Arches National Park, Utah

Our drive into Utah from Colorado was a cold, rainy/snowy one.  However, when we got to Moab, Utah, the skies had cleared a bit.  The Arches National Park is right outside of Moab, so we figured we would stay at a campsite there, as there seemed to be tons of them here and we knew we were still a bit off-season.  No one else would be camping now, right?  WRONG!  All the campsites were full due to some big car show in Moab.  We did find one spot where we could dry camp, so we took it.  The wind and rain went through most of the night, but the next day was pretty clear.  We got into the park around nine and stayed for most of the day, until the weather started turning and we wanted to make Park City before it got too late.  The natural arches and red rocks are a site to behold.  We are enjoying our visits to the national parks we have put on our list of places to visit on our way home.   One, Bob has what he calls his “awesome card”, which allows him free access to all of the National Parks, and two, there are amazing sites to see in the US.

Arches National Park, Utah

Arches National Park, Utah

Arches National Park, Utah

Arches National Park, Utah

Arches National Park, Utah

Arches National Park, Utah

Snowy drive in Utah

Snowy drive in Utah

Snowy drive in Utah

Snowy drive in Utah

Pur travels since we left Arizona on nov. 20, 2015

Our travels since we left Arizona on Nov. 20, 2014

 

Colorado Scenic Adventure

Wow, what a beautiful state.  I have been here many times throughout the years, but never really appreciated it’s beauty as much as seeing it through the eyes of someone who is taking their time to enjoy peaceful, relaxing travel.  Always in the past when I traveled somewhere, I was on a short time limit (vacation) and had to cram a lot in at once.

First stop was at the Royal Gorge Bridge at the Royal View Campground for about 2 days. We had originally planned one night, but we spent the entire day at the bridge area and the campsite was so nice, we just decided to hang out for a few days.  From here, we were heading towards Durango, hoping to ride the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge railway.  The ride along the river from Royal Gorge to Del Norte area was breathtaking.  We stopped in Del Norte at a campsite for the night.  The camp was chilly and the wind picked up in the night, but the next morning was a clear day and we took a walk along the  Rio Grande River.

Second stop of interest was to be Durango to ride the train to Silverton but we ran into a snag.  The railway didn’t start running to Silverton until May 1.  We were too early!  It was running the halfway mark to a pavilion area, where you get out and have lunch, but the weather was turning and it was predicted to rain/snow the next day, so the trip would have been a waste of money.  Oh well, we are good at shifting gears when things don’t work out, so on to Mesa Verde National Park.

Mesa Verde National Park.  We decided it was time to warm up as we have been staying in some really chilly places the last few nights, and the lodge in the park was reasonable and open.  Our room had an amazing view of the park and the restaurant was unique.  Bob had an Elk Shepherds Pie, which was delicious.  The next day we spent the entire day in the park.  If you haven’t been here, GO.  The ruins of the Puebloan Indians rivaled any ruins we had seen in Mexico/Central America.  The cliff dwellings were in good condition.  We were not able to do a tour of them because, once again, most things in these cold states do not open until May 1.  We did have great views though.  Pictures on this will be added later.  This was our last stop in Colorado, and I hate to leave this place, but we are heading up to Bob’s condo in Utah next, with a stop in Arches National Park.

Wine tasting at the Abbey in Canon City, CO

Wine tasting at the Abbey in Canon City, CO

wine tasting at the Abbey

wine tasting at the Abbey

wine tasting at the Abbey

wine tasting at the Abbey

wine tasting at the Abbey

wine tasting at the Abbey

Royal Gorge Cafe, Canon City, CO

Royal Gorge Cafe, Canon City, CO

Royal Gorge Bridge

Royal Gorge Bridge

Royal Gorge Bridge

Royal Gorge Bridge

Another hat??  Royal Gorge Bridge

Another hat?? Royal Gorge Bridge

Royal Gorge

Royal Gorge

View from our room at Mesa Verde Lodge

View from our room at Mesa Verde Lodge

View from our room at Mesa Verde Lodge

View from our room at Mesa Verde Lodge

 

 

 

 

Wyoming to Colorado

Cheyenne, WY is COLD!  We found a RV camp, hoping it had a restaurant/bar so we could warm up a bit.  It had a restaurant, but they only served root beer.  HUH?  Oh well, we stayed inside where it was warm and left in the morning for Longmont CO to pick up parts for the camper.  The road has been a bit rough on our little casa.  We need a new door to the battery compartment because one too many topes in Mexico slid the batteries almost right out the door, so we had to gorilla tape it closed.  We also needed a new water intake valve  after a semi-trailer hit it and broke it off at a border crossing in Honduras.  We had to order a new vent/fan for over the bed where strong winds blew it so hard that it stripped the bolt and it is now taped down with gorilla tape.  Whew!  On the way to Longmont, we saw miles and miles of antelope.  Antelope, Antelope everywhere.  We arrived at the Outfitter camper place only to discover that they are closed on Mondays.  We are good at going with the flow when plans don’t work out so decided to go up to Estes Park for the day.  The closer we got, the snowier and colder it became.  Too snowy to go through Rocky MT. National Park, so we spent the day touring the Stanley Hotel.  It is supposed to be one of the most haunted hotels in America and is the inspiration for the Steven King book, The Shining.  As hard as I looked, I couldn’t find any ghosts.  Bummer.  On the way out of town to camp in Loveland, we saw about 7 different herds of Elk, right in town.  Elk, Elk, everywhere!  Our campsite was right along the Big Thompson river and was so pretty.  Tomorrow we will head to get parts and then go where the road takes us.

