We crawled our way out the three kilometers or so back to the main highway, and heading in our direction the road soon turned into a construction zone.
Fortunately it didn't last long, but the original road was in very poor condition and the construction zone we had just been through was only the beginning of their improvements.
Not much traffic though.
We were well under a quarter tank of gas, so the first Pemex station we saw, we pulled in. I asked if I could pay by credit card, and the guy said yes so I told him to fill 'er up.
When we first started coming to Mexico eight years ago, it used to be that you could only pay for gasoline with cash. It was very rare to find a station that accepted credit cards, usually only if you were right in a big city. But things have changed and now we only pay with credit card. But I always ask first, just to make sure their machine is working.
He started pumping the gas.
Now, I know that from empty, Sherman's tank holds 228 litres (60 gallons) of fuel. I have a lot of experience filling him up from empty, and the most I have ever put in was 192 litres and that was when it was closer to the emty mark.
I expected this fill up to be around 190 litres. But it kept going and didn't click off until 220 litres! I know that there was not enough space in the tank for that much fuel.
The bill was 2,900 pesos ($237 CAD).
Their pumps (or at least that pump) are obviously not calibrated properly. I've heard stories of this happening, but never seen it in person, or at least not that I've ever noticed. Of course if you only put in 400 pesos worth you wouldn't even notice.
But I knew that with this large fillup, we got ripped off, likely by more than 200 pesos. And there's not a thing I can do about it.
But, the tank was definitely filled to the brim, so I went and paid (with the credit card) and off we went.
The far western end of the lake at Villa Victoria.
Going through a town. Chickens in the back of that truck.
This is what the road was like for part of the drive.
It was about 11:15am when we reached the outskirts of El Oro. Took about an hour and forty five minutes to do 53 kms (32 miles). Slow going, and lots of potholes!
I knew not to take Sherman into El Oro. Lots of tight streets, and not motorhome friendly. I saw a state police building and asked if I could park there for a couple of hours while we walked in to town. The cop outside said "no problem".
Sherman, parked up at the state police building outside El Oro.
El Oro (The Gold) used to be a mining town. Gold was discovered here around the year 1800, and it was a thriving place around the year 1910. But by 1958 the last gold mine closed and the population dwindled to 2,500 people.
The town has turned to tourism, and now has a population of 5,800.
Looking towards the train station.
The original mine tower was refurbished in 2011. It covers a hole that goes down over 400 meters. The hole is now covered with glass and you can walk on it and look down!
Ruth, going up the stairs to the top.
You pay 10 pesos (82 cents CAD) and that gives you a pass to see the old mine tower, the theatre, the municipal building, and the train station.
They even have a spot level enough for a nice baseball diamond and stadium.
And the baseball field has it's own automatic grass cutting system!
The whole time we were in the town, I was scouting out overnight possibilities for Sherman. There was actually a great spot beside the baseball field, and I asked a local cop if we could park there, but he said that we would have to ask for permission at the municipal building. We were heading that way anyhow, so we walked into the central area.
An old train car, now a tourist restaurant. The tracks are long gone and no more trains come to El Oro.
And inside the theatre.
We found the municipal building, but because it was Saturday most offices were closed. No matter, because we had spotted a building overlooking the town that looked like it had a large parking lot. We figured we would wander up there and see if that was suitable.
Ruth, at the municipal building. The entrance has a beautiful mural depicting the history of the town.
The street outside the municipal building.
Lunch time! We found a nice little "comida casera". These are typically small restaurants, often done out of somebody's home. They usually have a small menu, and reasonable prices.
We lucked out with this one!
Rice, tortillas, and a jug of juice.
Big plate of enchiladas con mole. Four chicken enchiladas with mole sauce, lettuce, cheese, and onions. Delicious!
And a side of refried beans.
The lady was all smiles, and the food was great. We hadn't asked the prices prior to ordering, because we knew it would be reasonable. Ruth guessed the bill for the two of us would be 90 pesos, but I though that because we were in a tourist town, and the presentation was quite nice that would be 120 pesos for the two of us.
I went to pay, and the lady asked for 100 pesos ($8.20 CAD). Yep, $4.10 CAD each...what a great meal.
Panza llena, corazón contento!
A Mexican phrase, that says that when you have a full stomach you have a happy heart!
We walked up to the building overlooking town. Turns out that it's a university campus. We went inside to ask if we could park overnight in their lot. There were a couple of people in the office, and we were stumbling along in Spanish when the lady said something we didn't understand. I apologized for our bad Spanish when one of the guys says "we can do this in English if you like". Turns out we think he's the building's caretaker. Pretty funny when the University office staff can't speak English, but the caretaker can!
Anyhow, they had to ask the director, but they couldn't find him. In the meantime, he said that we were perfectly fine to overnight on the street outside if we liked. We were fine with that, and the view was spectacular.
The view from Sherman's side window.
Around 7:00pm, there was a knock at the door. It was the caretaker guy, saying that we were welcome to park in their lot, and that he would be closing the gate behind us and returning at 7:00am. He introduced us to the night security guard, and we moved into their spot.
Nice. Have we mentioned that we love Mexico?
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