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Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Highs And Lows Of Travel Day One

Day one started with heavy rain overnight but mild.It stopped long enough for me to do the final loading and closing down of my little park house.Out the gate at 9:50am and at the border by 10:35.Only 2 vehicles in front of me that were quick to go through.Just the basic questions of which I didn't answer to his satisfaction, as his re-asking hinted of just a tiny bit of frustration,eg,What kind of food do you have… answer….just the stuff out of my fridge….dumb!I finally smartened up and came back with some almost intelligent answers and he waved me on.This is the first time in a long time that I didn't have to go through the agri-inspection,where they wandered through the trailer,and tore the seats out of the truck. 

032 Tulalip Casino RV parking

The next stop was 2 blocks down the street,at the Bank of America,where Karen the nice lady who set up my account last week,issued me with my new bank card.It was a bit of a process because she knew I was travelling with it and she phoned the head office to set up the next 90 days,so that the bank knew I was travelling and using it at fuel stops,I had to list all the states I was planning on travelling through,so that the bank knew it wasn’t someone on the run with a stolen card.

I have to phone every 90 days and check in with the bank,so that they know all state to state travel is normal.So out the door to the ATM and I activate it by checking the account balance.Karen suggested that I make a purchase somewhere close before leaving the state just to make sure its working at places other than bank ATM’s,so off I go to the Camping World at Burlington,a few miles south.

030 Tulalip Casino

As luck would have it,I still had 2 days on my Presidents card,so didn't have to buy another as I only usually visit CW once a year.There wasn’t anything I was really interested in buying this year,but I picked up a few inexpensive items and trundled off to the checkout to try my card….Strange,…With their setup I didn't even have to enter my pin #,and the main thing…..It worked.By now the sun was even breaking out a bit and with a mild flow of pacific air coming in,it got up to 62 degrees at one point as I passed through Bellingham.

Back on the road and down to the Casino,but first a stop at the gas station near the entrance(some weird independent company)Guess what?The card didn't work,it wanted a zip# instead of a pin.The nice young lady even left the kiosk to try and help me,we tried entering the zip from the issuing bank and that didn't work either.She was as baffled as me so handed her 50 bucks since I wasn’t standing in a line up anyway.So now I wait until today to try this again.

The gas station was on the edge of the Wal-mart parking lot,so I selected a spot near by and headed off to buy my new “Tracfone”and some prepaid minutes.Sheeesh!The phone cost 15 bucks and they got it locked up,and I stand in a line up for 20 minutes at the desk waiting just so the guy can unlock it and give it to me.Geez, Its only a 15 dollar item!The 20 dollar card wasn't locked up. I picked up some groceries and when I went through the checkout,she couldn’t get the phone to read out on the scanner and had to get some help,while a frustrated line up grew,and with that frustration I forgot to grab the last grocery bag off the carousel, and didn't realize that I was missing some items until I got back to the trailer.Back in I go figuring the person that was behind me probably got my groceries.But to my surprise,the cashier had my bag.


I found the quite large RV parking area at the casino,fairly quiet,so lots of selection.I picked a nice corner where I could set up my dish as you can see above.At least that went smoothly, and it sure was nice to automatically have my TV at the same time on the same dish.I should have done this a long time ago.

So here it is 4 am Saturday and I couldn't sleep past 2 as I was asleep by 8:30.Lots of people heading back to the car parking lot even at this hour.

I just finished going on-line and activating my new phone,so am good to go…I think?So tonight I should be at the casino near Pendleton Oregon,(The good lord willing and the creek don't rise).And that was my highs and lows of day one.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Tenecatita Jalisco Mexico….My Last Blast From The Past…For Now.

Copy of travel winter 06--07 022

Tenecatita was another of those places where we enjoyed an extended stay in the winter of 06/07.It is situated a good 4 days drive south of the US border,and one day south of Puerto Vallarta.This is the area where the temperature of the ocean water in winter is in the 80’s and 90’s.So most of my time was spent on the beach,doing my “Bronzed Adonis”wanna-be routine.Below is the entrance to the RV Park,which is just across the lane from the beach.

travel winter 06--07 006 

And here is our little cubbyhole,just around the corner,under the coconut palms.

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Its just a small village with several beachside restaurants and a few small hotels.It was amazing how many nice sailboats and yachts flying the Canadian flag,that I saw anchored in the bay for a few days.

