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Nice drive to Reno, Nevada yesterday.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Reno, Nevada.

Where are they going next? South, towards Death Valley National Park.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

RV Caravan Travel Day - Villahermosa to Isla Aguada

We were on the road right at 9:00am again.

It's only 234 kms (145 miles) from Villahermosa to Isla Aguada, but with lunch and fuel stops, I figured we might arrive at 2:00pm or so if we were lucky. As it turned out, it was closer to 3:00pm!

There is a fairly new toll highway that bypasses the city of Villahermosa. But because we had come into the city to use the Sam's Club overnight, we had to backtrack a little bit to get back to the toll bypass.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Armed guards overnight

With a 308 km (191 mile) drive ahead of us, we planned for an 8:00am start. Once again, everybody was ready to go and we pulled out right on time.

We knew ahead of time that road conditions were bad for today's drive. We had spoken to a couple who had arrived at the RV park in Catemaco and they had just come from the way we were heading. We asked how the toll road was, and he said one section was new, but the rest was "horrible".

And he was pretty much correct.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Lots to see around Catemaco, Mexico

Both Saturday and Sunday were scheduled rest days here at Catemaco. But, Ruth and I are not ones to sit and do nothing. Especially when there is a lot to see in the area. We could easily spend two weeks here. There are at least a dozen waterfalls within a 50 km (30 mile) radius. A dormant volcano to hike. Unexplored coastline north of here on the Gulf of Mexico. The Sierra de los Tuxtla mountains are a daytrip. We need to spend more time here some day.

But for the time being, we wanted to get the group out on the lake. Both the waterfall trip on Saturday, and the Sunday lake tour were not scheduled tours as part of their itinerary. But we like to get them out to see things that they might otherwise not see.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Our timing was not the best!

Yesterday turned out better than had been forecast. The morning actually had some sunny breaks! It really should have been the time when we could have gone on the boat tour, but more people seemed interested in the waterfalls so we made a plan to get four taxis to take 16 of us to see them.

But first, I had a fridge problem to fix.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Lots of beautiful birds in Catemaco

On the road at 9:00am yesterday morning. Only 170 kms (105 miles) to drive, so we should be able to get there by noon, right?

Wrong.

This is Mexico! And this part of Mexico is well known for it's terrible road conditions.

Friday, January 26, 2018

I keep reminding myself, at least it is warm!

Yesterday, we woke up to the wet, windy day that had been forecast. The wind kept up all day, but the rain did stop occasionally and as I keep reminding myself, at least it is warm! Temperatures of about 24C (76F) during the day, and 19C (66F) at night.

Given the weather, we all decided to forego the trip into the city of Veracruz. Nobody was thrilled with the idea of visiting the aquarium, and the only other indoor activity would have been to go to a movie. Veracruz will have to wait for another time.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

It's not all sunshine and roses right now...

Everybody was ready to go right on time again. We pulled out just before 9:00am onto the busy pot-holed road towards Veracruz. It's amazing that some sections of this road are actually considered toll road and you have to pay. And yet, the road is in terrible condition and there doesn't appear to be a free road alternative. The tolls are not high... but it still doesn't make any sense.

So, slow going for the first half of the drive. It took us just over two hours to do 100 kms (62 miles).

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

City of the Thunder God

The bus picked us up at 9:00am to take our RV caravan group to the El Tajin Ruins. This is another of the guided tours included with the price of the caravan. Our guide today was Andres... he was pretty good, and had a good sense of humor!

It was only 68 kms (42 miles) to the site, but it took us about an hour and fifteen minutes. You don't get anywhere quickly in Mexico!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

There's a reason things are so lush and green in this area...

Yesterday was a day of rest, and I think pretty much everybody used it that way. We're at the beach, but it wasn't really beach weather. There's a reason things are so lush and green in this area... it rains fairly regularly! They had called for a 50% chance of showers, but it never rained at all and was simply overcast all day.

So people just took it easy. Some puttered around on the beach looking for shells. Some puttered on their vehicles.

Monday, January 22, 2018

RV Caravan Travel Day... Mexico City to the Emerald Coast

One of the things that we love about Mexico is that you can be from the mountains to the beach in under four hours from anywhere in the country. Well, it takes slightly longer than that when you're traveling with 12 rigs in an RV Caravan, but you get the idea.