snow on the way to Estes Park, CO

snow on the way to Estes Park, CO

our camping spot along the Big Thompson River, CO

our camping spot along the Big Thompson River, CO

Elk along the roadside in Estes Park, CO

Elk along the roadside in Estes Park, CO

looking for ghosts at the Stanley Hotel

looking for ghosts at the Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park-supposed to be haunted

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park-supposed to be haunted

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park-supposed to be haunted

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park-supposed to be haunted

Plattsmouth, NE-home sweet home

Great time with the family and the weather, for the most part, was great.  We had rain and even a few flurries one day, but it didn’t last.  Stayed with my sister and had a great time.  A big Easter event at their house with all their kids and grandkids.  They know how to do it right!  Nebraska in the springtime is such a beautiful place to be.  The tulips are springing up and all the trees’ leaves are popping out.  Went with my brother to Arbor Lodge, which I had not been to since I was a kid. I had forgotten how pretty it was.  While this is a national holiday, few people I have come across outside of Nebraska have really heard of it.  What a shame.  I had such a good time there, I went back to see it when Bob got into town.  After 9 nine days with some family bonding time, Bob came into town and we spent several more days here.  We went to a Mexican restaurant in Omaha that had some of the best Mexican food we have had north of the border.  Sad to leave, but needed to move on and let my family get back to their lives.  We headed to Ogallala, NE for our first camping time in almost a month.  On the way there we stopped at Ole’s Big Game Saloon and Restaurant, which was a really interesting little place.  It is located in the middle of Nebraska in a small town.  The owner was a big game hunter and the place is full of his mounted trophies.  After a few beers and fried pickles, we headed on to Ogallala for the night.  The weather had turned and we were right in the middle of tornado watches which were in effect for the area until late in the evening.  The wind blew so hard, we thought we were going to blow away.  Not a good feeling when you are in a camper.  We survived the night and the next morning, we visited Boot Hill Cemetery.  Now on to Wyoming.

Easter with the family

Easter with the family

Ole's in Paxton, NE

Ole’s in Paxton, NE

cook out with the family.  Isn't Nebraska pretty?  Look at all that green

cook out with the family. Isn’t Nebraska pretty? Look at all that green

time with my dad.

time with my dad.

IMG_1045

Arbor Lodge-beautiful spring day

Arbor Lodge-beautiful spring day

Bob loves hats!  Lets be pirates

Bob loves hats! Lets be pirates

drinks with great friends

drinks with great friends

sushi with my sister

sushi with my sister

dinner with the family

dinner with the family

North Dakota to Canada

North Dakota is COLD!  It is snowy and cold here, and the wind blew so hard while we were driving, our larger solar panel blew off.  When we met the big trucks driving from Deadwood to Medora our front end would be lifted off the ground.  One of those trucks took our solar panel with it.  It is somewhere on the highway in western North Dakota.  Fortunately, there wasn’t anyone following us, that we know of.  But even with the cold and wind, ND is a beautiful state and we had a great time.  We saw wild buffalo, prairie dogs, turkeys, deer and of course, lots of antelope.  We needed a hotel in a town in North Dakota and there was a sign on the door of an inn that said “we are next door, call us and we will be right over”.  We called and told them we needed a room and they said that they were actually in South Dakota and we could check ourselves in.  The key was in the room, it was unlocked and they would trust us to just leave the money on the dresser when we checked out.   Only in North Dakota!  We also got to visit Bob’s family and see where he grew up.  Memories….

Since we were so close to the Canadian border, we decided we had to go up to Winnipeg and complete our visit to all of the North American countries.  Winnipeg was great, not quite as cold as it was in ND and we were able to walk everywhere.  We went to the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.  It is a beautiful building and the technology used in the displays is state of the art.  We spent 6 hours there and it didn’t feel like we had been there very long at all.  We are making a stop at the Canadian Mint and then will head back to Grand Forks, ND so I can catch a plane to Nebraska.  Bob will join later after going to Boston to watch the Frozen Four.  From there we will start our trip back to Arizona, but there are still some great sights to see along the way.

North Dakota

North Dakota

North Dakota-wild turkeys saw about 22 of them

North Dakota-wild turkeys saw about 22 of them

North Dakota

North Dakota

North Dakota-bison crossing the road.  we saw about 40 in several herds

North Dakota-bison crossing the road. we saw about 40 in several herds

North Dakota-check out the safety tips

North Dakota-check out the safety tips

North Dakota-prairie dogs everywhere

North Dakota-prairie dogs everywhere

canada-moose

canada-moose

canada

canada

canada

canada

canada

canada

canada

canada

canada-icy river

canada-icy river

canada-muskrat hat

canada-muskrat hat

canada-trying on hats

canada-trying on hats

canada

canada

canada

canada

Continuing travels thru the US

On a side note from the last post: I forgot to mention that we happened to camp in a “dry town” in Nebraska.  I didn’t even know such things existed!  Apparently it is a Mennonite community and there is no alcohol sold or allowed.

