Sunday, January 3, 2010

Real de Catorce - What A Blast!

Very long post. Grab a drink or a coffee.

Before I write about Real de Catorce, I want to say thanks to all the wonderful rvers we met at La Siesta RV Park in SMA. We had more fun than you could shake a stick at and I hope we are all in contact. As I said before we left, what happened in La Siesta stays in La Siesta! It was way too much fun and we had more side trips (more on those later), dinners together and happy hours that I think I may have used up much of my retirement lifetime in less than two weeks.

A special thanks to Croft and Norma as they are really great hosts and should you ever be in an rv park with them, don't waste any time. Elect them as the camp hosts for the duration, it will be well worth it.

Okay, so we left SMA around 11 a.m. on Saturday. The goodbyes where hard and I was a bit choked up as we pulled out. What a way to start our retirement, with a group of Canucks and Dutchmen! We took the road to Los Rodriguez and caught up with Hwy 57 heading north. As we pulled into Matehuala we almost turned into the Las Palmas Hotel across from the Walmart but decided we would continue on to Real de Catorce. We had been warned about the cobblestone road from Cedral to the top but we marched on. As we got closer to the exit for Real de Catorce, clouds began to thicken and hang low and raindrops hit the windshield. Onward Ho! Sure enough, ye of little faith, the turn off for Real de Catorce proved to be just that, cobblestone. All 24 kms of it. We continued on, up we climbed, shaking and vibrating. We had ample opportunity to turn back but being stubborn we refused to do it. We passed Potrero, La Luz and trudged on to the tunnel. It took us over an hour as you can only drive about 25 kms per hour. No problem, we were already there. As we got closer to the top, traffic came to a standstill. There was a pullout next to us and we considered spending the night there. We asked others who had gotten out of their cars if they knew what was ahead. We were assured that there was ample parking and room for the trailer.

The line began to move very slowly and before we knew it we were in front of the tunnel. We were told that we wouldn't fit and needed to pull over. There is a small plaza in front of the tunnel entrance and we parked there for the night. What a blast we had! First off, we love to boondock. The sound of the inverter feeding off of our battery power running the furnace, laptop, lights, etc. is sweet music to my ears. We set up for dinner, a great leftover lasagna that P.J. made for the New Year's Eve party. I am glad we took some to go and we ate that along with a great soup and brocolli.

I hooked up the laptop so we could have a drink and watch a movie. WARNING: If you are a pet lover, don't watch Marley and Me unless you are locked in a sound proof closet by yourself. It is a real tear jerker. The ending will literally rip your heart out. After a half a box of Kleenex, we changed movies for something much lighter.

Off to bed with the furnace roaring, can you imagine, here we are in hot and sunny Mexico and it was 5C. The rain was soft but didn't let up. I dreamt that the trailer had a bad leak and they had to tear the roof off. I woke up from that and the next thing I knew I was thrown into another dream. It was quiet all night, no one would attempt the road at night especially in the rain.

Morning came at 6:30. I made coffee in the French press. All systems were working perfectly and it was a pleasure to wake up, no traffic no noise and we had security all night right in front of the tunnel.

The buses leave at 9:45 a.m. and we boarded and began our way through the tunnel. I believe, and so did others, that we could make it throught the tunnel with the Funfinder. It is a lower-profile trailer and only 7 feet wide. Maybe next time. The bus was packed as an autobus brings people up from the valley and they trade buses for one that can pass through the tunnel. All types of people on board, workers, tourists, pilgrims, and rvers. There was a class C parked in the parking lot too!

On the other side we found a parking lot and a short walk to the streets of Real de Catorce. A wonderful history and all the signs are in Spanish and English. Cruising the streets you can find trinkets, dulces, pictures of the past in Real de Catorce, and best of all great food.

We headed for the chuch and took some pictures inside. I purchased a candle, lit it, and left it in the church. I need all the help I can get. A couple we met on the bus said that they had been to the church 29 years ago on the 2nd of January. He had prayed for a job and two days later he was hired. Now he is retired and was making a pilgrimage back to the church to give thanks. Well, he was a bit overwhelmed as he beat his chest with his fist and he told us his story and we were happy for him no matter what his beliefs.

We found a great place to eat and ordered a quick breakfast. We just couldn't spend more time in R de C and the bus was going to head back through the tunnel at 11:45. After breakfast we passed a small house that sold gorditas. We bought 7 for 30 pesos and had them to go. I just finished eating two while writing this blog. Excellent!

Off we went back through the tunnel and to the rv.

There are three great places to boondock. The first is a pull out right as you get to the top. There is room on the road all the way up and down for a 40ft bus. Having a TOAD may present a problem but I am not a Class A driver. The pullout has room for three or four buses and the view is spectacular.

The second place is after passing the entrance gate that says BIENVENIDOS. To the left is a large parking area where the buses park. This will be our boondocking spot of choice on our next trip which we think we will stay three to four days.

The third is the parking lot on your right that has room for several rigs of all sizes. You can see this Class C from Durango here.

We headed down the mountain and took a short detour to Hwy 57. On our way to R de C, we passed through Matehuala versus going straight on towards Saltillo. There is an exit on both the north and southbound lanes of the 57 for R de C. This diagonal takes you directly to Cedral, a small town just south of the exit for R de C. It is an excellent road and a pleasant drive. We connected to Hwy 57 22 kms later and headed north to the exit for Linares (antes El Entronque de San Roberto). The drive saved us a lot of time and it winds over the mountains between Coahuila and Nuevo Leon and lands us about 98 kms south of our house and is a great detour from Saltillo and Monterrey. The views are breathtaking and as you pass km 28 there is a pullout that we have used for boondocking when the weather was too hot to stay at home and the water in the pool near boiling point.

BTW, we are home now and watching the local news. The new toll highway from Saltillo to Monterrey is such a hit that the lines at the toll booth are over one hour long.

Now preparing for our trip to the rv show in San Antonio on Wednesday.


  1. We really enjoyed you guys over the holidays! I am glad you enjoyed R de C but now you see what I meant about the cobblestone road!

  2. I loved reading this. I want to RV soon like yourself. Did you get a chance to go into the desert?

  3. Interesting post. Real is a great place to visit. I read somewhere the movie The Mexican with Brad Pitt was filmed there. Nice people,excellent food and the prices can't be beat. I stayed in a motel there that was a whopping $8 USD a night!