Mexican Caravan

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Well-known member
Aug 11, 2005
This will be a trip report of our 16 day caravan into Mexico and the piggyback train through Copper Canyon. I am driving a 2005 Winnebago 36? Journey. The Caravan Company we are booked with will remain nameless.  The caravan fee was $5,000 and the Mexican insurance for my RV for 18 days was $1,200. Our trip is taking place during the last half of January so any temperatures I mention are for that time of year. Betty Brewer has already done a superb report so I will try to cover some things she did not.

Day -1

We left our toad in Tucson and came on to El Paso where the caravan will form. Our caravan ends in Nogales, Arizona so that is why we left our toad in Tucson just north of Nogales. We plan to go to Quartzsite and then San Diego after the caravan. When we left Tucson, it was 40 degrees. As the sun was coming up on the desert the temperature dropped to 23 degrees. I stopped in a rest area and turned our gas furnace on. It also heats the basement compartments where the water pump and pipes are located.

After refueling in El Paso, we arrived at the Mission RV Park before lunch. We met our leader who is called the wagon master and our tail gunner who is always the last RV in the caravan. He is a mechanic who will help in case of a breakdown. We filled out a bunch of paperwork for the crossing into Mexico and they made copies of everything.

There is also a trainee with us who wants to be a wagon master. In the afternoon with the wagon master leading, three cars of us went to the border to get all of the necessary documents for crossing. The idea is when we cross tomorrow, we should breeze right through.

Well the three cars of us departed the RV Park and the wagon master promptly left the rest of us behind. He looks and acts like Captain Ron, except he doesn't have an eye patch. After an hour of going in circles we finally found him and the border and completed our paperwork. We needed the original and one copy of: (1) our passports, (2) RV state registration, (3) a driver?s license, and (4) a credit card (in the same name as the driver?s license.) This means if you are taking two motorized vehicles, you must have two separate driver?s licenses and two separate credit cards. The credit cards must have the same name as those on the driver?s license. First we got our visas using our passports. Then we got a sticker for our windshield using our registration, driver?s license and credit card. There was a charge to my credit card of 531.63 pesos. At 11 pesos per dollar that was about $51. In the past, this vehicle permit was good for 180 days. Now they are good for ten years and the fee has been increased. You must turn it in at the border after your last trip to Mexico. Captain Ron said if you don?t turn it in before it expires, the Mexican authorities charge a fine to your credit card. It cannot be mailed in, it must be turned in at the border. Please don?t take this as gospel. Check it yourself.

Each motorized vehicle must have a separate driver with a license. That is why we had to leave our toad in Tucson. My wife does not have a valid driver's license. One RV is towing a golf cart on a trailer. The Mexican authorities said that was not allowed. It could be towed by a pickup truck but not by an RV. Go figure. Captain Ron said he would get it sorted out tomorrow.

The tail gunner inspects all of the RV's. One lady was complaining to me that he said she needed new tires. She said she couldn't understand it, she had been driving on those tires forever and never had a problem.

Day 1

This morning I will fill the water tank, check tire pressures, etc, etc. This afternoon, Captain Ron is going to brief us on all aspects of our 16 day trip. Also, there is a guy coming here to change dollars for pesos. Here is my estimate of pesos that I will need. I?ll let you know later how accurate it is.
900 miles=130 gallons of diesel. I have 80 gallons now so to be safe, I figure I will be buying 70 gallons x $2.00 per gallon = $150.00
Tolls $200
Meals not included $150
Misc $200
Total $700 to be changed to pesos

There are 17 RV's in the caravan and tomorrow we head south and will be in an RV park near Chihuahua tomorrow night. That is, if we can find the border. With Captain Ron leading, that may not be so easy.
JamesOne said:
Betty Brewer has already done a superb report so I will try to cover some things she did not.

Oh boy oh boy, I can hardly wait for each installment.  I think it would be quite OK to cover anything I already covered as my long term memory is shot and it would be a good thing to "see" our trip again.  Enjoy!

Betty Brewer
Captain Ron tried to brief us this afternoon but was interrupted by cell phone calls. He ended up by saying to come up on CB channel 10 tomorrow at 8 am and he would tell us what we needed to know. Oh boy...

