Gettin’ wood;

My morning with coffee com“Necesito un espiga” I said, then rephrased it to “Necesito un espiga Madera”.   In Mexico it always helps to just keep adding more and more Spanish words to your sentences when you are trying to find something.   I find it is not really necessary to pronounce the words correctly as long as you can keep their attention focused on the fact that you are trying to say something by adding words.   At some point in time the locals will either get the idea of what you want, get tired of listening to you and decide to speak perfect English back to you or if you are really unlucky, ask a return question that you won’t understand but you know you need to answer to keep up the facade that you understand Spanish so you are forced to answer “OK, Gracias” and tuck you tail between you legs and leave.

 

I hadn’t gotten to the last option today.   As a matter of fact it had been a relatively nice day.   I started the morning early with the sun just short of rising.   I put on a fresh pot of “Intense” roast Mexican coffee, with caffeine, and then went outside to greet the morning and say hello to Sparky.   Nets throwing comSparky has been enjoying the cooler evenings outside lately and doesn’t usually wake till the coffee is at least on.   He is not drinking coffee yet but he knows that “we will walk no beach till the coffee is brewed”, so he sleeps.

 

I got domestic early and cleaned up the boat.  Really it was just the popcorn bowls (mine and Sparky’s) from last night.  We changed out the water filters for the house water and then decided we needed to do a little shopping trip to replace the used filters and purchase a ¼ “ dowel for a furniture project I had planned.

 

After the walk on the beach I gathered up all my stuff and dinked into town.   I checked a couple of the local stores but could not find either a replacement filters or dowels for my project.   The local hardware store told me to check the Maderaria (wood shop) in the next town and the local pool shop hinted that Malaque (the second town over) would have the replacement filters. Road trip!

 

The wood shop only took 5 minutes to arrive at.   Because of the location the bus driver was sure I was lost but stopped anyway.   After I told the wood smith what I needed “Necesito un espiga Madera” he got the idea so I took the next step and wrote out the size I needed in the sawdust on his saw.   I used my excellent Spanglish to drive home the point that only ¼” or 3/16” would do when he showed me a dowel of 1” thickness.   “No problema” was his response.

 

I expected him to walk over to a bin of dowels and pull the requested size but instead he grabbed a chunk of scrape wood from the table next door and asked how long.  I re-emphasized that I could not just use a piece of square stock it had to be round.   Unphased he asked again how long and then promptly cut off a meter of roughly ½” x ¾” rectangular wood.   I was almost sure the next step was to take the wood over to a lathe and mill it down but with wood that thin I was unsure how it was going to turn out.

 

I should not have worried since he immediately took it over to wood planer and cleaned up the rough cut wood before moving to his homemade table saw/dowel jigging machine (sorry if you don’t know the terms) and cut the piece down to a clean ¼” x ¼” by 1 meter long piece of wood.   Still thinking I was going to end up with a square dowel I had to ask again to be sure he understood.  “Si, si” he answered then shows me a router that he planned to use to make the piece round.  Ingenious I thought, but then on the first pass he could not keep the wood square to the router and decided on yet a different idea.

 

The process has now taken about 5 minutes and I am thinking how much is my $2 dowel going to cost me with all this labor.   I kept my mouth shut and just asked the names of all the tools in Spanish as I tried to keep from helping him out.

 

His next step was a hand planer.   You know what they are, you just never see anyone use them anymore for anything other than door stops or when in really nice shape as conversation items in some guys ManCave.   Anyway, he pulled the planer out and checked the blade then proceeded to make my square stick round.   I would guess he put another 5 minutes or more worth of labor into the rounding process then 5 more to sand it smooth before he measured it and pronounced it complete.

 

I have not gotten home yet, but just by feel and looking down its length I would be surprised if the thickness varies by more than 1/64” over the entire length.   Total cost: 10 pesos, or about $0.80.

 

I am thrilled, so I march over to the Cervezaria and pick us both up a beer and celebrate before moving to Malaque to see about those water filters.

 

I caught the “Chicken bus” as we call it.   It is the local bus, no frills, 60 cents to ride as long or as short a distance as you like.  Often it is standing room only and on occasion a couple of chickens will be in pens on the seat beside you.   Thrilled to find a single seat unoccupied I plopped my stick and I down just before the bus erupted with clapping, singing, and the cajoling voices of 25 Mexicans chanting, “Tequila, Tequila, Tequila”.   Somebody was having too much fun on Good Friday.

