Bill and Cathy McArthur on the Road 2005: 4

  From Wednesday, January 19 through Friday, we settled into an unusual (for us) pattern of low-key vacationing. We did a lot of walking in the area and Bill tried some surf fishing with no luck. We certainly enjoyed the warm temperatures and mostly clear skies. We ate lunch at a few places in San Carlos and enjoyed a very good dinner at the campground restaurant, El Oasis. We both got haircuts at a very nice shop in San Carlos.

  On Saturday morning, Bill, Cathy, and Nancy walked to a Spanish class in San Carlos. Larry, Melva, and Anne Marie drove in to join them. The class was one of an ongoing series offered by Miguel, a local teacher for "Ocean Camp". There was a small but enthusiastic crowd of Americans on hand. We found the class to be helpful as it offered us a good chance to converse in Spanish in a group setting.

  Sunday was a fun day. We began with our group joining the Spanish School for a bus trip to a big Sunday market in the town of Empalme, to the south of Guaymas. We had a quick lesson of "bus words" at the classroom and then got on the bus for Guaymas. There, we transferred to the bus to Empalme. The market was a very large "flea market", the kind that Bill hates. After a bit of browsing, Cathy and Bill shopped in the local supermarket for some essentials that we needed. After a bit over an hour in Empalme, we all boarded the bus for the ride back to Guaymas and then San Carlos. It was an interesting trip. Afterward, we went to the Marina Cantina for lunch and to watch the Eagles win the NFC Championship Game. Maybe the best part of the day was knowing that there was a huge blizzard on the East Coast this weekend and we were warm and dry in San Carlos. We think some good decision-making was involved.

  We finally got around to kayaking on Monday. Cathy did the laundry early in the day while Bill did RV chores. Bill also engaged in a high tech marvel when he used a software download to operate the Imperial 500 computer in Wildwood, NJ and talked with the owner of the Imperial 500 using PC_Call on his laptop and fixed a mail merge problem on the client's computer. Neat Stuff! Then we lifted weights in the rig and ate an early lunch while waiting for Nancy, Melva, and Ann Marie to return from the beginner class at Ocean Camp. We all finally headed over to the San Carlos Plaza Hotel to rent kayaks. The first matter of concern was that the guys at the rental office tried to get $15 an hour for a double kayak when Bill was quoted a price of $13 a few days earlier. Melva and Bill paddled out to some small islands at the north end of the cove. They saw a sea lion mother and pup in the water near there. Bill tried a bit of fishing with no luck. Martha and Paul were the crew on the second kayak, and Nancy and Larry paddled the third. Cathy and Ann Marie guarded the beach for us. When we returned, the kayak staff decided to cheat us out of the correct change from our large bills used to pay. Larry pleaded eloquently in Spanish for justice to no avail. The amount that they cheated us out of was less than the tips that they cheated themselves out of, but the principle of the thing prevails. Consequently, we recommend that tourists stay clear of the rentals at the San Carlos Plaza Hotel. Later in the afternoon, we found a rental shop in town that said they would rent us a double kayak for $30 for two days! Cathy and Bill shopped for some items at the Supermercado and then walked back to the campground.

  On Tuesday, we all went to an early breakfast at Tequila's Restaurant in San Carlos. Melva and Anne Marie started and finished earlier than the rest so that they could get a timely start in a golf outing. After the rest of us finished eating, we rented a kayak until Thursday morning. We loaded the kayak, paddles, backrests, and PFDs onto Larry's truck. Cathy and Bill walked to Spanish class; Nancy dropped Larry off at class. After class, Nancy picked us up and drove us back to the campground. Larry had problems making an important phone call, so we invited him to make it on our laptop which worked well for him. After lunch we drove in Larry's truck to the nearby cove and Larry and Bill paddled and fished for a couple of hours while the ladies sunbathed. The water was smooth and extremely clear. Afterward, Bill and Cathy walked to San Carlos to do a bit of shopping for dinner. We had baked potatoes, salad, and sauteed chiles for dinner; very good and very healthy.

  Alas, on Wednesday, the wind blew and it was overcast most of the day. Larry and Bill tried to launch the rental kayak at the Catch-22 Beach, but it was too windy and choppy. Instead, they explored the Catch-22 ruins and old runway. Then, they drove north up the coast a couple of miles to the fishing village, La Manga. This is a cluster of shacks and rusted trailers on the beach. There is a small school with a few children. We saw some of the village women filleting fish on a big table on the beach near the men's pangas. Evidently, the men go out at 2:00 AM each day to catch Pez Pierna (Ocean Whitefish) and come back around 10:00 AM. The village subsists on fish and sells some of the catch when the catch is abundant enough. We all went out to lunch at Jack's Snax in San Carlos. Then, Larry and Nancy drove us to a supermarket in Guaymas. When we returned, we rented a DVD version of "Catch-22". After dinner, we all convened in Larry and Nancy's rig to watch "Catch-22". It was neat to see the San Carlos scenery as it was in 1970 with no buildings on the beach.

  Bill began on Thursday being a slacker. After breakfast at Tequila's, Bill walked back to the campground while Cathy and Larry went to Spanish class; Bill preferred the exercise. The day was very warm and humid, but clear. Bill rode with Nancy to pickup Larry and Cathy and then all but Larry walked back to the campground. After lunch, Cathy and Bill headed for the beach to fish, walk, and relax. They didn't return until sunset.

  We decided to make an attempt to climb Mt. Tetakawi on Friday morning after lifting weights. The climbers were Bill, Cathy, and Martha. Larry manned a walkie-talkie at base camp and kept in touch with the group on their journey. The trail began a bit over 3/4 of a mile on the road to San Carlos and ascended rather steeply with painted rocks as markers. The trail was often covered with loose gravel and was treacherous going up or down. We made it around 3/4 of the way to the top before deciding that it wasn't safe with our footwear. When we arrived back at camp about 2.5 hours later, we had gone 3 miles. We met the McConkey family from Minnesota coming down in two groups: first, a mother and daughter; later, a father and two sons. After the climb, everybody but Paul and Martha went to the Premiere Vacation Club for a pricey lunch. We were cold during the outdoor meal because the onshore wind was blowing hard. Larry recounted during lunch of his time dating the actress Tuesday Weld (click here for more information) when he was a young naval officer candidate. The wind continued throughout the afternoon; Bill washed our rig since other outdoor activities would also have been uncomfortable. In the evening, Anne Marie, Bill, Cathy, and Melva went to El Oasis for dinner. The food was good, but the service was slow.

        Bill and Cathy