and Cathy McArthur on
the Road 2005: 3
Wednesday morning, January 12, was very chilly and windy. Bill had to do a lot of work outside to break camp and didn't appreciate the cold air. We drove down to the Western Horizon gate and met Larry and Nancy and Paul and Martha as they drove out onto Route 80. Larry and Nancy acted as Wagonmasters and led us to the parking lot of our mutual insurance agent in Nogales, AZ. We ate lunch and welcomed Melva and Ann Marie when they arrived in their rig. We divided up into two groups: one to buy pesos and the other to shop. After the money group got their pesos, we all met again at Wal-Mart. Then, we headed into downtown Nogales and walked across the border (except for Melva, Ann Marie, and Martha) to do a short walk-around of the Mexican side of the border. The best line that we heard in the midst of the sleazy tourist shops was, "We have everything; if we don't have it, we'll steal it for you." We asked Paul and Martha to drop us off at the Wal-Mart later. We bought a few items, including flowers for Larry and Nancy's 25th Anniversary. On the 1.5 mile walk back to our RV, we stopped by a restaurant, Bella Mia, to look at the menu. We didn't know it at the time, but Melva and Ann Marie checked out the same restaurant a bit later. We all met in Larry and Nancy's rig for a toast to their anniversary and to the upcoming Mexican adventure. Then we all went to Bella Mia for a very good Italian meal. We all tried to turn in early, but we had problems with our battery going dead, running the generator in the middle of the night, and trying to sleep in a very cold RV overnight. It didn't help that the outside temperature dropped to 28 degrees.
We finally got up at 6:00 AM on Thursday morning and fired up our generator for the 3rd time to help us get breakfast ready and to provide warmth to the inside of the RV. We all hit the road in our 4 rig caravan at 7:30 AM. We got our tourist visas and vehicle permits about 10 miles below the Mexican border. We had to stand outside in the below freezing air while the Mexican bureaucrats sat in a heated room behind bulletproof glass. By 9:30 AM we were finally on the road. We had an easy drive for about 250 miles to the El Mirador RV Park in San Carlos. This clean and modern resort is on the Sea of Cortez with beautiful water and mountain views. The air temperature was in the mid 70s when we arrived during mid-afternoon. We found that the clerk that stole Larry's deposit check (and was subsequently fired) gave us a caravan rate of $18 (American) per night. What a great price for the best RV Park that we've ever seen! In addition, we had free wireless Internet access from our RVs. I think that this place might find itself in our future winter travel plans. We ate dinner as a group in the campground restaurant, El Oasis. We had good food, loud music, and verrrrrry sloooow service. Luckily, we had a lot to talk about while we waited for action from our waiter. We celebrated Ann Marie's birthday with toasts at dinner and cake afterward. Our son-in-law Tom sent us a link to a Shippensburg Magazine article about Bill. Our children were all surprised to see it, but Bill had been trading emails with the author for some months.
Friday morning was partly cloudy and warm (but not hot). We lifted weights after breakfast. Later in the morning, Larry drove 6 of us to beautiful downtown San Carlos where we got pesos to pay our lodging bill ($18 per night US) and ate lunch at the San Carlos Grill (named the "biker bar" by Nancy). Bill ate breakfast and the others ate lunch. Cathy and Bill walked back after touring the San Carlos Marina and one of the fishing villages. After a short break at our rig, we walked up to "El Mirador", the scenic overlook above the campground. The coastline is very interesting with lots of coves, cliffs, islands, and beaches. Melva and Ann Marie hosted a cocktail party in their motor home during the evening. Afterward, we returned to our "home" and enjoyed home cooking while we viewed "The Village." Bill liked the movie, but Cathy did not.
On Saturday morning, Cathy scrubbed our windshield cover while Bill worked on the computer. Later, we walked the beach all the way around our cove to an almost abandoned Club Med. It was very spooky exploring this huge facility which was housing about 50 people, but was equipped for several hundred. We walked back on the highway, stopping for lunch at the San Carlos Plaza Hotel, where we ate a slightly pricey lunch on the water in their Palapa Bar. All of the other patrons were Americans, mostly on bus tours. When we returned after a walk of about 7 miles, we went with Larry and Nancy to Guaymas (WHY-moss), a nearby city of 100,000 persons. We toured a small market area and part of the waterfront, and shopped at a large supermarket. Bill had some evening chores, including a hour's worth of work for a client, so Cathy joined the rest of our group for cocktails at Paul and Martha's rig.
Sunday was a very pretty day. After breakfast and weight-lifting, we took a 3 mile run/6 mile walk down the road to the old Club Med. It was warm, almost perfect weather. After Bill got a shower, we ate lunch in the rig. Bill signed up for the NFL Field Pass in order to get the Eagles-Vikings game on Internet radio. Our set of TV channels does not include Fox. It's a pretty weird set of channels: 3 Denver network channels, Superstation, ESPN, and HBO. We went over to Larry and Nancy's rig to watch the AFC game while Bill spun line on his new fishing reel. We had hamburgers and gardenburgers for dinner.
It was a US holiday on Monday, but we hardly knew what day of the week it was. Cathy did a clothes wash; Bill did chores around the rig. Later, 5 of us walked to the San Carlos Plaza Hotel to eat lunch in the Palapa Restaurant. Larry, Pau, and Anne Marie (sorry for previous misspellings of her name) road in Larry's truck. The view was great, but our meals were average to poor in quality. We all drove in to San Carlos after lunch to visit Gary's Dive Shop and check on cruises. We signed up to a 2 hour bay cruise for Tuesday afternoon. Bill and Cathy browsed around San Carlos for a while and walked back to the campground. Bill put a bucktail on his new fishing rod and walked to the nearby beach for some casting and retrieving. At one point, a Comorant chased the lure. A guy walked over and struck up a conversation in Spanish. He said that there are no fish where Bill was fishing. Bill asked about fishing from a kayak and the man pointed to a headland at the mouth of the cove as a possible area to fish from a small boat. Bill told the guy that he has 4 kayaks at home in the US, but none here. We all drove up to the top of the Mirador to see the sunset and just missed it. We all had a pot luck dinner in the campground game room. The core of the meal was a pair of rotisserie chickens. We all supplemented with side dishes. There was plenty to eat, even for Bill, who ate only the meatless dishes.
We lifted weights and went for a walk/run on Tuesday morning. Paul and Martha walked with us as we walked in conditions that were verging on hot. It was beautifully clear and sunny with no wind. Somehow Bill missed the group on his return leg of his jog and ran for 4 miles instead of 3. We regrouped near Club Paradiso and headed back. Afterward, Bill and Paul soothed their muscles in the campground hot tub. Cathy joined the men at poolside and then we picked up a 5 gallon bottle of water on the way back for lunch. In early afternoon, we all piled into Larry's truck and drove down to the San Carlos Marina to take a "bay cruise" from Gary's Dive Shop. It was a nice calm ride around the islands off shore from San Carlos. We saw a number of interesting birds, including some Blue-Footed Boobies. We also saw a Sea Lion and a pair of Pilot Whales. After the cruise and after a short break in the action, we all went up on El Mirador to see the sun set. Bill folded early after dinner.