Out of the Desert and onto the Beach


We crossed into Mexico on February 15, 2018. We were told by the border guard that she couldn’t stamp our passports and that I had to go into the office. Paul pulled over and waited. And waited. And waited. I was in the office for such a long time, and a young man kept coming to check on me and was apologetic. I think the only person who could stamp our passports was involved in a deep game of Candy Crush and refused to stamp them. He was going to show me! So, we never got our passports stamped.

Paul went to the insurance office, which was only a matter of meters from the border. I stayed in the Chinook and I staved off window washers. Those guys don’t take “no” for an answer. The insurance office had to call the office in Puerto Peñasco to get the price that Ted negotiated for on our behalf, and it all went smoothly. However, we only got the policy, but not the receipt, which we need to give to our Canadian insurance company for a refund when we return. Something else to do.

Ted and Dona are staying at a full-service park, Playa Bonita, but we stayed just down the beach at Concha del Mar. It is family owned and operated. It is dry-camping, but the showers are hot and free, and for $11/night, we were satisfied. Yes, we were satisfied — until night came.

There is a nearby nightclub that blasts music starting at 10 pm on weekends. That first night (Thursday), it went on until 3:30. However, the next night (Friday), it was much worse. A mariachi band, complete with several trumpets, played from 10 pm – 5:15 am. Then, from 5:15-6 am, it was “open mike”. At that point, I was so delirious from lack of sleep that I couldn’t stop laughing. This one man could only play the low E-string on his guitar while he did some sort of Mexican yodeling.

The next morning, we walked over to Ted and Dona’s park to see if other people had heard it. Yes, it was audible there too. Ted and Dona drove us around to find a new park far from the madding nightclub.

So, on Saturday, we moved to Playa de Oro. It is a full-service park, and more expensive ($22/night), but quiet. Also, the beach is more picturesque and accessible. We stayed there Saturday night and returned to Concha del Mar on Sunday. What a difference a good sleep makes!

Of course, there was still a nearby party Sunday night, but the wind was so fierce that it drowned it out. We stayed from Sunday-Thursday at that park. There are things we liked about that park (the owners and workers and the fact that it was open parking), but it was like staying at a drydock. There was a crew of workers that repaired, washed & waxed, and painted RVs and cars. Most of the work was done on-site, but sometimes they took vehicles to a shop.  For example, Donna Dee had the side of her truck painted ($450 US). They took it to a shop, but most RVs are just done at the park. They actually turn out quite well, considering all the dust and sand.  I was very impressed by the speed and care taken.

One day, Paul asked the owner where he gets his hair cut. The owner said, “My wife. She can do yours too, but she’s up a ladder waxing an RV right now.” Yup. They do it all! The next day, Paul got his $3-hair cut.

Our neighbour had his graphics removed and painted.  It turned out better than new.

On Thursday February 22, 2017, we moved back to Playa de Oro to avoid the nightclub madness (and to get wifi — glorious wifi!). We decided to stay at this park until we leave. It is really cutting into our budget (yes, Mexico is proving to be more expensive than the US for us), but it is quieter and we can walk to more places (and I have wifi to update the blog). The malecon is only a 35-minute walk.

Unfortunately, where there is a beach, there are fireworks.  Also, it was an American long weekend.  Luckily, there weren’t many fireworks, and people called it a night by 9 pm, but still Poppy has to wear her Thundershirt on weekends.


Nevertheless, both girls love the beach.  Poppy chases seagulls and bites the waves.  Daisy just likes a soft landing when she loses her balance.


About Poppy and her slender body — One man asked us if we got her here in Mexico.  No, she just looks like a homeless dog.  A Mexican woman who came to our RV selling snacks told Poppy to “Eat! Eat!” in Spanish.  So funny!

There is an excellent rescue organization here: Barb’s Dog Rescue.  I had read about it a few years ago on a blog.  We met people here in this park who go there to volunteer and they are also fostering a dog in their RV.  They invited us to join them.  I really want to; however, with Daisy’s weakened immune system, we can’t this year.  We will definitely help out if we are back this way next year.  For this year, we can only make food donations.  Thank you to Barb and all the volunteers.

