Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Journey through fear to Rocky Point, Mexico



Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco, Mexico) beach area


You drive thru Organ Pipe N.M. to get to the border crossing
You would think that after traveling alone for 8.5 years throughout North America and making a trip alone to India while on crutches, that traveling 60 miles south of the US border by myself would be no big deal, but in my mind it was.  Traveling south of the border always conjures up images of banditos with big guns wanting pay offs, drug shoot outs, theft and run down dirty towns with people on every street corner wanting to make me a deal on something I don’t want. As you can tell, my exposure to Mexico has basically been in border towns.  Having spent 6 winters along the Tex/Mex border I found out that unlike Vegas, much of ‘what goes on along the border, stays along the border’ and is never reported.  

Good signage all the way down
Over the last fews years I have met more & more people in my travels that just love Mexico and several of who spend  5 - 6 months every year down in Rocky Point.  Their stories of beautiful beaches, crystal clear water and gorgeous sunsets certainly peaked my interest.    I just had two problems.   The first being location.  Puerto Penasco (aka Rocky Point) is not only located 6o miles south of the border, it is 40 miles south of the town of Ajo,  which is over a 100 miles from either Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma and not necessarily on the way to anywhere unless you are going/coming from Tucson and Southern California which I happened to be doing last spring.  When I got to Ajo last spring, problem #2 kicked in.  Problem #2 was fear.   Fear of driving 60 miles into Mexico by myself.  The visions of being stopped by armed banditos and never being heard from again won out over my desire to go see this place for myself and I went on to Tucson without visiting Rocky Point this past March.

Fast forward to this fall and I am again in Tucson and headed to Southern California.  This time I have friends in Tucson that I convince to take the foray into Mexico with me, so I feel much safer.  Ultimately the timing did not work out & they could not come with me.   When I left Tucson, after spending the evening before reading the Phoenix Sun articles about violence in Mexico and the downturn of tourists going to Rocky Point I was resolved to skip it once again.  I was yet again succumbing to the fear of the 'what ifs'.

Beach in front of Playa Bonita RV
RV Park - Playa Bonita
 As I pulled into the Shadow Mountain RV park, I asked the woman camp host, about the safety of going to Rocky Point alone.  She assures me that I would be fine but confesses she has only traveled with her husband down there recently.  I ask if I could borrow him for a day and luckily she laughed.  As I check in, I asked the manager,  about Rocky Point and she too assured me that I would be fine, gave me a map and outlined places for me to go.  She explains that Rocky Point is the beach playground for Arizonians and that most of the folks traveling the road will be from the US.  This began to quell some of the fear demons wreaking havoc in my mind and I resolve to just go for it & whatever happens will just happen.  Once I made the decision and decided I was going with or without fear, I got excited.   I wasn't just excited about discovering Rocky Point, but because I had freedom from a fear that kept me from doing something that I wanted to do.   I haven’t traveled much out of North America.  One reason is finances, another is fear of traveling alone in a non-english speaking country.  Now that I was taking this small step to tackle the ‘traveling alone’ fear .. who knows what new journey’s await!
Looking at from "Rocky Point" the Fish Market area

Rocky Point Fish Market area
Side street - all sand
So, I went to Rocky Point.  I had no problems on the road.  I was stopped at a Mexican checkpoint by men with big guns but apparently they were good guys and I had no problems.   The water was a beautiful blue and a perfect temperature.  The beach was fabulous and I enjoyed the fish market area at the point.  The beach RV park I visited was a parking lot of sand, had unreliable internet and was in my view overpriced.  Away from the beach and Market area the town pretty much looked like a poor border town.  I loved the beach but didn’t care much at all for the surroundings.   If I lived in Arizona and wanted to get away to the beach, I would definitely return and spend some time in the water here.   Not being from Arizona and living on wheels, I much prefer the Alabama and Florida Gulf Coast areas which have much more amazing beaches and nice towns to go with them.
They had big guns!


All and all, I had a great trip .. the one through Mexico and the one through fear. 

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