Tag Archives: rving

RV Life as an Introvert – San Felipe, Mexico – Pete’s Camp

yes, those are our sheets hanging out to dry – and that white building behind and on the hill is the restaurant where we watched the Golden State Warriors beat the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the conference finals – and that’s my extension cord from sitting outside typing all afternoon

We drove our RV, Gordito, into Mexico – to San Felipe. It was not an entirely pleasant experience, but at least we learned what to do and what not to do when driving an RV into Mexico.

Firstly, you must get your FMM (temporary visa) BEFORE you go through the Mexican customs line with your RV. This means that you can get it online well before you travel, or you must stop right before customs to go into the FMM office to get one. Don’t skip this step like we did. You’ll have to go back and get it anyway, so do it before you get into the country.

As of this posting (May 2022), the Mexican gov’t requires everyone who visits the country to have an FMM – even if you are only gonna be there for a few days. The FMM office is usually off to one side right before you have to stop and get your RV searched. Look hard, or you’ll miss it like we did. AND: It is not called the FMM office.

And yes, they will most likely stop you and want to walk through your RV (and look inside cabinets, etc.), your toad, your trailer, etc. after you go in and get your FMM, get back in your vehicle, and drive into the customs line. However, they were super nice and polite during the inspection, and it took hardly any time at all.

We drove the two hours to Pete’s Camp without incident on a quite decent road, even though it was really windy. We took Highway 5 south from Mexicali, which has one military check point along the way. Again, they were polite and nice, and after telling them our destination, they waved us through. Note that they did not require us to show our stamped FMMs, but we learned that they sometimes do.

that’s the sea right there on the other side of the wall – tide’s in

We did finally make it to San Felipe. And it was so worth it. We stayed at Pete’s Camp, which is just north of the town of San Felipe, and right on the Sea of Cortez. It was a bit spendy for our taste, but again, so worth it. Each site has its own canvas shade area and full hookups.

The beach is right there. And it was fabulous. Each day, the tide worked its way out and then back in. And when it went out, it went way out – almost a quarter of a mile. But that meant it left some excellent sand bars for walking and exploring. The beach was clean and smooth and beautiful.

driving from Highway 5 down to Pete’s Camp (just a short dirt/sandy road drive)

I got in at least one – usually two – long, solitary walks a day, as I made my way down the beach in either direction (beach for miles). Introvert heaven! Pete’s Camp was clean and well taken care of. It had the restaurant and gift shop up on the hill, and bathrooms (take your on TP each trip) down on the beach. They wanted payment in cash or pesos only.

I can highly recommend Pete’s Camp for introverts – with some caveats. Don’t go on weekends, Mexican (or American) holidays, Mexican spring break, or the “on” season (when it’ll be full of Americans escaping the winter in the U.S.).

During the week, it was heavenly and almost empty. We were there in late April and most of the time had the place almost to ourselves. However, when Friday evening rolled around, that completely changed. The place filled up with locals and other Americans.

And not only did it fill up, it got loud. The folks at each site turned up their music (loud, loud, loud!), so that we had to listen to competing music all weekend. There was the music coming at us from all directions, kids running everywhere (including through our site), loud sand toys (side-by-sides, ATVs, etc.) constantly creating more noise and dust, and even fireworks all weekend. It was not pleasant for this introvert.

However, come Sunday morning, nearly everyone but us left and it was all quiet again. So, lesson learned about Pete’s Camp. We heard it was pretty much the same at all the RV parks in the area. One RV camp manager told us, “It can get wild and loud on weekends, but we keep it under control,” whatever that meant. LOL

look at the sea – way out there when the tide was out

On our way back, and at the military checkpoint, they stopped us and wanted to walk through Gordito. We welcomed them in, as they were super nice – and so young. Just young boys in the military. And still, very polite.

We made it back to Mexicali, and then into Calexico, CA with no problems. However, this time, instead of making our way out via the West border crossing (where we came in), we opted for the East one. And if and when we go back to Mexico in that area, we will definitely choose to enter via the Calexico East border crossing. It was bigger, newer and more easy to navigate in an RV. Not only that, but it does not empty you out right into downtown Mexicali, which is tight, tight, tight for an RV with toad.

Another note about the Mexican customs crossing. They insisted we needed to have registration for our tow dolly. We readily showed them our (specially purchased Mexican) insurance and registration for the RV and Prius, but they also wanted the same for the dolly. They advised us to go back into the U.S. and go to the DMV and get it registered, b/c it might be asked for further on in our trip into Mexico by other officials. We explained that it did not need registration in the U.S., and therefore, we not only didn’t have it, but would be unable to go back and get it.

We tried to explain that even if we went to the DMV and asked for such a document, they wouldn’t administer one, b/c it’s not required in the U.S. Finally, they waved us on, telling us it might cause problems later. It did not. No one asked about it.

