Coasting the coast: Chapala to La Ticla
After much discussion and planning of our route out of Chapala, we decided against getting drunk in Tequila (shocking, I know) and to bypass the Volcano in Colima (we’ll see others), taking a different route entirely to Melaque. Regardless of where we were headed, it felt nice to get back on the road again… but first: pull that nail out of my tire.
Back on the road, I’m trying out a freshly stuffed seat from Chapala (cost just 8$ to have it stuffed with extra foam). Comfort was improved riding around town, unfortunatly the difference it made once onÂ a longer ride was negligible. There is no way I could pull the long hours like we were headed up to Alaska. Not on this dissolved seat foam I’m on now. Even Jayne’s seat has degraded notably over time, with both of us a bit uncomfortable after a long ride. Fortunately we don’t pull long hours anymore. Too many cool things to stop and see.
It took about 4 hours to travel the great twisty road connecting Chapala to Melaque. You know the road must be good when you encounter numerous laden motorcyclists coming the other way. Soon after our arrival to Melaque, we met Denis. He noticed us overheating in our gear looking around like we were lost. While not exactly lost, we certainly didn’t know where we were going. He provided several options, and eventually we chose to move into an apartment as one of his neighbors for the night. 250 pesos is a bit over budget for us, but it was well worth it in the end.
Denis is a fellow Canadian, a roofer, who escapes to Mexico for the winters. He was a fantastic tour guide for us, driving us around in his chop-top VW bug. Denis took us to a great sunset viewpoint, to a great taco stand (our favorite food!), to the bar, out to the nearby town of Barra de Navidad (which is now chronically devoid of tourists) and even out to look at the crocodiles in nearby La Manzanilla.
While visiting the dinosaur lizards, we somehow managed to walk in the exit of the crocodile enclosure, and walked out the entrance unscathed. In doing so, we also managed to save 10 pesos! From a stop in a town we knew nothing about, to a full fledged night and day tour with some interesting stories to fill the gaps. Thanks Denis!
From Melaque to Manzanillo, where we motorcycle-ganged it with our new Couchsurfing friend Razvan from Romania. His apartment wasn’t ready so his company had him in a hotel, but he was helping us find a good spot to camp. The spot he found: his hotel room! Jayne and I each got our own beds, while Razvan moved next door with his work mate Paul. They both work at the port, working different sides of ensuring that what is in containers is actually the mining ore it claims to be. The mafia gets their fingers in many things, and are organized enough to pull the old swaperoo on entire containers sometimes!
We all head out to throw the disc around one evening, which Jayne and I are always looking to do. Not long after arriving to the field, the bugs arrived too. It’s the first time we’ve really been eaten by little no-see-ums, and certainly won’t be the last. Dusk, wet grass and bare legs don’t go well together. Hopefully we learn this before we get into malaria lands. Regardless, I still enjoyed getting out for a throw around, bugs or not.
Razvan and Paul toured us around a bit, taking us to some pretty views, and we had some great laughs. I even learned some new medical knowledge I obviously missed in nursing school: a little known leading cause for Kidney stones? Blow jobs. Groundbreaking. I’ll be sure to inform my patients of this should I find myself back in the hospital someday.
Empowered with this new knowledge, we left Razvan and Paul and head off down the coast. Several folks along our travels had mentioned La Ticla as a nice spot to stop, so stop we did.
La Ticla is apparently a known surf spot, with folks staying weeks at a time to surf and live on the beach. We met several of these surf bums, all of whom seemed to be really enjoying themselves. Alas, we have not yet started surfing much this trip, and the large waves at La Ticla weren’t the place to start. We hung out with some gents from Texas in their decked out Palapa home, drank from cocos, played some disc on the beach, and generally had a relaxed stay. Steve and Cory shared their food and cocos, and we met folks who had been down for awhile. There are many stories of thefts and such in Ticla, and while we did not have anything but positive experience there, others have had to keep an eye out. Not yet surfers, thus not able to take full advantage of the area, we continued to move on down the coast…
Hey look a working picture gallery! (edit: or not… click either the beautiful photos or the empty white space below to flick through the pictures)