Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Zach and Jill, the young couple, fresh out of University and headed for Argentina in a van, came by to visit with us last night before heading on their journey this morning. Zach makes a mean Margarita! Gerry stuck to the beer he knows has no corn, so I had to drink his Margarita as well as mine.
We hit on every taboo topic under the sun....and strangely all four of us, while disagreeing on minute points here and there, agreed philosophically on politics, religion, environmental issues, corporate corruption and travel.
Zach and Jill are on the road again, even though we happened to choose the same campgrounds in two different towns in Mexico, it is unlikely our paths will cross again. They are headed Guatalajara way, then south; we are staying put for at least a week, then heading home for Christmas.
I will be following their blog. http://www.anywherethatswild.org/
I gave them my usual "Keep out of trouble", and they assured me if they wind up in jail in Argentina that we would be the first one they called.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
There isn't a lot to report from today's Turtle to La Penita. We were both pretty tired today. I admit it...I didn't sleep well last night....dreaming and fixating on big hairy ugly spiders!!! lol
We found an RV campgound in La Penita on the beach. It is called "Little RV Park", because big rigs won't fit. We haven't done any exploring yet...perhaps tomorrow. After a nice dip in the pool, and a short walk on the beach we are both going down with sun tonight.
Last night we decided to pack up at night before we went to bed, so we could wake up in the morning and start Turtling down to La Penita.
We brought in the table and the lawn chairs...after dark.
About an hour later Gerry nearly jumped through the roof...."What the heck was that on me?" he yells as he sweeps something off his shoulder....onto his leg. "Holy crap!" he says as he sweeps it off his leg and onto the blanket hanging off the side of the bed.
"Don't move!" he barks at me. I was sitting on the bed, and very curious indeed.
He slid a plate under the spider and folded the blanket up onto it....and squished it. He opens the blanket again...and it is none the worse! Now I have a very good view of the biggest spider I have ever seen in my life! He tries to squish it again, slowly opens the blanket up...and the dang thing has one leg broken off and is still trying to escape! Again and again he squishes it, until finally all it's legs are gone, and it is still squirming!
Yikes!!!! Lesson learned. NEVER EVER bring things inside after dark. NEVER EVER bring things inside without examining it for unwanted varmints.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Hurricane Kenna hit this area in 2002. She was the second worst hurricane to do so in recorded history. She reached peak winds of 165 mph on October 25 while located about 255 miles southwest of Puerto Vallarta. Weakening as it turned to the northeast, the hurricane struck Aticama, with winds of 140 mph.
The name "Kenna" was retired from the list of Pacific hurricane names due to its effects on Mexico, which included $101 million in damage ($123 million 2011 USD) and four deaths. The worst of the hurricane's effects occurred between San Blas in Nayarit and Puerto Vallarta in Jalisco, where over 100 people were injured and thousands of homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed. 95% of the buildings in San Blas were damaged, and hundreds of buildings were destroyed along coastal areas of Puerto Vallarta.
This is the shoreline in front of the Playa Amor RV Park, where we are staying. They rebuilt their shoreline last year.
I woke up, looked out the window and saw about 30 people out in the water with inner tubes...hmmm...what's going on? It turns out they are clam fishing. Cool. It reminds me of a trip to my friend Carolyns house this summer. My grandson Trent was snorkeling for crayfish in much the same way these folks snorkel for clams.
With the tide in, the crabs are on the rocks...did you know crabs could jump? holy moly, they jump from rock to rock, seemingly to get away from the crashing waves.
Friday, November 25, 2011
This is how we did it:
We read somewhere that you need to get a TelMex stick from a TelMex store. The first day in Mexico we couldn't find one along our route, but knew we would find one in Saltillo so we didn't much fuss about it. We arrived in Saltillo on a Sunday afternoon, we were told that TelMex is not open on Sundays. We went for a walk over to the Mall, which had Telcel and Movistar sticks, but we had read the TelMex was the best way to go because it had the best coverage. We got direction to the TelMex store and was told it would open at 8:30 a.m. on Monday.
Monday morning we waited until 8:15 before heading out toward Zacatecas so we could get our internet happening. TelMex was closed on Mondays. We got directions to another TelMex store....and couldn't find it. We decided to keep on turtling because by then we had wasted enough time. Dogtown, Mexico was our next stop...about a half out outside of Zacatecas. There was a Telmex there, but it was closed by the time we rolled into town. Oh well, we could live without internet for another day.
