Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mexican Food Again?

Yep, we were back eating dinner at Los Napolis last night.  If you are counting that is 3 times since we've been in Tucson. Once again it was great and I will be having the leftovers for breakfast in a few minutes.

So you might ask why eat Mexican food so often when you will be going to Mexico tomorrow?  The answer is that Los Napolis has better Mexican food than we have found in Mazatlan in our 10 years of eating down there.

How can that be?  The truth is that there is every imaginable type of food in Mazatlan.  Most restaurants serve a blander version of Mexican than we enjoy. 

Now when it comes to ribs, Mazatlan can't be beat.  Seafood, Mazatlan can't be beat.  Popsicles, Mazatlan can't be beat. (Yes, they are made with real fruit.) Great views while eating, Mazatlan can't be beat.

But the Mexican food in Mazatlan doesn't quite measure up.  So our goal once we live there and have our own car to explore will be to discover "Great" Mexican food.  I'm pretty sure it won't be in the tourist areas.  Let the adventure begin.

Terri's burro.

After dinner we went to the "run down" bar that was mentioned a few blogs back.  Matt, there were no horse standing in the bar, sorry.  But they did have a big screen TV for Terri to watch the Seahawks on Monday night football.  The Hawks played an awful game but somehow managed to win.  As Tamra texted to her mother, "A W is a W".  That's about the best that could be said about the game.

I liked the Seahawk player receiving a penalty after scoring a touchdown.  Seems like there is a limit on how much bad sportsmanship is allowed.  Maybe he will act a little more like a professional athlete next time.  I doubt it.

Time to pack up the RV and move it to storage.  We're off to Nogales in a few hours and will be crossing the border tomorrow morning.  It will take two long days of driving to get to Mazatlan.

Our regular cell phones are set-up with Verizon to work just like we are next door to you.  For $15.00 per month we have an international plan that gives us 1,000 minutes per month in calling or receiving while we are in Mexico.  So there is no reason you can't call us anytime.

I'll write again when we get there. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I Have Nothing to Say......

I have nothing to say but that has never stopped me from talking or writing.  I'm a lot like my Grandson Andrew when he was younger.  He could talk for hours on end with nothing much to say.  He just went on and on. 

So that's what I will do today.

Terri's sister Shari flew in to visit us this weekend.  As usual we ate to much and to often.  We took her to Los Nopales Mexican restaurant for lunch.  We were able to confirm that it is a GREAT place to eat Mexican food.  For a hole in the wall in the middle of nowhere they have won our vote as best Mexican food between Tacoma and the Mexican border.

I had the "chicken fajitas burro". Shari had enchiladas. And Terri had the same thing she had last time we were there, red chili beef.  We all agree, they win.

The rest of Shari's time with us included a Sandra Bullock movie (Heat - very funny), more eating and a little time at the local casino for her to make a contribution to the local economy.

Here are a few "Random Photos" to go with my "nothing to say blog".

You know there is not much to say when I show you a picture of dirt.  But this is special dirt.  This is desert dirt and it's dry, unlike Washington dirt which is mud.  Cool, huh?

Random ostrich.
Old barber chair with old man in it.
I'll have an orange Mohawk, please.
Terri has mentioned dancing boots several times.
Is this the right pair?
Or maybe this one.
We'll continue the search in Mexico.
Did you know that many cowboy boots are over $1000.00 and a few way more.  Terri will not be seen in a $1,000 pair soon.

So what could be better than dirt?  Lava.  Pretty cool, huh.
Thus ends another exciting blog from Russ Ranger.  I know you are saying to yourself, "There goes 2 minutes I will never get back."  I want to thank you for being one of the 4,387 page viewers that have visited my blog in the last 4 months.  I will try harder to have something more exciting to read next time.

Coming attractions:  Packing up and moving to Nogales - October 29th,  Border crossing - October 30th early AM,  734 miles of Mexican Highway - October 30th & 31st,   Day of the Dead in Mazatlan - November 1st

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It's a Zoo Out There

Are you going to the drive through?
As we walked out of the front door of Bank of America this morning we had an unusual encounter.  Coming down the sidewalk toward the bank was a horse and rider.  He stopped so I asked the only logical question, "Headed to the drive through?"  His answer. "Nope, across the street to Walgreens."  You ask a stupid question.....you get a.......   I sort of enjoyed the whole episode.

We were off to the Honda dealer this morning.  Time for an oil change and an inspection before we enter Mexico.  We have only put 17,000 miles on the Fit in the last 18 months.  That's less than 1,000 miles a month.  The last few months we've upped that average quite a bit.