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This was Marlene’s last trip.She really wasn’t enjoying it and was afraid of walking on the beach because she was so unsteady,so she stayed around the trailer most of the time.During November and early December,It was so hot that we had a fan going all the time inside,and I did all the cooking outside,just so that I didn't add any more heat to the inside of the trailer.The nighttime temperature usually dropped to 70/75.Nice to sleep away the winter nights with all the windows open,with the exception of the typical Mexican rooster,who doesn't have a watch,or doesn't care.The Iguana’s aren't all that quiet either as they sit up in the palms making their clicking sound.Ahh ya gotta love it.

travel winter 06--07 015

Electricity was too expensive to be running the A/C all the time,and besides,why come to the tropics to sit inside with A/C.That little toaster oven was a Godsend.

travel winter 06--07 012

This is a typical scene around the early January period when these trees come to full bloom.Some are white.

And finally we have to show the nice young lady, Rosa,who did a bang up job of keeping the washrooms and showers clean.She is cleaning beside the outside(sand remover) shower that we use when we come back from the beach.

Rosa at tenecatita travel winter 06--07 037

Today I’m off for some real time Mexico travel,so stay tuned.I will try to post while on the road as much as possible.I’m not travelling far today.Got to make my usual Camping World and Wally World stops.The Bank of America in Sumas Washington phoned me yesterday and they have my new debit/check card,so now I can pay at the pump.Yahoo!

I wont be entering Mexico for a week or two,I will spend some time enjoying the desert southwest.

Rick,your instructions re the fonts seems to be working,thanks.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Patagonia Lakes State Park


I wanted to finish off my early season tour of Arizona State Parks with the final one visited early last December.


The drive from Roper Lake was only a few hours.This is me hobnobbing with the big boys at the I-10 rest area near Benson.And speaking of Rest Area’s,I hear from the scuttlebutt on the forum,that most of the rest areas in Arizona have been closed due to cost cutting.This is a shame,as they are important stops for taking a break.I suppose all the on/off ramps will be plugged up now.


The country on Highway 82 between Sierra Vista and Nogales,is really pretty,with rolling hills and odd shaped mountains, and small ranch operations usually at the foot of them.


I arrived at the park just before noon.This place is back off the highway a few miles and is only a half hour drive into Nogales.As you can see by the picture above,that like all the others,it is a quiet place this time of the year(Altitude 3750 ft)


As you can see there are plenty of open spots.I found it a little scruffy as the place looks well used during the summer season.These pictures are of the dry camping area.There is a loop with water and elect.And a dump station at the entrance to the park.Non electric $15.Electric $22.The electric area was more full and would totally fill up most nights.


Its a pretty spot with a nice boat launch area,good fishing and birding.


The park is 2.5 miles long with a lake surface area of 265 acres,created by the damming of Sonoita Creek.

All in all a pleasant place to stay for a week or 2.The weather was mild for the 2 weeks I spent there,well at least into 50’s and 60’s.

017 And we must clown around,mustn't we?

NOTE…I'm still frustrated by the fact that every time I insert a picture,I have to reset the font size.Sometimes not,but most of the time.I like using the larger print.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Countdown Continues

The Friday departure time is closing in on me, and as I get anxious,I wonder, is this bit of a sore throat that I have had for a couple of days,something coming, or do I snore too much.I don't have my “Snore-o-meter”Marlene here anymore to wake me up and tell me to turn over,so I don’t know.I got a flu shot last Thursday,maybe its a bit of a reaction.Oh well,I feel ok so we will see what happens come Friday.

Yesterday I took advantage of the nice sunny day to get the yard cleaned up and some more loading done.I put all my satellite internet stuff in its proper place and thanks to my good friend and neighbor Ron,I’m stealing his wifi for a few days.Gotta love the higher speed.

I thought I would carry on from yesterday and show a few more places that I visited last year around this time,before I was blogging.

The first big stop of a few days was Valley Of Fire State Park,just east of Las Vegas.037

When I arrived at the end of the 1st week in November,the weather had just taken its first big temperature drop of the coming winter season.It was cool but pleasant sitting in the sun.This is the reason why I like to visit the cooler areas early,then drop down to the lower Sonoran desert later.


Another higher altitude spot,was Dead Horse Ranch State Park,(elev.3300ft) near Cottonwood,between Phoenix and Flagstaff.Cottonwood is a nice little service city and the park is just in the outskirts.Its a large campground and found to be un-crowded this time of the year(mid Nov.) Again, sunny in the low 60’s is pleasant for this time of the year at this altitude.

20 miles away is a great side trip to the city of Sedona.Here is my signature picture taken at one of the famous “Vortex” sites above the city.


