A Few Fun Tidbits

Today marks the one year anniversary of our family casting off our docklines at MSI in Redwood City and beginning this extended adventure that we’re living! It’s hard to believe it’s been a year already! It has been a year filled with new places, new people, new experiences, new food, new joys, and new challenges. We are thankful for God’s provision and peace through it all and continue to look to Him for direction for days to come.

I wanted to share some fun pics we’ve taken over the past few weeks. First off, Toby mentioned in the last post a family that we’ve met down here, the Ebios. Quick summary: they are here on their ship Amazing Grace with YWAM. When we first pulled into our slip here at Marina Mazatlan, Amazing Grace was a couple of slips over from us. We quickly met the dad, Zeus, who invited us to the weekly worship time YWAM does Monday mornings. Later we met the rest of the family, mom (Charlotte), daughter (Chatelier, 21) and son (Noah, 14). We’ve spent some great times with them over the past few months including a trip to the Aquarium.

We have laughed often about the many parallels our families seem to have. Here’s some of “coincidences” we’ve found so far: Zeus and Charlotte met (as John and I did) as students at UCD (go Aggies!), Charlotte had the same major as I did (Human Development), both of us couples bought our boats in the same year (2000) and lived aboard/homeschooled our kids in the Bay Area, Charlotte’s parents live about 30 minutes away from where John’s mom lives (all of them were evacuated due to the recent round of CA wildfires, but were thankfully spared and are back home), and my sister-in-law’s mom has known the Ebio family for years and is a current supporter of them in their mission (she’d even told us about them years ago!). There’s probably more, but that gives you a taste of the fun connections we’ve made with them. Their boat is currently in dry dock getting refitted to serve as a medical mission boat either in the Sea of Cortez or assist with rebuilding efforts from the recent hurricane devastation in the Caribbean.

Both families and friend Greg. Love the Davis-style bicycle!

So that’s a bit on some new friends. Now a couple of new experiences. Mexico recently celebrated Dia De Muertos. Starting on Halloween and going through November 2, several days are taken to remember family and friends who have died. You see many skeleton decorations, including people face-painted as skeletons. Even at the movie theater ticket counter:

And another new experience, upon leaving the movie theater that day, we saw this driving by:

Yes, that’s a leopard peeking out of that car window!!

A couple of other fun sights we’ve seen:

Well, enough for today. Gotta get ourselves ready for YWAM round 4 on Saturday! We’ll take you out, too, just let us know when you get here. 🙂

 

 

YWAM, Take 3

We got to take another group of YWAM students out on our boat! Spending the summer here in Mazatlan has been fun because of all the people we have been able to meet. Up until a couple of days ago, we had taken out two groups of YWAM students. It’s been interesting getting to know each group as they come and hang out with us for the day.

The last two times we had people out, the timing of the day was directly tied to what the tides were going to be like. It’s best if we can go out and come back into the channel at or near high tide. That meant that we spent almost the whole day out on the water. It was fun, but it was also a pretty long day for us and the students. This latest trip was a little easier to plan because there was almost no tidal shift all day long. That made it possible for us to come and go basically whenever we wanted to. It was nice to have the extra freedom. This time the YWAM group was accompanied by ¾ of our already fast friends the Ebios. It was fun having them along, partly because they’re fun, but also to have some extra helping hands that happen to know exactly what they’re doing. It was a fun day: everyone showed up around 9:30 and I think we were heading out by 10. It was a dead calm when we were leaving, so we started out motoring.

Ian at the helm with Jathia and Carla sitting. Toby and Sophie in background.

This time we actually took a different path to the island than we normally have. We went inside of the other islands on the way, instead of skirting around the outside. The first couple of times we went to the island, we were worried that it was going to be too shallow going inside of the islands, but we learned that it was in fact deep enough from a few friends that knew the area much better. When we got to the island we dropped anchor and pulled out fins and masks. Everyone went swimming, and a few people even swam over to the island to do some exploring. I normally don’t swim to the island, mostly just because I would rather hang out in the water instead of out of the water. After about an hour in the water, people were starting to head back up onto the boat, and grabbing some lunch.