Off we went to Guatalajara on Tuesday morning. They had internet at the RV campsite we were staying at, albeit slow and we had to go to the clubhouse to use it. No worries, we could wait another day. By this time, Gerry has a horrendous migraine, and I can barely walk from all the driving. We hit the sack early thinking we would find ourselves an internet stick the next day. The next day, Gerry is still throwing up from his migraine, and I can still barely walk, so we don't fuss about it much. We ask around, and learn that we can take a taxi for about 5.00 to Telmex. Later in the afternoon, we suck it up and walk out to the road and hail a cab.
The cab driver takes us to a mall in a very swanky neighbourhood. We go inside the mall and find that there is no Telmex, only a Telcel. We had noticed a Telcel stick in the grocery store for 299 pesos. We talked to the lady in Telcel, who just happens to speak English. She was very helpful, but the product she had was really not what we wanted. We wanted a device that multiple users could interface with at the same time, Telcel only had devices that plugged into the USB port. The devices in her store were 699 pesos. We asked her what the difference was between hers and the one at the grocery store. She said they were exactly the same. They had been on sale last week, and it was probably still on sale at the grocery store, but she could not honour the sale in her store. Ok, well, she told us there was a Telmex only a few blocks away. We hailed another cab who took us to Telmex.
We go into Telmex, which is very much like a Bell Canada. They don't sell wifi internet sticks. They only sell landline telephone and internet and cell phones. HUH.
Ok, so we ask if they could call us a cab...no can do. huh? There were no cabs driving around this swank neighbourhood....oh well, it was only a few blocks we could hoof it. I think I remember how the cab driver got there...maybe I was paying attention.
Ooops, wrong turn. Thankfully there are tons of security guards driving around, they turned us back to the right direction and eventually we came upon the mall. Well, why go to Telcel when we know the same item was in the grocery store for much much less?
We go into the grocery store, and after much ado, me using the Spanish/English dictionary, and them calling the lady from the bakery over to the electronics section to get us out the Telcel wifi stick. Yes, we get one free month with the purchase and we can buy extra time online using a credit card or from any ATM machine, and most OXXO stores.
We call a cab and head back to the RV. Poor Gerry's migraine is threatening to return, so he goes straight to sleep. I put the stick into my computer, it's a plug and play so it installs immediately. I bring up google and I get a screen in Spanish, that I am sure says I have no time left. hmmmm...it is supposed to come with a free month. What could this be? I'm too tired, exhausted in fact, but I figure I will go ask the English speaking man at the front desk.
He takes one look at it and says "yikes, I don't know anything about wifi..let me call someone who does". I said "no no, I just need you to read this to me, so I am sure I understand". Nope, he has to call the other fellow.
The other fellow comes to have a look and says "You must take this back to the store and tell them they have made a mistake". You should have a free month.
I said "I am way too tired, way too sore...I would rather just buy time and chalk it up to inexperience and my lack of Spanish skills". After much more back and forth (because he thinks I'm crazy to want to just buy more time), he finally reads to me what the screen says. It gives me 4 options...as I thought. I could purchase time online, I could go to the bank, I could go back to Telcel, I could buy from a store.
First I tried to buy it online, but it would not accept my credit card. By this time, Gerry is up again and he remembers that there was an OXXO just around the corner, we could walk there. We walk over to the OXXO, and they do not sell Telcel time. However, they thought there was a Telcel store just around the corner. Oh no...not again.
Gerry and I walk outside the store and I see an ATM. I said "didn't the lady at Telcel say we could purchase time from any ATM?" Gerry was pretty sure I was right. Into the ATM booth we go. Sure enough, purchasing time for Telcel was one of the options!!!! Wow...cool.
I put in my card, answer all the questions, then it asks me for my telcel number...of which I did not have with me. I did however write it down when I installed it...so we walk back to the RV campground. We find the piece of paper I wrote it on, and take it back to the ATM machine. I key in everything just as I have it written down, but it won't accept it. I think it is telling me that the number was not activated. I decide that I must have written it down wrong, perhaps I transposed the numbers. hmmmm.....back to the campground we go. The number I had written down was correct. hmmmm....now what? By now, I am too exhausted for words. I refuse to give it another thought on Wednesday, we will take a cab back to Telcel on Thursday. We are told that Telcel opens at 8:30 a.m.
I am so exhausted I pass out by 8:00 p.m. and sleep until 7:45 on Thursday.
ok, so....do we take a cab over and come back to the campground and stay another day....or do we just pack up and stop at Telcel on our way to the coast? We packed up.
We get to the mall at 9:30. Telcel isn't open and doesn't have a sign telling us the hours of operation. We asked a police officer who told us it opens at 10:00 a.m. Well, the grocery store where we bought it was open, so we decided to see if we could buy time for it from them. Sure enough we could. There was another English speaking man who was very helpful. He explained that you had to have a Mexican bank account in order to buy it from the ATM.
