Feb 26, 2006
|We are adding one final trip to this journal. Next time we'll have a new website, but you'll be able to come back here and see where we have been for the past year.
This adventure is a weeklong hosted caravan / rally to Puerto Penasco in the State of Sonora, Mexico. Puerto Penasco, also called Rocky Point, is about 60 miles southwest of the US-Mexico border, right along the clean sandy beaches of the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California). Years ago it was a sleepy little fishing village; now it is turning into an enclave for wealthy Americans who are willing to pay a quarter million or more, much more, for an American-style condo, financed through an American mortgage company, purchased through a Coldwell Banker realtor, and surrounded by a gated wall to protect the enclosed Americans from the poverty and dirt of the local area.
Sorry, time to get off my soapbox.
We met the group in Ajo, Arizona, where we had a chance to gas up, do the last bit of laundry, grocery shopping, etc. The RV park in Ajo provided us with an excellent spaghetti dinner and a place to get acquainted. They even arranged to have a sheriff's deputy stop traffic in the morning as we pulled out on our journey south.
This caravan was sold as a chance to get onto the sunny beaches and warm climate, in an area designed for rest and relaxation. There would be several meals included, and happy hour available every day. No pressure, no scheduled activities. If this was not something we could enjoy, we should not come along. Boy, were they right!
Playa Bonita RV Park is a big park right along the beach, with full hookup sites; if we craned our necks just right we had a glimpse of the water from our front window. The rally host provided coffee, tea or hot chocolate each morning outside his motorhome. The park had crews of young men and women who, for a reasonable fee, would wash and wax your motorhome. We took advantage of that offer, because it is a task we are not inclined to do ourselves. In addition, many RV parks do not allow vehicle washing on site, and there aren't a lot of drive-thru RV washes along the highway. The guys did a great job and I think most of the 42 units on the trip took advantage of their service. On our rig they had to do the roof twice because it was so dirty and stained (birds and pine trees can make a real mess!). They also washed the awnings and washed and waxed our car. It was certainly money well spent.
As for the locale, there is very little to see or do once you have toured the fish market and the shops. We were provided with a city tour - we drove in car pools and were connected with the guides by hand-held FRS walkie-talkies. Four groups of us made the trip, and we learned where the grocery store was, a few restaurants where gringos could eat comfortably, and how to find Shacks Fifth Avenue. We also found the "topes" and how to deal with them. Topes are colossal Mexican speed bumps. Some are raised asphalt; others are made of what seems like World War II helmets embedded in the pavement. Topes are usually marked by signs 100 meters ahead, some by signs right where they occur. Some aren't marked at all. Some are painted yellow, some aren't. They are all very effective in slowing traffic! Fortunately we had prior experience from another caravan and didn't suffer from the "unawares."
We did get out and take some pictures. Just as I was about to get a good shot of the most impressive statue on the edge of the fish market, the camera went into a spasm and it was a couple of hours before it repented and I was able to use it again. One afternoon several of our group flew kites on the beach, providing some photographic color. The ever-present vendors also offered "Kodak Moments."
We drove ourselves to Shacks Fifth Avenue, which is (1) mostly shacks and open stalls, and (2) on Fifth Avenue. Fifth Avenue is paved with dirt and sand, the several enclosed shops offer very little light, and they are packed with T-shirts, jackets, sunglasses, pottery, and a wide range of other of life's necessities. We are so glad to live in a motorhome so there is absolutely no temptation to buy anything. If we buy one thing, something else has to go, and there isn't much we are willing to part with in favor of a souvenir!
Saturday afternoon the caravan host held a shrimp boil. He went to the market and bought at least 50 pounds of fresh shrimp (he says Senor Shrimp is the place to go for the best) and cooked them for us. Each couple (and the few singles) brought a potluck dish to share. Nearly 80 of us dragged our chairs around the host's site and we gorged on some really great shrimp and other fine dishes. One thing about RVers, two things really: we like to eat, and we cook as if we like to eat.
Now it is Sunday, wrap up day, with a final "surf and turf" dinner. Tgomorrow we head back to Florence, Arizona, USA and the promise of more travel along ... Our Life on Wheels.