A glimpse into our travel style at Slow Car Fast House.

Several folks have emailed questions regarding our routine.  Here is a quick explanation and photo collection that will share some info about our travel style at http://www.slowcarfasthouse.com  If you are enjoying these posts, send a quick note or hit reply.  It really encourages me to keep them coming, when I hear from you.

Where are you?

We are in the Northern part of Mexico. We have been in the states of Sonora and Chihuahua. We are traveling along smaller highways, through towns and villages.

Where we have been on this beta-test voyage!

Where we have been on this beta-test voyage!

What does a day look like?

Our day’s activities vary between driving and looking around. We begin at about 6:24AM, because that is when the dogs decide it is time to wake up. We make a pot of coffee on the stove in the van, using a Moka Express. Then roll the bedding away and set up for highway time. Sometimes Geneva makes breakfast of oats, fruit and yogurt;

Making fresh limeade to drink while on the road.  Limes, water, a little bit of sugar and we are ready to go for the day!

Making fresh limeade to drink while on the road. Limes, water, a little bit of sugar and we are ready to go for the day!

Fruit basket that hangs in van.  Typically cut up into oats/yogurt/nuts mixture for breakfast.

Fruit basket that hangs in van. Typically cut up into oats/yogurt/nuts mixture for breakfast.

Sometimes we have fresh tamales or stop at a panaderia and grab sweet breads or fruit filled empanadas. We also make a jar of limeade or jamaica to drink while we drive. Then we program the GPS and take off.

 

 

Coffee maker and cutting board.

Coffee maker and cutting board.

Stove with fresh tamales waiting for breakfast!

Stove with fresh tamales waiting for breakfast!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Driving is generally at a much slower pace than US travel. The roads are not in good condition. There are cows and horses at random locations and the other vehicles on the road are either driving slowly and aging gracefully, or racing in the Paris-Dakar and missed the start time. All of this lends to attention and caution while driving.

We also see a lot of interesting stuff on the road. Some of it is alive, and some is not. We spotted a ringtail cat (road kill) and a huge, black, King snake (slithering). We also saw a very small, baby horse that may have just been delivered on the pavement not long before we got there.  And of course, many horses, cows, dogs, cats and schoolchildren.   We also saw these:

A bull with a yoke.  It is a carved, knotty tree branch that has a rope around the lower legs to keep it on there.

A bull with a yoke. It is a carved, knotty tree branch that has a rope around the lower legs to keep it on there.

A snake that was crossing the road.  Unfortunately it was going to slow and the  curve was too sharp.  Snake lost- Alta won.

A snake that was crossing the road. Unfortunately it was going to slow and the curve was too sharp. Snake lost- Alta won.

Crossing the road- survived.

Crossing the road- survived.

 

 

 

 

 

 

While we are driving we stop occasionally to look at villages or get gas. We even met some other travelers at one stop.  They were on dirt bikes and headed from Los Angeles to Costa Rica within 4 weeks!

Another VW on the road!  We have not seen any vans yet, but several of these bugs.

Another VW on the road! We have not seen any vans yet, but several of these bugs.

These fellas have a long way to go and a short time to get there.  Made us happy to have no timeline!

These fellas have a long way to go and a short time to get there. Made us happy to have no timeline!

Typical gas station stop.  Pemex is the only option in Mexico- owned by the government.

Typical gas station stop. Pemex is the only option in Mexico- owned by the government.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We roll along, listening to music on the iPod or an Audible book on the Kindle or just talking to each other. We pass people who are walking; working and watching the world go by. We wave. We get the typical stare.

This is the typical look we get as we cruise through a small, Mexican village.

This is the typical look we get as we cruise through a small, Mexican village.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dogs just hang out in the back.

Mango and Seri hanging out in the back of the van.

Mango and Seri hanging out in the back of the van.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we get where we were headed we usually drive through to look it over. Then park and settle in for the evening. Generally that includes dinner, a walk with the dogs and some reading, blogging, emailing or playing games before bedtime.

What is the food like?

We can get nearly all the same items at a grocery store as you can in the US, but generally smaller packages. We have not encountered a 24 pack of toilet paper, but a single-pack or 4 pack is common. Dog food comes in 7-kilo bags, maximum, or in small plastic baggies that are scooped out of a big bin.   Nothing is ever a double pack, super sized, giant or economy pack. But they have all the basic needs, plus usually some regional specialties.

The typical check out counter at a grocery run.  Notice the Mennonite cheese  (essentially sour cream) which was made near where we camped.

The typical check out counter at a grocery run. Notice the Mennonite cheese (essentially sour cream) which was made near where we camped.

We eat carne asada tacos (soft shell tacos with chunks of grilled beef, cabbage, lime, guacamole) and burritos (skinny, little, rolled up tortillas filled with shredded beef or chicken or refried beans) and pizza (same as USA) and even tried a torta (a sandwich, similar to a sub with shredded beef, mayo, cheese and lettuce on it)  We even had cheese enchiladas and chile rellenos!

Cheese enchilada's and Chile relleno's in Yecora.

