Old Kino: fishing vessels brought in for the day
The drive to Kino Viejo was short and we circled the town in about 15 minutes. We almost missed the RV park since it was rather disguised by trees and vines, and the painted name on the outside wall was faded. Unlike the RV parks we’d seen so far, this one had no signage outside indicating where it was from the main strip so it was luck we happened across it our first time circling through town.
Finding the office empty, we drove around a bit, and saw the park was pretty full and had only one other tent camper. We were skeptical, but decided to find a price, and if they had good Wi-Fi or hot showers. The woman appeared at the office, told us the price, and asked us to look around and pick a spot and come back. All of this was conducted in Spanish. We found our spot and returned to the office for the Wi-Fi code and to pay for our night. 100 pesos paid for electric, water, hot showers and Wi-Fi (in/around the office only). See… that’s why the beach camping we inquired about a few days earlier in Kino Nuevo was a rip! While paying, we found out, quite to our surprise, the office staff all spoke English very well. Surprise! At least we got to practice speaking and listening in Spanish. When getting set up, our “neighbor” from across the way came over to introduce himself. Phillipe AKA “Frenchie”, who is a semi-permanent resident in the park. We quickly became a park curiosity, and it seemed everyone passing through came and asked our story, told us theirs, and offered their hospitality if we needed anything. We were right across from the bathroom/showers so it was a bit of a thoroughfare. Everyone was very friendly and they were mostly American, and either permanent residents or “snow-birds” escaping winter in the US. It became apparent after the first night we would not be moving on right away, and it was nice to settle in for a few days. Thanksgiving was that week so we decided to stay until Friday then ship out. Plus, Phillipe bakes bread on Wednesdays, so we had to stay at least until then!
Camp in the RV park. The camper to our right was unoccupied and tall enough to block the wind. Win-Win.
A lot of the residents leave their RV’s there year round so there were some interesting set-ups, including RV’s that had entire walls removed to expand the living area into a more permanent structure. One family had an awesome terra cotta tiled patio with bar and grill, an outdoor washing area, their own water catchment, and a mural all the way around. Mike started checking out prices on a few of the RV’s for sale in the park. The prices ranged from $4,000 USD to $25,000 USD. The low end ones were older and no longer road worthy, but with annual rent at the park of only about $2,000 USD, Mike was having some big dreams already, and we were only a few hundred miles into the trip! Forcing him to focus, I put Kino Viejo on our potential retirement spot list.
We had a relaxing first full day in the park, I made some random carbolicious breakfast of fried bananas and coconut rice and were greeted with warm wheat bread from Phillipe. We walked to town for groceries, and used the office Wi-Fi for some correspondence and whatnot.
Strolling through Kino Viejo
Day 2 was Wednesday, bread day. We didn’t know, but Philip takes orders, so just when we thought we would go without bread, he surprised us with a kalamata (sp?) olive loaf. YUM. It’s very good with guacamole. And butter. And by itself. OK, it was just very good. We made sure to order a baguette for the next day since he was baking again. We also got to join in their first weekly Bingo tournament of the season. Hooray! Bingo cards were 50 pesos each and the pot for each of 10 hands was 300 pesos. Surprisingly enough, I won a hand! That paid for 2 nights of camping. Bingo is apparently a big draw and brought people from condos all over Kino (new and old Kino).
If you’ve never been to Mexico, or to countries less “developed” than the U.S. in general, you’ve probably never experienced the local dogs. Parts of Mexico have more dogs than people, and more often than not, they don’t belong to anyone. Some municipalities have a program of going around and fixing the strays, but other places don’t. It’s something to be aware of, but not scared of. Generally the dogs are more afraid of people and run away, since they’re typically treated poorly by the locals (they’re pests to the residents, or used solely as guard dogs – those ones are chained up or behind gates). In tourist areas, the dogs might follow you around in hope for some food, but ignoring them usually works. The park had two or three “regulars”, that hung out and filched dog food, or any other kind of food from the residents that was left unattended or thrown away. There were also dogs that belonged to park residents. Barley made a new girlfriend of a big ol’ border collie named Ellie. Growing up I had a dog named Ellie so I got a little nostalgic and she came over quite a bit to play and get pets and steal food (apparently not just the strays did that).
Ellie: Barley’s girlfriend (I think she just hung out for the pets)
While in the RV park, we became a bit spoiled since the locals drove through with their fish/produce/wares (Fresh Tamales ?!?!) for selling, so we didn’t have to go to the market really. Also, we were offered/given pot two more times. At this point it seems important to mention that in Mexico (at least Sonora, but I think it’s all of Mexico), marijuana is legal – according to everyone we talked to anyway – and cheap.
Another treat we got to enjoy while in Kino Viejo was the practically empty beach. Aside from some bird chasing, we were able to let the dogs run free and to do a bit of frolicking in the waves as they crashed along shore. Barley more so than Peanut, but the big waves scared Barley when they made noise. The water in this region is too cold for our wimpiness so we never swam in Kino.
A couple of frolicking pups
Birds! Barley’s new favorite thing to chase (No squirrels in Mexico)
Thanksgiving Day was spent lounging around and we had a vegetarian thanksgiving dinner (lunner). Beans, eggs, tortillas, rice, fresh salsa and guacamole and some beer were our non-traditional dinner fare. A lot of the park went to one of two local buffets for turkey and all the fixin’s, but it was out of our budget (about $30 for the two of us for one meal, at a buffet when I would only eat a plate seemed excessive – and it doesn’t even include the beer!). Our dinner probably cost about $4 for the two of us.
We planned to leave the following day, so after dinner we started the packing process, and then proceeded to the beach for one last stroll with the dogs. We happened across a bonfire being setup and were invited back after depositing the dogs in the tent.
Sunset from the park. View of Alcatraz Island.
The fire was nice, huge in fact, and Mike was designated “wood boy” (shortly thereafter upgraded to “fire man”) and I was designated entertainment (someone, ahem Mike, might have told the woman throwing the bonfire I sang). I was given a way out-of-tune guitar (I don’t play but I attempted to tune it) and we sat around and enjoyed conversation and the warmth of the fire. It’s Mexico, but it still gets into the 50’s at night in this region. Rosario, their Mexican friend who played guitar and sang, showed up and saved me some embarrassment of being forced to remember how to play “She’ll be Coming ‘Round the Mountain”. The reprieve was short though, and I was peer pressured into an awkward rendition of Bobby McGee with Rosario for accompaniment. I much preferred listening to Rosario sing his songs, even though no one knew the words.
The bonfire broke up early, and after some drinks and conversation with a resident of the park and the local fish “Jefe” and his wife, we hit the hay ready for an early morning heading south. The morning came with many friendly good-byes, some of Tony’s famous breakfast burritos, and sunshine the whole way.
(PS: some issues uploading photos/videos but will update when I can)