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The Perfect RV for Mexico

Part 1

By Carl Franz

Lorena and I have been driving, camping and RVing in Mexico since the Sixties. We’ve written two books on the subject, and though both camping books are out of print, we definitely haven’t given up. In fact, just as soon as we finish our current writing projects, we’ll toss our hammocks, tent and cook pots into the van and head for our favorite beach.

When Kathy first emailed us for advice on RV’ing in Mexico (her letter is below), I thought I’d bang out a quick response and be done with it. As it happens, however, her questions coincided with our own search for the Perfect RV, and opened a very interesting “can of worms”.

As you may have read elsewhere on this website, Lorena and I are currently driving an overloaded ‘89 Volkswagen Vanagon. This vehicle looks good and drives like a dream, but the truth of the matter is that it just isn’t big enough. Lorena and I have many interests and many projects. We also have to work and earn a living as we travel. This means that we cram our traveling office and laptop computers into the van, on top of camping gear, books, clothes, popcorn reserves, a Klepper folding kayak, and other must-have tools and toys. Perhaps we left the van out in the rain too long, because I swear that it shrinks a little more every time we take it camping.

Which brings us back to Kathy’s email:

"My husband and I will soon be retiring and doing some extensive travel in Mexico as well as the US and Canada, with plans of settling in Mexico after a time. (destination still unknown at this point -- much more exploration is necessary) Here is our dilemma: We are unsure of what size motorhome to purchase. As we will be living in it (with our dogs) for some time, we would like as much space as possible while still having practicability. We know from experience that the big ones could never negotiate small village streets. Can you park outside of town and take your tow vehicle or is it going to be necessary at times to go through these small towns? (in which case we would be in deep trouble). Is it possible to travel in Mexico and still see some of the lesser known destinations in a fairly large motorhome -- say around 32 feet?"

Ken Luboff's article, The Resurrection of the VW Van, inspired us to buy an '89 Vanagon (parked behind his fancy EuroVan).

Kathy’s dilemma is the "Sixty Four Dollar Question" of RV travel in Mexico. In fact, Lorena and I have debated this issue for decades, and have traveled and camped throughout the country in everything from passenger vans and campers (VW, Ford, Chevvy and Dodge) to station wagons, sedans, pickup trucks, and even a full-sized schoolbus. As yet we haven’t braved Mexico in a factory-made motorhome, but we’re definitely tempted.

Unfortunately, none of the vehicles we’ve driven would qualify as your ideal "ride" for Mexico, especially if you need a combination of mobility, comfort and additional room for dogs. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a recommendation, but our suggested RV involves several compromises.

Continue with The Perfect RV: Part II

©1972-2001 by Carl Franz & Lorena Havens