Saturday, January 12, 2019

Rocky Point And Into Mexico.

____ Destination Doha would be a bit of an ask for a first-timer to do on his maiden trip across the water and so would be a tour of Downtown Mexico City. Small steps first; Puerto Penasco aka Rocky Point. Just a short hop through the desert after a painless crossing at Lukeville. Mexican Customs wanted a look inside the living quarters and took some photographs of the truck, including the VIN plate on the inside of the driver’s door. It was less than 5 minutes to get through as we did not need to post a $200 bond for a Temporary Import Permit. A TIP is not needed for the top end of Sonora and the Baja California areas. The road to Puerto Penasco boasts that it is hassle-free for US plated Vehicles and there were no checkpoints.

____ Rocky Point is about as far from immersion in Mexican culture as it is possible to get. The ratio of spoken Spanish to spoken English is the same as most American towns that are in Mexico bordering states. Disappointing in some respects but reassuring in others; everything is geared to helping the southbound tourist have a relaxing and stress-free vacation. Even changing currency is not necessary; everything is priced in both Pesos and US Dollars. For me it diminished the sense of adventure but for Cheryl it was like One Great Step For Mankind. We decided to bite the bullet on the issue of free camping, choosing to stay at Concha Del Mar RV Park. Twelve dollars a night with water on-site, a dump station for waste water, a restroom block with hot-showers, 24 hour security, Wi-Fi available at the office but with no electrical hook-ups. It was dusty bit we were parked on the beach, on the front row, in fact, in the only row as there were less than a dozen units in the whole camp.

____ We found ourselves parked next to Karl and Kathy from Alberta; Karl originally from Lancashire. The gap between us was split when Greg arrived from Oregon; a teacher originally from Yorkshire. We immediately formed the camp’s British Sector that stayed intact into the New Year. The Brits just about out-numbered the Americans with everybody else being Canadian; mostly from British Columbia. Canada’s BC to Mexico’s BC; Baja California. We soon got to know everyone on-site which gave a good sense of safety and security; it also brought a wealth of tips and advice on what to do and where to go in Rocky Point as most were returning visitors. “Ley” was the best supermarket, fresh shrimp was best bought from the stalls at the port and the Malecon was the busy restaurant and souvenir shop area in the heart of the old town. Concha Del Mar was the nearest RV park to the port and town centre, affording a great view of all the shrimp boats leaving and entering the harbour. Pelicans were the other watchable event, squadrons of these large birds patrolled the surf and frequently had feeding-frenzies; dive-bombing the shoals of white-bait accompanied by hordes of gulls that milled around hoping for a free meal. Dolphins too, put in an appearance on a couple of occasions as the Sea of Cortez gave up it’s plentiful riches.

____ The days were spent taking long walks on the beach. The shoreline was a mixture of RV Parks and multi-storey apartment blocks, sadly with the ugly hulks of unfinished condominiums blotting the landscape. Remnants of the property crash of 2008 and reminiscent of Southern Spain and their boom and bust. The RV parks all had paved roads, concrete parking slabs, full hook-ups and prices to match; a lot of the beachfront spots were occupied by big A-class motor-coaches. It was good to see that some people had the guts to bring these expensive monsters in Mexico but I doubt if any went much further than the end of the Hassle-Free Highway from Lukeville. Most evenings, someone would have  camp-fire which most of the park would take their lawn chairs; early night-fall saw these finish by 8 o’clock when all the wood had been burnt. New Year’s Eve was no exception with the fire long gone and all campers back in their vehicles when the local fireworks announced the arrival of 2019.

Puerto Penasco, the nearest beach to those living in Arizona.

Parked on the front row at Concha Del Mar RV Park in Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico.

Sunset on the last day of 2018.

One of the many shrimp boats working out of Puerto Penasco.

A pelican led feeding-frenzy just off the beach in front of the truck.

Onto Arizona

____ The cycle touring gang disbanded at Austin; some going onto Florida with Rick while some returned to Manitoba and it’s winter. The SAG wagon retraced its way back across Texas using Interstate 10; refueling at Pilot/Flying J Truck stops in Junction, Fort Stockton and Van Horn before finally entering New Mexico on the western side of El Paso. Just a 180 miles more of Interstate 10 and we were in Arizona. By-passing New Mexico’s sites of interest in a quest to reach Casa Grande before Christmas. Cheryl’s sister and her husband have a winter retreat between Tucson and Phoenix; we had an invitation to visit for the festivities. We parked in their yard, alongside their motorhome and the partying began.

