trailer.These where the same three checkpoints that I went through when driving south from San Quinton which was 329 miles whereas today was 345 miles.
OH, by the way, there is no wind blowing in Vicente Guerrero! WAHOOO
5 January 2010 Pete's Camp (San Felipe, Baja Norte, Mexico )
I went through 4 military checkpoints today and they all did a search of some kind. Two of them searched only the car, two of them searched only the trailer, one of them searched both. The search of both was the most intensive one that I have had and came just before the intersection of MX3 and MX5 where I turned south toward San Felipe. Within a ¼ mile after turning onto MX5 I went through checkpoint #4 and they looked in the trailer. You would think they would have some communication between the two checkpoints but then again this is Mexico.
After that checkpoint I was immediately in another road construction zone. We Americans, or at least this one, have become dependent upon flagmen, detour signs and cones when in a construction zone. Therefor, I don't do well here in Mexico where almost none of those things are present and you just pick a track and follow it. I am consistent in my approach and have now gotten off route twice when confronted with construction; this time I was able to get turned around and only drove about an extra ½ mile.
MX3 goes through some very scenic mountain driving and Valle de la Trinidad is a valley and town not to be missed. It is very isolated and you are going to do some driving to get to it with much of it over a VERY pot hole filled road. If it is not pot holed it is a lot of raised bumps where clumps of asphalt or dirt have been put in the holes.
That is right, they fill them with dirt! I saw a “road crew” with a wheelbarrow on the side of the road and drove over a section of newly dirt filled holes.
The Sea of Cortez was as calm as a mill pond when I arrived a little after 4:00. I only drove 239 miles today but because of the Ensanada city traffic, mountains, bad road, pot holes and checkpoints it took me over 6 hours.
6 January 2010, 2010 Cocopah Casino (Somerton, AZ )
MX5 was under construction for about 8 miles north (a total of about 10 miles) of the one military checkpoint that I went through today (my last of yesterday) where they checked only the trailer again.
From there north MX5 is in good condition, south of the construction it is almost all new some of it four lanes – the best 30 miles of road that I saw in Baja.
As I was nearing Mexicali I saw a sign for Highway B.C.4 to Algodones so I thought I would give it a try. The roads were not nearly as good and I missed some sign(s) along the way so ended up crossing into Sonora, Mexico near Coahuila, Baja. After getting lost there for a while I found Highway 3 to San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora.
After finding my way through town and getting in “la lina”, the line of stop-n-go traffic, I inched toward the US border gate for almost two hours. The only upside of that experience was the reaction of the border inspector to my FOR HAF & AFT HAF license plates on the xB and the teardrop. I was watching him in my mirror and when he stepped behind the trailer and looked at the plates he cracked up! He then came back up to the front where there were two other inspectors and told them they had to look at my plates plus the inspector in the next lane.
He then asked me to open the trailer and looked inside, tapped on the floor in a couple of places and sent me on my way. What I did not see when we opened it up was that my fan had vibrated loose from its bracket on the roof and had then bounced around and pulled the wiring from the fan – don't know how I'm going to fix it.
It was a short day of 175 miles but took a long time because of the border crossing. However, I'm set for 2-3 days of blacktop boondocking; although I've shown it as a private campground on my Zee Map because I paid $5 to park for thee days in the Casino parking lot.
The Casino has a buffet which I'll probably go to for breakfast tomorrow plus a limited menu in their Sports Bar that I tried tonight. It was OK but I'll probably search out a Mexican restaurant for dinner tomorrow night.
7 January, 2010 Cocopah Casino (Somerton, AZ )
I got up at my usual 6-6:30 and had the Casino buffet breakfast. It is normally $8 but I could get a book of coupons by signing up for their Players Card. That gave me a $3 discount on a Thursday (today) breakfast – it probably gave me a lot of junk mail also but I'll deal with that later.
I finished breakfast soon after 7 and was surprised that it was still dark when I got ready to go to Algodones. The time situation in Yuma is very confusing; cross the Colorado into CA and go back one hour, go into Algodones and gain it back, this is all within about 20 miles.
I stopped at another Indian Casino just off of I-8 and CA186 to ask about overnights in a lot to the south of the hotel/casino and asked about the time. The hotel clerk incorrectly told me that Algodones was on CA time so the locals can't keep up with the time issue either.
I arrived about an hour before the dentist office opened and wandered around town that is full of pharmacy, dentist, eye glasses and Mexican “stuff” - lots and lots of stuff. This is mostly crowded into about 8 blocks right after you cross the border.
I needed to get my teeth cleaned sometime in late December or early January to maintain my schedule and avoid added risk of periodontal damage; I found a periodontist here on the Internet and made an appointment. The dentist, Dr. Emma, did a cursory examination and also did the cleaning with an assistant handling the suction. She used the same sonic equipment and method for the cleaning that my regular hygienist uses but not do any additional “scaling”. I saved $65 and will get a report from my hygienist in April about the effectiveness.
My other goal for the day while in Mexico was to get some pesos from an ATM so I would have cash for my future travels. That was accomplished at a combination Pharmacy/Liquor store that had a bank ATM. I also checked on the availability and price of the drugs that VA has prescribed for me to take; they are all available without prescription but are more expensive than what my co-pay to VA is.