 

It’s a short ride to Melaque, perhaps a mile or perhaps two, but the chicken bus stops everywhere.   My 25 new best friends must have been going to bus stop just after me since they carried on for the next 10 minutes singing and chanting old Mexican folk songs, children’s songs and even a couple of songs that I was sure were not meant for children’s ears.   My only complaint was that once again, being in a land of people who are blessed with incredible singing voices, I get the one bus with 25 tone deaf Mexicans.   They even chose to sing my favorite song, “Rancho Grande” but I could not join in since there second flaw was that they had less rhythm than this Jueto has.  I had to get off the bus at the next stop anyway.

 

Have a great weekend, no commuting till Monday!

Mistaken Identity

Typically Lisa and I (we) write the home page together.  With Lisa in the States I changed the format since I am the only person on board and chances that you would drift to the Dude’s view might be a little slim.   Enjoy a couple of minutes with the Dude.

 

“What?, you guys have doobie’s on board”?.   I had just asked Lisa if we had any other Doobie’s around since the one I was using had been on its last legs and finally the sponge had come out of the casing.  It's Terry comWashing the night’s dishes with Terry was becoming a chore without the proper equipment and my hopes were high.   Terry’s eyes were all aglow from his miss-understanding of me asking for my favorite scrubbing tool, the Doobie or Dobie, I’m not sure which.

 

Most of the fleet in the Sea of Cortez knows that Lisa and I do not smoke dope but that does not mean that the rest of the fleet follows our cue.  Our friend comes from a State that has just legalize marijuana and too his great joy he was sure we had changed our evil ways of drinking rum all night to drinking rum and smoking dope.   Actually he wasn’t sure he had heard me right and had to re-ask if I really said Doobie.  Of course I did, but then I had to go into what a fabulous tool it really was.  Terry, dismayed, asked for a bit more rum than coke and settled into drying the dishes just a little more somber and disappointed but still in the party mode.

 

Mexico is a land of contrasts.  You read it on the posters at the tourist agencies.   They always show pictures of Pyramids, the hustle of Mexico City, new hospitals, Iguanas and colorful parrots.  What they don’t tell you is the contrasts are not really in how diverse the country is but how they miss what is really important in modern day convienience.   The other day I wrote in the Dudes page about stuff that just didn’t seem possible in Mexico (tomato paste, Padron Cigars, certain sizes of bolts etc).   With Lisa gone I am washing dishes many more times a day than I use to.   Don’t fear we share the duties and this boys hands do get “dish pan” just like the rest.  Being alone and washing every dish has reminded me of that night months ago when the last of our Doobies broke through it’s steel like nylon case and turned into just a sponge and a separate wad of nylon mesh.  Much like having hydrogen and oxygen containers at your disposal in the desert, the two although capable of making water are worthless to you when you’re thirsty.

 

I have a sponge in the sink and I also have a Scotch Bright pad, in itself a marvel of modern science but the two do not clean the egg off your plate without doing two separate actions, ie, scrub with the Scotch Bright pad to remove the uuk, and then use the sponge to spread the soap around.   A total waste of time.

 

This week is Semana Santa in Mexico.  Call it Saints Week if you like.  The equivalent of Easter week at home but almost everyone in Mexico celebrates the week by coming out to go camping or spending time in the resorts.   If Memorial Day was a week long you would get the idea, it’s that big.   The lagoon that I am parked in has become a giant play pen for dozens of Water Weenies and inner tubes being pulled at high speed by pangas. Skiers are carving up the water in new Master Craft and Sanger ski boats and Wave runners with the price stickers still attached are running between the anchored boats.   I am not complaining, I get a kick out of watching everyone but wonder why with all this technology you can’t find a dog gone Doobie in any store anywhere in Mexico.

