As we departed the fertile valleys of Safford, Thatcher and Lebanon Arizona with our noses pointed towards Mexico we almost forgot to follow our own rules. We were happy to be on the road again, after the campout in the Auto Zone parking lot. We were ready to be on the sand, with the ocean nearby and our familiar old trailer as a home base. We drove through crazy-hard rain and took a short cut across the Tohono O’odam Indian Reservation to try to get to the border quickly. We would use this short cut to get to the border. We would finish the last hour from border to beach, just at nightfall. Arriving to our destination at dark.
But as with so many plans, Mother Nature had another idea. She decided to offer up copious amounts of water to flow across the desert floor. This flow caused a BIA highway closure, just 45 miles short of our turn off for the border crossing. This meant several additional hours of driving to get around the flooding and back on track. But if we made it an 8 hour driving day AND drove that final stretch of Mexican highway well after dark- we could wake up on the beach!
Rules were meant to be……
There are two ways to complete that sentence. Broken. Followed. We chose “……followed”.
The first rule that we nearly broke was that of long days behind the wheel. Previously we had determined that a 4 to 6 hour driving day is about perfect. Our trip to Colorado reminded us of that. Any more hours than 6 and the driver is burned out, passengers are stir-crazy and decisions are not well-made. Yet, we were about to drive 8 hours in one long stretch, including the floodplain diversion.
The second rule we nearly broke was in regards to night driving in Mexico. This one is a little tricky, because we are very familiar with this particular stretch of highway. We know every bump and turn and ejido along the way. But it is still a risky practice, and one that we should continue to avoid. Yet our desire to get to be beach was a strong calling.
Instead of breaking rules, we learned new information. We stopped in Eloy, AZ to check out the price of showers at the truck stop and compared that to the price of a hotel room. Here is the math on that decision:
Truck stop shower= $13.00 per person per shower visit
Truck stop parking overnight= $Free and noisy
Truck stop breakfast= $8.00 per person for basic food items plus coffee.
Hotel room= $50.00 for two persons including unlimited hot showers and free coffee, free breakfast, free wifi, free ice and no one cared about dogs in the room!
We spent the night in a mediocre highway hotel. We woke up rested, clean and ready to dash across the border in daylight hours and see what Puerto Penasco had going on.