First, it was a gas station attendant trying to rip us off.
We were leaving Hermosillo at about 8:30am yesterday morning. We were on the eastern ring road that avoids most of the city, but it's still a fairly busy industrial area.
I thought I had enough gas to get us to the border. The goal of course was to arrive at Nogales, Arizona with an empty tank so that we could then fill up with some cheap American fuel.
I'm pretty good at judging Sherman's fuel mileage. But just to be sure, I decided to stop and put in another 500 pesos ($39 CAD) worth, which is not very much in Sherman's big tank.
So I spot a Pemex that was not busy, and pulled up to the pumps.
I got out, and asked the attendant for 500 pesos worth of regular. He starts filling, and we make some small talk. The pump stopped at 500 pesos, and I showed him the 500 peso note, and handed it to him with a 5 peso tip.
As I opened the door to the motorhome, I spotted him out of the corner of my eye. He was trying to pull the old quinientos switcheroo, where he quickly switches the 500 peso note with a 50 peso note, and then claims that all I had given him was the 50!
He says "Senor, es quinientos, no cincuenta". (Sir, it's five hundred, not fifty).
This is a common Mexico gas station scam, usually pulled against tourists. And I've known about it for years. I also know people who have been taken by this scam.
But not me. I'm having no part of that nonsense.
So I laughed at him, quickly got in the motorhome, locked the door, and drove away. When I looked back, he was counting his money, and not even looking at us driving away. Too funny.
This exact same thing happened to us at a gas station just north of Puerto Vallarta a couple of years ago. And I handled it exactly the same way.
Five minutes down the road, we pulled in to fill up Sherman's propane tank. I tell the guy to fill it up, and I make sure the pump is set to zero before he starts. When he was finished, I glanced at the pump and it read 47.8 litres.
He goes over to his little booth where he prints out the receipts and came back and gave me a receipt that read 499 pesos, and I thought the quantity said 60.7 litres. The printing was really fuzzy though. I had quickly done the math in my head and I knew that the bill shouldn't be more than 400. But, I wanted to double check things. So I went into the motorhome and used a calculater. Sure enough, I was right.
I went back to him, and as I walked by the pump I noticed that he had reset it to zero. Why? Because he hoped that I hadn't noticed the quantity. But I had, and I started questioning him. I asked what the price per litre was, and he told me it was 8.15, which is about standard. I went back with him to his booth, where he had a stack of receipts already made up. He comes up with one that reads 390 pesos and has the right amount on it.
He looks at me and says "is this one okay?"
Lol...too funny. I handed him 400 pesos and waited for him to dig 10 pesos out of his pocket.
No tip for him!
And then we were off, headed for the border...
More road construction. For the most part though yesterday's roads were okay.
Huge fields of grapes.
In our entire journey north from Mazatlan, this is only the second RV that we saw!
About half way to the border, there was a big military inspection point. We were pulled off to the side and inspected. One guy came on board with a flashlight and started poking about...opening drawers, and asking questions. Probaby one of the more detailed inspections we've ever had done. Took about 10 minutes, and then he said we were free to go. We shook his hand, and thanked him for their security.
Trucks on one side, cars and RV's on the other lining up for military inspection.
Scenery along the way.
If you need a concrete pillar, this is the guy you want to see!
More scenery. Obviously there is a source of underground water in this area.
Arrived at the border at 1:15pm.
Uneventful border crossing, but they sure did take their time. Nobody else in the "Bus and RV" lane, and they had a chain across it when we arrived. After five minutes or so, the guy comes out and removes the chain, and waves us ahead. Handed him our passports, and he went into his booth for five minutes or so. Came out, and we had to drive further ahead through some kind of machine, but it wasn't x-rays. I asked him what it was, but he just ignored my question, and started asking his own. Pleasant enough guy though. Wanted to know about eggs, fruits, and veggies, and Ruth had all the right answers. We've done this many times before, so we knew the rules. Didn't ask about booze, or any other goods.
And then we were off into the great U.S. of A.
Ruth can realx now...she doesn't have to be on tope watch anymore!
On the I-19 heading north in Arizona.
We put some gas in before leaving Nogales. Only $40 USD worth ($52 CAD) because it's cheaper still a few miles up the road in Tucson. Paid $1.79 a gallon ($0.62 per litre CAD), which is good, but it's $1.64 a gallon up in Tucson.
Long time blog readers and fellow boondockers Grace and Steve had invited us for a visit, but their housing association doesn't allow overnight RV parking, so we wanted to search out somewhere to stay nearby. We found a corner block that had three churches on it. I searched out someone with the authority to let us overnight in their parking lot, and it took about an hour to come up with the right people to authorize it. But they were very nice, and even wrote us a note with their names on it so that we could leave it on Sherman's door in case anybody questioned why there was a motorhome parked in their lot.
Called Grace, and she came to pick us up, only about 2 miles (3.2 kms) from their house.
Had a nice afternoon and evening with them, including some delicious enchiladas.
We had met Grace and Steve last year when we were in Arizona.
Sherman, waking up this morning at 6:30am.
We're going to spend today relaxing with Grace and Steve. Then, we've got more driving to do. Have to be in Los Angeles area for Tuesday afternoon, and that's still almost 500 miles (800 kms) away!
Yesterday's drive, 344 kms (213 miles).
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