Sunday, March 26, 2017

FIGHTING MOSQUITOES: Preventing the Spread of Dengue Fever, Chikungunya, & Zika

We Had Chikungunya in 2015; Now We are on a Mission to Fight Mosquitoes and Mosquito Bites!

Aedes aegypti Mosquito Transmits Chikungunya & Dengue viruses
     We've all heard about Zika. But what about Chikungunya and Dengue? All three of these viral infections are spread by mosquitoes in many parts of the world. The Aedes mosquitoes, when infected with Chikungunya or Dengue viruses can transmit these illnesses to people through mosquito bites. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), local transmissions of these viruses have been reported throughout the Americas, including Mexico. The CDC also reports that mosquitoes infected with Zika virus are in Mexico and spreading it to people. There are two ways to battle the spread of these viral illnesses. First, minimize the reproduction of mosquitoes. Secondly, prevent mosquito bites to minimize the transmission of the virus and spread of the infection.
Ready for Our First Christmas, the Exterior Wall was So Pretty

     It happened the first week in December 2015, a week after we moved into our casita (little house) in Mexico. Jon spent an afternoon scrubbing the exterior of our garden wall so it would be nice and clean when he put up the Christmas lights. They looked so pretty and we were excited about spending our first Christmas in "paradise". 
     The next morning Jon awoke stiff and sore, his joints aching, and he thought he had just overdone it with his wall-scrubbing the day before. The following day, he didn't get out of bed, the pain and fever were debilitating. I kept him supplied with ibuprofen, chicken broth, and purified drinking water. (We later learned that acetaminophen is the pain reliever of choice until Dengue fever can be ruled out, in order to avoid internal bleeding.) For the next week, he rarely got out of bed. From internet research, I determined that Jon probably had either Dengue Fever or Chikungunya, both transmitted by mosquitoes. Had he been bitten while working around the garden plants? He hadn't noticed any mosquitoes and didn't find any bites, but it was the logical conclusion that one of the tiny mosquitoes that carry Chikungunya had gotten him. Was our beautiful garden and the nearby jungle to blame for bringing mosquitoes to our new home?
Was Our Beautiful Garden to Blame?

     Getting up to go to the bathroom was a major ordeal because his ankles and the joints in his feet seemed to be affected the most. Standing up wasn't too bad, but walking was excruciatingly painful. We had learned that this is one common symptom of Chikungunya, so we self-diagnosed the illness. The inflammation and stiffness (arthritis) in the feet was so painful that he walked with a flat-footed shuffle, as though the ankles and feet couldn't flex. We named this duck-like way of walking the "Chikungunya Shuffle", and tried to laugh about it to lighten our moods.
     I wasn't laughing any longer when I developed the same symptoms a week later. The joint pain was right up there with the level of a childbirth contraction, except it didn't let up, even while taking 800mg of ibuprofen every 8 hours. The itchy rash on my torso was just an annoyance compared to the joint pain. Thank goodness, Jon had mostly recovered and could now take care of me.
Was the Jungle Next to Our Yard Bringing Mosquitoes?

