1/23/2015 – Los Mochis

After a pleasant 2 days in Mazatlán where we got a chance to reconnect with the Bumfuzzles, we were ready to press on.  Home is calling.

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We drove from Mazatlán to Los Mochis yesterday, a distance of a little over 400 km.  A fellow Oregonian at the Mar Rosa RV Park in Mazatlán said it usually takes him about 5 hours to drive it in his  GMC step-van. He likes to keep his speed to about 45 mph.  However, he always drives on the toll roads (cuotas).  We decided to take the libres as much as possible to save some money.  

The main problem with taking the libre was that it put us quite a bit east of the direct route.  We were able to drive plenty fast enough although not as fast as the 100-110 km/hr limit on most of the cuota.  However, it was a good road and passed through very few towns.  What really screwed us up and added an extra hour to an hour and a half to the trip was a.) getting stuck behind a slow semi in an area that it was hard to find a place to pass and b.) Culiacán.  The cuota passes well to the west of the city of Culiacán proper but the libre passes right through it.  We did our best to follow the signs but Mexico has a long ways to go to make their traffic signs really helpful.  We followed the signs for “Los Mochis – libre” but then, at a crucial Y in the road, were left with no information as to which leg to take.  Dora tried to help but she seemed to get confused, too. Needless to say, I took the wrong leg and we ended up driving clear across the city and still came out on the cuota!  Too bad, I’m not going to drive back across the city just to save some money.  We’d already wasted a good half-hour what with all the wrong turns, traffic, etc.  Fortunately, the tolls for the rest of the trip were not as bad as the ones going from Guadalajara to Mazatlán.  Still they cost us a little over $14US for what was really fairly short piece of road.

In Los Mochis we stopped at Los Mochis Copper Canyon RV Park, the only RV park still in operation in the area.  This place is a big parking lot designed primarily for caravans to leave their rigs while they take side trips up to Copper Canyon. It has nothing to recommend it other than its location.

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The place cost $270/night (~$18US) and for that you got your hook-ups, wifi, a locked gate at night, and bathrooms/showers.  The description in the Church book made us think they might be OK.  After all they described it thus: “Restrooms are older ones with separate rooms each having stool, sink, and hot shower.”  Sounds good.  We like the kind of bathrooms where everything is in one lockable room.  But, there was NO WAY we were going to take showers in these little rooms.  They were filthy and everything was covered with broken bits of plaster and dried drips of plaster.

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We’ll be vacating this place right after breakfast.  Next stop, El Mirador in Huatabampito.  At least we know what to expect there.  The bathroom (singular) may not be pristine but at least they try to keep it clean and most of the “dirt” is just sand from the beach that we all drag in on our feet.

Mazatlán to Los Mochis: 176 miles

Total to-date: 7,858 miles

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1/21/2015 – Maybe “Epic” was too strong of an adjective

Now that we’ve been out here on what we’d billed as our “Epic Road Trip”, we’ve run into so many other travelers whose trips are way more epic and yet they seem to be taking them in stride.   I guess, for us, the intended trip was epic compared to any road trip we’d ever done before.  But it pales in comparison to the many folks we’ve run into that are headed to South America after having travelled extensively through North America.  And my hat is off to all of them.

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Our trip got a little less “epic” the day before yesterday when we came to the mutual decision that we’re kind of burned out on being on the road at the moment.  We were at Roca Azul RV Park outside Jocotepec, where we had both just finished suffering through cold showers because, apparently, the park ran out of propane.  Not real good planning.  But anyway, we were both just a little ticked off and I think that made all the other stuff come out.  I explained it to our daughter in an e-mail by saying that, after 6 months we were tired of pooping in other people’s toilets and showering in substandard facilities.  She (naturally, being her mother’s daughter) assumed we meant the facilities at her house.  I set her straight and gelled my own feelings with this response:

NO, NO NO!  Not your toilet!  I’m talking about the ones we encounter with no toilet seats or toilet paper.  The ones where you’re not quite sure who might have been in there just before you got there.  The kind where you’re sitting in a stall taking care of business and in the next stall there is someone else and they’re making the most god-awful noises to the point where you’re not really sure what the heck they’re even doing and you wonder if this is someone you know.  I’m talking about showers with no shower heads or, if they do have one, ¾ of the holes are plugged so the water goes everywhere except where you need it to and it’s all you can do to find a portion of the stream strong enough to actually rinse you off.   And the water’s cold.  The kinds of places where there’s really no good, safe, dry place to put your clean clothes while showering.  The kinds of places that may or may not even have a shower curtain or door on the stall.  No, your bathroom is just fine.

