12/01/2010, Sierra Vista AZ
December 1st finds us on the road to Sierra Vista. We arrived at Bill and Linda's house where we got the motor home settled. They have a beautiful place. The fur butts (Taco & Lucy) really enjoy the back yard. They can run until they drop.
Today is December 7th; we have been here for 7 days and have seen havalinas (wild pigs), road runner, and many birds. The neighbor said there was a sighting of a couple cats. Now we are not talking the household domestic kind. No we are talking about the wild mountain cats. So I guess we will not let the dogs out at night unsupervised. We have been learning the household stuff that will need to be done while Bill and Linda are gone. We have also been exploring Sierra Vista to find out where what is available.
We have been staying in Sierra Vista house sitting. Since we have been here we have seen a couple of deer run across the back of the backyard fence, bunnies hop across the front yard and on the way back from the Tucson Airport at about 2:00 am and ten miles from Sierra Vista we saw laying in the center of the right lane what looked like a misplaced lane marker. As we approached Russ changed lanes to the left lane and the lane marker got up and ran off the road. It turned out to be a cougar. This morning (Dec 28) I got up early to use the bathroom. On the way to the head I let the furbutts out to go potty and continued to the bathroom. While sitting on the head the furbutts started barking nonstop. I got off the head and looked out the door to find a deer smack dab in the middle of the back yard feeding on grass. The deer did not seem to afraid of the dogs because he just leisurely walked over to the fence and jumped over it and took a couple more steps and stopped and looked back before deciding to graze other pastures. That is pretty much the excitement here.
January 1, 2011, Happy New Year. Here in Sierra Vista, 2010 decided to go out like a lion. We knew a bad storm was coming so we took down the hanging chairs, moved things that we thought might get damaged. The wind blew so hard that night it woke us up. When we woke up in the morning it was snowing and we could see the damage left behind from the wind. One of the wrought iron chairs was tipped over; a plant was blown off its stand and broke the pot, the rug out side our bedroom had been blown over to the Barbeque, the rug by the kitchen sliding doors was half blown over and the hot tub fabric cover that was snapped down, was blown off and carried about five feet. There were weeds in the Koi pond that blew in from the outside of the fence. A Fry's plastic bag decided it liked the Mesquite Tree so much that it anchored itself to it. The temperature had dropped so low and we were cold even in the house. It was a bone chilling cold that took a while to warm up.
I found another pot for the plant and Russ scooped all the weeds out of the koi pond, Phil helped and the yard was put back together in short order with the exception of the Fry's bag. Phil tried to get it out but the bag had other ideas. Last night was the coldest, down in the teens. The fish pond had ice in it. He took care of the koi filter and turned the pump to high for a while to get the water circulating. Today's high is a whopping 41 degrees.
Well, so much for heading south to the warmer weather. We shall see what the future brings.
We drove to the Roper Lake State Park and the price for dry camping was $15.00 a night so we opted for a free BLM spot. We ended up at Gila Reptilian day site where we spent the night. The next morning the volunteer ranger came by and asked us to leave. Before we did that we took a drive to try and find the camp ground. Now that was a story in it self. The road was all gravel and wide enough to fit one car. Our SUV barley fit is some places. We only found the day site. One place it was a 15% grade. Thank goodness we did not take the motor home down that, not sure she would make it back up. After getting back to the motor home we moved down to the airport to stay. We had to get permission from the city manager to do this. We stayed there for three days. Mom and dad went over to the Roper State Park for the three days. They have a rock hot tub that is feed by a natural hot spring; although small it was pretty nice. The showers were nice there also. We had thanksgiving over at moms' trailer. I fixed the turkey, stuffing and bean bake and mom made the rest. A great thanksgiving was had by all.
We ended up at the Double Adobe RV Park for a couple of days. We go RV'ing like we go boating. We anchor out 99% of the time and go to a marina to wash the boat, take on water and do laundry. With the RV it is the same. Pull into the RV park to take on water and dump the black, gray water and do laundry. Then move to a primitive site to enjoy what it has to offer ie... wildlife, wilderness, rivers etc...
