Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sunny, Hot & Windy Today

The last few days were every nice, high’s in the low 80’s and lows in the high 60’s. A little bit of rain but nothing that affected our beach time. On the weekends La Playa Restaurant always has a few hours of live entertainment on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Some good, some loud. These guys were good,
Tuesday morning was cool and the sea was pretty calm so I decided to paddle over to Puerto Aventuras a large condo, hotel community that is expanding every year,
One interesting thing is although the place is really nice the don’t have much of a public beach for all the people to use. The beach behind me is all private belonging to the condos along the water. So, many of their residents jump in their cars and drive over to share our beautiful beach at Xpu-Ha,


They are expanding by dredging deep channels with lots of boat docks and room for many more private homes and hotels but no beach access. But beautiful concrete seawalls and well protected from any big storms.
All of this is actually behind the large cenote on the south side of Puerto Aventuras that I paddle to a lot.

This is an older section which shows what it will look like some day.
Of course I always walk over to the Dolphin pools to watch them abuse the Dolphins and amuse the guests.
They have 6 large open pools where they keep Dolphins, Manatee, Sting Rays and Sea Lions. People go swimming with them for a price but are open so anyone else to walk around and watch for free. This is a gated community but you can drive in and say you are going to a restaurant, diving, snorkeling or fishing and they will let you in the gate. The also rent bikes so you can ride around see the whole community which even includes a golf course.
You can bike here from Xpu-Ha but it is on the busy highway but it does have a bike lane.
We have heard from two of our friends, Rob & Shirley from Martha’s Vineyard and Paul & Helen from Inverness, FL. They all should be crossing the border into Mexico this week and be arriving here in Xpu-Ha early next week.

Friday, November 29, 2013

We Have Been Gone for Four Weeks Now

We left on our trip on November 1st and got to Xpu-Ha, our winter destination, on November 14th a few weeks earlier than normal. The reason is our nice little campground at La Playa is getting more popular every year. There are only 7 campsites that are front row facing the beach and 2 are occupied year-round and 2 are occupied all winter by campers who leave their rigs here and fly in. So that leaves only 3 sites plus 5-7 sites that are scattered around and may or may not have full hookups. Of course they don’t take reservations here. They always seem to be able to handle a few campers who want to stay for a few days but not for the whole winter. There is another campground next door (Bonanza) that has a lot of shade and small sites for tent and van campers, They may have one 15 amp outlet for the entire campground and no sewer hookups.
There was one site left in La Playa this week that had been occupied by several short term campers over the past few weeks. Claude & Mags from Ontario, who have been here before, got a late start this year but were able to grab this last site on Wednesday morning.
ClaudesRig_TV (Custom)
Peggy & I have been getting out on the beach for our three mile walk every morning since we got here.
MorningWalk_TV (Custom)
MorningWalk2_TV (Custom)

ViewFromCampsite_TV (Custom)The beach has been very clean and not very crowded.

This is a view is from our campsite toward the beach. We have a security fence between our site and the beach.

We always walk down to the south end where we set up our little private seating area under the palapas by the abandoned resort.

After the rain stopped it got very hot and humid for almost a week but the last two days have been very cool & dry. High around 80oF and Lows, about 62oF.

John14_TV (Custom)
JonPeg14_TV (Custom)
Peg14_TV (Custom)

Now that Claude & Mags have come with their nice big pickup truck we will be able to get a ride for our big Friday night out at Pizza Leo’s in Chemuyil.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Finally the Rain has Ended

It didn’t rain at all on Friday night but exactly at 6 AM Saturday morning we were awakened by another heavy rain. It was over in an hour and the day kept getting nicer and nicer. There were clear skies to show off the almost full moon on Saturday night, I found a shady spot to put up my hammock and instantly fell asleep for an hour. Peggy caught me waking up.


The new sun screen which hangs from the awning is working out great. Now if the waves calm down I may do some paddling on Sunday.

All night long from Saturday night to Sunday morning a RAVE was going on down the beach about 1/4 mi. away in front of the other small campground. Heavy base music all night long. So in the morning just before they finished at 6:30 AM we wandered over and took some pictures. They were still dancing, but looked a little tired.




