Monday, January 7, 2013


Saturday morning we finally had it all together and were on the road out of Patzcuaro shortly after 9:00 am. A quick stop at the Pemex station and we were on our way.

Instead of driving through or around Patzcuaro to the east, we decided to go southwest on the 14 - the free road that we had come in on - because we had seen that about 20 minutes down that it met up with the cuota - the 37D, which we wanted to take down to the 200. 

That worked out well enough except that we missed the turn off - either there was no sign (my guess) or neither of us saw it. Anyway, we realized we had missed the turn by reading the east bound signs as we drove by. Yup - our turn off. Derek turned around, we took the off ramp, and we were on the cuota.

All is going well....

And some nice scenery.

Unfortunately, our trip took a dramatic turn for the worse. Sad when you can't even see these things coming. The day held so much promise too!

There are no pictures for the next two hours or so. I was too busy either trying to figure out where we should go, feeling bad that we were lost, and then swaying back and forth in my seat. Somewhere just before Uruapan the cuota divides into the 37D, which we were on, and the 14D into Uruapan. Don't ask me how but we ended up on the 14D right into Uruapan. To make matters worse - we didn't even know that this had happened. So, for the first 20 minutes or so we erroneously thought that we were actually on the cuota and for some reason it was going through the city. 

Mistake number two was that we didn't stop and turn around at the beginning of the congestion. We were way to optimistic that somehow we would come out at the cuota - we didn't - we drove right to the airport. No options now but to turn around.

So - we went back the way we came hoping for signs. What a relief when we finally saw a sign for the 37D - which we took. Another mistake - yes the road eventually WOULD take us to the 37D - but we were NOW back on the free road - the 37, headed to Nueva Italia. 

Ahhhh - Mexico - how I don't LOVE some of your road signs.

By this time of course, pilot and co pilot were not really seeing eye to eye on the sequence of events and the cause of the routing problems. 

The surface of the libre was actually very good - but as libre's do it was very winding. Good thing we had the whole day to the the 250 kms or so.

My map showed that we SHOULD be able to get on the cuota at Lombardia - now 36 kms south of Uruapan.

Yup - there's the sign - saying so!

Although Derek did start to doubt me when about 5 kms later we were still on a narrow little backroad. But it all came good when we got on the cuota at about the 11 km mark.

The good news was that we were on the toll road - the bad news - it is in VERY poor shape - very rough and LOTS of pot holes. 

We really enjoyed all the colourful bridges though.

What are the chances?! A yellow truck on a yellow bridge!

We kept trying to find a place to stop for lunch. Sadly, on the cuotas the Mexican government has not provided rest areas .... we ended up stopping at can best be described as a truck stop - we pulled to the front. 

By this time we are all a bit tired and getting cranky from the heat. 
We had forgotten how HOT it can be closer to the ocean.

I'm so confused as to why there are some places with Pemex stations on every corner and the to go hundreds of kms to find none. I was starting to get a bit nervous on our trip without a Pemex in sight - especially since we had spent quite a few miles and gas getting turned around in Uruapan. Thankfully a Pemex appeared at La Union on the 200. It had a line up but who cares - we have gas!

Just down the road from there we exited off the 200 when we saw the sign for Playa Troncones. Our destination. 

We had read about this beach side community on Kevin and Ruth's blog - including the spot they had found to park at - Restaurant Jaqueline. 

The restaurant and the hotel from the beach - you can just see the van through the palapa.

Playa Troncones - to the left and 

to the right (and this way Saturday - now Monday - there is hardly anyone around.)

In front of our restaurant is a group of rocks - the pelican hangout. So - we could sit here and spend the day watching pelicans fish - ahhhh what a way to spend the day.

 Of course it only took us the time to get into our swimsuits to get to the beach. Since the nighttime temps are not much different you can swim until the sun goes down.

Since we are getting our parking for a good price - and we are new here - we decided to eat at the restaurant. This the view from the pool at the restaurant right by the seating area.

Hammocks to lounge in. 

Still looking for a hammock of our own. 

Waiting for our dinner. We were really surprised by the high prices down here at the beach. Back in tourist land I guess.

Cassia quickly made friends with the two girls here - aged 9 and 7.

Back to the beach and back to the beautiful sunsets.

While we were eating dinner a couple of fellows came to drop off a brochure for Robert's Bistro down the beach. They were having a fiesta and dancing at 7:30 pm (50 pesos cover) and a sea turtle release at 6:00 pm. So - we decided to go down and see about the turtles.

We were actually really late because of waiting for our dinner but we were in luck - they were still headed out. But by this time the sun was pretty low - and you can't use flash - so I only got a few pictures that turned out.

While standing there watching with about 30 others - I overheard a man speaking with the organizer. He mentioned that only 3 of the 100 released with make it. Yikes! Not sure if that is much less then the natural way - seems as though those little guys have a tough time ahead of them. So small in such a BIG ocean.

Nice for Cassia to see - no - she didn't touch him.

The last shot of the day as we headed back to Caballito.

So - a VERY challenging travel day. That's the way it seems to go when traveling around Mexico - one step ahead and two back.

BUT - we made it to the beach safe and sound. And what a nice beach it is!

That was Saturday - now it is Monday..... I'll have to try to get another post out tonight since we are moving further south tomorrow. 


TODAY'S INTERESTING LINK: Have you heard of Playa Troncones before? We hadn't - just not one of the those places you really hear about. Here is some more info. It appears to be mainly a beach for Mexican tourists although we have seen a few 'gringos'. 


  1. 3/100 is a much better survival rate than nature provides. Their biggest danger is the eggs being dug up and eaten by coyotes, next is being run over by dune buggies and third is being picked off by sea birds on their way across the beach. The eggs being protected and the controlled release eliminates all of these problems. Now they only have to worry about waiting for their shells to harden before becoming dinner for a fish.

    I read about Derek's little adventure in the rip tide! Scary!

    1. WoW! Thanks for the turtle info Croft!

      Ya - scary for sure! At least it'll keep him closer to shore - for a few days anyway!

  2. Nice beach spot, we never did eat at the restaurant though. It does sound expensive. Looks like you're having fun either way. We've been in Mexico for two months now and still haven't seen the ocean!

    1. VERY nice beach - glad you posted it! You'll be at the beach soon enough though.....

  3. Bummer that you got a little turned around on your travels.

    Had to laugh when you said pilot and co-pilot were not seeing eye to eye...
    We have had many of those moments ourselves ... lol.

    How cool for Cassia to watch the turtles being released.

    Beautiful beach and amazing sunset.

    PS- regarding Croft's post about Derek ... what what what ??

    Take care friends ... TnT

    1. Guess all us travel couples have had those moments!

      LOTS of cool things for Cassia - right!? LOVE that about travel for her!

      Derek's story posted!

  4. Well at least you got onto the cuota before it was too late and let me tell you you did GREAT otherwise you would not be very very happy at all, a brutal free road at that point.

    Being a part of a turtle release is magical.

    1. YIKES!!!! Good thing we got on the cuota for sure!

      You're right - a really neat experience for the three of us - we've never seen little itty bitty sea turtles released before!


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