Archive for March, 2008

San Carlos, A Last Look

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

Before leaving San Carlos last week we decided to take a drive to the far end of the bay where we could see lights at night from the shore.  This was in the direction of Guaymas, but mid-way between the towns.  We found several large complexes of condos.  You can see one of them on the right-hand part of this picture.  San Carlos is across the bay.  Click on Picture to enlarge.


In this area we discovered a piece of property that we might be able to afford.  It appears that someone gave up on their dream and left.


We continued around the bay and came across some interesting rock formations, one in the mountain…….


And another little island rock…..


A little farther around the bay we arrived in an area of nice homes and a fishing fleet.  I’m not sure whether one has anything to do with the other.  Many of the boats were out doing what they do, but a few remained.


This market area appeared poised for the return of the boats so that they would have something to sell.


On the far side of the bay we ran into the Playa de Cortez Hotel and Trailer Park.  We hadn’t seen any reviews of this park, but it looked pretty nice.


Each site had some shade and a concrete “patio”.  A rig the size of ours, with 4 slides may have had a little problem with the width of the sites, but you could fit about any length in them.  If you wanted to be out of the hustle and bustle of San Carlos or Guaymas, this might be the spot.


A Little Work, A Lotta Fun

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

 We’re getting settled into more of a routine now that we’ve reached Tucson.

Our refrigerator, that went out on us around the first of December, has been repaired.  We had All RV Service perform the repair.  The cooling system was covered under warranty and replaced after a new one showed up from California.  They removed the unit from the 5th wheel on Tuesday of last week and we returned  on Friday to have it re-installed.   It’s nice not to be living out of a cooler.

Final truck repairs from our fire mishap back in October are being completed today.  It turned out that both anti-lock brake sensors were smoked and not just the left one as we had assumed.  The story of our harrowing experience can be found  by clicking here.

Last Saturday we got together with Ken and Marilyn for some swimming and sun now that the weather has heated up a little here.  We met Ken and Marilyn at Ron’s RV in Lo de Marcos where they spent the winter.  They just arrived in Tucson on their way back to British Columbia.

We are very close to the Saguaro National Park and very old saguaro cacti can be found everywhere.  It takes a saguaro at least 65 years before it develops any arms.  More information can be found at


We were able to get this shot of an old town set that was used at a dude ranch. Click on picture to enlarge.


On Sunday, we traveled across town to the Diamond J RV Resort about 10 miles outside town off of the Ajo Highway.  We were invited to dinner with JoAnn and Doug, who are also full-timers, formerly from Florida, and also Montana 5th wheel owners.  The food was wonderful and we had a chance to talk a little Mexico, computers, and RVing.  We look forward to seeing JoAnn and Doug again at the Montana Rally in a couple of weeks.  They are fellow bloggers and their adventures can be found at “Living Our Dream.”   Thank you JoAnn and Doug for your hospitality.

Easter – Stay off the road!!

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Our intent was to leave Mexico around April 1st in order to get to the Montana Rally in Tucson by the 4th.  Because we had an issue with our refrigerator and wanted to get it fixed before the rally, we elected to head north a little earlier.  We learned that driving between Palm Sunday and Easter was a bad idea. 

It appears that about 40 percent of Mexicans elect to take that week off for vacation and most head to the beaches.  The roads are busy enough as it is and we didn’t want any part of it.  Therefore we decided to get out before Palm Sunday weekend.

All through the country are shrines on the hillsides.  We noticed that over the days prior to Palm Sunday that these shrines were getting a face-lift.  Here’s an example of one that got a fresh coat of paint.


The vendors aren’t going to let the holiday get by without a chance to promote religious items.  It looks like they may be trying to recycle some of the Christmas stuff.


Guess what, every place we found a tope (speed bump) we found another display.


Well, our plan came off without a hitch.  We crossed the border on the Thursday before Palm Sunday and were spared the mass surge to the sea.

San Carlos to the US Border

Friday, March 21st, 2008

To be truthful, if you have made it south as far as San Carlos, the condition of the roads will only improve as you head farther south.  That said, we had heard reports from people that headed north ahead of us, that the road condition from San Carlos to the border was littered with huge potholes.  Apparently the word got out and road crews have filled the potholes in all but a few stretches.  It still is one of the bumpiest rides that we have experienced.

