At last, beach time! Having spent a lot of our time in the interior, we were both pretty thrilled to get a little sun on our bellies and sand between our toes.
After leaving Zacatecas the plan was to make our way to Guayabitos (with a quick stop in Tequila), where my pseudo grandparents live, and also where my parents are moving to very soon. This is Mexico home base for us.
The plan in Tequila (or as I like to call it, Techilla) was to explore town a bit and visit a distillery. Well, sometimes things just don't work out the way you plan, they work out better. We arrived at the camp spot we found on iOverlander that just seemed like it was going to be amazing. It wasn't. Turns out the guy that wrote the review was a creepy con man like guy reminiscent of a greasier (if thats even possible) version of Billy Bob Thornton. Needless to say we passed and ended up wild camping across the highway. Ken made me a nice bonfire, it was the perfect evening entertainment. It was then we discovered that we were on the base/side of a volcano. Dig a little more into that to discover that THERE IS A ROAD up said volcano! Plans for the morning are now made. The next morning we woke up to birds chirping and made coffee over what was left of the fire from the night before. Not because I was trying to be all hipster and do things the hard way, but we ran out of propane while making tacos the night before.
The drive up the volcano was about what you would imagine driving up a volcano would be like. Bumpy, winding roads that don't seem to ever end. We started around 1,ooo ft, and were abruptly halted around 8,000ft by a rusted out gate with a sign that said "do not pass go, do not collect $200". If you have read previous blog entries, you know that these signs are becoming quite a trend for us. Ok fine, we can't make it to the top top, we'll get out here and take our photos. While harmlessly tromping through the tallish grass to take a simple photo, WE WERE ATTACKED... by freaking grasshoppers! It was the weirdest thing. It was like we had walked straight into the 7 year locust cycle or something. It was gross, and I didn't like it. When driving down we had our windows open and those little #$%&ers were jumping in the windows, one of which HIT ME SQUARE IN THE EYEBALL! I don't do bugs, but we made it out alive and put Guayabitos in the Google.
It's was so nice to get a visit in with people we love and hit the reset button yet again. It's been two years since we have been and was a much needed visit. When we arrived we pretty well gutted the camper and took it straight to the car wash. She was pretty filthy on the outside and completely covered in Petra hair on the inside. Petra has been having some skin issues, with the most unfortunate symptom being aggressive shedding.
After getting a good ole wipe down, she went back into the shop, where she had her leaking gas tank repaired. Thankful to not have the smell of gas living in my brain anymore.
The laundry was done, the leaks were fixed (ish), and we were as clean as a whistle. We shed about 200lbs of stuff that now lives in the bodega in the back yard. A lot of the stuff we thought we would use didn't make the cut, along with the bikes and bike rack. The bikes were the saddest thing we parted ways with but it was extra weight that we didn't "need". We need little ole Chinooie Dookie to make it to the end and all the excess weight was killing the old girl.
It was time to go. Hugs and I love you's were exchanged and we were on the road again.
ARROYO SECO- PLAYA CHICA
It was a long day of driving, not because of the distance as much as it was the windiness of the roads. Remember when you were first learning cursive and it just seemed like a looooong squiggly line with no spaces? Thats about what the road looked like on the GPS. But honestly, it has look like that since we crossed the border.
It was about 5pm and the sun was just about to set when we came to our next camp spot. The plan was to hustle butt to get camp set up right on the beach before the sun went down, get up early the next morning and move on. We pretty well stuck to the plan with one small exception. Upon our arrival in town, there was a local bull riding competition going on. How do you pass that up?! You don't. We tried our best to not look like complete gringos so we climbed up the wooden fence that gated in the bulls and had a seat next to 1 of the 100 locals doing just the same. Just a few minutes later, YEEEEE HAAAAW! I think the guy lasted maybe 4 seconds before he was bucked off. It definitely was a great sign of what was yet to come for us on the Michoacan Coast. Next up? A town we didn't know the name of until I just looked it up :/
The town we found by accident.
How does one describe this place? It seems impossible.. Our day started off just as any other amazing day we have been having. We drive from one incredible town to the next and say our "oohs" and "aaaawwws". Well, Maruata was extra special. It went a little something like this..
