Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Winter Solstice! December 21, 2008

At last, at last, we are in Mazatlan, at Mar-a-Villas RV Park, and Cesar, the wi-fi provider, has just been here to set us up.

I'll just post what I wrote last night and earlier this evening, to catch you up.

December 20, 2008

Well, it wasn't positively the worst day's drive we've ever experienced, but it wasn't great. In the morning we went up the road in San Carlos to buy gasoline, then turned around and drove to the opposite edge of town, where we waited for TJ and Kris to meet us.

Somehow, I had got my wires crossed. I thought we would be going back to Totonaka to meet TJ, and I left without even saying good-bye to Colleen and Wade. Now I feel guilty. When we get wi-fi again, I must get in touch with Colleen, who is a sweetheart.

Just after 9 a.m., we left San Carlos and drove through Guaymas toward Los Mochis. I started the drive, so that Robin wouldn't have to be behind the wheel when we were in Guaymas. That was just as well. He nearly passed out, as it was, when somebody came screaming around us on the right and cut in front of us in the middle of a left turn. It's odd. I will do any amount of that kind of driving, and happily leave it to him to drive down the highway with no shoulder, buses passing and making our whole rig shudder – or worse, to drive mountain roads. No way. Give me a nice, chaotic city any day. Well, most days.

Anyway, we got through Guaymas without hitting anything, and we were on our way. The day went pretty well for a long time. The landscape grew greener and the temperature rose a little. Then came the trouble. We were 70 kilometers from Los Mochis when suddenly we were on a two-lane parking lot. We could see the line of vehicles stretched out in front of us – endlessly, it seemed – but we couldn't discern any reason for the holdup. Maybe an hour later, we went through an agricultural inspection station, but the inspectors weren't actually stopping anybody, so that wasn't it. We had had such high hopes, that when we emerged from the other side of the station, only to see the ribbon of vehicles still in front of us, still stopping, then moving a car length forward, then stopping.....we despaired. Soon, though, our speed increased to maybe 10 km. per hour, and after 4 kilometers and one and a half hours, we finally arrived at a military checkpoint where a couple of dozen soldiers stood chatting at the sides of the road, pulling a few people over, waving the rest of us on. Once past the soldiers, we started traveling at highway speed.

When we arrived in Los Mochis, we followed the directions in Mike and Terri Church's book, and we would have had no problem finding the only RV park, if only there hadn't been a bus parked right in front of the sign saying we had to go onto the service road – so we found a place to turn around, drove back to the highway, and followed our noses back to the park.

I'll note right now,so that I remember to post it to, that there are three Rvs here at Copper Canyon RV Park – ours (Canadian), TJ and Kris's (U.S.), and another unit that came from San Carlos today (U.S.). It was 22C (72F) when we arrived just before 5:00 p.m.

I should also note, in case anybody happens upon this blog and says “Gee, maybe we should check out Los Mochis as a holiday destination....”

Don't. It'll do for the night, but the RV park is right beside the highway, it's very noisy, and it's basically a parking lot with electrical outlets and faucets. We'll be booting it for Mazatlan first thing in the morning. I'm campaigning to stay at Mar-a-Villas again, as I thought it was completely charming, but Robin wants to try the place at the end of the road, that was just under construction when we were in Mazatlan last. That place would have the advantage of being very close to where the fishermen bring their catch to sell. We'll see.

December 21

We're in Mazatlan, after an eight-hour journey from Los Mochis.

That's enough of those eight-hour drives.

The RV park in Los Mochis was all it promised to be, and more. There were numerous sounds like gunshots during the evening, which we found out this morning were firecrackers. I guess throwing firecrackers from passing cars is a holiday tradition in Los Mochis.

I ignored the gunshots and turned the tv on. Oddly enough, we had reception, even though we had no cable or antenna. I was able to pull in four channels. I chose to watch “The Santa Clause” in Spanish. Then I hooked up the DVD player and watched “As Good As It Gets” in English. Then I was just exhausted, so I settled in to sleep.

Come midnight, the loveliest tenor started to sing. I'm not sure where he was. He was accompanied by a guitar, and he sang what sounded like traditional Mexican songs. Sometimes his voice was amplified, and sometimes it wasn't. Honestly, I would probably have enjoyed the concert if it hadn't taken place between midnight and 3 a.m., if I hadn't been sitting beside a freeway, assaulted by the sound of engine brakes and all the other noises that highways bring, and if I hadn't been totally exhausted and needing to be alert in the morning (for the coming eight-hour drive). However, as it was, I was not amused.

So, I did get to sleep eventually, and I woke up bright and early. That was because of the roosters. There were dozens of chickens wandering around, and some of them were of the Crowing to Bring in the Day variety. Again, under other circumstances, I would have been charmed.

Anyway, we headed out at 9 o'clock. I was driving. For the first time (and the last, I hope), I took a corner too sharply in my rush to get across four lanes of traffic and turn left toward Mazatlan, and I put the wheels over the curb of the median. Dishes flew out of the cupboard, and a couple of them broke. There goes my reputation.

I hoped we would be able to stop for a few minutes at El Quelite, so that I could show the village to Kris, but by the time we got that far (only 30 kilometers from Mazatlan), I had to agree with Robin that getting to the RV park sounded much better. We checked out the new park, the one that was being built when we were here last, but it didn't appeal – too parking lottish for me – so we came back to Mar-a-Villas, which is just as charming as it was before. I haven't seen Alfredo, the owner, yet, but presumably he'll notice us here some time soon and come to collect the rent. Meanwhile, Robin has cycled off to the corner store for some soda, and I'm supposed to be starting dinner. The man who lived in the upper part of the park and had wi-fi is no longer here, so I've had to call a number about getting officially hooked up. I hope that happens soon, as I feel dreadfully out of touch..

Meanwhile, though, I've opened the skylight so I can look up through the bamboo and the palm fronds at the night sky.

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