Cheese enchilada’s and Chile relleno’s in Yecora.

We also eat in the van sometimes. This might be a dinner of fried potatoes with garlic, rosemary and peppers or pasta with a homemade sauce or cheese and crackers and fruit. A typical snack is Costco trail mix (we are almost out of that) or tortillas.   The one thing we are concerned about is running out of French Vanilla creamer for our coffee. And I am not talking about the powder type, or half and half style cream; I mean the creamy, chemical-laden delicious stuff!!  We bought some of the shelf-stable liquid to test and it seems to be working out. So we will stock up on that and hide it in every nook and cranny in the van. Neither of us are looking forward to coffee without French Vanilla.  We hope to find places to stash bottles and boxes of the new, shelf-stable, liquid variety.  http://www.amazon.com/Coffee-mate-Liquid-Creamer-French-Vanilla/dp/B00CQB9VSI

Are you enjoying this so far?

We are enjoying the rhythm of moving along when we wish, and staying an extra night when we like it. I am smiling and relaxing and feeling healthy.  But honestly this sort of travel is still work.  Not physical work, but thoughtfulness or awareness that is still stimulating in a good way.  It requires thinking of risks, locations, reading maps, planning miles to gas stations, stops to see things and of course keeping the dogs out of trouble.  And all that is without the vehicle malfunctioning, which it has not in quite some.

I am not looking for a place to land; I am enjoying the opportunity to fly!

The streets have no names!

The streets have no name!

 

19 responses to “A glimpse into our travel style at Slow Car Fast House.

  1. Just discovering your blog and LOVE what you are doing! Have so many questions too. Like, on one of your pics you have an enclosed room out the side of the van; what kind? or did you make it yourself? And what about the travelling in/to Mexico. It’s what I’d love to do but have been warned that single woman, not Spanish-speaking, in old van w/ cat is not a good idea on a number of fronts. (And I’m not a mechanic either). What do you think? At least so far? Wondering and thankful for any reply ❤

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  2. Hey Geneva & Mike,
    Fred and I are really enjoying your blog. It is really fun to sit down and read about your adventures. I do hope you find places to hide your creamer. Fred understands your dilemma. As for me I take my coffee black.

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  3. Rebecca-
    Please email me any questions or concerns that you have in mind! I asked a lot of people for advice when we were prepping. I will be happy to send more photos, descriptions or details. (genevasaintamour at hotmail dot come) My hubby will be in Leesport, PA area this weekend for the class reunion. (see next post)

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  4. Hi!

    I’m really enjoying your updates.  My family just bought an ’85 Westy and next summer we will be headed south ourselves.  We have a year and not much of a plan except that we have to be back 12 months later to resume work and school.  Our kids are 11 and 9 and I’m looking forward (and fearful of) the time we will spend together.

    I especially appreciate the pictures of the inside and outside mods you’ve made to Alta and this post in particular was good to read as I’m wondering how our days will look as well.

    Keep up the update please!

    Thanks and maybe we’ll cross paths next year.

    Best,

    Rebecca Eichler

    (Alexandria, VA)

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  5. Geneva and Mike: I love hearing about your trip and enjoy the details. Keep posting. Fun to know what is going on with you!

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  6. Toni and team- We will be in Baja in a few weeks. I am going to put up a post about how the Pan-American fits into our overall plans. Perhaps we will see you on the sand somewhere?

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  7. The trip to Copper Canyon is a long, slow drive due to the road conditions and mountains. However, once broken into a few days- the trip through the Sierra Madres is amazing. There are great places to tent camp, check out the app http://www.iOVerlander.com for ideas. I added a few while we were on the trip. We are gone from Kino now, and will probably not be back this year. But you can always send me a note for more info!

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  8. Hello Geneva, Although I thought you were already headed for South America, a beta-test is probably a good idea. Your average day sounds much like ours on the road in Baja, or for that matter, in British Columbia. Thanks for the posts, and the map of your actual route, as we’re spending February and March in the same area. Mary and I, plus border collie Toby, in our ’97 Eurovan, are an even slower-moving house. Keep the blog posts coming! Toni

    On Sat, Nov 1, 2014 at 12:01 PM, It’s not a slow car, it’s a fast house! wrote:

    > genevasaintamour posted: “Several folks have emailed questions > regarding our routine. Here is a quick explanation and photo collection > that will share some info about our travel style at > http://www.slowcarfasthouse.com If you are enjoying these posts, send a quick > note or hit reply. I”

    Like

  9. I loved this post!
    We are considering driving Cañon del Cobre. About how many miles is it one way? Are there good places for tent camping?
    When will you be in Kino? I’d love to meet up. We’re headed there the day before Thanksgiving for a week, then back for ten days or so over Christmas.

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  10. keep them coming………I have sent a couple to my brother and his wife who did the US/Canada in 9 months in their RoadTrek 200.

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  11. Thank You so much for sharing your adventures! It sounds as though your settling into a routine and enjoying this pace of life…. I admire you both for continuing to follow and live your dreams…..

    Like

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