and Cathy McArthur on
the Road 2005: 6
Sunday, February 6, was Super Sunday. The day warmed up as the sun had some time to heat the air. The driveway remained a muddy mess. Cathy woke up sick and remained in bed for most of the day. Bill managed to walk out of the driveway with his computer on his back and walked into town. El Fuerte was very busy as most of the shops were open and there were lots of local people shopping. Bill went to a Ciber Cafe and was told to come back in an hour. Bill used our phone card to leave messages for Bill and Alex and to talk with Katie. He then tried another Internet Cafe where he connected his laptop to the network, but didn't know what the hard-wired IP address was supposed to be and had to give up on that. He then accessed the Internet from one of the cafe's computers and found that his server was still down and there was no trace of the ticket from the day before. He submitted another request for support. Phil had answered the email from the day before, so Bill replied to him. After paying 2 pesos to use a bathroom in the market, Bill walked back into the campground. Bill dumped waste tanks and filled the water tank before lunch. After lunch (Cathy didn't eat breakfast or lunch), we drove to a Pemex station to fill up for the trip the next day. As we entered the minefield of potholes leading into the station, our china closet dumped on the floor, breaking a plate and making a big mess. After gassing the rig, we drove into El Fuerte's lumpy streets and stopped at a store for some soft drinks. We headed back into the campground to prepare for the Super Bowl. Since Cathy felt bad, we watched the Super Bowl from our rig. The Eagles lost the game due to poor time management in the earlier parts of the Fourth Quarter. We turned in early.
On Monday we left at 7:00 AM and headed to Mazatlan. We had a very easy trip and arrived outside of the RV Park Playa Escondida at about 1:45 PM. We parked on the road and walked in to check availability. We were worried because Mazatlan has the 3rd biggest Carnival (Mardi Gras) in the world (which are the other 2?*). The campground has over 200 sites, but we thought that it looked like a dump that suffer from continual bad maintenance. We made arrangements with one of the Wagon Masters who runs the back of the campground to stay for 3 nights and sent a reconnaissance team of Larry, Melva, Anne Marie, and Cathy to find us something better. They did and came back to lead us to a small, nameless RV park right on the beach. We pulled in and 3 of us pulled into our spots. Larry ran into soft sand and got stuck. After a few hours of effort, he was still in a bad situation, so we quit for the night. Bill had to get us hooked up and to dump waste water and fill the fresh water tank. We decided to run the refrigerator on propane because of variable voltage from the electrical hookup. Then Bill and Cathy went to the bar next door and ate dinner on the beach next to a roaring bonfire. It was a beautiful night and a great way to end the day.
The first order of business on Tuesday was to get Larry and Nancy's rig out of the soft sand and into a proper campsite. A bunch of us worked on it for a couple of hours and finally Larry was able to get the rig parked where he wanted it. We went with Paul and Martha to Gigante Supermarket and Walmart for some shopping. Later, we went with Paul and Martha to Mazatlan's final parade of Carnival. We parked and walked from the rear of the ongoing parade all the way to the front and then stood and watched the whole parade go by. It was a very colorful and festive parade with a family atmosphere. After the parade, we walked a long way back to Paul and Martha's truck and drove back to the campground. Larry wasn't feeling well, so Anne Marie, Bill, Cathy, Melva, and Nancy went to a restaurant up the beach from the campground, Playa Bruja. Along with the Margaritas that the women had, we all had the nightly special of lobster and shrimp. It was a very good meal.
On Wednesday, we decided to drive our rig into Mazatlan. We headed for McDonalds and utilized their free wireless Internet for over an hour. Bill was able to upload pictures and commentary (the server was working!) and we talked with our son Bill via PC_Call. Larry and Nancy joined us in McDonalds and then all of us went in their truck to Walmart for more shopping. After lunch, Bill and Cathy walked the entire length of our section of the beach from Playa Bruja to the Marina channel at the El Cid Resort. It was warm but very windy. After dinner we all convened in Paul and Martha's rig for a birthday party for Melva. We enjoyed cake and ice cream and conversations that ranged from "dog whisperers" to the old Roman Catholic rules.
Thursday was a very pleasant, very warm day - the kind of weather that motivates Norteamericanos to spend the winter in Mexico. Bill drove our rig into Mazatlan again. We dropped our laundry at Lucy's Lavenderia and then headed for our Internet Cafe, McDonalds. Bill was able to help a client by running his computer in Wildwood, NJ. At one point, Bill was talking on the Internet phone to the client, temporarily in Florida, while he talked on the phone with his wife in Wildwood. Later, we drove to the Mazatlan waterfront and parked on the street near the shrimp boat fleet. We walked along the waterfront, past two cruise ships and the ferry to Baja California and climbed the hill of the Mazatlan Lighthouse. The views from the lighthouse were fabulous. Just before we climbed the hill we enjoyed a lunch of Oreo and chocolate chip cookies and a coke at a snack kiosk; our son-in-law Tom would have enjoyed that meal. After we walked back to the rig, we drove the rest of the perimeter of Mazatlan and picked up our laundry on the way back to the RV park. Bill did some campsite chores and then walked up the beach to investigate the coral reef on the beach. As the sun was setting, we met Larry and Nancy's friend Vicki who had flown into Mazatlan during the day and shared with her an idyllic scene of a bonfire on the beach, Margaritas, Nachos, and Shrimp. What a great day!
On Friday, we went with Larry and Nancy to McDonalds. Then we picked up Vicki at her hotel and parked back near McDonalds. We walked down the Malecon for a while and then ate a lousy lunch at Senior Frog's. Cathy and Bill returned to McDonalds to check on an email from their daughter Katie and then walked all the way back to the campground, a distance of about 8 miles. We had dinner in the rig.
Saturday, we started at McDonalds with Larry and Nancy. We tried to call Alex and Katie via PC_Call and left messages. We dropped Nancy at Vicki's hotel and headed back to the campground with Larry. We drove our rig to Mega (Mexicana Comercial) for resupply. Then we gassed up the rig with gasoline and propane before heading back to the campground. We worked on breaking camp and found time for a long walk on the beach. Bill showered in the public shower at the campground before we joined the rest of our party plus Vicki for a dinner at the Playa Bruja restaurant. We turned in as early as we could.
Sunday was a travel day. We left camp with Paul and Martha in a two rig caravan heading south at 7:00 AM. We were trying to follow a merged form of 3 of the Church and Church logs from 2001. We found lots of major differences and ended up going into the mountains to Tepic on the way to Puerto Vallarta. We arrived at the village of Bucerias at about 3:00 PM. Bill and Cathy entered the village via a very badly angled entrance and bottomed out on the way in; Paul and Martha continued down to the next entrance. There was no apparant damage to Bill and Cathy's rig and they discovered an RV Park right down from where they came in. Paul checked with the campground when they caught up and found some empty spaces and the place to register: a high-rise hotel a few blocks away. We found subsequently that the RV Park of 14 sites was just opened 2 weeks earlier and that everything else in the Puerto Vallarta area was filled. Was it dumb luck or preparation and persipiration? We signed up for a week at around $20 per night. We weren't parked on the beach, but we were in view of the ocean and about a half block's walk from the shore. We all walked on the beach to the village plaza. Paul and Martha headed for church and Bill and Cathy headed for dinner at Adrianos Restaurante. We had a table with an open window about 25 feet from the lapping waves. By some fault of language, we ended up with a whole snapper instead of a fish filet. We also ordered a shrimp fajita. Cathy proclaimed it her best meal in Mexico and Bill concurred.
Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans