Archive for July, 2010

Keeping Busy in Guaymas

Ports of Call | Posted by Admiral
Jul 30 2010

Guaymas in July is all about heat control – no way to pretty it up.  I start most days with a shower, then a swim.

July 2010 from Aq 050 Nice pool, but the sun heats it up pretty fast every day.  You have to swim before 8 to get reliably cool water.

I only use a towel to dry my face since the water dripping in my eyes is annoying.  Other than that, you let the water soak into your clothes and evaporate.  This is the best technique short of air-conditioning for heat control.  For terrific a/c, we go for a drive in Linda’s Suburban.  Lots of places to go around here.  We have made several trips to Marina Real in San Carlos to help with various problems on the boat of a friend.  The boat is called Blue Dolphin.  They have two CO detectors which overreact in the heat.  We have disabled them.  We went once to locate special varnish to hand off to a worker who will sand and varnish for them.  Meanwhile, Kathy and Robert of BD are at home in Texas, swimming in rivers and generally keeping cool as well as they can.  Our friends on Ubuntu are in Hawaii – lucky them!  That is after spending some time at Doug and Linda’s beautiful home on the Napa River.  We are all very fortunate to have stumbled into the world of Aquadesiac – beautiful home on the river to visit, Suburban with 4-wheel drive and air-conditioning, Doug the super-trouble-shooter guy who will work past midnight, and Linda, the wonder woman.  No problem too big or too small, she seems to find the solution!  We have made many great friends, more every day.  We are very, very fortunate.

This is Jose.  He works here six days a week (a typical Mexican work-week), and has the most colorful, friendly personality Linda and I have seen in a long time.  He reminds me of the character of Belle’s father in “Beauty and the Beast”:

July 2010 from Aq 078 Today, we asked him for an idea about a restaurant for breakfast.  He and his co-worker discussed this for several minutes before sending us to a great place with really good food.  Jose is our good friend.

Here in Guaymas, we have spent a lot of time driving SLOWLY to Wal-Mart or the Soriana supermercado.  Then we browse SLOWLY thru the aisles, sometimes with specific objectives, most times not.  We went to see the new Tom Cruise movie, Knight and Day, at a local movie theater with terrific a/c, plus artery-clogging popcorn as required for proper movie viewing.  The movie was presented in English with Spanish sub-titles.  The movie was actually very entertaining – should be billed more as a comedy than an action movie.  The action was nearly non-stop, but it was all way over the top and done for laughs.

We took that trip to Ciudad Obregon where we purchased walnut for the construction of Aquadesiac’s cockpit table:

July 2010 from Aq 040 This was one of those outings where Muggs earned her keep by being the designated spokesperson.  My fractured Spanish got the right ideas communicated, and the table has been built with good results:

July 2010 from Aq 075Teak is unavailable here, but the carpenter who did the work (here in Guaymas) recommended walnut which he could obtain in about two weeks.  Instead of waiting, we drove to Obregon and purchased it ourselves.  The lumber store was quite something:

July 2010 from Aq 042 No signs!  We had directions which turned out to be good, but the shop was closed when we first drove by.  Eventually, we asked some people on the street where the lumber store was, and they pointed to this shop which was closed at the time.  We can back about an hour later, and they had reopened after a two hour lunch-siesta.  The only way to cope!   No air-conditioning here, and the temperature in Obregon topped 116 degrees that day!

While we were in Obregon, Larry and Doug went into an appliance store and bought a fan (for us) and an a/c unit (for Doug and Linda).  Then, of course, they had to build a platform for the unit:

July 2010 from Aq 047

July 2010 from Aq 049

Before I arrived in Guaymas (going back to early July), Doug, Linda, and Larry witnessed a young Mexican couple that had just gotten married come down to our dock for pictures – look how beautiful they are:

July 2010 from Aq 010

July 2010 from Aq 008

As a foursome, we went to the Delfinario last weekend.  This is a water park similar to Marine World but much smaller.  There was a dolphin show and a sea lion show.  Both were very cute with a particularly entertaining clown who started the action at each show.

July 2010 from Aq 085 And the price was right.  There were only the two shows that interested us, and admission was about $4 for Larry, $8 for me.  You could pay $40 extra for a swimming and touching experience with the dolphins, but we decided not to spend the money.  There was a little audience participation in the sea lion show.  A pretty young woman was brought into the pool area and escorted to what she did not know – a sea lion kiss!

