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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pretty clouds today

Well it is tomorrow and I was right – I don’t have much to write about today.
The weather here is getting hotter – supposed to get to 85 today. But there are a lot of clouds out there so maybe it won’t.
Right now I’ve got all the windows open but there doesn’t seem to be much of a breeze.  I need to get some Lysol spray for in here maybe it would get rid of all the germs.
We’re getting a lot of RVs coming in here who are already heading north. Optimists I guess. Or maybe they’re just going to Arizona or CA. Didn’t the groundhog say there was going to be six more months weeks of winter?
We did get out for a bit today – had to pick up and drop off laundry and go get some groceries. Both of us were ready for a nap when we got home. This is ridiculous ---
Have been able to keep the AC off all day with the fans running and the windows open. Don’t think it reached 80 yippie!
We were supposed to go out to dinner tonight because tomorrow our friends leave here. But she just got over what we have so none of us really want to eat.
Pretty sunset tonight 
see the birds

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Hot and Cold - both the weather and us.

To borrow from a friend this post is going to start out with a rant and end with a rave. I’ll get all my complaining done in the first few paragraphs so you can just skip them …
Let’s see first the weather both here and at home. At home it is snowing again and for the foreseeable future high temps will not be above freezing! Here the temps have been rising every day – up into mid 80s now. I know that sounds nice but when you’re as heat intolerant as me it is miserable. It’s okay if we’re out and about where there is a breeze but seems like for one reason or another we’ve been spending time in the RV. [read Sick Sick Sick both of us]
We left home 148 days ago and it seems that since the doc said “Get out of town” one thing after another has been going on. Logically I know it hasn’t but like I said this is a rant. We left home before I wanted to – so I started out with an attitude. Once we crossed into Mexico my Attitude has increasingly gotten worse. The tolls on the road have gone up again – not much but up. And after the bad rains last fall some of the toll roads could use work. But other parts of the road are beautiful. Of course the bad parts are what I remember and dread having to go through going home. [Though parts of I-40 in the US aren’t any better.]  The cost of diesel is higher here than in the US – as is gasoline. The problems with Willie – which are all fixed now and he is running like new. The cracked windshield – which also is fixed now.  And not feeling good – actually if I’m truthful between us we’ve probably had only a total of less then 15 days when one of us was sick – 15 out of 148 is not too bad and I know the same thing could happen at home. But there is just something scary about getting sick in a different country – or even in a different location than home. So what set me off today? Well I’m fine now – the pills the WalMart doc gave me worked wonders – still have to take them for a few more days. Yesterday afternoon Bill took a nap and woke up really sick – actually he felt okay but had the freezing shakes and a fever. Back to the WalMart doc – everything vital checked out okay. More pills – he had kind of the same bug I just got over. This morning fever is gone and he is sleeping in. Neither of us are hungry – one way to start to lose the weight we’ve both put on.
I know that everything that has set me off here could just as easily happened in the states and even at home. Actually we were probably better off here because at the house there wasn't even heat or electricity for a few days. Now that doesn’t sound fun either.
It’s funny how petty everything sounds when you write it down and reread it.
Done ranting.
Now the rave. Yesterday morning bright and early we went to the Torres hotel restaurant for breakfast with our friends who are staying there. Then we headed inland to the Los Osuna Tequila Distillery. When we were in La Noria last week Roberto told us the distillery would be done cooking the piñas [the root/ball of the agave plant] and would be shredding them Monday. That is fun to watch.
Here is someones web site that tells all about the distillery – good pictures too. 
As we were driving into the distillery we noticed fields of new small blue agave plants. None of the fields were planted last time we were here – don’t remember if we were here this past spring or last fall
These plants won’t be ready to harvest for at least five years, probably seven years. They have planted over 50 hectares and want to plant double that soon.
We also passed this field with the cattle. Now those are long horns!
Some of the beautiful plants on the grounds of the distillery.
As we got out of the car we could hear the thump thump of the piñas being thrown into the shredder. So we hurried that direction. Passing first the big ovens built into the ground. The lid to the right hand oven is sitting next to it.
Looking down into one of the ovens.

