Oct 30, 2010

Nogales to San Carlos…

Quite frankly folks…we almost never got here.  Yesterday, Friday the 29th Colin decided to pull the slides in and lift the jacks so he could build some air to inflate our over weighted tires by 3-5 pounds each.  Very very interesting but the front left jack would not go up and then would not go down.

Colin had to lift the entire dash to get to the HWH fuse box, which was not the problem in the end. But it took many hours to take it all apart & restore it. We missed happy hour...we were sad....

Hour after hour we struggled, phone call after phone call we asked, no it was not a fuse, no not a broken solenoid….finally a logical suggestion…a bent jack!!!!!!!  Bottom line translation…with a shovel and some wood we got the jack ‘up’, we shall travel for a few days with the slides in ( I really really hate this) and when at Tres Amigos on the Isla we shall put the jacks down and open the slides.  In five months if  the jacks don’t go up we’ll get a super duper Mexican in to cut the jacks off and travel North to Lake Havasu with the slides in!!!  So yes we are on the road to Mexico.  Our group of 3, grew today to a total of 5 RV’s plus Peggy & Robyn who have decided to relax a bit and only leave on Monday.  Colin & I have been quite strong since day 1 of the planning as to when we left and where we overnighted.  So today two units left at 6:00AM and three left at 7:30AM.

We got to the US/Mexico border at 7:00Am (after stopping for fuel).  It took us 20 minutes to get through the US section, which consisted of a maze for the cars and topes for the RV’s.

Hard to see but the car maze is on the left!

Then a toll booth which overcharged us.  Then comes a corded off area that directed RV’s to the left and cars through another maze on the right. Suddenly the two lanes become three...RV’s stay to the LEFT..and then you get to go over the biggest tope ever constucted.  Finally you come to the Mexican security which had the diagonal topes.

An American soldier working on a quick pull spike belt!

..and just down the road the Mexican security area with the deadly topes!

Actually our tow car set off a series of alarms as the system thought it was another vehicle trying to break into Mexico!!!  At the end of the finish line marked by a  barrier we were escorted to an exact place to sit and wait for a minute….well closer to 10 minutes.  We were boarded and basically the Mexican ‘agent’ entered and knocked on at least 20 different wall area & cupboards in the RV.  We assume she was checking for hidden compartments which could be carrying???? Finally we get to KM 21, a mere 50 minutes from when we crossed the USA/ Mexico border!!  The paper work was a breeze and we were through the entire process in 45 minutes.  While you are waiting in line to get your Visa forms be sure to read the instructions taped to the counter which are written in English.  When you actually get to fill in the form there will be no English translation nearby ( at least not for us….but as we have some understanding of the language we were fine).  The only different thing this year is than when  you register/import your vehicle you will also need to pay for your tourist visa at the same time.  You will then have to return to that first office to get your final stamped visa!  Then off you go.

We were finished before the rest of our group arrived but they were processed and left us as we elected to wait for a newer member of our group and a newbie to driving in Mexico.  She had a few paperwork issues.

..typical street scene....

We were on our way and arrived in San Carlos about 4:15PM, about 10 minutes behind our ‘travel buddies’.  I must say we were surprised to find Totonaka so empty.  The fellow who checked us in wanted to know why we were all only spending one night.  Please stay the season he said.

Beautiful beach just across the street from Totonaka Rv Park.

Throughout the day we noticed no problems what so ever although our ‘travel buddies’ said they saw several police vehicles at one toll booth.  I noticed about 12 other RV’s heading south today which I think is a good number.  One fellow said that  a group of ten vehicles were pulled aside at the USA crossing and directed to separate area where they were asked to leave their vehicles ( a mix of cars, pickups and RV’s).  There vehicles were then x-rayed.  A random selection so be aware of this possibility.  I also observed many single cars travelling alone, both USA & Canadian plates.  No one seemed concerned re security.  We felt so very very safe. Even Hermosillo seemed just fine.  Perhaps because we were travellng on a weekend when many Mexicans are out and about made it seem safer.

Debra & John on the left, with Donna & hubby in front and then Jessie & hubby in front of them. We are on the front right with Mary and her group just behind us!

Totonaka is charging 300 pesos/nite or 24.00USD unless your name is Donna and you are married to a Brent then you only pay 18.00 USD. Actually I have to say that Donna was an angel today to a poor Mexican who was asking for money for fuel. she definitetly played it forward. Way to go Donna! It has already come back to you!

Most of the group have gone out to dine but we are relaxing (well Colin with his guitar and me doing the blog).  We are driving at 6:30AM, so start our engines accordingly folks.  Destination…..Celestino Gasco!!

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