Thursday, November 12, 2015

OUR LAST MOVING SALE!: We're Moving to Mexico!

Downsizing, Simplifying, & Moving to Mexico!

Motorhome Loaded and Ready to Roll, On The Road to Mexico!
     We have decided to become expats! I used to wonder what that really means. Now I have it figured out and we are ready to do it. We have decided to move to Mexico! Our primary home would no longer be the United States of America.
     But we still had two storage units full of stuff. A year ago, we packed all of our stuff into two storage units and moved into our 32 foot Southwind motorhome. We traveled and lived for six months in Mexico (See earlier blog posts on ), traveled for a few months in the U.S., then decided to return to Mexico and explore the idea of purchasing a home in Sayulita. We found our dream casita (tiny home) and made an offer. After weeks of negotiations, we had a contract to buy our home. We were so excited to begin our move. Now we had to return to Oregon to deal with all of our stuff in storage.
Our Sign May Not be Fancy, But it Worked!
     To read more about our transition and move to Mexico, see this blog article: 
Retirement Before the Age of 59: OUR LAST MOVING SALE!: We're Moving to Mexico! 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015



No More Doggie Spa Days? No Problemo!
 More Money Than Time  
      I have to admit that I was pretty spoiled while I was working, earning a relatively good salary as a pharmacist. My philosophy was that while I was working full-time, I had more money than time, so I justified paying others to do the work that I didn't want to do. In my free time I wanted to do the things I enjoyed and I had the money to allow it. I had a cleaning service come every two weeks to clean our home. I had a window washer come every quarter to "do my windows". I pampered myself with a pedicure and a massage every month or two. I took my pharmacist smocks and slacks to be dry-cleaned. I took Bella, our miniature, long-hair dachshund, to the pet groomers to have her nails clipped and her hair bathed. You get the idea...I was spoiled and for many years I liked it that way. I refer to my own pampered life because I don’t like to point fingers at others. But, I believe that in the United States a large percentage of people of all classes pamper themselves, indulging in their own versions of daily indulgences. Ours is a country where if we want something, we buy it and worry about meeting our budget later.
      About a year ago, I started to realize that the paycheck, and my pampered lifestyle, wasn't enough to compensate me for the misery of my job as a pharmacist. (See blog post: #1 REASON FOR EARLY RETIREMENT: I'M BURNED OUT ON MY JOB AS A PHARMACIST ) I desperately wanted to get out of the rat race..... 
Read more at Retirement Before the Age of 59: NO JOB, NO PAYCHECK! LIVE OFF OUR SAVINGS?!!

Live In Mexico

     Our first decision was to save money by living full-time in our Class A Southwind motorhome. We eliminated property taxes, utility bills, home maintenance and landscape maintenance expenses. Some folks think living this way would be too confining. But, with ....
Read more by clicking: No Job, No Paycheck, Live Off Our Savings?!!
Living in Our 32 Ft. Motorhome at Mar Rosa RV Park Mazatlán
    Our next conclusion was that we need to live in Mexico for nine to ten months each year to make that budget work. By most estimates I've read, and from our past experience, it costs about 50 percent less to live in Mexico than in the United States, depending on your lifestyle. Dru Pearson, in his book "Retire in Mexico - Live Better for Less Money", claims you can "Live the American Dream in Mexico for half the price." To view a free sample of his... Read More by clicking: No Job, No Paycheck, Live Off Our Savings!!!?

Thursday, August 6, 2015


Stuck in the Muck!