IMPORTANT: Even though cannabis is legal in many states in the U.S., it is illegal to cross the border (either direction) with cannabis products of any kind into Mexico – even CBD lotions, etc. Likewise with guns, ammo, and even pepper spray. Do your research before going. Keep in mind that they have the right to use drug- and weapon-sniffing dogs at the border.

Also: Remember to purchase your Mexican auto insurance before going. I used my own insurance agent in Colorado, and she emailed me the documents before we crossed over so I could print them. We had to get insurance for both car and RV.

And last, but certainly not least, our T-Mobile phone/service was all but useless once we crossed into Mexicali. Yes, we had our phones on “roam,” but it did no good. That meant we couldn’t use our GPS to get to Highway 5, to San Felipe, to find the FMM office, to call anyone to ask for help finding that office, or to do some translations (our Spanish is muy malo). Service was spotty to nonexistent. (Remember at the first of this post when I mentioned the unpleasant part?) It was super stressful.

What’s the remedy? Get a paper map. Study the route beforehand, etc. If your Spanish is not up to speed, look at online photos of the specific border crossing you plan to use and the lines you need to be in – both entering and exiting. Also look at photos of the signs pointing you to the office in which you get your FMM. Check out that office’s parking lot photos. Is it big enough for your RV? Have it all planned out before you get there, so you don’t stress yourself out like we did.

Even with the difficulties we had, I can still say it was worth the trip and stress – b/c the beach and sea were so excellent. If you decide to drive your RV into Mexico, prepare well and know it’ll be worth it.

RV Life as an Introvert – Kaibab Lake Campground in Williams, AZ (Grand Canyon)

Kaibab Lake Campground is just a few minutes north of Williams, Arizona, on your way to the Grand Canyon. Williams claims to be the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon.” It is a small and quaint little town that still has most everything you’d need if you decide to camp here awhile.

We chose this campground because it isn’t an RV park and also isn’t boondocking. It is somewhere in between the two. They don’t have any hookups, so it’s like boondocking, but all the roads are paved and the sites are marked and already set up, so it’s also quite orderly like an RV park.

It is situated in the forest and is quite beautiful. The sites are far apart, there’s a lake, they have vaults (bathrooms), trash cans, water faucets with drinking water, plus it’s only one hour south of the Grand Canyon. If you’ve ever visited the Grand Canyon, you know that the closer you get to the Grand Canyon, the more expensive everything gets. So it was nice to find this spot that wasn’t too expensive, but still gave us access to the park.

I can highly recommend this spot for introverts. It’s quiet, beautiful, close to – but not too close to – town, the sites are far apart, and it’s easily accessible for all. It has back-in sites, pull-throughs, and double pull-throughs for those traveling with a group. It is also great for tents, of course. We paid $26/night (cheap by RV park standards), and I think the double sites were $40/night. Even though there were quite a few campers while we were there, it was nice and quiet. We were there in early May, and it did get chilly at night but was great during the day.

Playing the Ball Where the Monkey Drops It

In colonial times, the British built golf courses in India to offer them the same recreation as back home. But they did not foresee the monkey problem. Monkeys loved to take the balls and run off with them. They tried all sorts of things to keep the monkeys from taking the golf balls – including building tall fences, luring them away, cutting back the jungle, trapping them (the list is long), etc. As time went on and they had tried dozens of cures, they finally concluded that there was nothing to be done to keep the monkeys from the golf courses.

So instead, the made a new rule for British golf courses (for in India only, of course): You must play the ball where the monkey drops it.

And that is what Kevin and I are doing now, I feel. We are playing the ball where the monkey drops it. We don’t know where he will drop it, when he will drop it, or if he will even drop it at all. He might chew on it first, or even swallow it. We just don’t know from minute to minute.

In other words, there are no guarantees. We are traveling and coping and learning and adapting. We had to stay in Yuma, AZ recently much longer than we wanted to for repairs to our RV, Gordito. We like full hookups, but don’t like to pay too much for sites. We like the amenities of RV parks, but not the noise and crowd. We are now trying to figure out how boondocking works for us. Our list is long too.

All this to say that there is a new flexibility requirement with this lifestyle that I, as a recovering control-freak, am attempting (most of the time, unsuccessfully) to navigate.

And I am certain that this part of our journey is just as important for me (us) as seeing the sights and traveling the land. It feels monumental for me to radically accept that I am not in control of pretty much anything except how I react and respond to what and who is around me, to realize that I want freedom more than I want to continue that fight.

So yesterday I danced with trees. We are now near Williams, AZ in Kaibab Lake Camp Ground, and it is beautiful here. And it has been hella windy (yes, I said hella). The tall, straight, pine trees protect us down below from the gusts, but we can hear the wind in the treetops. I can see them sway and hear them creak – which is one of my all-time fave things on our planet. So yesterday I grabbed onto a nearby tree and let it take me dancing.