Later in the morning everything was gone and our beach life was back to normal.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Arrived at Xpu-Ha a Week early

The drive from Catemaco took longer than we planned. Along the cuota after Acayucan there must have been an accident that we never saw because it was cleared before we started moving again after a 1-1/2 hour delay. We had planned to make in into Campeche to a Silvituc restaurant campground but I thought we would not make it due to the delay. We had better roads than last year and were able to roll in right at dark. It’s a neat place to park off the highway with Peacocks walking around. They don’t charge for camping if you eat there, We had a nice big fish dinner and a beer. It was quiet all night with a heavy rain drowning out any other noises.

We got a nice early start and made good time since the rain had stopped. They still have not finished the bypass around Felipe Carrillo Puerto, we stopped to fill our propane tank just North of town at the new Gas place that they put here last year. Just before we got to Tulum to do some grocery shopping a big thunder storm rolled in and flooded the streets. So we took our time shopping and when we left the rain had stopped. The road into Xpu-Ha was under water but passable. When we pulled in all our old friends were there to great us and help us park in one of the last available places next to Dierck’s new huge palapa over his 5th wheel.


We got there at 2 PM and it was dry when we set up including our new sunscreen.

This is Gerry parked on the other side of Dierck.


We had a nice cocktail party with Carol & Richard and the two new couples from BC, Canada. But the rains came again for most of the night. It was dry in the morning so we took our regular 3 mile morning beach walk to see what changes were made over the summer.


They lost some beach in front of La Playa, but built a new restaurant and palapas next to the kite boarding place.


Both ends of the beach looked about the same as ever, two abandoned storm damaged resorts.


Scroll or click to see the entire picture.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Three days in the Rain at Catemaco

We rolled into Tepetapan campground early Sunday afternoon after a slow rainy drive through the Tuxtla’s. The bridge at Boca del Rio was back out of service and there is a little detour around it. Gene welcomed us to an almost empty campground. There was a couple from Germany who purchased a used truck camper in CA and say they are heading to South America (Patagonia), they left the next day.

We normally get here over Thanksgiving and have beautiful weather and more campers. There was a short period each day where I got to walk to town to buy some vegetables and use the ATM to get some pesos. This is what the lake looked like last year.


This year the new pier was barely above the lake level and a walkway to a new floating restaurant was under water. There has been over 8” of rain while we were here. So three days was enough of a visit, we need to go somewhere dryer. We will hit the road early on Wednesday morning and see how far past Villahermosa we can make in the day. Hopefully the rain has stopped and the bridges or roads won’t be washed out when we pass by. Agua Dulce is a very low lying area that often floods after tropical storms.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Starting to head South

So after a rest day in the cool rain on Thursday, Tom said he and Todd were going to paddle a couple of rivers on Friday since all the rivers were now high but dropping slowly. Partly cloudy and temperature in the low 70’s. They got a driver and we headed off to the Ojo Frio river which is a tributary way upstream of the Micos. It’s a small deep river with lots of 4 ‘ travertine drops. The river really has a high gradient. But it is narrow and deep at this high level. It sort of reminded me of a cross between the Chauga River in SC and the Little Sandy River in WV.

Tom led most of the way and there were a few trees blocking the way in a few places. We got to a 12’ drop that I messed up and got stuck in the small hole at it’s base. I had a very short swim into a recirculating eddy but other than my pride, no problems. We were within a 1/4 mile to the take-out when I got stock in another hole. This time I was about to get out when Todd dropped down on me. The good news was that we both were out of the small hydraulic. The bad news was I hit another rock and flipped over. Knowing that I was still next to Todd I used his bow to roll up but dropped my paddle. It stuck on a rock while I headed down the next drop paddleless and did a back ender landing on the travertine with my face.

Lots of blood and my left lens was missing from my sunglasses. Must have scratched my face but no serious injury. Since I can’t see out of my left eye anyway, missing the lens was no problem. But I did not have my paddle, so Todd walked up the bank where he saw it stick but by then it was floating down the drops. I yelled to Tom, who had just got out of his kayak to look for the paddle, to get back in his boat because it was floating right past him. In his haste he didn’t get his spray skirt on and it popped off in the next small drop and he ended up filling with water and swimming to shore. But he didn’t get the paddle.


