I never realized that planning a trip could be so much work. At least down here it is. Actually the planning started weeks before we left and included much internet searching, map searching, calculating driving times and a lot of Lonely Planet guidebook referencing. We planned to be gone nineteen days, start to finish.
Since our friend, L, was to be joining us and going along, he also had a say about the trip. He is a tour guide for backpackers in Mexico and Central American and really knows his way around. He proved to be an invaluable resource to us. Since he has been to almost every major city in Mexico, the only place he really wanted to go was Los Pozas, to see the strange surreal working of Sir Edward James. It is located high in the mountain rain forest jungle near Xilitla.
We decided to plan the rest of our itinerary around this destination. Our original destinations included Ciudad del Carmen, Catemaco, Veracruz, Xalapa, Xilitla, Zacatecas, Guanajuato, Puebla, Villahermosa, Campeche and back to Isla Mujeres. As with any well laid plan, there were to be changes along the way.
The day before we left, which would have been April 13, 2005, found B and I running around like chickens with our heads cut off. As always, there is so much to do that has to wait until the last minutes. Trip to the bank, gas station, letting the carpenter know that if somebody breaks in while we are gone, he has our permission to fix the windows. Saying goodbye to our good friend, P, and reassuring her that she did not need to drive her golf cart by our house everyday. We had arranged with our next door neighbor to look after the place. He had his dog sleep on our front porch every night to discourage would-be break in artists!
Packing was a nightmare. We had planned on each only taking one backpack. Of course, that got changed as I decided I had to take this T-shirt too, these flip-flops, another pair of jeans and on and on. While I was doing this, it turned out that B was doing he same thing! We have never tried packing for such an extensive road trip before and were actually quite naïve in what we really needed to take. Had L been here, he could have lent us his professional expertise. He lives for weeks at a time out of a backpack. But he was someplace in Nicaragua or Costa Rica, or at least someplace in Central America at the time. He wouldn’t be joining us on the trip until we got to Veracruz. We would be traveling through deserts and high mountains, so we had to bring clothing to suit different climates.
So, with the last of our stuff crammed into two backpacks and an extra suitcase, off we went to bed. Tomorrow was going to be a long day!