Thursday, June 28, 2018

EASING BACK INTO RV LIFE IN THE US: Bisbee, Arizona and the Queen Mine Tour

We Finally Toured the Queen Mine, a Historic Copper Mine
    Returning to the United States after eight months in México can bring on major culture shock so we try to ease back into the madness. We find spending our first three days in Bisbee, Arizona is a good way to transition back into American life. This historic town moves slowly and, in many ways, still appears to be stuck in the early 1900s. It’s a perfect place for our shift from laid-back Sayulita, Nayarit to RV life on our way to Oregon.
View of Historic Bisbee, AZ from the Queen Mine RV Park

     We always stay at the Queen Mine RV Park, set on top of a hill above the old copper quarry, overlooking historic Bisbee. The entrance to the RV park is just past the Queen Mine Tours Visitors Center. Every time we pass the Visitors Center I say we should check out the tour. This year we decided to do it.

     The tour into the now closed copper mine was well worth the $13.00 price of admission.  After we were each outfitted in a reflective vest, hard hat, and mine light, we climbed aboard the mine train.
We Were Outfitted and Ready on the Mine Train

     Our tour guide, Pete, explained the safety rules and that once the train was inside the mine shaft, he would stop the train and make sure each of us was okay with being underground. The narrow tunnel is not a good place to be for a person who is claustrophobic.
Entering the Narrow Queen Copper Mine by Train

     Pete then climbed onto the orange battery-powered train engine, rang the train’s bell, and we moved forward toward the mine entrance. When the train was entirely inside the tunnel, the doors to the outside mine slammed closed and Pete stopped the train. He walked along each train-car, checking that all passengers were okay with being underground. Then he climbed back on the engine and we proceeded deeper into the earth.
Pete Climbed Back on the Engine After Checking All Passengers
     Pete is a retired miner who had actually worked for years in this mine and had some wonderful stories to tell us. Not only did he explain the process of mining the copper, he had many personal stories about the fun-loving pranks the miners played on each other.
Pete, a Retired Copper Miner, Told Stories of Pranks They Played 

      He told how in the early years, they trained mules to haul the ore out of the mine, and how hard the young guys worked to exceed their weekly quotas of ore in order to receive bonuses.   
Mules Hauled Four Cars at a Time, Loaded with Oar

     He explained that the focus was to extract the high percentage of copper, with silver and gold as byproducts. 
Stunning Azurite, One of Two Copper Carbonate Minerals in Nature
     Back in the Queen Mine’s museum area, we saw samples of the many ores, not just copper, that were extracted from this mine, including the stunning Azurite, one of the two copper carbonate minerals found in nature. There were also old mining tools and the mine’s Safety Scoreboard, emphasizing the importance of safety to avoid lost time accidents.
Queen Mine's Safety Scoreboard

History of the Mine from Bisbee’s Website:
Bisbee’s Queen Mine was one of the richest copper mines in history. The mine opened in 1877 and eventually closed when Phelps Dodge discontinued mining operations in Bisbee in the mid-1970’s. The Queen Mine opened once again as a tour for visitors in 1976, nearly 100 years after the mine originally opened.

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Terry L Turrell, Author

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018


It's Too Hot and Humid for Us!

June Rain in Lo de Marcos
     When Tropical Storm Bud was off the shore of Jalisco in mid-June, the rainy season started in the state of Nayarit. We normally stay at our home in Sayulita until the end of June or early July, but it became too hot and humid for us this year. Then the power was off and on for a week, which is generally tolerable as we have the ocean to jump into when we need to cool off. But this year it was off during some nights, too, and we couldn’t run our air conditioning. When I’m too hot to sleep, it’s time to head north.
     So, we moved to our motorhome in Lo de Marcos. The power was on there, though the rains continued. We spent several evenings sitting outside under our awning, watching and listening to the rain fall (view the video above) while we enjoyed a glass of wine and a light dinner of cheese, crackers, green olives, and apple slices. 