July 2010 from Aq 098

We also met an interesting family from Juarez who helped us communicate when there was a snafu with our tickets – fluency is a very good thing!

July 2010 from Aq 094 I talked to her daughter for a while.  We eventually learned that she and her husband work with disabled children in Juarez.  Juarez is one of the hot spots of drug-fueled violence in Mexico.  It was eye-opening to meet people who are leading dignified, productive lives in the midst of such horror.

After the dolphins, we went to the Soggy Peso, a beach bar where the swimming was fine and the drinks even finer:

July 2010 from Aq 112 July 2010 from Aq 109

July 2010 from Aq 073 July 2010 from Aq 111

July 2010 from Aq 101 July 2010 from Aq 100

Somewhere over this past weekend, we also visited a pearl farm.  This was very interesting.  First, you arrive in a parking lot (naturally) where there are free nature sights:

July 2010 from Aq 056 Note the iguana in the center of the picture.

Then we were greeted by a man who turned out to be a partner in this venture.  He had studied marine biology in university and did his master’s thesis on the process of “farming” cultured pearls (my word, not his).  He led us down to the water where we sat under a palapa roof, and he described the work they do there:

July 2010 from Aq 063 The building at the top of the hill.  It is part of a small campus of buildings which comprise a small, private university.

July 2010 from Aq 058 The palapa

July 2010 from Aq 059 The floats used to hang the baskets with oysters in the water.  The floats are being cleaned here.  The problem is the same that we have on our boats – barnacles stick to the water-side of the float and grow and prosper!  It takes nearly a crowbar to get them off.

July 2010 from Aq 060 A “field” of pearl farm floats.  Each float has a multi-tiered basket full of oysters at various stages of development.  There are approximately 120,000 oysters here.  The particular, colorful oyster which is used to create cultured pearls here is endemic and exclusive to the Sea of Cortez.  The scientist described how the “grain of sand” (which is not a grain of sand, but a pearl-shaped ball of shell material made of the shells of a clam that is only found in Tennessee!) is inserted into the oyster with a small piece of the shell’s mantle material.  If all goes well, a small pearl has developed after approximately 12-18 months, and a more commercial-sized pearl after two or three years.  Doug and Larry bought us jewelry at the end.  There was no charge for the tour, and the jewelry was very reasonably priced if set in silver.

On a different day, Linda and I left the boys behind and went exploring.  We drove out to Canon de Nacapule (there should be a tilde over the first ‘n’ of canon).  This turned out to be an interesting drive – goat herds, longhorn cattle, several well-laid-out farmsteads – with a beautiful canyon at the end:

July 2010 from Aq 113

July 2010 from Aq 114 There were gulleys and washes all over the place, and the rain to fill them appeared to be on its way.

Somewhere in here, Larry and I went for haircuts.  Linda had a pedicure:

July 2010 from Aq 120 July 2010 from Aq 122

The sky was starting to look dark and ominous, but when we asked the beautician if she thought there would be rain, she insisted that there would not.  There was!  Bigtime.

That evening, we had planned to go out to dinner.  I went to the restroom in the yard because it was closer to Linda’s truck.  When I finished changing clothes, I stepped outside to the start of rain.  Large drops.  I had no jacket or other protection, and I didn’t want my nicer clothes to get drenched.  So I changed back into my original clothes and “stole” a pink plastic shower curtain (which I replaced the next day) to use as a rain cape.  I ran to Linda’s truck.  Meanwhile, she got drenched coming to find me and then Larry.  We gathered up Doug, and then Doug decided that we should go for a drive in the rain!  Seemed nutty at the time, but what an experience.  Within fifteen minutes, the water was running 10-12” deep in the streets.  You could not have crossed the street safely on foot.  We were all truly amazed that we did not see one car stall nor any accidents.  It was rush hour, and the traffic was very heavy.  We still talk about it with a certain awe.  Anyway, eventually we arrived at a restaurant that had been recommended to us which is located adjacent to the Wal-Mart store.  We all went in, but Linda and Larry decided to drive over to W-M to buy dry clothes.  They were well and truly drenched.  Meanwhile, Doug and I sat and ordered drinks and remarked on the fact that the very large palapa roof had not one single leak anywhere.  There was a drip-drip leak near the entrance to the restrooms, but this was thru a more standard-type roof structure.  Eventually, Larry and Linda returned and changed into bright new dry clothes.  Look for them soon on People of Wal-Mart!