Yesterday, we did 352 kms (218 miles) from the outskirts of Mexico City to the Emerald Coast north of Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico.

Our List of the Top Five Most Intriguing Movie-Inspired Theme Parks

One of our favorite pastimes to keep ourselves entertained as our beloved Sherman takes us from one destination to another is talking about the places we’d like to visit next – of course! Sometimes, we revisit old favorites on our list, other times we toss around slightly extravagant ideas and, often, we make lists of destinations that revolve around a theme. Last week, for example, we talked about theme parks as we remembered Arsenal Park – that interesting and weird Soviet military theme park that we visited a couple of years back while roaming Romania.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Third largest pyramid in the world...

Day two of our whirlwind two day trip to Mexico City. Knowing that the bus was picking us up at our downtown hotel at 8:30am, we had to get some breakfast before leaving. Hotel breakfasts are often a bit pricey, so Ruth and I went out in search of something a little more local.

We didn't have much success. It turns out that on a Saturday morning in the central area, even the breakfast places don't seem to open up until after 8:30am. I'm quite certain it's different Monday to Friday, but on Saturdays things are definitely a bit slower.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Mexico City!

The bus was there to pick up our group just before 8:30am. We were only located about 42 kms (26 miles) from the center of town, so you would think that it shouldn't take too long to do the drive, right?

Wrong.

It took an hour and forty five minutes to do that 42 km (26 mile) drive.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Relax day in Tepotzotlan

Nice to have another day off. Ruth and I hung out with Sherman for the morning and just did some cleaning and puttering around. Most of the group had wandered into town, and we did exactly that after lunch.

We've never been to Tepotzotlan before, and we had heard that they have a worthwhile church to visit.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

RV Caravan... Cuitzeo to Mexico City

We planned for a 9:00am start, knowing that it would probably take us an hour or so just to get out of the RV park and through the narrow roads of the village below.

This group is great... always ready to go right on time! One by one, we made our way down the steep hill and on to the rough gravel road towards the village. It was pretty quiet going through town... until we hit the cattle drive!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Nice to have a rest day for a change

We're definitely going to be making some route and schedule changes for next year. Everyone on the caravan agrees that the first part of the trip doesn't have enough rest days.

Don't get me wrong... everyone is thoroughly enjoying their trip, but it could be even better. We all know that we have more rest days towards the end of the trip, but we need to even things out a bit.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Absolutely amazing... a must see in Mexico!

This was our fourth time to go see the monarch butterflies at their winter home. There are actually 15 different regions in the mountains of Michoacan and Mexico State where the butterflies congregate, however only six of them are open for public viewing. We have been to three of the six, and yesterday's trip was our second visit to the Chincua colony.

The butterflies arrive at the beginning of November and stay until early March. The best viewing is between mid January (now) and the end of February. However, even during those periods, conditions need to be optimal for the best experience. And so your trip will depend on the weather.

Monday, January 15, 2018

We didn't think everyone would make it... but they did!

Ruth and I did this exact drive with the RV caravan group we led for a month back in February of 2016. From Bugamville RV Park on the outskirts of Guanajuato, to San Juan del Lago RV Park near Cuitzeo, Michoacan.

So, we were pretty familiar with the route and we opted for a 9:00am start. Even thought it was only 160 kms (100 miles) we prefer to start out early and arrive early. Besides, we knew that once we arrived past Cuitzeo, getting to the park itself is a bit time consuming!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Busy day touring... almost too busy!

The tour bus was back to pick us up again at 8:30am Friday morning.

Friday's schedule took us through the city of Guanajuato and on to the road leading through the mountains to the historic town of Dolores Hidalgo. Then a quick stop at Atontinilco before having a late lunch in San Miguel de Allende.

This is our third time visiting this region, in December of 2012, and most recently in February of 2016.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Tour of beautiful Guanajuato

One of the complaints that we have about this 86 day tour is that it's not long enough. What I mean by that is that you are kept so busy that you don't have enough time to relax or do your own thing. When you're not busy with official tours, it's because it's a driving day.

We think the route is not bad, although we would make some changes to that as well. And the perfect trip length would be four months. This enables you to take advantage of the consistently great Mexico weather (something Arizona, Texas, and Florida can't offer) as well as have a few more days to catch your breath and simply relax.