Anyway, we made our way up to Alliance, Nebraska to Carhenge, a twist on Stonehenge.  The pictures are below.  We stayed at our first RV park that didn’t have any bathrooms.  Even in Mexico, they have pit toilets.  Oh well.  We also saw our first herd of Antelope along this trip in Nebraska, but no luck spying prairie dogs.

South Dakota-We saw so many herds of Antelope that we quit counting, they were everywhere.  We also saw deer, but I was too slow to get good pictures of them.  We had a really good time here.  The weather is still pretty good, so we were able to do a lot of fun stuff.  We stopped at the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs.  This was a pretty cool spot where they have a large display of mammoth bones that were discovered in a sink hole.  The building is covered to preserve them, so it is fairly unique.  We also went to the Crazy Horse Monument, which I didn’t think looked that much more complete than when I saw it as a kid, but it was still cool.  Then, off to Mt. Rushmore.  Bob had been to see it about 50 years ago and the park itself is a bit different.  The best part is, we are here off the tourist season, so there are no crowds.  From here we went to Deadwood.  We stayed here two days and had so much fun.  We did a few tourist things such as visiting Wild Bill Hicock’s grave and Saloon #10, where is supposedly where he was shot. The original saloon burned down, so this is the new replica.  They have gambling halls in deadwood, so we had to check them out.  We got in a slot machine tournament, Bob took 2nd place, and overall came out with more money than we spent.  The most interesting thing we came across was an Adult Bingo game.  Bob jokingly asked if it was strip bingo, and they said no, but the prizes alternated between drinks  and sex toys.  WHAT?  It was for charity, so a good cause and buy in was only $5.00.  In case you are wondering, we didn’t win.  On our way out of South Dakota we went through Sturgis to see it during downtime.  It is hard to imagine the estimated 1 million people that they are expecting this year at the motorcycle rally.

Carhenge-Alliance, Nebraska

Carhenge-Alliance, Nebraska

Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota

Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota

South Dakota

South Dakota

Carhenge, Alliance, Nebraska

Carhenge, Alliance, Nebraska

 

Sturgis, South Dakota

Sturgis, South Dakota

US Adventures-is there any sunshine?

We have not had a sunny day since Palenque, Mexico.  We had rain in Catemaco, San Miguel de Allende, and Guanajuato.  We crossed into Texas expecting sunshine, but none to be had.  It rained all through Texas, but we managed have a great time anyway.  We spent a few days in San Antonio, where we visited the Alamo, strolled along River Walk, and just had a great time.  There are many beautiful sites to see in the US and we plan to enjoy our trip to the fullest.  We managed to find two decent campsites in Texas despite the rain in Georgetown and  Mansfield.  The only time it wasn’t raining was when we set up camp and when we broke camp. Ah well, Texas was beautiful anyway.  It also rained all through Oklahoma, where we stayed in a campground in Cedar Valley.  These campgrounds were very full of huge RVs that made us fill so tiny!  Campgrounds in the US are definitely different than in Mexico and Central America.  They are full of people, but no one leaves their spot or speaks to other people.  Oh well, maybe it is the rain.  We finally saw sunshine halfway into Kansas and it felt so good.  Who would have thought that Kansas in March would be the warmest, driest spot since the Yucatan?  We didn’t stay in Kansas but made a stop in Henderson Nebraska, where it is still warm and sunny.  The first day of Spring and we see a Robin, which as anyone from Nebraska knows is the first sign of spring.  I was, to say the least, very excited when we crossed the Nebraska border, which is my home state.  I am sure Bob will feel the same way when we cross into North Dakota.

While in Nebraska, we are going to stop by to see Carhenge.  If you don’t know what this is, google it.  There is a place in Nebraska where cars are stacked up to resemble Stonehenge.  I will post pictures.  Who knows, maybe a couple of hundred years from now, this will be as ancient a mystery as visiting the Ruins of Mexico.  We will not make it over to see the largest ball of twine in the world (a specific type of twine, believe it or not there are other big balls of twine out there.  Bob thought it was in Dassel, Minnesota).  As I said, there are some interesting things to see in the US and we plan to see all the weird, wacky and historical things we can along the way.  Heading on to Deadwood, South Dakota.

Border crossing into the US

This is the one border crossing that we are least concerned about as we know what is needed to get out of Mexico and getting into the US should be easier since we know the language.  We anticipate that the rig will be searched thoroughly, but are not too concerned about that as we got rid of all the things you cannot bring in.  Other than waiting our turn, we should breeze right through.

We knew we wanted to cross over in Texas so that we could go through San Antonio.  We had heard from several sources that the Colombia crossing near Laredo was a good one to go through and one of our fellow campers gave us the coordinates.  I plugged the coordinates into the GPS and we were on our way.  As we got closer to Laredo, I started getting concerned that the coordinates were a bit off, and sure enough they were.  We were not at the Colombia crossing we were at the Laredo II bridge.  Oh well, we will just take this one.

