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The Thompson River north of Lytton, British Columbia. Photo taken yesterday.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Abbotsford, British Columbia.

Where are they going next? Crescent Beach, British Columbia.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

It's an oil change... how tough can it be?

Another perfect day here in Chetumal. What a beautiful campground this is, despite the lack of RV services.

One of the problems with traveling in this part of Mexico is that many of the campgrounds don't have the type of hookups that many RV'ers would be used to in Canada or the United States. For boondockers like us, it's simply not an issue. We don't even think about needing to be hooked up.

So when our group of 12 rigs pulled in on Friday afternoon, and everybody plugged into their individual 115v, 15 amp outlet, we kind of overloaded the electrical service. Apparently some even tried running their air conditioners, despite us stressing several times over the course of the trip so far that air conditioning is not something you can use at many of the places we stay.

Anyhow, very quickly the entire park had no electricity. It seems the electrical outlets are all on one main breaker. I went and found the box with the tripped breaker and flipped it back.

There is only one water tap, and one dump station here as well. We will string a bunch of hoses together tomorrow before we leave and fill everybody's fresh water tank, although we hope to be able to dump and fill at Palenque as well. After that, we won't have full services again until Oaxaca City on March 2nd.

Yesterday morning, I helped Bernd change the oil in his truck. He had been looking for a mechanic, or a Chevrolet dealer to do it for a couple of days now, but I didn't realize that he already had the proper oil and filter with him. So, I suggested that we just do it right here.

It's an oil change... how tough can it be?

And it wasn't that tough, although I didn't have the correct size filter wrench and they sure don't give you much room on these new vehicles to get a grip on the old filter. Anyhow, it took an hour or so and we got it all done.

Bernd and Angelika were then heading into town to do some shopping, and they offered to take us with them, so we took advantage of that.

But first, they wanted to buy us lunch! Okay, it's pretty hard to turn that down. First, we went to the local market, but they wanted somewhere a little nicer. I got on my phone to see what restaurants were around. I said there was one close by called Mi Viejo. Ruth says "I think that's the one we went to nine years ago"!

And it was. I don't know how she remembered that.

Angelika had fish, but Bernd and Ruth and I shared a big plate of Paella.

Monument in Chetumal.

That's Belize over across the bay.

Chetumal has a beautiful waterfront drive.

Chetumal. Here starts Mexico.

There is a huge structure in the bay.

They started building it in 2003. It's supposed to be part museum, part event center, with three elevators and a lookout at the top. They've poured 254,000,000 pesos ($13M USD) $17M CAD) into it so far and it's still not open. The latest we can find online is that it has some kind of structural problem.

Here's what it looked like in 2009 when we were here.

And here it is today, still not open.
Just a big white elephant.

A storm blew through here at about 3am last night. Rained pretty hard for a while, and the wind really picked up. I had left the awning out, and although it was fine it was making noise and eventually I went out at about 5am and put it up.

Windy still, and raining on and off this morning, although it's supposed to clear up this afternoon.

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Great deal on an HDTV amplified antenna...


And in Canada...




31 comments:

  1. Nice to get the oil changed and a bonus ride into town and a free lunch, keep enjoying the fun you are having.

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    1. Bernd was really happy to have Kevin do the oil change for him and yes, it was a nice meal out.

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  2. That ocean side drive is beautiful. While in Cancun, we drove thru beautiful ocean side drives and stop several places to enjoy the beautiful clean beaches. Only in the touristy section did it look like paradise. We drove into the city of Cancun and it's a whole lot different...no fancy homes, trash piled all over, streets were dirty, graffiti on buildings, etc. I was wondering if they have trash collectors or is it just folks don't care and toss their trash nonchalantly anywhere they want. We drove around the city looking for local markets. We never did find the markets. Maybe we were in the wrong area but we pretty much drove to every nook and cranny. Anyway, the ocean drive reminded me of Cancun. One thing I loved was they had a full grocery store in a mall not to far from our hotel. We took the local bus back and forth down the strip and/or peninsula.

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    1. Yes, the drive along the ocean here in Chetumal is beautiful. The hotel zone is kept pristine because of the tourist crowd and area has lots of money coming that they pay people to keep everything looking spic and span but other areas of Mexico don't have that same influx of money coming in to keep all of Mexico looking pristine. Yes, they do have garbage trucks and garbage is picked up in the towns and cities, I am not quite sure how it works in the country. It is very much a culture thing and it will take years of education to start turning around the garbage situation here but they are working on it.

      There is a fairly big local market in the local area of Cancun which Kevin and I have visited on a past visit to Cancun, I guess it was just an area that you must have missed, driving around. That is why we walk a lot, you can normally find more things because sometimes it is harder to get cars into certain areas.

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  3. That white elephant structure is clearly something out of the movie "Contact". Despite the mini watchdog, I think I would have snuck under the rope for a closer peek! ;)

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    1. It did look inviting but we weren't all that bothered, who knows maybe it will be open next time we are in the area!;-)

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  4. They really are lucky to have a group leader who is so handy. No wonder they bought you lunch

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    1. It definitely helps to be handy and we are lucky to have a few people in the group including Kevin that are able to help solve issues along the way. :-)

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  5. Once again everything looks so clean but I guess not in Cancun.

