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A mixture of dissimilar ingredients

Hodgepodge #6  Dec.  21, 2004

 by: Annie C.

After leaving Texas we headed for Alaska via Arizona.  We stopped in at D&R (see Good Guys) to get another set of solar panels and two more batteries.  Ron had to make a new bin for us to accommodate the batteries.  He did a fantastic job.  The color and style are perfect.   He also installed an additional water tank.  Perfection as usual!  Not only did Ron work on our rig and do a good job, but he also worked on other customer's rigs, answered numerous phone calls AND still managed to hand feed an undersized kitten. 


After leaving Ron's we headed for Las Vegas.  While we were in Mexico we met a couple from Canada, (Hans & Therese) who taught Frank and I how to play poker. The guys would go snorkeling in the early part of the day while Teresa usually painted if she didn't go snorkeling and I would work on a quilt or read.  Sometimes I would get brave enough and go into the water waist deep. At 4:00 p.m. sharp, Hans would give Frank & I our poker lesson.  We had maybe 5 or 6 lessons under our belt by the time we left them.  I loved the game so much that I bought a book on how to play Texas Hold'em.  I made Frank practice with me and just about drove him nuts.  S-O-O-O-O when we got to Las Vegas I spent hours watching people play. It took me days to get enough courage to play and I probably never would have played if it hadn't been for a woman named Beverly.  Beverly's husband managed to get a seat at a table but Beverly had to wait for another table to open up.  While she waited for a table, we started talking.  She asked me if I was going to play and I said NO, that I just started learning and I didn't really know what I was doing.  She said that that was all right, she had played only a few times, didn't know what she was doing either but everyone is very nice and they are willing to help you.  Like telling you when it's your turn to bet, if you are going to.  I still wasn't convinced.  I believed everyone was very nice but I was sure everyone knew far more than I did.  About this time a table came open and Beverly had to go, leaving me wishing that I had the nerve to play also.  A couple of minutes later one of the dealers came over to me and said there was a seat open right next to my friend, did I want to join her?  Someone, I don't know who, opened my mouth, used my vocal cords and said, "I'd love to!!!" I got my chips, got my seat and had a wonderful time.  Beverly wasn't kidding.  Everyone was very nice and she really didn't know how to play very well.  At one point she leaned over to the guy next to her, showed him her cards and asked if she should play these.  That may have been okay except he was also playing for the same pot!!!  After playing for a couple of hours I was very tired so I called it quits.  I wish that I could tell you that when I cashed in I was up a couple of hundred dollars but alas I was up only 75 cents, which I gave to a beggar just outside the casino. Thanks Hans for teaching me how to play poker.


From Vegas we went to California to visit Kathleen & Russ.  They are a lovely couple that is buying an Xplorer Motorhome.  They are also having their rig made according to their needs.  They are planning to travel to Central and South America.  Kathleen will be building a website and when it's ready I will let everyone know the address.  We spent a really nice day with them.  They looked at our motorhome from stem to stern, had a hundred questions and then took us for a walk along the beach and then out for a fantastic dinner.  Thanks Russ & Kathleen, hopefully the next time we see you it will be on the road!!!


We then went to Crater Lake in Oregon.  Very beautiful, and a must see.  There was still a lot of snow (end of May) so there was a section of road that was closed to us but we still got to see a lot and had a good time.  The gift shop was covered in snow, so I climbed to the top of the roof and slide down the side on my butt.  It was good fun even though I ended up with a wet butt!  That's the nice thing about traveling in a motorhome; I had clean dry clothes to change into.


On to Washington State, British Columbia, (my favorite province), Yukon, the Artic Circle in the Northwest Territories where we met our favorite couple from England.  We first met Mike and Liz in Mexico.  They were on their way to Central and South America.  We have been in touch with The Gray Nomads for the last two years.  They have been a wealth of information, and a tremendous help with our adventures.  Anyway, we had been trying to get together every since they came back from South America.  We finally, of all places, were able to connect in Inuvik, NWT.  We spent about a week in Inuvik and then we traveled down to Dawson City together where we had to say good-bye.  They were headed to Calgary for the Stampede and we were headed for Alaska.