The RV's Bogged Down and Not Moving Another Inch!
     We learned a valuable lesson yesterday about traveling in Mexico during the rainy season of July and August: Just because the ground looks dry on the surface doesn't mean it is solid under that crust! During our drive from Sayulita to Mazatlán, we only encountered a few areas of light rain. By the time we neared Mazatlán, the sky was clear blue with not a rain cloud in sight. The ground was dry, though the vegetation on the surrounding hills was bright green from recent rains. I remember thinking, "August in Mazatlán is beautiful after it rains". And then we arrived at Punta Cerritos Trailer Park....
    We pulled through the gate of the Cerritos Trailer Park into the dry gravel parking area in front of the office, ready to register for a two night stay. Suddenly, the motorhome was not moving forward. Jon put it in reverse and lightly hit the gas, to no avail. He looked at me and said, "Are we stuck?" Boy, were we ever stuck!
Jon said "We Don't Want to Dig it in Any Deeper!"
     After one look at the way the passenger side of the motorhome was mired down in the muck, Jon asked the RV Park manager to call a tow truck. The manager's first response was, "Yeah, we need to do something about that area." As he explained it, they had dug a ditch along that area earlier in the year during the dry season. They filled it back in with dirt only, no rock, and then raked gravel over the top so it nicely blended with the rest of the parking lot. Then the rain came....the rain filled the ditch turning the dirt into a wet, mucky clay. After a few sunny days, it looked dry and firm on the surface, but resembled wet modeling clay underneath. Our motorhome didn't have a chance of driving over the deceivingly wet clay without sinking a foot down --STUCK IN THE MUCK!
     When I asked Jon why we couldn't try to dig it out first, he said he had had enough experience on the job sites with trucks that were stuck that he had found the best approach was to tow it out before you dug yourself in any deeper. He said that if we continued to try to move the rig, we would just break the fragile seal of firm ground under the wheel and cause us to sink further into the sludge below. That would increase the risk of damage to the vehicle when you tried to pull it out. After 30 years of experience as a building contractor in rainy Oregon, he has pulled a lot of trucks out of the mud, so I'm glad he knew what to do.
Hooking the Chain to the Front Axle of Our Bogged Down Rig
     Our poor motorhome, with its 3 passenger-side tires mired in muck, was listing at a disturbing angle. She seemed embarrassed to be caught in this awkward position where everyone driving by craned their neck to see what the problem was, but she still had a smile on her face. She's a brave rig and knew we would save her.
     I recalled my dad telling me years ago that if your RV isn't level, turn the refrigerator off to prevent it from malfunctioning. I'm not sure how true that is, but my dad would be proud of me. I switched the fridge to the "OFF" position while we waited to get out of this mess. I couldn't think of any other helpful thing to do so, of course, I took photos so I could write about this as just another one of our adventures. What I really wanted to do at 5:00 in the afternoon after a long day of driving was sit by the ocean sipping a glass of wine, but that would have to wait.
An Impressive Tow Truck to Pull our RV Out!
     I was happily surprised at how quickly the tow truck arrived. When the RV Park manager told Jon that the truck would be here in a few minutes, I said "Sure, and we know how long a Mexican minute can be. It could be in five or six hours." But, in about 30 minutes a large, impressive truck arrived. Jon conferred with the driver and agreed with his price of 2000 pesos ($125 US Dollars) to pull us out. In another five minutes the two knowledgeable young men had a plan of action, lined up their truck and started hooking the chain to the front axle. 
     The first time the tow truck began to pull, the motorhome didn't even budge and the big truck's tires spun in the dry gravel! The truck driver told Jon he would need to drive the motorhome forward as the tow truck pulled and that did the trick! Here it is, my first ever attempt at video:

     We now know that during the rainy season of July and August along the Pacific coast of Mexico, we need to beware of boggy areas. After many inches of rainfall, then a few days of sun, the ground looks dry but underneath it may be soft sand or mucky clay. We had decided not to go to an RV Park in Celestino 50 miles north of Mazatlán because of reports of big rigs getting stuck on their dirt roads during the rainy season. Now we know it can happen in the most unexpected places, even the gravel parking lot at Punta Cerritos RV Park. It's best to be in a city like Mazatlán where they have the equipment to tow you out!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


We Get Homesick for Mazatlán!

