Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Exploring Santa Ana, Sonora, Mexico

We decided to stay another night here in the small town of Santa Ana -[population around 17,000]. The main sector of the municipality’s economy is agriculture – cattle ranching and the raising of crops such as vegetables, wheat and forage grasses.
So we hopped in the car and drove towards the center of town. We could see the spires of the church from the campground  so we kind of knew where we wanted to go. 
Rescue services. 
 A group of men and women cleaning the center dividers and the sweeping the street. 
One of the many florists we saw. Tomorrow is the big celebration of the Day of the Dead when families visit the cemetery to honor those who have passed. 
 Getting closer to the church. Another florist and next door a place to make copies. 
 Found the church. 

The main plaza next to the church. The Day of the Dead figures. The clothing is black satin. 
I like the red and yellow flowers on her hat and in her hand. The gazebo is behind them.
 A pretty fountain at one end of the plaza. 
Bill wanted to change some dollars into Pesos so he asked where he could do it. We were directed to an Elektra store. The store sells all kinds of electronics from tablets to stoves. People can also pay all their utility bills there and exchange money. Notice that he does not have a hat on. To stand in line there is a sign - no hats, no sunglasses, no cell phones. He got an exchange rate of 18 pesos to one dollar. If we'd gotten pesos out of an ATM the exchange is 19 pesos to one dollar. But wanted to get rid of the dollars he had. 
 I was walking around the store while waiting for him and saw this toaster oven. Notice the terms. The actual price is 1,499 Pesos. The payments are 40 pesos for 52 weeks. 2,080 Pesos or $110 US Most of the items gave the terms as so many pesos for so many weeks. 
 This car was parked in the street across from the church and plaza. I think it is advertising flower wreaths. No signs and I didn't see a florist anywhere close. 
 This is a meat market.
And this store sell ice cream products. Notice the wire trash receptacle in the lower right corner. They are all over downtown.

We were looking for a panaderia [bakery] Found this one. 
Bill picking out some rolls. Notice the living room in the back. Her husband, I guess, was watching TV.
I'm going to stop here. Will write some more about the town tomorrow. Especially the church. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Surprise! Hello from Mexico!

Even I didn't think we'd be in Mexico tonight. 
I hadn't been feeling well for a couple of days. Started feeling better last night and got a good nights sleep. So this morning we headed out to WalMart for a couple more things and stopped at Denny's for breakfast. Breakfast seemed to agree with me and I kept feeling good. 
After we got home we were contemplating the drive the next day. It would be around 300 miles from Amado to San Carlos. A long drive especially with all the construction going on the highway. 
Bill mentioned the campground in Santa Ana, we've never stayed there but know a lot of people who have. So why not leave today and do the 100 miles to there. Break the trip up. So...
Off we went. It was about 1:00. We stopped in Rio Rico, AZ to fill the RV up at a Pilot. Finished that and got back on the road at 2:00
Here we go again. Only this time the TRUCK sign over the lane said CLOSED. We stopped and wondered what to do. Then noticed all the trucks going through the closed lane. I didn't get the truck lanes in the picture. 
Crossed over about 2:30
Through the first toll booth on to the Mexican check point. Every year until this year we have just driven through. This time we were stopped and told to pull over. 
They came in the RV. Opened every cupboard door, drawer and the bathroom and the refrigerator.  Checked our passports and the registrations for both vehicles. Wow, that was new. And then they checked the Jeep. Discovered Bill's drones. He had to open the cases and the immigration guard checked them on line! Wanted to know how much they cost. So to make a LONG story [read 1 hour] short He had to import the drones to the tune of US $230.00. Either pay or turn around and go home. That sounded good to me. But of course we didn't. They did tell us to make copies of the importation papers in case we were ever asked for them. And we only had to pay once - it is good for years. 
So back on the road and into the first of MUCH construction. Mostly the whole way one or the other side of the highway was closed. 
Going through a couple of little towns, they still had the topes with people selling things at each one. I feel sorry for the businesses on the other side of the road. No one can get to them. 
Lots of equipment and workers along the way. 
Around five o'clock we finally got to Santa Ana. Passed through two toll booths to the tune of $13 U.S. 98 miles took us 4 hours. Glad we did it today and tomorrow when we would have done 300 miles. So here we are at Punta Vista RV Park aka Edgar and Ana's. We have a good 15amp electric service. Water and sewer also available. And a good WiFi connection. And we can even pick up our Direct TV satellite. Maybe we'll stay here a couple of days. 
A kind of pretty sunset to end the day. Both Bill and I had restaurant leftovers for dinner and the weather is cooling down nice outside. 
So that was our day. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Spending time in Amado getting ready.