____ Casa Grande was big enough to have a selection of places selling truck tyres and I took the opportunity to get some quotes for a new set of drives. The old ones were starting to “cup” badly to the extent that you could hear it when driving with the windows open. The tread was still legal but I feared that the tyres were well past their use-by date. It turned out that they were 18 years old and the TA at Casa Grande couldn’t give me anything for the old casings. They did, however, give me a good discount on four new Roadmaster 11R22.5 tyres. It was a big hit to take half way through the trip but it was something that I knew would soon have to done and it good to the peace of mind that you are unlikely to get a blow-out. Once again it was nice to go to a place that was enthusiastic about the Mack; I felt they did a lot of effort into doing the best possible job for the lowest possible price.

____ Christmas over, new tyres installed and it was time to say Goodbye to Milo and Gail as we headed south on the next part of our winter adventure; Mexico. Our holiday hosts has been across the border on many occasions, on motor-cycles and in motorhomes, so armed with a wealth of helpful instructions, we pointed the Mack at a hole in Trump’s Wall and wondered what they would make of it. A few guidelines for travelers in vehicles going into Mexico: get vehicle insurance on-line before you go, [ the Mack was $125 for 6 months.] Plan on how far you are going to travel into Mexico, [there is no need for a Temporary Import Permit if you just intend to visit the Baja California peninsula.] Also, fill up with fuel before you cross as it is cheaper in the US and make sure you cross early enough in the day so you can reach your first night’s destination before dark, [night-time driving not recommended in Mexico.]

____ We reached the Arizona town called “Why” in early afternoon, about an hour North of the Lukeville crossing. I felt an affinity with the people of Why having once lived in the Hertfordshire town of Ware; it doesn’t take itself too seriously, with a fuel station called “Why-Not.” We spent the night on some BLM land, just south of the town. Bureau of Land Management has vast tracts of desert under it’s control in the USA and allows free-camping on a lot of it. Maximum stay is 14 days and the usual rules about leaving no trace apply. The Gunsite Wash area near Why was a huge area of scrubland with about half-a-dozen RVs scattered around on a network of criss-crossing dusty tracks. Our nearest neighbours trekked over to investigate the Mack and say “Hi.” They were from Canada and on their way to Mexico.

Nearly a thousand miles for a Christmas dinner.

The Mack parked beside our host's Coachman Motorhome at their place in Casa Grande, Arizona. 

The badly cupped 18 year-old drive tyres on the Mack.

Mack The SAG Wagon

____ SAG stands for Support and Gear; a term used for the vehicle that shadows a group of touring cyclists from one destination to another. I have done plenty of self-supported cycle tours and this was my first experience of SAG Wagons; added to which, I was the driver of the support vehicle. Although not built with the SAG job in mind; the Mack turned out to be perfectly suited to the job which was more than could be said about me. A day of cycling would cover about 50 to 70 miles, the Mack would do that in about an hour and a half at most. This means there was a lot of sitting about and waiting; waiting at the lunch location, waiting at the afternoon tea location and waiting for the intrepid adventurers at the night halt. I would set-up a table with food and drink at a suitable picnic spot, rest area or lay-by and wait. Sometimes they were grateful for the service, sometimes they had gone into a restaurant along the way and didn’t need what I had prepared and sometimes they changed their route on a whim and didn’t come past their feeding station. You can imagine how annoying that could be.

____ The tour started at El Paso and was scheduled to arrive in Austin on Day 14; about 600 miles away. Day One was to Fort Hancock and the hospitality of the local community church, who let the group overnight on the premises. Due to constant rain on Day Two, this stop turned into two nights. After that it never rained again on the whole trip. The kindness and generosity of a local church featured again at Sanderson; other nights were a mixture of hotel, motel and rental cabins. Some, good quality. Some expensive. Some dire. Some cozy and some were “Warm Showers”, which is a network of touring cyclists who offer hospitality to fellow touring cyclists on a reciprocal basis. But every night, Cheryl and I stayed in the truck; parked somewhere close by.