Somehow, we wound up totally bypassing the Mexican migration and aduana buildings and found ourselves on the bridge in line to go through US customs.  This was a two hour wait as we are at the wrong bridge and there is heavy traffic here.  The agents at the US border pulled us aside and told us we would have to go back through to Mexico in order to get our vehicle import sticker cancelled and turn in our visas.  If we didn’t cancel the vehicle permit, we would not get our $350.00 deposit back.  Of course, they still had to process us into the US side and as predicted, our vehicle was searched.  We had to take everything out of it so they could throughly search it with the dog.  After they got through with us, we went back through to Mexico and found the Colombia crossing using a paper map (not GPS).  This was the quickest crossing every.  I think it took us maybe 15 minutes total and they did not search the vehicle.  Urgg!  Oh well, we were now in the US.

Since we had to go through the border twice, it threw our timing off and I was sick with a bad sore throat and cold so we didn’t make it into San Antonio the first night.  But we did make it there the next day and spent two nights there.  We had a great time at the Alamo, strolling through RiverWalk and riding one of the tour boats.  There is a lot to see in the US and we are going to enjoy the trip up through Nebraska, North Dakota and then home to Arizona.

We bought a book of US campsites and stayed in Georgetown Texas at our first US campground.  I’m still sick and can’t talk, which is giving Bob a well deserved break.  I will post some great pictures when we get home where the WiFi signal is strong and I have a bit more time.

 

 

Guanajuato

On the drive from San Miguel de Allende to Guanajuato, we drove through Dolores Hidalgo because we had heard it was the place to go to look for great talavera ceramics.  There were many great things to look at but what really caught our interest was the Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) plate.  I am so interested in this part of the Mexican culture.  We had our eye on a plate in San Miguel, but they weren’t willing to bargain down to Bob’s price, but said come back tomorrow and maybe they would give it to us then for his price.  We didn’t make it back there so were hoping to find one later.  We found the plate we wanted at a shop tucked away on a little street IN Dolores Hidalgo.  Bob also saw some Dia de Muertos statues that we liked and got a good price for the 3 pieces.  It was a rainy day, but the drive from here to Guanajuato was so beautiful.

In Guanajuato, we decided to stay at the RV park outside of town, Bugamville RV Park, which was a great plan because it gave us a rural setting.  Since this was essentially our last real stay in Mexico, we wanted it to be a bit more authentic.  We took the bus into town each day, which is always a fun adventure.  Unfortunately, the first day we went in we were so excited to go to the Museo de Las Momias (mummy museum) and it was raining, so I didn’t set the GPS at the bus stop we needed.  We drifted through the rain trying to find the bus stop (it had to be a certain bus)  and as it was getting dark, decided to take a taxi back.  Finding a taxi driver who could figure out where we wanted to go was difficult, but the 2nd driver figured it out and we got back to our camp.

Anyway, back to the Museo de Las Momias.  This museum is famous for its bizarre collection of disinterred corpses.  There are about 100 mummified remains due to the dry atmosphere in their former crypts.  The remains were disinterred to make room for more bodies in the cemeteries.  The skin, hair and teeth on most of these mummies were still pretty much intact.  Some of the male mummies even had all their original parts, such machismo!   There was also the smallest mummy in the world, which was a 5-6 month old fetus who died with it’s mother during a caesarean  birth.  So we got to see the baby mummy with its mummy!  Morbid joke, sorry.  It was the coolest place ever. Bob says this is why he wants to be cremated.

The next day we got up and made another bus trip into town.  This time I set the GPS to our coordinates where the bus let us off so we could find our way back.  It was a clear day, the map was useful, and there are tourist kiosks throughout the town.  Guanajuato is a beautiful city and reminded us of Italy with the brightly colored houses built on the hillside.  We strolled through town and visited the Callejon del Beso ( the Alley of the Kiss), the Diego Rivera Art Museum and the Don Quijote Museum.  Such great sights, and the churches and statues were stunning.  The GPS did it’s thing and we found our bus stop without any problems.  Once back at the park, we met the two other sets of travelers in our camp.  We meet such great people along the way.  One couple here was from Oregon and were Jehovah witnesses who spent about 2 months a year down here working with the church ministering to the local people.  He offered us a beer which we shared with them, and I don’t know why this surprised me.  The camp is nice and I would recommend it for the scenery and the owners, who were very nice and helpful.  The hottest showers I have had since we started on our trip which is good because we are in cold rainy weather.

We are now headed up to the states, so we stayed at Las Palmas Midway Inn and RV camp in Matehuala, San Luis Potosi.  This is an ok stopping off spot on the way to the border.  We will be crossing over into Texas tomorrow through the Columbia crossing near Loredo.  We will visit the Alamo in San Antonio and then make our way up through North Dakota and a stop in Nebraska.  Had trouble downloading all the pictures, more will follow but here is the post for now.  Big rain storm is causing internet problems.

mummy museum hologram of an archangel

mummy museum hologram of an archangel

Mummy museum in Guanajuato

Mummy museum in Guanajuato

Mommy mummy

Mommy mummy

Baby mummy and his mommy.  this is the smallest mummy in the world.

