I was a little concerned about Sherman's engine battery though. I had a feeling it needs to be replaced.
But, I have one of those portable rechargeable booster packs so I figured we would be okay even if we had battery problems.
We learned a long time ago that when we travel with the motorhome, we always have a plan that says we can be parked up at our next location by 2:00pm at the latest. That way, if you do end up having problems, you have a few hours time to fix those problems. Also, we don't like travel days any longer than 200 kms (124 miles) or so. You'd figure that would only take two or three hours on the highway, but this is Mexico. You can't get anywhere fast in Mexico, especially driving a motorhome.
It was 9:00am by the time we pulled out and got on the road. Sure enough, Sherman needed the booster pack to get going. We stopped just down the road at Hacienda Contreras to do a favor for a friend, and I should not have shut off the engine. Five minutes later, he needed the booster pack again.
We had 1/4 tank of fuel, but it made sense to stop for more and there's an easy station to get in and out of only about 10 kms away. We pulled in there and the pumps were closed. We never asked, but they probably ran out. The only other option nearby was in the town of Mazamitla itself. We knew we could get the motorhome in there, but it's at a pretty busy intersection. We decided to do it.
It wasn't actually that busy, and we pulled right in. We put in 1,000 pesos ($88.00) worth of fuel, at 12.5 pesos per litre ($1.10 per litre, or $4.00 per gallon).
Went to start Sherman to drive away from the pumps, and sure enough I needed the booster pack again.
Now, this little booster pack had already started Sherman twice this morning and it was getting weak too! There was simply not enough juice left to turn over that big 454 engine.
So now, we're blocking a pump at a busy gas station and we need a boost! I walked over to a nearby garage and borrowed a cheap set of homemade booster cables. I honestly didn't think they were going to work because they looked so flimsy! But I hooked them up, and asked a guy next to me at the pumps if he would give us a boost. "No problem", he said, and we hooked things up and Sherman fired right up.
Finally, on the road! By now, it was 10:00am, and we had driven a total of 10 kms (6 miles)!
The funny things you see in Mexico. This is actually a pedestrian bridge built for employees of a greenhouse that has operations on both sides of the highway. Not sure how the truck got up there.
Coming down the hill towards Lake Chapala.
Lots of fruit greenhouses in this area.
We decided on a different route to avoid a very congested town on the shore of Lake Chapala. We took a road that we had checked out with the little blue car when we had it here at the end of 2012.
We knew that this detour wasn't in the best of shape, but while it had been okay with the little blue car, it was actually quite slow going with the motorhome. But, we made it through okay and it was 11:30am by the time we pulled onto the toll highway leading north towards Guadalajara.
Happy to be on the road again!
The toll highway is in great condition.
Even had the cruise control on for most of it!
We knew that we would have to pay a toll, and Mexican toll highways can be pretty expensive. Still, it was only a 40 km (25 mile) distance so we didn't think it would be too bad.
We were wrong.
The toll for that short distance was 184 pesos ($16.20).
It was certainly the easiest part of our drive, but not worth that kind of money! So, lesson learned. Next time, we will go the same congested route through that little town on the lower shore of Lake Chapala!
We stopped in the town of Tala where there is a Bodega Aurrera (owned by Wal-mart) store. It was on the opposite side of a divided main street going through town, and not easy to get in to. So I pulled over on our side of the road and we walked across to stock up on things.
At the same time, I hooked up our booster battery pack to the solar charging system to give it a quick charge while we were in the store. Still, it took a while and wasn't charged enough by the time we were finished. We sat and waited another half hour, and then got Sherman fired up again.
You're not really in Mexico unless there's a dog barking, a rooster crowing, or somebody is burning something!
The rest of the drive was uneventful, but it was still 3:00pm by the time we pulled into Delia's Trailer Park in Etzatlan.
We had been here for a week in November of 2011 and really enjoyed ourselves. Our host Bonnie came out to greet us, but she was on her way to work so it was just a quick chat. We're looking forward to catching up with her over the next week that we're here.
There are four friendly dogs here on the property, so we'll get a good dog fix while we're here too!
Sherman, parked up at Delia's Trailer Park in Etzatlan.
Yesterday's drive, 213 kms (132 miles).