Had to move out of my Airbnb mansion today in (Playa Car) Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, Great host Maria, Ralf and family. They even invited me to join them for Christmas dinner, I’m such a lucky guy. Today I moved into my own one-bedroom apartment it is also a suitable place, 8000 pesos a month I think it’s something like $500 Canadian, excellent location too. I may have to leave sooner if I go back to work before the month is up. The picture is the front of the house and the balcony is from my bedroom the small jungle between the house and the beach
This is where I live now in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Not bad for 8000 pesos a month, I think it adds up to about $500.00 Canadian a month. About 6 blocks from the beach and 5th Avenue
I just got a good deal on a 🚲 Bicycle. I’ve been shopping for a bike since I’ve been here in Playa Del Carmen, prices are high due to Christmas, even in the pond shops, so I just got talking to a couple of Mexicans and an American having a problem with the bank machine on Fifth Avenue I said nice bike to the one Mexican guy and asked him? do you know where I can buy a bike like his? He said yes, this one he said it’s worth about 1200 pesos, but he will give it to me for 800 that’s a bargain, I said I have 640 that’s it, he said deal, I’m so 🍀 Lucky. Even the guy behind us selling tours watched the transaction heard us, I took a picture of the seller and I he said why? do I want a photo of him, I said just in case it’s stolen then he asked me if I was a cop, I laughed and said no, then he walked away I looked over at the guy selling the tours he said what a great deal you got there and it’s not stolen because he knows the seller he is a local. I never did listen to mom saying don’t talk to strangers’ son, you have to strangers all the time if you want to be a traveller that’s always looking and finding good deals.
CouchSurfing.com is a web site set up to for travellers to meet up with fellow travellers from around the world. When a traveller visits a city, they can connect on line with a couch surfing host to stay with them or hang out with them…Great for experiencing local knowledge!
I was introduced to couch surfing from a traveller I met while traveling around Panama. Her name is Babette, a big time traveller for the past 8 years from Kansas City, Missouri. I have met many couch surfers during my travels, but never thought of trying it out until Babette mentioned it to me. Through the CouchSurfing web site, she organized a free sail boat ride through the Panama Canal. Included were all meals and the 2 night accommodation! I’m in.
Last year during my Calgary to Panama campervan road trip, I met Stephanie, another backpacker/couch surfer. Stephanie is also a bigtime traveller, she did all the America’s on her own. Stephanie introduced us to Peter who also had a boat in Rio Dulce, Guatemala . He took us out for a great afternoon of sailing the local waters! Stephanie was couch surfing on Peter’s boat a couple of weeks before.
The route through the Panama Canal was well worth my accepting the offer. The 47’ sail boat was clean and well equipped with a great crew. My job on board was a line man, working with the people who represented the canal. I had to pass the line/rope to the canal operator in order to walk the sail boat through the canal safely. The great crew included owner ,captain Josh from California, his buddy Travis from Florida, couch surfers Maru from Argentina, Babette from Kansas City and myself Pete from Calgary, Alberta, Canada!
The fresh water Panama Canal is actually 28 miles long with two lock systems at either end. As we passed through from the Caribbean side, the boat had to be raised 15 meters through 3 systems of locks. Approximately 3 miles into the lake, we had to anchor for the night. After a good night’s sleep and breakfast we continued to the Pacific side, an all day journey. We motored at 7 knots passing a lots of ships and a beautiful landscape, even saw a 15 ft alligator. The final lock system at Panama City lowered us 15 meters to the Pacific ocean, where my job was complete!...Thanks again Josh, Travis and the crew for such a great experience!
Thanks to all the CouchSurfers.com hosts Josh, Travis and Peter for allowing me the opportunity to experience the lifestyle of living on an ocean boat.
Story from Pete Montgomery WorldTripPete.com
Wow, what a great deal for our Golf and Beach condo in Coronado Panama, only one hour drive from Panama City!! Joe and I paid only $650 each for a large two bedroom 12th floor ocean/golf course panoramic view. Bonus was the $130.00 each paid for a month golf membership with full use of all hotel facilities including 3 pools, beach club, gym and bar/food orders. The 18-hole Tom Fasio golf course is tough and beautiful!