Baby mummy and his mommy. this is the smallest mummy in the world.

This one was buried alive.  They thought she was dead, but she wasn't.  Hmm...some mistakes you can't take back.

This one was buried alive. They thought she was dead, but she wasn’t. Hmm…some mistakes you can’t take back.

the one on the right was stabbed to death and the one on the right drowned.  Still look pretty good, don't you think?

the one on the right was stabbed to death and the one on the right drowned. Still look pretty good, don’t you think?

More mummies

More mummies

this was the most intact mummy there.  The card read "no holes in my skin and all my dentures intact".

this was the most intact mummy there. The card read “no holes in my skin and all my dentures intact”.

Oh No!  This mummy is not a happy lady.

Oh No! This mummy is not a happy lady.

Guanajuato in the distance.  Beautiful countryside drive through the mountains

Guanajuato in the distance. Beautiful countryside drive through the mountains

San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato

Ok, everywhere we have gone people keep talking about San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato and I can see why.  San Miguel is a beautiful town with twisty streets, festivals and music going most all of the time in the Jardin and great food.  It is a bit crowded with gringos as many have now made this their home, but still a great city to explore.  The San Miguel RV park and tennis courts is the place to stay.  It is right in the city and has the best showers/bathrooms we have seen so far.  We stayed 3 nights and went to a party in the park for a couple that has been coming to San Miguel for 50 years.  He is 90 and she is 89 and they amaze me.  They think this may be their last trip as they are getting a bit too old to make the trip.  Gee, where will I be at 90?  Hopefully still having an adventure like them.  The only down side is that it rained each day starting in the afternoon and going most of the night and is supposed to be that way for the next couple of weeks.

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende-Cuban dancers

San Miguel de Allende-Cuban dancers

San Miguel de Allende-Cuban Festival

San Miguel de Allende-Cuban Festival

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende-Indian dancers

San Miguel de Allende-Indian dancers

San Miguel de Allende-tiny little lady

San Miguel de Allende-tiny little lady

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

In Merida-this is the sign for the mens and ladies room at the bar we ate in.

In Merida-this is the sign for the mens and ladies room at the bar we ate in.

San Miguel de Allende-Archangeles

San Miguel de Allende-Archangeles

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

DSC_0408

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

Cholula to San Miguel de Allende

We decided that we would not be able to make the drive from Catemaco to San Miguel in one day, so we are staying in Cholula at the same camp we stayed at when we came through last time.  We hope the electricity is better this time.  The drive to Cholula should have taken 6 hours but took 9 due to heavy fog and road construction going through the mountains.  The drive was still pretty when the fog lifted enough to see it.  At one of the toll booths I had a scare when an armed guard started beating on my window and yelling something at me.  It took me a minute to understand that she was trying to tell me that one of our little side doors on the outside of the campers was open.  We made it to Cholula before the sun went down and decided to walk to get something to eat and go to a movie.  Watching American Sniper at a theater in Mexico was interesting.  The electric was not much better and we had to try several outlets before we found one that would work properly.  Took an icy cold shower the next morning because Bob used up all the hot water and then heading off the San Miguel de Allende.  The drive here shouldn’t take too long and we will skirt Mexico City taking the toll roads.

check out the brake light on this semi-a guy running

check out the brake light on this semi-a guy running

Volcano

Volcano

Catemaco, Veracruz

The drive through Tabasco was pretty interesting.  Along the highway, we saw guys holding sticks with parrots on them for sale.  I was tempted to get one to add to my camper filled with monkeys and other critters, but didn’t think we would be able to get him across the US border.  We also saw a small motor scooter with a family of five on it.  No helmets, and from front to back was a small boy, dad, two more children and mom.  No bubble wrapped life for these children!  We stayed at Villas Tepetepan RV Park in Catemaco which was pretty nice and run by a man from the US who has been there for 12 years.  The bathrooms were filled with spiders, the gnats were annoying but didn’t bit and there was a washer and dryer for use.  We had a real treat as we arrived on the weekend that they were having their annual Brujo Festival.  For those of you who don’t know what a brujo is, it is a male witch and Catemaco is know for their brujos.  We went to the opening festivities, but unfortunately it was a bit rainy so we didn’t stay for the whole thing.  A nice boy wiped our chairs off for us because they were all wet from the earlier rain.  I wanted to put some sort of charm on Bob while we were there, but didn’t get to meet with a brujo.  Oh well, off to Cholula.

 

 

Palenque

On the way to Palenque, we stopped along the Gulf of Mexico to pick up seashells and coral.  It was a beautiful beach and we had it all to ourselves. We arrived in Palenque on 3-3-15 and stayed 2 nights at the Maya Bell campground.  It’s within walking distance of the ruins, so the location couldn’t be better.  You could hear the howler monkeys all night.  The restaurant in the camp was not really great and service was a bit slow, but we got by ok. For those of you have have not been to these ruins, make sure to put it on your list of things to see.  These ruins are in a beautiful rainforest with a great waterfall.  While at the ruins we saw a toucan squawking in a tree, then he flew right over my head real low.  I kept trying to click the camera and take a picture, but in my excitement, I didn’t take the lens cap off, so no picture.  This is why Bob is assigned the task of photographer.  A troop of about 9 howler monkeys were playing in the trees and I did manage to snap a few pictures of them.  Oh, and we also saw some amazing ruins.  We climbed many of them, however, as most of you know I am not the most graceful of walkers, so climbing can be a challenge for me.   I usually walk behind Bob so in case I fall I will land on something soft.  Wouldn’t you know the one ruin I went up by myself was the one I fell down?  Fortunately it was towards the bottom step and some nice Mexican man came and helped me up.  Now headed to Catemaco, Veracruz.

