Due West Adventures

The sailing adventures of Captain Kirk & Heidi, Tosh and Tikka Hackler . . .

10 August 2019 | Puerto Vallarta
27 June 2019 | Puerto Vallarta
22 May 2019 | Cienfuegos, Trinidad, y Viñales, Cuba
16 May 2019 | Canarreos Archipelago, Cuba
25 April 2019 | Havana, Cuba
17 March 2019 | Puerto Vallarta
25 December 2018 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
26 August 2018 | Puerto Vallarta MX, ABQ, NM, and SEA, WA
01 May 2018 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
24 December 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco Mexico
02 November 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
11 October 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
16 September 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
29 June 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, MX
26 May 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, MX
07 April 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, MX
26 February 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, MX
30 January 2017 | La Cruz, Nayarit, MX

Boats, Planes, and Electric Cars: A Visit to the US

10 August 2019 | Puerto Vallarta
Heidi & Kirk Hackler
If you read our last blog post you'll know we got some bad news about our 27-year-old oil-leaking diesel, Michael P. Engine. (Yes, that's Kirk with all that hair, 27-years ago when we first installed the engine!) So we were hoping the engine fairy would help us out... Well, we're here to tell you that there really IS an engine fairy! Or at least an engine mechanic who can actually FIX rather than replace old oil-leaking diesel engines.

In early July we were headed to the States for a family reunion. A week before we left, Kirk had a premonition that we were going to get some good engine news... Then just two days before we were leaving as we were scurrying around to get out of town, organizing cat sitting, etc., we randomly (or not so randomly?) met some new-to-PV sailboat cruisers from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, walking down the dock. In our brief chat, we found out that Ben was a mechanic who works on diesel boat and car engines around Lake Coeur d'Alene, and he offered to take a look at our engine.

We didn't hold high hopes since we'd already had two other highly recommended engine mechanics look at our trusty steed Michael P Engine, and pronounce him unrepairable. But when Ben took a look he said: "I can fix this!" It turns out there was one big difference between Ben and the two other mechanics. Ben doesn't sell new engines, he just fixes old ones, if he can. The other two mechanics both sell new engines in addition to working on old ones... but are possibly more motivated to sell new than fix old. Ca-ching, ca-ching!

Where the other two mechanics saw extreme pitting of the crankshaft that wasn't repairable, Ben saw very slight pitting, which he was easily able to smooth out with some emery-cloth. He then installed a brand new oil seal in the oil pump, put the engine back together, and Michael P Engine fired right up!

WAHOO!! Kirk ran the engine for 4 hours and not one single drop of oil leaked out. Not ONE! A far cry from a quart every 24 hours that it had been leaking. And all for pennies on the dollar, much less than the cost and hassle of installing a new engine...not to mention the sustainability aspect of keeping our old engine going. We are SO grateful to Ben and his wife Andrea for their help and friendship. Be sure to check out Quality Auto & Marine Repair in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, if you are in need of any marine or automotive engine repairs. They ROCK!

With Michael P Engine fully operable again, we flew off to the States with happy hearts to visit family. We left Tosh & Tikka in the great hands of the Shanafelt family from m/v Noeta, who graciously moved into the condo to care for our gatos in our absence. They were happy to give Tosh his meds, play with Tosh & Tikka, and hang out in the pools, beach, and ocean. We are grateful to Alexa, Pat, Hailey, and Jack for their help. And a HUGE thanks to Gilligan-the-cat for letting his family come cat-sit ours, while other friends cat-sat for him aboard m/v Noeta.

Our trip to the US was a multi-destination family-oriented event. First stop Denver, where we Ubered to our appointment at the Apple store to drop off Heidi's computer for a repair. Some of the things you take for granted in the US you just can't get done in Mexico. After dropping off the computer, we grabbed two Greek salads at the mall food court, and almost choked on the $40 price tag!?! One of the perks of living in Mexico is that two can eat dinner out with excellent food for well under $15. Pros and cons to each country...it's all a trade-off.