While here at the RV Park the temperatures are in the teens at night. The elevation is about 5,500 feet. I guess we need to move to lower elevation for warmer temps. Double Adobe is about 15-20 miles from the border of Mexico. The heater has been pretty temperamental and has a mind of its own. It works great for a few nights and then decides to not work in the middle of the night around 3:00 am. We know it has a sense of humor because it quit on the coldest night which was 11 degrees, thank goodness mom showed me how to make hats on the round loom. I had just finished two hats when this happened. So for a couple of night we put the hats on for sleeping. That worked great.
Well tomorrow is today November 13th, 2010 and we are up early to pull into the spot to get the tire changed. As we are starting the motor we notice that there is a truck pulling out of the spot we are to pull into. We get the levelers set so that the tire turns freely. Russ goes into the garage and nobody is around. We now play the waiting game. A couple of semi trucks pulled in and Russ talked to one and he said that the guy that was here got called out to help someone on the road and that the other guy will be in at 11:00 am. We are now sitting and hoping that someone comes in before then and that they have our special socket.
At about 10:00 am the guy shows up and he has the socket and starts working on our tire straight away. $267.00 dollars later and at 11:30 am we drive away heading for moab. We arrive in Moab and start looking for the campground. We finally found the street that leads to Sand Flats campground. You have to make a few turns in town before finding Sand Flats Road. This road winds up a steep incline and it costs $10.00 per night and the facilities consist of a pit toilet (shack out house) and a place to park. What a rip off. We chose this site because of the amount of spaces that they had and the amount of campers and RV's that we saw. We spent two days here while we check out the surrounding areas. We went for a little walk around the campground and there are a lot of fresh Cat tracks. This is our first night at Sand Flats.
Today is November 14th and we hop into mom and dad's car for a day drive. We drove the La Sal Mountain Loop road. This scenic byway took us through desert on up into the mountains to the snow line. We stopped and to let Taco and Lucy play in the snow. They have never played in the snow before. Lucy kept burying her nose as deep in the snow as if to find what was underneath. Taco just kept smelling it and wondering what that white stuff that he was walking on. As we were driving on the other side of the mountain we were on a road covered with snow, this is where we saw two mother deer with their little babies cross over the road. They saw Lucy through the window and made haste. Lucy on the other hand thought it was great fun to see them. While we were up in the snow line we could look across and down into the valley and see the red desert rock bluffs. This truly one of the best drives we have taken. One can only imagine what it would look like in September or early October with all the season changing colors. We will have to come back this way one day in autumn to see this. On our way back from the drive we stopped by the Goose Island Campground which only has something like 18 camp sites. There were only three RV's and a motorcycle camper. The camp host told us the fee was $6.00 per night and they had a bathroom not a pit toilet. From what I heard it was real clean, stocked with toilet paper and did not smell. That is a big plus. There were nice trees. So the plan was made to move to Goose Island tomorrow.
November 18, 2010 which is Monday we move the motor home over to Goose Island. We just get the motor home backed in and the wind started to blow. Mom and dad stopped in town before coming over. As they arrived the rain started and while I was directing them the rain started to pour, this lasted for about a half hour and then the sun came out and we took another drive this time we took the potash scenic byway. Since we got a late start we headed to Wendy's for an inexpensive lunch first. This drive was magnificent. Can you say Vertical??? These rock walls were straight up from the ground up to about 1000 foot or more. There were numerous rock climber's climbing. The road had these rock walls on one side and the Colorado River on the other side. The Colorado River is quite low this time of year but still neat to see. We decided to stay another night at Goose Island and go to the Arches National Park tomorrow.
