My Artistic Wife

I may not have blogged over the last many months but Marilyn has certainly stayed busy. She, (along with a little help from me),  has decorated our new home and, in her spare time,  created some amazing paintings.

We were touring an art shop one day and came across a sale on canvases. We were particularly taken by the savings on the bigger, shall I say monstrous, canvas. She chose the 30 Mile Lighthouse for the 40″ x 30″ one, while the Hibiscus and Morning Star are both on 24 x 36.
If you want a closer look at her handiwork just drop on over to MarilynVanstone.com where they are all on display.

“How’s Buster and Angel ?”  people say. Buster is getting a little older, just like his daddy, but, as you can see in this picture, he and Angel  still enjoy a good hike. Thanks for asking.

 

I’m still job sharing, so I’m  only working part-time, but every day that I work I get to cross off another number on my big blackboard and get one more day closer to my last day, October 1.

Current count til retirment: 24 working days

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C S Lewis

Phavorite Photos

 

I’m fortunate to own 2 great devices to help me in my goal to become an accomplished photographer. One is a Canon Rebel T3 that I purchased 5 years ago but only got around to reading the owner’s manual this spring, and the other is my Samsung Galaxy S5 smart phone. Both take excellent pictures.

So I know I have the right equipment, now I just need to learn how to use them to their greatest potential.

Here’s a few photos I’ve taken in the last few days that I’m pretty happy with.

 

 

 

 

“What makes photography a strange invention is that its primary raw materials are light and time.”
Thanks for the visit

And to market we do go

Ever since the 1890’s  St Catharines has hosted a farmers market. These days the market runs  3 days a week, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. It’s only about a 30 minute walk from our house through a quiet residential area so this morning, after breakfast  we walk the dogs and head out. The camera in my pocket was “just case I saw a burst of color that I could use in the blog.

Its been hot and humid here for the last few weeks, for example,this morning at 9:30 it’s already in the mid thirties, feeling like low forties (well above 100 F)  and  the day has hardly begun.

 

So the main purpose for this dissertation is to back into the swing of things, after all, my last attempt was last October.

My poor old blog had some issues back then, it was extremely slow to load and in recent months would not display any pictures. It was also extremely frustrating to produce.  So I didn’t.

A month or so ago I packed up website and headed out to an expert to get it working like it should again. Kinda like your car, sometimes the home handy man stuff just can’t get the job done, they need a little professional attention.

Turns out, it was my “handyman attention” that was the problem in the first place. My repair geek guy, Trey, says I had it 80% right, and where I was trying to go was right, but I was still missing it on that 20%. He’s right, I can figure out what to say and how to say it, and my photography skills are improving but  when it comes to the how to set up the part you don’t see (the back end) I lose it.

So here we go. I’m a few hundred dollars poorer, but I think I’m going to enjoy cranking out that same old bullshit I’ve become so famous for.

If you’re a friend of mine on Facebook this next item is old news, but it you’re not and we haven’t talked lately, I have news:

 

As of the October 2 I am retired. I have had an absolute blast selling RV’s in the late 70’s but it’s definitely  time for a new adventure. I started preparing for this event last spring when I finally began to read the owner’s manual for the fine  Canon camera I had purchased way back in 2011. I got our bikes tuned up, and now my blog back, we are getting Putt Putt set up the way we want and are now just days away from hiking, biking and living the good life. I know I know, I’ve been down this road before (my last retirement gig lasted 6 weeks). bu this time I think I’m ready.I am certainly excited about it all.

I’m counting down the days I have to work. Loop 

Elaine, if you’re reading, this next part is for you.  Today’s quote is truly written in stone. If you’re ready for it, here we go.

Thanks for the read.

October in northern Ontario

I promised you pictures and pictures is what you are going to get.

We were excited about our trip out to Alberta last fall,  we were  really looking forward to seeing Mike, Tracy and the grand kids. And it was also our first trip in our new smaller RV (we call her putt-putt), and our first drive ever through northern Ontario when there wasn’t feet of snow on the ground

Near Collingwood the colors started

 

We were not disappointed.  When we left St Catharines. The colors were just starting to change,  and as we moved north and west mother nature’s show only became more spectacular.

Comfortable anywhere in our new Trend

There was oodles of color, including red, orange and green but what there wasn’t were crowds. In later October there is no problem getting the prime site in any park we wanted.

We even spent a couple of nights in truck stops and rest areas.

This shot was taken at a Husky Truck Stop at Nipigon, Onario, not far from their famous brand new bridge that cracked shortly after it opened. I guess that means we can say that we are one of the few people in the world who have crossed that bridge. Now I’m really glad we have a small light RV.

 

On the Chi-Cheemaun from Tobermory to Manitoulin Island

 

We just bought our fuel efficient Winnebago Trend and they’re already shutting down service stations.

