We had planned on an early, easy start to the day but in a sign of what was to be a long day, when we went to bring the kitchen slide in, it wouldn't go. There would be no moving with that big slide sticking out, so we diverted all our energy into working out what was wrong. We did not want to be stuck at the Balneario; it is a nice stop over but NOT a nice long term destination. We had no sewer hook-ups, and as is common in Tabasco (the wettest state in Mexico), the field may look nice in the photos but was actually a marsh with a couple of centimeters of luke-warm standing water. Can you say Happy Mosquito Land?!
So Thomas grabbed a big rubbish bag and gingerly got underneath the slideout, while I pulled out the manual and looked up 'troubleshooting slide-outs' while making encouraging noises and occasionally hitting the slide-out switch to see if a miracle had occurred. Luckily our joint approach worked; Thomas moved a wire just as I hit the switch, and hooray - that wire happened to have a nick in it and was shorting out against the frame. We never would have known if Thomas hadn't moved it by chance just as I was testing with my fingers crossed. A bit of electrical tape and we were fixed. PHEW!
So, onward... we were hoping to do two short days in one, bypassing Isla Aguada which is a pretty beach with lots of shells, but otherwise just a small unremarkable town with a pleasant but very sandy RV park. We'd been there once and felt no real need to stop again, so we hoped to make it all the way to Campeche and the luxury of Club Nautico. We felt like some luxury, as we were all battling mild cases of diahorrea which, surprisingly, we seemed to contract from our most expensive meal in Catemaco. We never seem to get sick from the cheap, open air 'cocina economicas' and 'taquerias' we frequent most of the time, but after eating fresh home-made pasta at an upscale Italian restaurant we all regretted it. But it also might just be that we have all reached critical mass with the unfamilar Mexican microbes and bacteria and our digestive systems are complaining as they adjust themselves from US germs to Mexican germs. Anyway, I digress...
We made it through Villahermosa smoothly and reached Isla Aguada by 1:15pm. Dylan was napping, so it only took a short moment for the decision to continue to Campeche to be made. The road soon became a 4-lane toll, and we are once more cruising smoothly. At one point we feel and hear a large bump, so pull-over for a check. Everything seems good, and although we can see where stuff in the bed of the truck has shifted there seems to be no other damage. We chalk it up to a particularly vicious, hidden pot-hole and carry on. By 4pm we are settled at Club Nautico, 1250 miles from the Texas-Mexico border.
A word here about Club Nautico. It is a very nice exclusive, members only club which happens to have an attached RV park; possibly the nicest in Mexico, definitely the only one we have ever seen that is built to US standards with paved roads and sites, 30amp and even 50amp hook-ups. The club itself has a huge pool, tennis courts, weight rooms, sauna, boat ramp, jetty and private beach on the gulf. Everywhere is immaculately manicured and, apart from an army of gardeners and maintenance people, practically deserted. Last time we were the only people here, this time there is one other RV, but nobody is staying in it. At the beach we see a couple of other families, but they come for an hour or two and leave. The water is clear and calm, and we can see little tropical fish swimming around the rocks. The beach has white sand and a roped off shallow swimming area with soft sand bottom. Dylan is happy digging in the sand once again.
While Dylan and I are happy at the beach, Thomas is not so happy up at the rig. He has discovered a leak from the sewer tank. Yuck. Luckily we had been religiously dumping and flushing, so it is clean(ish), but still a major problem. Getting up under the rig we discover that we have definitely hit something and there is a big crack in our underbelly cover. I happen to look underneath the truck and notice something looks different, so I ask Thomas and he immediately knows what has happened.
The truck spare tire is held on behind the rear axle by a thick wire. Over the years this had worn thin, and the small pothole we hit was enough to break it. If you're not towing anything this isn't a big deal, as the tire bounces to the side of the road, you see it in your rear view mirror and go get it. However, in our case, the tire bounced down the length of the RV before rolling off the road, causing significant damage. Apart from the loss of the spare tire and rim (about $300 to replace), the tire hit under the front storage and dented the metal floor, then the underbelly by the black water tank, cracking both the underbelly itself and the tank inside it, further down it hit into the rear jacks and bent them before leaving a few farewell tread marks and departing, never to be seen again. Thomas wriggled under the RV for the second time that day and did an emergency patch, but we were not happy as we went to bed.
The irony here is that Thomas had made 1250 miles through Mexico with demon concentration, going over topes at dead-slow speed and weaving to avoid potholes, and here is the underbelly damage he had taken so much care to avoid. But it is not caused by Mexican road standards, this was caused by a fluke accident that could have easily happened anywhere in the US. And tire damage AGAIN!!!! I'm not sure if you know, but we had two blow-outs and replaced all five RV tires in the month before leaving Texas. And now even though our RV tires are brand-new, we STILL get tire damage... from the truck! **Sigh**