While we were waiting we walked through the new car showroom.  We noticed that every car had darkly tinted windows.  We asked why?  They said every car they sold was that way because of all the sun in Tucson.

As you may remember we had the top of the front windshield tinted when we were in Gallup, New Mexico.  That was a very good decision.  Today it was time to have the rest of the car done.  We are now as darkly tinted on all windows as Arizona law will allow.

Because we will be following the sun for the next several years it seemed a wise decision to get the tinting done now.  It will make driving the car more comfortable in the future.

Guess what we did while the windows were being tinted?
As we drove to the Honda dealer we had passed the zoo.  Terri mentioned she hadn't been to a zoo in a long time.  We had a few hours to kill so we took the dealers shuttle to the zoo that was only a few minutes away.

Lazy Leopard
The Tucson Zoo turned out to be very nice and was just the right size to be covered in a few hours.  It was going to be in the low 90's today so we had a warm 3 hour walk.  The zoo was not busy today so we shared the experience with a bunch of preschool aged children and their moms.

Tired Tiger
It was 95 degrees in the motorhome when we got back so I followed the lead from the leopard and the tiger.  I took a nap.

It's 8:00 and 80 degrees as I write this evening.  Downright chilly here in Tucson.

We have no plans for tomorrow so it will be interesting to see what we do when we get up.  Adventures or chores around the RV, we'll see.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Maybe Better Than Sex

Did the title get you interested today?  You'll have to wait a few paragraphs for that part of the story.

As I sit here this evening in the motorhome at 6:44 there is a nice breeze and it is almost 80 degrees.  We've been given another beautiful sunset by the Arizona Tourist Board.  All I can say is thanks for the warm welcome to your state.

Out the front window each evening.
The scene around our home is the same each evening.  Terri can be found in her "position" which is on the couch with her Kindle or iPad.  I am usually writing my blog or reading someone else's on my laptop. We seldom watch TV anymore, some weeks it never gets turned on.  Part of the reason is that we are not always in a area with TV reception.  But we don't really miss it at all.

Terri assumes her position.
Now you might be waiting for me to get to the titled part of the blog but not just yet.  First comes the travel log part.  We spent the day wandering around the desert in Saguaro National Park.  Our RV park backs up against this park so in truth it is only feet away but we took a road that lead us through the interior of the park.

The road less traveled.
Once again we found ourselves enjoying the dirt roads.  They generally lead to better things if you are willing to get out and hike.  Sometimes they lead to a little warning sign.  But that never stops foolish old people.  Not for a minute.

And you wonder why she carries a big stick.
There were petrographs to be seen and a few rattlers in the rocks weren't going to deter us.  We both carry big sticks and we have watched Crocodile Dundy so we know how to hand these kinds of situations.  Onward up the trail, Terri, you go first.  I specialize in leadership.

No pictures of rattlers, we must be safe.

The view from the highest point of the hike was awesome.

Cacti as far as we could see.
Cactus Fact:  A Saguaro (Se-weh-roe) can live to over 200 years of age.  They don't start getting their arms until they are over 60 years old.  They start from a seed the size of a period (.) that comes from their early summer flowers.  The Indians harvest the flowers to make a jam/jelly.

This cactus did not make the cut for the Taco Time commercial.
To many arms.
It's a hard life being a cactus.
The really hard part of being a cactus is that you only get a drink of water twice a year.  That's a long time to wait for your next drink.

Lots of Barrel Cactus with their flowers.
Now for the title part of the blog.  As you may know if you are a regular reader of the blog, we have been eating our way South for the last two months.  At every stop we ask our favorite question, "What's your favorite Mexican restaurant?"  Well today that question provided us with a lunch destination on the way to the national park.

It was one of those places that was so far out that you never would have found it.  As a matter of fact once we found it we had a hard time finding the front door.

A simple menu.
We had the daily special.  Red Chili Beef with rice and beans.  It was a tender beef in a red chili sauce.  After her first bite Terri had a very strange look on her face.  I tried my first bite.  I than asked her the all important question, "Better than sex?"  She just contently smiled.  She was in love.

A satisfied woman.
We both agree.  This is a front runner in our quest to find the best Mexican food that we can discover.
Watch out Jerry's Café in Gallup, New Mexico....you have competition in the desert of Southwest Tucson.

