Archive for the ‘Mexico – Tepic’ Category

The Great Exodus Monday, March 3, 2008

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Spring must be near as the RV parks are slowly emptying.  A weekend ago 3 rigs from here pulled out heading north.  Last Saturday 5 rigs left.  And that is only this park.  All the others are emptying out as well.  We will leave Ron’s RV Park on Sunday.  There is a lot of movement in the RV parks though as the people south of Puerto Vallarta are heading north and pull in for a few days here before heading on farther north.  There certainly isn’t a rush to get up north to cooler weather as most people will stay around AZ for a few weeks before heading home.

We had our rig washed Saturday and waxed on Sunday.  Juan and his wife did the job for $70.  Not a bad price at all as I would not climb up on the roof for a $1000.  Too scary!!!!!!  And Rick wouldn’t climb up  on the roof for $1,000,000!!!!!!  It looks beautiful and shiny.  Now if it will only stay that way until we get to the Montana Rally!!


The place is looking empty and spacious.  We don’t feel closed in at all.

There used to be 3 rigs parallel to the wall here.


There are only 3 rigs left on this side.


Now we can definitely find a parking place in the closed in parking lot at Ron’s.


We turned into true Texans again yesterday!!!!!!  Now during the day around 2 PM – 4 PM it becomes quite stuffy and hot in the 5th wheel even though we have fans going in the living room and bedroom and the windows and the front door open.  So we closed everything up and actually turned on the air conditioner.  I love that white noise and the coolness.  The a/c gets rid of the humidity.  This is the first time we have run  the  a/c since October in Mazatlan.  Of course, most of the RV parks here in MX do not have an adequate electrical power for a/c operations.  Ron’s RV Park has its own transformer and regulates the power like in the US.  They also charge for it by the kw hour,  just like in the states too!!!!  (CLICK HERE to see our earlier post regarding Mexican Electicity.)

There are basically 3 roads to take from Puerto Vallarta to Mazatlan, which is about a day’s drive.  The decision to take one instead of another all have to do with the town of Tepic. 

We could go straight up Highway 200 which is extremely curvy and up and down mountains to Tepic.  There are 2 reasons we will not take that route.  (1.)  This is the road we took down here and our brakes caught on fire. (2.) Going through the town of Tepic was long and had very narrow roads  for our 5th wheel.

We could take Highway 200 north about 20 km to Las Varas and turn left and go along the coast through farmland to San Blas.  Then take the curvy, mountainous Highway 54 up to the toll road and miss Tepic completely.  This is a much shorter route.  This way you  go up the mountain roads for only about 20 miles.  Sounds like the best route?  Yes, except the road is very narrow and the jungle trees and bushes are hanging out in the road.  We are 13 feet 3 inches high and the possiblity of scratching our rig or tearing our roof is highly likely.  The MX government trims the roadways with machetes (Spanish must not have the rule – change an e to an i  and then add es HA HA).  They trim it almost even with the highway shoulders.  The question is when did they trim it last?  Not this week, I’m sure.  So that route is out for us.

The next choice is go up Highway 200 to Las Varas and turn right (instead of left), still on 200 and go 34 km to Compostella which is a curvy mountainous road.  Then we get on a toll road for 37 km going toward Guadalajara and get on the toll road to Tepic, taking  the bypass around Tepic.  What is wrong with this route?  Tolls are expensive and the route is about 60 kilometers longer. But this is our choice.  We would rather pay and take the longer route and have less chance of a mishap.

Lots of people do take the other 2 routes.  This has been the big discussion around this area for the past month.  Which route are you taking to Mazitlan and why?  We will let you know how our decision turned out next week.

Oops – Didn’t make it.

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

First of all, we want to wish our granddaughter, Gracie, a happy 6th birthday.


Now, for the rest of the story.  We left Mazatlan on Saturday morning at 7:30 AM.  For the second time in a row we were right on time.  All was going well over the new, 200 mile, toll road to the town of Tepic.  Tepic is at the top of a mountain at about 3500 feet.  This is where the fun begins.

For the first time since entering Mexico we left Hwy 15 behind and headed down Hwy 200 towards Sayulita, which is our ultimate destination for the winter.  We had only about 70 miles to go, so we thought we had it made.  Just a note about Hwy 200.  It is mostly downhill, narrow, and extremely curvy for the first 40 miles past Tepic.

Here is your typical downhill curve. Note the lack of shoulder.  In some places the drop-off is hundreds of feet.


Anyway, as luck would have it, we ended up following an extremely slow truck.  You wouldn’t necessarily think of this as a problem, but, it was.  He was traveling so slow that we could not build up enough speed for our exhaust brake to activate.  This is bad, because we were forced to use our brakes extensively.

About 30 miles into this ordeal, we spotted a place that we could pull out.  When I braked to stop, billows of smoke started coming out of our left front wheel.  We got to a stop and discovered that the wheel was on fire.  What was burning was brake fluid and grease, not tire.  We carry a fire extinquisher in the cab, so I gave that a whirl.  The fire stopped momentarily, but the heat from the wheel re-ignited it.

A young man came running from across the street with a liter bottle of coke, shook it up  and began spraying the foam on the wheel.  We grabbed a couple of more liters from the restaurant on our side of the road.  The fire was out at this point, but we kept squirting large quantities of water on the wheels through openings in the hub caps.  After the excitement, we sat down with the young man and joined him in a beer and waited about an hour for the wheels to cool off before starting out again.

Well, off we started.  The left front wheel was making a horrible metal-to-metal noise.  It didn’t appear to be the brakes, therefore, our assumption was a wheel bearing.  We continued on for about 20 miles at about 20 – 25 mph.  Every couple of miles we stopped to wet down the wheel with water.  I was driving in first and rarely used the brake.

When we entered the town of La Penita we noticed the La Penita RV Park.  We had met the owners of that resort in San Carlos when the caravan came through the RV Park.  We continued a few more miles and stopped to check the wheels out again.  A retired military gentleman from the US  that lives in the area pulled up beside us to see if we were having trouble.  He indicated that if we were to continue and break down in our final 20 miles that there are no places to pull off the narrow road.  We opted to head back to La Penita RV Park and wait there until Monday so we could get the wheel fixed.  Manana has stretched out for a couple of days and we expect to have our diagnosis Wednesday, the 14th.

Anyway, La Penita RV park is large and nearly full of mostly Canadians.  The owner is also Canadian.  We put up our Texas flag.  The park is quite hilly and the trailers and motor homes are all up and down the hill.  We’re at the top.  The property goes all the way to the beach.

Here’s a shot from the sun deck at the rv park.


From the beach toward the park.


View from the beach. 


And a little wildlife (Iguana)


Hopefully, we’ll continue our journey towards Sayulita in a day or two. 

Our thanks go out to Carole and Grant, the owners of La Penita RV Park for their hospitality and help with our problems.