Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bike Ride Photos

We did another bike ride, but this time we did the actual Jaluco loop that everyone rides.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Melaque 10K

This morning we got up relatively early so that Linda could get ready for the Festival del Mar 10 K Fun Run.  She has run in this event every year since it was established.  If you look back in the blog three years you will see a post called A Mexican 10K.  The first year of this event the 10K was quite a bit farther then an actual 10K so we just wrote it off to being Mexican in nature and that means you never know what you are going to get.

Maggie joined us for the warm up walk down to Centro where the start line was set.  There were quite a few runners entered in the event and the whole town was out and about either running or helping as volunteers.  Linda joined the running crowd and was joined by her favorite jewelery vendor from the tianga. Maggie and I  found Jeff, one of the volleyballers, and wished him luck.  Before long the gun sounded and they were off.

Maggie and I walked up the street and watched the runners go by and after Linda passed we went to a coffee shop and sat and talked.  When all the runners returned and headed down main street to the finish line we got up and joined the crowd cheering everyone across the line.  Jeff did very well in his age group and we even think he may have gotten an award.  Linda did real well too!  She is still injured and has not been training for races.  She jogged the course and felt very good after she had finished.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Morning Bike Ride

This morning Linda dragged me out of bed and herded me onto my bike.  She said I needed to get my butt in gear and get some exercise.  I think that playing several games of aggressive old people pool volleyball is exercise enough, but Linda does not agree.  We road out North to the highway and followed it West until we hit the first dirt road to the right.  This put us on a track directly into the farm lands and away from the busy dusty city.

We road at a steady pace, but I would not consider it fast in any respect.  With the bumpy dirt roads and the occasional soggy sand the speed we traveled kept us moving with little fear of crashing.  About three miles along the road we paralleled the Pinal Villa.  This little town is only about four blocks wide and nine blocks long and soon we were moving deep into the farm lands.  The dirt road got narrower and narrower with the plant growth closing in on both sides.  Sand grew more and more prevalent and you had to concentrate and keep peddling or it would grab your tire and slide you to a stop. 

At the roads narrowest and darkest point we rode down a dip and burst into the open.  In front of us was a concrete overpass, a landmark that we had been looking for. We stopped under the overpass and took a water break and once we had cooled down a bit we headed Southeast on the unfinished highway.  This road is a wonderful place to ride.  It has been around for many years but it never seems to get completed and is very rarely used by the locals.  You can drive on the smooth road, but it is not complete and I guess it really doesn't go any place that people want to go.  It definitely is one of those Mexico things that you hear people talk about.

We followed the highway for about three miles and then jumped off at an underpass.  This took us back through the farm fields to Jaluco. Just before we entered Jaluco we cane across a six foot long Bull Snake squished on the road.  It was real big and real dead! I made sure Linda understood that if we ever saw a snake like that, and if it was not dead, then she needed to be calm and understand that it would not get her while she was on her bike.  She did not agree with that, but said she would try to be in control.

After entering Jaluco and riding parallel to highway we decided to brave the traffic and ride the shoulder of the highway back to Melaque.  Once this was done we cruised back home, put on our swimsuits and joined everyone next door for several games of aggressive old people pool volleyball.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tres Fotos

It’s December 9 and it is 89 degrees in Melaque.  The breeze coming off the bay provides a cooling effect that makes everything very comfortable.  As long as you stay out of the direct sun, you remain the perfect comfort level throughout the day.   This in its self is one reason we come down to this area.   You can’t beat the climate this time of year.
Linda loves Bigote's!
Our daily routine has been established and Linda is just now getting unwound from the stress of teaching.  I could never explain how hard she works to be a good teacher.  The wages she takes home are almost an insult for the time she spends teaching others children.  Maybe if Lindas’ students’ parents would do as much parenting as Linda does for her students, then our next generations might turn out better.
Getting prepared for her substitutes, while dealing with some very intense drug related student issues, about did her in recently. (Yes she teaches 5th grade.)  Then on the day we left town, I had to explain that there had been a mass killing in an elementary school back east. She cried every time we saw any news coverage all the way down to our destination. 
That is all over now.  We don’t get any reports because we don’t ever turn on the TV.  I check Face Book daily, but that is the extent of our news intake.  We relax, eat street tacos, visit Bigotes and walk around the square
Sunset on our beautiful house maiden.
Wednesday was market day in Melaque.  It was the same as last year, maybe a little bigger, more junk but fewer tourists.  The vendors looked a bit hungrier and seemed to be a bit less exuberant then previous years. That is probably due to the slow tourist season.  We are seeing that the lack of visitors is affecting everyone down in this region.
Linda bought a bracelet while we were shopping but I held off purchasing anything.  It is still a bit overwhelming to me to have to deal with the language and the currency.  Linda laughs because I basically freeze up the second anyone starts talking to me in Spanish.  I guess I’ll just always be the gringo with the helpless look in his eye.
We have started our quest to figure out what we are going to do next year when we travel down here in our camper for an extended stay.  Linda really wants to keep the house, at least for a while, when we are down here.  I think it would be so cool to get a bunch of friends down with us to share the house. I would love to have some Mexico virgins to show this place to.  It is something you can’t really explain and you will probably never understand until you have the full experience.
From our bike ride around Melaque.
We checked out one of the newer RV parks that is about four blocks from here.  It was nice and it definitely had some openings available.  There were three sites full and about 20 empty.  It is an option, but was a bit spendy if you asked me.
I guess we will keep all options open and keep doing our research.  Something will come up, we have a hole year!   I guess this might be our theme for this trip, hope you don’t get tired of it! LOL

