This is primarily a travel blog in which I write about traveling in our motorhome. Our travels have

Nacogdoches, TX, United States
I began this blog as a vehicle for reporting on a 47-day trip made by my wife and me in our motorhome down to the Yucatan Peninsula and back. I continued writing about our post-Yucatan travels and gradually began including non-travel related topics. I often rant about things that piss me off, such as gun violence, fracking, healthcare, education, and anything else that pushes my button. I have a photography gallery on my Smugmug site (

Monday, October 26, 2015


In preparing a display on Poison Prevention for the 1st - 3rd graders at my grandson's school, I was pairing up different medicines with candy "look-a-likes". The kids will be asked, "Which one is the candy and which one is the poison/medicine/"bad" stuff?" I went out to three different stores and purchased about $20 worth of candy (it's a rough job). I have Good 'n Plenty, Hot Tamles, Smarties, Sweetarts, Skittles, Tic Tacs, Mike & Ike, Harbro Gold-Bears, Lemonhead, Hershey bar, and MMs. 

I went to the hospital pharmacy, where I work occasionally, and with the Director's permission, attempted to match up as many of the candies with similar looking tablets and capsules. I was successful with all but three or four of the candies (I'll just have to eat those I suppose). I took the candies and medicines home, got out my zip-lock bags and began matching them all up. 

For one of the medicines I needed two red M&Ms (plain, no peanuts). I opened the 3.4 oz, $1.00 bag of M&Ms and poured a few out in my hand but didn't see any red ones at first glance so I dumped the entire bag on the dining room table. After searching through the pile I found ONE red M&M. Why was there only one red M&M in my package? This both frustrated and baffled me so I did some research. How many of each color should there be in a bag? 

But first, an aside. A little extra bit of trivia I picked up when researching. It seems that red has always been the favorite color M&M for the past umpteen years. But in 1976, because of a study associating FDC #2 red food dye with cancer, the red M&Ms were discontinued -- even though FDC #2 was NOT used to color the red M&Ms. The company was afraid the public might assume that the harmful dye was used. As a result, orange M&Ms were introduced to replace the red ones. However, in 1987, after an eleven-year absence, the red M&Ms were reintroduced and the orange ones were allowed to continue.

Now, back to the M&M color distribution question. How do they decide how many of each color goes into a bag? Well, a guy named Josh Madison ( wondered the same thing. He found that Mars (M&M manufacturer) claims the color distribution is as follows:

Red 13%
Brown 14%
Green 16%
Orange 20%
Yellow 14%
Blue 24%

Josh went out and purchased a retail box (48 packages, 1.69 oz. each) of M&Ms, dumped them all out, divided the colors, and counted. There was a total of 2,620 M&Ms with the color distribution as follows:

Red (369) 14.20%
Brown (371) 14.16%
Green (483) 18.44%
Orange (544) 20.76%
Yellow (369) 14.08%
Blue (481) 18.36%

Josh concluded that these numbers were close enough for him. So I counted the M&Ms in my one bag. I had 115. I divided out the colors and counted each one. In addition to the ONE red M%M there were eight browns, thirty-six greens, eighteen orange, twenty-one yellow, and thirty-one blue. A total of one hundred and fifteen M&Ms. Was the color distribution in my bag of M&Ms on target? After counting and calculating, this is how my M&M colors were distributed:

Red 0.9%
Brown 6.8%
Green 32.3%
Orange 15.6%
Yellow 18.4%
Blue 27.0%

Not even close! It looks like I may have to sue Mars to get my second red M&M. Why is it that I never seem to have the time to get anything done?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Leaving Yosemite