This is why I carry a 3 piece breakdown paddle in my kayak. I got it out and we finished the last few rapids without seeing my lost paddle, At the takeout I offered a local youth 300 pesos if he or his friends could find it. Tom will be back to this river with his Mexican paddling trip in a few days. So who knows I might get it back.

On the way back to camp you pass the put-in for the Rio Micos. Tom & Todd unloaded their kayaks and I drove back to camp so Peggy could clean up my wounds and put some Neosporin on them to prevent infection. They both finished their run and I shuttled them back for yet another run. I took another rest.

Saturday morning at 7 AM we left for the Emerald Coast. We took the back roads through El Higo to avoid going into Tampico. The roads had a lot of water damage from a hurricane that passed by. There were some very short construction delays but we got to Neptuno Campground by 3 PM. It was only 250 miles. but you don’t make good time on these bumpy roads. Light drizzle a few times during the day, but it was cool and heavily overcast so we might not stay here on Sunday. Traffic through Vera Cruz to Catemaco might be lighter on a Sunday, making for an easier 200 mile drive..

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Crossing into Mexico on November 6th

There are always tales about the dangers of travelling through the State of Tamaulipas, but when you look at the alternate route via Laredo and Puebla there are other problems. It is Turnpike (Quota) most of the way (Over $100 in tolls), it’s 100 miles longer (more fuel). It goes to the high mountains where fog is very dangerous and very likely.

We still like to cross at the Los Indios, TX (Free Trade Bridge) border crossing. It is one lane, no city on either side of border, lightly used and it is only 12 mi south of Harlingen, TX on good roads. The trick is to get an early start in the morning. To do this we drive to the border the afternoon before we intend to cross. Border hours are from 6AM to Midnight but the Aduana (Customs) is only open from 8 AM to 6 PM. I tell both Mex.and USA customs  people that I'm only getting our permits and then going back to USA. They don't search us and 20 minutes after we drove in we were back past USA customs to stay in the Harlingen Wal-Mart parking lot for the night. They have 24 hr. security.

Traffic was steady but light all day, there were no safety concerns at all. We like to travel by ourselves because it takes less time. We left at 6 AM in the morning, and were not searched at all at customs or military checkpoints. We stopped at an ATM in Valle Hermoso and were on our way south by 7:15AM. No search at the secondary inspection on MX180 either. We took MX101, great road conditions to MX83 which heads south toward Tampico. After we got to MX81 we turned off to go past town of Xicotencatl to get to Ciudad Mante and then on to Ciudad Valles is a little back into the mountains to the Huaxteca region where we kayak on the Rio Micos. We made the 370 mi trip by 2:30 PM and relaxed for the rest of the day on the river with mountain views. When we head south you can bypass Tampico and get to the Emerald Coast which is only 250 mi away.


Tom McEwan from Liquid Adventures met us on Tuesday night at the Wal-Mart but he got to the border too late to get all his import papers for the 16 kayaks he was trailering into Mexico. So that delayed him about 2-1/2 hrs. getting to our camping spot at Aldea Huaxteca. It’s not set up for RV’s but we manage to squeeze in here, there are no hookups but it is a nice facility with palapa rooms in a beautiful location right on the Rio Micos. Lots of beautiful birds can be seen here.

We had very heavy rains on Wednesday night which brought the local rivers up so Tom headed off early to do a few creek runs. We are catching up on our blog and reorganizing all the stuff we brought with us for the winter.

Monday, November 4, 2013

On The Road Again

We had our big Thanks-O-Ween dinner. Named for Peggy’s turkey dinner right before Halloween with most of our family. Jeff’s 3 oldest kids (Jeffrey, Devan & Erika) are out of town so could not make it, Marcie was at a soccer tournament with Elena.

ThanksOween (Custom)

We got finished packing the RV and waited until the weather cleared for our trip to Houston to visit Rich Priem and family. We got an early 5 AM start on Fri- Nov. 1st. The traffic was light and we made our planned destination for the night, Jackson, TN. We parked between a Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club that has free Wi-Fi.

We got another early start on Saturday. Boy the gas is cheap down here. From Cleveland to Houston we paid from $2.94 to $2.97 per gallon. We got to the Priem’s right after dinner and had a nice visit. On Sunday we took a bike ride and then they had a big neighborhood Halloween party that had been delayed because of the heavy rain that fell right before we came. Tracey was in charge, so there was great wine and cheese and plenty of bakery snacks. Afterward was Trick-or-Treat night, so we hurried back to hand out the candy.

