Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tucson & Plans


Life has thrown us another small curve. Two months ago we were planning to leave for Panama, then our departure from Ensenada got delayed by a couple of weeks and then the weather turned to crap and we had to wait another 3 weeks to get some half way decent weather. The trip to Panama started to look like a rush so we decided to spend another season in MX and summer over in La Paz. Not a bad plan, go down to Mazatlan and then Puerto Vallarta for a couple of months and then return to the Sea in the Spring and be in La Paz by July. Then Linda's son and wife who live in Tucson decided to move to Indianapolis (Indianapolis???) where her family are. Great, but we stored our Jeep with them in Tucson and they kind of act as our home base up north. So we need to do something with the car and it would be nice to see them one more time before they leave so lets go to Tucson now, say our goodbyes, get the car, drive it to La Paz and store it there until we get back in June. Oh wait, did I mention that we decided to stay in Mazatlan for the summer, not la Paz., so we'll drive to Maz and store the car in the Marina until summer. The boat is in Maz and we can leave it there while we hop back to the States. Change of plans happen and we're getting pretty good at this last minute stuff. Ok, lets buy some tickets, tell people when we'll arrive and hope things don't change again in the next 2 weeks. Oh boy.

So we flew from Mazatlan to Phoenix, rented a car to drive to Tucson where we got our Jeep. We spent 2 days at Linda's sons house where we tried not to get in their way while they packed for their move to Indianapolis and drove to Phoenix to see some old friends. The next day we headed south, stopped at Tucson to see how the move was going and then continued to Nogales and Mexico.

Some thoughts and observations along the way.

Flying sucks. Drive whenever possible. The two hour flight from Maz to Phoenix is expensive, $360 each, and the hassle of airports and TSA should be avoided whenever possible.

Heading south it took us awhile to get to the border and then some more time to get our visas and import permit for the car so we didn't make it very far the first day. We stopped in Santa Ana at the Elba hotel which is very nice but noisy being right on the highway, with our room overlooking the road, and with a late arriving and early departing family on either side of our room. Oh, the bed was as so hard we might as well have slept on the floor.

The plan for the second night was to stop in Navojoa south of Obregon but there was a national basketball championship going on and there were no vacancies in any of the nice hotels along the highway. That was too bad because it looked like a very nice town with plenty of hotels and restaurants. So on we went to Los Mochis arriving at 5 PM and immediately got totally lost in the city trying to find a Best Western that was advertised on the highway. We eventually stopped at a City Express hotel that was a very clean 7 story building with plain but functional roomswith very hard beds.

Los Mochis is an attractive city of 250,000 people with at least 2 WalMarts. We know because we drove past both of them while looking for a hotel.

Sinaloa is known to some as the headquarters for the 'Sinaloa Cartel', one of the largest drug cartels in Mexico. What we didn't know until we drove through it is that it has a large agricultural industry that looks very prosperous. Linda said it reminded her of driving through Iowa, mile after mile of corn fields.

The road trip down highway 15 was very pleasant. There are plenty of services along the way and the roads are ok, not great, with some construction along the way but nothing that slows you down too much. Highway 15 is a toll road all the way, it costs us $65 USD in tolls to get from the border to Mazatlan.

Now that we're back in Maz we are getting ready to head south to PV and try to find some warmer weather. We plan to return to Maz in June for the summer. We are leaving the car in the marina parking lot and we still need to decide what to do with the car next season when we head to Panama. That's a long time from now so we'll see what happens then. No use making plans now.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Some Pictures from Baja


Enrique's boat dock in Turtle Bay

This is Enrique’s dock in Turtle Bay. Zoom in and you can see the stairs leading from the pier deck to the float below.


Friends at night - Turtle Bay

Look carefully and you can see 3 of many pelicans that would congregate around our boat at night in Turtle Bay. The light from our interior lights in the evening would attract fish that in turn would attract pelicans.


MX Navy anchored next to us - Punta Belcher Mag Bay 

Mexican navy ship that anchored near us in Mag Bay and in Turtle Bay. In TB the zodiac on the bow was lowered into the water and went around with crew to inspect all the cruiser’s papers, including ours. They were very nice guys.

Sea Turtle

We came across dozens of sea turtles south of Mag Bay. The water was very calm so they were easy to see.

Turtles south of Mag Bay

For a little perspective, this is what they look like from a hundred feet away. It’s amazing what the eye can pick out.

Big Whale

This big grey was less than a hundred feet from the boat. No missing him.