July 2010 from Aq 123

Meanwhile, Tucker is always with us.  One day, he had a run-in with some fly-paper:

July 2010 from Aq 076

Earlier, though, he was the supervisor of the rigging project:

July 2010 from Aq 024

After I returned to Guaymas this month, Linda gave me some extra fabric she had which she figured might make nice covers for our cockpit cushions.  It is really difficult to keep them clean, and she thought these might be more easily washed, etc.  We took the fabric and one cushion to a local seamstress.  We had enough fabric for only two cushions, so we asked the seamstress to pick a different fabric – her choice – and make them all up.  The final price for these four beautiful cushion covers was $80!  They include elastic in the back for getting on and off and a finished hole for the handles to poke through:

July 2010 from Aq 133 Fabric chosen by

the seamstress.

July 2010 from Aq 136 The original fabric.  Gorgeous!  Plus she made six napkins from the extra fabric.  (See the handle poking through…)

Yesterday was an eventful day.  After the usual activities – yesterday it was refilling water bottles and topping off diesel and gasoline cans – Linda started discovering termites.  Then the guys moved a small pile of plywood that was waiting to be turned into a support for Peregrine’s air-conditioning, and they found the source – a large colony of termites!!!  Yikes!  Then later that evening, we all heard a loud bang which turned out to be a battery of one of the boats on the dock:

July 2010 from Aq 142 This sent the smell of sulfuric acid into the air throughout the poor guy’s boat, so we contributed our new fan to help air the place out.  The boat this happened on was the biggest one here – a 75’ motor yacht called FnFun.  And no, that is not misspelled!  Anyway, it is a beautiful boat with twin engines and twin engine rooms, but he is not immune to the vagaries of battery charging problems.  He has been trying for two weeks or more to get an electrician to visit, but the man has not arrived yet.  Maybe tomorrow!

Our rigger has finished his work, so now we are ready to discuss the next move.  And we all think it won’t be a minute too soon.  If we can leave here and get to a nice anchorage, we can spend most of the day in the water!  We will lose the nice wifi connection we have here in the marina, but I have fired up the Telcel Banda Ancha device, and everything is still in working order.  Whenever we have cell phone coverage, we will be able to keep in touch by internet.

So until we have more to report, this is Admiral Muggs signing off.

Painting the Masts

Ports of Call | Posted by Admiral
Jul 30 2010

The masts are painted, stepped, and today the rigger is here tuning it up.  Doug took lots of good pictures of this process, so I am putting them here for my own reference in the future.  You may want to skip to the next post for more interesting news.

July 2010 from Aq 016 First time in the yard – getting ready to remove the masts.

July 2010 from Aq 017 The crane guy goes up to get things properly attached.


July 2010 Guaymas 012 July 2010 from Aq 054

Peregrine is stickless, first at the yard, then back at the dock.

loreto to guaymas 058 loreto to guaymas 057

The pretty result of hours of sanding, scraping, refilling, and general prep work.

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Close ups of the paint job after Larry and Doug reattached the rigging.

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Back in the yard, getting her ready to re-step.  We brought Peregrine to the yard the day before these pictures were taken.  The crane was delayed, so the boat spent the night with Larry on board.  There was a deluge of rain that night – more on that story in the next post.  Larry heard the dock lines creak about 10 pm as the tide fell.  It was tricky keeping the boat protected from the concrete pier but allowing for the fluctuation of the tide level.  We had forgotten to plan ahead for this, but there was really no way to prepare.  He just had to release and retie the dock lines two or three times that night – didn’t get much sleep.

July 2010 Guaymas 013 July 2010 Guaymas 009

Picture on left shows high quality work.  On the right, the underside of the spreaders. 

from P Escondido 026 This is your basic “before” picture!  (Underside of same spreader, two months ago.)

July 2010 from Aq 069 Nightwork in the yard, reattaching rigging.

July 2010 from Aq 127Nightwork in the slip, reattaching more rigging.  I don’t think they’ll ever be done!

This work was done for us for approximately 30% of a price we had been quoted in Alameda.  Not 30% LESS, but 30%!

