San Carlos is the full time residence of a legion of American and Canadian expatriates who have brought a touch of the modern world and gringo-sized housing along with them…

We had never used the border crossing in downtown Nogales before since we had always been in a motorhome and didn’t want to deal with the congestion of inner city traffic.  We managed to make it through in just under an hour but the wait under the noonday sun left us with a powerful thirst which we quenched with a couple of cervezas and margaritas a stone’s throw from the border at La Chiquita…

They are the local folks we always miss most when leaving San Carlos.  And this trip was no different.

Being near an ocean has the added advantage of being able to witness breathtaking sunsets; and being ON the ocean only heightens that experience…

  Stuff - Part 1                                                              March 16, 2014

Sandy was the winning bidder in an auction for a Hattie Annie sunset cruise for 6 people and, until we showed up, she couldn’t find another couple, besides the Pooles, who were willing to go out on a margarita cruise with Jerry.  His propensity to shed clothing and cavort about in the altogether when he drinks tequila is viewed quite scandalously by the local nouveau aristocracy of retired school marms, realtors and former government employees living out their “golden years” in Mexico…

Although the housing out here is nothing to write home about, the ocean views are fantastic and the local population of seabirds is both rich and varied…

Although Mark is a must see should you find yourself wandering aimlessly through Mexico, he is not the only entertainment to be found in San Carlos.  Along with other solo singing acts and wandering minstrels, you can also enjoy Mexican mariachis…

While previously wintering in San Carlos, we had discovered the Sea of Cortez Beach Club and its memory seems to have stayed with us throughout the years.

Not long after thundering into town, we found ourselves awash in a sea of old and new friends as well as those pesky Zimmermans and our new “besties,” the Pooles, at one of our favorite San Carlos cantinas, La Palapa Griega, listening to the Mexican beach music of our buddy, Mark Mulligan...

This particular pelican, known as Miyagi, is teaching karate to a group of students.  “Now pay attention.  This is what I call the crane maneuver.”

With an open stretch of the Sonoran desert a mere heartbeat from our hotel, we couldn’t resist the urge to take our Jeep out for some 4-wheeling one morning and our friend, Bill, asked to tag along. I was a tad hesitant since we had taken Jerry & Sandy out there once and Jerry began whimpering as soon as we left the pavement and had to have his fingers pried off our roll bar with an 18-inch screwdriver when we returned to town a mere 15 minutes after we had left.  Bill turned out to be unflappable throughout the entire ride and actually seemed to enjoy the occasional hill climb and off camber positioning of the Jeep…

Eventually we made it to El Shaka where the oysters, as well as all the other food, were great…

We did find the bathroom facilities to be a wee bit “interesting”…

It was refreshing to take someone out to the desert in the Jeep and actually stay long enough to get to where we were going.

Another perk of living on Algodones Beach is the near proximity of a number of great beach bars, including our favorite, The Soggy Peso, and some great open area to fly our kite…

The proprietors of this fine establishment, Bruce and Giggles, are undoubtedly the friendliest and most welcoming folks in the entire town with an open door policy where you may enter as a stranger but always leave as a friend…

And not long afterward a mutiny broke out on the foredeck when a group of passengers threw a collective fit when our captain tried to insert our 50-foot boat into a 10 foot hole…

This cantina is in the U.S. but Spanish is the spoken language, Mexican-Americans make up the clientele and they accept pesos.

Our Jeep was parked at a meter in front of the place.  When our time expired a police officer was right there ready to write a ticket.  One of our new amigos ran over to tell us while 2 others started banging on the window to get the officer’s attention.  I ran out during the commotion and deposited a couple of coins in the meter.  The officer just smiled then drove off in his golf cart.  Needless to say, we bought a round of drinks for our newfound compadres…otra vez.

Remember way back in the beginning of this diatribe that I was talking about our “stuff”?  Part 2 of our Mexican adventure will hit the streets manana as we follow our stuff on a getaway from our getaway.  “Manana” is a relative expression that means “not today” in Spanish, but in this instance it means as soon as I can bribe my live-in relative, that would be my Bride, into doing all the hard work it takes to put one of these things together.  She breaks the ground, tills the soil, weeds, waters and harvests the crop and finally gets it to the marketplace.  I provide the fertilizer.  Hugs “til next time, CC and Zook

The only real problem in locating an isolated stretch of beach with kite friendly winds is that, sooner or later, word gets out and some guy shows up with a kite that makes your once-formidable 7-foot Hawaiian delta wing look like a mere toy!  And then, to add insult to injury, the turkey skis behind it…

Just wait ‘til I get my next kite!  No more kid stuff.  I’m going all out commando!!

