Moderator: I’d like to call this meeting of T.T. (travel trailer) Anonymous to order. Who would like to speak?
Bigfoot: I would. I’m Bigfoot, Wendy Devlin’s travel trailer.
Everyone: Hi Bigfoot!!!!!!
Bigfoot: I want to talk tonight about my experiences with Mexico.
Everyone: Yeh! Bigfoot!!!!!!
Bigfoot: I was manufactured in l983 in Canada and purchased by a retired couple from Vancouver Island, B.C. For nine years, I led the satisfied life of quiet weekend camping at the nearby lakes. Annually, the couple used to take me camping on blacktop roads to pleasant resorts. My degree of comfort and durability made them happy. I was more than pleased with their lifestyle.
In l991, Wendy Devlin and her family purchased me for $8000 (Can.). I admit the deal seemed good to me at first. Being owned by a couple with three kids appeared a happy arrangement. Besides who was I to say no? The older couple who owned me decided that their days of camping were numbered. My future meant sitting around under tarps in their backyard all year.
Well. The Devlin’s towed me back to Powell River in order to make their preparations for their up-coming trip to Baja California, Mexico. Baja sounded good, with its promise of dryness and sunshine. So they packed me up and headed 2000 miles south! I admit that the feel of blacktop riding smooth under my wheels felt real good! It’s a slick ride on the I-5 freeway through the Western United States!
Even traveling the Baja peninsula that winter was pretty nice. I ground my tires on some rough margins. Got stuck in the sand a few times. The best part was becoming like family with the Devlins. They liked me and I liked them. Besides I got to see Baja off road with its beautiful beaches and nice Mexican people. I was a “happy camper”. (Groan from the audience!)
The next winter, the family wanted to take me to Baja, Mexico again. I was up for it! This time, they dug me out of an early January snowdrift, loaded me to the hilt and headed south like the birds. The main road through the peninsula was closed for three weeks due to torrential rains washing sections out. So they headed east to Nogales and then traveled all the way south to the Yucatan. There were new toll roads to Mazatlán with more beautiful blacktop! It was smooth just like I said before! Real smooth! I loved it!
Things started to change after that especially on the “libre”(free) roads. To save a buck or to see the town, I’d bump and grind along these poorly maintained public roads. Bill, the husband, slowed to a crawl to bump over a tope (speedbump). These cleverly crafted humps are the “silent” traffic police of Mexico. Whenever the highway goes through a village or town, they are built to slow down traffic. They are wide, narrow; high, low; hard, soft; asphalt, gravel- never built the same twice in a row! Mostly they’re everywhere, man! One took out the propane fridge by Melaque, Jalisco. I should have seen what was coming down the pike. A couple returning from a trip from Cozumel, Yucatan displayed the axles of their new recreation vehicle thrashed from the roads of southern Mexico. Still I thought that it just couldn’t happen to me.
Things got worse after Manzanillo, Colima. Way worse! The main thrust of the tourist industry in Mexico is geared for tourists to fly into the coastal resorts. Sometimes the main highways are more pot-hole than road. If we made 100 miles in 12 hours, that was a good day! Still, I didn’t complain – not yet! For the weather is excellent and the local people are warm and friendly.
In fact, it wasn’t until I hit a tope that took out the sewer pipe, that things got smelly bad. Now I had no operating fridge or bathroom. The propane stove rattled itself loose and the beds needed constant re-tightening of their screws. I was a mess! The Devlins’ looked at me and said, “You’re falling apart! Get a grip on yourself!”
After four months, I contained more fiberglass shell than anything else. Still the family appreciated that. On our first night after crossing the border back into South Texas, some local good ol’ boys decided to harass us big-time. While they threatened my family, I held us firm from home invasion and assault. Scary stuff!
We made it back to Canada. For the past five years, I’ve sat in their farm- yard, molding. Bill stripped me out with promises of a refit. Yet here I sit, gutted and abandoned. This is my story, friends. Live and learn. In my recovery, I’m learning to say “no, to off-the-beaten track Mexico!”
Still, there may be hope for my future. Bill has been staring thoughtfully at me lately as if contemplating attaching me to a truck chassis. Rose, their twelve year-old, says she’s going make me into a girl’s club-house this summer. Maybe I’ll have a life after Mexico after all!
I say to you brothers and sisters in T.T. Anonymous, that if a couple with a bunch of kids offer you a new life on the roads of southern Mexico, just say no! Unless your axle rides nice and high, you are surely headed down a long and rocky road!