The next day we flew on to Idaho Falls to pick up our rental car to drive to Jackson Hole. When Hertz offered us an upgrade from a mid-size to a Prius for an extra $5/day, we jumped on it knowing we would more than make up the price difference by not buying as much fuel. And we only bought 20 gallons in 1,000 miles of driving! Plus driving a Prius is like driving a video game... When it appeared that we'd miss seeing Heidi's best friend from high school, Nancy, by only one day, Nancy made arrangements to meet up with us in Idaho Falls for a quick lunch just after we arrived. So much fun to catch up with her and her son Connor.

Howdy Stranger, Yonder lies Jackson Hole!

We hadn't been back to Jackson in over 4 years (the longest Heidi had ever been away) and boy has it changed! Heidi's Ecuadorian brother Esteban was visiting Jackson with his wife Gioconda for Esteban's high school reunion, so that motived all of Heidi's immediate family to get together. Brother Arne and his wife Teresa still live in Jackson and hosted a big family gathering. Sister Kari and her son Tate flew in from Oregon, and brother Paul drove down from Bozeman. So much fun to see Esteban and hang out with all of Heidi's siblings, nieces, nephew, and extended family too.

Big thanks to Pete and Jean-Mom for hosting us in Jackson and all the fun times together.

More thanks to Arne and Teresa for hosting us all in their newly remodeled kitchen and dining room too. The Boyz Table: Pete, Arne, Tate, Steve, Andy, Kirk, and Berg.

The Women's Club: (front row) Matriarchs Nancy and Mom-Jean; (back row) Lori, Lily, Sarah-Jane, Caroline, Teresa, Annika, Heidi, and Kari.

The impetus for this family gathering... great fun to be with Ecuadorian-brother Estéban and his wife Gioconda again! Capitán Kirk, Heidi, Estéban, Paul, and Gioconda. Maybe we'll be headed to Ecuador soon...

We all went on several family hikes including a couple of medicinal plant walks with Heidi's Herbalist-mom Jean, and Grandpa Andy. We were even joined by our long-time friend Jared from Seattle, who also has a house in the Jackson Hole area. So fun to see him and catch up. Jared and his wife Karen sailed with us in the Sea of Cortez a few years ago.

Family hike... Naturalist Grandpa Andy and Mom-Jean talking about the green gentian plant and its uses.

After driving the Prius, Kirk was excited to drive his father-in-law Pete's new Tesla. Pete is keen on getting everyone in the world to drive electric cars, and most of Heidi's family either have electric or hybrid cars. We both drove the Tesla and found it to be very Space-X! Definitely a big step-up from the Prius we rented.

Spectacular view of the sunset over the Grand Tetons from the middle of the Snake River. THIS is why we prefer the evening float...

Esteban, Arne, Eric, Teresa, and Heidi evening float down the Snake River. It can get cold on the river in the evening with the wind blowing across the water... Heidi wasn't the only one bundled up, but she probably had the most layers on!

The whole family took an evening float trip in Grand Teton National Park with Barker-Ewing Scenic Float Trips. The Barkers are life-long family friends. Heidi's dad Verne was their first boatman back in the late 1960s, and Heidi grew up playing with their kids Leith and Eric around the rafts. It was wonderful to see Leith again... thanks so much for spoiling Tosh & Tikka rotten with FUN cat toys, they love them! Leith's mom Barb joined us on the float trip as well. And we were honored to have Eric as our naturalist river guide, taking after Heidi's dad with Eric's excellent rafting skills along with his bad puns. Eric pointed out 9 bald eagles including two fledgling juveniles who were attempting to fly out of the nest! This was a highlight of the float, as we've seen zero bald eagles since leaving Seattle four years ago. Plus we saw lots of evidence of beaver and one beaver in the water, but sadly no moose or other big mammals.

We also got in Kirk's favorite hike to Phelps Lake, the former Lawrence Rockefeller family vacation compound that they have since donated to Grand Teton National Park. Due to a very wet spring, the normal June wildflowers were out in full-color a whole month late, in July. They were SO beautiful, everything from pink sticky geranium and wild rose, and blue lupine and flax, to yellow daisies, red Indian paintbrush, and purple fireweed, it was a virtual rainbow of native wildflowers.