After lunch we decided to pull up anchor and try our hands at some sailing. There was still almost no wind, so we weren’t expecting much- just to hopefully keep the sails filled enough to move the boat a little. Fortunately there was just enough wind to set us going at about 1 1/2 knots (slightly faster than 1 1/2 mph). I think everyone wanted more wind, but we were all grateful that we at least had enough wind to move. We sailed for a while until the wind died a little too much. At that point we had to drop the sails and motor the rest of the way back. I think that everyone had a very enjoyable day out on the water. I think everyone enjoyed themselves at least as much as I did, and I think they probably even learned some useful information as well.

The whole gang l-r: Ian, Chatelier, Lena, Noah, Jathia, Sophie, Zeus, Carla,Toby John and Karis.

Cooking with the Sun!

So with the temperatures as toasty as they have been this summer, combined with high humidity, we have been very motivated to not add any heat into the small confines of our boat living space. The best way to warm up our cabin is to bake in our oven or cook on our stove – baking fresh bread along with boiling a nice pot of pasta do the trick nicely (which happened to be quite wonderful on the cold winter days we used to have in Redwood City!!). Not so wonderful now. In fact, aside from the few minutes it takes to boil some water in the kettle for my morning cup of coffee, we have gone the entire summer without using our oven and stove at all.

So how are we having any good home-cooked meals? Well, our BBQ grill does nicely for many a delicious grilled dinner (terriaki chicken, shrimp and veggies, hamburgers, sausages, I’ve even tried baking bread!). We’ve also figured out the right pot that fits on the grill so we can boil our pasta and/or steam veggies.

But our real cooking workhorse these day has been our new solar-cooker. While visiting home in CA earlier this spring, we were gifted (Thank you Grandma & Grandpa!!) with a fabulous solar-cooker which we happily found space for in the crammed car that we drove back to Mexico.

Our new solar cooker in action!

John quickly worked on a good place to stow it securely for when we would be under way, while I jumped into a whole new world of cooking!

Cooking with a solar-cooker is a bit like cooking with a crock-pot. Most things will cook/bake just fine but maybe take a bit longer than they would in a regular oven or stovetop. My first go with our cooker was to bake some chocolate chip cookies. I mixed up a small batch of dough, plopped them into the pans, slid them into the cooker, sat back and waited. The great thing with our cooker is that I put in a good place for getting sun that happens to be upwind from our cockpit. What makes this great is that once things start cooking, you start smelling what’s cooking. And nothing’s better than smelling some freshly baking chocolate chip cookies!

Ok, it’s pretty darn good smelling some baking lasagna when you haven’t had good Italian food for months! Or maybe a good batch of brownies. Or cheddar biscuits. Or apricot scones. Or sausages and roasted veggies. Or banana bread. Or cake. These are a handful of the things we’ve cooked so far with the sun and our solar-cooker. It’s so great to get a well-cooked meal or baked dessert, not to have heated up our cabin at all, and not to have used up any propane either!! We love it!!

The down side to cooking with the sun is that some days are rainy. We just came out of a stretch of days where the cloud cover was too thick to cook. I’m guessing solar-cooking probably isn’t going to catch on in Seattle. For the most part here, though, we’ve consistently had enough sun to cook a whole range of things. A few other successful eats we’ve enjoyed: pork chop and rice casserole, breakfast egg-dish casserole, apple crisp, spinach and pasta bake, zucchini bread, ham and egg frittata, polenta, and apricot bars. I might have to try a roast chicken sometime soon….

Frittata in the pans and biscuits on the side. Yum!

So there’s our plug for the environmentally friendly practice of cooking with the sun. We’re sold on the idea and maybe you can give it a try sometime, too! Bon appetite!  🙂

Sizzle While You Work

No we haven’t fallen off the map.  But melting is not completely out of the realm of possibility.   Do me a favor:  take whatever negative stereotypes of Mexicans you might have (if any) and toss them out your window.  Of course that will likely require compromising your climate controlled room/car.  Down here it is we who are climate controlled, not the other way around.  In a Mazatlan summer doing anything first involves a taking personal inventory of your remaining strength, your fitness for public presentation, and the current intensity of the heat.  Which begs the question, how does anyone get anything done??

Best case scenario: it has rained overnight (which means we actually slept last night, but also that it’s even more humid now). I already have the materials I need to do a task.  I fill up a huge thermos of ice water, set up some shade, and start to work (really “start to sweat” would be more accurate if you’re measuring what actually happens most).

