Monday, April 16, 2018


Funny stuff.  I grew up with Reeces, M n Ms, Hersheys and Snickers.  Alex and Trace love these snacks in Mexico and don't even know about most of the things I loved growing up or that are available in the USA.  Truthfully, I never raid their candy basket after a piñata or party since the Mexican candy I have tried is TERRIBLE!!!  They love it though so that is what matters.  Fun video and yes, the kids know all of these snacks.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Alex' New Passion - Horses - Guest Blog Contributor ALEX!!

Horse back ridding has always been interesting, whether my friend, Ava, invited me to a competition or I see one on the road, I’ve always loved the animal. I remember the first time I got on a horse, I remember falling off that same day, usually that would make someone quit or be scared to get back on, but not for me.

When I first went to Vista Paraíso to ride I was nervous and exited at the same time, I think the date was the 7th of October 2017. All the people and helpers were so nice, I felt like I had gone there several times before, but I hadn’t.

Since then, every Saturday I would go to horse and learn to tack up the horse, learn to walk, learn to trot, learn to canter and eventually learn to jump. I also got my own boots, chaps, jogpers (pants) and helmet.

I decided to start coming every Thursday to train and practice.
I competed for the first time last month. I remember not being able to think straight, I was so scared and nervous because I had never competed and it was one month and a half after I had started jumping. Right when I got into the arena all of my fear just went away, I jumped 50cm and only knocked over one pole so that meant I didn’t rank. The next day I wasn’t that nervous, and I ended up ranking and I got a medallion.

I have been continuing riding since that day, every Thursday and Saturday riding the horse that I love, Pegasus. He is a rescue from a really bad situation.

I’ve now jumped 80cm and every day I get comments of how awesome I ride and how fast I learned, and I am thankful for that.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Walking In Sayulita - The Benefits Of More Sidewalks

Now that the kids are older and we live closer to the center of town we walk pretty much everywhere. With Sayulita growing like crazy the traffic in town has become much ridiculous with it's narrow streets and limited parking.  This small former fishing village turned international destination was just not designed for lots of vehicle traffic.  Pedestrians are pushed out into the street since the minimal sidewalk space is occupied by venders, restaurant tables or other folks trying to get away from the street traffic. On our end of town the sidewalk pretty much ends just outside of the center of town and we(and everyone else) always ends up walking in the street around parked cars and bumper to bumper traffic.

An effort has begun to limit parking down town and enforcement is becoming the norm more often than not.  This will free up some space for traffic to flow smoother and give pedestrians some needed walking room.  As more services and lodging becomes available father from the town center more and more people will be walking to and from "Centro" and the need for safe sidewalks will increase.

My question is what is the benefit of sidewalks for a downtown environment other than "safety"?  Why would a town design and invest in sidewalks where there are none?  We were walking home from the Plaza area last night and there were people strolling all over the south end of town on the main drag.  As soon as the walkability or sidewalks ended the vibe totally changed.  The open stores, restaurants still lined the street but the energy quickly changed and we saw many people become disinterested and turn around to return to the center of town.  So, it appears there is something to this and the pressure for the south end to accommodate visitors is only increasing.  More sidewalks anyone?

 I found this article discussing this very topic.  Click on the link below.

New sidewalks going in along the new entrance to town in 2017

Monday, April 2, 2018

Big Weekend

A few weekends back the kids had a "Big Weekend".  Alex was competing in her first Horse Jumping competition.  More on Alex' new activity in a future post by Alex herself.  She has been riding for about six months and absolutely loves it.  Vista Paraiso in Higuera Blanca is where she rides and she is part of the Braunschweig Equestrian Club.  This is no little dusty rural Mexico operation.  The club sits in the foothills of Higuera Blanca and I was amazed just how beautiful the little arena is.  She has been progressing quickly and her coach suggested that she compete in her first 2 day competition.  She did just that and did great jumping for the first time at 50 cm!  She even ribboned on the second day!  I watched her walk around the club and she is totally in her comfort place.  I have asked her to write up a post about her experience so watch for it.  Unfortunately, the horse competition was the same weekend as a SUP race and surfing competition so she was not able to participate in both.  Trace competed on the water and I had to zip back from the jumping competition and back to Sayulita for the first day of the SUP racing and SUP surf competition.

Photo by the Cawrses

While Alex was on horseback, Trace was competing in Sayulita in the state of Nayarit SUP Championships.  His small group of paddlers from the Sayulita JR SUP Team were cleared to compete in the technical, surf and distance races.  Up against some of the best SUP athletes in the state, Mexico and World the Team members went out and competed along side names like Fernando Stalla, Felipe "Pipe" Rodriguez and Felipe "Bodoque" Fernandez.  To be honest the kids were not expected to upset the competition favorites.  They did, however, show their determination, dedication and skills in the water at a much younger age than the other competitors.  The JR Team members quickly became competition favorites and gained tons of respect from the other athletes and spectators.
Photo by Team Cotner
Pre-race hanging out
It has been amazing to watch both kids excel at their chosen activities.  Living in small town Mexico has not limited them in any way in receiving high level coaching and in having quality facilities in which to practice and learn.