It was bumpy enough that our microwave, which sits in a rather well engineered bracket and is held on place by a frame screwed to the cabinet, showed evidence of abuse.  The frame had been jarred by the jumping microwave and snapped the plastic around the screws, leaving the screws and plastic rings in the wall and the frame on the floor.  One leg of the microwave was sitting on top of the bracket.  The clearance is so tight that it is extremely difficult to get the oven out of its bracket when that is your intent.   We need to order a new frame to replace the broken one. 

Between San Carlos and Hermosillo recent activity has closed off stretches of the road for actual resurfacing from scratch, not just patching.  From KM 61 to KM 69 was one of the largest being worked on and we shared the northbound lanes. 

We witnessed the aftermath of a truck rollover in the southbound lanes.



It is quite amazing the way traffic reroutes itself without the assistance of law enforcement or emergency personnel.  All of a sudden, we noticed southbound traffic heading our direction in the left hand lane.  It is really a rather efficient way to operate.  Traffic that is being blocked simply crosses the median and continues traveling until they pass the accident.


We left San Carlos at 7:30 AM and by 9:30 we were approaching Hermosillo.  The traffic in Hermosillo was quite heavy but kept moving.  There is a stretch of Hwy 15 that follows city streets and there are unmarked topes (speed bumps) waiting for you.  Fortunately, we spotted them all.  There are also a few critical turns that, if missed, could cause delays.  Generally, the road is marked quite well.

The last 100 KM north of Hermosillo to the border is pretty uneventful.  There is one Mexican government inspection point that was quite busy.  Every northbound truck and all vehicles containing Mexican nationals was thoroughly searched.  Buses were emptied and cargo was examined.  They were even inspecting beneath vehicles and even dismantling areas where contraband could be stashed.  US and Canadian residents were simply waved by and around the inspection.  (A couple of days earlier we were subject to a fruit and vegetable search at the Sinoloa and Sonora border.)


The spot where southbound traffic stops to pick up their permits known as KM 21 checkpoint and is quite busy in the mornings, but by noon it is nearly empty.


Northbound, this is the point where we turn in our vehicle permits.  It is important to do this because if you don’t, it could make it impossible to enter on a return trip.  We parked just north of the permit point so that we could cross the road to the Southbound checkpoint to go the bank to trade in our pesos for dollars.


As we approached the border, we came up over a rise and were greeted by a line of stopped vehicles on the downhill side.  Reduce speed when within a few kilometers of the US custom and immigration checkpoint.  There are truck lanes and auto lanes.  If you are in an RV, be sure to get into the auto lanes.  Signage will eventually get you in the proper lanes.

This picture was taken when we got into line at the border.  From this point, it took two hours to clear immigration and customs.


Guess what we encountered next, yep you got it, more vendors.  Unlike the beach vendors, these vendors realize that they only have one chance at you and are a little more aggressive.


This continued all the way to the border. 


We only opted for a windshield wash.  We picked a guy with both a soap bottle and a rinse bottle.  He did an excellent job.

Once we reached the checkpoint, immigration was a snap.  We were directed to head to a customs waiting area for inspection.  We were, of course, truthful and mentioned our two bottles of tequila.  Since our refrigerator was broken, we didn’t have to worry about much in the way of food, but did fess up to having some eggs.  The inspector peered into our warm refrigerator and ignored the few cans of beer and snagged our eight eggs.  By the way, fines begin at $300.00 for contraband items, if they find them and you didn’t declare them.

After two hours, most of it in line, we were on our way toward Tucson and smooth roads.

We spent our first night back at the DeAnza Trails RV Resort near Green Valley, just south of Tucson.  We had made our reservations online and check-in was a snap.  We would recommend this stop.  For some reason, the water hookup is on the wrong side of the rig, but well within hose reach.


Saturday, March 15th, 2008

Well, we made it to the Tucson area, making the trip from San Carlos with little trouble other than the rough roads.  First Big-Mac yesterday!  We’ll be busy for the next few days taking care of business and service. 

Our Mexico reports are not complete.  Over the next week or so additional reports will be issued.  We’ve had a ball, but are glad to be back in the old U. S. of A.