The other must do on my schedule was to stop at a Starbucks and get my web site caught up. I'm now current on my blog and Zee Map but need to update the US and Mexico maps for states visited. I will now add a state if I have passed through it or spent the night in it.
8 January, 2010 Cocopah Casino (Somerton, AZ )
My projects for the day were to get my web blog updated at Starbucks and do laundry so that I have everything clean when I re-enter Mexico. Last but not least I needed to get some dollars to cover my expenses for the next few day while in the USA.
I will cross the border at San Luis Rio Colorado into Mexico and drive east on MX2 to Sonoyta, Sonora, Mexico/Lukeville, AZ tomorrow. I'll then probably stay a couple of nights in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument before continuing south to Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.
I'll be without WIFI for some days or maybe weeks. I have nothing that tells me there is WIFI available in Alamos. I may be able to get on while in Hermasillo on the way down but we will just have to see.
9 January 2010 Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (Lukeville, AZ )
I had a mild north wind when I got up that became stronger as the day progressed as I drove east. The side wind and lots of trucks or bus traffic did not cause me much sway and I'm still surprised that I don't get more.
MX2 parallels the US border fence for much of the distance from San Luis to Sonoyta. The first 10 miles or so east of San Luis has a solid steel fence that is about 8' high, this also goes through town. The solid fence then becomes steel mesh about 7' high with posts every 3-4 feet for the next 80 miles. It then goes to post that are 3-4 feet high and maybe 6' apart with a steel railing welded on about 18” from the ground. The 4 strand barbed wire fence along the 20 miles of newly built MX2 is more of a barrier than what I see as our border fence. Maybe it is equipped with sensors?
I did see two border patrol vehicles patrolling this section but that is not a barrier it is just the start of a tracking operation.
I did not have the wait here to cross the US border that I had in San Luis, only 15-20 minutes. As I was leaving there this morning the line looked as long as the one that I joined on 1/6. I'm guessing there are people that spend the 1-2 hours crossing everyday – it is crazy. The Border Patrol is now outfitted like another part of the military rather than the customs inspectors of old. There was only one military check point today soon after leaving San Luis and I have see a lot of signs that say “USA No Hassle Vehicle Zone”.
I had a very clear sky, sunny with only a gentle breeze in the Monument when I got here around 11:00 after a short day of 142 miles. The camping fee with my Golden Age passport is only $6/day so I'm set for the next two.
10 January, 2010 Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (Lukeville, AZ )
It was very calm this morning with only the slightest of a breeze although it was a bit chilly (in the low 40s). There is a solid layer of clouds with the sun trying hard to shine through. I expect stronger winds by this afternoon and it will probably stay cooler than yesterday (maybe need a wind breaker for the low 70s).
Organ Pipe cactus with a crested arm.
I did a walk of 2.95 miles from the campground to the Visitor Center and back plus some of the perimeter trail that goes around the campground. Then in the afternoon I took a 2 ½ hour van tour that is a 21 mile loop to the east of AZ85 called the Ajo Mountain Driving Trail.
There were 2 couples from Canada and one from WA in addition to myself, the driver and the volunteer tour host. It was the hosts 2nd day “on the job” and she didn't have her “talk” very well refined. However, she did know where all the stops were to show of the Monuments cactus and other plants to their best advantage and she did a good job.
She and her husband are fulltimers that are volunteering for three months so that they have a pleasant and warm place to camp (she said that Organ Pipe is much sought after by volunteers for that very reason plus she said that their campsite was wonderful).
I'm back into Mexico again tomorrow with my next longer stay to be in Alamos, Sonora.
11 January 2010 Sonora RV Park (Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico )
I got a little bit of a late state because the Gringo Pass restaurant does not open until 8:00. Then when they do open they are working as they would in Mexico so everything takes a little longer.
Yesterday I went into the market next door to buy some toothpaste and tried to ask the clerk a question. He did not speak English and the waitresses are about the same. The only literate English speakers in town are the border patrol agents.
I did get enough information from the Mexican border customs agents that I understood that I could get my car permit at the next customs stop to the east. When I got there and asked the agent about a car permit he just waived me on through. I drove to the top of a hill and could see nothing in the distance so I turned around, went back and found another agent that spoke some English. She pointed out Banjercito where I had to go; a very small poorly signed building at the end of a very large customs complex.
The issuance of the permit took about 30-40 minutes which could be reduced to 5-10 if they were to adopt 21st century technology and some paperwork management. The most confusing part of the whole process was why I made extra copies of my tourist permit, drivers license and passport which they then gave back to me – but it is Mexico. I did finally get my sticker for the windshield and once more was on my way
MX2 from Sonoyta to Santa Ana is a first class highway, better than many of the US roads that I have driven. From Alta to Santa Ana and from Santa Ana to Hermosillo is divided 4 lane toll road. Both of those segments cost me 92 pesos each but it is a very good road. Not built to US Interstate specifications but a better road surface than some Interstate that I have driven.
The Sonora RV Park is not on my “keeper” list for a long term stay but is a good place to overnight. They have a dirt and gravel lot with a bathroom, WIFI and no showers but after 262 miles from Organ Pipe I was ready to stop.
12 January 2010 Dolisa Hotel & Trailer Park (Alamos, Sonora, Mexico )
I got a little earlier start today but I'm still waking up at 6:00 but don't get sun up until 7:00. Stopped at Hotel San Martin, just north of the train station, which has a 24 hour buffet. The breakfast was super and I'm sorry that I didn't have the buffet here last night although the fish that I had at a restaurant closer to city center was very good (and very expensive). The buffet was much more reasonable priced plus they had green corn tamales which I dearly love and can not find any place in the US.
