Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Couple of Stops in Arizona and Onto New Mexico

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is a International Biosphere Reserve in the Sonoran desert. Twin Peaks Campground is within the Monument and has around 200 sites. There are pull thru sites with lovely desert landscaping. We stayed here for the Puerto Penasco pre rally in 2012 and will do so as part of next years rally. We decided to spend a few days here before heading north. There weren't many other people here.We seem to be in the time between winter snowbirders and spring breakers and the busy summer season, though summer may not be too busy because of the heat.

We went into Ajo one day to replenish our food supply. Another day decided to check out Darby Wells Road, a BLM free boondocking area that is popular in the winter. We didn't see anyone at all there. Getting too hot I guess. Part of the area is now restricted as it was discovered that some of the land actually belongs to the mines in the area.  So there aren't as many sites for larger rv's it seems.

We were originally going to go to Parker for Michael and Casey's hydroplane races. Then Michael emailed us that he had a trailer problem and he wasn't sure they would be able to go. As we needed to decide which direction to head, we decided to head to Tucson instead. Parker is a little out of the way and suppose to be in the 100's and so we decided to head directly north instead. It turned out to be a good decision as the weekend we would have been in Parker Joe had a stomach flu and wouldn't have been able to watch the races anyway and that heat would be no fun when you are sick.
So, Our next stop was a new one for us. Catalina State Park is a high desert campground just north of Tucson. It is very, very popular site in winter and you need to get reservations way ahead of time. We usually stay at Gilbert Ray as it is a first come first serve campground. We were easily able to get a site. It is at the base of the Catalina Mountains and  is a different look from Organ Pipe. This place doesn't have the typical desert plants but lots of nice shade trees. 

Love the coloring on the mountains in the late afternoon.

We had more shopping to do, with our Trade Joe fix included. We also took care of some other  business in Tucson.

Well, it is getting pretty hot in Arizona and so we will start heading north to hopefully cooler weather. Santa Fe is on the horizon with a stop at City of Rocks, near Deming, New Mexico.
Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Friends, Food, Fun at Rocky Point

We spent a week at Puerto Penasco or Rocky Point. Actually this city was originally named Rocky Point by a retired British Naval Officer exploring and area. Later the President of Mexico gave it a Spanish name, Puerto Puna Penasco and the Puna was later dropped. It is a fishing village that is visited by many Americans, especially from Arizona and California. We were here with the Mexican Connection in 2012 and at that time the economy had not recovered from the downturn of 2008. There were many unfinished buildings. This time buildings have been completed and more going up.
Also lots of road work all over town.
Our first day they we gathered for the first of our happy hours on the beach. Frank and Margaret, who also are part of the Mexican Connection and have a place in Rocky Point stopped by for happy hour. They had just come back from a trip farther down south and had stopped at their Rocky Point house before going back to their Arizona home. They left after awhile with plans for breakfast or what turned out to be lunch the next day. The rest of us had dinner at the Wreck, which is one of two restaurants right next to the RV Park. The food was so so but we had fun just chatting away.
The next day Frank and Margaret took us on a four wheel drive through town. Actually one of the streets was being repaired but hadn't been closed off and so we took the bumpy road. Noticed when we went by that area another day, it WAS closed up. Crazy Americans, they must have thought, driving through construction areas. The restaurant is a very nice one at that top of a hill with great views of the city.
Marg, Orene and Larry

Fraink, Waiter,Larry and Alan

The next day, Another Alan, along with his wife Allie and fur kid, Reggie joined us at the campground. They are another of our Mexican Connection friends. Savannah was especially happy to see her boyfriend Reggie who she immediately ran over to once she saw him. Its Love. Actually everyone in our group have dogs. Larry and Orene brought Ella, who is Orene's sister's dog but who they take care of when her sister is out of the country for one of her job assignments. Alan and Marg have Susie, the Saint Bernard. All the dogs got along splendidly.
We ate out a lot while here though the pricing was more comparable to American pricing. Kino Bay was much cheaper. However, food was good and company great. We ate a few times at Lucky',s, which is on the Malecon, a shopping and restaurant area near the bay. At Lucky's you buy an alcoholic drink and the breakfast is free. It was a big breakfast with two eggs, bacon, ham, potatoes and tortillas. Another day we walked around the street,people refer to as Rodeo Drive with some buying, though Joe and I just window shopped. There wasn't a lot of bargaining and prices seem a little high but also not a lot of pressure to buy like some places in Mexico.

