Polar bear at the Toronto Zoo, Canada.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ottawa, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Reuniting with Max in Germany on October 1st.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 Year in Review, and 2020 Preview

Wow, what a year we had!

We were on 21 different airplanes and we were in 7 different countries... bringing our total countries visited to 38.

We began 2019 in Mexico leading an RV Caravan group. We were with them for the months of January, February, and March.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Whiskey's tree, and Mazamitla for lunch

Yesterday was a bit of a cool, overcast day with a high of only 17C (63F). Things look back to normal today though with sunshine and 22C (72F) in the forecast.

In the morning, a bunch of us walked over to the old Hacienda Contreras campground. It's only just down the road from where we are staying now. We spent a lot of time there between our first visit in March of 2009, and our last stay there in March 2016.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Market day in Valle de Juarez

Saturday is market day here in Valle de Juarez, so around 9:00am yesterday we all headed into town. We were still early enough that some stalls weren't yet finished setting up... but they were quite happy to sell to you anyhow. Besides, we wanted the best selection of fruits and veggies, which is why we were going in the first place.

I've mentioned this before... market stalls in Canada and the U.S. tend to be overpriced artsy fartsy "organic" events. But here in Mexico, the local weekly market is where you go to get the best produce, and at the best prices.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

We were due for some exercise!

Absolutely perfect day for a hike yesterday. Lots of blue sky and sunshine, with a high temperature of about 22C (72F).

On the other side of the small lake here at Valle de Juarez there is a hill with a cross on the top. The locals call it "Picachu". Ruth and I have been to the top two or three times in the past, but we had always gone with the group from Hacienda Contreras when it was open, and every time we had got a drive about half way up and hiked from there.

This time, we decided to hike from the campground, a one way distance of about 8.5 kms (5.3 miles).

Friday, December 27, 2019

Shrimp tacos and a view

We can't seem to get enough of the shrimp taco place near here. Yesterday was another lunch visit... our third time since we arrived here 5 days ago! And I just know that we will be going again. Yesterday, I tried their shrimp and cheese empanada... and I found it even better than the shrimp tacos!

Mona and Roger have two of their kids visiting, so they have taken off to another town for a few days to do some exploring on their own. So our group is down to 12, however friends Heinz and Uli are spending some time with us so we are usually back up to 14 anyhow!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Perfect Christmas Day weather...

We had a nice relaxing Christmas Day. And the weather was perfect... highs of around 22C (72F). The day started off sunny with cloudy periods, but by mid afternoon, it had changed to cloudy with sunny periods. Still, it was perfect Christmas Day weather in our opinion.

The group planned a Christmas Day brunch starting at 11:00am. That gave everybody some time to do their own thing for the morning.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas from Mexico!

We had a great Christmas Eve yesterday!

It started off with a stop at the shrimp taco place again where everybody enjoyed an early lunch. Then we did a long walk through the town of Mazamitla to the waterfall. Ruth and I have been there five or six times before, but it's always fun to show it off to new people.

Then in the evening, we had a party!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Off to the dentist!

We haven't been to a dentist in Canada for over 12 years. We've had a fair bit of work done in Mexico though... and have saved thousands of dollars as a result. We found one dentist that we're really happy with, and she is located here in the farming town of Valle de Juarez.

And because her English is quite good, we recommended her to our caravan group. So a few months ago I made appointments for most of us.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Mexico RV Caravan Travel Day- Etzatlan to Valle de Juarez

We got an early start on Sunday and left Delia's Trailer Park in Etzatlan at 8:00am. We only had to drive 210 kms (130 miles), but we know how long it takes to get anywhere in Mexico, and especially when we would be taking the back roads the whole way.

And, we wanted to arrive before 2:00pm. Our friends Barb and Sal had told us that the church was doing a fundraiser and there would be a fiesta going on with lots of inexpensive homemade local food.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Christmas in Etzatlan

 Saturday was a dull day with a few showers. Most of the group went into town, but Ruth was doing some baking so we stayed behind to look after the fort. I managed to get the balance of the Texas grime washed off of Sherman.

When we had arrived in Texas in November, Sherman had been sitting since April. It's amazing the accumulation of dirt on the exterior. I had got the windows and the passenger side done early on, but had never got to doing the driver side and the back end.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Afternoon entertainment, followed by steaks for dinner

Friday started off overcast, and we had a few light showers throughout the day. So we didn't plan anything other than going into town to the butcher. Everybody wanted to cook steaks over the fire, so we put in a big order at the local butcher and a few of us walked over to pick it up.

Most of us wanted rib eye. It's not normal in Mexico to cut them thick... thin is much more common here. So if you want them thick, you pretty much have to specifically ask for that.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Saw some interesting things yesterday!

We took the group for a hike up to the big cross overlooking the town of Etzatlan yesterday.

We were up there last March when we were here, but back then we hiked past the cross another couple of kilometers. This time, some of us decided to go further than that. Then, we came back to town and met up with the rest of the group for lunch.

We saw some interesting things along the way!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Tequila!

We are located only 45 kms (28 miles) from the town of Tequila... made famous by the drink of the same name. But the town of Tequila is a bit touristy and most of the distilleries there charge a hefty fee for their tours. We prefer the group to see something a little more authentic.

There is a long bike path on the other side of the highway from the RV Park. Many of the group have bicycles with them, so we hopped on the bikes and rode the 10 kms (6 miles) or so over to the Destiladora Agave Azul Tequila Distillery.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Mexico RV Caravan Travel Day - Tepic to Etzatlan

On Tuesday, we did the drive from Tepic to Etzatlan.

We planned to leave Los Pinos RV Park in Tepic right at 9:00am, but before we could do that we had to pay the bill. Normally, we pay when we arrive. But at that time, there was only a cleaning lady there and she said she had called the manager. But he never arrived, only the maintenance caretaker guy. He had come over and gave us the wifi password, but he never asked us to pay, and I didn't think he was the guy we were supposed to pay.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The city Of Tepic, Nayarit... and a minor repair job!

Yesterday was a day off for the group. We are here in the city of Tepic (pop around 500,000). The city itself is nothing special, but we are just taking a rest day on our way to Etzatlan.

Most gringos don't visit Tepic, even though it's the capital of the state of Nayarit. Located only 170 kms (105 miles) or so from the popular beach areas at and around Puerto Vallarta, most tourists from Canada and the U.S. head directly there.