Finally leaving Baja and boarding another Mazatlan-bound ferry, Jacqui and I couldn’t help but feel excited and reflective. We’ve done this entire journey once before, even this boat ride, but still it feels like such a different experience. Last time we were sailing into the unknown. Now we were going across the Sea of Cortez to see friends and places that we are familiar with.
As we walked to the upper deck of the ferry and saw Mazatlan forming around us, we were once again in awe of the beauty of this place. We we’re also brimming with excitement because arriving in Mazatlan signifies the closest we’ve been to trekking in places unknown in quite some time.
Mazatlan bound on the Ferry and meeting some fellow travelers
When we rolled into Tres Amigos RV Park, for the umpteenth time, we ran up to the beachfront and were greeted by our retired friends. Our ‘hellos’ contained excitement, smiles, hugs, a little dance from Jose and a couple of cervesas. The boomerang kids, as we’re called for obvious reasons, had returned.
Rolling into Tres Amigos
We spent a few nights in Tres Amigos gathering ourselves together because, despite our itching to start exploring southbound, now was an exercise in patience for Jacqui and I. You see, we weren’t going anywhere soon. In fact, our journey was about to split for a while.
The tentative plan was simple. Jacqui had in her possession a plane ticket to her hometown in Massachusetts. Her little sis was turning 25 so Jacqui and her brother we’re flying in to surprise her. I, on the other hand, had no idea what I was going to be doing while left to my own devices. But surely it was going to be something mischievous.
With it now being clear that we were going to be in one place for up to a month, we decided it was best to try and secure some inexpensive living quarters. As we casually strolled to the island’s one and only miniature grocery store, we passed our old hero Dani.
After the Destruction of the Dolphin, Dani was the local that went above and beyond helping us through the ordeal. He drove us to every yonke (junkyard) in Mazatlan, connected us with a welder, mechanics and helped translate with all these various people while we tried to rebuild the dolphin. So as we concluded our hellos and hugs with a friend we hadn’t seen since May, a few things fell into motion which seems to always be the case when you come into proximity of this man.
Now before I move forward with this story I’ll flash back a little bit further. There have been two ongoing, unrelated conversations between Jacqui and I for the past few weeks. First, perhaps getting an apartment might be an inexpensive way to have an extended stay on Stone Island. Second, that I’m really getting sick of our Westy fridge and wish that one of those top-loading 12v fridges wasn’t so damn expensive. Not to mention the logistics of getting one back from the States.
Well, let me sum this up. We mentioned to Dani that we were casually considering an apartment and then walked off to the grocery store. By the time we got back, he already found us one. Not just any one either, a beachfront studio on top of his aunt’s restaurant, for 1500 pesos ($100USD) a month. He immediately offered to drive us over and we were sold the moment we saw it. If that wasn’t enough, as he described the apartment I looked over his shoulder and saw an upright refrigerator, (yes the type I just described to you) sitting on top of a motorcycle with an inch of dust on it. Apparently, someone gave it to him for free because it was broken, but he figured it was small issue. Long story short, he didn’t really care to fix it so he gifted it to me.
Well I figured out what’s wrong with that fridge that retails on Amazon for more than $600USD. It needed a new fan and a $20 temp sensor. Unfortunately, it’s pretty much impossible to get that sensor down here in Mexico. If only I knew someone that was flying back to the States for a week so they could bring me some parts...
With a quick move into our new apartment and a few days running errands, Jacqui’s departure arrived after a heavy night of rain. We instantly got a taste of how quickly roads can turn nasty.
What a single night of rain can do to Stone Island's one entry road
When we pulled up to the airport I helped Jacqui with her luggage, we hugged and kissed goodbye, then….
Well, I’ll let Jacqui tell her story first.
Last July when Cameron and I were back in Boston you may remember we convinced my mom it was due time to retire. My sister has since moved out into a fantastic apartment in Gloucester and preparations are underway to put my parent's house on the market. Since I couldn’t make it home for Thanksgiving, I wanted to come home to surprise my baby sister for her birthday and purge stored items.
A couple days after the New England Patriots won the Superbowl, I boarded my connecting flight to Boston in Dallas with tight-end Rob Gronkowski. Upon landing and after a homecoming brunch at the Wenham Tea House, the longest continually operated teahouse in the country where Adrienne and I used to work, the siblings went into Boston for the night and attended a victorious Celtic’s game. Without other family members, friends, or significant others present we concluded this was the first time as adults we’ve spent time alone. We celebrated all over the city, which I dearly paid for the next day.
Taking the train into town, Celtics game with a visit from some Patriots, and me trying to snuggle poor Willy after a long night out.
Over the week, evenings were spent with family, during the day I was faced with the daunting task of purging the past. I needed to go through old, personal belongings and sentimental items my mother saved over the years.
Going through box after box I journeyed from childhood through college. I discovered items from my baby shower, birthday cards from great grandmothers long passed, recommendation letters, notes from friends and pen pals, report cards, school assignments and many, many drawings. Clearly I couldn’t keep them all but recognized just how lucky I am to have received such love and encouragement from my family and community.
Oh the things you uncover when you rummage through the past: old photos, drawings and a diagram of me figuring out the birds and the bees.
Although I’ll always have family and roots north of Boston, with my mom a soon-to-be RVer, the next time I go visit will be someplace new. I’m ok with that, after-all, “Home is where you park it”.
You may have heard Boston is breaking snowfall records left and right, it was beautiful but I was looking forward to Mazatlan’s warmer temps.
Boston, family, corgis and snow
Looking down on one of many places I call home...Stone Island.
Cameron again... So you’re probably wondering what mischievous activities I did in my unsupervised time in Mexico. Now I’d love to leave you with a ‘What happens in Vegas’ type of foreboding answer. However, the simple truth is, without any lack of trouble-seeking on my part, most of my time was spent doing homework. Ya, you read that right. To occupy my time I signed up for a couple weeks of intensive, one on one Spanish lessons to try and get a head start on our voyage.
For two hours a day my poor teacher Angel was employed with the task of burrowing Spanish grammatical rules into my head, and to exact his revenge upon me he made sure I had hours and hours more of work to do in my private time. I mean poor guy, I think it's obvious I have no problem articulating what's on my mind. However, it’d only take one glance at my childhood tests and grades to know the areas I didn’t excel at were spelling and grammar, and now he had to try and get me to learn this stuff in a foreign language. Regardless, the guys at the local taco stand really got to know me on a first name basis, and my teacher did tell me I was learning muy rapido. Not bad for 100 pesos/hour ($7USD).
So there you have it. Our journeys split for a moment and suddenly I was voyaging back down the 10 mile Stone Island dirt road that’s most famous for getting longer every time you drive it, to pick up my fridge parts and a six pack of IPA’s…I mean Jacqui.
Jacqui super excited to bring me beer and fridge parts! Look at that smile!
I just want to add, it’s now time for last minute projects then we are hitting the road!! For the first time in two weeks shy of a year, we are going to follow the wind to some new scenery.
DUN, DUN, DUN!!!!!
Roaming around Mazatlan, our roommate Sally (cockroach), the view from our apartment, riding in a pulmonia and our Spanish teacher, Angel.
The dead fridge discovery and project that ensued.
Rainy day puddle play