Not knowing how long my journey ahead with take, I decide to forfeit the 10 liters – about 2 ½ gallons – of veggie oil this morning so I can head out of the beautiful city of Manzanillo. I’m off to the next state, Michoacán, and the ocean.
I have to backtrack to Técoman and then continue south on México 200 instead of north to Colima, where I came from a few days ago.
I pass the brick kiln again, madly smoking, and then head into the most beautiful land – mountains again, yet mountains that run along the shore line.
The views are just stunning. And the little sleepy towns reach out to me. I wonder as I pass what it is like to be raised among such beauty, without tons of people, and little diversions from your natural surroundings and every day life.
The road is wonderful – free, narrow, but solid flat surfaces, hardly any potholes at all or rough places. The faded yellow line marks the middle with the white lines on either side. Some places there is even a little more than 3” before the 3+ foot drop.
The most dangerous thing on the road is me driving while I’m trying to get a good look around. Good thing I don’t have a passenger or she might have jumped by now!
There are several military posts between towns, on the outskirts of towns, and two military blockades – one on the other side of the street, and several miles later, one on my side of the street.
Two cars are pulled over in front of me. The soldiers see me and they seem to not be able to keep from breaking out in smiles. I can’t figure it out. I get waved through all the time now. I wonder if there’s a bulletin out – don’t worry about the old womon in the hippie truck with the large pink peace symbol – let her through.
It is still terrifying to see these boys barricaded behind tall stacks of sandbags – just tall enough to cover everything but their heads and ugly machine guns that are protruding over the stacks.
They’re like in deer hides, in pairs, along either side of the road, what, thinking they’re blending in with the greenery? I feel like I’ve been sucked into one of the old pinball machine games where you roll along and figures pop up.
I wonder if they’re scared, hiding behind those walls of sand and plastic. Do they really believe they are protected by that shit? Or is it for us, those of us passing by, to make us feel afraid, and thinking we need to be dependent on these boys with their toys.
The next most dangerous thing on the road, besides the topes as you know, are the trucks, buses and other cars that want to get somewhere 3 minutes before you do. How much time do they think they save racing around 10mph curves at 40?
As I drive through an especially curvy – and ufb beautiful – stretch, scattered orange triangles begin to area singularly on the side of the road, interspersed with the occasional orange vest hung from trees, as if they’re running out of triangles. I slow down and around a corner is a huge tractor trailer truck on it’s side.
The cab and the body, totally on it’s side. Men are waving me by with handkerchiefs as others work around the truck. I wonder if the driver is okay and how the hell it happened.
Truckers tend to know the road pretty well. It’s a given he was going excessive speeds but did he get distracted? Did the bus that flew past me 15 minutes earlier make him dodge and flip? Was he driving drunk or tired?
Few vehicles are on this road, but enough to have sporadic company. When I see the beaches in Michoacán, I wonder why any tourist would want to ever go to Mazatlan or Puerto Vallarta or any of those tourist places.
These beaches are clean, small, brilliantly beautiful – the ocean is calm, warm, shallow. And there are few people crowding anywhere.
I pass an adorable little town and playa when I first enter Michoacán and spend the next 50 miles kicking myself for not stopping there. Even though I will land at a beautiful beach, Playa Azul, I’m still thinking about that beach almost 200 kilometers away.
I also pass a little RV park where views of the ocean are breathtaking. I do not stop there, as RV parks are not my thing but I put it in here in case you are looking for such you will know it is available here on México 200 in Michoacán.
The roads are near perfect until about 40 kilometers still north of Playa Azul, when suddenly the asphalt just ends and a dirt road begins. The first stretch of dirt only lasts about ½ mile and I’m thinking, that’s not bad when the road ends again.
This continues for about a 10 mile stretch where the road is either old pavement, total dirt, or partial brand new pavement. Fortunately for me, it is Saturday so there is no traffic stoppage by men and big equipment working. As it is, it takes about an hour to get through the rough spots.
As my time dwindles, I’m really wishing I would have stopped at that first little beach I saw, but now I’m really committed to getting to Playa Azul. There are many other lovely beaches but the roads down are steep and narrow and timely to explore.
If I was able to see a perfect beach from the road, I would brave the steep and narrow but I did take one of those roads and ended up at the bottom of a VERY crowded beach – crowded not only with fishing boats but those damned dung buggy things and shrimps of boys behind the wheels.