Mar 22, 2019

A long day and hence a long post

Where to start?  We both slept well, not perfectly, but good for a truck stop. 60F at 6AM with 40% humidity.  I did run out of data just after I published the blog last night.  Colin walked over to the 24 hour Oxxo to buy me more time.  Oh, the 24 hour Oxxo was already closed and opened again at 6AM.  Colin was there at 6AM and again at 6:30AM and finally they opened at 7AM.  I needed the data so that I could review the to do’s of turning in our TIP.  Good thing we delayed our departure this morning so I could put it clear in my mind as you will see. Colin noticed that the squatter guy was doing odd jobs like picking up garbage, washing semi’s and truck engines, etc.  So he bought the guy a coffee and some pan.

Very smoggy Hermosillo.  For the third year in a row the toll booth north of town is still not collecting money.  We stopped to fuel up at the large Pemex at KM33 just past the toll booth.  Other than us there were three other RVs.  A small Class A from Vernon, the gentleman was traveling solo as his wife had to fly home the other day re a recent surgery, a Class A towing a trailer with an MGB on it from Florida and a 5th wheel from Oregon.  There will be a quiz later.

Just north of Hermosillo, vines as far as the eye can see.

And more being planted.  The name of this vineyard was Vinos Buena Vista but I could find nothing online.

At KM 111 and the Military check we were greeted with a good morning and go over there for an inspection.  The 5th wheel was already being checked.  We had to park alongside the bays as they were all full.  Every RV was pulled over.

Two very very young dudes came along, one stood in the stairwell while the other entered with his pencil flashlight that did no good but he brandished it about like a weapon.  First he opened a cabinet under the sink, then the cutlery drawer, the fridge and the freezer.  He flashed his light into the shower and moved into the bedroom where he checked out both wardrobes, including my underwear drawer and the dirty laundry basket.  Another check of the empty shower and he was done.  As he was leaving, another dude showed up to start the inspection.  No I said, we have already been inspected.  The first two just stood there and said nothing 😯 The dude asked for a Coke, I said nada.  Hmm.  Okay, inspection time.  I asked the first two to confirm that we were terminado.  They had already asked us where we were coming from ( always say San Carlos ) and where we were going ( Canada, not the US ).  They had written down our license plate numbers and asked Colin to sign on the dotted line.  There was no way I was having a second inspection.  They said goodnight and moved on.  I called after then and said it was not noche so it was good morning.  The 5th wheel was still there when we left and the gentleman in the Class A had just arrived.  All RV’s were being inspected.  We later saw the Class A with the MGB stopped just before Santa Ana.  It looked like engine trouble and they already has people helping them.

The road soon became bumpy. I remember ten years back when the road to Santa Ana was horrific. Finally it was redone with new asphalt and that is now breaking down but as you can see they are working on it.

The road from Santa Ana to Sonoyta is flat and mostly straight.  You have to have fallen asleep at the wheel or be drunk to flip your semi.

Pitiquito, the white elephant.  This is where for just a year or two we turned in the paperwork on our vehicles to get our import money back.  It has been empty for several years and now is home to the Polica Federal.

Directing traffic at Carboca.  A first for me to see.

At about KM120 the road becomes bumpy with many patched areas. They are still working on the potholes but it only lasts about 20 kilometres.  They are hoping that the passing vehicles will flatten the asphalt.  Seriously!

Everything is so very green. There are yellow, blue, purple and red wildflowers all along the sides of the highway.  Lovely.

As you come down a hill and see a huge Mexican flag to the left of the highway at approximately KM 226 ( it got busy really fast and I did not do a good job of the KM number but it is accurate within a few KMs) you are in the area to return your Temporary Vehicle Importation Permit or TIP.

To the right is this colourful building, Restaurant La Bella.  Time to pay attention.

Next you will see this.  This is where the autos and the RV’s need to enter to get their refunds.  But first you need to turn around.

This is the bus entrance and where we go off to the right to start our turn around.

We did the turn and used part of the bus entrance to help complete our turn.

