Thanks to everyone for your comments. I read them all but don’t always respond because I don’t think you get a notification if I do. The confusing part is the occasional comment from someone that does not come with a name. I got two today from the same person, so whoever you are…. Let one know….if was about tombstone and ups-ing the RV part.
Sunday we headed back to Puerto Penasco. We had heard that there was a shorter way to get there than the 9 hour drive we had come on the way down. Fortunately, Jose Luis’ cousin knew about the route. There was trepidation by many of the RVers we talked to because there had been a huge washout the previous year and the road was rumored to be pretty bad in places…. BUT if it was passable it was 150 kilometers shorter and it would be different scenery. We decided to try the new way, promising to let Paul and Ellen know about what we thought because they were heading to Puerto Penasco on Monday. It turned out to be even better than we had hoped. There was a one mile stretch that was still under repair from the washout so the detour took a few minutes but it was not bad at all. There were some sections with large potholes so you had to be willing to look for the best side of the road to be on but there was little traffic so that wasn’t much of a problem. After about 2 hours of passing farmland and cacti we arrived in a small town of Puerto Libertad. It is a port where oil comes in by ship and there is a small refinery there. We topped off with fuel, ate lunch and then followed a road the young man at the Pemex fuel station said to take. Turns out it is a pretty new road and not on mapquest or paper maps yet. It was beautiful and actually had shoulders on the side of the road – pretty unheard of where we had been traveling! And there were formal pull outs and one really nice picnic area with a view of Puerto Lobos. This road saved us tons of time. The whole trip including fuel stops and lunch took under 6 hours!!! We arrived back at our RV park on the beach just after 2:00 in the afternoon. We watched the end of the first NFL playoff game on our tv in the RV then wen to Wrecked at the Reef to watch the Arizona/Panthers game.
Paul and Ellen arrived on Monday afternoon. They travel all over the place but had never been to Puerto Penasco before. It was great getting to know them more. They are about my age (I think she is a bit younger) and they owned a restaurant/bar on Lake Superior for years that they sold a few years ago. It was a very successful and summer seasonal place on the lake so for years they have traveled for months every winter. The owned a sailboat and would sail for months at a time. They now have a motorhome similar to ours. They have traveled all over Mexico, Belize, Central America, Baja California… I can’t remember all the places. Garry had gone fishing Tuesday so we had them over for a fish fry that night and heard fascinating stories about their travels; especially one very very scary sailing adventure where it was so bad rescue boats could not leave a port to try to locate them after they broke down. I thought I got scared at times when we boat but it is nothing compared to what happened to them on this one adventure in the Gulf of Mexico. Enough of that, though!
Sadly, we said goodbye to Paul, Ellen and Puerto Penasco yesterday (Wednesday) and crossed the border back into the United States. The border crossing took all of about 1 minute as did the Border Patrol stop several miles up the road. We are back in our favorite RV place in Ajo for two nights and then are heading to Tombstone for a couple of days.
We have an update on our demand hot water system. Garry was able to get through to the customer service of the manufacturer today to find out the problem we have ended up with a recall going out. We are in the process of deciding whether to deal with it before we go home or try to get the part sent somewhere to have it installed along the way. That takes some planning so we don’t know yet what we will do. In the meantime the way we are dealing with it is what they recommend for safety reasons.
Garry was running out of projects and I made the mistake of saying that out-loud. What happens? One of the water heater connections started leaking and I woke up one morning to wet carpet on my side of the bed. So today Garry has taken things apart and just now putting them back together. Hopefully the leak will be stopped. In the meantime we keep the water pump turned off until we need to use it, then turn it on briefly and right back off again. It is convenient that the hot water switch and the water pump switch are next to each other.
The last two days in Bahia de Kino were packed with things to do. After a nice long late morning walk on the beach, I went with Garry on the Honda a few miles away to a restaurant that specializes in lobster among many other seafoods. The lunch ended up being pretty much our meal of the day. Garry had grilled lobster with garlic butter dipping sauce. I had what a very spicy lobster dish that reminded me in a way of Chinese food. Lots of peppers and onions sautéed with it. They had the cook cut back on the heat in half because they were worried if I could take it! I am very glad they cut it back but it was delicious.
Friday night ended with a bonfire attended by many of the people we had met during our stay at Islandia RV Park. At the end it was just Garry, me, Jose Luis, Juanita, Paul and Ellen. The guys were so busy talking they missed the shooting star but all us ladies saw it streak across the sky.
Garry and I had heard about an RV park out of town about 6 to 10 miles that was reported to be open after being closed for a few years so we were going to go by Honda to see it on Saturday, but Jose Luis said they they would take us by truck and to pack a picnic. They said it wasn’t open but they knew how to get in. Paul and Ellen were going to follow in their motorcycle.
So, Saturday we packed chairs, food, margarita fixings and cameras to head out on adventure. Ellen had a bad headache so she opted not to go so Paul hopped in the truck with us. Before going to Dos Palmas (Two Palms) RV Park, we drove past it to a small town of the Seri Indian tribe. It was nice to have our ‘tour guides’ Jose Luis and Juanita because they could explain everything we were seeing.
