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2000/2001: Oct | Nov | Dec | Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr

Destination: Troncones, Mexico, just north of Zihuatanejo.

Nogales to Zihuatanejo - Part II

----Ernie Gorre---

"The 5 cm. shoulder to those 100 m. cliffs lend excitement to the drive."

Continued from last month...

The road from Tepic to Guadalajara was an excellent cuota. The elevation rises to 5,141 feet though; this is not for a car with a weak cooling system. Our 720 km. drive that day ended in Guadalajara at 15:40, even with the one-hour time change entering Jalisco.

Our stay at the Crowne Plaza Hotel was worth the US$180/two-beds someone else was paying. The hotel is a quiet oasis in a busy city. While swimming in the pool I could barely hear the traffic only meters away. The staff was very attentive, even noticing at 19:00 hours that I had left my sunglasses in the truck's box and bringing them to our room. Prompted by my carelessness they suggested I move the truck to a space beside the parking security gate to ensure complete safety.

Our third day was a leisurely 235 km, three hour, downhill cuota to Tecoman. We had heard that the drive from there to La Mira, en route to Zihuatanejo, could be difficult and wanted an early morning start for that portion. En route, Ciudad Colima was another pleasant diversion. The lovely treed streets and well tended lawns here clearly deserved a few days visit. Maybe next time.

Our hotel in Tecoman had neither the opulence, nor the price tag of the previous night, but I was paying. The Hotel Gina provided a double room with either ceiling fan or air conditioning for N$180/night. Good parking was provided with nighttime security. The small pool was just right. Good for cooling down, but not for strenuous lengths.

Sure enough, the last day's drive was the most challenging, but no worse than roads I have driven at home in British Columbia. The two-lane free highway is pretty, winding and pretty winding. The 100 meter elevation provides beautiful views of the Michoacan coast. But the 5 cm. shoulder to those 100 m. cliffs lend excitement to the drive. At least we didn't have to worry about snow.

This section to Zihuatanejo had the most frequent police and military roadblocks, but by this time they had lost their thrill. We knew the routine of saying where we were coming from and where we were going. This was invariably followed by a smile from the crew and wish for a pleasant trip. Only once were we required to open anything in the truck and even then it seemed to be almost a pleasantry. If we had drugs or weapons, I'm sure our experience would have been much different. These 580 km., including several roadblocks and an hour stuck behind a pair of cement trucks took seven hours to cover.

All of our extensive preparations went unused. Every Pemex station on the cuotas was well stocked, (with better washrooms than I've seen at Arco). Emergency telephones were spaced frequently along the cuotas. Off the toll highways there was a taller mecánico seemingly every 10 km. The numerous auto dealerships we passed seemed well equipped.

Guerrero had the worst roads we encountered, but it also had the most roadwork underway. Perhaps they will be the best roads next time. And there will be a "next time". Although the drive to Troncones was about as exciting as driving to work, the destination is much more enjoyable.

November 2000

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