Out for a drive south of Chisinau, Moldova. Photo taken December 6, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Purcari Winery, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist! Arrive December 8th.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Escorted by angels!

350 kms (217 miles) doesn't sound like a really long day, but when you're on some secondary roads in Mexico and you're leading a group of nine other RV's...it becomes a really long day.

And so we got an early start, scheduled for 8:00am. But you really have to be on your toes with this group...they were ready to pull out at 7:50am, and so we did!

Plus, it wasn't a very direct route. There is no really easy way to get from Patzcuaro to Villa Corona via the cuota (toll highway) and so there were some twisty back roads, and some U-turns involved. Lots of fun getting 10 RV's of all different sizes to do a U-turn on a busy highway!

Making a U-turn and heading back to our exit.

Very often on Mexican highways, you have to do a "returno" on a divided highway. A planned U-turn in order to get off the exit that you want.

Nice country roads, and not much traffic.

Eventually, we made it to the cuota (toll highway) that runs between Mexico City and Guadalajara. It's a nice modern four lane road, and we made good time. In fact when we stopped for lunch we were actually a bit ahead of schedule.

Beautiful 4 lane highway.

Look out, here we come!

We had a scheduled escort for part of this trip. Mexico's Angeles Verdes (Green Angels) are a national tourism program to help motorists with any roadside assistance problems. They are trained mechanics and are also trained in first aid. The service is totally free other than the cost of any parts or gas or oil that they may need to get you back on the road safely.

They have over 300 vehicles on the road across the country from 8:00am to 6:00pm, 365 days a year.

If you need them, you simply dial 078 and bilingual operators will give assistance.

But the service is operated slightly differently in each of the 32 states of Mexico. The state of Michoacan doesn't have regular patrol routes...they simply respond as needed. And so we weren't able to get our escort until we crossed the border to Jalisco.

Yesterday, we met them at our lunch stop near La Barca, and they were with us right to the RV Park at Villa Corona.

Personally, I think having an escort is overkill, but it is part of the service we provide as an RV caravan in Mexico and it makes some people feel more secure. And, they did help block traffic at a couple of intersections along the way.

Fields of agave plants. This is the state of Jalisco...known for it's tequila production!

We arrived at Chimulco Water Park at 3:45pm...slightly ahead of my expected 4:00pm time. Still, it took a few minutes to get everybody set up. There are 65 RV sites here, but the park was designed in the 1980's and were meant for rigs to about 30 ft maximum. Some of the rigs on this caravan are up to 42 feet long! But, we got everybody settled and overall it was a good day.

Our Green Angel leader.

Kevin, with the Green Angels.

Today is a day of rest...nothing scheduled for the group, so I hope everybody enjoys their day off. We might even go for a swim at some point today!

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Need a new phone? A fantastic deal on an unlocked Motorola Moto G smart phone...


And in Canada...



Yesterday's drive.




32 comments:

  1. The Green Angels. An excellent service. Anyone nervous about travelling the highways of Mexico should now feel a lot better about it. Have fun in the pool!

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    1. The Green Angels are an excellent service but they are there only for breakdowns or if help is required for getting from one area to another or around congested cities where it may be a bit confusing. They are not police and they don't carry weapons.

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  2. This is perfect for you to leave a RV caravan in Mexico. Love the Green Angels!

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    1. Yes, it is nice having the Green Angels follow our caravan and they have definitely come in handy an couple of times at the beginning of the caravan tour as there were two flat/blown out tires and they were there to help fix and change around tires. It is also nice having them stop traffic in order for us to make certain turns or to lead us through congested towns/cities.

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  3. Once you get settled in at either Chimulco or Roca Azul we can highly recommend some side trips your group might enjoy. Some highly acclaimed artists are in the area around Lake Cajititlan. We posted a blog about them a few years ago. Detailed info . . .

    http://www.briansue2.blogspot.mx/2014/01/day-trips-from-roca-azul.html . . . .

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    1. I am not sure that we will be going Lake Cajititlan. We have set tours that are done by the caravan company and have to follow those tours. Any free time is ours but we only have two personal vehicles that can drive anywhere as people were told not to bring a tow vehicle on the tour for ease of getting around and a couple of the trucks are new so they can only be used under a full load because of the diesel fuel down here. Those things may be something that would be better done on their own another time. I know for us we will definitely stop by here another time as we drove right by it yesterday and thought it looked like a beautiful area.

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  4. I can't find it now but at one point I read somewhere that there are over 2,000 Green Angeles - we see them everywhere - yesterday on the side of the road just outside Guanajuato there were at least 5 parked and waiting for the next problem. Someone recently mentioned on one of the Mexico forums that not all phones can reach the Green Angeles using 078 so I found some other numbers. I think people from the US and Canada can call to arrange for escorts.....

