Monday, October 15, 2012

Boondocking Across Mexico

Years ago I fantasized about driving across the United States in a nice, comfortable motorhome visiting all the sites we have never seen, travelling slowly and aimlessly to wherever the winds blew us. Alas, there was very little time, with busy careers, to nourish this fantasy and it eventually died. This was, of course, all pre-Mexico.  I never really considered us to be "RV" people, but the thought of an extended trip exploring all the nooks and crannies seemed like a nice adventure, if a bit unrealistic for two people who, shall we say, favor slightly posher accommodations.  We went through a phase of tent camping a few years back and I must say that I love a campfire, but sleeping on hard, cold, damp earth is not for me. A nice little cabin in the woods with a decent bed is somewhat better, but a slick hotel or interesting B & B with unlimited restaurants nearby is supreme. No worry of ticks and chiggers which are rampant in our neck of the woods.

Now, remember how Alan and I (well.... mostly I) have anguished over how we will get ourselves and our animals to Mérida? Problem solved. No more relying on the empty promise of a Tampa ferry. No more dreading the thought of transporting our "kids" in a cargo hold that would probably take a year off their already short lives. Well, we still dread driving through the border area, but I've read all the RV forums and it seems that dozens of people do it every day with no problems. I figure having two dogs, who can be aggressive when they perceive that we are being threatened, can't hurt.

The solution? Well, I have to take credit for this brilliant idea. When thinking of driving with our two dogs and the cat in our Ford Escape, with a minimum of eight days on the road, it just seemed impossible without keeping them all heavily sedated. I started reading an RV forum and had the idea that a Class B motorhome would be ideal. They are fully contained, with two captain's chairs, an enclosed toilet and shower, a kitchen area with sink,  small refrigerator,  space for an induction cooktop, and a sleeping area with two twins which can fold out to a King bed. All this is on a gas-guzzling Ford E-350 Van chassis, that is only 20 feet long and fits in most any parking space. It doesn't need to be leveled, and can be hooked up to a campground's electricity when not using the generator fueled by the 35-gallon gas tank.

2004 Pleasure-Way

When Alan came on board with the idea, we started looking online and were flabbergasted by the sticker price. We soon found that there is a market for used Class B's, which is what most people can afford. We tried E-Bay, Craigslist, and for sale by owner. Most used units are well maintained because anyone who can afford a new one is going to take care of it. We finally found one we liked, and last Wednesday I flew to Gainesville, FL and drove it home. It's a 2004, with only 31,000 miles and looks brand new inside and out. We are thrilled - the dogs could not care less, but they will learn that it is just another of our homes, albeit a small one.

Within a few months after we arrive in Mérida, the vehicle will be 10 years old and, if we were told correctly by Girl Friday, we should be able to nationalize it with our FM3's. If anyone can verify this, we would appreciate a comment. Other's have said we need the FM2.

Also, we will be able to make short boondocking trips ( check out  this blog - I met Chris through the RV forum and have had a few nice e-mail chats with him) throughout Yucatán and southern Mexico and we won't have to board the dogs. Here's hoping we can find a good, secure spot to park it. It's a tad too large for our garage.