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Live the adventures of Dan Walker's travels through reading his travel journal. The travel journals are listed below in descending order of date. To search the travel journals, use the keyword search at the bottom of the page.

Journal Entry:

Thursday, August 04, 2011 20:19:28

Rolls Alaska to Argentina & back: 37 Playa San Agustinillo to Ixtapa, Mexico

Sunday, July 31, 2011

*Miles for the day: 123 (198 km) Miles to date: 20,060 (32,284 km)*

* *

Marilynn and Jacob slept in this morning. After breakfast in our posada they both went for a swim while I caught up on the computer. We planned a short run to Puerto Escondido, so made a leisurely start at 11:30 AM. The drive was not easy due to twisting roads and a huge number of speed bumps, so it was 1:30 PM when we could look down on the beach at Puerto Escondido to see a maze of rental chairs and umbrellas with virtually no free space, so we opted to keep going.

The going continued to be very slow, with few stretches where I could get over 30 mph (50 kph). On one stretch we sped up a bit, but after crossing a bridge we clobbered a hidden giant speed bump. In spite of slamming on the brakes we hit hard, tearing out the front mountings of the skid pan. We came to a stop on the opposite side of the road near some taxis, pushing the skid pan along in front of us.

One of the taxi drivers crawled under the car and up wired the pan so we could move, then led us to a mechanic shop where no one was home, then to a friend's house where they both got under the car. They had no proper bolts or other necessities, but nevertheless with the help of neighbours who loaned tools and parts got the skid pan wired back into place. Marilynn and I were provided chairs to watch the progress while Jacob made friends with a very young calf and a dog that were lying nearby. I gave the local kids some pencils and decals from Canada. In the end they didn't know what to charge, so settled on the equivalent of $10 each.

Not much further along we pulled into a gas station to fill up. They actually accepted credit cards, but couldn't run it through the machine as the door to the office was locked and they had no key. We also had a low tire in front, but the air compressor wouldn't work, so we tried our never used cigarette lighter operated tire pump while someone went for a key on a motorcycle. It worked remarkably well. Once the key arrived we paid and were under way again.

Our hope was to find somewhere on the beach to stay, but this was not to be. By 5:30 PM I was dead tired from wrestling the car through never ending curves and over interminable speed bumps, so we found a hotel in the city of Santiago Jamiltupec that agreed to take a credit card for two rooms at a total cost of $68. The hotel had neither bar nor restaurant, so we went to India restaurant about a kilometre away and had an interesting dinner prepared with a local interpretation of our choices. The service was impossibly slow, but we managed to down several drinks before the food came. When leaving they refused credit cards and US cash, so we explained they had a problem. After a lot of drama one of the clients from the next table took our US dollars and paid our bill in pesos, calling them ignorant locals. I take it they were passing through as well!

Back at the hotel we used the internet before finally getting to bed.

Monday, August 1 & Tuesday, August 2, 2011

*Miles for the day: 297 (478 km) Miles to date: 20,357 (32,761 km)*

We got underway by 7 AM. The roads have been better than I could have hoped for all down the coast, and other than the cursed speed bumps in each scattering of buildings we made quite good time. We stopped for breakfast at a little roadside cafe that was cooking tortillas over an open fire. It was great.

We planned to finish driving near Acapulco, but managed to miss the road to the beach south of the city and ended up in traffic congestion combined with construction. We finally extricated ourselves and got onto the highway out of town, where a kind fellow we asked for directions led us in his truck to the unmarked turn onto the coast highway north.

Marilynn and I have been surprised by the cleanliness of the highways and small towns - very different from other visits to Mexico. The people in the area we are passing through speak a very different Spanish, so communication has been a bit of a problem, but most have been very helpful.

By about 4:30 we reached Zihuatanajo where we went to the airport to change some money. I talked to a couple of guys who recommended the Loma del Mar Hotel in nearby Ixtapa, and led us to the place, stopping along the way to make an appointment for the morning at a tire store to get some needed work done. They said if we sat through a 90 minute sales presentation we could have the place for $100 less per night, so we agreed. The villa was beautiful - kitchen, living room and two big en-suite bedrooms. We swam in the pool, drank in the pool bar and dined in the superb gourmet restaurant perched on top of a hill with a view of all Ixtapa.

In the morning we had breakfast with one of the sales people as promised, but I had to interrupt the promotion to go to the tire shop where they did a front end alignment, rotated the tires and fixed the horn. They tried unsuccessfully to remove the heavy wire holding the skid pan, finally saying the wire used was so heavy it would have to be cut off with a torch. It seems the taxi driver and his friend did a fine temporary fix!

Back at the villa I sat through the rest of the presentation with the idea of learning from them. Marilynn and Jacob had been to the beach in the morning, so we caught a chauffeured golf cart to have an afternoon swim, followed by more swimming in the pools to escape from the insupportable heat. We planned go by taxi for dinner, but found that the safe key had been lost at the beach, where Marilynn also lost an ear ring, and the Rolls had a flat tire - the first ever. This meant no money until the problem was solved!

It took awhile to get another key from reception and blow up the tire with our cigarette lighter operated tire pump - which quit permanently when the tire was half inflated. Eventually we drove back to the tire shop about 10 miles away, were they replaced a faulty tire valve. They recommended a restaurant in Zihuatanajo, but it was closed. We drove around until we located a place with a view of the bay and had a great dinner. They said they accepted credit cards, but when it came time to pay the "machine didn't work," much the same story of the gas station this afternoon. The cash reserves continue to take a beating!