Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Second Day of Our Drive Back Toward TX.

The drive the first day was great. Light traffic, 4 police stops with one question where are we going and each one waved us on. The roads were really good, about 7 miles of slower roads on MX186 in Tabasco.

The military stop at the Palenque turn had just closed. at 3:15 PM. They were all jumping into their trucks and waved us on. A few chuckholes here and there but no traffic going through Villahermosa. We got to the Balneario-Recreativo El Gordo  N side KM158 at 5 PM, an 11 hour drive from our early morning start at sunrise, 6 AM.

The cars were pouring out of the water park (Balneario), Actually 6 PM would be a better time to arrive, they were all gone by then. They have fast wireless internet ask them for the password. Camping cost is 250 pesos per night. We didn’t bother hooking up our electric. I remember last year it was without a ground and not high enough amperage to run a microwave.

Peggy put together a great spaghetti dinner with real Italian sausage we brought from home.

A large Toyhauler 5th wheel from Ontario came in after us. They said they got stopped driving through town. Big rigs are supposed to use the truck route, Periferico. They wouldn’t pay the $100 bribe and asked for a ticket, so the cops let them go. NEVER PAY “the Bite”, bribe.

This is the plan for Day 2 of our drive toward TX.

Villahermosa to Cerro Azul – Day 2
Mexico Trip Map 14_2a

City City Miles Hours
Villahermosa Acayucan 140 2:50
Acayucan S of Veracruz 145 3:00
S of Veracruz Emerald Coast 100 3:00
Emerald Coast Cerro Azul 100 2:45
Totals Day 2 485 11:20

Monday Night in Cerro Azul

We left the balneario campground in Villahermosa at 6:15 AM, it was just getting light. The traffic was light and there were no big delays. No military or police inspections, they just waved us through.

Seems like we stopped a lot for gas and my pesos are running low.Hope we have enough pesos to make it to the border to buy some cheap Texas gasoline.

It was another 11 hour day, a little light rain near Vera Cruz. A big surprise, they finished the last overpass on the MX180 bypass of Vera Cruz, but you still have to drive over the train tracks. There is a fairly new bypass around Cardel, it’s marked Poza Rica. Saved driving through the slow intersection in town.

We got to the Condado Auto Hotel & campground just before 5 pm, after stopping to buy a liter of orange blossom honey in Alamo. There were hundreds of Topes today and we sure stirred up our cupboards and refrigerator.

There is no wireless here and we didn’t try the electricity. Camping is 150 pesos/night. The Telcel Banda Ancha worked fine for the internet.

So here are our plans for Tuesday

Cerro Azul to Los Indios – Day 3
Mexico Trip Map 14_3a

City City Miles Hours
Cerro Azul S Tampico 90 2:00
S Tampico Altamira 45 1:15
Altamira MX83/81 Xicotencati turn 57 1:05
Xicotencati turn on MX-81 To Ciudad Victoria-MX101/83 Interchange 60 1:10
MX101/83 Interchange MX180/101 Intersection 75 1:30
MX180/101 Intersection Los Indios 120 2:15
Los Indios Harlingen 15 0:45
Cerro Azul Harlingen 462 10:00

Back to the USA

Our third day on the road went according to plan. The sun rises later as we traveled west so we didn’t leave until 6:30 AM as it was just getting light. MX 180 from Cerro Azul to Naranjos is nothing but topes and chuckholes. It was a little drizzly and foggy and heavy truck and bus traffic. As we got closer to Tampico the road got better and faster. We went through town and did not get stopped by any police, but traffic was really heavy and slow. Finally when we got to Altamira, traffic lightened up and chuck holes reappeared. Once on MX 80, 81 & 83 traffic was light and fast. MX101 was very fast and we had a short stop at the big MX military stop on MX180, one guy came in looked in a few cupboards and we were on our way. The light rain and dirty roads caused our nice clean RV to be covered with black dirt.

We got to the border at 4 PM, then the fun started. When I went to turn in my MX FMM he saw it was not from driving but from an airline. He wanted to charge me. I explained the airline provides it fully paid as part of fare. He looked all over in the passport until he could match up the dates and said OK. Then I gave him Peggy’s, she was in the RV. He didn’t even look at it and stamped it. But that was nothing. Now USA crossing. Absolutely no line, that’s why we like the Los Indios crossing. But they have a policy, all RV’s get a secondary inspection.

Mine got a  tertiary inspection. First they did a walk though and found one potato but everything else was fine but we needed to have the rig x-rayed at the truck area. That’s not too bad but then the 2 bonehead inspectors tore into every cupboard, refrigerator, leaving things out and in disarray. Tossed the beds, went into every outside compartment including sewer, propane, batteries. They left some open to flap in the breeze, if I hadn’t checked them. Why in the world x-ray if you can’t figure it out. It took an hour to get through and they were rude besides. I guess Peggy and I look like drug smugglers, or maybe our dirty RV bothered them.

