9/13/2012 – Back in Mexico

Ye gods, it’s HOT down here.  Maybe not any hotter than it was in Florida or Phoenix but there we were always in an air-conditioned car, house, or motel room.  And speaking of cars, in Phoenix, Fox Rentals didn’t have any economy cars available so they fixed us up with something else at the same price.  We had our choice of three different cars.  Can’t remember what the first one was but the other two were a Mustang and “a 300”. What’s a 300 I asked.  The girl behind the counter said it was a Chrysler 300 and it was really nice.  So, that’s the one we took.  NICE is right!  All leather interior, separate climate control for the driver and the passenger, adaptive cruise control, parking assistance (we didn’t get a chance to use either of those), TV camera for backing up, windshield wipers that adapted their speed to the intensity of the rainfall (got to use that the first night we were there), and GPS.  There were a ton of other features that we didn’t have time to explore since we only had the car overnight.  Sure had fun with the GPS though.

Our first night in Phoenix was spent at a Days Inn.  Took us awhile to find it (we hadn’t started using the GPS yet) but eventually we did.  Checked in, put beers in the fridge and headed out to a 24-hour diner to get some food.

The next day we headed over to Bill and Elli’s house where their daughter, Leah, had been  stockpiling our loot as it arrived.  We really weren’t sure what to expect as we had sent some from Oregon but we had also had some shipped directly to their house.  Leah had told her folks that she hoped we were bringing a truck as there were about 10 big boxes.  Yikes!  That didn’t sound good as we needed to fit all of it, plus us, plus Kevin, plus whatever Kevin had with him into Kevin’s Prius.  Lulu kept telling me, “no problem” and I kept saying “I hope not”.

When we got to Bill & Elli’s we were greeted with a huge mound of boxes.  We started unpacking everything and breaking the boxes down for recycling.  As we unpacked, we removed any packaging on the items and repacked everything into duffel bags and a few shopping bags.  Couldn’t do much about the toilet and sanitation hose or the holding tank but our goal was to consolidate and make the load not look like a load of expensive new stuff as we passed through Mexican customs.  Ultimately we got everything repacked and stowed in the rental car which was a whole bunch bigger than a Prius.

The only casualty we found was one of the new winches.  The upper crown, which is made of a composite material, was broken.  It looked like it had been opened and then repackaged carelessly as the other one, the one that had not been opened, was completely intact.  I suspect the $1000 of insurance on each package as well as the weight of the small boxes piqued some postal employee’s curiosity and he/she just had to have a look.  And here’s the result:

Thank you, United States Postal Service.

I’ve started an on-line claim with the USPS but I don’t really hope for much.  All we want is payment to replace the broken piece, which should be less than $50.00 but, again, I’ll be surprised if we get it.  One of the requirements is that we might have to bring the winch and the packaging to a Post Office for examination.  Tough to do from Mexico.  Tried to do a preemptive strike by having a local postal authority pre-inspect the winch/package but no go.  We’ll see how it goes but I don’t expect much.  Fortunately, this is probably the cheapest piece on the winch.  Of course, the hassle will be getting the new piece to us.

One other thing was missing from our stash of loot: the last front engine mount (actually a vibration isolator).  It was supposed to be on its way from the factory to Cook Engines in Portland on the day we left for Florida and then it was to be overnighted to Phoenix.  But it wasn’t there.  I called Cook and they said that their records showed it should have arrived at their place middle of last week but it hadn’t.  And this is an expedited order!  Sure glad the rest of our order didn’t have to be expedited.  We’d still be waiting to see it. Not much we can do.  Cook assured me they’d get on the factory (again) and ship it to our Phoenix address no charge.  Of course, that means we still have to figure out how to get it down here.  I’ll just breathe easier when the winch piece and the motor mount are both in Phoenix.  Maybe we’ll rent a car or take the bus or find someone traveling down here from Phoenix who can bring it along.  Or maybe Bill & Elli will come back down sooner than expected.  Anyway, just another ex-pat adventure.

After returning our rental car (sob…) Kevin picked me up and took me back to our room at Motel 6 in Chandler, AZ.  He looked at our pile of loot and said that he didn’t think there’d be any problem stowing it in the car.  OK, so that’s 2 optimist votes.  We’ll see.

This motel room was about the worst we’ve ever had, except for the one in Washington many years ago where sewage started backing up through the shower drain and flooded the bathroom and part of the rest of the floor. That didn’t happen here and was unlikely to since we were on the second floor.  Hey, maybe that’s why I always opt for a second floor room now!  Anyway, this room was dirty, missing some of its bathroom linen, missing a TV remote, had no alarm clock or any clock of any kind, no coffee maker, no microwave (c’mon, even the cheap motels provide these nowadays).  And, to top it off, my cell phone (I guess) kept demagnetizing the room key card making it inoperable.  Maybe I should quit picking the cheapest motels.  But, in truth, even the cheapest motels seem overpriced to me.