We left Yosemite Thursday Morning.  It was a late start, not getting off until 11:10 AM.   But first, let me backup to Tuesday afternoon and my 4-hour “Walking in the Footsteps of Ansel Adams”.  I showed up at the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Village a little before 1 PM in order to sign the required waiver.  I didn’t bother to read it as it may have given me cause for concern.  I wanted to do this and that meant signing the waiver.  Christine, one of the Gallery’s professional photographers, led the group, 6 Ansel Adams wanna-be’s.  Christine started talking and walking at the same time.  She never stopped talking and rarely stopped walking.  Don’t get me wrong, though.  She was giving us some very good information on manual cameral settings, composition, use of filters, and discussing the work of Ansel Adams.  The only times that we stopped was for her to show us places from which Adams took some of his famous photographs.  She helped us set up the shots and then briefly critiqued them to help us get better shots.  I’m afraid that Ansel will get no competition from any of us.  Of course, it took him more than 4 hours to take almost any single photograph.  He would do a lot of walking around at different times of the day and year, looking at how and where the light was illuminating potential subjects.  Once he had taken the shot(s) he still had a lot of work to do in the darkroom to get exactly the print he wanted (no digital cameras or Photoshop back then!)  By the time 5 PM arrived we had walked several miles, I was tired, my feet were killing me (wrong kind of shoes), and we were still almost a mile from the parking lot where I was to meet Carol Ann and the car.

Although the afternoon was quite tough, I enjoyed it and picked up some excellent tips and pointers.  I would recommend the experience to anyone wishing to improve their photography, whether you have a DSLR or a point-and-shoot camera (2 of the group had point-and-shoots and Christine showed them how to use features on the cameras that they were not familiar with).

Bruce and Karen left Yosemite on Wednesday, heading back to Paso Robles, CA.  The rest of us would use Wednesday as a day of rest and preparing to leave Yosemite.  Gunther and Candace were heading down to San Jose and environs and then would be visiting Bruce and Karen in Paso Robles for a few days. 

Carol Ann and I headed for Paso Robles from Yosemite.  Bruce and Karen drove us over the coast (only about 25 miles from Paso Robles) yesterday.   We drove up and down the Pacific Coast Highway (CA 1) from San Simeon to Cambria. 

We stopped at the Hearst Castle Visitor Center to look into possible tours (for which we MAY return tomorrow  (Sunday) morning.  The castle sat on a hill in fog a couple of miles from the Visitor Center.  A short distance north of Hearst Castle we pulled over and parked at an elephant seal viewing area.  They return every year to this particular beach for giving birth to their pups and laze away the days sleeping in the sand when they aren’t out grabbing a meal.  There can be as many as 8,500 of these very large seals calling this beach home.  Not that many were there yesterday, but there were still hundreds of them.  Last year there were over 4,000 new pups born.

We drove down to Cambria and had lunch at a restaurant called Schooner’s.  We ate on the deck overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  I should have worn a hat as my forehead got a little sunburned. 

Today is Saturday.  It is almost noon and I am waiting for Carol Ann to return from shopping with Karen so the four of us can go to the Double Barrel Brewery, a micro-brewery and brewpub for lunch (and samples of their various beers, of course).  After lunch we hope to catch at least the second half of the Georgia – Tennessee SEC football game on TV.  It starts at 3:30 PM Eastern time, which is 12:30 PM here in California.

Tomorrow the four of us plan to visit some of the local wineries and sample their wines.  There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 or more wineries in the Paso Robles area.  Grape vines seem to be everywhere.

I have made a bold attempt to sort through the hundreds of photos taken since I last posted any on this blog.  I will include them with this post, as it will make the page too long.  I will create a photo page (see list of pages in the right-hand column) for you to browse through at your leisure.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Off the Grid

(This is my first post in almost 3 months. I'm still alive, just haven't had anything to say.)

My flight from Houston to Missoula, MT by way of Denver was scheduled to begin boarding at 3:16PM at gate 30C. I was assigned to Boarding Group 3 so was in no hurry to get in line. I sat and patiently waited until 3:16 arrived. Nothing happened except the LED sign behind the agent’s counter changed from Denver to Orange County without even the gate agent being aware. A mob of travelers soon had his attention and he was on the phone to find out what had happened to the Denver flight. It had been changed to gate 33C. No big deal, only two gates away. Our mob immediately began moving to gate 33C, only to run into another big mob moving from gate 33C to gate 30C. Bedlam ensued but was short lived. At gate 33C passengers that had already boarded the aircraft were still deplaning and heading to gate 30C. I also noticed through the windows that the baggage that had been loaded on the plane was being taken off. A similar scene was occurring at gate 33C. I remember thinking how glad I was that I had no checked luggage. Once all of the baggage and passengers were sorted out and on the appropriate aircraft I learned the reason for the change. Someone sitting in an airline office somewhere apparently had an “uh-oh” moment just before the Orange County flight was to pull away from the gate at 2:54PM. Someone just happened to realize that the Orange County runway was too short for the “equipment” (I wish they would call it an airplane or aircraft) originally scheduled for Orange County. The decision was made to swap the aircraft with the one scheduled for Denver, as it was capable of landing on the shorter runway. Kind of makes you wonder what would have happened if that “little fact” had not been noticed.

