2008-9 Mexico RV trip Planing
– Click Packing for trip to start 2008-9 Blog
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– Click Packing for trip to start 2008-9 Blog
We got a light dusting of snow yesterday but today was sunny. We got all our leaves raked up in our yard and the RV is packed and ready to go. We will finish packing on Thursday and leave early on Friday morning. It’s a 650 mi drive to Jackson, TN but I think we can make it by sundown. After we stay overnight in the Sam’s Club lot we will head for Houston.
Tracey is expecting another boy in early January.I did some biking with Rich and the boys, we all went to a new park in downtown Houston on Sunday, Discovery Green Conservancy.
Peggy did some antique shopping with Tracey’s mother. I helped Rich install a new wine cooler and fixed a few electrical outlets. They are in the middle of an upstairs repainting, so thing are a little hectic.
We left Priem’s at 6 AM and got to the Los Indius border crossing just before noon. We crossed into Mexico, paid our $7 toll and got the Mexican red, this means they do a search. It took 10 minutes, most of the time he kept looking at the space where our bulletin board was loacted. He was sure there was a hidden compartment behind there even when I showed him that there is no space. We got our $21/ea FM-T’s and made a U-turn back to the states. In this direction the toll was only $4. The last time crossing here we found out that the Bancjerito does not open until 9 AM, even though the border crossing opens at 6 AM. So this will permit us to get on the road earlier in the morning.
We stopped for lunch at our favorite TX Bar-B-Q place, Longhorn Cattle Company. Great Pinto bean soup and smoked beef brisket, we had enough left over for tonight’s supper.We are now overnighting in the Super Wal-Mart lot in Harlingen and hope to get an early start tomorrow.
We left the Wal-Mart in Harlingen at 6 AM and got to the Los Indios border crossing and flew right through. No red light this time. We decided since we were unsure of whether the construction was complete on the direct route to Tampico through Soto La Marina, we chose the longer route through the outskirts of Ciudad Victoria. The pavement was good the entire way, we encountered no Tope’s since Valle Hermosa, which is full of them. However it seemed more hilly but we found that they had completed a new section which bypasses Gonzalez & Manuel near the intersection of MX180 & MX80. However we missed the new bypass on the East side of CV which would have saved even more time. This got us to our planned campground, Country Express Hotel, at 1 PM. We thought that it was a little too early to stop for the night and once before we had made it all the way to Cerro Azul and the Condado Auto Hotel & RV park, so we pressed on.
The roads just outside of Tampico on the truck bypass route are terrible, full of large chuck holes. Then further on, we got into some road construction and heavy truck traffic which slowed us even more. But we got to the hotel by 4:45 PM just before sunset and had the grassy campsite all to ourselves.
On the first 330 mi we averaged 50 mph and the second leg of 130 mi, we only averaged 35 mph.
Friday morning we decided to sleep in and have a short 105 mi drive to the Emerald Coast. Well we should have left 5 minutes earlier. We left in a light on-off drizzle and on a winding hilly road the traffic stopped going in our direction. Then it stopped in both directions. I walked past the five cars in front of me and saw that a semi with a double trailer had slid off the road and partially down an embankment and a tow truck was trying to pull all of it back onto the road, blocking all the lanes. After an hour the traffic really backed up and a big semi following a police car passed everyone up and they then used that truck to also pull on the doble remolque. I couldn’t believe it, but they not only pulled it back on the road but it drove away to the nearest truck repair. We no sooner got out of that traffic jam but hit another snag. Another truck going in the opposite direction crashed into a bridge railing and was totally destroyed.
Our camp is very quiet with only a few campers staying here. The one family moved out on Sunday morning. They have a huge fifth wheel toy hauler and are travelling with their 5 kids. They are on their way to Belize for the winter.
We have beautiful blue skys this morning, so we are off on our morning beach walk. We walked for about 1 1/2 hrs and saw only about 10 people on the beach. Temps are in the low 70’s at 8 AM.
Monday morning we got an early 7AM start. Lots of road construction but the roads were better than two years ago when we went this way. Stopped at the Soriana grocery in San Andres Tuxtla and then drove through Catemaco to get to the Playa Azul Resort. We have camped here before using a cottage as our bathroom and shower. However, they said no more camping. I liked the place since it right on the lake and an easy paddle with my kayak to the islands with monkeys.