Competition season will wrap up pretty soon now that it is spring and summer approaches.  Alex will continue to ride, jump higher and get back to the water on a race board and Trace will continue to grind it out on a race board and develop his skills on his new SUP surfboard.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Sayulita Scenes - Semana Santa 2018

We have been out of town the last two years during Semana Santa so seeing the crowds again has been a bit sobering but not really unexpected.  The organization and support has been so much better than it has been in the past so kudos to the people doing that!  We are now living on one of the main arteries into town so we see all kinds of folks headed off to enjoy the holiday on the beach.  The peak will be over this weekend and slowly taper off early next week with a small increase next weekend.

Photo by Curt Barter
After the spring break is over then things will be pretty much back to normal in Sayulita which is busy but a far cry from these crowds.  We try to hit the beach by 8am to get some paddling in but it makes for a long day trying to avoid the extra 1000s of people in town.  Great people watching from our front terrace though.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Adventures In Our Own Backyard - Monkey Mountain, Wibit And Star Wars!

Yes, a bit dated but here it goes.

It was Christmas school vacation time and the kids had a break for about three weeks.  Seriously?  Three weeks?  Yep, that is how the school calendar is set up for this time of year so we had to have some things to do since the house was not in any condition to move into just yet.

Mom was home for Christmas(yea!) so for once she had some chill time during the holidays.  While she was here she motivated us to head off to a local hike that I have been wanting to do for a long time.  Monkey Mountain.

Literally beginning just 5 minutes up the road the trail summits at a prominent peak between Sayulita and Higuera Blanca.  It was great to be in the woods and on a trail again.  So much of our outdoor lives back in Park City was spent in places like this during the summer and winter.  Not so much here since the water and beach is our preferred destination for getting out and getting after it.

"Monkey" profile?
The peak provides views of Sayulita to the north and Higuera Blanca and Punta Mita to the south.  Provided one does not take a wrong turn(which we did), a round trip is less than half a day so it is perfect for a late afternoon or early morning adventure with not a lot of time.  Sayulita based "Mexitreks" takes guided trips as well and is how Ashley knew the route for our hike.

Trace is king of the world..his world at least
The kids have never known "hiking" here.  They have essentially grown up ocean people and "flatlanders" but took to the adventure of a hike with not one single complaint.  They were always driven to see what was around the next corner or get to our goal, the summit.  Super fun!

At the summit
Wibit, yes Wibit, is in Bucerias and is a inflatable floating island attraction just off the beach.  If you have ever seen the TV show "Wipeout" then you know essentially what Wibit is.  Trampolines, rope swings, slides, climbing walls and floating walkways sit just a little ways into the ocean.

Photo from Wibit's website
We arrived with a couple other families just as the place opened for the day and we had the place to ourselves.  With the floating obstacles moving underneath you with incoming waves, the slippery inflated amusement park was a challenge for everyone.  The kids of course found the biggest challenges and happily splashed down into the water.  The adults quickly faded as muscles that have not been used in years suddenly were asked to perform climbing, swinging and just plain falling down into exhausted heaps.  An hour was totally enough for pretty much everyone as late morning Cielo Rojos waited on the beach.

Wibit Island
What would Christmas break be without some movie time.  We ventured into Puerto Vallarta to go see the latest Star Wars installment, The Last Jedi.  A new "VIP" theater has been built into a large pedestrian shopping plaza complete with recliners, waiters, food and liquor selections.  Sushi, a Modelo Negro and a Don Julio tequila was delivered to my recliner without me having to move or miss a single scene from the movie.  Considering our whole family went to the movies, had dinner and drinks the cost was ridiculously reasonable compared to the US.  Movies in Mexico have been an excellent value provided you can find the English movies with Spanish subtitles.

Ozzy, Ashley, Trace, Alex and Ava
We are just beginning the next school vacation during Semana Santa as I write this but wanted to catch up on some old post writing.  We will be looking for new adventures this vacation as well.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

A New Casa - Casa Pono Sayulita - Mid March Update

It is mid March and we have been in the new house apartment for just over a month.  Staying in touch has been tough since we do not have internet and the communication limitations of our growing pueblo have no way to accommodate our internet needs at this time.

We stumbled from our rented house after weeks of packing and moving into our new place with no running water, gas or functioning toilet.  Ashley headed north to Atlanta a few days before we moved in. We got the toilet part all sorted out quickly but it proved to be a rocky start to what we hoped to be some kind of amazing experience for our family.  Not really how it turned out since we arrived in a construction zone and lived for weeks among the concrete dust, piles of boxes, containers, surfboards, tools, archery equipment and items that will eventually be installed in the upstairs family spaces.

