the

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.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Just a short note

To let you know we made it to the National Park. No cell signal unless we do a hike to a lookout! That's where we are now. Using my phone to do this blog post. Normal blog post will resume tomorrow!


I've never tried doing a blog post from the phone. Hope this works!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Mazatlan, and saying goodbye

We walked the the ferry dock here at Isla de la Piedra and took the panga boat to Mazatlan. It crosses the shipping port and is about a ten minute journey.

We were meeting up with Steve and Rebecca, a couple who had hosted us at their place in Duluth, Minnesota back in 2013. They've been loyal readers of this blog since 2011!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Mazatlan Countryside Tour

The bus was here to pick us up at 8:30am yesterday morning. First stop was the village of Puerta de Canoas, about 57 kms (35 miles) from where we are camped at Isla de la Piedra.

This is where there is a guy who trains dancing horses. Plus, it's just a nice little typical village. I always find it interesting how you only have to be 16 kms (10 miles) outside the hustle and bustle of the big city of Mazatlan to find yourself out in the country. You'd never know that you're so close to the city.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

February Expenses

Better late than never, right?!

If you remember, Sherman broke down on Thursday, March 1st. That week, and the following week were a little hectic for us, and we kind of got out of schedule and the February expenses never got posted. So I'm posting them now.

February was a pretty reasonable month, which is a good thing because March was not! However, we have to keep in mind that February was only 28 days...

Last driving day with the group

We did the short drive from Teacapan to Isla de la Piedra yesterday. We had a 9:00am start because it's only a 131 km (81 mile) drive. A couple of us needed to get fuel, so we left 20 minutes early to stop at the station up on the road, but when we got there they had one pump closed and it was pretty congested. We decided to carry to to El Rosario where there was a bigger station.

And, we took the free road again. It's in pretty good shape, so it's one of those situations where you can't justify spending the money on the toll road.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Planning our exit from Mexico

Six more nights in Mexico. Hard to believe. But, all good things must come to an end, so they say!

We have only one more drive with the whole group, and that is today from Teacapan to Isla de Las Piedra near Mazatlan. Then on Friday, we split ways and most of the group is exiting through Nogales with the leader of the Copper Canyon group, while Ruth and I take two rigs out through Laredo.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The beach goes on for miles...

We went for a walk on the beach yesterday morning. The last time we were here, two years ago, we walked all the way to town which was about 10 kms. We didn't feel quite that ambitious this time around, and so we took off in the opposite direction to see what there was to see.

The beach goes for literally miles!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

RV camping on the beach in Mexico

We had to get an early start yesterday morning. Saturday is market day in Lo de Marcos, and it would have been tough (maybe even impossible) to get all the rigs out through the town if we waited until later. So, better to be safe than sorry and we were all out of the park by 6:30am!

Also, better to get an early start to do the twisty windy road up the mountain towards Tepic.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Nothing wrong with a soak in the hot springs!

Just a short update today.

We went with Mike and Linda up to the Aguas Termales De Nuevo Ixtlan. 

What is that, you ask?

Ruth and I have been there before. It's a natural hot springs up in the mountains northwest of Puerto Vallarta.

Friday, March 23, 2018

This is the first time

This is the first time during this three month trip that we have had time to relax. And there's less than two weeks remaining in the trip! Overall, it's been an okay job, but it's a pretty hectic schedule and it's been more work than we thought it would be.

Of course, if we do it again next year it should feel like less work because we will be totally familiar with the route and the schedule.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

I think one of those hammocks has my name on it...

Ruth had a couple of haircuts scheduled for yesterday morning, so while she was doing that I went for a walk around the property here to take some photos for you all.

