Friday, December 4, 2015

June 30th, 2015 - Tuscon, Arizona

Although it is now December, and this post actually precedes the previous post (dated July 31), we are finally getting caught up and will start blogging about our driving home adventure from Mexico to Washington state.

We drove north from San Carlos, MX on the morning of June 29th.  We had spent at least a week preparing the boat for storage while out of the water in the work yard. As soon as it moved to the long term storage facility, and we had lined up a local fellow to check on our boat twice a month until our return, we began our journey home.  USA here we come!

Steve, driving the "bus".  Watch out, Mexican pot-hole ahead!  Overall, their roads are
not the best.  Some sections were great. but other's rattled your fillings.

Kevin and Cindy (& Zappa) passing the time as the miles "tick off".
Travelling by RV is so much faster than by boat!

Zappa doesn't seem to mind being on the go.
Boat, car, RV?  He doesn't care...

Driving north, we had hopes of reaching Tucson without the RV breaking down.  We already knew from Steve's drive into Mexico that RV repairs were needed, and we hoped to just make it back to Tucson to the RV shop without a breakdown.  As we drove through one of the Mexican checkpoints near Nogales, we heard some yelling and saw a man at the side of the road waving at us and smiling.  This was the gentleman who towed Steve to a mini-mart parking lot when the RV broke down on the way down.  He looked happy that we were on the road and still moving.  He was giving us a big thumbs up and had a big smile on his face.  I (Steve) will never forget him.  I vividly remember trying to communicate, using my smart phone translator app to explain technical car vocabulary with him.  We went back and forth, trying to figure out how to say "fuel injection", "fuse", "wiring", "short circuit", "neutral", "drive", etc.  It was tough, but he was great.  He was genuinely interested in helping (as are most Mexican's we've met).  You don't realize just how difficult the language barrier really is until you have to deal with it for real.  In most of the places we visited by boat, there was not much of a language barrier.  Broken down on the side of a Mexican freeway, alone.  It was VERY difficult.

Crossing the border at Customs and Immigration was much easier than we had expected.  As we approached the border, there were many Mexicans selling trinkets, all trying to get our attention.  Several locals were motioning us to move to another lane.  We thought that perhaps they were just trying to sell us trinkets, but as we moved over we realized that they were helping us by getting us over into the much quicker bus and RV lane.  Thanks you!!!  Very helpful!  When it was our turn at the border, we approached and stopped.  The officer had us all step out of he RV and asked us some questions.  Immigration boarded the RV to have a look in the refrigerator and freezer to confirm that we only had the items we were claiming.  Phew, Kathy had everything right.  They took our eggs and a couple vegetables.  They looked at Zappa's paperwork, which was fortunately in order.  We were quickly on our way; only about a 15 minute delay in our trip.

Our first night in the USA we stayed at an RV resort close to the freeway in Green Valley.  Our plan was to stay overnight there and then travel north of Tucson to Chandler AZ for the RV repairs the next day.  We rented a car in Chandler and stayed several nights in the area and went sight seeing.  We found a hotel in Tucson that would allow pets.  We stayed there while the RV was in the shop getting a new fuel pump, new shocks, front end alignment, and new springs in the front suspension. We had a very fun time exploring the area around Tuscon.  There is a lot to see near Tuscon.  We could have used a few more days.  Here  are some of the fun places we visited.

Colossal Caves
The entrance to the caves

Inside the caves.  They are absolutely huge!
Very interesting geological formations.

Here you can get an idea of the scale.  This is a big cave system.

Here we are, inside the caves.

Spooky.  Some horror movies have been made in these caves.

Titan Missile Museum

Nice hat!  Outside the Titan missile facility.

Heading down into one of the safest places on earth.
It was designed to survive a nuclear blast/.

Kevin moves a huge door, weighing many tons.  It was built with such precision
that even a child like Kevin can move it.

Wow,   You don't see this very often!  This baby could wipe out half a country.
Thank goodness the Titan missiles never had to be used.

Pima Air and Space Museum

There were so many cool airplanes here.  I bet this was a fun one to fly.

Steve, about to get bitten by a fighter jet.

Outside they had hundreds of aircraft.  It was very hot outside, close to 100 degrees

Hmmmm.   They all look interesting.  Too many planes, not enough time.

Flight simulator.  They are trying to dock an lunar lander with a space station.
It takes teamwork.  They intentionally crashed it several times :-)

Future space explorers Cindy and Kevin.  Maybe not....

Oh no, being sucked into the intake of a jet engine.  It looks painful.

Kevin in a little simulator.  

A docent gave us quite a long history of this plane.  Very interesting.
This is a museum I (Steve) could spend a couple of days in and not get bored.

The worlds smallest plane.  Looks like a bumble-bee!  Barely taller than Kevin.
Steve's room-mate Mark's Dad had a plane just like this.  A late 1940's Ercoupe.
Steve has the original Ercoupe owner's manual in our file cabinet.  Mark's Dad gave it to
Steve when Steve took flying lessons back in the late 90's, in a 2-seat Cessna 152.
Here's a link to the Ercoupe.  An interesting plane:

We've got the whole world in our hands!

We played miniature golf at several different courses.  If we can find those pictures we will post a few here.

It was very nice to be back in the USA.  No language barrier to deal with.  US dollars not Pesos.  Miles not Kilometers.  But it was also a bit strange to be back in our country after being gone for more than 6 months.  I (Steve) can't really put it into words.  But, America seems a little "pretentious".  A bit too "image driven".  In Mexico people don't care much about what kind of car you drive, or what your clothes look like, or how big your house is.  It's a society of much simpler values.  Family values.  Keeping up with the Jones'es doesn't exist in Mexico.  Is it better in Mexico?  I don't know.  I just know it is different.  I hope Cindy and Kevin can see the differences that Kathy and I can see,

More to come!

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