Hodgepodge #5  May.  18, 2004

 by: Annie C.

What can you expect to find here?  Almost anything, from photography, to what itís like to travel around the world in an RV, to recipes of foods that we have tried along the way, great campgrounds, interesting people we have met, how to, etc., etc.,.  Whatever strikes my fancy and hopefully yours.  So here goes!

Last time I said we planned on getting a stronger lens for our digital camera. Well, we looked into how much a 600mm lens would cost. At $6,000.00 we wonít be buying one! We are now considering a lens multiplier. We can attach the 2Xís multiplier to our 300mm lens and it will allow us to take pictures equal to the 600mm lens but the quality wonít be as good. Thatís all right with us, as we are not planning on selling our pictures to publications.

Tangolunda, Mexico, is near the town of Bahia de Huctulco. This whole area has become a resort spot. Cruise ships pull into Huctulco on a regular basis and there are all-inclusive hotels along the beaches. The Churchís book, ďMexican Camping,Ē gives directions where to camp for the night in Huctulco. We have been here before and it was not one of our favorite places. It was very pretty there but we had to park on the street with the buses. It was on black top, noisy and very hot, but it was free and it was the nearest place for us to spend the night after a long downhill drive through the mountains from Oaxaca.

When we arrived in Huctulco, it was after 5:00 P.M. We went for a short walk, and had dinner at one of the restaurants along the beach. After dinner we decided to move The Rig to a different spot, as there was a very unpleasant odor where we were parked. We drove around the corner and ran into some people we had met in Oaxaca. We told them our problem and asked them where they were parked. Thatís when we found out about Tangolunda, about 4 miles away. They were staying in an ecologically protected area with parking spaces and a campground. There was water, a dump, but no electricity to the sites but there were electric lights that we could turn on at night as long as we turned the lights off when we all went to bed. We were allowed to wash our laundry by hand and hang it out on lines, but only if we hung the lines next to the fence. We were also allowed to hang out our hammocks under the palm trees. This was much better than parking on the street! It still wasnít wonderful but it definitely was better. In the morning we were told about a path that goes through the reserve to the beach. This sounded great to us so we decided to have a look before we left for Puerto Escondido. We couldnít believe our eyes. Not only was there a pretty beach but also there were several lovely all-inclusive hotels. The weather was beautiful and the water inviting, so we decided to spend the day. One day lead to another and before we knew it we had spent 16 days in Tangolunda!

There were many places to explore in the area, nice drives and a great place to go snorkeling with brilliantly colored fish and schools so large that you could follow their movement from the lookout point above.

While we were in Tangolunda, Trudy started, once again, to have problems with her front leg. We decided to take her to a veterinarian that a fellow camper recommended. This veterinarian said we needed to take her to Puerto Escondido to have her x-rayed, which we did. The veterinarian there took an x-ray and felt that an insect had bitten Trudy and the bone had now become infected. He put her on antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs. We stayed in Puerto Escondido for a couple of days to make sure all was well with her before moving on.

Tenacatita, Mexico, is approximately, 25 miles north of Melaque and 125 miles south of Puerto Vallarta. We met some people on the road who told us about Tenacatita and they said, so far Tenacatita was their favorite place. We decided to give it a try and we were not the least bit disappointed. It has also become one of our favorite places. This is a boon-docking spot right on the beach. Actually, it is a spit of land between two beaches. There is rough water on one side, (not a good idea to swim here) on the other side it is perfect for swimming and snorkeling and there is a reef that almost comes all the way in to shore. The water on this side is so clear that just wadding out to waist deep I got to see some really pretty fish. It cost us about $2.50 per day and that was voluntary. The money went to a local man who took our garbage away and kept people from walking on the reef.

After spending the day sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling we would cross over to the other beach to watch the sun go down, cross back again and watch the moon come up! Itís a tough life but someone has to do it!