Cruising Through the Summer

Ports of Call | Posted by Admiral
Jul 18 2010

I believe I left the story at our arrival in Stockton.  Since it was 3:30 am, you can rightly imagine that we slept.  Then we slept some more, and yet some more.  Eventually, we rejoined the land of the wakeful.  Rented a car.  Ate dinner and went back to bed again.

So now we joined Larry’s mom, Jeane, and met up with many of her friends that we have not seen in a while.  She bowls at least twice a week, and Larry and I watched her almost every Monday and Friday.  We visited Alameda and caught up with our boating buddies at the Oakland Yacht Club.  Paul Goss of the sailing vessel Virago has bigger and bolder stories to tell than we do.  His boat is currently in a marina on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal.  He plans to transit the Canal next fall and proceed onwards through the Caribbean, up the east coast, to his home in Maine.  Harry Reppert, who crewed for us last fall on the HaHa, is getting psyched up for knee replacement surgery.  Joel Tuttle, who also crewed for us, is getting his boat and his life ready to untie the docklines and come to Mexico next fall.  Larry will help him do this.  While we were in Alameda, we naturally had to visit West Marine and pay our respects (literally and figuratively).  Spent about a boat buck before we returned to Mexico.

We caught up with Modesto-area friends – the Webmaster Patrick and his lovely bride, Valerie;  Brady and his mom and dad, of course;  Dr. Charles and Cherrie Llewellyn. Dr. Charles helped Larry get an appointment for a general check-up.  His basic health numbers – bp, cholesterol – are as good as they have been in 40 years. Charles also helped me with a dentist referral when I lost a filling – at least, that’s what I thought had happened.  The dentist told me that the tooth was actually falling apart.  So I had to have a crown.  That cost about one months’ living in Mexico!!  Oh, well – such is life.  Getting the tooth squared away required more time than we had scheduled.  So, Larry returned by car to Guaymas with Doug and Linda while Muggs stayed behind.  I (Muggs) finally followed on my own by bus all the way from Stockton to Guaymas.  Thirty hours in busses and bus stations.  Not much difference between the US bus stations and the Mexican stations – all pretty basic and tired looking.  But it was very inexpensive – much less than the cost of driving or flying. 

So here we are back in HOT, HOT Guaymas.  Our insurance company instructed us to paint our masts after the new insurance survey we had done last summer.  We were told that it didn’t need to happen immediately, so we waited until now.  Three years ago, we were given a price of $5000 plus paint to do this.  Here in Mexico, we have paid $1600 plus paint.  The job is done, and the masts are curing.  They should be ready to step (put in place) at the end of the week.  Meanwhile, we are struggling to stay reasonably cool.  This would be impossible without the regular trips to anywhere that Linda regularly takes in her air-conditioned car!  We have been to San Carlos, about 12 miles away, to check on the boats of our cruising friends – Blue Dolphin and Ubuntu.  We have gone “sight-seeing” at the Hotel Playa del Cortez.  We have spent hours dawdling and browsing in grocery stores and Wal-Mart.  The one thing we dare not do is swim in this bay – it looks and smells polluted.  Not a good thing.  The marina has a swimming pool, but they seem to drain and refill it regularly.  Not really sure what that’s all about, but we have used it a few times in between (when it is full, naturally!)

loreto to guaymas 024 Here we have Peregrine and Aquadesiac side by side at the end of May, soon after our initial arrival.  The water guy is here, selling us 100 gallons of purified water, 5 gallons at a time.

Interesting what you find when you finally stop playing and clean up:

loreto to guaymas 033 Bird’s nest on the aft deck.

loreto to guaymas 034 Dinner at the Oakland Yacht Club.  Joel (red t-shirt), Larry (obscured), Marj and Paul Goss, and Sherry Stock.

loreto to guaymas 036Larry and Doug under a sunbrella, getting the winches removed.

loreto to guaymas 038 It’s a little tricky to see in this photo, but the surface of these masts is very shiny, newly sanded and scraped and ground and filled aluminum.  Mucho hard work!!

loreto to guaymas 058 More pics of the mast work progress.  I consider this a readily accessible archive that the insurance company can refer to if they have any doubts!