The Seri tribe has its own rules and laws and governing system. If the local Mexican police want to do official business on the Indian land they need to obtain permission. It is a very poor village and they live by their own standards. No matter how poor everyone has satellite TV and cell phones. Most had some electricity. They sell jewelry made from shells and fish scales (very pretty) and the baskets they make are highly coveted and very expensive. A medium size basket sells in the village for 5000 pesos or about $285, but in the cities like Hermisillo they sell for double that. One basket can take up to a year to make.
Juanita had a relative that lived in the village so we were able to get out and take pictures and learn more. The Mexican government had built a nice area for festivals and local gatherings, complete with restrooms and picnic tables but the Indians really don’t use it. When a new house is built for them they take out the windows and doors and sell them…. Partly for the money but also from a cultural standpoint that they don’t like to be enclosed.
After we left the village we backtracked to Dos Palmas. It is really a two phase area. Dos Palmas upper area is open and people own lots and stay in their RVs and/or builds a home of some type. Most of the undeveloped land is owned by a medium aged attractive lady who inherited it all from her elderly husband when he passed away. The lower part of the area is a closed up RV park. Juanita’s cousin’s grandfather is the caretaker so they have the combination to the gate. It has been closed a few years and was not that old when it was closed. It must have been absolutely beautiful when open. The views are incredible, the beach nice and accessible even though a bit of a climb. There was a fantastic clubhouse, pool, spa, palapa viewpoint, snack bar, bar… You name it. There is some confusion on why the owners shut it down but I guess they only came out every other year. They are wealthy and just found other things that must have interested them more. Until recently the water and electricity still worked there. We had a great time with our picnic, margaritas and picture taking.
Saturday night Jose Luis and Garry and I went to a BBQ rib dinner at the Club Deportiva in Kino Nuevo. It is a private club for North Americans and to attend you had to join or be invited by a member. Jose Luis and Juanita are not members but his cousin is the manager of the Club so they attend occasional functions. We joined with a one week membership. The Club does all sorts of fundraisers to use for various causes in the community and also runs a volunteer emergency response team. The dinner was great and after there was a little skit by some of the members… Funny and hokey… And like all things where it is all ‘senior’ people the evening ends early. They parking lot was almost empty by the time we left at 7:30!
We sadly packed up all our things and got ready for a departure back to Puerto Penasco Sunday morning.
Several of the French men were playing what I thought was bocce ball the other night in front of our motorhome in the dark. We had our headlights on for them and there a few lanterns. Turns out it wasn’t bocce ball but Petanque.
Pétanque (French pronunciation: [petɑ̃k]; Occitan: petanca [peˈtaŋkɔ]) is a form of boules where the goal is to throw hollow metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet (literally “piglet”) or jack, while standing inside a circle with both feet on the ground. The game is normally played on hard dirt or gravel. It can be played in public areas in parks, or in dedicated facilities called boulodromes. Similar games are bocce, bowls and (adapted to ice) curling.
What is not to love about Mexico! We have been having the best time and are staying longer than intended. We are already planning on coming back next year!The Islandia RV park is probably the best place because it is such a friendly community. Many of the people have been coming for several years and store their RVs here year round and drive down. Others are like us and stay for a few days to a few months. Everyone is willing to help each other and watch out for each other.
Here are a few notables –
Ray – Ray is from Canada and is 84. He came down 4 years ago with his wife and their 5th wheel. She left him and took the truck so he had no way to tow the 5th wheel home so he stayed. He was so sick last time we were here and everyone was worried that it had gone into pneumonia. We saw him today and he looks so much better.
Jose Luis and Juanita – both were born not far from here but have a home in Southern California where there 3 kids live, plus a home in Hermisillo that they are in the process of selling. They have been coming here for a long time. They are in a nice 5th wheel with a large patio area and are hoping to be spending several months a year here. They know everyone and everything so I pick their brains constantly. When I can, I walk with them in the mornings.
Annette – Annette is from Portland, then Arizona and has lived here year round for about 8 years. She looks way too young to be retired. She has an Airstream trailer and a nice patio area. She takes in stray dogs, gets them healthy and finds nice homes for them. She constantly feeds us local knowledge and advice.
Dan and PJ – Dan and PJ have a converted old bus. It is huge. And old! They have been coming here from Oregon for 37 years and stay about 5 months or so. Unfortunately, PJ has whatever Ray had so we are worried about her. They have New Mexico friends of theirs next to them who are French. And they have friends behind us in a 5th wheel who are French.
The family from Yellowknife – a new addition while we were gone was a young family from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada. They have a 3 1/2 year old girl, a 2 year old boy and an 8 month old baby girl and were going to be here for a week but love it so much are staying a month or more. It is much warmer here than 40 below in Yellowknife. He is on leave from work for a few months so they can do this.
