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Flying over the Tombstone Mountain Range north of Dawson City, Yukon! Photo taken Thursday morning.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Dawson City, Yukon!

Where are they going next? Tombstone Territorial Park, Yukon.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Terrible roads, but we made it!

Up at 6:00am yesterday morning and we left Trailer Park Las Americas in Cholula at 6:45am, 15 minutes later than we planned. Sherman fired right up and was ready to go. As I put him into gear and we crept forward, the springs creaked as they settled into place.

Next question? How is the alignment?

We waved goodbye to the gate guard and carried on to the main road. So far, so good...

The road leading back up to the main highway is in really bad condition. Sherman doesn't do well with bumps to begin with, and now we are being extra cautious because we really don't want to experience any more suspension problems!

Back at the main highway.

So, regarding the alignment, it's better than I was expecting. There's a minor pull to the left, and the steering wheel is very slightly off center. But again, very minor. We'll keep an eye on tire wear and get a proper alignment done when we get back to the United States.

By 7:30am we were on the Arco Norte, the toll highway that bypasses Mexico City.



Scenery along the way.

Overall, the east west side of the highway is in terrible condition!

We said to each other than if the ball joint hadn't broken when it did, it most certainly would have on the Arco Norte. For the most part, the east west side of the road is terrible. To make matters worse, it cost us 770 pesos ($55 CAD, $42 USD) to drive the 279 kms (173 miles) of bad road!

The Arco Norte was completed in 2011. 

We had done part of the west east side of the road in January and it wasn't too bad. But it's time to spend some of that toll money on the east west side!

Plowing with horses.

Scenery.

The Arco Norte.

By 1:00pm, we were on the Mexico City to Guadalajara toll road. 
Conditions for the most part were much better.

Uh oh. What's this?

Yikes.

We decided to get off the toll road at the intersection that leads down to Zamora. Not a good idea. The entire road to Zamora was terrible until we got to the bypass around the city itself.

 Yikes. Poor Sherman.

Zamora is the strawberry capital of the world.

The giant strawberry.

Then we were on the old highway 15. Familiar territory for us because we've spent a fair amount of time in this area. Slow going through towns, but a lot more interesting than the toll roads. And free. We had spent a total of 1,808 pesos ($128 CAD, $97 USD) in tolls! Yikes. When we travel Mexico alone, we hardly ever use toll roads, and this is why! I wouldn't mind so much if the roads were in good shape, but often they are in no better shape than the free roads.

We finally pulled into Valle de Juarez at 5:15pm. We had stopped for a quick breakfast, a quick lunch, and a fuel stop. Total of about 1 hour of rest between the three stops. So it took us nine and a half hours to do 656 kms (407 miles). An average of 70 km/h (43 mph).

We drove right to Hacienda RV Park where our dog Whiskey is buried. We've spent a lot of time at Hacienda Contreras, but that's when it was owned by Barb and Sal. They sold out when the gas station was built next door, and it's the guy who owns the gas station who also owns the RV Park.

We went to check in at the gas station, and they guy said he would get the key and meet us over there. It took some time, but eventually he showed up. Then he says "oh, I forgot the key", and he goes back to the station.

In the meantime, I had called our friends Heinz and Uli who have an apartment here for the winter. They came over to meet us and pick us up to go out for dinner.

The gas station guy never did show up, so Heinz and I walked back over to see what the problem was. The guy says he can't find the key. I had no more patience, so we ended up driving to Becky and Jerry's place to park for the night. 

Becky and Jerry are readers of this blog, and they ended up buying property here in Valle de Juarez and are having a house built. we met up with them, and the six of us went to El Choco Restaurant in Mazamitla for dinner.

 Heinz and Uli.

We had the mixed mocajete. Delicious, and we were stuffed!

I had two beer, and Ruth had a margarita. Total bill for the two of us with tip included was 450 pesos ($32 CAD, $24.50 USD).

Jerry and Becky.

Yesterday's drive, 656 kms (407 miles).

Hit the sack exhausted at 9:30pm. Slept like a rock. Going for breakfast this morning with the crew at 9:00am, and then doing the much shorter 290 km (180 mile) five hour drive down to Melaque to meet up with the RV caravan group.

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12 gauge 25 foot extension cord... great price!


And in Canada...








36 comments:

  1. oh those roads! It is horrible awful to pay the high toll fees and drive on terrible roads. I find it amusing when someone writes how wonderful ALL the toll roads are. Clearly they drive to one place and only use one stretch of one toll road. We hope that they will fix the roads and you do see them working on them. We have some horrible roads in the states but we have not experienced interstates in horrible condition.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It is frustrating to have to pay to drive on roads in this kind of condition but the alternative around Mexico City isn't a good option either. In a car, it won't seem nearly so bad.

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  2. I would be happy to pay twice that toll as long as I don't have to ever go through Mexico City again. With all the mordida and traffic it would be worth every peso even if it was a dirt road!

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    1. Very true, although Kevin had considered the inner Mexico loop but just decided it probably wasn't the best idea. We also might not have minded it so much if we didn't have such a huge drive ahead of us all in one day.

