Hey Spike! tracks down Bill Dickson
From the corner of Sixth and Old Main Street Frisco to the top of a Mexico mountain overlooking a sandy beach on the Pacific Ocean, Bill “Smokin’ Willy” Dickson is home.
He and wife Mary owned Smokin’ Willy’s BBQ from 1975 to 1984, then spent time in Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Fairfax, Va., selling swimming pools.
Turn the page to 2005, when fellow Friscoites Dave and Polly Schwan were roaming the Internet and found a home in Lo de Marcos, north of Puerto Vallarta about 40 miles, not far from Sayulita. Paradise.
The two couples got Jim and Lynda Colety of Moosejaw fame into the picture and the six bought the place built by a German printer named Hans. It’s a five-minute saunter downhill to the quiet, clean beach edged with palm trees.
Now a popular rental property on Vacation Rentals By Owner, Casa Blanca offers three bedrooms and three baths in 4,000 square feet of concrete painted quite white, topping out a very steep and winding paved driveway dotted with blooming Bougainvillea.
The house has a prominent point of view covering 360 degrees, with plenty of future development room on seven jungled acres.
Down below is the village of Lo de Marcos.
It took Hey, Spike! and Mary, along with relatives Don and Arlette Butler and Marcelle Hull, all of Grants Pass, Ore., asking and then following a pair of Policia Turisticas to help get us to San Pancho, and on to the cobblestoned streets of Lo de Marco.
Pulling our rental car up behind a taxi, flashing our lights, we both stop.
“Senor, donde esta Casa Blanca y Smokin’ Willy?
“Oh, you mean Bill?” he quickly replies in good English.
“Si, por favor,” Spike says.
After a short distance, the taxi pulls over and the driver points up. That’s good for 20 pesos.
Up we drive, the view getting better every second. Two little white dogs, Molly and Kala, announce our arrival. Bill comes out, welcomes us and opens up the big house. The infinity pool quickly grabs our attention and we’re outside, where we spend a couple of hours chatting.
“You can just sit here all day – it’s fantastic,” says Bill, who just turned 60, his hands sweeping the horizon. It is.
He’s taking time away from his chores of getting the house ready for the tourists and the period that reflects The Summit’s ski season.
They rent the house out for seven to 10 weeks a season and offer special deals to Summit County visitors.
Plans are in the works to sell off some of the acreage for houses.
Like the US, the Mexico real estate market has taken a hit. And the drug cartel war is adding to it.
“The United States and Canada have done a marvelous job of scaring people to death,” he observes.
Bill and Mary live in a casita on the property and are active in the ex-pat group Amigos de Lo Marcos, volunteers whose numbers hit 100 in high season and drops to 10 when it gets hot. The village of 1,800 gets a positive boost from its efforts.
“This is still a very reasonable place for a person to live,” says Bill.
He plays golf at the Flamingo Country Club, where he is a course marshal one day a week.
“I’m probably playing the best golf I have played in years,” the ex-restaurateur says.
You can learn more about Casa Blanca at http://www.vrbo.com/74970
Another good source is Bill and Dot Bell’s Sol e-newspaper at
Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed “Spike,” a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former Climax miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years.
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