Palenque, Mexico

Palenque, Mexico

Palenque

Palenque

Palenque

Palenque

Palenque

Palenque

Palenque-top of the world!

Palenque-top of the world!

Palenque-met a new friend before getting to the top

Palenque-met a new friend before getting to the top

Palenque-almost to the top

Palenque-almost to the top

Palenque-Bob's gonna climb this one.  I fell of the last one I climbed

Palenque-Bob’s gonna climb this one. I fell of the last one I climbed

Palenque

Palenque

Palenque

Palenque

Palenque

Palenque

Palenque-this was supposedly the bed of one of the royal family members, probably the king.

Palenque-this was supposedly the bed of one of the royal family members, probably the king.

Palenque

Palenque

Palenque

Palenque

DSC_0331

Palenque

Palenque

Palenque, Mexico howler monkey

Palenque, Mexico howler monkey

Palenque, Mexico howler monkey

Palenque, Mexico howler monkey

Palenque, Mexico howler monkey

Palenque, Mexico howler monkey

Palenque, Mexico howler monkey

Palenque, Mexico howler monkey

Palenque, Mexico

Palenque, Mexico

Palenque, Mexico

Palenque, Mexico

Palenque, Mexico

Palenque, Mexico

Palenque, Mexico

Palenque, Mexico

Palenque, Mexico

Palenque, Mexico

Palenque, Mexico

Palenque, Mexico

Palenque, Mexico

Palenque, Mexico

Palenque, Mexico

Palenque, Mexico

Palenque, Mexico beautiful red bird

Palenque, Mexico beautiful red bird

Cancun-Merida to Isla Aguada

We spent a great 4 nights in Cancun at a nice hotel.  It was good to have some down time where we could sit at the bar and watch the sun set.  We made a day trip to Chichen Itza ruins, which were amazingly well preserved, but way too crowded with tourists and vendors.  If we heard one more vendor blowing through a wooden carving sounding like a sick jaguar, we would have gone crazy.  We had lunch there and then made the drive back to Cancun. We spent one day at Mercado 28, a great Mexican market place where Bob was able to get his shoes fixed.  He should get another 50,000 miles out of them, so it made his day.  We headed across the Yucatan Peninsula heading down to Palenque.  We spent the first night along the way in Merida.  There is really only one campground there, Rainbow RV trailer park,  and it was in total ruin.  When we first arrived, there were 3 other campers there, so we thought it might work out, but they weren’t staying as it was so run down and not safe.  We stayed as it was getting late in the day, but no one ever showed up to collect money, so it was a free spot for the evening.  From here we headed down the gulf coast to Isla Aguada and stayed at Freedom Shores RV park.  Along the way, we stopped at a really nice restaurant called Bahia de Tortugas.  This place was set right on the gulf with a nicely raked white sand beach.  The food was great, we watched the pelicans diving into the water, and our waiter was excited to practice his english on us.  The sign painted on the gate of the RV camp threw us off because it says La Gringa on it, but it was the right spot.  Really nice camp along the Laguna de Terminos with a restaurant and nice bathrooms.  Best margaritas I have had it quite a while, but Bob didn’t care for them.  We shared the campfire and drinks that night with 2 couples from Canada. Some fishermen came onto shore with there nets full of fish and were selling them to the locals and campers.  We went to check it out and one of the fishermen gave me a starfish that was caught in the net.  I was taking pictures and one of the fishermen started posing for us with a shark they had caught.  He asked for a beer for the photo, so I was happy to oblige and gave him a Corona.  They were so nice and friendly.  The camp is owned by an interesting woman from Tabasco who spoke perfect English.  I didn’t see this posted on any blogs out there, but the RV park also had hotels/cabanas that were fully wheelchair friendly.

Paal Mul near Tulum, Mexico

Paal Mul near Tulum, Mexico

Cancun-best hamburgers EVER in Mercado 28

Cancun-best hamburgers EVER in Mercado 28

Tulum, Mexico.  These ruins are unique in that they are right along the ocean.

Tulum, Mexico. These ruins are unique in that they are right along the ocean.

Chichen Itza, Mexico.  Ruins are amazingly well preserved. tic tac toe-O wins!

Chichen Itza, Mexico. Ruins are amazingly well preserved. tic tac toe-O wins!

Chichen Itza, Mexico.  Ruins are amazingly well preserved.

Chichen Itza, Mexico. Ruins are amazingly well preserved.

Chichen Itza, Mexico.  this is the ball court, notice the hoop in the middle towards the top

Chichen Itza, Mexico. this is the ball court, notice the hoop in the middle towards the top

Chichen Itza, Mexico.  Ruins are amazingly well preserved.

