Monday, February 27, 2017

Left Why and Onto Tucson AZ…


As morning broke I took one more mountain bike ride in the beautiful Sonoran Desert surrounding Hickiwan RV Park in Why Arizona. The quiet, serene ride along these wonderful trails simply can’t be beat. After taking in the sights and sounds I returned back to the rig to ready for the move.

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The drive from Why to Tucson along highway 86 through the Tohono O’odham Indian reservation was fabulous. This quiet road with scenic views along the way made the drive easy and very enjoyable. Passing Kitt’s Peak reminded me we still need to visit the observatory atop the mountain.

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We pulled into to Justin’s Diamond J RV park (one we have been to before) and pulled into a site near the front to boondock for one night. The manager told us we could boondock one night for free until our spot opened up. Funny fact was that the site we were waiting for belonged to the Weavers (Paul and Marsha of Where’s Weaver). We really didn’t have the opportunity to visit much since they were leaving the next morning and upon our arrival we had a lot of grocery shopping to do.  Man, the Weavers left at an early 7:00 am so we didn’t even have time to bid them farewell…We hope to see you on down the road Paul and Marsha!


Another blogger couple, Jane and John of Flamingo on a Stick, invited us over for dinner the night we arrived which was much appreciated especially since we were boondocking. Even better was that dinner was some very tasty New York Strips! Wow, it pays to have friends in all of the right places for sure! We had fun catching up  from when we last saw them in Iowa this past year. Whenever we are together there is lots of laughter and lively conversation.


Diamond Justin J’s RV Park is adjacent to another park called Desert Trails. I like this one a bit better as the sites are slightly larger. However, Desert Trails does have more to offer in amenities. The best thing about both parks is the extensive trail system right behind both parks meaning we don’t have to drive anywhere for a good hike or a mounting bike foray..


The weather continues to be on the chilly side as has been the standard for this winter and to be honest I am eagerly looking forward to the warmer weather which always seems to be about 5 days ahead… Soon though, we will probably be longing for these cooler nights we are currently experiencing. However, I have worn jeans more this winter that the total times I wore them in the past five years!!!  As a result we have delayed planning our next move preferring to watch forecasts in order to head in the warmest direction!

NOTE: We are now in Justin’s Diamond J RV Park in Tucson Arizona until March 4th.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Why Why Arizona? Well Why Not!


We wanted to extend a few days in Ajo since we had three nights to kill before our reservation in Tucson. However, when we checked in with Amy, the manager at Shadow Ridge RV Park in Ajo, she said she simply didn’t have any sites we could move to for three more nights. SO it was time to move on…


My backup  plan was to spend three nights only 14 miles to our southeast in Why Arizona. Why Why? Well, Why not! We made a quick call to Hickiwan RV Park as we hit the road and the manager there assured us there was plenty of room. Twenty minutes after we left Ajo we were pulling into our site in Why for the next three nights. I love it when Plan B works out.


We came to Hickiwan because of the wonderful reviews I read about the park despite its remoteness. Sure enough no sooner had we set up we were in agreement that this would be a great spot for our three night stay. Our RV faced out into the desert with scenic  panoramic views of the Sonoran Desert vegetation and the surrounding craggy mountains


After lunch we set out on foot on one of the many trails originating right from the park. These  numerous trails branch out from all directions. Over the course of our three days we walked many miles on these trails. On two of the three hikes we spotted a fairly large herd of wild burros  we heard braying at night and in the early morning hours. These furry little creatures eke their existence in this harsh but scenic environment. It must be a good year for moisture and food here since we saw several youngsters in tow.


The rest of our time here was filled with reading some good books, exercising and some mountain biking for me where i enjoyed riding miles and miles of the fun desert trails. One afternoon we made the drive back up to Ajo to check out Estrellas craft beer bar and restaurant. It was a quiet little place but a nice respite for a celebratory happy hour toasting our good fortune in our ability to live this lifestyle these last 6 years, and hopefully many more to come…….

NOTE: We are now in Justin’s Diamond J RV Park in Tucson Arizona for the next 10 nights.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Back to Ajo Arizona For a Few Nights…


After our border ordeal we returned to the USA and drove to Shadow Ridge RV Park to pick up our CRV which we stored there while visiting Mexico. We originally only planned to stay overnight in Ajo  however, we discovered that some of our friends we first met at Betty’s RV Park were staying at Shadow Ridge! We have run into Rick and Barb all over this country and now were back together again in Ajo Arizona!