There isnít much in town, just a few seafood restaurants and a few shops where we could buy some very sad looking vegetables. However, about 5 miles away is a very nice small town, where we could get supplies and we were able to use the internet in an American ladyís home. She and her husband, a Mexican, bought land in this small town with the intentions of spending the rest of their lives there. Things didnít work out for them. He is back in the States trying to become an American citizen and she is in Mexico trying to become a Mexican citizen!

Teacapan, Mexico, is a small fishing village located approximately 80 miles south of Mazatlan. It is, perhaps, my very favorite spot in Mexico. We have stayed at one of several campgrounds along its coast in the past. The one we stayed at this time is new and it is called Villas Onac. Villas Onac has cottages to rent, (starting at $400.00 a month!) a campground ($6.00 a night!) with full hook-ups and a huge swimming pool. For me, the price, full hook-ups AND a swimming pool is enough to get me to stay. Throw in perhaps the best baker in all of Mexico, miles and miles of beautiful beach, near perfect weather, fresh fish and shrimp, friendly people, (not necessarily in that order) and I had all the ingredients needed for murder when Frank said it was time to move on!!!

After visiting a few other places we arrived back into the States on March 31st. We went straight to San Antonio where Trudyís veterinarian is located. The news wasnít good. After looking at the x-rays from Puerto Escondido he told us that Trudy had a very aggressive form of bone cancer and that we had only a very short time left to spend with her.

We took Trudy to an Escapees campground in Hondo, Texas where we spoiled her every chance we got. We had only 11 days with her and then we had to say good-bye. She had been our friend, protector and companion for over 13 years. She is sorely missed.



Hodgepodge #4  Feb.  26, 2004

 by: Annie C.

We get many e-mails asking us advise on purchasing a motorhome, what has worked for us, what we would do differently, what do we think is an ideal height, what about length, etc..

I wish we could say one size fits all, but unfortunately or fortunately, that is not the case.  I also wish that we could tell you there is a perfect vehicle out there but we don't think there is because like everything else in life, compromises have to be made.  For us, we think we have come close with our rig but there are still changes and additions we want to make to her. There are things that Frank would change but I wouldn't and vise a visa.  Two people one motorhome. Compromises.

We have tried to be specific with our answers to the e-mails we have received.  This vs. that, that vs. this, and this has worried me a bit.  There is more to life on the road than the perfect vehicle.  Is traveling something you both really want to do?  Make real sure that it is as we have seen relationships end because one wants to travel while the other is very happy with their home and where they live.  Compromise.  Travel 6 months, live in your home 6 months.  Don't think you can see every thing you want to in 6 months?  Probably can't, BUT you get another 6 months. The cookie jar isn't  half empty, it is always half full, for the both of you!

For Frank and I we knew that we wanted to travel the world.  Well, not all of it, but most of it.  This meant that our rig was going to be our home as well as our means of travel.  We also knew that both of us liked to do the tourist thing but we also liked to get off the beaten track. That meant 4 wheel drive, high clearance and a solidly built vehicle to accommodate "off the beaten track". 

For the inside, a well built and well laid out kitchen was a must for me.  The people at Xplorer Motor Homes made an L shaped kitchen with the refrigerator on the opposite wall from the stove.  For those who don't know, you never put a refrigerator next to a stove.  The heat from the stove and oven causes the refrigerator to work harder especially in hot climates. We often have to live off our own power so we need things to work efficiently.

Frank wanted a couch and a dinette.  I wanted a rear corner bed instead. I gave in and I am glad I did.  The couch and dinette have worked out better than I expected. There is lots of storage under the couch, it's great for stretching out on, it opens into a double bed, and because it is across from the dinette it allows us to have people over without feeling crowded.

We both wanted a bed that was made all the time with sheets and blankets instead of sleeping bags. That meant a cabover bed or a corner bed.  Since we decided on a sofa we had to go with the cabover bed.  I have a slight case of claustrophobia so the ceiling had to be high enough so I didn't feel trapped. We have the height I need to sleep comfortably but that means the outside is higher than what Frank would like.