With the aircraft being slightly different, the seating assignments were not all as they should have been. I, however, was still in a window seat right behind an exit row (very bad as the exit row has more foot room at the expense of the row behind it, in which I was sitting). Also due to the equipment change the flight attendant read most of the required emergency procedures incorrectly. The number of exits and their locations was wrong along with the exit rows. She finally realized what she was doing when she pointed to exits, which did not exist where she was pointing. All of this swapping around of planes, passengers, and luggage was time consuming and the aircraft did not take to the skies until 4:50PM, a little over an hour late. I was not worrying about the tight connection I would have in Denver because I was still wondering if the pilots knew how to fly this piece of equipment or did they swap pilots in addition to the equipment. And if they swapped pilots, did they know how to get to Denver?

As it turned out, the pilots did seem to know how to fly the particular aircraft and also knew how to get to Denver. In fact they made up most of the lost time enroute. I would still need to rush between gates to catch my connecting flight to Missoula. We pulled into gate 34C and began to deplane. I walked over to a set of monitors to find the gate number for the Missoula flight. Gate 89C. About a 15-mile walk I believe. I could have qualified as an Olympic walker as I scooted around slower traffic to get to gate 89C. I believe they do this on purpose so that you will be too tired to complain about anything once you are finally aboard your next flight.

After I arrived at gate 89C and was catching my breath, I noticed a middle-aged man in shorts, a short-sleeve casual shirt, sandals, and a baseball cap loudly interacting with two small children while the mother looked on smiling. The man played silly little games with the children, laughing along with them. He was being quite obnoxious. That’s when I realized that the man had apparently left the bar only recently. No wonder he was laughing and cutting up with the children. I assumed that the mother and children were his family and that he was simply keeping the kids from becoming bored and restless while waiting for the flight.

Finally, the boarding process began and as I walked towards the jet way I noticed a sign that read, “Check your carry on luggage here.” Oh, no. The plane was a small, cramped, regional jet with undersized overhead storage. Only small pieces of luggage, such as coin purses, could be carried on-board. I had to quickly repack to make sure my computer and camera equipment were not in the bag that would most likely be bounced onto the aircraft.

Once aboard the faux-airliner I discovered that I had a window seat, which like everything else on this aircraft was small and cramped. I squeezed into the seat and lowered the armrest between the two seats. When I looked up the aisle I saw the obnoxious man following the family up the aisle. The mother and children passed my row but the man sat down in the aisle seat next to me and raised the armrest between us. It was not his family after all.

The man introduced himself to me, and about half the plane if they were listening. His name was Dennis, he told me, as he vigorously shook my hand. He asked if I had ever been to Montana before, to which I answered in the negative. He had never been there either, he told me. The sweet odor about him confirmed that he had indeed been drinking, which he subsequently confirmed by volunteering that his morning flight had been cancelled and he had spent the interim, which was most of the day, waiting for this flight in a “shitty little airport bar” drinking vodka and cranberry juice. Dennis was loud and talked a lot. He was extremely creative with the “F” word and was able to use it cleverly in almost every sentence that he spoke. Each and every time he had something to tell me he would lean towards me, invading my personal space, and slap me on the shoulder to get my attention. I was polite and answered his many questions but with as few words as possible. I did not want to encourage the man. Apparently he did not believe me when I told him I had never been to Montana before as he repeated the question at least four or five times during the flight. Without asking, I learned that Dennis would be 48 years old in two weeks, he was from Wisconsin, and he had been working for an energy company in Lubbock, TX for the past several years. Dennis had never been married and at the moment was between girlfriends. He worried that the government was watching him through the TV, Internet, credit cards, and his cell phone in preparation for seizing his guns. Because of this, he planned to retire in two years, at the age of 50, and move to Montana where he would live “off the grid” to foil the government’s plan to take his guns. In preparation for his move to Montana, and his planned obscurity, he told me that he had purchased 35 acres of land, sight unseen, “14 miles from the middle of nowhere.” He had made the purchase and placed a down payment over the Internet. He was now on his way to Montana to close the deal with $20,000 in cash (the only way he did business he told me), which he was carrying in his backpack (he did not show it to me). I asked him if it was oceanfront property but he didn’t seem to catch my joke. The property, he told me, was beautiful (he could tell from the internet photos) and included 19 fresh water springs plus an abandoned silver mine. He repeated this several times as we winged our way toward Missoula. When he learned that I was on my way to Missoula to attend a one-week photography course he repeatedly invited me and the entire class to come out and take pictures on his property. I informed him each time that I would not be able to do so as the class was already planned and was very structured.

