42.740597, -118.636602

2.12.2020

Xochicalco

Xochicalco was founded around 650 AD by the Olmeca-Xicallanca, which are a Mayan group of traders from Campeche. It was a major trading center at the intersection of several major trading routes. The city continued to prosper until 900 AD when the city was burned and destroyed. 



A beautiful reproduction



Time line of the various mesoamerica cultures



This sculpture is known as the Red Lord depicts a seated figure whose body is represented as the roots of a tree. In place oof the heads the sculpture has a halo composed of feathers. The Red Lord was the patron god of the ruling nobility. 

Big site, many stairs
Photo by Kevin

You can see the goal rings laying in the middle of the ball court.

One of the highlights of Xochicalco is the astronomical observatory. I was very disappointed that it was closed. It is a cave where a hole in the ceiling admits a shaft of light to enter from April 30th to August 15th. In the sun's movement towards the Tropic of Cancer and upon their return, respectively, on 14/15 May and 28/29 July, the sun is at its zenith and the astronomical noon, the beam of light falls directly through the chimney showing the image of the sun on the floor of the cave.

Ruth and Kevin


The most interesting structure is the Temple of the Feathered Serpent. The detailed carvings allowed the archeologists to reassemble the pyramid like a giant jig saw puzzle.

The Feathered Serpent.

We drove a short distance to Centro Ecoturistico Tetlamatzin for the night. I was tight, but we are all tucked in for the night. 18.823391  -99.294277

2.09.2020

Toluca

Catching up, while we were in Valle de Bravo we made a quick day trip to Toluca. Everyone on was hungry so we went searching for the local speciality, Huaraches.


We settled on Restaurante Napoles.

Everyone enjoyed an excellent lunch
Photo by Kevin

Basically Huaraches are sandal shaped tostados 




The city has installed art in the public spaces

The crown jewel is the renovation of the derelict old public market into an arboretum 

The refreshing botanical gardens are surrounded by gorgeous stain glass windows.


Ruth checking out the gold fish


A must see if you are in Toluca.

2.01.2020

RVing is Not All Sunshine and Blue Skies

One expects a little rain now and then, but for the last two months Serenity has been deluged by a perfect storm. It all started last December 9th in Durango when her auto-park brake failed to release. I took her to Puerto Vallarta for a surprisingly easy repair.

I left Vallarta to join up with the group.
 20 miles West of Ameca her oil pressure gauge was near zero.
* I stopped immediately.
* The dip stick was dry.
* I added a quart and a half of oil I had.
* The dip stick was still dry.
* She needs a tow truck
* No cell signal
* Wait for police who could call for tow truck
* I decided to move Serenity 10 yards down the road to a level spot.
* While moving, I observed that the oil pressure gauge was at 30-40 pounds of pressure
* 45 pounds is normal
* I decided to slowly drive into Ameca keeping an eagle eye on the gauge.
* Serenity made it and I stopped at first auto parts store and filled her up with oil.

I reconnected with the group. On the way to Valle de Juarez I stopped several time to replenish the lost oil
In Valle de Juarez Bob used J B Weld to stop the leak. Dec 28th.



I ordered a new oil cooler from the states to be delivered in Valle de Bravo.
* Oil cooler $400
* Shipping $260
There were three more stops before Valle de Bravo. The J B Weld was holding and I was getting very confident about Bob's repair.

* January 19th we leave Zitacuaro for Valle de Bravo.
* 10 mile from  Valle de Bravo Serenity losses power steering and brakes.
* I am stranded by the side of the road.
* I pull her engine cover and discover that the J B Weld had given way.
* Oil coating the pulleys had allowed the fan belt to come off.
* We decided that everyone should go to the campground.
* Kevin and Bob came back and helped install my spare fan belt.

* Thank you Kevin and Bob.

* Serenity made it to the campground.

The new oil cooler arrived.
* Import duty $75

Isn't it beautiful. Total $735

Kevin found a local mechanic that could install the oil cooler.


It was tight fit.

Serenity's door was blocked, so I had to exit through the window.

Cost of installing the new cooler was $93. Peace of mind priceless.
Ok, now I am feeing great. Serenity is repaired and ready to go. No more problems.

NOT

January 24 we headed for Cuernavaca. Climbing a mountain grade Serenity losses power. I come to a dead stop in the middle of the road.  Aron has a scan gauge to read the fault codes. I shows that there is problem with the throttle body. He clears the codes and Serenity runs just long enough to pull of the road.

I catch a ride with Aron down the hill to where the rest of the group is waiting. There is also a detachment of National Guard there. They call for tow truck. The tow truck will take me to a mechanics shop while the rest of the group goes to the campground.


* I am dumped in front of a small shop that is clueless about how to analyze and repair Serenity.
* I do a little research and clean the connections for the throttle body
* The next morning Serenity runs fine for 20 minutes
* Not speaking Spanish, I am nervous about taking Serenity for a test drive by myself
* I call Kevin and ask if he can come in and ride with me
* Kevin and Bob arrive
* We make it about a mile down the road before Serenity loses power agin.
* After several attempts Kevin finds a tow truck.

Choco arrives, Hooray

* If I had been alone, I would still be sitting beside the road.
* Serenity is towed to a Pemex station.
* Choco finds a mechanic that will come to us.

I am thinking. Can the mechanic find the problem. If it is the throttle body, it will take a couple of weeks to get the parts. Will Serenity ever leave Mexico. My anxiety level is through the roof.

* Mechanic Jose Noel Bautista arrives.
* Jose has a computer to read the fault codes
* We run Serenity back and forth in the Pemex parking lot until she loses power again.
* He dives under Serenity
* He thinks it is a ground problem.
* It is, the ground cables are corroded near the starter motor.
* He cleans of the cables and we go for a test drive.
* Serenity runs and runs.
* Jose did a great job.
* He spent 2 hours fixing the problem and charged me $106.
* Highly recommended  777-274-3775
* Total towing fees $479

Another shout out to Kevin and Bob for all their help

Today we drove 180 miles to Acapulco. Serenity did not miss a beat. I feel she is running better than ever. I hope this is the end  of all her problems, but I still have a knot in my stomach from that little voice asking, what is going to fail next?

1.23.2020

Valle de Bravo

We arrived to a not so sunny Mexican day.
Again we are enjoying Chago's wonderful hospitality at his marina, Embarcadero Las Olas del Valle. We are camped lake side with great views across the lake.  19.225761, -100.139022 

15 minutes after arriving, the hail cut lose.

20 minutes later all is white.



Ruth and Sue drawing 2020 in the snow.

Fatima having fun.

24 hours later at happy hour playing the ever popular Left, Right, Center.

A couple of boats returning from a day of fun

A walk through town and up the hill takes you to The Carmel Maranatha house. It began to function as a house to prayer in 1985. Its purpose is to offer a space to favor personal and God encounter through silence and spiritual retirement. 19.226737, -100.125695

Sue and Roy











The buildings and grounds are magnificent.