Sunday, April 12, 2009

escape to mexico

I am one lucky fellow.

My sainted brother, who is still recovering from right shoulder surgery, drove over the mountains from Bend -- merely to help me put together my rooftop carrier.

And I am glad he did. Even with the two of us using our encyclopedic database of engineering, it was a close run thing -- as the Iron Duke may have said.

The carrier is American-made. And the instructions to assemble it are proof of that fact. There were enough warnings to make the tender-hearted turn back on the first page.

It does prove one of my theories, though. It seems as if everything I buy requires assembling multiple parts, guided only by instructions that are about as vague as a politician's grasp of economics.

Speaking of politicians. The American variety loves to to claim that American manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas. But politicians are wrong. The manufacturing jobs have been outsourced to American back yards and basements.

But I now have a rooftop carrier, thanks to the good offices of my younger brother, and I can now start measuring for serious packing.

Our mother showed up just as we were finishing up the job. So, we took her out for a delayed birthday dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant. In talking with the owners, I discovered they are returning to Mexico -- Colima, in fact -- to open a restaurant. I certainly wish them well.

The rest of the day was devoted to sorting things to give to the Salvation Army, to keep at the house, or to take to Mexico. I think I have everything that I will take reduced to four plastic containers and one suitcase -- with soft things stuffed in between.

The "to go" pile includes some clothes, more toiletries than I can use in six months, my computer and related supplies, a few books, Jiggs's supplies, and my kitchenware and utensils.

If anything rings the Mexican customs bell, it will probably be the toiletries. I buy in bulk at Costco. I have enough soap, deodorant, and tooth paste to make any customs officer believe I am opening up a hygiene shop on the side.

I have not mentioned Jiggs lately. I am getting a bit concerned how he is going to hold up on the trip. He is getting reluctant to go for his walks. Instead, he sleeps a lot -- and deeply. I know he is getting anxious with all of the people coming and going from the house. On the other hand, he is old.

But, for now, I will simply wish each of you a very happy Easter!


richland said...

Steve, when you said you were coming to Mexico in a truck, I had this image of a pickup truck. I saw you in an open pick up truck, trucking all your books and possessions, badly wrapped, with the dog, in the back, barking and picking up all sorts of locals on the way. Imagine my disappointment when I saw the "Truck".

Larry in Mazatlan said...


You'll be able to find hotels with WiFi, and hotels that are dog-friendly, although the latter will be more difficult to locate. The trick is to find something with both. Internet access is all over the place and you'll see cyber cafes everywhere, including along the road when you're off the Autopista. I would suggest locating accommodations for Jiggs first and worry about WiFi last. The world isn't going to end if you don't post daily.

As for staying in touch with family up north, I presume you already have a cell phone. Most services have roaming arrangements with Telcel and Moviestar. A little expensive, but doable. Just so long as you have a GSM phone.


Anonymous said...

Hope you are feeling better Steve.

Haven't we all experienced what it means to live vicariously through others? I am waiting with baited breath for your wonderful "new life" adventure. Good to hear that you are a step closer and equipped!

Thought I would share this quote -

“Behind closed eyes, colors fade and blend into beautiful new creations. Fate is left at the shaking hands of our imaginations. Places new and amazing, faces remain unseen. How, then, does our heart feel as if racing in the anticipation of a dream?””

~ unknown

Happy Easter

Larry in Mazatlan said...


I almost forgot. You may wish to adjust your travel accordingly. Hard on the heals of Semana Santa is Semana Internacional de la Moto. It's the largest motorcycle rally in Latin America. Rooms may be tough to locate anywhere near the malecon. It runs from the 15th to the 19th.


Anonymous said...

And the same to you Steve.

This is asking much but as you do your final packing/loading please leave a minute space vacant to be occupied by many of us (if in spirit only), your regular readers, as we will be there with you for every mile and experience as you make your way south.

May it be the safest, most uncomplicated and enjoyed of road trips.

Babs said...

Hate to tell you this, but we have soap, deodorant and toothpaste in all kinds of stores plus Costco. You so make me laugh........heavens, I'll sure be glad when you're ON THE ROAD!

VisitLaManzanilla said...


Safe travels and we look forward to meeting you when you get down here and settled.

Steve Cotton said...

Richland -- "Truck" conjures up freedom and the open road -- thus, I adopted the term for my Escape. Even we brie-chomping, chablis-slurping effete liberal elite types like to pretend we are part of the great American landscape.

Larry -- I will be without a telephone soon after I cross the border. I am buying out the remainder of my contract. But I will have some contact through MagicJack on my computer.

Good advice on motel priorities. Finding a room for Jiggs comes first. I can always track down a WiFi connection.

Anonymous -- Thank you for that exceedingly kind Easter gift.

