Thousands of monarch butterflies at 10,700 feet in the mountains of Michoacan, Mexico. Photo taken yesterday!
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? San Juan del Lago RV Park near Cuitzeo, Michoacan, Mexico.

Where are they going next? The outskirts of Mexico City, Mexico on the 17th.

Friday, January 12, 2018

A bit of a stressful drive today, but we made it!

With a planned departure time of 9:00am from Zacatecas, we were all moving around and getting our rigs in order by 8:30am. So far, a really good group of people!

We had just over 300 kms (180 miles) to do, so with a lunch stop that should get us to Guanajuato between 2-3pm if all goes according to plan.

But the one big question mark was going to be the big busy city of Aguascalientes.

It was a pretty easy drive getting out of Zacatecas using the southern bypass route. Before we knew it, we were on the 45D toll road heading south...

Looking back at the city of Zacatecas.

Decent toll road.

Scenery along the way.

Pretty easy drive, but we all knew what was coming. Aguascalientes is a big busy city (pop 1,000,000) and there is no easy way to get through or around it. There are about about 6 different route choices. Ruth and I have done three of them in past trips, and I discussed the choices with our Green Angel. I had checked out google maps and found a big Mega store with a Costco right next door. It looked to have a decently sized parking lot, so I asked the Green Angel about that and he thought it would work. At that point is also the turn where we would make our chosen bypass to get through the city.

Sure enough there was a big empty section of the parking lot of all of our rigs.

Doing some grocery shopping.

Deal of the day? 24 bottles of Carta Blanca beer for $17.50 CAD ($14 USD).

Not something the locals see every day. I noticed quite a few people stop and look at the rigs.

We included a lunch break and were stopped there for exactly one hour. Almost too short, but we still had a few hours to drive yet, so we didn't linger.

 There's some of our group on the other side of the road!
We had to do a retorno to get back in the proper direction.

The route we took through Aguascalientes.

Hey, there's a Mexican plated motorhome for sale!

Ruth didn't take any photos of our drive through the city. Too many topes and traffic lights and stuff to pay attention to. We often say it takes two people to drive a vehicle in Mexico. Also, of course we had to pay attention to where our group was because it was impossible not to get separated by traffic lights.

But, we came through it unscathed! Turned out that route was better than any that we have taken before. Decent road conditions.

Big Nissan car factory in Aguascalientes.

After we got through Aguascalientes, there is a nice four lane toll highway.

Another one of Ruth's mirror photos.

Scenery along the way.

More scenery.

Stacking corn.

Hmm.

Approaching Guanajuato.

The mountain you see in the photo above is the one Ruth and I climbed on our epic 25 km (15 mile) day hike when we were here in February 2016!

We pulled into the Bugamville RV Park at almost 4:00pm. We had done three stops to switch Green Angels, one fuel stop, one lunch and grocery stop, and quite a few toll booth stops where we have to wait for everyone to get through. All of these things take time, which is why we leave early each day!

Sherman hit a milestone just as we were approaching the RV Park...

 100,000 miles (160,000 kms). 
He's only just broken in!

Yesterday's drive, 309 kms (192 miles)

Today, we're heading in on a tour to explore the beautiful city of Guanajuato.

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36 comments:

  1. Congratulations Sherman - 100,000 miles - way to go!! You’re rolling right along!!

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    1. He is doing great for his age and he still has lots of miles ahead of him. :-)

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    2. We have a 1995 class C 20ft motorhome with 230,000 kms on it.....we hope she will keep well for our trip there next year. Really hoping you and Kevin will still lead that group! Stay safe and saty well!

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    3. Wow, that is great! I hope that Sherman can do as well as that.

      Chances are good that we will but I think that Kevin wants to see if we can modify the route and also make it a month longer. We will have a better idea later on whether this will be feasible or not.

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  2. Thank you for sharing your adventure. I am really enjoying your posts and hope to travel like this some day.

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    1. You are welcome, so glad that you are enjoying the posts. We hope that some day you will come down and travel around Mexico, it really is amazing.

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  3. Thank you for sharing your adventure. I am really enjoying your posts and hope to travel like this some day.

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    1. So glad that you are enjoying the posts, Jamie! We really hope that you will be able to travel like this some day too. :-)

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  4. i drove from NC to La Manzanilla, Jalisco last year. Love, love your details. You are smart to have by-passed Guadalajara. That nearly did me in--coming and going. Wish I had known your by-pass around Aguascalientes. But then, I drove alone with my Dachshund and had to do it all alone--driving, topes, window-washers (re-directing me), many retornos and lovely encounters. I am following you with special joy. Enjoy Guanajuato. I lived 8 years in San Miguel and loved it. You are brave to take such big rigs. But there is safety in numbers and "husbands" (hahah). Hope you have good surge protectors and smart vigilance. I was never hurt and wished I could have gone with a group such as yours. Maybe one day. Que le vaya bien. Lisa

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    1. Our route does include Guadalajara area but not until much later later in our trip. There are so many different ways to go through or around Aguascalientes and the outer ring road is probably the best way to do it in a car but we remember the road being in very rough condition and way too hard on our RV's so the second inner ring road was much better, still there is a lot of traffic whatever way you look at it.

      We have traveled all over Mexico and all by ourselves, I really don't think that you have to have a bunch of RV's with you to feel safe. Even now, we wouldn't hesitate to travel on our own.

      We really plug into the electricity because we are set up with solar so we have no need to worry about having a surge protector but yes, many of the other units do have them and Kevin always checks the electricity with his volt meter first.