Immediately we started to really enjoy our new location in town.  Our neighbors have been extremely nice.  Some of them have grown up on the street and others have been here for 30+ years.  This is our 3rd location in town in 7 years.  One house was great but well removed from everything.  One house closer to town but still in it's own little isolated cul-de-sac.  Now we are on a busy street in a very local part of town.  We think at least half the town walks or drives by our house each day.  The crazy part is that it is actually quieter and calmer than the last place we lived.  Our new 5 minute walking distance to town has been fantastic!  Trace comes home from school, grabs his surfboard and goes to the beach.  We may not even see him until dinner most afternoons.  Alex goes to the beach some days too and other days attends art classes at a local gallery or heads off to a friend's house or her orthodontist appointment.  Both kids walk to school each day or even go into town to find dinner for us occasionally.

Window help give the house a more finished look.
Within a five minute walk we have a great coffee/breakfast place, pharmacy, wine shop, store, street tacos, high end dining, laundry, butcher shop, workout classes, pilates, hair salon, plaza, pub, organic food store and surfing beach.  But, at the same time, we feel we are still living in a residential area too not in a commercial zone.  I walk to the beach each morning to go get some exercise paddling and am back for the day around 9am ready to go.  No need to load up the car with surfboards any longer.

Looking at apartment bedroom from living room
Looking at kitchen and living area from bedroom.  Some details yet to complete.
Ashley came home for a quick stay and immediately put her skills to work and totally took charge of our small apartment sending lots of items downstairs into the bodega giving us lots more room to move around and enjoy the place.  She liked the results so much the king sized bed became her happy place even with construction happening upstairs and in front of the house each day.  She is even considering not want to even stay upstairs when it is finished she liked the apartment so much.

No, not a pool.  Grey water treatment.  Layered material will be installed and then accommodate plants.
So where does that leave the house currently?  Most of the work in mid February and early March has been in the front yard.  The garden walls have been finished as has most of the structure for the grey water treatment system that will be completed a bit later.  We are still without cooking gas, laundry dryer or hot water.  Something that will be remedied in the near future or else we may not see Ashley come home again anytime soon.

Pulido floors getting done by island and into dining area.
Kitchen and living areas
 Walls are being primed and painted, built in furniture/shelving is complete, some electrical/plumbing finishes are being installed and the concrete pulido accent walls and floors are getting done on the kitchen/master bath level.  After this weekend some of the crew will begin working on the second level(kids bedrooms) and the remainder of the crew will begin on the 4th level that will be a storage room/laundry/utility room and eventual terrace with ocean view.  At some point soon I will start completing the concrete work that I will contribute to the project but even finding a space to work in right now is a challenge with all the materials staged for the current parts of the project going on.

Pulido floors in dining area getting done.
Tough photo angle of master bedroom built in bed.
Central hallway.  Stairs to come.  Lower level is kid's bedrooms and main entrance.
The details that I have been pestering Ashley with for the last year and a half are finally coming together.  Hopefully she will like the upper levels as much as she enjoyed the apartment while she was here.  We cannot wait to give the kids their own individual spaces too.  The final design will still have a few rough transition spots that will have to be reworked, remedied or ignored but overall it is coming together!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

A New Casa - February Update

We wish we could report that we were settled in by now but we are just not there yet.  The lowest level of the house, the apartment, is being finished with paint, fixtures, plumbing etc and we have begun moving items over to the new place.

The crew has been working out front for what seems like months getting the bodegas done, gardens/grey water system in place and stairs assembled.  Lots to do.

Standing under the stairs outside the apartment front door.  Grey water system location in background.
New front door.
The stairs from the driveway are in and the spiral stairs to the main entrance are in as well.  Windows have been ordered for the top two levels and the crew has been really pushing to get things going on levels other than the one we will be on for the time being.

It has been nice to see some of our fixtures go in too.  Fans are going up and some lighting.  More to come.

Ashley has been home for a couple weeks and really just took control of the packing, organizing and moving of the things we have accumulated during our 6 years here.  Her skill set full throttle.  This also includes lots of items purchased for the new house, workshop equipment and archery gear.  It has been hard to come to terms with just how much we have had to move this last week considering we arrived with a few suitcases and one truck full of stuff.  Ashley went back to Atlanta and now it is up to me to get things wrapped up here in the next few days.

The stairs will have tread lights
Outside sitting area for the apartment takes shape
This Wednesday night will be our first night in the apartment.  We may be using candles, ordering take out and using a bucket as a bathroom but we will be in.  Things are picking up speed it feels like but I have said that before and we are still not moved in.  When will we be moving upstairs?  Who knows really but some painting has been going on already, prep for the kitchen floor is being done and the main entry is getting a finish texture coat to be ready for paint soon.

Entry looking up at the main living level.  Future stairs location.  Kids bath door behind bars.
Floor prep in dining room.
That is about it for now.  Once the crew gets off the front of the house they will move up to work on things out of sight again.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Sayulita Scenes - "The Swell" January 2018!

The waves have been really good out front here in Sayulita.  Out for more later today and tomorrow and...   Awesome photo by Curt Barter.