Well let me just tell you it feels great to be here! We are getting ready to head to our house which is only about a 15 min dive from here. This town already feels like home and the people are awesome! I want to thank you again from the bottom of my heart for all the prayers and encouragement. I will continue to keep everyone up to date on life here and can't wait to show y'all some pictures o out new home!
Because we were so busy yesterday I was able to post so let me catch ya up!
It was determined yesterday that our van was broke beyond repair. Basically our head gaskets and pistons were cracked so it was going to cost more to fix it than what it was worth. We had not paid very much for the van almost a year ago, and by the grace of God we were able to sell it and get all but $400 back! God is so so so good!! We had to rent a uhaul type truck and were able to put the trailer that was attached to our van inside it. We were also able to take some of the weight of dads trailer which will definitely help with the tire pressure and blow outs! It was expensive to rent the uhaul but we are very glad that we could find one to rent.
After we got everything loaded on the truck we took of to escarcega. When we got to escarcega it just didn't look like a place we needed to be staying. So we made the decision to drive the 4 more hours on into chetumal. It got dark about 2 hours before we got to chetumal. We are so thankful to be here and very glad to be out of the car! Please Continue to keep us in your prayers as we adjust to life here!
We got up very early this morning so that we wouldn't have to drive in the dark. We went to start our van and it wouldn't start. Being that its Sunday we could only get one "mechanic" here and well he had no clue what he was doing. As of right now we have no clue what's wrong with our car....we think it could be the catalytic converter but we hope not. Basically all day we have been going back and forth with a guy who pretty much just wanted money. So for now we will wait till morning to find out what's actually wrong and pray we can get on the road soon!
We are thankful that this happened before we left the hotel and not while we were on the road! God is always watching over us!!
Well we had another crazy day,we left our hotel this morning and went on our way and about 20 min down the road we blew another tire...that's 3 total. We got out quick to change the tire and our jack wouldn't work. Again we were on a very busy hwy and trucks were rushing by. So dad decided that we need to go buy another jack and just as Joey and I were going to leave with Kylee we heard a popping noise (like fire crackers or gun shots), so we left as fast as we could not wanting to leave mom and dad. Right as we got to autozone dad called me and asked if we were back because there was someone walking around the trailer, I told dad no and he said he would find out who it was, come to find out it was a man on a bike trying to flag traffic away for us. The man on the bike stood in the hot sun with a white hand towel telling the oncoming traffic to move over he stayed there till we finished, dad called him our angel on a bicycle. My heart was racing and all I wanted to do was to be back with mom and dad. We bought the jack and brought it to them. As soon as we got back Joey started working to change the tire, then the policia showed up and we thought it was going to be a problem. It was two officers with ak47's and they were the two nicest men I have met. They told dad that they were there for our protection and would not leave till we left. They went on to tell us that the popping we had heard was in fact gun shots and that it was a bad area. Bear in mind we had stayed the night in this town....God has taken such amazing care of us!! We got the tire fixed and they helped us get back on the road. We have figured out that the tires are getting to hot causing them to expand so now we are going to have to stop every 45 min or so and check them and let them cool down (it was 103 here today). This could not even begin to describe how afraid and stressed we were and it does not paint an accurate picture of today. All I know is we are thankful that the policia showed up and patrolled around us, and our angel on a bike kept traffic from coming over on us!!
We went the rest of the way to Villahermosa and are here now resting till morning. We will need to leave very early so we don't have to drive at night tomorrow. Please continue to pray we are in the home stretch with only one spare left. We could not be more thankful to God for His protection over us!
Today was a very emotional and stressful day, we were able to get the tire this morning praise The Lord, we did have to pay duty fees on it which is very frustrating. As soon as we went to go jack up the trailer the jack broke, luckily there was a Walmart pretty near buy and we were able to buy a new jack. We got everything packed up and left the hotel around 12:30, but we got detoured due to construction in Puebla and ended up not getting out of there till 1:30. It was about a 2 hour drive over the last of our mountains, it was steep and very curvy, but we were able to get down them with no problems.
About 30 min later we here a pop and think we blew a tire on our car, but what happened was the pins holding our lift gate on the trailer popped out and our gate fell down. Thankfully we were able to get it held closed with an extra ratchet we had. About 30 min after that we realized that two of our tubs had fallen off the trailer somewhere and we could not go back to look for them because it was a very busy hwy and it wouldn't have been safe. Right now I am praying that it is my stuff and not Kylee's (we have a manifest and will know when we reach chetumal). we told her that it was not her stuff and while I understand I may have lied to her, if you could have seen the look on her face as we drove off with her knowing some of our stuff was missing you would agree my lie was justified....I honestly didn't know what else to do. We tried explaining that we would replace anything that was missing, and that didn't help much. Just as I felt as lost as I could feel I hear Kylee singing from the backseat "I will bring praise, I will bring praise, no weapon formed against me shall remain", that is a song by hillsong called "the desert song", if you have not heard it I urge you to.