A few days after we arrived, we had our first road trip to Panama City, picking up Gregory visiting from Calgary. We stayed at the Panama Central lofts, the hostel I planned to purchase last year. It was great to meet up with Marcela, the owner of the hostel as well as a few friends that I have known for the past few years! Joe appeared to enjoy his first hostel stay, a clean 3 bedroom unit with delicious pancake breakfast! Met some interesting travellers from around the world!
Returning to Coronado the next day, Gregory discovered a great hotel special. An all inclusive $70/night stay included all food and drinks, and full use of hotel facilities. Great deal for him!
After a couple of days of relaxing at the condo, the 3 of us headed out on another road trip. We drove 4hours to the northers part of Panama on roads mainly under construction, but very drivable!. Joe did a excellent job of getting us there! We met up with old friends that I met last year. Kim, originally from Ottawa and 85 year old backpacker Bob, a retired business man from Texas greeted us at nice T.G.I. Friday in David city. it was great to get caught up again and chat about our lives and travel stories.
We drove to the far North West side of Panama, bordering country of Costa Rica. The border to Costa Rica was amazing! The road along the Panama side was filled with a wide variety of Duty Free Shops, tire stores and souvenir shops. Pete parked the car and we walked in one of the tire stores. We were shocked to discover that the opposite end of the store entrance was another street in, can you believe, Costa Rica. Frontera Costa Rica was the boarder town we were suddenly arrived! We entered Costa Rica without going through immigration. First time for Joe in Costa Rica. We then drove Kim’s town of Puerto Armuelles, a busy open area beach town. We stayed the night at Heavenly Beach Hotel located on a beautiful secluded sandy beach. Home cooked dinner of fresh fish and veggies was amazing! Next day we drove through David, the 2nd largest city in Panama and up a long windy road to the quaint mountain town of Boquete, at 5,500 ft above sea level. We had a nice visit with Backpacker Bob again and drove around the small windy roads. Boquete is an old, very fertile volcanic area known world wide to rock climbers, coffee berry beans and summer Jazz/Blues concerts. We stayed the evening at another great hostel/hotel Pension Topas, and met some very interesting travellers from around the world!
Story from Pete Montgomery and Joe Forzani
Love Air Canada. Joe Forzani and I started our trip from Calgary to Panama 7:00am on Monday February 27, including an overnight layover in Toronto. Waiting for the flight Monday morning at 6:00 am, Air Canada put an announcement over the PA asking that any passages wishing to wait for a later flight will receive an $800.00 voucher plus two dinner vouchers on AC. I said to Joe” wow”! That would pay more then the total cost of my trip and we were not going to miss our next morning flight from Toronto to Panama. AC confirmed me on the 1:30 PM flight and tried to get me on the 10 am and noon flights. All flights were full! I had to call my TO friends Mike & Murielle to apologize for cancelling dinner later that night as I would arrive far to late. I hope to be back in the Toronto this spring or summer and re kindle our dinner. I buy!! I finally arrived in Toronto about 9:00pm and decided that I would no longer need the rental car. I lost $26.00 for cancelling the reservation. Well worth it! I was tired and wondered where I would sleep the night? An AC Agent recommended a place to sleep at one end of the airport. I quickly walked to the area and found people sleeping on benches, but I found the bench very uncomfortable! I discovered a playground in the same area that looked comfortable to sleep on the foam/rubber floor. Upon waking after a good sleep, I found 10 other people sleeping there as well! Can you believe up to that point I have not paid for anything that day. My flight cost me $720.00, AC voucher $800, net profit to me $80,00…Yippee! I may book Europe this summer/fall with my $800.00 voucher.
It even gets better with air Canada. While waiting in Calgary for my TO flight, I could not get on the terminal Wi-Fi and thought AC Maple Leaf lounge might help? The agent at Maple Leaf said to me” this is your lucky day” …. Come in and use the facility because another traveller left a voucher. Wow, things were going well! I had breakfast and lunch there! Next day met Joe at TO airport and we had breakfast before our flight to Panama. Bill came, my part was $13, gave him $20 and received no change what so ever! Maybe mad I got everything free? Leaving the gate, Pilot came on PA system and had to pull plane back due to mechanical problem. After repairing problems, flight attendants announced a free lunch to compensate for the delay! And so, another free meal!