The bus entrance which we took last year.  Do not take this entrance.  You can see the auto entrance to the left, the yellow barricade.

Passenger cars only…..and RV’s!

Just to be clear, this is where you enter to return you paper work.  Then it will be a left turn.  See the green arrows 1/3 down the right.  Sorry about the dust spots and the bugs on the windshield.  At least the new camera will take care of the dust spots.

Only the lane to the extreme right was open to drive through ( the others had a pylon blocking the entrance ).  However we were being waived to stop.  You can see the guard coming towards us.  This is the part of the auto entrance that I was most concerned about re width and height of each lane.  Looks like lots of room to us.

Very very long story made short, they would not let us enter.  We were too large and needed to go to the bus entrance.  I explained that last year we were told to not use the bus entrance.  No we must back up.  Well sorry but we can’t backup. Yes you can, no we can’t and so on and on.  Then we must turn around.  No can do re the turning radius.  Turn, no. Turn around, no can do and so on.  The guard refused to listen to us and was very insistent that we move.  We both got out and stood up to him and asked him for an English speaking person.  We got another guard who barely understood us.  He insisted we turn around or back up.  We explained that it was impossible and that we could only go forward.  Yes we could have disconnected and backed up onto the road and into the bus entrance but that was a major problem last year.  You can read about that here.  We stood our ground and finally spoke to an English speaking female via phone.  She thought we were good to go forward but the guard would not let us.  Finally it came out that we were too big.  I said that were are not and that there was ample space for us. Okay but we have to be very careful. They were all very upset and concerned.

So easy and lots of space.

We turned to the right where the red ruck with the white on the back was.  From there is was an easy left.  You can see an RV to the extreme right.  It was in the bus lane.

After the left turn.  At the middle left is a white trailer leaving.  We are heading to that tiny white building with the green roof, just in front of the parked car.

I had to move the pylon so we could park along the curb.

Colin parked a bit forward of the Banjercito office and straddled both lanes.  This was so we could make the sharp left turn back onto the highway.  It took us thirty minutes to get permission to drive to this point.

If no one is in the office just push the button on the bottom left.

We waited a very long time for this officer to be free to help us. He was the only one doing this and was dealing with the two RV’s in the bus area, us, a car and the two other RV’s that had come in behind us.

He had Colin scrap the decal off while he processed the paperwork. Unlike last year when Colin had to come back to the RV to get his Drivers License as the Passport was not enough, this guy didn’t even check any ID.  We asked about which entrance to use next year and he just shrugged his shoulders.  It took a full 55 minutes from entering the auto area till we finally left.

Eventually we found ourselves in line to enter the US at the Sonoyta/Lukeville border.  It was a 25 minute wait and when we got there I was asked to say what every single item was in our fridge.  Duh!  My brain was fried from the Mexican paperwork issues.  As to how much alcohol I had, perhaps 3 – 4 bottles of wine!  No way he said, only one bottle up to 1 litre each.  But I explained that we are in transit to Canada and…stop he said.  You can’t do that, it is the law.  I shut up and fully expected a thorough search.  He merely sent us on our way but I of course questioned the wine.  I explained that as Canadians we have been allowed to transit the US with what we have and have been doing this for over 20 years.  Not on his watch.  Still he let us through.

We crossed into the US about 4:50PM.  We finally got up to Love’s ( I 8 )  to find that diesel was 3.18 cash.  I had already seen it for 3.09 at smaller stations.  I recalled a Shell down the road that often had it for less. Sure enough it was 2.89 per gallon, cash.  We put in 78 gallons and saved almost $23.00.

The sunset just at 6:45PM as we left the Shell station.

Our plan was to spend the night at another Shell station ( much much more per gallon here ) on the spur road between 85 North and I8 East on our Passport America card.  It was jam packed full.  In fact the entire parking lot outside was full of boondockers.  Turns out that only four sites are transient, the rest are now full timers.  So we saved another $13.00.  Usually it is so hot that we often need to run our air but it is cool tonight.  At 8PM it was only 69F with 21% humidity.  Right now at 11:50 PM as I finish this post I am wearing a sweater and feeling chilly.

