Once again we found wonderful hospitality in Mexico and we look forward to returning to Etzatlan some day.
The road between Etzatlan and Magdelena.
Driving through the town of Magdelena.
We drove about 22 kms (14 miles) to the town of Magdalena. This is where we could connect into the main toll highway that runs between Guadalajara and Mazatlan. We had to drive through the centre of town to get to the entrance to the toll highway, but it wasn’t a problem because even the heavy trucks drive this route.
Very nice toll road between Guadalajara and Tepic.
Then, it was about 100 kms (62 miles) on a very nice toll road. Total cost was 199 pesos ($15.52). We exited towards the village of Santa Maria del Oro. Our guide book said to drive straight through town, and it was a little tight but we made it through okay.
But our guide book also warned of a very steep twisty windy road down to the lake where the Koala Campground and Bungalows is. (GPS 21.36186 -104.57389). And, it said that rigs over 30 feet probably shouldn’t attempt it. We are 28 feet, so we figured we were okay. And we were. The road drops 1,300 feet in 8 kms (5 miles). We started at the top in first gear, went very slowly, and hardly had to touch the brakes. No problems at all. Good thing there was no other traffic though.
View of the lake from the top of the steep hill.
We stopped at the entrance to the property and I looked for somebody in charge. Couldn’t find anybody, so I wandered around and found the RV area. Five back in sites, with one taken up by a travel trailer that looks like it’s been here forever. Walking back to Ruth and Sherman I bumped into a guy who spoke some English who said the boss was not around, but to just go ahead and park and someone would show up eventually to collect some money.
Went for a walk to check things out and met up with two British guys here in tents who are motorcycling their way from Colorado to Argentina. Invited them over for drinks after supper. Then, walked part of the road around the lake. A truck drives slowly by and stops. The guy yells “Hey Buddy!”. So we wander over and the two guys in the truck are hammered drunk. The driver gets out and he can hardly stand up. Starts talking to us in broken English because he had spent some time in the U.S., but it was four or five years ago and he says he hasn’t spoken English since. Next thing you know, his friend cracks open a brand new bottle of tequila and he’s pouring us a drink on the side of the road. The guy wouldn’t stop talking. Eventually, we manage to get away and are only a few steps further when two police vehicles drive slowly by. No idea if they collected our two drunken friends off to the slammer. We just kept walking!
When we got back to Sherman, Oscar the caretaker was there. He explained that it was 150 pesos ($11.70) per night to camp here, and would not negotiate a deal. Also, there is no internet here and we don’t get a cell signal. So we will likely only stay two nights, although we’re going to go for a walk and see if there are any other options on the road around the lake. Also, we’re told we might be able to pick up a cell signal on the other side of the lake so we’ll bring the little laptop with us when we go for a walk.
Sherman, parked up at Koala Campground and Bungalows.
Sure enough, Graham and Andy came over after supper and we gave them some ideas for stopping points on their way south through Mexico.