I had a nice evening in Guamúchil. I delayed dinner as long as I could, but by 6ish, it was time. I went down to the restaurant and ordered a Pacifico and the enchiladas mole. Like last year, the food was really delicious! They talked me into have their prune cake for dessert, too. 🙂 My food came out quickly and I made a comment to this effect. The waiter (same guy as last year!) winked and said I had the kitchen all to myself for at least another hour. That rather broke the ice and we chatted for a bit since he wasn’t busy. His children live in Seattle and he asked if I’ve ever been there because he’d been there once during the winter and the weather was horrible. I laughed and told him that Seattle has no idea what winter is really like!
After dinner, I headed back to my room to read. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get any rest because there was a party going on with very loud music (tons of bass, too, which makes me physically ill) and fireworks. Thankfully, by 9:00 there was just loud music with no bass and it made rather white noise that allowed me to fall asleep. I vaguely remember waking up around 11:00, but then it was 5:30, a surprisingly good night! It helped that I’d brought in my mattress topper, so I wasn’t sleep on a rock-like bed!
I Googled when sunrise was going to be to see if I was going to laze around or head out and the answer was 6:20, so I could definitely pack and start loading the truck. It was light enough out by 6:00 for me to go. I stopped at the Oxxo for coffee and, like last year, it was the worst Oxxo coffee I’ve had, as well as the cheapest (I sense a correlation). Never again am I going to that one!
Next stop was Scotiabank because I was a little tight in my cash on hand if I had any surprises like rent going up or whatever and didn’t want to chance having to rush to a bank tomorrow. The GPS took me to the bank without fuss… and which turned out to be a HSBC! Bummed that I’d have to detour to the one on Rafael Buelna in Maz, I headed back to the main road. Judging by the amount of shouts I got from a handful of pedestrians, I must have done so the wrong way down a one-way street without signage to that effect. Really, driving in Mexico is no different than driving in Quebec! Anyway, this led me to make a few extra turns and, oh, look at that, there’s a Scotiabank!
It took a bit of work to make my withdrawal because their ATMs are really fussy. You have to put your card in and take it out really fast, then put it in again, where it will lock. I was hoping to be able to take out $5,000, which was tight based on my daily limit, depending on the exchange rate. I got the very terrifying, “Your card is not compatible with our ATMs” message that I knew, thanks to knowledge gained last year, meant, “You can’t take out that much.” So I tried again for $4,000 and that worked just fine.
(Pesos, folks, pesos!)
I then headed out of Guamúchil and pointed the truck towards Culiacán on the libre. I made it to the next to last city on my itinerary in record time. I passed a Panamá bakery, so I pulled into a very tight parking lot to get some munchies. They had the almond croissants and ham and cheese sandwiches I like, so I started with those, then asked if they had anything with apples. The gal went to the kitchen and came back with a tray of apple tarts “with lots of cinnamon.” Perfect! For the first time, they offered to heat up my sandwich, but I said no thank you because I’d be eating it later.
So of course, I stopped at the next Oxxo for a much better coffee to go with my breakfast. 🙂
Having accidentally driven the cuota much of the way from Mazatlán to Culiacán last year, doing so this year wasn’t even a consideration. Yes, it’s faster, but that’s all there is to be said for it. The libre is much more scenic and there are more services. To me, it’s worth the extra time. If I was in an RV, though, I’d find the cuota worth the money to save all that stopping and going and slowing down as we go through the towns!
I thought about stopping in El Quelite, but I had no idea what sort of shape The Road would be in and didn’t want to spend a few hours doing touristy stuff and then discover that The Road would be in worse shape than last year and take hours and end up on Isla rushed and burnt out. Maybe on the way home?
It feels like I made it to Maz in record time this year, even with my stops. There was a very tiny detour around an overpass, otherwise it was very straightforward to get through town. I nixed my plans to stop at Soriana since I wasn’t hungry and decided to head straight to Isla. I made a final pit stop because you do not want to face The Road with anything sloshing around in your bladder!
There was a huge accident right at the turn off for the airport and traffic redirection appeared to be a nightmare. I told the police officer right at my exit that I was headed to my home on Isla de la Piedra and he looked very relieved that I wasn’t a tourist he’d have to reroute!
The first part of The Road was better than last year, but that’s not saying much, in that it was just as rutty, but there were fewer lakes. When I got to the end of that bit, I came upon my water guy from last year, parked while talking to someone. He recognised me and shouted, “Hola amiga! Bienvenidos!” Funny how he was the last Isla person I saw when I left in the spring!