Note: in fairness to Roca Azul, tI have to mention that he only portion of the above diatribe that applied to them was the cold shower.  And there had been hot water the day before.  Their bathrooms were just fine: toilet paper and toilet seats!  No soap or paper towels but I guess you can’t have everything.  Unless, of course, you go to Coconutz RV Park.

The upshot of our bit of miffery was that we decided right then and there that we needed a break from the road.  We still have so many places to go and see that we didn’t want this trip to sour future trips.  Now was the time to stop, before we got more disillusioned.  And, AND, besides being on the road continuously for the last 6 months, we’ve been traveling and using public facilities since we moved onto the boat back in July of 2009.  So, we’re headed back up to Puerto Peñasco to get ourselves settled in to our new-to-us little trailer/casita, the first fixed-position home we’ve had in five and a half years.  Knowing it was up there waiting for us probably increased our urge to get off the road.

So, yesterday, instead of taking the bus to Guadalajara, we beat feet north at an unprecedented rate of travel (at least for us).  Pulled in to Mazatlán around 5:00 PM, well before sunset.  We were aided by the fact that we gained an hour by traveling from Central to Mountain time zone.  We covered 340 miles yesterday, definitely a record for the trip.  And we did it while averaging around 55-60 mph, a feat accomplished at great financial cost.  In order to travel at that speed for long distances, one has to take the toll roads (the ‘cuotas’).  Tolls in Mexico are expensive as I may have ranted about before.  Yesterday, between Guadalajara and Mazatlán, we spent almost $70US on tolls.  Would have been only about $40-$50, maybe less, if we hadn’t had dual wheels on the rear.  But Mexico tolls are based sort of on weight which is based on how many tires you have touching the ground.  I can look around this RV park and see any number of rigs that are far larger than Flipper but, because they don’t have dual wheels aft, pay the same rate as a Honda Civic.  We would have paid a little more in tolls except that we opted to take the free road past the last couple of booths since we were practically where we were going by then.  Guess that’s what happens when you get in a hurry.  It’s going to cost you one way or the other.

So, what are we rushing back to?  Here are some shots of our trailer/casita.  The furnishings belong to the previous owner although I believe she left us the table and chairs:

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It will be nice to spend a few months not wondering where we’re going to be tomorrow night.  We should have our psychic batteries well charged and be once again road-ready by the time late spring rolls around.

 

Jocotopac to Mazatlán: 340 miles

Trip to date: 7,682 miles

If you’re jonesing for more Mexico road trip stuff, check out:

Bumfuzzle (although, if you’re reading this, I suspect you long ago discovered the Bums)

A Little Moxie – Travel, disability & living life with some courage (haven’t met these guys except online but their trip is similar to version 2.0 of our trip – and Meriah wields a gifted pen)

1RdTrip | A continuing adventure in the making (met these guys in Puerto Vallarta.  The things they’ve seen and done since leaving PV compared to what we’ve done in the same time is downright embarrassing.)

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1/19/2015 – Going up?

It wasn’t until we uncorked the tequila bottle to a loud and satisfying POP, almost like a champagne bottle that it dawned on us how far we’d come up in the world.  We left Cyutlán at around 10:30 AM.  Cuyutlán, being on the beach is, well, pretty much at sea level.  Granted, we were probably camped at maybe 3-4 feet above sea level but still, we were essentially starting at zero.  According to the Church’s guide, Jocotepec, near where we stopped, is at about 5,000 feet above sea level.  That’s a pretty significant drop in air pressure.  According to the interweb brain trust, atmospheric pressure at sea level is about 14.7 psi and one loses around 0.52 psi per 1000′ of elevation gain.  So, in 5000′ we dropped from 14.7 psi to 12.1 psi.  That’s plenty to cause the sealed tortilla chip bags to turn into tight little pillows and for the pressure inside a sealed container to blow its top off or at least give you a really good POP when opened.

Anyhoo,  we headed up the highway towards Colima.  It wasn’t long at all before we got to see the volcano, Volcán de Colima.

