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We are lucky to have had such a gorgeous afternoon in Washington's Olympic National Park!
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Near Port Angeles, Washington.

Where are they going next? Somewhere on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington.

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).

Sherman (our motorhome) drove this exact section of road ten years ago, and we have memories of the road condition being exactly the same.... very poor!

Yuck.

And, it was raining on and off.

Lighthouse.

Scenery along the way.

 On the road to Veracruz.

Anybody need a mobile mechanic?

Truck loaded with sugar cane.

Working in the sugar cane fields.

Some of our group headed the opposite way after a returno (U-turn).

It's a little difficult sometimes trying to organize a grocery stop for everybody. I always check out any options the day before a drive so I know what major stores might be along our route. There are big (Costco and Mega and Soriana and Walmart) grocery stores all within three blocks of each other in Veracruz, and the Costco and Mega even have sufficient parking... but they were 8 kms (5 miles) out of our way towards downtown. That, and Veracruz transit police have a history of being not very friendly towards RVers. 

But right along our route was a big modern Chedraui super store. Only problem was that the only possibly suitable parking was at the opposite end of the shopping mall at the Liverpool store. When we got there, it looked like it would be okay and we all pulled in. It was pay parking and we had to take a ticket.

We all took a grocery shopping break and it worked well... until it came time to pay for the parking.

Even though it was a flat rate fee of 15 pesos ($1.00 CAD, $0.80 USD), you only had 15 minutes to exit the lot after you pay. We found this out ahead of time, but most people had already disappeared to the store. We tried to get the word out, but some people didn't get the message and had already validated their ticket.

So we had to re-validate and get everyone out within 15 minutes. It was a bit of a circus, but we got it done!

As we had approached Veracruz, the wind started picking up. Driving the next 10 kms (6 miles) to the Coco Aventura RV Park, we really noticed it, with sand blowing across the highway and even starting to form dunes. Even saw one backhoe at work trying to clear the sand away.

We go to the park, and managed the narrow road down to the RV parking area. It's a little tight for some of the bigger units, and a reminder of why smaller is better when you are RV'ing in Mexico.

The view out Sherman's front window at GPS 19.055358, -96.012994 

It was so windy! Within two hours Sherman's windshield was covered in salt spray. Then it started to rain. Not a nice night, but at least it's warm. Woke up this morning and it's still windy and rainy, but the temperature inside the motorhome is 21C (70F).

Day off today, but with the not nice weather I'm not sure what people will do. They might just want to relax. Ruth and I have never been to Veracruz, so we'll likely take whoever wants to go with us and see a bit of the city. If the rain gets too bad, there is a world class aquarium in Veracruz and several movie theaters.

It's not all sunshine and roses right now on our trip. This trip is billed as an adventure, and not everything will go according to plan. And it's only the second time the company has done this route so we're still ironing out the wrinkles. 


Several people have either been ill, or are still not feeling well. Ruth has a bit of a bug, and I've not been 100% but I think I'm over it already. We think two of them need to see a doctor, and hopefully we'll get that done today.

So between that and the rushed itinerary of the first two weeks, and the bad roads the last two driving days, and the lack of sunshine... we're getting the impression that some are feeling a little down. Hopefully our next stop at Catemaco will cheer everyone up. It's a pretty lake there and there's a beautiful waterfall nearby. Looking at the weather forecast though, we don't expect to see any sunshine until we arrive at Isla Aguada five days from now. 

We have seven dogs on the trip, and two of them have had to go to the vet. We think one ate something he shouldn't have, and was in pretty bad shape. The vet gave him some injections and he seemed better. Now, two days later he seems fine. The other was bit by another dog and although it was just a flesh wound we didn't want it to become infected.