The landscape is slowly giving up the Sonora Desert plants as I continue south. There is a noticeable change around Guaymas; the brush starts getting taller and some different cactus or other plants start to appear. By the time I got to Alamos I was in very tall trees (some of them flowering) blooming plants and some green grass – the semi-tropics.
The “USA No Vehicle Hassle Zone” ends at about Km 100, soon after passing Guaymas. There is a car permit office there that is much bigger, more parking available and with much improved signs.
I had three toll road stops today: Guaymas bypass (42 pesos), near the end of the No Hassle Zone (92 pesos) and soon after Cuidad Obergon (92 pesos). At this last stop there were some Federal Police that just waved me through; I think they were looking for car permits.
I got set up in the campground after a 226 mile day and jumped into a much need shower then went for a walk around town looking for a restaurant. I finally stopped an older “gringo” looking fellow and asked him where I might find one. He described where there were two in town; I'm guessing that is about it except for some of the little places that are patronized more by the locals and may not be advisable for the “gringo” digestive tract.
The guy has lived here for three years as a cook/property caretaker for an Alaskan fishing ship captain that bought a home in Alamos. The cook/caretaker had previously lived in Thailand for many years, had taught English there and had a chance meeting with the fishing captain and took his current job/lifestyle. We chatted for quite a long time until I thought it best to let him get on with his day and I could go to one of the restaurants and get dinner.
13 January, 2010 Dolisa Hotel & Trailer Park (Alamos, Sonora, Mexico )
After breakfast today I finished typing up my notes for the previous three days of travel and get my web site/blog current. There is WIFI available near the hotel office and they have a couple of power outlets with tables and chairs to use.
I then did a 3.61 mile walk across, and around, town to see the route to the other RV park that I had considered before stopping here or perhaps next week. The streets are very narrow but I'm sure that I could make it through them but I'm not convinced that the few blocks of cobble stones are worth any savings. It is also an additional mile or more to the restaurant that I went to yesterday and for breakfast – I don't think I'll move.
During my wandering around I did find the second restaurant, near the church, that was recommended to me yesterday but will pass on it; it did not impress me much. I did find one on my own that I will give a try for dinner. All of the shops and/or restaurants use very small signs, very low key and subdued in the promotion of their business; nothing like most of the other towns in Mexico that I have been in.
In the afternoon I visited with some folks in 4 rigs in a caravan on their way to Panama. They had one other rig in the group until this morning when they encouraged it to leave because others in the group could not get along with him. He was the only one that had any previous Mexico/Central America travel experience but the remaining members do not seem to regret the loss. I rejoined them near sundown for an after dinner Happy Hour – they will be leaving to catch the Copper Canyon train tomorrow.
14 January, 2010 Dolisa Hotel & Trailer Park (Alamos, Sonora, Mexico )
I'm getting to be an “old hand” here in Alamos; I had another American come up to me at breakfast and ask if I spoke English. He wanted some information regarding the beaches near Navajoa – I couldn't help him. LOL
I'm also settling into a daily routine along the following schedule: get up, have breakfast, update my web site/blog, walk, relax, go to lunch/dinner, relax some more and go to bed. There is nothing much different from any of my other stops. Perhaps there is one difference – I've been here for a little over 48 hours now and I'm being hard pressed to find anything weather related to whine about.
My walks today was generally to the south and east of the campground plus round trips to breakfast and dinner for a total of 4.92 miles. The streets to the south are much wider, walled with flowering plants cascading over them as well as a small bunch of green bananas, and it was obvious it was a newer part of town.
I saw a few homes for sale; some of them were very large with a lot of grounds around them. Most of them were real estate listings but a rather modest one had what appeared to be a For Sale by Owner sign on it – the asking price was $399,000 (yes, US dollars).
When I went over by the church again I found another restaurant as well as an Espresso Cafe where I had my first latte since leaving Reno. A camping neighbor also told me about another restaurant near the church that I tried to find for dinner. I failed in that effort but I did find another one that I've added to my list.
I now have the found the following restaurants; if you have the name then it is possible to ask for directions. Just asking where is there a restaurant in a language that you do not speak very well is usually not to helpful – you don't understand the answer.
Las Palmeras: The food is good, coffee is bad but they have a full bar and it is about 1/2 mile round trip.
La Palma: Good food, very late opening but also just over 1/2 mile round trip.
Restaurant Reyna: The food is good, nice veranda seating a little over 1 mile round trip.
Dona Lola: The best coffee, most friendly staff, cheapest and about 1 ¼ mile round trip.
Those four should allow me to mix and match for breakfast and dinner during the next 10 days. I also ordered some green corn tamales from the “tamale lady” that comes through the campground; I'll write more after I try them.
15 January, 2010 Dolisa Hotel & Trailer Park (Alamos, Sonora, Mexico )
I changed my routine only slightly today by not doing any additional walking around town. I did a total of 2.00 miles but that was all done in round trips to breakfast and dinner.
