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Northwestward Ho!
The Skipper
10/03/2010, DBBB (Dirt Boat Beach Base)

Golden Spike

Our intention was to spend a month in Anna, Texas visiting family. We had a wonderful time including Pat's grand daughters "Bumble Bee" dance recital. We went to the Dallas Aquarium with the family and had a wonderful day on Pat's birthday. This aquarium is more then a bowl of fishes. The adventure begins at the top of the Orinoco - Secrets of the River rainforest exhibit. Then it wines its way down along a path through a rain forest with birds and other critters lurking about and then down under the water to see a wide variety of fishes. Very nice unexpected exhibit, stop by if you're ever in Dallas.

My visit was interrupted by news of a dear friends' sudden death, then before I had time to fully digest this, my father's health failed dramatically over a short few days. I flew to St. Paul, Minnesota but I arrived to late, my father past away one hour before my arrival. This time I was able to stay for the funeral. While there I went with two of my brothers to my Dad's old cabin on Devels Track Lake north of Grand Marais, Minnesota. Forty years ago I helped my dad build his cabin. We had a good visit while we got the place ready for their summer activities. On the way back to the Twin Cities we stopped at a Lake Superior view point. Quiet a specular sight indeed!

After my birthday we made plans to head to the northwest. We wanted to travel on some new ground in order to traverse the country. We decided to head for Amarillo and then NW to highway 25 then north through Denver and then follow the interstates back to Portland.

On the way to Amarillo we listened to the radio and kept hearing of rain storms ahead and north of us. We did end up driving through a few rain squalls, as we approached the Oklahoma border we ran into a true "cats & dogs" down pour. We slowed down and had to drive at reduced speeds for 20 miles as one and then another squall came at us. We decided that we were in the squall birthing zone because the radio was reporting lots of hail in the storms 50 miles to our east, and we didn't have any. Whew! Soon we drove out into just cloudy skies and reached Amarillo easily.

We'd been through Amarillo a couple of times and had heard of the Cadillac's that were planted in a field. We decided to go locate it. After a quick Google search we had our directions. There is indeed 10 Cadillac's buried in a field. Visitors are allowed to bring spray paint and paint away. Unfortunately they didn't "Pack their trash out". Regardless these were incredibly painted, junked cars, poking up out in of the ground in the middle of a field.

We cruised on through Colorado and Wyoming, as we were passing into Utah we decided to stop and see the Golden Spike Historic site. On May 10, 1869 the Union and Central Pacific Railroads joined their rails at Promontory Summit. Golden Spike National Historic Site commemorates this incredible accomplishment of this nation's first transcontinental railroad. The day we visited the site there was a full scale reenactment occurring so we stuck around for the presentation. The museum and the presentation was very informative. The only down side was the fact that the location is 29 miles off the freeways so it a bit of a drive out and back. If you're into history and trains its worth a stop. The remainder of the trip to Portland was uneventful.

The summer has been spent visiting with family and friends, spending time at our place at the coast. Oh ya and waiting for the new grand baby the 12th and the 1st great grand baby to arrive in August. There was a lot of time spent bemoaning the crappy weather. Oh well! We had several visitors at our place this season which provided a lot of fun for all. We made time to get the RV serviced for our trip in the fall. We were able to attend a couple of Longbeach events this summer too.

One event was the Sandcastle building contest. We all always amazed at peoples imagination and the sand sculpturing skills required to create their master pieces. Another event was the Washington State International Kite Festival. There was an amazing amount of kites being flown the day we visited the festival. They had many roped off areas containing a variety of events. One had large kites, one had a contest to see if they could set a record for the largest number of kites in the air at once, and there were many areas stretching south along the beach for various kite acrobatic events. Of course there were vendors selling everything kite related including food and drinks.

In August the grand babies arrived as expected and all concerned were OK. We spent over 2 weeks in Portland visiting and helping out as best we could. In late August we attended the annual Baja Cruisers Rendezvous. This event is held in Cathlament, Wa. the last weekend before Labor Day. Its not much more then a very large pot luck dinner with 80 or so friends. The part that is wonderful is that as on the seas, the wondering nomads starting arriving all week long in the their RV's and trailers. If you get there early, there are many hours spent catching up and reminiscing with friends. Coinciding with our event was the annual long board down hill race going on. So the small town was packed and the streets closed during the races. We watched the finals on Sunday afternoon and saw some exciting downhill runs and some great wipe outs right in front of our seats behind the hay bail barriers.

The rest of the summer was spent at the DBBB. (Dirt Boat Beach Base) One weekend was spent in Portland for Susan's son's 40th birthday party, otherwise we were at the coast. There were logs to be cut and stacked up for the winter. There was chores to be done before we headed back south later in the fall. A few friends came out for visits and a card game weekend was a big success. The last visitors had just returned from a vacation in England, Ireland, and Scotland. We helped them decompress!

