Sep 20, 2006, 9:22 PM
Post #14 of 15
Re: [cristalhombre] Traveling by Minivan/camper in Mexico
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I’m not sure of the exact ground clearance in the converted Sprinter, but the ones we looked at installed long running boards that seemed awfully low. I would not think they would be a problem though on regular Mexican roads, so long as you watch for the potholes and topes ‘gigantes.’ I don’t like four-wheeling, but my husband does - although he’s mostly talk on that subject. Since we can offload our camper, we can offload me in it, so he can go to places I don’t want to go to. In addition, I always have work I take with me to Mexico. (I’m an arbitrator and in Mexico I write up the decisions). So that’s another reason to leave me behind.
We thought about looking into a custom conversion but never quite got around to it. That’s interesting about the guy in Eugene, though, for your ‘artful’ camper. You could avoid low slung add-ons and have something unique. I sometimes reflect on the truck camper John Steinbeck had built for him in “Travels with Charley.” It was a little house with shingles and a gabled roof. This was before the days of fiberglass and vinyl and RVs. I saw one like it on the road one time - a do-it-yourself job that was very cute.
A feature unique to the Gulfstream that we kind of liked was that one model has an elevated bed in the rear. That leaves a huge area underneath for toy storage - big enough for two bikes and our inflatable kayak. The downside is that it made the inside of the Gulfstream seem a little dark and cramped. Short of climbing up on the bed, the only good seats were the driver’s and passenger’s, both of which swivel around.
My husband was hot on the Sportsmobile, made in Fresno and in Texas, and they have a new Sprinter model also. The original Sportmobile is a Ford van conversion and they have a cult-like following. It is hard to find much of a deal on a used one, and the new ones that are 4x4 run around $85-$88k, as I recall. I believe the Sprinter models are cheaper. You can design your own layout with them. There may be a few other manufacturers that let you do this also. My husband like the original version, but I finally got him to cool his jets on that one because they are a lot of money for what you get.
I hate to drive also - in fact I haven’t driven our new truck once yet. But my husband loves to, so I happily ride along. As a plus, he also drives me to the cases I handle, which occur all over the Pacific Northwest. I’m writing this response right now in the back end (i.e. in the camper) as we are driving to Lake Chelan for a gig. It is quite comfortable riding back here and using my laptop. I had a seat belt installed for this purpose. My husband is up front driving with the dogs riding shotgun.
Our first of our now annual winter visits to Mexico was in 2002, when we flew to Cancun, and in a rental car went around the Yucatan. Then we went by bus and chicken-plane around Belize and Guatemala. We noticed the sizeable number of people who drive from the northern US and Canada to Mexico and Belize, and we decided to do it ourselves. Now it has become an annual thing. We’re planning to do some skiing on both ends of our next trip because our fresh-out-of college younger son is working in Vail and gets deals on lift tickets. Supposedly, our camper’s heater keeps things nice and toasty in below zero weather, so we’ll see. We’ll leave our ski gear with our son then until our return in late March. (We plan on leaving in early January). We haven’t decided on our Mexican route. We had thought about going back to Oaxaca and spending more time there, but with the current unrest, we’ll probably stay further north. I loved Chiapas and recommend it highly (except for Tuxtla Guttierez, the capital city).
We are thinking of buying inexpensive mountain bikes for Mexico. We have road bikes-actually mine is more of a hybrid-and they are both pretty nice ones ones. It would be most convenient to put bikes on a ladder rack, but we are worried about theft - hence the inexpensive bikes. How did you transport and secure your bike when you did your mountain biking there? Also, how did you find good rural roads for biking? We’ve been on a lot of rural roads, but they are rarely light on traffic or have any kind of a shoulder. We’d also use the bikes as basic transport around some of the places we like to visit. I’m worried about bike safety, however, in those places.
Keep me posted on your 'artful' Sprinter quest!