Saturday, March 15, 2014

Road Trip 2014: Up to the mountains and down to the lowlands….

We rented a car for a week and headed up into the mountains. Our first stop was the old mining town of San Sebastian – first populated by the Aztecs and then in the 1600’s to the 1930’s by miners. Now the people cultivate corn, cattle, and coffee.
Driving into San Sebastian
San Sebastian central plaza
On to Mascota for lunch and a visit to their wonderful cultural center and archeology museum.

We planned to spend the night in Talpa de Allende, but as we got closer we saw more and more people headed in the same direction. They were on foot, horseback, motorcycles, bicycles, cars and buses.  It dawned on us that this must be the pilgrimage to the Virgin of Talpa Basilica which, according to our Moon handbook, occurs on March 19 and attracts about one million people! Apparently people start their pilgrimage a week or so before the 19th. There were thousands of people, hundreds of horses, buses, cars, motorcycles and bicycles. It was fascinating to see. We could not even get as far as the town plaza so we turned around and headed toward Tequila.

The road into Talpa
This is the closest we got to the central plaza in Talpa.
This group of "walkers" was also a band!
All the way to Tequila there were “walkers” headed to Talpa. We got to Tequila after dark and all the hotels were full there, too. We headed on to Magdalena. Sure enough, we got a room at Hotel Quinta de Misa (recommended by friends) and had GREAT street tacos at a cart on the square. There was a long line and you had to take a number – first time we’ve seen that!
Sunday morning view from our balcony in Magdalena

After breakfast we headed for Tepic with a stop at Ixtlan del Rio at an archeological site.  All the Tepic museums were closed on Sunday, but we walked around the plaza and shopped all the Huichol stands. Monday we went to the wonderful Anthropology Museum and then got on the road around noon – now headed down to the lowlands.

Sugar cane truck headed to Tepic

Tepic market
We arrived in Santiago Ixcuintla around one in the afternoon, checked into a hotel, walked around the town and then drove out to the Huichol Cultural Center.  The Center has seen it’s better days, but it was interesting to meet Mariano Valadez (a well known yarn painting artist) and buy one of his yarn paintings.
Santiago central plaza

Sitting on the sidewalk looking at fashion magazines
This is Mariano Valadez and the yarn painting we bought
Mariano in his prime
The next morning we went to the market and bought warm bolillos
for breakfast before we headed to Mexcaltitan. 
Apparently this is where the Aztecs began their migration south to Mexico City.
Mexcaltitan is an island with no motorized vehicles. It was promoted several years ago as a “Pueblo Magico” tourist attraction, but apparently the tourism money dried up and not many tourists have been coming here. It’s quaint and interesting with a few restaurants, a couple of tiendas, and a very nice anthropology museum.  We walked the town and had lunch before getting a ride back to the mainland with Franco.
Franco.....our water taxi driver

Fish drying on the sidewalk
Delivery van
Classic pangas with fish nets ready
School is out

Looking from one of the main streets
through a building to the lagoon
This gentleman guarded our car while we were on the island
We were only a few hours from La Cruz at this point so we headed back to Loomba-Loomba with a stop at Mantanchen Bay for banana bread and a stop in Guayabitos 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Change of Plans

After much agonizing and discussing we have decided to stay in Mexico and not do the Pacific Puddle Jump. The main reasons are:

1. We really don't want to miss Simon's whole first year of life.

2. We love Mexico and love our lifestyle here and it would be very difficult to get back here by boat from the South Pacific.

The Land and Climate:

The People:

3. We like being home in the summer rather than the winter.

We will regret not going, but we would also regret not staying so we weighed all the pros and cons and our decision is to stay. We'll just save our miles and fly to the SP sometime.

Right now we are still in the La Cruz marina. We found a good alternator guy in PV and he finally diagnosed and fixed our charging problem. Yay! As always, we've spent a lot of time doing boat projects and re-connecting with cruising friends.
We're planning on doing a short road trip before we start heading back north into the Sea.
We will be leaving Loomba-Loomba in the water in Mazatlan this year - flying home the end of June.