Sunday, April 3, 2016

Amazing Antelope Canyon ! We are heading home!

We are slowly heading north for home. We stopped in Phoenix to see Bert and Ernie. Decided to check out the Renaissance Festival. Wasn't as good as I remembered. We still had a nice day hanging out with each other and enjoying the weather.

                                        Our last day with Jim Bob, Andy is very sad!

Ernie (Keith), Bert, Andy and Jim
Their new best friend.
They just had to ride a camel...Bert begged and begged Keith for the $5.  "But, I want to" she would say!! lol
I have no idea what Jim is crying about !  I think Bert was scaring him or is pinching his butt !
Now this guy was good! Amazing !

We are in Page Arizona for a few days to check out the sites. What a beautiful place. Many things to see and do.

We are camped along Lake Powell at the Wahweap Campground and RV Park.  Andy even had the chance to cook on a open fire.  How lucky is she!!

Took this picture from our RV Site
Lake Powell as in dumps into the canyon
We had to drive the RV across this.  Andy was freaking out !

No, the picture isn't "off center" !  Andy is !   
Glen Canyon Dam
Below the bridge

We headed to Horseshoe Canyon. It was a 3/4 miles walk to the rim and another 3/4 walk back. Going up hill both ways. No really it is true.  We just took our time and had a wonderful walk. Enjoying the sun and views.

The opening to Horseshoe Bend.

Colorado River in Horseshoe Bend

I finally got Andy to sit on the edge of a deep cliff. She was pretty scared but I warned her "if you don't sit there I would throw you off the cliff". I also insisted she have a smile on her face !

Sitting on the edge of a cliff.
Help me.  It is a long way down ! I could get her to sit on the edge of a cliff.
Real cliff ! See, I did it !

We stayed an extra day to check out the Upper Antelope Canyon. So glad we did ! What a place ! It is one of those "must do" things. It costs a few dollars but well worth it.

We took the 11:30 tour so we could see the "Light Beams"! The only reason we were able to get the tour, at that time, was because someone cancelled. We were very lucky because the 11:30 am and 1:30 pm tours are booked weeks in advance. The tour was guided by a Navajo Indian named Abraham. The "Light Beams" are only beaming for a couple of hours when the sun is high in the sky.

I can't stress enough how wonderful this place is. These picture's don't do it any justice.  No words really to describe the beauty of the area. So just enjoy !

Entrance to the canyon
Amazing !

As I was walking through the Canyon I kept thinking, "Dennis and Beth would simple just love this place".  Da,  I guess just about anyone would !

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Mexico ! Maybe we shouldn't go !

Last year, while in Key West, Florida a few rigs got together for a meeting. We wanted to go to Mexico this winter.  None of us have ever taken our RV's there. I had read many blogs about RV's traveling into Mexico. Seems like people are doing it all the time. We decided to go !

But wait one minute! The US State Department advises not to travel into Mexico...just not safe! Maybe the Cartels would take us out ?  Maybe the local gangs will get us ? Maybe we will be bribed by the policia ? Maybe this...maybe that !  We have all heard about how unsafe it is to eat the food...drink the water ! Again, maybe we shouldn't go! Maybe we should just go back to Key West, Florida for the winter. Maybe just stay in Arizona.  We will be safe !  Be responsible !

I asked fellow RV'ers what they thought about going to Mexico. Most said they wouldn't go.  They said the crime rate was too high and was worried about their personal safety and the safety of their rig.  Most, if not all, advise me not to go ! We even had people that were going to go with us back out. They sighted safety reasons. Maybe we really shouldn't go !

I continued the research. I read everything I could get my eyes on.  The many blogs and posts from people that have traveled there and the ones that haven't traveled there but still gave their advice. I asked my friends Casey and Ann what they thought. They have been living on their sailboat in Mexico for years, but now have a motorhome down there.

