Duden Waterfall, Antalya, Turkiye.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Antalya, Turkiye.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Paris, France on May 1st.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Great drive, until the very last kilometer...

We did a 198 km (123 mile) drive yesterday from the Balneario Pueste del Sol to Club Nautico Los Olas del Valle near Valle de Bravo.

Ruth and I have done most of this drive in the past, so we knew that we had a lot of twisty windy mountain roads to do and that it would take some time. We left at 9:00am, stopped for lunch for an hour and a half, and arrived at about 3:30pm... so it was about 5 hours of driving to do 198 kms (123 miles)!

And it went problem free until the very last kilometer!

We started off with 40 kms (24 miles) on the main toll highway that runs between Guadalajara and Mexico City...

4 lane freeway.

Scenery along the way.

Surprisingly, not that busy.

Rough road entering Maravatio.

I think somebody pocketed the road repair money!

But, we just took our time, and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.

We had to climb up into the mountains near where some of the monarch butterfly wintering grounds are located. Guaranteed it's the first time an RV caravan has taken these roads! We sure had a lot of people staring and waving at us... they must have figured we were lost.

Nice views as we climbed to around 8,600 ft.

We wanted to stop at a town called Tlalpujahua. Don't worry if you can't pronounce it properly... we have to work at it as well and I still can't get it right! We've been there before, but it's a really pretty spot with a lot of history and it is known for producing Christmas ornaments.

But we weren't sure if there would be enough parking for eight RVs!

We stopped the group at a gas station a couple of kms from town and Ruth and I went ahead to check out the parking situation. We were in luck, and I called back to the group to come on ahead.

We stopped in Tlalpujahua for a quick hour and a half combined lunch/sightseeing break. Too bad we didn't have more time... we could have spent a day there. I think if we do this trip again next year, we will see if we can stay in that parking lot overnight.

Another nice big Christmas tree.

Lynette and Paul... Christmas elves!

Tlalpujahua church.

Being a Saturday, there was a wedding taking place.

Pinatas for sale.

From there, we headed south across the altiplano to Villa Victoria...

Yep, we're out in the countryside.

But still a few towns to go through.

An informal market.

Scenery along the way.

Laundry day for some of the local folks.

And then it was downhill from 8,600 ft to Valle de Bravo at 5,900 ft.

We don't actually bring the RVs into Valle de Bravo itself. We are about 5 kms from the town, located in between the villages of El Arco and San Gaspar. But you have to drive through El Arco to get here, and it's a busy, congested area with a lot of taxis and buses.

We were about 1 km (less than a mile) from our destination, and everything was going fine, when we heard from Barry and Jeannie on the radio.

"Kevin, we need help, I think we hit a taxi!"

There was nowhere for us to pull over though, so the rest of us had to continue on. I told them I would return as soon as possible.

In the meantime, we got to the turn into the embarcadero (marina) where we would be parking.

This is our fifth or sixth time here. Ruth and I love the place, despite it's drawbacks. Every time we come, something has changed and although we had organized this in advance with the owner Chago, we weren't sure what he had in mind for us as far as where we were supposed to park.

So in the lead, I pulled under some low wires into an empty lot just to get myself out of the way to allow enough room for others to pull into the lane way from the main road. I got out and started directing others. I got Bob and Denise pulled into another spot out of the way, and I went with one of Chago's workers down to the water to check out where he wanted us to park, leaving Ruth out at the main road so that others didn't miss the turn.

I was walking back to get them, when I heard some noise and saw a bunch of wires hanging from poles tighten up. I knew exactly what had happened, and came up the lane to find Garth's rig covered in various cables and wires!

Yikes. What a mess.

He had followed Wendy in her much shorter rig, and simply didn't see the low hanging wires. Sorry, no photos... there was simply too much going on to worry about snapping photos.

