Like my cliffhanger last night?
Doesn't look much like an RV Park now does it? Weren't we heading to an RV Park?
Why yes, we were.
Did we make it? Nope.
Did we spend the night parked beside a road - out in the middle of nowhere?
Why yes, we did.
By the time we parked I only time for a few shots as the sun was setting. The view from the van looking towards where we came and in the distance the turn off to the RV Park.
How it all looked the next morning.
Right beside the entry into a community. A bit strange because it doesn't look like anybody actually lives there. An interesting way to create a 'for sale' sign. Hard to tell if the whole place is for sale or a house or two.
Ok - so why did we sleep on the side of the road when we were looking for an RV Park.
Well, this is why. THIS is the ENTRY into the park. Not only are there no signs - so it took us about at least 30 minutes to figure out if we had the right road or not, but then we looked at the narrow steepness and decided against going in. The gate at the top didn't help either. BTW - it's MUCH steeper than it looks in the photo.
Let me try to briefly explain. The only RV Park near Tapalpa that we know of is the one in Church's book - The Old Time Park - Rancho el Rincon. That is where we were headed to last night - well - last night on this blog. Because of the lack of signage we ended up thinking it was the place before this one - because - really - what kind of RV Park has an entry road like this one?!!!!!! The other had a gate but since it opened I walked up to take a look. I was met by a friendly Mexican fellow with not a drop of English. He walked back down to the van with me and Derek gave it a go. In the end I even showed him the website on the laptop. He still wasn't sure but thought we should try the next road up - yup - we figured out he was saying that.
So - we went by it a third time but still decided against going in - plus now it was getting dark.
What to do in this situation?
Well, you park on the grass and hope nobody bothers you or calls the police.
We actually had a good, albeit very cold night, and went to investigate the RV Park in the morning.
The gate was actually open.
So, we went in. First thought - we were so so so glad we didn't drive in - just LOOK at this road!
Again - it was way worse than the picture shows. Who would want to put their tires up against all those pointed rocks?
It was actually quite a hike to the second gate - and this one was locked. Now we were really glad that we didn't drive up or we would have been parked at the gate still - nowhere to turn around.
By this time we had had enough. We thought to look around at the park but it was obviously too far to walk and with a locked gate we didn't really want to continue.
Me? I don't think that The Old Time RV Park should be in Church's book - not with that kind of entry and road. Church's had updated that the Owner had wrote them that it has been fixed. If that is fixed I shudder to think about how it was before - I'm betting it never was fixed.
The view on the walk back. The 'driveweay' of the RV Park borders another new - exclusive - community.
Back at the van we had some visitors.
Since it was a nice sunny morning we dawdled a bit - ok - a lot - we didn't leave until about 11:00 am. The road out - I didn't get a chance to take a picture on the way in.
Back on the highway heading back to Tapalpa.
Just outside of Tapalpa the road turns back to cobblestone.
All of Tapalpa is cobblestone. So not only do you have deal with the narrow roads you have to do it on cobblestone.
Not for RV's right?!
We had a general idea about how to get to the road we were looking for. We only made a few wrong turns.
But we finally made it - heading out of Tapalpa.
Again - stop.
I must tell you that the road we are on is right now is called 'taking a chance'. I did EVERYTHING - I really did - to learn about the road that we were going to take to Villa Corona. Oh sure - we COULD have retraced our steps back down to the 15 and gotten to VC that way. But I also noticed that there was a road from Tapalpa to the 80 - which would then lead us to VC.
I had NO idea what the road would be like. I google searched as best I could. Our fall back plan was to ask the RV Park owners since the book said that they spoke English. Since that plan didn't pan out we were on our own.
It'll be an adventure - says Derek.
Seven kilometers out of Tapalpa we see the large rocks - Las Piedrotas - that are advertised as a tourist attraction.
We considered stopping and walking up to them but in the end decided just to look and carry on.
Up until now I was still optimistic about the road because it was paved. But then it turned to gravel. Hmmmm - not good. Derek 'I think we should turn around.'
