Our Bus has been in Puerto Penasco for the last 6 weeks (as of the middle of March 2022), and today, after driving 8 hours to get here, I am in the bus waiting on my painter to finish the final steps of the paint job: polishing all the clear coat, touching up areas like inside the fuel filler doors, any small crevices that didn’t get the color coat, etc., then on to caulking all the seams/joints with clear silicon, reinstalling the myriad of parts that had been removed prior to sanding and painting, too.
Something I already notice is the difference in the heat radiated into the coach from the sunshine on the sides of the motorhome. The top half is pearl white now, not the original browns, blacks and tans of its last 15 years. The bottom is a deep blue. It reminds me of my old BMW K-Bike Motosport! I am really loving the new look! And now, having the inside walls stay cool instead of the inside wall getting hot because of the sun on the outside is very nice. I can imagine that the roof A/C’s won’t have to work as hard to keep the inside temp down on a hot, sunny summer day.
Antonio’s crew is reinstalling all the “stuff” that was mounted on the exterior that had been removed for sanding and painting. He is also using a large buffer to polish the clear coat now that its been curing for over a week of sunshine in his driveway. That really looks like hard work as I watch a bit. When he is not doing that, he is using a small air brush to touch up any place that didn’t get painted, like behind the fuel fill door, etc. I’ve never seen anyone use an air brush, so that is a bit fascinating to watch. Since his passion is probably the murals he does, he is really good with that air brush!
Antonio had also replaced the small plastic wind deflector by the front door with a metal one. The original one had broken in a few spots and I had replaced it with another one I purchased from the manufacturer, but it seemed a bit flimsy to me. I wondered how long it would last. Now I am not concerned it will crack off like the original anytime soon.
After a couple days, Antonio asked when I wanted to leave. My reply was “When you are done and not a minute before.” He seemed happy that he had time to finish it. Within a couple days of that conversation, he told me it was ready to go. I dug out the cash from my hidey hole and paid him. I printed out a receipt and he signed it. It was March 22nd, 2022, six weeks to the day after getting it into the paint building.
Within the hour I had pulled the bus out onto the dirt street in front of his home and hooked up the car. We took a few pictures and I headed for the border. And that proved to be an interesting adventure. I will continue that below the pictures.
Here are a few more pictures that you can click on to make the thumbnail larger.
The drive north to the border was uneventful, got passed by lots of cars probably doing 80+ mph on a road that the maximum speed limit was 55 mph. Almost all were Arizona plates. But things changed as I got to the US side of the border crossing.
I immediately noticed all the US border buildings’ overhead clearance signs said 12’3″. That stopped me in my tracks, much to the chagrin of the agent in the booth. My coach is 12’7″ high. I saw that all the openings had the same height restrictions, and all the pipes with that height-stenciled warning were hanging from chains, and the pipes themselves were VERY scratched up with lots of paint transfer from taller vehicles going thru. I was frozen in that spot wondering how I was getting out of this predicament. The whole time, (2 minutes that seemed like days), the border guard in the gate house was waving me forward.
I started forward at about 1/2 mph, waiting for the sounds of the pipe dragging over things on my roof; but I got up to the guard shack and there were no sounds. I had not dragged on anything! I have measured my coach and it IS 12’7″ fully aired up. Now I know that those signs are wrong.
The CBP officer asked for my passport and after a few seconds gave it back and told me to drive fast through the tunnel/machine in the left lane. It was some sort of scanning machine for trucks & RV’s. He told me to keep the speed up going thru at 5-7 mph. When I got to the entrance, it was tight, maybe a few inches wider than my mirrors on each side, so driving at 5 mph was going to be a white-knuckle experience with my newly painted rig. It was not fun, but I got through it unscathed.
After we were out of that machine, the next CBP officer stopped me and asked me the year of the coach and for the registration. Then after hearing the answer, he asked if it was just painted. I told him yes. Then he asked how long it had been down there. I told him 6 weeks. Then he asked if I was with it the whole time. I replied no, I had just driven back to retrieve it. Then he asked what year it was again, which seemed odd, but I answered him again.
Then he asked me to get out of the bus. Once I was outside, he asked how full the tanks were. I wasn’t sure if he meant fuel or water/waste tanks, so I answered with both. I asked about the low-clearance signs, and he made some remark about “stupid people bringing oversized vehicles into Mexico.” Then he called over to a couple other guards to come over, and they proceeded to go through the car. I had to open everything up. It seemed a bit odd to me as the car had only been there a few days with me the whole time, but the bus was there for many weeks without me. They never looked inside the bus. I figured they would want to look into every opening in the bus, but that wasn’t the case.
After about 5 minutes of looking through the car, they told me to lock it up and go. The first CBP officer moved the big plastic K-Rails out of the way and had me drive off. No odor detector dogs, nothing. I guess that machine can see what they need to see. Not sure why they needed to closely inspect the car I was towing, but that’s what happened.
Once across the border into Lukeville, AZ, I was a lot more relaxed and headed up the small two-lane highway toward Gila Bend, which is about 80 miles and takes about 80 minutes to drive. I had researched campgrounds from Gila Bend to Yuma for stopping for the night as I didn’t know what time of day I would be leaving Rocky Point. I passed the first turnoff of I-8 and determined I would stop near Tacna, which was about another hour of driving. That turned out to be perfect. I had mapped out a Passport America place (that was also a Good Sam campground) and it was only $21 a night for a full-hookup, pull-thru site for the night. It was about an hour before sunset so the timing was excellent. The pull-thrus were pretty close to a truck stop, but once inside the bus I didn’t notice the noise from them. Outside you could hear the truck stop, freeway, and even occasionally a long train going by about 1/4 mile north of us.
The next morning I drove to Yuma, filled up the tank with cheap diesel fuel before heading back into California (and their $1 diesel tax) and uneventfully drove home from there.
Once I got home, I installed the Tiffin door medallion and the Allegro Bus decal for the front cap. After seeing the front decal, I ordered a couple more for the sides. I am probably not going to put one on the rear as the rock guard has it on there; and I will also add the “Roughing It Smoothly” decal on the back cap when I get out the rolling staircase to start cleaning the roof top.