Texas Chainsaw Massacre....
Let it be known that if I say "American(s)" I mean USA citizens from this day forward.
We made it into Texas,,only just,,, as the Colombia bridge crossing at Laredo is about as organised as a student rally..The Mexico immigration is on the "way in" side of the road so you need to go round to there to get your deposit back for the car and do the passports. However DON'T do through the toll gate onto the bridge to get round. Just dump the car on the grass and walk. Otherwise you end up paying the bridge toll twice, like we did! There are no signs or anything to tell you to stop at the little white hut on the side of the road to cancel the deposit let alone to then go to the other office to get you money back. So, stop at the little hut, cancel your car paperwork then park up and walk over to the office. There is a car park near the office so you could sort of drive round without parking on the grass.
We've been staying in the Texas State Parks at Lake Casa Blanca, Goliad and Stephen Austin parks. They are not cheap but they do have showers. Strange thing is the BIG RVs they all drive have showers so they don't need them. However the camping fraternity (like us) in tents (or other low tech rides) do need showers and all the shower blocks are in the RV park and not in near the camping sites. This is completely the wrong way round. The showers should be near the Camping spots ! Its not rocket science but this is America and some things are just how they are.
The staff at the parks are really nice and there has hot been such a fancy check in process since South Africa....Hi guys, if you are reading this !
Another example of how it is here is the tax they add on to everything. Rather than have the price including tax (which is the law in the UK) they add it on later so everything is more expensive than is ticketed. Why they cannot show the price including tax on the ticket and then show you the tax on the receipt I will never understand. No doubt there's some cockamamie logic that the Americans will use in argument but I'm not listening. A price should be a price unless you are running a business to business supply/service and then you can show the price without tax. This is the way in Europe and the UK and this is logical (captain).
We met the big brother of the Armadillo I squashed in South America. He was pretty OK with his photo shoot until he came up and sniffed my foot...he then bolted off at light speed. I wonder why ?
Mother arrives tomorrow.....
We are finally leaving the campsite and on our way to the USA. We should be there in a few days to meet Mum.
Another piece of good news is we've sorted our auto insurance for the USA. We have been dealing with the ex-pat department at AIG Insurance. Dealing directly with the underwriter so this is much easier than the normal call centre staff. We have a 1 year policy with the cover we need for under $800usd. Some notes for those of you who also need it. You may not need un-insured and under-insured motorist bodily Injury (BI) cover as its likely your home travel policy will cover this. Ours does so don't waste your money on that.
As an example we got fully comprehensive cover ($20,000) including zero excess glass cover with $1000usd excess/deductible for collisions, property ($100k), bodily injury cover ($300k for others) for the price mentioned. This is a high level of cover for the USA which is nowhere near the cover levels in the UK !
If you only want the minimum you can go a lot lower than we have. If you just get the legal minimum and the price drops a lot !
The company is AIG and the number is 800-343-5761
There's a few people there but if you get hassle ask for Kathy.
Batman Vs. Superman...
I really don't get this at all. I know I'm not a movie site and I know I'm not a Movie Critic. How the hell on this good green earth is Batman (a man) going to fight with Superman (the man of steel). After all Superman is indestructible and Batman is well, just a man in a cape with some tech gadgets? I do not understand how Superman isn't just going Laser his ass and give him a giant wedgy. Unless Batman can think of a way to put out the Sun (where Superman get his power) then its going to be a short fight....Possibly Sheldon can post a comment on how this will work in the slightest. In fact any one of the boys, feel free to post.
I'll not start on if Affleck is the correct choice for Batman and we'll not talk about the Kilmer era.
Looking forward to it....probably not. I'd rather Affleck carried on as director of "The Stand" and left the acting for someone with muscles.
We have the disease again. We have been here over a week. We are actually waiting for next weekend, as that's when Mum arrives in Houston. We are leaving here to go meet her so where better to stay than in a camp with HOT showers and GREAT Wi-Fi. No doubt as soon as I leave I will wish I'd downloaded something else. I doubt we will see speeds like this again until we get home to our own line. Which as it turns out is being disconnected.....soon.
Why is it that when you are away you seem to have more stuff to sort out than when you are at home. If it wasn't for Mum (mainly) and Dad (1st substitute) then our lives in the UK would fall to pieces and the house would be a royal pain in the ass. Even after two years away the English things still come around to hassle you. We have to insure stuff, rent stuff and agree stuff. All sorts of crap. I even had a Tax Return to do and I've not earned anything for two years !!!