Chago's workers helped get Garth sorted out, and I went with Wendy in her rig back to see how Barry and Jeannie were making out. I found them parked at the side of the road with a taxi in front of them. I spoke to the taxi driver, and he says they clipped his mirror. Sure enough, the mirror is damaged, although minor. I negotiated with him for a 600 peso ($30 USD, $41 CAD) settlement. 

We finally got everyone parked up. Our parking area isn't ideal, but that's not why we came here. There is a lot to see and do in the area, and the friends we have here are always a lot of fun. We love the place, and we hope the group ends up loving it too!

Happy hour sunset by the lake.

It's one of our three favorite places in Mexico and we haven't been here since January 7th, 2016. So, almost three years. We were so disappointed that last year's route didn't include any of our three favorite places, so when I designed the route this year, it includes long stops at all three!

Chago's kids are all growing up. Last time we were here, Isidro was 15, Mariell was 14, and little Fatima was 3. Now, Isidro is a young man of 18, Mariell is 17, and little Fatima is going to turn 6 this week. We will be having a birthday party!

Fatima is such a little sweetheart.

And so we are here through Christmas and New Years, planning on departing January 3rd. The original idea of staying here so long was so that any of the group could fly home from Mexico City for Christmas if they chose, but everybody is staying put.

Yesterday's drive, 198 kms (123 miles).

Calling for sunshine with a high of 22C (72F) and a low of 6C(43F). Perfect.

The popular Zinus 10" Memory Foam RV Mattress is on sale...

And in Canada...


  1. Well, an exciting arrival! Good job on the negotiations with the cabbie. Enjoy your stay.

    1. We definitely let everyone know we had arrived! Luckily everyone here seems to take all this in stride. We are looking forward to enjoying a stay here. :-)

  2. Hate when those accidents happen especially in Mexico. We got through ours ok back in 2010, Hopefully you now have a carefree journey the rest of the way.

    1. Luckily it was only a minor accident and hopefully that will be the worst of it for the rest of the trip.

  3. I remember your other visits here, I am sure the group will like it as much as you do

    1. There is always something to see and do here and we really love being able to see all our Mexican friends again, they are one of the many reasons that we love coming here. Hopefully the group will love the experience here too because it will definitely be a true local one. :-)

  4. Enjoy your Christmas looks like a really nice place!

    1. Thank you Karyn! Yep is a wonderful place to spend Christmas. :-)

      Merry Christmas to you and Skyler.

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks Elaine! She is such a cutie and has a beautiful smile. :-)

  6. A number of years ago, a bunch of us spent a couple weeks in Valle de Bravo for some paragliding! It was just before Christmas, so there were lots of parades day and night, and some pretty incredible fireworks displays.

    1. Lucky you! We love watching the paragliders, we may even give it a try during our stay here. Even if we don't go paragliding we will definitely make it up to the take off point, the views from there are incredible.

      Yes, Valle de Bravo always seems to have something going on during the holidays. :-)

  7. Following you and the group at a distance and sending everyone white and snowy wishes for a Merry Christmas! Enjoy your week-long break! I suppose you will be visiting interesting places all around where you are parked now. Hoping for more pictures and comments ... including thoughts about a possible trip to Mexico next year -- hand raised here to be part of the group!!!

    1. Thank you for following along with us and for your "chilly" Christmas wishes. :-)

      Lots of things to do and see in the area, and yes we are going to do our best to get the group to some of them. The scenery here is fantastic and so are all the Mexican experiences that we hope the group will enjoy during our stay.

      As for doing a trip for next winter, we won't make that decision until at least June 2019, so you will just have to keep your eye on the blog for when we make the call out, if we make one. :-)

  8. Merry Christmas Kevin & Ruth and your Travel Friends! What a beautiful place to spend the Holidays! ❤️🎄 Scc&G

    1. Thank you very much and Merry Christmas to you!

      Yes, this is a wonderful place to spend Christmas. :-)

  9. Replies
    1. Yep, and we could have done without a little of the excitement!


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