Kirk surveying the majesty and listening to Lake Creek babbling along, Grand Teton National Park.

The view looking across Phelps Lake toward the Tetons is usually the grand prize for making the 3-mile round-trip trek. However, this year the wildflowers were the best part of the hike.

We packed a lot into a brief week in Jackson, including a quick visit with Heidi's childhood friend Janet, who lives in Boulder and runs a kids camp in Jackson each summer. Heidi also met up with a few of her Neal's Yard Remedies customers and sales team in Jackson. And we visited dad Verne's little house in the woods to check in on it. Plus we had a lovely evening at the Jackson Buddhist Songha Meditation with Nancy. To see as many friends as possible we organized a group dinner at Picas, our favorite Mexican restaurant in Jackson. Big thanks to Don and David for coming to dinner. Apologies if we didn't see you on this trip... hopefully next time!

Janet and Heidi had been best friends for the one year (7th grade) that Janet had lived in Jackson. Somehow through letter writing, emails, texts, and phone calls, they've managed to stay in constant touch across the country and throughout the 40+ years.

We also checked on Heidi's Dad's little cabin in the woods. He built this house when Heidi and Paul were tiny kids.

Our friend Don 'Cush' drove over an hour to meet up with us for dinner. Don is a long-time family friend and had been on our Grand Canyon River Expedition in 2005. He's also one of our most ardent and appreciative blog readers. Thanks for making the trek to have dinner with us, Don. Great to see you!

From Jackson, we took the Prius on a beautiful road trip up through southeast Idaho, and the western edge of Yellowstone for a quick visit to Bozeman. We stopped to check out a few waterfall vistas along the way. And when we realized we'd be driving through Ennis, Montana, where Heidi's old Aldus friend Audrey lived, we gave a phone call and found she was home! It was a fun, short visit with Audrey & Ken.

Panoramic view of the Cave Falls cascades on the Fall River, southwest Yellowstone. The Fall River flows into the Henry's Fork of the Snake River downstream. This little-known entrance to Yellowstone is in the southwest corner of the Park. Enter in from the Idaho side before the road turns back into Wyoming. If you've never been here, it's totally worth the 15-mile drive in from the highway. Interestingly the Idaho part of the road is gravel, once you hit the Wyoming state line it becomes paved again!? Such beautiful country!

The impressive Upper Mesa Falls on the Henry's Fork of the Snake River in southeast Idaho, south of Island Park and West Yellowstone. The roar of Upper Mesa falls is almost defining... with a nice shower of water to cool us on a hot day!

You can see why Montana is called Big Sky Country... Wide-open spaces... the sunlight through the clouds highlighting the yellow mustard fields behind the horses. Lucky shot out the window as we flew by on the highway outside of Bozeman.

So why drive to Bozeman besides the beautiful scenery? To visit Heidi's brother Paul and meet his fiance Darcy, and Darcy's daughter Maggie. We were the last of the family to finally meet them, and it was so much fun! One evening we had a fire in their firepit and Darcy got giant marshmallows... it has been years since we roasted marshmallows and we thoroughly enjoyed the entire sweet-and-sticky-mess. Thanks, Darcy, we might have to try that on the beach in Mexico when you come to visit! We also had a great visit over lunch with long-time family friends Jan and Joe, only sorry we forgot to get a photo of them!

Heidi's brother Paul and his fiancé Darcy. Welcome to the family Darcy!

All too soon it was time to head back to Idaho Falls and fly to Albuquerque to visit Heidi's Dad Verne and his wife Willa. Some of Heidi's most favorite cousins live in Salt Lake City, and although we only had a 90-minute layover in Salt Lake, they were game to come to the airport for a quick visit. Kirk graciously stayed inside security with our bags while Heidi made a mad-dash out through security to meet up with cousins Eric & Nan. We hadn't seen them in about five years, and it was so much fun to catch up, even if briefly. Heidi had to get back through security in time for the flight, and just as she got back inside... they delayed our flight by 90-minutes! Damn... we could have both gone out through security and out to dinner with Eric & Nan if we'd known a few minutes earlier.