Way down to the bottom. Some small pieces of pina still on the bottom.
They use these two pronged forks to take the piñas out of the ovens. Some of the balls weight 100 pounds!
These are cooked ones waiting to be thrown into the shredder. Lots of manual labor involved.
That is the  back side of the shredder. The top portion is the opening the piñas get thrown into. It has a flap over the opening to stop some of the blowback of little pieces.
Getting ready to throw one in. It’s a pretty good throw.
Looking at the fiber as it comes out of the shredder and moves up a conveyer belt.
The juice pours into the rectangular basin.
Doesn't look very good at this stage. 
The fiber drops into a wheelbarrow and is then piled next to the shredder to be shredded again and again.
One of the wood barrels used for fermentation of the yeast. You can see the bubbles. The room the barrels are in is temperature controlled and they pipe in classical music. The vibrations from the music improve the process of fermentation. Who would have thunk that?
I walked back up towards the shredder and it was stopped. Whoops – the conveyor belt was broken. Every one was checking it out including some one I know.
Some heavy black plastic type twine was brought out and the belt was woven back together. But would it hold?
Yes it did and look who is throwing piñas into it.
So this year he has tried throwing bricks to the second floor of a new building and throwing the piñas into the shredder. A regular working man.
So there probably won’t be too much to write about today - - - tomorrow.  

Monday, February 24, 2014

Argentina to Alaska trip

A day behind again – didn’t feel good again – another doctor again – more pills again!! What is with this this year? Feel fine today though. This time went to the doctor at WalMart – yes WalMart very nice young man he must have been about 13 years old – how come doctors keep getting younger and younger? 30Pesos for a consultation – about US$ 2.50. Had to do the math on that twice to make sure I was right. Just a stomach bug could be because of all the antibiotics I had last week just made everything angry.
So that’s my story.
Friday started out slowly. Ran a couple of errands – dropped off the laundry – yah – and picked up a pair of Bill’s pants he had LET OUT. He claims he isn’t gaining any weight. I told him – don’t let them out just wear them below your belly. I wonder if that’s why he didn’t speak to me for a while.
From there we went to the sports bar for lunch and to watch a Barcelona game – but it wasn’t on TV so we watched the beginning of the Nationwide race. Boring. Came home and watched the end on the Leaderboard on the laptop.
Decided later that I didn’t want to cook dinner so we headed out to the Plazuela Machado. We were stopped at a light by this truck. The box of it was one of those colorful moving signs that are so popular now especially in Vegas. With music of course.
Then while driving down the Malecón we passed a “parade” going the other way. It was 20 – 30 4x4 vehicles of all brands being led by a police car with its lights and siren going. No idea why – some kind of event must have been going on.
Got a quick shot of the sunset kind of pretty.
And a little better shot of the hotel with the lighted Valentine on it.
One of the Carnaval decorations – I’ve read that this is supposed to be Che Guvara The name says Ráscale Che. Some how I just can’t picture him in a flowered shirt and shorts. There is the beard, long hair, the cigar and beret though.
Carnaval starts in four days so the city is preparing – these gates will be close to contain the partying. Getting into the Centro Historico will require a whole new set of streets.
Hum…a new law in the city. Bill talking to the owner of the parking lot we use at night. As we were getting out of the car she was busy writing out a receipt with license number and all. Bill told her we didn’t need a receipt. Well now you get one. New law. Every car in the lot has to have a receipt or be logged in so the city can collect taxes on the parking fees. And there are inspections. She wasn’t very happy about it.
As we walked towards the Plazuela we spotted this little car. It was decorated with signs saying “Argentina to Alaska” it is a Fiat 600 about 40 years old. 
Of course we had to stop to talk to the two young guys driving it.
They are from Argentina and have been on the road about 1 ½ years since leaving Argentina. They’ve been all over South and Central America and southern Mexico. They were leaving on the ferry for Baja the next day. So their route isn’t quite as direct as the banner shows.
They were amazed that we drove from California to Argentina in 1978 in a motorhome. Read about our trip at Moving on 1
Ended up inviting them to eat with us and then taking them home with us to pitch their tent here in the RV park.  