Although the beach bars have some pretty great ocean views, the absolute best bar in San Carlos is “A Bar Down in Mexico” which is located in the community of Loma del Mar…

Judging by the fuss these folks were making, even when the captain offered to get a running start at the cave’s mouth, I can only surmise, from a previous rather sordid nautical encounter with a similar bunch, that they were Canadians.

On the day prior to our departure from Mexico, we set off en-route to a little seafood restaurant south of Guaymas, which we hadn’t heard of, but the promise of fresh oysters was all it took to pique our interest.  We were unaware that the Governor of Sonora was visiting the area and part of the entertainment provided for his enjoyment was the Gran Cabalgata de la Union Ganaderas, a parade on horseback sponsored by Mexican livestock owners.  Our shortcut to the beach put us right in the middle of a herd of several hundred caballeros on horseback, which was only a fraction of the thousands who participated.  With Bill and Kat owning a horse ranch in Kentucky, they were thrilled with this unexpected encounter…

 

At one point during our cruise we were engulfed by an eruption of seagulls reminiscent of a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s, The Birds…

 And be sure to catch the traditional Mexican folkloric dancers…

Housing prices and rents within San Carlos have reached a level which is well beyond what the local Mexican population can afford and many of those who work in town live in nearby Guaymas or in the small fishing village of La Manga…

Stuff.  We all have it and it tends to accumulate to the point that there is no longer any room for you because your stuff seems to multiply on a par with rabbits.  You could get rid of some of it, but you don’t.  After every room in your house, including closets, garage, basement and attic are full of your stuff, you rent a storage unit somewhere to store the overflow.  Until…you finally retire and are forced to deal with the myriad furniture, bric-a-brac and keepsakes you have spent a lifetime hoarding…assuming, of course that you actually move away from crowded cities, uninspiring cookie cutter housing tracts and crappy weather to someplace “else.”  The “else” can be a senior community somewhere in the desert, a beachfront condo in some coastal community or any of hundreds of other possibilities.  We opted for the full-time RV lifestyle.

Getting rid of our stuff required an Atilla the Hun take-no-prisoners commitment to divest ourselves of absolutely anything and everything that would not comfortably fit into our 1973 26 foot GMC motorhome.  This strategy involved a 3-day garage sale in which we became prey to a hoard of bargain hunters who turned our home into a shark-like feeding frenzy from dawn to dusk and beyond during the entirety of the event.  Our local Moose Lodge spent the next 5 days hauling pickup truck and trailer loads of the remains and the stuff that even they did not want we hauled off to Goodwill or the dump.  Thank God we had the foresight to cull our stuff beforehand and tuck the “keepers” safely away in our GMC motorhome lest our really good stuff get snatched up by the carnivorous crowd.

Three years later, after living together 24/7 in a vehicle with the interior space of a medium sized refrigerator, we decided to move into our current home.  We spent one afternoon moving all of our stuff out of the olde and into the new motorhome and, when we were done, discovered that we had a vast expanse of open space in which we could freely roam without bumping into our stuff. Nirvana!

Needless to say, we soon found things that we had gotten along quite nicely without for 3 years that we simply had to have.  In no time whatsoever our vast expanse of open space had burgeoned into a morass of stuff of a similar size and shape to that which we had abandoned when we opted for the minimalist lifestyle only a few short years before.

And now, on to our current tale of woe.

We had spent 4 consecutive winters in the small Mexican village of San Carlos before deciding that we were missing out on a lot of other great places to spend Christmas while placing ourselves in the same rut that a lot of other RVers find themselves: spending winter in the same place and summer in the same place EVERY year.  Since sameness was what we had left when we retired, we moved on to differentness.  We now spend our summers and winters in mostly different places, although there are a few favorites we occasionally return to.  Alaska and Alabama are at the top of that very short list.  This year we chose to return to San Carlos for a couple of weeks, sans the motorhome, to visit the in-laws and our new pals, Bill and Kat Poole, who were also friends with the in-laws.  Although we viewed their judgment as questionable in “friending” the in-laws, we decided to chalk it up as an irrational decision made during a period of diminished mental capacity brought on by a catastrophic episode of Montezuma’s Revenge.  We will, however, be watching them very closely.

Having rid ourselves of most of our stuff in the move to an RV many years ago (I’m trying to ignore the re-accumulation for this narrative) we now had to select which of our stuff we would cram into the back seat of our Jeep to accompany us to Mexico for a 2-week hotel stay.  We were amazed to discover that it required a backpack, large sports bag and a wheeled body-sized bag to contain all that we would need for 14 days in a 5-star, “we provide everything,” resort…

Bright and early Monday morning (before noon) we loaded our stuff back into the Jeep for the 4-hour trek back to the border…