Susan had decided to travel to Pennsylvania to visit her mom for a week. Pat stayed at the coast and started final preparations, on the DBBB and the RV and the car, that were needed to be done before casting off on the trip south. After a weeks visit in Portland, the Dirt Boat will way anchor and turn her bow southwards.

Thanks for visiting our blog. More to follow for sure!

Summer of 2010 Photo Album


Headin' to the USA
The Skipper
05/05/2010, Anna, Texas

On the way out of Mexico we stopped in San Carlos to spend a few days with our good friends on Sea Tern. They were there getting their boat ready for a quick cruise. It was fun visiting with them and helping them where we could on their projects. We meet up with some other friends on Rose Bud too. They were busy putting their boat to sleep for the summer. We all went out to dinner together. We went to a restaurant with a view of Bahia San Carlos from the second floor seating area. We all had a great meals and a fun get together.

The next day we left for the states. It was an easy drive up highway 15 to the crossing point. We then had to wait an hour before having the privilege of having the border guards search through our car and ask us the normal questions. Once through the border dance we beat feet to Tucson.

We spent several days visiting of our boating friends. This included a couple up and back to Mesa Arizona. Next we headed to Benson Arizona to visit more friends, then onto toward Anna Texas to visit my daughter and her family.

When we reached Las Cruces, New Mexico we reevaluated our driving route and decided to divert north and see some sights. After some research we discovered that just north and a little east was the White Sands National Monument, White Sands Missile Range Museum, the New Mexico Museum of Space History and finally the Three River Petroglyphs site. Plus it meant a nights stay in Roswell (The UFO Capitol) New Mexico. It was an easy decision to take this detour!

The first place on the route was the White Sands Missile Range Museum which was on an Air Force base. This required our identies to be checked out and the car searched because we had to enter the air base to go to the museum. The museum was excellent. It covered the US history of the development testing of missiles both for war time and space exploration. It started at the end of the WW II and is still going on. There is even a full sized German U2 rocket in a building by itself.

Next we continued up the valley to the White Sands National Monument. The 275 square area is totally white except for the vegetation. It was surreal to drive into an area that has white sand dunes larger then a house. This also reminded me a lot of bring in Minnesota in the winter after a good snow. Some mounds were glistening in the bright sun light to the extent it hurt your eyes. There were folks sliding down the slopes, cycling and off on walking hikes into the dunes. It was 85, too hot for us to go anywhere except in the car.

We got our room in Alamogordo, NM and decided we had time to visit the New Mexico Museum of Space History. The Museum is located NE of town and up on the side of the hill. This was an interesting museum with exhibits on different floors covering the evolution of space exploration. Outside there were several rocket examples of this evolution.

We had a long day ahead of us so we left early and headed to the Three River Petroglyphs site. It was good that thing we did as the day turned out to be quite warm and the petroglyphs were up on a rugged ridge and represented a one mile round trip hike up and down the trail. A guide is provided at the visitor center after paying the admisions fee. The guide indicates signposts along the trail to key Petroglyphs.

New Mexico Detour Pictures


We headed out to Roswell, along the way we stopped in Fort Stanton and tour the forts meseum and watched a video. Also we stopped briefly in Lincoln, but it was more of a tourist trap then a historic site. We made it into Roswell late in the day. We had a early dinner and got inside before the UFO's came out!

We headed to Abilene, Texas spent the night and then hooked up with the interstate highway system and soon reached Anna, Texas. We plan to stay at my daughters for a month.

Thanks for visiting our blog. More to follow for sure!
Headin' For Border
The Skipper
04/28/2010, Mazatlan

The Border

We decided to head to the states on April 15th. In addition to the normal projects to put the boat to bed we always have a few extra surprises. This season in addition to to getting the refer back in order we discovered some dry rot around the pilothouse door and a few small cracks in the fiberglass deck. Neither of these were very big projects just time consuming and an unneeded interruption.

The refrigeration worked out very well. The repair guy cleaned and repaired the unit, reinstalled it and got it running great after only one call back checkup. The remaining projects took to the end of March, Then we had to get down to business and get the boat ready to leave.

Refer DoneDoor JamRepaired Deck
As we worked the project list we came to point where we needed to close the through hulls. The water intake through hull in the head leaked when it was closed. Not much but enough to cause issues over time, like over the summer. This was easily solved by tightening up the ball value attachment nut a couple of times.

Next came the engine fresh water flush. During this task I discovered that the water intake value could not be closed. Plus during the investigation I punctured the intake hose. I left this project in the hands of my service provider to replace the value and hose. I had my summer boat care giver keep a close eye on the engine room bilge until it was fixed, which was done in June.