So far, mechanical problems have been fairly minor. Sherman had that fuel line leak, but that was a quick fix. One of the motorhomes developed a bad fresh water pump, but fortunately several people are carrying spares and one was loaned to him. The newest motorhome here has a bad valve stem on one wheel. Just a fluke, but the wheel cover wasn't installed properly right from the factory and it was rubbing against the valve stem, eventually cutting a hole in it. But the valve stem is steel, and apparently they aren't readily available in Mexico. For now, we've got it wrapped in high pressure rescue tape, and it's been doing the job but we do want to get it replaced. The Green Angels are coming back here this morning to see if they can help find the part we need.

Yesterday's drive, 204 kms (126 miles).

Where we are right now.

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And in Canada...




51 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear that Kevin,we've braved those roads! At least your group is lucky to have you guys as wagon masters!

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    1. Not sure what happened but your comment went into our spam folder, that's why it didn't show up earlier.

      Yep, the roads on this stretch are terrible, just like what we remembered from our trip in the fall of 2008, that is probably why we never chose this route since then until now of course. We like to think that they are happy with us! ;-)

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  2. I'm glad you post the good and the bad. It's important to understand that it's not always a great day every day but you still aren't sitting in a cubicle so I would take it :) Safe travels!

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    1. Will you know us we always like to tell it like it is, and when you are traveling not every day is going to be a good day!

      Agreed, a bad day here is better than a good day at the office. :-)

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  3. It's not all Sunshine and Roses but the everyday adventures of being an RVer taking the good with the bad.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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    1. Nope, it is not always going to be a great day every for anyone that is traveling in an RV, no matter where you are but at least you're out on the road traveling and that's what counts. :-)

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  4. You just never know what the weather will be when you are on the road. Not easy to co-ordinate a large group of Rv's , but you are making ut happen, keep on trucking.

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    1. Nope, there is nothing that can be done about the weather except to make the best of it and I think that everyone did. Despite it all, I think everyone had a good day.

      It takes a lot of behind the scenes work to keep the caravan running along smoothly but we seem to have a hold on it and hopefully the weather will soon start to cooperate for us again.

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  5. Despite the issues, it sounds like you have it under control. We have been on three caravans and issues will always arise. On two of them, we have had rigs abandon the trip for various reasons.

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    1. We like to think that we have it all under control and we are pretty sure that we do. Thankfully none in the group sounds like they want abandon the caravan so that should be a good sign. ;-)

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  6. I so enjoy following your trip and the daily adventures. Each morning I cannot wait for the daily email to pop up. I hope all the humans and furbabies recover soon. I am drawn to the beaches and anything water view!

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    1. Thank you Jana for following along with us, we are so happy to hear that you are enjoying this adventure with us every morning via the internet.

      Hopefully everyone will be feeling topnotch again in a short time, luckily we have a much calmer schedule for the next little bit.

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  7. Sometimes you have to turn "bad weather" days into opportunity days. For example, a few of the rigs may be low on propane and need to find a business to fill up. Your ideas of a movie or even a museum sound good. It's great that you've been able to hook into electricity now and then because, as you know, solar panels love sunshine days as much as you do.

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    1. Yes, we try to turn those kind of days into good days. We tried to do a games afternoon but that sort of failed because it was so windy and people and already sat out for lunch at the little restaurant here but that turned out to be a good thing and everyone got outside of their rigs and just have time to chat with travel mates and to relax. The nice thing about Mexico is that the gas truck will come to us and that task was done when we were camped just outside of Mexico City.

      Most people have some sort of solar set up and because of only sitting in one place for 2 or 3 days, having no sun hasn't really been a problem because the batteries get topped up on our travel days. It is nice to have electricity at most of our stops, especially for those that don't have solar, however they have to be very careful about the current going in because in many cases it is either too high or too low.

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  8. All and all what a wonderful trip with a few minor problems. I would like to see GPS coordinates for your stops.
    happy trails

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    1. I've been forgetting. Thanks for reminding me!

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  9. I remember being a bit disappointed with the "Emerald Coast" and bad weather as well. Things will brighten once you hit the Yucatan! Do you have a link to your planed route? Maybe I missed that! There are a few Autozones in Veracruz for the valve maybe - ask a trucker?! Best wishes!

