Finally, I’m established on the beautiful beach at Puerto Penasco again, almost in the exact same place I left last spring. This time I wanted to experience the border crossing at San Luis, south of Yuma, so I could see what it was like. I also wanted to visit “El Golfo”, the Golfo de Santa Clara, which is the first stop at the Sea of Cortez, only a couple hours south of the border.
I stopped at the Yuma Fry’s and finally got a cookie sheet that will fit in my oven, also some other supplies that I might not find in Mexico such as instant cocoa, plain yogurt, and a blood pressure cuff. I had left mine in Alaska, but decided I should have one now to use, at least for reassurance. After a heart attack, we tend to be more careful about health maintnance, exercise, and medicine.
These are the last few friends I left in Arizona, here are Eileen and Ron from Edmonton, a lovely couple I will meet again along the road. They have traveled all around Mexico and have great stories about their favorite places. Ron was a gold miner in Canada, just like I was in Alaska. While we were camping, he was happily watching the curling finals on their satellite television.
And this group of friends also camped near me. They come from Canada and other parts of the West to camp together every winter.
The border crossing was no problem. I was a little anxious, because I had neglected to return the permit for the car and my tourist card when I returned to the USA in April 2013. But I already came back to Mexico the following winter, however wasn’t questioned at all at the Lukeville border crossing on that trip, in fact they just waved me through. Anyway, it was almost as easy this time too. I was stopped, and for the first time at any border, U.S., Canada, Mexico – either flying or driving – I was asked for the paperwork for my dog Cheyenne! The other guard carefully matched the registrations to the VIN numbers on the vehicles, and then wanted to look inside the motor home. He just walked around and told me how nice it is. I had dog food (supposedly not allowed) and plenty of food in the refrigerator, but wasn’t even asked about anything I had with me.
I had read some blogger information online about taking the old highway south instead of the new toll road, and I did okay until I missed a turn and ended up on a terrible road that eventually was entirely washed out! I had to disconnect the car and barely found room to turn the motor home around before I could hook up again to get out of there! This was another adventure where there was absolutely no other traffic, a good sign that I had no business being there. Who knows how I could ever have found help if I needed it? Of course since I was already worried about the brakes on the Acura, this was a sure sign of my arrogant stupidity! I really have to learn to be more cautious. I wonder if that will ever happen? Finally after turning around yet another time back at the main highway, I did find the right road and was on the way again. Halfway to El Golfo there was an agricultural stop, and I was asked about plants or fruit. I tried to explain that I had a basil plant, but the poor guy had no idea what I was talking about when I said it was for cooking. He spoke almost no English, and my Spanish was lame, or perhaps he had never heard of basil. Finally he asked if it was for fruit, and I said no, that it’s for pasta. He laughed and said then that’s okay! and smiled as he waved me on. I think all plants are forbidden, but I’m glad I could keep it. I love having basil to use fresh and for making pesto.
It was getting late when I got to Golfo and was surprised to find a very typical Mexican village, with one short paved street, all the rest packed sand and obviously quite poor. There were lots of four-wheelers, some broken down RV parks, and at the end of the road one nicer one for members-only. The kind watchman went with me to find another place, which was a whole other adventure, so it was very dark when I got parked and agreed to pay the manager $15 for the night with no electric. Unfortunately it was dark by then and I stupidly fished out a $5 and $10 to give him when I could hardly see. He checked and said it was fine. Well it was, for sure. Lesson learned, I must always take out the money inside the rig, with light! On the road later the next day I realized that my $50 bill was gone, the last bill I had over $10… but the $5 was still in my wallet with a few ones. Anyway, I had been able to see the town, walked around in the morning at the beach and along the main street. It’s probably a great place for old American bachelors to happily have their toys and beer, cheap and easy, but not much there, not even a post office. I won’t be going back that way.
And then, on to my home away from home… It was a two-hour desert drive to Puerto Penasco, and good to know the roads to bypass the city to get to my favorite RV beach.
There were only four other RVs in the huge lot, so I could have my own spot back. They are some guys here that I knew last spring, in fact. The manager Edgar Penuelas is still here and agreed to charge my rate from last winter, just $50 a week. He even has a mechanic living here now to fix my brakes. Turns out it’s the master cylinder, so I ordered it from Auto Zone, but it’ll take five days to get here. Meantime he replaced the brake pads and I can keep driving, very carefully, in the meantime. That means I’ll stay here for Christmas, which is fine. Maybe I’ll continue along the new coast highway to Kino Bay and then to San Carlos for New Year’s.