I wanted automatic leveling jacks, Frank wasn't so sure.  He relented and Xplorer put them on where they were advised to by the leveling jack people.  Frank kept saying the front jacks were going to be a problem and sure enough they were. Our first trip off road (Mexico) took us over a cattle guard and wouldn't you know it, the front jacks got stuck in the grate!  We managed to get free and when we returned to the states we had Xplorer removed just the front jacks.  We left the rear ones as they are well placed and help raise the rear end of the motor home enough for Frank to get the tires off without having to use the manual jack that comes with the truck!  Just push a button and Viola! the rear end is up, the tire comes off or the stone is taken out from between the dualies.  Push the button again and Viola! the vehicle is back down on the ground and off we go.  W-E-E-L-L-L Frank doesn't think it's quite that easy but you get my point!

A back-up camera was a must.  We don't need to be backing up onto kids, adults, animals or other vehicles!  It also works like a rear view mirror allowing us to see what is traveling behind us.

The one place I wouldn't compromise is on a digital camera.  Figure out what you can afford to spend and then buy the next most expensive.  It will pay for it's self in no time.  We have taken over 3000 pictures and haven't had to worry about the cost of buying film, developing, wasted shots, blurry images, film caught in the camera and where to store all those images.  We just delete the ones we don't like and never give a thought to the cost.  With over 3000 pictures the money we have saved on the cost of buying film and developing has more than paid for the camera.

We brought the Canon EOS 10D with interchangeable lenses. We have a 28-90mm, 75-300mm with an image stabilizer (the stabilizer is fantastic) and a 50mm compact-macro lens. When we get back to the States we plan on buying a longer lens and a wider wide-angle.

I said I wouldn't compromise on a digital but in fact we did.  We waited for the Minolta to come out with their digital camera that would have interchangeable lenses, as I already had Minolta lenses and loved their cameras.  By the time we were ready to head for Central America, Minolta still hadn't come out with their version, so Frank talked me into a Canon.  I'm not the least bit sorry that we brought the Canon.

World travel can be done in just about anything.  From backpacking to traveling in a Unimog.  Know what suits you and the lifestyle you would like to maintain.  Just remember, no matter how you do it, you will have to make compromises.




Hodgepodge #3  Dec.  28, 2003

 by: Annie C.

I want to tell you about fences.  Yup, thatís right, fences. Farmers take these pieces of wood, sticks, poles, branches (?) and put them in the ground, string barbed wire and they have a fence.  No big deal.  Itís a fence, a crude fence, but nevertheless a fence.

The first time I noticed one we were in Mexico.  The first few times I saw one I didnít pay very much attention, after all it was just a fence.  After a while something didnít seem quite right about the fence.  I noticed that the farmer, very cleverly, incorporated a tree that was growing right in the path of his fence.  He didnít waste time cutting it down he just used it as part of his fence.  Then I noticed that this was happening very frequently.  It was happening too frequently to be a coincidence.  I started paying more attention and I started disbelieving what I was seeing.  These poles, sticks, branches, pieces of wood (?) were growing!  Nope, not possible, a living fence?!  I didn't say anything to Frank, not yet anyway.  He would have thought that I had been out in the sun too long!

It turns out that I was right.  The fence does grow from what appears to be a dead piece of wood or branch, and in fact some donít grow.  However, those are very few and far between.  The majority do grow and they grow into lovely tall trees that provide shade for the farmerís cows.  The trees also grow quite wide so that a person could get through only if they walked through sideways.  This is also a plus because the cows can and do get through the barbed wire but they cannot fit between the trees. 

Not all farmers let the fence grown into trees.  I have seen a few cutting back the branches with their machetes.  I am not sure why and it seems like a lot of extra work, because no matter how much they cut it back it just keeps sending out new shoots.  Some farmers do use the branches they have cut from their fences to expand their fence or to replace the part that isnít growing.  A full grown fence is quite pretty.

Okay, enough about living fences.  Life on the road can be and is wonderful, exciting and absolutely amazing.  However, normal everyday problems still crop up. One morning we noticed that Trudy was having difficulty walking.  She was very shaky and her front left leg seemed to be useless.  We thought she may have had a stroke during the night.  She is 13 years old and that is old for a Rottweiler.  We asked where the nearest veterinarian was and that was a mistake.  They sent us to a place that was unbelievable!  I have never seen a place that filthy before.  We got out of there as fast as we could and hoped that Trudy hadnít caught some horrid disease from that place!

