Monday, March 31, 2008

The last day of March and I promise not to play any April fools jokes tomorrow, so Heather, Barbara and Annie you can all relax no tales of me being abducted by aliens or anything.

Norma, Croft and I spent the day across the border in Juarez, Mexico. We drove to down town El Paso, parked the car and walked over the bridge and into Mexico, so simple. Norma and I got new glasses at great prices and also the service was wonderful.

We walked around the town and felt very safe and everyone was so helpful. Before we came back we stopped at a small sidewalk cafĂ© for a drink. It was truly amazing you could spend your whole Mexican vacation here, get everything with out having to leave the table. While we were having our drinks the sunglasses salesman came up to us and I bought a pair. Next was the man who wanted to draw our caricatures in charcoal, I haven’t forgiven Norma yet when she told him no we were funny enough already. The next person was the man who if we had been wearing boots would have shined them for us. Next Norma wanted to buy some cigarettes, so the waiter got the smoke salesman to come. I even asked the waiter if he could get me a wife, sure he said about 10 minutes!!!!

After we crossed back Croft wanted to take us to the original Rosa’s Cantina made famous by the song by Marty Robbins, so we spent a great hour in the bar talking to everyone, well Norma was!!!! Got you back!!!!

It was another really good day and I enjoyed Norma and Croft, good people!!!

Tomorrow I am on the road again headed towards Tucson and Phoenix; will post when I can, wish you all a great evening.
The foot crossing from El Paso into Juarez.
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Around the central plaza in Ciudad Juarez.
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For those of you old enough to remember, which I am not, this is a photo of the oridinal Cantina where the famous Marty Robbins song, of the same name, was all about.

It took 2 hours from walking in the front door of the Optical store, getting a complete eye check up by the owners wife, who had to be at least 85 years old, they own 550 stores in Mexico, selecting frames and getting two pairs of glasses for a fraction of the price I would have to pay in Canada
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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday night in El Paso, Texas and about time to remind you that I still remember how to say the famous saying down here, “How are ya all!!”

Arrived about noon today and came to the Mission Rv park and parked Ramona next to my friends, Norma and Croft, in their motor home. I hadn’t seen them since I left Mazatlan 1st January, so it was a nice reunion.

Norma and Croft have a car they tow behind their motor home so for the afternoon we went down the historic El Paso Mission trail and saw three beautiful missions.

What a drastic change to all the Mexican churches I have seen these past few months. Although these missions were built around the same time the architecture and decorations inside were so different. It was a very interesting afternoon. We then went downtown and drove along the highway between Mexico and the USA. There was a double wide and high barbed wire fence and it was thought provoking to see the shantytown side of Mexico and the affluent States side.

This is a top ranked RV park with many amenities including a huge pool so Croft and I went for a dip to see if we both still knew how to swim.

In the evening they took me to this fantastic ranch and restaurant where they had ate two nights ago.

The photo of me about to demolish the ribs speaks 1000 words. The whole meal was one of the best I have ever had.

So it was a great day and I really enjoyed re-knewing my friendship with Norma and Croft.

OK guess where we are going tomorrow??? MEXICO!!!! All three of us need new glasses and the prices are so much cheaper in the border towns, so we are going to walk across the border and see if we can find some good deals on glasses. The Mexican town on the border is called Juarez and has a reputation as a big drug town so we have decided that if either of us feels unsafe we will turn around and come back. I have decided that I am going to walk right behind Croft; he is about six foot four!!!! I am sure it will be OK.

So another great day hope it was for you, Pura Vida!!
Three missions we visited this afternoon on the El Paso Mission Trail. All three missions were so different from each other. Even the ceilings were completely different.
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Norma, Croft and I went to tis fantastic restaurant tonight for my first post Mexico meal.

Do you think I am going to enjoy this???

The view from the balcony of the restaurant.
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Saturday, March 29, 2008

If I knew what the time was I would tell you I have been through so many time zones and up the hill the time changes again so it is either 5.40pm or 6.40pm or 7.40pm but I do know it is Saturday evening!!

It took me about 2 hours of driving this morning to shake the rain and now again wonderful warm sunny day and very pleasant evening. I am in a large RV Park in Van Horn, Texas and I am about 150 kms away from El Paso. That is my destination tomorrow where I am going to meet my good friends Norma and Croft, from Campbell River, who I last saw January 1st in Mazatlan. I am looking forward to hearing all their stories.