Apparently they resolved the problem of the RV towing the golf cart. One staff member went to New Mexico and got the proper authorization from the authorities there.

The money changers came here to the camp ground meeting hall. They were very organized and it went very quickly. We changed our money and are now ready for what Captain Ron said would be the adventure of our life. I believe him.......
Day 2

At 8:00 this morning, we all checked in on the CB and started our adventure. The tail gunner told us when to leave our site and who to follow. There were continuous directions on the CB announcing upcoming turns, etc. Everything went smoothly. The highway south to Chihuahua (this day?s destination) was a very good four lane toll road. The tolls are based on the number of axles. It cost me $2.00 to cross the border, 172 pesos ($17.20) at the first toll booth and 40 pesos ($4.00) at the second. The high temperature today was about 70 degrees. I have a Verizon cell phone and shortly after leaving El Paso it went to zero bars.

When we got to the outskirts of Chihuahua, there was a fork in the road. The plan was for us to take the right fork which was a two lane road around a toll booth. The RV about ten back from the leader took the left fork for some reason and the rest of us followed. When the tail gunner saw this he called the wagon master and told him what happened and asked for instructions. Captain Ron said, ?No problem, either make a u-turn at the toll booth and come back to join the rest or go through the toll booth and join the rest when the roads came together again.? Four RVs decided to turn around and four of us went on the toll road. After a while the leader of our little group got in contact with the wagon master and discovered we had gone past the intersection where the roads came together. Two of our group made a u-turn in heavy traffic to return and try to find the wagon master and his group. At that time I saw a billboard advertising our campground with directions. I and the RV behind me elected to go on to the campground which we found with no difficulty. Fifteen minutes later the rest of our caravan arrived.

This campground, Del Fresno RV Park near Chihuahua, is a little different. It is just a spot in the desert with no buildings and no fences. When no RVs are here, I am told cattle use it. It does have good gravel roads, about 40 level sites and full hookups. There is a concrete picnic table and a small metal charcoal grille at each site. I have seen no camp ground employees. The wagon master directed us to our sites.

After we all got set up, we gathered at 5:00 to discuss the day?s activities. When we got together, Captain Ron said he had to go into town to make arrangements for our train trip and that he would be back in a few minutes. As the sun went down and the temperature dropped into the low 50?s we all started drifting back to our RVs.  I think Captain Ron?s meeting with the train representative was being held in a local cantina. I don?t know when he returned.

No WIFI signal at all in this park.

Day 3

Today was a city bus tour of Chihuahua. We visited the home of Pancho Villa and saw the car in which he was killed. It has numerous bullet holes in it. I think I learned a little more about the history of Mexico and the 1910 revolution than I wanted. All in all it was a good tour until we were turned loose down town for shopping and lunch. Captain Ron said his favorite restaurants were on this particular small street along with many nice shops. The only restaurants we found there were Dominos, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King, Subway and a Mexican cafeteria. The shops had a nice assortment of kitchenware, appliances and furniture.

Everything is very dry here. The tour guide said their rainy season was three years ago and it lasted five minutes.

This evening we went to a nice restaurant for a very good Mexican dinner and a thirty minute show by six native dancers.

Day 4

On an excellent four lane divided toll road, we traveled about 90 miles this morning from Chihuahua to Loewen?s RV Park in Cuauhtermoc. My toll was 109 pesos ($10.90). I only have two axles and they charge by the axle. I think I heard on the CB, the toll for an RV with tag axle and toad was 207 pesos ($20.70).

We have full hookups (30 amps) here. In preparation for boarding the train tomorrow and five days of dry camping, we have been advised to fill our water tanks since the well water suppy is of very good quality. We started a washer load of our sheets but my surge protector keeps dropping off due to low current. So to have dry sheets tonight I am running the generator.

Captain Ron is gone again. We were told that he and his little gang (tail gunner and trainee) had gone to the train to pull nails. Evidently, the RV wheels are blocked and the blocks are nailed down. At the end of the trip, the blocks are removed with crowbars. Any nails remaining are just left there in the rail car. As I write this, it comes to mind: What about those nails that are left when our chocks are removed and we drive off the train? Oh well, Captain Ron will take care of us.

This evening we had a delicious meal here in the camp recreation hall. It was a family style meal catered by some Mennonite relatives of the campground owner. When we returned to the RV the temperature had dropped to the high 30s. I disconnected and drained our water hose. During the night we lost all campground electricity so at midnight I cranked up the generator.

So far, I have not needed my toad. Most of the toads in the caravan have yet to be used. Certainly, we won?t need one for the next five days while aboard the train. Maybe after the train trip, a toad will be useful for supplies.

We have been told that we cannot extend any slides. Jacks are not extended and there is a possibility of a problem with the retraction of a slide before the train starts moving. This is a particular concern for those with a configuration such as mine. I cannot get into any drawers or closets with my bedroom slide retracted. So we assembled the clothes we thought we would need for five days and put them under the bench seats of our dinette.

I get a weak WIFI signal in this park but neither AOL nor IE will connect.

Day 5

Early this morning we all topped up our water tanks and dumped the holding tanks in preparation for five days of dry camping aboard the train. We traveled 36 miles from Cuauhtemoc to the rail head at La Junta on some four lane but mostly two lane roads. At the rail head there was a large dirt marshalling area. The wagon master called us down into three lanes according to how the rail cars were arranged. I can?t see much difference but evidently not all rail cars are the same size. The cars were on three parallel tracks with seven on one, five on the second and five on the third. The end rail cars were backed level against a hard surface loading dock with no space between the dock and car. There were temporary steel ramps between the cars. So the first RV drove forward across the dock onto the end rail car and drove the length of five more before reaching its assigned car. We were all directed like taxiing aircraft by a very efficient Mexican wearing a Washington Redskins jacket. Everything went smoothly and all 17 of us were aboard within two hours. We were blocked and tied down. All of this took place in a temperature of 43 degrees and blowing dust caused by 25 mph winds. I can?t even guess what the wind chill was. I noticed a security man checking each rig, writing down the license number and listing all items attached to the exterior of each RV and in the bed of the pickups.

There is a safety railing on the right side of each rail car. Most of us have our wheels on the very left edge of the rail car so there is no walkway on the left side. My right walkway is two feet wide. I am not able to open the main door or right basement compartment doors fully but they can be opened enough. I was concerned about the compartment doors because my ice maker (for that occasional cocktail) is in my forward right compartment. The tail gunner, very thoughtfully, duct taped a foam rubber pad to the railing so our main door will not get scratched against the railing. We each have a ladder to climb on and off our rail car. Captain Ron told us we will be able to dump our grey water tanks whenever the train is not moving. The ?train not moving? part makes sense since the procedure will be: (1) carry our ladder over to the left side, (2) climb down onto the rail bed, (3) carry the ladder back to the sewage compartment, (4) somehow get the sewage compartment open and (5) dump on the ground without getting in the way. I hope the wind lets up before I need to try this. I have spare oil for my main engine and generator but, of course, I forgot to transfer it out of a left compartment. So if the generator needs oil I will get to practice with the ladder.

This evening we went to a nearby restaurant, Rosie?s, for margaritas and dinner. Rosie?s is owned and run by Nellie. I don?t know who Rosie is. There was a pot belly wood burning stove in one corner of the dining room for heat. There was a need for four or five more. On the way back to the train, flashlights were needed. The rail yard has flood lights but there were a lot of shadows walking along the rails to our car. There are big burley security guards on patrol.

Day 6

We had gone to bed early last night and got up early this morning. At 5:00 am, the outside temperature was 19 degrees. Holy Moly. What?s up? I don?t even want to stick my nose outside because I can feel our RV rocking in the wind. Our propane heater is coping magnificently and we are snug inside. Our heater heats our basement compartments and the water system is still operating. I heard one gentleman in a 5th wheeler say he had no heater but plenty of blankets. The temperature at 6:30, as the sun is coming up, has dropped to 15 degrees. I found out later that three or four RVs had their water systems frozen up but no burst pipes.

I just brought up MS Streets & Trips with GPS. It says we are at 6600 feet altitude here in La Junta.

At 8:00 the train engine arrived and started arranging our three sets of rail cars into one long train. After putting us on a siding, our engine moved 20 other empty rail cars on the three tracks we just vacated. There was another caravan of RVs arriving at the loading dock. We departed La Junta at 10:00 for the four hour trip to Creel, never traveling more than 20 mph. Actually, we started out and the last ten or so rail cars came uncoupled from the train. This was quickly corrected. There is a constant side to side jerky motion. We soon got used to it and were not bothered by it for the rest of the trip. We have to be careful moving around in the RV while underway but it is not too bad. In the beginning we traveled in high desert with a lot of cattle, farming and apple orchards. Gradually we started climbing into foot hills with fir trees. We crossed the Continental Divide at 8000 feet. All of the streams we passed had ice. As I mentioned, my RV left tires are on the left edge of the rail car. My left mirror extends beyond the rail car and was hit several times by pine branches. It was nothing serious but it did get my attention. Once we went onto a siding to let a freight train pass. It had one car of logs stacked perpendicular to the length of the car. One log was extra long and as it passed it missed my mirror by inches. Now the mirror really had my attention. We passed through two tunnels both long enough that for a while we were in complete darkness. When we entered the first tunnel, my mirror seemed very close to the tunnel wall. When we entered the second tunnel, I took two digital flash pictures of the mirror and the tunnel wall. Later I brought them up on my computer and found the clearance to be about two inches. I quickly went out and found how easy it is to fold that mirror back.

Children are frequently along the tracks hoping we will throw candy to them. In the past year the caravan companies have discouraged this practice because it entices the children to close to the tracks. We have three security guards traveling with us. They are constantly walking the length of the train. At night, they help us find our way to and from our rail cars.

When we arrived in Creel, we were put onto a siding and our engine disappeared. A bus picked us up for a tour. The bus had four rear tail lights. No, it had the mountings for four rear tail lights. It had only one tail light. Our guide explained that they never drove the bus at night so it was ?ok.? The two rear tires were almost bald. The guide explained this also. It is not worth spending money on good tires because the roads the tour uses are so rough. The temperature is up to a warm 50 degrees. Creel has an elevation of 7300 feet.

Our bus tour of the area included a visit to a cave home of a Tarahumara Indian family. Our guide said these Indians had been her for thousands of years. They have nothing, need nothing and want nothing but to be left alone. When our bus drove up to the cave over a very rough road, the men all walked away and we only saw women and children.

At 6:30, in complete darkness, our tour bus that never travels at night, took us to a nice hotel for
cocktails and dinner. There were three Mexican men there that entertained us with songs and guitar music during the cocktail hour. I saw only one other couple, guests at the hotel, in the dining room. I don?t know when the tourist season is but it certainly is not in January.

Two WIFIs are nearby but both are secure and I can?t connect. Bummer.

Day 7

We had a balmy night with the temperature only down to 24 degrees. Skies are clear again and the sun is shining brightly. We had an over night low of 19 degrees. At 9:00, the engine arrived and ran down the track parallel to our siding with the engineer waving to each of us. Today on our two and one half hour trip to Divisadero we passed through some rugged mountains, seven tunnels and deep canyons. However, it was not until our afternoon bus trip that we saw Copper Canyon itself. It is beautiful. We ended up at a very nice hotel perched right on the rim of the canyon. An arduous walking tour was available for those who wanted to go down to the home of a 105 year old Indian. I have been reading about him for the last couple of years and he is always referred to as the 105 year old Indian that plays a violin. I guess at that age he stopped having birthdays. The bar was open in the hotel so some elected to wait there and admire the view. I don?t remember which group we were in but that Mexican beer is good. At 5:00 we had a cocktail hour with margaritas, Mexican songs and guitar music. The family style chicken dinner was delicious.

The siding we are on slopes considerably to the right so I put my right jacks down to level us up. There is plenty of slack in our tie downs to allow it. I just need to remember to retract them before we depart tomorrow. My only disappointment so far is not seeing Copper Canyon from the train. Maybe we will tomorrow. With my left mirror folded, there is now plenty of room between it and the tunnel walls.  There is, at least, a six inch clearance! We are still getting swatted now and then with tree branches.

The one substantial building in town is a nice hotel but no internet connection. The only means of outside communication I have seen are a few pay telephones.

Day 8

Today we were greeted with a warm 50 degrees and a spectacular sunrise. I don?t know how cold it got last night but our electric heat pump coped just fine and it doesn?t operate below 40 degrees. Our propane heater is needed below 40.

We have a late start this morning so we walked to the rail station where numerous Mexican and Indian vendors were set up. Everything was priced in dollars and pesos, our choice. We helped the local economy a little.

At noon, our engine arrived and we were off for a two hour trip to Bahuichivo. We found nothing there but a few buildings. They are, however, in the process of paving the main street. The train trip was through cuts in the sides of mountains, tunnels and over a few bridges. Most of the view was obstructed by trees. A tour bus took us on a 45 minute ride over rough dusty dirt roads to a girl?s school and dinner in a local hotel. That was the sum of the eighth day of our 16 day Copper Canyon caravan; a half day of shopping in the Divisadero train station, a two hour train trip, 90 minutes on a dusty road, a visit to a girl?s school and dinner. Dinner was the highlight of the day. We had fish. It was very well prepared and had a delicious taste. I have no idea where they would get fish up there in the mountains.

I began to wonder about seeing more of the Copper Canyon which has been compared to the Grand Canyon. When Captain Ron was queried, he said we had seen it in the afternoon of day 7. That?s all we will see of it. The train never gets near the canyon. One half day at the Copper Canyon on a 16 Day Copper Canyon Caravan seems a bit (you supply the word.)

Captain Ron?s briefing for tomorrow was to read the sign board in the windshield of his RV and that would explain everything. I don?t think he had the nerve to tell us that we would depart at 7:00, travel 10 hours arriving in Los Mochis at 5:00 in the evening. I wonder what those with pets will do.

Day 9

Our engine arrived promptly at 7:00 with an outside temperature of 32 degrees. Any negative comments I may have expressed in previous days are completely overshadowed by the wonderful trip we had today. We followed a river strewn with huge boulders down out of the mountains. The scenery was magnificent. We were on the side of cliffs looking straight down; crossed numerous bridges back and forth across the river; and traversed tunnels. One tunnel was a mile in length that was a hair pin turn underground with us coming back out in about the same location we entered except a several hundred feet lower.

About 10:00 the 5th wheelers started complaining over the CB radio about having a break. This trip is ideal for motor homes but the 5th wheelers must sit in their trucks to see the scenery. In the past days, we were shunted onto a siding to let other trains pass. At that time they could move from their trucks to trailers. Today, it seemed we had the right of way and the other trains were put onto sidings while we continued on. For three reasons it is not easy to move from their truck to trailer while underway. First, most of us are in our 70?s and 80?s. Second, there is no rail on the driver?s side. I forget what the third reason is. About noon, they were really complaining about getting back to the facilities in their trailers. The wagon master was actually able to get the train stopped for ten minutes while a train employee came back and helped them to their trailers. I have seen this helpfulness by the train employees and security guards many times on this trip.

After noon we were in the low lands with farming and cattle. All of our windows were open with the temperature in the mid 80s. A few of our little band were outside sitting in lawn chairs in front of their RVs enjoying the sun. The train seemed to travel at a slower speed today. Once I saw the security guards off the train walking along side keeping up with us.

About 4:00 we came into the outskirts of Los Mochis, our day?s destination. The outskirts are not a pretty sight except for all of the children along the tracks smiling and waving. We will stay aboard the rail cars tonight in the train station and disembark tomorrow morning. After we docked, one or two of our group went into town by taxi for emergency resupplies such as new batteries. We stayed aboard and had an American dinner for the first time since entering Mexico. Spaghetti and meat balls are American aren?t they? It is now ?no socks? weather.

Day 10

Promptly at 7:00, workers showed up and started off loading us from the train. I drove over four rail cars in front of me to reach the loading dock. We then had a short drive to the Los Mochis RV park where we are spending the night. It is a nice Mexican RV park with full hookups but the sites are extremely close. There is barely enough room for our slides and no room at all for an awning. An RV in another caravan had broken off a water pipe so the entire park is without water. An hour and a half ago Captain Ron said the water would be back on in ten minutes. Our main priority was to dump our holding tanks after dry camping on the train for five days. This was quickly accomplished. I did not need to dump our grey water while on the train. The electricity is 20 amps. It is now ?shorts? weather.

There is a Wal-Mart, Sam?s Club and Ley?s food market here in Los Mochis. The wagon master arranged for those with towed vehicles to take those of us without a toad for a resupply this afternoon. Six bags of groceries that probably would cost $40.00 in the States were 200 pesos ($20.00). When we got back to the park, water had been restored and two boys were washing RVs, including the roof for 250 pesos ($25.00). What a deal. The water pressure is so low that I had to use our water pump for a shower.

This evening, Captain Ron had a margarita party for us in the camp recreation hall. A bus took us to the nicest Mexican hotel I have seen for dinner. We had bacon wrapped jumbo shrimp flamb?, delicious.

Two WIFIs here but both are secure. I tried the password ?guest? and it appeared I connected but was unable to access AOL or IE.

Day 11

At sunrise we were greeted by a rooster crowing and his flock just outside my coach. I have read of people complaining about others walking their dogs through their sites. I wonder what they would say about a flock of chickens. We left Las Mochis at 8:00 this morning on our way to Alamos, 132 miles. We started out on a nice four lane toll road with two tolls, one was 90 pesos ($9.00) and the other was 75 pesos ($7.50). The road soon changed to a narrow two lane gravel road under construction. It was not much fun passing 18 wheelers coming the other way.

We passed a Mexican Army check point and were waved through. They had several 18 wheelers back against loading docks and were unloading them looking for contraband, weapons, drugs, etc. We then passed an agricultural check point. Several in our group had avocados, apples, etc confiscated.

We arrived at the Real Del Alamos RV Park at 1:00. This is a nice park with full 20/20 hookups, 20 amps of electricity and 20 psi of water. This is our first park without pull through sites, all are back in. We soon discovered one of our little band had never backed his 5th wheeler into a site before today. Every time our 17 RVs pull into a park it is an interesting evolution. Particularly today, even Captain Ron?s perpetual smile was a little strained. My coach, after its wash job yesterday, now has a nice layer of dust protecting the paint.

We were taken by bus to dinner but had to walk the last four blocks because of a festival in town. We had the same evening schedule as in the past, social hour with margaritas, Mexican dinner and entertainment. I love it. After dinner we saw the local version of the Deer Dance. It was performed by two male dancers and two drummers. It was the best I have ever seen. Of course, it is also the only time I have seen it.

Day 12

Another beautiful day with a free morning. I did some preventative maintenance on the coach which consisted of checking the engine oil level. I?m on vacation. This afternoon a tour bus picked us up for a short tour of a silver mine. I use the term ?tour bus? loosely. It had hard plastic seats with no cushions. Some seats had only six inches of legroom. It was, however, well equipped. It had a spare tire on the floor blocking the rear emergency exit. That was ok because we didn?t need the tire or exit. The tour guide used a portable megaphone carried over his shoulder.

Captain Ron had promised us a gourmet dinner for tonight. I think his definition of gourmet is if the meal has at least four courses. The chef and owner is a retired electrical engineer who moved to Mexico and opened the restaurant a few years ago. It was a very good meal for an electrical engineer. The filet was the best steak I have had in Mexico but the mashed potatoes needed a little work.
Day 13

Today we broke camp and made the 168 mile trek up to San Carlos mostly on four lane toll roads. We had three tolls, 91 pesos ($9.10), 90 pesos ($9.00) and another 90 pesos ($9.00). I filled up with diesel. The fuel stations here are all state owned and called Pemex. They all have the same price. The price today was 5.33 pesos per liter. For those of you who are mathematically challenged, that is $1.92 per gallon for diesel. We are in the El Mirador RV Park and it rivals the best U.S. parks I have been in. Since we don?t need our air conditioner, the 30 amp service is fine. It is on the Sea of Cortez, 250 miles south of the U.S. border. It has a swimming pool, tennis courts, wide sites, excellent water, cable TV, free WIFI, etc, etc. I made arrangements at the front desk to have my rig washed and waxed tomorrow for $3.00 per foot.

A vendor came by in his truck with fruits, vegetables, tacos, etc. He was a super salesman and I owned two kilos of shrimp and a dozen tacos before I knew what was happening. We had six of the tacos for dinner, gooood.
Day 14

Today was a free day with beautiful weather in the 80s. Some went fishing, some golfing and some toured San Carlos. Today was another maintenance day for us. Bettie did the washing and ironing. I watched the nice man wash and wax our RV, me with a Corona in hand. I?m still on vacation.