I did learn about the Mexican vehicle insurance, phone, Internet and what paperwork we would need. I also learned about the tolls, the roads, where do we get Pesos, and how many do we need?  Can we use credits cards...or debit cards?  Maybe we should just use cash. However, do we really want to be caring lots of cash around with us? What about medical and dental care? Wow, that's a lot of stuff to deal with.  Things could go bad. Things could go wrong!  Maybe it's crazy to go!  Lets just stay safely in the States. Maybe people are right!

We picked January 5, 2016 for the crossing into Mexico. We would cross just south of Tucson, Arizona in Nogales.  We were going to head south to San Carlos, Senora, Mexico.  The drive would be about 6 hours. If anything goes wrong at least we could get back to the states quickly enough. I can do this !  The closer we got to that day the more stressed out I became. Maybe this is crazy !  Maybe it is just easier not to go!

In the wee hours, 0600, of January 5, 2016, my birthday,we departed Davis Mothan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona.  We had four rigs in tow.  We had our hand held radios and our route planned. We knew where to get fuel for the rigs before we crossed into Mexico.  We have never used a Mexican gas station before so we might as well get fuel here in the States. We have had our meetings. We checked our checklists. Everyone knew what to do in an emergency.  Now it's time to roll !  Maybe we shouldn't be doing this. Too late now !  We're going no matter what! Too late to back out now ! Hope I don't live to regret this decision!

We crossed the border into Mexico about 8:30 am. Crossing into Mexico was easy. Just stay on the road and dodge the people trying to wash your windshield or sell you stuff.

Our first stop was customs. Well, not really a stop, more like a slow roll. They waved us all through! However, if you are stopped, this is the place you would declare "stuff". We had no "stuff" to declare anyway.  This is also where you show proof of shot records for your pets. We have no pets but others did in our group. We were all waved through without having to stop. However, slow down because of the Topas. Topas are big nasty speed bumps that will tear up your car or rig. They were everywhere throughout our travels. They pop up anywhere and everywhere for no reason. Sometimes with a warning and sometimes without.

The next stop is KM 21. This is where you get your tourist card. If you are going south of Sonora State you will need to pay an import fee of your vehicle also.

Okay, now we are on the road. We are heading south towards San Carlos.  The drive takes longer than we thought. No problem...we are all doing good. The stress is melding away until we hit the town of Hermosillo.  Cars, trucks, buses, are everywhere. They are pulling in front of me...tailgating me like crazy. They are so close to the side of my rig I could brush their teeth. We need to make tight left turns...tight right turns. I am leading the group just like I did in the Army.  I am telling myself "you can't make a wrong turn...just follow the signs towards Guaymas. Stay calm Preston...stay calm.  You can do this! You drove tanks in the Army while in Germany damn you"! "Maybe this is too much" ! "Maybe I made a mistake". "Maybe we shouldn't have came here" !

After getting through the city of Hermosillo everything calmed back down. I felt more at ease. We made it! I still had all the rigs behind me.  I knew it was only a hour and half until we get safely to the RV Park in San Carlos. All was good again ! We were greeted at the RV Park by my friends Ann and Casey. We arrived around 3:30 PM. Our day started earlier that day when we woke at 0430. We were tired and whipped after our long trip. "Is it happy hour yet"?

All was not a bed of roses as we hoped.  No water, barely any internet, electricity goes on and off. What the heck?  How are we going to do this for 2 1/2 months?   We are supposed to have these amenities!! We were thinking "maybe we shouldn't have came here to Mexico"!

After calming down, the realization kicked in!  We are in Mexico for the winter!  Who gets to do this! So what, we don't have some of the creature comforts of home. Oh wait a minute...I do carry 100 gallons of water, I have a big generator. Chill out and just enjoy!  We did get water and electricity after a couple of days. We had to walk 50 feet, in the peak use hours, to the clubhouse to get the internet.  Not such a big deal! We are in sunny warm Mexico, how lucky are we.    I am glad we are here!

We spent 71 days in Mexico. Most of the time was in San Carlos, Mexico. We did take a small trip to Mazatlan for a week to experience Carnival.