We left on the 15th and headed to San Carlos, one long days drive (545 miles).

Thanks for visiting our blog. More to follow for sure!
No Cruise This season
The Skipper
03/22/2010, Mazatlan

Between the boat projects, the grieving process and the shrinking cruise window duration it became apparent around the 1st of March that we we not going to be ready any time soon and progress had almost ground to a halt by then anyway. We made a decision to fore go any attempt at leaving Mazatlan. This took the pressure off and allowed the skipper some space to reboot the emotions.

Some friends from Portland were down for their annual vacation so we spent some time with them and revised the project list with the must get done new items added. Went to see the movies (Avatar, Alice) eat out several times, watched videos at our friends condo and generally relaxed.

Two new things did make themselves apparent. First the head hosing had to be cleaned out twice and the unit rebuilt twice (isn't boating fun ... NOT) and then lately the refrigerator seemed to not be keeping things cold. We cleaned to raw water filter and removed and cleaned the pump head but it didn't make any difference. So today the service guy showed up, tested the system and said "No Gas, man".

Refer SiRefer Nada


He removed the entire unit and took it with him, hope he doesn't forget where we live. He said manana, but that means not today! So we'll see ....

Some boat projects have gotten done and today the skipper sanded the three booms for painting. So slowly things are starting to move forward.

Our exit plans should start around mid April include visiting folk in Arizona and Texas. Susan will be taking a trip to visit her mom from Texas and we may take a side trip to Minnesota before heading back to the Northwest. Well that's what we know now. Of course that was written in the sand at low tide ...

Thanks for visiting our blog. More to follow for sure!

05/03/2010 | Bill & Lois Scott
Hi Pat & Sue,
Lois found this e-mail on our old (read not used) e-mail address.
Sorry to hear about your Mom Pat, we send our blessings to you.
We have sold our boat and now have a 32 ft. Monico Lapalma motorhome we really love. We live in Vancouver washington now in a stick house and are well settled in. Our Foldlite kayak business has been put to sleep because of the economy but our other USA Sharpeners business is doing okay.
If you get back up in the Portland Vancouver area again please let us know via this e-mail address bill.lois@yahoo.com and we can get together and talk dirty and tell lies like old times.
Warm regards,
Bill & Lois
Keep on Keepin' on
The Skipper
02/28/2010, Mazatlan

 Las Labradas Sign

Have you ever gone on an adventure and had such a good time that you had to do it again. Or have the planets not lined up properly enough to do something that should have been done years earlier?

This blog entry is about to two such experiences. The first was a day trip by car to see some Petroglyphs that are north of Mazatlan. The second was attending the third largest parade of its kind in the world. The third was redoing to first trip with the added dimension of muddy dirt roads.

I'd heard of the Petroglyphs but had not actually ever pursed locating them, mostly for the lack of a car and adequate directions. This year we have a car and I found out our RV friends had directions and a name for the place. I used that info to flush out some additional information off the internet. I learned that in addition to the Las Labradas Petroglyphs themselves there was a small museum and then if you're on a tour they usually took you to the near by town, Barras de Piaxtla, for lunch at the El Mirador restaurant.

This sounded like a great outing, especially since the directions sounded like something out of James Bond. What with driving a certain number of miles past the highway toll booth, then looking for specific mile marker signs, turning left, crossing the busy highway, taking dirt roads through small villages, then through creeks and then following the railroad tracks, how could we go wrong. Oh, did I forget to mention avoiding the goat herds! It was an adventure just getting to the museum and the site. (The second time was even more fun; more on that later.) The museum cost 10 pesos ($.80US) and was quite basic. However it did tell the story of the Petroglyphs and the probable creators. The buildings on the museum site were quite unique in and of themselves. Take note of the construction technique in the picture.

After visiting the museum and it grounds we took an easy walk down to the beach area. There were hundreds of boulders strewn up and down the coast. The area covers about half a mile along the beach. Beyond the rocks were just sandy beaches. The fun was to hop and/or jump from rock to rock and discover whether or not Petroglyphs had been carved into it. Then of course taking pictures of the rocks. Some of the carvings were eroded away, while other looked like they were carved yesterday. It was great fun. There was plenty of Petroglyphs to discover, rocks to hop upon and sea birds to observe, to while away a couple of hours. Soon it was time to locate the restaurant.

