EAST COAST OF MEXICO 2009
Day Twenty Eight – Catemaco, VC, to Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico
Road Trip Photos
We got out of Catemaco without any problems and headed down Hwy 180 to get onto Hwy 145D at Acayucan. The road connecting 180 and 145 is a total mess. mostly dirt and mud holes. Since it has been raining a lot lately, there was no way to gauge the depth of the mud holes, which make for very slow progress. We never got above 10 mph! Once we were on 145D/180 it was pretty smooth, especially if you can stay in the left lane, which is supposed to be the passing lane. But we stayed over to the left unless we had traffic behind us, then we slid over into the right lane. This worked until we reached the Tabasco border. Then it all went to s**t! For about a mile it was nothing but dirt and potholes again. I thought what we had gone through before was bad but this was a lot worse! In fact, after we got through it and back onto pavement again, we hit another stretch! And they have the nerve to charge tolls for this!
When we got to Villa Hermosa we were looking for the Recreativo El Gordo y San Pancho, which is a waterpark. We knew it was on the left and hard to find if you're heading south, like us; but we drove right by it anyway. So we found a retorno and doubled back. From the south there is a big billboard just past a narrow dirt road. We assume that is the road because our GPS was indicating that. But we didn't see the road or the sign until it was too late. So we did the retorno thing again, this time we slowed down and looked at the dirt road as we went past southbound again. It's not anything I'm willing to attempt with my coach without some additional information on what is under all those small lakes covering the road! So we kept on driving, looking for a Pemex to overnight in. The second one on the right (Pemex 9260) has a big sign, "Trailer Park"! And that's where we are for tonight and maybe tomorrow night also. We got two back-in slots side by side. These slots are long enough for the double trailers that they pull around Mexico. So, after disconnecting the toads, I backed into the left slot back to the curb, then Kat backed into the right slot until her back bumper was just a little ahead of my front bumper. Basically, I'm on the dividing line on my right side and Kat is on the same dividing line, only on her left. This gave me plenty of room to open my slides and, since Kat doesn't have any slides, she has a little more room for her coach door and steps. We both still had room for the toads in front of us. The total cost for each of us, per night is 80 pesos. A lot cheaper than any of the parks we've stayed at. Of course it's dry camping, and the restaurant is closed (don't know if it's because it's only open for breakfast and lunch or if it's closed for good. It looks all set up and ready for customers, so I think it's the former.
I'm not sure what we will do tomorrow, but I do know that I have to get a slow leak in one of the tires on our toad fixed. I also need to replace one of the pressure sensors on the inside left dual on the coach. It's really flaky and not registering about half the time. Luckily I have spares. We may also go into town to the La Venta outdoor Museum. Depends on the weather.
Day 29: Today we (Robin and I) went into town to find some 1/8 x 1/4 rivets to fix the left front wheel well on Kats coach. All the banging around in the mud holes sheared the rivets holding the leading wall of the wheel well. We also were planning on getting the leaky tire fixed on the same trip. We found the rivets at a tool shop by the first Statue on 180 and, on our way back we found the tire store. When we tried to tell them we had a slow leak in the left rear and wanted it fixed, they thought we wanted a new tire. When the salesman with some English came out and looked the tires over, he suggested that we replace two tires. At first I resisted, but after looking at the tires and talking it over with Robin, we decided to replace 3 tires. The forth had been replaced in Tenn. about 3 months before.
When we got back to the Pemex, I fixed Kat's wheel well by taking it out completely, driving out the sheared rivets and re-riveting it back in place. By this time it was way too late to go to the La Venta outdoor museum and zoo. So we called it a night.
Day 30: We went to the museum and zoo (see photo album). It was lucky we didn't go the day before, because it was Monday and they are closed on Monday. Then we stopped at an Applebees in one of the shopping centers for a US style lunch, after which we drove back to where the Recreativo El Gordo y San Pancho sign was. It turns out the dirt road before the sign is the access road to the water park. It had dried out a lot since it hadn't rained for a couple of days, but when I first looked down this road, it was a bunch of large lakes with cars parked wherever there was a high spot. I never would have made it down the road in a big rig then and it would have been difficult today. The park has a large grassy area with what looked like power and water hookups. We weren't able to verify this because the gate was locked and there was no one around. There wasn't any sign of the wrecked cars that the Church's mention in their book. If I was desperate enough I might try to stay here, but I much prefer the Pemex. It has showers and a lounge (for the guys only, it's in the drivers lounge) and the restaurant has good food. It is open from about 6 am to 8:30 pm.
The following day it's off to Palenque.