Thursday, April 2, 2009

April 2, 2009

We are now in Arizona. The last few days of of our trip in Mexico were interesting and fun.

On March 26 was another day in Mazatlan.  Mike's foot was feeling much better so we drove the truck down to the Centro. We parked near the beautiful malecon (beach promonade) and walked along it past the cliffs where the divers dive into a narrow, deep cove - like they do in Peurto Vallarta. There weren't very many tourists and no-one was jumping that day. It was very hot and we strolled along at a slow pace trying to deal with the heat the way the Mexican's do - letting it flow over us rather hurrying and fighting against it. We wandered around the streets of the Centro and eventually found ourselves in the old section where there were nice outdoor restaurants and huge book fair with many temporary stalls. There were stages set up and musicians practricing for what appeared to be a big Cuban music festival. We ate a delicious lunch fo camerones (shrimp) . As we were walking back to the truck, we passed a unisex barbershop. Both of us were in need of a hair cut (almost 3 months since our last ones) so we decided to take a chance. The barber did not speak much English but he knew "medium" and he played Beattle music for us.  When he was done, he said, "Ready." He did a good job.

On March 27 we drove from Mazatlan to Los Mochis. This was a long drive across the coastal plain. All day we passed endless fields of corn and enclosed shaded areas (like giant tents) that seemed to be for growing tomatoes. Our RV park in Los Mochis is the last one that has stayed open. Apparently people often used to leave the RVs there while they took a trip on the Copper Canyon Railway. It is just a dust patch with electic hookups, concrete pads and agave plants around the edge. But it broke up the long trip from Mazatlan to San Carlos.

March 28, we wereback on the road early, passing miles and miles more corn fields. We arrived at the very touristy small resort town of San Carlos in the middle of the afternoon. It is a very pictureaque area with steep, craggy little mountains, blue ocean. and small bays, pretty white beaches, marinas, bougainvillea, and tons of condos and nice houses. Lots of these are for sale - or for sale on spec. In fact there are so many real estate offices and such a lot of real estate promotion going on that there was a sign at our RV park saying "No real estate agents allowed!" Most of the people in San Carlso were not Mexican and everyone spoke English.  The RV park was fairly full and everyone we talked to was on their way home to the US or Canada. Some had spent months staying in one resort in Mexico - others had done more travelling.  We met some people we had camped near in Paamul - and exchanged stories of what we had seen and done. A lot of the stories seem to revolve around mechanical breakdowns! Across from the RV park was a beach bar - where noisy music was played until 3 in the morning. However, we have slept through fiestas and weddings - so we know we can survive in a campsite - even if it is noisy most of the night. 

On March 3o, we drove around San Carlos and the neighbouring area and walked on the beach. Even though the weather is warm in the daytime (but cool at night) we had no desire to swim in the ocean. It is just the beginning of spring here and seems too cold. Apparently there had been pool at the RV park that might have been more appealing. In fact a pool was announced on the main sign at the gate and pool hours were posted by the gravel patch where the pool had apparently been. When questioned about what had happened to the pool, the guard at the gate said it had "blown away!" Blown away, how could that be? Apparently there had been a storm surge last year and the water had come across the road and saturated the ground near the pool. The pool liner had floated up to the surface and blown away in the wind! Very sensibly, the hole had been filled in! That night we had a potluck supper with the Vagabundos at the palapa near the former pool. Lots of fun and very delicious. I took chirruzon sausage that I had bought a few weeks before in Walmart - and that I knew I could not take across the border. 

March 31 was our last full day in Mexico. Mike and I were a bit bored with San Carlos, so we drove about 20 km to Guaymas, a fairly large port town nearby. Guaymas has the same interesting land formations and pretty ocean bays as San Carlos but is totally different. It  is gritty and busy and the malecon, which is covered with seagull droppings, plays the same romantic music we heard all over Mexico - songs from "The Bodyguard" (not mariachis!) on loudspeakers.  We had lunch at a large semi-open air restaurant recommended in the "Lonely Planet." For the first time we had gone into a town with the truck and not unloaded all the boxes, generator, kayak, etc from the back before we left. We parked behind the Plaza of the Three Presidents and hoped for the best. All the Mexicans we have met have been honest and kind and friendly. It was the same in Guaymas. Nothing was  touched.   March 31 was also the night of talent show. Mike and I did a skit, with one of the other Vagabundos, about the way the messages on the CBs got scrambled when they were repeated up and down the line.  We had a lot of fun doing it and got a lot of laughs! 

April 1, we were on the road by about 7 am driving to the border. It was a long drive - more than 300 miles - but the road was good and we scooted right along. The only alarming thing was when one of the RVs wouldn't start after our morning break. After a lot of consultation, the driver crawled underneath and short-circuited (I think) the solonoid with a screw driver. The border was fairly busy and there were vendors all around (straw hats, a large picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe, plastic puzzles of Mexico, candies, nuts) trying to make a final sale  before we left. We had our windscreen washed twice and paid a few pesos - probably too many. We were told by our guide at Guadalajera that the average factory worker only makes 45 pesos a day (about $4.50 Canadian) and we paid windsheld cleaners 5 pesos for a few seconds work - that we didn't even want.  It's hard to figure out how to deal with the poverty you see all over Mexico... Eventually we were on US soil - with no real problems or hassles. However, a strange thing did happen when we were stopped a few miles into Arizona by the US Border Patrol. The cheerful officer asked us if there could be any reason why oure truck would set off a radiation detector? Our interpretation was that he was checking for WMDs. We had expected he would be checking for illegal Mexicans hiding in our trailer (as they had done in Texas - before we went to Mexico). We spent our last night with the Vagabundos in a huge RV park in Green Valley. Most of the residents seemsed to permanent and a lot were quite elderly. In fact, we heard later that the park was referred by the locals as "God's Waiting Room." We had a goodbye dinner in a nearby Casino. It was sad to be parting from our friends of the past two months. We are all quite different but we had all pulled together and helped each other out when the going got tough. We had had a wonderful time, saw so many amazing and interesting things and laughed and laughed. The Wagonmasters admitted that this was the first trip that they had actually made it back to the States with everyone still with them! I think on other trips people had decided to go on to the Baja or Copper Canyon, but it did bring to mind the RVers we met in some of the parks who had broken down and been stuck in Mexico for more than a month!

April 2 we left the RV park in Green Valley and headed up to Tucson - where we bought some supplies. We ended up staying at a state park just a few miles to north. We did a few short hikes through the fabulous dessert landscape. Today we continued north to Holbrook.  On the way we passed Biosphere 2 near Oracle - a strange huge glassed in space which was used as a way of experimenting with the possiblity of establishing biosphere's out in space. Very strange. We also stopped at an ancient Peublian archaelogical site in Globe - called Besh-Ba-Gowah, saw enormous open-pit copper mines, and crossed over the Salt River with its amazing canyon landscape.  We are staying at a KOA in Holbrook and may go up to Canyon de Chelly (pronounced "de shay") to look at the cliff dwellings there tomorrow - before we head for Peach Springs and our Elderhostel walking tour. 

Once again I don't know where our next internet will be. But since is past midnight and getting pretty cold (despite the furnace) I'm going to post this and sign off. 

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