Some say that the vortex action actually causes these trees to twist.


For those who are interested in Sedona and the vortex sites,googling will bring up plenty of info as I’m sorry I don't have any good links to supply.(I’m also lazy).This area is really worth a visit,the city is  fairly new and modern, with a strong desert southwest architectural flavor.

My next stop in the high country was just a couple of miles east of the, “Corner that you stand on in Winslow Arizona”to quote the well known song. And is called Homolovi Ruins State Park.(Elev.4900ft).


It was in the 50’s and sunny during the one day stop over.The campground was almost deserted.If I remember correctly it was only $15. with electricity,so well worth a stop to see the ruins.Since I arrived around noon it gave me the afternoon to explore.


Many of the ruins of these ancient people dated back to 600AD.The photo above is one of the large gathering places.Again I have no links to provide.


There were broken pieces of pottery laying everywhere,with almost as many signs telling people NOT to take any of them or you will pay a heavy fine.

From here the next day I travelled a little further east,then south through Show-Low and down through some beautiful country on the Apache Nation Lands.Below is the Salt River Canyon,where the highway takes a big winding drop down to the canyon floor and back up the other side.


You can just barely see the road,centre right as it winds down the other side.I was really taken with the beauty of this area.

The rest of the day was spent traveling further south to Globe,then east to Safford and Roper Lake,the subject of yesterdays entry. Finally back down to at least a 3100 ft altitude and warmer weather.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Roper Lake State Park Arizona

3 days and counting before the rubber hits the road for me.I’m salivating just reading The Bayfield Bunch’s Blog as they travel southward and now westward through country that I’m totally unfamiliar with,but would like to see someday.

The final loading will be over these next few days as I have to take advantage of the short time periods when the rain stops. I’m trying to clean up all the deadfall from the trees and do final gutter cleanings,plus all the loading.Mr. weatherman isn’t co-operating too much as the forecast is only going to give me today to get everything done before several more cold steady rainy days begin again.

I wanted to feature a nice little State Park in eastern Arizona that I visited for 2 weeks last November,called Roper Lake.094

This nice little park is situated just a few miles south of the small city of Safford.091

Its a small lake,some people would probably call it a pond,but a great area for birders.I saw more variety's of birds here,then anywhere else in Arizona last winter season.I picked this park in November while the weather was still on the warm side because of the higher altitude.I don't think it would be too pleasant in the Dec/Jan period.083 Most of the sites have nice Ramada’s.It was generally quiet during my time there,with the exception of course of Thanksgiving weekend.

I hadn't started blogging at this time,but had started to find a few blogs and would use them as a good up to date piece of travel info.095 Such was the case when I was at Dead Horse Ranch State Park a few days earlier and I picked up on the “RV- Dreams Journal”,Howard and Linda’s very popular blog.They were at Roper Lake,and talking about having problems with their roof top internet dish system.Since Roper Lake was my next destination,I sent them an e-mail saying that I would be there in a few days and maybe if they were parked close enough,that they could catch my wifi signal. 


As it turned out, the site I selected to park in, was directly across the circle from them.I was still setting up when Howard and Linda came over and introduced themselves,so I gave them my wifi code and they went back to see if it would work.And it did.

They were waiting for parts for their system and it would be another week so they really appreciated the fact that they could handle all the aspects of their very busy blog without having to drive into town and search out wifi.


We all got together with our neighbors one evening at Linda and Howard’s site and enjoyed a good gabfest and some delicious pecan pie that Linda made for the occasion.I’m not going to link it but they took pictures on 2 different blog entries where they showed appreciation for the help and gave me a bit of a feature,of course this pumped me up into thinking,Hey maybe I should start blogging.And now you know the rest of the story.


Friday, October 23, 2009

The Frustration of Refueling In Pre-Pay Land

001 (3) Can any of you Arizona boondockers identify this location?

When BC brought in the pre-pay law last year,it conjured up one of my pet peeves about refueling in the US every winter, when you come off the busy highway and into a convenience store gas station,and that sign at the pump says…Pre-pay before pumping.So you go in and stand in a long line-up of people buying slurpy’s and chips,just so you can hand the estimated amount of cash to the person behind the counter,and say, open pump number 3 please.

Then you cant get quite all that you estimated into your tank,so to get your change, you have to go back in and stand in another line up while someone buys a bunch of lottery tickets…..well,…you get the picture. 

So yesterday I went on a quest to eliminate this problem before next weeks departure…I need a debit card that will work at the pumps in the US.Being Canadian,this is not easy.There was a time that my Canadian bank card did work down there,but no more,I found that out last year.

