Here’s my Dad’s final blog telling you all about the rest of his three week visit to us here at La Colina. We’re very grateful for all the help he gave us while he was here and the wonderful gifts. I think my favourite is the hot water in our shower!!! (Having our treehouse wired is a close second.)
Thanks Dad! Maybe he’ll start his own blog now he’s gotten a taste for it!
Somehow Jayne seems to be at the right place at the right time too many times to be just a coincidence.
We had been talking on and off my whole stay about Shannon, a local San Pancho shop owner, who they had befriended. Shannon had loaned them his chain saw, and promised a generator and a sawzall. He had communicated with Jayne about a week and a half ago wanting the return of the saw, and saying he would dig out the generator and sawzall soon.
We decided to go last Sunday on a trip to find some Geocaches in the next town North of San Pancho. It is called Lo de Marcos. We travelled through this small town which is less tourist oriented than San Pancho, and on to a Geocache at the South end of the town, along a gravel/dirt road in the new Poly… Polaris RZR. As we stopped for the cache and were just out of the vehicle to walk down the road, the only vehicle we had seen since leaving town stops. It is Shannon, who lives just down the road at a great secluded beach!. He has a real estate office here and also a shop similar to the one in San Pancho.
Next day, we go into the shopping communities half way to Puerto Vallarta. First stop, the pool pump place which says the pool pump can’t be fixed, and quote 6500 pesos (over $400 cdn) for a new pump, of which they have a selection. Second stop is next door to the Ferreteria Gonzales, where we have been several times. I pick up a saw and a crowbar for the project. And next person in line is Frank, who we also have talked about many times as he is supplying the Solar Panel system for La Colina. With him is a pump guy who is helping Frank sort out a pump problem he has with his cistern, and they are picking up parts. Jayne chats, and soon we are following the pump guy through a few back streets to a non descript shop with almost no signage. It is a motor repair shop, who says he can fix the motor for less than a tenth of the cost quoted for a new pump. I just got a whatsapp message from Jayne saying she has picked up the motor, and it works fine.
A couple of days previously, Jayne asks where we are going to eat, and I suggest a backstreet establishment that she has commented on several times as being a “destination for locals of San Pancho”. The only persion sitting at the bar is a good friend Catherine, who we had met earlier, and announces she was moved to come to this bar, which she also does not frequent often. We have a great chat and she decides to go with us on Sunday on our Geocaching expedition in the RZR. We had a good lunch on the beach with her on our expedition.
This last week has been a whirlwind of fixing things and picking up the new Polaris RZR. It is finally all officially purchased and ownership transferred. To transfer ownership, one needs to have the previous owner present throughout the process, which involves many steps at three different office locations. Two of the three offices have to be visited twice. The third one checks out the VIN number on the vehicle by making three copies of the VIN number which is stamped into the frame, by rubbing it with some special transfer tape that copies the number by rubbing it. In the back of the last office is a large shear. We decide this is for cutting up used license plates, not for cutting off hands of unsuspecting clients. The whole process took about five hours over two different days. Fortunately seller Jim was very co-operative and allows us to use the RZR over the weekend with his registration and insurance still in place. It probably had more dirt and back roads than in it’s whole previous existence.
The RZR with it’s new plate. This is legal to drive on roads and highways in Mexico as it has a license plate.
Since we had to bring the RZR to get it’s new plate, it was only a ten minute ride from there to the PV Airport, where I am presently waiting to board the plane.
I have been struggling for a few days with mystery bites, mostly on my legs. All sorts of theories, are inconclusive. It has been the one downer of visiting. I awake at 3:30 am with severe itching, only to be calmed by some pain killer pills.
I keep expecting to find a tick crawling on me as Beave keeps having them removed. Jayne delights in using the credit card size tick remover I have
The card is effective, and another tick is removed. Jayne says this month is tick season. Seems strange as it is only a few weeks from the start of winter officially. I was looking forward to seeing the clouds of fireflies that Beave described in a previous blog, but alas only saw a few the first couple of days I was here and none since.
I am now on the plane, and my phone is not. I left it on the seat in the waiting lounge when I got up to board, and my smart watch confirms is is nowhere near me. A quick trip back to the lounge had no results… nothing turned in at the desk. I can only hope some honest person has picked it up and that someone will email me that it is found. I had put a new sticker on it this week with my email address.
It has no internet left on the Mexican sim card, so cannot broadcast it’s location to me as it dies.
I thought I would email Linda and Heather so they know my plight but the Westjet system is also having problems on the plane.
The other animal that is quite surprising is big spiders. I am told they do not bite, but do exude some noxious sticky substance. They extend as much as a hand spread. The local kids laugh and pick them up.
We saw at least four or more in the pump house for the pool as Beave did his magic to repair the broken valve using rubber repair sleeves I brought from Canada.
Here is one beside the small electrical panel to give a sense of size:
Cafe Arte is one of the many restaurants we have frequented in San Pancho during my stay. There is a bartender there who is a splitting image of our friend Jimmy in Calgary. He is watching over the new Geocache I have hidden there… the first in San Pancho.
The owner Ceci has not heard of Geocaching, but is very keen to host one.
Spoiler: She’s almost sitting on the Cache.