After a largely sleepless night in which I would wake up every 1/2 hour or so, put on my glasses, and check the time on my watch, we got up at 5:00.  Kevin was there by 5:30 and we loaded up.  Amazingly, the optimists were right.  Everything stowed nicely and there was room for at least a little more stuff.  Check it out:

Plenty of room

Lulu shared the back seat with the toilet, hoses, holding tank and a couple of bags:

IN retrospect, probably should have inverted the holding tank so it wasn’t poking in to the Kevin’s back.

With everything safely stowed, our next hurdle was Mexican Customs.  My understanding is that you have to pay duty if the value of the stuff coming in is over $500 per person.  There were three of us so we were allowed $1500.  Our stuff, being marine stuff, was naturally valued considerably higher than that.  I had receipts but didn’t want to show them unless asked.  Having everything unpackaged so that nothing appeared new would probably help but a GREEN light at Customs would help even more.

At our first Customs (Aduana) stop just south of Nogales, we got a RED light.  We pulled into the parking spot and a young man had us open the hatchback.  He asked about the winch that was still in the box (so we could hold on to the pieces) and Kevin explained that it was for a sailboat.  He seemed satisfied.  Then he lifted the small green duffel (on the top of the pile) a little, set it down, patted the top, and sent us on our way.  I suspect that it ll just looked like so much luggage to him.  We happily drove on.  One more, larger Aduana to go a few more miles down the road.  As we approached the second Aduana, we were somewhat optimistic because of our previous experience.  As it turned out, we got a GREEN light so we were home free.  Although we were concerned that we would have to pass through a military checkpoint or two, we weren’t worried.  We had no contraband but we would have to unpack and repack the car.  Amazingly, there were NO checkpoints on the southbound road all the way to San Carlos.

We arrived at Marina Seca in San Carlos about 1:00 or 1:30 PM, unloaded our stuff, gave Kevin a tour of Chamisa (Kevin’s boat is a small trailerable sailboat so we figured he’d get a kick out of checking out a 42 footer), and then settled back in to Chamisa as Kevin headed back to his home in Desemboque.

After a couple of cold cervezas at the Tequila Bar  Restaurant, we walked to the grocery store to get fixins for dinner.  Lulu made arroz con pollo which tasted awfully good after so many restaurant meals.  We settled in and watched and episode of “Modern Family” and “Heros” and hit the rack about 9:30. Slept like babies and sweated like pigs (although pigs don’t actually sweat) all night long.  Now we’re ready to head over to Marina Seca to restow our gear and arrange to be moved to the work yard.

Good to be home.





About sryoder

Steve & Lulu... retired. Had enough of the cold wet dreary fall/winter/spring in the Pacific Northwest. Bought a boat, fixed it up, sold our home and sailed to Mexico in November, 2010. Been here ever since except for occasional forays to the States (summer only, thank you) to visit the kids, parents and siblings. If you're looking for a sailing blog, this is the wrong place. This is a traveling, hunkering in, eating blog. Sailing is just how we get from place to place when we can't walk.
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6 Responses to 9/13/2012 – Back in Mexico

  1. Alan & Elizabeth says:

    Steve & Lulu,
    Welcome back to Mexico. Good luck on completing all the projects and getting Siempre Sabado back in the water. We’re still in La Paz waiting on the autopilot, but I’ve told the guy to just bring it back. After being here since June, I have more friends and resources than I did when I arrived. I’m confident I can get it working again “with a little help from my friends.”

  2. Joan/Raymond Yoder says:

    Chrysler 300 is the car that Larry B. drives. Probably similar to our Dodge 880 that we had many years ago, a young fellow who I shall not name but his initials are Stephen backed into a tree. Dad comes home tomorrow, yea. Love, Mom

    • sryoder says:

      Let’s see, 61 minus 16 equals… HOLY CRAP! That was 45 years ago!!! Cut a guy a break! And believe me, a 2012 Chrylser 300 is NOTHING like a 1964 Dodge 880. I mean, not even kinda.

  3. Sounds like you and Lulu had a great vacation. Now get back to work! 😉

    • sryoder says:

      Thanks Cidnie, I needed that (like I need a space heater right about now). Not looking forward to the work as it’s WAY hot and humid here right now. But, no whining! We shall persevere! Still and all, it’s great to be back in Mexico, heat or no.

  4. Dani says:

    Glad you made it home in one, even if your winch did not! Too bad about that, but I guess they say you can’t win em all. On the bright side it sounds like you flew through customs, and that’s great advice to unpack everything to make it not look new.

    Hopefully the weather will start cooling down for you as it is here.

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