Puerto Vallarta


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 29-01-2009

We finally arrived at Tacho’s RV park in Puerto Vallarta. Tachos is in the HEART of PV which makes the city very accessible. The RV park was packed. We parked on a concrete slap, side by side with our Canadian friends and we had four big Class As facing us from both sides. Cozy!! They did have an awesome pool and we could walk to Wal mart and Sams Club so I suppose that’s a plus!
The next day, we drove into Puerto Vallarta.  What a city!   It was packed with tourists and many were of a different orientation. (Get my hint?) We loved the cathedral! We walked along the Isle Rio Cuale in the morning before all the shops opened and then again when it was a buzz with activity. We strolled along the Malecon (beach front walking path) and had a wonderful lunch. It was really fun and we were exhausted when we got back. On our way back to the RV park, an older man stepped off the curb RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR VAN. I still can’t believe we didn’t hit the dude! Ken has such good reflexes. If someone had been in the lane next to us, it would not have been pretty.  Just another day in Mexico!!


Our eventful trek to Puerto Vallarta


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 25-01-2009

After sadly waving good bye to our friends at Celestino, we departed for our next destination Puerto Vallarta. I have heard so much about this wonderful city and I was so excited to get to finally see it. We made very good time and stopped for lunch at a Pemex parking lot – Mexico’s government owned gasoline stations.  They are all very clean and well patrolled. 
We reached a town along route 200 at about 12:30 and were told by a police man we might encounter a delay ahead on route 200.  He suggested we consider going BACK and taking the route to Puerto Vallarta via San Blas. This option didn’t sound so great as it was an hour and a half back to the road to San Blas.  So,  we trudged forward optimistically. Our Canadian friends, Helen and Roch, were following us and there was NO shoulder. Ken made his way along a sharp curve and the van tire caught and started to flip, bringing our RV over to an angle as well. He was able to right both the van and RV as we veered far into oncoming traffic. Thank GOD no vehicle was coming and he was able to get us back straight and on our way. Meanwhile, Helene and Roch saw the whole thing and were quite sure we would flip. Instead, they flipped out and then had to calm themselves down. Must have looked quite scary from behind!
We ventured forth awaiting this “delay” which we finally encountered at KM 35 -the way we measure all routes in Mexico is by kilometer markings. We saw a back up of about 20 vehicles up ahead so Ken decided to park in a large dirt pull out and Roch followed. Ken and Roch walked up to the start of the delay and were told by a police man that a tanker flipped over and the road would be closed for another 1 to 2 hours. No problem, we think, because if we left by 4:30, we would still travel the curvy road up ahead in the light of day. Well, we kept checking as MORE and MORE cars, RVs, trucks etc kept piling up on the road. At 4:30, the police man said it would be another ONE to TWO hours. Just tell us the TRUTH buddy!! We decided it was not safe to take off that night so we decided to CAMP along the side of the road in the DARK. Another RV joined us, from Austria no less!   We decided to make the best of the situation and pulled our chairs out, drank beers and margaritas and watched the kids dance to the Macarana!! It was hilarious! FINALLY, at 8PM, a police man with a loud speaker drove down the hill, behind it a tow truck with the big tanker truck attached. Then the traffic started moving, everyone except for us. We weren’t about to take off for the dangerous road ahead in the pitch darkness of night.  So, there we camped.  Us and the two other RVs.  You can imagine how LONG the night was as we heard many odd sounds all night and wondered the origin. Most of the time it was the cows nearby but you never knew!!
We woke up at 6AM (the adults really didn’t sleep) and we were greeted by a man on a horse. A shoe in for Juan Valdez and it appeared he was bringing us coffee. Not really but he sure did look like Juan!! We took off after the huge fog lifted,  once again hoping to reach our next destination, Puerto Vallarta.




