San Carlos

We’re on the fun side of the wall. I just had to poach that phrase from Suzanne – love it. Just today we’re driving down some small town roads, all 6 rigs, and everyone from kids to adults wave to us as we go by, couldn’t get a better welcome anywhere.

OK back to last Monday when we all first gathered in the casino parking lot and eye’d each other out wondering what have we let ourselves in for. Wagon masters Barbara & Mark gave us the lowdown on driving in Mexico and then announced a 6 am departure for the next day. Lo and behold we were all up and ready to go at the allotted hour.  Still one hour of darkness as we made good time down to Nogales where we chose the truck (and others) bypass to avoid the city center.

It’s now 7 am and cold, freezing, and on the USA side they make you slow down & stop so they can photograph your license plate. Awhile later, in Mexico, they wanted to match our current license document with the VIN of the vehicle and then we’re off again down to Km 21 where you need to apply for your vehicle license and tourist card.

Our motley crew at KM21 from Nogales to get our vehicle permits.

It’s now 7:30 am and still cold. There is a shift change at 8 am and the old shift did not want to start the paperwork with us so we have to wait until the new shift is ready and then start the process, yes, we’re in Mexico. We had original documents and copies of everything. First the Tourist cards for each of us, $30 each and VISA is accepted. Then the vehicle permit which varies depending on the type of vehicle you’re driving. For our RV it cost around $60, we did not have to leave a deposit like you have to for trucks, and it is valid for 10 years but if you do not turn it in before then they will not give you a new one.

Must have taken us 1.5 hours before we all were in order and then it was down into Mexico proper. The roads vary. Nice 4 lane highways but also lots of construction where they put you over to the other side, one lane only, and then back again depending which side they’re working on.

Nice 4 lane concrete highway.

Our first destination was Totonaka RV park in San Carlos. The place is packed. Full of gringo’s, lots from Canada, who come down here for half the year to escape the cold and enjoy a cheap cost of living.

Our welcome dinner with Gabriel in San Carlos.

We have a welcome dinner and are joined by the tour owner, Gabriel, who reminds me of my first boss in the USA an Indian named Ashok, I’m curious to find out more about his story.

When in Mexico the Mariachi will play.

Next day we have a tour laid on – no rest for the wicked! There is a Delfinario here and when they said we were going to see seals I thought they were in the ocean along the cliffs. Noways. This is serious business and we had a show put on all for ourselves. I took one or two photo’s then the battery gave up but there was an official photographer there and we bought a package deal from her.

Rose and her new seal friends.
View from the Delfinario.
Dolphin pool.
Our entertainers.
First you say Hello.
Then you kiss.
That’s Rose in red orchestrating.
Group with the sea lion.
That’s Carlos, our guide, center stage.
Why me?
He has a mischievous eye.

I have never been one who enjoys viewing animals in captivity but I must admit that I was taken by the performances put on by these creatures. Now, as I write this and google a few concepts I see that this Delfinario is very controversial and that they have a hard time keeping the water conditions right for the dolphins to live in. I go back to my original premise that I do not like to see animals in captivity.

Pearl shack.

Next stop was a pearl factory and a detailed presentation of what it takes to produce a pearl “in captivity”. They claim to have around 50,000 oysters in the ocean and it takes regular maintenance where the oysters are moved from one type of “net” to another as they grow. Finally when the oyster is ready to be impregnated a technician performs an operation where a small plastic sphere is inserted into the correct organ of the oyster. Way more effort than I ever imagined.

Managing the pearl oysters.
Finished product.
Even the non-pearl oysters are fashioned into jewelry.
San Carlos area.
A piece of San Carlos.
Happy hour.
Then sunset behind the tits of a goat.

Next day we’re on our own and my Trailforks app shows a ride along a dirt road nearby. We ride a few miles east along the road then branch off onto a dirt road that quickly throws up a gate across it. People seemed to have walked around the gate which was only blocking vehicular traffic and we continue. Nice to get the backcountry feel. The dirt brings us back to the paved road and we head for “The Soggy Peso” bar. Soggy Peso has it’s attraction because of The Soggy Dollar we’ve visited on Jost Van Dyke’s White Bay in the BVI.

Found some dirt for our bikes.
I’m sure it’s derived from the Soggy Dollar on Jost Van Dyke .
View across the bay to Marina Real.

Significance is that Marina Real, in the distance, is where we left from to help crew Stan & Heather’s boat down around Cabo and up to San Diego in 2006.

2006 revisited. Phil, Andre, Heather & Stan and the delivery of Elegante.
Stan & Heather’s boat – Elegante.
Can’t get away from those tits.
Totonaka RV park.
Us in our nondescript site #64.

Next stop is the beach at Huatabampito …….