We noticed a great amount of traffic on the road. Cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs crammed full of goodies or with a heck of a load tied on top. Almost all of the license plates were from California and at first I foolishly thought that a lot of Californians were heading to Mexico for the winter. It finally dawned on me that this was the Sunday before Christmas and these were people heading HOME for the holidays. There were dozens of bicycles and large toys. One pickup was carrying two Carrier A/C crates. Another was taking a side-by-side refrigerator home for Christmas. Consequently, all the toll booths were backed up and the rest areas just beyond were filled to capacity.
The picture above shows some of the traffic. It also shows an older man riding his bike on the breakdown lane. We have also seen truck driving in that lane, but against traffic!
This picture shows another section of the toll road. Mexican toll roads differ from American toll roads in several respects. The tolls are very high, but they include insurance, so if your vehicle is damaged on the highway, their insurance will have it fixed. Their toll roads are not limited access. If you drive the full length you will pay all the tolls, but you can drive sections all the time without paying a toll. This was the situation when we drove to La Cruz, no tolls. Finally, you may see anything on the toll road, pedestrian, bicycle, tractor, even a herd of cattle being driven across.
Helen caught this picture of a man fly fishing in one of the rivers we passed. It got my attention. Later on, I found that in the higher elevations there is trout fishing and there is a trout hatchery someplace around Mazamitla.
This is a picture of the sun dipping behind the mountains. What it means is that at this time I am already in trouble for driving too long. We really meant to be stopped someplace safe before dark, but one minor set back after another put us way behind. I was always sure that we just had a little way to go. What a laugh!!! The direction system on Streets and Trips is an illusion. At one point it told me to take the next ramp to Route 15, and when I did it announced that I was "off route". Helen was really pleased.
I continued to drive, not seeing any alternative that was agreeable to me. In the meantime, Helen was getting more and more stressed. We couldn't safely stop anywhere and we could barely continue to drive safely either. Compounding this problem is the fact that Helen's cataracts are getting bad and her vision is decreasing, especially at night. While I could see well enough to drive, Helen couldn't make out very much in front of the motorhome. Then it started to rain. I finally asked Helen to go back and put her head down as she was really starting to distract me. She did, and it was a good thing, too. We were in the mountains at this point where there was one peligrosso (dangerous) curve after another. On some of the curves I could look way down at the village waaaayyyyy down in the valley. It's better that Helen never saw that.
I approached an unmarked intersection and was almost hit by a pickup truck coming very fast from the right. Jamming the brakes was the best thing I could do, though I felt that a collision was unavoidable. Miraculously, the pickup swerved and missed us by inches. This is where I was supposed to turn left anyway. I made the turn and pulled off the road for a few minuted to collect myself. If I was correct, I'd be about five miles from the campground. This was all paved road, but it has to be the worst paved road on the continent, perhaps two continents. I paused to cll the folks at Hacienda Contreras and they said they would meet us at the campground. A caretaker would let us in the gate. I knew that the entrance to the campground was an orange arch, and I was SO RELIEVED to see it just a few minutes later.
This is the arch in the daytime, but it looked so much better Sunday night.
The gate was unlocked and we entered safe and sound for the night. Barb and Sal came to greet us and they are a rare pair. We couldn't have had a better welcome and certainly felt right at home from the first moment. We picked a spot and settled in for the night.
This is the Dogs play area. Acres of clear land and grass surrounded by high rock fences, you would think that it would please them, but such is not the case. we are about in the middle of the property and they can run off-leash down here. It captured their full attention for a few days, but today it was not enough. Sandy has never been to training, but she behaves well. Jodie and Coco are another matter. This afternoon they worked their way down to the far left corner, then worked their way over to the far right corner. Of course, they were off leash, but I was with them. Then they got to the right wall and moved with some speed along the wall, heading for the area where there were campers in residence. Neither one would respond to being called and that really got my blood boiling. They would give me a quick look and continue on their way. I couldn't chase them for they were much too fast and determined not to come when called. I got Sandy in the camper and got in the Jeep for pursuit.
When I opened the back of the Jeep they jumped right in and I took them back to the camper. Sadly, they had been into the compost being used around the plants and they breaths that smelled a lot like the manure of the cows next door. The short ride back to the camper had my eyes watering. I could not bring them right in the motorhome as they smelled so bad, so I tied them to trees near us and hoped their breath would improve with time.
There has been a lot more going on, but I'll have to continue another day.