More often than not, any work I do on the boat requires a sweaty walk just to take a bus in order to walk to a store which probably does not have what I need.  If I can find something to work with, completion of any task still must contend with the walk back to the bus, the bus ride itself, and then the full heat of mid-day.  Frustration aside, these are ample reasons for anyone to move and work slowly.

Could we have picked up an AC unit?  Yes, however, you never actually see the boaters who have AC units.  Discounting the fact that 95% of the boat owners flee north from the summer heat, the 5% who remain are virtually invisible.  They do what they can before sunup (i.e. walk – since nothing is open that early down here) then sit in their cool boats (literally and figuratively) until sundown.  Then it’s out for a cheap dinner and drinks – not necessarily in that order – and off to a cool night’s sleep.

We, on the other hand, wanted to experience locals and local life.  And the heat really does seem to influence most of it:  a two hour siesta mid-afternoon, breakfast and dinner on the 10s, dancing – but only after midnight.  Work and play all revolve around the heat.  Things do move painfully slowl, but they have to.  You’re going to pass out if you don’t.  But much the same as the temperatures, the people tend to be warmer, too.  I’m genuinely surprised when people don’t greet me as I walk by.  I wondering if arrogant attitudes just have trouble sticking to a sweat-soaked shirts.

Maybe we’re not as productive as we used to be, but we are learning about ourselves and other cultures – sometimes we’re even getting work done, too.   (I’ve included a list of our tasks, as evidence.*)   In the meantime what matters most to us is that you pray for our next step.  We don’t want to wait here as expensive winter rates kick in (November), but we don’t want to wander around blindly either.  We’ll keep you posted, and you do the same.

In the two years before we left:

Rebuilt, fiberglassed and painted our aft cabin top.

Added new mainsheet traveler

Installed new jib sheet winches and mizzen sheet winch

Re-mounted our mizzen and main boom crutches

Recaulked the teak cockpit

Added sail tracks for jib sheet lead cars

Re-installed our lifelines

Painting the boot-stripe

De-blistered, faired, and painted the bottom of our hull

Removed and glassed over # thru-hulls

Removed gross, old holding tanks, macerators, and marine heads

Added a new electrical panel, batteries, alternator, solar panels, VHF, and SSB radios, nav lights, foredeck/steaming light, engine blower…

Rebuilt Karis’s hatch

Sewed new sail covers.

New fridge! Deeper side is freezer, shallower is fridge.

Built a DC freezer/refrigerator box.  Wired & plumbed compressor and cold

plate.

Made and upholstered new interchangeable couch cushions

Installed a propane locker and oven.

Installed two electric bilge pumps and a counter/alarm

Installed a 1 gallon stroke manual bilge pump

Installed an electric freshwater pump

Installed a freshwater galley foot pump

Installed a manual saltwater galley pump

Re-plumbed the entire freshwater system

Lowering main mast onto our boat – thanks for the strong arms/backs that helped us!!

Routed and mounted a port of call sign for our stern

Pulled our masts with homemade crane, sanded them trucked them to and from anodizer in Emeryville.

Pulled out old chainplates.   Installed new chainplates on the exterior.

Off comes the old teak, then fill the holes and fiberglass!

 

Stripped off all our teak decking (replaced some rotten spots) and fiberglassed over everything.

Re-mounted deck hardware (cleats, stanchions, deck fills…)

Rebuilt main mast step and bathroom floor around it.

Removed, rebuilt, refinished 8’ bowsprit and pulpit.

Rebuilt our anchor locker.

Schlepped 200’ of 3/8” chain down into our chain locker.

Installed our windlass (which only worked before we installed it)

Added running and standing rigging to our masts, as well as wiring

Our masts ready to get re-stepped!

, nav/anchor lights, deck/steaming light, new sail tracks, wind indicator, cleats, winches, and rope clutches

Re-stepped our masts (with plenty of help)

Re-surfaced our decks.

Built a table/chart storage

Rebuilt our cockpit floor

Re-installed our companionway ladder

Varnished our trim (fake varnish, really, but still…)

Installed our steering pedestal

Replaced our engine belts

Replaced our engine’s starter and heat exchanger

Added a salon grab rail and grab rails forward outside.

Made a sunshade

Created lifejacket storage

Compiled and stowed exhaustive emergency ditch bag

Made a fish cleaning station

Mounted a fishing gaff

Added sliding drawer latch

Added another DC outlet in aft bedroom

Emptied entire boat and repacked what we actually needed, where we actually should have it!