In the meantime, Joe and I got a great price at the Coronado Golf Resort. Our Month golf dues are $130 including club storage and cleaning. Play as much as we want on the beautiful Tom Fazio layout! We also have access to all the hotel and large, beautiful resort facilities. First golf game tomorrow morning 8:00 AM Sharp!
Story from Pete Montgomery and Joe Forzani
Growing up in Ontario and hitch hiking to Alberta at 19, I have never seen much of the east coast. Wow, what a beautiful part of Canada! Oh yes, I plan to go back and spend more time there one day. Tim and I began our trip in Prince Edward Island, crossing the amazing 12.9 kilometer Confederation Bridge! Wow, I hear it is the longest bridge in the world?
Tim knew Keith and Luc, a couple of friends from their winter campsite (resort) in Florida. Keith, who grew up in Prince Edward Island, showed Tim and I most of the Island. Along the way, we looked at a house that Tim might buy for a summer cottage. Located on the water, it was very well priced from my prior Real Estate knowledge. Further along, we met Keith’s parents, very nice people. We saw some fishermen bringing in their catch for the day, very picturesque! I learned so much about the local fishermen, as a government official checks fish quota’s everyday.. Most fishermen were done their quotas for the year. I so have to thank the guys for the tour around the beautiful PEI!....
On to Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island and the Cabot Trail. From PEI, we drove about 8 hours along the scenic Cabot Trail. As the sun was setting, we pulled into a cozy campsite. Next day, to our surprise, we learned that we were next to Canada’s # 1 ranked golf course and 19th best golf course in the world! We had no time for golf that day, but one day I will be back to Play history! We only spent three days in Nova Scotia, but the beauty there will bring me back for sure!!....
On to Newfoundland, where we took the ferry from North Sydney, Nova Scotia to Channel-Port Aux Basques Newfoundland. The boat trip takes about 7 hours, and upon our late arrival, we found a campsite about an hour from the port. We made quite a few overnight, sightseeing stops along the 3 day destination to St John’s. Oh love George Street, where we went bar hopping and got “screeched” in and ‘kiss the cod (fish)”, all in fun of course!. So mush to see and do around St John’s. We went site seeing, and about a half hour drive from St John’s, saw the most easterly point in North America, Cape-Spear Lighthouse.
I still can’t believe how many cruise ship ports there are in Eastern Canada! I learned so many new things while traveling Eastern Canada. One day we saw three cruise ships in the small City of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.
Pete Montgomery WorldTripPete.com and traveling with Tim Schmidt TimsHorsePowerHaven.com
Our first stop was in Montreal we stopped at Tim’s step Daughter Kim's place. We hung out with Kim, her husband Joe, and their three daughters for a couple of days. It was wonderful, and we also had a chance to have a birthday party for his step son in-law Joe.
From Montreal, we headed east to Marina Village campsite near Batiscan Quebec. Tim wanted to visit a couple of friends, Pierre and Luc from his winter resort in Margate Florida (Aztec resort). The first day Luc, with the owner Mario of the campsite, took us out fishing on the Saint-Lawrence River. Tim was the best, caught most of the fish! We all caught enough fish to feed 10 people that night and many more for our trip down the road. We also visited St Tite, Quebec for their rodeo (stampede). Unbelievable how many people were there! People camped everywhere on the streets! Most town residences even had their RV’s parked on their lawns….Wow! Estimated about 600,000 people will show up for the 10 day event [city Population is only about 4,000 people!]. Again, thanks to all the people I met for their friendship and hospitality. In addition, another great city we stopped at was Quebec City, so beautiful and so much history. Truly an historical landmark in Canada!