     I was probably bitten by a mosquito that had first bitten Jon, thereby transferring the virus to me. The typical incubation period for Chikungunya is 3 to 7 days but can be up to 12 days. The worst of my symptoms lasted about 10 days, through Christmas. I'm not a whiner, but this was miserable. At one point, I had the energy to go to the kitchen to make my own chicken broth. I squatted down to pick up the soup pan on the bottom shelf and my legs would not work to push myself upright again. I hung on to the edge of the counter and called for Jon to come help me. Once he hauled my body upright, I could stand and shuffle well enough to make my soup.
Was Our Little Water Fountain Breeding Mosquitoes?
      After a week, I had just enough energy to sit in front of my computer and begin researching mosquitoes and three of the viruses they carry, Chikungunya, Dengue Fever, and Zika. I was glad to learn that once you've had Chikungunya, you are unlikely to contract it again. Some people contract it and don't have symptoms. According to the CDC, the same type of mosquito transmits both Chikungunya and Dengue Fever and they bite day and night. But what had brought the mosquito to our yard? December is during the dry season, so there aren't many mosquitoes in the area. I wondered if our little water feature was attracting them or giving them a place to lay their eggs. The pump kept the water moving which is supposed to discourage mosquito breeding. Plus, I added bleach to the water periodically. But, I wasn't taking any chances. I had Jon dismantle the water fountain and empty the water. (Interestingly, after a year, that did not change the number of mosquitoes in the area, so we put it back up. We enjoy the sound of the softly trickling water and I believe it brings birds to our yard.)
     By New Years Eve, my Chikungunya Shuffle only appeared during the night when I got up to walk to the bathroom. But my energy level was still so low, we couldn't go out to celebrate New Year's Eve. A year-and-a-half later, I still have residual stiffness in my feet during the night and slight arthritis in a few joints, though possibly that is related to age (let's just say neither of us is 59 any longer). Jon and I both started taking Glucosamine 1500mg with Chondroitin 1200mg twice daily to battle the arthritis (joint inflammation). After six weeks, the arthritis began to improve so we continue to take it daily! I can teach Zumba in Sayulita with no arthritis problems!
Battling with a Battery Operated Mosquito Zapper
Now, we battle mosquitoes aggressively! 
Mosquitoes are not a major problem in Sayulita, but they do exist. If everyone uses precautions against the multiplication of mosquitoes and prevents mosquito bites, we will reduce the spread of mosquito-borne diseases. Here are the things we are doing to help prevent mosquito bites and mosquito reproduction, thereby helping prevent the spread of Dengue Fever, Chikungunya, and Zika. Battling mosquitoes and their bites will help prevent the spread of all three of these illnesses. The CDC does advise against women who are pregnant or who might become pregnant to travel to areas of Mexico below the elevation of 6500 feet because mosquitos infected with Zika virus do exist there. (Check the CDC World Map for updated information.) 
1. Mosquito Racket Zappers-two of them, one in the bathroom, one near the kitchen since mosquitoes are attracted to the moisture in these rooms. Who needs to have a Wii-Tennis set-up? Just clear the house of mosquitoes each night before bedtime after closing the doors and windows for a little fun and exercise! We did learn that in this humid climate, these racket zappers only last for about a year before they corrode and stop zapping. A hand towel slapped at the wall when the mosquito lands works, too.
Aspectek Electric Bug Zapper
2. Electric Indoor Bug Zappers made by Aspectek®-we have two of these and they work great! We keep one in the bathroom and one in the bedroom at the opposite side of the house. Since we keep the doors of our casita open all day, these zappers do most of their work in the evening when we close the doors. They attract and then zap mosquitoes and flies, but leave the ants alone while they work to clean up the debris. Available from Amazon, the Aspectek Electronic Bug Zapper  is rated as safe and easy to clean. 
Jon Installed a Mini-Split AC for the Bedroom
3. Installed a Mini-Split air conditioner in the bedroom for those hot, humid months of June and July when the mosquito population increases. We are able to close the doors and windows and sleep comfortably knowing the bedrooms are free of mosquitoes. This helps prevent bites and spreading diseases. Otherwise, sleep under mosquito nets.
Jon Installed a New Fan When One Quit Working
4. Ceiling Fans in all rooms and on the outdoor patio keep the air moving and help keep mosquitoes from landing on us.
5. Seal cracks and use window screens: sealing around the exterior bathroom door with backer rod and putting screens in the windows helps prevent mosquitoes from coming in to search for water and humans to bite.
Ultrathon 12-hr Insect Repellent
6. Use mosquito repellent day and night when outdoors. Preventing mosquito bites prevents spreading diseases they carry. The CDC recommends using EPA-registered insect repellents containing higher percentages of DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE, also called para-menthane-diol [PMD]), IR3535, or 2-undecanone (methyl nonyl ketone). Always use as directed and check safety in children under 9 years old. We use Off spray or lotion usually and switch to Ultrathon 12-hour cream when needed for all day protection against mosquito bites.
Changing a Flat Roof to a Sloped Roof so Water Doesn't Pool
7. Fixed the "flat" roof so it now slopes and will drain after it rains. What a puzzle for Jon to solve and what a nasty job for the Mexican man who fixed our roof, but he was a good, hard worker! Glad we got it done before the rain came so we don't have a mosquito larvae-filled swimming pool up there. 
8. Drill extra drain holes in all pots with potted plants so rain water doesn't pool.
Store Buckets Upside Down so They Don't Collect Rain Water
9. Eliminate any standing water: buckets left turned upside down to prevent collection of rain water, sweep patio upstairs after rain, pushing puddled water to the drain so the surface will dry.
10. Take B-100 (or thiamine 100mg which is Vitamin B-1) daily, to help prevent bites which then helps prevent the spread of diseases. Mosquitoes don't like the smell of thiamine secreted from our skin and are less likely to bite.
11. If you develop symptoms of Dengue Fever or Chikungunya, take extra precautions to avoid being bitten by a mosquito. If a mosquito bites you when you are ill with the virus, then it bites another person, it will spread the virus to that person.
12. Encourage bats to patrol at night since they eat mosquitoes and other insects. Bat populations decline when pesticides are used in the yard, so we do not fumigate or spray the air in the garden with insecticides. Bats can eat up to 600 mosquitoes per hour. We enjoy watching the bats swoop through our yard after sunset, knowing they are cleaning up the insects. Putting up a bat house and planting certain plants will attract bats to your yard.
Change Water in Vases Every Day or Two to Prevent Larvae