A credit card requires a zip code and some people manage to have luck adding a few zeros to their number among other little tricks,but generally,I’ve never had any luck at using them.There has been quite a bit of discussion about this on the forums,from frustrated Canuckleheads like me.Some say you can get a US dollar account at a Canadian bank and use the card from that,well…I tried that yesterday at the Scotiabank and they informed me that no you cant access the money in that account from the US,using the debit card.They are in affiliation with Bank of America and that doesn’t help.I know it can be done somehow as some Canadian banks are now affiliating themselves to the NYCE ATM network in the states,so a regular account debit card should work at the stations that carry their logo.And Scotiabank is one of them.

002 (3) Can you identify this Arizona location on I-8

By this time I was frustrated as I had been to the 3 banks I deal with in Chilliwack earlier in the year with no luck in getting this solved.There is just not enough interaction between Canadian and US banks to make this a smooth operation.So I thought,hey! Its only 20 miles to Sumas Washington,so I went to my local bank and drew out $ nice crisp,newly printed US bills,stuffed it all in an envelope with my passport and drove down to the border,parking on the Canadian side. I walked across to Sumas and the Bank Of America branch on the main drag,where a nice lady sat me down and we opened an account, and issued a debit/check card(No US address required)….Hooray!..I’m in business….No, not so fast…that's a temporary debit card and may or may not work at gas pumps,she says.I’ll have to wait until the proper card is sent in a week…Hmmm…I leave in a week,will it be here in time?Well that’s the next question to be answered.I will find out next Friday morning when I pass by with trailer in tow,and if not she will send it to any branch I want down south for pickup,and until then if the temporary doesn’t work at the pumps then its back to the line ups until I do get it. I can still use it at a bank ATM to draw the money out,at least.

So happily I go trundling back to the CDN Customs and show my passport and newly acquired bank folder with all the goodies in it.And a quick exit,not like last Feb,which is a whole nuther story.

So now when the CDN dollar rides high,I can deposit to my account from any US branch if travelling.

Just to end a long day that started with me getting my seasonal flu shot,I went home and tried to log into my on-line banking for BOA and that was fun.Its a little more involved when you do it for the first time as I had come home with so many passwords and ID number’s that the bank lady and I had set up,that I didn’t know which one to use and where,but after several trial and errors,now have my on-line banking so that I can follow all the transactions.

One final thing that I wasn’t too happy about was the fact that you must keep at least $ the account or your charged $15. a month.So that ties things up a bit.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Part 2… Our little Red Crab

winter 05-06 087

We arrived at Mr. Moro’s in the early afternoon of the 2nd day,finding it quiet with just a handful of rigs,so we were able to pick out a beachside site.Many stay here for Xmas and New years then move further south to warmer climes,so its a good time to arrive because in the next few weeks the after Xmas hoard from the north start down and the campgrounds get busy again.winter 05-06 122

Playa Las Glorias is a beautiful beach with some fantastic sunsets.Many gather to watch the green flash.Some don't see it or believe it exists,but I’ve seen it.To explain,its at that point where the sun finally disappears and the reaction on the eyeball is a green flash.It seems to be an ocean sunset thing.In this photo it is setting behind a shrimp boat.

This is a wonderful walking beach also,as I enjoy the morning walks.Usually there are fisherman hauling in their nets.I always remember one time when friend Malcolm and I were walking the beach and decided to help a couple of fisherman pull their nets in.We didn't realize that its not an easy task,and ended up a half hour later exhausted,and with raw hands.

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We thought there were 2 fisherman a hundred yards apart each hauling in their own nets,but found that it was 2 fisherman hauling in one big net.Anyway we got some free fish for our efforts.

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This is the inner courtyard camping area with the hotel and office in the background.

I guess one up side of making the decision to come to Mexico for 2 months,at this particular time was that shortly after arriving,I lost a gold crown and needed to see a dentist.I was directed to a nice Lady Dentista in Guasave,a city 30 minutes away.

The work was done in several visits over a period of 3 weeks and a total of 7 hours,in which she handled a bad infection with a root canal,then had to do some rebuilding to get enough mass for the new crown to hold on to,then installed a new porcelain crown.So for all of this it cost $330.US dollars,and today is still holding well. At home I would have been looking at at least 5 times the cost.She does excellent work.

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Mr.Moro”s Hotel/Restaurant/Campground is a bit off the beaten track for most heading south,but worth a visit.The restaurant is excellent and once they had an excellent bar/games room where we would hold happy hours.The place is popular with the local population on weekends.