We plan to stay one more week, and then we are heading back north. It’s hard to believe that it will be March on Thursday. Many RVers are already heading back to their home States and Provinces. We won’t be heading back that quickly.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Needless to say, we didn’t cross into Mexico with the “Party Bus.” Since we were so far south, we headed to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. This is a must-see stop for anyone interested in desert landscapes. It is massive (1,338 km²), and you really need a tow-behind vehicle to explore the scenic roads, so we just did some of the hiking trails.


We camped in the park at Twin Peaks Campground. Once again, this is dry-camping only, but the campsites are well spaced, level, and clean.  Actually, this is a very beautiful campground.  The showers are solar heated, so they weren’t attractive at this time of year.  I’m glad we have a wet-bath in our Chinook.


Organ Pipe Cactus

While we were camping, we met Ray from Love Your RV, and his little sidekick, Angie the Beagle. He was producing many YouTube videos during his stay. We have since watched some of them, and they are spectacular.

Our first stop was the Kris Eggle Visitor Center. It was named after a ranger who was killed by a Mexican drug smuggler in 2002. Most of the park was closed after that until 2014. Today, there are armed border patrol officers everywhere, which was strange to see in a national park.


The visitor center has a ranger program, so we stayed for a brief lecture and also studied the exhibits.

The weather was turning, so we decided to stay for the rain and hoped to see this “green desert” turn green.

Dead cacti are also beautiful.  We learned that termites are essential for breaking down deadfall.  Otherwise, the desert would preserve and retain it all.

In the meantime, Ted and Dona and the Party Bus made it to Puerto Peñasco. Ted went to an insurance company there and got us a more reasonable quote ($94 US for one month). However, we would have to cross the border and buy it on the Mexican side. Next stop, Mexico!



Don’t Feed the Coyotes

After we left the Chinook rally, we headed to Ajo and Why, Arizona. Our plan was to meet Ted and Dona in Why and cross the border together on February 11, 2018.

At the Chinook rally, Karen and Kenny told us about a vintage trailer rally that was happening in Why at Coyote Howls East campground. We made it on Saturday evening, but everyone pulled out on Sunday morning, so we didn’t meet anyone, but we did see some beautiful units (too dark for pictures).

Here is one that stuck around after the event:


We set out early Sunday afternoon to buy our Mexican vehicle insurance. At the Why gas station (insurance provider), we were told our Chinook was too old (It’s a 2002, and I guess, in the Mexican world, that’s vintage), so we had to go back to Ajo to buy insurance. Off we went.

In Ajo, we found the insurance company, but the cost for 2 weeks would be almost $400 US! This was way out of our budget. We had until 4:30 to decide before the office closed. However, we couldn’t contact Ted and Dona or Donna Dee to say we would be backing out. We tried to find wifi all over town. There was a campground across from the IGA, so we asked if we could log in briefly because we were getting desperate. They refused!

The IGA helped us out, and gave us their password. Paul tried and tried to contact Ted and Dona, but they were out of range too, so they didn’t get any of our messages. It just so happened that we looked up and saw the “Party Bus” (Ted and Dona’s Airstream motorhome) carrying all our friends that they had picked up at the airport: Joe & Carla, Jane & Garry, Susan & Chris. Off we were, down the highway trying to catch up!

We met up at the Why gas station, where Ted just put liability on the motorhome. It truly is vintage, and insurance is astronomical. Joe had picked up Daisy’s medications in Saskatoon, and delivered them to us. We honestly didn’t think she’d live this long, but as I’ve said before, Arizona has been good to her. We were so thankful to Joe!


At the gas station, you’ll find this “don’t feed the coyotes” sign. We were mocking it because we hadn’t heard any coyotes the previous night. In Saskatchewan, you aren’t camping if you don’t hear coyotes. Well, I learned my lesson about mocking signs. When I went to put the girls back in the motorhome, there was a coyote lurking! He was stalking us. Donna Dee had just let little Tonto scamper about, and the coyote had been watching and salivating. He kept creeping closer to the motorhome, and then backing away. He was so skinny and mangy. He didn’t look like a healthy Saskatchewan coyote. No one would want his fur on a winter parka hood.

Coyote Howls East campground is dry-camping only but there are water spigots and shower houses.  The price was reasonable — $9/night.


Early that evening, a coyote walked past our campsite while we were preparing dinner.  That night, things picked up!  There were coyotes yipping everywhere!  The campground was alive!  Coyotes are bilingual, and one was trying to mimic a dog to lure the girls out.  I made them hold “it” until morning.

I was not going to feed the coyotes.