Saturday, December 31, 2016


Today was to be the day that I posted my annual "I'm outtahere" post as I head for the Pacific Ocean each year.  Sometimes earlier then this.

But today, the post is not outtahere, but "no fumar".  No smoking.

Let me explain.  I have received phone calls from friends earlier this morning telling me they are stranded in Lake Chapala and cannot go on because there is no gasoline at the Pemex stations anywhere in the area that they are located.  In fact, having driven from San Miguel yesterday to Lake Chapala there were many closed stations, and or, the few that were open had long lines and only one kind of gas, if any.

I informed them to look for little grocery stores called tiendas and to look for "no fumar" signs. ""What the heck?""was their response.  Here's the story.  It has saved my life, three times.  See those plastic containers in this photo?  They contain gasoline.  Now I don't know if it legal or bootlegged or what, but when one is
stranded in the middle of nowhere or in a little village or at the bottom of the canyon in Batopilas, there is nothing sweeter to see then a "no fumar" sign or those plastic containers.

The above photo was taken on my way from San Miguel to Ixtapa/Zihuatenejo in January of 2005.  Not only was there gasoline but also an outhouse.  Oh my, bliss, ha.

Another time while at the beach, as I left, I looked down and the orange button was lit and it was a long drive back to where I was staying.  What to do?  About that time I saw a little open air store with a "no fumar" sign.  I stopped the car, which contained some friends, popped into the place and came back with a woman who put gasoline in the car.  Somewhere I have a photo of that scene.

The last escapade was at the bottom of the canyon in Batopilas.  After driving for six hours to go ninety miles, I sure as heck did not want to make the drive back up without topping off my gasoline.  My fellow travelers assured me there was no Pemex station in Batopilas, which was understandable, but I knew that
there would be a "no fumar" sign somewhere.  Voila!  I drove down two streets and saw two signs.  Problem resolved.  Everyone else who had driven down were relieved as well and had no idea about the significance of a "no fumar" sign.

My friends were going to ride around Lake Chapala looking for the signs.  While doing that, I decided to go online and see what information I could find out.  Oh my, it's a mess.  A perfect storm.  It seems that, in fact, thirteen state are seriously affected with a major shortage of fuel.  Take all those traveling from the USA to Mexico for the holidays, the Mexican nationals who always travel for the holidays, a price increase that takes effect tomorrow on fuel and the fact that Pemex will no longer have a monopoly on fuel in Mexico effective tomorrow.  Let me reiterate, it is a mess.  It seems that in order to deliver fuel to the existing stations, Pemex sent out new contracts for the franchisees to sign and they only had 10 days to do so.  If not returned in that time frame, no fuel would be delivered.  Let me be the first to tell you that mail hardly ever gets to anyone in ten days even when mailed within country.  To send and return within ten days would be a miracle larger then the birth of the Baby Jesus.  I do not jest.

Of the thirteen states that have a crisis, I learned that Guanajuato, Michoacan, Jalisco, Colima and San Luis Potosi are at the top of the list.  Guess where I am and what states I would travel through?  Yup, Guanajuato, Jalisco, and Colima!

Needless to say, my "outtahere" blog might not get written for many days.  Even though I rented the house on the beach in LaManzanilla effective January 1st, I, unfortunately will not be there.  Bummer.  It might be a while before my toes are in the sand and I'm walking through this glorious surf.

And, so it goes in Mexico!  I remember this happening in the USA back in the late 70's when there was no gasoline to be had.  What does one do?  Stay where I am until this mess is over or I get word that there IS gas from here to there.....

Stay tuned.


Peter Kouwenhoven said...

Good grief, what a drag! Hopefully the situation will improve soon...
Happy new year Barbara.

Babs said...

Happy New Year to you and Shelagh as well.

Anonymous said...

Hola Barbara!
Wow, great tip! I'd never have thought to look for "no fumar" signs as an indication of gasoline.

As for your trip, any chance you can take the bus? Seems like a better option than paying for a place you can't use. If you're right about the mails, it may well be quite a while before the mess gets sorted out.

Saludos and Feliz Año Nuevo,

Kim G
Redding, CA
Where we are having a quiet New Year's Eve at home.

Babs said...

Hi Kim - Great to hear from you! I could take the bus, but I take food and all kinds of things because I'm going to be over there for 6 weeks...staying in two different places. I truly need the car.

I thought you were living in CDMX now. What's happening? I never thought of Redding - only Boston....

Stay in touch and write more often. I'd love to know what you're doing these days.

Glad to pass on the "no fumar" tip. Watch for the little signs now when driving in Mexico. You'll probably see them if you're in little villages.....

Croft said...

The "NO FUMAR" is a great tip! My other suggestion would be to hire a taxi to lead you to where you can guy gas. We have used this method a couple of times when we got lost and had to find our way out of town or to an RV park.

On another note, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Babs said...

Happy New year to you as well Croft! I too have hired taxis to lead me places - especially in Guadalajara as I attempt to get to the beach! It's worth the $$ to get help, for sure. Happy RVing.............Hope to see ya'll again some day.

Anonymous said...

Hola Barbara,
I wrote a post yesterday updating my life. It's a bit chaotic at the moment, but I'm hoping to get back to CDMX this year. We'll see. Right now I'm taking care of my mother. Saludos.

Babs said...

Good news and I'll read it today.............Kim

Steve Cotton said...

When you get down here, we have plenty of gas in town. Fortunate for us, I guess. Darrel, Christy, and I were heading to the highlands this week, but I have a scouting report out on the gas situation between here and Patzcuaro. My Guadalajara sources say there is plenty of gas there.

Babs said...

Steve, my friends who were stranded in Ajijic, made it to La Manzanilla last evening. They are sending me a list of places they saw fuel, and where they did not.

There is fuel in SMA - as I topped off this morning. I do NOT know about Michoacan, but I would think if you topped off in Guada, you could make it on that.....

See you soon........or not. I will tell you the traffic on the highways is unbelieveable and in SMA as well. You probably would do well to wait until the 9th to head out as Three Kings Day will be over and the kids will be back in school.

Here in SMA, we have never seen such a flood of Mexican nationals in town here. Never.......Cars from states of Mexico all over the place!