Grateful to these crazy cousins, Eric & Nan, for meeting us at the SLC airport for a quick 20-minute visit. We love you guys to the moon and back and miss you so much... Come down and visit!

On to ABQ arriving late at night... grateful for our fantastic AirBnB Hosts Carl & Sharon who we've stayed with many times now. They are Super-Hosts and super convenient to Heidi's Dad's. Plus Carl is also a Lyft driver who will pick you up at the airport, and take you back at ungodly hours of the morning or night. If you're ever in Albuquerque, we highly recommend staying with Carl & Sharon.

Lunch with Willa and Dad-Verne... always a PUN time!

Can't go anywhere without juice and Verne and Willa were grateful to their son-in-law Kirk for all of his help around their house and property, not to mention with the cars!

Speaking of cars... Look out NASCAR here comes Kirk Unser... he had such a fun time at the Unser Race Car Museum... the only downside was the race car simulator was broken. Next time...

Our visit with Heidi's Dad Verne and his wife Willa was short but packed full of helping them out with things like jumping a dead car, household and yard chores, and filling bird feeders. Verne loves watching all the songbirds that come to his window. Plus we had some fun meals out, all-in-all a good time spent together. Since Verne & Willa retire early, we also had a couple of delicious dinners with our friend Luba, but forgot to take any photos! And Kirk finally got to visit the Unser Race Car Museum. He loved it!

Next stop Denver/Boulder. This was our third time passing through the DEN airport on this trip, and we've gotta say, as much as we've traveled around the globe, it is the WORST airport we have EVER been through. Avoid it like the plague if you can. So cumbersome, up and down escalators, you get dropped off at one floor, have to go up two floors to check-in, then back down a floor to go through security, no stairs that we could find... and all in all, a major run-around-hassle every way you look at it. Even getting the rental car shuttle was a hike with your bags. No bueno! For a relatively "new' international airport, they totally missed the mark in so many ways, including lack of signage.

On the plus side, we arrived DEN at 6:30am (after Carl kindly took us to the airport at 3am!), so we got our rental car by 7:30am and were off to downtown Denver to pick up Heidi's computer. Oh wait, Apple doesn't open until 10am... Luckily, we found a great breakfast spot near-by, called Syrup. Excellent food and very gluten-free friendly (GF pancakes and waffles!) and a ton of different syrups to try. Finally, with computer in hand, we headed for Boulder to check out that cool college town and walk through the colorful Pearl Street pedestrian mall.

Walking into Rebecca's Herbal Apothecary & Supplies was like a throwback to walking into Heidi's mom Jean's Herb Store in Jackson, Wyoming 30+ years ago. It smelled exactly the same! Contrary to what you might be thinking, being in Boulder, Colorado, a 420-state... that's not the type of herbs we were after! We needed to stock up on some of the traditional Western medicinal herbs that we can't find in Mexico, like elderflower and yarrow.

One of the places on our Boulder Bucket list was to check out Rebecca's Herbal Apothecary & Supplies. The reason we sought out Rebecca's Herbal Apothecary is that we'd just finished watching the extremely educational docuseries Remedy: Ancient Medicine for Modern Illness. Rebecca had been one of the herbalists interviewed. We were quite impressed with all the knowledge she imparted in this documentary, and when we realized she was in Boulder, and we were going there... we had to stop in. Such a great gal in person too, we really enjoyed chatting with her. If you're ever in Boulder her shop is well worth a stop.

So much fun to spend time with Andy and Janet. Thanks for your wonderful hospitality and for being our mail-stop. Next time we'll stay longer and hike more!