Babs -- I assure you that the hygeine fairy did not tap me with her wand. It is my Scots blood rising to the surface. I paid good money for these things, and I am certainly not going to waste them by leaving them behind. Such logic, of course, would find me packing a frozen side of beef in my luggage.

Like you, I want me on the road. The 15th approaches quickly.

Steve Cotton said...

Larry -- My brother and I were plotting our route yesterday. Traffic is a concern around the border, as well, because California is still within the Spring break period. But we need to be in Melaque by 23 April. That will not give us much adjustment time.

Kim -- Thanks for the quote. A nice thought to strive for.

I am not feeling much better. The respiratory system is now clogged. But I long to be on the road to chase that dream -- or to pause, and let it find me.

Steve Cotton said...

VisitLaManzanilla -- And I the same.

Larry in Mazatlan said...


Just a suggestion, but you might want to purchase a cell phone soon after entering Mexico. Not all of the road-side phones work, and it will allow you to dial 078 to reach the Green Angles should the need arise. Also, should you be in a mishap, you'll want the 01-800 access to your Mexican insurance company.

You can buy a phone, charger and 100 minutes of air time for around $300 pesos. Just look for a TelCel or Movistar star. They both have big blue facades.


Steve Cotton said...

Larry -- I was looking forward to a post-phone retirement. Of all modern "conveniences," the cell phone is one I can live without. But, you are correct, there are times when a fire extinguisher comes in handy. In truth, I think you won me over with the "Moviestar" reference. Never underestimate my shallowness quotient.

Cynthia Johnson and Mike Nickell said...

Looking good...have a nice dinner with your mom and bro. Happy Easter!

Larry in Mazatlan said...


Some people say Moviestar is cheaper, and some people say TelCel has better coverage. I tend to lean in favor of TelCel, but that's just me. You can buy additional time everywhere for either, and not just at a phone store. Even at the neighborhood super.

As an alternative, if your current phone is GSM quad-band, consider keeping it until you settle in. As I said, most NOB carriers have ties with Mexican cel companies. Plus, folks up north will be able to reach you easily if need be. Just remind them that down here the caller pays, not the recipient.

I think you're going to be surprised how useful, and at times necessary, a local cell is here.


Brenda said...

Happy Easter to you and your family.
Hope you feel better before your trip starts.

Jackie said...

Happy Easter to you Steve. I have to agree with the advice about a cell phone. I wouldn't drive to Bend without a cell phone. You just never know what may happen. But hey who do I work for? Qwest.

glorv1 said...

I hope your Easter was great Steve and also that you had an enjoyable dinner with your mom and brother. I too thought you had a big truck and I visualized things piled here and there. I see someone left you a poem which reminds me since you are travelling, of a poem I once wrote. I won't type all of it, just a couple of verses of what you might be saying to jiggs right about now.
Go with me, wherever I may go
About this country I will show.
Let's go to places we've yet
to see, just us, you and me.
We'll travel around, to all
places we'll be bound
We'll have no fears, cus we've so
few years.
Each day will count,
Each moment will amount
but the world we shall see
Just You And Me....

Which is the title of this poem. That was just two verses of the poem. I thought it fitting since your getting ready to hit the road.
Drive safely, take care of Jiggs,
and get to where you are going so you can settle in and start your new life. God's Speed.

Babs said...

Some friends just drove from northern California to Phoenix to Nogales to Guaymas. IF you want the info of their route through the middle of Ca. etc. I can send it to you. They said the crossing at Nogales is a breeze. Just don't forget to get your holographic car decal, if you don't already have it. AND, have your FM-3 stamped so when you go to Immigration in Melaque or whenever, they'll count your 30 days based on that stamp.

Steve Cotton said...

Cynthia and Mike -- We actually had our dinner yesterday -- in typical Cotton fashion: out of synch with the rest of the world.

Larry -- I have my cell phone. I will check on service when I get to Melaque.

Brenda -- Thanks for the wishes. I hope I feel better, as well. Today has been one of the worst days for feeling tired.

Jackie -- I seldom have my cell phone with me. It usually sits on my kitchen counter at home. For me, not having it, is the same thing as having it.

Gloria -- Jiggs and I thank you for your very kind thoughts and for sharing your poem. Who would have thought he was going to get to go on this trip with me?

BoBo's Mom said...

I never had a doubt that Jiggs would be able to make this trip down with you. Safe travels. Take care of the old professor. BoBo has her paws crossed for him.

Steve Cotton said...

BoBo's Mom -- Thank you for being a cheering squad for El Perro Viejo. After all, he needs to meet Jackson.

Steve Cotton said...

Babs -- Send on the information. Additional intelligence can only improve a plan in motion.