Before we headed out of Las Vegas, we needed to find an RV wash and get rid of all the salt and snow off Ruby. Can you believe it took us 4 days to find a self serve RV wash?! We finally found one in Henderson, NV and I hope you are all sitting down when I tell you it was a total of $20 to fully wash the bus and car – it took us 2 hours – this would have cost us a helluva lot more in Canada!
Headed down to Lake Havasu so Todd could show me where we bought Ruby from and we were going to say Hi to her former owner, but when we stopped by he wasn’t home. Lake Havasu is famous for the London Bridge – some guy named McCulloch (chain saws?) bought it for $2.5Mil, and then took another $4.6 Mil to disassemble, transport and reassemble in Lake Havasu. It was all lit up for Christmas that evening and very cool to see this beautiful structure in the middle of small town USA. Here’s a link if your interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Bridge_(Lake_Havasu_City)
We boondocked 4 km’s south of Havasu for the night on a sandy dune. By 7:30 am we were heading south towards Quartzsite. If you haven’t heard of this place either, it’s the boondocking capital of the world (of course because every town/city has to be something of the world in the US!) They also have the largest RV show in the world (shocking I know!). We stopped in to one of the BLM office (Bureau of Land Management – here is the website: https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/camping ) and chatted with the nice people about how this works. So basically if you want to dry camp/boondock its $40 for 14 days / $80 for 4 weeks and this allows you to camp in 7 locations throughout California and Arizona and also includes the cost of potable water fills, garbage and sewage dump the entire time. She also said a lot of Canadians opt for the 7 month option with is $180! This is a cheap way to vacation / retire! We grabbed a pamphlet and said, that’s what we will do next year!
From here, we continued to drive south through Yuma. The only thing I knew about this place was lettuce! This is the lettuce heartbeat of the US – and a lot of it comes up to Canada. AND there are a lot of lettuce recalls from this area (says Food Safety Jill!). There were some feed lots in the area and a guy bathing in the open irrigation canals, so maybe not surprising that this happens to lettuce! Also Yuma has sand dunes – who knew! We pulled over and took some pics of people dune bugging, I had no idea that this happened down here. We also saw the “Wall” along the highway and portable security cameras as well. It was bizarre to see this.
We arrived at Calexico, parked at Walmart and it was like we were already in Mexico. None of the Walmart associates spoke English! Calexico is a big crossing and we had read quite a few reviews about the wait times to get across and if you are in a big rig, there aren’t always places to park at the border, to go inside and get your tourist card. So after a bit of back and forth discussion, we decided to walk across the border the day before and get the tourist visa. The walk across option was not well marked – we didn’t know where to go or what to do, so we just walked and random border crossing people just came up to us and asked us what we were doing. We ended up in the right place – the border guy changed his mind when he told us the price. He said $525, I mean $550 per person (our first scam!). We just paid it, took our card and left.
We wanted to be at the border by 6/6:30 to avoid the wait and to ensure we had enough room for Ruby. As it turns out, we were the only big rig and maybe 2 cars were there. Again, the signage was poor, and an agent waved at us and guided us through a VERY NARROW lane, we didn’t think we were going to make it. Thank goodness Todd knows how to drive this beast, because it was TIGHT! He came within millimeters of hitting the sides of the customs lane with the mirrors and managed to slightly drag the honda over a tight curb! We let the agent come inside, gave her our documents and then, the only questions we got from her was can I come inside and take pictures? She didn’t give two shits about what we had on board. We were across in 10 minutes.
After a quick stop for groceries at the dirtiest, smells like pee inside Walmart – we were heading south on highway 5 towards San Felipe! This highway was pretty quiet and a lot of sand dunes again. Apparently this is what Baja is famous for (I had no idea). We were moving at a pretty good pace when Todd saw rubber flying in the mirrors – he quickly pulled over and realized we has no front passenger tire – it was blown out and riding on the rim! Whoops! We pulled over quickly and changed it out for the spare. Got back on the road and through the military check, where the inspector came on board and checked us out for I don’t know what – illegal guns? I have no idea. He said good and we were on our way, when Todd stopped again – and realized the front left tire was also blown out and we were driving on that rim too! We forgot to put the key in that morning for towing, so the bus, with its 500 HP burnt the tires right off the car because the steering lock was on (Honda). We detached the car and I drove it a km down the road on the rim, that just so happen to be a tire mechanic shop in the middle of no where. The guy took our beat up rim, straightened it out and gave us a used tire installed for $25 (can you believe it?!), as he wanted us to get to San Felipe safe! Gracias mechanic!
We arrived at our destination Village Marino Camp Turistico – our RV spot on the beach around 1:30pm. This is a beach haven – miles and miles of unending beach in both directions.
What we learned this time:
- We are blue color bus owners (we refuse to pay someone to clean our bus, like everyone else does and we don’t use de-ionized water to clean her either)
- Every happily married couple needs to use their walkie talkies
- We need a checklist for critical items and then always double check for those critical items! (i.e. Leave key in car and steering unlocked!)