X-Type: Email; Outmail
Subject: Mexico Travelogue
The Mexican Adventure of Ed and Edith
As I told you in the last E-mail travelogue of our Alaskan Adventure there would be no travelogue of our winter snowbird trip to the Southwest but there would be a travelogue of our trip to the Maritime Provinces and New England this summer and fall.
Well I have decided to do a travelogue of our Mexican adventure as it is most WORTHY of ADVENTURE STATUS!!!! I thing you will enjoy this!
It all started before I retired in that for some reason I have this attraction for Mexico despite how dangerous everybody tells me it is and all the horror stories that you hear about. First and foremost I have to give Edith a lot, and I mean a lot of credit for having the "GUTS" to do this.
I have been researching on the Internet and asking questions of everybody but basically about 99.9% of all I could find out was via the Internet. About a year ago I got in communication with WD9EWK Patrick in Glendale, AZ and he has helped me through a very difficult process of getting an amateur radio license. One of the main reasons I wanted a license is so I could get and send E-mail from Mexico and maintain contact with some of my radio friends and my son Curt and to have the fun of working people from Mexico as there are a lot of people who want to make a contact with Mexico.
Now the adventure begins! To go into Mexico past about 21 kilometers you need a tourist permit and you need a vehicle permit. To go across the border you need Mexican car insurance as your US insurance is worthless in Mexico. In the first part of February we arrived in Douglas, AZ via Florida , Pharr, TZ and one across. We parked our pickup right by the border and walked over into Mexico to get our tourist permits and vehicle permit. I needed a tourist permit to be able to apply for and get a Mexican Amateur permit. What we found was the only a very, very few spoke any English at all and those that did just a tiny bit. The only way we pulled it off was some kind people standing in line that could speak both English and Spanish so we figured out where to get my FMT (tourist permit).. You fill out a form and showed them my passport. We then had to go to the bank and pay for it. They were able to do it with American dollars. The bank then stamps that the fee was paid. We then when back to the same office and he stamped it approved and then we had copies of it made and stood in line to get our Vehicle permit. You also have to have a credit card otherwise they make you post a huge bond. When the gal found out we could not speak Spanish so said OH YI YI YI YI. We struggled through it and she showed me where to sign and charged the fee on my credit card. I did this not only so we could go down deep into Mexico but also because I needed a FMT before I could get an amateur license.
We then went back to the car and since we knew the ropes, rather than wait we got Edith's passport and went back across the border and got her FMT. She did not need a vehicle permit as she can drive as long as I am in the vehicle.
I maintained contact with Patrick-WD9EWK in Glendale, AZ on getting the amateur license. He has a friend, Alex in Mexicali, Baha California and we sent all the paper work to him and the money and he was going to get the license for me. We sent it Fed Ex but it did not get there in time before he was coming to a meeting in Phoenix where he was going to hand deliver it to Patrick. So when I got to Glendale Patrick said he would take me to Mexicali and we would do the paper work so I went to Kinko's and made all the copies again and ran a trace on the Fed Ex package as I was a little concerned if the package was stolen or not. Eventually it showed up, the private mail box on the USA side the Alex uses somehow took about a week to get it in his box so he just tore up the check and kept the paper work until I got the license. Patrick speaks some Spanish and we pulled it off. The forms are totally in Spanish, no speaks a word of English and again as always in Mexico you got to the bank and pay for things, get it stamped paid and bring it back before the final permit is stamped approved. It took about an hour. Patrick gave me a tour of Mexicali, got the experience of crossing the border in a car, the procedures and then waited in a long line to get back to the USA at San Louis south of Yuma. We also ate at a Sanborn's restaurant, learned some Spanish words and found I could read or figure out quite a few words on stores and signs, etc. I could see going to Mexico without knowing Spanish was going to be an adventure when we got back I started in great earnest learning some Spanish with some tapes we had been using that we got in Tucson a few days before we came to Phoenix. We had a good time at Phoenix and then headed for Why, AZ and stayed on BLM land in the dessert "BOONDOCKING". We were waiting for two new countries to come on the air, North Korea and Ducie Is. North Korea did not happen as the military there aborted the effort at the last minute so the fellows from Europe doing it had to pack up and go home. Ducie Is. ended up being several days later than expected so time was slipping away for our Mexico trip as we need to be home by April 8th for an Income Tax appointment.
While we were waiting for the fellows to get to Ducie Is. we touring Organ Pipe National Monument, went to the Kitts Peak Observatory west of Tuscon and toured the Aho area and at the museum we met a voluteer who was retired who had spent two years in South America so we had a great visit with him about speaking Spanish and learned some words from him. He though we were doing pretty good. Edith has been working hard on her Spanish also.
The neatest thing about Why was the snowbirds who stay there all winter and people coming through go into Why to the community center and have things going on. There is a breakfast every week, a music jam on Thursday night and a dance on Friday night and gospel music on Sunday night. We visited with people there who stayed in the various parks or south of town at the BLM sight where we were staying. We walked around a lot and visited with people who are parked over a couple of mile area and learned a lot. Many of these were full timers!
After checking in Tucson, talking to a lot of people and doing a lot of research on the Internet I bought Mexican insurance in Aho, AZ from a place several people recommended. They answered all my questions and I ended up buying a year policy for about the same price as a 2 week policy. The deal is the companies really hit up the people just going for a short time. This way we can go again next year on the same policy.
Since Ducie Is. still was not on and our insurance start date had arrived we went to Rocky Point ( Puerto Penasco). Which is on the Sea of Cortex on the west coast of Mexico not to far south. You do not need and FMT or vehicle permit to go there but of course you need Mexican Insurance. Well it was spring break and there were kids every where but it was beautiful and we checked out several trailer parks and went to all but one beach; although we seen it from a distance as the line up of spring break cars was like a mile long!!!! I walked through one of the Playa Elegante RV park and found many snowbirds parked for the winter and found a SD 34 license plate. I find out they were not from SD but full timers out of CA and use a company in Emery, SD for a PO Box and they take care of there licenses, mail, etc. They were very nice and told me a lot about the area and staying there. In the summer they go to Jackson Hole, WY as volunteer Park Rangers. BTW entering Mexico at Lukesville, AZ with got the green passe light so no problem and coming back in was just the normal did you buy anything and we were back in the USA. When we got back I checked for Ducie Is. and did not hear anything so I took a walk and some full timers from BC Ca;nada ;who had solar panels and injects propane into his diesel right after his super charger. They also gave me some BLM information on camping in Ca and camping in San Felix, Baha Califormia. When I got back to the 5th I found Ducie Is. was on and the pile ups were huge! We had put up a beam that was about 33 feet high and with my battery bank I can run a 599 watt amplifier. I worked them on SSB on two bands and Edith on one but we also wanted to work them on CW. We stayed up most of the night in shifts and finally by about mid-morning we both worked them on CW.
[MID: 1308_W0SD Sent Via: K6IXA Date: 2002/03/21 08:48:58]