We drove to New Brunswick where we met up with an old friend of Tim’s. Her name was Jill. She was visiting her friends Dawn, Paul and their three boys, Carson, Jack and Kyle. They took us all over the province, we were so grateful! They just moved and gave us great hospitality [we had 8 acres of land to camp on again]. We met many old friends and thanks to Facebook, we met up with Tim Wade a boyhood friend who lives in Moncton NB near Dawn and Paul.
On the way here, I missed a lot of people I wanted to catch up with. Next time I will try and drop in to see you all on my way back home after Newfoundland. Bon Voyage….!
Pete Montgomery WorldTripPete.com and traveling with Tim Schmidt TimsHorsePowerHaven.com
A Road trip across Canada…..Funny, but we never forget where we come from… It’s up to each individual on who you become…..
We started our trip by driving from my place in Calgary to Tim's place in King City just north of Toronto. We had an overnight in Saskatchewan (Wal-Mart), then drove direct to northern Ontario the next night. Next spring, we plan to again travel Saskatchewan and Manitoba on our way to Yellowknife, NWT and Nunavut. The photos and video below are at Tim's farm in King City.
Exploring King City it has been amazing above video and photos are at Tim's place in King City. We visited with old friends and met new people. Tim’s friends, family and farm workers all agree that Tim has a big heart. He does so much for others in this world. It is great to see someone of his wealth act like all of us. In his eyes, we are basically all the same. He will walk up to a stranger and just say hi how areyou doing, with a smile! Everyone loves him and he treats everyone with respect. It’s great to see Tim treat the CEO of a company the same way as a gas station attended serving us fuel.
This video is from facebook, I have to figure out how to take the video from Tim's phone to my website.(click this link to see video)
I grew up in Ontario housing with a single mom and three sisters. I always had a great relationship with my father. I will admit that growing up in these housing projects was a bit humbling, but I have never forgot where I came from. Neither has Tim. I grew up a couple of blocks from where Tim lived. His parents owned the home that they lived in. Both of our parents were immigrants. Tim’s family were from Germany and mine Ireland. Can you believe that both sides had nothing coming to this great country of ours (love Canada).
This video is from facebook, I have to figure out how to take the video from Tim's phone to my website. (click this link to see video)
Tim and I drove through the area where we grew up and I shot a video of the neighbourhood. It was very emotional for me, brought a tear to my eye! What a difference from then till now! We are special travellers just living the dream! While shooting the video, a stranger pulled over to ask us what we were doing in front of my old house? [We did grow up here but we were in a beautiful Rolls Royce convertible]! I walked over to him and said “buddy, I never forgot where I came from, can you believe this is where I grew up”? The person responded by saying ”can I play you a tune with my guitar”? I said wow, absolutely, and I have it on video! It’s amazing how Tim and I attract so many people at the right time. Like the street singer, we meet for a reason.
I traded my campervan “Old Faithful” plus $ to Tim for his Mercedes campervan. Yipee, I can now keep up with him on our travels. BTW, Tim just bought a new Mercedes campervan similar to mine including a few upgrades like an outside TV….
Our next journey is to the East Coast of Canada….
Pease, Love and Happiness to all….
Pete Montgomery WorldTripPete.com and traveling with Tim Schmidt TimsHorsePowerHaven.com
Highways to see so scenic; #99 from Vancouver to highway #97 near Cache Creek, as well as the Alaskan highway from Whitehorse to Dawson Creek and from Hinton through Jasper to Banff.
Tim and traveled on highway #99 and wow what beautiful views. We were above mountain tops looking down in the valleys from Whistler to highway #97 it took us two days to arrive in Whitehorse,Yukon, where we stopped at an B&B on the way. We met a few people there, three of them rode their motorcycles from Argentina heading to Alaska. I travel by the comforts of a campervan but I can't believe how many people travel the whole world by motorcycle, bicycle, cars etc.. and so many with campervans crossing the Americas.
