Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Road To Aticama, Part Three - Almost Missed The Turn

Good Morning Amigos,

WELL, in our last exciting episode of my tale we found our hero's headed south on Mexico's Central Pacific Coast looking for mythical Matanchen Bay in the rain. And it did rain! Big Buckets of driving warm, warm rain. With 4 humans in a tiny VW Microbus and only an excuse for a heater/defroster the inside was rapidly becoming a terrarium. Amazing how fast clothing can rot. We traveled for days through some really bad roads through Sinola and Sinora's plains and giant coastline swamp - wonderful 'Old Mexico' villages with little electricity and big hearted locals. Even in the '80s there were few travelers passing that way by road. There just was not much in the way of vacation destinations until you got to Puerto Vallarta, which was, at the time, still a small charming place to fly into with a population of less than 100,000 (vs. today's metropolis of more than a million). Vallarta was our goal also, but not without checking out Matanchen Bay.

At last the road started climbing the coastal mountain ranges and that's when the travel really started slowing down! At that time there were very few private cars on the road in Mexico but a lot of really big vegetable trucks. Slow, smoggy monsters overloaded with tomato's, cucumbers, and all manners of produce they crawled up the narrow roads at 10 or 12 miles per hour and nearly impossible to pass. It took a long, long time until we finally reached the capital of the state of Nayarit, Tepic. Tepic is simply a beautiful old Spanish city nestled in the mountains at around 5,000 feet. We did not know it at the time but it is only 20 miles or so from the coast as the crow flies. What we did know was that there was no signs whatsoever indicating which way to the coast!! We drove around for hours looking for the right road. No luck. Everyone we asked in our broken Spanish was polite and pointed west. It was getting late in the day, and I will never forget the wrenching decision to press on to Puerto Vallarta - we were tired and wanted to stop and recharge for a couple of weeks on the beach. As we set out that late afternoon in Jezebel we stopped at a small tienda (store) to replenish our supply of Pacifico Beer and there, next to the store was a sign pointing the way to the beach!!

Fantastic and Amazing, I did not know it at the time, but this simple stop for supplies would change the course of my life forever!!

Stay tuned for part 4.



  1. Quote: "I did not know it at the time, but this simple stop for supplies would change the course of my life forever!!"

    Man-O-Man! I loved reading those words!

    Su amigo,

  2. Jorge,

    I miss you man! As always, thanks for the kind thoughts and words.
    Su Amigo

  3. Hello Francis!

    Great Blog! I've been reading Jorge's blog for a couple of years so it's a good thing he met you and hooked all of up with your story and a good story it is.

    I'm really enjoying your story about your Aticama discovery. I'm about to drive down to Punta Mita at the end of the month and fulfill one of my life dreams- to drive down the Mexican coast.

    I've driven by your house (well, near it) on my way to and from San Blas and Punta Mita.

    Thank you for putting the effort out there to write this blog and your story.

    Maybe I'll stop in this winter while I'm in the area and say hello.

    Thanks again and stay healthy.

    John in LA