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  3. Nice that you made it there safely and no more breakdowns, nice t meet up with friends again.

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    1. We drove in and parked with a big sigh of relief!

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  4. Wow that was a long days drive for you both. Glad you arrived and no more Sherman issues. Enjoy your rest and shorter drive today. Be safe. Good to have friends in the right places.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. That would have been at least a two to three day drive for us under normal circumstances so yes, it was a very LONG day's drive.

      We had a wonderful but quick visit with our friends and our new friends, thank you.

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  5. The countryside looks beautiful. Food looks good too. I figured it would take you 8 hours to drive the estimated 398 drive but with breaks 9.5 hrs. Glad you made it safe and sound to Valle de Juarez. If Moog parts are the best, the ball joints should hold the rest of awful Mexican roads.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As we have said, when driving in Mexico you need to allow for much more time. So driving time alone was 1 1/2 hours more than your original estimate of 8 hours.

      Yes, that drive sure gave the Moog ball joints a good workout, they should be good now although we still feel a little nervous. I am sure that will ease off as we drive more and find that we aren't having any problems with them.

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  6. A long day on the road, but dinner made for a great finale. On to Melaque, safe travels.

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    1. The dinner was definitely a nice touch to the end of the day like that, especially with good friends!

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  7. Good you had a few days rest before making that long drive!

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    1. Yes, I am sure that made the drive a little easier.

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  8. Glad all went well with Sherman on the 407 mile journey. Terrible to have to pay to drive on bad roads. At least you're now ready to take over the reins of the wagon train once again.

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    Replies
    1. It was definitely a very long day but we are happy that other than bad roads it was an uneventful drive. It will be good to be driving with the group again! :-)

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  9. Too bad about the condition of the Arco Norte but like they say, there is no way around it that avoids the DF. It would be interesting to see what Sherman has cost you it repairs and replacement parts over the years. We count on spending $2,000 CAN per year and this figure has proven to be pretty accurate. Like you, we subject ours to some pretty bad roads as well but unlike you, I don't do as much of my own repairs.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. If we weren't in such a rush Kevin would have taken a different route but yes, it is really the best route around. If we are doing this trip again next year, we definitely won't be looking forward to this stretch of the route.

      I think overall we have spent much less than $2,000 a year on Sherman since we got him 11 years ago so in reality we are doing very good with him. :-)

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  10. You're giving your new Moog parts a good baptism by fire, if they survive those Mexican roads they'll survive anything!

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    Replies
    1. Doug, "baptism by fire" is a great analogy said in three words. LOL!

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  11. I remember reading so many of your wonderful adventures when you were staying at Hacienda RV Park. I am sure Whiskey is looking down and saying thank you for remembering me. Safe travels. Glad you are back on the road.

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    1. Valle de Juarez and Hacienda RV Park are still our most favourite place in Mexico and after yesterday's drive we still feel the same way.

      We sure hope that she was looking down on us. Every chance we get, we love to stop by and visit with her. :-)

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  12. Look forward to you getting here. Most of the group is headed at 6 PM to the Salamandra for dinner. Not a cheap restaurant, but I am sure you need the break and reconnect time

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    1. It is good to finally be back with the group and being able to arrive under our own steam is even better! :-)

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  13. Were you able to crawl over the fence and visit with Whiskey and her tree? After many years, we've been thinking about getting another puppy; if we do, I have decided to name her Whiskey Two (after your lovable and well-traveled dog).

    When you were eating supper with the gang, what was the food in the small dish? It looked like white beans with a pepper on top.

    The good things I can say about the toll roads are the wandering Green Angels and easier availability of towing, of course, paid for in the tolls. The US interstate roads are going downhill, too, especially parts of I-10. President Dwight Eisenhower, founder of our interstate system in the 1950s, would be rolling over in his grave if he knew today's conditions of our interstates and bridges. Oh how hard it is to get money appropriated by Congress to pay for these things with all the current chaos whirling around us.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yes, we climbed the fence. We were not leaving there without stopping in to visit with Whiskey and see how well her tree is coming along.

      It was a small dish of refried beans, not sure what kind of beans they were.

      The Green Angels are on the regular roads as well, not just the toll roads. Yes, there is easier towing but apparently the tow is only free to the nearest toll station. Not sure is this is the case but hopefully it isn't something that we will have a need for again. We have had our share of troubles, hopefully it is all behind us now.

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  14. Wow, nothing like giving Sherman the acid test of his front suspension on that road. Glad he passed with flying colors! :c)

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    1. Yep, it is sort of like giving someone a knee replacement and then you get them to run a marathon the next day! Poor Sherman we really do put him through the paces. So glad he pulled through on this one. :-)

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  15. Replies
    1. Yes, we think they did a great job. Thanks Pedrito and Eligio!

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  16. Happy to read good news all around. Wishing you sunshine and good roads to Melaque.

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    1. We are so happy that everything seems to be going well now. Fingers crossed that it continues to do so! :-)

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  17. Replies
    1. It was wonderful! Only problem was it wasn't for long enough. :-(

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  18. So glad you and Sherman are back on the road. Happy travels!

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    1. So are we Dianne, so are we! :-)

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