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As I said in my last blog, we’ve decided to start heading north so that we can spend a little time at our new little digs in Puerto Peñasco before heading further north for the summer.  Rather than just turn around and cover the same ground we’ve already traversed, we decided to head inland and see some of the sights as well as maybe get a little relief from the 90º+ daytime temperatures we’ve been experiencing.  Lulu could stand it forever and I can take it for a pretty long time but, the humidity accompanying the heat was keeping me in a drenched t-shirt almost all the time.

We chose Club Roca Azul as our destination the first day.  There are at least 2 other RV parks in the area but we knew Roca Azul was open and had space available because we’d received invitations from both Rafa, the owner and Teo, the manager.  It’s location on the western shore of Lake Chapala made it sound like a prettier park than the others.  Who knows?  It’s all a crap shoot until you get there.  One thing I can tell you for sure, if you’re heading to Roca Azul, follow the Church’s directions.  Dora wanted to take us through Jocotepec but we resisted.  After visiting the town yesterday, I’m glad we did.  The road would take you right through the middle of town on very narrow streets.  There’s also a festival going on right now which further snarls traffic up.  And, once you do get through town, you have about 2 miles on a small, cobbled, rutted road with lots of overhanging foliage to scrape the top of your RV.  The Church’s route is also cobbled but you don’t have the other obstacles.

We weren’t sure what to think when we first pulled into Roca Azul.  It’s not just an RV park.  It was once some sort of vacation complex and Rafa and his staff are working to bring it back to its previous glory.  There’s a huge unheated pool as well as a smaller pool heated by underground thermal streams.  There are 2 RV areas.  One is pretty traditional with side-by-side sites with patios, etc.  We chose instead to park in the cul-de-sac area.  The sites are not really well-defined but that’s okay since there is plenty of elbow room.

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The lake isn’t really useable since the shoreline is pretty marshy but it makes a beautiful backdrop.  I suspect it used to be higher since the structure around the faro (lighthouse) looks an awful lot like a boat launch ramp.

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We wanted to go into town for some groceries, cerveza, agua mineral, etc.  Looking at Google maps wasn’t helping an awful lot because it wasn’t clear where the various stores were.  I knew that there were some folks on Facebook’s “On The Road In Mexico” group who were staying here so I just asked for some info.  Got a response right away.  This led to meeting some other folks here and to even more information.  Then, when I got back to the camper from meeting these folks, I had an e-mail from Teo with a whole bunch of info, maps, etc. to make the stay here easier.

Yesterday we walked the 2 miles into Jocotepec with the plan to get the groceries and then get a cab back since our hands would be full and our packs heavy.

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There was a festival going on in town.  I’ve asked several folks what it was but so far I haven’t understood the answer well enough to write it down.  Anyway, several blocks around the cathedral and town square are blocked off to vehicle traffic and filled with booths selling food and junk.  There are carnival rides and midway-type games.  We found the store, Bodega Aurrera, which had everything we were looking for.  We came out with two full packs, two boxes of beer, and a half-case of agua mineral.  We asked the security guy if we could get a taxi from there.  He didn’t seem too encouraging unless we just happened to find one in the parking lot.  Although there’d been one when we went in, he was gone now and there were no others in site.  Walked out to the street and saw a few go by but every one had a fare already.  This wasn’t looking good.  I really didn’t want to have to cart our bootie back on foot.  We loaded ourselves down and started walking back to the heart of town to see if we’d have better luck.  One empty cab passed us but turned our wave down saying he was going to pick up a fare.  Fortunately, once we got to the street that leads back to Roca Azul, there was an empty cab who agreed to take us.  Fifty pesos.  Pretty good considering the bumpety road he had to traverse.

Our next move will be to catch a bus in Jocotepec to take us to Guadalajara for a little sightseeing.

Although we haven’t evaded the mosquitoes entirely, there are fewer of them (I think) than there were on the beach.  And I’m basking in the more moderate temperatures and a dry t-shirt.