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” Ernest Hemingway
I would like to thank you for the read. See you next time.

Are we back?

The corner of Foundry and Main, Downtown Dundas

Life has been pretty good for us this winter.
Its our first one here in Ontario since 2007 and we obviously know how to pick them. So far this “winter” we’ve had a total of a week to 10 days of “winter” weather, other than that it’s been “above seasonal”.

After a quick trip out to Alberta in our new Putt-Putt in October/November to visit daughter Tracy and family, we’ve spent most days either renovating our new sticks and bricks home or hiking most trails in the towns, conservation areas and provincial parks in the Niagara region around us.

Sunset from the Port Dalhousie beach

So when we’re not climbing up and down a ladder with our brush or a roller, we are out with our puppies on a 3 or 4 (or more) mile hike. If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve seen the pictures.

We’re pretty much done with the paint and the decorating now but we both still have a lot planned. Marilyn has a few hundred dollars of gorgeous fabric lined up for a new bedspread, roman shades bedroom combination, followed by a painting or two (with smaller brushes and a little more artistic). I really want to get back to blogging more regularly, this time with more focus on my photography that I’ve been working pretty hard on for the past year or so.

She says it’s a collect call for you

Maybe we can get together again some time. I thank you for the read.

And of course, we need a quote, this time from Rumi:

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself”

Stories To Tell

The stories this old RV could tell!

San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico sits about 500 miles south of Phoenix, Arizona. It is right on the Mexican Sea of Cortez and  the area offers great boating, fishing and swimming. Right next door to Totonaka RV Park, is an abandoned RV park. While all the patios, palapas and bodegas remain, all but a couple of the RV’s are gone. The park looks like it was probably about 40 years old and I assume everything is just “worn out”. The property has a large “for sale” sign, ready for better things ahead. Right now, the place has kind of eerie feel to it.

This one old RV begged me to come over for a closer look.
As I snapped this picture of this 40 something year old trailer, now too old to be worth taking home,  I felt I could hear the laughter from years gone by. First there was a young couple who built their dream get-away on the ocean, near the tropics. Here they could swim, boat and fish all year-long, all with in a few hours of home.

And, who forget the fun nights in the local beach bars and clubs, laughing the nights away with their new Mexican friends.
They started a family, and while the discos went away, they loved the family times. Years later their kids moved on so mom and dad enjoyed the area and the activities with the other childless couples in their RV park.
As quickly as the kids disappeared, they were back, now with kids of their own and this lovely old RV vibrated once again. Now Grandma and Grandpa their grandchildren, teaching them to boat, swim and catch the big ones.
It’s quiet now, obvious the people all have moved on, but their memories and the memories of the all their friends and neighbors from this park will surely live on.
Some where, right now, a family somewhere is remembering the good times they all had right here in San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico.
We are all so fortunate get to enjoy our RV’s.

“The town was paper, but the memories were not.”

-John Green

And then you are going to do what?

 

We brought home this haul including 4 wine on our bikes

We mentioned the other day that  we were making some more changes in our life. As we discuss our plans with friends everyone nods in agreement with all our ideas until they get to “What are kind of a car are you going to pull?”.

“We’re not pulling a car”, we say, “We’re going to try it carrying our bikes”. “Of course you are!” they respond while shaking their heads, thinking that we have completely lost our nut.

“Load us down” say our bikes “we can take it”

We always like to eat, therefore we always need groceries. And every once in while you need to find a big grocery store to fill in the blanks left from the small markets, veggie stores, liquor stores, you know what I mean.

We were off for a bike ride this morning, and we needed the big store, so we grabbed our bike saddle bags and a back pack and off we went. Coincidentally, there was a big grocery store (almost Super Center big) at the half-way point of our ride today so at that point we wished our riding partners “Adios” and headed off to the Mega.

While there we buy 4 bottles of vino tinto (red wine) and the groceries we need, then pack our bike bags and head out for the return to Stone Island.

So can we live without a car when we travel?

On our bikes, it felt like we carried 40 or 50 pounds of groceries over 15 miles including on and off a water taxi to get home. So, not a bad day, 30 miles on our bikes and a well stocked fridge. I admit that we weren’t late for happy hour that day, and the first one did go down kind of quick.

So we say yes we can. And if we can’t bike it, there always buses, taxis and who can forget car rentals.

“Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.”-David Allen
Thanks for spending this time with us?
Why not travel with us. Come on, it’ll be OK. Actually we’re kind of fun once you get to know us. Just look up there top left where it says:

“NEVER ever miss another AmazingVanstones” and you can subscribe.

Mazatlan is famous for it’s sunsets. Just for dropping by we would like you to have this one for your very own. Enjoy!