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    1. It all depends on where you are! Many of the towns and cities are clean but you will always find some areas that aren't. We have been in parts of Cancun where the local areas are clean. It is something that Mexico is working on but it will take a lot of work and education before the whole country cleans up it's garbage problem. There are still areas in Canada and the USA that still have a problem with littering.

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  6. Looks like a beautiful drive and glad you are enjoying the park despite the lack of services. Lovely view to wake up to. Must be rough not being able to use the air conditioners when it is so hot there at times. Maybe the rain will cool things off a bit. Enjoy your travels.

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    1. It is a beautiful drive along the waterfront and it is even better on a bicycle. :-)

      The lack of services at your site does not bother us a bit because we are used to boondocking but there are a few people in the group that aren't used to not having the same services as the parks in the States and a couple of smaller units that don't have the same fresh water and grey/black tank capacity of the bigger units but everyone seems to be taking it in stride. The biggest issue for some is not being able to use the air conditioners, so they have to learn to adapt here in Mexico, for us it hasn't really been an issue. The rain did not cool things off! If it wasn't for the humidity there wouldn't be much of a problem with the temperature.

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  7. Pretty area. Some folks are just clueless about electrical loads.

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    1. Yes, that if part of the problem but also the electrical work in many of the RV parks isn't done "quite" the way things would be done north of the border!

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  8. Oil change? I guess in my case, I just need to learn. Sounds simple to someone who already knows.

    You're right about boondocking, we don't make getting to an rv park a priority. We stop pretty much wherever we want.

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    1. Kevin likes doing his own oil changes, he has had others do it for him in the past and he hasn't been happy so now he just does his own. It isn't all that hard, I think that I could almost do it myself! ;-)

      We love to boondock and the fact that you can stop almost anywhere but other people aren't so carefree and would rather have the amenities, to each his own!

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  9. Kathe introduced us to Mi Viejo and it quickly became our favorite Chetumal restaurant! I needed an oil change in the car there as well so when I saw a quick oil change place with a couple of taxis in line I got behind them. It took them about five minutes and cost me less than the oil and filter would have cost NOB. They even pointed out excessive corrosion on the battery posts and cleaned them for free! I love Mexico!

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    1. Kathe is also the one that told us about Mi Viejo, and yes it is a great restaurant. :-)

      Kevin likes to change his own oil, especially after a couple of times of paying someone else and not being totally happy with the results. Anyways, once he found out that Bernd had the oil and the filter he just offered to do it for him rather that go out and find a place, which we are sure would have been easy enough.

      Glad you had a great experience and I am sure Bernd would have too had Kevin not volunteered.

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  10. Overloaded the system and blew the whole park dark -- oops! Good that nobody got hurt! We're like you guys, if we have electricity, great. If not, great! Jimmy is skittish about leaving the awning up if there's wind or rain possible. Glad your awning was okay.

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    1. Yep, a big oops! :-)

      We are totally self-sufficient so normally we don't care if we have electricity or not. It makes things easy that way.

      We are too but Kevin was pretty confident about the awning, except that it just made too much noise to sleep. We made sure it was up last night though.

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  11. We were just talking about Belize the other day. Neat to see you driving right by it. Maybe one day we will drive there.

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    1. Research the vehicle insurance availability in Belize carefully, they do not make it easy. What we found was, you cannot buy collision insurance from outside the country, only from within Belize and not near the border so you are forced to drive for at least a whole day with only liability insurance. We then thought we would leave the MH in Chetumal and just drive the old Honda into Belize but then found out it is illegal to leave the MH "unattended" in Mexico and if discovered, it could be impounded by Aduana (Customs). Also, you have to turn in your visa when you leave Mexico and apply for a new one when you re-enter. This means your visa number is no longer linked to your TIP and could cause problems when you return to the USA. People do it all the time however so there must be a way but I would advise you to do a few hours of Googling before you go. When the British left Belize they did not take their bureaucracy with them!

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    2. Very interesting! It sounds like lots of hoops to jump through. I think it will be a while before we venture into Belize.

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    3. You can drive there without a lot of problem, just like Guatemala you just have to do the research to make sure you do it right.

      Croft, we have left our motorhome unattended several times in Mexico for a total of three summers and had never had a problem and each time getting a new tourist visa.

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  12. Too bad I did not know, I know a place close for an oil change. Cheap

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    1. Not to worry, I think Bernd felt better knowing Kevin was doing it, even though we would have made him feel secure about having a Mexican mechanic doing it.

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  13. We went to Belize in fall. After bribing,transport, etc, it was an expensive day, not worth it

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    1. A couple of people wanted to do it on this trip an we advised against it so they did the research themselves and decided that it wasn't worth the hassle.

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  14. Our neighbors in Yax-Ha took the small ferry or launch from Chetumal to Belize City for a day and night. They did not like it either mostly because she suffered not one but two attempted purse snatchings!

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    1. We have read that people who visit Belize should avoid Belize City, mainly because it isn't the "safest" but then again others have visited the city and not had a problem. Glad that your friend only had "attempted" purse snatchings and not actually had it taken!

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    2. Her husband is a big French Canadian and her purse had a strong strap that he managed to grab both times. They were lucky. Like the northern border of Mexico, people trying to get into the "Promised Land" assemble on the northern borders of Central America where the poverty is extreme. Belize City unfortunately is one of the worst spots.

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