 

The person who invented the Doobie was a genius.  At home I would pay a couple of dollars for the item.  That dollar included the perfectly folded case of cardboard that shrouded this marvel from the grubby hands of children who would wipe their noses and then touch all the other paltry forms of scrubbing paraphernalia.  No you can’t just reach out and touch the Doobie pal.  Even if you wanted to open it in the store it is not possible without actually tearing its shrine apart as all the ends are sealed.   You never have to worry about getting a second rate Doobie.  Come to think of it there might just be one of those little “inspected by #7” stickers inside:  genius, quality, usability, and because of the design they even dry nicely while you are away creating another clingy dinner with caramelized something that long ago would have required SOS pads to clean.  No the Doobie is not afraid of your cooking it will be sitting on your sink nice and dry, waiting for the next mess, but please spare the dreaded enemy of the noble Doobie, the serrated knife.

 

Semana Santa will continue for the next 7 days.   I hope when all the prayers are said at least one little prayer is left for expansion of the marvels of Mexico’s wonders.  “Lord, I know your son gave his life for our sins but please would it be too much to ask to allow the importation of the Doobie”

 

 

into-the-sunset-the-first-video

Figured it was a bit annoying to have the video start each time.  Please see the side bar on the right and down a bit to view the video.  Just click once and it will load.

Thought we would try this.   Into the Sunset is our first video that was created by Curious Productions.   You may have seen it before on You Tube, or not.   I believe this will work directly from this posting but if not it is available on the side bar to the right.   Don’t watch while commuting.

A couple of updates

With Lisa being in the statesBarra com Bills’ mind has started to wander a bit as he and Sparky have cocktails alone on the deck of Beyond Reason.   He has added another installment to the Dude View when you find time to look at it.

 

Sparky has finally gotten back on the key board as well.  He has a couple of insights into the male bonding that Bill and he have been doing since the bachelor days have begun.

 

Bill wanted to add some of our other videos to the web page but complained about the slow internet so those will have to wait.

 

Lisa is in California and hasn’t driven in a while; watch your blind spots while you commute to work.

Bachelor days

 

We got Lisa off to the airport yesterday.  Manzanillo hearse com She plans on doing a write-up in the next week or so detailing what actually happened after Bill left her in the airport ticket line but the trip to the airport was actually quite a struggle in itself.

 

We had planned for an easy night the night prior to Lisa’s flight.   Cocktails were fixed at 6 o’clock and Bill started the chicken around the same time so it would be ready before 9 pm.   After the sun went down we thought we would give our friends on Albion a call and see if they would like to have a quick drink before Lisa left.  The drink with George and Tulli turned into dinner and a final good-bye around midnight.

 

zwat heares comFive in the morning rolls around pretty early when you have attended fiestas all week, celebrated a birthday and then top it off with some late night high-jinx.   Bill awoke to the sound of Lisa struggling through the early morning but quickly put on a faux face on and offered many bright “good mornings” to her for the next couple of minutes.  “I don’t know how you do it”, she said.  “Drink all night and wake up all giddy, it not right”.  Regardless of our moods we quickly got ready and called the 24 hour water taxi.

 

After 10 minutes we decided we needed to get rolling so we packed up the dinghy, gave up on the taxi and roared into town only to meet the water taxi at the dock.   Because of the amount of time we expected to be gone we woke the taxi driver and told him to follow us back to the boat.   Several minutes later we had unloaded the dink, packed the water taxi and were arriving back in town to get the Chevy Matiz started and rolling towards Puerto Vallarta, unfortunately Bill forgot the directions to the street that he had parked the car the day before.

 

It seems silly that in a town of 4,000 people you could lose directions but really this town is laid out like Oakland or Boston, and if you have ever been there you would know what I mean.  Roads that lead to no-where, one way streets, street that are laid out at 45 degree’s to the others, streets that start, are interrupted by buildings or rivers and then start again some where else, in general a mess.   The only identification he had was that the street had a meat market who’s logo was a cow stewing up a pig in a vat of boiling water.  Lisa waited by the Thrifty Ice Cream store while Bill clomped around Barra looking for the car.

 

The car was located and coffee was Hearse in Melaque 2 comneeded so the next stop was the local Kioska or 7/11.   At this time Bill began to struggle a bit.  The coffee helped but sleep would have been much preferred.  Another 20 minutes along the 3 hour ride and the road turned twisty and hilly.  This is where Bill really began to struggle as the head ache that he had belied earlier with a cheerful “good morning” really started working hard.   We found aspirin  but honestly we both struggled through the next 2 and a half hours of driving which included 10 miles over a gravel road, 15 more over ruts and pot-holes and then the final nail was pounded into our heads when we hit the cobble-stone roads of Puerto Vallarta.   We got breakfast with another friend an then headed to the airport.