"This is my prayer in the desert when all that with in me feels dry, this is my prayer in my hunger and need my God is the God who provides. And this is my prayer in the fire in weakness or trial and pain, there is a faith proved of more with than gold so refine me Lord through the flame. I will bring praise I bring praise no weapon formed against me shall remain. I will rejoice I will declare God is my victory and He is here......all of my life in every season You are still God and I have a reason to sing, I have a reason to Worship"
There is a lot more to the song, but today this part hits home. We have gone through so much on this trip, and I know that satan wants us to stop, because then the Word of God will not be spread in to this part of the world. But for everything satan has thrown at us God has provided and blessed ten fold. In our weakness and trials and pain right now we know our Faith is strong enough to move mountains and we serve a God that will help us push them! We will not be broken or torn down by satan, we have every reason to worship, praise, and serve God no matter what the circumstance. We know that whatever is in those tubs God will provide a way for us to replace it and maybe, just maybe it will be a blessing to someone who finds it. We are thankful to God for our safety, and that is what is most important to us!
Thank you again for your prayers!
P.S. we drove till about 11:00 pm tonight because right now we are in a stretch of road that hotels are few and far between. This was our first time having to drive at night, it was not fun, there are no street lights and lots of cars. We hope to not have to drive at night again!
Today was spent gathering things we needed for the rest of the trip like extra bearings and things. So we found a mechanic just about a block from our hotel and he was kind enough to come and help us take the wheel apart and find the bearing size. He got the bearings off and it was time to head out to the parts shop....which we thought was his shop....we were wrong. Anyways Joey, the mechanic, and I take of driving towards the parts shop and the policía pull is over. Very long story shortened they "fined" aka bribed us to give ten dollars (which would have been more had the mechanic not been there) for two tickets (there just so happened to be two officers hence the two tickets).....still have no clue what we did wrong....pretty sure we didn't do anything wrong. Well we got to the parts store and we had to park a little ways from it in front of a store entrance. So I had go with the mechanic in the store while Joey waited with the car, the mechanic was so funny and protective of me....he wouldn't let me walk next to the road in the sidewalk lol. We got the parts and headed back to the hotel to put the tire back on, and can safely say that our bearings are in excellent condition and once we receive the tire tomorrow we are good to go!
We have fought off and on with customs all afternoon but we are hopeful that we should get the tire tomorrow. Please pray that we are able to get the tire and be on the road tomorrow and that we have no problems once on the road.
Today since we are still in Puebla we decided to look around a little bit. First of all there are a lot of stereotypes about Mexico, it's not safe, it's very dangerous, be cautious with the people there, etc. well allow me to be the first to announce 90% of those warnings are wrong. Now, don't get me wrong if you are wandering the streets at night in a bad part of town or hanging out in a trucker town something bad could very well happen. But isn't that true in America too? If you head down into the streets of Chicago at night you might see some stuff that you really ought not to be seeing. I guess the point is if you do something stupid, something stupid might happen to you, sorry if that sounds harsh but it is what it is. The people of Mexico are amazing,they are sweet and helpful, today Joey and dad were driving and got lost they asked a taxi driver where our hotel was and he lead them back to the hotel (several miles away) at no charge. Everyone has been so nice and they all just want to talk and get to know us, I love it!
We had a realization today that our last name in Spanish is escuelas (schools), while our last name is already an odd name in English it is extremely funny in Spanish. The folks here laugh so hard every time we tell them our name. Mine and kylees name have no translation into Spanish but joeys...now it's funny....Pepito Escuelas lol, everyone cracks up when they hear it. We came to realize about our name while talking to a man who lives in Mexico City who gave us some awesome information about which route we should take when we leave here (one more crazy big mountain to go).
Kylee is loving getting out and about in the town and talking to EVERYONE she sees, I love hearing her speak spanish it is simply adorable. Today she asked "is this really what mexico looks like", we said yes and she said "I'm so happy we are here". You have no clue how happy I am to hear those words come out of her mouth, as a momma you worry if your baby will be happy, or miss being in America, well I'm happy to report she is gonna be just fine here!