At one point in the 90-minute flight I feigned sleep, only to be hit on the shoulder every time he wanted to tell me something or ask me a question. I finally gave up attempting to ignore him but continued to only provide abbreviated responses. I never asked for additional information but he usually provided it anyway.

After what seemed like an eternity the plane landed in Missoula. Dennis informed me that he was picking up a rental car at the airport and offered me a ride to my hotel, which I politely declined, telling him that someone was picking me up (I lied). As soon as the plane stopped at the gate, Dennis grabbed his backpack with the $20 grand in it and sprinted up the aisle from the middle of the plane to the front where he was the first person to exit the aircraft. I guess he could not wait to see his property. As I rose from my seat I was surprised to hear applause from the passengers seated for three or four rows around me. They were glad to see Dennis gone but were congratulating me for the patience I demonstrated while being forced to sit next to him and interact with him for the entire flight. Now if I could just avoid him in the terminal.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Trigger-Happy Police?

In 1994 Congress instructed the Attorney General to compile and publish annual statistics on police use of excessive force. This was never carried out and thus no one really knows exactly how many people have been killed by the police in the U.S. The FBI attempts to compile an annual report of “justified homicides” by police, however, police departments are not required to report homicides by police. Reporting is strictly voluntary with only about 800 police departments out of the approximately 18,000 in the U.S. providing the data to the FBI. Because of this, estimates can vary quite a bit.

If you take the average of the 800 departments reporting to the FBI and apply it to the non-reporting departments (assuming the non-reporting departments kill people at the same rate as reporting departments) the best estimate of people killed by U.S. police is around 1,240 per year.

Independent sources, journalists, and academics, insist a more accurate number is closer to 1,000 people per year killed by the police in the U.S. Already in the first three months of 2015 the police have killed an estimated 291 people. At that rate the number could be 1,164 for the year.

The Wall Street Journal, in an analysis of recent data from 105 of America’s largest police departments, found that 550 homicides by police were not included in the FBI annual report.

Are Americans becoming more violent and forcing the police to shoot more people? Actually, according to the FBI, the violent crime rate in America has been decreasing steadily since 1994. So, no. It is not the American people who are becoming more violent. Americans are less violent then ever. It is the police who are becoming increasingly violent.

Far more people are killed each year by police in America than are killed in other countries by the police. For comparison, the average number of people killed each year by police in Canada is 25, 8 in Germany, 5 in Australia, 2 in the UK, 1 in Sweden, and 0 in Japan. In the 115 years (1900 – 2015), police in England have killed only 52 people.

Statistically, Americans are 55 times more likely to be killed by the police than by a terrorist and police are 25 times more likely to die from weight-related cardiovascular disease than from the actions of a criminal.

So why do American police find it necessary to kill so many people? Is it inadequate training, fear of being harmed themselves, or are they just trigger-happy? I have no idea.

Monday, March 23, 2015

On The Road Again, Finally

We had several days, actually weeks, to get our motorhome ready for our 1200-mile trip from Nacogdoches, TX to Cottonwood, AZ but, as usual, we kept putting it off. We didn’t start packing until the day we were leaving (3/19/15). I ran a perfunctory check of the motorhome to make sure all systems were go but we were still taking a big chance because it had been sitting in storage for months. It seemed that our biggest problem was that our state inspection sticker had expired six months previously. No problem, we could stop on the way out of town and get it inspected. It should only take about 15 minutes max.

