Duke and I arrived home from our almost six week long road trip through the US, Mexico and Guatemala this afternoon. Yesterday we stopped at Hoover Dam and took the tour. It is an awe inspiring place both from its beauty and from the perspective of what an accomplishment it was to build.
We drove 7,075 miles and traveled without our car mostly in Guatemala for an additional 630 miles.
We have so many wonderful memories of so many great places and experiences. It is going to be an adjustment to be be home.
Yesterday, June 23 we crossed the border back to the U.S. on our way home. It was an uneventful drive. Last time we crossed the border by car from the Mexico to the U.S. we waited in line three hours at the border. This time it took us 15 minutes and they didn’t even ask us what we had bought in Mexico.
We had a wonderful breakfast sitting out on the patio this morning. We took another walk around Alamos. Then we packed the car and left. We wanted to look at the ruins of the silver mine that Alamos existed to support. We found the town about a mile south of the main road. The dry river bed through the village was also the Main Street.
After looking around a bit we headed north to Guaymas where we are spending our last night in Mexico.
This afternoon after we arrived in Guaymas we went to a nearby restaurant to watch the US – Portugal World Cup football game. When we got there Portugal was ahead 1-0, then the US scored. Then we scored again. And then with just seconds to go the Portugal tied it up. I couldn’t believe it! All but about two people in the restaurant were cheering for the US.
Tomorrow we head north again and enter the US at Nogales.
Today was our longest day of driving in a Mexico so far – about 370 miles. Alamos is a small colonial mining town that has really retained its charm. We have stayed here twice before on our way north to the border.
This morning while Duke was getting the car from the parking lot a man arrived selling pastries out of a push cart. After he sold some to a woman with her head out the window across the street I bought two. They were still warm! We enjoyed them with coffee as we headed north.
We are staying at a lovely restored hotel built around a court yard. The temperature was over a hundred when we arrived but while we were out exploring it started to pour and cool off.
We just got back from dinner. It Is pleasantly cool and we are sitting on the patio outside our room reading and enjoying the night air.
Eleven years ago today Duke and I were married. It has been a wonderful eleven years! How better to celebrate than with another day full of Mexican vacation adventures in Mazatlán.
I love sitting at a sidewalk table and people watching. This morning we had our breakfast sitting at a sidewalk table right outside our hotel. We watched as a parade of really cute little boys and girls each holding an adult’s hand went by every few minutes. The girls all had on sailer dresses and had bows in their hair. I assumed they were on the way to preschool in their uniforms.
After breakfast we went across the street and found out we could pay a small fee and see the inside of Teatro Ángela Peralta. They had pictures of what it looked like before it was rebuilt. It was a complete ruin.
But now it is a completely restored arts center and theater. We went into the theater. On the stage were all the cute little girls in sailer dresses doing a dress rehearsal of a dance performance to the song Soy Libre from Frozen ( Let it Go). Watching them practice made me so happy! They looked and danced exactly like my daughters did when they were four years old in their dance recitals. It must be a universal ritual of Spring! Little girls everywhere are princesses dancing in dance recitals.
After breakfast we explored Mazatlán some more then had ice cream in the square. During the day it is so hot that we saw few people out and about. Tonight though after dinner we strolled around the square. Everyone was out walking, sitting, eating and listening to the live music.
We had dinner on the roof of our hotel and listened to a great singer, Cheryl Gaudet. We bought her CD to be a reminder of our very special anniversary in Mazatlán.
Since we started north along the coast we have mostly not had cuotas (toll roads) to drive on. Cuotas are usually much better roads. On Thursday about two thirds of our drive was on cuotas.
Three years ago on our previous Mexico road trip there were lots of military check points where they asked to see our papers and they checked our trunk. This time there have been almost none. We had our first one on this drive. They looked in the trunk. We still haven’t had anyone look at our papers.
Last time we stayed in Mazatlán we stayed in a beautiful big resort hotel on the beach north of town. This time we are staying in a great boutique hotel in old town right across from the Teatro Ángela Peralta. The theater is very old and was recently restored. After checking in and resting a while in our air conditioned room we went exploring. We couldn’t see the inside of the theater but it looked like maybe some kind of kids dance recital or something was going on. Lots of dressed up people many with bouquets were waiting outside.
It was a very hot day but we saw the cathedral and walked along the water front. In the Plazuela Machado near our hotel two young men asked if they could practice their English with us. We talked and laughed a bit. It was a school assignment for them. We exchanged names so they might even be reading this.
To cool off we went back and had a beer at the bar on the roof of our hotel. For dinner we had yummy fish and shrimp in the courtyard of a colorful restaurant recommended by Lonley Planet. They make your salsa right at your table. We are going to stay in Mazatlán two nights.
This resort we are staying at in Puerto
Vallarta is wonderful. We had another relaxing day today. We watched Holland beat Australia and Chili knock out Spain in the World Cup. We swam, read and ate.
Tomorrow we drive to Mazatlan.
Today, against the odds, Mexico tied Brazil 0-0 in their World Cup game. We ate at a restaurant The Red Cabbage that Lonely Plamet rated very highly. Their Facebook page said that if Mexico won today's game the first round of drinks would be on the house. Duke with his great Spanish was able to convince the manager that a tie is as good as a win and we got our drinks free. The food was great and I loved the ambiance at the Red Cabbage.
Today we drove from Manzanillo to Puerto Vallarta. It was a beautiful drive. We had breakfast at our hotel overlooking Manzanillo harbor before we left and were at our hotel here in Puerto Vallarta by 2:30. When we checked in there was a big crowd in the bar off the lobby watching the game. Every so often we could hear cheering even from our room.
It was really hot and humid here so we went swimming and then had a great dinner at the Red Cabbage. We will be here in Puerto Vallarta for two nights.
In 2007 Duke and I and his girls spent a week in a Manzanillo. I liked it then and I like it now. The picture below is the place we are staying.
Today was a lazy day. We read, swam and napped. Tonight we are at a taqueria that we remembered fondly from our last trip. Tacos Sonrisa makes their own tortillas. They obviously have thrived in the last seven years. They have about tripled in size and when we ate at about 9pm they were very busy. I thought my brother in law who works for Pepsi would enjoy the picture below of the decor!
One thing I forgot to mention about the drive along the Michoacan coast yesterday is the wanted billboards. There were several big ones put up by the government advertising rewards. On every one of them the faces and writing had been painted out and were indecipherable.
Today we drove from Ixtapa in the state of Guerrero to Manzanillo in the state of Colima. It was about 250 miles and we averaged about 40 miles per hour. There was very little traffic but the road is along the coast and is very windy. It is a road with pretty much no roads coming into it. We have heard that the coastline of the state of Michoacan has had a lot of drug cartel problems. Probably because of this at least four villages we drove through each had a group of vigilantes with guns checking the cars coming through. They gave us no problems but still it was a bit unsettling.
We saw lots of coconut trees, mango trees, papaya trees and banana trees. We also saw a lot of crabs crossing the road as well as lizards and a turtle.
We stayed in Manzanillo for a week back in 2007. I really liked it them and I’m looking toward to relaxing here again. It is a busy harbor. Our room is in a beautiful spot looking over the water. Very relaxing. And it’s fun to watch the ships. We ended the day with another great fish dinner right on the brach.