You buy the time, and they apply it to your wifi stick right then and there. Back we went to Myrtle to test it out before we head off to the coast. ummmm.....nope....the same screen comes up that came up before telling me that I had no time on my wifi.
Ok, no worries, we can go sit in Myrtle in the parking lot, have a coffee, relax, wait for Telcel to open.
At 10:00 a.m., Telcel opened up just as the officer said it would. The very nice salesman who happened to speak English explained that the store we bought it from was supposed to activate it for us as a part of the sales transaction. In fact, it does come with a free month, but no worries that we bought another months worth, it would be available for us when our first month expired. I said "Great! Ok, can you activate this for us? I have the receipts here". Nope.
Only the store you bought it from can activate it. Ok...back to the grocery store.
No one is around who can speak English. Fortunately, I had the foresight to ask the gentleman in Telcel to write down instructions in Spanish for me.
A half an hour later, after several phone calls, much ado....a lady who speaks English finally arrives. Evidently, they had figured out what to do....the person who works the electronics desk wasn't there, and the women who sold us the stick had no idea she had to activate it. No worries, it is activated now....but because it wasn't activated at the time of sale, they had to do some work-arounds and it might take 24 hours before it will work. huh?
24 hours? What if it doesn't work? In 24 hours we will be in Aticam.a..a 4 hour drive from there. hmmmm.....well, can we at least return the extra month we just purchased...just in case it doesn't work? Oh yes, no problem.
Well, about 10 minutes later, after listening to three people at the cashier discussing just how to do a refund on wifi time....I just thanked them profusely and said I would keep it.
We get to Aticama, plug in the Telcel stick...and it says "No service". lmao. It finally worked, but there is no Telcel service in the area???? No worries, the campground we are in has wifi...it is just very weak.
This morning I got up and tried the Telcel stick....it worked....very weak...for a few minutes.....
Thursday, November 24, 2011
From Guadalajara to Aticama was a 3200 foot drop in elevation, so a lot of the trip was in second gear going down hill. The brakes started to smell thats why we were in second gear to let the motor slow us down. We made one wrong turn and it added a half hour to our trip. After we got here other people said we should have kept going the way we were when we made the wrong turn instead of coming back around. It would have been a better way to get here.
First thing we did was walk on the beach. Wait till you see the pictures you will be wishing you were here. Tomorrow we are going to ride the bikes into town and see how the other half live. I think we are going for breakfast Probably some taco stand. Fish tacos for breakfast.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
We haven't found an internet stick yet...so it has been a couple of action packed days since we last blogged.
After a long drive yesterday, complete with getting to watch a two truck pull a gas filled tanker out of the ditch, we pulled into a Pemex in a little town outside of Zacataces, Mexico. We went for a walk in the town...which I cannot remember the name of. I nicknamed it Dogtown, because it seemed there were dogs every where you looked. The most ferocious looking were atop houses.
I sure was glad they weren't inclined to jump down.
Today, we drove from Dogtown to Guatalajara. I cannot even begin to tell you how beautiful the scenery was. The pictures we took don't do it justice, but if you want to see them, feel free to visit my facebook photos.
Tomorrow, perhaps we will Turtle to Tequila...perhaps further and find ourselves on the Pacific Ocean. I'm exhausted, my back is killing me, thankfully there is only 200 more miles to go until we put down roots.
In the meantime...this is how we ended today.
Monday, November 21, 2011
If you're on the highway and Road Runner goes beep beep.
Just step aside or might end up in a heap.
Road Runner, Road Runner runs on the road all day.
Even the coyote can't make him change his ways.
Road Runner, the coyote's after you.
Road Runner, if he catches you you're through.
Road Runner, the coyote's after you.
Road Runner, if he catches you you're through.
That coyote is really a crazy clown,
When will he learn he can never mow him down?
Poor little Road Runner never bothers anyone,
Just runnin' down the road's his idea of having fun.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
I liked the drive better here than in Texas. More to see and so far a cleaner place then I expected. The town of Saltillo is the place where GM and Crysler moved to, so there is lots of money around here. Everyone drives new cars and all the roads are in better shape than ours.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
The only thing Rockport seemed to have more of than birds....were mosquitoes!
If this isn't called a Mickey Mouse Cactus...it sure should be!
We left Rockport this morning, as quietly as possible so as not to wake the mosquitoes. Now we are at Lake Casa Blanca International State Park in Laredo, Texas for the night. I'm not sure if we will head to Mexico tomorrow or Monday. The border is only 1/2 hour from here!!!!!
