Bon Echo Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ottawa, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Reuniting with Max in Germany on October 1st.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Etzatlan, Mexico

We made it to a little RV park just outside the farming community of Etzatlan. But what a ride we had getting here! There was no easy direct route, so instead of taking the main highway back up to near Guadalajara, I decided to take some backroads.

We had gone for a walk yesterday morning near the water park. Saw at least eight snakes, but didn't bring the camera on our walk! Some of them were at least four feet long, and fairly thick! Then, we went for one last linger in the hot water before heading back to Sherman and getting ready to leave.

In researching which route to take, I found out about a little known park called Piedres Bolas. (Clicking the link will lead you to a story that explains why we wanted to go here). It was located on a twisty windy mountain road, but I found a picture of the road that looked like it was in good shape, so I decided on that route. It was a kind of a last minute decision to take this route, and we didn't leave the water park until just after 12 noon, which is a very late start for us. But, it was only 92 kms (57 miles) so still shouldn't be a problem.

Our day started out on a beautiful four lane highway.

But the problem with taking backroads is that some of them go right through the center of the little towns and that can mean some tight maneuvering. One thing we try and avoid is the "el centro" area because the roads were originally made for horses, not motorhomes! So we were following a road through the town of San Martin Hidalgo, when we missed a turn. I saw us heading directly to the center square, and it is so congested, there is no way to turn around, you just have to hope that you can get out of it by driving forward.

Heading straight for the town square!

Then we find out that it's market day in this particular town! Fortunately, when we got to the square there was a transito police directing traffic and he pointed us in the direction to go and gave me the thumbs up sign. Still, it was a little nerve wracking and there were some spots where the trees were brushing one side of Sherman, with less than six inches to spare from hitting vehicles on the other side. Not fun, but we made it through. Sure did get some strange looks though!

After that the road was pretty rough in spots and it was slow going. But eventually we saw the mountain range we had to cross through and the road began to rise.

The mountain range we have to cross through.

We stopped here for a break and some lunch.

The road was very twisty windy, and fairly steep. But the road surface was in good shape. Sherman did fine with it, and there were actually quite a few areas where you could pull over and admire the view. We made it to the parking area for the Piedras Bolas, and there was an old pickup truck there. As we were getting ready to go for a hike, three guys were coming down the trail. They had all the same gear with them that we had when we went hunting for wild potatoes, and when they arrived at their truck we went out to talk to them and ask how far away the boulders were. They said it was an hour and a half walk to get to them which kind of disappointed us because we were already nearly 2:15pm. And yes, they were out getting the wild potatoes, and they had two big baskets full! They were surprised that we knew the Spanish term for them, "camotes".

They went to leave, but their truck wouldn't turn over!

I tried helping them with my battery pack, but I think they have a wiring problem!

Turned out they have a standard, so I helped give them a push start!

Even though we saw the sign that said it was 5 kms (3 miles) to the actual boulders, we decided to go for a hike anyhow. We took off on the hiking trail, which is actually a narrow dirt road. The gate was locked, so you couldn't drive in even if you had a vehicle to do so. We decided to hike as fast as we could to try and make it to the boulders. Beautiful views along the way...

In the shadowed section, you can see the road we will be going down when we leave.

Ruth, sitting at their funny "picnic tables" along the way!

So way out here in the middle of nowhere, there is a zip line!

We made it as far as the zip line, but decided to turn around. We were getting tired from hiking so fast, and we could see from there that it was a ways to go yet. Sherman was parked by himself at the side of the road, and even though it was not a busy road I was a little nervous leaving him alone. Disappointed that we didn't make it to the boulders, but we did have a nice hike with some beautiful views.

The last stretch of road to the RV park was under construction and in very rough shape. But, we made it and pulled in around 4:30 pm. We were greeted by Bonnie and her two daughters and negotiated a deal just for dry camping at 100 pesos ($7.80) per night. We'll probably stay three nights, so we'll tell you about the RV park in tomorrows post.

Yesterday's drive, 92 kms (57 miles)


  1. Thank you for a great start to my day! Love all the pictures you post and the stories you tell. Safe travels.

  2. We took a wrong turn in New England and ended up driving through a town with extremely narrow streets and lots of trees. I was in a panic the whole way but we made it with just some tree scratches. You took some gorgeous pictures along your hike. Kinda of wonder about the zip line and who thought of putting it so far out.

  3. Great read! thanks for the detailed description - yes - getting stuck in a town is one of my biggest fears! You handle things so well! Enjoy your stay!

  4. Ay Carumba!

    I remember being in some streets in Puerto Rico and thinking, "Oh man, I sure wouldn't want to come down here with the motorhome."

    But you did it for me!

    And the folks in town are probably saying to themselves, "What's with these crazy gringos?"

  5. Great photos! It looks so peaceful there. Don't ya just love to drive over wash boards?

  6. Sure sounds like a great adventure, you sure get to see the real Mexico. Enjoy your posts and great pictures.

  7. So glad you took the time to take the walk anyhow, and saw those interesting *tables* .. how cool and inventive! The zip line, well.... nada for me, scared of heights!

    Nice that you made it through the tiny El Centro and got to where you needed to go.

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  8. Giant stone balls...the story was very interesting. Again, super pictures!
    Poor Sherman on those roads. If he could speak, I am sure he would have a few choice words for you two! LOL

  9. Wow! It looks like your having quite an adventure in Mexico. Stay safe.

    Take care and have a nice day :-)

    And thanks for your recent comment on My Blog

  10. You are close to another spot of history

    Very beautiful and historic area of Mexico.

  11. AWESOME!! Cant wait to start our Blog! Getting so very excited for this adventure.
    Thanks for the advise regarding pesos today.

  12. A fantastic blog with amazing shots. The snakes would be a challenge for me. Be worried about running into them.

  13. Alison...We are glad that you are enjoying our adventures. Thank you for taking the time to post a comment.

    Jim and Sandie...Being struck in a little town is what scares us the most about driving in Mexico. We think it got put in to try and draw people to the park along with the stone balls but I don't think it gets used anymore. It was sure a long zipline!

    Teresa...It was not an enjoyable part of the drive for sure. We were so glad to be able to make it out of "el centro" without getting stuck.

    Bob...We would rather have not had to do it for you Bob. We said the same thing about the townspeople. They were probably having a great laugh and thinking "crazy gringos" for sure!

    Nan...Thanks! Some of the roads here aren't in the greatest of shape for sure.

    George and Suzie...We love seeing the real Mexico. There is so much that the "turisticos" miss.

    Karen and Steve...We had a good laugh about the picnic sites! The table is only big enough for one person yet they had four or five seats. We are hoping to get back there this week and make it all the way in.

    where's weaver...Hoping to try to hike back in there this week. We really want to see the area there. We are going to give Sherman a bit of a break and drive on a toll road soon. I am sure he does have a few words for us!

    Ron...Thanks, we are.

    Anonymous...We are hoping to go and see this while we are here. Our host at the campground had also said we need to see it. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Vik, Rick and Jordy...Glad that we could help.

    Paul...Thank you! You wouldn't have had to worry about the snakes. They were down by the water and reeds, not up on the pathway.

    Kevin and Ruth

  14. Glad to read you pass through San Martin de Hidalgo. I am from there and indeed it is a little bit tricky to cross downtown. Jose


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