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.

One Month In Mexico

What’s more Mexican than Salsa and Guacamole? Cold Beer and Tequila. That’s what!

It’s been a month today since we rolled into the Tres Amigos RV Park on Isla de la Piedra (that’s Stone Island to us gringos) and I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said we have been having a good time.

From the negative point of view, getting to Stone Island in itself is a voyage.  While they are working on the road, the 8 or 10 mile drive (they call it the 2 beer road) in from the highway to the park takes at least an hour, and that would be on a good day. And when you get here, unless you are in the front row, it’s kind of like visiting a very sandy, dirty parking lot with service posts scattered around.

On the positive side however, we are less than 50′ from the beach, a beautiful uninhabited 10 mile stretch of beautiful (did I mention its Beautiful?) sand bordered by a Coconut Palm plantation (some say more than a million trees) on one side and the warm Pacific Ocean lapping on the other. Most morning temperatures are in the low 60’s and by happy hour it’s usually approaching 80F (close to 30C).

Guess why Mazatlan is famous for it’s sunsets?

With 50 or 60 fellow North American RVers (almost all Canucks) around us, there are always lots of good times.

We walk the beach or hike to the lighthouse (a 10 mile round trip walk by the time we go in to Mazatlan for breakfast) or we bike ride the Malecon, a friendly 13 mile concrete boardwalk between the ocean and the City. With regular 10 mile walks and 26 mile bike rides you will appreciate the need for long happy hours with MUCHO cold Cerveza as well. We are busy!

Most of all though, Marilyn and I love Old Town Mazatlan, a few hundred year old colonial Mexican city.

Which reminds me: On the first Friday of every month they have an amazing Art Walk in the historic area and a bunch of us are going tonight. I have some chores I need to look after before we catch a water taxi to town.

I think Mazatlan should be famous for it’s sunrises too.

I thank you all for the read. Especially you Tracy.

I cant close without a quote so with a little help from Goodreads:

“There is no final destination to our journey.” – Raphael Zernoff

 

 

Sunday Morning Maz

A beautifully renovated centuries old building

This morning, after breakfast, Mare and I decided on a walk up to Mazatlan’s famous lighthouse, El Faro. From out here on the Isla , the complete round trip consists of a beach walk, water taxi rides back and forth across the shipping channel, and then a walk to and up the mountain. Including the half mile change in elevation up and again down, it usually winds up as an 8 to 10 mile round trip.

This truck may not be much to look at but look at the art behind it.

Off we go, down the beach, on the boat and head off to our goal.

With the climb and the lighthouse in site, we pass a long staircase to our right. “When was the last time you and I walked those stairs ” I say to my lovely.
I would like to say that Mare and I are very goal oriented and always stay with our original plan until we complete. I’d like to, but it wouldn’t be true. Suddenly, instead of a trip up El Faro, we are off up the stairs to a restaurant named El Mirador and beyond.

Soon we are looking down hundreds of feet to the road we were just walking on. We spend the next 3 hours meandering around Old Town Mazatlan, exploring streets we either never explored before, or at least, haven’t explored in years. By now, the dogs are calling us.

Mare knocks on the door of this old forgotten building “Anybody home?” she asks

As our the chores we promised we would handle when we left, so it’s back on the panga, across the channel and back down the beach for a round trip of 6 or 7 miles and lots of new sites.

So that’s how our day started, how about you?

“Travel far enough and  you will find yourself.” David Mitchell.

 

Asian Beetles

My little pony

Over the years we have picked up our share of unwanted guests in our travels.

I’m not talking about my cousin Bruce when I mention this, or the pony you see over there.  I’m thinking “other kinds of creatures.” I think our first was a mouse. I thought I’d scared him off only to find out he’d just left us long enough to retrieve his entire extended family including his drunken great-uncle from Moose Jaw Saskatchewan. Many frustrating days and miles went by before we could declare ourselves mouse-free.

Next, way back in the fall of 2008, in Brownsville we picked up a tribe of sugar ants and took them with us to southern Mexico (do you know anyone else who TAKES ants to Mexico?), then invited them all back to our summer park in Canada. It was many months  before we celebrated “ant free day”, a truly joyous occasion in the life of any RVer.

 

This past summer we answered an ad on Craig’s list and  billeted a small army of Asian beetles. I’m convinced they really like it here. Even though I squeeze or vacuum a few daily, every morning there’s a few more who want to play.

 

I tell you all that to tell you this: I was enjoying my protein shake this morning and thought while I was by the laptop i  should update an item on my blog. Oops, No Wi-Fi.

I decide to reboot the computer, hoping that was the problem. While the computer reboots ( its 5 years old and getting slow) ((I’m almost 70 and getting even slower)) I decide to go to the bathroom. On the way there I see one of our Asian friends so after the morning pleasantries I grab some toilet paper to carry him to the toilet and the fabled never-never Asian beetle land.  I spy another so I capture it in the same sheet of Angel Soft.

 

Just then another one flies in front of me and lands in a hard to reach area. I deposit my 2 captives in the loo and go get the vacuum cleaner to suck up the hard to reach one.

We are on the beach so it’s not surprising that I see a fresh pile of  sand by the entrance door. Vacuum hose still in hand I go for it, only to realize that the place needs a good vacuum.

 

Vacuuming is a job much like mowing the lawn or shoveling snow. I like to do it because it’s the kind of job where you can instantly see what you have accomplished when you are done.

Floors vacuumed, I return the hose to its place.
By now the computer has rebooted, still no Wi-Fi. I try a tablet: Nada. Nyet. Oh good! A job for later.

 

All these horse pictures are reminding me of the Saturday movies when I was a kid

I  finish my breakfast shake and move outside to my favorite zero gravity chair wondering why I am so tired.

I know what you’re thinking: You think I’m just horsing around.

Thanks for the read

From here, we can go anywhere.

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