We decided to drive back to a really nice place that we had stayed at called Finca Ixobel. The first time we were at Finca Ixobel it was just a great place for us to unwind. We just sat back, relaxed and ate like kings. The food is out of this world and it's an all you can eat buffet, and believe me we did.  I gained a pound a day! (If you get a chance read the article in Lonely Planet's Guatemala entitled  "The Murder of Michael DeVine".)

The woman that owns Finca Ixobel, Carol, (Michael DeVine's wife)  had two very healthy looking dogs and we knew she was an animal lover.  It meant a 4 hour drive back, but Trudy seemed to be happy enough, she just couldnít maneuver very well.

When we told Carol the problem she telephoned her veterinarian right away.  He wasnít able to see Trudy as he was in Belize (we were in Guatemala), but he would come see Trudy the next day. True to his word he came and checked Trudy out.  She had a very bad case of arthritis and a possible shoulder strain.  He gave her an injection and we had to take her the following day to his place to get another shot.  The town he was from, Flores, was very difficult for us to drive through as the streets are very narrow, so he agreed to meet us outside town at the Mayan International Hotel, in Santa Elena which was approximately an hour and a half away from Finca Ixobel.  He gave Trudy another injection and he showed Frank how to give her one for the following day.  Our time was up in Guatemala and we had to either renew or cross the border the next day.  I give Frank a lot of credit; I couldnít have given Trudy a needle.  He didnít like doing it one bit but he did it and Trudy is fine.  She is now our weather forecaster.  I know to add a quilt to our bed when I see her limping around!

The bill for coming out to see Trudy at Finca Ixobel, the visit at the hotel plus the injections cost us almost, but not quite $50.00!

The other time Trudy had to see the veterinarian was in Paamul, Mexico.  She tangled with some fire ants and lost.  She developed hot spots on her face where they bit her.  The veterinarian shaved her face gave her some injections and told us how to treat it at home.  Trudy has had a bout of hot spots one more time since then.  This time we knew what it was and we were able to treat it ourselves.  For those of you who want to know the treatment it is as follows:

Soak one Chamomile tea bag in 1/4 cup hot water.  Swab the hot spots with half the quarter cup in the morning and the rest in the evening. Make a fresh batch of tea the next day.  Then mix together equal amounts of Cortizone 10 Plus and Bacitracin, enough to cover all hot spots. Apply after the Chamomile tea has a bit of a chance to dry.  Repeat in the evening. Do this until the hot spots clear up. I am not recommending this treatment, I am only telling you what worked for Trudy.

Before we crossed into Guatemala Frank said we are off to see Tikal.  Oh No! Not another ruin! It was not on my must see list but it was on Frank's.  I am very glad it was.  Tikal is one of those places you always see, hear or read about.  Over done can disappoint, but not in this case.  There is a special feel to Tikal and it was everything we had hoped for and more. 

Museo de Palaeontologia, Arqueologia y Geologia, in Estanzuela.  Such a long name for such a small museum, but well worth a visit. Lonely Plant's Guatemala describes it as "An interesting and startling museum filled with dinosaur bones, some reconstructed and menacing looking."  I couldn't have said it better. It has a reconstructed, giant ground sloth that is 30,000 years old.  There  is also a prehistoric whale and giant armadillo.  It was kind of fun to see prehistoric animals that were not the usual dinosaurs bones.  Lots of other interesting things to see like Mayan artifacts and well worth a visit. The price? Free!

Copan Ruins - Honduras:  This site is impressive for a number of reasons.  The first is the Hieroglyphic Stairway.  It is the longest Mayan hieroglyphic inscription that has been found so far.  It tells the history of Copan's previous rulers.  The Hieroglyphics is not completely understood because they are still trying to put back the pieces that have fallen away.  Our guide told us that once the stairway is rebuilt, they believe that it will be the key for learning about the history of other Mayan sites.