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Last weekend, July 10-13, the city had a large celebration surrounding the events of July  13, 1854.  That is a date they cherish because the local citizenry successfully repelled an attempted invasion/take-over by a French warship based in San Francisco.  I don’t know anymore than that.  Mexicans don’t need much excuse for a fiesta.  There are carnival , rides set up and running every night that weekend and still today – July 18!  Larry, Doug and I went over a week ago and enjoyed the bumper cars (Carros Chocones) and Tilt-a Whirl.  The bumper cars had no rules like one way traffic, prohibition of t-boning and seatbelt requirements.  However, a seatbelt was available, and I used it.  Doug and I laughed ‘til we hurt!  And then we did the tilt-a-whirl, this time with Larry in the middle.  The operators of this ride came on board during the last few minutes and pushed the cars so that they would spin continuously and very fast!!  It was crazy fun, but I finally had to scream “Uncle!”  I felt the possibility of motion sickness for about three days after that.

There was also a meeting of a car club on a nearby lot.  The unifying theme seemed to be high-tech, shiny BIG stereo systems:

loreto to guaymas 047 Plus other special refits:

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loreto to guaymas 044 The middle car here is a woodie-style VW.

Tomorrow, we drive to Ciudad Obregon to buy mahogany for a cockpit table that Doug will have built for his boat.  We don’t all need to go, of course, but it is a nice long outing in the air-conditioned car.  I don’t think anyone will be staying behind!  Muggs has to go, of course, because I am the resident Spanish-speaking expert.  That is a relative term, of course.  I am a little more expert than the rest, but they know almost no grammar.  Grammar is about all I do remember, and the vocabulary is easy to keep close by with a dictionary.  So far, I have kept us out of trouble.  That’s as much as I can hope for!”

Larry and Doug have been busy in the cockpit all day replacing the engine gauges.  They just started the engine and are pretty sure that the “overheating” problem we had has now been fixed.  For now, they are coming down into the salon, we will turn on our small a/c unit here and have something cold to drink!

Hasta luego, mis amigos!


Ports of Call | Posted by Admiral
Jul 14 2010

July in Guaymas, Mexico is HOT!!  We have not had an update lately because we went back to the U.S. for about four weeks.  We had various doctor check-ups, some lab work, and then unscheduled dental work, but we are both back in Guaymas now working to get the boat ready to continue the cruising life for a month or two.

Our last contact was from the Baja side of the Sea of Cortez.  We were anchored at Isla Coronados, watching whales and mantas, and Larry was learning how to sew.  We left this cove the next day to seek a better-protected anchorage in advance of some weather (read: wind over 10 knots) coming our way.  Our next stop was in San Juanico, 26 degrees 22.013 minutes North, 111 degrees 25.860 min West.  We arrived Tuesday afternoon and departed Saturday morning.  The only reason I can tell you what we did is because I made notes in the log.  There is a wonderful relaxed air to this as well as a certain sameness which, I hope, will not lull us into carelessness!

San Juanico is a large anchorage with nice beaches.  I say beaches because various parts of the cove are separated from each other by rocky outcroppings.  One set of rocks consists of three “spires”, two of which have osprey nests at the top!Playa El Burro2 013


San Juanico 2 009 

San Juanico 2 095 This picture is taken with maximum zoom.  The bird is an adult osprey.

We did the most snorkeling of the trip so far in this cove.  There were many areas to choose from, and lots of fish to see:

San Juanico 2 083 San Juanico 2 065 Many of the folks on the other boats we are traveling with are avid fishermen.  One night, we had a bonfire on the beach and cooked fish and potatoes and drank large quantities of terrific Mexican wine (L.A. Cetto is the winery – try it if you can find some).  The men of our five boats were having a great time:

San Juanico 2 108 From top left:  Doug of Aquadesiac, Steve of Ubuntu, Harold of Seabear, Robert of Blue Dolphin, and ours truly, the Skipper of Peregrine.  After a couple more glasses of wine, they were having even more fun:

San Juanico 2 110 Fortunately for you, I didn’t actually get a picture of a naked butt!

At San Juanico, we joined Doug and Linda for a hike over a hill which connected two opposite-facing coves.  The other cove, open to the north, shows why we were in the southern cove:

Playa El Burro2 055 Remember, these are simply wind waves.  There is no real surf to speak of inside the Sea of Cortez.  This beach was littered with dead puffer fish:

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When we left San Juanico, we started a two-day trip to Playa Santispac inside Bahia La Concepcion.  At Playa Santispac, latitude 26 deg 45.8 min N, longitude 111 deg 53.0 min W, we found a happy home for several days. There are about a dozen largish (20 ft by 20ft) palapa-roofed structures on the beach.  These are rented for the season I gather. Lots of people just hang out/hide out here for several weeks or months every year. 