Now for the exciting news (I saved the best for last), there is a volcano erupting in Puebla! Now before anyone gets worried, it's only ashes and small spurts of lava. They said its a stage yellow 3 I think, anyways they too us up on the roof tonight and we got to take some pictures, you can't see the volcano very well for all the ashes. But still super cool! As of right now nobody has had to be evacuated and they are thinking it will just die down.
Well folks since we had to use our spare yesterday and NO tire store had them, we are stranded in Puebla (driving over a very large mountain with no spare is not very smart). Thankfully with the help of Linwood Smith, a M.E.I. bored member, brother in Christ, grandfather figure to me, and a man who has been there for our family since before I was born, we are getting a tire shipped from the states. We are so very blessed and extremely thankful for his help, and we expect to be back on the road by Friday (we hope).
While being stranded isn't great for our travel time it is very nice on our bodies (and vehicles), Kylee is enjoying just being able to run around, play, and swim! We are also getting to spend a lot of time speaking Spanish, which is great, I can't wait to be able to just talk without hesitating.
On that note I have a very funny story to tell y'all! So I've been trying to get mom to use the Spanish that she knows, but she just doesn't feel confident. So yesterday I was telling her that when I don't know a word I say "como se dice" (how do you say) and point to what I wanna know the word for. As silly as that sound they respect the fact that I'm trying to learn. Anyways, so today mom was trying to get a box of Kleenex's from the lady at the hotel, so not knowing how to communicate that (and wanting to use more spanish) mom held up the Kleenex box and said proudly "como se dice" and the lady looked at her, chuckled and said "Kleenex". Bless my moms heart she can't catch a break...the one word she tries to learn is the same in English and Spanish lol.
We will continue to keep everyone up to date with everything going on! Just keep those prayers coming!
We had a little bit longer drive ahead of us today, so after breakfast and Kylee doing some ballet in the hotel lobby we hit the road again (our lives for the past two weeks have been a Willie Nelson song). It was hotter today so unfortunately it was a little rougher on the vehicles, causing dad and moms check engine light to come on. We got them some antifreeze and checked everything out with the help of a sweet older man who worked at the gas station, we ended up giving him a pair of needle nose pliers we had (he was so excited!). We are not looking forward to finding out what all needs to be replaced/repaired in both vehicles once we reach chetumal (going over a lot of mountains while pulling trailers takes its toll especially after 3,000+ miles). Please keep that in your prayers, because repair expenses are no fun, especially after such a big move.
We didn't go through many towns today other than around mexico city and through a few what I call "trucker towns". These trucker towns are bad news, they are nasty and look so sketchy. They have semi's pulled off to the side all over the place but there is nowhere to get gas or anything like that, just several "motels". We just tried to barrel on through them, I did however manage to snap a couple of pics of them. We didn't see much of Mexico City thanks to a new road that takes you around instead of having to go straight through. We have been to Mexico City once before and it's not a place I would advise going, it's not very safe and there is a lot of bad things that go down in the city.
Shortly past the Mexico City bypass we blew a tire on the trailer, we are pretty sure that at one of the stops to get gas they over inflated It. So we had to pull over on a very busy four lane hwy to change the tire. While I can safely say that we have no future with the Indy 500 pit crew (my dad had said before that he wanted us to look like the pit crew if we got a flat while in MX) we did pretty good for a hand crank jack and a tire tool. I think it was under 15 minutes, I assure you that fear was the driving force behind us going so fast. About two minutes after changing the blow out it started raining, so we got it done just in the nick of time! The rain caused several accident (which we were not involved in) which caused a two hour back up on the hwy we were on, and this doesn't even tip the iceberg of the thins that have gone on today, from getting lost to expensive tolls its just been a long day. Right now I want to plead to you to continue praying, we need your prayers, we cherish them. Today was by far the hardest day we have had it was very exhausting physically, mentally, and emotionally. I honestly cannot begin to explain to you the stress that this trip entails, and we are by God's grace handling it as best we can.
Tonight we are staying a little ways outside of Mexico City, and we are hoping to not have as many mountains to go over tomorrow. We are all doing well just very tired and ready to be done driving. Dad and Joey have driven the entire way due to safety reasons like pulling the trailer etc. and I know it has been extremely difficult on them, and my dad in particular with his bad knees. But we are all pressing on and trying to keep our spirits high! Thank you again for your prayers and support!
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
P.S. highlight of the day: the sweet old man telling Joey that he knew what he was doing and to let him add the antifreeze because the car needed it....he was speaking Spanish so fast and pointing to the radiator and all I caught was "refrigerante en el carro" (antifreeze in the car) to which Joey replied "ok" lol. I laughed so hard I was crying.