On Monday the kids headed back to school but it was cooler with some rain so we didn’t do much. Monday night we went out to their favorite neighborhood Mexican restaurant.

PriemFamilyMexDinner (Custom)

We said our goodbyes as we will be heading to Harlingen, TX on Tuesday where we will get our Visas at the border in preparation for an early start on Wednesday morning. There is a chance we will meet up with Tom McEwan and caravan with him to Ciudad Valles and the Rio Micos River. I contacted him before he started toward TX but have not heard from him to verify his driving plans. I do plan to paddle with him before his advanced trip starts on Sunday.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

We have completed our Mexico 2013-14 Trip Plans

Map of Mexican portion of the trip

Friday, September 13, 2013

Pictures from Last Year’s Trip

As we start to plan our itinerary for our 2013-14 trip I just realized that I didn’t take many photos last year and I never put them in my blog.

I found out that Microsoft has a free download of a Movie Maker that allows you to make a really cool slide show without having a lot of computer skill.

So I put together a small show of last year’s trip and uploaded it to my website.  If you want to watch so that the show will fill your entire screen, click on bottom right “YouTube”, then when it starts click bottom right “full screen”. This should bring up a new browser window, hit Esc to go out of full screen.

Let me know what you think of the slideshow, by clicking comments below.

Our Slide Show from our 2012-2013 Mexico Trip

Friday, July 12, 2013

Thinking about returning to Mexico in 2013-14

We watched these two videos and it brought back lots of memories from all my travels in Mexico.
Mexico in your senses
The first 8 minute video is an award winning Mexico travel video with beautiful photography and music but no beaches.
Riviera Maya
The second 5 minute video is about the state of Quintana Roo, and gives you a good idea of why we like that area for beaches.

Monday, March 25, 2013

We left Mexico about a month too soon.

We stayed in Houston until we saw two nice driving days and then warm weather so we could unpack and clean up our motorhome. Well that plan went well. In fact the day after we got home it was sunny and 70oF. We washed up the RV, got everything unpacked and ready for summer storage but we kept the RV at home to fix a few problems we had along the way.

We had to get a new glass shelf for the refrigerator. One too many topes in Mexico, it just shattered. The good thing was it only cost $8 and it slides right in place. Some of the cheap cabinet latches broke but the manufacturer sent out free replacements including a few spares.. The third thing that happened was when we were slowly driving through a huge chuck hole in a construction zone the RV rocked side to side and hit my sewer macerator pump. It broke off 2 out of the 4 tabs that connect it to the sewer dump in place of a sewer hose. This was a little more expensive, $36, and a little tricky to disassemble. But I got that fixed even though it had turned much colder. In fact after that warm Sunday the temperature has stayed in the range of 25oF to 40oF.

The last reason the RV is still here at home is that I need to replace the circuit board in my Energy Management System. A surge blew the surge protector when another camper’s transformer shorted out in a rain storm and fed 250v back up the ground wire. Progressive Industries had agreed to send a new circuit board free and it looks simple to replace, however it’s been lost in the USPS system since the day we arrived home. Hopefully they will send another one since it doesn’t look like the USPS will ever find it along with two prescriptions from a mail order pharmacy that were lost on the same day.

Snow on March 25th

But here it is the end of March and we had a snow storm last night. Why did we come home so soon? Our kayak race that was supposed to take place yesterday was also delayed 2 weeks due to cold weather and lack of water in the river.

So the only other thing I have been doing besides my income taxes is reading books on my Kindle. Here is my review on a great book I just finished last night.

Precipice by Leland Davis

This story was a real surprise. Well written, good story line, lots of action and very unpredictable. I read the book since I am a kayaker and love to read mysteries and action thrillers. This book has it all. The main character is reminiscent of Lee Child’s “Jack Reacher”. It is a very believable action thriller and it would challenge the book/movie “Deliverance “ as the best plot which involves paddling. His other previous books were river guide books, so I knew the kayaking portions would be very believable. Non-paddlers who like action stories will love the story line. The whole story is a real page turner that kept me up late trying to finish it. It’s available for the Kindle for only $2.99.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Two day drive – Now Back Home

We have been at Rich & Tracey’s in Houston from Monday night to Friday morning. We watched the weather forecast all week looking to find 2-3 good driving days from Houston, TX to Cleveland, OH. This year I saw a short window of good driving weather coming up starting Thursday to Sunday. We decided that if we took the shortest route home we could make it to Jackson, TN in about 12 hours. Stay at a nice Wal-Mart/Sam’s with free Wi-Fi and then take another 10 hours to drive via Nashville, Louisville, Cincinnati and Columbus to Home.