Pretty Houses on Angel Flores Street
     When we are in the United States visiting family during the summer, we miss Mazatlán, its beautiful bay and beaches, many favorite restaurants, and the pretty colonial buildings in the old Historic District. I begin looking through my photos of Mazatlán, showing my favorites to my husband, Jon. We reminisce about our happy times there, exploring all the niches in Old Town, many of which are being restored with new plaster and bright paint. One of our favorite blocks of pretty houses in Mazatlán's Historic District is Angel Flores between Calle Niños Heroes and Venus. We catch the bus to the Golden Zone on this street, so we often stand on this corner admiring the Mexican colonial architecture. Here are a few more photos of the many buildings recently restored in the Centro Histórico.
Daytime Stroll through the Plaza Machado
Corner of Constitución & Belisario Dominquez
One typically warm, sunny afternoon we had lunch at the cozy restaurant named "Raizc3s" in this beautifully restored building on the corner of Constituci
ón and Belisario Dominquez streets in Old Town. Our table centered on the arch-topped open window so we had a nice view for people watching as we dined. Our lunch was delicious and we look forward to returning to try their breakfast. The staff was very attentive and friendly.
     Our favorite restaurant in Old Town is La Mona Pizzeria on Niño Heroes between Mariano Escobedo and Constitución. Hardly a week goes by when we are living in Mazatlán before we are planning our next dinner at La Mona's with its friendly service and yummy salads and wood fired pizza. The wine selection is good and the prices are fair. The first evening we arrive back in Mazatlán in the fall, we'll hop on the bus and head to La Mona's!
La Mona Pizzeria -- Our Favorite in Mazatlán!
Entering La Mona Pizzeria -- Like We've Come Back Home!
Jon Watches Soccer on TV, Surrounded by Whimsical Artwork
We enjoy shopping at the central market in Mazatlán, especially for fresh produce. The variety of fruits and vegetables available is amazing and the prices are very reasonable. It is well worth the bus ride from the RV Park where we stay to the downtown market to shop. The meat, poultry, and fish counters are much more attractive than I remember them being ten years ago. The entire market is clean, neat, and has enough variety in dry goods, clothing, leather and other crafts to keep us shopping for hours. But, I like the Mexican way of taking brief shopping trips to the market every day or two so we always have very fresh produce and meat. It's so much more enjoyable than spending an hour at the supermarket! And the best part...strawberries, tomatoes, and other produce actually have flavor, just like they were picked ripe in the field (which they probably were), unlike the pulpy, flavorless things we buy in the U.S.A. that just look like strawberries and tomatoes. We love living in Mazatlán!
Beautiful Fresh Fruit and Vegetables at the Central Market!
Colorful Clothing, Piñatas, Crafts, and More
Refrigerated, Clean Meat Counters (Improves the Smell of the Market, Too!)
Read more about "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" in my book available on View a sample by clicking HERE.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

BeFIT FITNESS CENTERS IN MAZATLÁN: Zumba, CrossFit, TRX, Spinning, Yoga, and More!

BeFiT in Mazatlán

Look for the "BeFiT Fitness Center" Banner
     There are so many ways to stay physically fit in Mazatlán. When our usual Zumba class in the park with Penny Fuller (see blog post by clicking at: Zumba with Penny in the Morning )was finished for the season and we weren't ready to leave Mazatlán, I started searching for another way to work out. One day, as we were riding the bus from the Golden Zone toward Punta Cerritos RV Park, I saw this large "BeFiT Fitness Center" banner hanging above a building at the curve where Avenida Camarón Sábalo turns into the Marina area.
Entry of the BeFiT Fitness Center
     When I googled BeFiT in Mazatlán, I found out there are three of these fitness centers in this city. I contacted them through their website to find out if they have Zumba classes and was excited to find that they do! The class times are different at each location, but the class at the location closest to us was at 8:00AM. I can understand working out at 8:00AM while it is relatively cool outside, but I'm just not a morning person. So I have to admit that we did not make it to their Zumba class or the Crossfit, TRX, Spinning, Yoga class or any other of their many fitness classes, though we plan to next season. With three locations and plenty of class options and times, we have no excuse!
Jon Working out on the Weight Machines
     We did work out in the fitness center one afternoon and were impressed with the selection of equipment. Jon and I both did twenty minutes on the cross-trainer machines and then a rotation on the weight machines. Afterward we completed twenty minutes of floor exercises to round out our workout. The air conditioning wasn't turned on so it was pretty warm in the gym, especially on the third floor where the weight machines were. Morning would have been a more comfortable time to exercise at the BeFiT Fitness Center in mid-May. I was glad we had brought out water bottles and sweat towels!
Plenty of Cross-Trainers, Treadmills, and Rowing Machines
     I enjoyed reading several health-related quotes etched into windows in the fitness center, encouraging members to focus on the importance of good health. This was the first time I had heard Ralph Waldo Emerson's quote of "The First Wealth is Health" and I learned it in Spanish at the BeFiT Fitness Center, as it was etched in a window above the cross-trainer I was exercising on. Trying to understand the other three motivational quotes written in Spanish on the windows kept my mind off of the monotony of pushing my arms and legs in the repetitive circles (I would rather be doing Zumba!). The slogans written in Spanish were complex enough that I had to take photos so I could translate their meanings later. I liked seeing the health-oriented words written in Spanish for the Mexican gym members, and encouraging the gringos who visit to learn the local language. After our workout, we found the locker rooms and showers to be clean and in good condition. 
"The First Wealth is Health"
     To see all three BeFiT Fitness Center locations in Mazatlán and to contact them for current class schedules, go to their website at .
     I invite you to read more about fitness opportunities and other benefits of living in (or visiting) Mazatlán in my eBook available from To see a free sample click at: "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" eBook Sample

