Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Hiking in Albania, Kosovo, and Montenegro.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Porto, Portugal on June 25th!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Some days don't go according to plan...

Well. Quite the day we had on Sunday. Sometimes you can plan all you like and it just doesn't come together.

First, we had to get out of the town of Guadalcazar. The plaza had been located very close to the entrance to town, but we didn't want to leave that way. We wanted to take the back way out because it looked by the map that it was a logical way to go.

Apparently not. With a maze of one way streets, many of which narrow to the point of not being motorhome friendly, we had a bit of a difficult time. But Sherman and his driver and co-pilot persevered and came out victorious.

Sort of.

After several very tight turns, we made it to the road out of town.


Not a very good road, and we had to be on it for 22 kms (14 miles). Much worse than the road leading into town on the other side. I'd bet money that we were the first motorhome ever on this road. Sure made a few of the locals stare. I'm sure they were thinking "yep, those gringos are lost!".

Towards the end, the road did get a little better.

Finally, we made it to the main highway. This is a toll road, and there was no access to get onto the highway in the direction we wanted to go. But there were no other cars in either direction and we managed to get on the access ramp in one direction and then u-turn back the other way. Yep, apparently we are toll road cheaters!

And, it was a beautiful new road.

The toll road to Rio Verde.

We made it past the town of Rio Verde and stopped a couple of times trying to find free internet. Not easy to do anymore. Now admittedly, this was a Sunday. We tried schools, hotels, restaurants, but couldn't find an unsecured signal. In hindsight, we should have activated our Telcel internet stick when we were in Monterrey. We just didn't think it would be this difficult to find free interent.

Got onto the MEX69 highway leading south into the mountains from Rio Verde. This is our first time ever in the state of Queretero! I think we've only got 2 Mexican states left that we've never visited and they're on the agenda for the new year.

MEX69 leading into the mountains.

This road leads into the Siera Gorda Biosphere Nature Reserve, a huge tract of protected land. I had read of a possible overnight spot where two rivers meet in the mountains. We got to that point at about 1:30pm and got out to check the place out.

Ruth, on the rickety suspension bridge.

You can clearly see where the two rivers meet.

What a neat spot. One river contains crystal clear spring water, and the other has muddy runoff water from recent rains. 

When they meet, it looks like this.

For overnight RV parking, it wasn't ideal, with some low hanging branches. We would have had to go back up the entrance in order to leave, but it was doable. We decided to continue on because I had read of a Balneario (swimming pool) that had RV hoookups and a dump station. And Sherman was getting to the point where he needed to go!

So we carried on.

Love the mountains.

Starting  to get a little foggy.

Except when we neared the top, we lost the scenery for about 45 minutes because we were driving in the fog! I'm sure we missed some beautiful vistas. I guess we'll have to return in the spring!

Wow. Yep, that's our road down there.

Gorgeous views, but not many places to get out and take pics.

That's where we're headed.

Beautiful mountain scenery, but as expected, very slow going.

We had a short section of road construction.

And bumpy cobblestones through one town.

It was almost 6:00pm when we pulled into the Oasis Balneario near Tequisquiapan. They were just getting closed up from a busy Sunday and I think I spoke to the boss. An older guy, who definitely looked in charge. Told him what I was looking for, and he asked how many people. "Just my wife and I", I said. He says "that'll be 300 pesos ($24.60 CA) for the night". Then, I found out that their dump station is no longer operational.

No thanks. I told him we had no interest in swimming, and didn't need any services. But he was non negotiable and wouldn't even let me park in their normal parking lot without paying the 300 pesos. See ya!

We had driven by another balneario a few kms back and so we headed there. The place was closed up, but they had a nice big empty parking lot and I pulled in to a spot far out of the way. We saw a security guard behind the gates so I went over to speak to him.

I asked if it would be okay to park for the night, and explained that we would be gone first thing in the morning. He hummed and hawed and then said in perfect English "I don't think I can let you do that". Ha. I said "oh, you speak English"...and he says "Only enough to get me in trouble". But his English was great...much better than our Spanish.

I can never figure out how a guy like this, smart enough to be pretty much bilingual, is satisfied with a job as a security guard at a waterpark. A little more education, and the guy would have it made.

Anyhow, he tried to call his boss but couldn't get through. When he came back to tell me, I convinced him that I would be better off behind a wall I had seen on the other side of the parking lot and he agreed to let me stay there. I gave him 50 pesos ($4.20 CAD) for his time, and thanked him. We were running out of options, and it was getting dark.

Sherman, with a wall separating us from the highway noise.