We will be returning to Los Nopales to confirm our discovery.  We can't be to careful and diligent in our quest.  Research, research, research.....it's our duty.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ranger's Report Card

Most of the time my posts are travel logs reporting on the previous days travels and the sights we have seen.  Usually they are reasonably true and accurate.  Sometimes my writing is a little bit more than the truth, but that is the Ranger storyteller in me.  For some reason I inherited my fathers love of telling a good story, not always an accurate or completely truthful account.

I must say I really enjoy writing the blog.  It helps me focus and appreciate the adventure we are having each day.  So far there have been 4,127 pageviews of the blog so a few others must be enjoying my ramblings.

Two cacti, which one will I hug today?
Todays blog will be a report card on life for the Ranger's.

We began our adventure almost 4 months ago after Terri's retirement.  We had done a lot of planning for several years to make retirement an adventure and not just stopping work.  After almost 4 months we can report that our nomad/vagabond lifestyle is working for us.

We are comfortable in the motorhome and are looking forward to spending the next five months wintering in Mazatlan.  We ask ourselves how long this might go on and the answer is always, "for years and years."

We are learning to pace ourselves or I could truthfully say that Terri is reining me into a more relaxed pace to our adventures.  Today is Sunday and there is no Seahawks game to watch.  We made it a stay at home and relax, do a little puttering and a bike ride day.  Terri is taking a nap as I write.  In other words it's a lazy day for the Ranger's.  It's in the low 80's with a nice breeze coming through the motorhome, maybe I should be napping.

The lady of the house napping.
Today we confirmed that we will be storing the RV at the same location we have spent this last week.  They have an area that is set aside for long term storage for people like us that need to leave their RV for an extended period of time.  We feel good about the security of the location and the management of the couple that own the RV park.  By the way, it will cost $35.00 per month to store our RV here.

We picked this location because it is less than 2 hours from our boarder crossing in Nogales.  We are meeting a Canadian couple that we know from our condo and will be caravanning the two day trip with them.  They have been doing this trip for years so it will be great to have someone show us the ropes.

We will be activating our Mexican cell phone when we get to Mazatlan.  I'll let you all know the number when it is activated.  We will be setting up our cable and internet as soon as we can so you won't be missing this great blog for long.

We have several people that will be visiting during our time there.  If you would like to come down we have a great place for you to stay.  We have an extra bedroom and bath just waiting for you.  In another week we will be showing you pictures from Mazatlan.  And if that doesn't entice you nothing will.  Remember every day is 80 something and sunny!

Home Sweet Home on the sixth floor.
So what is the score on our report card?  Most days it's an A for adventure.  Some days it is L for lazy.  A few days it has been SOP for stupid old people.  Almost every day it is GF for good food.

The overall score for the Ranger's is H for happy.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

We Three Rangers

We have settled in at Diamond J RV Park just Southwest of Tucson.  It's a nice location and a pretty place to be for the rest of the month.  We have mountains everywhere we look and they have been scheduling great sunsets just for us every evening.

My personal Cactus.  I hug it every morning.
I've been riding my bike around the two parks that are next to each other.  The weather has been sunny and in the low 80's every day.  Bike riding is easy because it's all flat here in the desert.

We've been catching up on our personal business the last few days and we are getting ready to enter Mexico on the 30th of October.  DHL delivered our permit from the Mexican government to take the Honda to Mazatlan for 180 days and we are pre-approved to enter for the same amount of time.  Monday I will submit our application for Mexican auto insurance.  Although we will be paying for American auto insurance they do not cover us once we are 25 miles from the boarder.

Today we went on a 200 mile road trip to Bisbee, Arizona.  You might ask why Bisbee?  The answer is a series of books by author J.A. Jance.  The books are all based in Bisbee and are tied into a series of books about a detective in Seattle.  The main character in the Bisbee books is Sheriff Joanne Brady.  I looked for her all day but she was nowhere to be found.  The books are novels so the odds of seeing her were slim.

Both Terri and I have read a bunch of her books and we wanted to see the town.

Downtown Bisbee.
Bisbee is squeezed in a canyon between two mountains.  It was a copper mining town for 100 years, now it is a well preserved artists town.  Today they were having a big event in town that involved over a thousand people climbing the 1,000 steps in town.  There is not a flat area in the whole town, it is either going uphill or downhill.  And there are steps everywhere.

We drove and walked a lot of roads around the town.  They were all 5MPH at the most. Many switch backs could hardly be made in our Honda.  All the houses are hanging on the side of some hill.  I assume there were no building codes 100 years ago and a horse didn't need that wide of street.

On the way to Bisbee we stopped in Tombstone.  There were hundreds of bikers in town for "Helldorado" which must be Arizona's answer to Sturgis.