Getting to the near by town, of Barras de Piaxtla, and the El Mirador restaurant meant driving back down the dirt roads on the reverse of our in bound route until we reached the highway. Then we headed north again looking for another mile marker sign before exiting on the to the "dirt" shoulder/off ramp leading to the bridge back over the highway. You guessed it back onto another dirt road leading into Barras de Piaxtla. This was a better road and we had signs leading the way. It was still about a 5 mile dirt road with a few turns that could easily be missed. Of course when we reached town there was road construction that had dug up large sections of the dirt road. We had to detour around this area and still try to find the restaurant. We asked directions from the local workers and each one told us his interpretation of the way to reach the restaurant. We finally stopped at a teinda (little store) and asked for directions, they took us out into the road and pointed to a palapa up on a the hill top. When we reached the restaurant we didn't know what to expect. Imagine our surprise when we entered the El Mirador (palapa) restaurant. The view took our breaths away and the place was very well put together, for this village or anywhere for that matter it was an upscale establishment. The pictures tell the store for themselves.

We all ordered lunches and were not disappointed. The menu consisted mostly of seafood entries. It ranged from crab, to shrimp, calamari, to fish. Each type of seafood served in a variety of ways or combined together. It was hard to decide! We ate to the sound of the ocean roaring below and the sea birds gliding by at eye level. What a sensory treat!

As mentioned in the beginning this adventure turned out to be so much fun we repeated it the following week. The first trip was with our RVin' buddies and some of their friends. The second time we took my sister, her hubby, his sister and her hubby and another car with some of our boating friends. The first trip there was 8 people and the second there was 10. The primary difference was the dirt roads. This was because for the second trip it had rained that morning turning them into "water traps" and "slip & slides". Fortunately neither car got stuck, just completely covered in mud! It even rained during our lunch and the thatched roof of the palapa keep the rain off of us. The pictures of El Mirador reflect the two trips by the amount and size of the clouds in the sky.

Las Labradas Petroglyphs & Barras de Piaxtla El Mirador Restaurant Pictures


The third largest parade of its kind in the world is of course the Carnival (Mardi Gras) Parade here in Mazatlan. I (we) had never been to the parade because of fear of the crowds, not the right time or not in Mazatlan at the time. This year the stars lined up and we decided that we had to do it at least once. Once will be enough, but it was fun. We signed up with a crowd from the marina to have bleacher type seating up above the crowds and the price included a real nice buffet. The location was at a hotel (Aquamarine) along the Malecon (ocean side walk way) in the heart of the parade route. The buffet was great, good food and you could order drinks as needed. The seats and view were almost perfect. We were high enough to see over the crowds but not high enough to see through the masses of people that crowded between the route and us. So some of the lower detail of the activities was not observable. When it was over it was pandemonium in the streets as everyone, literally thousands of people tried to leave the viewing areas at the same time and head down the side streets to whatever transportation they were seeking. Our group managed to flow with the crowd down one block then spiraled off onto and intermediate block that fortunately for us was the alternative bus route to go back to our marina. Once on the bus we were out of the crowds and home safely. We didn't go to the other Carnival events, which lasted for 5 days, though the parade was great to watch.

Carnaval Parade Pictures


We're still in Mazatlan, the boat work continues!

Thanks for visiting our blog. More to follow for sure!



Playing Hookie & The Painting is Done
The Skipper
02/09/2010, Mazatlan

Painting Done on fore deck

All the painting is finally done. I had to finish painting the hatches. Next I had to put non-skid down on the repaired spots and then paint them. I painted the round opening ports on the front of the cabin and all the paint dribble spots too.

We've started working the "Get Under way List" of projects. All the hardware we store below has been remounted outside including the wind generator. I still have to hookup the solar panels and debug a stern light that isn't working. The work goes on and on and on ......

Susan been busy sewing items that needed repair or replacement. She just finished a canvas dingy engine cover for when the engine is secured on deck.

We played "Hookie" from our boat projects on Febuary the 11th. We drove our car with six people and another car accompied us with another six people in it, down to Teacapan. Teacapan is located about 87 miles south of Mazatlan and is on the coast. This is small fishing town and snowbird wintering haven. Once there we hired a panga (click on the high lighted word to see the pictures) to take us out into the estuary to see the bird life. We saw lots of birds and some dolphin with their babies too! It was an hour an half ride, that cost each couple 150 pesos plus we each gave the driver and his helper a 20 pesos tip. (170p / 12.5= $13.60US) Then we went to a near by resturant and had a wonderful lunch. On our way back to Mazatlan we stopped briefly in the town of El Rosario to see the church but there was a funeral gong on so we left. We made this same trip in December of 2004. (click here to see those pictures)

We have decided that since we seem to be slow in leaving Mazatlan that when we actually leave we're going to head across the sea to La Paz. We'll spend some time there and then slowly work our way up to Puerto Escondido to attend the Loreto Fest. At least thats the plan now ... as always it's written in the sand at low tide!

Thanks for visiting our blog. More to follow for sure!

02/12/2010 | Diane Meyer
I love the comment about your plans written in the sand at low tide! Let's hope you can get underway soon. of course after our visit!! Diane

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