High School Parking Lot
(posted at Oaxaca on Feb 12)
It rained last night and early this morning. We left the RV park at 7:00 AM and splashed up the dirt road to the highway. I was pleased to see that the bamboo pole had been fastened to a fence post to hold the wires up high enough for us to pass safely beneath them. It was a long and tiring drive of 268 miles that took us 9 hours to complete. You can do the math. We averaged almost 30 miles an hour. The roads were a mix of very good all the way down to almost nonexistent. The topes were innumerable and the traffic was heavier than usual, especially for a Saturday. A few of the group left earlier than the bulk of the caravan and arrived in Tehuantepec about 3 hours before us.
We were unfortunate enough to come upon a fatal accident only about a hundred yards or less before a tollbooth. Apparently an 18-wheeler had stopped in the right lane but a following car failed to stop and hit the back of the trailer. The front half of the car was wedged under the trailer. There were two bodies slumped forward in the car’s front seat. They were obviously dead and the rescuers were using the “jaws of life” to cut them out. Seeing something like that can remind you of your own mortality.
There wasn’t much excitement today for the main caravan, thank goodness, unless you count Bruce and Karen’s having to drive in the rain without the driver’s side windshield wiper operating. Karen was driving and stayed close behind Bob and Betty and followed their taillights.
In the small group that left ahead of us, Richard and Helen’s trailer brakes locked at one point, creating a lot of smoke and causing Bruce and Ellen, who were following, to think that the trailer was on fire. I don't believe any damage was done and they were able to continue.
Bob and Gloria had the black cloud following them today. Bob didn’t see a tope (sound familiar?) and hit it hard with his truck camper. The rear end of the truck went airborne and the turnbuckles on the two chains securing the rear of the camper to the truck snapped. The camper body separated from the rear of the truck and tipped forward almost touching the roof of the cab. Luckily the front two chains held and the camper remained on the truck. David and Edgar, our Green Angels volunteered to go find a couple of new turnbuckles. David and Edgar are really our “Super Heroes”.
Today we left the hot and humid tropical rain forests and entered the hot and much drier semi-arid zone. The town of Tehuantepec, where we are camped in the local high school’s parking lot, is only about 20 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Most of the folks who left this morning before the main group drove to the ocean before we arrived. Barry and Pat returned during our Margarita Hour and reported that it looked very much the same as it does when viewed from California.
To reach our high school camping area we drove through the town of Tehuantepec at “rush hour”. It does not look like a “tourist town”. It just looked like a very busy, medium-size Mexican town.
As we arrived at the high school we met a road-grading machine leaving it. The parking lot is dirt and the road grader had been smoothing it and removing the weeds for us. I haven’t mentioned the winds in this area, have I? Seeing the two zillion giant windmills generating electric power here should have given me a clue. We parked on the freshly graded dirt schoolyard and stepped out into a dust storm. We started our generator and got the A/C going so we wouldn’t have to open our windows and fill the coach with even more dust than is already in it. But we were all real troopers. We circled-up our lawn chairs and drank Margaritas made by Butch and Kathy.
There was no restaurant, or much of anything else, within walking distance so we retired to our coach and ate a very southern supper of grits, scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast. Nothing Mexican for this meal!
Not having our car has been a real bummer. People have been good to offer us rides but we miss the freedom that comes with having your own transportation and going where and when you want.
Tomorrow we head into the mountains for what may be a tough 153-mile drive on curvy, narrow, and steep mountain roads. We have been told to expect the drive to take 8 or 9 hours. Sounds like even more fun.
(No internet here either. Don’t know if there is a Telcel store in town but no time for one anyway. Will post this at earliest opportunity.)