Chichen Itza, Mexico. Ruins are amazingly well preserved.

Chichen Itza, Mexico.  Ruins are amazingly well preserved.

Chichen Itza, Mexico. Ruins are amazingly well preserved.

Chichen Itza, Mexico.  Ruins are amazingly well preserved.

Chichen Itza, Mexico. Ruins are amazingly well preserved.

Chichen Itza, Mexico.  Ruins are amazingly well preserved.

Chichen Itza, Mexico. Ruins are amazingly well preserved.

Tulum, Mexico.  These ruins are unique in that they are right along the ocean.

Tulum, Mexico. These ruins are unique in that they are right along the ocean.

Paa Mul near Tulum

Paa Mul near Tulum

Cancun

Cancun

Getting Bob's shoes fixed in Cancun

Getting Bob’s shoes fixed in Cancun

Cancun

Cancun

Food stop along the coast between Merida and Isla Aduada

Food stop along the coast between Merida and Isla Aduada

La Gringa Freedom Shores RV camp in Isla Aguada with our new Canadian Amigos

La Gringa Freedom Shores RV camp in Isla Aguada with our new Canadian Amigos

La Gringa Freedom Shores RV camp in Isla Aguada

La Gringa Freedom Shores RV camp in Isla Aguada

Food stop along the coast between Merida and Isla Aduada

Food stop along the coast between Merida and Isla Aduada

Food stop along the coast between Merida and Isla Aduada

Food stop along the coast between Merida and Isla Aduada

Food stop along the coast between Merida and Isla Aduada

Food stop along the coast between Merida and Isla Aduada

Food stop along the coast between Merida and Isla Aduada

Food stop along the coast between Merida and Isla Aduada

more pictures that finally uploaded

Do I want another shot or not?

Do I want another shot or not?

we saw this little drawing marking the highway for miles and miles through Honduras.  Not sure what it means.  Something for backpackers?

we saw this little drawing marking the highway for miles and miles through Honduras. Not sure what it means. Something for backpackers?

we were stuck on the road due to construction in Guatemala.  The lady is cooking tamales over the fire outside her home.

we were stuck on the road due to construction in Guatemala. The lady is cooking tamales over the fire outside her home.

is this a beautiful country or what?

is this a beautiful country or what?

walking down the road in the biosphere in costa rica

walking down the road in the biosphere in costa rica

VERY large rodent type of critter in Costa Rica

VERY large rodent type of critter in Costa Rica

VERY large rodent type of critter in Costa Rica

VERY large rodent type of critter in Costa Rica

another beach, another sunset, another beer.  Life is good

another beach, another sunset, another beer. Life is good

wild burro that kept wandering through the campsite in costa rica.  The ranger kept chasing him back into the jungle.

wild burro that kept wandering through the campsite in costa rica. The ranger kept chasing him back into the jungle.

loved these colorful trees in costa rica

loved these colorful trees in costa rica

loved these colorful trees in costa rica

loved these colorful trees in costa rica

costa rica

costa rica

panama

panama

panama

panama

love all the crossing signs

love all the crossing signs

Pictures of Belize and Mexico east coast

We couldn’t get a picture of the Toucan, he was too fast for us.  However, I think these pictures are pretty good.

hand cranked ferry across the river in San Ignatio, Belize to see the ruins.

hand cranked ferry across the river in San Ignatio, Belize to see the ruins.

San Ignatio Ruins in Belize

San Ignatio Ruins in Belize

Altun Ha in Belize

Altun Ha in Belize

Howler monkey time at the baboon sanctuary in Belize-she came right down and walked in front of us.

Howler monkey time at the baboon sanctuary in Belize-she came right down and walked in front of us.

baby howler monkey

baby howler monkey

howler monkey baby in Belize

howler monkey baby in Belize

Howler monkey and her baby in Belize

Howler monkey and her baby in Belize

Altun Ha Belize

Altun Ha Belize

Chichen Itza, Mexico.  Ruins are amazingly well preserved.

Chichen Itza, Mexico. Ruins are amazingly well preserved.

Tulum, Mexico.  These ruins are unique in that they are right along the ocean.

Tulum, Mexico. These ruins are unique in that they are right along the ocean.

Tulum, Mexico.  These ruins are unique in that they are right along the ocean.

Tulum, Mexico. These ruins are unique in that they are right along the ocean.

Altun Ha Belize

Altun Ha Belize

howler monkey in belize-sleeping off a big night

howler monkey in belize-sleeping off a big night

hummingbird nest in belize-see the baby beaks sticking up?

hummingbird nest in belize-see the baby beaks sticking up?