Our friends at Celestino


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 24-01-2009

We stayed at Celestino RV park for five weeks and really got to know a great group of people.  Never have we visited a friendlier RV park and we doubt we will ever again.  It was unique and special.  The people we met will remain in our hearts forever and we hope to see them again one day on the road!   We also plan to see some on them en route to Alaska this summer! 
Our last night in Celestino included dinner out at a Chinese restaurant in La Cruz with much of the group we have camped alongside for the 35 days which included the holiday season.   (By the way,  Chinese food in Mexico is quite good!)  It was wonderful to chat with the people we have grown so fond of during our stay. It was also quite emotional as we REALLY like this group and we will miss them terribly!! We departed the next morning at 7AM en route for Puerto Vallarta,  while our friends waved us a final farewell. Very sweet!

La Cruz


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 17-01-2009

While our RV park was in the boonies (much to our delight), the town of La Cruz was just a 15 minute drive and had everything we needed. We made frequent trips to “MZ” (the market in town) and loaded up on huge papayas, bananas, tomatoes, fresh tortillas and other staples. We found the best way to buy milk is to get it boxed in the dry section of the store. We made the mistake of buying cold “fresh” milk one day and not checking the expiration date. It was SIX weeks past due and, while it surprisingly did not smell sour, it tasted awful according to my taste tester Nikki.
Our favorite lunch joint was “Cocina Economica Stefany”. (Economical kitchen of Stefany). It was fantastic and oh so cheap. We all ate for a mere $11 and enjoyed every bite of our short ribs and tostadas. Mexico is full of these little economical eateries and they are all touted as being very yummy with wonderful Mexican moms cooking in the colorful small kitchens.



The town of Celestino


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 15-01-2009

Celestino is a very small town and an interesting one to explore on bike. The town is home to a small church, an elementary school, a high school, lots of small one room stores selling basic necessities and two fun seafood restaurants. We brought home ceviche from one of the restaurants and it was absolutely delicious as were the fresh coconuts.
After a month in Celestino, our Canadian friends joined us and we all couldn’t have been be happier. They are a great family and we are so pleased to have them join us in Mexico. We spent many evenings watching the sunset with them as well as watching the kids swim and boggy board.
Not far down the road from our campground was a holistic health resort. The folks from campground visited the restaurant one afternoon for a vegetarian lunch.  We also met the family who owned the resort. We found out they had three children who were home schooled. They had two young boys (Manuel and William) and a nine year old girl, Sarah, who spoke English quite well. Our kids really enjoyed playing with this wonderful bunch and we enjoyed talking with the parents, Teresita and John.  Later in the week, the couple invited us to dinner by campfire. It was a wonderful evening which also included watching the waves glow with the florescent “red tide” effects. Beautiful!

San Ignacio


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 13-01-2009

We ventured up the mountains one morning and visited the wonderful town of San Ignacio. We feel in love with the narrow cobblestone streets, the cathedral and the town plaza. It was a hot day and we found a small little restaurant to have a yummy lunch of the local cuisine. So many furry and endearing dogs and cats roam the streets of Mexico. I haven’t seen one yet that I wouldn’t like to take home with us. We decided to take a picture of each of our furry friends and include them in our upcoming “doggies and kitty cats of Mexico” section.   Keep an eye out of it! 

A tour of historical Mazatlan


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 06-01-2009

While we did take a trip one day to Mazatlan, we only ventured as far as Walmart and the touristy hotel row.  We knew there must be more to this town.  Thanks to our new friend, “Mazatlan Lee” we found it!  Before I get to our tour, here is a bit about this city of 600,000 . . . Surrounded by the Sierra Madre Mountains, Mazatlán is situated on Mexico’s northern Pacific coast in the state of Sinaloa.   Located just 745 miles south of the Arizona border, Mazatlán is the closest major Mexican resort to the United States. Mazatlan is Mexico’s largest commercial port and processes 40 tons of shrimp each year making it the “shrimp capitol of the world.”  While other cities seem to draw more attention, (Cancun, Ixtapa and so on) Mazatlan is a special place worthy of a visit.    We fell in love with it! 