Monday, December 17, 2012

Down South Again

We have been in Melaque two days and have already started talking about our next journey down.  Yes it is a year away, but one of the most important parts of this trip is to solidify our plans for next year when we both are retired and can spend several months down here.  Larry and Maggie next door have already talked about doing a caravan down.  Maggie wants to slow Larry down a bit and do some sightseeing as we go and we are all in to that. 
We have talked about whether we want to keep the rental of the house, and right now, we say yes.  What we did talked about was having two couples plus ourselves staying in the place while we are down.  That would be a bit more planning and sharing of facilities, but we could sleep in the camper to make it work.
Another possibility would be to find a place where we can stay in our camper for the time we are down here.  Linda wants to be by the beach, but that may be hard to do.  We are going exploring in the next few days and see what we can see.

The dog is another factor.  We think he will do ok down here, but we don’t really know how he will act with the local dogs.  No one ties their dogs up, unless they are mean dogs.  Kobi gets so excited around other dogs, and we don’t know if Idaho Kobi will mix with Mexican Perro.  We have a friend, Austin, staying with Kobi while we are away.  Reports that they are getting along have been very positive.  Kobi can be a bit of a nut to handle and Austin said he is doing fine.

Our conversations as we walk have centered on our thoughts of next year.  How funny is that, we just got here!

Melaque has not changed much.  Everything is basically the same, some businesses have moved, some have closed, others have opened, but the town has not grown much.  We think it is a bit quieter then the past few years.  The tourist season is slow coming.  Our friend, Renaldo, who owns the rug store down the street, said that no one had been in to shop until yesterday.  The slow tourist season is hurting the locals real bad. 
We sat in the shop with Renaldo and talked about the school system down here.  He was not real happy with the local teachers.  It sounded like they did not take teaching seriously here in Melaque. We were just getting into some of his thoughts when some customers came into the shop and we took the interruption as and opportunity to let Renaldo go back to work.  He is so polite that we didn’t want to distract him when he was making a living.

Our days have already started to lay out about the same as in the past.  First two were rest and relaxation days.  Now we have our bikes and we played our first pool volleyball so the rest of our time will flow on.  I wish all my friends could experience how laid back this life style is. Some would love it, but I also know some would need more stimulation and more excitement. 
Keeping this blog up to date will be a bit of a struggle for me.  We don’t really do much or even see much new and exciting to report.  We get up, do our daily thing and spend a lot of time just relaxing.  I’ll post some photos when I get good ones.  If we meet new folks, I’ll have to post about them.  That is my way of remembering their names from year to year.  Like last night when we met Don, of Don and Terri from Vancouver Island.  We had the face, and the place, but the name evaded us, until we got home and I looked it up. 

I will be posting in a few days if there is something new and exciting to post.  Until then, hasta la vista!

Monday, November 26, 2012

What Have I Been Doing Lately?

Over the big four day Thanksgiving holiday we had visitors, I went fishing and I took a bunch of photos of eagles.  Yes, that is what I have been up to.

My first attempt to capture an Eagle in flight.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Getti!ng the Stink Off - Yeah Right

Darren made soup for lunch!
Some people say that if you do something a lot and then you have a spell where you are not successful  in that endeavor, you have a stink on. All you can do is keep at it, change tactics and try to "get the stink off."  That is how it seems with my Steelheading right now. I need to do something different, go to a different spot or in other words change it up a bit.

Darren Upchurch and I got up at 3:30 am Friday and drove down to the Clearwater to fish.  We had a great day of casting but failed to connect with any fish.  The weather was great and I didn't fall down or break any equipment so I consider the trip a success.