We all liked the Park where we are staying and so Orene and Larry got everything set up with reservations for next year's Mexican Connection Rally in February. It should be a good trip.
We had a lot of wind most of the week but still managed to enjoy sitting outside for happy hours and walking on the beach. One morning we had breakfast on the beach. Alan of Alan and Ellie, who is a southern boy originally from Alabama made shrimp and grits using shrimp he had bought in town  and also added some tasty sausage. . Larry had bought a lot of other stuff and we helped out by cooking the eggs, some with chorizo and some without but with a little cheese. Everything was delicious. Joe and I went back to the Malecon where Larry had bought some fish and bought some ourselves. A lot of fish in fact. We have a new freezer to fill, remember. We got a kilo((2 1/2 LBS)  of the jumbo shrimp(I see bacon wrapped shrimp in the future), a kilo of smaller shrimp and a kilo of flounder.
I guess we will be on a fish diet for awhile. Lots of things going on at the park. There is a pier that they are working on right in front of the park. They plan to have cruise ships come into the city in the future and are working on the pier where they will dock. Not sure how that will affect the park but it won't be done by next year, for sure. There were some horses that some people rode one day though it seemed to be a short ride. Maybe they weren't comfortable riding. And the last few days there was preparations for a wedding that took place on Saturday night. The staff there were installing a floor outside for dining and dancing.It was quite a project.  It had been pretty windy but worked out okay in the end. We ate dinner at the other restaurant by the park on Friday.. Very good food at the  Mare Blu, an Italian restaurant. We will be having one of our group dinners here next year.Larry and Orene left on Saturday. The rest of us had appetizers at the Wreck's outside patio. Later we sat out on the beach watching some of the wedding and later got to see fire works they put on for the wedding group.

Reggie and Savannah want to buy something from these vendors

We really had a great time with a really fun group of people. Alan and Marg are staying on. Sunday we followed Alan and Ellie and Reggie on a different way than when we came in. We still had to go over railroad tracks but they weren't that bad. It was an easy trip to the border where we had a very easy time as the US border though it was a long wait with lots of people going back over the border on Sunday. We are staying at Organ Pipe, which is just a few miles from the border and Alan and Ellie headed on back to their Arizona home.
Oh, can't forget. While there we did manage to watch the Stanley Cup playoffs as the Ducks swept
 the Jets in the first round. Go DUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!! Calgary will be their next opponents.

Monday, April 20, 2015

On the Way to Rocky Point

We spend the night at J & L Repair and the next day they took care of the small repairs and installation of our freezer/refrigerator that is one of our bays in the RV. As it was late in the day when we left, we stopped over night at Spotlight Casino 29 in Indio. We have stayed here a number of times for an overnight stay but never went into the Casino itself. This time we decided to have dinner there. We ate at a restaurant called La Suerte, which has Mexician specialties as well as steak and seafood. I had lobster and shrimp enchiladas and Joe had the chili verde and we shared flan for dessert. Everything was excellent/
The next day we traveled to the Painted Rocks Petroglyphs Site. It is on BLM land and has hundreds of ancient petroglyphs there plus a campground within walking distance of them. It is about 12 miles from Gila Bend where we are set to meet up with Larry and Orene and another couple, Alan and Margorie. The campground is nice and is busy during the winter but there were only a few others in the park when we were there and the day we left we were the only ones there. The campground hosts had left as well.

We took a little walk over to the area where the petroglyphs are.There were also some information on the history of the area.

It was interesting to see that this area was on the Butterfield Trail as that also goes through the Temecula area, where one of the streets is named Butterfield Stage Coach Rd.

We had a nice couple of days here though pretty hot and we are looking forward to a little cooler weather at Rocky Point(puerto Penasco).
We headed to Gila Bend to a Burger King to meet up with our friends to caravan down into Mexico.
Larry and Orene hadn't met Alan and Marg before. They had read about the Rocky Point trip next year and had contacted Larry and Orene regarding this pretrip. They are a very nice  couple, originally from the UK who have lived in Denver for about 30 years or so as I recall. They have been to many of areas of Mexico but not in their RV. They thought it would be nice to be able to travel with other people their first time and so were happy to be able to tag along with us on this trip.
Interesting, once we got there they ended up signing up for a month. No fears of traveling after this easy trip.
After having lunch and getting to know each other we headed south to the border which was about 60 miles. We had an easy crossing with just being waved through with no questions or showing of passports.

It was about another 60 miles or so to Rocky Point with scenic views of the desert landscape. The route was pretty easy. Well, with one exception. Once we got into town we turned down the street that goes to Sandy Beach and the campground, The Reef RV Park. We had to go over some railroad tracks. Larry and Orene went first and though they though they were going slow enough, the tracks were very bad and their dishes fell out of their cupboards and most of them broke. Larry warned us and we tried to go slow but as the motorhome rocked and rolled over the tracks, our back cupboard that has the tv on it with storage behind it opened. Luckily everything that came out just fell on the bed so nothing broken. The hinge was bend but we were able to get the door closed. We definitely planned to seek a different route to leave by and for next year. They are doing a lot of road repairs all over the city but hope it will be done by next February. They are suppose to pave the dirt road into the Campground area by next year as well.
We made it and got set up in our lovely beach front sites. Should be a nice week. Stay tuned.