A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!


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Expedia is my favorite place to book airfare, and they handle hotels, car rentals, cruises, etc. I like the organization of the site for figuring out what flights I want. Click on the suitcase to take a look.

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Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

The huge parking lot at El Chorrito wasn’t very level, and after a few hours there, we felt we had seen enough. So we came back to the lake, late in the afternoon on a Sunday in February.

“You’ll probably have the place to yourself during the week,” John had told us. “Mexicans from the city go to the country on the weekends, and for Semana Santa (Holy Week), and that’s about it. Camping in Mexico is much less common.”

When we arrived, the campground was practically full, radios were playing, the smell of roasting meat filled the air, and Kelly was offered a guzzle of tequila from a nearly-empty bottle.

We went off for a walk and by the time we got back, most of the people there were in the packing-up process. We took a site with a lovely view of the water and settled in. Even if the rowdy group of young men had stayed, they were really quite jolly.


By late Sunday evening we had the campground to ourselves.

They were also quite messy, like other campers before them, partly because there was no place to put trash. So it just gets left on the ground. The local dogs like this arrangement, and they were soon scrounging leftovers.

Mexico is full of thin dogs who may be strays or may have owners. Judging from how much the dogs cringe around people, it’s not easy to be a dog in rural Mexico. But then, Mexicans generally treat their children more lovingly than we do in the U.S. As a lifelong dog-lover, I had an impulse to carry a huge bag of dog food with me in the motor home! I didn’t do that, but did buy a small box, which came in handy later. I knew that if you want to adopt a homeless dog in Mexico, all it needs to come back to the U.S. is a rabies shot, which may have to have been given with enough time to take effect. I’ve read comments of other Americans who did adopt dogs and found their dog was deeply grateful for its new life. However, we had two dogs at home, and that was plenty.

As night settled over the campground, one by one the other vehicles left. It was our first night alone in rural Mexico, and I feltĀ  uneasy. Maybe all those RVers who told us horror stories did know something… I slept lightly that night, hearing thunder and lightning, a nearby dogfight, and several pickups that passed in the dark. I have to admit it, I was scared.

In the early morning, we went out for a walk. As I waited for Kelly to join me, a fisherman from the town walked by on his way to work. As if he had read my mind, he told me that the people here were good and we were secure.

walking toward the campground
Fisherman walking to work before sunrise. What a commute!

I remembered that on our last trip around Mexico in a van, many years earlier, we had often asked the local people if it was good to camp in a particular spot. Usually they said yes, but once in a while there would be a diplomatic comment that perhaps it would be better down the road by that house you see there, or something like that. We always took their advice. So this fellow’s comment reassured me, and I slept much better the next night, only waking when some people drove up and put a boat in the water at 1:30 AM.

Life in Mexico does go on at all hours, and that takes some getting used to. That second evening, a couple drove up to the campground, and sat talking with each other for hours, the soft murmur of their voices making a peaceful background sound. Also, by then, probably half the town knew we were at the campground, another factor making for safety. I am not saying that it is safe to camp everywhere in Mexico, but rather that it’s a matter of using your intuition and of asking if you have any doubts. Even if you speak minimal Spanish, you can pantomime sleeping and ask “Si?”

trees by the shore of the lake

Along the shoreline

The view of the water was so beguiling that we ended up staying as long as our water tanks held out. Amazingly, there was electricity at this free campground, so we plugged in and spent a couple of days writing and relaxing. We held the annual meetings of our business there, gloating over the warm weather as we talked shop.

On our last night there, we woke around 2 AM to some lovely singing. It seemed another all-male party had started, and the talking, drinking, and campfire went on for the rest of the night quite close to us. We didn’t sleep much, and when we got up in the morning, we saw that the revelers had a powerboat and a tent. We later found out that that day was a national holiday, Constitution Day, so they must have just been getting an early start on a day off and a taste of camping in Mexico.

lake and mountain view

At first we thought the floating things were traps, but they seem to be fish farming equipment.

[Next: Ciudad Victoria and then southward along the Gulf of Mexico]

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