Today I was talking to the guy in the next truck, you know the one who's been here 4 years (4.5) and I realise I'm a bit rusty. I need a technical injection. I need to read some web sites and refresh my knowledge. I'm two years out of date. I miss my IET magazine and all the things it kept me up to speed on. I miss internet every day and just reading crap on there. I need to configure a router or two to get my fix....(but I don't want to fix any PCs, Amen). I spoke to the internet service provider in the UK about moving my internet feed and realise I'm seriously out of date with whats hot and whats not in that field and that's MY field....If you build it they will come.....and I've not built anything for ages. So I f anybody wants to send me some white papers on FTTC and the like then please do. Especially if its true and not propaganda stuff. Does this mean I'm preparing to come home......???? Is my mind telling me its over ? hmmm....
Do I just have the disease bad from the 4.5 year carrier....at least in Mexico $30 pesos will get you any prescription.....
Cars (part 2)...
Took 5 hours to do the seals because the wading plug in the bell housing refused to let go. It ended up being drilled out and removed using bolt remover reverse screw thingy....I knew they'd come in handy one day. This wasted nearly 2 hours. I've found out my battery drill (actually Dads drill) can be charged on 120v which is strange considering it says it cannot on the back.
Car is all sealed up and new timing belt fitted. Went to the Garage to get the oil changed so all is good. I still have slight leak near the oil filter so I need to look at that later but I've had that leak for nearly a year. Also fixed the bonnet cable again !
Last night we stayed with Mike who we met in Nairobi early in 2012. We drank too much and talked until 1am....Julie was very drunk indeed.
I've also be informed Mexico is classed as North America not Central so I've labeled all the post wrong. I'm not changing them....
We are back at the Tennis club and enjoying the 10Mb/sec internet. This is far and away the fastest connection we've had in two years. Maps have been obtained for the USA, Canada and Alaska. Its a good job he's not capped although I did ask before abusing the connection. I do wait until night and the other campers/residents have gone to bed.
Parts are here and i have the timing case and belt off. Only took 20mins as I have no viscous fan to remove so its a really quick job. Going out for a beer tonight with a guy we met in Africa in Jungle Junction. He now lives here so we are meeting up for a few beers.
Tomorrow morning I'll put the car in order and back together. That should take no more than two hours as long as all goes well. Fatal last words.....
What a difference a night makes, feel 90% better. Taken some anti Parasite pills and started on some Cipro. Got some more Cipro and it was REALLY expensive here. Cost a fortune for 24 tablets. Nearly £6.20 for 8 tablets !!!!!
Next stop India for some cheap medication.....
I've tightened one wheel bearing up. Just one, I was relieved !
Parts might be here tomorrow.
Superman the Return...
Its not been a good day. First we went to wash some clothes and the machine spent 1 hour washing due to its crappy water fill rate. We commented on the lack of suds in the machine whilst watching it, like you do. Turns out the soap powder has not been dispensed so the washing wasn't clean and you know how dirty we are ! (see previous posts). The low water pressure wasn't enough to reach the soap draw. So we had to re-start the whole lot and leave to go get the oil exchanged.....We returned to a bag of wet washing and its now hanging out to dry n the campsite.
So,,,, we arrive at Autozone which isn't the same one where we got the oil. They don't have any oil for Diesels. I ask for a refund and because of all the free shit we got, all hell breaks loose as everything is discounted. They only want to give me the discounted price back which isn't what I paid. They had really done something funky with the receipt in the last place. Anyhow after a load of discussions in English and Spanish which neither side understood we made some calls and got more than we paid back in return....I told them it was too much and they insisted. So we got an Oil Filter and Some Grease for 50p in the end. They couldn't fathom we got all the free stuff for "free" and only paid full price for the oil and glue. When the cancelled all the free stuff and oil off the receipt it looked like we'd paid M$99.99 more than we had so we made that in profit and spent it on Grease and a Filter.
My throat is sore from talking.....
I also feel like shit again. Its the same thing as the last two times. I need to go to bed. We are almost out of antibiotics so I will hold off taking any. We need to get some more if I'm to take them for 5 days again. I wonder what it is ?
There were some blog comments I forgot to approve....SORRY its now done.
I'm not quite there yet and we've had things to do. Like sleep to the sound of Tennis Balls bouncing at 8am....We ignore this and carry on. Just like the English. Carry on regardless.
