On The Road

On The Road
Dutch Star and Subaru ready to go

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Livingston to the Emerald Coast


After five and a half days we finally made it to the DeAlba RV park on the Emerald Coast north of Veracruz.
We’re still without our MotoSat/DataStorm internet system working. Our first day took us to San Antonio, Texas where a local MotoSat dealer worked on it for over six hours including changing the modem and controller as well as installing the latest software and calling MotoSat to have me assigned to a different satellite. However it was all to no avail. His final conclusion was that there was something wrong with the dish and mechanism on the roof of the motorhome which he could not fix. After hours of trying he suggested I contact or visit MotoSat in Salt Lake City when we return from Mexico.

It rained most of the way during our drive from Livingston to San Antonio and it continued during the drive to the Brownsville area where we spent the first night in a WalMart parking lot. Our drive was not uneventful as shortly after leaving home, a truck pulled up beside us on the freeway and the passenger waved, and indicated something was wrong with our Jeep. After stopping I discovered our brake assist mechanism for the Jeep had come on while driving resulting in some smoke coming from the brake pads. Fortunately no damage was done and I disconnected the brake assist mechanism for the rest of the trip.
Thinking that we shouldn’t have any more problems, when we stopped to fuel up after leaving San Antonio, I discovered that one of my locking fuel caps was missing. I guess I had failed to put it on the last time I fueled up. Fortunately I still had the original fuel caps in the basement of the motorhome and used one of these until we stopped at the Walmart outside of Brownsville where I bought a new locking one.

There are three different border crossings at Brownsville, two for cars and small trucks and one for large trucks and RVs. Unfortunately the Mexican bank where you pay for your visas and vehicle permits at the Veterans Memorial crossing, the one for large vehicles, was not open on Sundays. So we stayed Sunday night at an RV park in Brownsville close to the border.
On Monday, Dec. 14th we woke up early and headed for the border, hoping we wouldn’t have trouble finding our way through the Mexican city of Matamoris to the highway heading south.
The crossing went well with lots of parking while we went in to the Mexican immigration office and obtained our visas and permit for the Jeep. The motorhome has a 10 year permit so we didn’t have to do anything for it. After leaving the immigration office we found the street signs easy to follow to Mexican highway 180 south and we were on our way.
We decided our first night would be in La Pesca, a little fishing village about 200 miles south of the border. There is supposed to be two RV parks in La Pesca and after passing the first one we decided to look at the second one. This was not a good decision as we ended up in a little village with a narrow main street and topes (speed bumps) on every block. We couldn’t find a place to turn around and had to disconnect the Jeep in front of a small Pemex gas station. I then followed Diane in the Jeep back to the first park we saw. It had a large nicely mowed field beside a hotel where we were able to park for the night.

The directions for the by-pass around Tampico was a little confusing and I made a wrong turn and got on the wrong side of the freeway. Fortunately we were able to get back on the right tract and again on highway 180 south.

Highway 180 south from Tampico is terrible. Its narrow, dips and twists and is full of major pot-holes. All this combined with heavy traffic of large trucks, buses and cars. We didn’t see any RV parks south of Tampico and stopped at a hotel along the highway in the small town of Naranjos. The owners were very nice and didn’t charge us for parking in front of the hotel although the motorhome was only a few feet off the highway where the trucks continued to travel all night.
The weather didn’t improve and it started to rain again during the night and was continuing when we got up before dawn to get back on the highway. I probably slowed the natural flow of traffic as I was driving way below the speed limit on that rough, narrow highway full of big trucks.
I didn’t catch the by-pass around the city of Tuxpan and we had to drive through the center of town during the early morning when the streets were full of people going to work the kids were waiting for the buses to take them to school. We took it easy however and managed to get through the city with no problem.
After Tuxpan we came across a nice highway heading towards Veracuz however our GPS got upset because it didn’t have the highway in its database. We managed without it for awhile until we got back on highway 180 and then the GPS was happy again.

We got to the DeAlba RV park about 11:00 am on Wednesday, Dec 16th and paid for a month. There were two other RVs here when we arrived but they were getting things together as they were leaving that day. The weather was still overcast and drizzly the day we arrived but the next day, the sun came out.

The park does not have its WiFi up and working but fortunately there’s a nice coffee shop and internet cafĂ© just down the highway. This is where we will have to do our posting until the park gets its WiFi up and running.