the

Scenic highway 395 near Bishop, California.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Bishop, California.

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

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Mexico RV Caravan Travel Day - Palenque to Villahermosa

We left Palenque on schedule right at 9:00am.

By 9:05am, we encountered a change in plans!

Entering the main road that runs beside the town, we saw some police cars, and then some detour signs. There was some kind of special bicycle race going on, and they had the main road closed off. The detour went through the town!

We were a little worried about the height of some of the rigs. I asked the police officer at the beginning, and he said "where are you going?", and I replied "Villahermosa". He said that we should be fine, and so we went for it... not that we had any other choice.

Detouring through the town of Palenque.
One low tree branch, but we all scraped through unharmed!

Going through Palenque.

Back on the main road, they had only one direction blocked for the cyclists. This side was now both direction traffic.

We finally made it back to the main Villahermosa highway where we had to go through the big checkpoint. They checked out paperword again, and we did a fuel stop and regrouped. At this point, it had taken us an hour and fifteen minutes to do 31 kms (19.2 miles).

Scenery along the way.

Highway 186 is a terrible potholed road!

Bananas growing at the side of the road.

Big flowery tree.

Scenery along the way.

We came upon the outskirts of Villahermosa where we were supposed to meet a Green Angel escort to guide us around the city, but I had received notice that they had to attend to an emergency so we were on our own.

It wasn't too bad... one section of bad road, and then onto the new (but expensive) northern bypass toll road. 135 pesos ($9.50 CAD, $7.50 USD) for 17 kms (10.5 miles).

Arrived at Balneario San Pancho el Gordo at around 1:30pm. It's a bit tight parking here, but there are some electrical outlets and water taps. Our price of 300 pesos ($21 CAD, $16.50 USD) per night includes entry to the water park. So, not bad. It was a weekend, so the facilities were pretty busy with local families.

Parked up at Balneario San Pancho el Gordo GPS 17.982745, -93.046485

Yesterday's drive, 180 kms.

Today, we drive to the orphanage. Only 220 kms or so, but it will probably take us five hours so we are leaving at 8:00am. Shopping for the kids this afternoon. We have about 34,000 pesos ($2,350 CAD, $1,850 USD) to spend!

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16 comments:

  1. Tight squeeze through Palenque. That is one close campground.

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    1. Yes, it was a tight squeeze, especially in a few spots where cars were parked on each side of the street but everyone got through without a scratch.

      The campground isn't really made for this many rigs or rigs this big, plus because we were there for only one night we just parked nose to end in two rows, it made parking the units easier and also makes for an easy departure the next morning.

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  2. I hate it when that happens, I remember once having to get on my roof with a saw.

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    1. Luckily those branches were small, soft ones so we didn't have to worry about cutting any down.

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  3. Seems you can never be in a hurry in Mexico!

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    1. We have always said that you can't get anywhere fast on the roads in Mexico, that is why we don't plan long driving days. You can't drive the same distances in Mexico as you can in Canada or the USA and that is fine with us because there is so much to see here anyways.

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  4. If that section of Highway 186 is your definition of a terrible potholed road, you're getting soft. When the locals abandon the pavement in favor of driving alongside in the ditch, as I've seen in multiple places, that's a terrible potholed road.

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    1. We have to admit, that this was definitely not the worst road we have been on in Mexico or in Canada, although some of the potholes/craters on this road could have swallowed an RV! ;-)

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  5. I am so grateful that you are doing this work for the orphanage! You guys rock.

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    1. Thank you Diana! We have enjoyed doing this for the orphanage and for the kids. It sure makes us feel good. Thanks to everyone in our group and to our readers that donated, we got way more than we were hoping for and it really helps the orphanage out. :-)

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  6. I don't get it...why not take highway 199 into Ocozocoautla, Chiapas, Mexico? It seems you went quite a ways north just to travel back down south. Maybe because orphanage is north? Anyway, I'm looking at google maps and following along.

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    1. I guess Kevin never mentioned it in the blog but yes, that highway 199 would have been the preferred route and we had wanted to take because it has beautiful scenery along the way even though it is a twisty, windy mountain road that can be busy with traffic. Unfortunately though, it is also a troublesome route, even back in 2009, they have had issues with it, however when we did it in 2009 we didn't have any problems. The problems have now escalated enough to make it an unwise choice for the caravan, even the ADO bus company will not drive this route anymore, so it means having to backtrack in order to come down to the orphanage and to Sumidero Canyon and our day trip to San Cristobal along with a couple of nearby communities.

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  7. As a cyclist, I was curious about the bike race. Finally, after much googling in Spanish, I learned that you encountered the bike leg of a triathlon! Here is the official route, going right through Palenque: https://web.asdeporte.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Palenque-Nataci%C3%B3n-Bici-y-carrera.jpg. And full information (in Spanish) on the event: https://web.asdeporte.com/evento/triatlon-chiapas-ruta-palenque-2018/. Glad you made it through okay!

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    1. Thanks for letting us know what the race was all about. We managed to get around the town the back way, it took a while to do it and it was a bit tight in a couple of spots but we made it and that is the important thing. :-)

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  8. Kate saw Gabriel yesterday and put in a nice word commending your fine blog/journal. Looking for ward to your arrival next week!

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    1. Thank you very much for the kind words. We are looking forward to meeting you and staying at your park. Everyone will love to have the full services, especially after the last week or so and the next few nights to come with having only minimal services or none at all. :-)

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