So was this route safe? We saw no accidents, dozens of police and military on all of these roads. Plenty of truck and bus traffic, not a lot of people in vehicles. I still think this is better than going all the way to over 9000’ in the mountains and paying $100 more in tolls while driving 100 miles out of our way.

If we didn’t have to go through USA customs it would have been perfect but I expect there are stupid rude USA border agents across all of our borders.

After a nice Bar-B-Que dinner at our favorite restaurant we stayed overnight at the Harlingen, TX Wal-Mart.

These are the plans for all 3 days of Driving out of Mexico in case you missed the others.

Back in the Cool-Wet South

After some shopping in Harlingen, TX we drove to my cousin Rich’s home in Houston on Wednesday afternoon . It was a sunny and warm drive but on Thursday the cool wet weather moved in. No bike rides or outdoor activities, so Rich bought a new home theater receiver and I helped him hook it up to their TV, DVD, I-phones, computers, and their existing speaker systems. It took us 2 days but Rich was pretty happy with the results.

FinnTraceyDane

I didn’t take many pictures but here is one I got of Tracey with her two youngest, Finn & Dane, before we went out to eat at Lupi Tortilla’s, our favorite Tex-Mex restaurant, a short walk away.

We spent 6 nights there but got sick of the cold and rainy weather.

It finally cleared on Monday night We  left Rich’s on Tuesday morning after rush hour. I was surprised how light the traffic through Houston was at 9 AM.

We had a nice 5-1/2 hr. drive to the same campground in Louisiana that we stayed in last year, Kincaid Lake in Kisatchie NF. It is one of the few National Forest camps that we have run into with 30-50 amp power and HOT showers. The camp fees are only $15/night or half that for Golden Age Passport holders.

We are planning on taking the Natchez Trace Parkway, a linear National Park, for a  relaxing drive North. It is a limited access parkway with no truck traffic and no stop signs or cross roads for 444 miles from Natchez, MS to near Nashville, TN. There are three free primitive campgrounds along the way.

Kincaid Lake is right on our way. It’s 150 miles NE of Houston and 90 miles due west of Natchez. We got the same campsite as we did last year and were finally able to wash off all the road grime and dirt that we got from driving out of Mexico.

KincaidRV

They have nice hiking trails but they were a little soggy from last week’s rain. It was cool but dry. We took about a three mile walk, past the fishing docks, and swimming beach which doesn’t open yet for a few weeks.

Peggy_KincaidDock

SmokeyBear1

We didn’t see any eagles in their big nest along the trail and we didn’t see Smokey Bear either like last year.

We had dry weather on Tuesday & Wednesday but thunderstorms blew in on Thursday morning. So we decided rather than leave in the rain we would wait until Friday morning to drive to Jeff Busby National Park Campground on the Natchez Trace Parkway. It is about a 6 hour drive to milepost 193.

See Map of Planned Route.

My daughter Joan sent me this picture of our driveway up in Ohio. I hope the snow is gone before we get back home, possibly on Sunday night, March 15th.

Housesnow30915

Some Folks Get Tired Of The Rain

This old Tanya Tucker song keeps rolling through my mind. I guess since it has been so damn rainy. We were at our camp watching the weather report which was predicting 3 more days of cool rainy weather in the south, We were going to stay here at Kincaid Lake for one more night but everything was so wet that we decided if it stopped raining for a few hours we would drive to Natchez and get on the internet at the visitor center and then drive to Rocky Springs Campground at milepost 55. Most of the drive was dry but we didn’t leave until after lunch so we didn’t get there until 5:30 PM. It started to pour again and was still raining in the morning.

So, nothing to do here either in the rain so we bypassed our planned camping at Jeff Busby, mile 195, and continued all the way to Meriwether Lewis campground at mile 385. We stopped at the visitor center in Tupelo to access the internet and stop for gas. It rained hard the entire 330  mile trip. The good thing about the Trace is there is no commercial traffic and very few cars. We passed no one and two cars past us the entire way. The speed limit is 50 mph which was fine for a rainy day.

We had our nice left over dinner of spaghetti and watched TV in the rain. It was still raining in the morning but when we got to Nashville the heavy rain had finally stopped and when we reached Louisville, KY the sun was shinning. We decided to stay at a Wal-Mart in Carrolton and continue to home on Sunday. There is no rain is predicted. We will stop at Betsy Priem Chisholm’s to drop off a package for Rich and hope to be home by mid-afternoon. Cleveland weather report says cool & cloudy but it should be warmer & sunny while we unpack on Monday.

We have been away from home for four months and really do miss our big family.