Posts By Kristin

Heading North to Alaska!

Before Easter in April I made the long drive out of Mexico and back to Arizona, but keep wondering why I arrived three weeks before my flight? I prefer being near the Sea of Cortez but always leave myself plenty of time to handle repairs if I have vehicle breakdowns or problems on the road. So far everything this winter has been minor but who knows when disaster will strike? Anyway it turned out to be a smooth and easy trip.

This has been a wonderful winter in Mexico, with good friends and happy times. Rotary projects kept me very busy, and I know we’ve done a lot of good for the communities. I might do even more volunteer work next year. Castaway Kids is building a new facility which will include sewing classes for local residents, and I think I’d like to help with that. Rescate is an emergency medical evacuation group that always needs help, and there are many more agencies that do good work. I love my book group, and I’d also like to take some classes and join other workshops (art, Spanish, birdwatching, woodworking, yoga), go out to dinner more often and have more get-togethers for friends at home. I can’t wait to see dear pals again when we gather for the winter months far away from our cold and snowy homes in the north.

Below are some of these friends — Mike and Carole, Judith and Joe, Kit and Teri, Andre, Maggy and others.

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This is my friend Jimmy at the beach, he lives in his VW van there every winter near another friend Hans.  Both have been shown on these pages before.  Our section of the beach got somewhat quieter when a big concrete wall was built to block access for traffic off the beach road from the highway!  Some sort of medical center is talked about being built on the street side of the wall.

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My Mexican friend Maria Teresa lives in Phoenix but also has a house on my street in Mexico. She is a widow who also has grown kids and is happy to have someone to do things with. She’s full of great information about easy gardening ideas to use in our hot climate, and is willing to help me. She’s energetic and fun, always game to do almost anything, likes to accompany me when we feel like going out, and we enjoy visiting whenever we have time.

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I went to see my elderly buddiesToni and Charlie for Easter, and will go again before I leave Arizona. They are no longer in the RV park where I met them, so it’s not so nice to be here without them. They also have a house in Phoenix now that they share with their daughter and her new husband. Since they are getting older and more frail, it’s good that they aren’t living alone any more but they’re still busy and together after 60 years of marriage. I’m so glad that Toni calls often, no matter where I am, so we can talk about books and family and our lives.

So now I’m getting ready to return to the Alaska “spring”, which means there will be snow on the lawn, ice on the lake, and lots of cleaning up to do there, both indoors and outside. During this “limbo” period in the HOT southwest, I’m updating my computer data, taking walks when the temps are cool enough in the mornings and evenings, reading lots of books, going through accumulated mail and finishing my income taxes. I also spend time visiting with a few friends.

If I do have a house in Mexico, this might be the last year I’ll leave the motor home and car stored for the summer in Casa Grande. Of course it’s less humid in Arizona but mechanical repairs are cheaper and easier in Mexico. So far I can still hook up the car to tow and manage driving the motor home, presumably will be able to continue for some years to come but certainly not forever. Since I’m a vagabond at heart I hope to travel more around Mexico after I have a home base. And I can also leave whenever I want to make trips to other countries. While camping at the beach it’s always a concern for us to leave for any length of time and most likely lose our “spot”.

I want to stay in San Carlos next spring for Semana Santa, Easter week, when the beaches are crammed with families for the holiday and the town is crazy with traffic. I’d like to see for myself how bad it can be, especially when living in a quiet neighborhood. Maybe stock up with supplies and just stay home for a few days? Or walk along the beaches to gawk at the crowds?

I’ve started lists about how life is different in a house in Mexico instead of living in my motor home on the beach.

  • The most obvious is that the weather is less important — it really doesn’t matter how much wind or rain might occur. There isn’t mud to deal with in the rain, and with thick brick and concrete walls, the wind is barely noticeable. Since I’m a block away from the beach, even a hurricane probably wouldn’t make much difference.
  • It’s a lot cleaner, even if I am barefoot all day long. My feet don’t need to be washed every night before going to bed, my clothes stay cleaner and even the house is less dusty.
  • Although I have bird feeders out and there are now many birds, there are fewer here than at the beach. I miss the herons and egrets, although I wasn’t parked next to the lagoon this year anyway. The sunsets here are still glorious, but the best ones are even better at the beach next to the sea.
  • I miss those many potlucks and happy hours with other campers! I find myself heading to the beach every week to visit and see who is still there. I miss sharing campfires at night. Yes, I could make myself be more outgoing and invite people over to visit so we can share food and drinks, but it would be an effort. Surely I’ll do that next year.
  • I have a lot more privacy in a house, with high walls around so nobody can be watching me. Security is much better and there aren’t strange footprints around every morning from people who are looking for stuff to steal. It feels much safer and more peaceful — except that weekend nights are noisy after 11 p.m. since the disco nightclub not far away has loud live music, until 3 a.m. ear plugs are necessary! It’s so much easier to get to town that I find myself going a lot more often — not just for meetings but for shopping and running errands. I have to water the trees in the yard, but getting propane and water, or dumping holding tanks, is no longer an issue. There’s so much more space, and light, and steady electric service… also cooler hot days, but warmer cold nights.

Although the motor home always needs upkeep, the house has many repairs to do. It is a very old house and hasn’t been maintained, so needs work and improvements.