Saturday, May 9, 2015


A Community of Palapa-RV Homes 

     Punta Cerritos RV Park, located on a point in northern Mazatlán overlooking the ocean, is a unique retirement village. This community began as an RV Park and has been transformed into individual homes by the retirees and snowbirds that live there.  Of the 79 sites, only six were still available for yearly leases when we stayed for a week in May. The other 73 sites are occupied by outdoor living homes, each one with a fifth-wheel, motorhome, or other type of recreational vehicle nestled inside of unique structures with palapa roofs over them for shade and protection from the weather. The "owner" of each RV site has customized his or her home with addition of outdoor kitchens, sitting areas for socializing or relaxing, tile flooring, light fixtures, brick walls, flowerbeds and cactus gardens, Mexican garden art, bodegas, and more. It is obvious that the owners take pride in their RV homes by the improvements and decor they have added.
     We were fortunate to be able to stay in a front row site nearest the ocean so we had the sea breeze to cool us as the May temperatures crept into the upper 80's. Ours was one of the unimproved sites without a palapa roof, but the concrete patio was large and the utilities were very good, the water pressure the best we have had in Mexican RV Parks. The gravel ground-cover had the advantage of minimizing the dust, though it seemed to hold the sun's heat, making the back row areas feel very hot where the breeze wasn't blowing through. The park's internet was poor so it appeared that most "site owners" obtained their own individual internet service.
Swimming Pool, Horseshoes, Putting Green, and Shady Palapas
     The community common area next to the ocean had a beautiful little swimming pool that we appreciated in the hot afternoons of mid-May. There was also a putting green, horseshoe game area, cactus gardens, and a sandy imitation beach overlooking the ocean with chairs and palapas for shade. We enjoyed our week at Punta Cerritos RV Park and put it on our list of possible places to settle once we are finished with our "nomad phase". Since we don't have a tow-car, we were especially glad that the Mazatlán buses stop right outside the gate and ran every ten to fifteen minutes so it was easy to hop on and ride to the Liverpool Mall for shopping, the Golden Zone for dinner, or the Historic District and Plaza Machado downtown.
    Punta Cerritos RV Park is a peaceful retirement community with some residents living there year-round, others spending their winters in this warm semi-arid climate. Rates to live at Cerritos are very reasonable, varying by degree of site improvement. We paid 2100 pesos ($140 US) for one week and it included all utilities. Monthly and yearly leases are available. I could envision living here in retirement and being very content. For more information, see  Punta Cerritos RV Park .
    To see more RV-Palapa homes, see:
"Retirement Before the Age of 59" Blog


Friday, May 8, 2015

7 REASONS TO RETIRE BEFORE THE AGE OF 59 (and Head for Mexico!)

Retire Early and Move to Mexico?

