Rachel’s Guest Blog

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So yes, this place is magnificently beautiful. The water, the sunsets, the mountains – and Sue & Don‘s house – it’s all simply gorgeous. I can see why so many people choose to live here!

Observations

Having traveled a good bit around the world, it’s rather strange for me to be in a foreign country that doesn’t speak English and be surrounded by English speakers. In San Carlos, that’s been the case everywhere we’ve gone, from restaurants to shops. Sue says it’s not that way outside San Carlos – this is apparently a little oasis of (mostly) American expats.

Friday, though, Don & Rebecca & I went to the beach and were mostly surrounded by Spanish speakers…although there was also a group of Russians nearby. That was interesting – wonder how they heard about this place!

Snorkeling & Pearls

Don took Rebecca & me snorkeling Thursday morning. It took us…well, me…awhile to get my gear situated – which was probably frustrating for Don, although you’d never know it. He was very patient and took us through a great area where we saw lots of fish and some starfish and coral. I got a few good pics.

On Friday, Sue took us to the pearl farm (www.perles.mx), which was really interesting. And of course I had to buy a souvenir…

Selfie Girl

On Wednesday (11/8) we went to a beach bar, and while we were enjoying the view and our beverages, a young woman climbed up to the lifeguard chair and proceeded to strip to her bikini and then spent 30 minutes taking selfies. I mean, really??

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So Much Good Food!

Between the restaurants (if you visit, try the chile rellenos at Tequillas!) and pigging out on sandwiches & quesadillas at Sue’s, I don’t think I’ll need to eat for a week after I get home…(not that that will actually happen). Everything has been really good, especially the fresh seafood. Yummmm!!

A Fast Trip

These few days have gone quickly – we’ve seen a lot and done a lot (and ate and drank a lot!), and still managed to just hang out and relax, both on the beach and at the house. Sunday we’ll take Leonardo‘s taxi service to the airport in Hermosillo – it’s a long drive for Sue & Don to make roundtrip, particularly since there’s construction along the way which makes it even longer than usual. Hopefully our luggage will fit in Leonardo’s little car!

Not looking forward to going back to cooler (and soon to be cold) weather. I think I need to move to the beach…

What’s New, continued.

Here are some pics of our newly painted interior walls. We sort of stuck with the existing color scheme, but whittled down the number of colors. Raphael, the painter, used Sherwin Williams paint.

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We decided to lose the fancy window treatments. The room feels much larger now, and the view is better than ever. The wall color is called Jersey Cream.

We found out from the neighbors that the fancy paint job in the stair well was actually an unfinished paint job (as I suspected.)

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We liked the purple in the entry way so refreshed it with Mature Grape.

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More Anjou Pear and Jersey Cream

Since we heard so many horror stories about the power being out for days after a hurricane hits we decided to have a whole house generator installed. The generator got it’s inaugural run two days after it was installed when the power went out (for no apparent reason) for about an hour in the evening. The generator kicked on after 10 seconds, and we sat in cool comfort watching TV. Nice!

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We had the kitchen cabinets refinished since they were in bad shape from sitting for months in an un-cooled house while the former owners went to Utah for the summer every year. It really took a toll on all of the woodwork in the house. The cabinets are made of a pretty wood called Parota which is commonly used here since termites don’t like it. The carpenters did a good job. They also built us three drawers where the non-working trash compactor used to be.

That pretty much does it for any home improvement projects for awhile. Now we have to save some money for the pool for which we still haven’t gotten an estimate. We made a few tweaks to the design, then Fabian’s (the designer) wife had a car accident. She is OK, but he has to take her to Hermosillo a few times a week for physical therapy. Anyway, we are in no rush. Soon it will be too cold to swim, unless we heat the thing. That’s still up for discussion.

We will be busy with our visitors the next few weeks. Maybe they will do guest blogs. We’ll see…

 

 

What’s New?

It’s been a while since I did a blog so I thought I do a catch up version. We survived the hot, steamy summer. Now the temperatures are in the 80’s, and the humidity is usually below 50%. The mosquitoes literally disappeared on October 1st. Life is good again.

So, what have we been up to? Nothing too exciting, just enjoying the nice weather. Here’s a rundown:

Painting

We had the house painted. It needed it badly. We hired a fellow named Raphael who came highly recommended. He, his son, and nephew did the outside and inside in a few weeks. They did a wonderful job. We love the new color.

Kayaking

Here we are kayaking at the Mirador. So much fun.

Playing Fetch

Sewing

I made this purse with Aboriginal fabric I bought while we were in Phoenix.

