Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Drama in Mazatlan

Approaching 6am, we're driving down Mexico's 15D towards Mazatlan. But we've told our "caravan" friends that we'd prefer to take a slower pace and not drive the grueling 500 miles all the way to the city of Mazatlan. We have a couple of camping sites en route and plan to stop at one of those for a more leisurely wander down the peninsula. Our instructions to the caravan was, "if they don't see us in their rear view mirrors, not to worry".

I'm enjoying the travel. We stop for gas at one of the Pemex stations and walking Cody, talk to this ole' Mexican cowboy. WHAT a face!! I ask his name and immediatly forget it (I was lucky to remember how to ask his name in Spanish!). The landscape now becomes agricultural and the mix of greenery and earthy irrigated fields presents interesting graphics. I'm seeing a multitude of these large dark birds perched upon high wires, I'm certain, looking for early breakfast. Any of you birders, can you recognize what these are? They seemed to have small heads, maybe red? I'm havin' trouble trying to catch a photo of them ... but it entertains me.

We leave the highway all the way down at Culiacan to locate a camping place. But we can't find it. I'm beginning to get weary and Ro asks if I want to stop at this hotel. Nope, I reply, let's go further. But the simple agenda of turning around turned into a drama. Because we are SO long we end up in a afternoon traffic jam at an intersection where five roads come together and we can hardly maneuver. Ro takes all these daring moves and spins around a gas station, getting us back headed towards the highway. Tension is building.

Further down the highway we have the computer printout of Villa Celeste Campgrounds north of Mazatlan. So we feel hopeful. The directions seem very exact, instructing us to exit the highway at 79KM (there are kilometer markers originating from each big city). We have another printout map Roland from the "Pacific Coast Road Log" which he paid $12 or $19 (memory fails, but we'd NOT recommend it) which indicated that 79KM was after a bridge. So ok, we are approaching 79KM, watching the bridge approach. Just starting to slow down, in front of the bridge is a handmade sign vaguely saying turn here down a narrow dirt road for camping . . . and we gaze at it . . . as we pass it, unable to stop. Now we realize THAT was our campsite!!! We just missed our last resort campsite before Mazatlan :( Cody is the calm one, sleeping in the sun, Roland is looking stern, determined.

Ok, on we go to Mazatlan . . . not feeling to chipper. But we have a Mexico Camping book, 2 years old, with several Mazatlan sites. Ro programs into the GPS thecoordinates (some campsite don't have addresses that the GPS will take) and on we go. The city of Mazatlan is nuts. Its dark as we pull into the noise and crunch of the traffic. Following GPS directions and when we approach the exact coordinates, there is NO RV park. Aimless we weave around and Ro sees a giant store with a equally giant parking lot. CRUNCH ~ as we attempt to drive in the parking lot, they have these metal poles at the corners of the turn. Grief, what did we hit?!? I go into the "Mega" store with smaller shops downstairs, and one huge "Kmart-like" store upstairs. An English speaking employee gives me simple directions from the map I have in the camping book and I convince Ro to drive there. Its right on the "hotel row" of the beach with crazy partying people in the streets of bumper to bumper cars. Right next to the Hilton Hotel, we f-i-n-d the RV park . . . only it's emergency gate is locked and we can't find the main entrance. Ro temporarily stops at a side street intersection and I trot over to see if I can find the entrance or ask at the Hilton desk. To no avail . . . and Roland is way stressed out by being in the RV with honking cars all around and me being off in the dark by myself. He's no happier when I tell him we have to go back to the "Mega" store parking lot to sleep.

Once back to the parking lot, we haven't even started the drama yet. We want to roll up the car's windows while we sleep and find the battery (yes, the brand new one from Sears) is dead. After disconnecting the car, we jump it with the RV. Nothing . . . and we realize that the jump has blown out the brake lights on ALL vehicles.

Now we attempt to contact the "Good Sam" vehicle road service that we joined just for this kind of situation. Finally getting one of our cell phones to connect, they call us back in an hour to tell us they have no roving mechanics and they will send a tow truck in the mornin'. Oh, swell. Ro tells me he plans to drive on without the lights and get to Chapala. I know that when I'm upset, my chemistry changes and I'm confused, indecisive and insecure. It took all my focus, spiritual attention and literally "letting go" of everything . . . to finally fall asleep.

I awoke at 6am, when Ro was moving around. I'd lived thru the night and after a quick breakfast, we're on the road (with lots of prayers for those driving behind us). The sun is shining and although uncomfortable, I'm feeling hopeful and strong, guided and protected.

Whew . . . we were off again . . . on the road . . . and todays gotta be a better day!

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