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Villa Corona to Patzcuaro, Mexico 2-3-08 thru 2-10-08

February 27, 2008

p2040356.jpgWe spent a few days with Chess and Allison (whom we met a Silver City, NM at a campground in November) at a campground-water park in Villa Corona (a small town about 60 miles SW of Guadalajara).  We soaked in the big warm pools and got massaged by the huge 10¨ outlet pipe -perfect for sore muscles.  There were a lot of RV campers from all over the US and Canada and also a couple from Germany, that we spent a lot of time talking with ( they all truly seemed like a lot of our relatives back home, which Pat needed right then cause she was pretty homesick the last couple of days! One of them reminded me so much of my Aunt Annette, she had to be a relative, but we found no connections except she lives just across the ND border in Canada! )  Many of them were seasoned travellers and some of them have been travelling for 15 -20 years – their license plates are their addresses!  While in Villa Corona, we took a day trip by bus to Guadalajara, where we saw the huge Mercado (with everything for sale from piles of fresh fruit to Nike tennis shoes to fresh skinned goats heads – horns and eyeballs still in tact- GOATS HEAD SOUP ANYONE¿)  and a number of beautiful old colonial buildings and cathedrals in and near the central plaza.  It was a busy place – glad we did not ride our bikes there! 

After answering lots of questions about our gear and trip as we packed up (our mode of travel is way different than everyone else’s at the RV park!) and posing for pictures, and regretting saying our goodbyes, we headed east along huge Lake Chapala passing thru vast fields of artichokes and strawberries, then climbed south into the hills and eventually dropped into a valley full of sugarcane fields.  At one town we stayed, I talked with a local that told me 80% of the working men of the town are in California working.  They work there a few months, then come home a few, then back again (we have found this to be true of most people we talk to in Mexico, most have been to Colorado at some point and lived and worked!) 

We passed thru miles of agricultural land where the main crops were strawberries and avocados, then climbed up into the hills, thru miles of big old avocado trees that at first looked just like a natural forest, but upon closer inspection, rows could be detected that went on for miles and miles!  As we climbed higher they gave way to big ponderosa pines. 

We stayed for several days in the high country at Angahuan, a native Indian village near the Parucatin Volcano.  We remembered reading in our geography books in grade school about how Parucatin suddenly started growing out of a farmers cornfield in 1943, erupted for the next 9 years, forcing the nearby village (no fatalities!) to move a few miles away and buried the village church up to the roof-line in volcanic rock!  The twin steeples and a little of the entry and alter are all that are visible.  The women of the village wore colorful skirts, aprons, blouses and scarves, similar to the Tayamara Indian women at Copper Canyon.  The village itself was hideously filthy!  The fine volcanic dust was everywhere on the streets, shacks, stores and plaza benches.  It was also one of the noisiest towns we have been in!  They were also having a celebration where they sporadically would light off 3 foot bottle rocket bombs (they each had 1/2 stick of dynamite strapped to them!) and the first ones were at 6 AM!!!!!   We would nearly jump out of our skin when they exploded, while babies sleeping on the plaza wouldn´t even wake up – they are use to all the noise!  At about 6 AM the women of the village starting chanting continually in their Indian language over really loud and really blown loudspeakers all day and part of the night, to make it even more pleasant, Ralph got sick early in the morning, thinking it was the Tequila he had ¨sampled¨the night we arrived, but soon realized it was the flu!   I guess it will be hard to forget Angahuan, with the eruptions past and present!!

After partial recovery, we pedaled to the nearby city of Uruapan, where Pat got the flu and spent all day in bed.  I bet right about now some of you are wondering, ¨Why didn´t I jump at the chance to do this trip – sounds like so much fun!

We finally made it to Patzcuaro – Pat in a Taxi – me on a bike – barely.  Patzcuaro is one of the coolest towns we have been to in Mexico so far.  It has lots of old mansions around it´s 2 gorgeous green plazas that have been converted into picture-perfect hotels with great restaurants and into shops of pretty, colorful dresses, local crafts and absolutely gorgeous colonial furniture (too bad we only have the bikes, so can´t buy stuff, Ralph had this one planned!)  The town has a number of beautiful old churches and everything is very clean by Mexican standards – with full time street sweepers (a Mexican person with a broom) in both plazas (haven´t seen that until now!) 

Another past-encounter happened here, at the RV park, we saw folks we had met in Villa Corona and also a couple we had met at Holland Lake in Montana!!!!  We left our gear at the RV park and took the bus to Guanajuato, the picturesque, colorful town smeared on the walls of a Mountain valley.  It is a very colorful town (houses painted by the government in bright pinks, oranges, purples, etc… you do not get to pick the color of your house but it is really beautiful!)  with gorgeous colonial architecture (which was fueled by a very rich silver mine) and a multitude of tiny, tiny above ground streets and subterranean tunnels where most traffic flows and below all that they have routed their river so it will not flood the town! (You can google this town and see beautiful pictures of it!)

After leaving Patzcuaro, we are heading east towards Morelia – we´ll post that section soon!

Bikin´On —Ralph & Pat

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4 comments

  1. Hi Pat & Ralph
    You’ll love Morelia: my favourite stop so far. stayed in the delightful Hotel El Carmen two streets away from the cathedral. A really European style city: clean, elegant and beautiful.
    I am now in Veracruz, so way ahead of you. Perhaps we’ll intersect in Guatemala,where I plan to stay for all of April. Cheers

    David


  2. Guanajuato sounds great- we need those tunnels under Glenwood Springs to get the traffic through. Wonder how they afforded that? Even though I guess it was in the 1960’s.
    Thane and I finally succumbed to the winter colds , but are still busy. We have lots of guests this weekend.
    Wish we could meet you somewhere, but I’m thinking New Zealand in the fall (their spring).
    Stay healthy-have fun, Betsy and Thane
    PS X-C skied with Judy D one day.


  3. Wow! You made it to Patzcuaro..did you go to the island in the middle of Lake P.?…And go up to the Mexican ‘Statue of Liberty’..Morelos? How was the ice cream at the plaza downtown? I’m working here and getting a fat head from grinding..longing for vacation. Morelia has some of the best colonial architecture in Mexico, wonderful food, museums, coffee.

    Mark


  4. Pat & Ralph,
    What a journey! I liked the comment about the news and that you will not hear alot of what you have seen on any news story. I cannot wait until the next update, continue to bike safe!

    Paul



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