Thursday, April 1, 2010

Finding the Nugget

Tonight I'm sitting in bed, next to the 1st Mate (yes, we're married again) and contemplating the last 11 days of my life. I'm rested but achy, tired but not sleepy, and only slightly less confused than I was yesterday, but serenity has returned and that's important.

Eleven days ago, Bill on TICO took me to shore where I caught a 8 pm bus from Zihuatanejo to Barra de Navidad, 200 miles away. It was an express... it took nine hours. Put THAT in your calculator.

The road was narrow and twisty and dark. It felt to me like sailing around Cabo Corrientes on a lumpy night at sea. Lots of noise, lots of leaning one way and then the other, lots of bumps, pitch black. We got into Barra at dawn and I caught a cab to the Cadillac Ranch, where my friend Don was storing my car. Don bought me a cup of coffee and I threw my bags in the car and drove to a mechanic who installed the rear shocks in the Quest for 60 pesos. I had wanted to get the front struts done too, but the only place I could find the parts was in Manzanillo/Santiago where the Nissan dealership was asking about $600 for a pair (and 5 days wait). I ordered them online Autozone for $78 each including shipping.

I had decided that I wasn not going to take my usual route back to San Carlos (to PV, Las Varas, San Blas, Mazatlan). I drove back toward Manzanillo and took the toll road to Colima and the route to Guadalajara. It was a route I hadn't used before so everything was kinda' refreshing. The rear shocks kept me from bottoming out on the topes, I had my camera with me, and lots of coconut cookies. I was set. Oh, and I had my little $130 GPS unit for the car, and was directed and entertained by the voice named "Amy" (Aim Me, get it?)
The volcanos above the city of Colima

As I reached the plateau near Guadalajara, I saw my GPS coloring the next several miles in the color blue... and I thought, "Gee. Am I coming up to a huge lake? I should get out the camera..." But when I got to the area, it was a large, flat region of white sand... a high plains desert. Then I saw the nicest expanse of shimmering blue near the horizon and I got it... my GPS even has mirages in its database?
High Plains Drifter. The plateau south of Guadalajara

I started seeing signs that said "Beware the Tovaneras. Slow down near Tovaneras." I realized that tovaneras are what we call Dust Devils and I could see half a dozen of them swirling around and through the desert and mirages... (would that be some kind of waterspout?)

Amy was fantastic in Guadalajara. The freeway traffic reminded me of rush hour in the East Bay (San Francisco) and Amy coached me through three different cloverleaf intersections to the toll road for Tepic. I drove until dark, and stopped at a toll booth rest area to sleep.

Awake at 5 am, I headed out and got into San Carlos around sundown... 45 hours after leaving the boat. The Colima/Guadalajara route was fast and really easy with wide highways (only about 40 miles of 2-lane road), no twisty jungle roads and plenty of things to see. Recommended!

Next: The trip to Tucson and Arizona's Game and Fish Department


Chrissy y Keith said...

Oh, I am so glad that you a Bliss are married again. That warms my heart like nothing else. Keith will be happy as well.
Hey, is your Amy a Garmin? Our Lupita is and she did a great job in Hermosillo. Took us another route and it was much better than the truck route we always took.

1st Mate said...

Someday you'll have to show me this route, sounds like an adventure.
Siempre tu 1st Mate

Mic said...

Yeah!!! am so glad you got your 1st Mate back :-)

MxSailor said...

C&K The unit is named a GSAT, which unfortunately, burned up when I tried a permanent install and got the wrong voltage to it. My bad. I'm looking at the Garmin now with the new Mexico NT SD chip. Is thatwhat you have?

1st Mate- You betcha.

Mic- So am I!

Chrissy y Keith said...

Capt. Yes, that is exactly what we have. I highly suggest it.