How to Prepare for a Hurricane

A cigarette card showing hurricane warning flags.

I am writing these notes after passage of a bad hurricane. We have been without services for a week and it looks like basic survival mode is going to last a lot longer. Note: Please bear in mind the ideas and suggestions listed in this article have nothing whatsoever to do with the most important issue – personal safety. Hurricane personal safety has been discussed in other articles and is, of course, far more important than comfort or convenience. But […]

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Cooler Breaks Kickstarter Record

So a cooler just broke Kickstarter’s record for the largest amount of money raised. So far the campaign has raised over 11 million dollars. I get it. I mean, if I had money to donate to Kickstarter campaigns, I’d definitely want to support the advancement of cooler technology, a subject near and dear to my heart. To quote the cooler’s creator, “Well, you have a built-in blender so you can have your blended drinks. It has blue tooth speakers so […]

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When My Ship Comes In: Winter Gear Wishlist

While Carl is something of a hound for gadgets, I’ve always been a traditionalist. When it comes to travel gear, I tend to go or inexpensive and or classic. I’ve never ventured into the shadowy region of lightweight $400 tents and camelbacks; it seems a slippery slope for someone on my budget. However, I may be taking a turn to the dark side. Last year I reviewed The Ultimate Hang, which opened my eyes to the culture of hammock camping […]

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Preparing Your Vehicle for a Trip to Mexico and Other Notes on Mexican Car Parts

Peter Aschwanden's famous drawing of an exploded VW bug

“Say, I have this 1995 Volkswagen bus, with 140,000 miles on it and I was thinking of taking it to México on a long trip. If it were yours, what would you look out for, or inspect carefully?” “Hmm, that’s a lot of miles. Has the alternator been replaced? Then there’s the water pump and hoses, and then —-” You’ll usually get an earful of information. Some folks don’t want to hear it. They’d rather plug their ears, cross their […]

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El Codo's Bag of Tricks for Getting the Best Gas Mileage

'87 Dodge van parked in palm grove.

editor’s note:  We don’t call him “El Codo” for nothing. Some of the more lax members of the People’s Guide staff may not go to such rigorous efforts to save a dime. But maybe that’s why we can’t afford to drive to Mexico this year and are forced to fly, like amateurs! El Codo says: No matter how you figure it, a gallon of regular gasoline in México costs the equivalent of three dollars and thirty five cents, and stops […]

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Back to the Basics: One Camper's Fall from Grace

The first time I set up camp in Mexico sans parents, I had just turned 20. Kamari and Sam and I flew into Puerto Vallarta and arrived at playa Tenacatita with tents, a hammock, a one burner stove, a precious cooler, and little else. Our camp furniture consisted of crates salvaged from a local tienda. For two months, we ate crouched in the sand like heathens. We had to keep the beer and the food in (gasp!) the same cooler. […]

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Book Review: The Ultimate Hang

Hammocks were a big deal in my family. We had opinions about hammocks. I was raised with the gospel of hammocks, and I never deviated. The best hammocks in the world are woven in the Yucatan Peninsula. In a perfect world, one would always buy one’s hammock by the kilo at an ancestral cave-like Merida hammock shop. Cotton thread, not acrylic. Ropes should not be tied directly to the hammock ends. One should lie in the hammock at a slight […]

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El Codo's Tips for "Luxing Up" a Camping Van or Crappy Hotel Room

editor’s note: These are not paid product endorsements, but rather el Codo’s rigorously tested honest (and typically detailed) recommendations, born from trial-and-error and many uncomfortable nights and agonizing battles with sub par equipment. Know that if el Codo (aka “the cheakpskate”) says something is “worth the money,” it’s worth the freaking money. Exploring Mexico is no less fun today than it was almost fifty years ago, but somehow my income has not kept pace with inflation. Squeezing all the miles […]

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Badgers Against Nescafe

  My friends Kat and Chris call me Badger. This name does not stem (I hope anyway) from my badger-like build, but rather my charming personality, which needs a coffee jump-start before it submits to the taming influences of civilization. Other than folding dirty tarps and crossing international borders, my least favorite thing about traveling is my eternal morning dilemma: How to acquire my coffee? When we camp or stay in a motel, I have a kitchen set-up that can […]

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Vintage image of people washing clothes in river.

We could have used this back during those long afternoons we spent bent over rocks in the Rio Purificacion.

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