That night we stayed with our friends Janet and Andy. Janet (who we'd seen briefly in Jackson) was just back home from running her kids' summer camp, and it was so great to have a good visit with them. Janet & Andy's wedding 20-some years ago is still one of the most memorable we've ever been to... and not because of the Macarena dance! Even though we only see them once every 5-10 years in person, we pick right back up where we left off... the sign of true friends. They also graciously acted as our "mail stop" to have some Amazon orders and our mail sent from Seattle. That night was like Christmas as we opened boxes and re-packed everything into duffle bags for our checked luggage. New shoes, vitamins and supplements, organic protein powder, and other food items that we can't easily get in Mexico. Thankfully we flew Southwest which allows for two free checked bags per person!

Another early morning Denver airport run, this time Heidi dropping Kirk off for his flight back home to Mexico, and to relieve the Shanafelts of Tosh & Tikka duty. Many thank again Alexa et al! Heidi stayed on in the Denver-area through the weekend for her Neal's Yard Remedies annual conference, where she was asked to speak on Creating Effective Newsletters. It was great fun to hang out with old friends like Cathy, Anne, and Jonna from Missoula (who visited us in PV last year), and learn about Neal's Yard Remedies latest products.

Heidi was honored to be asked to speak about Creating Effective Newsletters at NYR Organic's annual conference for sales consultants. She was also pleasantly surprised to receive a Top Team Sales award for her Team's sales of over $100,000!

After almost five-years with Neal's Yard Remedies, an amazing ethical, sustainable UK-based company, Heidi is still as passionate as ever about helping people remove toxins from their health and beauty products. Shockingly, the average woman is exposed to 150+ toxic chemicals a day in her health and beauty products. Yikes!! Please message Heidi if you'd like free samples of truly organic, toxin-free products including the new Frankincense Intense Hand Treatment Serum, which is clinically proven to repair sun-damaged hands.

The lighter side of Neal's Yard Remedies conference, photo-ops with roomies Anne and Jonna. Always a good time, doing good for the planet and the people!

One last trip to the Denver airport and it was time for Heidi to fly home. While it was fantastic to visit so many family and friends in our two-week whirl-wind trip to the US, not to mention stocking up on our Trader Joe's favs and a few other things we can't get south of the border, overall the US seems like a ZOO to us, and we much prefer the slower-paced, peaceful life in Mexico. If you're tired of the rat-race, come down and visit on the FUN side of the wall!

Heidi had great seat-mates on the flight back to PV, our new friends Lisa & Tim from Nashville, Tenessee area. When they started picking Heidi's brain about things to do in Puerto Vallarta and mentioned where they were staying, it turned out they were staying at the same condo complex where we're currently condo sitting! So we shared a taxi from the airport to the condo, then met up a few times at the pool.

Playa Colomitas is a lush blue-green tropical paradise. You can only reach it by hiking along the Guacamaya trail or by boat. It's a favorite spot for Mexicans to enjoy the weekend.

Lisa and Heidi cooling off in this refreshing waterfall at Playa Colomitas, the one-quarter-way reward on this hot jungle hike. Three quarters still to go and no more waterfalls...but lots of beaches.

Ahhhh... the reward near the end of the hike. Fueling up with agua maracuya (Passion Fruit water) and lunch at Maraikas Beach Club with Tim & Lisa, before we finish the last half-mile of this hike to Las Animas.

Lisa and Tim asked about the jungle-beach hike from Boca de Tomatlan to Las Animas, along the south coast of Banderas Bay, which is only accessible by hiking trail or boat. It takes some local knowledge to get there, so we invited ourselves along to be their trail guides. This time of year (rainy season) the jungle is so lush and green and the waterfalls were a welcome relief from the heat. Be sure to check out some of the other jungle photos in our photo gallery. Someone had also walked the trail ahead of us, dropping tropical flower petals along the way: fragrant jasmine and plumeria, and beautiful pink, then yellow, then purple flower petals for the whole 3-mile+ hike. What fun!

Now that Michael P. Engine is raring to go again, we plan to sail south at the end of Hurricane Season (mid- to late November) to Tenicatita, Bara de Navidad, and Manzanillo area, and possibly as far south as Zihuatanejo by February... then likely making our way back north into the Sea of Cortez in April and May, before returning to Banderas Bay for next Hurricane season. Of all the cruising grounds in Pacific-coast Mexico, we feel that Banderas Bay (and particularly Marina Vallarta) is the safest place to be during hurricane season. Just remember, our plans are always written in sand at low tide...