Carol – Carol drives a car with Oregon license plates but is from Southern Calif. She has a daughter near Portland. She has a trailer and a very nice patio area that is here year round and then her small RV that uses to go back and forth in. She bailed us out yesterday because she has a printer and we needed to print legal documents to review. She overheard that and had me forward them to her so we could do that. See! I told you everyone takes care of each other.
Paul and Ellen – our neighbors to the left of us. They are from Wisconsin and summer there, but winter in Tennessee and then travel all over in their RV which is similar to ours. They get around in a nifty BMW motorcycle but Paul admired our Honda Trail 90. Super nice people and it is fun swapping travel stories with them.
The list goes on…but I am probably boring you all so will stop for now.
We have been back at the Islandia RV Park in Bahia de Kino since Monday afternoon, after a brief stop in Hermisillo at Walmart for supplies and to have Garry’s glasses repaired. He lost on nose pad and they replaced it for free. It costs about $3 at home to get it done.
The RV park is much busier than when we were here a couple weeks ago, but driving to Nuevo (New) Kino and looking at their RV parks it is the only one busy. The others have anywhere from 2 to 6 rigs in spots. We were lucky at the Islandia and got one of two spaces still open. We have been pretty darn lazy and I almost feel guilty – but not quite – about updating the blog. We continue to explore local restaurants and have been riding the Honda around and about. Today we had lunch a mile or so away where they specialize in lobster. Again, we were the only customers but then as we were leaving a small group of Americans came in.
Yesterday in the RV park a lady from Hermisillo came and set up a manicure and pedicure station at our friend Juanita’s RV space and several of us took advantage. I had a pedicure after watching to make sure all was sanitary and good. Juanita’s husband has been in Hermisillo where they are in the process of selling their house but he got back last night so Juanita, he and I walked again this morning for an hour or so on the beach. Tomorrow the 4 of us are taking picnic lunches down the road to some places they know where there is another little town with a closed RV park and another one that supposedly has reopened. It will be fun to explore with them since they know everything about the area. I will take all the cameras because Juanita said it will be beautiful when we get there.
Our plans are to leave here on Sunday morning and drive the 8 hours back to Puerto Penasco, listening to NFL play-off games on XM radio. We will probably stay there about 3 days or so then finally back into the States.
One thing I forgot to write about the last time we were here was about the Kino Bay Center, which is part of Prescott College. Prescott College is a small private institution of higher learning in Arizona offering B.A. B.S., M.A. and Doctorate degrees with a mission emphasizing field studies, small class size, experiential and environmental education, self direction, and a commitment to the environment, social justice and the liberal arts. Prescott College has had a presence in this ecologically and culturally unique region since 1969 when classes first explored Sonora and the Midriff Islands. The Kino Bay Center was established in 1991. I met one of the field coordinators our first time here and learned that young students come and live in homes to immerse themselves in the language and culture but also do studies on the water and in the mountains for weeks at a time. I part of what I wrote sounded pretty darn professional it is because I cut and pasted it from Prescott College’s website! Gotta love cut and paste!
It is always interesting to pick up on local lore that grabs your attention. For example, did you know the move Catch-22 was filmed here? Yesterday we drove past the remnants of the buildings used for some of the filming. On a more current tid bit, if you are a fan of Deadliest Catch, CaptainWild Bill (Wichrowski) of the fishing boat Cape Caution, has a place here. And there used to be a Club Med here. And a Howard Johnsons.
This time of year all the locals and the North Americans that live here for most of the year think it is cold. They are wearing sweatshirts, hoodies, hats, gloves. We are wearing shorts and at night might out on a sweatshirt. Because it is the slow season we are often the only ones in a restaurant… Or almost the only. That is kinda cool because you get to talk to your servers or owners of the place. I have practiced my poor Spanish but am improving daily. Garry know no Spanish but is able to communicate, too, somehow. Uno mas marguerite poor favor! Or cerveza!
Yesterday Garry went fishing with new friend Bob and two of his fishing friends. You leave early so you can be in before the winds kick up. They caught some interesting bottom fish. Then for lunch Bob and Darlene took us out to La Manga for local seafood. La Manga is a little community a few miles out of the more developed San Carlos area. We were told they were all squatters. There is electricity and power not but that has not always been the case. Not too sure about their sewer arrangements, if you catch my drift. And the drift better not be downwind!
There is a type of huge prehistoric looking king spider crab thingy that is not here every year, but is this year. Bob and Darlene bought some that was being cleaned but we were a little more cautious.
We leave in the morning to go back to Kino Bay. We had to move out of our penthouse unit to a really nice 1 bedroom one because ours was rented to someone else starting today. This unit is decorated much nicer but is 5 floors lower and not quite the view. Still, it is very nice and I would stay in it again.
Tonight we go next door to the Palapa restaurant. Garry made a bet on the Seahawks game the other day with the Greek owner, Rafael, and he needs to pay him off. Bummer. But it means more good food, so I can live with that!