EAST COAST OF MEXICO 2009
Segment One – Las Indios, TX to
La Pesca San Fernando, Tamaulipas, Mexico
Day 1 Album
Well, that didn't work as planned. As you can see by the map, we barely made it into Mexico! Plus we were a couple of days late in leaving! We finally pulled out on Monday, Dec 14.
It was a day to remember. First, we got a late start (10:30), then we got into the wrong lane at the Mexican side of the border. As you approach the check point, there is a big sign straight ahead that says "cars and light vehicles only", and another lane that curves to the right. This lane is where all the trucks and commercial rigs go, but the signs that tell you this are obscured by bushes and trees.
Since I don't classify my rig a a "light vehicle" (it weighs in at over 20,000), and since we had looked at these lanes a couple of days before, (when we were down here getting our FM-T's and TIP's), and decided that there was no way we would make it through the concrete maze.I curved to the right and then saw the signs for "empty trucks" and 'trucks carrying cargo", but it was too late, when I got to the gate, they indicated that I needed to back up, turn around, and go over to the "cars and light vehicles" lanes.
Since Kat was behind me, she had to try to turn around first. She wasn't into the gate like me so she didn't have to back up, just make a "u" turn. Well unfortunately, there wasn't enough room for her to make it around and she ended up on the lawn and couldn't go any farther forward. So we disconnected her toad, backed it up out of the way and were able to back the coach enough to finish the turn. Then we reconnected the toad, and she had to drive the wrong way up the road until she was past the barricades and could swing over to the right, all the way off the road and complete another "u" turn to get headed back to the crossing, this time in the "cars and light vehicles only" lane.
Then it was my turn. Since we were already in the gate, we had to disconnect the toad immediately, drive it over to the other side of the gates, so I could back the coach up and turn it around. Well, I started my backing turn too soon, there was a 3 ft high barracade on my right and I drug the right front corner of the coach along it for about 6 inches. More damage to the corners, Well, we finally got turned around and in the correct lanes. Now it was time to face the maze. Kat went first and made it through. However, she did it before I got turned around so I didn't see what path she took. I was able to get through on my own without scratching anything else. Although I did ride up on a couple of curbs.
The next problems was that we were planning on taking Tamp 99 down through Villa Hermosa but the highway is actually labled Tamp 53. Fortunately, the overhead signs pointed the way to Villa Hermosa and we made it ok. The S&T software kept telling us we were off route, and then switch to on route, then off route again, This continued all the way to Hermosa.
At Hermosa we wanted to find an ATM and get some peso's. All the ATM's we saw were in the middle of town with no place to park 1 rig, let alone 2! so we pulled into a Pemex on the south side of town, unhooked Kat's vehicle and the girls headed back into town to find an ATM while I stayed with the coaches. While they were gone, I found the reason I was dragging on the topes. My right front jack was down about 4 inches! I powered up the jack panel and brought it back up. That's the last time I'll drive down the road with the jack panel turned off!
By the time the girls got back with the peso's (and some Church 's chicken) it was 3 PM. and there was no way we were going to get to La Pesca before dark. So I decided that we would head for San Fernando, where the S&T software showed a "Motel la Serena Trailer Park" with 8 full hookup pull-throughs. When we got there, all we could see was a cantina and some concrete slabs. So much for that one. In downtown San Fernando we found a Pemex that had some room along the south wall where we could spend the night. I tipped one of the attendents 60 pesos and told them that we would gas up in the morning.
So here we are, at Pemex 1304, in beautiful downtown San Fernando, about 4 hours from La Pesca! Well, the bright side is that it'll be a short driving day tomorrow.