13. Change the water in flower vases every day or two. Even two inches of water in the bottom is enough to allow mosquito larvae to hatch. I also add a few drops of bleach to the water which seems to help.
Drip Irrigation Lines to & All Plants Prevents Pooling Water

14. I installed a drip irrigation system to water all pots and plants slowly so the water soaks into the soil, preventing pools of standing water.
15. Empty the dog's water dish every day and refill it with fresh purified water. Mosquito eggs that may have been laid will be dumped before they can hatch into larvae.
16. Allow geckos to live in the house (like we have a choice). They eat mosquitoes.
Burn Raid Mosquito Repellent Coils in the Evenings

17. We Burn Mosquito Coils in the evenings when we sit outside after dark to repel the insects.
18. Wear long pants and sleeves in the evening to help prevent bites.
19. Mosquito Dunks in my water feature and flower vases. One of my readers just told me about this item and I am very excited about it! a Dunk can be dropped in standing water to kill mosquito larvae before they hatch into mosquitoes. Each Dunk lasts 30 days. Available at Amazon.mx.
20. Plants that repel mosquitoes: I received this from one of my readers and had to add it, it's such a great idea! Here is the link: 6-mosquito-repellent-plants-keep-pests-away
     Traveling to and living in Mexico is fun. Don't let the mosquitoes keep you from visiting or moving here. If you come prepared to protect yourself against mosquito bites, especially during the rainy season, then there is minimal risk (unless you are a pregnant woman or might become pregnant). The rainy season in the state of Nayarit where we live starts in June and lasts into November. The rain is warm, though, and usually comes at night, clearing the air by morning, leaving everything fresh and clean.  Even the rainy season is beautiful here, just more warm and humid!
Sign Up For "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico"
Newsletter By Clicking: Reader List Sign-Up

     For more information on healthy living and traveling in Mexico, take a look at my two eBooks:
Available on Amazon; click HERE

Available on Amazon; Click HERE

Monday, March 20, 2017

PORCH SWING BIRD WATCHING IN MEXICO: Our Lazy Way Works Fine!

WE SIT & WAIT FOR THE BIRDS TO COME TO OUR YARD!