It looked like Friday and Saturday would be dry and warm and Sunday would be the warmest day of the winter in Cleveland, great for cleaning up and unpacking. So we got an early 5:45 AM start. Houston traffic was light. Later in the day we saw some of the TX spring break campers getting an early start for the week but traffic was really light all day. There was one traffic delay on I-40 in Arkansas on the way to Memphis. We tried a detour route but I think if we would have just stayed on the freeway it would have been faster.

Saturday was nice; sunny and dry. We saw signs of last week’s snow storm around Cincinnati. We lost 1 hour going from CST to EST and with a few accident delays the drive took us 11 hours. On Sunday, we lost another hour to DST. I got to wash all the salt and grime off the RV while Peggy emptied all our food and clothes. I drained the water systems.

Rain is predicted for Monday and cold and snow later in the week. Now I have to start my exercise bike training to get ready for our annual kayak race which is in two weeks.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Now at Rich & Tracey’s in Houston

After a nice quiet night in the Harlingen Wal-Mart, we did some shopping in the morning. I got on the internet at the new Lowes store about 3 miles away. Our Keel-Hauler website got hacked and I had to remove the bad files. I hope it’s fixed. I drove a few blocks to fill my Propane tank. For those that don’t know, MX sells Butane instead of Propane. Most campers don’t know because MX just call it Gas. It works fine and mixes with no problem, but if you return to the Northern cold climates you may find that you can’t get any gas from your tank or  bottle. Butane has 0 pressure at 32oF. So always refill your tank with Propane when you return.

I heard from Rob, they overslept but made it OK to Soto, then today they made it to McAllen, TX. They had no problems driving or crossing the border.

We drove to Houston in the afternoon and had a nice dinner with their family.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Made in all the way to the USA on our Third Day

When we woke up at 5:00 AM at Neptuno we saw no lights in Rob & Shirley’s motor home but we discussed our route the night before and it looked too long to make it all the way to the border but a shorter day if we only drove to Soto de Marina.

When we were ready to leave after a good waffle breakfast, there was still no sign that they got up, so we figured they preferred to leave a little later, we really weren’t travelling together but taking the same route.

We pulled out about 6:10 AM and it was still dark but by the time we got to the Poza Rica bypass Quota the sun had risen and it looked like it was going to be a warmer sunny day. We made good time on all the roads which had some bad spots but get better each year. maybe because it was on a Sunday that the traffic was light and fast.

We were concerned that we would run into the same police scammers that Brenda did but we saw no police but we tried to go slow and stay in the right hand lanes but did drive through the middle of the town past the airport. The road in Altamira was rough but then was fine all the way to Aldama on MX-180. We had hoped that they would have made better progress widening & rerouting the road south of Soto. I swear they only finished about 10 more miles in the last year and a half.

We reached Soto at 2:30 in the afternoon. I got on the internet, rechecked anticipated driving time and figured if we didn’t get into any long inspection stops we could make the crossing at Los Indios before sunset. So off we went, again, no stops very light traffic except near Valle Hermosa where we bought the last cheaper Mexican gas. The only weird thing we experienced was right at the Mexican side of the border. We knew MX immigration was closed on Sunday here but we didn’t need to cancel our 10 year vehicle permit and didn’t think it would matter whether we turned in our FMM’s, since these were paid by the airline when we flew back to MX after the holidays. We figured we would pay the toll bridge and head right to the USA customs stop.

There were two MX military guys that stopped us right before the toll booth. The one said to turn off the engine which I did but asked me to step out of the car. He spoke no English, I barely speak a few words of Spanish but he understood my NO, I’m not getting out. Why inspect me to leave your country. He kept speaking very fast Spanish I kept saying no. So finally he waved me on to continue. I have no idea why he wanted me to get out.