Dead Salmon using fish-eye effect from camera.
Here is something new.  In the past I had been taking pictures with a point and shoot Nikon.  On the last river trip the camera quit working. No I didn't drop it in the river!  I took it back to Best Buy and since it was under warranty they sent it away for repair.  Last week it was returned and they were unable to fix it.  I was then given a credit and I needed to purchase a new camera.  I have had three point and shoot cameras in the past several years and all of them quit due to the same problem.  No I didn't drop them! The lens cover stuck open and the camera failed.

My answer to this problem was that I do not want a camera with those silly retractable lens things.  This left me with the choice of three smaller non DSRL or the more expensive DSRL cameras.  I decided upon a Canon SX50 HS.  These were the first photos taken with this camera.

With the new camera I was able to goof around while I fished and the photo results make the results of no fish much easier to take.  I didn't get the stink off, but I did learn a bit about the new camera.

Darren using full 50X optical zoom.

Same shot without using the zoom. Wow!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Fished Twice, Still Nothing

Mike heating up some chili.
This last week I was able to get down to the Clearwater River and fish for Stealhead twice.  First time I dropped down to the river by myself  and fished for a day. Once I had worked the water for six hours or so I got tired and drove up to Kendrick and visited Raina and Dean. 

Ever since Raina married Dean, I have teased her about living the "farm" life in Kendrick Idaho.  My vision of their place was based on the TV show Green Aces.  I pictured them living on a rundown old farm with cows by the front door and chickens in the kitchen.

I arrived in Kendrick at about 4:30 PM and followed the map they had sent, through the town and up ninth street.  To say they live on a little hill would be an understatement.  They live on a HILL.  It's steep enough that as you climb you have to keep your fingers crossed hoping that nothing gives out and you coast backwards to the valley floor.  I think Raina said it best, later in the evening, when the one lone trick-or-treater that showed up rang the doorbell.  She exclaimed "how the heck did you get up here?"  Raina tossed him a hand full of candy and he said "dad drove me."

You know it is steep when kids won't hike up the hill for candy!

Waiting for the bite to start.
The house was great! Not a cow or chicken in the place.  In fact I was a little disappointed  that it was so normal.  That takes away all the jokes and teasing I have given Raina about living in Kendrick.  I have to bring Linda down to visit and show her how normal it is.

I stayed the night and in the morning we parted ways.  Dean and Raina had to drive to Orifino I'll leave all the humor and speculation to you readers.

When I got back home in Post Falls I got in touch with Mike Wassmuth and found out he was heading back down to fish on Friday so I joined him.  WE drove down, fished, and drove back.  Noticed I said fished.  We failed to catch anything, but the weather was real nice and we enjoyed being out on the water.  Days like that are getting fewer and fewer.  Not catching fish does not bother me, really. OK, maybe a little.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Duck Hunting?

"Look Deano, there are five of em up there."
"Where? I don't see anything."
"They're way up there, see? I don't think they are comming this way. They are way to high and their wings are flapping real fast, so I don't think they will land."
"Still can't see them."

Graydon and I were sitting on a finger of mud just west of Killarney Lake's outlet. The sun was out and the wind was blowing about 60 mph, we were duck hunting. 

I met Graydon at about 3 PM behind his place and we hitched up the boat, picked up Ollie and headed to the chain lakes for my first duck hunting experiance.

We launched the boat and loaded ourselves in, Graydon chugged the engine to life and we were off. The motor sputtered and died. Graydon calmly clamored about squeezing the gas bulb, shaking the fuel line and turning the starting key. I watched as we drifted away from the dock and closer to the levee. Finally the engine caught and we were off! Graydon looked at me and smiled then hit the throttle.

The boat jumped and we were immediately up on plane. Seconds later the engine revved up, water and mud flew, and we came to a slow halt.  It was like we were in a big mud bog contest but a bit louder!  We looked back and then to the sides, and found that we had run a ground.  Graydon stepped out of the boat and pulled us to deeper water. We looked around and started to laugh.  That was about how typical this hunt would be.

"Graydon, I don't have any waders. I mean I have waders, but I didn't wear them. How do I get to shore from the boat?"
"Here Deano, get on my back."
"No, it's OK, just get on my back and I'll carry you the few steps."

Once on shore Ollie and I fished while Graydon spread his duck decoys out around the shallows.  We had read the regulations and shooting was allowed up to 5:55 PM that day. The ducks were set and we were in our seats by 5:15 PM  forty minutes of quality hunting time was ahead of us so Graydon lit a cigar and offered me a drink of whiskey.  This is duck hunting!

"Ducks don't like the water to be smooth." Graydon waxed blowing a big puff of smoke. "They like the decoys to be moving. These waves are perfect to make the decs (decoys) do their thing and draw the ducks in."