Back at the Plazuela we saw an interesting sight we’ve never seen there before – but I hope to see again. This is a very old man – wish I’d gotten a pic of his wrinkled face. Bare legs with sandals. Shirt and loin cloth and bow and arrow.

On the way home we got behind a police car – here they drive around at night with their lights flashing. Blinding lights. Bill dropped back some to get out of the flash flash of red and blue.
So yesterday just to the Doc and home. Race was rain delayed. But watched leaderboard at the end of it. Good for Earnhardt Jr.

Today we are going to the tequila distillery. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Quiet Friday in Mazatlan

Had to look at the computer to figure out what day it was…that’s bad. Because if I’d just used my brain I would have known it was Saturday because KYLE WON the truck race last night – so yesterday was Friday. Yes! He’s now won his first real race of the season – the first truck race of the season at Daytona. He won it in the last 100 feet by .016 of a second. In the truck that he owns. And wouldn’t you know the weather in Daytona this weekend has rain predicted for today and tomorrow. Today is the Nationwide race somewhere around noon if it isn’t rained out. We might go to Christy’s for lunch and watch it.
Our printer ran out of black ink yesterday so had to go buy some. Went to WalMart first but they don’t carry Lexmark down here. Got some paper and groceries and then went to Office Depot to find the ink. They had it, so decided while we were there we’d get a cartridge of color ink too. That was until we saw the price! 1400 Pesos for both – US$111.50 WOW – so only got the black US$46.00. Bill asked the girl if she sold many of them and she said No.
Then back home. Bill is really into working on/writing his book. Spent most of the day typing. Except for when we both took a nap. And I’ve been reading the David Baldacci book King and Maxwell #6 in the series. I like the TV show and the books are pretty close to it. I especially like the guy who plays Sean King on the show. Cute!
Asked Bill if he wanted dinner and he said he wasn’t hungry so I fed myself. About 30 minutes later after smelling our neighbors cooking Bill got hungry. So we ran out to Burger King where he got a Whopper.
Came home and the truck race was finally running after a rain delay. I can’t watch the actual race but I can keep track of what is going on by following the Leaderboard on NASCARdotcom. Sure was surprised when at the last second Kyle’s name jumped from third to first! Yippee. 
I will never cease to be amazed at how nasty people can be when they respond to twitter posts and comment on blogs or articles written about people or things. If you don't like the person or idea don't read it. No one is forcing you to. (Not talking about my blog) 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Quick trip to La Noria

Started off the morning over at the Torres restaurant. Met John and Jackie there and they would tag along with us for a good part of the day. While eating breakfast I was watching some of the activity on the beach. Horse back riding and parasailing. Several people went parasailing. But after watching one person come in to land over the beach just barely missing a light post I’m not so sure I want to try it. It does look fun though.
After breakfast we headed inland to La Noria. Bill needed to talk to his friend Roberto the leather worker. While they were talking John, Jackie and I walked through parts of the town they hadn’t seen. We walked down a narrow cobblestone street to look at the donkey with stripes that I’d seen last year and he was gone. Instead the whole field was planted with corn. Really really tall corn.
Walking back up the street towards the main street. Some buildings are being used others are in disrepair and empty.
We walked up another street and cut across by the soccer field to a path leading up to the main cross street. Came across this truck loaded with cucumbers just sitting in the path. No one around. Don’t know it if quit running, was stuck or the driver just off somewhere taking a nap.
Back up to the street we stopped a bit to watch this man washing his horse.
Life seems to have a much slower pace in these small towns. 
This bright little house was next to the path we came up. Notice there are no windows on the side. That’s because another house might someday be built right next to it – sharing that wall.
By the time we got back to the leather shop Bill was ready to leave. We were too as it was over 90F out by then. Felt good to be back in the air conditioned car.
Before dropping our friends off we took them over to see the huge mosaic mural on the wall of the Convention Center. It is amazing and in the Guinness Book of World Records because of its size.
Just a couple of pictures of it because I’ve posted many in the past. It depicts the history of the area. It is somewhat 3-dimensional. 

