Monday January 30, 2012
We left Mazatlan at 8:00am yesterday on our first journey south with the rig. We had carefully checked the route so the trip wouldn’t be any more stressful than necessary. The construction on the highway leaving Mazatlan has been partially completed (overpass done) and as well we took a short detour (Sam found this and it is a concrete road with very little traffic)to avoid the construction of another overpass.
Diesel power generation plant leaving Mazatlan. No wonder there is so much pollution.
We picked up fuel in Villa Union because we were taking the Cuota 15D (toll road) to Tepic and there are no fuel stops unless you get off in a small town and then pay another toll to get back on. No Bueno! The toll road from Villa Union to Acaponeta was very, very rough and they have no business charging you to use it! In addition at every toll booth there was mass confusion because we have 3 axels on the trailer and they couldn’t figure out how to print out a ticket. Much conversation, yelling back and forth, delay and finally a second had written ticket. Not sure what the issue is as we have never had a problem in Sonora or most of Sinaloa. Total tolls for us….1011 pesos or about $80.00!! More than the fuel for the truck.
Looking toward Tepic.
Estuary flats past Esquinapa.
From just north of Acaponeta to Tepic the road was much better which is good because the second toll we paid was 450 pesos!!! We took the toll road for speed and the ability to pass if needed and we did note that the stretch coming into Tepic on the toll road was much less windy than the free road. So….now for the issue. When we left Mazatlan the controller for the trailer brakes was not working properly! This has happened before but it was a huge worry with the hill from Tepic to Las Varas coming up.
Coming into Jalisco on the south end of Tepic.
Every town large or small has a beautiful square.
Narrow street that you must pass through in Jalisco. Fine as long as no one is illegally parked on the wrong side of the road!
Pemex on the south end of Jalisco to fuel up and have a quick bite. We arrived there around 1pm and were out by 1:15. It was quite cute that the young women pumping fuel wanted to see the motorcycle inside the trailer but when she looked in she was more interested in my petunia baskets. Go figure! We’d thought we might have to add fuel from our jerry cans but in the end we had 1/4 tank left and all was well. Just like the Boy Scouts say”Be prepared!” Now for down the hill. We made the trip a little faster than we would have liked because we had to use the truck brakes and the transmission to slow us down which could only have been done because of the high compression engine on the diesel. The portion from Jalisco to Compostela was not very steep but it was very windy and narrow.
Buses, cane trucks, semis….they are all coming at you. I should say that no one honks…as they are used to slow traffic and for the most part they are careful to stay on their own side of the road. This is the main route south from Tepic to Puerto Vallarta and we are all on the same road!
The trees are high enough to pass under.
Some people do continue on the toll road toward Guadalajara and take another expensive toll road back to Compostela to avoid the travel through the town of Jalisco (we did not think it was an issue) and also to avoid the very windy, narrow road from Jalisco to Compostela. Not an issue for us but…..each to their own. The road from Compostela to Las Varas is steeper but the curves are more sweeping and the road is a bit wider and better paved. This part of the road is good. The brush is not an issue on the hill. We were happy when we are hit the bottom of the hill but we still had to be careful at stop lights without trailer brakes!
We arrived in the La Parota park in Los de Marcos by 3pm and were partially set up by 4pm. Whew!
Nice big pads, grass and plants along the patio. Nice.
As we came through the small town of Los de Marcos we were happy we had scoped it out so we knew how to get in here safely. I should note we had trucks of gringos stop and ask if we needed help getting to the park as we drove into town. Very nice!
So here we are, almost set up and feeling proud of ourselves for leaving the nest in Las Jaibas, or the sailboat from the dock etc. Eric is happy. The weather is warm, humid and cloudy but lovely. We are parked next to Brian and Sharon from Saskatchewan whom we met in Las Jaibas. We chose a pull thru spot for unloading the Harley and we are the closest to the palapa, showers, etc. so no neighbor on that side. We will stay a month and gain more new experiences. Everyone here seems friendly so far.
Saul’s son with the veggie truck delivering in the park. That’s Brian and Sharon’s rig beside it.
Door to garage in the rig where the motorcycle and all our crap is! Queen size bed above the door behind the curtain. There are two three quarter electric bunks in the garage as well. Who the heck needs that much company!
Big Red safely tied in.
A view with the back gate down. It all works great as long as Eric doesn’t ride the Harley through the wall into the kitchen!
P.S. Eric thinks he has rectified the problem with the controller but we won’t know until we move again. At least we’ll be going up hill next time!
We plan to travel back to Mazatlan on the toll road north from Tepic to Mex 54 exit to San Blas to eliminate the curvy free road at the Tepic end. We will then travel the free road north to Mazatlan. Mazatlan to Acaponeta have the two most expensive tolls while the last two are more reasonable. We know that the pavement on the free road is better but all of this had been a travel time issue for us. If this all seems long winded I do like to put as much info on the blog that is as detailed as possible for other travelers. I hate it when info just says steep and windy…..okay but where and how bad!!!….and I won’t say until we have done it ourselves.
Another footnote is that I have been asked what route we took from Mazatlan to Los de Marcos since we arrived and I must say everyone has their own idea as to which route to take, through Tepic and down the hill or through San Blas. Eric suggested that if you were sitting here most of the winter you might drive your vehicle to San Blas to see what you might face on the drive if you wanted to go that way. San Blas to Villa Hildago north wasn’t an issue but we felt Las Varas to San Blas was a tree problem for our rig. Each to their own!