Tlaquepaque is a resort hotel property with bungalows and rooms for rent, as well as 70 RV spaces. In our opinion, it is one of the nicest RV properties in Mexico. And, it's fairly pricey, but sometimes you get what you pay for.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Arrived at Lo de Marcos

Managed to get 16 rigs out of the Laguna del Tule Trailer park in Melaque. We decided to group up at a nearby gas station, that way everybody could get out of the park at their own pace before our 8am scheduled departure. It all went pretty smoothly and thankfully there isn't a lot of traffic at that end of the town.

We had some leftover members of the Copper Canyon caravan with us for this drive, so we split into two groups of eight, and the second group departed 15 minutes after the first group.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Relax day at the beach in Melaque

We needed to get some exercise, so before it got too hot we took off for a walk. Of course, when we start wandering we never know how long we're going for... or how far!

We set off through town, then part of the beach. We ended up doing about 8kms (5 miles)!

Monday, March 19, 2018

We are back on schedule!

Went for a nice breakfast yesterday morning with Heinz and Uli, Becky and Jerry, Doug and Cathy, and Nancy at La Cocinita restaurant in Valle de Juarez. Nice of everybody to join us. Our favorite breakfast place in Mexico! The fresh orange juice was the best I've ever had. And with a delicious mushroom, onion, and chorizo omelette. Total price with tip included, 85 pesos ($6.00 CAD, $4.55 USD) each.

With full stomachs, we made another attempt to go see Whiskey's Tree at Hacienda Contreras RV Park.

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...

Saturday, March 17, 2018

We're on the road again!

At least we hope we are. The last time I said that, it didn't go so well.

The mechanic Pedrito had finished up the passenger side (the side that broke) on Thursday evening, and he was coming back Friday morning to change the lower ball joint on the driver's side. Both ball joints had been changed at the same time a few years ago, and with one giving up, I didn't have a whole lot of faith in the other one.

Friday, March 16, 2018

We've got some catching up to do...

Yesterday, the Mexico RV Caravan group carried on from Villa Corona to the Pacific coast beach town of Melaque. They are in for a five night stay at Laguna del Tule Hotel and RV Park.

Because they are there for five nights, we want to arrive there by Monday at the latest because they move on again on Tuesday. That means we've got some catching up to do.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Maybe it's better that we're not heading out today!

When we woke up and got on the computers yesterday morning, I checked the status of Sherman's parts. They said "out for delivery", with a promised delivery time of "end of the day".

I went up to the security guy at the front gate and explained that I would have two packages arriving at some point today. He said he would let me know when they show up.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Meanwhile, back at the caravan group...

While we've been sitting here waiting for Sherman's parts to arrive, the caravan group has carried on according to the schedule. Michel and Louise, a couple who had expressed interest in leading their own caravan next winter had taken over as temporary wagon-masters until we can rejoin the group.

The group did three nights in Patzcuaro, and then yesterday they moved on to Chimulco Water Park in Villa Corona near the big city of Guadalajara.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Sherman's parts have arrived in Mexico!

I ordered the parts on Friday morning at around 11:30am. Amazon Mexico's system said the parts would arrive in two to four business days, with a guarantee they would be here by Thursday March 15th.

With a weekend in between, I thought that was pretty good, but figured on Thursday being the day. This morning, I checked the shipment tracking, and they have already arrived in Mexico City!

Monday, March 12, 2018

There's always something interesting to see in Mexico

Ruth made some chocolate chip cookies in the morning, while I did some work on the computer, and some more cleaning on Sherman.

Then we decided to walk into Cholula to the big market and find some lunch. Lots of people out enjoying a beautiful Sunday, and of course the Cholula Pyramid is free to the locals on a Sunday, so that brings in the crowds to the main attraction in the area.

Gas motorhome, or diesel motorhome?

If you're shopping for a motorhome, do you choose gas, or diesel?

When we bought Sherman, the answer was easy because we didn't want to spend a lot of money.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

We're going to be here for a few days...

We had a knock on the door early yesterday morning just before the caravan group was about to depart for Patzcuaro. It was Randy, telling us that if we climb the water tower here in the park we would get a beautiful view of the Popocat├ępetl Volcano.