Another reason is the must see Museum of Sculpture. It houses a complete replica (true scale) of the Rosalila temple.  The temple was discovered in almost perfect condition with it's original paint and carvings.  The original Rosalila temple is below Structure 16 and you can see the front of the temple via a tunnel.

When we walked into the museum and saw the Rosalila temple it knocked our socks off.  All other temples have had little splashes of color and large chunks missing.  Much was left to the imagination, but not so here.  Just to see the Rosalila was worth the trip.  But the museum doesn't stop there.  The sculptures are  magnificent and so undamaged that they are a delight to look at.  The photos here are just a sampling of what can be seen at the museum.

We were told, that Tikal is considered the New York of the Mayan world with it's many tall structures and Copan is considered the Paris of the Mayan world with it's many beautiful sculptures.

Hope you have enjoyed the trip so far.  Frank and I would like to wish everyone a happy and prosperous NEW YEAR!    

So much I still want to share with you but I will have to wait until next time.



HODGEPODGE #2  - October 15th, 2003

by: Annie C.

Horse carts, donkey carts, bicycle carts, trucks, cars, buses, people, shops, very, very rough water filled pot holed road -  Missed our turn, went down a one way, the wrong way, donkeys falling down!  A-a-a-h-h Mexico!  Good to be back.

We have crossed at Pharr, Texas before so we have had some idea of what to expect.  It is still a hair raising and a bit disconcerting place.  If you have never crossed into Mexico with an RV before, I would suggest crossing at a smaller border crossing and one that doesn't throw you almost immediately into a good size town, for two reasons. First, you need time to adjust to the road and the driving conditions.  Second, you are going to be nervous, excited and looking at all the new sights and sounds that you are not going to be able to do the first very well. Even with experience we went up a one way the wrong way!

We have crossed into Mexico at a few different places, large and small, and we have found the officials to be friendly and helpful.  Take your time, try to relax, and you will be through it fairly quickly.

 When you get about 100 miles into Mexico you are going to find a very different Mexico than what you found at the border.  It is going to take a little getting use to.  It is not all Puerto Vallarta and Cancun, especially if you travel the Libre (free roads) like we do.  You will see a very different way of life, some things will surprise you, some things will sadden you, some things will delight you but one thing usually stays the same and that's the people.  They are warm and friendly.  Always ready with a smile, a wave and are there to help when needed. 

The road, in places can be difficult, narrow, winding, pot holes, no shoulder and drop-offs.  Other places, the road is as good as what we have in the U.S.  We have traveled with a big rig and a tow and we did just fine, but I tell you, we are thrilled with our new rig.  We don't worry when we miss our turn, we now can turn almost any place we want.  If you're towing you may have to drive quite a ways before finding a place big enough to turn.  Time consuming, nerve racking, and just plain aggravating.

Military Inspections - Accept them.  They are just part of Mexico.  They are looking for drugs and guns.  If you don't have either, you don't have a problem.  The guys are very friendly and respectful if you treat them with respect.  They are just doing their job.  They also just like to look at the inside of your rig.  Some of these young men have never seen the inside of an RV and they are just as curious as you are when you go to an RV show.  They wipe their feet before coming in, they open and close cupboard doors far gentler than I do.  Some have asked me who the people are in the photographs on the walls.  They always get a big smile on their faces when I tell them this is my son and his girlfriend and this is my daughter and her husband on their wedding day.  You will find the Mexican people are very family orientated, and some of these young men are missing their families too. 

We had a flat tire on our tow last year, just outside of Lake Chapla, near a military inspection site. One of the guys came over and changed the tire for us.  Scary huh?!

Fruit & Vegetable Inspection Stations and/or Eggs and Meat Inspection Station - These are located at state lines.  Some times they are manned and some times they aren't. If they are manned and you have oranges, limes, eggs, pork or poultry (you are never sure exactly what they are looking for) you are going to have them taken away.  Some places will spray your tires and the underside of your vehicle.  Again people are friendly and are often apologetic for having to take food away from you. An American border crossing guard suggested we either eat it before crossing or give the food to some of the local people.  They would appreciate the windfall.