Made jacklines and tethers

South of the border:

(Taken two YWAM groups out sailing)

Cleaned our diesel tanks.  Made new gaskets.

Cleaned our water tanks.  Added inspection port.

Flushed and repaired our engine freshwater circuit.

Replaced our fuel tank vent line

Fixed our steering cables, twice

Sewed screens/covers for three hatches

Created storage/organizer for big and little line

Mounted extra propane tank

Re-spliced our cap shroud (standing rigging)

Disassembled our stove and replaced a broken spring on oven door

Mounted our new solar cooker.

Mounted and wired a DC dive compressor

Painting and new wooden trim (never fully done)

Cleaned the hull

Made a sun shade for sailing

Reinforced aft hallway floor

Mounted a self-steering bracket to our rudder

Mounted self-steering post inside engine room

Wall mounted a cast iron skillet

Fixed our broken saltwater galley pump.

At least 3 projects in this pic: mast step, hatch cover/screen, and sun shade

Added a step to the mast.

Created boat diagram of essential/emergency equipment

Installed our butterfly hatch safety grills and re-gasketed opening

Mounted two cleats in our cockpit.

Made water filter to make dock water potable.

 

We’re still here!

Wow! I can’t believe it’s been over a month since our last post! It has been a busy month, so let me take a moment to catch you all up on us Gilberts.

First of all, we took the second YWAM group out for a day sail, enjoying another great day with fun people, this time Spanish-speakers. With the help of a translator, our minimal Spanish and their minimal English we managed beautifully!

Another highlight of early August was a fun dinner with some good friends we’ve met while here, Al and Gillian (fellow believers, have a boat across the dock from ours but live in an apartment in town). At the time Al & Gillian were also housing a couple from Venezuela, Aris & Luis, who gave us a cooking lesson making the traditional Venezuelan staple of arrepas – a corn flour based thick tortilla-like patty. You can fry them in oil or dry, then slice them open like a pita to fill with delicious meat and vegetable fillings. We had a delightful evening with all, eating and laughing until late in the night.

l to r: Kristin attempting the selfie, Gillian, Karis, Luis (hamming it up), Aris, John & Toby. Sorry we missed Al.

The biggest highlight of the month of August was our visit from Grandma Nini (John’s mom) for a week and a half!! We rented a home in the Centro District of Mazatlan so we could all enjoy some A/C and a little more elbow room. 🙂

The Villa was right on Plaza Zaragosa and at the time there was a market/exhibition highlighting a couple of the states of Mexico. We were treated to their music and dancing right out our windows one afternoon!

We had rented a car for the visit and one afternoon we took a drive towards Durango. Mazatlan is on the coast, obviously, while Durango is a ways up in the mountains to the east. As we assended into the mountains the temperature dropped quickly and we found ourselves in thick clouds and fog. It was a dramatic change from all we’d seen and experienced in Mazatlan!

Impressive mountain views on the road to Durango.

Grandma Nini’s visit was filled with fabulous food – both in and out. (Sigh, In n Out, wish we could have some!!) Anyway, if you ever make it to Mazatlan, you must eat at Hector’s – have the Argentinian steak dinner, or the Arm Drip sandwich, or the crusted salmon, or the raviolis. All delicious!!  🙂

After delivering Grandma Nini to the airport for her flight back home, we turned our attention to our water tanks. We’d never given them a thorough cleaning and it was well overdue. The slightly tinted water coming from the tap after sailing with the 2nd YWAM group gave us the heads up on that! We cut open access ports in the top of each tank, scrubbed off the growing algae, filled them up again with water and a good amount of bleach, let it all sit for a bit, then flushed it all out with fresh water. After receiving some fittings from Grandma & Grandpa (for some reason Amazon wouldn’t ship them to us here, but thanks to DHL and G & G we got them in 4 days!) we were back in business!

The port side water tank, clean and closed up.

I’ll wrap up now and leave you with a few more pics from the past few weeks. We’re still sweating away, but really glad to be here in Mazatlan for these months. We hear the real hurricane-threat month for this area is October, so we’re not out of the woods yet as far as storms go. And witnessing Irma these past few days is sobering. We continue to seek God’s leading and direction for us now and over the coming months.

