| March 2009
The plan for this year's trip is to visit Mexico since we are starting in Phoenix. This is because it is a very busy year for us and we did not want to stay late enough to manage our trip to Alaska which has now been postponed to 2010. We have done no planning since all our American friends advise us it is much too dangerous and we do not want to be seen as ignoring their advice without having given it due consideration. US governmental advice is not to travel there because of the numerous shootings and banditry by the drug barons who are fighting a war for control of the lucrative drugs trade. However the British Foreign Office advice suggests that 300,000 British citizens visit Mexico every year and only 300 have cause to call the embassy. Given that Americans talk about travel in Europe as being dangerous we wonder how much is real and how much is media hype. Our researches suggest the problems mostly involve people
employed in the drugs trade or law enforcement although random travellers do get caught in the crossfire. It is better to stick to the main roads (toll) and stay at established camp sites, not travel at night and avoid the big cities, particularly the northern border towns.
So our plan is to cross at a small crossing point and head south to avoid the border area as much as possible. We want to visit Copper Canyon and
the Teotihuacan pyramids which will give us a 4,000 mile round trip, probably as much as we can sensibly fit into two months. Easter is a big holiday in Mexico so we have delayed our travel until after then by staying with friends in Phoenix. The weather is fine but not too hot and we are welcoming the rest after a hectic three months working on our property at home.
The RV has a few problems which look like making this an expensive trip.
The brakes seemed to be in worrying shape. And so they proved to be with new
disks and pads all round. VERY expensive. We also were advised that the
tyres are underrated which we knew since we could not get what was needed
when we last had to replace some. The roads in Mexico are not reckoned to be
good and tyres are even more difficult to find. So we may decide to replace
them whilst we are where we can get the correct tyres and carry the
underrated ones as spares. I suppose we have been lucky with repairs in the
last few years but it still came as a bit of a shock.
3rd June and it is time to start heading back home. The RV will stay in
Phoenix this year, so it has been washed and cleaned, and the tyres covered
from the sun. We aren't sure how it will cope with the Phoenix summer but it
is safe. It has now done 108,000 miles and is still worth $20,000, so it has
done well by us despite the repairs this year.
We just about made 5,000 miles in about 11 weeks which is consistent with
our usual rate of travel. We really enjoyed Mexico and would like to go back
and do the other states which we did not cover this year. Perhaps they will
be a little safer both from flu and from bandits. Despite all the
information from our US friends, we had no problems anywhere. We were
stopped a few times by the army but they really just wanted to have a look
inside. There are still drug shootings in the northern border towns, but
they occur in the US too. The southern border states are reputed to be a bit
lawless with kidnapping being the principle problem, but the rest of the
country seems OK. The people we met want it that way and I suspect that most
US information is about 5 years behind the times. We would certainly go back
and encourage others to do so as well.
But next year our plan is to go to Alaska. That means we will come a bit
later in the year because the season for visiting Alaska is quite short. So
now we are off back to France and we will start the planning process for