As I was sitting here starting to type this post, a couple walked by in front of my bungalow in La Cruz Mexico. He was wearing shorts, and she was wearing a bikini. I myself am wearing shorts.
Yesterday I talked to a friend in San Francisco, and she told me that they were preparing for a week of storms and rain. Other people have told us about cold temperatures in the Southern USA and Florida.
All this tells me that there will be a lot of people wanting to get their RV some place warm.
If you are a full time RV’er then now is the ideal time to come to Mexico. Many of the RV parks are almost empty this year. The US dollar is at about 13 Pesos. And with the lack of tourists due to the so called recession, there are deals to be had everywhere.
If you are new at this you really do not have to worry. You can cross the border at Nogales and within about 4 hours be ensconced in an RV park in San Carlos. This is the Mexican RV gateway. Here you will find other RV’ers that are either just learning, or experienced Full Time RV’ers that will help you to learn the ropes.
The highway from the border to San Carlos is in excellent shape, with the only hitch being that you have to drive through Hermosillo. But the roads through the city are in great shape and are easily traversed with an RV. About the only thing to be aware of is that you know the names of the upcoming cities so that you will able to recognize the direction signs. There are 2 places in Hermosillo where you have to turn left, so it is prudent to try and stay in the left lane whenever possible.
There is a Costco store in Hermosillo, so if you need a place to stock up on food and liquor you can do it here. There are directions on the Costco website to get to the store.
As you travel south from San Carlos there will be a few more towns that you have to go through, but most of them are easy to navigate. As before just be aware of the names of the town further down the road. This would be exactly the same as driving into San Francisco from the north, and know that you have to watch for signs to Los Angeles and San Diego. Having a good map book like the Guia Roji (Red Guide) available from Amazon is a good idea.
Tolls and Gasoline are both paid cash in Mexico. For the tolls it is a good idea to have money ready, it does not have to be exact change, but you do not want to be sitting there holding up a line of other vehicles. The toll amounts are always marked just before the toll booths, so you know how much you will have to have ready.
Gasoline is always full serve. When buying gas, get out of the rig and watch what is happening at the pump. This is one area in Mexico where you will still find petty theft. Count your money into the attendants hand so they cannot claim that you short changed them. It is also common to tip the attendants. I usually tip 10 pesos (about 80 cents) For a large RV you may want to tip some more.
If you go into any of the large Mexican grocery stores you will find kids and disabled people bagging your groceries. These people are not paid. They are also usually tipped. The going rate is about 1 peso (8 cents) per bag.
Bartering is not commonly found anymore, except for in the village markets and tourist markets. But so many tourists have been paying whatever the vendor asks the first time around that the prices in tourist markets have gone through the roof. A short while ago a vendor tried to sell me 8 blown glass drinking glasses for $100 US. I found them later in the Wal Mart down the street for about $2. US each or a total of $16 dollars. Much later on yet we found a Mexican Restaurant Supply wholesaler who agreed to sell to us. We ended up buying a large box full of the same type of blown glass for about $40 US. So unless you really want to practice your bargaining, stay out of the tourist markets, and buy where the locals shop.
Most of these things are a learning experience. But the other experienced RV’ers that you meet will usually gladly take you by the hand and show you how it is done. They will show you where the American style stores are if you are uncomfortable with the Mexican markets. They will give you directions and suggestions. And in many cases you can find someone to buddy with who is going in the same direction as you.
So take the plunge, Turn south at Tuscon and find the jewel that many other RV’ers have already found.