If you want to see the real Mexico, come on down and visit us in one of these locales next winter or spring. Smooth sailing for the rest of your summer. Big thanks again to all of the friends and family who hosted us in the US. It was so wonderful to see all of you!

Tikka and Tosh were so happy to have us home, they stuck like glue for the first few days! And if you read our last blog post...their diet has been working, they are each dow a pound or so!

Tikka & Tosh send their love, as do we! xo

Vessel Name: Due West
Vessel Make/Model: Passport 40
Hailing Port: Seattle, WA
Crew: Captain Kirk & Heidi Hackler + Tosh & Tikka
Captain Kirk and First-Mate/Navi-Girl Heidi untied the dock-lines in Seattle in August 2015 and set sail for Mexico with our two-kitty crew Tosh & Tikka. We've been in Mexico since then.  
Kirk grew up sailing in Seattle and has been boating his whole life. [...]
Extra: See pix of our boat here: Due West Interior Photos and in the Photo Gallery.
Home Page: http://svduewest.com
Due West's Photos - Sights & Sounds of Puerto Vallarta
Photos 1 to 65 of 65 | Main
s/v <em>Due West</em> sung in her berth at Marina Vallarta.
We had a wonderful surprise visit from our nephew Tate (Heidi
Great day at the beach in Punta Mita with nephew Tate and extended family: Jack, Tate, Kirk, Heidi, Joan, and Mark.
The down-side of this nomadic sailing life we live is always saying "hasta luego." We met s/v Kenta Anae and crew: Matero, Allison, and Merle (and Shandro missing from photo) sailing last summer in the Sea of Cortez. These guys have pure hearts of gold, and the nicest, most outgoing, well-rounded teenagers we
More "hasta luegos" to our friends Lisa and Don on s/v Wind Charmer. They stayed with us for a night before flying back to the US for a month and we took in 3-D "Pirates of the Caribbean." Heidi will meet up with Lisa again in Orlando later this month when they attend their Neal
Tosh-the-Jungle-Cat loves how his stripes really camouflage him when he
Post haircut, "The Littlest Lion" lost about 2lbs in hair (or so it seemed). We know this photo is not the greatest quality, but it does show off his Kinky boots and Lion
Meanwhile Tikka the green-eyed lady lounges on her pink bed, finally warming back up to her brother whom she ignored for two-weeks straight post-hair cut. Not sure what she was so tweaked about, she
The lovely view from our amazing condo-sitting summer gig (THANKS Judy & Paul!) The views and scenery on the beach change daily, if not by the hour, or even by the minute sometimes. Anything goes on this beach... fun to watch and beach-walk along.
These cute little boys were so fun to watch. Before the niño in orange could ride the burro he had to walk it back and forth a bunch of times with his older brother riding it. Finally he could ride it with his brother, and he
Boot Camps and exercise programs happen on the beach most evenings. These head-stand dudes practiced for over an hour until they were finally all lined up together...then they had to go home and "wash that sand right outta their hair!"
Lots of LOVE and SUN on the beach in PV, lots of weddings too. This is a prime spot for wedding photography, and many destination weddings take place at the resort next door.
A bride on the beach...Beautiful.
The Captain being a "good-sam", every day we walk on the beach we pick up handfulls of trash. We
"OSHA-approved"... NOT! Another thing that has not caught on here is eye protection, ear protection, and respirators. We watched as 5+ guys used hatchets to whack-hack-thwack away the old tile and grout and make a smooth surface to re-tile the pool. They literally hacked away for 10-hours a day, 6-days a week, for 2-3 weeks... Unbe*¡*¡*lievable. Click this <a href="https://youtu.be/ieHh5C6c6qs" target="_blank"><u>link</u></a> , to check out the video including the soundtrack of our life for the past 2-3 weeks.
Our little bit of tropical paradise. With 5 swimming pools at the condo we
On the way home from yoga class one day Captain Kirk ran into a gang of banditos. Pretty nice guys...they weren
Umbrella ART at one of our favorite hangouts, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/La-Tostaderia-702794516467580" target="_blank"><u>La Tostaderia</u></a> (BEST tostadas in town!) BIG THANKS to proprietor Javier for creating this outdoor Art-space! Puerto Vallarta is full of ART and Javier wanted to give his patrons something beautiful to look at. He plans on changing up the art every couple of months.