This drive is an all day event especially if you like to take pictures and if you are a hiker it will take you a couple of days. There are fourteen arches in the park and uncountable majestic rock formations. It goes on forever and you never get tired of looking. It went like this. Oh wow stop, take a photo and drive real slow and then you would see another oh wow and have to stop. And then you would stop at an arch and get out and walk to it and take another 100 photo's. Around every turn and straight way you would see a rock shape that looked like an animal or person or body part or what ever you imagination comes up with. Then you pick a nice scenic place to have lunch and then continue. This park has twenty five miles from start to finish and it took us about 7 hours. A must see.
Wednesday November 17th. The heater decided not to work at about 3:00 am. It was freezing cold anyway it felt that way. The ground had frost on it when I went to the trash. Not sure how cold it was. Dad and Russ took a look at the built in heater to see if Russ could work on it. At this time we do not know what is wrong except that when turned on it blows cold air, which tells Russ that the pilot light is not lighting or it is not getting propane. Now I know what you are thinking and yes we have propane in the tank. Russ and dad pulled off the front cover and looked in side. Dad ran his finger over the over temperature censer and Russ had sprayed the thermostat with corrosion block. Not sure what fixed it but we now have heat. The rest of the day finds us touring the Canyonlands National Park.
This park had some nice vistas and of course Dead Horse Point. The rest was like the country side from Duchesne Utah to Vernal Utah. We enjoyed the other drives the best.
November 18th we move on down the road. The destination was to be Blanding but the camp sites are $10.00 and the RV parks are like $30.00 or more so we decided to go to Bluff, Utah. This camp site is also $10.00 up until Oct. 1st than it is free the rest of the year. We may stay here two nights. Everyone needs a down day and our site is next to the San Juan River. Pretty nice!
You need to go to the photo gallery on our blog page or face book to really appreciate what I have written about the scenic drives.
US Bathrooms vs. Mexican Bathrooms
While in Salt Lake City going from place to place it is not hard to find to find a bathroom. They are in just about every store, building, restaurant, business. The conditions of the bathrooms are varied from very clean and nice to dirty and not so nice. But most all have toilet paper and toilet seats. Now in Mexico if you go to town you better go to the bathroom before you leave the boat because you are lucky to find one in town. The restrooms in the large hotels in the large city are pretty nice, and the restrooms in the marinas are nice. The restaurants have them and try to make them as nice as they can. For the most part, they are old but clean.
Other than that they are far and few between.
In small towns the restroom may not have toilet paper and in some places you have to pay for toilet paper and almost never have a toilet seat. It is hard to find a really nice and clean restroom. Mexico has so many other great features but great restrooms are not one of them.
05/23/2010, Tequila Mexico
May 23rd we get up early, load the car and head to breakfast before hitting the road. We left Mazatlan at 9:00 am headed for Tequila, Mexico. We took toll roads because of the little adventure the other day. The tolls were very high between Mazatlan and Tequila. We arrived at Tequila at about 5:00 pm local time and while sitting at a stop light an intoxicated man walking across the street blew Russ a kiss and amazingly enough Russ blew one back. It took approximately 7 hours. We drove around and found our hotel. Hotel Dulce Maria is a very nice hotel. There was a paper under the glass of the night stand that stated all the prices of items from bed spread to bath mat. If you wipe your shoes or any other object with any one of these items you just bought it.
To view the photos click on the gallery link.
The town is a very cute town and is known for its tequila. We took a combination city, tequila factory, agave field tour. This tour was great. Our tour guide Jesus who is 19 years old was fantastic. We went to two different factories. During the tour we learned how the agave syrup from the agave plant was discovered. They tell it like this: The god sent down a lightning bolt that hit the blue agave plant and set fire to it and when the pineapple was discovered it had a sweet sticky substance they call candy. So then agave syrup was discovered. They say that when you drink tequila and act peculiar it is the god that has entered your body and making you act that way, and it is not you. Now we know why the intoxicated man blew Russ a kiss.
