We've been sitting here VERY COMFORTABLY at Villa Corona for two days now - time to get my butt in gear and tell you about how we got here.
Back to Monday.......
We got an earlier start - not as early as anticipated - 8:30 was to be lift off but we delayed an hour or so realizing that traffic would be congested around Mazatlan. Since our route was through the northern part of Mazatlan the less congested the better.
Thankfully the ride through went relatively well - we were able to stick to Bill like - well, we stuck. We only had one near miss when the semi beside us decided that OUR lane was to be HIS. It all happened so fast - as these things do, that we didn't exactly react as we should have. As the semi moved over into our lane Derek moved over too - but into the turning lane. He did slow down to let the truck go ahead - did we have a choice? but by the time the smoke cleared we were in the middle of the intersection on a red light. Can we say accelerate?
The most congested area through Mazatlan. Bill, Carol, Ms Jennie and Willie in lead position.
From Mazatlan to Aticama we had a choice of the Libre (free) road or the Cuota (toll) road. Bill told us in the morning that they had decided to take the Cuota even though we had heard that the Libre was pretty good. Weren't we surprised when we got to the Y - Bill took the Libre. No problem - it was a pretty good road.
An interesting motorhome we passed.....
The only tricky part about the libre was that we ended up in a few towns that became a bit convoluted as far as how to get out again? This is one of the very strong memories I have retained from driving through Mexico when I was 24 - you get into a town and have the darndest time finding your way out again.
Carol captured this very well from their position in her post from our travel day. And yes, Derek and I WERE wondering where Bill and Carol were taking us! But we got a great tour anyway!
Tons of mango orchards along the way. Are they called orchards?
A view through the second town - you gotta laugh....
Scenes along the cuota - once we got on it about half way through the trip.
Once back on the cuota back to the toll booths. I don't think I have shown a toll booth yet on the blog. They pop up every so often and you are never quite sure of the price until you get there and find the posted price. Of course, we are happy to be cheaper considered an auto then Bill and Carol with an RV and toad.
Just before the city of Tepic we exited onto the 54 to head towards the ocean and San Blas. Bill had told us that we were going to be taking the 74 so we were totally surprised for the second time that day. It was a good drive though with lots to see including a few towns with mucho topes.
On the outskirts of San Blas we went this way and then that way and ended up on this narrow road.
Five hours later we had reached our destination - El Chaco Restaurant, Bar and Hotel - and RV Park.
We parked between Tioga George and the beach, just down from Bill and Carol. This is the RV area - we were kinda hoping for more shade - it was VERY hot and humid when we arrived.
So, Cassia and I tried out the pool - on the shallow children's side.
Looking out to a beautiful palm grove.
Then we checked out the beach. A perfect beach as far as flatness - only problem is that it is also used
as a road by trucks, motorcycles and atvs.
Cassia enjoyed some play time - you can see how far it stretches out here. Unfortunately, since the sun was setting the no-see-ums were starting to come out and BITE.
In the end we only spent one night at El Chaco - we had thought to stay longer with Bill and Carol as our travel buddies. We sure enjoyed our time with them.
But - we were getting a bit beached out and the heat/humidity was starting to fray our nerves.
So, Tuesday morning bidding a sad farewell to our friends we continued on.
Once south of Aticama the road starts to climb into the mountains.
We followed the 76 to Las Varas and then turned left - east onto the 200 headed to Compostela.
This was right through the mountains and offered some great expansive views.....
As well as some tricky congested driving. This was actually part of a complete slow down in speed - we weren't quite sure what the problem was.
But we soon figured it out. Yes, eventually all the cars ahead of us were able to pass this truck - even on a narrow twisty road. The problem became ours when it was our turn. We tried not to think of all the vehicles held up behind us. We just could not get the speed together to pass this truck.
At times he was barely moving. It was VERY frustrating - but probably business as usual in Mexico. This guy was going so slow at times that we were surprised that someone didn't drive up and push him off the road. Eventually he did pull over to let the miles - I'm sure - of traffic by him.
We stopped at a Pemex in Compostela for lunch and then continued on - now on the cuota.
Now out of the lush forest near the coast and into the highlands. We were much happier with the cooler temps and drier air - more what we are used to. And the landscape?! LOVE it!
Agave plantations throughout this area.
Are we still in Mexico? Just not the kind of landscape that comes to mind. So happy to be seeing this beautiful country by land.
Have I mentioned the animals by the roads yet? I don't think so - I usually take the pics to late and they are a mere blur. I did better this time. Horses - but cows and goats are just as common. Sometimes they are tied up and sometimes there is a man keeping them in the ditch.
Not to far past this town we got onto the 15D - the toll road from Tepic to Guadalajara.
A nice four lane highway - with only a few bumps and construction along the way.
We took the 15D until just shy of Guadalajara at which point we turned off onto the 70 which would lead us to our next turn to head to Cocula with another turn to head to Villa Corona. Good thing we had the Church's book to keep us on track. The only issue we had was that the first left off of the 70 was supposed to say Buenavista.
But it didn't.
Fortunately the map showed the turn right across from the 4859 Pemex station. Since we needed to fuel up anyway we confirmed the turn with the gas attendant. Although we started out asking in Spanish all worked out ok because the fellow spoke some English having lived in San Francisco and Seattle.
From there the road was a combo of not great to bad. On the other hand it was just rough rather than pot holes when you least expect them. So, not bad.
I've just noticed that I have absolutely no pictures of our arrival into Villa Corona and to the Parque Acuatico Chimulco and RV Park. I was so busy navigating Derek that I didn't get any - sorry.
We left Aticama at 8:30 am and arrived in Villa Corona at about 3:00 pm.
No worries though - we have been here two days now and have a TON of pictures to share with you - form the park to the hot spring pools to the watersides to the town of Villa Corona to the Lady of Guadalupe festivities.
All coming up in the next few posts!
Whew! Two days of marathon driving in one post!
TODAY'S INTERESTING LINK: LOVE Pineapple? I totally LOVE it - it's one of my favourite fruits. Thankfully they are plentiful here in Mexico and SWEET. Here's a tip on how to prepare pineapple provided by Kevin and Ruth and here is a recipe from High Heels & Grills for Pineapple Whips, I may try while we are here.