Looks like this Bug parked too long and a palm tree sprang out of it
Nearby that VW bug this wall is covered in psychedelic flamingos, egrets, fish, snakes, bugs, and more. We pass this on our walk to the grocery store almost every day.
If you
A modern adaptation of Madonna & Child Mexican-style. Also note the painted tree trunk that lines up with the tree behind the wall (they do this a lot in PV), and the multi-colored ceramic bricks... not just "Another brick in the Wall."
A different sort of Madonna and Children? Or Native Mexican "St. Francis of Assisi" figure? We
This beautiful corner wall mural in Punta Mita celebrates the diversity of life in Banderas Bay, from frigate birds to blue-footed boobies, humpback whales to octopus and more...
This colorful humpback whale adorns the wall of another of our fav tostadarias, "Ocho Tostados" at Marina Vallarta. This family-owned chain of tostada stands all over PV has delicious fish, crab, and shrimp tostadas for only a few pesos.  Plus they have the BEST guacamole and pico de gallo (here they call it "Mexican salsa") we
There are amazing murals on walls ALL OVER Puerto Vallarta, like this one of "Uncle Albert."  Riding the buses around town we are often surprised to view new murals we hadn
Many of the city busses are decorated by the drivers themselves to their own personal tastes. This guy loved the Rolling Stones... Each bus has it
Often bus rides are accompanied by live musicians entertaining the riders for all or part of the ride, passing the hat for a few pesos. Talent ranges widely with some being awful to others being good. These guys on our 30-minute bus ride from Puerto Vallarta south to Boca de Tomatlán were some of the best we
The interior of this whole bus was RED including the LED lighting that turns on when the driver presses the break-peddle. His hand-carved coin-holder is decorated with the Virgin of Guadalupe. The "TUNEL" ("toon-el") sign indicates that this is an express bus taking the highway around the back-side of PV and through the mountain tunnel to Old Town, or Zona Romantica south of downtown PV, rather than stopping at every block along the malecon (ocean-front) in town. The words written on the window (far right in photo) are the major stops it makes. We
Another musician, another bus (this bus less full at this point but sure to fill up before the end of the line.) This guy (or his doppelganger) also plays every day at La Isla shopping mall just out side the back deck of the condo. We are serenaded daily by a mix of Peruvian Flute meets modern-music, whether we want to be or not. Click this <a href="https://youtu.be/gkVGbatSMOg" target="_blank"><u>link</u></a> to watch and listen:
The "Pink Bus" sends riders a mixed-message: Adorned with pink fringe curtains, an angel on the dashboard and pink-fringed Virgins of Guadalupe all over the ceiling...but what
Like in other parts of the world many Mexican shops sell only one type of item. Lots of cool baskets in this basket shop. We were looking for a new bed for Tikka, but unfortunately their prices were too much like Pier 1 prices in the US, so we
Super-Supplements meets the Vitamin-Shop Mexican Style—in the back of this truck under a blue tarp and a tree—you can find every type of vitamin, mineral, herb, and supplement imaginable, with  zero FDA oversight.
Because we try to eat as healthy as possible, because it
Many of the produce markets have these cool wooden bins and stock everything from Apples (manzanas) to Zanahorias (carrots).
Ever the good Sam (and engine mechanic too), Captain Kirk stopped to help an older Mexican gentleman on the street who was having engine trouble. Kirk was able to determine it was a fuel problem, but exactly what? Bad fuel? Clogged injectors? With out tools he couldn
Seen one hack-saw, seen
Another creative Mexican solution: the bell-ringing garbage man. Houses don
No, a bag of aluminum cans didn
YES we
SO PROUD of Puerto Vallarta for having one of the largest LGBTQ communities south of San Francisco, and throwing an amazing PRIDE Parade including the original Rainbow flag from the first Pride Parade in SF. The next day was the Drag Queen competition including: song and dance, rock-climbing wearing a dress, running down cobblestone streets in stilettos carrying a tray full of cocktails, and a blind-folded piñata smack-down of a neighboring country
