Saturday, November 28, 2015

Views of San Carlos, Mexico

This view is from a neighborhood that circles around one of our steep hills.  It provides gorgeous views of the main part of San Carlos.  Below is one of the oldest saguaro cactus I think I have ever seen .

Just because I love boats, especially sailboats at anchor, the photos below show some views of the harbor.

This next boat reminds me of one some friends had in the Caribbean.  Would be interesting if it was the same one, but I think they live on land now.  Could be the new owners have brought it over here.

This is interesting.  Looks like a new dock, but it's not attached yet.  It could be a very good way to keep people off it until it's finished, and hopefully, attached to land!
This next one is just for fun.  I noticed this local fishing boat that had a long line led up to shore.  Normally, I'd expect to see something like this with an anchor or tied to a tree to keep it in place.  It just struck me funny.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Marina San Carlos, Mexico

 Having been a sailboat cruiser for years, I naturally gravitate to marinas wherever I happen to be.  They have been few and far between the past year and a half.  Here in San Carlos, there are lots of boats, both power and sail.  I happened to be there one morning when I shot the photos below.

This is how they haul large boats here - on a gigantic boat trailer with built in jack stands holding the boat in place.

I was intrigued and asked a bystander if they haul sailboats the same way.  The answer was yes, to my surprise.  Since the storage yard is down the main road, they just drive the Caterpillar down the road to the yard - following a small pickup with a "wide load" sign attached, written in Spanish.

On another day, I was walking along and saw this little 27' sailboat being hauled to put on the owner's trailer specially made for a sailboat.  This lift is mounted right on the concrete next to the water and the crane just swings the boat ashore to be put on the trailer.

I had never seen either of these methods of boat hauling before, since all I have ever seen are the typical Travelifts that have been used on boats in any marina I've been in.  Those are huge frames that come out over a concrete slip in the water, and then huge canvas straps are put under the boat.  The Travelifts then crank up the boat to clear the docks and travel over to where the boat is set on jackstands to be worked on or just stored.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sunsets in San Carlos

Sunsets can be seen from town, but to see the sun setting into the Sea of Cortez requires a little trip to a place called El Mirador.  It's not very far away and busloads of tourists are brought here for the event.  The photo below shows a concrete seating area that extends around the point of land to give an almost 180 degree view.
This is the view from the seating area shown above.  Just gorgeous.
One of the earlier shots of the day.
This was a shot a day or so after I arrived.  It was taken on the road near where I'm living.

This isn't really a sunset photo, but I'm calling it one.  It was taken on the beach while the sun was setting opposite this scene and it lit up with the beautiful sunset light.

And this isn't a sunset shot either, but it was one of the last ones I took last night as I was leaving. I love the pink clouds that lit up over the rocks and the almost-full moon toward the right.  That rock is called Tetakawi and is a landmark in the area.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday Afternoon Drive in Mexico

This afternoon I was lucky enough to be invited for a ride into the desert area around San Carlos and Guaymas to small towns and a village inhabited by farm workers who tend the surrounding fields.  We went down a dirt road and found this small peaceful lake near a dam.  We sat there in the quiet shade and watched the small dragonflies and tiny fish.  I got a shot of one of the bright blue dragonflies, but couldn't catch the orange one.

On the way home we passed a few locals making tortillas over an open fire.  We quickly turned the Jeep around and went back to get some. 

We watched them being cooked, which takes just seconds on each side.  It looks like the hardest part is rolling out the dough into a thin circle.

I got a half dozen to go, as well as a container of refried beans.  When I got home, I made a quesadilla with the beans and tortillas, just added some cheese!  It tasted great, and although the beans had a bit of heat to them, it wasn't excessive.  Now I wish I had bought more of the tortillas!  A great way to spend the afternoon!  I made note of a few places we passed so I could go back and take some photos of the area.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

San Carlos, Mexico - First week.

I have been in San Carlos a week now - my first week anniversary!  I have had a great time already.  I'm lucky a few RV friends have already been here for a while and helped get me acclimated to the area.  The photo above was taken when we went looking for geodes in the desert.
The town is small, partly US and Canadians, living both in permanent homes and RVs and partly Mexican citizens.  Luckily, most of the Mexicans I've met know English, although I have been trying to use my meager knowledge of Spanish I learned in Venezuela.  I'm getting used to the value of pesos and the different bills and coins.  Tonight we went out to eat and I had fettucini alfredo with chicken, complete with salad and garlic bread - for $6.25.  Yummy, and I have enough left over for another meal!
The photo above shows something I have never encountered before.  We all went out for brunch one day and the waiter brought over what looked like a short coat rack.  It was for all our purses!  What a great idea!


This is a view from one of the restaurants in town.  You can eat in an open area under a large roof, or out on the beach where you can look for dolphins or watch the pelicans diving for their meals.

They also have entertainment in the afternoon out on the beach, or in the evening under the shelter. The Twins were playing when were there, twins and their son/nephew.  They played Mexican music as well as songs that have been popular in the States - but they sang them in Spanish.  It was funny to recognize the tune but not the lyrics!  Usually the music starts at 5 PM and ends at 8 - an early evening. 

It has been a busy week - Jeep rides in the desert, walking on the beach, and getting familiar with all the different restaurants and seeing some of the entertainers.  I'm looking forward to enjoying my time here!   Viva Mexico!

Friday, November 13, 2015

San Carlos, Mexico | Down to the Sea Again

This week I had a long trip from Nogales, Arizona, across the Mexican border to the town of San Carlos, located on the Sea of Cortez.  Being a Florida person and used to the warm weather and the ocean (or Gulf of Mexico) nearby, I was not happy last winter while I was freezing in Arizona.  I decided to do something about it and talked to a couple of my solo women RVer friends who have been wintering in San Carlos. 