    National Number 078

    In Mexico City 5089 7500

    Interior Of The Republic 01 800 0068 839

    From US 1866 640 0597

    Canada 1866 416 3757


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    1. We think that the Green Angels is a wonderful program that has been in place for ALL travellers in Mexico and has been ongoing since the 60's or 70's. Thanks for the additional phone numbers!

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  5. That is quite a sight with a line of RV's on the highway!

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  6. Kevin - Why were the Green Angels arranged for this particular part of the trip? We have driven those roads before and have not experienced any difficulties but has the "safety" factor changed somehow. Just wondering since I don't remember you having them anywhere else on your time leading the caravan.

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    1. As I said above, the Green Angels operate differently in different states. We had been in Guanajuato and Michoacan and they were also much shorter driving days while in those states. Now, in Jalisco and close to the cuota, they were readily available and people on the caravan tour were told ahead of time that we would have Green Angel escorts "when available". They had been on several legs of the trip before we took over.

      It has nothing to do with whether or not we are in an area experiencing problems.

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  7. We saw quite a few of the green angels when we toured Mexico, a real great service.

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    1. Somethings I think that both the U.S. and Canada should have a program like this!

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  8. Doug, The company owner, Gabriel Romero, arranges Green angels whenever possible. It is partially a PR thing, but there are some stretches of highway our caravans take where there may be a slight security risk, especially in states where there have been problems. Normally we have a Green angel at the rear, but sometimes we bring them up front to navigate throguh particualry awkward cities or where construction forces us to take a orute unfamiliar ot the wagon master. They are a tth erear in cas eo fo flats or breakdowns. They enable the rest of the craavn to continu on in some cases and catch up later. We do do not want to leave a customer alone on the side of the road with a breakdown with no assistance. We have also never been hit up by a crooked cop whle they are with us. We do pay them well for their services. The ocmpany kevin & I are wagon mastering for is mexican registered and the owner has the ocnnectiosn to arrange for things like this. In fact we have provided them to other companies in the past, notably Fantasy. The fact of th ematter is many peopel take a caravan becuse they are ervous about RVing in Mexico. The presence of the Green Angels makes them feel better. We have had many experiences where they have fixed our rigs on the road. They do not give up. They also do help us keep prices down. If we had to hire a mechanic tailgunner, it would force us to raise prices to pay for him.

    Paul
    Caravanas de Mexico

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    1. Yes, they acted as tail gunners for us except when we came to a confessing intersection or to an area with lots of traffic where we had to do a returno or an awkward turn and then they stopped the traffic for us so that we could all get through together.

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  9. Green Angels helped us when we had a tire problem in Baja. They are wonderful!

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    1. It is nice to know that this free service is there and available to anyone who has a breakdown of any sort. Glad that they were there to help you out when you needed the help.

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  10. I can't imagine doing a U-turn with that many rigs. You guys deserve a gold star on your forehead!

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    1. That particular area had very little traffic. The other couple of returnos/U-turns are made especially for that very thing so really it wasn't an issue except for the traffic on one major highway but the Green Angels took care of that by stopping the traffic for us. :-)

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  11. Thank you Kevin and Paul. I guess this is just the first time I heard Kevin speak of it and I just found it interesting. Thanks again!

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    1. Glad that we could help to answer your question! :-)

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  12. Excellent job Kevin, Ruth & the Green Angels. This is first class service for a RV caravan. I'm really impressed! Mark & Jean

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    1. The caravan company has done a great job in making sure that all the little details get covered so that their clients can relax and have a wonderful trip in Mexico.

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  13. They came to the rescue when the fuel pump went out on a Sunday returning from San Miguel de Allende to Monterrey. They took care of all the arrangements. Even came by the shop the next day to check on me. Great service. And many cities have Auxilio Vial, which is a local version of the Green Angels to help keep traffic flowing when there is a breakdown.

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    1. Nice to hear that they came to your rescue and that got you fixed up and sorted out, and even checked back with you the next day.

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  14. I'm interested in hearing more about your adventures and joining one some day soon.

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    1. So glad that you are enjoying our adventures and that perhaps one day you will take a tour yourself. It is certainly a good way to travel to Mexico for your first time.

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  15. We would like information on your RV travels through Mexico. Any and all planned travels this year. Beginning and ending destinations, do they begin on the US side of the border and do they end on the US side, cost, everything we need to make an educated decision. Thank you so much in advance

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    1. I am assuming that you are referring to the caravan tours themselves, rather than our own personnel time in Mexico. You can find all the information about their tours at www.mexicorvbuddies.com. Should you have any additional questions that haven't been answered on their website, then there is a contact tab there and you can ask them by using that. Hope that helps you out.

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    2. Helen
      I find the best route planning software to be Garmin's free Basecamp. Offline you can plan and store thousands of your and others waypoints. Basecamp can also link to Google Earth with a single click of the mouse.

      Garmin's City Navigator North America NT 2016.1 on a hand held GPSmap 62s worked well for me on my trip down into Mainland Mexico.

      Delete

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