So on Wednesday, back when we were still in the natural park camping amongst the large boulders (and btw, the park is not under private ownership, rather, it is managed by the local Puebla), we took a long walk with Roger, Mona, Owenita, Aron, Denise and Bob from our campsite to the rock garden, along the dazzling, clear river, over to the waterfalls, and part way down the abandoned rail bed.
Larry and I headed back just as the rest of the group turned towards the first of the train tunnels, and we ended up taking a different trail back that took us to the river that runs behind our camping area. Unfortunately, we ended up on the wrong side of the river. Larry opted to take his shoes off and carry me across, but I declined his generous offer (foolishly, as it turned out), and ended up walking an extra mile or so to get to a bridge and back on the road to the campsite.
Once back, we headed out on our bikes to the small town to eat a few gorditas at the same place as on Tuesday, stopping along the way to ask the park concession to turn on the water tank at the shower house (they required a one hour notice to heat the water) so I could wash my hair (this despite Bob's warning that the water pressure might be frustratingly low). Bob turned out to be dead on right about the water pressure, but at least I got my hair clean even though it took awhile for the drips to rinse that shampoo out.
It was announced at Wednesday's happy hour that we would depart for Mazatlan at 9 am on Thursday, and Kevin let us know that we could expect many hairpin curves along Thursday's drive south. He was right about that, but at least the road was in excellent shape and we didn't have the added burden of dodging potholes. So we headed down to Isla de la Piedra, a small town on the outskirts Mazatlan, bound for a full service rv park where we could dump our tanks (at last!!!)
Sometime in the afternoon during the drive, I informed Larry that I was smelling black tank (I was pretty sure it was ours because why not?). He wondered if maybe we were smelling other peoples ventilation stacks from the six rv's in front of us since the temperature outside was rapidly rising as we were descending in altitude (remember, we were going from 8500 feet down to sea level, and it had been more than ten days since the last dump), and maybe odors were wafting our way. Privately, I did not share his optimism, but I was willing to go along with his supposition. Of course, once we arrived at the rv park and began to eagerly partake in all the promised services, we discovered the source of the aforementioned odor once we opened up the plumbing cabinet.
I will spare you the details.
We cleaned as much of the mess as we could, then headed out to the beach with Jim to walk in the soft sand and forget about life for awhile. A park resident had told us about a bar, Velero, that had a cover band on Thursday afternoons, so we headed over in the general direction to have a look see, and ended up joining Denise, Bob, Owenita, and Aron, who were already enjoying margaritas and old songs. Afterwards, we headed back to the campsite for another happy hour (!) where it was decided that we would all head back over to Valero for dinner. I was too tired to go to dinner with everyone, but Larry enjoyed lots of fresh shrimp and more beer.
Now we are up to Friday, dear reader, and the first thing on my mind when I opened my eyes this morning was the need to deal with the dumper. Larry was on board, of course, but first we wanted to observe the full moon setting on the beach as the sun rose, so we headed out at around 530 and walked eastwards along the shoreline. We stopped to watch some fishermen casting nets for awhile, then headed back to find breakfast on our bikes. We rode around the small village taking in the sites before heading back to face the dirty work.
Back at the camper, and in an effort to be helpful, I volunteered to remove the vanity cabinet doors and floor so that Larry could get a good look at the adjacent plumbing fixtures from a different angle.
Talk about opening a can of worms.
We were confronted with the sight of a gigantic rat nest in amongst the wires and plumbing lines that are situated under the cabinet. I immediately exited the camper while Larry stayed back to take some pictures and admire the rat's handiwork. He dismantled the nest, determined that the rat had long ago fled, and asked me to clean up the droppings (which was only fair since he was dealing with a far more distasteful substance on the other side of the camper wall).
We wanded the black tank (rv owners in the know will know what this means), and filled it as well as the grey tank with clean water. Larry let the tanks sit for awhile, then emptied everything out. We didn't see any obvious leaks while the tanks were emptying, so we think that the black tank push valve must have been slightly ajar, based on the amount of fluid that had accumulated in the cabinet plumbing tray yesterday. Time will tell.
|Group heading out to the rock garden.|
|Bob up on top of one of the rock formations in the garden.|
|It's hard to describe just how clear and beautiful the river appears.|
|The main waterfall in the park.|
|I wish we were at a time of life where we could have a dog again, there are many worthy candidates we have run across that would more than fit the bill.|
|Forgot to mention that on Thursday we were all stopped again at a military checkpoint. Larry took this somewhat surreptitious photo after one of the young soldiers finished checking out the inside of our camper.|
|Fisherman pulling in their nets.|
|The morning catch.|
|Nasty rat's nest.|
|Larry stripped out the old flooring, bleached everything in sight, and has a fan running to dry everything out for the next two days.|
We took the free road, not the quota, but Google maps won't correctly reflect the route we took despite my best efforts!