There were way more cars waiting on the US side then I have ever seen at this crossing which the border people said was typical for a Sunday night. We got there about 6:30 and even with a drug dog search and several agents looking everywhere including in small spaces under my hood we cleared customs at 7:10PM, in time for a nice dinner at our favorite Bar-B-Q just down the road in San Benito, TX.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Second Travel Day we made it to the Emerald Coast

On Friday night after our 10 hour drive from Xpu-Ha, we got gas and parked with the big trucks at the Pemex Gas Station in Chiapas at the highway that goes to Palenque at about 4 PM and in rolled our friends from Xpu-Ha, Rob & Shirley.  They are going to travel to the Emerald Coast on Saturday and are planning the same route but we left while they fueled up in the morning. They caught us when we were filling up at the MX145 Cuota heading to Vera Cruz. We then stayed together all the way to camp.

The roads have been getting better each time I go this way. MX186 in Chiapas has been terrible but it is newly paved and it even had reflectors on the lane markers. This helped out since we left at 5:50 AM and it was cloudy, raining lightly and very dark until we got to Villahermosa. Since it was Saturday the traffic there was very light and fast. The rest of the Cuotas all the way to Acayucan were as good as they were on the way down. We had heard that MX145 after Acayucan was terrible but they have fixed much of the North bound side, not terrific since it is a toll road but not bad.

The one bad section is MX180 south of Veracruz. They are building new bridges and it will eventually have overpasses & interchanges with several of the major roads that it crosses. So now, it’s worse than usual with huge holes and even more helpers flagging you though the intersections. Two years ago they repaved MX180 north of Veracruz all the way to Nautla. It’s still a very narrow, winding road with lots of traffic but fortunately the pavement is still good and it had less than 1/3 the traffic that was traveling South bound. As a result today’s drive was about 9 3/4 hours instead of the 10 1/2 hours that I had planned. We camped at Neptuno Campground  about 3 mi north of Casitas.

We had 2 or 3 Federal Police blockades with portable radar units that we went through but no inspection stops or any military stops.

The rain stopped in the morning and the temperature was in the low 60’s. In Veracruz the sun came out and it was 79oF when we got to camp. We had a small cocktail hour before our dinners. Tomorrow we may still be traveling together and hope to make it through Tampico and up to Soto de Marina. We hope we don’t have trouble with the crooked police like Gerry & Brenda did yesterday. Read Brenda’s blog, she did good avoiding paying a bribe.

See Day 3 of our Trip Plans.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Trip Back to the USA, First Day on schedule

We got off to a good start on Friday morning. Pulling out of the campground at 6:05 AM at first light. I don’t even think anybody heard us leave. We said all our goodbyes on Thursday night.

Dierch says it takes only 8 hours, I said it always takes me 10 hours, which includes one gas stop and a short lunch stop. It took exactly 10 hours to the minute. No traffic most of the way. A little drizzle hit us in the last hour and the roads are the the worst in that area. But we made it safely and Peggy is going to cook a nice Grouper dinner. We never got stopped my any army or police stops.

Hopefully we won’t get parked in at this big Pemex truck stop so we can again leave when the sun rises. It’s a popular rest stop. There is a good signal for our Telcel Banda Ancha.

We were just getting dinner ready at about 5:30 PM when Rob & Shirley rolled in. They went to Isla Mujeres yesterday and camped just North of Cancun, so they had about an extra hour & a half to drive. Long day for them.

See Day 2 of our Trip Plans. We hope to be at the Emerald Coast this time tomorrow.