The first one was an old hacienda organic factory. This factory works only one month of the year and produces only enough tequila for family and clients. This factory produces flavored tequila along with regular tequila. They make tequila the old fashioned way. It starts with the agave plant. It takes 8 years before they can harvest the agave plant. The part of the plant they use is called the pineapple. They cut all the stems off to get to the pineapple. The stems are left behind to fertilize the soil. The pineapple is then taken to the factory and put into a brick oven and bakes for 25 - 40 hours. Then they are moved to the grinding machine where the juice and pulp are separated. The pulp is hauled away to a factory and made into cookies, fertilizer, paper, sofa stuffing and a multitude of other products. The juice is then fermented. It takes two weeks to ferment uncovered allowing the bees to add enzymes. Back in the day a dirty worker would take his clothes off and swim in the juice which helped the fermentation process. After the fermentation the juice is moved into the copper distillers which adds flavor. At this point the tequila is not drinkable and contains methanol and is about 5% alcohol. Drinking this will cause blindness, deafness and even death. So the juice is moved into the second distillation process. The second distillation will raise the alcohol content to 35 - 55 percentages depending on the recipe and the methanol is extracted. Now the tequila is drinkable, however not aged. It is then put into oak barrels for aging.
The second tequila factory uses chemicals in there process. The procedures are about the same except that they use stainless broilers and chemicals with the yeast to ferment in 40 hours. They check the juice every three hours for sugar content and temperature. If a tank goes bad the worker has to pay for it. The second factory is totally commercial. They make the raw tequila un-aged and the other factories buy their raw tequila and add their secrete ingredients and age and sell with their own label.
The interesting thing here is that Jose Curevo is made at a factory under a different name and is owned by Americans. When you take a tour of Jose Curevo they say welcome to ______(the factory name which I can not remember) and not welcome to Tequila like the others do. The owner of Jose Curevo had a big hacienda right in the middle of the factory grounds. His children only came around when they need or wanted something and he made note of this, so to get back at them, when he died he gave the keys to the owners of Sauza Tequila. So now the house is surrounded by Sauza Tequila property. Sauza is the largest producing tequila plant now in Tequila, Mexico.
Mezcal has the worm in it not tequila. There is a diference between Tequila and Mezcal. Tequila is made from the Blue Agave plant and Mezcal is made from a different verity of Agave not the Blue.
By international agreement all countries except Argentina recognized tequila as coming from Mexico only. All other products must have a different name.
Argentina makes its own alcohol called Tequila and is not even made from the Agave plant.
Now you know all that we have learned about tequila.
There are two churches in Tequila. One is late 1700's and the newest version is 1874. On the newest church, the bell was cracked so they sent the bell off for repair and it was never returned. It is a good thing that the church has more than one bell. Jesus told us that every night at 9:00 pm the priest gives out a blessing while the church bells are ringing and everyone stops what they are doing and turns to the church. We decided to walk around town and end up at the church square and watch life go by. Sure enough at 9:00 pm the bells rang out and everyone stopped what they were doing and turned to face the church, including us. While mom and I were walking around town we found this really nice hole in the wall clothing store. The clothing is high quality, and then we spotted some really nice high quality lace. The workmanship is antique. Of course the colors are perfect and mom took them off their hands.
We decided that from here are going back to Mazatlan for a night and then to Los Mochis for a night and back to Guaymas for a couple of days before heading to the states.
03/08/2010, San Blas Estuary
Russ figured out the problem with the engine. You will never guess what caused the increase and drop of the rpms.
There I was staring at a steady vacuum gage on the fuel filter which means clean filter. The hand was put on all fuel fittings checking for leaks because there was diesel smell. No leaks were detected; however fuel was present in the bilge in small amounts. Up come the floor boards for fuel tracking. Low and behold fuel leak coming from stern bladder. I opened inspection plates to access fuel bladder and found the tank to be rock hard. Not a good sign. I opened the fuel fill cap and air escaped. Again this is not a good sign. However, engine now ran for five minutes before symptoms returned. I then reached in the access panel and massaged trapped air out of the bladder. Walla problem fixed. The cause of the problem is the outside air temperatures have been increasing and the diesel fuel had been expanding pressurizing the system. The VW pathfinder diesel will not run on pressurized fuel. Prevention is to not fill the bladder so full.