Wednesday, December 31, 2014

RV Border Patrol

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
After reading your post about the birder woman wanting to go into remote areas all the time, I knew I had to write. My husband is very similar. He does not want to take the RV on poorly graded roads or even the car. He does, however, enjoy camping in wild places. I too do not care for crowds or commercial RV parks. We both enjoy hiking, paddling and photography. Natural areas suit both of us. What I am not comfortable with are border areas in the Southwest. We recently spent some time at Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge in Arizona. I protested a bit, but he convinced me that it was almost an armed camp with border patrol thicker than flies on the ground and in the air. The argument made sense, but we were parked alone in this vast grassland. When we stopped at the Visitor Center we met the volunteer hosts. I asked them where they camped. They where camped in a razor wire trimmed, chain linked fence compound near the headquarters. That should have been my first clue. We didn't have any problem, but I'm anxious all the time when we are in these areas. Is this just my hangup? Should I be more open-minded to exploring border areas?
--Anxious Annie in Arivaca

Dear Anxious:
I wouldn't suggest you do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. Everyone has their own threshold when it comes to feeling secure while traveling. Many RVer's find special, remote sites that appeal to them for the very reasons you fear. Not to suggest there are no dangers in the area you are describing, but a few things should be considered. The first thing that comes to mind is the native population. Although sparse, many people live and work in that part of Arizona. You probably do not want to know everything that goes on in the area, but in most cases it would not involve visitors to the refuge. You can't spend ten minutes along refuge roads without seeing Border Patrol and state and local police presence. Using common sense in where you travel and camp along the border will help ensure a safe experience. Traveling in numbers will also alleviate some of your apprehension. Remember that most of the pioneers traveled as a group and circled the wagons at night. The upside of the experience in this remote section of Arizona will be the wildlife and dark skies. It is a very unique grasslands area and you can expect to see pronghorn, burrowing owls, and masked bobwhite. --Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink


Unknown said...

That area is more dangerous than average. I do not subscribe to the idea that a huge LE presence makes the area safer; all that means to me is that you area of concentrated badness. If you insist of exploring those types of areas, stop off at the local county sheriff and have a safety chat first. Also, stop and ask a couple of those ubiquitous LE people just what the local scene, night and day, is really like. Remember, coyotes often abandon their groups, robbers prey on the traffic, smugglers are often well-armed, and big money is flowing through that wilderness. Even if you don't see anything, somebody might think you were too close to their business and decide to get some extra insurance. There's a whole lot of wilderness that isn't smack on the southern border, and if your husband isn't satisfied with that, he may be an adventure junkie (which is sometimes a terminal condition).

Anonymous said...

Actually, the average boondocker or RV'er has more to fear from criminals from the US than from Mexico. How many people have you heard of being killed by Mexicans coming across the border and how many killed by escaped convicts? I think of the couple killed by the escapee who burned their bodies. I haven't heard of that being done by Mexicans, except the drug cartels in Mexico itself.

Unknown said...

I'm not particularly interested in the criminal's nationality, race or blood type. I think you may be stereotyping Mexicans when you seem to assume that criminality in the region immediately north of the border has to be Mexicans. Secondly, there is a lot more to crime than getting yourself dead, yet that doesn't attract nearly so much press attention. Third, there is bias in the media toward not reporting crimes by diverse cultures on Americans (our President declares the border is secure, for those of us who live near the border, well, we know the truth). BTW, the "drug cartels in Mexico" control the drug flow on both sides of the border (far beyond that imaginary line). There is also a flow of people and weapons. Fourth, there is the matter of placing yourself in harm's way. That region is a known smuggling corridor; too many desperate people already doing illegal stuff, so why camp among them? Your opinion may be politically correct, but will that be of comfort to your survivors? As I have been trying to say, just don't expose yourself to unreasonable risk, and I sure think that area constitutes very unreasonable risk.

Sherri Dennis said...

Ed Price you are so correct. I grew up in this area and lived in boarder states all of my life(I am 60 now). I could tell you stories that would make you sick about things I have seen or know of that has happened to campers here, and not from the wildlife. I would never recommend camping here. Please if you are uncomfortable, heed your inner feelings. It is not safe.