 

Bill has written a page on the challenge at the airport and it might be worth a read if you have a spare minute between updating your boss’s records and checking your Facebook messages.

Tis the season.

Birthday time and even GoogleHappy Birthday bill com remembered to wish Bill a Happy Birthday, it doesn’t get much better than that, well actually it did, Google even posted a birthday cake on it’s website for Bill as well.   To make it even better (that is two better now), the town of Melaque, Jalisco, Mexico has thrown an all week party complete with fireworks, a burning, missile throwing, 60 foot high whirly-gig tower and a bull that shoots flaming torches into the crowd.  Could it be better..yes.  Just as Lisa was making breakfast for Bill, the French Baker came by the boat and offered up fresh French baguettes for Bill weekly French toast.   Not enough yet, it is a NASCAR weekend and the favorite driver of the good ship Beyond Reason has taken the pole position (that’s four better).   All this and it is not even noon here in Mexico.

 

french baker comWe wanted to share some of this goodness with others so while the French Baker was at our boat we purchased another $6 in credit from him and asked him to go out to local fisherman who plies the waters of the lagoon each morning with his row boat while casting nets out to catch bait fish for the larger boats.  The credit we purchased was so the fisherman could share a croissant or pie to celebrate Bill’s birthday as well (Nothing better than that, huh).

 

Life has been very relaxed here in Barra de Navidad for the last week as we catch up on small projects that were delayed while in the ports of Zihuatanejo and Santiago.   One of the bigger projects was taking care of our visas and getting on the good side of questionable legality with Mexican Immigration.   We are pretty sure we have been legal the whole time for the last two months but have been living off an exit zarpe without any visa’s what so ever.   Following a three hour interrogation  we still do not have visa’s but we do have an official looking letter from the Mexican Government saying we have 30 days to exit the country for a couple of hours before being allowed back in.  Lisa will be the first to go, good luck Lisa.

 

Other projects included cleaning our fuel tanks, cleaning the water maker, cleaning the boat interior, cleaning the dinghy and doing laundry.   It’s not that we haven’t done any of those in the last two months but things get awfully dirty when you are living in a very active shipping zone and commercial center (Manzanillo).

 

So tonight as we continue to make this a better and better day, we will finish up with Bills birthday and hopefully be able to provide some video of the fire and destruction that goes on during the celebration of Bill’s birthday (That’s a seven times better birthday if your keeping track) in Melaque but just in case you can’t wait, or more likely we can’t get the video we are going to leave this link.   It is not ours but Lisa felt it was a good representation of the celebration.

 

Tomorrow is Monday, enjoy your day before the big commute.

Geo cached!

 

This afternoon we went into Manzanillo to complete our business.   Actually the business day (picking up Bill’s eye glasses) turned into a Gringo calibration of sorts.   To start the story off correctly though we have to look back at Friday when we were visited by our new friends Diego and Joshua.   At the time they looked like two guys that just swam about a ¼ mile off shore (they did).   This afternoon we ran into Joshua and his father and brother at the local 7 eleven or OXXO (the hugs and kisses store).   Joshua wanted to thank us again for “saving his life”.   We explained that we just thought he was tired but he insisted he was ready to die.   Again we told him no trouble and that we really enjoyed the visit.    The next thing we know his father is asking us to jump into the family Conestoga and off we are whisked to the local grocery store (our intended destination).   We figure that was a good use of Karma.

 

Following the successful retrieval of Bills glasses we needed to go to Starbucks for some coffee and internet.  Of course we failed to get all the updates in as “somebody” failed to load all of them on to the thumb drive we took to shore.   Frustrated but caffeinated  we decided to visit the local Wal-Mart for some small cleaning items then while we were in the area and the new Home Depot had just opened up we walked down the street to visit it as well.   We made the big purchase of some plumbers putty and a roll of masking tape then figured while we were doing the “travel American Style thing” we should just put the crown on it and visit Burger King as well.