My first trip was to the great German restaurant near the Malecon, where I indulged myself on luscious chicken marsala and their fantastic apple strudel. There’s even enough left over for another meal. One thing I love about this park is that Edgar has the purified water truck come to deliver us water when we want it, the propane truck will bring us fuel, and he even gets painters when we want painting done. His cousin is the chief of police, and there’s security 24 hours a day. The adjoining properties might play music at night, and beach-walkers could come up here, but I feel completely comfortable and at home. The RV tourist crowd doesn’t come until February, so this is a perfect time to be here. It’s nice to see new places, but also lovely to settle where I already know my way around. By the beach! In the sunshine! With fresh seafood every day!
As I sit writing this, I watch the shrimp boats out on the water in front of my beach. The lights of the city reflect at night on the sea and into my bedroom so I can look out to watch while I’m in bed. Last night there was an electric storm, it was amazing but we only got a few drops of rain. As you can see, the sunsets from my living room are gorgeous, and the dawns are also breathtaking.
It’s a great place for long walks with Cheyenne, along the beach or through the town. I especially like to walk along the dock, where I can get fresh-caught shrimp, scallops or fish that’s right off the boats! I thank my lucky stars for having such a good life.
I’ve been enjoying a sunny time at Mittry Lake, north of Yuma. It’s a lovely place with a great view of the lake.
We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with several other Boomer Escapee couples, with good food, good friendships, and particularly nice weather. We stayed here for more days, visiting back and forth, until they left while I remained with other new friends. But I still spend most of every day by myself, taking long walks with Cheyenne and unwinding from a busy summer. Finally I am sleeping for nearly eight hours most nights, the first time in months.
I love the beautiful hummingbirds that greedily reside here, and it took a long time for the bees to find their feeder. The lovely little birds are iridescent in the sunlight, just gorgeous! But they are also greedy and so habituated to humans who feed them at motor homes that as soon as I parked they began buzzing me, expecting food to appear immediately. So funny. Now I put out a top-feeder and the bees don’t seem to be able to reach the food any more. I am gradually winning the insect war, and the flies that get into the motor home are still annoying, but I’m getting good at eliminating those that sneak in. I learned that many plants here are invasive, even worse than the invasive stuff we get in Alaska. One of the most widespread are big ferny trees called “tamaris”. They are so successful that they’re taking over all other local vegetation. You can see in this picture, they are the ferny yellow bushes.
Camping here is free, so it’s been good for my budget. There’s no cellphone service for AT&T, but the Verizon internet connection is fine. That means I over-ran my limit last month, will have to pay for it on the next bill. My old friends Bonnie and Doug Towne drove down this week to hang out with me! We’ve been friends since our kids went to school together in Cooper Landing, when my son Peter was just starting kindergarten! That was almost 40 years ago!! It was great to see them again, I love staying in touch with old friends. We drove in to Yuma for lunch at their favorite Mexican restaurant. That was the first time I’ve eaten out on this trip. They lived for ten years in their RV, traveling the country working at various spots before they bought a little house in Arizona, but they still travel in their motor home during the winter.
Saturday was the big Algodones “fiesta” across the border to celebrate the start of the Snowbird Season, so I went there to look around. It’s not the lovely little Mexican village my friends Jo and David visited some 20 years ago… surely it would be unrecognizable to them now. It’s become the border capitol of dentists and oral surgery, and cheap pharmacies. Plus boozatoriums, of course. I guess that’s what happens when they are walking distance from thousands of snowbirds.
We had three days of clouds and some rain, so I finally had to run my generator for two hours to upcharge the batteries. That’s the first time ever that my solar panels weren’t enough! It tells me that I could use another panel when the weather doesn’t cooperate. On the other hand, most of these other RVers are running their generators EVERY DAY! Jeez… They do it just to make coffee! or use the microwave! or to blow-dry or curl their hair! Or even to run a fan! Hard to believe. (and annoyingly noisy!) I will probably go back to Casa Grande and get another solar panel installed, but not until mid-January. I need to save some money before I make the splurge.
Something unbelievable happened this week. A few nights ago, as I was sitting outside by my little campfire in the dark, a new neighbor stepped outside his rig behind me and played the most pure and simple melody on an Indian flute! I was enchanted! Then when I learned that he sells these flutes to musicians and museums, and teaches people how to play them, I took a leap of faith and bought one! I’m gradually learning to play it, something I never imagined I’d do in my “old age”. He says I’m doing great, but I know I have a long way to go. At least I’m determined. My hands feel stiff and sore, but he says the playing will actually help arthritis and develop dexterity, which I hope is true. I’m excited, even though I know I’ll never be a master. Now I must be more frugal than ever, to make amends to my bank account. (http://www.highspirits.com/)
Some photos of this place…
It’s been great to make new RV friends, and I’ll try to get photos of them with their motor homes, mostly to jog my own memory. Here are some of them… Connie and John, Roger and Anne, Reiner and Marie, Theresa and Dwayne.