Monday morning, right after our WIN hugs and mugs meeting, we hooked up our tow vehicles and seventeen eager WIN RVs lined up to caravan down to Mexico. We decided to divide the group into three separate caravans to make getting through the border patrol a little easier. We had packed all the rigs in the group campsite the day before and I had a feeling it would take a long time to get everyone out and lined up. To my surprise things went pretty smoothly. I don't think Carolyn our host imagined there would be so many WINs wanting to go to Puerto Penasco.
We all made it through the check point except one of the smaller RVs, a small van. The border patrol poked around the Van while we waited a few minutes. We had been warned that the border patrol had stepped up inspections and it had been taking several hours to get through. We felt pretty good that we all sailed through without much delay except the van.
Rest stop along the way. There were three more rigs in front of my Born Free.
The great desert
We arrived around 11:30, the trip taking just over 2 hours for the first group. A white uncrowded sanded beach greeted us. The weather was perfect to begin a fun filled week. Once everyone arrived and parked, Paul took over as host and presented a full schedule of activities. So much for stetting on the beach soaking up the sun with margaritas. Just kidding
Tuesday I arranged to have my Born Free washed and waxed. The people are so poor here that they are very willing to work for very little. I negotiated a good price and later felt so bad I gave them a large tip. They did a pretty good job. They washed the coach using buckets of water which they brought in their beat up old car and mops.
In the afternoon we headed out to see the local aquarium. The aquariums were lined up with various native species and there were large pools for the sea turtles; there were tide pools full of star fish; and there was even a seal. I felt like I was in a large pet store with aquarium. We could pet or touch all we wanted. However, I don't think I would mess with the eels or sharks. The custodian was very nice and accommodated all of our questions.
The giant sea turtle came looking for food and a pat on the head.
This is actually a star fish from one of the mini tide pools.
This guys was the star of the show, popping up to get treats.
After the aquarium we went to the the museum (CEDO...I'm not sure what the Spanish acronym is) and listened to a talk about the forming of the Sea of Cortez and its uniqueness. Puerto Penasco is located at the shallow end of the Sea or Cortex and has many one of a kind species living there and some are endangered, including the sea cow shown in the picture of Alan below.
Alan, an intern at the center gave great talk.
The visitor center is built partly from recycled materials including tires and cans. There is no air conditioning or heating in the building.
Cans are encased in concrete to create insulation.
Wednesday Paul wanted to show us a real "fruitaria" and a great beach that had "zillions" of shells so we all piled in four cars and headed out. We never made it to the fruitaria. Paul swears it was on Sonora Street but it was no where to be found so we headed over towards the beach. The rain the night before created big mud puddles and we had to make several detours. After asking one of the security guards for directions we were satisfied we were heading in the right direction only to encounter a very muddy road with mud so thick our cars came to a stop.
I mean really, really, mucky!
Is this Paul showing us a new dance step? No, he's trying to get the muck off.
We spent a good hour or more digging and pushing cars to get out of the mud and back on solid ground. The muck jambed up in the wheel wells making the wheels unable to turn. I don't have too many pictures showing our hard work because I was too busy pushing and digging muck out of the wells along with Joanne, Carolyn and Sue. We never did make it to the shell beach.
The economy has hit this region hard. There are numerous high rise buildings that stand unfinished and empty It's eerie; as if the workers had to leave in a hurry. Equipment is still in place and materials lay ready to be installed.
The building stand empty and unfinished.
Thursday brought a shopping day. After all, we needed some retail therapy to reward us for our hard work from the day before. We had to time our shopping with daylight because many of the shops do not have electricity. Electrical power is very expensive in Mexico. We headed over to Rodeo Drive. This is a small strip with some "upscale" shops. The streets looked deserted and the shop owners tell us it has been that way for a while do to the poor economy. There are some great bargains to be found. But alas, I have no room in my small RV for "stuff" and my house is rented. I had a great time window shopping but I didn't contribute to their economy this time.
I did make a donation to an organization that is working to spay and neuter dogs and rescue puppies. I found it interesting that the Mexicans have no issues with spaying female dogs (which is costly) yet are reluctant to neuter the males which is not as costly. It costs 200 pesos to spay a female dog (about $25.00) and a faction of that to neuter the male dogs.
One of the shops on Rodeo Drive.
After a hard day of shopping we stopped at Playa Bonita for a little libation and snacks.
Pitchers of margaritas and nachos for all. I think the poor waiter was a little flustered by the size of our group. He finally asked us if he could separate our checks by carpool group because he was having a hard time keeping track of the pitchers.
A few of us decided we would like to walk back to our home on wheels along the beach and this is what we saw:
What a great ending to the day.
Friday came all too soon for me. I had to leave a few days early to catch up with my mail since the Ajo post office closes on Saturday and will be closed on Monday for the holiday. I was determined not to waist a beautiful morning so I jumped in my kayak for a quick paddle. Bill and Sue joined me as there were no other souls willing to brave the morning chill.
Sunrise over Rocky Point
Sue with her little dog on the bow.
Heading back to Sandy Beach. Our homes sitting, waiting our return.
Returning to the States on Friday, probably wasn't such a bad idea. I had no trouble crossing the border. There were a few cars and trucks a head of me which were being searched but I was asked a few routine questions; showed them my passport and was on my way. Much to my surprise they didn't even ask for Sadie's papers even though she barked at the stray dogs mulling around waiting for handouts. I had been told generally the border patrol doesn't ask for your dog's papers unless they bark. Well, for those of you that know Sadie, she barks at anything with four legs. I think I counted over 12 border patrol vehicles along the highway as I returned to Ajo.
I plan to spend a few more days at Hickiwan Trails getting some hiking and biking in and make use of the laundry facilities and then head over to the WIN dance rally at Casa Grande which begins on Tuesday.