In fact our first night back Rick and Barb had offered to make us dinner and it couldn’t have come at a better time after our harrowing border crossing . What a fabulous meal we had over drinks and lively conversation. It is always great to reconnect with RV friends on the road…

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The next day after we were more relaxed and energetic we returned the favor to Barb and Rick inviting them over for dinner at our place. We both had plans to head our separate ways the next day but the weather was taking a turn for the worse so we both added a few days to our stay to wait for the rainstorms to pass.


Over happy hour we talked about our trip to Puerto Penasco so much that Rick and Barb decided they were going to camp down at Organ Pipe National Monument and take a two night mini-vacation to Puerto Penasco.  They will catch a bus down and plan to stay at a little boutique hotel downtown. We can’t wait to see their pictures and hear about their adventure. I feel sure they will have a blast as we did.

A break in the weather every now and then allowed me to escape to  walk the short nature loop within the park. It is short but has a lot to see since the park models adjacent to the dry wash and trail all have bird feeders out as well as corn feeders for the local wild inhabitants.


Walking the trial is relaxing and there are always sightings of several of the endemic Sonoran Desert birds. Walking slowly I was able to capture several of them in photos and one time I even saw a couple of the resident javelinas after hearing one noisily walking in the dry wash. I would have lingered longer but alas the rains returned so I scurried back to the RV…


We were also able to sneak out between showers to visit the New Cornelia Open Pit Mining Lookout. A very informative fellow and his wife are the caretakers of the small museum on premises. They have a lot of stories to tell about the mine and the history of the area. There is also a decent display of minerals found in the area at the museum.


Our last morning in Ajo we invited Rick and Barb over for some chorizo, potato and egg breakfast tacos with bloody mary drinks to celebrate our paths crossing once again. They will head down to Organ Pipe NM while we drive the short 14 miles to Why AZ… Barb and Rick, we will see you two down the road again someday….. sooner than later we hope!

NOTE: We spent the next three nights in Why, Arizona and then will move over to the Diamond Justin J’s RV Park in Tucson Arizona.

Monday, February 20, 2017

An Unpleasant Experience Going Back Into the USA…


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…

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Wrapping Up Our Stay in Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico…


As our stay in Puerto Penasco comes to a close I find myself pausing to reflect upon our time spent in Mexico. I have to admit this is one of the friendliest parks we have ever stayed in. It seems to me that the RV’ers we encountered here were more relaxed, open, free spirited and simply happier than many of the folks we have encountered  during our nearly six years of travel. Maybe it is just coincidence or perhaps it is just a bit of the Mexico magic and the laid back culture of the residents rubbing off on all of us. Either way our stay exceeded my expectations...


We ate out in town much more than we normally do but doing so was very inexpensive especially considering we ate seafood everywhere we went. Two places we liked the best (both were real road treats) were Del Capitan on Rocky Point’s highest point. The other is a smaller restaurant in the area called Frenchy’s.


The food and the salsa were excellent at Del Capitan and the view was totally breathtaking.  It would be worth visiting even if the food was terrible! The local tourist newspaper called the Rocky Point News had a coupon in it for 1/2 priced food which meant, for example that a shrimp basket  would be about $5 dollars US. And of course a Mexican Bohemia beer or a margarita  to sip while enjoying the view was absolutely wonderful!


Frenchy’s had the most American food of any restaurant we visited but was very inexpensive  with cold Mexican beer for about $1.50 so we were happy there. Sharon and I shared a blackened grouper plate that they split for the two of us and we swear each "half" could have been a full serving for an average adult. We were stuffed!!!


We made sure to make one last stop at the Malecon (downtown area) to purchase some seafood from “Mr. Fish.” I bought several pounds of colossal shrimp (I mean look just how big they are in the picture below!) and five pounds each of Grouper and Red Snapper fish for a total cost of $58.00.


Of course before leaving our notorious group of 8 had to drive over to what is known as the “dirt mail since all the stores front a dirt road just north of town. There was a lot of really cool stuff we would have liked to have bought but with no where to put anything we only left we a small purchase of pure vanilla.


Playa Bonita RV resort although tight and tricky to navigate is perfectly situated right on the beach. It is filled with friendly, happy people many of whom we feel will become our lifelong friends. We are packing to leave and with the freezer full of seafood all that is left to do is to wander over to the beach to savor our last Playa Bonita sunset…


NOTE: The header picture and several others were taken by MonaLiza of Lowes Travels blogger fame. We are still in Ajo waiting for the rain and colder weather to pass before moving on…