The local laundry in town has a walk up counter. Jayne walks up with our bag of laundry, tells them it is for Juana, and they tell her it will be ready tomorrow. I contribute what would be a $20 dollar load on the cruise ship, and my share of the bill is less than a tenth of that.
Down on the main street we see one of many local merchants… this one with a wheelbarrow of pineapples.
The Generator that J & B bought is 3000 watts, but only 1500 watts is available at 115V, which means that larger grinders, saws, and a portable welder that the door guy brought would not work on it. I modified the wiring quickly a few days ago to get the welder working, and then bought parts to put a permanent switch on it to choose More Power or More Voltage, which is still needed to charge Beave’s Makita batteries from a 230 volt charger brought from the UK. The wiring was a bit challenging as we could only find a separate relay and switch to install in an outboard box, with a rats-nest of interconnecting wires.
This was further complicated by my by redesigning the wiring diagram on the fly. After dark yesterday the wiring was complete, but my brain said it still was not correct. On sleeping on it, the problem clarified itself and I rewired it again for an hour and a half… the half hour looking for a dropped black screw… to have it burst into life and work properly in both modes. I left Beave and Jayne to sort out the loose wire that stops the generator from stopping with the on off switch. Meanwhile we were to be 30 km away meeting Jim to transfer ownership of the RZR… and Jayne phoned and texted with our apologies. Why is it there are always these last minute crises?
Washrooms when out travelling are a mixed bag. The most certain are that each government owned service station PEMEX have good washrooms. Only difference from what we expect in Canada is that in many the toilet paper dispenser is in a separate one outside the door to the whole washroom, or in the common area of the washroom. Many others in more private establishments may be completely missing paper or toilet seats.
For those plumbing oriented, the Mexican solution to a trap under the sink is interesting. Most all I have seen are a corrugated bit of plastic in various forms of a loop jammed into a rubber gasket at each end. To clean, you just easily remove one end. The corrugations collect any particles thrown down the sink, and keep the drain downstream cleaner. I like it.
Also it is interesting that houses are only serviced by a small half inch line to each house. This runs to a large plastic tank on the roof which has a float valve to stop the water when full. The house pressure is minimal. One sees a similar system in the older houses in England.
Wiring to houses and multi family dwellings have many electrical meters. Apparently the electricity is on a sliding scale, and if you use a lot the charges are very high to encourage people to conserve. I see lots of LED lights available here, so the energy saving is considerable. It is amazing that we have installed very good lighting in the Treehouse at La Colina that in total with all lights on is barely 100 watts… the power of one light bulb only a few years ago. I looked at a narrow but fairly high fridge in the Mega store and it is rated at only 120 watts. Jayne is to buy an even more efficient one once the solar panels are installed. It will be interesting to see how well the solar panel copes. The biggest load will be the swimming pool pump at about 8 times the power of a fridge… so it will have to be on a timer than allows it to run only an hour or so a day, so that all the pool water flows through the filter at least once a day. The pool has been fairly clean looking without the pump, with a bit of jungle junk at the bottom of the deep end. Beave fished a mouse out of the pool a couple of days ago… it was hanging on the side at one end trying to get out of the pool. Fell in, and swam under water the length of the pool. It surfaced, and Beave picked it out with the pool net, and it survived to tell about it… or did it. Read Beave’s blog. Jayne tests the water in the pool regularly and maintains the chlorine level and pH.
The first day of having the RZR, now called poli (Editor’s note: we are spelling it “Pauly”), I had it parked in front of the cabin. The local children from the next farm came over (the oldest works with Dad Rogelio) and looked all round the ATV. I had a mission that day to install the first of the direction signs I had brought at an intersection that is easily missed along the road to La Colina. I took the two with me with great smiles (unfortunately no photo) and installed the sign. There we picked up a large garbage bag of trash, and later went back with Jayne and Beave and picked up another bag full to clean up the area.
The correct direction takes one to a ford through an arroyo (creek), one of five along the route from the highway to the property.
Later on we came upon three of the neighbours riding along the road…
Our last evening before I came back to Calgary we had a great meal with a couple of locals Sharon and Paul. I had a Pina Colada (sin alcohol). We were entertained by a street performer dancing with a light bar and a ring of fire.
On the plane I was abruptly aware that I had left my phone in the waiting area of the airport. The stewardess let me go back to the desk to check, but it could not be found. I invested in internet on the plane to let Linda and Jayne know what had happened.
Several days later at home, and phone calls by me and later by Jayne from Mexico, we could not determine if the phone was at the airport. Saturday Jayne had to go to the airport, and did find out that the phone is there in lost and found, but could not pick it up for me until I send identity information and she comes back on a weekday. Jayne will pick it up, and I’ll see it when we get back to Mexico. Heather saves the day by loaning me an old phone of hers that works.
I also have been plagued for several days with itching from the bites on my legs, which has only recently become tolerable. Sure would like to know what sort of bug bit me, so I can be better prepared next trip. Life goes on.
We have just figured out on Google Maps that our proposed road trip in the new year to La Colina and then Sugar Land Texas, near Houston, and back to Calgary is calculated as 95 hours and 9526 km. Should be an adventure.