Last year Jill really wanted to learn to surf however she got sun poisoning and could not be out in the sun the last few days of vacation.
On Monday she finally got her chance to learn to surf. The resort had surf boards and lessons available.
The water conditions were perfect for learning. The waves in the afternoon tend to be 3 to 4 feet high and break easy.
After 2 hours of lessons and an hour of practice she started to get the hang of surfing. At the end Jill was able to paddle start and get up on the board and ride the waves into the beach
On Sunday, literally 30 feet from our beach chairs there was para-sailing. We watched a few people take off and land. I had the thought of having Jill and MJ go para-sailing. Before I could say anything Cathy turned to me and asked about Jill going.
Ten minutes later Jill was in the harness getting ready to go up.
As Jill took the sky, I went to find MJ in another private cabana. I pointed to the para-sail and said “That’s your sister. How would you like to go para-sailing?”. “Oh cool, Sure I like to go!” was his response.
Right after Jill landed, MJ took off.
The whole thing was so caviler and nonchalant that it took MJ by surprise.
The beaches at Nuevo Vallarta are unbelievably crowded. NOT!.
I took these pictures on Sunday, when according to the staff was expected to be the most crowded for the week. Monday the schools in Mexico began for the year. This week we practically had the beach to ourselves with the resort staff waiting on us. The kids are completely spoiled with the service.
The water is 80F with morning waves being 1 to 2 feet in height. In the afternoon the waves would be 3 to 4 feet with a very nice breeze blowing in off the water.
With the beaches to ourselves, we always had chairs with an umbrella to keep most of the sun off of us. Being in Mexico, the sun is very strong. Everyone is lathering up with sunscreen. The daily temperatures have been in the mid to high 80’s all week.
So it took MJ all of one day to relax into vacation mode.
“I’m heading down to the pool” is what he said as he walked out the door. Cathy and I found him in his own private cabana by the pool with a cheese plate and a Mojito in his hand.
Summer vacation is here!
We arrived at the Miraval Residences Resort in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico.
Nuevo Vallarta is on the same bay as Puerto Vallarta. Our room is a two bedroom, two bath room residence suite. Plenty of room for everyone to spread out during the week.
So what do 2 bored engineering students do to fill up their time on summer break?
They build 2 motorized bicycles.
In May MJ and Greg bought 2 Schwin bicycles and modified them to fit a 50cc 2-stroke engine onto the frame. I was thankful to see that they bought new bicycles for this little project and not modify their existing bikes.
They spent about 4 hours on each bike installing the engine, sprocket, gas tank and controls. The rear wheel sprocket and engine sprocket were a bit of a pain to line up. They also had to fiddle with the brake controls so the clutch control worked.
The engines need to be pop started by pedalling the bikes and slowly releasing the clutch. After assembling the bikes, it took another 2 hours to tune the carbs and get everything working smoothly.
The bikes will run at 25mph with a 75 mile range.
It’s pretty cool to watch the bikes go.
After horseback riding, we drove to the airport for our flight home. We flew from Guadeloupe to San Juan and then to Philadelphia. On the flight from San Juan to Philadelphia, I caught this image of the sunset while we were at 28,000 feet. In the lower portion of the photograph, I really liked the shadows of the upper cloud layer off of the lower cloud layer. It made the lower cloud layer appear as if it were a lake reflecting the upper clouds.
One of the activities Jill loves to do is go horseback riding. Just about every vacation at some point we end up on horses.
This horse back trip took us down by the beach near the ocean and through some mangroves.
What jumped out at me was the amount of trash that was on the beach and along the roads. The tour guide made a comment about the French just throwing away their water bottles, but that doesn’t explain the TVs and washer machines that were also strewn about. The place we went to for horseback riding was only 10min from the resort. It was easily the most dirty place on the island. All during the week we were from one end of Basse Terre to the other side of La Grand Terre island.
Riding the horses along the ocean was different. The ocean view was great.
Being the last day of vacation, the 4 hour ride was a bit long and hot. By the end of the third hour we all wanted to get off the horses.
On Friday, July 10th, MJ wanted to go back and do windsurfing again. Jill and I were going to go take surfing lessons, however Jill got really bad sunburn so we had to cancel the lessons and keep her in the shade. So I decided to join MJ and try windsurfing myself.
After about 2 hours of either falling or getting yanked into the water, I slowly gained my balance on the board. After the third hour I was able to get the board to move, although only in one direction.
By the time the third hour was over, I was done. Definitely something I would do again.
While in Guadeloupe, we had rented one of the largest cars that you could rent. It was a Chevy Captiva. As in most European vacation destinations, the car had a manual transmission. Over the course of the week, it had come up in conversation a few times that MJ should really learn to drive stick.
After Flyboarding, as we were driving back to our resort, we didn’t have anything really planned. I spotted a large empty parking lot. I pulled into the parking lot with everyone asking me “What are we doing?”, “Why are we stopping?”. I stopped the car and looked at MJ and simply said “Get Out”. He looked at me and said “Really??”
Hey we were in a different country, the rules of the road were similar to the US, but the customs and signage was different. We were using a rental car with the whole family there to watch. What could go possibly wrong?
After 20min of him bumping and grinding the gears, he began to get the feel for the clutch. Although several times I had to instruct him to “ride” the clutch when starting out. He had a mental block and tried to treat the clutch like the brake or gas pedal.
The whole time we were in the parking lot Cathy didn’t say a word. When I felt he had gotten comfortable with starting the car, up-shifting into second and down-shifting, I told MJ to take the exit from the parking lot. All of a sudden Cathy had a lot to say. “Oh, wait!”, “I’m in the car!”, “You’re not going to have him drive in traffic!!”.
I had MJ drive us the remaining 20min to the resort. He popped the clutch a few times and once had cars behind him honking. I just had him pull over and let everyone go by us. We did get safely to the resort. Both Cathy and the car survived.