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And finally we get to Dany,a local fellow who does odd jobs at the complex.I talked him into painting me the same logo that is on the tee shirts sold here and similar to the entry sign.It took him awhile to get around to it and he spent several hours over about a one week period,to finish the job,all done with acrylic.And 2 coats. In the top photo you see the back of the trailer before he painted on a smaller version of the same.

So that was our 2 month stay in Las Glorias where you might say, we got crabs.heh heh! I hope some of you have a sense of humor.

In yesterdays blog,I asked about the losing the font setting.the problem was better addressed in Shantz’s reply, as that was what I was trying to convey.Is no one else finding this with live writer?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Our Little Red Crab And How We Got It. Part 1

Until I get back on the road in a week and a half,I’m digging deep into the cobwebs for blog ideas.I want to try and keep the Mexico theme,winter 05-06 126 as most of this winter’s blogs will be on my Mexico travels.Above you can see our Mr. Moro crab (congrejo)that we had painted on, in the winter of 2006.There is a smaller version on the back of the trailer also,so I’m recognizable everywhere I go.  winter 05-06 094

This was one of those winters when we just went to one place and stayed for 2 months.Its a place that’s fallen out of favor with me the past few years,mainly because of the caravans that frequent this fairly tight campground.Most of the caravanners are nice people,but they tend to take over.I guess my biggest peeve is the fact that with a small trailer,my site is an easy route to cut through.Its like parking on a city street with a busy sidewalk,if you get my drift.I don’t know how many times I’ve had to re-point my satellite dish because someone cutting through,bumped it.

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That winter of 05/06 we spent Xmas and New years boondocking at Why Arizona in the 14 day free spot(one of my favorite spots on the desert) and the place where I started blogging last January 1

Then we thought,why not go down to Mr. Moro’s at playa Las Glorias Sinaloa,for a few weeks after New Years,so off we went,crossing at Sonoyta/Lukeville just 25 miles away.

It took 2 days to get there,stopping overnight behind a Pemex station on the outskirts of Vicam,just west of Cuidad Obregon,in the truck parking area.It was well lit and we were the only RV along with a couple of trucks,but that didn’t stop a punk kid from trying to steal something.We were tired from the long day’s run and went to bed early.I guess he figured that we weren’t around and tried to get the ladder off the roof of the van.It wasn't until he tried to open the hot water tank cover under my bed area,that I woke up and let out a yell and a few curse words as he took off out of there at a pretty good clip.

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In all our years travelling Mexico that was the first and only time that we ever had trouble parked in a Pemex Station.I didn’t know he had loosened the ladder until we were back on the highway and heard a clunking sound coming from the roof of the van.This hasn’t stopped me from overnighting in Pemex fuel stations,as most of them are like the US truck stops,with plenty of room.

To be concluded in part 2

Now a question.Friend Kathy(Birding by Shantz) has asked a question on her blog of which I would like an answer also…..Is it possible to “lock” the “fonts” to one setting in live writer?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Injecting A Little Northern Humor.


First off,I want to thank all of you who responded to yesterdays post with all the kind words.I just felt that if I was to continue blogging,that I should at least connect all the dots.

On my trip up north last July/August,I found 2 books of interest.One, was of of great importance and help, and the other, full of northern humor,and was a delightful read.

I suppose most of you have heard of the “Milepost.”For 1st timers to the north,it is pretty much a must for smooth sailing.It consists of 800 pages of mile by mile and Kilometer by Kilometer road log, covering almost every road.Starting down in Washington/Idaho and Montana and going up as far north  as the roads go.It has every bit of info needed for campgrounds,food,things to see,even what to see around the next bend in the road and so on and so on.As you can see by the front cover, that it covers a lot and they have a new edition each year,I believe.

So for any of you planning a first time trip to the north,I recommend it.It can be found in most stores in the north country or go on-line and purchase before leaving.They are well worth the cost.

The other book (below)is a 160 page comic with a northern flavor called Tundra.Its done out of Wasilla Alaska,a suburb of Anchorage.



 I picked this out of a choice of several editions from an interesting store in Dawson City Yukon.

This Place.


It was very hard getting out of that place before spending a hundred or so.I was like a kid in a candy store.

Here are a few examples from the comic.





Capture-xxThe start of hunting season.



I want to thank Vera’s blog for giving me the idea of adding some cartoon humor.It also gave me a chance to use my Vista snipping tool and my scanner.Haven't tried Print-screen yet.