Thursday's drive was a reminder of the various driving conditions in Mexico, sans the city driving nightmares which we picked up again briefly, leaving Villahermosa on Friday.
Two hours of peaceful driving through the coastal villages of Veracruz. Lush, green, slow-going. Every time you think you can pick up speed and hit a stride, you encounter another little village with a half dozen speed bumps. After two hours it got old and we were ready for some smooth sailing on the toll road. Wrong.
Next: two hours dodging thousands of pot holes. I am not exaggerating in the slightest, THOUSANDS of pot holes, ranging from 12 inches to 4-feet wide, and 4 inches to 12 inches deep, covering both lanes for two solid hours of driving (at a whopping 25-35 mph). These are car killers. I can't believe this "highway" is typically this bad. It has to be that the area got hit with the hard rains we've been experiencing and washed out all the asphalt patchwork that would normally occupy these holes. As my friend Dan would say, the road conditions are unfuckingbelieveable. Sorry, but I've decided to stretch my legs and not make this is not a "G" rated blog.
The next time I read a comment online from someone who says the Mexican highways are comparable to the U.S. highways I'm going to buy a plane ticket, fly to their location, and slap some sense into them. What are you smoking????
Last two hours: smooth sailing. Concrete highways, minimal pot holes, pretty painless.
Before I progress, let me digress.
We left Coco Loco under less than pleasant circumstances Monday morning. We stayed in the parking lot of a small motel (too out of it to take pictures) and left the next morning for Lake Catemaco. Half the time we drove in the rain, but the drive was smooth and uneventful.
Blessedly, the sun came out the next day. Man, did we ever need that. Catemaco is beautiful. Lush, green, beautiful weather, gorgeous lake, and best of all, no mosquitoes! We would have loved to stay for a few nights, soaked up the sunshine, recharged our batteries, and explored the lake and the town, but what Catemaco also had was religious explosions, all day, every day. I just don't get it. Constant religious explosions = quivering Tess, hiding in the RV. Hence, departure after night #2 and back to where I started at the beginning of this post.
One of the challenges in charting our course was the lack of RV parks in this part of Mexico. However, since we're not RVers, we recently discovered that we can rent a hotel room for little more (and sometimes less) than we would pay for an RV space. We've grown so fond of our little RV room that we still prefer staying in the RV for the night, but the hotel room provides us with secure parking, a hot shower, toilet, and someplace to plug in for the night. It also allows us to find great, mid-way stopping points between RV parks.
Our host in Catemaco turned us onto a great little website/ap, ioverlander.com, that helped us find the hotel we landed in Thursday night. While the reviewer of this hotel talked about how nicely the place had been remodeled, he/she failed to mention that it's an hourly motel - i.e. a no-tell-motel. And the decor truly reflects its intent. A motel room rents for $500 pesos for 8 hours, but the "madam" at the front desk, seeing the ignorant gringos in their 30 year old RV, rented us a room for $350 pesos for the night. That's less than $18.
The room was lipstick pink, the headboard was back-lit plexiglass, the perimeter of the underside of the bed was lined with blue, neon lights, and the room was equipped with a 'foundling wheel' for anonymous, late-night deliveries of food. I had to look that one up since I haven't seen one of those hatches since the Carmelite Monastery in my home town of Bettendorf, Iowa. Hmm, once used by nuns, now used by sinners.
While it was a grueling drive to the no-tell motel, we needed to continue on the next day so we could get someplace where we could stay for a few days and relax.
Next up: Freedom Shores - Isla Aguada, Campeche - just two stops away from the Belizean border.