A Trip to Mexico for Halloween, 28 Oct - 2 Nov 2011 - Slideshow Below Text

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This trip to Puerto Peñasco, Mexico was our third trip south of the border with Airstream friends. But this time is was only with Ron & Mark, Airstream friends from Tucson. Our regular Mexico crew includes Louis & Sergio and Julianne, but they were not able to go this time. We were going to be in Mexico for Halloween and they already had made plans to celebrate Halloween in Bisbee, AZ, so they couldn’t make this trip. This was also a trip to help Ron celebrate his 50th birthday … and the first time we’d be there for five nights! Yea!

On Friday, 28 October, we were up early and on our way to rendezvous with Ron & Mark on the west side of Tucson. From there we headed west on Route 86 toward Sells. We didn’t stop to say hello in Tucson, so we stopped in Sells at our traditional doggy-duty and leg-stretching location. Ron had wanted to take his jeep to Mexico to play in the sand dunes, and this trip he did just that. So we followed them going down … Mark leading the way in with the Airstream, Ron in the middle with his Jeep and us brining up the rear.

We made our usual stop in Why, AZ at the junction of Routes 86 and 85 to gas up and to make our final leg of the trip to the border, gong south on Route 86 to Lukeville, AZ to cross the border to Sonoita, Mexico. Of course we made our mandatory stop at the duty-free shop at the border to stock up on adult beverages. We couldn’t miss that! There are just some traditions that must be maintained!

Crossing the border into Mexico was uneventful. It always is. It seems that is a lot easier to get into Mexico than it is to come out across the border into the US. We’ve never quite understood that, but it’s clearly the case. They may stop you to ask if you have more than $10,000 cash (we wish), which is the limit, and they sometimes act as though they are scrutinizing you, but for the most part, it’s simply, “Come on in!” The series of speed bumps going into Mexico will slow anyone down. So there’s little chance for anyone to “run the border” going south.

Sonoita had not changed since our last trip to Rocky Point last spring. In fact, we recognized some of the same folks were there trying to get handouts or a chance to wash our windshield.

The trip to Puerto Peñasco was smooth and pleasant. We arrived at the Playa Bonita RV Park around 1:30 PM, got registered and into our beachfront sites in time to still get onto the beach in the afternoon. It was pretty quiet all in all. Whenever we’ve been there it’s been pretty quiet, but apparently there are times of the year when the place is packed and there are no empty spaces. We much prefer a lesser crowd of campers, frankly … just like when we are at campgrounds in the states … fewer campers is better.

There was something new this trip, though. About half a mile down the beach toward town there was a large party boat, the “Fiesta Cruiser”, grounded on the beach. We asked the neighboring campers and a few of the beach vendors what the story was. We got conflicting accounts, but apparently it was a evening tourist party cruise ship that got too close to shore and hit the reef that lies in the relatively shallow waters along the beach. The captain just got too close to shore and ran aground in the dark. The partying stopped abruptly, the ship listed sharply and passengers were thrown off into the surf. One version of events said that one elderly woman passenger had a heart attack during the chaos and died. Another version said the older lady had jumped off the ship on the ocean side (rather than the beach side  where she would have been able to touch the bottom) … and drowned.  We never did figure out which story was the true version, or if the death was actual fact. It may have just been an embellished story at that point. The ship had been there awhile as they decided how to deal with it. The powers that be eventually decided to strip the boat of anything salvageable and then cut it up to remove it from the beach. It was an unhappy reminder of a bad experience for the community and they wanted it removed as quickly as possible. When we were there, a crew was still in the process of removing fuel and fixtures. It had almost become a tourist attraction on its own. You know how people love a disaster!

One afternoon Mark & Ron and Terry walked down the beach to the shipwreck for a closer look and took a bunch of photos while Greg stayed behind with Sadie. It was interesting to see up close. It was surely a scary thing to experience or witness. There are several pictures below.

With five nights ahead we had time to do everything we wanted to do. We were able to relax on the beach and enjoy lounging there. Ron & Mark were able to go off-roading in his Jeep, and we also took the Jeep over to Cholla Bay further north on the peninsula where we stopped at JJ’s Cantina to have a beer and watch the local fishermen bring in their day’s catch of what looked like clams or mussels.

One evening we went to town to explore and have drinks. We can upon a newly opened bar on the esplanade called “Wrecked”…it has a shipwreck and pirate theme. (Aargh!) It was a fun club and was very well decorated we thought. The theme was carried out nicely. We were there early when it wasn’t all that busy, so we were treated to the bartender’s special blend of margaritas, which we enjoyed while sitting on the club’s balcony overlooking the bay. It was most pleasant. We stopped at “El Delfín Amigable” (Friendly Dolphin) restaurant where we sat on their roof-top terrace and had more margaritas and appetizers as the sun sank in the west. It is located on the other side of the bay from the Playa Bonita and has a commanding view of town. Afterwards we headed back to the Playa Bonita Hotel restaurant for dinner. We ate there a couple of times during our stay and enjoyed both the service and the food.