The car parts are on their way. They should be here Monday or Tuesday at which point I will fix the car. New seals and a new timing belt (currently covered in oil) and replace the engine oil......except.
Do you know (i did not) that engine oil is not always compatible with Diesel engines. The oil i got, for the first time ever is Petrol only.....I'm flabbergasted. So tomorrow I need to take it back and swap it. Except i don't think anyone sells oil for diesel cars. I hope they speak English. Also when we got he oil they gave us a tonne of free shit. Luckily i've not used any of it so they can have it back. More luckily the Auto shop is a chain store and they have a really good return policy printed on the receipt so it should be OK.
Julie had her first Tequila. She's not impressed. I like it and always have. I do like Vodka, and Gin and Southern Comfort. I like Southern Comfort....I really do....with Ice....on its own. Except I can drink at least an entire bottle in one go. It becomes expensive.
Henning has updated his blog. Finally.....go to the links page to get to his blog.
There is an Overlander here (in this camp) who's been here for FOUR YEARS !!!!! Holly SHIT batman.....i do not call this overlanding, more of retiring.
I've taken advantage (after asking) of downloading LOTS of stuff. We have new maps for Mexico, USA, Canada and lots of TV we have missed. Movies, Music and all sort of stuff we know is illegal but eventually we will pay for this crap. Just not quite now. When I get to UK and sky start taking £40 per month off me for the one channel we watch then i will be paying for it.....you know its £15 for 104 channels here a month.
Do you like the new way of showing the photos ????
If only Ryan Reynolds were here...
Anyhow we are waiting for some seals in Mexico. Should be next Tuesday when the arrive. Not exactly quick....
So we will post some photos and stuff tomorrow or the next day. Expect at least one Blog post as I go crazy with boredom. No we haven't got the Overlander disease but we know someone who's terminal.....they have been in this camp for, wait for it.........FOUR YEARS !!!!!
I wonder what the next blog post will be titled....I actually know already.
Matilda is bleeding oil from the timing case....All the seals I have and I don't have the one I need !
So If anyone can think of a way to get me a few Land Rover seals in Mexico then I'm all ears....
Too many people there to do a full moon so Julie does a partial...
Photo of one of the million or more speed humps in Mexico....really there are many. So many that If you never need to drive here then don't ! It make the entire place rather unpleasant to drive in. Here they are called TOPES.
Some Photos of the disproportionately price camp sites. I mean you can get a hotel for 200 so why are camp sites 200 ??
Photos of the Sun and Moon Pyramids....Although you can walk up the big one. Allegedly the 3rd largest in the world....its better at Tikal. From the look of the orange netting they have up half way up the big one they have BIG queues at certain times of day. Go Late ! It only takes 3 hours or so to walk round the entire thing.
The English people we met in the campsite in Oaxaca are back there again after leaving. (they must have the Overlander Disease). Actually, they have a fuel pump problem. Luckily they are well prepared and have previously moved the pump outside the tank. They have a TD5 and its normally a royal pain to get to the pump requiring dropping the tank out. You either cut a hole in the floor at the back of the Landy or move it outside. "chance favors the prepared...."
Hope it all goes well guys....and get yourself to a Marine Chandlers to get some stuff to get rid of the Bacteria in your Diesel or you may have more trouble later. I wager its the bacteria screwing with the pump. If it gets to the injectors you're in real trouble !!! Costly...trouble.
Hard Rain 2....
Looks like the fix wasn't quite as "like new" as I'd hoped. They are at least working properly but still not as they should. Looks like we need some more parts....
We've been to a few campsites and some Pyramids. The Internet here isn't fast enough to do the proper post and put up pictures so you'll just have to wait.
My windscreen wipers have worried me for quite a while and in fact since the shake down to Morocco. I've been putting off fixing them and its a pain in the bum taking the entire dash off. However after a bit of Google work I found an article written on a Land Rover Forum. Written by Ralph or western as he's know there. Its a make do and mend fix which has worked perfectly. Thanks to him. He does actually read this blog sometime as he frequents the forum I use quite a bit.
So the fix was to remove the drive cable and turn the gears over 180 degrees so the cable is running on an unused part of the gear. They now seem to work. Lets see in the next torrential downpour.
Currently staying in an Overlander camp in Oaxaca with another Land Rover Defender and a family from Leamington. Mum, Dad and a single daughter. The other daughter is at home. Sleeping in two roof tents and on their way south. He has a leaking swivel seal so he's got some parts off me which I can easily replace in the UK. They shipped into USA from the UK.