So we drove back and got a campsite at Tepetapan RV Park. We got there about 2 PM. It is a nice place, but we have no water access and the electical voltage is a little high here also.
They are working on their pool so it is not in service yet. Gene the manager is really friendly and makes you feel very welcome.
On Tuesday morning we took a long walk around town, checking out the Mercado, Cathedral and Malecon. It drizzled a little as we got back but quickly stopped. It’s in the low 70’s today but expected to warm later in the week.
After talking with most of the campers. We found out that they were all heading to Isla Aguada next. It sounds like a nice place so we thought we would check it out and head there tomorrow and we would skip Palenque since Isla Aguada is on the coast Northeast of Villahermosa while Palenque is Southeast. It should make the drive to Bacalar a little shorter also.
Wednesday got an early 6:45AM start for our next campground, Freedom Shores, on Isla Aguada. Several other campers are leaving today for the same location. The drive took us a little longer than we planned, we arrived about 3 PM. We stopped before the border with the State of Campeche to hide some of our illegal food, eggs, pork, chicken and fruit. It seems like the two states don’t like each other’s food. They found no contraband items in our RV. The traffic in Ciudad del Carmen, an island that we had to pass through, was bad. The only three campers here were the ones we had met at Catemaco.
Thanksgiving Day was 80o and sunny. We took our morning beach walk and lounged around getting some book reading in. Many of the small town’s streets are paved and the taxi system uses motorcycles pulling rickshaws.On Friday we took a bike ride all over town and looked for the one internet place that was supposed to open from 10am-2pm. At 10:15 it still wasn’t open. I heard it was supposed to reopen at 6 PM. At 6:30 it still was not open.
After four days at Isla Aquada we decided to get an early start for Chetumal. We left 6:30 AM on Sunday morning and had good roads and light traffic all the way. We got to town around noon and saw a Propane/Butane place. We were down to 1/4 tank and needed more before heading to the coast. Believe or not he said none would flow into the tank. In Mexico they use Butane instead of Propane. So we left, found a bank machine and nice big grocery and a Pemex for gasoline.
Well as careful as I am, they scammed me at the Pemex. He stopped filling twice and re-zeroed the pump. He had trouble adding the two numbers together and walked away with my money as I waited for change. He walked back and said I didn’t give him enough. I knew I did but I had no way to prove it. No matter how much I protested he refused to let me go without more money. I lost 200 pesos, about $15. It broke my heart but I learned a good lesson. Don’t get distracted by the other employees talking with you. Never take your eyes off the total and if he stops just pay and move on to a more honest place. He hadn’t even come close to filling my tank.
We found a nice place to camp in Bacalar right on a large lake. There was a small camper from Minnesota camped there. I was planning on staying a few days but kept worrying about getting more Butane. I thought that the problem may have been that my tank was warm and Propane has a much higher vapor pressure than Butane. If his pump didn’t put out enough pressure it wouldn’t open my tank valve. But since it is cool in the morning we went back to the gas place.. We got there about 8 AM it filled it right up, maybe I was right. Now that I have mostly Butane it shouldn’t have the problem.
We debated should we head back to the campground in Bacalar or continue on to Xcalak. It was early and we were anxious to get there so we headed for the coast just North of Belize’s Ambergris Cay on a beautiful coral reef. We decided to drive into Majahual first to take a look at the hurricane damage from 15 months ago. The town was primarily a Cruise Boat stop with a pier big enough to hold 3 large ships and all the amenities in town to keep the boat people happy for an afternoon. It was wiped out totally including the vegetation. They were slowly rebuilding the place. The dock was supposed to reopen in November.So off we went on the beautiful 50 miles of smooth paved road to the little sleepy town of Xcalak. There are a lot of North American expatriates here. We had the name of a gal who was house sitting a small home and living in her trailer. She said the owners were coming in a week but we could stay as long as we leave before they arrive. It is a paradise. We are right on a white sand beach beneath some tall coconut trees, with enough sun to get plenty of power for my solar panels. No hookups but a nice bath & shower.