We captured three of our cats, crated them, and took them out to the motorhome and were finally ready to leave. We pulled away from the house about 2:00 PM and headed for the inspection station. The 15 minutes turned into about two hours because they were so busy. When they finally got to me, the mechanic didn’t even bother to look at the motorhome. He simply issued the new sticker, probably because by then the heavens had opened and a hard rain was falling.

Before leaving the inspection station we began hooking up our car. That’s when I discovered that the air hose connecting the car brakes to the motorhome brakes was missing from the front of the car. A couple of weeks ago the car’s front bumper had been replaced and the air hose connection had not been remounted. We hurried to the body shop in hopes they could correct the oversight before they closed. We made it and they fished around behind the grill, located the air hose, and remounted it under the front bumper. At 4:30 PM we were finally on the road. Only 1200 miles to go!

We stopped for the night at a Pilot truck stop around 6:00 PM and sandwiched ourselves between two 18-wheelers with about two feet of clearance on each side. We had made it as far as Tyler, TX, only 88 miles from our starting point. Quite a first day!

On Thursday morning 3/20/15, after a noisy night in the truck stop, we were not fueled and on the road until almost 10:30 AM. Our goal for the day was Amarillo and the Oasis RV Park up in the Panhandle. For the first 200 miles we drove in and out (mostly in) of heavy rain and were delayed by two accidents and road construction near Fort Worth. We stopped in a rest area around 2:00 PM and had lunch. We were behind schedule (as usual), which meant a late arrival in Amarillo. We were further delayed as we were not on the interstate any longer and had to slow down through the many small towns along the route. One of these towns was Quanah, TX, which I made fun of in my blog a couple of years ago and was severely scolded in a comment by one of its residents. As we entered the town I saw the sign that inspired me to mention it in my blog back then. The sign read, “Puka Lives Here.” I won’t say anything else, as I don’t wish to be scolded again. You can check my post of August 19, 2012 if interested.

At 5:30 that afternoon we were still at least two hours, perhaps two and a half, from the Oasis RV Park so we stopped where we have stopped before when unable to make Amarillo before dark. It was the Cotton Gin Old Towne RV Park in Goodlett, TX, a place that may be hard to find on a map, as there is only an old cotton gin and the rv park. It wasn’t the Oasis RV Park but was still somewhat of an oasis in the rather desolate panhandle of Texas. When we pulled into the park we had traveled a total of 416 miles from Nacogdoches. Not very impressive for what should have been two days of driving.

At 9:05 AM on Saturday we left Goodlett intent on making up some time. We pulled into the New Mexico welcome center on I-40 for lunch a little before 1:00 PM. We were 205 miles closer to Cottonwood. We were back on the road after lunch with intentions to make it all the way to Gallup, NM before stopping and parking in a Walmart parking lot for the night. Driving was somewhat tedious because of the huge number of 18-wheelers. I was leap-frogging from convoy to convoy. I would settle in with a group until it began to slow down and I would move on ahead to the next group. Every time I passed another vehicle I would have to use my passenger-side mirror to judge the distance and pull back in without the car we were towing being too close to the vehicle we were passing. Each time it seemed I had to readjust the mirror (remote control thank goodness) in order to see properly. It finally got to the point that I could not adjust it any longer and pulled into a rest area to investigate. I found the mirror was loose on the arm extending from the RV. The setscrews holding it in place had been stripped and the mirror was being turned by the wind. I knew immediately why the screws were stripped. While the motorhome had been in its covered storage parking our “neighbor” in the space next to us kept a rather large ski boat and trailer stored. The boat had some kind of aluminum “outriggers” (I don’t know what else to call them) attached to the sides of the boat. I assume they had something to do with pulling skiers. Unfortunately, the guy wasn’t very good when it came to towing his boat. Several times, as he was pulling it out of his storage space, one of the “outriggers” would hit the side mirror of my motorhome, pushing it out of adjustment. I would reposition it, complain to the manager, and leave a nasty note on the boat (I never saw anyone with the boat). This happened three or four times (I’m too kind hearted) before I sent a letter to the storage company owner to inform them that I would hold them responsible for any damage done if they continued to allow the boat owner to hit my mirror. I also threatened to call the police and report it as vandalism. In the end, I was moved to a new space and nothing more done. After these several months I now knew that damage had indeed been done. For the moment all I could do was get out my Gorilla Tape and wrap the mirror housing and arm in it to keep it from moving.