At the moment we are sat here having a beer and wondering why I don;t follow my own advice and get moving. If there was nobody here we would have only stayed one night.....its a disease I tell you !
It got to that stage again....we paid an excessive amount of money for a campsite so we could wash the bedding. Luckily they had a plastic washing tray thing so we could do a proper job. IT would have been cheaper to get it washed in the next Hotel !
Its really strange when hotels cost M$200 or M$350 and a campsite is M$300. This is the way of things all over the world so far. The camsites have no idea on value of their service. We can get a Hotel Room, Cable TV, linen and air-conditioning for M$200 and the next campsite want M$300 for nothing other than a bit of land. This Hotel pictured is M$350 practically on the beach. We'd didn't shop around.
It actually makes me mad....they think they are well priced and doing you a favor ! I know where we are staying from now on. Hotels.
Been meaning to post this for a bit....
We've been told on our travels that we are moving too fast, moving too slow and that we've missed the "beautiful" things....that we're going to die in the next country on many occasions....many times we've been told this in both Africa and America...
We've met people "travelling" very slowly....in fact they are "travelling" so slowly they are not moving at all. They are just living in a country for years (in a car). Some only move to do a visa border bounce or to get the car paperwork re-done. This isn't overlanding in my opinion and isn't really travelling. They pass opinion on where we should go and what we should see and say that we are "travelling to fast". Most of them are well meaning, well travelled and not at all falling into the category of people I'm talking about here though. Unfortunately some do fall into this category and these are usually the ones with nothing to go home for. These are the ones that have left their homes and in fact do not have homes at all. They live abroad and have no fixed abode. They pretend to be overlanders but do little overlanding combined with plenty of camping.
Some of us have a budget and a limited time that allows. We are not retired and not working. For goodness sake....we're NOT working. If i wanted to experience South America for 2 years. I'd move there and buy a house! I spend as much time in a country as I want to. I stay one or more nights in a place and move on before I get to the point where you stop travelling. In certain campsites there are other overlanders around and you stay too long. No sooner do you decide to leave than another overlander turns up and you decide to stay a few more days to get to know them. Its like a virus....every new arrival at the camp infects the "residents" with the desire to stay a bit longer. Before you know it you've been there for three weeks and done nothing. You've certainly not travelled! You have met some great people however. This not only destroys you bank balance, as every day stationary is a day lost somewhere else but it destroys your drive to get going to the next place. I'm not doing this journey to meet every person in every town or indeed every overlander on the continent. I like meeting them but not at the detriment of my journey or our/your Journey.....now get the fcuk moving.....
A strange few days and a film I really like....
We've been to the cinema a few times and watched also watched a few things we missed which we had downloaded. We went to see the Illusionists and whilst being OK it was full of plot holes and things that didn't stack up. Worth a watch, yes.
Been to see Wolverine also. OK so this is also full of things where you just say "hold on a minute,,, should they be X, Y, Z" and there's never an explanation. So although Its OK its not great.
Isn't it great when you can go to see a movie for £3....
Back to the trip.
We've been skipping our way up through the Yucatan and stopping at various RV parks and even some "Love Motels". The love motel were very interested in us when we started to unload the big items off the roof so we could fit it into our private garage. Those of you unfamiliar with love motels should Google the basic set up. You get a room and private garage where you go directly from the garage to the room. Nobody ever sees you. Even check it in done from the car. We managed to cook in the garage as it was pissing with rain. Its the perfect overlanding hotel. If only they would make the garages 2.5meters and not 2.3meters tall. You can also have your food delivered though a hatch worthy of a James Bond Movie. It was a good hotel !
We've been to Chichen Itza but I do not know why. Tikal is much better. We were in and out in under 2 hours. Its pretty busy so get there before lunch.
At some point we picked up a Cat. Yes, a real cat. It was in the engine bay making a right racket last night. I though it was under the car, not inside it ! Anyhow we might have brought it all the way from the camp the night before in the pouring rain for 5 hours in the engine bay ???? Once poked enough to make it want to get out of the tight spot it was in, it immediately shot up a tree. I've never heard meowing like it. I wonder if we'd separated it from Mum....and then transported it a few hundred miles....LMAO. It will likely be OK where we left it if that's indeed what happened. Shame we didn't have the cat to catch the mouse we
Tonight we stay in another Motel for M$340. Not quite a nice as the first one with the king-size bed and mirrors....however that one was M$500.
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