One cold winter in Chicago a few years ago had me discovering and following a few blogs of folks RVing in Mexico. No blog was more innocently charming (and popular) than that of the Grand-Daddy of all Mexican RV bloggers, Tioga George. Ironically, the year I finally make it to Mexico is the first year George has not (he stopped blogging and moved back to the U.S. last year).
George spent his recent summers in the highlands of central Mexico and winters on the beach south of San Blas in a small town called Aticama. Whenever he needed to go to town for extensive shopping or repairs, he would drive up the mountains to the city of Tepic (pronounced “Tay-PEEK”), and stay at the RV park in town, Los Pinos.
Since we were headed to central Mexico and Tepic was right on our route, “Winnie Lynne”, Ms. Millie, Ms. Winnie, Mr. Tracker, and Ms. Powershot decided to make Los Pinos our “Night Camp” in honor of Tioga George.
9 AM – Driving to Tepic
Ms. Millie is in her “navigator” position right between the cab seats as we make it off the long, dirt Isla road and back onto pavement. We are headed south along Highway 15 to Tepic!
I doubt Tioga George ever took a toll road in Mexico, but we on the WinnieLynne team are still new to driving solo in this country, so we drive the more cautious, and more expensive cuota (toll road) route. How much does this little 160 mile stretch end up costing us? A mere 1123 pesos (US$86 !!!). Yes, bringing the toad does make it cost about 35% more, but still…
This section of toll road is only 2 lanes, but has wide shoulders on either side. Why the dashed lines? It’s actually a pretty smart system--- basically, whenever there’s a dashed line, slower vehicles are to straddle that line and drive over to the edge of the road so that faster vehicles can go into the center of the highway to drive around them. If one sees a oncoming passing vehicle, you straddle onto your dashed shoulder lane as well to give them room to pass. Imagine how much less the US highways would be to build and maintain if we had adopted such a system through our rural areas!
Soon, MsWinnie is driving into our 4th Mexican state, Nayarit. Things are starting to look greener, and we begin the 3000 foot climb up into the hills of Tepic.
1 PM – Los Pinos
Los Pinos RV park has a most unusual entrance—a simple archway within a half-circle shaped strip mall! Just drive right through and curve up around a slight hill, and you’re at a lovely, lush green little RV park of about 15 sites. A tall brick wall borders the park to provide added privacy and security.
We pay our 200 pesos (US$15) for one night’s stay and MsWinnie backs into nice, cool shade beneath the trees. Could we be parked in the same spot MsTioga used to stay at?
Meanwhile, Lynne discovers a long-lost friend in the overhead storage bin for MsMillie to play with—hip, hip, hooray! It’s Mr.Frisbee!!!
3 PM – Off to Town!
After the expensive tolls, the WinnieLynne team needs to find more pesos for tomorrow’s continued journey. So, MrTracker takes Lynne and MsMillie to town in search of an ATM. It’s a warm, sunny afternoon so we first do a quick drive through the downtown centro area around the cathedral and main square. Pleasant enough, but not a “Pueblo Mágico” or a Mazatlán!
We make our way over to the other main road through town and this one has all the “modern conveniences” including a nice bank ATM, and a big Wal-Mart. MsLynne decides to go buy some groceries while MsMillie takes a siesta in MrTracker.
We follow an old VW Bus across boulevards and side streets to make our way back to Los Pinos where MsWinnie has been waiting patiently for us. Tomorrow, we shall continue the “Tioga George Trail” to another RV park he stayed at over in central Mexico!
Where ever you might be now, George, we thank you for giving us (any many others!) the inspiration to RV to this beautiful and historic country. May you continue to have good health and peaceful days!