EAST COAST OF MEXICO 2009
Day Twenty – Tampico, Tamaulipas, to the Emerald Coast, Mexico
Emerald Coast Album
El Tajin Album
We finally departed from Tampico and headed for the Emerald Coast. Of course we couldn't get out cleanly, Kat got stopped on the bypass at the Hwy 70 traffic circle. The cop said that she had yielded to another vehicle when she shouldn't have! Who has ever heard of getting pulled over for yielding? This guy didn't even bother to bring his ticket book with him from the car. He just stuck out his hand and said 4000 peso's! No I didn't accidentally add a zero, he said 4000 peso's! This guy was trying to retire!!. She called me on the phone and told me what was going on, and I told her that was ridiculous, the most expensive traffic ticket wasn't over 400 peso's and that we were turning around and coming back to her. When he heard that she had friends coming to her aid, he offered to let her go for 400 peso's. It's my policy to never pay a bribe, but since we all were totally sick of Tampico, she paid it and called us to say she was back on the road. A short time later we were all together again and proceeded on to the Emerald Coast.
I had tried to get as much info on the route to Poza Rica as I could, and had come to the conclusion that the best way was via Tuxpan, then using the Poza Rica bypass to get south of the city. So this is what we did. Later I found out that the road (Hwy 127) through Alamo is, for the most part, good road and it's about an hour faster. We'll probably try it next time. As it turned out, there wasn't any problems (except for the topes that are so high, I scrape the back skid bars) the way we went. Hwy 180 is a mess until the 180/127 interchange and then it improves considerably. But don't get complaisant, just about the time you relax a little, you hit a bad patch! The directions are a snap. Just follow the signs to Tuxpan until you get to the outskirts of Tuxpan, then follow the signs to Veracruz and Poza Rica. Some even say "Costa Esermalda". About 8 km before Poza Rica, you will see a sign for Veracruz. When we came through someone had painted out the arrow, but you want to exit the cuota via the right ramp and cross over the highway. This puts you on the Poza Rica bypass. It is a cuota (toll road) and you will hit the toll booth just before you rejoin Hwy 180 on the south side of Poza Rica. From there it's about 37 miles to the Emerald Coast.
When we arrived at de Alba, there were only two coaches and one tent camper couple. One of the coaches was from Florida and the other was Graydon, an online friend from the RV.net forum. The weather is sill cool and overcast and there was only a little improvement in the forecast. But at least we're here. FINALLY!
But where is everyone eles???? The Florida couple pulled out the next day, leaving us, Graydon, and the Mexican tent couple. There aren't more than one or two RV's in any of the parks, and most are completely empty! There are a lot of people staying in the hotels and motels, and even some tent campers, but no RV's! I can count the ones I've seen on the fingers of one hand
We did a quick survey of all the 'big rig' parks to see if there were any changes to the Church's descriptions. What we found follows;
Hotel Playa Paraiso; the campground was not open. There is no way a RV can get into the hotel grounds themselves.
Hotel Torri Molino; The RV section is south of what looks like a new lobby building, all of the about 8 sites are on grass and are close to the road, so noise may be a problem. But there doesn't seem to be that much traffic at night around here. The power is the usual 20 amp receptacles with an unknown size fuse or breaker. The water pressure is excellant and the bathrooms are clean and with hot showers. The desk clerk assured us that the WiFi will reach the RV section but we didn't test it. Smaller RV's may be able to park in the cobblestone/brick parking slots behind the lobby building but I didn't see any hookups in those. The pool is deep enough and long enough to do laps in, but is still only about 4 foot deep. The restaurant looks clean and is in the back, near the pool. They quoted us 150 pesos a night per coach, which is a lot less than what the Church's had them listed at. A word of warning, If you have a Class A or 5er, make sure you use the entrance on the north side of the lobby building, the south enterance has some tree branches blocking the way. Also, don't try to get to the sites closest to the road, tree branches again are a problem. Overall a very clean, neat, and well maintained operation.
El Corsario: This is one of the parks that are charging on a per person scale. The going price is 80 peso's per person, which puts them up near the top if you have a spouse. and really up there if you have more than 2 people. We only found 2 sites that were accessable to a big rig. Both had power (15/20 amp) and water. One had what looked like a sewer drain. There was no one on the premises and no one staying there. We got the prices from a big sign on the side of a building.
Mar Esmeralda RV Park Camping; The place looked deserted and a sign painted on the wall said that it was for sale, but when we pulled in, a caretaker showed up and quoted us $10 US per person. The hotel has never been finished and there isn't any WiFi. This park has those single-wall palapas that some of the others have put in. You are supposed to back up to them. The problem with all of these was that the mosquitos were just thick on that one wall of every one of them. Getting out of the wind is my guess. You won't find me staying at a palapa with a wall!
Hotel Posada del Zorro: there are only a couple of spots that a big rig can get into, there probably were more at one time, but they've strung a cable between the mature coconut trees that defined the sites; apparently to protect a row of new coconut trees planted between the existing ones. So there's no maneuvering room for anything longer than about 24 ft, except for about 4 sites on the right as you come in. They are also charging per person, they quoted us 150 pesos per person per night, making it by far the most expensive park down here for a couple. There weren't any RVers staying there either.
Trailer Park Quinta Alicia: We didn't check this one out because I couldn't see me maneuvering a big rig into it. So we just drove by.
Trailer Park de Alba: The place is a little run down and the water pressure is so low it won't push through my filters. The satellite internet dish has been vandelized, so there isn't any WiFI. But parts are supposed to be on their way, so it might be up again next week. The showers need a good cleaning and so does the pool. The grass needs mowing and most the sites aren't level (that's why all of us are bunched up at one end in the picture at the top). The management is as friendly and helpful as ever. We haven't eaten at the restaurant yet, it's closed on weekends but will be checking it out soon. This is where we are staying, but if we were going to be here longer, I would probably move to Hotel Torre Molino.
Trailer Park Neptuno: Haven't walked next door to check this one out yet but it looks very clean and neat with all the sites level and well defined.
Day 22, Monday, Jan 4: Today we went to the Tajin Ruins, where we watched the Voladares and toured the ruins and museum. It has been raining for the last couple of days and today wasn't much different, drizzle with periods of dry. There was mud everywhere and there were a few that fell. I came close a couple of times myself. But even with the mud, the place is very impressive, they have big information boards scattered around the sites that tell you a little about each one. These are in Spanish, French, and English. The one thing I would ask for would be a phamplet that gave a more detailed description of what we were looking at.
The Voladares weren't quite as impressive as I expected, There are 6 of them total. A couple were working the crowd before the performance, trying to build up the audiance. All of them are young, slender, and looked very fit, except one, who was much older and much fatter. He spent most of the time in one of the food booths. They do a dance around the pole and then 4 of them climb it and pull the ropes up as they turn the top framework, winding the ropes around the pole. When they get the ropes all wound up and themselved tied to the ends, then the 5th one climbs the pole and stands on the top to do his dance. This was probably the most exciting point. He played his flute and drum while pounding his feet to the beat, turning around all the time. Once he's done, the other four kick free of the framework and hang upside down while the ropes unwind. And that's about it, they just hang there as the ropes slowly unwind. Just before they reach the ground, they flip over and stand up. All this time the fat one was working the crowd, asking for donations.