I was still determined to make Gallup, mirror, or no mirror. Fortunately, the tape held. I began following an 18-wheel flatbed trailer that was carrying what appeared to be large metal boxes. After following it for some time I became curious and began inching up closer in an attempt to see what he was hauling. I was finally close enough to see a small circle that looked like a pie cut in six equal slices. The slices were alternating colors of orange and black. It was beginning to dawn on my what the symbol indicated when I read the small print next to it. “DANGER: RADIATION.” I quickly passed him and moved on up the road what I considered a safe distance!

We kept driving and made it to Gallup. We were both very tired when we exited I-40 to find the Walmart. I managed to miss it and had to find a place to turn around. The motorhome with car attached is a total length of approximately fifty-four feet. It doesn’t turn on a dime. In the end I had to block a four-lane highway to make a U-turn. I pulled into a Home Depot parking lot because we could see a Walmart sign in the distance but did not know how to get to it. I got out of the RV, approached a man, pointed at the Walmart sign, and asked how to get there. He seemed a bit confused and wasn’t making much sense to me. Finally, he pointed to the building adjacent to Home Depot and said, “That brown building right there is Walmart!” Feeling like an idiot we crossed the Home Depot lot into the Walmart lot and parked for the night. It was 7:00 PM and we had driven a total of 977 miles, 561 of them in ten hours of driving that day.

Sunday morning (3/22/15) we were in no hurry. We only had another 252 miles to go and weren’t expected until around 3:30 in the afternoon. We left at either 10:15 or 9:15 AM (we weren’t sure because we didn’t know what time zone we were in). For many miles across Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and on to the coast I presume, I-40 parallels the old historic Route 66. It was not unusual to spot old buildings that were once thriving businesses before I-40 took away the traffic from Route 66. One such building was an old RV park, its faded sign identifying it as, “Root [sic] 66 RV Park.”

When we crossed into Arizona we stopped at the state’s welcome center for an Arizona road map and some brochures of attractions in the Sedona-Cottonwood area. The place looked busy and the parking lot was almost full. We parked and walked over to the welcome center’s entrance and discovered the door was locked. A sign on the door read, “OPEN MONDAY – FRIDAY, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.” It was Sunday. The state’s welcome centers are not open on weekends when most tourists are traveling? Very strange. There were some maps in a box beside the door so it wasn’t a total bust.

We left I-40 at Flagstaff and headed south on I-17, past Sedona, and got off at the Verde Valley exit. The RV park was another 15 miles or so. We were using the GPS on Carol Ann’s phone and were told to make a right turn on East Thousand Trails Drive (location of the Thousand Trails RV Park). We made the turn but realized the road sign just read, “Thousand Trails Drive,” without the “East.” There were no RV Park signs either. Nothing to lead us to believe this was the correct road. We decided to get back on the highway and drive a little further, hoping to find East Thousand Trails Drive. A few miles later we discovered that Carol Ann’s phone battery was dead and the map was no help. We turned around, went back, and turned on the Thousand Trails Drive without the East and it turned out to be correct. After 1228 total miles and 21 hours and 59 minutes of driving time we had made it. In two weeks we have to turn around and do it again, in reverse.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Just Send Them Your Money

I have just returned from Mexico. A country that I swore never again to visit after our Mexican adventure in 2012. I had every intention of honoring that promise until my son and his (then) fiancé decided to get married in Cabo San Lucas. I was given no choice. I was required to attend (and pay for a portion of) their “destination wedding.” I left the cold behind for the warm climes of the Baja Peninsula and returned much poorer and with a head cold.

There were about 170 people in attendance t the wedding, which was an amazing number considering the distance and expense. The wedding was held at the Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar Spa Resort on the Sea of Cortez, about seven miles east of Cabo. The setting was fantastic, not to mention expensive. There is something wrong about having to pay $15 a day for slow Wi-Fi when staying in a $500 a day suite.