On Halloween, there was a “parade” in the RV park. Some of the local kids dressed up and their parents brought them to the RV park to get candy and see the parade. It was a very different way to celebrate Halloween … but a good one. Many of the RVs in the park were decorated for Halloween, and we were no exception. Both our rigs were lit, we had ghosts and skeletons and all manner of “scary” things hanging about to mark the occasion. There is never a shortage of lights at the campsite when we are there. And Mark is somewhat of a lighting freak on his own, so he always puts on a good l ight show. He didn’t disappoint this trip, either!

One lazy afternoon when we took off to town in the Jeep, Ron let Mark take us onto the dunes where they had played earlier on the way to town. It was fun. It’s easy to see why folks get a thrill out of off-roading on the dunes. Unfortunately we took a “bump” that lifted Terry & Greg off the back seat up into the Jeep’s roll bar pretty hard. Terry hit his forehead and eye on the rool bar and eventually sported a nice black eye as a result … making him look like he’d been in a bar brawl. (It made for great stories.) And his glasses got bent, which Greg was able to bend back into shape, thankfully, since Terry is basically blind without his glasses. Greg also hit the roll bar but came out of it better than Terry. We were glad that we hit the roll bar with our hard heads and not our noses or teeth, and that the roll bar was padded! Mark was so upset that he’d given us a rough ride, and Terry a black eye, but in the end no harm was done. (But do beware, however, if you every end up in the back seat of Ron’s Jeep … on the dunes … with Mark at the wheel! There. You’ve been warned!)

Since it was a birthday trip for Ron, we took every opportunity to “celebrate” in one from or another… cocktails were raised, glasses were clinked, beers were drunk, great meals were eaten and songs were sung. What a nice way to celebrate a birthday! Ron seemed to be having a very nice time. Even the strolling mariachis at the hotel restaurant got into the picture, as Ron & Mark are big fans of mariachi music. We all sang along when we could. (Those crazy Americano touristas!)

We took our portable fire pit with us on this trip, too. We’d seen others with fires on the beach on earlier trips, so we decided we wanted to do that this time, too. We checked with the management and they said it was fine with them as long as we didn’t leave a mess for them to clean up, and that we could also use it at our campsite as long as it was off the ground. So one night after we had returned to the trailers from dinner, we took the fire pit, firewood an dbeach chairs out onto the white sand and enjoyed a wonderful evening around an open fire. The fire pit sits up off the ground on its legs sufficiently high that we could burry our bare feet in the warm sand beneath the fire pit … what a nice thing that was!

This was Abbey’s first trip to the ocean, and she loved it. Sadie had been there before, of course. She enjoys wading at the edge of the surf, getting in as far as her low-slung belly, but she doesn’t go much further. We knew Abbey liked to play in water from our trip to Zion National Park earlier, but we didn’t know how she’d react to the surf and salt water. Well, she was in heaven. Once she had gotten over her initial “nervousness” over the water repeatedly coming in waves, she took to body surfing and paddling about like she’d done it her whole life. We kept her on a retractable leash so she couldn’t go too far, but she had a wonderful time playing in the surg and trying to get to those elusive seagulls. Then she’d get out of the water and run in circles, getting covered in sand. Fortunately she dried quickly in the warm air. She also loved digging “holes to China” in the dry sand … to the point where only her little butt and tail wer sticking up out of the hole. It’s very fun to watch … she seemed to never tire of it. It was a great way for her to expend some of that energy she has. She didn’t much care who or what she pelted with the sand she was throwing out behind her. Maybe we should have named her “Digger”. We think maybe she was a bad influence on her buddy Hunter, however. Sorry, Mark & Ron!

And so went our days in Puerto Peñasco. It was so nice that we had five nights there. Before we’d only stayed four nights, and it was noticeably more relaxed and less hurried. We all vowed that we would definitely opt for staying five days (or longer) for future trips. We all fantasized about staying a good deal longer. Several of the folks we met in the park were there for a month or longer. How nice. We were so busy being lazy and enjoying ourselves! It’s easy to understand the aluring lifestyle of a beach bum. Hmmm.

Unfortunately all good things come to an end, and this trip was no exception. We’d had a great time.  But on Wednesday, 2 November, we had to pack up and leave the white sands of the beach and the smell of the ocean air once again … and head north to the desert. We arrived at the border about the same time our Mexican insurance expired, and once more filled our gas tanks in Why to continue the trip home to Tucson.

We arrived home on Wednesday, but only one night before we had to take off with the Bambi to Camp Verde, AZ in central Arizona. We were part of a gathering of friends to help celebrate the retirement of an Airstream friend there. We didn’t even put the Bambi in the Bambi port when we got home. We left it in the driveway and restocked what we needed so we’d be ready to leave the next morning. But that’s another story! Stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the pictures of yet another fun outing to Mexico below. You can return to the 2011 trips list page using the button below or the button at the end of the photo section. Enjoy!

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