WHAT are you DOING on this road? said the bull.
Well, that's what I heard anyway.
Imagine - canola blooming in February.
Ok - so by this point I'm no longer optimistic and actually I'm holding on to my seat so hard they may never come lose!
Derek 'I think we should turn around.'
You ALMOST had no pictures of the entire time that we were on this Mexican backroad. My mind was in numb mode - I guess as I was caught between praying that this would end soon - and safely - and trying to pretend I wasn't where I was. Derek's 'Are you taking pictures?' snapped me out of it.
Have I mentioned that I'm not really an adventure gal?
A valley! Look a valley! Sure hope we get there soon.
At some points the road turned to cobblestone - most likely where the road washes out during the rains.
Derek wishes there were more pictures - and he's right. I was so nervous for the first while that I just didn't take any. But I should have so that you could actually see how well my driver pulled through. All those years driving the backroads of BC sure helped. Derek deserves a HUGE amount of credit for getting us through the worst of the washouts on the dirt road - hit the high points.
When it all started I was thinking Kingman Wash - remember Kingman Wash?
Then I was thinking that I really should try to figure out this summer how to get my hands on a 40' Diesel Pusher for our future trips - there is NO way I would have to worry about being on roads like this. Or would I?
Seriously -- I have NEVER been happier to see pavement IN MY LIFE!
It took us 1 1/2 hours to go 37 kms!
Half done with this road - we reached the midway town of Chiquilistlan.
Easy to find our way in ....
But not out. We followed the road in until it stopped and of course realized our problem. There were a couple of teenagers passing so I rolled down the window. To help communicate I just pointed to our destination on the map - and lots of other words and hand signals from both Derek and I. They got the jest and pointed back and to the right. We heard the word 'plaza' - so off we went. Problem was that once we got to the plaza we were stuck again. What do you do when in the position? Just keep going straight. Hey it actually worked!
Well, at least it LOOKED like the road going out. To be honest we weren't too sure for the next few kilometers. I was pretty sure but made like I was really sure. Definitely happy to see a sign up ahead with the distance to highway 80. Phew!
And even happier that it is paved! I started breathing normal again.
L.O.V.E driving through the highlands with all the shrubs and grass.
The 'backroad' finally connected to the 80 and we took a right heading to Villa Corona which was about 60 kms further.
We stopped soon after at a Pemex with a HUGE parking lot for lunch and to take a bit of a breather. AND to put things back to where they belonged. Everything that could come down - did - on that bumpy road. Including all of the spices and dry goods in the cupboard over the fridge.
Back on the road we come down from the mountains into a very large valley.
Sugar cane we are thinking.
And finally we hit Villa Corona and our turn to Chimulco.
The street to the park. We walk this street very often to get to town so it sure felt like coming home - a mere 7 weeks later.
And into the park itself.
Our route map for the day.
Note to travellers: Do not take the road from Tapalpa to highway 80 unless you have a truck or suv - some kind of high clearance vehicle.
And to others that would like to visit Tapalpa. If you have an RV my advice is to park at Villa Corona and take you tow vehicle. It would make a nice two day (or more) circle trip. There is lots to do around Tapalpa - especially a visit to the waterfall. It just wasn't the best time for us to be visiting with Derek and Cassia not feeling well.
After a stressful few days we were happy to be back to the RV Park here in Villa Corona.
As of tonight while I am writing this post, we have been here for eight days. We've all been sick for the duration, with moments of energy where we go for a swim or into VC for groceries. Mainly we have been hanging pretty low which has been a nice respite after our beach time.
We are here for the next twelve days so the blog maybe on cruise control for a bit. I'll pop in now and then to show you more of this area and whats been going on.
TODAY'S INTERESTING LINK: Do you paraglide? TOTALLY not my thing but there are those of you out there that go in for that - right?! Tapalpa is also known as a great paragliding spot - in fact - you can book your very own Paragliding Holiday in Mexico.