In place of the exercise I took my car and trailer to the local Car Wash. This was a full service hand wash place so the only exercise that I got was the unhitching and re-hitching of the trailer. I didn't even have to move it around they did that also. HA HA
I also visited with a couple from WI that came in this afternoon in a 17' Pleasure Way van. It is an older model but you can only do so much inside a 17 footer so the floor plan is generally the same as the newer models even those built on the Sprinter chassis.
I wrote this in my 15 December 2008 – 15 May 2009 Web Site Letter that analyzed President Oboma's first 100 days; I quote myself.
"Sixth, I have received notice of my Obama "stimulus check", or direct deposit as the case may be, but it was for $250. What is this? I got $300 from the mean, greedy and hateful Bush Administration and only $250 from Obama? The stimulus tax cut for 95% of Working Americans is also going to be a big surprise for many of those same 95%. The "cut" is in WITHHOLDING of taxes not a cut in tax RATES. When 2009 taxes are filed during the 1st Qtr of 2010 those same Working Americans are going to find that their Tax Refund is smaller or their Tax Due is larger. This will come at the same time that Withholdings will go up more than they were cut because the Bush Administration Tax Cuts will automatically expire and Rates will go back up to the level they were at under the Clinton Administration. The 2009 stimulus package effects will only have begun to take effect in early 2010 and will be battling against these non-stimulating forces. What happens then? My guess - more government spending.”
Today I surfed the Internet for information about the 2010 Federal Tax Withholding Rates and found the following.
“As a result of the new IRS tax tables, employees will see an increase in their federal tax withholding in 2010. The increase is minimal in most cases, however lower wage earners that are filing as married will be impacted the most. The table below is an illustration of the withholding increase (expressed as a percentage) from 2009 to 2010 for an employee claiming zero exemptions and filing either single or married.”
||Increased withholding in 2010
It seems that liberal readers that charged that I was “out of it” may have been mistaken on this issue; I think that may analysis was very close to the mark. I'll probably be charged with making a personal attack on “their” President by posting these comments but I'm going to continue to do so until a liberal administration shuts me up.
If the Health Care Reform bill is passed I'll probably be subject to the fines and possible jail time so what the hell – in for a penny, in for a pound.
16 January, 2010 Dolisa Hotel & Trailer Park (Alamos, Sonora, Mexico )
Other than my round trip walks to breakfast and dinner I went in search of El Capitan once again; a total of 4.36 miles for the day. El Capitan is the name over the gate of the fishing captain's home. I wanted to ask the cook/caretaker some questions about the cemetery that I walked around and through the day (1/13) that I walked across town.
It looked like everyone is buried in tombs above ground and I was curious why. The very old tomes have also all lost their name and date information. He thought this was either from their being weathered away or the tombstones torn away during a flood like they had in here 2008.
Later in the day when I was on my way to dinner I saw a woman that had helped me with directions to find El Capitan. I asked her the same questions about the cemetery and she said that the tombs were just the original custom. She said now many of the burials are underground and then what looks like a tomb is built over the top of the grave.
She also said that there is some effort being made to re-mark all the grave sites; the municipal government has a record of every grave location with matching names and dates.
The ex-pat community has also instituted an “adopt a grave” project. There are non-Mexican graves that have no one to tend them on The Day of the Dead; therefor these graves are “adopted” and tended by the resident ex-pats.
I visited some more with the couple from WI as well as a few passing words with the Canadian couple that are staying here for two months. We are now the only campers in the RV Park although we may be getting more company next week when a Fiesta starts on Thursday 1/26.
It was generally just another relaxing day in some wonderful weather – this is not the life for everyone but a few of us have to do it. LOL
17 January, 2010 Dolisa Hotel & Trailer Park (Alamos, Sonora, Mexico )
I added the Cafe del Sol to my list of restaurants this morning for breakfast. I was going to have it at Restaurant Reyna but they were not open at 7:40. The Cafe del Sol is about 50 yards from Reyna and as I was walking past the owner(?) was opening – she got my business.
After breakfast I tried a different route back to my campsite and found that it would probably be a good route across town to the other RV park. Very big rigs would have trouble but up to 30' or so should make it just fine, however, the route is complicated and it would have to be walked first.
In the afternoon I took another slightly different route through that same part of town and passed a museum that I went past the first time I was looking for El Capitan. The previous time I saw only the sign in Spanish and was not interested in a museum. This time I also saw a sign in English that said it was the birth place, and now a museum, of Maria Felix (the Marilyn Monroe of Mexico) – I did not go in the museum but it is interesting that such a person came from Alamos.
By the time I got back from my lunch/dinner I had accumulated a total of 3.69 miles for the day. My campsite location and where the restaurants are is working out fine to give some exercise that I don't have to think about getting.
There was another caravan come in late in the afternoon and parked near me almost where the previous caravan had been. However, the only person in this group that spoke to me was the owner of an Itasca Navion (same as the Winnebago View). We chatted for a short time but the owner of a long (maybe 38') Airstream with slide-outs directly across the street from me never said a word. The owner of a 40' Class A with a “toad” was too big to get in a site so he parked in front of 3 or 4 of them.
the Class A owner also had nothing to say to me but they all gathered about 75' from my trailer and had a lot to say to each other. They finally shut up around 7:30 but by 8:30 I was sick of the Airstream's porch light (I've slept in darker Wal*Mart parking lots) – so I moved.
I put up with a noisy neighbor last year in Reno that was another reason for my decision to try living on the road full time. I will not suffer fools or rude/inconsiderate people gladly for very long anymore – I'll move!