 

Completing our Trans fat ingestion and still feeling the caffeine, supplemented by more caffeine from the Pepsi’s consumer at the King of Burgers, we wallowed home to get some rest.   The beach departure was successful but the surf was pretty big and the chances of making it our without soaking everything was looking slim at first.   Once home we hardly had time to put our clothes on the line (yes, we got a little wet), when Bill yelled down to Lisa that perhaps she should put a stitch more clothing on as we once again had guest swimming to the boat.   This is the part that we believe we have been Geo cache scammed.   We’re not sure if that is even possible but three days in a row we have had people swim out to our boat and casually say hello.   Today it was Ivan and Marico from the cities of Colima and Guadalajara.

 

As usual we invited them aboard. Ivan and Marico Gave them towels (our laundry bill this week is going to be high), and beverage service then sat down with them to find out what they were thinking when they swam out to the boat.   We ended up going through the better part of a twelve pack of beer before they said they too had friends on the beach that were waiting for them.   To get them safely ashore we offered the dinghy for transit and it was gratefully accepted.   The funny part of all this is when we dropped them off we were sure their friends had been detained by the local police and were being held against the wall of a million dollar home on the beach.   Perhaps it was mistaken identity, but that is our story.

 

You should now be able to see the update that failed to post yesterday on the Dude View.   Happy commuting, we are having a blast again.   P.S., if our boat is a Geo Cache destination we hope somebody will let us know so we can offer a better prize when these folks finally find us.

Multiple boardings

We made it to Santiago.  We had to stop here because we still have some unfinished business with the town of Manzanillo.   The weather has been great with temperatures in the high 70’s all week.   Actually it has been cold enough at night to have a full set of sheets on and a small blanket on our feet.  Curious about night time temps?   71 degree’s.

 

daniel comOver the last week we have met so many new people.   First was Daniel Vasquez.   Daniel is a young man that together with his friend rents a canoe a couple of times a week to come out to the Zihuatanejo Bay area and clean bottoms on visiting yachts.   Typically we do not subscribe to this type of service as Bill loves cleaning the bottom and then letting Lisa pick the small shrimp or crabs off his body like a chimpanzee.   Just before we left Z-town we did hire Daniel and he did a fine job of cleaning the prop and rudder which helped to speed us up the coast.   Daniel is available by phone for cleaning jobs at 755-130-1052

 

Michael and Lilly dropped lilly and michael 2 com by two days ago.   We were up on deck drinking sundowners when we notice a couple swimming out to the boat.   A couple swimming is pretty normal in Santiago Bay but we are anchored a good ¼ mile from the beach.   Surprisingly they both made it out to the boat and when they said Beyond Reason was a good looking ship we just had to invite them aboard.   We offered them towels and a cold beer which they gratefully accepted and then they told us they were medical students from Berkeley CA.   Apparently they had told their parents they were down here to do good for the community but really they were just goofing off mostly.   Lilly is a pre-med student and Michael actually is doing some ecological training for the kids in the local schools.   When they completed their beers they both jumped in the water and swam out of our lives.

 

Michael and Lilly were fun but yesterday we had Diego and Josue come by.   Diego josue and lisa comOnce again we noticed a couple of people swimming towards our boat.   We figured that Michael and Lilly could not get enough of our company but really it turned out to be two young Mexican college (well very mature high school) students who noticed the name of the boat.   When we asked Diego why they swam out he said, “We saw the name of the boat and figured it was Beyond Reason to swim out to it” so they did.   Josue had cramped up pretty good on the way out so when they came aboard we offered they typical nourishment you find on board our boat but all they would accept was water.   10 minutes after their arrival some of their friends on Jet Ski’s dropped by and picked them up.   Not quite as dramatic as our med school acquaintances but fun just the same.

 

Both the Dudes and the Chicks area have been updated.  It might be worth a minute to check out those sections if you haven’t already.

WL2K /Pirates!!

“Remind me when we need your wallet that I stuffed it into the dirty blue sock in the hamper”. It was finally happening. We appeared to be under attack just 10 miles north of Lazaro Cardenez. Boats in this area had been broadcasting that they had been boarded during the night by armed banditos and we were 50 miles into our 190 mile trip from Zihuatanejo to Manzanillo.