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Feeding Hummingbirds

I always wondered where the hummingbirds went when in got cold in Albuquerque. It seems like they all come here! We have to fill this feeder every other day. We’ve been seeing some pretty cool ones like the Mexican Violetear. He has little tufts of vivid purple feathers on both sides of his neck that look like ears. We have to bring the feeder in every night or bats empty it in short order.

Cactus Garden

We drive by this building on the way to Hammerhead’s restaurant. The only occupants seem to be the cacti growing on the roof.

roof garden

Construction

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There is significant progress on the house across the street. Things seem to be picking up in San Carlos. Currently there are five houses, and some condos being built in our neighborhood.

Visitors!

Some friends from Albuquerque will be visiting next week, and Don’s daughter, Emily, and granddaughter, Kalli, are coming the week after, and will be here for Thanksgiving. Woohoo!

 

 

Road Trip

We spent a few days in Phoenix this past week. We went to close on the lot next door, and to shop. We stayed with our friend, Tracy, who was kind enough to put up with us, our dogs, all of the stuff I bought on-line, and the mega purchases we made once we got there. Tracy spoiled us by cooking us delicious breakfasts.

We had our doubts that we would be able to fit everything into Don’s truck for our return trip to San Carlos, but we did it. We brought large, expandable suitcases in which we were able to fit most of the smaller items.

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The dogs had a comfy ride on their new beds from Costco.

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We considered the trip to be very successful when we got a green light at the border, and sailed through with nary a question about the items in our jam packed truck, including the cooler full of New Mexico green chile. Life is good.

Fox Update

Don was able to get a better picture of one of the foxes. Beautiful!fox1

 

Bird’s Eye View

Recently we met with a local architect who was recommended by Victor, the plumber, to talk about pool designs for our backyard. A week or so ago he sent a drone operator to take some aerial shots of our property. It was amazing to watch the drone. Both Smooch and I want one now. The photos confirm our suspicions that our house is puny compared to our neighbors.

We met with Fabian, the architect, today to see his preliminary design. We love it!  His design gives us everything we asked for including a waterfall, a shallow pool entry, a BBQ area, and filtered shade. During our meeting we suggested a few tweaks to expand the shade area, and add a baño. Now that we have agreed on a design Fabian will calculate a cost estimate for us. We have no clue how much this will cost. The anticipation will be brutal.

pool design

Expansion

Additionally, we have decided to buy the lot next door to us. Things are really picking up in San Carlos. Several houses are under construction in the neighborhood, and since the lots are so skinny we don’t want anyone building next to us. Our realtor helped us find the lot owner. He lives in Phoenix, and is willing to sell, so after minimal negotiations we are under contract. We were scheduled to close tomorrow, September 12, in Phoenix, but the seller didn’t get the paperwork to the attorney until Friday so we had to postpone. We were bummed since our friend, Tracy, who graciously lets us crash at her house, got us tickets to a Diamondback v. Rockies game tonight. 😦 We are waiting to hear if our proposed new closing date of next Tuesday is confirmed by all parties. Our plan for the lot is to reconfigure the driveway away from the house to make it less challenging to navigate, and reduce potential damage to the house due to weak backing skills. We would like to build another garage on the lot to store Don’s existing and future toys, and maybe include a man cave. Who knows — we like to dream big.

Foxes!

I spotted a strange animal up the stairs in our backyard one night through the window when I noticed that the motion sensor light on our giant boulder was on. I watched to see what was triggering the light, and soon saw a Smoochie sized animal with a very long tail. I couldn’t see it all that well, and thought there might be more than one. The creature(s) was having some fun either playing with some prey, or just hip hopping around. Once the light turned off the show was over. I told Don about my sighting the next day so he could be on the lookout. Sure enough, the next day when he went out with the dogs in the morning, he saw them. He thought they were Kit Foxes. Since then he has been taking his camera with him during early morning dog duty. He saw them this morning, and got some shots with his beefy zoom lens since they were far away up the hill. He says they are very quick, and able to scale the vertical bluff behind our house with little effort. Amazing!

 

 

 

Tropical Storm Lidia

We are experiencing our first tropical storm, Lidia. A few days ago Lidia was projected to make a path straight up the middle of Baja Sur California. Our proximity put us on the edge of the storm meaning we would be hit with high winds and rains. We heeded warnings from Oscar, our gardener, to bring in or tie down anything that could become a projectile.

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Fortunately Lidia is heading further west, and satellite images show that she is weakening. We will still get rain and wind, but not as bad as originally predicted.

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Don went to the shore this morning to watch the waves. Scary, yet mesmerizing to watch. Here are some pics he took.

