Saturday, March 31, 2018

A Couple of Days in Hickiwan Trails RV Park

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So here we are in Why, Az.  #1 is the Hickiwan Trails RV park which is just inside the Tohona O’odham Indian Reservation.  Yes folks, they are still Indians in the US of A!  A short 10 mile drive into Ajo and you have it all.  Surrounded by the Organ Pipe Cactus National Park, Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Base and the Indian Reservation with desert, mountains and cactus in every direction. 


Dead quiet here and nice for a few days but after that….what?  Eric says there are lots of people here just getting away from it all. 


Still a few rigs on both sides and you rarely see anyone outside. 


Lots of room out here.

Saturday morning I did laundry in the park which has decent cheap facilities and after lunch it was time to head into Ajo for some groceries.


A quick ten mile trip into Ajo for groceries at the Olsen market/Ace hardware store.  Coming into Ajo I noticed they had done some artwork on the first building as you enter town.  Note the sign “ Revitalize not Militarize.” 


Very attractive and done by talented artists.


One of the big churches in the middle of town.


Town centre.


The quiet main street of Ajo.

My first shopping trip back in the USA is always a shock pricewise.  This is a small town with a good grocery store and it has just about anything you want.  Meat is good at a decent price, nice deli, and hugely expensive vegetables. Add our almost 30% exchange and I just have to close my eyes at the cash register.  It’s always hard after the fresh,  cheap vegetables of Mexico.  I miss my vegetable guy so much!


Heading back and you can see the tailings from the concentration process at the New Cordelia open pit copper mine.  It has been inactive since 1983 but if you read about it on Wikipedia you will see it has had a long and colorful history. 

New Cornelia mine - Wikipedia


10 miles to Why and 103 to Rocky Point.  It’ll really be rocking over the Easter weekend.


Crappy picture but you get the idea of how large the tailings piles are.  

Tomorrow we are off to Quartzite for a few days.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Santa Ana, Sonora to San Emeterio (New Rebuilt Aduana for sticker return) and then Why, Az

It was cool last night in Santa Ana and the temp got down to about 8C.  We were up around 6:30 and I even turned the furnace on for a bit while we had the generator running.  Last night the breaker blew in the house and everyone was out.  We just ignored it and started the generator for what we needed and carried on.  Only 15amp power here and it’s all shared so you can’t run much of anything.


Looking forward towards Edgar’s house.


Three rigs here last night.  The guy in the middle in the airstream was next to us in Los Mochis.  When he set up his electrical last night he pulled out our power and plugged us in above his but as he was doing that he knocked our power off and on about six times.  Maybe you should tell someone you are going to unplug them before you do…right!


Edgar’s sister and nephew were helping him here last year and there has been a lot of cleaning up done.  Edgar is driving the small car on the right now and his pick-up is gone.  The old trailers and junk have been cleaned up and everything is raked up and neat and tidy. 


Looking over the bank west towards the church.


A big improvement. 

When I said good-bye to Edgar this morning he seemed a little brighter and more himself than last night.   This park and the money it brings in is important to him especially as he told me he has bills to pay for Anna’s hospital care and funeral expenses.  A hard life. 


Out of the park at 8:45am and heading out.


Left to Sonoyta for us.


Very quiet this morning.  It is Semana Santa week and the kids aren’t in school and lots of people are on holidays so the roads have much less traffic….bueno!


Onto the concrete highway and onward.   The stretch of highway from Santa Ana to Caborca going north is concrete and although it is quite humpy it’s in good shape.  This was the first concrete highway that we’ve been on in Sonora and it’s been in use for quite a few years.


The scenery along here is beautiful. 


They have been busy painting the run off ditches….why….who knows….very strange!


From Guaymas to Lukeville there are only two tolls.  One just after Hermosillo (199 pesos) and this one the Santa Ana/Altar (276 pesos.)



Coming into Altar and over the newish bridge.


Very artsy lighting.   The spots are bugs on the windshield not the camera!


We stopped at the railroad tracks to donate to the Red Cross and saw this vendor to the right.  I’ll miss the fruits and vegetables of Mexico more than anything else.


The very new, large Aduana for TIP (temorary importation permit) sticker return at Pitaquito that is now abandoned.  Last year when we headed north we stopped here to turn in our stickers.  When we passed San Emeterio (km 21) where we used to turn them in we noted the huge new development and wondered if Pitaquito was going to be shut down.   A huge waste of money for no apparent reason.


Another abandoned facility in Mexico.


Just before Cabora there is a newish Pemex that has a large truck lot out back.  Before we left Mazatlan we’d heard that Papa John had overnighted here and we stopped for fuel and a quick look.


Lots of room here and it’s all paved.  The gas jockey said we could park here and he pointed to the far north end of the lot and said something about water. 


Well these are back in spots that may have power and water although we didn’t stop to look.  There was a bus in one and this would be a dandy overnight stop even coming from Guaymas/San Carlos if you didn’t want to go all the way to the border.  About 1 1/2 hrs from Santa Ana.  Plus the truck computer told us we only paid for 2 litres of fuel that we didn’t get here.  Up the road we usually pay for 4 or 5 that we don’t get! 


Turn left for Puerto Penasco or Rocky Point….a holiday weekend and it will really be rocking!


There is quite a bit of new pavement in the northbound lane and I think it must have been done recently because road reports from a month ago said it was terrible.  Also, this is one of the only places in Mexico where we routinely drive to the right on the shoulder so traffic can pass in the middle. 


40 Km to Sonoyta but first….


San Emeterio and the TIP or sticker return. 


Coming down the long hill and you can see the huge new complex to the left. 