It was like following a micro-blues lead on the dance floor – only a thousand times better. I could feel the subtle shifts and sway. I could hear the “music” (wind through the treetops). I had to focus and get quiet inside to be able to follow. I had to ground. I had to settle. I had to wait for the next gust of wind. I had to be patient and trust my lead. I had to let go of any judgements about anyone walking by and possibly seeing me hugging and dancing with a tree. I had to stop trying to control anything. I had to let go while still holding on.

And it was one of the most wondrous things I have ever allowed myself to do, one of the most beautiful gifts I have ever given myself. I highly recommend it. It’s a great lesson in following, in allowing, in just Being.

I have no profound end to this rant. Maybe it’s just about allowing – on the dance floor, in life, in our hearts, in our minds, in our dear bodies. I don’t really know. I am still learning, and we are simply doing our best to play the ball where the monkey drops it.

RV Life as an Introvert – the Beginning

Gorditto, bikes, chairs, and our car (yes, we have a toad)

Please note that in any post I write about being an introvert, I will never tell introverts they need to “get out of their comfort zone,” “learn to be more social,” or “learn to fit in” or any other similar BS that suggests that there is something wrong with being an introvert and that you need to buck up and get over your introverted self and try and act like an extrovert.

As an introvert, if you are looking for ways to become more like an extrovert to better fit into our (admittedly) very extroverted world, you’ve come to the wrong place, my friend. I attempt to happily be my introverted self – without shame or explanation – and make the world work for me. Not the other way around.

I am an introvert, and I sold my house to live with my partner (an extrovert) in our renovated RV, Gorditto, until we find a new house in a warmer climate. We began this journey on 2/11/2022 and have no idea how long it will take. But also, I don’t feel we need to be in a hurry. I am doing my best to navigate the experience of RVing as an introvert in a way that continues to meet my needs.

My partner and I have been together for several years and have mostly figured out how to live with each other’s -vertedness. Living in an RV together means we are mostly sticking to the same routine we had at home. He gives me plenty of space and time alone in Gorditto in the mornings while he works out and works for Instacart, he goes out to do things without me, and we go out together sometimes to do a few things together. When he’s out, I meditate, workout, write, read, do my introverted things. It works in a RV the same way it worked in a house – so far, anyway.

I am finding it challenging to be an introvert in an RV, however, mainly because of other people (right) outside my (now) tiny world. We are both over 55 years of age, so we often opt for RV parks of that specific kind. And what we are finding out is that these places are super social. Currently, we are in one such park (that is highly rated online) where the RVs are packed in like proverbial sardines, close on all sides with very few (no) privacy barriers between spaces. We found out when we arrived (we booked online) that most of the sites are, in reality, filled with mobile homes, with only a small percentage of the sites being used by actual RVs.

We are on a corner, so only have folks on two sides instead of four. However, we are also on a corner nearest the clubhouse where all the amenities are housed. That means that everyone and their literal dog come by here. And because we are right next to the clubhouse and on a crossroads, people congregate right in front of our space to and from the clubhouse (pool, hot tub, mailboxes, library, pool tables, craft room, showers, office, etc.) to talk, catch up, make plans, say hello, etc.

So, while we have a bit of breathing room on the front of our RV that is open, it is seldom empty of people. If I add the noise factor into all of this, I would need to point out the many golf carts constantly whizzing by on their way to and from that same clubhouse.

If we had a different space in this park – maybe toward the back of the place, I’m sure our experience would be different. Yesterday, my partner (the extrovert) actually said, “I tried to go to the pool and cool off and relax, but there were just too many people there. And they were all talking the whole time. This place is too noisy. There is some sort of noise going on all the time. I think I’ll book our next stay at a state park or something instead of an RV park.”

My partner’s sister sold her house and began RVing full time several years before us, and we have benefited greatly from her experience and advise. Thank you, sis-in-law! It is telling, however, that when she talks about her experiences, she mentions that her favorite part is all the wonderful people she has met along the way. When my partner hears this, he gets excited to meet those type of people. I get wary. LOL

We are aware that boon-docking is possible on BLM lands for more privacy. We know that state or county campgrounds are sometimes more aesthetically pleasing than RV parks. We have a membership in Harvest Hosts also. But we also like full hookups, so we don’t have to watch the tank levels.

We are just beginning this trip, so it will take us a while to figure out what works for us best – for his extroverted needs and my introverted ones.

I will attempt to successfully navigate this trip (however long it turns out to be) as an introvert and report on my successes and failures, to hopefully help you out too. I will also make a list of RV parks we’ve stayed at and how they measure up as far as introverted needs go.

Let me know what has worked (is working) for you as an introvert full-timing in a van or RV, especially if you are traveling with another person – and especially especially if the other person is an extrovert.