 

Hopefully, this is the worst storm we will experience, and nothing like Hurricane Harvey is in our future. 😦

Hope everyone has a fun Labor Day weekend.

 

Pink Sea at Night

Hello blog readers. It’s been awhile since I have posted anything since not much is going on here. We spend most of our time inside to avoid the heat, humidity, and mosquitoes. However, we do have some moments of excitement from time-to-time. About a week ago we witnessed something we have never seen. During a cloudy sunset the Sea of Cortez became a vivid pink. It only lasted for about a minute which was good since it was almost frightening.

pink sea

We had a big rain storm on Saturday with a good, soaking rain. Apparently, it doesn’t take much to saturate the ground here since much of the water stays above ground for quite awhile. It was a real learning experience for us. We discovered that our two skylights leak, as well as the windows by the kitchen. We need to get these leaks repaired ASAP in case a hurricane comes our way. I don’t think we have enough buckets, bowls, and towels to deal with hurricane caused leakage. We also learned that during a good rainstorm the bluff behind our house hosts many waterfalls.

Today, instead of looking at the eclipse with goofy looking glasses — only 48% visible here —Don decided to go snorkeling. The water is about 92°, and very clear. He got some great pics.

A few weeks ago my friend, Maggie, agreed to go to Guaymas with me so I could check out Parisina, a large fabric store. Maggie is pretty familiar with Guaymas so she pointed out many useful places to know like a kitchen store, and several good restaurants. Turns out that Parisina has many beautiful fabrics, but not many suitable for quilting. Once done there we walked a block or two to Woolworth’s so I could see if it was like the one I remember from my youth in Iowa. It was sort of, in that there was a bulk candy counter, and the rest of the two story store was chock-full of inexpensive merchandise.

Finally, here’s a pic of Smoochie’s new Bark-a-Lounger. Hope everyone is doing well.

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Wanderbust

We decided not to buy the Wanderlust. Alan, the owner, was not willing to get the autopilot fixed, and he would only reduce the price of the boat by $500. This does not come close to the cost of a new autopilot which range from $1500 to $5000. Don was also concerned about Alan’s boat maintenance skills. During the sea trial, when the engine overheated, Don noticed that Alan had used a garden hose in place of a proper engine hose to get water to the engine. No wonder Alan had to keep replacing impellers. So we decided to pass on the Wanderlust.

Discouraged, but ready to keep looking, we were happy to learn about a new listing for a boat in the size and price range we are looking at. Don went to look at it. He said it’s very nice, newly refurbished, and a bit bigger than the Wanderlust. Once Don and Don, the broker, were done looking at it, Don (broker) needed to check the batteries on another boat in the dry dock. Big mistake. The boat was a really nice 42′, $150,000 model. Don said he really shouldn’t have seen it since it made the boat he just saw look kind of sad by comparison. We aren’t giving up. We might have to up the budget a bit, then avoid exposure to any boats outside that budget.

Dog Door

We no longer have to play doggie doormen for our pooches. Don installed our new dog door yesterday. This is a big deal since the door was so hard to get. I had ordered the door shortly after we moved into this house in anticipation of our new fence. I had the door shipped to Larry and Anita who kindly agreed to bring it with them when they visited us in May. They brought the door, and once the fence was complete, Don went to install it into our back door. Turns out, the company had shipped a wall mount version of the door, not the door mount version I had ordered. Oh no. Since the walls of Mexican houses are solid brick, a wall mount door would be very hard to install. I contacted the company about the mix up. The CEO of the company, Don — really? —  responded very quickly. He agreed to send a door mount door at no cost to me, just give him a day or two to figure out the best way to ship it to Mexico. The next day he told me he had sent it via USPS/FedEx Ground. This meant the Mexican postal system would be involved. Oh no. This was on July 11. I emailed Don on August 1 to ask if he had any way of tracking the package since it had been three weeks. He sent a link to the USPS tracking system which said the package had made it to Monterrey, Mexico, where the tracking stopped. He suggested I contact the postal authorities here. This suggestion was received with much eye rolling and laughter when I asked some locals about doing this. I told Don I had no hope of tracking the package from this end. The next day he sent me a link to a tracking system he had found which showed the package was either in Hermosillo or was headed there. Progress! The tracking system didn’t change until Friday when it said it was delivered! I had used our realtor’s office address since it is well known by delivery people. Don (Honeycutt) rushed over to the office to see if it was really there. It was! Don installed it the next day. It will be wonderful once the dogs start using it. They are unsure about it since the flaps aren’t transparent. We are using lots of encouragement, and treats so we are confident they will be door self sufficient very soon. Kudos to the Freedom Pet Pass pet door company. They went above and beyond to correct their mistake.