The sun was directly over head and the temperature was at its max for the day (90 ish degrees), and we're about 70 miles into our 120 mile day. Why is there a sudden car pile up on the bridge? Is there a wreck? Was anyone hurt? I’m hot, please don’t make us turn the car off and lose the AC. It wasn’t a wreck, it was a protest and they were blocking the road. It appeared as though no one was getting through, not even the sweaty gringos that are on their honeymoon. Shit. We turn around, find a shaded spot and try to map out a different route. Nothing seemed promising. Regardless of the route we chose we still have to cross the state border, another potential road block. We turn around and decide to wait it out as others were. Parked in the sweltering heat, Ken walked up to the front to get a better look at the action and discovered they were infact letting a select few through. Maybe we had a chance! In hopes it wasn’t an awful decision to nose our way to the front of a political protest in a country that we barely speak the language, we did exactly that. We sat for a few minutes as we watched the organized chaos, while chatting with a local man aggressively eating a coconut popsicle. Chunks hitting me with every bite. There were no guns and everyone seemed to be quite calm, happy even. The most aggression we experience was the popsicle guy. And then it happened, the tires in the road were lifted and we were being waved through. YEEEES. Don’t make eye contact, don’t do anything weird, just say gracias gracias grasias and GO. High fives were exchanged and off we went with zero traffic, SCORE.
We scoped out a few towns along the coast that we for sure thought would be perfect, but ended up passing. Mainly because we were so hot that nothing seemed to satisfy us, not even a shaded pool… maybe ten miles past this incredibly clean and shaded pool camp ground and just before I was about to go into full blown overheated shutdown mode, we found an incredible palapa city that felt as if we were the first to discover it. There were 5 separate 1,000 sq. foot palapa clusters, each owned by different indigenous families. We paid 50 pesos ($2.94 usd) per person, which included the cold shower and a flat place to park the truck. Those are the amenities we were charged for. Also included: memories they didn’t charge for.
Beach side yoga, swimming in the ocean getting my world rocked by a waves that I had no business trying to swim in, sunset views from a cliff at the end of the beach. Crawling through a narrow cave on our bellies, reaching the other side all scraped up where we skinny dipped (sorry Gma & Gpa) with a hippy couple from Canada and found a sea turtle digging a hole trying to find a nice spot to bury her eggs. Yes, those things happened and they didn’t charge extra for them.
Our clothes and headlamps hung from our Canadian friends guitar that was propped up in the sand. The stars were shining and we ran into the calm water that was so salty even I managed to float. Every movement of our hands and feet showed the phosphorescence in the water. Where are we? How is this even happening? Here we are floating in the ocean only lit by the stars, all alone (except for our new Canadian friends a few feet away who also happened to have no clothes on), swimming in the perfect temperature water with my absolute favorite human in the whole world who loves me more than anything. I am so lucky. Period.
We make our way out of the water as if it is a scene out of Baywatch and put our perfectly dry clothes on our sandy, wet bodies and make our way back to the tunnel. Our turtle friend is still there so we hang out with her for a bit and watch her dig this endless hole. She showed us no aggression so we gave her back and feet a good rub. I am sure that is a big no no... Elbow, knee, elbow, knee, elbow, knee, rib, elbow, knee and we're on the other side. Endless turtle tracks in the sand lit up by our head lamps. A cold shower to rinse the tunnel cave off our elbows, knees and ribs and we make our way back to the camper to continue on with our normal routine. Bed gets made, teeth get brushed, and dogs go potty... almost as if none of those incredible things ever happened. But they did, we were there, and they are in our memory bank. #vanlife right?
It is hard to think of a creative way to describe how great all of these beach towns are. But I suppose I am not a writer, I am just a gal that enjoys documenting the memories and this is just another form of doing that?
It isn't so much the beaches or the towns themselves, it's the time, the memories made and the fact that I get to do all of that with this guy that chose to spend life with me. It's waking up, making coffee, complaining that I'm hot and don't feel like moving away from the fan. It's the routine of swimming in the ocean, getting sandy and salty (and pretending I can swim), showering to get the sand out of my butt crack and then doing the whole thing over again. But being able to do all of that with the human that loves me the most is pretty special. Ok that was the mushy bit.
Last beach town before we cut inland near Acapulco, about 5 miles from El Cayacal. It was a great camp spot (with all the amenities) in a meh "town". We needed to take care of a little business so having fast wifi and cell service was kind of a must. We met an amazing older couple that is in a super sweet overlanding rig from Belgium. We have been clinging to them hoping to gain even just a little bit of their knowledge. They have been on the road since 2007, and the husband is in a wheelchair. If that doesn't give a massive jolt of inspiration I don't know what will.
We stayed for 3 days and 2 nights, most of which was spent visiting with our new Belgium friends, swimming in the ocean that wasn't trying to kill me (for once) and sitting in front of the fans. It was hot, the hottest and stickiest we have been so far.
The last week or so that we have spent on the coast has really been amazing. We have made an incredible amount of memories, with each other and with new friends. But with that said... I'm hot, and when I'm hot I get crabby. Take me to the mountains please. Next up, Christmas in Oaxaca!