Monday, October 26, 2009

Made it to the boat!! 10.26.09

Ahhh....we're back! It's such a great feeling to be back 'home'. After leaving Michael's mom's house, we drove out to Mesa, Arizona where our friends Greg & Sharona, whom we met this summer in Ketchikan, live. We spent the evening with them, chatting away, catching up, & enjoying their company. They cooked a fabulous dinner of salmon and crab legs....yum!!...and we were able to meet Sharona's sister as well. We were thoroughly exhausted by the end of the evening and had an early morning the next day.

On the road Mexico!

Sunday morning we were up and ready to leave around 7:00 or so. It was about a 2 1/2 hour drive to the Mexican border and we were anxious to get across and start the long haul down to Mazatlan. The border crossing was no problem this time, we've perfected our answers so as not raise suspicion by the U.S. border patrol and we breezed through aduana (customs) in Mexico with a 'pase' (green light). Whew! At the Km 21 marker we had to stop and get our temporary import permit for the van, something we were not able to do online though we tried and tried. We had all of our paperwork ready and stood in the line only about 10 people deep. At the window, I'm reminded of just how little Spanish I know when the man behind the window started to talk. He kept referring to our van as a van conversion, asking if it had a TV inside, etc. We told him no, it was just a van. He seemed dismayed...kept shuffling papers, walking around, etc. Finally, he points to our title and registration and says he must classify it as a van conversion because it says 'VC' on our paperwork. Fine, we say...and wait for how much THIS is going to cost us! After entering all of the info in, he tells us that it's a 10 year permit and will be $49.50. One problem I have with Spanish is when they tell me something I'm not expecting, I get stuck on the part I'm confused about. When I heard 10 years, I didn't hear anything else. We asked again...and he confirmed that I heard right - because it's a Van conversion, we get a 10 year temporary import permit instead of the 6 month permit a standard car gets! That's GREAT news! The 6 month permit is a pain in the a$$ as you have to have it renewed every year and it costs about $40 a year. We scored!! I still couldn't believe it as we walked away...

Again, at the Km 21 checkpoint we were given a 'pase' (green light) at customs and we scooted on down the road. We made it to Guaymas and stopped for the night at The Flamingo hotel, a small, clean, little hotel we have stopped at before. We walked across the street to a fantastic little restaurant and had a wonderful dinner, then back to the air conditioned room for some sleep! As luck would have it, someone down the hall was having a party until the wee hours of the night but we still managed to get some much needed rest.

The next morning we were up and at 'em and on the road early. We had a 9 hour drive ahead of us to get to Mazatlan. The toll road all the way to Mazatlan were pretty good. We ran into some construction but nothing major. We were amazed at how green everything was since we had just left California and was amazed at how brown it was! You could see the damage done by both storms to hit the area - trees toppled, signs ripped down, water that had overflown its banks - but it seemed the cities were recovering. The temperatures gradually got warmer and warmer though we still drove with the windows down.

FINALLY!! We made it into Mazatlan where, again, we saw lots of damage done by the storm. We pulled into Marina Mazatlan's parking lot and were greeted by friends with hugs, smiles, and cold cervezas! We sat and chatted for a while before heading down to the boat.

We found some damage that those looking after the boat described as cosmetic from the visit from Rick. Nothing that can't be repaired but still a bummer to find. When the last part of the storm went through, it flipped the bumpers up and the boat was rubbing against a bolt that had come loose that was holding the docks together. LUCKILY....the bolt hold the docks together or we would be talking major damage. Unfortunately, it took about a 4" diameter circle of scratches - through the gel coat, into fiberglass.

Damage done to the boat by Tropical Storm Rick

It didn't hole the boat, just scratched it up good. Nothing a little fiberglass & paint can't fix!

Inside the boat looks good. Our two fans quit working in the past couple weeks and there is a bit of mold growing in very unusual places, indicating to me we had some very, very minimal water intrusion from the storm. I've already been in my yellow gloves and bleach to combat the spots. Again, no issues. No bugs (though we found one HUGE, dead, flying cockroach beside the freezer that freaked us out), rodents, and even my plants survived (thanks to Tony's wife who took them in and cared for them!). We had a guy looking after the boat, Tony, who met us at the parking lot, bought our first round of cervezas, had the boat washed, & even left us a large bottle of water for the evening. What a great guy & he did a great job. We fired up the freezer and it's working great. We're planning some major renovations on the fridge so we're working out of a cooler.

It's been great to see friends as they come by and say Hi. We had a great first night on the boat...after unloading some of the stuff from the van we met a group up at a new restaurant for dinner & some Monday night football & conversation. We bailed early as we were absolutely exhausted and came down to get settled in on the boat. It's great to be back....we missed it.

Temps are warm but not horrendous. It's sunny and humid but do-able. We have the air conditioner going in the main cabin and Michael works outside for an hour or so and comes in to down lots of water and cool off.

We're headed to the boatyard on Friday and there's LOTS to do before then! But we're very happy to be here.... :-)


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