We Need Retirement Now, Before the Straightjacket Phase!
     Some days, my job as a pharmacist made we feel that I was headed for the loony bin, soon to be carried away in a straightjacket. The practice of pharmacy and our health care system are not what they were 35 years ago when I graduated from Oregon State University's School of Pharmacy. The chain drug store workplace has become a bit insane, with pharmacists, technicians and cashiers working at a frenzied pace. At times, I felt like I was pulling my hair out trying to keep up with the workload and provide good care to the patients. This work pace couldn't be healthy, either mentally or physically. Wouldn't it be best to retire while I still had my sanity?
     I had to analyze this decision to retire before the age of 59 very carefully, though I frequently wanted to surrender to my urge to throw down my pill-counting spatula and walk out of the pharmacy... to read more, click: 
Retirement Before the Age of 59: 7 REASONS TO RETIRE BEFORE THE AGE OF 59

To read more about "Heading for Mexico", take a look at my e-book by clicking on: "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" eBook on

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Monday, May 4, 2015


We Rollarbladed Past the Beautiful Dolphin Fountain Next to the Malecón  
Jon is Getting Better at Rollerblading, but Not Stopping -- Glad it's Level!
Many Enjoy Bicycling Along the Ocean on the Mazatlan Malecón

       Thirteen Mile Long Promenade: The Mazatlán Malecón, a concrete walkway along the beach, is one of the longest Malecóns  in the world! Some claim that it is the longest in the world. This promenade is nearly thirteen miles long (twenty-one kilometers) and wide enough for plenty of traffic including bicycles, pedestrians, skateboarders, strollers, dogs, and people on rollerblades.  Everyone is tolerant of beginner rollerbladers like us who are wobbling along, looking for the next handrail to grab onto. We don't look smooth and polished like most skaters who buzz past us, but we have fun and get a good workout. This is "Healthy Living in Mexico!"
A Nice Place to Sit on the Seawall, Walk the Baby, Stroll Along the Ocean

Sight-Seeing and Spending Time Together: This is a place where couples, singles, and families come to spend time together, both during the daytime and in the evening when it is well lit. Along the Malecón, there are cliffs, monuments, gazebos, colonial buildings, hotels, shops, restaurants, bars, many beautiful sculptures, street vendors, and plenty of new benches for resting and watching people.
Many People Stroll and Relax in this Olas Altas Section of the Malecón
Rollerblading and Walking on the Mazatlán Malecón (Boardwalk): We have frequently enjoyed walking for miles on the Mazatlán Malecón, watching the people, the ocean, the birds, and all of the action. Last year we regretted that we hadn’t brought our rollerblades, and were glad we had packed them this year. Not only is rollerblading a fun way to see miles of the Mazatlán beachfront area in one day, it is very good exercise!
We are Getting Better at Rollerblading After Five Miles on the Malecon!
Wheelchair Ramps Aid Bicycles and Quadracycles Access the Malecón, Too
One of Several Bike Rental Shops across the Street from the Malecón
 Bicycle Rental and Riding on the Malecón: For more information about bicycle rental and other things to do in Mazatlán, the bus system, movie theater schedule, and current festivities, see or or .
                Take a Look Inside my eBook "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico"
 on by clicking HERE.
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Monday, April 27, 2015

Retirement Before the Age of 59: WHO SAYS WE HAVE TO WORK UNTIL WE ARE 66 YEARS OLD? OR 70?

The Turrell Riverhouse -- Our Dream Home
     Achieving the American Dream was my goal from the time I was in my teens and I worked hard my entire life to reach it. I believed that if I worked my forty-plus hours each week, paid into the Social Security system, put money into a savings account, and set aside money in a supplemental retirement account, I would be living comfortably when I retired. I was taught by my parents, my teachers, and my co-workers that I must work full-time for 45 to 50 years in order to live the American Dream and retire well-off. But, did I really want to work THAT many years?

Work Until I'm 66 Years Old?

     To be properly prepared for retirement, we were taught, we should work until we were at least 66 years old to start collecting... see more by clicking HERE
Healthy Living in Mexico -- Retired Before the Age of 59!