Of course, they have been showing me photos and videos about this area and convincing me that although it does get cool down here, it's warmer than Arizona.  After a few nights at temperatures in the 30s, I was ready to leave to go south, even though I hadn't planned on going until December.

I took off from my campsite a few miles north of the border at 5:30 AM (yes, it was still dark at that time).  I had never towed at night before, so this was another first.  While I was heading south the sky started getting lighter and the day began.  The border opens at 6 AM, so I wanted to be there and beat any traffic that might be lined up.  It worked, since I was the only RV at the border and zipped right through.  The woman at the checkpoint only looked into my 5th wheel and said "OK".  No search, no problem! 

A little further down the road I had to stop and get my permit to bring in my 5th wheel and a tourist visa for me.  And of course, to pay fees for all of the above.

Then, I was on my way.  The main road down is a four lane divided highway, similar to US interstates.  However, the road seems narrower and in some places, the shoulder is non-existent, or drops off enough to be unusable. The road was not in great condition in some places, so it resulted in a bumpy drive.  In one area, there was a nice shoulder area and I decided to straddle that white line so that I would be missing most of the bumps.  I noticed that a bus was also doing the same thing, so I didn't feel too bad about it.

At the government fuel stations, an attendant pumps the fuel for you, a totally alien concept for me since it doesn't happen that way in the States.  They also set up the stations for easy in and out for big rigs.  No problem trying to find a station that you can maneuver in without problems.  I like that!

The worst part of the trip is getting through the city of Hermasillo - unfortunately, they have not yet made a bypass for this area.  In one area, the three lane road did not have any lane markers, that was a bit uncomfortable.  The traffic was quite heavy through the city, but I had great, detailed instructions for the whole trip, so I made it through without incident or any wrong turns.

I finally arrived about 1 PM and was so glad to get off the road.  This is by far the longest trip I've had this year!  My friend Allison made dinner and I got to meet some of her neighbors, so we had an enjoyable evening. 

I'll be sharing photos of the area shortly - stay tuned.  In the meantime, here's a shot of tonight's sunset.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Back in Arizona

I spent a night in Deming, New Mexico.  When I got up early the next morning and went outside to get ready to leave, I found sparkly frost crystals on the picnic table just outside my door.  I'm not a happy camper when it's cold, so I had on three layers plus a warm coat.... and furry gloves!  Time to get further south and at less elevation!  Days in the desert are nice and sunny warm, but the temps at night can be 20-30 degrees cooler, or more.

I stopped at a mechanic shop where I had made a reservation for first thing to get my 5th wheel bearings greased.  I was there before they opened, and it only took him about a half hour to get that done.  After that, I was on my way west.

I took Interstate 10 to Benson, Arizona.  Luckily it was not windy since there were multiple signs telling me that there could be dust storms and lack of visibility.  I was in a dust storm last year and it wipes out visibility enough that you can see only about 10' - not a good thing on an interstate!  The previous two days were pretty windy with nasty gusts, so I picked a good day to travel.

The trip was fine, except that I'm unhappy with Arizona - they decided to close the rest area just inside their border from New Mexico.  The next one is almost 70 miles and I really needed to stop!  I finally found a travel center and stopped there.  It was so packed with big RVs and semi trucks that I parked across the street in a vacant lot and walked over.  Whew - what a relief.   Back on the road!

This was the scene on the home stretch into Benson, Arizona, where I stayed for the weekend.  Rocks like this were piled up on both sides of the road for miles - a very interesting contrast to the flat desert I had been traveling through.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Leasburg Dam State Park, New Mexico

I spent most of last summer exploring quite a few of the state parks in New Mexico. Leasburg Dam was one I missed, so I stopped here this year on my way through. This park is easy to find, very close to Interstate 25. It is located at Radium Springs, which is a little community that has a Family Dollar and a fire station for facilities. Plus, there's a state monument for the Fort Selden ruins.

I arrived on a rainy day and the park was full. I had called the day before and someone told me I might be able to find a spot. Apparently, this was not the case. They have an overflow area, a large sandy/gravel area where you can park for boondocking. I pulled in there and was not going to bother unhooking until the rain stopped. One of the camp hosts came walking up to me with his umbrella and told me of a spot with hookups that had just become available. I got back in my truck and made tracks for that spot! I have to say that the camp hosts here (2 couples) have been some of the best I've met in my travels.

I was happy with my little spot for the night, but I had to leave the next day before 2 PM. I decided to reserve a spot for the weekend, so I called the booking service (the only way to reserve, unless you do it online). I got 3 days starting Sunday, which was 3 days away, so I decided to camp in the boondocking area for the two days in between. So, if you ever think about visiting here, I suggest reservations since this is a small park, and very busy.  One of the reasons the park is so small is that they have land to add more sites, but archaeologists have not approved development because of historical items that are still buried and have not been excavated.

I moved the next day and at least it wasn't raining, but it was totally overcast, so I hibernated. It is turning cold here, which is not bad if you have sun during the day, but the dampness made it seem colder. The next day was bright, clear and sunny so I spent most of the day soaking up the sun and warmth.

There are short hiking trails throughout the park and I hiked one that took me down a hill, across a small creek on a bridge and down a road to the dam that you can see in the photo below. This is just a diversion dam that was built for farming. Most of the water in the riverbed is from hot springs in the area, but fish are still thriving in it.

Las Cruces is just down the road about 15 miles, so if you need big city things, it's not far. There is a small post office where I had mail sent to me. It's a good spot to stay and relax a few days.  And the sunsets turn the mountains a nice color in the east.