18 January, 2010 Dolisa Hotel & Trailer Park (Alamos, Sonora, Mexico )
Today after breakfast and the completion of part of my daily computer session I walked back into town for a hair and beard trim. It looks pretty good, I've shortened the beard up enough that it does not tangle any more and it all cost less than $4.
I also went shopping for a toothbrush. The central market did not have any that I could find so I tried a pharmacy. There I could have picked up an Oral-B that would have cost me $3.98 in the US for less than $1 but chose another brand for the same price because it was a medium bristle.
The couple from WI left this morning and then two of the three in what I thought was a caravan group left in the early afternoon. The Airstream is still here so I'll stay in my new spot even though there does not appear there will be another “meeting” tonight there is still his porch light.
The green corn tamales that I got from the “tamale lady” were excellent and I have bought some more form her today. I also tried her meat tamales which were OK but I don't like them as well as what she calls “Tamales del Norte”.
I wrote this in my 15 December 2008 – 15 May 2009 Web Site Letter that analyzed President Oboma's first 100 days; I quote myself.
”Seventh, I fail to see much change in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. During the first 100 days there were 86 US Forces killed in those two countries, if the death rate continues at that level it will result in 1,256 casualties during Obama's first term. This compares favorably to George W's first term although he did it in two years. However, I fear that the rate will increase rather than decline due to the policy of combat troop withdrawal in Iraq and adding "training" troops for Afghanistan. History may not repeat but someone said it rhymes; our history of placing "training" troops in harms way has lead to high casualties. I for one would not want to be the last US soldier to leave Iraq nor be assigned to train Afghan troops in Afghanistan. During the campaign Obama made an issue of George W's failure to capture Bin Laden and his promise to do so. Although he didn't promise to do it in the first 100 days I have not noticed any change in effort. He also said that if the Pakistan government didn't do more that he would expand the war into Pakistan. I don't think there has been any significant expansion but we are continuing to kill Pakistan civilians for which George W was condemned.”
Then there was this from my 31 July – 30 November 2009 Letter.
One of my “out of it” comments on Obama's first 100 days concerned Iraq and Afghanistan. I want to update those comments with this bit of information: for the year of 2009, through October, there have been 416 US troops killed in those two countries compared to the 434 killed during the first 10 months of 2008. Former President George Bush was strongly condemned in the media for the loss of life in those two wars yet President Obama receives a Nobel Peace Prize and is praised by that same media. I believe the average Joe Six Pak can see what the media is doing/has done and it is not going to be favorable for Obama nor the media. The next industry to receive governmental bailout money, and governmental control, will be newspapers and this is going to cause President Obama even more grief.”
One of my liberal readers took great exception to the comparison that I made between 2008 and 2009 stating that this was selecting an arbitrary year to compare Bush to Oboma and completely ignored the Peace Prize issue or the difference in media coverage.
I guess there is some validity in that argument so I have prepared a chart below where you can see that there were 4 more deaths under Bush's watch in 2008. However, if deaths continue at the same rate for Oboma's next 3 years he will exceed Bush's first term but will be significantly under his second. For that reason I suppose that he should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and should get a pass by the media.
|Total US Casualties Iraq & Afganistan
I don't know if you have noticed but Oboma has not captured or killed Bin Laden during his first year as president. Again the media has given him a pass on this campaign issue much like his promise during the campaign to have open debates shown on C-Span – don't ya just love all the change!
January 2010 Polo Acosta RV Park (Alamos, Sonora, Mexico )
I was by the RV/Hotel office this morning doing my computer stuff when two new couples came by to get a price for a RV space for one week. I overheard the conversation between them and the owners wife and heard her quote them 1,500 pesos (for a week: pay for 6 days, get one free).
The other long term RV camper in the park had told me the same thing during one of our conversations; that the Park does not offer a monthly rate but the weekly is pay for 6 days and get one free.
I then told one of the cleaning staff than I wanted to pay for my second week and she got my registration card which showed that I had paid 1,750 pesos for my first week. I told her that I would pay 1,250 for the second week because of this. She then got the owner who said that only the second week is 1,500 pesos which resulted in an argument (as much of an argument as two people can have when they are speaking two different languages).
The conclusion of the argument was when he said that it was 1,500 pesos, take it or leave it – I left!
I drove to Polo Acosta RV Park, the Park across town, by way of the route that I had scouted on foot and had no problems. Here I asked the owners wife for a one week price and was quoted 720 pesos, pay for 6 days, one day free. I had either 710 or 750 pesos to give her and she said that the 710 was close enough (she speaks passable English so if we do argue it will be in a common language). LOL
The campsites are just as good, nicer bathrooms, better showers and there is hot water if you try the right as well as the left knob. Mexican, as well as Bulgarian, plumbers do not have a standard regarding which side is hot or cold.
A 24' Class C Lazy Daze from British Columbia, Canada parked next to me in the early afternoon and we had some good conversation before and after my lunch/dinner. They also invited me inside to look around their Class C and it just solidified my decision to not get anything longer than 23' if I can find one.
My site next to them was getting full sun in the late afternoon so I moved across the street and am now almost entirely under a tree. I will get morning sun but that is good because the mornings are a bit cool and that is when you need it.
I am now about 1 mile from the 3 closest restaurants on my list which is probably a good think. Today I did a total of 3.24 miles but every day from now on will be closer to 4 miles or more.