Well we had a good nights rest after our busy day yesterday and even got to connect to wifi to call family (boy technology is great)! Kylee got to go swimming for a little bit before bed, where of course in true kylee fashion she made a friend,who was also four. We hit the road bright and early and even though we are in Mexico let me just tell you it is cold going through these mountains. We got about two hours down the road and had to stop at a large policía checkpoint (again more guys with big guns). They looked over our cars and tried to ask us some questions but with us not being fluent in Spanish and them not speaking any English the talking didn't last long (ignorance is bliss). The one man literally could not stop chuckling because of the language barrier, one good thing is as long as you put forth an effort they really appreciate it. Anyways, after looking in the cars real quick we were back on the road (no, Kylee didn't get to hand out any coloring pages.....she was asleep).
One really cool thing we have seen since we've been driving is fake cop cars, not dummy cars, actual life size cardboard cut outs of cop cars. Now, you might be thinking what dingbat would fall for something so silly....well I can name you four right now lol. All joking aside they should totally put these things up in the states! Something else we have seen that should not be started in the states is pay toilets. I'm telling you I bet me, mom, and Kylee have payed over ten bucks today just to potty! Now that's a money making business if I've ever heard of one! Although the folks here have been very friendly I take my "bathroom companion" (monkeys fist) with me every time us girl head to the potty. For those of you who don't know what a monkeys fist is there is a pic of it below (its the pink ball, nothing complex but I think it would do the job), you can never be to careful when it comes to my baby girls safety!
Well after driving over mountains, mountains, and more mountains, as well as fog so thick that you couldn't see the car in front of you, we made it to our hotel where we will have our devotion and Lord's supper on this awesome Sunday. Just a few more days of travel, so keep those prayers coming! God has blessed us so very much and we are trusting in Him
Well to say today was eventful would be an understatement! We headed across the border a little after 8:30 and quickly found out we were in the wrong lane......so we had to cross the border...again....back to Texas......then again.....back to Mexico (I wish I were making this up). Finally we got in the correct lane and the Aduana (customs)begin to question us about what we were bringing with us in our tubs, so my dad handed them the manifest of our boxes in Spanish (brilliant idea of my dads, saved us so much time and headache) and they read over it. Several GI joes (army guys with big machine guns) went back and forth looking at our vehicle in all the windows looking very stern.....until a sweet little girl in the back seat smiled the cheesiest smile at them and they all started laughing.....that was the moment that changed everyone's attitude! Pretty soon kylee was hopping out of the car with pictures she had colored handing them out to everyone she saw (army guys with guns included). They all started talking to my dad about what we do and why we were coming to Mexico and before we knew it they were waving us through with only paying a little duty fee (which could have been so so so much worse).
We then made our way to get our vehicle permits and that was not a whole lot of fun. We waited in 4 different lines for about 2 hours. Again shout out to my dad for having all the paper work and everything in perfect order (he saved us so much time)! The only "problem" we had was my dads name is Russell but everyone calls him Rusty so needless to say they could not wrap their brains around how that could be the same person (does nobody in Mexico have a nickname?). But, we got that cleared up and headed to our next Aduana (customs) checkpoint. This checkpoint was fairly quick and again we gave them our handy manifest and told them we had already paid duties and they shook my dads hand and sent us on our way.
We then started our drive to get to Saltillo which was pretty easy going once we got out of the giant pothole land of Nuevo Laredo. We were pulled over by the policía one time to tell us to be careful pulling our trailer (I kid you not) then told us to have a good day. We didn't stop to much other than for gas where Kylee gave everyone she came in contact with a picture she colored....she has been busy!
Anyways, we are checked into our hotel and ready to get some rest! Please continue to pray for our safety and travels!
Ps highlights of the day....Kylee telling the army guy she speaks Spanish and then counting to ten. And also Kylee telling her poppy "well papa we are Mexicans now" I think I peed my pants a little. Oh and her new favorite thing is to tell us we are grumpy Mexicans. She is a handful!
Well we are on the road again after a set back do to a tire blow out (and several hours waiting on a tow). Thankfully we are all safe and back in the swing of driving....and driving....and driving. Kylee has been a trooper thus far however she does not understand the concept that it is going to take several days to ghetto mexico, everyday she asks we are going to Mexico today, then we say we are on the way and she says you said that before. But with 50 questions aside she is being amazing!!! Please continue to pray for us as we are traveling. Our path takes us by New Orleans (today) through Huston (tomorrow) and then crossing the border in Laredo (who knows when lol).