Monday, February 25, 2013

“On the Road Again” as Willy sings

Trip Plans
Also as John Denver sang “Our bags are packed, were ready to go”.
If you look at our trip plans you will see we have a lot of driving in front of us. We took our time getting to Xpu-Ha more than 3 months ago. On our other trips we continued our touring on our way back home but we have seen almost everything we wanted to see. We missed a lot of Mayan Ruins, but we were ruined out. We skipped a lot of Cenotes (Underground water holes). They are all different and they are everywhere in the Mayan Riviera. There are no rivers in the Yucatan. The whole area is composed of porous Limestone, so that when it rains it all soaks in and is transported through underground rivers. When the limestone collapses into the stream it is called a Cenote.  So a Cenote is a just big hole in the ground filled with water. The water eventually makes its way to the ocean. Many attractions near here have beautiful fresh water lagoons where the freshwater mixes with the seawater.
On Wednesday the wind finally started dying down after having high winds and huge waves all week. I figured that this was my last opportunity to get in some kayak exercise, so I paddled over to the big Cenote/Lagoon in Puerto Adventuras. I  decided that I should also do some kayak roll practice since kayak season starts in March back home in Ohio and West Virginia, and I wanted to make sure everything in this old body was still working. The Cenote water is not salty but it is cooler than the ocean, so  it was a good way to cool off on a hot day.
Robb & Shirley left early on Thursday morning to see some friends on Isle Mujeres, a small island just north of Cancun. They expect to be taking the same route home as we do, I hope they will catch up and we will travel out together.  They have been here  at Xpu-Ha almost as long as we have and are heading back to their home in Martha’s Vineyard. There is only one more camper, Carol & Richard with their famous dog Ginger, that is still here and will be driving out and two more campers that will be “Leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when they will be back again”.
If we have internet with my Telcel Banda Ancha (Wide Band) when we stop each stay, I'll provide a progress report. I stick my poster next to the drivers side window, which will hopefully ward off the trancito police looking for Bites (Bribes) for bogus infractions.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Seven more nights at Xpu-Ha

IMG_3046 (Custom)I haven’t blogged much this winter but not so much that nothing goes on here at all but because we always seem to have so much to do which really is nothing. We take a three mile walk each morning and sit under the palapas where Peggy & I try to maintain our little private corner of the beach. Some times our names remain for a week, sometime it only lasts a day.

We then go back to the camper where I surf the internet, catch up on e-mails and decide what’s for dinner. Peggy usually reads books on her Kindle. Then we may find a ride to go grocery shopping, if the wind and waves have died down I go kayaking. And occasionally we go all the way into Playa del Carmen about a 20 min drive or collectivo ride. The collectivos are vans that continuously run from Tulum to Playa & back and from Playa to Cancun & back. For tourists the charge is about $2.50 (30 pesos)/person.

Carol-Ginger-Richard (Custom)About half the campers here have vehicles so we often bum a ride from them. Carol & Richard have been very generous with their rides. The other day they took us to a fresh fish market in Playa near Calle 40 & 5th avenue. We bought some great tasting Grouper (Mero). Carol does a great Blog “Ginger goes Glamping” which has Richards outstanding photographs.

LaPlaya_wide2 (Large)

Here is the beach directly in front of our camper, we are next to a very popular restaurant called La Playa. Tourists from many of the resorts and cruise ship passengers come here for the day. But the restaurant closes at 5 PM so we have never eaten there but we hear the food is good and they have entertainment from 3-5PM on Thur., Fri. & Sat.

Several of the campers who were here all winter have moved on. Pat & Mike from CO headed to AZ and plan to fly to New Zealand. Elaine & Reed headed to Belize and were flying to Costa Rica. Paul & Helen headed back home to Florida where it is nice & warm now. Gerry & Brenda “Turtle on down the Road” and still touring the Yucatan and will eventually be heading home to near Niagara Falls, Canada.

After Xpu-Ha our plan is to drive back to the USA border which usually takes 4 days. We have not heard of any banditos or drug people stopping RV's up near Brownsville since the incident in November, so we decided to take the fast Eastern route home. We considered heading up into the mountains to Puebla but steep hills, construction, 100 extra miles of driving and $100 more dollars in tolls discouraged us from taking that route.

So on March 1st we start heading West. West?, you say. Yes, as the crow flies we are only 1490 mi from home but our longitude is due south of Chicago. We need to drive 1400 mi before we even reach the TX border, and then another 1600 mi to get all the way back to Cleveland, OH. So don’t expect to see us until Mid March.

Here is our tentative Map and Driving Schedule from Xpu-Ha to the Border.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Days Dwindle Down

Not much different has been going on around here. Our campground has been almost full for most of the season. But Dierch always seems to find a place to squeeze in one more camper.


We have been going out for pizza on Friday nights at Leo’s in the little town of Chumyil. Sometime most of the campground shows up.

There is a more upscale restaurant a little further down the road called, Oscar & Lalo’s. Prior to the hurricanes they used to be located in Soliman Bay. After rebuilding a few times they decided to rebuild right on the main highway from Tulum to Playa del Carmen.Oscar-Lalos-Garden

The place has beautiful gardens, indoor & outdoor seating and a great chef.