20 January, 2010 Polo Acosta RV Park (Alamos, Sonora, Mexico )
There was nothing much different today from the many days before except the weather. There was a stiff wind blowing, you know how I hate that, for most of the day until sunset. It brought clouds in and down to cover the mountain tops around Alamos (maybe 2,000').
That is another good thing about Polo Acosta RV Park versus the first one that I was at. There are much better views of the mountains, the other park had almost no views. Here there are also much nicer views within the park; a swimming pool surrounded by very tall blue-gray trunked palm trees and flowering bushes.
I have found a short-cut to the restaurants on this side of town so my total today was 3.78 miles; not much different than when I was at the other park. Polo Acosta is just a better place to stay in all ways when camping in a RV Park in Alamos.
There were two more “car campers”, actually a pick-up and a non-converted van, arrive while I was at lunch/dinner. They parked next to a fellow from OR, that was here when I arrived, that is in a pop-up van so the three of them have a camping style in common. I guess they have even more in common because the pop-up and non-converted van were talking when I got back around 4:00 and they kept it up until dark.
Today is the start of the Music Fiesta in town which also includes lots and lots of vendors around both squares. There is a main program of classical and semi-classical music in the historic Municipal Palace each day plus other less high-brow performances in the squares or the church steps. It goes on from today through 29 January. I will see how it affects my stay here and if I like it I'll stay another week, if not I'll be leaving on 26 January.
21 January, 2010 Polo Acosta RV Park (Alamos, Sonora, Mexico )
I continued to get some wind today but not as strong as yesterday. There were clouds again however and in the early morning there was a 6” rain. It was one of those 6” desert rains where you can see where every drop has fallen and there is 6” between them. LOL
I visited a bit with the fellow in the non-converted van; maybe I should say the semi-converted van. He has added some removable cabinets and storage boxes plus a sleeping platform. He moved from right next to the VW van that he was beside yesterday to the Class C's spot. They left this morning at about 8:00 and will be retracing my route in reverse to Organ Pipe National Monument and then on to Quartzite, AZ.
I also visited with a woman from CO that is in a travel trailer. She and her husband have been coming to Alamos for over 10 years and have a permanent double site that they have bricked in to create a patio area. He devotes time to hunting, dove hunting at this time, with a Mexican guide while she seems to just relax. The owner of the Polo Acosta Hotel and RV Park is also a guide and built the hotel for his hunting guests but the wife seems to take care of daily operations.
There is not much happening with the Fiesta yet. The vendors are continuing to set up and the outdoor music venues at the squares and church are getting all their lights and electric “stuff” in place. The opening ceremonies will be held at the Municipal Palace tonight as well as the first performance of classical/semi-classical music.
I walked to and from camp for breakfast and lunch/dinner plus a little extra to the bank ATM for a total of 3.54 miles. Tomorrow I'll probably only go back and forth for food and will be using the short-cut that I have found which may make it closer to 3 than 4 miles.
22 January, 2010 Polo Acosta RV Park (Alamos, Sonora, Mexico )
Mother Nature can not take a joke! She, like some of my more liberal readers have in the past, got very angry about what I had posted to my blog. I didn't know that she was reading it. LOL
She started the day with a very light sprinkle when I walked into town for breakfast which changed to a light shower upon my return. However, after I typed up my notes and posted them to my web her anger was unleashed with a deluge.
She kept this up all day and into the night, whenever I awoke during the night it was still raining. I was “cabin” bound from about 10:00 until I drove to town for lunch/dinner and then again upon my return. The only walk that I did was the 1.36 miles at breakfast.
When I drove into town I was driving on streets that were all covered with 1-2” of water until there was a speed bump which created a lake 4-5” deep. The river that I had stepped over on the way to breakfast was now some 75' across. The street in the RV Park had become a big lake that made a trip to the bathroom an adventure.
No more nature jokes! I can deal with the wrath of my liberal readers but Mother Nature is brutal in her reprisals.
23 January, 2010 Polo Acosta RV Park (Alamos, Sonora, Mexico )
It was still raining lightly when I went to breakfast with intermittent rain on the way back. Then the weather steadily improved after I posted yesterdays notes to my web site. Perhaps Mother Nature accepted what I wrote as an apology or decided that she had punished me enough.
There were scattered clouds in the afternoon with enough sun to dry out my chair, coat, pants, towel and socks. I also did some Teardrop housecleaning and gave my sleeping bags a good shaking and airing.
The town is filling up with Fiesta attendees; my restaurant of choice this afternoon was packed. Lat week when I first went there I was the only customer. Even breakfast is now getting crowded – if I leave on the 26th it will be because of this.
I overheard the RV/Hotel owner/manager talking on the phone while I was doing my daily computer work. She was speaking English so I could understand that she was telling a prospective client that the hotel was “booked” until April. The Fiesta does not seem to be as big a draw for her business as it is for much of the town.
24 January, 2010 Polo Acosta RV Park (Alamos, Sonora, Mexico )
I was a little early this morning and Restaurant Reyna, where I had planned to have breakfast, was still closed. They open at 7:30-8:00 (somewhere during that period), Cafe del Sol is usually open at 7:30 and Dona Lola at 7:00.