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.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

A great day wandering around Zacatecas

Wednesday was a free day with our RV caravan group, so we could each choose our own activity. Most of us wanted to head back to the central part of Zacatecas City to see a little bit more of what we had been teased with during our bus tour the day before.

Uber is becoming very popular here in Mexico, and it's easy to see why. In a country where taxis are typically very inexpensive, Uber makes it even more so. Add in newer vehicles and friendlier drivers, and it's a recipe for success.

So we stood in the parking area, and ordered Uber on our phones. What a fantastic system!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A beautiful day in Zacatecas, Mexico

The cold weather we experienced in the United States is nothing but a distant memory now. The sun is brilliantly warm, and the temperature is hovering around 20C (68F). Considering that we are at 8,000 ft in altitude, it is simply wonderful, and we are now into consistently beautiful Mexico weather for the next three months.

Today, the tour bus came to the RV parking area at the Baruk hotel where we are staying on the outskirts of Zacatecas, Mexico.

The RV park itself is not ideal... but it's the only game in town if you have a larger RV and you wish to explore the city.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Mexico RV Caravan.... Saltillo to Zacatecas

It's a busy job looking after the group members, especially for the first couple of days as everyone is getting used to the routine.

It's so busy, that sometimes I forget to take pictures that I should. For example, we had an 8:00am start this morning for our approximately six hour drive to Zacatecas. So, we were up at 6:30am, slightly before the sun. And I still had to run to a bank machine down the road to get some pesos. Wolf down a quick bowl of cereal, had a hot drink, and before you know it, the Green Angels are showing up to escort us out of the city of Saltillo at 8:00am.

I forgot to take a photo of where we had been parked at the Imperial Hotel.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

First day in Mexico... went pretty smoothly!

Well, lets start at the beginning! We got up at 5:30am Sunday morning, in order to be able to leave with the RV caravan group at 6:45am. No problem getting up that early, because I wasn't sleeping anyhow. Ruth said that she slept okay, but I didn't. Too many things racing through my mind.

Everybody was ready to go at 6:45. We all pulled out on the quiet street out in front of the RV park, and got lined up in the order that I had assigned them.

I counted all the rigs. Eleven.

Huh? There are supposed to be twelve of us!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Last blog post before Mexico!

Most of our regular readers know that we write up a new blog post for you every day. And it's normally published before 10:00am, depending on what time zone you're in. But that schedule could deviate a little over the next three months!

For example, tomorrow we will be up before the sun in order to make it to our border crossing at 7:00am!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Meeting our Mexico RV caravan group

We had a couple of stops to make yesterday morning before heading to Mission West RV Resort in Palmview, Texas.

We were looking for an old steel cookie sheet. Yes, we could have gone to Walmart to buy a new one, but for what we were using it for, it didn't make sense to buy new. I found a goodwill store along our route, and we stopped in there to see what there was.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Minor propane problem

We knew we weren't driving very far yesterday, so we waited for a couple of hours in the morning before heading out from Falcon State Park down to past McAllen, Texas.

At Falcon State Park, they have a propane truck that comes through and if you put your name on the sign up list, he'll stop at your site and fill you up. We were just getting ready to leave when the propane truck pulled up.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

As much as we love dogs... we don't want another one right now!

I was deleting some photos from my phone, when I came across one that I forgot to tell you about. When we were boondocking at the country park near here last Saturday, we had walked a mile and a half to a store to buy some milk and eggs.

On the way back, we noticed a little black dog following us. Just like she was coming for a walk with us. We never touched her or tried to make friends with her. We just kept on walking.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

It was kind of funny to watch

Our almost 8 year old Trojan T-105 batteries are apparently still doing pretty well. We haven't seen the sun since Christmas Day. And we had been parked up boondocking at the free county park near Falcon Heights, here at the Texas/Mexico border for three nights.

But by day four, with our batteries at 12.2 volts we knew that they needed charging. Solar panels work great, except when there is no sun!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Our frugal travel 2017 year in review... and expenses

Looking back at 2017, we had a fantastic year!

On this day a year ago, we were flying to Spain to tour Spain and Portugal for two months in a little motorhome. Then we flew to Italy where we rented a car and explored for three weeks. Then the tiny countries of San Marino and Monaco, and a couple of days in Nice, France. And on to interesting Morocco for two weeks before heading back to Barcelona for our return to Canada in April.