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Cruising with the crew of CALOU on the Baja Ha-ha and Pacific Puddle Jump
Jaguar Crossing

Road sign along the way: Jaguar crossing.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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Getting a fill-up, Mexican style

At one of the tiny villages in the high mountains, a sign advertised "gasolina", so we stopped to get a fill-up. They filled our gas tank from plastic jugs and a funnel.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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Off Road Driving to Ayutla

We left Tecolotlan in the morning, and drove west along the highway towards Barra de Navidad. Not wanting to end up in Barra, our plan was to cut across the back roads and mountain ranges between this highway and the other one parallel to it, a hundred miles north, that leads from Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta. This way, we could see some Mexican backroads and little towns.

Boy, did we get to see some back roads. As soon as we left the main highway, it was unpaved dirt-and-rock roads, or, when we got to a pueblo, cobblestone streets. We found that, once in the backcountry of Mexico, there were no road signs at all. This meant that, at any crossroads, we had to rely on our gut instinct for which way to go, or ask directions from a local. We did a lot of asking for directions, which helped sharpen our Spanish speaking skills.

Heading into the Mexican outback, we gained altitude, heading up into the 7000 to 8000 foot elevations. We forded several streams, (heading out on foot first to make sure the depth was not too much for our Renault Megane rental car). We went through dozens of dusty little villlages. Every native we spoke to was extremely nice to us and helpful.

As we approached the 8000 foot elevation and near the summit of our mountain pass, we asked for directions once again, and the local guy looked at the ground clearance under our rental car and said, in Spanish, that he didn't recommend we continue. He said that we'd have to ford a stream further along where the riverbed was lined with basketball sized boulders, and we could get stuck or damage the car. He recommended and alternate route; unfortunately this route added another 8 hours to our trip.

We decided to take his advice, so we took another dirt road and ended up in the town of Ayutla. There we stayed in the only hotel in town, a fairly simple inn on the town square.

If only we had known, the next town along that road, Cuautla, was a pretty scenic town with some nice hotels. Cuautla would have been a nicer place to spend the night.

The next morning we drove from there north to Talpa De Allende and from there back to P.V.

(Photo: Francois checks out the depth of a stream we are about to ford)

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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01/15/2009 | Judy Armstrong
What an adventure, but it sounds a little scarifying! I'm glad you made it safely to your destination.
Stopover in Tecolotlan
01/11/2009, Tecolotlan, Jalisco

On the way back from lake Chapala we stopped in the small rural town of Tecolotlan. This is a real authentic Mexican town. I think we´re the only Anglos in the whole town. Whereas the town is poor to modest at best, we find it to be clean, litter and graffiti-free, and the people apparently have great pride in it. The people are really friendly, as they are everywhere in Mexico.

We´re staying at a little hotel in town (150 pesos a night) and right now are at an internet cafe.

photos to follow.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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01/24/2009 | roberto
my parents where born and rased in tecolotlan and they love it. it is a very welcoming place and you would love to go and see the beautiful places in and outside of there. i too have gone to see tecolotlan and it is very, very beautiful. so stop by and see the eye sites and meet some people.

Lake Chapala

We arrived at Lake Chapala yesterday afternoon, and enjoyed lunch at the house of friends Michel and Vivianne. They are French expatriates who have lived here 12 years. We last saw them in Mazatlan two years ago.
Afterward we checked in to the Hotel Real de Chapala. It's a very fancy hotel on the shores of the lake. Today we'll visit the towns of Chapala and Ijijic.

Photos to follow.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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01/11/2009 | Larry & Karen
finally was able to connect to your site, thanks to Michael.... your link on the sail blog goes to Face Book....

Sounds like a superb trip.... I have not been to Guadalahara in 40+ years, it was always fun to go there in my late teens and early 20's. Your current side trip sounds great, Karen & I are taking notes for future road trips to Mexico. We both really enjoy it there.

Hopefully you and the boys are getting a little surfing in while in Mazatlan. I remember the curl there being one of the best I ever surfed.... I wish you, Pascale, Francois, and Antoine a very happy new year, and continued safe voyage. We look forward to your next update.

Love to you all;
Larry & Karen
Hotel Morales in Guadalajara

Here's a view of the interior of the hotel we stayed at in Guadalajara, the Hotel Morales.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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land cruise to Guadalajara
01/09/2009, Guadalajara

Since I last reported we rented a car at P.V. and headed eastward; ultimate destination Guadalajara. Our first day was a pleasant drive into the mountains; we stopped for lunch at a beautiful, out-of-the-way, quaint and little known town of San Sebastian. There was hardly a gringo there, and not much tourist trade either, but the village, homes, and helter-skelter cobblestone streets look like they haven't changed since the 1800s. The road to this town was a side trip off the beaten path, parts of it unpaved and very rough, including fording a stream.

After that we drove through Mascota and then to Talpa de Allende. This town reminded me a bit of Santa Rosalia, with its "old west" and Spanish colonial architecture. We had dinner in the best restaurant in town, which turned out to be an open air talapa on a hill overlooking the town.

The next morning, we drove across about 200 miles of arid mountain landscape; at times the scenery reminded us of California's Sierras, at times of the hot, dry Mendocino National Forest between Maxwell, CA and Lett's Lake (one of our favorite summer destinations), and at times, of the California Great Central Valley. All this, however, with colonial Spanish architecture.

We arrived at Guadalajara (pronounced "wa-da-la-HA-ra") around 2 PM, and toured this city of 8 million people, had lunch at a hotel, and then searched for the perfect hotel for our stay. We took a horse drawn carriage to tour the town and to deposit us in front of the Hotel Morales. This is a 4 star hotel with gorgeous 18th century stone architecture.

Dinner at the hotel this evening was wonderful; just appetizers (smoked salmon platter, and mushrooms cooked with chili peppers and garlic), and two servings of tortilla soup. There was an excellent 3-piece band that plays beautiful Mexican music (accordeon, guitar and bajo sexto).

We'll post photos soon, when we can.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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Heading to Guadalajara

We've rented a car and will be taking an inland trip to Guadalajara; we'll be visiting some historic sites along the way. We'll be meeting up with some friends we met at the El Cid in Mazatlan in 2007.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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