Therefore, I went to Dona Lola where they have “heuvos con nopales” on the menu but have never had them when I ordered them (this is a lot like the restaurants in Zlatograd, Bulgaria also). This morning when the waitress gave me the menu she said “we have nopales”.
I asked her again about “pozole” which they also have never had and she said that they would have it today. I went there for my lunch/dinner and sure enough they did have pozole! The bigger challenge was to find a place to sit to eat it.
The place was full and I finally joined a family at a large table that had one chair open. While I was getting my order and eating the place was utter chaos; they have some new help but it seemed to me that they were just getting in each others way. They did set up 4 tables in the street to take care of the overflow and the kitchen was putting food out in a reasonable time considering what it is and what they have to work with.
Polo Acosta is under the trees about the center of this poor picture and that is Alamos from the top of 'Mirador' Hill.
After breakfast I climbed to the top of a small hill (about 250') that overlooks Alamos on one side and Polo Acosta on the other. It is a great place to see all of Alamos and signs pointing to “Mirador” near the church and municipal Palace will get you there. To return to camp I took a trail, dirt road and some brush/river bank hiking. I only saved about ¼ mile walk but most importantly it was more of an adventure and more fun.
I had not seen any military in Alamos until today when I walked past a very small compound near the river and not far from camp – they seem to keep a low profile here with no checkpoints.
The past two days I have walked around the two squares in town to take in some of the Fiesta activities and with the extra hike this morning I did a total of 5.46 miles. The outside music venues are held on the church steps, a modern concert stage to the side of the church and in the gazebo of the market square. A lot of food vendors on the street around the market square and “stuff” vendors around the church square. A few American tourists in attendance but it is mostly Mexican tourist that come to the Fiesta.
One of the Mexican music groups that I have seen is a trio that bills themselves as playing Medieval Music. The lead sings and plays 4-5 instruments among them is a bagpipe and another that looks like a square guitar body with out the neck and some kind of crank where the neck would be. He strums the strings that it has on it and with the other hand is turning the crank (it looks a lot like rubbing your head and patting your stomach to me) and plays a tune. The other two play a drum and conventional guitar.
25 January, 2010 Polo Acosta RV Park (Alamos, Sonora, Mexico )
My walking was limited to the two trips into town for breakfast and lunch/dinner which totaled 3.23 miles. This was to the furtherest restaurant of the three that I have been using and this is probably closer to Acosta RV than my previous camp. I'm planning on staying here another week starting tomorrow since the Fiesta impact on restaurants has been mostly removed.
It was a little cool this morning but by 10:00 it was back to “normal” boring weather. Not a cloud in the sky and too warm to sit in full sun.
Yesterday late in the day I got two neighbors on my side of the street. Maybe I should say 3 neighbors; an older and smaller class A plus a pick-up that is carrying “stuff” for a man and a woman that are tent camping in two separate tents.
Today I got an older (maybe 1955) Airstream trailer that parked right next to me, between me and the tents. The tenting couple would not give up their use of the slab on the right side of the Airstream so late in the day he moved to another space across the street. However, on my other side, one space away, I also got a couple in a pick-up with a huge RV cab-over camper from Alberta, Canada. The number of campers has doubled within two days with most of them on my side of the street.
The Fiesta crowds were down a lot from yesterday. The streets and more importantly to me the restaurants were not nearly so crowded and crazy. I got “nopales” and “pozole” again – I think that was a result of those same crowds being here but I'm glad they are gone.
26 January, 2010 Polo Acosta RV Park (Alamos, Sonora, Mexico )
This morning as I was leaving the entrance gate to Polo Acosta a woman pushing a bicycle along the road next to the cemetery called to me. She asked if my name was Ed and then introduced herself as the person that is doing research on the ex-pat graves and coordinates the 'adopt a grave' effort.
The fellow at El Capitan had talked to her about my cemetery questions and described me so when she saw me she stopped me. She was curious to know the name of the woman I had spoke to that had told me that the Municipality had grave locations, names and dates. The information that she has is from the local historical group and she thought it was the best information available.
I then tried to show her where the woman lived but if the door was not open I could not recognize the correct door and courtyard. After I left her and had breakfast I did some more research and got the woman's name and then found the door open so I was able to identify where she lived. I passed this information on via an e-mail and hope it helps.
It seems that I'm becoming rather well known for only being in town for two weeks. LOL
With my trips to breakfast and lunch/dinner plus the additional wandering around I did a total of 4.37 miles today.
There was another camper come in while I was at dinner but it squeezed in between the Class A and the tents. It is a Outback travel trailer from AZ that has what looks like a 6x5x5 foot extension/slide that comes out the rear of the trailer. I have never seen anything like it before and it does not look like most slides because it has angled supports from the rear bumper bracing it.
They also set up a mid-sized dome tent – apparently the almost 30' trailer plus the extension does not give them enough room.
27 January, 2010 Polo Acosta RV Park (Alamos, Sonora, Mexico )
Today was an even more uneventful day than most. It was mostly cloudy, a cool wind blowing and a few light showers. A good day for reading other peoples blogs on the Internet and to finally finish reading a translation of the Iliad.
For this trip, I bought 5 books from the Reno Friends of the Library and found the Iliad in the street. The Iliad has taken me almost 2 months to finish – it was very slow going for me.
Since I have been in Alamos I've also read 5-6 magazines that the couple from WI gave me which I have traded at the Cafe del Sol. I noticed that the Acosta RV/Hotel has a collection of magazines near the office that people have also left.