Rufous-Bellied Chachalaca
     We enjoy birds: listening to them, looking at them, even trying to identify them, though we seldom remember their proper names. We watch for birds constantly, but we would never be called true 'Bird Watchers'. We have gone on one birding tour in Ecuador so we could see the pink flamingos and we have taken Luis Morales' birding class in San Pancho, but we aren't serious birders. We don't regularly go out in search of interesting birds, but we do enjoy seeing the pretty ones that come to visit us at our home in Sayulita.
Our Porch Swing Bird Watching Area
     "Wine-O'Clock" seems to be the most common time for us to see birds come to visit our yard. Maybe it's just that 6:00 in the evening is when we settle into our porch swing for the next hour with our glass of wine and we sit still long enough to see the birds come to our area. Our yard is surrounded by mango and palm trees that are favorite gathering places for many interesting species as the time of sunset approaches. So we sit in our porch swing, binoculars and camera handy just in case, and wait for the birds to come to us. It seems to be working just fine. 
Chachalacas Land in Our Palm Tree to Eat Red Berries 
     The hardest part about "porch swing bird watching" for us is keeping Bella, our dachshund, quiet long enough to enjoy a bird that comes to perch in our tree or on our garden wall. If I notice a chachalaca that has just landed and point it out to Jon, Bella becomes jealous and starts barking at it in hopes of scaring it away. By now, most of our local birds are used to her and just turn their eye down and look at her as if to say, "What is your problem?"
Juan the Crested Guan Visits Often
Bella Barks at Juan But He Doesn't Mind
     Occasionally we see morning birds as we settle into our porch swing with our bowls of tropical fruit, granola, shredded coconut, and almonds or pecans. Of course, we don't get around to eating our breakfast until 10:00 most mornings, so we probably miss most of the birds that sing at sunrise. That's okay, though, because our sunrise birds are mostly the raucous chachalacas and the neighborhood roosters.
This Rooster Made the Mistake of Landing in Our Yard Once

     This beautiful rooster tried to fly into one of our trees near sunset one day and miscalculated his landing. When he missed his intended branch, he flapped down into our yard, and Bella was right on his heels. (Or would that be "right on his tail"?) The rooster ran back and forth in our yard, attempting to fly up onto our wall but missing repeatedly, squawking and flapping, barely outrunning Bella. I was yelling at Bella to come, Bella was barking and running, the rooster was squawking and flapping, and the neighbors probably thought we were crazy. All I could think was, 'how much would we have to pay our Mexican neighbors if Bella killed their prize rooster?' Luckily the rooster ran/hopped up our exterior stairs toward his original roosting tree, flew onto the garden wall, and made it safely into the tree. Whew! When Bella wouldn't stop barking, the rooster moved on to a different tree for some peace and quiet. Bella does help keep our exterior stairs clean by encouraging the birds to find new overnight roosting trees. Never a dull moment, living in Sayulita, Mexico!
A Rooster Fanning His Wings for a Nearby Hen
A Ring-Necked Dove Croons to Us
Pale-Billed Woodpecker Works on the Old Mango Tree
     Two species of Woodpeckers entertain us while we lounge in our porch swing. Last spring, it was fun to watch Mama and Papa Red-headed woodpeckers teach Junior where to peck for bugs in the giant palm tree nearby. Three woodpeckers marching up the palm tree single-file was quite a sight!
Golden-Cheeked Woodpeckers Visit Our Yard Frequently

     The Yellow-Winged Caciques are beautiful when they fly, flashing slashes of bright yellow on their tails and wings. We are entertained by these pretty birds often when they come to eat the ripe purple fruit on our tree, which I call plums but the Mexican neighbors call almonds.
Yellow-Winged Cacique Eat the "Plums" in Our Trees