No  plans for today - seems to be getting warmer every day but less humidity today than yesterday. Will be keeping track of the Truck Race tonight. Kyle needs a win! At least the crew chief said he figured out what was wrong with the #18 car yesterday. So hopefully it will be fixed for the Daytona - it better be as he starts way far in the back. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Oh Oh it speaks Spanish

Just watched the first race of the Budweiser Duels – Kyle didn’t do so good. At least he didn’t wreck but 21 out of 24 doesn’t get any letters written home. Last year he won.
Yesterday we took an early trip to WalMart. Bill had decided to use his laptop instead of the PC. But we both forgot to bring his keyboard with us – I know the laptop has a keyboard but it is made of some shiny material that makes it really hard to see. He also wanted a new mouse for it – I know but he doesn’t like the touch pad and has never got used to it. So anyway. WalMart had a wireless keyboard and mouse package for a reasonable price. Bought them and brought them home. After he’d been fooling around a while with the laptop. He got up and said to me, “I can’t use this keyboard!” “Why?” I asked. “Because IT SPEAKS SPANISH!” Oh, oh. Well of course it would. We bought it in a WalMart in Mexico. Duh! I never thought of that. And it is a very different keyboard…lots of things in different places. So he is back to using his PC. Guess we’ll find some one to give the keyboard to.
For lunch we went to the sports bar again to watch more soccer games. This time two games at once. I gave up trying to keep track but he enjoyed it. Until the wrong team scored a goal. Well you can’t win them all.
Now we have to decide when we are going to head towards home. Our rent here is up Saturday so we either have to leave or renew it. If we renew it for less then a month the price goes way up per day. If we renew it for a month that will be until March 22 before we leave. A late start home. But with the bad weather do we want to get home any earlier? Ah decisions decisions.
Very very muggy here today – everything feels sticky to the touch.
And the weirdest thing. To the left of us – from us to the fence there are around nine empty RV spaces. To the right of us there are five spaces one with a 5th wheel in it. We were gone a while today and when we got back there is another 5th wheel one space from us on the right and his truck was/is parked in the empty space we always park Willie in……..Why would you want to be so close to two other rigs when you can have lots of space on the other side? Have not seen any movement in the rig or the truck since we’ve been home.

We did get out and about a little today so will write about that tomorrow. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Barcelona Won

Very overcast or almost foggy here this morning. Sun is behind the clouds – but don’t think that will keep it any cooler. It will probably be more humid. Ick. But then we could be home - From cool, to warm with severe rain/flooding to cool and more snow. Glad we live on top of a hill.
Temperatures will remain mild in the low to mid 40s with partly cloudy skies today, but by tomorrow, we will start tracking the possibility of strong to severe storms.
Thursday highs will approach the 60 degree mark.  Thursday afternoon and night strong to severe storms are possible. 
From 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., we could see damaging winds and flooding.  One to two inches of rain is possible, and with the melting snow pack, we will be monitoring for flooding.
As the front passes Thursday night, colder air moves in, and a few snowflakes are possible.
Temperatures for the weekend cool into the 30s, and another chance of snow will move in by next week.
Enough with the weather…Not too much to write about yesterday. We went to the grocery store early – not anything exciting about that except I lost Bill in there and it took me forever to find him. He was buying socks???? Then on home until around noon when we headed to the restaurant on the marina – Christys – went there for lunch and to watch the Barcelona vs Manchester City soccer game. Barcelona won.  Messi looks like his old self before his injury. There was another table of four guys there watching. Two were for Barcelona and two for Man City. Added to the entertainment.
Then home for the rest of the day. And I cooked dinner again. Steak and au gratin potatoes. We ate at 8:30 – didn’t realize it was so late.
Not even one interesting thought or musing from me yesterday – well none that I can share any way. Starting tomorrow there is a NASCAR race every day for four days… Sunday is the Daytona and the official start of this season.  The #18 has a new paint scheme for Daytona – peanut Yellow M&Ms. Kind of cute. And Kyle is driving his truck in the race Friday and the 54 Gibbs Nationwide car Saturday. Wouldn’t it be amazing if he wins all four races!!!!!!! Including the Budweiser Dual on Thursday. Just so Austin Dillon doesn’t win in the #3. 
The sun is out now and very much warmer but there is a nice breeze. Had to make a run to WalMart to get Bill a keyboard and mouse for his laptop I guess we didn't bring the ones from home. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Another day spent on the road.