I did a total of 4.42 miles today with the extra distance coming from my walk across town to the Las Palmeras Restaurant. They are the only one that I have found that have green corn tamales on the menu and I was having a craving.
While I was on that side of town I looked in on the campers at Dolisa RV Park. It was slide-to-slide Class A and Fifth Wheel Trailers – another very good reason to be out of there.
28 January, 2010 Polo Acosta RV Park (Alamos, Sonora, Mexico )
It rained during the night but has only been cloudy and cool with a steady breeze all day. Another good day to stay in the sun as much as possible and out of the wind.
I did virtually nothing once again. I did manage to get caught up on some financial “stuff” - balanced my checkbook and balanced my pesos on hand plus what I have recorded as spent to the total pesos that I last bought.
I have managed to keep track of my expenditures fairly well with only one small “accounting adjustment”. I'm trying to keep good records of my spending to help me decide if I can “live on the road” as a fulltimer.
So far it appears that I can; I'm sure I could if all my time was in Mexico. The biggest downside to Mexico that I see so far is staying in RV Parks; many want almost the same price as a commercial US Park and they are even more crowded. I can avoid the crowding and cost somewhat in the US by staying in National Park, National Forest, State Park and Corps of Engineer campgrounds or just 'boondock'.
The two 'permanent' campers here at Acosta's take turns hosting an evening campfire and meeting when they are in residence. Yesterday the right side of the street was host and today the left side is; this is the couple from CO. I was invited to attend but declined as graciously as I could.
I think it was Groucho Marx that first said it but I have adopted his stance - “I would never join a group that would have me as a member.” My last group was the OFC which I last saw as a group in 1992!
29 January, 2010 Polo Acosta RV Park (Alamos, Sonora, Mexico )
I have very little of interest to report today – perhaps many of you are saying “So what is new about that.”
The two new campers that came in during the afternoon was the excitement of the day. The first was a Mercedes diesel Sprinter van from CA that had an awning attached to the side but that is the only external sign that it is a RV conversion. They parked across the street next to the other Dodge Sprinter van that I described earlier.
The second arrival was a very big fifth wheel trailer that was almost too wide to fit in a space when it put slides out because of trees. It squeezed in between the Class A, which it exceeds in length by about 8', and the permanent camper on my side of the street.
The big tree that I'm camped under has protected me from most of these recent arrivals because they are too tall to park under it in the two space on either side of me. The pick-up with the huge RV camper and the Mercedes Sprinter were both too tall or I'm sure they would have been next to me.
All the news the past couple of days has been about Obama's State of the Union speech and the many people providing an analysis of what he said – I thought he was the most articulate President that we have ever had, why is there a need for analysis?
I don't want to add my analysis of his speech but I thought it would be a good time to update another point that I had made about his first 100 days; again I quote myself from the letter of December 31, 2008 - 15 May 2009.
”First, at his inaugural Obama said that we need to "re-make" America. I didn't know that America needed to be "re-made". But, what concerns me the most is - What will America look like once he has "re-made" it? I can not think of one country in the world during the 20th Century that was a practicing democracy that was improved by being "re-made".
Obama has said "It is a core ethical and moral obligation that we look after each other. In the wealthiest nation on earth, we are neglecting to live up to that call." I believe this is his guiding ideology for the “re-making” America. He wants a collective, not a Socialist government that owns the production capacity of the country, but a government that has the right to force us to sacrifice our freedom, interests, and desires for the sake of the “common good”.
Collectivism holds that, in human affairs, the collective—society, the community, the nation, the proletariat, the race, etc.—is the unit of reality and the standard of value. In this view, the individual has reality only as part of the group, and value only insofar as he serves it.
I have read nothing about his State of the Union address that leads me to think that he has turned his back on his deep rooted ideology and is still committed to the “re-making” of America into a collective.
30 January, 2010 Polo Acosta RV Park (Alamos, Sonora, Mexico )
There was a great exodus from my side of the street today. First was the pick-up with the huge RV camper that was on one side of me. He left around 8:15 after letting his diesel idle for about 15 minutes to make sure that everyone was awake and knew he was leaving.
Next was the Outback and soon thereafter the Class A (it was probably 10:00 and everyone was probably up so he did not find it necessary to idle his diesel).
These departures had only one replacement; a young couple from OR in a Ford passenger van with raised roof and from which, I'm guessing, they had removed the rear seats. They got into camp after 5:00 and took the site next to the large fifth wheel. They then looked around the campground for a while before unloading their bicycles and riding off to town at about sundown.
There are more departures scheduled for tomorrow and the next couple of days including my own on Tuesday. It is a shame that it has worked out that way – I've been here this last week in a crowded campground but after I leave it will be as I like it.
31 January, 2010 Polo Acosta RV Park (Alamos, Sonora, Mexico )
Today the exodus occurred across the street from me with 3 campers and one 'permanent' resident leaving.
I may see the VW van again as he is going south also and plans on camping in the same area that I have selected. However, there are at least four RV Parks in that area so there is also a good chance we will select different ones.
The pick-up with a camper shell and the Mercedes Sprinter were heading north, chances are I won't see them again anytime soon.
The 'permanent' resident from CO were going away for a week vacation so I'll be gone by the time they get back. I might see them again, they have been coming here for many years so it will depend more on me coming back rather than them.