Four Day Trip = New RV

For the past several months Steve and I have scoured the internet ads looking for the perfect motorhome within our budgeted price range. In my last post I mentioned we had a narrow list of three. But neither felt exactly right for several reasons. For example one of them had a refrigerator in the slide, another had negative reviews for that model year, and the other had a very low axel/wheelbase ratio.

There are very few short diesels for sale around the US and when we factored in our year range of 2005-2007 there were even less. Then last week a 2008 model came up for sale and I remembered that the chassis on motorhomes is normally manufactured the prior year. I contacted the owner and sure enough, this MH did not require the ULSD fuel that cannot be obtained in Mexico. Better yet, it was low mileage, had first been owned by an aerospace engineer who had added every upgrade imaginable to include 540 watts of solar panels with a 2000 watt pure sine wave inverter. Documentation and CAD drawings are bar none. I will eventually make a tab at the top for “Alice” listing all the upgrades which you won’t believe. Anyway, here she is:


2008 Tiffin Allegro Open Road FRED 32 feet. There is a slide out for the sofa and dinette on this side.


And another slide in the bedroom. The body is in perfect condition as it has been stored under cover and professionally cleaned and waxed twice a year.

Of course we didn’t get every single “want” but Alice comes close enough. No washing machine and the kitchen is rather small, but there are two pantries to make up for that. And recently, new very small portable washing machines have come on the market that we can stow. Oh yeah, and we came in under budget!

It was a one and a half day 800 mile drive to the Phoenix area. We met the owners at their house at noon on the second day,  received a good going through of everything, wired the money at 3:00, did the transaction at their financial institution at 4:00, and were on our way by 5:00. The funny part is the owners were looking to buy a newer RV of a particular model which is hard to find. While we were at their house, they received a phone call that the RV they wanted had just come in on a trade and no other salesmen knew about it yet. Our Allegro owners bought it the next day.  The wife thought it was Karma that brought us to them at just the right time.

We had a bit of a problem finding a place for the night and Steve was understandably nervous as he has never driven anything this big. The extremely nice owner, who I might add had an oil change done the previous day and filled up the fuel tank, actually drove Alice to the very north end of Phoenix for us so that we would immediately be on the two lane road headed north. The only place to stay was a casino at Ft. McDowell. We got there and it was so crowded that there was not one spot to park an RV. Then we found out there was also an RV resort only 1/4 mile away. But they were full. The lady at the desk suggested an overflow parking lot at a county park a few miles away. The problem was we had absolutely no kitchen utensils, no food, it was almost dark, we had not eaten since breakfast, and the casino was the only place for miles with food. Then the desk clerk generously told us we could park behind their RV storage area for the night in a wide open area. It was quiet and the views were pretty good. We were warned that cows and horses might come up to the RV but that didn’t happen, unfortunately.


The next day we drove through the mountains to the high desert where we picked up the 4 lane highway in Holbrook. The driving then became easier for Steve and he is loving the engine brake for steep downhills.




We spent the night at the Route 66 Travel Center which is next door to a casino. As we had had no lunch (again), we splurged on the all-you-can-eat seafood buffet. This casino has a pretty classy buffet with different stations for Mexican, Mediterranean, Asian, and American food. Very good but expensive!


I will take pictures of the interior once we put the living room slide out and get more organized. I am sitting in the passenger seat at my desk writing this as we go down the highway. And when Molly Dog travels with us she will have her very own window at my feet.



San Sebastian del Oeste

Since my mother was alone in the hotel and without meals other than breakfast we were kept busy picking her up each morning, going places, and returning her to the hotel each evening.  I sure did learn the laterals between the RV park and the marina area though. The highway in that area is terribly congested and so the laterals are the way to go for short distances.  I do not like driving in Puerto Vallarta. Repeat. Repeat. However, being a passenger when Steve is driving is worse. My nine lives are gone. If it weren’t for other defensive drivers who have repeatedly saved us, you would not be reading this now.  Did you hear the big cheers coming across the Pacific when we left Australia and New Zealand and their roundabouts?

P1030104-2The first full day we walked over to the marina area to a tour office to straighten out ticketing for a little trip booked for later in the week. The company had charged our credit card for the three of us and then turned around and charged for five more tickets. We lost a little on the exchange rate but I was just glad to get our overcharge refunded. There are shops, restaurants, and condo’s on a boardwalk by the marina but I like looking at the boats best of all. After that we brought my mother to our RV and I prepared a meal while my mother enjoyed sitting outside in the warmth.

The next day we took a drive into the high sierras. There is a highway, that if you look at a map, appears to be a more direct route to Guadalajara than going via Tepic.  Evidently it is slower due to all the mountain driving because there are not too many vehicles on the road. We only drove an hour but had already climbed 5,000 feet in elevation.  It was still warm but the high humidity of the coast was gone.


Drying corn



There are dozens of Pueblos Magicos (Magic Villages) in Mexico, so designated because of their cultural, historical, or natural treasures.  One such village is San Sebastian del Oeste, founded in 1605 as a mining town for gold, silver, and lead. It is a small town of less than 1,000 people. The town is known for its four fiestas each year for religious holidays. We were lucky and visited the day after one of the holidays and so the celebration flags were still up and we didn’t have to negotiate our way through parades and whatever else they had. All the streets are very narrow and cobblestoned and in fact the road into San Sebastian is cobblestoned for several miles.


Cozy cobblestoned lane in San Sebastian

The Church of San Sebastian, constructed in 1608, has Corinthian columns and vaulted ceilings with frescos.

Mom, digging for change for the lady and her baby. My mother has a disease called

Mom, digging for change for the woman and her baby. My mother has a disease called “Wallet-itis” which many benefit from, including me. Some people make a big issue out of not giving money to beggars because they will otherwise never get out of their cycle of poverty; or so they think. These poor people still have to eat and what is a woman with a baby and no job and no welfare like we have in the US going to do?

Many bouquets of fresh and fragrant flowers from the festival were in the church.


Most of the buildings are white with tile roofs

P1030127-2P1030128-2P1030149-2This would be a fun town to explore from one end to the other on foot. I have seen some pretty cool pictures of San Sebastian online, particularly from the distance overlooking the town. However, my mother cannot walk more than two blocks without pain so we had lunch and left in the car after a short time there.


The Mexicans love their town squares and gazebos.


Hacienda San Sebastian, a small boutique tequila factory


P1030168-2P1030176-2There are three kinds of tequila and the most expensive is $70 US a bottle. Instead we bought some tequila liqueur pictured on the right that is made in several flavors. We bought the chocolate-coffee one and another that is orange flavored. They are delicious! Now I wish we had bought more as supposedly these cannot be purchased in stores due to the very limited supply.