We departed Zihuatanejo around 10 AM on Tuesday. Following the diagnosis of our dive tanks as “trash” we paid our $80 bill with the dive shop and prepared to leave for points north and better diving. Our friends were concerned that we were transiting the lonely coast of the northern Mexican Riviera by ourselves but as always we were not concerned as we have never had any trouble with “bandits” since we left the US. As we were passing the industrial city of Lazaro Cardenez we noticed that we had picked up an unlit target on our radar. An unlit target is something we can see on radar but can’t identify when we go outside and look for lights.

At the time we noticed, the “target” was 4 miles directly off our stern. At first look it appeared to be a phantom “hit” on the radar but 10 minutes later when the same hit or “target” showed up behind us but closer we assumed it was a boat. Bill eventually started talking about spear guns, flare guns and machetes in a kidding manner but after the “target” closed in to within 2 miles off our stern, we both started planning out contingency plans if the target actually was pirates!

Lisa immediate started hiding everything of value. Computers were stowed under mattresses, cell phones were hid in the bathroom, wallets in the hamper even string beans and cans of tomato sauce where moved from their normal resting spots and hid in places were they won’t be found for months to come.

Bill took the practical approach and prepared the flare gun with its 12 gauge shells for action. As the “target” came within 1 mile and then ½ mile, we both strained to see the actual boat, but of course there were no lights shown. Bill started reading the directions on the flare gun when we still couldn’t identify the target as it approached to within ¼ mile and once he was educated stood up on deck with a loaded gun preparing for action.

Eventually one of us decided that turning on additional deck lights might help us see the “bandits” and when we flicked on the lights the target immediately moved to the starboard side of our boat and passed us without issues. We don’t know if it was Bill standing up top with his “Charlie’s Angel’s pose”, gun in hand and ready for action or if the boat was just a group of Pangarero’s out for a fishing trip but our adrenalin was high and our relief pleasant when they fell off our radar screen. Currently we are sailing into Manzanillo with just 17 miles to go. Arrival will be tonight around midnight.

Not quite Billions and Billions served

10,000 hits.  10000 hits celibration comFor our friends in Winters, that means people have visited our website more than 10,000 times.   We know  it is kind of a ridiculous milestone but what else are we going to do while living in Paradise.  We thought we would put this into perspective for you.

10,000 hits on a blog is really nothing new but when you compare it to the Record of Baseball, 10,000 hits is quite a bit.   Pete Rose and Ty Cobb did not get 10,000 hits combined in 48 total years of playing the game (8445 hits actually).   Muhammad Ali who has won rounds of Boxing with just a single hit, threw perhaps 6,500 punches at best in his 61 total fights.   Even Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley combined could only come up with 64 top 10 hits in their careers. Perhaps we are not so bad after all.

With all the writing we have done and all the reading that you might have done we decided that perhaps you needed to be reminded that in our combined blogs we have strung together a little more than 214,000 words.   The Oxford dictionary is credited with 220,000 so we figure there is still more to be said and some words that we have not used yet.   Wondering what 214,000 words look like, well we can help.

The average American reader plods along at about 250 words per minute. This means if you tried to read the blog straight through you would have to do so on your boss’ dime for 2 full uninterrupted shifts or 14.2 hours.   Not bad for a waste of time.   If you need a little more exercise we write the blog in 15 point Verdana, if you assume that the average word is 6 letters (5 letters and a space) and lined them all up together, you come up with just short of 4.5 miles of words.   Now that is a little short of going around the world but it is a nice morning walk.   While we are talking about reading, the average book on the shelf is roughly 64,000 words, I doubt we could divide our blog and make 4 books out of it, but if you purchased those books on line for your Kindle at $0.00 per book you would certainly get your money’s worth.   We just purchased 4 books for the same price and we are sure to get every penny of enjoyment from them.

If you didn’t know, we have added a number of extra features to the blog over the last year.  Did you know that some posts if opened up contain a hidden map of where we are?   Have you viewed our videos from the site?  The right hand column contains a number of features to include videos.  Have you used the search feature at the top of the page?  It’s all there.  We are trying to keep the blog uncomplicated but sometimes we can’t help ourselves.  If you are on Facebook or any of the other social media we have even added icons to help you share with friends.

We could blather on about more of the blogs highlight but will leave you to your work.  We can tell you that although Lisa and Bill take most of the credit, Sparky himself has written almost 18,000 words and is the most requested writer when we meet up with people who have checked us out.

Enjoy your commute, 10,000 hits thanks to you.