Dame Edna, er-uh, Pearl! Resident PV Drag Queen from Tuna, Texas, all decked out for the Pride Parade. You can see Pearl perform weekly at Incanto Piano Bar [http://www.incantovallarta.com/] where she calls out Bingo numbers for charity fundraisers, interspersed with tales of life in Tuna, Texas... Most FUN you can have on a Saturday night in PV while fundraising for local charities!
Many parts of the hillside in downtown Puerto Vallarta are too steep to drive up. So these would-be-streets are beautifully landscaped with stairs, benches, terraces, and trees and shrubs in planters. When it rains  these hillsides turn into a man-made "river-beds".
One of the artfully decorated stairs on the PV hillsides. As you follow these stairs up there are hearts along the way, ending in a glass mosaic of hearts outside someone
View of Iglesia Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Lady of Guadalupe cathedral) as we walk from yoga to catch the bus. The red tile roof is actually at eye-level and we have to duck below it walking down the sidewalk, or be clocked in the head! Clear passages on sidewalks are definitely not up to code in this town.
We could hear the church bells from this little church in the Versailles neighborhood from the guest house where we were staying. When they have big events like funerals or weddings, they block off the street with cars and set up chairs in the street to accommodate more people! No permits from the city, they just do it.
Architecture in PV includes everything but the kitchen-sink: architectural elements, arches, columns, window shapes, door shapes, wrought iron railings, ornate tiles,  paint colors and more...This house included nearly one of everything
We often walk past this super-cool door on our way to Costco. One day as we were looking at it about to take a photo, it opened! So we asked the owner permission to take a photo of their door. This extra-wide door swings open on a pivot point with 2/3 of the door on one side of the pivot. Amazing dove-tail precision.
Most homes in PV have some type of decorative gate at the entrance...we though this one combined with the ceiling, doorway, tiles on stairs, and paint colors was particularly interesting. If you
Mexicans are big on decorations, including door knockers, door knobs, handles, key holes, etc.
Classic doors abound. This massive door is right on the Malecon, surrounded by night clubs and restaurants and constantly beat upon by ocean breezes, sun and rain.  If this ornate old door could talk it would likely tell some good stories.
We loved the marine animal carvings on this beautiful door. Everywhere you look, a unique door or window appears...
The reflection of Heidi
Speaking of arches in walls, so cool that they made a little archway for the tree roots to protrude through this wall, saving the tree (which would likely not be done in the US.) Too bad the wall has been graffitied, we don
Monstrous Banyan trees are found all over PV with their roots and trunks merging into one.  Roots actually grow down from the branches until they reach the earth and take root. New roots fill in becoming trunk-like, supporting the large branches.
Coco... young coconuts ready to be harvested for their coconut water: just lop off the top with a machete, insert a straw, and drink. Don
Vibrant colors everywhere here... the colors of this beautiful Tiger Lily match Heidi
Heidi is off to teach her first class in Restorative Yoga at Davanna Yoga.
Captain Kirk and other students comfortably relaxing in Heidi
Preparing to perform 108 Sun Salutations (in 4 sets of 27) with Anna at Davanna Yoga, to greet the Summer Solstice—which also happens to be the International Day of Yoga. Why 108? It
View of Iglesia Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe all lit up in the early morning light (0730) from yoga at Los Arcos (the arches) on the Malecon...
Our friend and fellow yogini Sam (far left) teaching yoga at Ángel Yoga on the beach downtown. This is the class that Heidi will be substitute teaching for the next couple of weeks (en Español!) while Sam goes back to Canada to visit her family.
Puerto Vallarta never fails to provide amazing sunsets... and we never tire of watching them. Adios el sol, hasta mañana!