     The rain brings insects, some pretty, like butterflies that flit through the area. Others, such as scorpions, spiders, cockroaches, and other beetles, would start moving into our house if I hadn’t put down a barrier of Home Defense before we left. Knowing we could sleep in our bug-free, air-conditioned RV during the rainy season in the tropics lightened our moods.
So We Drove Our RV North to Sunny Mazatlán
     But the rain and gray skies continued, so we drove our RV north to Mazatlán, where we found blue skies and lower humidity. We love this beautiful city, so we decided to stay for a week, revisiting some of our favorite restaurants and exploring new neighborhoods. Our first night in town, we always go to FISH (Fresh International Seafood House) for our favorite dish, Shrimp and Chips with a fresh green salad. It was as delicious as always.     
San Fernando RV Park in Mazatlan Has Refreshing Pools
     We enjoyed our week at the San Fernando RV Park, the only RV park still open in the center of the Zona Dorada, two blocks from the bus route. The pool was clean and refreshing, the managers friendly and accommodating, and the park was quiet as we were the only RVers there during this warm month. It was like being on vacation! Well, except it appears they are using the park for an event center right now as there were rather large afternoon and evening parties around the pool for three of our seven days. The music was a bit loud, though nothing that earplugs couldn’t solve, and ended by 9PM.
Clear Blue Skies and Palm Trees of Mazatlán
      Walking through the Golden Zone to Ristorante Villa Italia on Avenida Camarón Sábalo for pizza, we couldn't get enough of the clear blue skies and mature palm trees of Mazatlán. Strolling to dinner that night gave us just over a half-mile of exercise, not a huge amount, but better than nothing. The bus ride back in the air-conditioned tourist bus cost us 22 pesos total, a little over $1 US, a benefit we appreciated after two glasses of Chilean wine with dinner.
Isla de Pájaros, Bird Island
     A walk down the beach to Chile’s Pepper for a lunch of chicken fajitas gave us a prime seat to watch the action around Isla de Pájaros, Bird Island. A group of five kayakers were paddling to shore from the island, a small cabin cruiser passed between us and the island, and a boat pulling a parasailer cruised by. The view from the beach in the Zona Dorada hasn’t changed much since we were last here. Things are relatively quiet this time of year since most of the gringos are gone and the Mexican family summer holidays have not yet started.
     The Plazuela Machado in the Historic District is still gorgeous. The newly refurbished Malecón with a two-way bike lane is the biggest change. It's great to see many cyclists and rollerbladers cruising along the seawall, separated from the strollers and joggers.
The Original Pancho's in Mazatlan
     Major changes are happening along Avenida Gaviotas, with a new Marriott, condominiums, and commercial high-rises in various stages of construction. As we walked to dinner for a Father’s Day treat at the original Pancho's restaurant overlooking the ocean, we hardly recognized the neighborhood for all of the changes. Pancho’s had the same charming ambiance, though, with some new Mexican pottery on display that was worth a photo. The restaurant was especially quiet, so we were pampered even more than usual. 
Beautiful Mexican Pottery at Pancho's
     The Camarones Especiales, large prawns stuffed with cheese and wrapped with bacon, then broiled to perfection, were decadently delicious. After sharing that meal, we splurged on an extravagant dessert of chocolate cake a la mode. Another of our good memories at Pancho’s.
     After eating all of this rich food, I decided we needed to attend a Zumba class. Checking for nearby classes, I found one listed at Parque Tabachines, Tabachines Park, just a mile bus ride south on Avenida Camarón Sábalo and then another mile-long walk down Avenida Lomas de Mazatlán. We found the park, but no Zumba class. Instead, we found an outdoor gymnasium with various types of workout equipment.
Terry on the Mechanical Cross-Trainer
Jon Doing Pull-Ups on a Weight-Assisted Machine
     We exercised for about forty minutes, completing the circuit twice. After walking the mile back to the bus stop, we had reached our 10,000 steps for the day. That’s enough that we could have dinner at Ristorante Villa Italia againmaybe Fettuccine Alfredo with Prawns this time.
     We exercise so we can eat these delicious, calorie-laden meals. We splurge on restaurant food while we are in México because once we hit the United States, prices will more than double. Living in México is like being on vacation full-time, with a 50% discount.

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Saturday, June 2, 2018

Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico June Newsletter--Exciting News!

May in Sunny México

Blue Sky and Colorful Murals in Rincón de Guayabitos
Hola from sunny México!
We enjoyed a little traveling in sunny México during May, one of our favorite times of year here. It's warm and the sky is still clear blue each morning. The evening rains have not arrived yet. The beach towns are pretty quiet since summer vacations have not started, yet there are still plenty of good restaurants open, yoga classes to attend, and swimming in the ocean to cool off.
     Our friends, Phil and Leslie, were in town for a visit and invited us to join them for a day trip to Rincón de Guayabitos. We walked through the newly refurbished plaza, down a walkway lined with fresh colorful murals, a pretty route to the beach, and then miles down the beach and back. We enjoyed a delicious lunch of Pescado Zarandeado at Restaurante Pineda. Thanks, Phil and Leslie for introducing us to that wonderful palapa restaurant on the Jaltemba Bay! (By the way, part of my new novel is set in this town.)
Blue Sky and Freshly Painted Gazebo in Lo de Marcos
     A day trip to Lo de Marcos last week gave us a change of pace from Sayulita. The beach was extremely quiet—there was only one other couple swimming in the ocean besides us. Bella, our doxy, did a little boogie-boarding with Jon’s help since the water was so calm and warm, though she appeared only tolerate it for our benefit.
     The gazebo in the Lo de Marcos plaza... Click HERE to read the rest of the June newsletter. 

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