Friday, November 4, 2011

The Big Tamal - Mexico City

For years we have traveled for work and pleasure here in Mexico City.  For us it is a tourist's paradise.  So many things to see and do, 3000 years of history all in one spot and not to mention the food.  Hotels get old after 35 years of work travel and we love the rv life.   My work situation has always taken good care of me putting me up in nice hotels and expenses but it's not like our travel trailer.

Yesterday we left Patzcuaro around 9:30 after gassing up and getting an invoice for LP we bought the other day.  The  day started off well and we had our plan to drive to Texcoco all put down on paper.  Paper is a great thing as you can always tear it up and start over.   I wish we had.

We decided to take the Perinorte around the city from Toluca.   I know Toluca but I've never driven through there but have heard the horror stories.   We sailed right to town and headed up the moutains to La Marqueza.   The views are fantastic and the drive amazing.  Many places to spend the day camping and don't forget all the great food.   It gets vey cold there at 9,000 ft and it was just to far.  Here in Texcoco we are closer to town and I will take a taxi to the airport today in around 45 minutes, non-peak hour.  

As we came down the mountains we followed the signs and were right on target.  We had just given each other a high five not 10 minutes before when all of a sudden we crested the hill and what lie before us?  Vertical buildings all around us.  We had made a mistake and ended up in Santa Fe.   We pulled over immediately, found a policeman who told us how to turn around and he even let us back up, guiding us, some 50 feet.  We followed his directions and I am sweating up a storm, worried about transito and more than that getting stuck.  We found the U-turn but you won't believe it.  They had just put a steal girder over the road so that tall vehicles couldn't enter.  The tow truck was still holding the steel beam in place.   I crapped.   The police there (not transito) helped us again.   We got stuck on a turn and had traffic backed up by 30 cars on each side.   People here are not very nice in traffic let me tell you.

We got through it, hired a taxi and off we went again on the Perinorte.   Each caseta guided us through with map and we were well on our way.    Then, all of a sudden, our key signage disappeared.   We had entered the wrong caseta and he told us to pass through and how to turn around.  That was the beginning of the end.

We screwed up and transito nabbed us in Tultitlan.  It was't a good scene.  They saw us  coming and they really screwed us big time.   We don't pay bribes but they got us for not having the sticker that matches our plates on the vehicles.   We had them with us but not on the car.   We cried foul but they didn't give a shit.  They showed us the regs in the transit book.   Pick up vehicles, impound them, fin of 9,200 pesos.    We went back and forth for over an hour and they wouldn't give in.  We asked for their supervisor and he showed up in 5 minutes.  He was relentless.   He claimed it was for our own protection as plates were being stolen.

We struck a deal and went to the office to pay a lesser fine.   I still think it was a setup but we got off with a fine of 2500 pesos, for us, a huge expense.   We had no other choice.  They had called the tow truck that would lead us to impound the vehicles and it was there ready and waiting.   They weren't fooling around and they weren't asking for cash which we wouldn't have considered.   The deal was that they would lead us to the correct caseta that would get us out of that town.   They did and off we went.

We made it through the worst part of the Perinorte which is a truck route and the road are rotten, I mean really bad.  Atroscious can't describe what we went through.  Fufi was shaken badly.   We started looking for hotels to spend the night but in this neck of the woods hotels are small with little or no parking.   As we neared the center of Texcoco, which now that the nightmare is over, I can say is a beautiful town, we hired a taxi who said he knew of a hotel that had a large parking lot but it was in the center of town.  We asked about transito but he said they are no longer.   Fine.  Streets were good but even he got lost.   He stopped in the middle of Main St., put on his emergency flashers got out and signaled to Juan to go with him.   I was left alone there by myself, Friday night 7:30 p.m.   Again, it wasn't nice and people can be evil.   I was there for only 10 minutes but it seemed like an eternity.   Then came the flashing lights and a policeman came around me.   He stopped, looked across the front seat of his patrol car, I looked at him and he took off.  Whew!

In the end, a very nice hotel owner, with a large parking lot took us in.   He was a bit puzzled by the rv and said because he didn't know what was going on we would have to pay for one night hotel stay and not use the rv.   We gladly accepted.  We set up the rv for the cats, packed what we needed and thats when I noticed something funny about FuFi.   I called Juan into the bedroom and told him we had left the vent open over the bed and rain was coming in.   As I went to close it, tight and all the way, the rain continued (light mist).   The whole frame was still there but the plastic bubble wasn't.   We were able to fit plastic into the frame and close it tight for now.

My weekend in Monterrey will be full as I need to find the vent cover.   We have a place that sells rv parts and I know they carry them.  Apart from my talk we have a problem again with our land south of where we live and I need to go to a meeting with neighbors.  I will return to D.F. on Monday.  The hotel has airport service which the company is paying for and I will easily make my flight coming and going.  I hate leaving Juan alone here, but I know he is in good hands and begin the search for a place to stay.

One good note is that he has established his contacts here and they are willing and ready to help him in his research project.  They are very friendly and I am sure the rest of our stay will be a good one.

Heed the warning of the wise.   Use the Arco Norte, stay out of D.F. with an rv.   There are more things that happened along the way to rub salt into the wounds but we are here now and I apologize for my cryptic and depressing tale last night.


  1. As always when things like this happen it is so hard on the body and did the right things and at the end of the day you are both safe and sound....take care sunny days are ahead for you cheers Les

  2.'s in the past now, and there's nothing you can do about it. Life goes on, and you're both safe and sound. Live and learn...

  3. You have tested the paradox of what happens when an immovable object meets an irresistible force.

    Anyway, you are through it now and it will just be another chapter when you write your book!

  4. Don't you use a GPS? With good maps of Mexico?
    Brian & Sue and I swear by Microsoft Strets and Trips on a laptop. The program and GPS can be had for under $70.
    Or don't you travel with a laptop.

  5. Welcome to the worst nightmare of RVing.....we all have one or two but mostly it is all sweet dreams.

    I agrees with your advice about DF. Honestly, it really could have been worse. Hang in there.

  6. Sounds like just getting through this was an accomplishment! An extreme 'when it rains it pours' day. And you all came through it, including trailer and (apparently) cats! (changing the topic, now:) We travel with one, too. He usually entertains the young guys at the check stations.