The longest 245 miles I’ve ever driven

28 Jan

Mazatlan to Playa Ayala

First of all I would like to thank all of our new friends at Punta Cerritos RV park, especially our campground host Kip for being so patient with all of our newbie questions and treating us to such a premiere ocean front campsite, and to our next door neighbors Paul and Kirsten.  You made our stay there very memorable.  Paul is the person who loaned us his ATV a couple days earlier and we had that fantastic adventure 30 miles up a deserted beach.  Kirsten saved me from a lifetime of embarrassing photos of me in my mom jeans shorts.  Kirsten cut off a spare pair of pants with laser like precision and hemmed them equally as well as the cut.  Read a few blog post back and you’ll see where this little mishap started.

Ok, the day starts out well.  We’re all packed up and ready to head south when our neighbor Paul offers to take us into Sam’s Club to resupply.  We had tried this the day before, but the Pack vs. Bears game was on and didn’t want miss any of the action.  I listened to the game while I installed my long horns on the RV where the Ford emblem used to be.  I had purchased a pair of bull horns on our National Parks trip, but didn’t think the police in the states would take too kindly to such a modification, but down here in Mexico they’re quite the attraction.  People point smile, wave and laugh.  Sometimes they yell out “Vaquero” or “El Toro”  It’s a good ice breaker and was well worth my time and effort while listening to the game.

Anyway, once the game was over and the Pack won, we zipped off to stock up on some much needed supplies, mainly booze.  Since we’re on a budget, we try to save any which way we can and our booze bill can be sometimes bigger than our gas bill, but not on this trip.  We really haven’t gone to a bar at all.  Maybe one or four, but it’s usually just for a beer and more to get out of the RV than anything else.  Well it’s just our luck that on Sundays in Mexico they stop selling hard alcohol after 2:00 pm.

Sundays in Mexico are big family days.  I mean they’re huge!  It’s so precious to see too, since big extended families spend the whole day together and they’re having a riot.  Food, beer, beach and the whole works.  Kids running around like they’re on drugs, but they’re probably just full of sugar.  It’s something that is definitely forgotten in the states, since it’s not just mom, pa and the 2.5 kids.  It’s usually everyone in the extended family, grandma, grandpa, uncles, cousins, neighbors and the whole town seems joins in the fun.  I love it.  It’s great to see, but this little rule helps those folks who have to work in the morning get to work.

Anyway, so Paul drives us to the market and we stock up on Bacardi Anejo, 100% blue agave tequila for $4.00, Merlot for $2.50 a bottle.  I’m seeing this same stuff for twice that price in this tiny little fishing village, so we make our drinks in the RV and stroll down to the beach to hangout.  It’s a huge money saver.  Not only that we’ve been eating in almost the entire time here in Mexico.  I actually have not spent a dime outside the Sam’s Club in the last 4 days.  There’s a saying that “Peanut butter and Jelly tastes like fillet minon above 10,000′ “.  Well I’ve got to say after tonight’s dinner that “Deluxe Mac and Cheese with sliced up hotdogs tastes like T-bone steak with cheese sauce” on the beach in Mexico, especially when it’s snowing back home, and its 77 degrees here.

So I digress.  The day starts out smoothly enough.  I’ve replaced a plug wire that was in question, tire pressure, check, oil topped off, check, radiator topped off, check, booze topped off, check, Ford emblem replaced with a pair of bull horns, check so we’re good to go.

Well, we head south and get through town no problem.  We’ve got a 1/4 tank, but I asked if there was fuel on the route and I’ve got “plenty” in response.  I figured it might be a nice to stretch the legs, take a pee and grab a coke while filling up, so we passed on filling up the tank with gas.  Well there’s no fuel for the next 150+ miles.  And I’ve drain my reserve tank into the ATV just so we could buzz into town to refill the ATV that we had drained the day before.  I’m a bit stressed!  I can just picture it now that we run out of fuel on a dangerous curve with no place to pull over and “Blamo” we’re hit by a tandem fuel truck going 85 and the whole place explodes.  Well, that’s what’s running through my mind.  I pull over at the safest place possible and put the last few ounces of gas I have left in my spare can in the tank.  I probably burned more fuel just stopping than actually helping, but the psychological factor helps me calm down a bit.  We are now running on fumes and the gauge is way below E.  I think I can actually hear the gas gauge cry.  I’m freaking out, but there on the horizon we finally see some signs of life, but it’s just another toll booth.  I ask for the nearest Pemex station in my lame Spanish and she tells us it’s 12k away.  No way in hell can we get that far, but we make it.

Disaster #1 averted.
With a full tank of fuel we’re back on the road.  Well, no later than we’re out of sight of any type of civilization does the rig start to sputter.  I’m thinking of that dam fuel filter I had tried to change it while in Mazatlan, but it needs a specialize tool to replace it.  Well, the sputtering has gone from bad to worse.  It’s chugging now and there doesn’t seem like this will be a quick fix.

I pull off the Cuota road and on to the Libre road and into the first dirt turn off which now seems like we’re instantly in the middle of nowhere.  A young teenager on a small motorcycle passes within seconds of me opening the hood and yells out and points to the nearby woods as he’s passing “mechanico”.  I give him the universal both hands up in the air “what, where, how” sign as he turns his head back to see if I understood a ¼ mile down the road.  Surprisingly the kid turns around and walks me up the dirt road to what looks like a scene out of a horror movie.  There are rusted out old cars here and there, falling down palm huts here and there, and pens where various malnourished animals are held hostage.  A skinny young man wearing a baseball cap with a sparkling pot leaf immediately appears out of a dark, delapitdated grass hut carrying a big machete the size of my leg quickly approaches dangerously close to us.  Warning, warning, danger Jim, danger the robot voice in my head is screaming, but I remain amazingly calm.  The young boy asks if “insert Spanish name here” is home.  “No, he will return after 5:00 pm, which is about 2 hours from now.  Ok, we will wait “aqui”.  I smile and say “Buenos dias” and turn around with the boy, keeping one eye on the guy with the machete.  In my imagination which is now in hyper drive the machete is dripping blood and the young man is missing an eye along with a partially exposed skull.  He is probably too full from gorging on the last tourist who stopped here to eat us now, so he’s probably going to wait to get us tonight.

As I turn around the skinny dogs who have suddenly filled the dirt path behind us scurry away like rats exposed to sunlight.  Now I’m thinking I’ve got to fix this problem and now, cause there is no way in hell I’ll be able to sleep a wink tonight in this place.  I quickly take off the “dog house” covering of the engine and look for any obvious signs of a malfunction.  Nothing on the driver’s side, so I go over to the passenger side and there like a glowing star in a dark night is a plug wire that has come off the spark plug.  I joyously point to it to show the young boy who is still here “ problema aqui” and promptly reattach it along with making sure all the others.  The engine is red hot, but I’m not going to risk that this one is the only one loose, so after a few singed finger tips we’re ready to roll.  I offer the kid a cold cervaza for his help, but his refuses.  Hmm, at that age I’d love to have a cold beer on a hot afternoon, but he smiles and waves goodbye as we jump into the rig and turn back to the Cuota hiway.

After spectacularly steep decent on a very twisty turny narrow road from Tepic we arrive in Playa Ayala.  We stumble into Los Definos and meet Richardo.  I ask him “quonto questa per noche” and he tell me $150 pesos, which is $12.50 per night.  Our best price yet with full hookup and wifi.  We’re basically in spitting distance from one of the nicest beaches in the area.

I’m going to have to edit this, but please check back soon for edits, additions and photos.


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