Three Rangers in a row.
No, I am not under arrest.  I just wanted my picture taken between two Arizona Rangers.  If you can't guess, I'm the one in the middle.

I found this sign hanging just outside a saloon in Tombstone.  It pretty much sums up how I'm feeling the last few weeks of missing all the National Parks we had planned to visit.  Their lips were all moving but somehow I think we all knew something other than words were coming out.

That's exactly how I've been feeling the last few weeks.
We'll write more the next time something exciting happens.  All is well in the sun.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Tonto, This Is The Lone Ranger

Most of the excitement today came when we went hiking in Tonto Natural Bridge State Park.  Never once did I refer to Terri as Tonto during our hike.  I waited until we were in the car leaving to mention my tactful restraint.  Through the years I have referred to her as Tonto when we have been lost, we were never lost today so I didn't get to ask Tonto which way to go.

We started the day by moving the RV to the Tonto Apache Indian Casino in Payson.  We had breakfast there before we went hiking.  They have a huge parking lot and the outer perimeter is set aside for RV's to park.  It's free, so that is a very good price.

The road into Tonto State Park has a challenging road with a 14% down grade.  I was glad we were in the Honda and not the motorhome.  We would never have made it out if we had survived the grade going in.

Once we were there we hiked into the main feature in the park, the natural bridge.

Terri winding down the trail into the gorge.
Not your typical Washington state flora.
Over the bridge and we were there.  Now the hard work started.

A natural bridge is like a cave or an arch but it is open on both ends because a river runs through it.  At this time of the year the water is low so you can walk almost all the way through.  Maybe if you were a rock climber you could make it all the way, but when we got to the end there was a shear rock wall that was more than we could handle.

Terri climbing over boulders in the river bed.
Sometimes you just squeezed through.
Now if those rocks look slippery that's because they are.  They have been worn smooth because most of the year they are under water with the river flowing over them.  So why are they wet now?

That is a water fall coming down over the mouth of the "bridge".
Yes, the interesting feature is the waterfall coming down several hundred feet at the opening to the bridge.  And yes it gets you wet when you walk under it.  It also lowers the temperature about 10 degrees rather quickly.

Nice view from inside looking out.
So what's it like inside?  Beautiful pools and rock formations.

This is what rivers look like underwater.

Now to get back out.
So today we did a little more than we should have tried.  The rocks were to big, the water made them to slippery and they were more than old people should climb.  Terri fell on our trip out, luckily she wasn't hurt but she ended up flat on her back at the bottom of a large boulder we had to go over.  We will try to be more sensible in the future and act our age.

The waterfall looking up from underneath.
Cactus lining the pathway out
What goes down must come up.  It was a long hike back up but well worth the effort.

So how do you end an exciting day?  By spending a romantic evening together at the local laundromat.  I know how to show my girl a good time.

 Another good day with a little to much adventure.  Foolish old people!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sunny & Warm in Payson

Today we moved on to Payson which is a nice sized town in the Arizona mountains.  We will be spending several days here just enjoying the area.

Before we left Winslow we hiked about 2.5 miles early this morning to a Holomovi ruins.  We were the first and only people there so it was nice to slowly move through the ancient community and talk about how life must have been for the Indians.  Once again the site had thousands of broken pieces of pottery.  Even with small pieces you could see the painted artwork on many pieces.

My pockets are still empty.  No bad spirits coming home with me!
Home sweet home.... in an ancient kind of way.
It was another beautiful drive through the mountains.  The highest pass was 7,600 feet.  We are now at 5,000 feet for the next few days as we explore.  We drove through the towns of Strawberry and Pine on our way here and we plan to go back in the Honda to do some hiking.

It's been a while since I posted a "Random Picture of the Day".  So here are a few to make up for the lack of daily taken photos:

My sister Sara and Dad in 1957.
My son Matt signing up for the Air Force at 17.
He's now a lifer and a Master Sargent.

My Mom and Dad with my Auntie Barb in 1947.
Corky the beagle we had as kids.  Maybe the dumbest dog ever born.
He would run for miles away from our home and then realize that he had no idea where he was.
We'd hop in the car and go retrieve him when someone would call.
He also stood in the middle of the neighbors table and ate their dinner roast.  They were not happy.
My brother and I would get him running around the house, then we would go inside.  He would keep on running until my Mom would make us go out and stop him before he dropped.
A very dumb dog indeed.
Grandson Andrew still has an attitude.  He's in college now.
Now if that is not a random set of photos I don't know what is.  I'll have more current photos as we hike and explore in the next few days.

Another good day in the sun.