____ The Bicycle Boot Camp at El Paso did the world of good to Cheryl’s stamina. Daily trips of up to 40 miles in the week before the tour let her keep-up with ease. The group consisted of some very capable riders but she was never dropped and often led the way. Main man on the trip was Rick; in fact it was called “Ride with Rick for Parkinsons.” Bicycle riding is reckoned to help off-set the effects of Parkinson ’s disease and Rick has been out and about on his bike for the last six months. I didn’t have much time to judge for myself if it is an effective way of dealing with the mental and physical  symptoms of the disease but it seemed to have advantages for his carers. Instead of wandering-off and needing constant watching; Rick rode on the front of his recumbent tandem, peddling away all day with a variety of helpers doing the riding on the back. I never asked him if he was happy with his situation but I know that if it was me who had Parkinson’s then I wouldn’t want to be taken around the country on a bike. Just lock me up and let me fade away. But Rick’s carers really cared and were a happy bunch often riding into the darkness as the early night-fall of December cut down the daylight riding time.

____ The route started out on flat desert terrain; following Interstate 10 eastwards. Fort Hancock, Van Horn and Kent before cutting through the Davis Mountains and visiting the MacDonald Observatory on route to Alpine and US Highway 90. The SAG Wagon was essential on the long stretches of service-less road; near-ghost towns and a dry un-forgiving climate but with a tail-wind and gradual descent, all the way to Del Rio. The first week of riding gave the crew the fitness that they needed for the second; traversing the Texas Hill Country through the towns of Uvalde, Leakey, Hunt and Fredericksburg  before Johnson City, the terminus of the tour for Cheryl and I as we returned westwards across Texas. All in all; an experience that was sometimes enjoyable and sometimes frustrating but most of the time it was watching the road for the appearance of eight cycle tourers.

The Southern Tier Cycle Tourers Route from El Paso to Austin in Texas.

From right to left. Jill, Rick, Cheryl, John, Paul, Kristina, Anders, Leigh-Anne. At the start in El Paso.

At the double overnight stay in Fort Hancock.

Floods were no problem for the Mack but a detour for the bikers.

Rock-climbing as I waited in a picnic area beside Interstate 10 at Sierra Blanca.

Low cloud at a lunch break rest area.

More picnic tables on US Highway 90 on the way to Sanderson.

C R England wreck that was being recovered by Mike, our host  and pastor at the church were we had stayed the previous night. The rig had run so far off the road that it took them four days to get the site cleared.

At Rudy's in Del Rio, diesel for the truck and brisket sandwich for me.

Replica Stonehenge and Easter Island statues at Hunt in the Texas Hill Country.

Nimitz Hotel, Fredericksburg. Birth place of Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander of US Naval Forces in the Battle for the Pacific during World War Two. A Statue and Museum to a true hero and gentleman.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Rosa's Cantina.

Rosa's Cantina.
____ Day 30. Settled in at the RV Park for a week. Riding the bikes out, everyday in all directions, trying to get Cheryl fit for her forthcoming Trans-Texas cycle tour. To Las Cruces, twenty miles North. To Walmart, 13 miles for groceries, and to the famous Rosa's Cantina on the northern edge of El Paso. Some say that Rosa's Cantina inspired the Marty Robbin's song; some say the song inspired the establishment. Low-key and far from a tourist trap; good food and friendly service. A good lunch after a twenty mile ride south from the park.

____ Days 30 to 35. Park-life, maybe with neighbours a little too close and a little too dusty but good showers and laundry. At $300 a month, certainly good value for the long-term residents, whether workers or retirees. El Paso is not really a snowbird destination but there is a regular flow of those traveling from Eastern States to Arizona.

View from the roof of the Mack at The West El Paso RV Park.

2007 Sterling Ambulance for sale at $9500, just north of Rosa's Cantina on Highway 20.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Van Horn, El Paso, Anthony.

Onto New Mexico.
____ Day 27. A ground-frost on the morning of our departure from the State Park. After a quick ride to the Indian Lodge and a climb up the Skyline Drive in the Mack; we call in at Porter's Thrift Store in Fort Davis for supplies. On to Martha, to check-out the artistic town before taking a straight and level Highway 90 to Van Horn, passing endless groves of pecan-nut trees. The Pilot Truck-stop gives us a chance to do laundry during a warmer night as we check the up-coming weather and adapt our plans accordingly.