The Federalies are to the right and there are a large amount of new topes to slow you down.  A really good idea because just past this point vehicles are coming out of the new facility.  In the past the trucks would roar through here at high speed as they hit the bottom of the hill.


Now the fun begins.   Where to enter to turn in the stickers.  We’d had numerous reports of where to go but not much was very clear other that the fact that we’d have to go over the edge onto the gravel on the right and make a U turn to enter the facility. 


There are no signs anywhere.  First we pulled off to the right and made U turn heading south and came first to the Bus entrance but weren’t sure we should go in there.  Then we saw the auto entrance but upon looking in couldn’t decide if we would fit under the overhead roofs we would have to pass under.  We are maximum height and maximum width so we stopped in the blocked off southbound lane just past the entrance in to the autos.  I had to move a couple of cones.  Eric walked in to find out what we should do and I waited.  While he was gone an Aduana truck pulled up nose to nose and asked if we needed help.  Yes please!  Eric was just coming back and said the lady told him to go into the auto entrance.  The aduana worker said follow him and that we should enter with the buses so we U turned again and followed him. 


We entered here and to the left up ahead you can see the auto entrance and cars. 


It was busy in where the cars were and they were as confused as we were.  I saw cars backing out of the truck lane as there are “ No signs” alerting you as to where you should go.


Here we are parked behind the Aduana and it would appear that we could get out straight up ahead.  Nope.


Eric went inside and I took pictures of the auto area.  You must pass under both of the sets of rooves and you would have to park in one of the travelled lanes to stop and turn in your sticker. Friends of ours just unhooked their towed outside on the gravel and drove in but I wonder if a 40foot motorhome with a towed could get through the auto area and then park. 


You can see just behind the RV is where we will have to back up and exit from.


The buses leave here and the curb on both sides is covered with rubber.  Under no circustances do we want to rub the sidewall of our tires.   That is just asking for a blow out.


This is where the buses pull in and park.


The huge, elaborate, air conditioned, oversized Aduana. 




The Aduana worker confirmed that this is where RV’s are supposed to come to turn in their TIP’s (stickers.)  When I mentioned ( no senales grande problemo…no signs big problem) he shrugged and said it was nuevo or new.  Right….I’ll bet there aren’t any signs next year either.  So….a motor home would have to park along the yellow lined curb on the left making sure to stay far enough back that they could pull out and make the turn through the small cut in the curb.  Not easy. 


Don’t get too close to the cut where you exit or you can’t make the turn without barking your tires. 


Here we go.




Made it because we were almost straight on when we exited. 


Here we are parked just south of the Aduana behind the restricted area and look at all the room out here.  Perhaps we could have exited the bus area and parked out here and turned in the sticker. 


Leaving through the truck exit and then we’ll head north.


The car entrance where I moved a cone and we parked at the edge of the south bound lane.


Bus entrance which you can’t enter without making a U turn. 


Truck entrance. 

So let’s recap….coming from the south you first see the truck/bus exit,  then the auto exit, then the auto entrance, then the bus entrance and finally the truck entrance.  Which one do you want to enter….auto or bus….well you’ll have to choose.  P.S. there is no immigration here anymore and you can’t turn in you tourist visa.  We’ll try and do that at the border. 

Without a doubt this is much worse than Pitaquito where there was lots of room to maneuver.  Also worse than the old facility here where we used to just pull into the blocked off southbound lane and the aduana worker would walk out and do the sticker removal.


New pavement and heading north. 


Burning something over to the left.


Quiet through Sonoyta too.


Straight ahead for the USA.



At this point we have parked the RV before entering the border crossing.  We parked in front of a pottery vendor and walked to find immigration to return our tourist visas. 


This is the building in the center. 


We had to go to the left and cross the southbound traffic lanes to the immigration.  You could possibly park up here but it would be a crap shoot if it was busy.  We preferred to just park and walk in.


Walking back to the rig and to the right you can see the Arm has an RV pulled over in the middle.  We were asked to pull in there as well.  They had a quick look and sent us onward. 


Heading into the USA crossing and you can see there isn’t much room to park an RV to turn in your tourist visa if it’s busy. 

When we stopped the border agent asked if we had anything to declare and I said no.  I guess I should have mentioned the lettuce and chopped pineapple but I didn’t.   They had the straight ahead lanes blocked off and everyone was funneled through the check points to the right and everyone was checked before leaving.  This is the first time this has happened here and I wasn’t as careful with my freezer as I should have been.  I waited outside while the nice french (go figure) border agent checked inside.  When he came out he said that I should have made a list of what I had.   I’m never sure what is banned in any given year but he did take away my bacon.  He left my WalMart chicken and a pork chop which are also banned.  He said “ no pork, chicken or turkey.)  That’s all he took.  He was very nice and not agressive about it.  So you will get checked going out through Lukeville. 


Onward to Why.


We arrived at about 2:30 pm which means about a 5 1/2 hr trip which isn’t bad considering a fuel stop, sticker turn in, tourist visa return, Army check, border check and travel time. 

I tried to check in at the office but there was a sign saying she would return some time and a phone number to call.  I called and there was a message so we just parked.  She called back a bit later and said she’d return in a couple of hours and that it didn’t matter where we were as it was first come first served which is different than what she said last year. 

Eric had to get his hand saw out to prune a nasty prickle tree that was hanging over the pad and scratching the rig as we backed in.  We could have moved but this was the only one suitable on the desert row with a view where we prefer to park.  The water for our site wasn’t working and neither was the water in the adjacent site.  We had to run a 50 foot hose to another site to get water.  The Indian Band took the park management over last year and it doesn’t seem to be any better than it was before.  No Wifi but the water and power are fine now.  We’ll stay 3 nights and then move on.

Quiet, quiet, quiet which is just what we need after the last few days.