Most of the fears and concerns about Mexico were unfounded in my opinion. Yes, bad things happen to good people, However, I don't feel it happens more in Mexico than anywhere else. I never felt threatened or worried about my personal safety or property.  All the people and rigs returned to the States safe and in good condition.  I believe we would all say again,

                                                 "LETS GO TO MEXICO !

Monday, March 21, 2016

Our last days in Mexico !

We, the group, decided to take our new "Grand kids" and our newest visitor, I mean fresh meat, Tammy, to the "Street Market" in Guaymas.  We thought it would be kidda fun to take the local bus from San Carlos to Guaymas.

What the heck !  All the Gringos are in the back of the bus while all the Mexicans are in the front. I don't deserve this...I am an American !  lol

We had to hang on for dear life.  It was like going to Disneyland. The bus ride takes about 20 minutes and costs 12 pesos, which is about 85 cents.

At the market you can get fresh meat, fish, veggies and even used underwear.  How great it that! I opt out on the underwear thing but I think Carson got some for his dad. lol

Is there anyone who could not love this face. Hang on, this is going to be a wild ride.

Wyatt and Carson are not so sure about this crazy bus ride! I wonder what Carson is thinking! Look at that smile Ummm!

Here we are having pork tacos from one of the street vendors.  They were so good, about the best thing I've had to eat since we've been here, other than Andy's cooking of course! I had 4 tacos with all the trimmings for less than $2.00 USD total ! Before we came to Mexico everyone said, the people that have never been here, "don't eat from the street vendors you will get sick" !  Yea right !  Andy and I didn't get sick !

Yummy ! Look at all those smiles.  Jim what are you looking at ?

Silly sisters. Big sister ..big hat.  Little sister...little hat.   Andy is also playing "Peek a Boo".

Smile Jim, your face won't break !

Wyatt who is your friend?  

Andy and Jim rented some kayaks for the week and went out on most calm days.  Today, Andy didn't go, Jim and Tammy did. I was told they saw lots of dolphins right by their kayaks.

Tammy and Jim on their morning paddle.

Andy was worried Jim wouldn't bring Tammy back.  Come back Tammy...come back !  She said "NO"

We decided to wait until Tammy came to Mexico to take another horseback riding trip. Andy decided one trip was enough. However, she did meet us afterwards for lunch at the "Soggy Peso".

Casey and Anne. Casey looks so gay with his pants rolled up! What the heck Casey ! lol  Something Larry would do !  

Don't fall off the horse Kaila

Tamera the Mexican Princess.

I can ride all by myself and I will next time !  I like this one !

On our second to the last night in San Carlos we rented a boat and did a Sunset Cruise.  This included all of our original group plus our new family minus Tim...the dad.  We were able to rent the entire boat for only our group for about $35 a person....that is for a 2+ hour adventure. The ladies provided food and beverages.

Wyatt was our sound man. What a great mix of songs and music! He spent days putting together 2 hours of the finest sunset music you could ever want to hear.  Lots of the music was classic rock with the right mix of reggae.  I didn't think a kid of his age would have ever known that type of music..  As the sun was setting he even selected the theme music from the "2001 Space Odyssey" movie.  We were all very impressed !  Good job Sir Wyatt !

While on the cruise the captain took us around the bay to look for dolphins. It didn't take long.  We were in them quickly and spent a lot of time among them, The dolphins were playing around the boat and were surfing the bow wave. At times they were so close to the bow the kids could have touched them. I wish I had the pictures to show but those dang things are to fast and wouldn't pose. The kids loved it. Well, so did the big kids too !

Champagne and peas and carrots.

Leaving the Marina

Does she have a license to do this? Oh this is Mexico...don't need one ! 

I am the Captain now !  I can do it all by myself, See !

We had dolphins swimming right next to us for at least a half hour

Enjoying the company.

So cute.  Both of them !

Talk to the hand Andy...Talk to the hand !

This is one of the rare times I actually saw Malia.

Look at those shifty beady eyes. I can't trust this kid !  What is he up to.  Is he thinking of throwing his sister overboard !  Maybe !!!

Yes, there was even a "Sunset" on the "Sunset Cruise".

The sun is setting on our Mexico visit.