____ Day 28. Cold weather with sub-zero temperatures for the next week is about to hit the region as we are stalled; waiting to honour a commitment that we made to some friends. In the end we decide to find an RV Park for a week; the need for electrical hook-up being the biggest factor. There are boondocking places in the area on BLM land but we go for the comfort option because of the weather reports. Into the West Texas RV Park at Anthony; just over the border into New Mexico. On the edge of the El Paso urban sprawl, two blocks from Interstate 10.

____ Day 29. The place is all RVs, with no mobile homes, so it is not "Trailer Park" in the true sense. However, there are plenty of permanent residents and plenty here for just the Winter with just a few spots left for overnight and weekly stays. Many RV parks are now like this with many people looking for affordable housing. Park managers can keep the spots full with long-term stays and services for the traveler come second. It is all dust and gravel outside but the washrooms and showers are spotless inside. No old vehicles up on bricks with their wheels off as it says "No oil changes or vehicle repairs" in the site rules but that doesn't stop me getting out the grease gun and giving the Mack some lubrication. It didn't say anything about no preventive maintenance.

Winnibago Revel on a 4x4 Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van. If i didn't have the Mack then I would probably get one of these.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Dark Skies of the Davis Mountains.

US Highway 90 through no country for old men.
____ Day 25. US Highway 90 most of the way; through near ghost-towns such as Dryden and Sanderson. Fuel is pricey if available at all. Langtry does boast a Travel Information Centre; part of the Judge Roy Bean Courthouse and Bar compound but nothing else. Alpine has more and we stock-up as we leave the 90 and head into the Davis Mountains. The State Park will be our home for two dark nights as we climb into what is reckoned to be the best star gazing in the USA. A blanket of darkness does descend but going out of the Mack reveals we are not alone. A whole herd of Javelinas are foraging all around the truck; the small wild pigs seemed less alarmed than we were.

____ Day 26. A day on the bicycles as we set-off early to climb the Highway 118 to the McDonald Observatory, perched on the highest peak. For over 70 years, this has been a world leader in deep-space exploration; the climb to the top on two wheels is exploring if I still have the stamina for such things. Part of the University of Texas, the observatory is a welcoming place for the public with tours and star parties after dark. For me, the best part was the 12 mile run back down to the campsite. Davis Mountains State Park is from the same era as the observatory; built by CCC, the Civil Conservation Corps, part of an employment initiative from the Great Depression of the 1930's. We have sheltered spot with power and water; the nearby showers are the best so far with great pressure washing after an strenuous day.

Judge Roy Bean had a thing about Lillie Langtry.

Bulldog's view of US Highway 90, East to West in the Pecos.

Davis Mountains State Park where the solar panels topped-up the house-batteries despite the trees.

Two white dots on the mountain-top are telescopes of the McDonald Observatory.

The McDonald Observatory has an excellent Visitor Centre with cafe. I was tempted to ask for a Big Mac and fries.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Del Rio.

Texas Hill Country down to the Rio Grande.

____ Day 22. From San Antonio we had taken the Interstate 10 West; spending the night at a Rest Area near Kerrville. After using the area’s sani-dump and re-filling with fresh water, we headed off into Texas Hill Country on the Hill Country Trail. Following the Guadalupe River as it wound its way through an arid limestone landscape. Finishing the day at the Lost Maples State Park, where we booked in for two nights at their 30 site Camping area.

____ Day 23. Just one night at a campsite seldom gives you chance to get a feel for an area and very little value for money if you arrive late and leave early. Two nights gave us a full day to explore the gorge of the Sabinal River on the hiking and biking trails. The weather wasn’t too good with hardly any sunshine but plenty of colour in the leaves of the trees, including the Lost Maples. The Maples are an oasis of their species; left in the heart of Texas after the retreat of the last Ice Age with no others within a thousand miles. A neat and tidy campsite, even if the showers were a little low pressure [like the weather]. We signed up for the Texas State Park Membership Card; free entry and discount camping at sixty sites throughout Texas. Looks like we are heading for a giant game of join-up-the-dots.

____ Day 24. Up early and up into the clouds, climbing the high winding road from Vanderpool to Leakey and onto Camp Wood. Heading for Del Rio. But detoured to Uvalde with the FM334 closed before Brackettville; forty miles extra, not funny when you are struggling to get 9 mpg across hilly terrain. Restocked at Del Rio’s busy Walmart before taking US Highway 90 westwards with the Rio Grande on our left. West Texas desert of cactus and sage to the Seminole Canyon and another two-nighter at the State Park.