I listened to Graydon explain duck hunting theory, all the while looking for a duck, any duck, to fly by.  The sky was blue with puffy clouds, but no ducks.  Graydon had said that an empty parking lot was not a good sign. No hunters probably meant no ducks, but this was the shake down trip and so far we had found out quite a bit.  First the boat motor's gas line needed to be replaced. Next the electric duck decoys would not flap their wings and they needed to be repaired.  I needed my waders.  Finally, we needed ducks.
At 6 PM Graydon started picking up the decoys and Ollie and I fished again.  With the boat loaded Graydon slogged over and offered me his back.  I refused knowing that somewhere some guys were watching and waiting to see this fat guy climb up on this tall slender guys back.  I dashed the several wet steps to the boat and we were off. Graydon used the electric motor to pull us back to the dock. We loaded the boat on the trailer and drove home. We laughed about our little excursion and I committed to giving duck hunting one more shot.  Graydon promised to repair all his equipment and find a spot where there are ducks.

"Deano, you have got to see a duck circling in low and setting its wings to glide in and land in your decoys.  There is nothing like it."

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Steelhead Experiment

 Grabbed my gear and took the camper down to the Salmon to fish on Monday,  Stayed till Thursday and fished every day.  As I drove down the road toward the Pine Bar boat launch I was a bit anxious. This was brought on by the fact that I left the house without a check book and if my usual "free" spot was taken then I would not have anything to pay for a spot in the campground.  I dropped the boat into the water and tied it to the bank.  I pulled the trailer forward to a spot out of the boaters way and dropped it off, then I quickly drove to a point where I could see the camp site. No one was there!  I dropped in and set up the camper.  Everything was complete, boat launched and camp set up in less than a half hour!

I walked up to the boat launch with my fishing gear and rowed the boat up river to the fishing spot, set my anchor and got my gear in the water.  For the next five hours I puttered in my tackle boxes sorting and cleaning.  I can say that I now have all my gear sorted and stowed according to color with no barbs on the hooks and no unneeded leader threads attached.

By sunset the fish had avoided my traps and it was getting dark so I rowed up river and ferried across to just below the camper.  I tied up the boat and mad sure the equipment was stowed safely away and then went up the my home on wheels for the evening.  Dinner was a delicious meal of Rice A Roni and a Kielbasa Hot Dog. The dog stayed with me most of the night and I will probably avoid indulging in the future.

Morning was cold and windy.  When I say windy, I mean blow you up stream windy! I fished the regular run all morning and Darren Upchurch arrived adding to the fishing power.  I rowed across the river, had lunch and then we were back over in the spot.  At about 3 PM Darren had a hit.  The fish struck his lure and immediately came out of the water in a spectacular splash.  It shook loose at the top of its' aerial and was gone.  Just enough excitement to keep us going.

Not long after the first hit Darren again got a take.  This time he fought it for quite a while.  We got a couple looks at it but could not see if it was a keeper or not.  It took a huge run and was gone.  That's steelhead fishing for you! That's probably why I love it so much.  Most of the time the fish wins and so the hunt continues.

The wind died a bit and we fished till dark and pulled the gear in returned to the camper for the evening.  We ate some pre-made Costco beef stroganoff meal that wasn't bad but I probably would not serve it again. After cleaning up we took the table down and made Darren a bed and then went off to sleep.

Next morning I fixed breakfast and we went back onto the water.  You get a lot of time to sit and look around.  This day was beautiful and the river setting could not be beat.  At exactly noon, I hooked up on a good one.  My lessons in the past made me very aware of my reel and the line drag.  I played the fish and she ran about five times.  Each time I controlled my drag and let her run.  When she tired I eased her close to the boat and noted that she was a keeper.  The keepers are missing their adipose fin which was removed at the hatchery. Wild steelhead have the fins and you can usually see them when the get close to the boat.  

I reeled her in close and got my net ready, she ran when she saw me but I got her back and she was tired.  I place the net under the water and guided her near. Just as I pulled her over the net she mas a final valiant kick and the lure came flying out of her mouth at me.  I rolled the net up and she was caught.  It was so close all Darren and I could do was laugh.

The excitement of the catch kept us going on into the evening and we called her quits just before dark. We had smoked beef tacos for dinner, then cleaned up and went to bed.  We both read for a while but it was lights outwith in the hour.

We woke up at the usual time and had a quick breakfast. We could see that Mike Wassmuth was already anchored over in the run.  We floated over and tried to get set up next to Mike.  Our anchor would not hold and we floated down river and pulled into shore.  We used our side winders off the bank and fished until about 11 AM.  We floated down to the takeout, then walked up and got the truck and camper.  Loading the boat was easy so we were headed home by about 12:30 PM.  The drive home was uneventful but I had a fish in the cooler and that was all that mattered.

Mike Wassmuth on Thursday.
Which one will be the one that works?
She was a 26" beauty!
Got her home and she was a true 26 incher.