We arrived in Laredo at about 12:30. After a short walk around the park, I had a lot of pictures to upload into facebook from the last 4 days, and had to buy auto insurance online for Mexico. Then I blinked and it was after 8:00 p.m.! Oh, wait...maybe that was a nap????
It is amazing how dry it is here. I'm told this is the worst drought Texas has had in 100 years. The Lake is so low, they haven't been able to use the boat ramp for over 2 months.
There's Myrtle, looking out over the Lake.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
I hear more migratory birds come through Rockport than anywhere else. Maybe with all those birds there isn't any room for wireless in the sky? :)
We may be here a couple of days, or we may Turtle further into Texas tomorrow. I'm letting my back make that decision. It isn't very happy with my actions these last 2 1/2 weeks. Sitting is hard on a good back, and a killer on a bad one.
It's been a rather uneventful day. We left Galveston at about 8:30. It was surreal, there were no other vehicles on the road...doesn't anyone in Galveston start work at 9:00 a.m.?
The drive was riddled with farmland, oil rigs, nuclear plants, scrub brush, marshland, bridges, bridges and more bridges. It was nice to have a relatively stress free drive.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Meet Bertha. She is our GPS's. I have no idea how we would have made it this far without her! She brought us to a Ferry, so
we took it to Galveston Island. We tried to take pictures of the dolphins playing, but only managed to capture this one. Can you see it...top left hand corner?
We pulled into Galveston State Park for the night. We are right on the beach...lovely! This is the most expensive camp site we have stayed at thus far. $35.00 a night! We are both exhausted from the 3 hours of driving today, so we decided to suck it up and pay. :)
We took a walk on the beach, the tide was going out, so there were thousands of little hermit crabs, and holes acting like geysers. I am assuming the holes were inhabited by clams. We took a lot of pictures, which will be uploaded to my facebook page as soon as we can get a decent bandwidth. I'm also guessing these crabs and clams make a tasty meal for the hundreds of birds walking along the beach.
We climbed over some low sand dunes to get onto the beach...THEN we saw this sign. lol
I'm not sure where we plan to get to tomorrow, but tonight I will sleep like a baby listening to the waves and wind.
I had a surprisingly great nights sleep last night. We parked in the Isle of Capri Casino parking lot, almost underneath the bridge that crosses Lake Charles. TONS of traffic noise all night long.
We are headed to Galveston Island Texas today. Not sure we will get that far, it is about 3 hours of driving. I'm walking more bent over this morning than usual, after driving for about the same amount of time yesterday. I took extra pain killers last night.....aha....wait a minute......surprisingly good nights sleep......hmmmmm.....maybe I found the reason behind that. lol
T T T T T !!!!! See all y'all in Texas.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
We headed to Bourbon Street for breakfast this morning.
I have heard hundreds of stories about Bourbon Street, and how they have to hose down the streets every morning...but I was not prepared for what I experienced today.
Our first stop was at Cafe Beignet, a delightful little cafe near the beginning of Bourbon Street. It came highly recommended. Gerry couldn't eat anything there, being allergic to corn cuts into his options big time. I ordered the beignet...quite tasty...much like a donut, but lighter.
Then I made the mistake of using the washroom. I wish I could share odours on here...I cannot. Suffice it to say, I have never been so overwhelmed by the smell of urine and vomit in my life.
Gerry had used the washroom just before me, when I came out, he was hoping I was as ready to get out of there as he was.
As we left we were whispering back and forth to each other...did you SMELL that? We had already noticed that the street sweepers had been through the area...everything was wet. People were washing their store fronts, hosing down the sidewalks all over the place.
We kept on down the street, and went into a few gift shops.
Imagine my horror as my ankles started to get bitten by fleas!
I quickly realized that the shops with rugs were not for me.
My ankles are still itchy tonight. The first thing I did when we got back to Myrtle was plaster my ankles with afterbite. I must have 10 or 15 flea bites.
As we continued down the street, the smell of urine and vomit and sewer got to be too much for us, and we headed back to Myrtle. Perhaps we just arrived too early and they hadn't had time to clean up last nights mess.
After all...quite a few people were doing this.
I hope I haven't discouraged anyone from heading down to Bourbon Street. It truly does have its' charm and I am glad I made my way down there. I think Bourbon Street is more about partying, music and festivals....none of which were going on at 9:30 a.m.
We left Bourbon Street by 11:00 a.m., and started our Turtle on Down to Westlake Louisiana, where we are safely parked for the night in the The Isle of Capri Casino parking lot. We have a view of Lake Charles.
There were tornado warnings for the first couple of hours we were here....good reason to go inside the Casino for a while. Crossing the parking lot we would have sworn we must be in Texas. Probably 9 out of 10 license plates were from Texas. It turns out there are no Casinos in Texas.