____ Day 25. Looking out from the Mack, we can see clear across to Mexico from our elevated campsite but the vista gives no clue to the Rio Grande that is running below at the bottom of a steep-sided canyon. Quite a boring landscape until you descend into the riverbed of the Seminole Canyon and find the cave paintings from the area’s inhabitants of 4000 years ago. We take the $8.00 guided tour that starts at 10.00; before it gets too hot for the strenuous climb down and return. The afternoon is spent riding the stony trail to the confluence of the Seminole and the Rio Grande; warm weather in November but it would be scorching hot in Summer. Another  nice campsite with friendly staff and neighbours; this time with much better showers.
Camped in the Sabinal Gorge at Lost Maples State Park in Texas Hill Country.

Sabinal River at Lost Maples has good Bass fishing.

High exposed campsite at Seminole Canyon overlooking Mexico.

Indian rock paintings at the Fate Bell Shelter in the Seminole Canyon. Much faded from when first painted.

The 400 foot long, 60 foot deep Fate Bell Shelter as seen from the riverbed at the floor of the Seminole Canyon.

The boat-in only Panther Shelter near the confluence of the Seminole and Rio Grande, now part of the Amistad Reservoir.

Friday, November 23, 2018

The Alamo And The Missions By Bike.

The bike trail beside the San Antonio River and the Five Missions.

____ Day 19. We decide to move on from the hard-packed beach. It has been another day of wind and rain but that is not a factor in our re-location; most of the US is under the cloak of a cold front. Magnolia Beach has its good points and it’s bad when it comes to boon-docking. Good: Great waterfront parking with ample space for the biggest of rigs. No hassle; friendly locals and fellow boon-dockers that accept the tradition of long-term RV parking on the beach. It felt safe; no shady characters wandering around looking for their next hit plus the longer-term residents would watch your stuff. Bad: No supply of fresh water or a place to dump grey and black water. There is a washroom on the beach but the showers were closed when we were there. No nearby supply of groceries; the C-store in Magnolia Beach has fuel and filtered water and beer but everything else is bought from Port Lavaca [a 25 mile round trip.] Other points: Windy almost all the time. Good flat roads for cycling in the area.

____ Day 20. Away by mid-morning and back-tracking to Victoria for supplies at the Walmart before taking the US Highway all the way to San Antonio. Sunniest day for a while and the cheapest fuel of the trip so far. $2.86 for a US gallon, 3.8 litres. Finding a bob-tail spot at the Flying’J on Interstate 10; I hesitate to park the RV in truckstops when I know they will be busy and full. I wouldn’t want to take the last spot that some tired and hard-working driver might need; but I know pretty well where I can find a unused place at a truckstop that usually doesn’t get full. It’s also a chance for Wi-Fi, which was lacking on the beach.

____ Day 22. A day that had been carefully planned with only the weather left to chance; the day of the Alamo visit. We leave the Flying’J at the end of rush-hour and take Interstate 410 Loop to Exit 44; it is signposted to the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. It leads to the Espada Mission, the most southerly of the five old Spanish Missions on the banks of the San Antonio River. A small parking lot has security cameras, so we feel safe in leaving the Mack for a few hours as we unload the bikes and set-off up-stream. After visiting Espada, we call in at San Juan Mission followed by San Jose Mission which is the biggest of the five and in hindsight, probably the best spot to park a big RV if doing the River Trail by bike. Fourth mission is Concepcion followed by the entry into San Antonio City. The River Trail becomes the River Walk and pedestrian only, so we take to the streets, heading for The San Antonio De Valero Mission; otherwise known as The Alamo. Right in the heart of the city and busy; but free entry and the queues are not long. Well worth the effort and an interesting hour in the old church and grounds before cycling back to the Mack. A twenty mile round-trip ride in over-cast conditions but on a very well-marked and maintained bike path. Another one off the bucket-list.   

Mission Concepcion

Mission San Jose

The Largest of the Missions, San Jose. 

Mission San Juan.

Mission Espada

Mission Espada, where we parked the Mack.

In with the bob-tails at the Flying'J.

At the Alamo. I should have reminded the photographer to get it all in.

A souvenir that's now in daily use.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Colder Weather.

