Friday, March 13, 2009

Back to San Carlos and Adios Mexico

From Mazatlan, we had intended to drive as far as Los Mochis. There really is not much in Los Mochis; it's just a key midway point. We had stopped there on the way down, and stayed at a really crappy RV Park, while Mexicans driving by in buses and in the back of trucks yelled at us. Not a terrific ambiance. We learned that most people stay at a large Pemex station instead, so thought we'd stay there. The station is really large, with a secure compound for trucks and RVs.

However, we made good time travelling the quota highway, so arrived at the Los Mochis Pemex station around 2:30 p.m. We decided to continue on. Los Glorias was ahead, and we thought it might be interesting to stay there for a night and have a look around.

Of course we couldn't find the turnoff (Mexico and their lack of road signs ... grrr), so missed Los Glorias. At that point, we decided to try to make San Carlos before dark. It was going to be a stretch, but as we had stayed there on the way down and knew the RV park we were going to be staying at, we thought we could risk it.

Fortunately, we didn't have to go through any military checkpoints along the way. We did, however, go through a couple of agricultural checkpoints. At each of them, they insisted on coming in and checking our fridge. The first checkpoint, the inspector took a quick look and let us carry on. The second, the inspector checked our fridge, and then asked us for candy! A little irritating.

Anyway, these things slowed us down, and we didn't end up getting into San Carlos till around 7:30 p.m., and in the dark. It was a long day, and we were quite happy to turn into San Carlos, but travelling at night in Mexico is definitely not a treat.

The RV Park office was closed, but the security guard let us in. It appeared to be quite full, with a lot of rigs parked along the roadway in the park. Apparently a lot of rigs were there for the night only, and were all hooked up and ready to go first thing in the morning.

We stayed three nights; touring around the first day, and golfing the second. It was interesting going back to San Carlos. We were so impressed by it on our first visit. The second - you see things a little differently.

It is without a doubt very beautiful. However, there is a definite atmosphere of things slowing down. You could literally walk on the golf course, and there were many, many properties for sale, and many developments that look like they are on hold. It will be interesting to see San Carlos next year.

The first morning, we woke up to 10 degree weather. Yikes!! After having spent two months basking in the heat in Bucieras, this was cold! Fortunately, the temperature rose to probably the high 70's during the day, but there is definite difference between the desert climate of San Carlos and the humid, tropical climate of Bucerias.

We left San Carlos on Thursday, March 12th, early (7:00 a.m.) , so we could make some time. We still weren't sure if we would make it as far as the border, so we discussed along the way the merits of stopping somewhere else (Kino Bay) for a night, heading back to Puerto Penasco for a day or two, or just hitting the border at Nogales.

The road was good, and very minimal traffic, so we decided we'd make the run for the border. We had one more agricultural inspection (he took our oranges and mangos), and another military inspection. The military inspection had freight trucks backed up for literally miles. Thankfully, we were only in line for half an hour, and the military officer just wanted to see inside the trailer. Phew!

We were a little apprehensive about crossing at Nogales, as this is an area that has been in the news because of frequent gun battles between the military and the drug lords. Fortunately, we went through with no problems, and very quickly. The line up was not bad, and we had one final agricultural inspection (geez, you try to smuggle one little orange into the country and they have you on their list forever!!).

With little fanfare, it was 'adios' to Mexico, and 'hello' to the U.S. of A. The only hiccup we had was not turning in our tourist cards. We stopped at Km 21 Checkpoint just south of Nogales, which is where you turn in your vehicle permit, but were not asked to turn in our tourist cards there. We passed what appeared to be a customs building, but there was no indication we were supposed to stop there and turn in our tourist cards. I 'googled' this situation, and it appears that the airports are the only places where turning your tourist card in is an issue. Let's hope so.

We are staying at the ViewPoint RV Park and Golf Resort in Mesa, and will be here for probably a week. We're golfing tomorrow (bonus - CHEAP golf!!!), and Lowell, Nancy, Joel and Jocelyn will be arriving tomorrow evening. Joel is playing in a college ball tournament, so we'll be taking in his games.

We'll post results after the first game on Sunday.

No comments: