Sand Storms & Sunsets in Huatabampito

One thing we’ve learned is that if our map app estimates 3.5 hours to reach our destination, it may easily take us twice as long. That’s usually including a stop for lunch and gas.

Gas pumps in Mexico are notoriously slow, making filling up a 55-gallon tank feel like an eternity.

Add to that the fact that I just don’t drive as fast as I did in our Montero. From a practical standpoint, if I’m over 100 k/h (60 mph) it’s destroying our fuel economy. There’s also the safety aspect—road conditions in Mexico are often unpredictable and not well signed, and I’m always on the lookout for low branches, oncoming traffic overtaking slow trucks, and places where we lose the edge of the road entirely.

But really, there’s no need to get anywhere fast these days. Driving days are part of the journey and who knows if we’ll take these same routes again. In Mexico, it’s not a huge deal. Lots of slow moving trucks on the road. Just ride the shoulder when you can and Speedy Gonzalez will generally pass without too many ruffled tail feathers.

Cities in Mexico are my driving nemesis. If I can take a libramiento (bypass) and totally avoid them I will, even if it adds 30 minutes.

Most larger towns and cities in Mexico don’t have elevated expressways through the center of town. The highway unceremoniously dumps you out in the busiest part to let you wade through 20+ blocks of hell.

I loathed this in the Montero, and feel even more strongly now that I’m driving an 8-foot-wide, 11-foot-tall, 25-foot-long home-on-wheels.

Sometimes, of course, we can’t avoid it. Particularly if we need to provision. Those days aren’t as fun. But if we can get out of the city and onto an Autopista (toll expressway), life can be pretty good.

The place we’re going to today looks remote on the map, and requires a bit of weaving through towns and farmland. Online reviews warn RVers NOT to take the direct route. Not sure what that means, exactly, but it won’t apply to us anyway. We’re detouring through Navajoa to grab lunch and provision.

Still, the last little bit of the journey after Navajoa required some winding and weaving. But all in all, nice roads, no traffic, and no worries.

I’ve been excited for this place. We’ve read good things and it sounded remote and idyllic, yet at the same time offers full hookups and an on-site restaurant.

But the best aspect of El Mirador is the location. RV sites adjacent to the beach, all for US$23/night.

I’m glad I remembered the sage advice of others before us to check the pedestal (electricity AND water) before going through the hassle of leveling and setting up.

The first outlet I tried flat-out didn’t work. I noticed a second outlet on the rear of the pedestal, but that one threw a code on the EMS. The next pedestal, same issue on the first outlet. But the rear one was fine. Yay.

Next, the tap. The water pressure was as weak as I’ve seen so far. With the filter on, it didn’t even register on the pressure gauge. Without the filter, I was getting less than 5 psi. Guess we’ll be using our own water and pump on this one and filling up the tank when it gets low.

The RV park advertises Wifi, which they do have. The signal’s pretty weak but good enough for what I do. For Lori’s calls, however, we’ll need to set up the Starlink.

Last thing, sewage. All looks good, but I haven’t had the nerve to hook up our hose and leave it hooked up like we’ve seen everyone else do. The main issue is that I don’t trust the hose that came with the RV. Only one connector at one end, and a few areas where I’ve had to patch it with duct tape. It’s on my list to order a new one when we’re able to receive packages.

All hooked up. It’s time to enjoy the sunset!

The following day started out great. Beautiful morning in paradise with nobody around. We figured we’d do a little school with the boys, then hit the beach.

In addition to the awesome outdoor classroom setting, the morning was also notable for the hundreds of ladybugs that swarmed us. If it were any other insect it would have sent us running inside. But, hey, they’re ladybugs.

By mid morning, I toyed with the idea of putting the mat and awning out and making ourselves at home. After all, we could get used to this. We even talked about extending our stay at El Mirador. A week doesn’t sound unreasonable. No, not in paradise.

I pulled everything out of the storage compartment to dig out the mat and started laying it out. Just as I was working out the creases, a gust of wind came out of nowhere and folded the mat over. Hmm. Then, another gust. I placed our foldable table on the mat to anchor it, and peeked around the side of the RV only to get a face full of sand.

Conditions went from dead calm to 15 or 20 mph in a matter of seconds. The awning would have to wait. It’s time to move inside.

We definitely underestimated what was about to happen. We had no reason not to. I didn’t even bother closing the windows, thinking a strong breeze will feel nice midday inside the RV and the screens would keep out the sand.

The boys did their school and Lori and I continued on with our day.

It wasn’t too long before we realized the sand storm wasn’t going to let up any time soon. It felt eerily similar to a storm day, but with clear blue skies and perfect temperatures. Torture.

Soon, the sand had made its way into the coach and worked its way into every nook and cranny, covering the bed sheets, table, chairs, and everything else.

As if that weren’t enough, the restaurant next door fired up the loudest karaoke sound system I’ve ever heard, making our wall panels vibrate for the next five hours.

When we finally emerged from the RV a few hours later, I could barely see the mat on the ground, which had been completely covered in sand.

The wind was still blowing, but not like it had been. Tired of being cooped up on an otherwise ideal weather day, we closed everything up and headed on a walk down the beach.

The beach at El Mirador is an odd place. Given its relatively isolated location, it feels like it should be pretty deserted and untouched. But it’s not. At least not right now, probably thanks to Easter Week (Semana Pascua).

We took a right out of the RV Park and walked up the beach a bit. There wasn’t a whole lot to see, save for an uninspiring beach bar and miles of undeveloped coastline.

We turned around and went the opposite way, dodging the occasional ATV speeding along the water line. There were dozens upon dozens of vacation homes crammed into narrow lots fronting the sea as far as the eye could see. And yet, not a single restaurant or commercial business.

And the trash was unprecedented. In years of beach hopping in Mexico (and living in three different Mexican beach towns), we’ve never seen so much trash on beach. Plastic bottles, plastic bags, styrofoam containers, plasticware, and so on. And not for lack of trash cans. Maybe the holiday? Maybe the wind? Regardless, it was pretty disheartening.

I planned to break out the barbecue this evening, but it was just too windy. After the sun set, the wind picked up again, sending us back inside for the rest of the evening.

The next morning was a lot like the previous (no ladybugs this time). The beach was covered in trash, which did not go unnoticed by the boys. In Chacala, their school used to lead beach clean-ups every month. Why not do one here, they thought. So we suited up and headed to the beach to see if we could fill our garbage bags.

Sadly, we filled them up fast. It became obvious pretty quickly that we couldn’t get everything. But we thought it was good to show the boys that wasn’t the point. The point is to do something…and try to leave places better than we found them.

Plus, we could now enjoy a trash-free beach in front of our RV spot. We grabbed our chairs and sand toys and endeavored to get as much beach time in as possible before the afternoon sandstorm.

Sure enough, at almost 11:00 on the dot, the wind whipped up from nothing to 25 mph, with gusts well over 30 mph. Time to pack it up and head inside.

After sweeping the entire coach the previous evening and tossing out a bucket full of dirt and sand, I was intent on not having to do that today. I made sure everything was shut tight before we hunkered down for the afternoon. However, I left the two roof vents (with screens) propped open for ventilation thinking the sand would have to be pretty tenacious to get in through there. I underestimated the tenacity of the sand.

After three nights and two full days, it’s time to move on. Beautiful spot, no doubt. But spending five hours cooped up inside an RV with two restless boys each afternoon in the dry season isn’t our idea of fun. Not when we can leave whenever we want and there are so many more places we could be.

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