Another going to be warm day here. At home our house sitter is looking for someone to plow the driveway. But if he waits a day or two it is supposed to get up to 60F and rain. That should take care of the snow. Now the area is being warned about flooding.
Had a quiet day Sunday. We had to go to WalMart to get a new hair clippers. Ours broke so wasn’t able to cut Bill’s hair – They had a couple different brands to choose from. So now his hair is nice and short! It is funny how different these new clippers felt to use than the old ones. I would have thought clippers are clippers. 
Then we drove out the Malecón past the fresh fish for sale to the Centro Historico.
Had lunch in the Plazuela Machado – I love the colors there.
We ate at the Italian restaurant, both of us having different types of spaghetti.
Strange thing Beach Burger wasn’t open…have to go back and check on them. First time ever we’ve seen it closed that time of day.
Yesterday we left about 9:00 to go to Chametla – it is a little fishing village on a lagoon about 50 miles south of here. 
I’ve been trying to talk Bill into going there for years. Didn’t quite turn out the way I expected. We took the Libre all the way there. Well maintained but kind of narrow. And if you got stuck behind a truck you stayed there for a while. Notice no shoulders – typical of the free highways here.
Lots of brush had just  been cleared and was being burned. Lots of smoke in the air.
Then we turned off the Libre 15 (free road) onto the road heading towards Chametla. Met this guy coming towards us he got part of our side too.
Glad we were in the Jeep not the motorhome. Lots of pot holes too and small towns with topes.
One of the reasons why you don’t drive at night here. The pickup decided to stop in the middle of the road and pick up passengers. It took a while to shift everyone around and load up.
The road eventually turned to hard dirt – better than the pavement with the potholes. And soon we were to the Arch at the town entrance.
And that is as far as we got into town. Right next to the arch was a big field with a huge tent set up in it. Crowds were milling around the tent. Turns out we were at a political event/rally. Every official from the governor of the state of Sinaloa to the secretary to the mayor of the town was there. They were there to talk about:
“Repaving of the Libra 15 up to the Chametla turn off. The construction of 6 classrooms in Potrerillos, Electricity to the town of Emiliano Zapata. They will be bringing WiFi – fiber optic cables into the whole state. Paving of 8 streets in the town.”  Some of it has already been done and some is in the planning stages. The WiFi for the whole state sounds a little ambitious to me.
While the tent was filling up – we were ushered right up towards the front when Bill mentioned Paquis…we got to listen to this brass band.
We were sitting behind several older gentlemen. All with their hats. This crowd had a lot of men in it. 
A small part of the crowd across from us. Notice all the umbrellas the ladies use to keep the sun off.  Not a good picture of him but the guy with the hat reminded me a lot of an older James Gardner. Volunteers kept coming around offering everyone bottles of cold water. It was up to 90F.
The family sitting behind us. All dressed up with ribbons in their hair. This appeared to be an important event - not every day the Governor shows up in a small town. 
The band was playing a stirring tune with a catchy beat, the TV cameras were running, people were cheering and everyone rose to their feet when the officials walked up the aisle in the middle of the tent. I asked Bill if a rock star was coming. Seems like the governor is a popular person.
Governor  Mario Lopez Valdez is the man on the left. His term started in  2011 and runs to 2016.
Paquis talking to a couple of the men who were sitting in front of us. The one in the brown shirt is having problems getting water to irrigate his crops.
Looking across the street at some of the security around. Army and Federal Police – lots and lots of them walking around.
A couple sitting on their porch watching what was going on.
Some of the equipment in the field that is being used on the projects. It is amazing to see the progress being made in Mexico from one year to the next. More farm machinery better construction machinery, huge road paving machines, port a pottys in the fields for the farmer workers. Most schools have satellite available. Just too many things to write about. 
After the speeches were over we jumped in the car and headed to another little town further south – Esquinapa. For another rally. This one was even bigger.
These ladies had written letters to the governor and were waiting to give them to him.
Others held signs up thanking him for all he has done already.
We left this event before it was over – just getting too hot and headed home.
Later we went to the beach to watch the pretty sunset.
And that catches me up again.