Cuyutlán to Roca Azul (Jocotepec): 152 miles

Total to-date: 7,342 miles

Oh, by the way, I had every intention of driving up here on the libres (free highways).  Wasn’t really interested in paying sky-high tolls again.  However, Mexico got me again.  We saw the sign to exit to the libre.  Like many exits in Mexico, it wasn’t really well-defined and, this time, there was construction going on so that the exit looked like the entry to a gravel quarry.  I passed right by before I realized that was it.  Not easy to get off the cuota (toll road) and turn around so we just continued on.  Dora liked it as it shaved an hour off our trip but Dora doesn’t have to cough up the dough.  The toll was $186 (~$12.85US) just like George and Steve at Coconutz said it’d be.  A few miles after passing the toll booth we had another opportunity to exit to the libre.  We figured we’ve already paid the toll, might as well continue on and get what we paid for.  We’re smarter now.  Seems that the toll we paid was for the road we’d just been on as there was another toll booth before we got to the turn-off to Jocotepec.  Another $186 so figure around $25.00US for the privilege of using the toll road. ¡Ay!


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1/16/2015 – Why do we even make plans?

Except for a night at Magdalena and two nights at Alamos, we have been on the coast continuously since November 21, almost 2 months.  And, while it’s been beautiful and sunny and warm and all that, we’re sort of ready for a change.  We also want to spend a little time at our casita in Puerto Peñasco before heading up to the SF Bay Area in May to attend our niece’s wedding.  So, tomorrow we’re turning inland.

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This change of plans has nothing to do with the predictions by the “doom and gloomers” on Facebook’s “On The Road In Mexico” group.  They’ve tried to convince us and others that a trip down MEX200 along the Michoacán and Guerrero coasts is a sure-fire recipe for getting robbed, kidnapped, or worse.  Mind you, the doom and gloomers aren’t actually on the road.  They’re getting their information from the internet, the US State Department, Mexican law enforcement and military personnel (supposedly), friends of friends, etc.  The people who are actually on the road are repeatedly reporting that they’ve just recently done this or that portion of the trip and had absolutely no problems.  Besides, it pretty much doesn’t matter what portion of a Mexican road trip one asks about on FB, someone will tell you not to do it, it’s just not safe.

No, the doom and gloomers aren’t the reason for our change of route.  It has more to do with being ready for a change of scenery and hopefully for a drop in the number of biting insects.  I have been a bug feast ever since we got down into the warmer and wetter climate of Mexico’s central coast.  Right now, I’d estimate that I have 40-50 bites on each leg between my knees and my toes, not to mention a bunch on my arms. And they ITCH SOMETHING FIERCE!  The four on my right instep are the worst at the moment but they all itch.  In Punta Perula I sprayed some 100% DEET repellent on my legs. I had my flip-flops on at the time.  A few minutes later, my flip-flops felt kind of sticky against my heel.  Oh man!  The repellent had melted the rubber on the insole!  Geez, what must it be doing to my skin?  I washed that all off and haven’t had the nerve to try anything since.  Also while there, our friend Debra let us use some citronella-based lotion-type repellent.  It was much more pleasant and seemed to work well for a couple hours at a time.  I was wishing we’d found some of that instead of the DEET.  Well, last night was my lucky night.  We were eating dinner with our friends George and Steve, who are owners of Coconutz RV Park.  It was just after sunset when the mosquitoes seem to be particularly hungry.  I walked up the street to an aborrote to get some repellent, expecting to find nothing other than a spray can of OFF!  But, I was happily surprised when the clerk handed me a bottle of “Mr. Repelín Citronella Gel”.  It worked.  Kept us from having to rush through dinner like we had the night before and smelled nice.  We’ve also been burning mosquito coils at night.  I won’t miss the biting bugs as we gain a little elevation and a corresponding drop in temperature.

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That’s the other thing.  It’s been great avoiding winter this year, but too many 90+ degree days in a row actually can get old after awhile. I’m continuously wearing a sweat-drenched t-shirt.  Actually looking forward to wearing long pants once in awhile.  Not really looking forward to wearing socks but I guess you have to take the good with the bad.

So, anyhow, tomorrow we’ll be heading inland towards Lake Chapala.  We’re hoping to get as far east as San Juan Teotihuacán (just NE of Mexico City) to see the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon before heading northwards toward home (Puerto Peñasco).

As a send-off, this morning we got to watch a group of 3-4 whales just offshore from the RV park.  This afternoon we’re headed back to the malecón to get a michelada con camarón.  That’d be a michelada with some shrimp in it.  We first saw this in Loreto when our friend Alan’s wife had one.  We never figured out where she got it and have never really seen them advertised anywhere.  Might be common as dirt for all we know but we sure haven’t seen any signs for them.  Until yesterday.  There it was, big as life, “Micheladas con Camarones”.  We decided to come back later and have one but George and Steve gave us an unexpected, but welcome, tour of Cuyutlán, followed by tortas de pierna adobada for dinner and, by then the malecón was pretty much closed for the night.  So, today’s the day. We’ll toast our nice long stay on the Mexican coast with what should probably be the signature drink of the coast.