     Species that we see but haven't captured in photos yet include Magpie Jay with their long, elegant blue and black tails, the Yellow Warbler, the Orange-Fronted Parakeet, the Mexican Parrotlet, the Cinnamon Hummingbird, the Black Vulture, and some kind of Hawk. Yesterday we spotted a bright orange male and his mate in the mango tree for the first time, but didn't get a close enough look to identify them, though we are pretty sure they weren't Orioles. When we take Wine:O'Clock chairs and refreshments to the beach, we see a completely different group of water birds. That's a story for another day.
     If I have misidentified any of these birds, please feel free to email me with the information at terrylturrell@gmail.com. Also, if you are interested in seeing the short video of Bella and Juan the Guan "visiting" at our gate, email me and I will post it again on Facebook. Thank you for reading my blog.
     I hope you will take a look at my newest eBook now available at Amazon. A recent review from Andrew Hallam, author, gives a concise and positive summary on Amazon.ca: "...This story is personal. It shows how one couple tossed conventional wisdom to the wind. They de-cluttered their lives, sold what they didn't need and bought a RV to travel the U.S. and Mexico. Their personal account of Mexico is fascinating. Eventually they decided to retire there. Their account of why they chose Sayulita over a series of other popular retirement locations is both personal and fascinating. They retired early and built a far healthier lifestyle. I kept thinking of the great book, Younger Next Year. Well...here's a couple that I think epitomises that message. Terry's story is an inspiration that's also filled with wisdom."
     Take a look at the eBook "Retirement Before the Age of 59: Healthy Living in Mexico #2" by clicking HERE
eBook Now Available on Amazon

Thursday, March 9, 2017

ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT: 10 Ways We Reduced Ours When We Retired in Mexico

Feedback from the Ecological Footprint Quiz!

Damage to Our Earth by Copper Mining is Huge! 

     Since we retired in Mexico, we have had more time to focus on living simpler and reducing our impact on the earth, reducing our Ecological Footprint, also referred to as 'carbon footprint' or simply 'footprint'. Living in a warm climate helps in many ways, as you'll see in my examples below. Retirement gives us time to be more careful about shopping selectively, repairing items rather than replacing them, preparing food at home rather than buying packaged food, and thinking about how our choices impact the earth. In retirement, we aren't in a hurry to rush off to work, so we have time to walk where we need to go in our village of Sayulita. Once or twice a week we drive our electric golf cart to town to buy groceries or take laundry to the lavandaria to be washed. Our recreation is simple and easy on the earth. We boogie-board, golf on a course that is only green when it has rained recently, do Stand Up Paddleboard in the bay, walk and hike, do Zumba, and occasionally take a bus ride to Puerto Vallarta for entertainment. Life is simple but fun.
     I felt that we had reduced our carbon footprint, but I wanted to evaluate how well we were really doing and how we could improve. I took the Ecological Footprint Quiz online created by Earthday.org. (I used Ecuador as our place of residence since Mexico was not an option. Living in Ecuador is similar to living in Mexico from our experience). We scored very well on the Ecological Footprint Quiz! You can take the Ecological Footprint Quiz and see how you score at: http://www.earthday.org/take-action/footprint-calculator/?gclid=CJHY77T3xNICFc26wAodJyYCBA#ecofootprint

     Our low Ecological Footprint is partly due to living simply, partly due to living in Mexico, and partly due to being retired and having the time to apply the principles needed. Here are 10 ways that we have reduced our Ecological (Carbon) Footprint:
Crockpot Cooking Uses Very Little Electricity

