This is primarily a travel blog in which I write about traveling in our motorhome. Our travels have

Nacogdoches, TX, United States
I began this blog as a vehicle for reporting on a 47-day trip made by my wife and me in our motorhome down to the Yucatan Peninsula and back. I continued writing about our post-Yucatan travels and gradually began including non-travel related topics. I often rant about things that piss me off, such as gun violence, fracking, healthcare, education, and anything else that pushes my button. I have a photography gallery on my Smugmug site (

Friday, January 13, 2012

Bandits, 12 O’Clock High!

(This was written on Thursday, but no internet connection was available so not posted until Friday)

Everyone said we were crazy! Thought we were nuts for going to Mexico. Well, maybe we are. Imagine 19 RV’s (yes, I said 18 earlier, but it is actually 19) with at least 15 of them towing a car and the Green Angels bringing up the rear. 
The Green Angels is a fleet of tourist assistance pickup trucks with bilingual crews who are trained in mechanics and first aid. They patrol all federal and toll highways in Mexico and offer free assistance in the case of a breakdown, accident, or medical emergency. The Fantasy RV tour company had hired one of their trucks and crew to accompany our caravan for the entire trip.

There were probably about thee vehicle lengths between each RV. That would make the caravan at least three-fourths of a mile long from front to back. Carol Ann and I were in the next to last position and could not see the front of the caravan. Nor could we always hear their radio transmissions (Family Radio - similar to CB but FM) so we never seemed to know what was going on.  About two hours or so into Mexico I heard several broken transmissions that went something like this:

“… the road…..stopping…..want money……send Green Angels up front…..military on the way…..”. 

The caravan began slowing and eventually came to a stop.  We pulled onto the shoulder wondering why everyone was stopping.  Had there been an accident?  Was there a Military checkpoint?  Road construction?  Goat in the road?  After about fifteen minutes the caravan started moving again.  By being so far back in the line we never saw anything.  Not until we reached the RV Park in La Pesca several hours later did we learn what had happened.  Several men with automatic weapons had stepped out onto the highway and stopped the lead coach (Butch and Kathy, our Wagon Masters).  They demanded $2,000,000 pesos (about $140,000 US) or they would take their car.  For $140,000 they could have mine. Butch was able to talk them down to $2,000 pesos (about $140 US). They really must have been small time banditos or they would not have settled for such a small amount.

The second RV in line belonged to Gunther and Candice.  Gunther, originally from Germany, shouted at them in German and drove on through. That must have surprised them, or maybe they didn’t realize there were 19 of us.  Anyway, by the time we got to the “ambush site” there was nothing to see. About 15 minutes latter we met 3 or 4 truckloads of soldiers (our Green Angels had called them) racing towards the scene in an attempt to catch the bandits.  Candace had been cool enough to write down the license number of one of the ambusher’s trucks and this was passed on to the military. 

I was kind of disappointed to have missed all the excitement. I had wanted to be closer to the front all day long. Tomorrow I won’t have any problem being closer to the front because now everyone wants to be in the rear!

It was a long day but at least it ended without further mishap. However, because of the incident, the military and various police forces have been informed of our entire route and instructed to keep an eye out for us. I'll let you know if I can find out more details about what happened.

There were a lot of stops made during the day so it took us a little over 8 hours to travel 225 miles (our trip log said it would be 155 miles).  That’s an average speed of only 28 mph.  My trip computer showed the engine to be at idle speed for 21% of that time! 

We did arrive in La Pesca (Spanish for “fish”) in time to see a nice sunset before we went to dinner at a local seafood restaurant where they served shrimp about a dozen different ways.  No joke, there were at least four separate shrimp dishes, a fish appetizer (cerviche?) that was heavy on the lime and cilantro, a couple of other fish dishes, charro (bean) soup, chicken tamales, French fries, and tres leche cake.  Tomorrow, Tampico for a couple of days.

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