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    1. Yes, it didn't thrill us when we were here back in the fall of 2008 and it isn't thrilling us now either, especially the roads. Just the condition of the roads is enough to make us not want to do this route again!

      Here is the link to our route. www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2017/08/our-route-in-mexico-this-winter.html

      We had tried AutoZone in Tepotzotlan near Mexico City with no luck. It's all fixed now though. :-)

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  10. Hope youhad time for a Cafe Lachero at El Gran Café de la Parroquia! It is an experience!

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    1. It was a totally miserable day so none of us ventured into Veracruz yesterday and today we are moving on. Perhaps the next time.

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  11. If you could find a ( large )?? truck tire shop they may have that type of valve for tubeless tires

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    1. That is what we had ours eyes out for but not to worry, it is all sorted out now. :-)

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  12. I hope the weather gets better. We traveled in BC, Canada in cold, wet weather and I got sick in Victoria...had to visit urgent care to get prescription; also got sick while traveling in Alaska but tough it out and saw doctor when I got home. Do you need special permits to bring pets into the country? Just wondering cuz Tioga George couldn't bring his parakeet into Mexico. Safe travels

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    1. P.S. another travel blog warned not to buy romaine lettuce...they have been recalled.

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    2. We are making the best of it!

      Not necessarily special permits but you have to have record of their rabies shot and a health certificate that was issued within 2 weeks of crossing the Mexican border. Birds are another story, I do believe that they cannot legally cross the border even if they are pets!

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  13. Hope it’s sunny with smooth sailing the rest of the way. Your blog disappeared from my FB newsfeed about a week ago and have to search you out. Not sure what’s going on....

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    1. It's not going to happen soon but the sun will shine again, we will just have to have a little patience. :-)

      If you go to our facebook page, just under the cover picture are the buttons for "Like" and "Follow", you need to make sure that you have clicked on "Follow" and then every time we publish a new post it should come up in your news feed at the top. Hope that helps.

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  14. I'm confused about the parking? Was it expensive?

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    1. Not at all expensive. I have the price listed above. It was just that the validated ticket expired 15 minutes after you paid, so the machine at the exit wouldn't accept it if 15 minutes had passed after you paid.

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  15. A loaded sugar cane truck is something to behold. Esp when there are folks on top of it!

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    1. Yep, it sure is! You don't sure don't want to be behind one on the road though.

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  16. I am surprised the weather is bad. It was inclement when I took the Fall group through, but that was November and tail end of the rainy season. It is unusual to have bad weather this time of year. This year is unusual. Look at all the hurricanes in the Caribbean. It rained here in Melaque today,almost unheard of this time of year. Last spring it was good for us in the Yucatan. I really hope you get good weather for Chetumal. The cruise on Lake Bacalar is spectacular and it needs good weather. We had bad weather in Catemaco in Fall, but to be quite honest, it did not spoil the trip on the lake even in the intermittent rain. We dressed for it and the wildlife was still incredible. The roads were bad due to the heavy rainy season and there were washouts between Catemeco and the Cuota and the Cuota east of Villahermosa was really bad pavement. They have a nerve charging for it. Hopefully they have fixed. Its an adventure.

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    1. It has been miserable since we hit the coast. The afternoon we arrived at the Emerald Coast was the nicest, since then it has been totally overcast and raining and windy most of the time. It was pouring rain as we pulled into Catemaco today, everyone got soaked trying to get parked up.

      We have our doubts that the road will be fixed!

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  17. I am glad to see some people took the advice in the information package and carried spare water pumps. They are cheap and something you do not want to do without. I replaced mine with the more expensive even flow type and kept the old one as a spare.

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    1. Kevin will have a look at the old pump and see if he can find out what the problem and try to fix it but yes, it is nice that there were some extra pumps available.

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  18. Well we think you’re doing a great job! It is what it is!! Love reading about your day. Carry on!!

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    1. We like to think we are! ;-)

      Glad you are enjoying this fun journey.