1. Reduced our use of electricity (Average bill of $60 US per month)
  • No dishwasher, an electricity and water hog.
  • No clothes washer or dryer, which are electricity hogs. I hand-wash delicates and line-dry. Most of our laundry is done at the lavandaria. 
  • Seldom use the vacuum cleaner. Our maid says it uses too much electricity. She only sweeps, mops, and shakes out our few small rugs. 
  • LED light bulbs. We switched all light bulbs from 60 Watt incandescents to LEDs that give the equivalent light but only use 9 Watts.  This reduced our monthly electric bill by almost half!
  • No heater in the home. Winters are mildly warm and our concrete block home holds the warmth in during the cooler nights.
  • A mini-split air conditioner in our master bedroom is used very little, mostly at night for sleep, starting in late spring. Our electric usage is highest in June and July when daytime temperatures are high and we choose to air condition the main three rooms of living space in the afternoon as well as at night, but no usage in the winter offsets this.
  • Cooking in a Crockpot uses very little electricity
  • Hang our towels outside to line-dry after a shower and reuse them for 3 or 4 showers, reducing the use of electricity and water by washing them less often.
Our Simple Gas Range Top Uses Very Little Propane

2. Reduced our use of natural gas (Propane) (Average bill of $16 US per month)
  • Cook on a simple gas range top
  • Heat water in a 6-gallon gas hot water heater for showers and washing dishes

Refillable 5-Gallon Plastic Water Bottles Reduce Plastic Usage

3. Reduced our use of plastic and styrofoam
  • Refillable 5-gallon water plastic bottles and a kitchen dispenser. We exchange the empty bottles for full ones from a purified water company that delivers to our door each week. Sayulita has its own water purification plant, using reverse osmosis.
  • Reuseable water cups and bottles rather than individual plastic water bottles.
    Reusable Water Cups & Bottles Reduce Use of Disposable Plastic Bottles
  • We only buy milk and juice packaged in paper cartons rather than plastic containers. If a store only stocks milk in plastic jugs, we say "no plastico, por favor" and we go to another store to find milk packaged in paper cartons.
    We Only Buy Milk & Juice Packaged in Paper Cartons, Not Plastic!
  • Reuseable Shopping Bags rather than accepting plastic bags at the stores.
  • Reuseable Mesh Laundry Bags rather than plastic bags to take our dirty laundry to the lavandaria.
    I Make Yogurt in Reusable Glass Jars to Avoid Buying it in Plastic Cartons
  • Make yogurt at home in reusable glass jars rather than buy yogurt in plastic containers.
  • "No Straw Please" at restaurants. We are still working on remembering to do this.
  • Take our own bowls with lids to a restaurant when we order food "to go".
    Biodegradable Trash Bags Available in 3 Sizes at Home Depot
  • Use biodegradable trash bags (we use "Verde" brand from Home Depot).
  • We don't buy movies on DVDs or music on CD's any longer. We loaded our old CD music onto our i-Pods and then sold the CD's in a garage sale, passing their use on. We still enjoy listening to our old tunes though many are over fifteen years old. We download new music online through I-Tunes or Zumba.com. We use Netflix Mexico to watch movies. Spotify is available in Mexico for music, but it isn't in our budget.
    Our Electric Golf Cart is Perfect for Hauling Our Paddleboard to the Beach
4. No car! Sayulita is a small pueblo (village) so we walk to town for dinner, Zumba class, dentist appointments, haircuts, etc. We use our electric golf cart once or twice a week to drive to town for groceries and laundry and to haul our Stand Up Paddleboard to the beach.
Our Simple Casita's Front Porch & Kitchen Window 

5. We purchased a small, simple Mexican-style home (casita), about 800 square feet, and we don't remodel. This reduces the use of our earth's resources.
Jon Installed a New Ceiling Fan When the 8-Year-Old One Failed

6. We only replace appliances, computers, Kindles, and televisions when they become unusable. We replaced the old, motel-style refrigerator with a medium size energy-efficient Whirlpool model when we moved into our casita, reducing the use of electricity. When one of our 8-year-old ceiling fans finally quits working, we replace it. 