The Alaskan highway from Whitehorse to Dawson Creek wow! breathtaking! Must stop in Watson Lake Yukon (sign post forest)! They have a place where people from around the world drop off their License plates, street and city signs, name of family signs, there is about 72.000 signs, plates and so much more. We also were going off the Alaskan highway to Fort Liard, Northwest Territories where we drove for about 30 minutes without seeing a car even coming the other way. Another must stop is in Fort Nelson BC where they have an old museum that have everything from autos, trackers, oil & gas, mining a real hoarder that had everything you can think of... Wow! unbelievable. http://www.watsonlake.ca/our-community/sign-post-forest/
Entering Alberta, the drive from Hinton to Canmore again breathtaking. We stopped in Jasper where Tim wanted to release his brother Frank's ashes from the top of Whistler Mountain, one of the places where Frank loved to come to.
Then we went off camping, and the girl in charge gave us a bear warning I said great, I am a thrill seeker as I get to sleep with the bears in my tent. OK she said, No food in the tent because I will attract these wild animals... lol..
The final leg on the trip we checked out the ice fields and the new sky walk. All well worth checking out and so close to home. Don't know why I have never done it before. Home stretch to Calgary we saw a Grizzly bear where we Pulled over like everyone else ....So close to Banff, and we were lucky it was behind the fence.
What a small world we live in. My sister Carol has been following us on facebook. She knew we were in B.C. and she was on her way to Tofino to see her boyfriends daughter. When sis was waiting for the ferry from Tsawwassen, she text me to see where we were in B.C. It ended up that we were in different rows to board the same ferry to go to Victoria. Tim and I didn't have a place booked but sis and her guy Don were staying at the Ocean Village Resort where Don's daughter Christel works. We ended up camping one night and having a cabin the second night at the resort next door to them and really enjoyed getting together at night for fires on the beach. It really is a sight to see when the whole beach is lit up with fire pits and people releasing Chinese lanterns. We dipped our feet into the ocean in Tofino which as far west as you can go in this beautiful country. We are soon heading as far east as you can go to dip our feet into the ocean in Newfoundland. It was awesome to go whale watching in Tofino and now looking forward to see what whale watching is like in Newfoundland. Stay tuned friends!!! Many more adventures for you to follow!!! Cheers!!!
Pete Montgomery WorldTripPete.com traveling with Tim Schmidt TimsHorsePowerHaven.com
On our first day on the road my camper van "old faithful" broke down, lucky I still had a warranty on the transmission since I just had it repaired from my last road trip. We ended up at Hi hostel in Banff where I stayed while Tim stayed in his motor home in the parking lot at the hostel; however, at about 4:00 am in the morning a security guard told Tim that he cannot camp in the parking lot he would have to go to a campsite. I did tell the lady at reception at the hostel that Tim would be staying in his camper; I guess she did not know the rules of parks Canada and the NO camping outside the campsites. I did not know this rule until we went to Jasper and I called the Hi hostel and the women told me it is a national parks Canada rule.
We spent a couple of days in Banff and Lake Louise where Tim started a heartfelt releasing of his brother Frank. Banff and Lake Louise were a couple of places where Frank loved to go to when he was alive. Tim released Frank in the mountain tops of Whistler and Jasper.
After Banff we headed west to visit friends we grew up with from Rexdale (Toronto). First Anthony in Kelowna and his family. I stayed in a hostel the first night and then Antony’s back yard in my new tent. We then headed west to Chilliwack to meet up with Sue and her husband we went out for lunch and it was time to get on the road again.
We spent a couple of days in Vancouver camping then headed up to Whistler to visit Tim’s friend’s son Harrison, Kris and Andrew. A couple of young bucks they were, so we ended up doing the Zip line called Sasquatch, they say it is one of the biggest in the world and you go 140 kilometres an hour. You should have seen Tim’s face, it was priceless, he is afraid of heights and we were side by side going down. Tim took off ahead of me he did not hit the third step like he was suppose to do, it was way too funny and what a great ride over the mountains. We also did the peak to peak in Whistler that I recommend for its amazing views.
I got to stay at Kris’s place and Tim camped out in his parking lot, thanks a lot Kris for the awesome hospitality.
This blog is one of three just getting caught up while time off in Toronto.
Pete Montgomery WorldTripPete.com traveling with Tim Schmidt timshorsepowerhaven.com