So up we climbed!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Parts are ordered, and now we wait

Yesterday morning, Ruth went with the group to the tour of downtown Puebla while I stayed with Sherman to deal with the best way to get the parts that he needs. There were several choices, including several choices of how to do the repairs that are necessary.

I wanted Moog parts. In my opinion, they are the best aftermarket suspension and steering parts out there. You can buy the ball joints two different ways... individually, or included with the lower control arm assembly.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Sherman is broken... again!

We were on the road yesterday morning at about 7:15am. Made our way through the already busy town of Juchitan, and headed north on the 185 up towards the main east west toll road, the 145D.

Our planned 622 km (386 mile) drive was ambitious. If we wanted to make it to Trailer Park Las Americas on the far side of Puebla, there would be very little time for rest breaks.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Reunited with Sherman

We were up at 6:00am Wednesday morning to wave goodbye to the group at their planned 7:00am departure from Oaxaca to Puebla. It's only 360 kms (223 miles), but an early start is better.

They had a Green Angel escort today, and it's a good thing. He arrived right at 7:00am, and I went over the route with him.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Walk into town, and a creepy visitor...

A day off for everybody yesterday. Some people went back into the center of Oaxaca City, and some people went into the nearest town of Santa Maria del Tule, where the big tree is that we showed you the other day.

Ruth and I decided we needed some exercise and walked into Santa Maria del Tule.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Change of plans, and another busy tour day

This time, the vans arrived to pick us up at just after 8:30am. But first, while everybody was gathered around, we had to have a quick group meeting to discuss how Sherman was going to get caught up with the group.

As the group leaders, we had decided that everyone would spend two extra nights here at Oaxaca, and have the group carry on to the next destination of Puebla on Thursday morning. Ruth and I will return to Sherman on Wednesday. Then, with any luck at all Sherman would be ready on Thursday and we would catch up to the group in Puebla in time for their departure on Saturday morning to Patzcuaro.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Busy day touring around Oaxaca

The two vans arrived to pick up our group at 9:00am yesterday for a busy day touring. Almost too busy!

First stop was a place that does rug weaving. I thought it wouldn't be up my alley, but the local Zapotec woman who's husband revived this art form was really interesting, and it was almost kind of odd that her English was so good.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Good news, and bad news...

By 8:30am yesterday morning, there were two guys underneath Sherman working away to remove the right front lower control arm and ball joint. It turned out that the ball joint itself had not broken at the stud... it had broken at the collar that holds it together. And strangely, it doesn't even seem to be that worn.

Anyhow, it needs a new ball joint, and we are going to get the one on the opposite side replaced as well.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Sherman - Towed to a truck mechanic shop in Juchitan, Mexico!

We sat on the side of the busy road for a total of about 28 hours. Essentially, doing nothing. Good thing we had a decent cell signal so we had communication and internet access.

The tow truck had been arranged the night before, but they had said they couldn't make it there until about 11:00am. We had the impression that the towing company is very busy and that there aren't many towing companies in this area. The roadside assistance people were not able to find one to help us, and they had said that they would reimburse us up to $300 USD if we submitted the invoice to them once we found help.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Houston, we have a problem...

A big problem.

The day started off as planned, with a scheduled 8:00am departure from the orphanage. We got on the toll road going south towards Arriaga, and it was a decent enough road, although fairly busy.

Great scenery too!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Sumidero Canyon boat trip, and back to the orphanage

The van was there to pick us up at 8:00am Wednesday morning to take us to the boat launch at Chiapa de Corzo. That is where you get the tour boats to take you into the nearby Sumidero Canyon. Ruth and I had done the canyon boat tour back in 2009, but we were looking forward to a return visit.

The dam was built in 1981. At that time, the river was just a series of un-navigable rapids, but with the rising waters from the dam, popular boat tours started in the spectacular canyon.