Friday, January 2, 2009

Camp Granada ..... Puerto Penasco?

Hello muddah, hello faddah
Here I am at Camp Granada (Puerto Penasco)
Camp is very entertaining
And they say we'll have some fun if it stops raining.....

Our experience at Puerto Penasco was startlingly similar to the 'Camp Grenada' lyrics you see above. When we first arrived, the weather was pleasant, and we were hopeful that we had driven out of the cold front that appeared to be looming two steps behind us in our travels.

But, it was not to be. On Christmas eve, we were hit with a cold front and a wind storm that chased everyone indoors, and had all of our RVs swaying wildly and getting sandblasted for days on end. Done were the leisurely walks along the beach, sitting outside our units enjoying the sun, negotiating with the vendors, and chatting with our neighbours. Only a few brave souls ventured outside for any length of time, while the majority of us huddled indoors, not willing to brave the cold, blasting wind. Yuk! We had paid for a week, so we were committed to the park, and had to make the best of the situation.

Fortunately, there were some very friendly folks in the park. On Christmas day we joined two couples, John and Carol, and John and Nancy, both from Arizona, for a great supper in town at the Lighthouse Restaurant. On boxing day, we joined our neighbours Jim and Nancy, from Las Vegas, and toured Cholla Bay, a very small settlement nearby. We stopped at the famous 'JJ's Cantina' for a beverage and photo op (that's Jim and Terry enjoying time outside on the patio). We also did a drive by 'Shacks Fifth Avenue' as it is referred to by the tourists (local shopping area).

The 27th found us attempting to venture outside as things were beginning to warm up slightly, but the breeze was still chilly. We set up a windblock for our chairs just below the sidewalk, and watched in great amusement as we saw first an ATV get stuck in the sand, followed by the Hummer that came out to rescue them, followed by the Jeep that came out to rescue the Hummer (kind of reminds you of the Corb Lund song ...."The Chev got stuck and the Ford got stuck, but the Chev unstuck when the Dodge showed up, but the Dodge got stuck in the tractor rut, which eventually pulled out the Ford"). It didn't take much to amuse us at this point in time - we were just happy to get outside!

We ventured outside for a morning run on the 28th, but again the wind was pretty biting. We managed to get chased along a fenceline by about a dozen stray dogs that had formed a pack, but fortunately none of them meant us any serious harm. The life of a dog in Mexico is a pretty sad one. They are skinny and wander the streets.

The weather finally broke that afternoon - the wind died, the sun warmed up, and everyone emerged again back out in full force. The vendors were in full swing (No gracias is a phrase you repeat about 1000 times in one day if you spend any time sitting outside on 'vendor stroll'), but I managed to negotiate for a pedicure. Sweet! She did a great job too, and for a lot less than you'd pay at home.

In addition to having our RV washed and waxed (thank god we timed that AFTER the sandstorm), Terry was in full negotations on a paint job for our trailer, to match the RV. That is another complete story of its own, which Terry is writing about in his blog. I'll post the link once he has completed his entry (here it is: http://internetelectrician.blogspot.com/). The process was interesting, needless to say, but the end result was great. Our thanks to the 'Two Antonios'.

Terry and I joined Jim and Nancy for supper out in town, as it was their last night in Puerto Penasco. We went to a great restaurant, but were amazed at the number of mariachi bands (and solo performers) that showed up at the same time. It would have been chaos had everyone started serenading all at once.

The 29th was a beautiful day - sunny, warm and minimal wind. We decided to take advantage of the weather and try out the nearby golf course. We had a great game - had a chance to golf just the two of us, and enjoyed the course. The area surrounding Puerto Penasco is like the Sahara Desert - sand, sand everywhere, as you can see by the picture. This is a shot taken from the golf course, and it shows why the area is an ATV paradise.

So our last day was like the 'Camp Grenada' experience ....

Wait a minute, it's stopped hailing.
Guys are swimming, guys are sailing
Playing baseball, gee that's better
Muddah, faddah kindly disregard this letter.

Sad to leave when it was so beautiful again - the sky was blue, the beach beckoned, the world was right once again ...however, on to the next leg of our journey.

Knowing we had a long drive ahead of us, we were up and about early on the 30th. We left camp around 9:00 a.m. and headed out towards Guaymas. However, getting out of town proved to be a bit more of a challenge than we had anticipated.

Road/highway signage is a bit of an issue in Mexico we've noticed. We were both getting somewhat rattled, when we finally spotted the signs for Caborca. Terry turned left, only for us to realize - to our horror - that we had pulled (the wrong way) into a two-lane one-way road! I was screaming, Terry was screaming, the cats were flying everywhere, Mexicans were veering out of the way and pointing wildly to the other side of the road. What a freaking disaster!

Luckily, there was a turnout right away, so we were able to get ourselves back out onto the right road. Not before we noticed that the entire Puerto Penasco fire department (which was located right alongside the road), was out in full force having a great laugh at our expense.

Heart attacks out of the way, we carried on. The trip was relatively uneventful, with the exception of the check point for northbound traffic that we passed by. The military were stopping all vehicles and checking them (for guns and drugs we can only assume - OR was it for contraband cats .....). It was set up very much like a warzone; men in uniforms with machine guns, and manned bunkers set up at various points along the road. Somewhat unnerving.

We arrived in San Carlos around 4:30 p.m., and settled ourselves in at the Totonaka RV Park, a nice spot across the road from the beach.

More about San Carlos to follow.

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