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Sea Trial Results

Hi blog readers! It’s me, Don, here to tell you about the sea trial of the Wanderlust. I went to bed the night before worrying about the weather since there were two hurricanes off the tip of the Baja that could cause a large swell all the way to San Carlos. Good for surfing, but not that great for sailing unless there is enough wind to help you cut through the waves.

Thankfully, the hurricanes also pushed enough moisture here late the day before the sea trial which caused a lot of local wind and rain that knocked down the swell. When I got up in the morning there was no swell around. I looked out our front window to see a sailboat out in the ocean slowly going by with little wind and no swell. I later found out that it was the Wanderlust heading in to port after spending the night at a small cove near Guaymas.

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The Wanderlust making its way back to the marina.

We were to meet at 9:45 for the sea trial. At 9:00 it was raining like crazy, but starting to lift so the trial was on. By the time I got there it was clearing so we went to the boat. Alan, the boat owner, started the engine. We all checked to see that the water pump was working. It was so we jumped in. We putted slowly out of the marina while Joe, the boat surveyor, checked things on the boat.

Everything seemed to be working great. We were almost past the no wake buoys when a loud beeping started. We all looked at each other, and Joe said that must mean that the motor is over heating. Three of us at us looked over the back of the boat to see if water was coming out from the pump. There was nothing. Joe used his handy laser thermometer, and said it was just barley starting to over heat, and we should turn off the engine. Luckily for us the wind was blowing the right direction, and pushed us back into a empty dock. Alan got busy looking for a spare impeller. With much sweat dripping off his entire body he found one in a few minutes then started putting it in. It took him about 45 minutes to get it done then we were back on the trial.

Joe went thru all his tests. It was time to check and see how she sailed. When I looked up to see how much wind there was, and from what direction, all I noticed was a big squall heading our way. They asked me if I wanted them to raise the sails. I said no, not with that coming our way. Everyone was glad I said no. It was not a good time to be sailing. Joe was done with all his stuff so we headed in. On the way in Alan suggested that after 2:00 we try to take her out if it clears up for a sail, and to see if Sue would like to go also. She didn’t go on the sea trial because the boat was full with five people on board and a lot going on.

I headed home to tell Sue as another rainstorm started. We went to lunch during the rain, and returned at 2:00 just as it stopped raining. Not much wind, but we took out the boat, and got to raise the sails, and go at about at three knots (very slow) around. Despite all the weird things happening I think it was a successful sea trial. I got a good idea how she handled under sail. I was surprised at the good handling in light wind, and was impressed with the rigging. I think Sue was impressed with the boat also. The only thing that didn’t work was the auto pilot so I think if Alan will drop the price so that we can fix or replace the auto pilot we will buy the Wanderlust.

 

Wanderlust

Today we paid to have the boat we are interested in buying, the Wanderlust, moved from the dry dock to the marina in preparation for the sea trial on Saturday. Wanderlust’s owner, Alan, and his friend, Ken, arrived in San Carlos this morning after flying from Denver to Phoenix, then taking the bus to Guaymas. Alan and Ken are from Littleton, CO. Since Don lived in Littleton for 20 years he swapped boating and Colorado stories with these fellows while we waited for marina personnel to bring the boat from the dry dock. They were supposed to bring it at 11 am, which in Mexico time turned out to be closer to noon.

Getting the boat off of the trailer, and into the water was an interesting operation. At Cochiti Lake Don would back his boat trailer into the water until it was deep enough for the boat to float off of the trailer. Here, the trailer does not go into the water. They back up the boat so that it’s next to a large crane, put heavy duty straps around the hull, then hook the straps to the crane. Once secure, they lift the boat from the trailer, then swing it around to gently lower into the water.

Alan invited us aboard so that I could get the nickle tour. What a nice boat! It’s a 32 foot O’Day made in 1987. It’s pretty spacious, as boats of this size go. The galley is tall enough for Don (6′) to stand without ducking. It has a lot of features that make Don happy like the auto pilot. The boat seems very well kept. Don will find out more during the sea trial on Saturday. I am not going to go on the sea trial since there is going to be, literally, a boat load of people. Don, Alan, Ken, Don, the broker, and Joe, the boat surveyor, are all going to check out the Wanderlust. It could be a be bit of a wild ride since currently there two pacific storms, Hillary and Irwin, southwest of the Baja. They are joing forces to stir up the surf which should be a good test of the Wanderlust’s sea worthiness. I’ve asked Don to take his waterproof camera to document the sail. I’ll try to talk him into doing a guest blog about the sea trial when he gets back.