Archive for the ‘Mexico – Nogales’ Category

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.

DAY 1 in Mexico October 24, 2007

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Last night we stayed in a RV Park about 20 miles to the border.  Nogales, AZ and Nogales, Mexico are the towns located on the border.  Sonora is the state in which Nogales is located.  The elevation here is about 3700 feet.

The RV park was very unique.  There was a plaque on the wall that said it was a Greyhound Dog Track started in 1963.  There was a huge parking lot in front of the main building and grandstand.  They have turned the parking lot into about 80 RV lots. I thought it was ironic to see adds about financing an RV there, since well everyone already had one. Then again, the features do keep getting more and more luxurious  The main building now serves as the office, meeting rooms, kitchen and tables, game room and more. The grandstand was turned into an indoor pool, shuffleboard and other entertainment.  Really a neat place for people to stay the winter.


A caravan stayed at the same RV Park we stayed in last night. 

A caravan is a group of RVs traveling together with experienced drivers leading and another in the back of the line. They are the same as tour guides so it cost money to join a caravan.  We have read tons of books on Mexico, especially what documents you need and where to go to turn in all these documents inside of Mexico. At 6 AM this morning we heard all 11 RVs leaving the park.  What time did they have to get up to leave at that hour?  We left at 8:30 AM. 

We had no problem stopping at the immigration office which was located about 15 miles inside Mexico.  There were not a lot of people there when we arrived.  Apparently they have large groups of people at one time because there were lots of chairs to sit in while waiting your turn.  It took us about 45 minutes to an hour to tend to the paper work.

The majority of the people were norteamericanos (us).  The Canadians were flying their little antenna flags on their RVs.  Since 9/11 it is a little scary to fly a United States flag outside of the US.

Passing customs with paperwork.


We had read that the toll roads to Hermosillo, where we would spend the first night, were just like in the states.  The authors must not have driven in Texas where the roads are smooth. They must have been driving in California or Louisiana where the roads are rough. (Rough roads are not excluded to these two states, they are just the worst.). 

A 3-mile row of northbound trucks waiting for an inspection point.


Our stop this evening is at the Sonora RV Park on the north side (Hwy 15, KM 7) of Hermosillo.  The park is nearly empty, probably because it is new.  We found the park to be extremely clean.  Each of the 10 spots has 30 amp connections.  We picked one with a 50 amp connection; however, it was only capable of 30 amps.


Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora, is a city of 700,000 people and is located in the desert at 750 feet elevation.  It reminds us of El Paso and Tucson with the mountains and cactus everywhere.  Tomorrow we drive to San Carlos and Guaymas which are located on the Sea of Cortez.  We will stay there for about a week before moving on down the coast.

We definitely are in a different country.  There are lots of cars that would not pass an emission inspection.  We were driving around Hermosillo and a train was passing by and lo and behold there were people on top of the cars hitching a ride!!!!!  We went into Wal Mart and it pretty much looks just like all Wal Marts except everything is written in Spanish.  They even had a McDonalds.


Life’s a journey and we are on one!!!

Tucson, AZ Saturday, June 9, 2007

Saturday, June 9th, 2007

We stayed in Blythe, CA one night and are now in Tucson.  When it is about 90 degrees with the dry heat here in Tucson it is pleasant.  When it about 103 degrees it is HOT.  At night it is very pleasant sitting outside.  We are visiting Roland and Karen, some friends here that we knew in Dallas.  They just moved into a new house and of course, we had to go see it. 

This is a somewhat hazy panarama of the northern Tucson valley. (Click picture for larger view.)


We had to go to Mexico one day. We parked on the US side and walked across the border. First stop, the liquor store for some Crown Royal for $18.  Next stop, a favorite bar for beer and guacamole. Is this breakfast, brunch or lunch?  Then on to a restaurant for lunch or is it considered dinner now? 

These are just pictures of the streets in Mexico.




A fence dividing the border.  Homeland Security at work.


We have spent the last 2 days planning and making reservations for when we are in Texas.  When you make a reservation at a motel or hotel you have a lot of selections.  You certainly don’t have that option in a RV Park.  First, you choose a RV park that is close to where you want to be.  Then you have to decide are the sites wide enough for our 4 slides and is it long enough?  Old RV parks aren’t always big enough.  So we look for the phrase “Big Rigs Welcome”.  That doesn’t necessary mean it is true!!!!!  So now we have reservations in El Paso, Midland and Cowtown in Aledo where we lived for about 6 months after we sold our house.  Today we have to make reservations at several places throughout the Dallas area and Galveston. 

Next stop–El Paso on Sunday!