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