Drive South to Guadalajara, Mexico
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D's Blog
Mexico FAQ

Our Drive South From Coarsegold, CA,
through Arizona,
to Guadalajara, Mexico

We departed Coarsegold, California for our new home in Guadalajara on Saturday, April 11, 2009.  It was two thousand miles of adventures.

Dave Clingman driving RV to Mexico
Andrew J. Wharton at London Bridge in Arizona

We stopped for our first night at a truck stop near Havasu, Arizona.  When we woke the next day to drive to see London Bridge, we discovered our car brakes were shot.  We had driven the first ten miles or so of our trip dragging the car with its parking brake set.  That goof cost us three hundred dollars in Flagstaff.

Andrew Wharton and Dave Clingman's RV at truck stop in Arizona
Dave Clingman and Andrew Wharton visit Grand Canyon, Arizona
Andrew Wharton in snow storm at Grand Canyon

While were stuck in Flagstaff having the brakes repaired, we took a side trip to see the grand canyon.  It was very cloudy, which made the canyon seem even more colorful.  A couple of times while we were there, it snowed on us.

Dave Clingman and Andrew Wharton approach a toll booth on Mexico cuota (toll road) Dave Clingman and Andrew Wharton cross a narrow bridge on Mexico cuota (toll road)

We finally made it into Mexico, crossing the border on Saturday, April 18, one week after departing Coarsegold.  Driving in Mexico is a bit different from driving in California, in that the major highways are often narrower in Mexico.  Also, there are toll booths frequently, making the trip even more expensive.  One other thing that makes driving more difficult in Mexico is the many "topes" (speed bumps), even on the major highways.

Dave Clingman and Andrew Wharton approach topes (speed bumps) on Mexico cuota (toll road)
Dave Clingman and Andrew Wharton spend night behind Pemex gas station in Mexico

During our drive south, we stayed most nights in truck stops or large gas stations.  The two exceptions are one RV park just north of the Mexico border, where we were able to refill our empty water tanks and recharge the batteries, and at an RV park in Mazatlan, Mexico located just four blocks from the beach.

Dave Clingman and Andrew Wharton enter Mazatlan, Mexico

We had few firsts in Mexico:
Andrew's first churros, my favorite snack, and our first Mexico ice cream.
Our first RV crash in which our open gas tank and door step bumped a parked car, no damage other than our step now is stuck in the open position.

Andrew Wharton's first taste of Mexico ice cream in Mazatlan
Dave Clingman and Andrew Wharton's RV motorhome brake repair in Mazatlan, Mexico

We also had other adventures, such as driving with very bad brakes on the van, so that we could wait to have them fixed for less in Mexico.  In Flagstaff, Arizona, the brake place quoted us $1200.00 just for their time, plus parts.  In Mazatlan, we had the RV brakes fixed for a total cost of just barely over $126 USD, quite a savings.

Because the toll roads are very expensive, we often chose to drive on the "libre" or free roads.  These roads are often as well maintained as the "cuota" or toll roads, but the free roads usually go through towns, making for longer driving times, while the toll roads circle most towns.

road sign at Mazatlan, Mexico
San Jose del Tajo RV motorhome park in Tlajomulco, Jalisco, Mexico, near Guadalajara

We finally arrived at our new home, the San Jose del Tajo RV Park in Guadalajara, on Thursday, April 23.  We will live here for awhile as Andrew studies TEFL at the Vancouver Language Center.

He takes classes for four weeks, during which he observes, learns, and even Teaches English as a Foreign Language.  He has already been promised a job at VLC after he graduates.

Andrew Wharton's school for Teaching English, Vancouver Language School

To read more about our adventure
during the drive south,
read Dave's Log.

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