Sailing with YWAM

Hola! Como esta? This is me, Karis, writing to you from the s/v (sailing vessel) Salt & Light, currently in Mazatlan. When we first got to Marina Mazatlan, one fun and interesting thing that we noticed was a large steel hulled motorboat a few slips down the dock from us. It was a vessel that was being renovated so that it could be used by YWAM (Youth With a Mission) to reach remote areas of the Sea of Cortez. What was even more crazy is that the family who owned the boat lived in the bay area and even knew some of our extended family from the church that they went to! Through them, we got in touch with some of the other YWAM people, and learned a lot about their base in Mazatlan.

Amazing Grace, the YWAM ship, is the big blue boat

Most of the programs which YWAM runs start off at one of their many Discipleship Training Schools (or DTS, for short). These students commit to three months of training and classes, and then they relocate for two more months to do hands on outreach. When someone signs up, they can request to do certain things during their months of outreach, and among the possibilities, you could ask for time on their ships. Since the ship in Mazatlan isn’t quite up and running yet, they wondered if we might take some of their students out sailing instead of going out in their own ship. They could get experience boating firsthand, learn terminology, rules, safety, and some sailing fundamentals. We talked it over, and came to the conclusion that doing it would enable us to get to know some new people and force us to go sailing regularly. Those good things outweighed the work that would need to be put into getting our boat ready.

Our plan was to leave in the morning and motor over to Isla Venado, a small island just off shore, anchor near the island’s beach, and stay there until the afternoon winds picked up. At that point we would sail for the rest of the afternoon, and in the evening head back to the marina. It sounds like a long day, and it was, but the tides restricted our freedom concerning when we could enter and exit the marina. We thought it would be a good idea to do a trial run first before we took anyone else out with us, and so on a Wednesday we took off and had a very hot day.

There was no cloud cover at all until the late afternoon, and the strong tropical sun beat down on us, sapping sweat and energy equally fast. After we anchored we sought the relief of the water and all jumped in with our fins, masks and scrapers for some hull cleaning. We were all in the water for a long time, playing and cleaning. You’d never think that cleaning barnacles and seaweed off the underside of our boat would be so fun, but most of us really like it. We sailed off the anchor around four o’clock, and started making our way back as best as we could. Unfortunately, we were headed into the light wind which made it slow going. We got back late and had an easy, if unorthodox dinner of cereal before heading straight to bed.

Friday evening, the night before we’d be taking the group out, we had a considerable thunderstorm, which proved quite impossible to sleep through. We had made the mistake of leaving our windows and hatches open, which let a considerable amount of water in where it shouldn’t have been. In the morning, it was still raining so we were doubtful of how successful the day would be. Nevertheless the group showed up and, after making introductions all around, they climbed aboard and we promptly set out hoping that the favorable weather forecast wouldn’t let us down. Leaving the harbor the rain thankfully lessened and then came to a complete stop. As we motored over to the islands, Dad went over fundamental boat rules and expressions that are universal for both sailboats and powerboats.

Having spent much time in marinas or on the boat, I’m accustomed to the people around me having a more thorough understanding of nautical gear and systems than I do. As Dad began asking basic questions to gauge their knowledge level, however, I realized that I was at the top of the class. (At least I would have been if Toby and I had been allowed to answer any of the questions!) We reached Isla Venado, also called Deer Island, and anchored with little difficulty before cooling off in the water. After swimming and hiking on the island, we enjoyed lunch and a nap here and there. Eventually the wind picked up sufficiently for sailing, so we raised the anchor and introduced them to the joys and challenges of sailing for the rest of the day. Arriving back at our slip in Marina Mazatlan around 7:30, we were just in time for a vivid orange and pink sunset. Everyone was wiped out from a good, long day on and in the water.

Smiles at the end of our day!
End of a long, good day

Overall it went very well – everyone learned and had fun and got a little more familiar with sailing vernacular – but the real challenge will come next time. You see, in the next group that we will be taking out only one of the students speaks English. We’re not quite sure how all of it will work out, but I imagine Google translate and a lot of gesticulating will be involved. We’ll let you know…

Dock 2

By way of introduction to this post, Toby and Karis have an on-going assignment to be taking pictures, specifically of a person, a place, and a thing, hopefully every day. Then, once a week, they are to write about one picture from each of the categories. The following is Toby’s writing on a place.