Sunset from our parking lot spot. It is very quiet here.

We drove 430 miles today and were on the road for a full 11 hours and 20 minutes.  We stopped a total of 30 minutes to make food to eat as we drove.  The only down time was at the military check, the TIP return area and waiting at the US border.  However last year it took us 12 hours, so with all the delays we are still doing well.  Our RV rides like a dream and is not tiring. Looking forward to 7 days of very little driving and a bit of relaxation.  We are happy how we planned the last three days and will not change the amount of miles per day.  It works for us.  Colin is in bed and  I must proof this and shower and get to bed myself.  Please excuse any errors.  I will admit to being exhausted at this point of the day.



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18 responses so far

18 Responses to “A long day and hence a long post”

  1. George Yates says:

    Welcome back to the states, after a long travel day, now taking your time making you way back to Canada.

  2. What an ordeal you had. You must be so relieved to be in the USA now. Continued safe travels you two.

  3. Dean says:

    Wow. Fascinating to read everything you write! What a day. Difficult to believe your time on the Isla has come and gone this year already. Seems you were just setting up.

    We’ve just heard the news about Canada now going to collect data on Canadians who leave the country (article msn news/canada three days ago) and would be very interested in your take on it. Hope it doesn’t affect your travels. We have good friends in Toronto and it will seriously curtail theirs.

    Continue a safe journey home!

  4. Kathryn Tycho says:

    Super travel update. We will use the bus entrance to turn in our TIP. When we came south they had widened the exit area ((cut out more curb) so you don’t scrub your tires. They said to go through and park around the back and they would come out. Leavng it is then an easy left to head north. Glad to here you are through all that silliness. We had a US border guard with big attitude last year as well. Trials and tribulations!

    • Contessa says:

      Wish I had know about the wider exit and we might have considered using the bus exit. However having now done both I think that the auto exit is really the easiest. Colin thinks we will do the auto exit next year. After all I just have to pull out my laptop now and show them this blog with the photosL :). They have to let us in, hopefully.

      I will keep you posted on what others end up doing. We have several coming through behind us in the next week.

  5. Maxx Trails says:

    What a challenging day! It is great that you give so much detail for people following behind you or planning to visit Mexico in the future … your blog will be a big help. Enjoy your time in the states and hopefully you get some nice relaxing days.

    • contessa says:

      I have been blogging for ten years about Mexico and trying to help folks with insurance, transiting the border, food requirements, etc. Many people are coming to Mazatlan because of me, RVers or not.v. Really, really looking forward to that relaxation, did not happen today.

  6. Deb says:

    Wow, what a day. Seems like a great deal of trouble and no one knows what you should actually be doing.
    Border guards are all different. I’m not sure everyone plays by the same rules.
    Welcome to the USA. Continued safe travels.

    • contessa says:

      Yes a lot of trouble but perhaps we helped set a new normal. If not, then for sure I will next year :). Really appreciate the travel wishes.

  7. DAVID EVANS says:

    Sheesh!…I got worn out reading what you went thru…..Why do they make it so tuff, both sides of our borders….
    Welcome to 1/2 way home, even tho it’s all uphill from there…(:+)…..

    • contessa says:

      Well I totally wore myself out writing it not to mention living it. Happy to be halfway there. Uphill and cold.

  8. Welcome back to the US. You are allowed more then One Bottle of alcohol but need to state that it is for personal consumption only. End of argument. Hate when Officers try to make their own rules.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It’s about time.

  9. Alan says:

    Regarding your post on the run to Lukeville, where you have to hand in your papers I shake my head at Mexican logic or lack thereof. Looking at the pictures they sure don’t make it easy. It is similar at Km 21 northbound near Nogales, they have now extended the concrete barriers down the centre of the highway so in order to hand in your papers you have to somehow cross the the highway on foot and clamber over the barrier and then do the reverse to get back to your vehicle. Good for you Contessa for standing your ground when the third military guy wanted to inspect you rv. and also when they wanted you to back up you rig at the portal. Well done.

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