We had a potluck dinner tonight with the food remaining in our cupboards and refrigerator that we will not be able to take across the U.S. border. It turned out quite good.

I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight. It appears I may have emphasized the negative aspects of our trip rather than the positive. Our wagon master couldn?t have been better. His knowledge of the RV parks, roads, etc was invaluable. While on the road he was in constant contact by CB with us pointing out sights, upcoming turns, gas stations, rest stops and all sorts of other things. Several times some of us would elect to not go on one of the bus tours. The wagon master, using his own vehicle, always ensured we were able to join the group for whatever activity was planned next.

There were some aspects of the tours that I did not like but others thought were delightful. There were things I enjoyed that others did not. With 37 individuals, I think this could be expected. While I was surprised by how cold it got, we were, after all, in the mountains in the middle of the winter. We had warm clothes and coped just fine. We are in a very dry season here and dust in the desert is inevitable. I was disappointed in the short time we actually spent in the Copper Canyon but the other scenery and activities reduced my disappointment considerably.

This has been a once in a lifetime adventure. I heartily recommend it.
Day 15

Today was a free day in preparation for our return to the U.S tomorrow. The Mexican who washed and waxed my rig yesterday returned. He was not satisfied with the result and spent another two hours on it. A propane truck came into the park and filled us at our sites. I emptied the water from my fresh water tank and filled it with fresh. I?ll empty my holding tanks before getting on the road tomorrow.

More golfing, fishing and sightseeing went on. I understand the fishermen did not have much luck.

Tonight we had our farewell dinner in the very nice restaurant here in the park.
Day 16

Today is the last day of our Copper Canyon caravan. Actually, yesterday was the last day for us. We discussed it with the wagon master and decided to leave San Carlos at first light (7:00) instead of 8:00 with the rest of the caravan. It had to do with our plans to go to Quartzsite tomorrow. Anyway, we were up at 4:00 and ready to go at 5:30, so we did. I have read that we should not travel in the dark on Mexican highways. That may be true on their secondary roads but we were on a four lane toll road all 250 miles to the border. I found the Mexican drivers to be very courteous and the roads to be well marked for night driving.

We were stopped at a Mexican Army checkpoint.  Two soldiers came aboard and searched every interior cabinet and drawer. They had me extend our bedroom slide so they could search the closets and drawers. They pounded on many of the walls including the shower stall looking for hidden compartments. I think they were looking for drugs and/or weapons. What seemed odd to me is they never looked in any of our basement compartments.

We stopped at the Mexican immigration office about 15 miles before the U.S. border and turned in our vehicle decal and visas. At the border we ran into organized chaos. Trucks and cars in very narrow lanes and many times my mirrors were within two or three inches of a truck. We were inspected and had a plum confiscated. The U.S. border took over an hour to get through. All of the officials both Mexican and American were very courteous.

We arrived at the Cactus Country RV Park outside of Tucson at 2:30, checked in and found our toad in good shape.

The End
Thank you very much for taking time to write report of trip.....? (I hope I figure out how to get this message to you in forum.....)

Last year, I stayed (one night) at the RV Mission Park in El Passo TX. I watched the People selling this trip to other individuals for about ten minutes. The talk got my interest, nothing more, (too much concern about insurance cost, paper work, and danger).
Today, reading your "trip report" I enjoyed your narrative and felt I was there taking the trip with you......
I appreciate the information and details (train ride) as you described. This was information one does not get from tour people, or for that matter, brochures. Five thousand dollars is more than I would spend for what you described. Do you know of organizations providing ?expertise and guidance? of RV Caravans (into Copper Canyon) without trains that you can recommend. Your attitude and words give me confidence in your choices.
Thanking you,
Jim O?Connor
Mr. Bojangles
The talk got my interest, nothing more, (too much concern about insurance cost, paper work, and danger).

The caravan people took care of all of the paper work. While on the train we had three security guards with us at all times. We traveled on good well traveled roads most of the time and I never felt that "danger" was a problem.

Do you know of organizations providing ?expertise and guidance? of RV Caravans (into Copper Canyon) without trains that you can recommend.

No I don't. The only way to go on the piggyback train is through a tour operator. There are RV Parks where you can leave your RV and take a passenger train to the canyon.

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