February 20, 2004

And so the adventure begins

I am in Mexico. It looks like a good beginning to me.

Sunday, February 15, 2004
The rain was supposed to stop today, so I choose it for my drive to Texas. No rain and when I got into Louisiana, the sun came out and warmed my soul. I drove through country that I have not seen before. I saw monstrously large swamps and later on when forests transformed into flat open lands I saw what looked like rice paddies. Between Lafayette and Lake Charles, I found a wonderful radio station playing Cajun music and announcers speaking the Acadian French of south Louisiana. East Texas was a land of hardwood trees and grassland with cattle here and there grazing the land. Houston is just another large city and did not seem at all special. About 6:30 I arrived in New Braunfels where I had hope to visit with a woman whom I had met a week before at the Rødspætte Klubben. But it was not to happen this night.

Monday, the 16th:
Before leaving New Braunfels, I drove through the town. I saw the small homes and the larger stone homes along the river. I drove though the center of the town. Nineteen century buildings dotted the landscape. I thought the place had a lot of character.

At the Alamo

I stopped in San Antonio to see the Alamo. The old mission is in the center of San Antonio and is surrounded by tall buildings, some more than 20 stories. The buildings that were saved are well preserved. Laredo seemed more like Mexico than the US. The weather was glorious, clear skies and in the mid 80s. I stopped to pick up a few things, including car insurance. While not required in Mexico, I thought it prudent to protect myself. I finally crossed the border sometime after 3:30. Due to poor signage, I did not find the place to get permission for the car until 4:30. Despite the computers, they only had two clerks processing the paperwork. So, I waited in line. The bureaucracy here is not quite as bad as India, but it is still horrendous. It was a quarter to seven when I finished paying my $30. I decided to push on to Monterrey. It was less than two hours away. I missed seeing the country side, but the stars shown brightly above.

After locating a map this morning, I headed for Highway 40 to Torreon. Mexico has developed a large number of toll roads. They are some of the most expensive on the earth running roughly one peso per kilometer, which is about $15 dollars for 100 miles. I had decide to pay the extortion while drove Monday night. However, today I rode on the free highway. It was decent. The only problem that I had was getting through Torreon and onto the correct highway. The signage was not what it should be. Two cops hit me up for driving too fast in the town I guess they get you one way or the other. With the mountains off in the distance, one might have thought the scene would be lovely. But this was a sparse desert with little growing on it and almost no one living here. On the other side of Torreon and the way to Durango, then desert gave way to fields and grazing lands. It was quite beautiful. The free road was not a beautiful, rough and full of semi-trailer rigs. Eventually I made my way back to the toll road. I saw no other car or truck going west. On the other side of Durango, I found some of the most beautiful scenery so far as I drove up into the mountains. The two lane road was new and in fairly good condition. But the turns were dangerous, not to mention the lumber trucks going the other way. The couple of towns I drove by were poor. The smoke from their chimneys smelled wonderful. I stopped for the night in the largest of these towns, El Salto.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004:
It seems like I am making little progress. I wanted to be lying on a great beach this afternoon. And it took me until night fall to locate a place. I was up early this morning. The 270 km. Drive to Mazatlan, was extraordinary. The drive through the mountains was one switchback after another. So much so that I was getting motion sickness, which is no mean feat for a flier? There were only a few places where the road was not good. With all the semis using the road, it is a necessity. So I was off at sunrise, about 7:30. I didn't stop until I knew I was out of the worst of it about 10:30 and after about 150 km. The average speed was no better than 40 mph. After the breakfast stop. I drove to Mazatlan. I drove the entire beach area of the old town and the new resorts. This is not a place where I wanted to be. I think Acapulco has more ambiance than Mazatlan; and compared to the Yucatan or Bias de Haultoco, I would classify it as a serious downer. I found the tourist bureau. Based on there advice I tried Teacapan, an town about 50 miles south. Nice but it had no sand beach. If I could have flown to the place I ended up it would have taken less than one half hour, but I had to double back 25 miles and head south on an inland road.
An hour and a half later I finally got a place on the beach - Playas Novollero, where I now sit and write. The weather continues to be excellent. It was cool in the 30s in the mountains, and in the 90s in Mazatlan. The wind is blowing and it finally has cooled down on the beach.

The promise of hot water was not delivered. It is foggy over the ocean. I pressed on to Guadalajara. A beautiful drive it was.

Posted by bill at February 20, 2004 02:22 AM

Hey big brother -keep the blog coming--many folks here at work also enjoy your travels. Randy & my brother-in-law, Tony is here & living with us. Randy's siter & the kids will arrive after school is out. Randy's mom also making plans to move here. Love ya

Posted by: gay lynn at February 20, 2004 01:00 PM

hey bill finally you are in my country, don't you think in nice?
i saw Betty in her job and we were talking ablot you guyes are thinking in moving to Mexico and as ican read you sound excited about Mexico.
Imay be in Mexico at the end of March for few days i do not know if i will be in Cuernavaca or fly direct to Cancun, I'll let you know later.
Good Lock

Posted by: adrian at February 25, 2004 09:32 PM