Haven’t done much to write about, just running errands. Had to go for some groceries and went to Verizon to make sure we still have the Mexican plan on my phone. Also inquired about using my Jetpack for data there. No way will I be able to use it without it costing an arm and a leg. So guess we will use TelCel again.
Been watching some NASCAR – my last fix, after Monday no more. And there will be three races to go to the Championship. Oh well.
Here in Amado it has been really hot during the day, should be cooling down a little by tomorrow. But it is cold at night. Enough to have the little heater on and the furnace on when we first get up.
When we are in this area we always go to the Denny’s in Green Valley to check on Addi – she works there part time. We check on her because she is a young 89 – never misses a day of work. She told us she is still going dancing too. Such a lovely woman. We are always afraid she won’t be there. But she’ll probably still be there when we aren’t coming this way anymore.
Yesterday we met up with friends who live in the area for lunch. Good to see them again and catch up on their doings.

Waiting for the race to begin while writing this. We will be crossing the border tomorrow. Not looking forward to the 300 miles drive to San Carlos. Have read a lot of comments on Facebook from people about all the construction going on. That it really adds to the time of the drive. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

A quick trip into Mexico

Our site at Mountain View RV Ranch. Good satellite reception and lots of room. We always parked back here with the Alfa. 
 Just some of the desert plants around the campground. 
The new owners seem to be cleaning up a lot of the park, most of the old decrepit RVs that were in storage are gone.

 After it finally warmed up we took off to do some errands . We went to Nogales, stopped at Denny's for breakfast then on to buy our Mexican vehicle insurance. We have used Sanborns since 1978. The one time we needed them their service was excellent. So after getting that done we continued on south. We take the Mariposa truck route to the border. The U.S. crossing. We used the car lane, when we head out with the RV we will take the truck lane where that RV is. 
Anything much bigger than a big pick up would have problems getting through the car lanes.
And a few yards later into Mexico.
All the trucks lined up waiting to get into the U.S. The lane between the barrier and the double yellow line is the lane for cars and RVs going back into the U.S. Coming back I always feel weird in that lane. 
Only a few miles down the road the first toll booth. And they are collecting tolls, at least here. 52 Pesos for a car. And of course we had to go through it coming back. Another 52 Pesos. 
Heading to the first Mexican check point about 1/2 mile. Be sure to stay to the left of the barrier both with cars and RV.

Entering the check point. If in an RV be sure to go to the right the lane next to the bus. It looks wide enough to take an RV through under the green arrows BUT after the barricade there are two very tight turns - no way an RV could make them. The bus/RV lane is straight out to the highway. No one stopped or looked at us. barricade arm went right up. 
A mile or so later the first construction. Shifted to  the north bound lanes.
New concrete highway going in. 
Coming up to Kilometer 21 where we will do our paperwork. Watch for the big metal tower. 

Lots of park available for autos and big rigs. The first place you go to apply for the tourist cards is the little building you can barely see behind the black pick up on the right of the picture. Have your passports ready. 
After filling out the tourists cards we went to the banjercito to pay and to do the vehicle paperwork.
Between the banjercito and the first building is a place to make copies, a money exchange and an insurance office. One stop shopping. The exchange rate given there is not good. Don't' know anything about the insurance company. 
The banjercito - You can see Bill standing in line. There were several people in front of us. Some who had never been to Mexico before. To make things easier be sure to have your new filled in tourist cards, your passports. If you are taking a car in have the ORIGINAL and a copy of the registration. We DID NOT need the title. Also your driver's license. I've always taken copies of our passports and driver's licenses but this year they only kept the copy of Bill's passport for the vehicle and this year they asked him to put his phone number and email address on the copy.  Notice the sign below. No hats, sunglasses or cell phones. Bill was asked to take his hat off and another person was asked to take their sunglasses off. Tourist card $25 each. The car $367 deposit must be put on a credit card with the drivers name on it. Will be returned to credit card when we leave Mexico
It took about an hour from the time we got out of the car and were on the road again. Lots of people in line. Our time was about 15 minutes. We put all transactions on our credit card with an exchange rate of 19.02 U.S. 
Didn't take to long to go through the U.S. border on the way back. 
Today shopping and a visit to Verizon. Hopefully not so hot today as AC in Jeep is being snotty.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