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1/15/2015 – A quick note about Coconutz RV Park

If you read my last post, you read about Coconutz RV Park in Cuyutlán.  Last night I realized I’d overlooked mentioning something because it hadn’t applied to us.  Take a look at the photo below.

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Those are the 4 beachfront sites.  Notice anything?  If not, it’s probably because you drive a motorhome.  But, if you drive a truck and trailer, how would you park here?  The slabs are set up to pull in putting the utilities where they should be: on your left-rear side.  If you backed a trailer in, your hook-ups would be as far away from the utility pedestal as it’s possible to get.  You could maybe run your umbilicals under your rig to shorten the length needed.  There is one back-in site behind and perpendicular to these beachfront sites.  It’s not level so you’d need levelers of some kind and you’ll also need a long extension cord but at least there’s a possibility.

Just had to let you all know.  I’d feel terrible if someone with a trailer arrived because of my blog and then wasn’t able to park.  Since the place is still under construction, maybe they’ll put some back-in trailer sites across from these motorhome sites. But until then…

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1/14/2015 – An unplanned stop

Before we left Puerto Vallarta, I e-mailed as many RV parks as I had addresses for along MEX200 between PV and Acapulco to see who was open, who had space available and what the rates were.  I got very few replies.  One was from Henry at Punta Perula Trailer Park and the other was from La Playa RV Park in San Patricio Melaque.  When someone actually takes the effort (slight though it may be) to actually answer an e-mail, I tend to want to patronize their place.  Consequently we stayed at the Punta Perula Trailer Park for a full week  Had planned to stop at Melaque next but Boca Beach sounded like a good stop in between.

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We were less than enamored of Boca so yesterday we set out for the big 20 km trip to Melaque.  Somewhere along the way, as we entered town, I took a wrong turn but Dora steered me right anyway.  We drove down several cobblestoned, narrow downtown streets.  Towards the end of one, Dora informed us that “Your destination is ahead, on your right.”  Um, I don’t think so, Dora.  There’s nothing but storefronts on my right.  But then, in between two storefronts, there was an opening and up on the wall a sign for La Playa RV Park.  Sonofagun, Dora was right again.  We turned in off the street only to find a tiny little RV park with a closed gate.  Fortunately, there was enough room to get Flipper off the street but a big 30 footer would have probably stuck out in the street a bit.  A gringo told us to just come through the walk-through gate which wasn’t locked.  He had nothing to do with running the place but, since the manager was ill and her assistant spoke no English, he showed us which sites were available.  He also told us that we could camp at the next place down the coast for about 1/3 of what this park cost.  We were wanting to stay here because it was right in town, making exploration easy.  However, the $340/night (about $23US which wouldn’t be bad in the US, but this isn’t the US) definitely put us off.  The spaces were also really close together and, after Punta Perula, we were hoping for a little more room and thus, a little more privacy both for us and for our neighbors.  We decided to move on.

As we drove through Melaque, it looked like a pretty neat little town to explore.  We were surprised to note, however, that it was absolutely crawling with gringos.  This is not a condemnation, just an observation.  We always wonder just how truly Mexican a town with a large gringo influence has remained.  No reason for us to believe that Melaque wasn’t the same town it had been before the gringo influx, but we just tend to wonder.

A note about some of the towns we’ve been in lately:  I don’t know exactly why it happens, but a lot of times the turn off from the town’s main drag onto some of the cross streets can be a really high, steep ramp.  We noticed this a little in Puerto Vallarta but noticed it big time in Melaque yesterday.  We came to the end of the street and were ready to turn back onto the road out to the highway.  The road we needed to turn on to must have been an easy 4′ above the side street, maybe 5′.  And there was a very short ramp getting one up there.  And the ramp started abruptly, no nice smooth transition.  So, I waited for the traffic on top to clear so I’d have a place to stop when I got up there.  Then I revved ol’ Flipper up, popped the clutch and up we went, dragging the trailer hitch all the way up.  No harm done to Flipper.  Didn’t go back to inspect the road although I’m sure it fared just fine.

