Our goal is to always be parked up by 2:00pm in the afternoon. That way, if there are any problems along the way, you have lots of daylight hours left to fix them. We were only doing 160 kms (100 miles) or so, but of course you can never get anywhere quickly in Mexico, so better to start earlier than later.
Sherman doesn't often travel on toll highways in Mexico. They're usually expensive, and often not in any better shape than the free roads. But yesterday, Sherman was spoiled with really good toll roads!
Exiting from the toll road on to the free road before Silao.
At 9:35am, taking a short break after one of the toll booths.
We all have CB radios installed, but I'm not overly impressed with them. Some definitely work better than others, but I expected more range. We're rarely more than one km apart from us to the last rig in number 10 spot, and yet the best we can do is to relay the messages back because we can't be heard, or hear, the last rigs. I don't know a lot about CB radios, but I'm going to do some reseach when I get a chance to try and make them work better. It has to be something to do with the antenna location or something. I dunno. I just expected more I guess.
We went through a police check near the Michoacan border. They were pulling vehicles over, but they just waved us through. This was the lineup going in the opposite direction.
We arrived near the San Juan del Lago RV Park at about 11:30am. We all pulled over the a spot on the side of the road. But now the tough part began. We had to wait for the RV Park owner, Arturo, to meet us there. I called to advise him that we were close, and he came to meet us ten minutes later.
Pulled over, waiting for Arturo.
Four of us went for a drive with Arturo to check the route into the RV Park. It's a long story, but when the park was built he had access from the main highway. But when they expanded the highway they closed off his access because it was from a toll highway. Now, the only access to the park is through the small village of San Juan Benito Juarez, and then up a short, but very steep hill.
As we drove through the village with Arturo, the local police were busy clearing parked cars off the very narrow one way street so that this caravan of big rigs could get through.
We checked out the steep hill, and we all agreed that it shouldn't be a problem. We drove back to the rigs, and got ready to go.
The police blocked off the highway and stopped cars in the opposite direction to allow us to cross the highway and get to the road through the village.
Following Arturo through the narrow streets.
Here comes Paul and Fran behind us with their big fifth wheel. Yes, the kids were watching. I'm sure they thought the circus was coming to town!
Arturo's helper had to raise some wires for each rig as we passed through.
Here they come!
We made it through town without any issues, and then were lined up at the bottom of the short, steep hill. Arturo has built a sort of launch pad at the bottom where you can pick up speed before the hill becomes steep. Sherman was the first to go!
The diesel powered rigs don't have any problem going up a hill like this. The gasoline rigs have to work hard though! We've only done one hill this steep before, so I knew we were going to have the pedal to the floor. But we had faith in Sherman!
Sure enough, about half way up we started to slow down to a crawl. But Sherman summoned all of his horses, and we made it to the top. We were cheering him on though. :-)
We then brought each rig up one at a time. Because of course if you couldn't make it, you were going to have to back yourself down.
One of the diesel rigs churning up the dust making his way up the steep hill.
The second last rig to come up had a problem. He tried three times and couldn't make it past the 3/4 mark up the hill. We brought him back down one last time and did some thinking. It turned out that he was carrying a nearly full fresh water tank. And his tank holds 86 gallons of water. That's nearly 800 lbs! I suggested he dump that weight and we try again. We also took about 400 lbs worth of tools and equipment out of the rig. And, I suggested his wife stay behind as well. Hey, every 100 lbs might help!
Jim took a run at that hill, and I though he might have been going too fast to make the first corner! But he made it, and carried on, all the way to the top! He was not about to let that hill beat him! We were so happy that it worked. The alternative was that they would have dry camped at the bottom of the hill. Arturo came back down in his truck and picked up the tools and Betty and I.
Everybody settled in at the top of the hill.
I'll give you a little more detail about the park itself and the people in the group another day. Time is running out, and we have a bus arriving at 8:00am this morning to take us to see the monarch butterflies. We've seen this twice before, but it's always a magical experience, and it's especially fun the first time. So we're looking forward to seeing other people enjoy this bucket list item.