Rocky Point report – Part 1

Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 June 2010 07:34 Written by Chris Marzonie Monday, 21 June 2010 07:31

Last week I mentioned Rocky Point and my curiosity about what the place is like these days with all the new high-rise resorts, time-shares, and condos that have been built in the last decade. You see, I had been downtown having a talk with Marlin Kuykendall, the mayor of Prescott, when our conversation drifted to the topic of Mexico. Suddenly we were volleying stories back and forth like a couple of boys talking about bicycles and superheroes. Like me, Mayor Kuykendall has enjoyed a few trips to Mexico over the years and he’s seen a lot of changes.

He told me about a project he’s been working on with Life Line Ambulance Service, donating and delivering ambulances to El Salvador and Mexico. Having had my own personal experience with an ambulance in Rocky Point many years ago, I was keenly interested. The story? Sometime in the mid-90s I had suffered a nasty laceration flooded with copious amounts of venom from a stringray and my friends rushed me to the local Cruz Roja (Red Cross). The guys on duty were clearly thrilled to finally have something to do and snapped into action, quickly slamming me onto a gurney, shoving me in the back of an ambulance and then pouncing into their seats with fervor. After all, if they didn’t hurry, this gringo may soon see his last sunset, no? A turn of the ignition key was met with the painful sound of a tired motor reluctant to wake up: gaahrurururururur, gaahururururur. Nothing. Ok, pump the pedal a couple times. Then. . . gahurururur. . . putt-putt-putt. . . vahroom! Thank God, I would be saved after all. They flipped on a hilarious-sounding siren and rushed me to la clinica. Once inside, we may as well have been roaming the halls of of an elementary school on a Sunday. . . in July. (Think darkness, crickets chirping). Finally, they found someone and left me in the care of a fine individual who I’m sure felt kind of bad when I saw them coming at me with a big needle and I jumped off the table and hurriedly mumbled “Lo siento, no gracias” and rushed outside. I sat on the curb for what seemed an eternity until my friends found me and took me back to the states where it was too late to get any stitches.

Anyway, back to the mayor and his project: One of the vehicles had already been delivered to Suchitoto, El Salvador, and the next one would be going to the community of Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico. He was excited about the project and said a group of local citizens and officials planned to make the trip with him the following week. And then, to my surprise, he invited me to tag along.


So I robbed my piggybank of pesos from the last trip, grabbed my passport, stuffed a daypack with a few clothes and a beach towel, threw a camera and a couple lenses into a fanny pack and hitched a ride with the mayor.

Life Line Ambulance donated this diesel beauty to the seaside town of Puerto Peñasco

Mayor Kuykendall (left) and Kristi Gagnon, Prescott Fire Dept (middle) with guys from the Puerto Peñasco Fire Dept.

We stopped in Gila Bend, AZ to hand off the ambulance to drivers from the Puerto Peñasco Fire Department. Part of the paperwork logistics required them to take the vehicle and deviate from our route through Lukeville, traveling instead through San Luis near Yuma and then on to meet us in Puerto Peñasco.

Cuerpo Bomberos! Puerto Peñasco

Drummer boy

This was a big deal in Rocky Point. A ceremony had been scheduled and the entire Fire Department showed up. There was even a marching band and guys with swords. The place was teeming with high-ranking government officials and a bevy of local who’s-who and reporters turned out to see the new ambulance being dedicated to the town.

Alejandro Zepeda, presidente municipal de Puerto Peñasco (middle)

Call to duty

Of course, a call came in during the proceedings and there was a brief commotion with blazes of blue running about and then some wailing sirens that faded off into the distance.

All smiles

Despite the emergency call and all the serious formalities that come with an important ceremony, there was a great sense of happiness and no end to the smiles and laughter.

Mayor Kuykendall of Prescott, AZ (left)

L to R: Alejandro Zepeda, presidente municipal de Puerto Peñasco, Marlin Kuykendall, mayor of Prescott, Arizona and C. Ruben Salido Martinez, Director, Bomberos de Puerto Peñasco

Los bomberos trying out the new ambulance

Rocky Point's new Ford diesel ambulance

It’s a heck of a nice ride—a Ford diesel that sounded beautiful and had been cleaned spotless, like new.

I like the wheel chocks stowed in the bumper

So, what about my impressions of the trip and the town? Some things have changed a lot in ten years, and some things haven’t. The border crossing was easy, and the drive to the coast was uneventful other than seeing some cyclists and support crews along the highway in the Pinacate desert for some kind of cycling event. Though I didn’t have my truck to tour around for a detailed view of all that’s going on (especially southeast of town where I used to camp), I cruised around on foot and bummed a few rides here and there. I got the impression that the Rocky Point (central) area still has the same feel to it though there are quite a few more touristy restaurants, bars and shops that have sprung up. Looking down the coast to the east from up near the point it’s easy to see it has been developed along the beach as far as the eye can see. The people of Rocky Point seem the same to me—friendly as ever. From the mayor to the guy selling bracelets on the beach, everyone is pleasant to talk to. I never sensed any animosity or bad vibes, which is great considering all that has been going on with politics, SB 1070 (Arizona’s new immigration law), a rotten economy, and the drug violence that is so rampant in the news. My hat is off to Mayor Kuykendall for following though with a project like this, which is probably more important now than ever before. Times are tough for everyone but when I see hands extend across borders and embrace with nothing but the common denominator of humanity passing from one to the other, I know things will work out.

Ok, northwest of town—Sandy beach and Cholla Bay, well, that’s another story. I had some great fun with the camera and I’ll save that for part two.

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  1. Bill Barvitski   |  Wednesday, 23 June 2010 at 7:10 am

    Great donation from the heart…….you are my new hero………many smiles in the picture and many people will be so glad of your efforts.

  2. Mary Ann Suttles   |  Wednesday, 23 June 2010 at 10:03 am

    Outstanding pictures, and article. Chris am very impressed with are quite an artist..

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