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?)
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?
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