Following the sign to Playa Chacala, we slipped down the side-road from the highway to make our way there. It’s a short drive down the winding road and we are rewarded with arriving in a picturesque town with a tranquil coastline among luscious jungle growth. Tempted to pull off to the array of beachfront restaurants we decided instead to follow the road through town to see where it led. To be honest, we pretty much always do that and we should really apologize to the hardworking restaurant and attraction staff who dutifully wave and smile and shake menus in the air to attract our business. Gosh we do appreciate the effort. Waving and smiling as we drive past a few hopeful restaurateurs, we follow the road and find ourselves across the beach to the fishing boat moorings. A family is enjoying a small beach that they have all to themselves and the dock calls us to walk out. Resisting the urge to park our ride on top of something, because we can, we find a shady spot in front of the Capitania de Puerto casa. Walking down the dock we are treated to an amazing panoramic view of Playa Chacala. Wow. It is easy to see why this is a favourite stop for travellers and a regular anchorage for cruisers.
It is lunchtime and we hop aboard and head back towards the centre of town. Fortunately, there is enough time for discussion, which results in my being able to convince Teri to opt to make our way to our destination, San Blas, to seek the famous restaurant on the river (the one with the crocodiles – remember?)
On our way back to the main highway we veer off to chase a small squirrel (I’m assuming you understand what I’m talking about but if not – back to Part 1 for you!). If you want to catch the LURE team’s attention, just put up an interesting sign. When we drove into Chacala we saw a sign for “Mar de Jade” that looked interesting and since we are waiting for San Blas to grab lunch anyway, the few minutes to find out what was represented on the sign was worth it. Besides, it was a dirt road and kicking up a little dust in our road monster was prerequisite to truly enjoying the day. Flicking the turn signal on we prepared to turn onto the dirt road when a very clean SUV turned in front of us. Any thoughts we had of revving the engine and sending a cloud of dust into the air were gone as they limped along trying desperately (and unsuccessfully) to keep their pretty family van clean. Nevertheless, we found our way to the gate and crossed the small bridge over the estuary into a fantastic resort area. Teri snapped a few pics for future reference and we circled back to the highway to make the last leg of our journey.
Smiling and ready for lunch, we shoved off and back to the main highway to find our way to San Blas. Our topé eating ride eagerly, albeit a little slowly, pulling along, we
quickly come upon the turn to follow the coast road and lunch and swimming and crocodiles (I’m a little excited at this point – actually so excited that I missed the turn and had Teri not pointed it out, this would be about our trip to Tepic). Turning onto highway 16 the older kids are leaving school and the young ones heading in so it is a flurry of activity. A kilometre or so off of the highway we pull up behind a pickup FULL of teen boys and our ride is an instant hit as they wave and holler at us. We pass with care trying not to encourage too much jocularity as they are precariously hanging on. Once passed we are on the open rural highway and enjoying the wind until a sudden shudder and stall shakes us. “What was that?” we shout simultaneously. As quickly as it came it is over and we continue, slowing to enter the next town, Zacualpan.
Zacualpan is a beautiful working rural Mexican town. The boulevard is landscaped excellently and adorned with Aztec figures. It is clean, quiet and well kept and the perfect place for us to hear what sounds like a washing machine full of bolts grinding underneath us. Denial. That’s what we went with at the beginning. Denial that there was something wrong and a cautious advance to our very near goal, San Blas. Exiting town the faster speed covers the grinding but a slow truck in front of us that demands we return to a crawl reminds us that it is still there and maybe worse.
San Isidro is a sign on the highway. We can’t tell you anything about the village except that it is as far as we got on our road trip this time. Pulling off to the roadside the washing machine returns to spin cycle with extra bolts and we realize that our day is done. San Blas waits just a crocodile’s snout up the road (ok more like 60km) but we have to abandon the day and limp home.
One thing the LURE team has learned is to make Margaritas out of lemons… or limes or whatever else we get handed. It was, as always, another day in this country we love, doing what we love, together, in love. How can anyone be disappointed with that? Not us, that’s for sure. San Blas will wait for another day. We will try again and keep trying because the other thing we have learned is that life’s best moments come when we decide to make them happen.
Have you had a trip go sideways and over came it to make a great memory? We would love to hear about it. Contact us and tell us all about it.