Turns out we had done 371 kms (230 miles), much of it on twisty mountain roads. It took us 7.5 hours actually behind the wheel, with another 3 hours of stopping, resting, and exploring. Long day for us, but when things don't go your way, you just carry on and figure a way around it.



  1. We've all had days like this traveling thru Mexico. Once, somewhere near Mexico City we went thru a town like that and we are 40' plus towing, it was a nightmare but we got it done. Colin still doesn't know how me managed to negotiate the narrow streets and turns. Good job on finding a spot for the night but where did you end up dumping? Waiting for the rest of the story :)

    1. We never ended up dumping. Sherman is getting full but not to the point that we HAD to dump, it was more because of all the twists and turns and bumps it was starting to get a little smelly. We decided that we would wait the extra day and dump here at Chago's the real old fashioned way with a bucket and the toilet he provides. Since arriving we have found that he has put in a small sewer dump for the couple of permanent RV's here so we will use of of those now. :-)

  2. Kevin, how is your new GPS working in Mexico ?

    1. All in all it is working out pretty well but it still isn't perfect. We definitely like to have a paper map on and some common sense as well.

    2. Having a good map set loaded in the gps has a lot to do with it. Even then, a gps is helpful telling you where you've been should you need to backtrack to a place your already been too.

    3. This map is pretty good Daryl but there are still a few new roads that don't show up on it but as you said, loading the info in for our route is most important. We don't solely go with the GPS, we use it as a guide. Kevin slowly inputs all the GPS coordintates at major intersections to make sure we are going the way we want and not the way the GPS wants us to go and I like have the paper map on my lap.

    4. Thanks for the feedback Ruth and Daryl. Every bit of info helps

    5. When it comes to international travel using a GPS, Garmin rules. You can use third party map sets from OSM street maps which are free with a Garmin unit. Downloading and using Garmin's Basecamp software which is also free, allows you to do your route planning off line. Basecamp communicates with the GPS via a usb cable. It loads the map set off the GPS so your planning your route with the map set the GPS uses.

    6. Kevin does it manually but it is the same idea. When he has more time on his hands he is going to look more closely at the Basecamp software, that is definitely his cup of tea. :-) NEVER, NEVER let the GPS do your route solely on it's own otherwise you are just asking for trouble. Nicely put Daryl. Good luck Alison.

  3. Glad it all worked out. We also had an unplanned event on Sunday. Blew a tire. Luckily no damage. Ended up replacing 2 st tires on Monday. Second one wasn't looking good. We've had both st and lt tires and had blowouts with both. Kevin is vigilant about checking pressure, we're not overweight, don't drive too fast and still happens. So frustrating! !

    1. Yep, the best laid out plans can still come crashing down on us. Glad you didn't have any damage and were able to get the tires replace without too much of a problem. I can believe how frustrating that must been.

  4. Such a great description of your trials and tribulations...thanks for letting me tag along and so glad it worked out by the end of the day.

    1. It all comes part and parcel with travelling as I am sure that you have found out on the odd occassion. The best part is knowing that is all works itself out in the end. Hope you are enjoying your time in Scotland, it looks like you are. :-)

  5. The confluence of those two reminds me of the confluence of the mighty Mississippi and the beautiful St. Croix in between MN and WI at Prescott, WI. The mighty muddy Mississippi and the clear and beautiful St. Croix River.... Beautiful mountains you drove through today!!! Keep on enjoying yourselves.

    1. I never knew that there was a place similar to this in the U.S. Next time we are in that area we will have to check it out. :-)

      The views were fantastic and we are going to make a point of doing this road through the mountains again, hopefulling in February.

  6. Thats the way of RV'ing make do and all will work out in the end.
    Keep having fun, as I know you will.

    1. Yes, you are right the majority of the time it all works out in the end.

  7. "I can never figure out how a guy like this, smart enough to be pretty much bilingual, is satisfied with a job as a security guard at a waterpark. A little more education, and the guy would have it made."

    That's what the Mexican Revolution did to this country. And you're right, with so many scholarships and educational programs there is no reason anyone in their right mind would do that but many are satisfied with 4000 pesos a month and a 60 sq meter government home.

    Anyway, looks like you had a great adventure and are now in Valle de Bravo!

    1. Maybe one day they will learn!

      We are happy to be in Valle de Bravo now and enjoying the day more or less relaxing. Tomorrow will be another story, with having to clean and pack and just get eveything in place before we head out on Thursday.

  8. Replies
    1. It was a long day but the scenery on the drive made it all worthwhile.


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