____ Day 12: A calm misty morning gave the prospect of a bicycle ride into Port Lavaca to replenish supplies but by the time breakfast had finished; the wind was whipping-up white-caps on Magnolia Bay. A low pressure weather system was sweeping snow into Northern Texas and headed our way. Magnolia Beach is north-facing and unusual for the Gulf Coast; with a north wind it reminded me of bitterly cold expeditions to the North Norfolk Coast and childhood memories of Brancaster and Wells-next-to-Sea. The town of Magnolia Beach stirred up ghosts-past from Jaywick-on-Sea; where the dilapidated and ramshackle holiday homes were the pride and joy of so many. Another day of relentless pegging on the crib board and the generator powering the fan-heater.

____ Day 13: First casualty of the motor-home’s infrastructure is when the shower pump seizes solid. It was exactly the same model as the sink-water supply’s pump but always twice as noisy. Stripping it down; it was a wonder that it ever worked at all, with the pump bearing jammed in at an alarming angle. It was a day to re-stock with food and water; so we packed everything on board and swung by the Tractor Supply Company after a tour of Walmart and a free Wi-fi breakfast at McDonalds. TSC had the correct 2 gallon per minute sprayer pump but at a price that had before included 15 gallon tank. But the new pump proudly boasts “Made in the USA.” The old one had “Made in China” stamped on the bottom.

____ Day 14: I have suffered a lot of uncomfortable hours while living in a truck over the years but was determined to keep discomfort at bay for my time in the Mack. A tank full of fuel for the generator cost $10 and it ran for over nine hours; powering the fan heater, the fluorescent lights and charging the house batteries at the same time. Another cold day with a biting northerly wind and not what we came here for.

____ Day 15: At last! Sunshine, a chance get on the bikes and go for a ride to Alamo Beach. It sounds like it should be on the list of D-Day destinations but is just along the coast from Magnolia Beach; a better class of coastal properties and nowhere to park an RV for free. Then back to the Mack and sit in the Sun; chatting to everyone walking their dogs and a bloke from Bournemouth and his Texan girlfriend. Everybody is very friendly and waves when they pass, even the council workmen; who have been repairing pot-holes in the beach. I am not joking. A proper road runs parallel to the beach, less than 50 yards away, but most traffic uses the beach; just to see what’s going on.

Pelicans and rough sea of Magnolia Bay

Alamo Beach, looking towards Port Lavaca.

Watching ships pass by while supervising the solar power intake.

Indianola Cemetery; no Arbons interred.

Sunsets come too early.

_____ Volvos

____ Day 16:  Two big Volvo rigs arrived within a few hours of each other, coincidence as they did not know each other. Both fully loaded with all the toys, bells and whistles. Kings of the beach and any other place they cared to park with RVs. We might see them again as they are heading to Arizona for the Winter. Size is not everything but most people go big if they are wintering in the South. Long travel trailers and 5th wheelers pulled by big pick-up trucks are the most common. Followed by big motor-homes; the motor-coach variety and those based on extended-chassis pick-ups. There is a smattering of all other shapes and sizes including slide-in campers and van conversions plus the stealth-campers; panel vans that don’t appear to be live-aboard vehicles.

____ Day 17: Neighbours come and go; there is a general shuffling of the pack every day. Some big motor-homes have a small car in tow; the pick-ups can drop what they are pulling and go for supplies. But we have to pack-up and go into town every so often. Today’s trip is for laundry with a chance to stock-up on food also. Seventeen days between the washing of our clothes seems about right. In the afternoon we cycle to the village of Powderhorn, on the Powderhorn Bayou; calling in at the Indianola Cemetery on the way back. Burial site of both Union and Confederate soldiers from the Civil War as they battled for control of the Intracoastal Waterway. 1867 seemed a particularly bad year for infant deaths as cholera and yellow fever took a heavy toll.

____ Day 18: As we are now settled in at Magnolia Beach; there is plenty of time to catch up on all those little jobs that need doing on the truck. Squeaky doors and cupboards that are now more noticeable and irritating. Bathroom door oiled, rubbish chute door re-aligned; all other door and locks oiled and cleaned. Someone could now come in while we slept; take a dump in the bathroom, steal our garbage and we would not hear a thing. But after three days of good weather; the wind picks up on Sunday afternoon and rain comes in across the white-capped Magnolia Bay.

Watching coasters.

Both big rigs had small wheelers with them; a Smart Car and a Jeep.

The Smart Car could be alternated with a pair of Can-Am Spyders.

The Mack is a distant third.

First impressions of Magnolia Beach are not good.