Photographic Journal 8

 

 

 

 

 

For this week’s place I actually picked three different pictures of the same place: Dock 2. Dock 2 is the dock that our boat is on, at least right now. It’s right between dock 3 and the boat yard. Nope, we don’t know why there’s no dock 1 either. Being on dock 2 has its upsides and downsides. The most noticeable thing about it (at least I think so) is that it is the furthest dock from the office/lounge/bathroom facilities. This means that a walk to the restroom will usually take at least five minutes one way. It can be annoying and frustrating, but it might actually be a good thing, because it forces us to do more walking than we normally would. Blessings in disguise, I guess. Another good distance related characteristic of our dock is that it is also the furthest away from the restaurants/bars that are on the waterfront by the marina. Most of the places don’t even really get going in the evening until after eight or nine, and when they do start things up they, almost always have loud annoying music pumping. So, I guess out of all the docks at this marina, I probably would pick dock 2 anyway, unless, of course, we could stay on dock 1.

So enough about me…

Thanks to the blog, I’ve been spending more than a little time thinking about myself lately.  Even though it’s purpose is to keep you informed on what and how we’re doing and why, I felt inspired to praise some people who have inspired us as of late.  Names have not been changed to protect the “guilty.” 🙂

Ensenada marina

Most marinas (including Ensenada’s, where we were at the time of this anecdote) have what’s called a “cruiser’s net” on the VHF radios every morning.  Local, interested boats will check in then listen for emergencies, new arrivals, imminent departures, weather, trades, current events, favorite restaurants, and so forth.  Now it was Saturday morning before the check-in and I faced a dilemma.  I’d felt Led to offer a Sunday Bible study to the Net, but I was also dragging my feet.  To make matters worse, Kristin had “out-ed” my idea just the night before to our very supportive friends, Mark & Jean.

Probably more out of shame than obedience, I picked up the transceiver and threw down the gauntlet:

“This is Salt & Light.”

“Go ahead Sultan Light.”  (The steadfast deafness of the Net host was new every morning.)

“Yeah, we’re normally church-going folk, but we don’t know of any churches around here.  If anyone would like to come over to our boat and do a Bible study with us, we’ll be waiting on dock C at 10am tomorrow.  Over.”

Of course there’s more to that story, but what matters for now is that this is how we met Ernie.  What you need to understand is that I could paint a very accurate picture of Ernie and you just might end up thinking, “How annoying!”  Ernie is a chatty-Cathy who can’t take one step outside without saying “Jesus Christ” – but I mean in a good way.  He infused every conversation with His passionate love and need for Jesus.  (I think he even shared his testimony with us the first time we met, and the second!)   He bathed every hobby he had, every favor he did, with the cause of Christ.

You can imagine then that Ernie knew everyone, and for darn sure everyone knew Ernie.  But what amazed me was that everyone I met considered Ernie – albeit unusual – the best of guys.  Not only did he wear his Faith on his sleeve, he rolled those sleeves up all the time to lend a hand or an ear or his time or a ride.  Even our neighbor, a Berkeley-hardened atheist, freely admitted that if more Christians lived like Ernie he’d have some re-thinking to do.

To call Ernie my hero would be weird for both of us.  We’ll call him my big brother in the Lord.  He was smaller than me, and younger than me both physically and spiritually.  But Ernie has recklessly abandoned his plans and pride to the Lord in a way that powerfully inspires me and convicts me (it depends on the day).  Whether he’s taking Bibles on his ship to the needy in Mexico or turning wrenches on the Baja 500, or helping everyone with everything all the time I am fortunate to call this man not just my friend, but my Brother in Christ.  Thanks for sharing Life with as many of us as you can.  May we live it and give it as freely and genuinely as do you.

Settling back into Mazatlan!

We’re back! Back in Mexico that is. We had a wonderful 5 weeks in California and were so thankful to see as many of you as we did! To those of you we missed, so sorry! You’ll just have to come down here now to get your hugs! 🙂

Here are some highlights of our time in CA:

We spent the first week up at Grandma Nini’s (John’s mom’s) and kept busy with a few projects around her place including John reorganizing her workbench and the kids moving a large pile of firewood into her woodshed.

Week two was spent in Davis with Grandma and Grandpa (my parents), and we tackled a few more projects including clearing/cleaning out the side yard and Toby getting his driver’s permit/practicing driving so he could get his driver’s license. (He successfully passed his driver’s test a couple weeks later!!) We also had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend there with my brother and his family, too!