Mana Kai camp in Belize

Mana Kai camp in Belize

green parrots in our camp-Belize

green parrots in our camp-Belize

green parrots in our camp-Belize-in flight!

green parrots in our camp-Belize-in flight!

green parrots in our camp-Belize

green parrots in our camp-Belize

green parrots in our camp-Belize

green parrots in our camp-Belize

green parrots in our camp-Belize (top left)

green parrots in our camp-Belize (top left)

green parrots in our camp-Belize

green parrots in our camp-Belize

Mana Kai camp site in San Ignacio, Belize-watching the parrots

Mana Kai camp site in San Ignacio, Belize-watching the parrots

green parrot in our camp-Belize

green parrot in our camp-Belize

San Ignacio, Belize

San Ignacio, Belize

Belize into Mexico

Good bye land of tropical exotic wild life, I will always remember the beautiful jungles and lush mountains and it seems to be one of the more prosperous of the Central American countries we have been in, but we are looking forward to heading back into Mexico.  There are so many things we want to see and miss the food.  Honestly, the food in Central America is interesting but a bit bland after the spices of Mexico.  However, we did learn that there is a big difference between rice and beans and beans and rice.  Rice and beans are made together with coconut milk, whereas beans and rice are made separately and no coconut milk is used.  Thus ends the lesson of the day.  I long for a great fish taco.  The border crossing at Santa Elena was so smooth and took just under 1 hour.  It seems the border crossings going north have been really simple and quick.  It helps that we have crossed at border spots that have not been crowded (need to get there before the tour buses) or we are just getting better at it.  Stopped to see some ruins in Tulum along the way that were worth the stop as they are uniquely located along the ocean.  We spent the first night outside of Tulum at an RV spot that we saw on ioverlander.com called Paa Mul or something like that.  Not recommended.  It felt run down, dirty and no internet, even though they advertised it.  The spots for campers was on the dirt and not very nice.  The restaurant closes at 8:00 and they are on a different time zone than the rest of the area around it so we almost missed dinner.  Oh well, on to our actual destination-Cancun for a little pampering and a base to visit the ruins of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Toucans-at last!!

We left Altun Ha to head towards Corozal Town where we will spend one last night before crossing into Mexico.  Hate to leave Belize as it is a beautiful country and it was actually good to hear english again.  The road from Altun Ha to the main highway (there are only about 3 main roads in all of Belize, the others are secondary partially paved roads) was a rough ride.  The road was sometimes paved, sometimes rock.  The parts that were paved had potholes big enough to hide a Volkswagen in.  At times the road was only 1 lane wide which made it a challenge when meeting other vehicles and we could only average about 20 miles per hour on the road.  I was hoping to see some wild tapirs because we had crossed several Tapir Crossing signs along the highway.  I had just been looking into the jungle for some kind of wild critters and had said to Bob that there had to be something out there besides mosquitos, when we both saw a toucan flying across the road right in front of us!  I am not sure who was more excited to see it but we were so psyched!  Mark it off my bucket list-now where is that elusive tapir???

Belize

Amazing country.  We crossed through the border in barely an hour’s time.  There is only 1 border into Belize from Guatemala so we were expecting a line, but there was hardly anyone there on either side.  We found Mana Kai RV and Cabana’s camp site in San Ignacio and spent 3 nights there.  The internet was ok in camp and it has a great outdoor kitchen.  The center of town was just a few blocks away, so we stocked up on groceries and just hung around.  We split a cab with some kids staying at a hostel to go to see the ruins where we had to cross the river on a hand cranked ferry.  We met up with them crossing the ferry back and we all had lunch at Benny’s restaurant.  Great food!  One of my favorite things about this camp site was that we saw green parrots in the trees every morning and evening.  Noisy birds.  There were also wild guineas and toucans, however we did not see the toucans because we got up to late, but we did hear them.  There is a farmers market right across the street and it had vegetables everyday, but on Saturday we experienced market day there and it was the best farmers market I have ever been to.  We left San Ignacio and headed north to see the baboon sanctuary.  It is a sanctuary run by women for a group of howler monkeys (baboons) that live in the jungle there.  Our guide took us into the jungle along the path and we came across a group of howlers that had a little baby along with them.  The guide started a howling contest with the alpha male and it was something you had to hear to understand.  We have some great pictures and a video, but I need stronger internet connection to upload them all.  After the sanctuary we headed to Altun Ha to see the ruins.  We spent the night at a campsite there and the bird watching was good but the bugs were crazy and no real amenities.  We heard toucans, but once again didn’t see any, so they are one thing I guess I won’t mark off my bucket list.

Guatemala-return trip

Best border crossing ever!  we crossed in under an hour.  It was an unusual crossing:

the Honduras side took a total of 8 minutes to get checked out.  Once we crossed, we drove 10 kilometers to the Migration department for Guatemala (they are usually within  less than a kilometer from each other), where it took less than 20 minutes, including the drive.  6 Kilomete whatsoever.  rs further down the road was the aduana, where we had to get the import papers for the vehicle.  We arrived and the agent was at lunch, so the policia went to get him.  10 minutes later we were out of there, not including the drive tieme to get there.  Total time to check out of Honduras and into Guatemala -53 minutes.  We set our own record.  Yes!!!!  We stayed the first night in Rio Dulce and had a great time-met some other travelers, had wifi, restaurant, and bar.  Life is good.  So much easier than the first time through Guatemala and no cost.

Guatemala-Rio Dulce.  Stayed at the Marina-it is beautiful here,

Guatemala-Rio Dulce. Stayed at the Marina-it is beautiful here,