The Police - Never had a problem with them.  The ones we have spoken to have been very nice.  Never been harassed by one and never got a ticket by one, knock-on-wood.  One year we took a wrong turn and got stuck on a very, narrow street with our big motorhome and tow.  Cars couldn't get past us and we could just barely make it down the street.  A local police officer walked in front of our motorhome and led us to a street with two way traffic AND led us in the direction we wanted to go. No ticket, no lecture, he was glad to have been of help.  A really bad guy, right?!

Federal Police - Never had any thing to do with them.  Asked directions once.  Very polite, somewhat aloof.

Green Angels - Volunteers that drive around in green trucks.  Will help you get going again if you break down.  If they can't fix the problem, they will arrange for help.  This is strictly volunteer, so if they have helped you, please help them with a small donation.

Hopefully, I have helped alleviate some of your concerns about traveling in Mexico.  The only real caution I have is don't tell people you plan on visiting Mexico.  If you do, be prepared to hear horror stories. When you hear one, ask, "when did this happen to you?".  The usual answers are either "Oh, about 30 years ago", or "Oh, it didn't happen to me. A friend was telling me about this guy who it happened to".  Listen if you want.  We did and we almost didn't go.  What a mistake that would have been.


Lots has happened and Frank will tell you about that, what I am excited about is the Belize Zoo.  I hate zoos and love animals.  This zoo is different.  Footprint's travel guide says "Highly recommended, even for those who hate zoos.".  Okay, seeing is believing, and I didn't think I would be believing.  So, off we went.  I loved the place.  The animals are in large enclosures, with native plants and trees.  The park tries to make it as close to the animals environment as possible.

The zoo was started in 1983 (the new zoo opened in 1991) after filming of a natural history documentary. Since then the zoo has grown and has over 100 animals, all indigenous to Belize.  Many of the animals are endangered and many have been injured and cannot be released back into the wild.

There are fun signs throughout the park, geared towards the children of Belize, explaining why it is wrong to hunt these animals. Some of these animals are taken to the schools so all the children of Belize can learn about the very special animals they have in their country and how they can help protect them.

As far as I could tell, most of the animals have names and many of them come when called, like the Tayra.  One Scarlet Macaw frantically climbed over the back of the other one so it could get a better look at the us and the camera. The Coatimundi's are very tame (a lot of people keep them as pets) and are very intent on finding some bugs to eat. The Toucan hurried over to get his picture taken and the Jaguar was way too hot to be bothered. They also had a Black Jaguar that was cleaning itself in the dense brush.  We could just see him and we didn't get a very good picture of him. It kind of made the hair on the back of our necks stand up just thinking about this perfectly camouflaged animal walking around the same jungle we have been walking around in.

Just a couple of miles from the zoo is JB's Sunset Bar & Restaurant. It is run by a South African family and we have been enjoying South African style food, which we haven't had for more than 30 years!  They make Belizean style food as well and they also make the best French fries.  They could give MacDonald's and Burger King a run for their money. (Really Alex! It's the only French Fries I have seen Frank eat AND enjoy). 

JB's is fun and friendly and if you get a chance to come to Belize sit and talk with Henry.  You'll be in for a treat!  Henry has had a very interesting life and he knows how to tell a story, he also plays a mean guitar!

We were able to hook up to electricity and they have an internet connection. We have pretty much used JB's as our base camp. By the way, did I mention drinks on the patio, enjoying the ever changing misty mountain view while talking quilts with Karen? What more could I ask for?!

We are off to Guatemala in a couple of days.  If anyone has been there and has suggestion as to what to see and do, please feel free to e-mail us with your suggestions.



HODGEPODGE #1  - AUGUST 31, 2003

 by: Annie C.


What can you expect to find here?  Almost anything, from photography, to what itís like to travel around the world in an RV, to recipes of foods that we have tried along the way, great campgrounds, interesting people we have met, how to, etc., etc.,.  Whatever strikes my fancy and hopefully yours.  So here goes!

We are always asked why we are going to travel round the world in our RV, and arenít we afraid.