7. We rarely purchase new clothing, shoes, or jewelry. In the moderate, warm climate of Nayarit, we wear shorts, sleeveless shirts, bathing suits, and flip-flops. Once a year, we replace a pair of flip-flops and Zumba shoes because they just plain wear out. Minimal purchasing of new clothing and jewelry reduces the use of the earth's resources.
We Ride the Sayulita Bus to Bucerias, Puerto Vallarta, and Lo de Marcos
8. We use public transportation, the bus, when we travel out of town to shop or pay bills in Bucerias and Puerto Vallarta. Big points on the Ecological Footprint Quiz when you use public transportation, plus it's relaxing to let someone else do the driving! Once a month or so we take a taxi for excursions when the bus doesn't suit our needs.
We Shop Locally at a Sayulita Produce Stand

9. Most of the food we eat is produced in Mexico. This reduces shipping of product which reduces the use of fossil fuels to move the product.
I Publish My Books Only as eBooks, Reducing the Use of Earth's Resources

10. We rarely buy paper books, magazines, or newspapers for our home, reducing the amount of paper and wood that is used. I also publish my books only in eBook format, avoiding the destruction of trees to print my books. We read books that we download onto our Kindles. We read magazines and news online, saving on the use of the earth's resources.

     Our score on the Ecological Footprint Quiz reinforced my feeling that Jon and I are having a small impact on the planet. I also learned that, although we are helping by separating our recyclables from our trash and hauling them to the Recycle Center in Sayulita, it is far better to avoid using single-use plastic and glass items when possible. According to EarthDay.org, "the largest reductions in Ecological Footprint can most commonly be achieved by reducing the total amount of matierials consumed, rather than attempting to recycle them afterwards."

     I also learned from our quiz results that the ways Jon and I could improve our Ecological Footprint Quiz score revolve around what we eat. Things we could do to reduce our Ecological Footprint include:

1. Eat less meat. We eat beef about once a week, but we could eat it less often, reducing our impact on the planet. EarthDay.org explains the reason this way: "A cow grazing on one hectare of pasture has a Fooprint of one hectare for both creating its biological food products and absorbing its biological waste products. This single hectare provides both services, thus counting the Fooprint of the cow twice...results in double counting the actual area necessary to support the cow." Now I understand one reason people become vegetarians.

2. Buy fewer items that are shipped into Mexico, such as Triscuits, Atlantic Salmon we buy at Costco, Hershey's Chocolate Chips, Ghirardeli Brownie Mix, and Nalley's pickles. We do have a few weaknesses. After living in Mexico for almost two years, we do crave a few comfort foods from the United States. We give in and shop at Costco once every two months so we can enjoy these things occasionally as special treats.
Our Motorhome is a Gas-Guzzler, But it is our Home for 3 Months a Year

3. Drive our gas-guzzling motorhome fewer miles each year or purchase a smaller, more fuel-efficient motorhome for our trips to and from Oregon. This is a subject of debate by us and many others. We only get 8 miles per gallon and drive it about 5000 miles each year. This includes a few trips within Mexico such as to Puerto Vallarta for a long weekend, a week at Club Roca Azul on Lake Chapala in Jocotepec, Jalisco, and a few days in Mazatlan on our way north and south to the U.S. That means we use 625 gallons of gasoline per year to move our "home" from Mexico to the United States and back again, a figure we could reduce by half with a smaller, newer model. But, this is hugely offset by the amount of the earth's resources it requires to produce that new motorhome. Or, we could fly back and forth to Puerto Vallarta, storing our motorhome in Oregon, reducing the miles we drive it by about 4000 each year. But, each person who flies that far is responsible for the use of a huge amount of jet fuel burned to move bodies and their supplies back and forth. Last year we evaluated selling our motorhome, possibly buying a new motorhome, and we decided it is more efficient to continue driving our older model until it won't run any longer. I'm glad. I love our motorhome trips through Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon!
     
     I encourage you to read more about our adventures and decision to retire in Mexico. My two eBooks are available on Amazon. If you enjoy them, please take a few minutes to leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. I would appreciate it very much!



View My New eBook on Amazon by Clicking HERE.
'Look Inside' on Amazon by Clicking HERE