Prices run from 140-200 pesos (11-16 USD) for a very nice dinner. Their menu has everything from seafood & meat to vegetarian.

You get a well prepared entre with fried bananas, vegetables, and of course rice & beans. I love the fish Veracruz style with a tomato sauce.

When we went the first time they gave us coupons for free drink including Margaritas. On our second time, even though only a couple of people remembered to bring their coupons, our table of 11 persons all got free drinks.


Nice big table, Reed is wandering around somewhere while Brenda is taking the picture.

John_Iguana_KissShe took all of these pictures including this one of me waiting for the kiss from the big iguana.

But even though we are just coming up to Mardi Gras week the great group is on the move.

Brenda & Gerry from Canada have been in and out a few times but just left on Friday to head North of Playa for a week and then will be moving on. Follow their journey here.

Pat & Mike from CO left their RV here and took a bus to Belize to meet their friends at Caye Caulker for a week. They just got back early Saturday, packed up to head back to the states so that they could fly to New Zealand for a few weeks.

Paul & Helen leave this Sunday morning to meet some friends in San Miguel de Allende before heading back for springtime at home in Inverness, FL. Follow their journey here. Paul may not blog for a while since he spilled Gatorade on his computer and it is currently not working.

Also we have had Jack, a tent camper from the USA, staying next to us for the past month, he is leaving today for Isle Mujeres and then on to who knows where.

Reed & Elaine are leaving on Monday. They will drive their big 5th wheel to Belize and take their truck to Tikal in Guatemala. When they return to Belize they plan to fly to Costa Rica for 3 weeks on a birding tour.

Two campers from France have already moved into their place along with a couple from Germany. All of them in small Class C’s imported fro Germany.

In about 2-1/2 weeks we plan to head back to the states.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Weather Got Much Hotter at Xpu-Ha

We have been getting a little rain at night, which has brought the humidity up. The winds have died down a little and the temperature is getting up to near 90o F. I hear a lot of A/C’s running but we are still holding out.

Last Friday nearly the entire campground went out for Pizza at Leos. In addition Glen and Maureen came from Tanka Bay, 3 people that we knew from Pal-Mul also showed up. Gerry, Brenda and her sister who has been staying at a condo in Akumal. Needless to say, the service was a little slow but the pizza and the 22 friends were great.

Jon_Peg Beach (Custom)Brenda & Gerry showed up for a day then headed off to Bacalar, see the link for her blog.

A new couple from CO came in with a big class A, but as usual Dierck managed to fit them in. Kent & Lynn will be here for a week.

Peggy and I hadn’t taken a walk through the abandoned hotel at the end of the beach this year, although we do sit under one of their palapas every day, maintaining our names in coral .

Walk-in to Club Maeve (Custom)

So today we put on our Tevas and walked off the beach to see how much more the locals stripped out of the resort once called Club Maeve. It  apparently closed in the summer of 2006 when a big hurricane hit the coast. Most of the damage now is from scavengers  stripping everything that they can salvage. Club Maeve Pool_2006

Here is the big pool before the hurricane.

The next picture is what it looks like today.

The whole place has been taken over by the jungle.

Club Maeve Pool 2013 (Custom)

Check out Paul & Helens Blog for more & better pictures.

The picture below is made of ceramic tiles and depicts the entire resort layout.

ClubMaeve_Tile Pic (Custom)


ClubMaeveFrom Lobby (Custom)

The left Picture looking toward the lobby, the right picture is Peggy looking back outside.

And below is Peggy waiting at registration. We saw all kinds of paper and bills on the floor in front of a closet. There were boxes of guest registration information that they apparently just left there when they abandoned the resort.

ClubMaeveLobby (Custom)

BeachGraffittiBack (Custom)

But today there is something new in front of the big palapa restaurant at the Club. A graffiti artist actually brightened up the place.

BeachGraffittiJohn (Custom)

Since we had on our Tevas, we decided to walk past the broken down dock.

ClubMaeveDock (Custom)

And across the old coral shore to the blow holes, where the waves go under the coral and blow up through the rock, when the wind and waves are out of the East.

BlowHole (Custom)