Friday, April 24, 2015


Yoga in the Garden Studio 

(Estudio El Jardin)

Jon and I Learned the Basic Scorpion Position
     Jon and I are new to yoga, really just beginning to learn how beneficial this exercise is for our health. We decided to get serious about attending yoga classes regularly in Sayulita, a town with yoga classes available on every other block. We knew Micki Cunningham taught yoga as well as the Zumba classes we attended each week (see my blog post dated 3/20/15). So we decided to give Micki's yoga classes a try and we were glad we did! What a great workout!
The Garden View from the Open Side of the Yoga/Zumba Studio
     The garden setting of the yoga studio is soothing with one long side open to the view of flowering tropical plants, the dance of hummingbirds flitting from blossom to blossom, and the music of birds singing. Estudio El Jardin (meaning "The Garden Studio" in Spanish) is about one block from the ocean so the sea breeze drifts in through the garden, helping to cool us while we exercised.
Learning that Flexibility Includes "Yoga Toes"
   The last week that we were in Sayulita this season, we decided to go to all six of Micki's classes, one each morning at 9:00AM, Monday through Saturday. Micki teaches yoga on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Tuesday and Thursday she teaches Zumba and on Saturday she finishes the week with Zumba Toning, a real workout (see my blog post dated 3/3/15). After we had attended all six of her classes in one week, we were really feeling it! We felt stronger and healthier, but also very tired! How does Micki do this every week? In her 70's (I think she would be okay with me disclosing her age), she is very strong and has amazing endurance! She teaches the importance of balance, flexibility, and strength-training in the aging body. She is a real inspiration to me and Jon, and to many others who are fortunate enough to attend her classes in Sayulita. 
El Jardin (The Garden)
     Estudio El Jardin, Micki’s Zumba studio is located on the corner of Manual Navarette and Calle Caracol. To find it, pass the Iguana Refuge Tree and keep going up the cobbled driveway to the first gate. The cost is 50 pesos (about $3.50 US) per class, or you can purchase a card for 5 classes at 200 pesos and get the 6th class gratis. Verify her class schedule by contacting her at 329-291-3540 (Mexico Phone) or 322-149-2605 (USA or Canada Cell).

Thursday, April 23, 2015

SAYULITA TRAILER PARK & BUNGALOWS: Thies & Cristina's 50th Anniversary Party

Thies and Cristina Enjoyed the Party
     Thies and Cristina Rohlfs, the owners and on-site managers of Sayulita Trailer Park and Bungalows, celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary on April 8 with a dinner party at Cafe Arte. They were surrounded by family from Mexico City and Washington state. Also joining in the festivities were long-time RV Park and Bungalow residents from Ontario, B.C., and other provinces in Canada, from Oregon, California, Colorado, Alaska, and other states in the U.S., and our rv park manager, Paco. Everyone enjoyed sharing in the celebration of Thies and Cristina's 50 year marriage and partnership!
Thies Poured Tequila Himself, Making Sure the Guests were Happy
Jon, Diane, and Joe Shared Some Laughs
     Music kept the party lively. A trio played jazz and latin music that had the guests dancing. Thies and Cristina's son, a professional singer, and granddaughter sang a few lovely duets. Their granddaughter also sang with her boyfriend, both from Washington, while he played the guitar. Both were very talented and obviously love music. I wished they would have played more Simon and Garfunkle songs for us!
     A gift and greeting card were presented to the guests of honor, a combined congratulations from the group of RVers and bungalow residents. Cristina opened them and held up the painting, created by a local artist, for all to see. Everyone clapped to congratulate Cristina and Thies!
     Several long-time RV residents came up to the mike to express their appreciation to Thies and Cristina for creating and maintaining this wonderful place, the Sayulita Trailer Park and Bungalows. From what I've been told, it was one of the first lodgings opened in Sayulita, about 30 years ago. Some of the winter residents in the RV park have been coming for over 15 years and it has become their second home. We have been spending time there in our motorhome during the winters since 2008 and plan to return there for many more years. The town, the people, and the Trailer Park have made Sayulita a second home to us as well. Thank you, Thies and Cristina! Happy 50th Anniversary!
Get a free sample of my eBook "Healthy Living and Traveling" in Mexico from by clicking Here

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