Mexico 2005 - Page 4

Mexico 2005 - Page 4

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Life is a Beach

We left the nice free campground at Playa Linda, Ixtapa and headed to Melaque late Saturday afternoon. The weather is a little cloudy, which is good, but the temperatures are still the same. After dinner on Sunday night Peggy & I were playing cards when a voice in the window came begging for Pesos. Peggy yells out, it's Dave. Dave Broer is doing a motorcycle tour of Mexico and Central America by himself. He left VA about 3 weeks ago. We had heard from him at the Texas border but had heard nothing from him since then. We were worried that he may have crashed or was captured by a group of young Amazon women in the hills of the Copper Canyon.

He is fine, looks like a wild eyed Mexican on his combination road/dirt bike. His only spill was riding the trails in Mexico's Grand Canyon. He seems to have gotten used to the Mexican traffic and the Topes (Speed Bumps) and is having a great time. After we fed him a few meals of real food, he got a little sick. On Monday he spent most of the day in the hammock or swimming pool recovering.


So after spending three days with us and listening to my long stories he decided it was time to move on. I expect that he will head to Playa Linda in Ixtapa and then to Oaxaca by early next week.

On Thursday we decided to leave Melaque and travel about 60 mi to Punta Perula. We enjoyed our stay here since we had met most of the campers there last year and enjoyed the free fish that they caught for us.  Well fishing was slow this year so no free fish. I enjoyed paddling my kayak around the tranquil South facing bay. 

Scroll the photo to see my RV with kayak on top and pretty Chamela Bay.

A cold front brought in a little night time rain, less then 0.1" but the temperatures dropped to 60o at night and highs now were only 75o. Campers were wearing their sweatshirts. The friendly group taught us to play Mexican Train Dominoes. The town still has no Internet service and we needed to continue heading North. We left early on Sunday, 2/27, so that we could avoid the heavy traffic in Puerto Vallarta. We stopped to restock at a Super Wal-Mart and continued to a tiny fishing village of Playa Chacala.

Scroll to see the entire beach at Chacala

Zooming in across the bay

Close-up of the RV

We discovered Chacala on last year's trip and found that we could camp next to a small beach house that a local Mexican has been squatting in for the past 30 years. He built two other small homes for his children and grand children along with banos (toilets) and regaderas (showers) for tourists. We got a campsite on the water right next to where we had camped last year. The cost is only $25 per week but it has no hookups. They say it rained here yesterday but it was only partly cloudy with the same cooler temperatures.  I like this bay since it faces due West and you get great Mexican sunsets.

 The town is showing signs of growth. They now have a library, which has been furnished with computers with high-speed Internet access, by volunteers from the USA. I was able to connect my laptop to the network and finally do a little more updating of the club's website.

We stayed here for a week enjoying the slightly cooler temperatures, highs were only in mid 70's and lows in 60's.

We hated to leave the beautiful Mexican beaches but it was March and we needed to start back North soon. Our next stop is the second biggest city in Mexico, Guadalajara.
Its metropolitan area has 7 million people, quite a change from all the small towns along the coast. It is at about 5500' elevation and has perfect year around weather attracting lots of American retirees.

The beautiful campground here is just outside the outer ring road (Periferico). It is set in large old Hacienda, which is slowly being converted to full time homes. Land here is almost too valuable to continue to use as a campground. We decided to take a tour of the old colonial central city. They built a N-S subway system from the Periferico across the city connecting to an E-W line. We found that we could take a short bus ride from the campground to the southern terminus and easily get to the sprawling Mercado Libertad for only .70/person.

Produce market in Guadalajara

The market was rebuilt in 1958. It is the biggest in Mexico, three stories high with thousands of stalls with food, crafts, electronics and clothing. After shopping at the market we walked all over the downtown area including their large cathedral.

On Tuesday we had enough of the big city and got a very early start to avoid the heavy traffic and stopped at the little town on Tonala, which sits on the outskirts of Guadalajara. Everyone in this town is involved in the manufacture of arts & crafts, whether it be ceramics, glass, copper or even papier-mache. Peggy bought some nice crafts and we were on our way toward the border.

From here to the border it is mostly turnpikes. They are expensive but it saves lots of time and wear and tear on your RV. We made it to San Luis Potosi and spent the night in a turnpike rest area.

We had talked to a camper who told us that it was much shorter to head toward Ciudad Victoria rather then Monterey. I had asked, "Aren't there mountain to cross"? He said "It's the same both ways". Boy was he wrong. First, it is a rough two lane road, then they are rebuilding 35 mi of mountain road, which delayed us almost an hour. Then, we had route choice which he hadn't discussed. Should we continue on 101 toward Ciudad Victoria or take a road that said Via Corta. We decided to stay on 101. We knew that this was not the fastest way when all the traffic continued going the other way. There was no traffic at all, and we were going up a well-maintained high mountain road. If you were out for a day trip with great views of the mountains this was it, but if you were trying to get to border before Customs closed, maybe this was a mistake. Luckily we made it in plenty of time and chose a new border crossing called "Free Trade Bridge", easiest way yet to cross with virtually no traffic.

We were going to head right to Houston to see Rich Priem again but found out that it was still snowing in Ohio, so there was no hurry. We drove to Padre Island National Seashore near Corpus Christi. This National Park has free beach camping or very inexpensive camping with facilities and a dump station. It was another great beach location, miles and miles of flat beach, gentle surf but in early March still a little cool to swim.

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