Then, there was the very nice paved section. Then a little bit of graded gravel. Then a long section with huge rocks that haven’t been graded. My truck could barely go over some of those rock piles. It was really bad. An RV would find The Road impassable.
Since I drove The Road several times last year and know what my truck can do, I wasn’t as nervous and drove it pretty quickly, making it to Isla in exactly 30 minutes.
I checked out the house and it was obviously not ready. I went to my landlady’s place and she was so relieved to see me, saying she knew I had said I would not be calling again, but she had still expected a final check in (serves her right for being so hard to reach last year! *g*). She said she needed a couple of hours, but the house was mostly done. I told her I was in absolutely no rush and was going to visit my friends L&N who live on Goat Island. As long as I had a bed tonight, it was all good. She said absolutely! I had thought to arrive around 2:00 and it was around 12:30, so I was early and hadn’t expected the house to be ready anyway!
L&N were thankfully home, so I spent a couple of hours and had as many beers. 🙂 I gave them their purchases and they were very happy, especially to see as much cat litter as I brought them. They only arrived yesterday and, like me, are glad to have landed. They had the flights from hell from Winnipeg!
They had stuff to do, so I headed back to the house to park my truck around 3:00. The yard looked a lot neater, so I suspected I could go back to my landlady’s to get my keys. Yup! She confirmed that I have lots of gas (propane/butane) and that she’ll get my internet turned on ASAP. TelMex is apparently closed tomorrow, so it will happen Tuesday and I should be online by Wednesday…
In the meantime, I’ve discovered I have usable internet with my Wilson Sleek cradle in the truck. That means the phone has to be in the truck and then I’m limited by the computer’s distance from the phone. Ergo, I’ll be working from outside this week! That suits me just fine, it’s HOT.
Now, the house… It’s obvious that she was rushed to get it ready for me tonight in that I’m missing little things like a roll of toilet paper and towels, the washer isn’t hooked up, and the water heater wasn’t on. Absolutely no biggies. Oh, and the fridge smelled like someone died in it, but ten minutes after putting a bowl filled with a couple of spoons of coffee in it, it was fine!
Other than that, everything was good! The house is freshly painted, there are new curtains in the kitchen (which aren’t as nice quality as what was there last year, but have a much lovelier pattern and offer more privacy), there’s a better (and nicer) bedspread in the bedroom, and…. she got me the armchair I asked for for the living room. I am SHOCKED. It’s not what I would have picked out for myself, but she did really well with my request. It has the arm rests and back support I want and a decent cushion for my butt. I wish I had a foot rest, but I can put my feet up on the couch and will pin a towel or something to the seat so I don’t get it dirty. I know I am going to spend a lot of time reading in this chair this winter!
I emptied the truck right away and set to work getting nearly everything put away! I want to wash all my kitchen stuff as everything is gritty but I promptly sorted through what was here and put away what I won’t use, then figured out where my stuff will end up. I don’t have the extra counter unit this year, so I’m glad I brought a table on which to lay out things. I may go pick up a set of plastic drawers because I really have no place to put things like dish towels or utensils. But I can at least make coffee tomorrow morning!
Tomorrow’s project will be to start setting up my office, but there’s no rush for that since I won’t be working from it for a few days. My landlady asked if I mind if she leaves both twin beds in the house and I told her it’s fine even though it will mean a more cramped office. I am going to take the liberty of doing some furniture rearranging and move one out of the way.
In between bouts of putting stuff away, I headed ‘downtown’ to see if the grocery store was open, which it wasn’t. No biggie. It should be open early tomorrow and I’ll need fresh tortillas anyway! I wasn’t planning to cook tonight, that’s for sure! I didn’t need anything badly enough to stop in at an abarrotes (convenience store), of which there were a handful open.
I headed out to Miguel’s restaurant around 6:30 and boy were they busy! Always a good sign! He and Angela greeted me warmly and took a couple of minutes for a super quick catch up. I had the shrimp burritos (surprise…) and they were as good as I remembered them! Angela asked if they were okay and I said, “With a belly full of good food, I’ll sleep well tonight!” She laughed and said that made her happy.
Like last year, I’ve come just after lots of rain, so there are huge puddles of water all around Isla. Unless I want to take a huge detour, there are two huge lakes between my house and the restaurant. I went around one to get there and around the other to get home. In the dark. With barely any lighting. I didn’t slip in the mud or fall in the water or trip on anything the way I did when I arrived last year until I got my Isla footing! It’s like I’ve never left! 🙂
It’s really good to be back! I wonder if tomorrow will be a ‘I just want to hang out at home in my PJs’ or a ‘Maz, here I come!’ day. We shall see. 😀