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  19. Hope everyone gets over their illnesses. Sometimes it's just to be expected when traveling. At least everyone is still able to travel. Weather is always a factor whenever you travel. However in a few days when folks are feeling better and the sun comes out it will all be forgotten. I think you're doing an excellent job of leading such a large group. Enjoy. Stay safe.

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    1. I am sure that we all will, it seems to be making the rounds!

      There is nothing you can do with the weather, except to try to make the best of it and that is what we are trying to do. Eventually it will get better. :-)

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  20. That road was the worst! At least you didn’t have anyone break down along the road.

    Hope everyone is feeling better soon. Just a thought.... I am assuming that you did an orientation on how to wash/disinfect fruit and veggies? I found that most people did not know how to do this on our carivan. I showed my group of friends where to buy Microdyne and how to clean.

    the sun will be out soon and all will be good.

    Thanks for your blog.

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    1. There is a reason that we haven't taken this route since our trip in the fall of 2008. It has to be the worst section of road in all of Mexico and the fact that they call it a toll road is comical. ;-)

      Most people are doing better but a few others are coming down with it, it is slowly making it's way through the group. Yes, we explained all about that before we even crossed the border. We all think the illness is more flu like than food related.

      We know the sun will shine again soon but it will still be a few days yet. :-(

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  21. Oh we are so sorry to read of the bad weather, illness and bad roads. I am sure most of the people know that there would be some bumps in the road...I couldn't resist. I think being ill has to be the worst. Paul and I agree that maybe the pace is too fast. Not sure that would help with the illness, but it might help everyone get a bit more rest at each stop. We hope y'all are feeling much better today, and the rest of the adventure goes super. We are really enjoying all the photos. Feels like we are there with y'all. Thanks.

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    1. We are dealing with it and it is only going to get better, even the roads, we hope! :-)

      We think the pace is a little fast as well but we have heard that a few groups have done this same route in less time and didn't find it too fast paced so maybe it is just us. We like to come and enjoy the places we visit, going at this pace make us feel like we are on one of those European vacations where they do 10 cities in like 14 days, they see lots but don't really experience anything! We have already got them to add in a few more days at the beginning of the trip to have a little more time to relax and smell the roses. :-)

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  22. It is fun to take the boat trip up to the end of Lake Catemaco. The park there was used as a movie set for a Sean Connery movie. Ask the boat guy to stop at the Monkey Island but warn people not to feed the monkeys. They are isolated and on a controlled diet as an experiment by the university.

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    1. The boat trip is ok but we really enjoyed going to see the waterfall way more and to the cigar factory, if the weather cooperates, maybe we can do both.

      We have already let everyone know that the monkeys aren't native to Mexico and that they are strictly there for research and that they stink!

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    2. All the Mexican tourists feed them it seems. They seem to get a lot of crackers. Is the lake still high? In November parts of the shoreline were flooded. It was a brutal rainy season and it looks like it is hanging on.

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    3. Yes, it looks like the lake is still high!

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  23. The rainy day was a blessing in disguise and gave a much needed rest to everyone I think. Good to hear about the challenges in this adventure as it makes the trip more realistic. Love reading all about your daily stories! Safe travels!

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    1. Yes, that is very true and I think that is pretty much how we all used the day.

      There are definitely challenges on this trip but they are also worth it for what we get to see along the way. :-)

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    2. That is why its an adventure. If people want smooth they need to go to an all inclusive. But that hardly gives you bragging rights to your friends. That is the enjoyment of taking an RV, you see the REAL Mexico. IMO opinion it's much better than the commercial version, and you guys are experts in showing people the real version. Rain and all.

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    3. You can still have an adventure without having to go on such terrible roads. We have to be honest that this section of Mexico is not our most favourite and that is probably why this is only our second time in this area after 9 years of traveling in Mexico. We love Catemaco and the all the lush green vegetation but the state of the roads and the crappy weather (both visits) are a bit of a turn off for us.

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