In the last three RV parks we stayed at, we’ve been the only ones there.
We found a handyman/caretaker who pointed to the nicer RV sites and then directed us to the person in the office. Other than those two, the place was deserted. No other RV guests. No motel guests. The restaurant looked abandoned.
Later in the day, when we drove through town along the wide boulevard that runs along the back of the beach houses, I had a sense of being in a ghost town. Is it the time of year – too early (or maybe too late) in the season? Does it get busy on the weekends? How do the few businesses that are open survive?
This place suffers from a neglect borne of lack of guests and visitors. It is a rustic older resort with many amenities: a palm thatch-roofed restaurant, a pool with shady seating, a bar area, brick-cobblestone walkways winding through grassy areas and coco palm trees. Sadly, the restaurant is closed, the pool is murky and under repair, the walkways a little overgrown. There’s a lawnmower in the unkempt grass.
Would the walkways have people strolling along them if they were swept clean and the grassy edges trimmed? What if the hedges and flowers were tended, the buildings freshly painted and the walls whitewashed, the pool sparkling clear and blue? Would people come?
If this were a movie, now is where we would flash back to an earlier time – the bar and restaurant jammed with people, laughing, eating and drinking, swaying to the up-tempo rhythms of the orchestra at the edge of the patio.
It’s a downward spiral. When fewer people come and stay, there is less money to keep the place at its best, and when it loses its edge even fewer visitors come.
Is it the economy, or maybe the fear of travellers, deterred by negative travel advisories and reluctant to explore even slightly-off-the-freeway destinations, choosing instead to rush to their favourite usual winter resort, with the uniformed security guard, the English-speaking staff, activities with friends from “home”, without ever feeling the need to investigate that strange foreign community that lurks outside the walls.
It’s going to take us at least half-a-dozen campgrounds and almost a month to reach Mazatlan. Seems that most people do it in three days. While the “regular crowd” has pulled their RV’s into a tight circle, overnighting at the Pemex truck stop just south of Los Mochis (the better to get an early start in the morning), we are spending a leisurely week watching sunsets on the edge of the sea a mere 25 miles off the main highway.
We may be a bit biased because we are having just the kind of trip we always wanted, but we’re also worried that our options are getting fewer because most travellers are not choosing from the wide variety of options open to them.
Will we become like the others and begin to choose the more established places where the services are in place and things work ‘the way they are supposed to’?
I guess that depends on whether we want to explore a new country or merely escape from winter.