The answer to the question ďwhy? ď... because we think the world is a beautiful and fascinating place and we want to see all of it or as much of it as we can. As for the second question ďarenít we afraid?Ē....  the idea of it scares me a little, but the experiences we have had so far has taught me I that I am wasting my time being afraid. We have been to Mexico and some parts of Africa and the only time I have been afraid, was when a herd of elephants stampeded and we were in the middle of them in an Isuzu Trooper.  After it was over and all was well, it was just incredibly exciting!

While traveling in a foreign country we use the same common sense that we would use here.  We donít go to certain places after dark and we stay away from certain places during the day.  If an area is starting to look rough, we turn around. We ask people if an area is safe or should we stay out of there.  We keep our wallet in our front pocket and we donít carry a lot of cash on us. We are respectful to the people we meet and enjoy our differences.  There are more good people in this world than there are bad, so thatís why we get out there and enjoy the world and what life has to offer.

Right now we are in Livingston, Texas getting last minute things done.  We will leave for San Antonio on Sept. 2nd. to get more last minute things done.  Hopefully that will be the end of the last minute things and we can be on our way to Mexico.  We were planning to cross into Mexico by Sept. 1st. but that isnít going to happen. (Patience is a virtue, so Iím told!)

We plan on traveling the east coast of Mexico to the Paa Mul campground. (Paa Mul is approx 50 miles south of Cancun). This is a great campground on the water with snorkeling for Frank. It has full hookups and room for large rigs. There are about 120 sites. 

The first time we went to Paa Mul we planned on staying for just a couple of days and ended up staying about 10 days.  We would have stayed longer but we needed to get back to the States to help our daughter plan her wedding.

From Paa Mul we plan on going to Belize for a couple of weeks and then we will cross into Guatemala and visit the Mayan city of Tikal.  After that, ???????   

Ron Multi-tasking

Chipmunk enjoying a dandelion flower

Hey, you have my dandelion!!!

Crater Lake

Bum-Sledding at Crater Lake Visitor Center

Tea Garden in Vancouver

Parrot - Botanical Gardens, Vancouver

Mike and Frank

Gray Nomads Rig

Salmon Fishing

Mile "0" Alaskan Highway

Sunset at Chacala, Mexico

Whale Breaching, Tenacatita

Beach at Teacapan

Pool, Swim-Up Bar and Upper Deck, Villas Onac

Perhaps the Best Baker in all of Mexico!!!

Removing Bread from the Oven

Goodies Ready to go to Local Shops

Picking Peppers, Teacapan

Loading the Drying Racks

Drying Oven Building

Tractor replaced the horse, but the plow is still not automated

TRUDY: October 8th,1990 - April 12th, 2004             





Sunset Beach Party -  Acapulco, Mexico

Sunset Club

The Reason for the Party

Frank Talking to Locals - Acapulco in Background.

A Woman's Work is Never Done, Even in Paradise

Dove's Sharing Our Solar Panel - Honduras

Flying Mantra Ray in Acapulco Perfect example of why we need a longer lens!


Street Scene San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Wild Parrot Raiding Termite Nest in Costa Rica

Rear Bed Model - El Salvador



Living Fence Stick

Living Fence Stick Sprouting

Full Grown Fence

Trudy, otherwise know as Tru Dog

Ever Vigilant!

Finca Ixobel

Temple 1 in Great Plaza, Tikal

Giant Ground Sloth

Wild Scarlet Macaws

Mayan Arch at Copan Ruins

Hieroglyphic Stairway

Rosalila Temple (Replica)

Newly Excavated Carving from Copan Ruins

Additional Carving from Copan Ruins

"The Old Man" of Copan



Spider Monkey

Spider Playing


Scarlet Macaw

Ornate Hawk-Eagle

Keel-billed Toucan

Coatimundi Raccoon






Harpy Eagle

JB's Mountain View

Free Roaming Horses at JB'S

Totem at JB'S


Guards at Ottawa, Canada

Luna Moth Maine

California Wild Poppies

Baby California Grey Whale. Guerrero Negro, Baja California, Mexico

El Fuerte Mexico

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