December 11, 2009

Mazatlan to Guadalajara

November 24, 2009, Mazatlan to Guadalajara.
Careful! There are no Pemex (fuel) stations on the quota (toll road) from Maz to Guad! We held our breath once we realized that, but made it to Tepic for diesel! The drive was easy and spectacularly beautiful, from ocean lagoons to jungle, and volcanic highlands spiked with mountains and green with agriculture.
Because we made great time on the cuota (toll road), we decided to try a campground near Magdalena, and next day arrive before noon in Jocotepec, our destination. It seemed like a good idea at the time! We were a mite late with the time change speeding the sun, so were glad to see the Magdalena exit as sundown approached. We quickly found ourselves in the heart of a charming village…with narrow streets, bustling two-way traffic, and a road that zigzagged past the scenic church and square on a street with many busses and trucks. Whew! It was exciting but nerve-wracking. Chuck can sure handle the trailer! When we exited to the east, the sun was falling low, so we stopped at a lake bird refuge to re-assess. It seemed too late to drive 17 miles to an unknown campground that, if we did not like it, would require retracing our path in the dark. Although returning through town would be a bear, we decided to get back to the quota and look for a Pemex (the national gas stations) for the night.

As we re-entered town, what luck! We noticed a sort of periferico (circle route) to the right. Good, let’s take it! Uh-oh, around the corner, the road narrowed toward railroad tracks and turned to dirt. What if this road is a dead-end? we need to turn around now! I jumped out and trotted towards a young woman walking alone who was at first suspicious (why is this gringa coming at me?) but smiled widely when she understood our dilemma and urged us to keep going…Sufficiently ancho? Si, it is wide enough! We rejoined the main road and were soon on the quota. Arriving in Guadalajara after dark, we found a large Pemex with big parking lot, and a young guy at the pump said yes, yes, esta bien to park! I bought a soda and cookies at the store, and it was a quiet night (with earplugs). We were off in the bright morning to our destination.

As we rounded the hill down into El Molino, shortly before Jocotepec, and the Roca Azul campground, the street vendors were setting up their tables, and men beginning to head for work. I felt like waving, “Hello, good morning, we’re baaack!” as we drove by…


Ken Cardwell said...

Nice format and looking forward to your future adventures.


- Mexican Trailrunner said...

Awww, nice post. So glad you guys make Joco one of your primary yearly roosts.

susan said...

Fantastic post - have been wondering how the trip has been. Great to be able to see more! Looking forward to hearing more of your life in Joco and Mexico. Still winter here!