So, we had to decide where we were going to go next.  There were a couple more parks out of town along the beach but we decided to take another tack.  I have gotten several comments on this blog as well as on my Facebook page from a place called Coconutz RV Park in Cuyutlán.  Normally I wouldn’t give these much consideration, figuring they were just plugs, but these sounded like the writer was actually reading the blog.  Due to the microscopic printing in the city index in the back of the Guia Roji road atlas, the only Cuyutlán I could find was on a side road off the main road between Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara.  I mentioned this to the commenter and he sent me GPS coordinates and directions.  I looked again and, sure enough, there was Cuyutlán, a little ways south of Manzanillo.  Prior to leaving Boca, I had checked out the website for Coconutz and, when I realized there were only 5 sites, decided to make a reservation.  We planned to stop there on Thursday after a 2-day stay in Melaque.  However, we were ahead of schedule and figured we’d just give it a shot and hope there was room.  After looking at the booking calendars, I was pretty sure there would be.

So, we made the big 76 mile trip (total, including running around in Manzanillo looking for a Banamex and a supermercado) from Boca to Cuyutlán.  I had intended to drive Mex200 Libre instead of the cuota (toll road) even though this meant we’d have to backtrack a bit since the libre doesn’t run right through or near Cuyutlán.  However, somewhere in Manzanillo, I somehow ended up on the cuota.  Big expensive mistake.  The toll for cars is $123 (~$8.50US) but, because we have duals on our rear axle, it cost us $242 (~$16.50US).  If you ask me, the toll roads are the real bandits in Mexico.

Having been in e-mail contact with George, one of the owners of Coconutz, I knew he wouldn’t be there until maybe the weekend.  So, we weren’t too surprised when we pulled in and found no one there. The only other rig in the place was George’s 1975 Dodge Travco motorhome.  

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There was a string up across the opening which we untied and then tied back up after passing through.  A sign on the baños said to call Marco, which we did, but we got a message which we didn’t understand.  But, George had given me his phone number so I called him to let him know we’d arrived earlier than expected.  He called Marco and had him stop by to bring us a key to the baño and give us the lowdown on the place.

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This park is brand new.  It’s only been open since mid-December.  Consequently, you won’t find it in the Church book.  They are working hard to get the grounds planted and landscaped.  The baños are the best we’ve seen anywhere, Mexico or the US.  Maybe it’s because the place is new and underused but, if they stay this nice over the long haul, they should get an award.  There are two baños.  Each is a separate, lockable room containing a hot water shower, plenty of hooks to hang your stuff on, a toilet, a sink, toilet paper (normally you have to bring your own), soap, and paper towels.  This may not sound like much to those uninitiated to the ways of Mexican RV parks but most don’t provide toilet paper or paper towels, some don’t have showerheads and a few don’t even have toilet seats.  And almost none of them have adequate facilities for showering while keeping your stuff dry and secure. So, to find it all in one spot is sweet indeed.  The fact that the place is owned and operated by gringos may have a lot to do with it.

Prices are on the higher end of the spectrum but not bad for what you get.  $300/night or $1995/week.  On their website, they describe this as an introductory price but I personally hope they don’t raise it.  We did pay more in Puerto Vallarta but since PV is so big, the higher price helped offset the bus fare if we’d stayed in a slightly cheaper park in Bruceias or La Cruz.  You can walk anywhere you want to go in Cuyutlán.

George sent us an e-mail this morning telling us where various things are in Cuyutlán.  We walked about 8 blocks to the Lavandería to drop off our dirty clothes, then wandered around town and up and down the malecón.  Saw a number of likely spots to while away a few hours over a cerveza or two.  Also, saw several little stands where we plan to check out the tortas.  After reading this article in Serious Eats, we are on the lookout for excellent tortas.

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So, here we are in Cuyutlán where we plan to spend a week.  Who knew?  Not us as, until a few days ago, we didn’t even know it existed.  I love it when a plan falls apart.

