May 02, 2010

Moving North for Ten Days

Press HERE to see a slideshow
of Photos on the Road North.

Betty in Campeche
IMG_0603: Betty in Campeche
Xalapa Mural
IMG_0618: Mural
Betty, Bill, Francisco and Catelina
IMG_0619: Betty, Bill, Francisco and Catelina
Church in St. Martinville
IMG_0638: Church in St. Martinville
Henderson Alligator
IMG_0645: Alligator River
Dorothy Bahlmann and Betty
IMG_6124: Dorothy and Betty

We rose early on Wednesday, the 21st of April. We did our last minute preparations before embarking on the 3000 mile journey from Merida to the America's great midwest. We returned our keys to Juan and Nora and headed first southwest a little after 8 AM. We stopped in Campeche, a city we had not visited before. We found the inside the old walled city to be beautiful. Unlike Merida the city is on the Gulf of Mexico. We really liked the look and feel of the city. Perhaps we will return one day to stay a bit longer. After less than an hour we were on the road again. We drove and we drove and we drove some more. In the mid afternoon at Villehermosa, we turned due west. And two hours later we turned again this time to the northwest near Acayucan. I finally stopped about an hour after dark in Catemaco, which is two hours southeast of Veracruz. Driving that last hour or so in the dark was something I hate to do in Mexico - mainly because of all the hard to see speed bumps.

We awoke in the morning on the shores of a beautiful lake. We did not stay long for the view, but struck out again heading north and west. By mid afternoon we had reached our destination, Xalapa. Xalapa (sometimes spelled Jalapa) is the capital of the State of Veracruz. It is a wonderful old colonial city that we had visited before and we wanted to stop there for a couple of nights. I had arranged to couch surf with Francisco Padilla Garcia. He was at school when we first arrived. His mother, Catalina, greeted us warmly. She is a wonderful lady, a retired school teacher. Later in the afternoon, Francisco arrived home after a day at the university. He is a great guy and we really enjoyed getting to know him. Later that evening we took him and his mother and sister, Maria Louisa, to a nearby eatery.

We did some hiking around the hilly city center both on Thursday and Friday. We enjoyed the main plaza and the nearby public buildings and the cathedral. We hoped to by coffee and vanilla here. We succeeded with purchasing six kilos of coffee, but we could not locate a good source of vanilla. We wished we had worked harder at it now, because we never did locate the vanilla we wanted. We also visited Los Tecajetes, which is one of the most beautiful parks in the city. It was constructed in a natural, 7.4 acre basin. It has flora and fauna typical of the nearby foggy forests. The name comes from a natural spring in this park, which was used as the first network of drinking water throughout the city. Later in the day we spent a lot of time chatting with Francisco. In the evening Catelina had acquired tickets to Xalapa Symphony, which we all made good use of. After the symphony we stopped for a drink. Friday had been a wonderful day.

The next day, Saturday, was grueling. We set out about 8 AM. We drove all day long. We only stopped in Papantla, looking for vanilla. Alas, we did not find it. So we continued on our way north, only stopping for gas after that. We stopped on Saturday night several hours north of Tampico. Again we left early on Sunday morning. We crossed the border an hour or so after noon, then stopped for lunch. Soon we were driving north again. As the sun began to reach the horizon, I was ready to stop. We were just south of Houston. Betty suggested that we continue until we reach the other side of this megalopolis so as to avoid Monday morning rush hour, and so we did.

On Monday we were heading east toward my father's home in Ocean Springs, MS. We stopped for lunch in Henderson, LA. We love the Louisiana dishes like gumbo and shrimp etouffee. It was late afternoon when we got to my dad's house. I was exhausted; three days of solid driving will do that to a person. Still it felt wonderful to be with family again.

We spent the next few days visiting. We did not do much else. Yes, there was a walk on the beach and a visit to the Shearwater Pottery. We just bought a couple of pieces.

Last Friday morning we started our journey north once again. We left early and drove almost until dark. We stopped just west of Saint Louis. In the morning we again headed north on US Highway 61, until we reached the Iowa border. The highway numbers changed but we were still heading north. We stopped to visit the first cousin of Betty's mother in Waverly. Her name is Dorothy Bahlmann. We talked for a couple of hours about our families. It was a very nice visit. But soon we were headed north again.

We finally arrive home about 6 PM on Saturday evening. The ten day trip from Merida had been tiring. It was so good to be home.

Posted by bill at 05:19 PM | Comments (5)