Our day started out a little cloudy and foggy, but, as we headed south, the skies brightened and the sun peeked out, a welcome sight from all the rain and gloom.
Destination today is 230 miles away at Nautla or Costa de Esmeralda; we are now in the state of Veracruz. Getting out of the town of Tampico was a challenge with lots of auto traffic, school zones, and pedestrian traffic. I think I almost got Joe arrested. Our wagon masters and tail gunners told us we might see "fake" policemen and we shouldn't stop. At a school crossing, a uniformed man started out in front of us.....and I, loudly, encouraged Joe to keep going. He really was stopping the rig behind us for the crossing; but, Joe told me I can't navigate anymore if I insist he break the law. We persevered and got out of town with no adverse incidences and we were soon on the road south. We've all become very adept at following each other and pacing to keep the rig in front and the rig in back in sight at all times through the big cities. We call this the 'buddy system'.
In a nutshell, our route presented us with lots of topes, rough bridges, a vado (that's a water ford), dangerous curves, and suicidal drivers; but, we prevailed.
We passed through villages and towns too numerous to list. The most recognizable were Tuxpam, Poza Rica, and Gutierrez Zamora. One little village was called Naranjos (spanish for oranges) and there were lots of fruit stands and vendors selling orange juice. We passed through the village of Cerro Azul, famous for thirteen large topes.
A couple of our group did get pulled for the federal inspection but it was pretty routine and they didn't detain them long.
The country side was pretty with lots of rolling hills, citrus orchards, ranches, and other crops.
We paid lots of tolls today, 243 pesos altogether, and then had the privilege of driving on some of the worst roads we have ever traveled.....we are now definitely ready for Alaska. We're not sure where the toll money goes; but, we don't think it is used to repair the roads. We did see signs everywhere indicating construction on 3400 km of road...not sure where!!
As we approached our destination, we got our first glimpse of the ocean at the Gulf of Mexico. We staged at a local Pemex station so we arrived at the RV Park, Trailer Park De Alba, in groups of four. These parks are small and tight and can't handle a big group all at once. We are parked right by the ocean and Foxy headed straight for the beach and rolled all over the sand. We'll let her go in the water tomorrow; didn't want a wet dog tonight. We have full hook-ups here and we'll give her a shower before we leave.
When everyone was in, Gerry made a huge batch of margaritas and we met our guide for tomorrow, Claire. We all signed up to get our RV's and cars washed over the next couple of days. This service is very economical here and we're all carrying 100 lbs. of dirt on our vehicles......not to mention how bad they look.
We had dinner at home and got our stuff ready for our first ruins expedition tomorrow to El Tajin.