Barb & Sal (owners of Hacienda Contreras, please visit their website @ www.haciendacontreras.com and Kevin & Ruth - tough to say good-bye....
Long time ago, many of our friends and family will remember us starting to read Kevin & Ruth's blog (http://travelwithkevinandruth.blog.spot.com). I am not afraid to admit that it did become an obsession of mine. I would race home from work (or read it on my lunch hour) to see where they had been. These were "real" people travelling Mexico, not some fancy book in Chapters, but real people. Imagine the excitment I felt when I went on their blog and made a comment...AND....they answered back - they MUST be real......well they are!! So, way back when, I got a map of Mexico and started to trace the routes they had done each year (I believe Barb called it "stalking" them!!!-yup that was what it amounted to, Barb, and look, because of that stalking, we found you and Sal!!). Anyway, here is the result of that "stalking". I told Doug when we left that I was bringing the map and if we "found" them, I would have them autograph it.....
Now, you can call them really famous!!
...and here is "said" map!!!
Niko just had to get in on the act too!!
Doug wrote a really nice note...
And then, just like that, we were off. BUT, first we had to stop at the La Cocinita to get a mug full of Cafe de ollo (move over Starbucks....)
This is Susanna, the same lady from the wedding who
gave Doug some of the "good" tequila!!
After that we drove through the town of Mazamitla. Super pretty. Only about 10 minutes from Hacienda Contreras. Only took a few pictures, then it was on our way to the coast. I really love the town centros. They almost always have great churches in them.
The drive down towards Manzanillo was very interesting. You would swear that we were in the Interior of BC. We have mentioned this before on previous postings. This is a part of Mexico that you likely wouldn't see, unless you drive. Really nice territory. The total drive to Melaque took us about 5 hours. Most of it was on the toll highway. It cost a total of $228 ps (about $17.34) It was well worth it!! It was amazing to us how high up we were in Valle de Juarez. The highway wound down, and down....Too bad that when we drove through the Colima area that it was so smokey (from the Guadalajara fires still, I believe) that you could not even tell there were volcanoes.
Let's talk about farming...sugar cane to be exact. Very big in this area and even back in Etzatlan. Often they burn part of the stalk while it is still in the ground as it is easier to pick. But I understand that the governments are trying to get them to stop that practice.
If you look quickly, it looks a bit like corn...
...and then there are the "cane trucks". Pretty much loaded any which way, with as MUCH as is humanly possible to load on them:
Don't think he can get much more on that one...YIKES!!
Soon, we were seeing palm trees again!! On the side of the highway you can pretty much buy anything. Here are hammocks and stacks of molcahetes. Barb, from Hacienda Contreras, just told me this morning that those are still sold to make salsa, the old fashioned way. Thanks Barb!!
Hammocks and molcahetes...
Fruits & veggies too!!
Anyway, we arrived at Laguna del Tule in Melaque. It is a hotel complex, with the beach on one side and a lagoon on the other. Lots of Mexican folks here already enjoying the upcoming weekend. In fact three big buses are parked right down from us. I guess they run tours to the beach. Everyone seems pretty happy to be here.
Camp Canada all set up!
Looking south towards Barra de Navidad town...
Very busy pool area!
Looks calm enough, for now!!
Lagoon, all calm too except we have been told there is a 12 ft crocodile living in it!
We will be scouting out another few campgrounds, not far from here tomorrow morning on our bikes. We might move, not sure. Might be a better fit for us, although this one is fine for a few days, it's just that when you are attached to a hotel/restaurant, you have lots of people around...all the time (and big buses...)