Another Isla de la Piedra sunset

 

Isla De La Piedra

The entrance to the Amaitlan garden

It’s been 4 or 5 years since we have been on Stone Island and we can see some improvements. The sand roads are still full of huge holes, there is still garbage where ever you look (the Mexicans don’t throw out plastic, they just drop it when they finish with it) but we see  some visible improvements  in some of the homes on the Isla.

The big changes are going  to happen when they finish paving the 10 km stretch in from the airport to the village and it looks like that may happen this year. They are actually working on it now.

The pavement will replace the 6 miles of horrible pot holes we endure when you want to take a car to the outer world.

But the real change is going to be the proposed Amiatlin  development, that when and if it happens, will dramatically change the entire island.

So far though, they have only been able to complete their sales center and their garden, a gorgeous area right behind the rv park we are in.  Mare and I visit these gardens often. It’s always amazing to see all the different tropical trees, vines and flowers show off their colors. I include a few shots of yesterday’s visit.

follow the yellow flower. We find one more specimen featuring the flower later.


OK, I admit it. We found the flower on the ground. We put it on each  cacti and the pretty senorita.

“The earth laughs in flowers.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Gracias por leer esto

Google translates that to “Thanks for reading this.”

there’ll be some changes made

The famous writer (Moby Dick & more)Herman Melville on a visit to Mazatlan spoke these often quoted words.

In 1844, while in Mazatlan,  famous author Herman Melville apparently spoke the above words.

In 2015, while in Mazatlan,  Larry and Marilyn Vanstone stopped to read the above plaque, both nodded their heads in agreement and said;

“Hey, that’s us!”

And with that, let me tell you about some big plans in the Vanstone’s home-on wheels for this year.

Can you guess what this is going to be?

We love to travel: We love state, provincial and county parks. We love being able to stop at no park. We love to explore, snoop, poke and learn. We love to see new places, try new foods (and beers, and wines) and meet new friends. Like I said, we love to travel. After a week or two in one spot, we begin to wonder what else is out there to see and do.

 

Depending on how you count we have been full-time RVers for a total of 8 or 9 years and in our little world, that’s a long, long time.

We have saying or years that “someday we would sell the big rig, buy a smaller one and really get out and do the “off beaten path” kind of travel we enjoy so much.

the Pacific Ocean, right outside our door here in Mazatlan

So, when we get back to southern Ontario in April, the process will begin.

Step one; we buy a small grandma and grandpa style house. A permanent home base with RV parking for your small RV too.

Next according to our current plan our big rig moves on and we find a much smaller  motor home.

Current plans call for  a nice clean, slightly used, class C on a Mercedes chassis. Or something like that.  I can drive, Marilyn can drive and it’s small enough we can go anywhere. And stop anywhere.

Then we can truly come and go as we please. We can probably even fit in your driveway!

The classic Mexican Taxi: the Pulmonia (pool-mon-ee-ya)

So, if you know anybody looking for an extremely up-to-date, high-end, good used pusher, please pass the word on.

Step one though is find the stick house and get settled.

Stay tuned; you can bet there will be more to this story.

Tell us about changes coming up in your life.

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” -Andre Gide

Every Good Mazatlan Day Includes Macaws

A view from the top of El Faro

We leave the park at about 8 this morning, Bob and Marjorie, Marilyn and I, and we are on a mission. We ride to the water taxi, across the shipping channel, then back on the bikes until we reach the base of El Faro, Mazatlan’s world famous lighthouse.

We lock our bikes, climb an exhausting half mile up  into the sky to the top. We are getting better at it. The first time I tried it this year the walk took me over 30 minutes. Now, after about 8 or 10 trips to the tower, I can do it in closer to 20 minutes. The “elite” kids pass me  three or 4 times to my one (the record from bottom to top is about 4 or 5 minutes) so I’m slower, but I sure see more.

But I digress.

Back to the bottom (now a half mile down) we scurry,  mount up and ride our bikes into the historic part of Mazatlan to Macaws for breakfast.

 

We’re in Maz 3 or 4 times a week and regularly visit this place. Here’s a look at our breakfasts

This place also has a bed and breakfast to die for so here’s a few pictures from upstairs.

I fantasize about spending a few days in this place!

Back to the bikes, the water taxi, a ride down the beach and home sweet home,  we say hello to our dogs.
Perhaps this afternoon is a good time to catch up on some outstanding chores.

…Macaws are intelligent, social birds that often gather in flocks of 10-30 individuals. Their loud calls, squawks, and screams echo through the forest canopy. Macaws vocalize to communicate within the flock, mark territory, and identify one another. Some species can even mimic human speech.

Sound like any of your friends???

Mucho gracias for the read amigos.

From here, we can go anywhere.

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