Uneventful day of driving, very flat and barren land and the only highlight was the train passing by. I am slowly getting used to being back in the States and the differences of the last few months are huge.

I have found out that I can get a ticket for the hockey game in Phoenix on Thursday night and I look forward to that and will now admit to my main reason for going there. Even at my ripe old age we still can have heroes and I found a hero in October 1980 in Edmonton. He is in my opinion the greatest hockey player who ever laced on skates and I got hooked on the game and went to as many games as possible and this was when Edmonton were in their glory years. 99 or “The Great One” as he is commonly known was an icon on the ice and a perfect role model off the ice and remains so to this day. He now part owns and coaches the Phoenix Coyotes hockey team and their last home game is this Thursday and I am so happy I am going and it is my intention to see if I can get 99 to autograph my friendship book. Later on I will tell you about my 99 tattoo!!!!

So there you have it Saturday night in Texas and a beautiful night and I wish you all a great weekend, blessings..
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Thursday 27th March and my last full day in Mexico!!

I left Ciudad Victoria around 10am and did a full day’s drive along mostly two lane good paved roads except for one section where I went over a spectacular and stunning mountain pass for about 50 kms. The roads were an adventure to drive but the scenery was great. I was making good time and stopped for the night at a gas station about 120 kms from the US Border. I again parked in the corner of the station and it was safe and quiet and I settled for my last sleep in Mexico.

It is now Friday 28th March and Ramona is parked in a very secluded campsite at the Seminole Canyon State Park in Texas.

Left about 7am this morning for the last stage of the drive and as fitting I went through one more military check point and got lost one more time. To my readers who think that I am geographically impaired (Yes you Mally and Chris!!). I want to explain the exact circumstances of this last wrong turn and only wish I had taken photos. I was going down Mexico highway 57 for Ciudad Acuna, the border town and the sign said Highway 29 Ciudad Acuna turn right. So I did this but I had that feeling that I was going in the wrong direction and sure enough I finished up down town. So one more small town to navigate through and I am thinking please don’t let me have an accident this close to the border after all those miles I have driven. So came back the way I had come and I stopped at the sign and sure enough it did say right when actually I should have gone left. So THAT is how I got lost. That is my story I and I am sticking to it!!

Arrived at the border and did not want to make the same mistake as last year as not being able to find the office to turn in my sticker. So being much smarter now I stopped a few yards short and parked and went looking on foot where to go. I found the office and then to my surprise they sent a young man with me to get me back to the office there was some one way streets to navigate, either that or he looked at me and thought, this kid will get lost I better go with him!!!.. Anyway he walked back with me and we drove to the office, he would not take a tip but he did like the Canadian key chain. There was a young lady outside the office with a small hand held computer like machine and she scanned the VIN number on Ramona, took my decal and gave me a printout, like half a minute, perfect. This receipt is important to me because I can re-claim the insurance money I paid to my home State for the time I have been in Mexico, which almost covers my Mexican insurance.

The next part of the procedure was US Customs and Immigration. Here I was pulled over for an inspection and you know what is coming…..He looked inside all the cupboards and not one compartment t outside, I just don’t figure that one out. Then into the office for a passport stamp and there I was as the song goes, “Back in the USA”.

I started my long journey west and the weather had changed to cloudy and windy and arrived at Seminole Canyon State Park where I am spending the first night. The park is famous for its prehistoric rock art and only guided tours are allowed into the canyon. So I have booked a tour for 10am tomorrow.

After getting Ramona settled I took off on a hike of about 3 miles to the edge of the canyon. It was desolate and saw no one and the canyon is quite pretty. There is a time change here so it is 8pm and just getting dark and I am settled in for the night.

Hopefully will find Internet tomorrow and send this. It feels good to be back in the States after nearly 4 months away and again I am so thankful for a journey that was awesome and perfect.

I now look forward to three weeks in the States I do have some plans one of which is hoping to see my favourite hockey hero at a game in Phoenix on Thursday night!!

Wish you all a great weekend, Pura Vida

Now 9am Saturday morning and it is raining!!!!!!

The guided tour of the canyon is cancelled so I am going to have a day of driving west towards El Paso and see if I can find the sun!!!!!
Friday 28th March.

Seminole Canyon State Park.
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Friday 28th March photos.

The last Mexican photo.

US Customs.

Ramona asleep in Seminole Canyon State Park.
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Thursday 27th March photos of the incredible mountain pass.
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