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.
|Friday, August 05, 2011 09:47:28|
Rolls Alaska to Argentina & back: 38 Ixtapa to El Rosario, Mexico
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
*Miles for the day: 214 (344 km) Miles to date: 20,571 (33,106 km)*
The day started with pouring rain and the car was a long way from the room. We managed to get the luggage loaded without getting it soaked through, found out way out of Ixtapa and got lost in Puerto de Larzaro Cardenas before finding our way onto Hwy 200 north up the coast. Heavy rain accompanied us for most of the morning, but cleared later in the day. Being unable to find an eatery for breakfast in spite of every second building being a restaurant when we didn't want them, premade sandwiches at a gas station fast food outlet had to do. We were then followed twisting road through remote country for hours, until the Rolls got the first flat tire since I've owned it. The tire company had put the spare on because of the wear on one of the front tires, and the hub cap rotated cutting the value stem.
We got the car jacked up, seriously damaging the rocker panel in the process. Somehow the jack slot in the side of the car was higher than the rocker panel, so as the car rose the rocker panel bent upwards, crushing the new paintwork and chrome trim, We managed to get the flat tire off once we completely unloaded the trunk in order to get the spare out, but when installed it also proved to be flat. The tire people had deflated it as it was too wide for the spare tire compartment inflated!
We thought we had the problem solved with our portable tire pump, but it apparently burned out the last time we used it. Attempts to take it apart failed, so we took the spare off and put the damaged tire back on. A couple of people had stopped to offer help when we didn't think we needed it, but the next good Samaritan was welcomed with open arms. He drove the tire and I three kilometres back to a tire repair shop where it was inflated and checked for leaks. They didn't have a proper sized tire to replace the spare, which was destroyed when I drove down the steep hill to a level spot where we could jack up the car.
I climbed into the back of the pickup truck with the wife and daughter of the fellow who was helping us while he drove us back to the car. He and his son helped us get the tire mounted and the wrecked tire stowed. I gave him money for his help, but he returned all but a very small amount he said would cover the gas.
We carried on winding through uninhabited forest, but there was very little sign of civilization. Gas was getting low so in a tiny community we asked about a gas station. The next one was still 50 km away, so we bought gas from the local bar, put into the car from plastic containers. When we finally got to a gas station (cash only) they recommended hotels another 20 km down the road. On the way we hit a series of unmarked, unpainted speed bumps which bashed the front end back out of alignment. This was a series of three closely spaced asphalt humps, and we nailed them all.
At the beach town we canvassing pretty much every hotel in the area we finally found the only one that took a credit card. The room was great and the food in the restaurant superb, so a very up and down double scotch whisky day ended OK.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
*Miles for the day: 406 ( 653km) Miles to date: 20,977 (33,759 km)*
Today was a better start, although the time changed when we entered Mexico and it does not get light until 7:30 AM, but there was no rain. We drove to Tucoman where I asked about a tire shop. It was pointed out that I was parked in front of one. They had a proper sized tire for a spare - I bought one slightly narrower than the ones on the wheel so it would fit in the spare tire compartment. Once the tire was mounted and stored we purchased another tire compressor and found a place for breakfast.
We reaffirmed our decision to leave the beach route and head inland on toll road for Guadalajara. Besides the obvious damage the hundreds of speed bumps along the coast road were doing, the gas mileage was down over 30% from having to stop and start so often. The road is so windy that we could seldom get over 30 mph (50 kph) and passing slower vehicles was all but impossible. Also, on this route credit cards were rarely accepted.
The road inland was good except for a couple of construction areas. In spite of not getting out of Tucoman until after 10 AM we passed through Guadalajara by 12:30 and headed for Mazatlan. Marilynn wanted to find a hotel in a recommended beach community, but after discovering the best on offer had an algae laden green swimming pool, no rooms with 3 beds and didn't accept credit cards decided against it. I filled up with gas and when my credit card was rejected found they accepted only Mexican issued cards. Eventually the gas station people agreed to change $200 US to pesos. This helps, as road tolls today were almost $US100 in pesos - but very few speed bumps.
We drove another hour to Hotel Yaris in El Rosario, where Vic and I stayed on the way south. This had been the most relaxing day of driving for a long time, and the gas mileage was back up 30% in spite of maintaining close to 70 mph. We had a swim in the pool, then dinner and drinks poolside while I worked on getting new tires ordered for the car, sending updates, and answering emails.
It was a restless night, as the air conditioner didn't work well, but we are now a day ahead of schedule. We gained back the hour we lost at the Mexican border, so will have daylight earlier in the morning again.