After our ten days were up in Puerto Penasco Mexico it was time to head back to the good old USA. As I mentioned earlier the sites are tight and there are no paved roads making getting out of there a bit of challenge. As I scoped out how we were going to leave there was only one area where I saw there would be be a bit of a tight turn. Fortunately our 44 foot neighbor left the day before proving it could be done. Check out the photo below left and see how tight the turn to the right was for the 44 footer in the middle driving slowly past the two parked rigs. He had to back up once to get around those two rigs!
As our time approached to leave we put everything away and fired up the RV. Sharon walked down to that turn and getting around that turn wasn’t too bad so before long our three RV caravan was back on the road. We sure had a blast visiting Puerto Penasco having had a lot of fun with our caravan buddies and all the new friends we made as well. Many photos in this blog document our fun times (some pictures were taken by MonaLiza as well).
We had no problem leaving town and and everyone was able to stay together traveling through the busy town of Soyonita. Next up was the border crossing which I had read was a bit challenging to maneuver as it is tight and has a turn or two in it. We were the middle rig and we were all the same height. Steve and MonaLiza were leading and as they entered the custom’s lane to enter the USA I noticed the hanging barrier above their RV said “Clearance 12’ 3”. Yikes! We are 12’ 8” and even though I was assured we would fit, hearing that soft hanging barrier rolling over the top while driving through was still disconcerting.
The lanes were indeed tight but we managed and pulled up alongside an ICE agent (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Steve and MonaLiza were moving into the next series of lanes at the same time. After answering all the agent’s questions we were asked to move on to a lane two lanes over from Steve’s RV. About the time we made a wide turn to navigate into the lane we saw Steve’s RV already leaving and entering the USA. One down and two RV’s to go.
Well, when we pulled into a very tight lane two the ICE agent there told us to turn of the engine and that they were going to search the RV. We were told to leave our cell phones and the keys to the RV on the dash. One of the two guards said we could stay on board but the other said to the other guard “no, this is a 107”. We were then told to go have a seat in the waiting room around the corner. We had no idea why we were selected to be searched. Either I answered a question suspiciously, looked suspicious or it was simply random.
While they were going through our rig we saw our third RV in our caravan easily clear customs so now 2 out of the 3 of us were in the USA… but we were not!!! We sat for about 20 minutes not being told anything by anyone as our RV was being searched. Then, to our astonishment, an ICE agent drove our RV off around the building where we couldn’t see it at all! I had no idea they were allowed to do that (still not sure that they are). Again no one told us anything…
Ten minutes later we saw our RV on the the other side of the building and they were moving it into what appeared to be a large x-ray machine for trucks and large vehicles. Five to ten minutes later our RV was sitting back in front of the building we were in. Still no one telling us anything… Another five minutes passed when an ICE agent at last walked up to us and handed me my keys saying we were free to go.
We still had to maneuver back through the 3 last lanes to enter into the USA but when we did our friends were waiting for us, curious as to why we were delayed. We still have no idea what they were looking for (drugs we assume) but there were a few things disheveled from their search. So despite all the efforts undertook to ensure we followed all instructions for a smooth crossing into the USA from Mexico we still were detained for 30 to 45 minutes.
This whole experience was very unnerving and I hope no other RVer has to endure it. Watching our RV drive off without us while we are still technically in Mexico did not sit well with me. I mean what if someone in Mexico had stashed some drugs under the RV to be picked up by an unscrupulous character in the USA. Our RV (our HOME) and all earthly possessions could have been confiscated by our own government. NOPE, we don't want to ever experience that again so future trips into Mexico may not happen again for us, at least not in our RV, our home…
NOTE: Again, with her permission I used a few pictures taken by MonaLiza of Lowes Travels blogger fame. We don’t often get many pictures with both of us in the photo so it was fun that she shared her photos… Thanks MonaLiza! We are now in Why Arizona for three nights and then will be moving over to Tucson AZ…