  • Examples completed: fix the front door so it opens properly… refinish kitchen cabinets (they look good now!)… buy countertop convection oven so baking is possible (oven in the stove doesn’t work)… replace outdoor faucet that was broken… find sink strainers to replace broken/missing ones… replace plugged up shower head with modern one… suffer with dead refrigerator and pay rent early so landlord can buy a new one (thanks for MH fridge to save the food!).
  • And many things still need doing: repair/replace bathroom mirrors… figure out why tinaco holds water but won’t release it (there is often no running water)… repair old broken hinges on gates… repair/replace hot water heater (showers are always quite cool, but an on demand electric system might be better anyway), and figure out an easy way to soften the shower water.

Plans for the future:

  • Make friends with the Mexican neighbors on my street! (about half done, they’re great!)
  • Sell my house in Alaska so I can buy this place, or build a new one!
  • Bring artwork for the walls. (gradually getting some)
  • Replace non-working or broken light fixtures.
  • Get double bed, side tables, dining table with chairs, bar stools and other furniture.
  • Fix broken tiles on kitchen island, and regrout tile floors.
  • Replace ancient bathroom fixtures.
  • Paint living room “popcorn” ceiling and repair as needed.
  • Buy a new stove with working oven and range hood.
  • Remodel kitchen, new countertops and replace at least some lower cabinets.
  • Get a hutch for dining area to store dishes.
  • Get an entry table and hang mirrors. (Got an artsy round mirror at a charity auction!)

The next posting here will be from Alaska, when life changes course again!

This is me going off sailing in 1992… and still hanging out by the sea in 2018, more than 25 years later! Funny world, isn’t it?

1992 Kristin Vancouver Island 2018 Kristin San Carlos

Loving my New Mexican “Home”!

By New Year’s Eve, I had neglected to update this web journal for such a long time that distant friends had probably given up on me! In fact, I had to go back and update the summer past in Alaska too. Since I’m sure these memories are primarily for myself when I get “old”, it doesn’t matter so much because I am already “older”! I’m thankful that I have a good mind and intact memories, am still independent and mostly mobile.

One month after picking up my motor home, I finally crossed the border into Mexico. It had been a long drive from Nevada, with an overnight stay in Parker by the Colorado River and another at my favorite site in Gunsight Wash near Why. Another long drive brought me south through Hermosillo and to the playa (beach) near San Carlos. A grumpy couple was at my usual place beside the little lagoon, so I moved over to a bushy spot by the Sea of Cortez. It was more protected and my neighbors included many new kinds of birds. I created a small lovely yard with the gas firepit and cozy camp chairs (I made new covers in Alaska).  My closest “neighbor” was a brilliant red cardinal that woke me up very day at 7 a.m., threatening the intruder cardinal he saw reflected in my window beside my bed!  This went on every day that I was camped there.

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During December I stayed in this lovely spot with a few old and new RVers close by, watching glorious sunsets and sharing memorable evening stories. However we were often stalked by thieves during the nights who were looking for unlocked doors and things they could steal. As in previous years we were told by the police that we couldn’t stay here and finally after Christmas we got some sort of official eviction. In spite of knowing that it would probably never be enforced, I decided that change was in order and arranged to become a renter. Five winters on the beach was perfect but I’m too worn down and tired to fight old battles and deal with more stress than necessary. Perhaps it was fortuitous and I’m learning to embrace unanticipated changes.

P1010959 with Santa emailP1020084 San Carlos Christmas reduced

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I had an exciting time with my friends Carole and Mike from Bellingham again this winter.  Mike brought his remote control glider with a new twist – virtual reality glasses to be able to watch from the plane’s point of view.  It was so great! But almost enough to make a person seasick if you weren’t sitting down. We celebrated afterwards at the new La Bartina restaurant/bar that specializes in their famous mango margaritas and amazing burgers.

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I find myself making a new nest in an old traditional house not far away from my old campsite. I am very happy here. A couple years ago I had been offered a rental house by my friends Ruth and Rudy who own a nice local bakery. They were also friends with my old buddy Healy Burnham who lived here for years before he died in the late 1990s. I was happy to learn that the house was empty and they were happy to have me rent it for the rest of this winter and for next winter too. When I took the keys to go look it over, I was surprised to find that it’s very nice, bigger than I expected and more private, with a large security fenced parking area in front and a big walled-in back yard. It’s only a short walk across the highway to the beach, and it’s at the end so there are neighbors only on one side and none behind… not much furniture, but nice couch and chair, fireplace, even a view of the Mount Tetakawi sunsets from the living room, and a nice old-style kitchen. I’ll need to find a better bed, move in some stuff and gradually make the place my own. Art on the walls would be nice.

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So this marks the beginning of a new chapter. After nearly 40 years of looking for my own place in Mexico, I hope I’ve found it. Since there’s room to park my RV and my car inside the fence, I’ll feel like I be able to leave the car there and take off in the RV to explore more parts of Mexico. If I don’t have to worry about leaving things I’ll feel more free to take off. This beautiful country is fascinating and there’s so much more to see and learn. As long as I’m able, I want to do it.

Views from my new home — new birds are coming to me, including another bright red one called a Vermillion Flycatcher… and of course my cardinal still shows up sometimes too, to chase off the other birds.  And the view of our famous Tetakawi mountain makes sunset evenings in my living room spectacular.  We NEVER get tired of sunsets in this paradise!

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Our three big Rotary projects are coming up in January, February, and March, so I’ll be very busy. Too busy to be called “retired”, but it’s all good.