Now back to our tour. . .Mazatlan Lee is a wonderful American gal who retired in Mazatlan 9 years ago.   Her dear husband, Ken, passed away two years ago but she vowed to keep their dream alive and has remained in their adorable house in the city. We met Lee through the website, “RV.net”.   She found us through Ken’s comment on the blog and  offered to give us a tour or provide us with a good itinerary.  We couldn’t pass up the offer of a tour by a local!   Our tour began at Lee’s house and what an adorable house it was!  We entered through a beautiful rod iron gate into a bright and sunny porch, full of colorful potted plants and flowers.  Her kitchen was painted in bright yellow, blue and white and we just wanted to sit and enjoy the coziness of her surroundings.  Her house was about 1000 sq ft and we ALL felt like it was big enough for our family!  Wow!!  It was quite something to see how our perception of what we need in a house has changed! 

We took a drive down to the shrimping fleet, dozens wide in the old harbor.  The area was a bit on the seedy side and I found it to be very photogenic!  There was a HUGE cruise ship which had docked that morning and it was like looking at a twenty story hotel on its side.  Lee took us to see Lighthouse (Faro).  This lighthouse is found on Creston Island, next to the sport fishing fleets. It is almost 500 feet above sea level and thought to be the highest lighthouse in the world after the one in Gibraltar.  We stopped to say “hello!” to Lee’s sea captain friend, Manuel.  He was a very friendly guy and loved his work on the sea.   Seems Manual was the Joan Wayne’s captain for  more than 10 years.  Very impressive resume entry! 

We then drove up to the old El Mirador restaurant for a spectacular view of  Mazatlan.  There were many street vendors selling their trinkets to the visitors from the cruise ship.    The kids and I all bought anklets and only now, do we feel like we fit in to the beach scene.  Ken chose not to buy one so he is on his own!

Our drive hugged the coast and the town came to life with colors as we passed the “Bahia de Olas Altas” or Bay of the High Waves.  This is the area we hoped we would find.  We parked the van and started walking along beautiful streets full of bright colored buildings, outdoor cafes and cobblestone streets.  In the center of the area was a beautiful plaza where many took time to just sit and relax.  We walked along the curvy little streets to Lee’s favorite restaurant, T’Amo Lucy – I Love Lucy.  While the show (my favorite!) I Love Lucy played in the background, we chatted with chef Lucy and her American husband Tony.  They are a great couple and we learned about Tony’s dream to leave corporate America and come to Mexico.   We discovered his next plan is to take off for an RV adventure with Lucy  and teeny tiny Mikki the miniature chiwawua in tow.  You can imagine that we had a very aminated discussion about their future plans.  We all enjoyed an amazing lunch of rabbit (Ken, of course), green chili enchiladas (Lee -looked amazing),  ceviche (Poohnut is now a ceviche lover), Nikki and Andrew (a potato dish to die for) and me with my yummy mole enchiladas.  Oh what a feast!

We left T’Amo Lucy with full tummies en route for a tour of this wonderful historical area.  Lee took us to several small gift shops, full of Mexican instruments, beautiful crosses and jewlery.  She then lead us to the very popular Central Market.  Oh my gosh!!  It started off calmly enough, with t-shirts hanging for sale and lovely fresh fruit.  Then we entered the MEAT zone.  Nikki was, how shall I say it, horrified as we walked past humongous animal carcases.  “What are those?!” she exclaimed.  “Oh those are ORGANS!”  “I am OUT OF HERE!” said Nikki as she and Lee ran off for the safe t-shirt area.  Ken and Andrew were skipping down the rows of meat, holding hands and singing.  Not really but sure felt like they would break out in a skip any minute.  We ended up buying some smoked tuna and Nikki was happy we didn’t end up hauling the body of some animal back to the RV. 

We continued to stroll along the shady streets, stopping at a beautiful cathedral and having a cappucino.  We passed the Rubio Theater on Carnaval Street in Machado Park. This is the oldest theater in Mazatlan. (Its cost at construction was 80 Mexican pesos.) The European-style Theater was later named the Angela Peralta Theater, in honor of the famous Diva.

Our tour ended with a stop at a grassed roofed restaurant on the beach to enjoy their famous flan.  Oh boy was it good!!   What a great end to a memorable day in Mazatlan.  Thanks to Lee for all her expertise and guidance!