Boca de Iguanas to Cuyutlán, including running around in Manzanillo): 76 miles

Total to date: 7,290 miles

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1/12/2015 – Punta Perula to Boca de Iguana

We had a great week in Punta Perula.  Last night kind of topped things off nicely.  First there were the beer can races. Not sailboat-type beer can races but actual decorated beer cans racing against each other.  Lulu and I won a pocketful of pesos from that due to our uncanny ability to accurately rate the various beer cans.  After that, our friends Alan and Elizabeth from s/v Vivacia (who just sailed in that afternoon) joined by Russ and Debra (former sailboat cruisers, now RVers), and Ian and Ellen who are also cruisers who are currently taking a road trip instead of sailing, for dinner alfresco under the concrete palapa at the RV park. Lulu made pasta carbonara and a salad, Ian and Ellen contributed some fresh pineapple and papaya, and Russ and Debra brought dessert in the form of key lime pudding (it didn’t quite set up as Deb hoped but it was really good nonetheless.

Knowing we weren’t going very far today, we took our time getting started.  The park is small and we took long enough that pretty much everyone there had a chance to stop by and say “Adios” before we actually hit the road.  It’s a great little park and a really nice group of people but, nevertheless, it was time to move on.  Our goal was to drive all the way to San Patricio Melaque,  a distance of something like 73 kilometers.  However, partway there we changed our minds and decided to spend a night or two at Boca de Iguana.  With a name like that, how could we resist?  This also cut our trip from 73 km to about 60 km.  For the metrically challenged, that’s something like 36 miles.  

Somewhere in the back of my mind I sort of remembered overhearing a conversation that contained the phrase, “…but, since Boca is closed…” so I wasn’t really all that surprised when we approached the Boca Beach RV park to see a rope strung across the entrance.  A woman came out and watched us but didn’t seem to be making any moves to remove the rope.  So, I parked and walked over and asked, “¿Abierto?”  She replied, “Sí.” and then proceeded to explain the rates to me in pretty rapid-fire Spanish.  I picked up enough to get the meat of what she was saying.  Basically, the nightly rate for an RV with full hook-ups was $280 (~$20US) but, if we wanted a beachfront site it would be another $200/night.  No, no, that’s OK.  A non-beachfront site would be just fine, thank you.  She lowered the rope and we drove in and circled around looking for an ideal spot.  We found what we thought was a good spot and got all hooked-up.  However, we soon discovered that the water pressure was CRAPPY!  we walked around and checked some other sites and found that the closer we got to the beach, the better the pressure was.  So, we unhooked everything and moved.  Lesson learned: always check water pressure, etc. before deciding on a spot.  It was just as well that we moved as the other spot was in the direct sunlight and hot.  Our new spot was shady.  Still hot, but at least it was a shady heat.

To those coming behind us:  The park is pretty nice.  Lots of palm trees for shade.  Sites are spacious and you’re not right on top of your neighbor.  Large bathrooms with many toilets and showers.  Showers have hot water.  They have free wifi.  HOWEVER.  Out of the 7 or 8 shower stalls for the men, only one had a shower head.  Similar for the women.  The water pressure in the shower is low and will take a long time to rinse you off.  There are a ton of flies.  They dole the wifi out in 3-hour chunks.  When your 3 hours is up, you have to go find the owner and have her issue you another password.  We’ll probably just stay here one night.

There is a nice long beach to walk.  Boca is pretty much at one end of the bay and you can walk all the way to La Manzanilla at the other end.  Lulu and I walked at least 3/4 of the way and back.  It’s not as nice a walking beach as Punta Perula but pretty close.  However, there was only one place along the beach to stop for a cerveza and maybe something to eat.

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Lulu swam out from the beach but said that the water was way too murky to be able to see anything.  From where we are we can see the anchorage at Tenacatita.  Looks like around 14-15 boats anchored there at the moment.

Not sure where we’re bound for tomorrow.  If we go to Melaque, it’s only about a 15 km trip.  However, due to the placement of the RV park in Melaque, we’d be able to explore the town easily.  Or, we could go to Manzanillo (not to be confused with La Manzanilla mentioned above), get some groceries, etc. and then boogie on down the coast to Coconutz RV park at Cuyutlán.  OR, we could stop for a day or two at Melaque and then proceed on the Cuyutlán.  Oh, man!  So many choices.  So many decisions to make.  And, no matter which way we choose to go, it’ll be the right way.  That’s the kind of pressure  a guy can learn to live with.

I realized that I failed to record our mileage last time.  So this should bring us up to date:

Puerto Vallarta to Punta Perula:  94 miles

Punta Perula to Boca Beach:  39 miles

Total to-date: 7,214 miles

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