Back in the USA!

We made it! After heading through the Mexican States Veracruz and Tamaulipas, we finally crossed the US border entering Texas. From here we’re continuing our road trip across the United States towards Ridgecrest in Southern California.

Brownsville, Texas, is the well-known border town, we entered after hurrying through probably the most dangerous province in Mexico – Tamaulipas. Today we’ll reach Van Horn, where we’re going to stay for the night. Tomorrow we’ll get to New Mexico.

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News from Paraguay

Francisco Ibarra from the Classic VW Club Paraguay informed us that the magazine “ABC Color” just published the story on Herbie’s World Tour, we got interviewed about.

Here’s the link to the article, of course written in Spanish (by Julio Noguera).

Unfortunately we don’t have a printed version. Maybe we’ll receive one later.

The pictures you see here are those which were taken back then in Paraguay.

At this point we also want to say “thank you” again to Osvaldo, Natalia and Jorge from Asunción for their very warm welcome and the great time we had in Paraguay!

We got Herbie back!

Our Travel Bug arrived at the harbor of Veracruz on time. Yesterday Domi got the permission to pick him up. Everything worked out great and Herbie is doing very well. We are so happy about that! Now we’re looking forward heading north again.

Herbie’s vessel, the “Green Lake”, sailed exactly for four days across the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico – from South to North America. We can highly recommend this route for people who aren’t interested in driving through Central America (in order to ship the car from Panama) or who visited those countries before, like we did.

We enjoyed being in Veracruz in the meantime. It is a very nice city with a long history – part of it is kind of Austrian by the way. And our hotel (“Hotel Reforma”) is a real insider’s choice. Tomorrow we’ll leave this place, heading north on the coast towards Texas. It will take us days to get there and we’ll have to drive through the State of Tamaulipas again – certainly one of the most dangerous states of Mexico.

Happy Birthday, Mike!

One of the persons we’re always looking forward meeting again, when coming to the United States, is our dear friend Michael Lee Phillips from Ridgecrest, California.

He actually encouraged us to create Herbie’s blog and share our story with the rest of the world, because he has always believed in us as well as in our extraordinary journey. Today it is Michael’s birthday, on which we send him all the best wishes!

The Tiger Print Speedo

As you know, we are back in Veracruz, on the Gulf of Mexico. There is no other country in the world in which so many Volkswagen Beetles were produced like here.

Therefore you can still find a lot of spare part shops for air-cooled Volkswagen – just like “La Casa del Vocho” (“The House of the Beetle”) right here in Veracruz.

The streets are lined with all different kinds of air-cooled “Vee Dubs”, just as Bugs and Kombis. And most of them were made in Puebla, very close to Mexico City.

People still love using these reliable automobiles as company cars. Unfortunately Volkswagen decided to stop the Mexican air-cooled VW production in 2003.

Here you can see one of the later VW Beetle versions with its proud owner, wearing just a tiger print speedo, asking Domi “Why the heck are you taking a picture?”.

Domi bought all brake wheel cylinders as well as the master cylinder and its brake light switch for just about 60 Greenbacks (or 50 Euro) as spares for our Herbie.

Furthermore Domi got a whole bunch of different spares for our friend and mechanic Friedrich from Vienna. It is a huge box which we’ll send through the post to Austria.

Continental Tire Change

After touring across South America for the last three months, we flew back to Mexico today. But before taking off, the tires had to be changed – but not the ones of Herbie!

Our day started very early at four o’clock in the morning. Zainab even stayed awake the whole night, waiting for the taxi which brought us to the airport of Cartagena. Our first flight went from there to Panama City; the second one to Mexico City – by the way the biggest airport in Latin America. Before we could take off from there, our captain decided to change the two front tires – right in front of all passengers.

We arrived safely in Veracruz, Mexico. Herbie is still on his cruise across the sea. We love being back here, but there’ll be also a lot to do before getting Herbie out of the port.

Herbie and the Globetrotters

The biggest magazine about air-cooled Volkswagen in France called “Super VW Mag” just published a story about Herbie’s World Tour and us globetrotters.

The article includes an interview with us, done and written by Julien-David Collombet. For a readable version (in French) just follow Herbie’s page “Press“!

Mission Accomplished

Our plan was to explore the Andes of South America in our beloved Volkswagen Bug from 1963. Herbie accomplished his mission by driving 13,080 miles (21,050 kilometers) – all thanks to his very same engine with just 1,200 cc and 34 horsepower.

We’ve experienced so much by following the “Panamericana” and visiting Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil and Venezuela. So far we’ve been on the road in Herbie for more than 91,000 miles (147,000 kilometers).

Due the rain season and certain road conditions, we had to cancel our plan driving across Brazil and the Amazonas towards Venezuela. So we went all the way back by climbing the Andes again couple times, which was for sure even more challenging.

While Herbie will be sailing across the sea towards the Gulf Coast of Mexico, we’ll leave South America on Sunday, getting to Veracruz by three flights via Panama and Mexico City. If Herbie’s vessel arrives on time, he’ll reach North America on May 17.

Port of Lonely Hearts

Today we delivered Herbie to one of Cartagena’s ports where he’ll go aboard on his vessel “Green Lake” heading across the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico to Veracruz.

Unfortunately too many things went wrong again at the “Contecar” port and we had to spend the entire day getting almost all necessary shipping documents done.

Thanks to Pablo Uribe Antía from the Cartagena port administration we got through this chaotic organized harbor which already caused several problems at our arrival.

When shipping a vehicle via “RoRo” (Roll-On/Roll-Off) it is very important to remove things like the car radio, ashtray or cigarette lighter, because they can get stolen.

Tomorrow our Love Bug No. 53 will have his final inspection by the Colombian anti-narcotic police, before he’ll get on his boat leaving South America for good.

Waiting for the Ship

As you know we are back in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, waiting for the ship, which will take Herbie back to Veracruz, Mexico. Hopefully it will depart on May 12.

We initially booked a boat called “Green Lake”, which got canceled but they called the cancelation off again, so Herbie will be on his favored vessel anyway.

There is a lot of bureaucratic stuff  to do, before getting a car shipped overseas. But tomorrow we’ll finally deliver Herbie to one of the ports named “Contecar”.