If you are planning your first ever trip to Cabo I must warn you of the “free rides” from the airport to your hotel. Once you have made it through immigration and customs you will enter a large room where you will be mobbed by men offering you a free ride to your hotel. DO NOT make eye contact with, speak with, or in any other way acknowledge the presence of these people or you are doomed. Walk straight through this room and out the other side. Do not stop. There is no “free ride.” You may eventually arrive at your hotel but not before being given the “opportunity” to purchase a time-share. You should arrange and pay for your airport transportation in advance of your trip. Then look for someone holding a sign with your name on it. Then, and only then, should you allow yourself to relax. Let the man with the your sign take your luggage and you follow him to his vehicle.

While in Cabo, be prepared to spend one hell of a lot of money. This place is very expensive. Two words of advice. If you will worry about how much money you may spend, DON’T GO!

The area was devastated by a hurricane last fall and a lot of damage still remains to be repaired. Many of the resorts have yet to reopen. The Sheraton is one of the few that has been repaired and reopened. There is much ongoing reconstruction but it is still a beautiful area. You have the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez with beautiful beaches and deserts and mountains beyond.

There are numerous places in which to pursue the national past time of drinking beer and tequila. If you enjoy loud and noisy crowds of young people bent on setting records for the most alcohol consumed in one night then you will find no place better.

Maro’s Shrimp House serves excellent shrimp dishes and is known for their house drink, the Bulldog. This is primarily a concoction of lime juice, tequila, and Corona, which I found not particularly tasty. The records for the most Bulldogs consumed in one night are painted on the walls. The men’s record is 19 in a little less than 3 hours (an average of about one every 9 minutes). The women’s record is 13 in a little over 8 hours (a more leisurely average of one every 37 minutes). I don’t know if barfing resulted in disqualification or not.

One last thing. Don’t bother with exchanging any of your US dollars for Mexican pesos. We charged everything to our room at the resort and then paid the total bill by credit card. As a matter of fact, we paid for almost everything we did in Cabo by credit card, thereby not incurring any exchange fees or returning home with a pocketful of useless change. If you must pay in cash, everyone is more than happy to accept US dollars. In fact, many establishments list their prices in both pesos and dollars. If you must worry about something such as exchange rates, you simply cannot afford Cabo and should stay away.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Gods Must Be Angry

Three years ago at this time I was on a 47-day RV caravan in Mexico (see archived posts from January and February of 2012). Because of events that occurred on that trip I swore to never, ever, return to Mexico. That was before my son and his fiancé decided to get married in Cabo San Lucas on the southern-most tip of the Baja Peninsula. My son told me I had no choice. I had to attend the wedding. I can assure you that we will not be traveling by RV this time. We will fly in and out and not venture too far from the resort area while there. So, tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon we leave for Houston to spend the night before boarding a Wednesday morning flight to Cabo. We will return next Tuesday.
There should be over one hundred friends and family traveling to Cabo for the wedding and it will be a party. Can you think of any other reason to wed in Cabo than because it will be one big party? The wedding will take place Saturday afternoon on the beach in front of the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar. The rehearsal party will be the night before. The partying will actually start on Thursday night when a bus transports the early arrivals into town for dinner at Maro's Shrimp House followed by a visit to the Giggling Marlin Bar & Grille (emphasis on the "Bar"). This is an establishment whose motto is, "If our food, drinks, and service aren't up to your standards. Please lower your standards." Poor sentence structure and all. Return transportation to the hotel is on our own and will probably be a very early return for me.  
Cabo tourism websites boast anywhere from 300 up to 360 days of sunshine a year with the average daily temperature being a very warm 78°F. This time of year, however, it should be a most pleasant 72 °F to 75°F with nighttime temperatures in the mid 60's. Cabo's annual rainfall is slightly less than 10-inches a year with only 0.08-inches of that amount falling during the month of February. The weather for the wedding festivities should be perfect. Right? Well, I just checked the Cabo weather report. Rain is forecast to begin on Thursday and continue through Monday. The day with the greatest chance of rain, a 70% to 80% chance, is Saturday, the wedding day. 
This is all my fault. By breaking the vow I made to never return to Mexico, I have angered the gods and they are threatening to exact their revenge on this entire event by sending a plague of rain down upon the partygoers. Even with this threat hanging over the wedding, my attendance is still expected and required. The bride-to-be has stated that she wants to get married on the beach in Cabo and she was not moving the wedding indoors or having a tent erected. The wedding will be on the beach come rain or come shine. Let's hope it's shine.