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  5. Yeah for Sherman! I'm enjoying following along on this trip. We think about taking our rig down there at some point. Always interesting hearing all the comments about how dangerous/never do it and hearing/seeing folks like you doing it makes us wonder how it would really be? I think going with very experienced people first might make us more comfortable with it. Do you feel it's safer further south in Mexico than say, just beyond the border?

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    1. So glad that you are enjoying our posts. There is still so much to come that will be fun and exciting.

      It amazes me how much people believe what our governments and media say about Mexico. Many have never been here and had a chance to experience the wonderful people which are friendly, happy and good people and these are the majority of the people. It is sad that they only listen to the news of the minority of bad people which really have no impact on tourists. As for "feeling" safe further south we personally have stayed near Monterrey and up in the northern part of Chihuahua and always felt safe having said that we normally like to be a day's drive from the border. Really it is only some of the border towns that you need to be weary of.

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  6. We loved our visit to Guanajuato. A very special and beautiful city full of youth and energy, with an awesome public market.

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    1. We loved this city too! It is always busy with locals and the architecture here is beautiful as well as all the wonderful history that goes along with it.

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  7. Interesting to read how it's going. Hopefully, well enough that you decide to lead more caravans in future. Randy's always been afraid of RVing to Mexico - saying he's concerned about the language barrier. I've been working on my Spanish for a couple of years now and think it's coming along quite nicely (as long as I ask them to repeat things and speak slowly). I'm still thinking, we'll want the security of an organized caravan for our first time. So we're rooting for you to make this a regular event.

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    1. Jan 2019, there are 2 trips a week apart, one of them probably led by kevin & ruth. There are 5 or 6 spots available, but no guarantee you would be in kevin & ruths group as the first 10 get first choice and you would be about number 15. Plus no guarantee Kevin & Ruth will do this next season although I think they will. Signup at www.mexicocaravan.com and let us now you were referred from here, although I process those and will remember Randy & marianne no problem.

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    2. There as so many ways to get around the language barrier and most of the people on our caravan have no Spanish and even when we aren't around they always manage to get their point across. Also now with google translate that really shouldn't be a reason to not want to travel here.

      We think we will probably do the trip again next year but that is never a guarantee with us as so much can happen between now and then. ;-)

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    3. Someone mentioned that there is probably no border as easy to cross that has a bigger cultural difference than our southern border. And isn't that the real reason to travel? (We flew 15 hours from LA to Melbourne, AUS and aside from driving on the wrong side of the road, and that reverse toilet-flushing thing, it was pretty much the same as what we left. Kind of disappointing, that.)

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    4. Creigh, crossing into Mexico is definitely a totally different cultural experience but we have had much the same experience in countries like South Korea, Morocco and even Colombia as well as a few others and we have to admit that is part of the adventure, seeing and experiencing these different cultures and doing it in a totally different language just makes is all the more interesting.

      I hope whenever we finally make it to Australia that we won't feel too disappointed with it!

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  8. Brian and I are wondering how long you'll be in Guanajuato - we're in San Miguel. Be fun to see you - where are you headed after GTO? Maybe you could email a copy of your itinerary and we can see if we have any overlap in travels!

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    1. Sorry we weren't able to connect today but I hope you had a good afternoon with Mike and Terri. We were happy to see them this afternoon, even though it was a very quick visit. We hope that our paths will cross at some other point this winter. Have a fun winter, either way! :-)

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  9. Did you document the route you took through Aquascalientes, in case its better than periferico #3.The Mega store sounds like a bonus

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    1. Not totally sure what you mean by document it but if it involved taking pictures no we didn't but we know exactly what route we took. So far out of all our travels through Aguascalientes, this was by far the best road. Not only was there a Mega store there but for those that had a Costco card there was also a Costco in the same parking lot.

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  10. Awesome to follow along. At Debbie, don't think you need to be afraid of Mexico. Folks are pretty friendly and helpful...at least where I've been. More and more English speakers in Mexico now but speaking the language is helpful I think. I don't speak Spanish but I do know what I think is important to me and road signs i.e. 'stop' etc.

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    1. Glad you are enjoying the posts Rita. :-)

      Yes the people here in Mexico are very friendly and helpful as Rita says. There is English in the bigger cities but mostly Spanish everywhere else, it is still manageable to get by without Spanish but it helps to learn the basics and to try as much as you can to learn Spanish as you move along, the people here really appreciate you trying.

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  11. You go Sherman - on to the next 100,000! Funny how a city is named hot water! Hope you continue to have an enjoyable trip!

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    1. It is called "Hot Waters" because the area is full of thermal water springs so there are lots of "spas" and water parks not only in the city but in the state itself. :-)

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  12. 1 large town down, 3 to go. Puebla, Tuxla, PV.

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    1. Yep, and we will manage, the group will have a lot more experience by then! :-)

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  13. I see you have an Escape 21 with you. We have an Escape 19! They are not very common. Say to them for us.

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    1. They just bought it new last year, so this is really their first big trip in it. I will pass along your greetings to them.

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    2. I was impressed with it when i visited them in december . They are made in chilliwack, BC and have a very good rep. You have to wait a year to get one.

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  14. The banner photo of the city is colorful and clear and shows the contrasting buildings. Great picture! Sounds a little nerve wracking to see some of your group going the other way. I'll be the group is all seasoned travelers who don't get too excited. Looks like a great trip.

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    1. Thanks Randy, Guanajuato is a gorgeous city and that view from the "mirador" or look off is spectacular!

      No, it was not nerve wracking at all because we are doing a returno (a legal U-turn to be exact) so it was what we were suppose to be seeing. :-)

      Doesn't really matter if you are a seasoned driver or not when you are driving through a busy city for the first time in Mexico trying to follow the RV in front of you, it is still a little stressful no matter how good you. By the end of the trip everyone will be experts!

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