The next few weeks were spent in the Bay Area (huge thank you to the Robersons for housing us!!) making whatever connections we could. We had many delicious meals and delightful hours spent with many of you – it was such a blessing to reconnect with you all! As I sit here now writing this, I’m missing you all now and want to zip right back up so I can pop over for a walk or coffee or something!

We began the drive back to our boat on the 15th of June. Our last meal in CA before leaving the country was the same as the first one we had when we entered the country. 🙂

Love our In-N-Out!!

Driving up through Mexico we had only driven on the toll roads – they are better roads but also set us back around $50 in all. We decided on the drive back down to take a different route for part of the way, mostly for a change of scenery. The new route took us down to the very northern tip of the Sea of Cortez and along its coastline for a bit.

Sea of Cortez

It was nice to see things other than the dry, desert-y land we’d seen much of already. However, the non-toll roads, at times, left MUCH to be desired! This picture doesn’t do justice to the prevalence of pot-holes along some stretches!!

And this wasn’t the worst of it!

On day 3 we arrived back at home and began the settling back in process. We had rented the car partly so that we could bring back with us many boat-related items we knew would be easier to get in CA. We ended up with more things than we’d first anticipated; the car was packed to the gills – John sitting on the trunk to get it closed!! Needless to say, the unpacking/putting away of things took some time. But it was with thankful hearts and bodies that we fell into our own beds that night for the first time in 5+ weeks.

Sunset welcoming us home

Since we’ve been back we’ve been acclimating to the heat and humidity. People keep looking at us like we’re crazy to be here for the summer – the hottest, wettest months of the year. I just keep hosing myself down periodically to stay cool. 🙂

In the past week we’ve connected a bit more with YWAM and the local church we attended before our trip home. And we’re meeting some of our dock neighbors and local business owners. We continue to pray and ask for God’s guidance in where and how to be spending the time we have here. On another fun note, walking down the path here at the marina last week we looked up to see Bob, a friend we’d met through another friend back in Alameda. He and his wife Simone had made it here on their boat about the same time we did! They are back home in CA for the summer, leaving the boat here (on the next dock across from ours!!), but Bob was down for a few days to get a part off the boat that needed repairs. It was great fun sharing a lunch and dinner with him before he flew home!

I’ll leave you with a few various pics from our CA trip.

AMEN!!

Update on our adventure

So a few things have happened in the past couple of weeks.

First of all, on May 2nd, we celebrated Toby’s 18th birthday! (Where does the time go?!) We started the day off with a beach visit where Toby got to surf a bit. Later, we hopped a bus to go to the movies. At bigger theaters, new release movies often have showings in English with subtitles. And it’s a cheap outing in Mexico – tickets for the four of us, popcorn and a bag of M&M’s all for less than $15!!!

Next new thing: we decided to move our boat to the other marina in Mazatlan, sadly leaving our resort environment. 🙁 We learned that the dock water wasn’t as potable as we’d been led to believe, and we never felt fully comfortable with how securely we were able to tie up at the slips there. SO, our boat is now more securely tied up at Marina Mazatlan where we will keep it through October.

Farewell sunset in El Cid

Another new thing: we’ve attended a local church for a couple of Sundays and are looking forward to getting more connected. They have many community centers around Mazatlan where they reach out to the neighborhoods with meals and more. In particular, they do an outreach each Wednesday to the community living at the dump, bringing lunches and hope. We haven’t been able to join in with one of these outings yet, but plan/hope to soon.

The newest thing: one reason we haven’t been able to do the above is that we decided on a trip to the states …. now! We rented a car Tuesday, had it for errands around Mazatlan Wednesday, then hit the road for CA Thursday! It’s been a long road trip, but, as I type this, we are recovering in a comfy hotel room in Milpitas! The timing has worked out perfectly for us to make it to a gathering at my brother’s to celebrate Mother’s Day AND his 50th bday! Apparently this month was one for milestone birthdays!

So for those of you in CA, we’re around for the next few weeks, splitting our time between Bangor, Davis and Bay Area. We look forward to seeing as many of you as we can, and if any of  you Bay Area folk have some floor space we can sleep on, let us know! 🙂

I’ll leave you with some pics from our drive up.

Common sight- bikes ridden on side of the road – even highways!
First meal in California. MMMM!