On to Amado, AZ

Yep – all the way to Amado. We left Quartzsite a little after 8 a.m. after filling up at the Flying J there. $2.30 a gallon. Price has gone up since we were in AZ a month or so ago.
I like the front of the Shady Lane RV park. Lots of cactus.
I thought I got a better picture than this, but took it as we went flying by. It is a metal worker in Quartzsite. He has a lot of interesting things.
And outside the Chamber of Commerce. Welcome everyone.
Didn’t take many pictures on the drive. Been there, done that many, many times. Did see a blimp though, haven’t seen one in a long time. Didn’t get a close enough look to see who it belonged to.
Notice the haze in the air. Another windy day as we got on the I-10 headed southeast out of Phoenix.
No stops, nothing else interesting until we got to Tucson. Where we MISSED the turn from I-10 to the 19. I know – how did we manage that. Wrong lane too much traffic. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. So we got off the 10 on to some street that I was trying to find on the GPS so we could get across town to the 19 when Whoop, Whoop!  Is that for us? Yep. Pulled over, nice Mr. Policeman said keep going until you find a driveway big enough to pull into. Okay. So what did we do? Well as we pulled off the interstate onto the road we were going 42mph instead of 35mph. Who knew? Any way he just told us what we did. We explained we were trying to get back on the 19 so he gave us directions. Then he just warned us and wished us a nice vacation. Thank goodness.
While heading for the 19 we passed this little church with the interesting cross in front. Very pretty.
Uneventful after that all the way to Amado. Got there about 15 to 2:00. Almost six hours for 300 miles.
More new owners in the park and they are doing a lot of work here. We are at the Mountain View RV Ranch. We stay here every year and I think they are on their 5th owner since we’ve been coming here. They have good WiFi that reaches the whole park. Our Direct TV works fine here as does our Verizon phone and MiFi [though I’m using theirs.] For a week it costs $143.91 about $21 a night.
After setting up and unhooking the car we headed across the highway for a late lunch at the Cow Palace.
Now time to rest and figure out what to do next. Stay the whole week or head out Monday.

I just called our home Internet service and put it on seasonal suspension. Saving some money that way. And when I know for sure what day we will go into Mexico I’ll call our satellite TV and suspend it too. Details, details. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

First day on the road.

We are spending tonight in Quartzsite – only one night – so the first day into the trip our plans have changed. We were going to spend three nights here. But…it is just too hot to be here – 95 today and more of the same tomorrow. But before the trip …
I took some pictures of some of the things Bill has been doing to Willie and forgot a couple of them. Here is Willie’s new gear shift and parking brake handle covers. Fancy huh? 

AND his new license plate frame. Flames and skulls. Of course. Actually I kind of helped pick it out. Now his tail matches his nose. It has locking bolts on it.
So the beginning of this year’s trip. For a week or so the weather has been perfect. Low 80’s and no wind. Today from Vegas south it is in the high 90’s and winds up to 35/40 miles an hour. Great driving and traveling day. We got up early, before 6:00 while it was still dark out. Finished loading the groceries into the RV. By then it was getting a little lighter. We locked up and got in the rig and headed out – to Denny’s for breakfast. You can see the sunrise reflecting off the vehicles.
We finally got on the highway at 7:00 – 204 miles south and we were in Quartzsite at 11:15. 
Took the 95 south. Remembered to SLOW way down 25mph going through Searchlight. Luckily for us the wind was mostly out of the north so we kind of had a tail wind for most of the way. Not much to see on the trip. And what there was we’ve [and you’ve] seen before. Just a big pretty Joshua tree. I’d like one in our yard but they are really, really expensive to get one big enough to enjoy. And they take forever to grow. 

Crossing into California. 
Goodbye nice divided four lane road and hello narrow bumpy two lane road till the 10 interstate.
And out here in the middle of absolutely nowhere we met a train. One second before we got there the lights came on and the arm came down. !0 minutes later we were on the move again.
Got on the I-10 headed towards Needles and the river valley. That my friends is dust in the air.
All along the river. As soon as we turned off the 10 the wind was at our back again.
Except for getting stuck behind a slow truck for miles it was a pretty uneventful trip.
We are at Shady Lane RV Park, we’ve stayed here before. The only problem is their wifi isn’t working. They say it must be my computer but my Nook won’t connect to it either so I think it is their problem. Didn’t want to use my Verizon Jetpack but guess I’ll have to.

Tomorrow is supposed to be another HOT day. Then hopefully it will cool down a little. Bill is talking about going all the way to Amado tomorrow – a 300 mile day. We'll see.