Trip Report

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Escrito por Jen in Hood River desde ( el día viernes, 01 de diciembre, 2006 a las 17:40:55 horas :

Road Trip! November 3rd and 4th. Zihuatanejo to Uruapan and Tingamboto

We woke up early Friday so we could get to the airport and rent a car for our adventure. We took a taxi and got there by 8 but had to wait until 9 when the car rental folks arrived. Then we had to wait another 15 minutes for the car to be delivered from Ixtapa. So much for an early start! When it arrived I saw it would definitely fit an adventure like this. It was an old rusty, white Volkswagen convertible complete with superman action figure in the glove box. When the rental guy was marking the damage on his little slip of paper he just circled the drawing of the car and said, “Scratches everywhere!”
I was hoping that Dad would get use to the car fast and the ride wouldn’t be as loud and jerky as it had started out. I kept the phrase book handy so we could figure out what the signs were saying. I learned “tope” pretty fast. Our poor little car actually rolled backwards down one that was so tall. We saw police several places along the road and knew there were some that we were supposed to stop at but not which ones. Dad told me to just let him know if I noticed anyone waving and yelling at us to stop. We managed to get filled up with gas and were off to Uruapan.

The drive took longer than we were told it would but we didn’t really go the speed limit most of the way. The driving was crazy and I am sure glad that Dad didn’t make me take a turn. It seemed that lanes were just some sort of a suggestion of where you might want to drive and I really never figured out completely what blinkers were for. Dad just kind of quit using them I think.
The scenery was absolutely beautiful with the river flowing and everything was so green. We crossed several bridges that were painted bright orange that looked so neat with the blue sky behind them. The humidity and heat were much more comfortable the further we drove. There was road construction in a couple places and Dad got a kick out of seeing some of the techniques, like tearing one lane of the bridge off and trusting that people will stay on the remaining pavement.

We got to Uruapan at about 2:00, and that is when things got hairy. It was a fairly large city and we didn’t know exactly where we were going. Actually, we had no clue. We couldn’t figure out which streets were one way and if they were which way we were supposed to go and when they changed to two way again. We didn’t exactly understand what the signals on the stop lights meant and which ones were for us. As we were carefully maneuvering our way through heavy traffic we pulled up to one car with what appeared to be a 10 year old chauffeuring his parents in the backseat. I told Dad that if the little boy could do it then surely he could! The were some roundabouts that I don’t think we followed the rules on and cut some people off. We found the National Park followed by the busiest, narrowest street in town. I enjoyed the sights but had to pay more attention to driving. Dad’s driving that is. Didn’t know which intersections were 4-way stops and which ones were 2-way. I think a good majority of them were just every man for himself. Some how we made it down that street with no damage. After Dad drove the wrong way down a one way street we found a hotel with parking and stopped. The hotel was nice and the balcony looked over a busy street. We enjoyed watching the traffic. Lots of interesting transportation whizzed past. We took a taxi from the hotel to the National Park. That was a well spent 25 pesos!

The park was absolutely amazing. I took over 250 pictures in the three hours that we were there and could have taken more. In the morning we went to the town center and took pictures of fountains and some really old churches. The drive to the town center was another adventure. That is where we found a lot of one way streets. Dad went the wrong way down two of them, at least. He always seemed to maneuver through that situation very smoothly. After we made it out of town we headed for Tingamboto, we hoped. Once again we had only a general idea of where we wanted to go. We found the town down a bumpy road and were able to ask some ladies that gave us very specific directions to the archeological site. The town consisted of many narrow streets on hills. Once again Dad went the wrong way on one way streets. Luckily there was not much traffic in this town. After we spent some time there we headed back to Zihua.

We left early enough so that we would be able to go to La Barra before having to return the rental car. I guess Dad was feeling more adventurous and wanted to drive more like the locals. He did things like pass someone while he was being passed and passing a bus with a semi truck in the oncoming lane while we were coming up on a corner. I took some video to prove these things.

Dad and I were looking at the dam on the way back when I asked him why the battery light came on and what the illuminated exclamation point meant. He replied, “uh oh.” We pulled over and he pulled a broken fan belt out of the back. The car was overheating. At first I felt like this was just adding to the adventure. Then I got a little anxious. Many cars passed us as we sat there worrying. We found a little shade from a boulder but I was keeping my eye out for snakes or scorpions or other creepy crawlies. Dad thought we would sit there for about 30 minutes and let it cool then try to make it a little further down the road. He seemed to be pretty nervous trying to figure out what we would do there in the middle of nowhere. We didn’t have service on the cell phone and didn’t know how far or which direction the nearest town was.

I took the opportunity to take more pictures of a river in a canyon below the road. While I was doing this a pickup pulled up out of no where for all I could tell. Dad frantically tries his Spanish as I am looking through the phrase book for “fan belt.” The man in the truck with his wife and two kids seemed to be understanding nothing of what we said and annoyed that we stopped him. Dad grabs the broken fan belt and asks the man if there is a mechanic. The man looks at the fan belt, gets out of the truck and looks in the bed from where he produces another belt. He then turns and says in perfect English, “That’s too big. I am a mechanic. I have a shop in town; if you like I will go get the belt for you.” Dad was nodding his head so fast I think he might have incurred some brain damage as he said, “yes, yes I would like that.” The mechanic then said that he would be back in a couple minutes. As his truck sped away leaving a trail of blue smoke we wondered if he would or if he was a mechanic or what town he had to drive to. In about twenty minutes more we heard what sounded like a truck slowing down and it was. He did come back. He backed up to the car and began changing the belt finding just the right one to fit.

Luckily this happened on the way back and did not ruin the adventure. Dad said that it was karma that the first car that stopped was an English speaking mechanic. Two lessons were learned: Take extra, extra water and when someone appears out of no where, ask if they speak English. We also know that if we ever need a mechanic in Infiernillo to ask for Pepe and someone will find him. Hopefully, we won’t need to. With that set back we did not make it in time to go to La Barra de Potosi but we were just happy to be out of that car.

When we got back to the airport, Dad went the wrong way on a one way aisle. With that he succeeded in driving the wrong way at least once in every town that we went to! I can’t wait for the next road trip!

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