This cove and beach (playa) is located about 15 miles south of Mulege.  If you find Mulege on a map, you will see that it is located at the mouth of the Bahia.  Mulege sustained considerable damage during Hurricane Marty in 2003.

We took a taxi or bummed a ride into Mulege two or three times while we were here.  There is a wonderful hotel in town called Las Casitas which has free wifi.  So, naturally, we camped out there for the better part of the day, drank many expensive drinks and ate two meals!  Each night, we gathered on a different boat for drinks and dinner.  On about the third day of this, we relocated south by about half a mile to Playa El Burro.  Harold on Seabear expressed an interest in starting up the hooka, so he and Larry figured it out.  It worked great!  Everybody had a go at it, and the snorkeling here was amazing:

Playa El Burro 132 Doug using a breathing hose from the hooka.  Playa El Burro 099

Fish!  (Panamic sergeant Major)

Playa El Burro 124 Cortez Angelfish.

Playa El Burro 082 Stingray!  Safely at a distance on the bottom.

Playa El Burro 017 Photo taken from my kayak from above the water surface – a little different perspective.

Our friends, Arlene and Steve on Ubuntu, made a very special CD of many of everybody’s pictures from the last few weeks.  We will be bringing this home so that you may watch, too, if you are interested.

We had several adventures in cooking along the way – pressure cooked a chicken with potatoes and apples (Linda’s idea), fresh beets and broccoli (mine).  All efforts were successful.  Larry and Doug discussed our perceived engine overheating problem.  Doug lent us his laser heat sensing gun which we used regularly on the trip up from Playa El Burro to Punta Chivato.  We spent time at Punta Chivato in preparation for our crossing to Guaymas.  We wanted to be able to maximize our speed so that we could arrive in Guaymas well before dark.  The bay is a little tricky to navigate with many shallow areas.  Anyway, we convinced ourselves that the engine is not actually overheating, but the gauges are wrong.  The gauges are original (35 years old), so this is not unlikely.  We will buy replacement gauges when we are in California.

We travelled to Punta Chivato on Wednesday, May 26.  Lat. 26 deg 48.48 min Long 111 deg 51.13 min.  There is a beautiful hotel here which appeared to have no guests.  Apparently, they deal with a moneyed clientele which flies in by private jet to a nearby private runway.  A large group was scheduled to arrive in a few days.  We dinghied to a nearby beach where the shells literally cover every inch of the place, at least 3 inches deep all over!  I have never seen anything like it.  Needless to say, Linda and I went crazy, Doug and Larry waited loreto to guaymas 030 patiently!  Our big frustration was that we had to leave most of them behind.

The Guaymas crossing was beautiful.  I have forwarded a video to Patrick the Webmaster which says it all.  We achieved Nirvana!  (Whatever that is….)

In Guaymas, we worked.  Doug left the next morning after our arrival at 27 deg 55.342 N lat, 110 deg 53.152 W long.  He took a bus to Mazatlan in order to retrieve their Chevy Suburban.  Ernesto, their friend from the taco stand in Mazatlan, had let them store their car there after they returned last March.  Meanwhile, Linda, Larry, and I cleaned and organized and threw out stuff and packed.  When Doug returned two days later in the evening, we were ready to go!  We drove that first night to Hermosillo where we spent the night in a great motel.  For $60, we had finely decorated rooms with BIG beds (kings wider than we had ever seen) and all marble and tile in the bath.  Plus, we were able to have Tucker (the dog) come along.  Next day, off to Nogales, Mx, in search of a metal sculpture artwork that Doug bought for Linda for their house in Napa.  It had been shipped to Nogales and stored since their travels last winter.  We found the warehouse easily enough, they gave special directions for getting to the border, and we were through and inspected in an hour!  The car was loaded to the gills with the artwork taking up all the space between the luggage and the car roof.  The US Border Patrol asked us to unload the whole car, but they only searched a couple of bags.  The only item they were interested in (besides Doug’s pork rinds – no pork products allowed!) was a piece of driftwood Linda had stuck in her box with her shells.  It came from an endangered species of cactus! 

Then, it was balls to the wall to Stockton.  We arrived at Larry’s mom’s house around 3:30 am.  I will finish this update in another day or two.  Stay tuned!