Tuesday, April 21, 2009

from sea to shining sea

Four beaches. One day.

We woke early on Monday to sneak Jiggs back to the truck for our big drive to an unnamed tourist town south of Mazatlan. We were going to meet one of my favorite bloggers:
American Mommy in Mexico.

I wisely checked my email to discover that she informed me she will not be in Mexico on Monday. So, flexible guys that we are, we decided to simply drive where the mood directed us.

We took a quick stroll on the malecon in Mazatlan. Beach one.

A quick stop at the dreaded W---Mart, and we were on our way south.

I have heard such divergent opinions on San Blas that we decided to see for ourselves if it is heaven on earth or Dante's Inferno personified.

We drove through Sinaloa and slipped into Nayarit. Once again, the flora changed drastically from corn fields to mango orchards -- and dry rolling hills.

But the big change was the road. We went from toll roads to the narrow coast highway -- where there are plenty of opportunities for error, and little margin for them. Fortunately, we tested neither option.

When we arrived in San Blas, we found another heavy army presence at the city's entrance. I should note that today we saw more federales and army convoys than I have ever seen in Mexico. The obvious reason is Presence -- to show the narcoterrorists that they do not rule any part of Mexico.

I don't think the army presence colored my opinion, but I was not very impressed with the town. The beach gets very high marks, though. Beach two.

Our next stop was a sentimental one. I needed to see Chacala. As we drove through, I felt as if I knew almost every house and street due to
Andee's very explicit posts. We even encountered one of her hated dump trucks.

I wanted to stay the night -- to walk the beach in the early morning in memory of our friend, Andee. However, we ran into the dog problem. No one would accept Professor Jiggs as a guest.

Chacala was beach three.

A short note on my good friend, The Professor. This trip has been very hard on him. And today has been one of the worst. He does not like the heat. But he insists on going where we go.

And where we went next was Rincon de Guayabitos. I had once considered this town as one of my retirement sites. I like it even more after our brief visit.

But this was Jiggs's first visit to a Mexican beach. He enojoyed the ocean,as always. But, as I feared, his back legs are so unsteady that he does not brave the water as he once did. But he ended up a soggy doggy as a result of his day at the beach. Beach four.

Darrel and I then had dinner at one of the little tourists restaurants that stand like aging dowagers along the main street of the town. We both ordered pollo con mole, a traditional dish that can be delicious or very suspect. I would like to be kind, but this dinner fell into the usual suspects file. I suspect the cook may be missing a Cadbury bar.

Tomorrow we are aiming for Puerto Vallarta, after driving through San Francisco and Sayulita -- two of my earlier retirement candidates.

Jiggs should be rested and ready for another day of adventure.


norm said...

Linda and I have a 14 year old dog that looks like Jiggs and he does not do heat well. We bought a pair of hair clippers and keep him cut back to a butch, he looks pretty silly but he pants less.

Calypso said...

You're doing it dude! I am enjoying the guided tour. Hopefully you will hit some better dining.

Susan said...

Happy to hear you made it to Guayabitos! We have made this place our home away from home. Good thing you came this week rather than last week! You would not have found a piece of beach to walk on! Lots of holiday folk here having a grand time. You might be surprised at the number of Oregon people here...including us! As you leave Oregon, we are getting ready to return to Sutherlin for the summer. Back to the dread W-word - WORK!! Have a good time in Melaque!

Felipe said...

Give the professor a buzz cut. That Oregon ´do isn´t appropriate now. He doesn´t need all that hair.

Pollo con mole can be very suspect? Since when and why? I´ve never heard of anyone being suspicious of pollo con mole. I never am. I just eat it up.

Chrissy and Keith said...

My thoughts on San Blas equal yours. There is a little bend in the road south of there that we are intersted in. El Custodio (sp) Safe journey.

Larry in Mazatlan said...

When passing through the northern part of Nayarit, do you remember the lagoons off on your right? Those are actually shrimp farms.

Be careful today on the road to PV. North of town it's hilly, narrow and windy. Some folks like to take the turns wide and narrow, especially the trucks. The botanical gardens are in the hills just to the north of town, but I don't know about Jiggs.

PV isn't much to look at, and the bypass is up the hill to the east through the tunnels.


Constantino said...

You may not have heard but there was an incident in Tepic where 5 or 6 Federalais were killed while transporting one of the narcos to jail...That may explain the additional reinforcements.
I am surprised that you were not able to "persuade $$" a warmer reception for Jiggs. When in a bind it has worked for us about 90% of the time.
You're almost there, we all expect your travel chapter once you settle down with a view and a cold one!

Billie said...

Steve, Try bribes to get Jiggs into hotels. First don't mention the dog and then if they see him try a bribe. Also on the outskirts of town there are hotels of ill-repute, as Felipe would say, and usually you can pull your car inside by your room and they don't ask questions. We have not stayed at one of them but I hear that they are safe and clean.

peachland said...

Hang in there Jiggs you will be at your new home soon!Hopefully La Manz has a calm bay for Jiggs to swim in and maybe a buzz cut in his future!

Take care!

glorv1 said...

I've thought of Jiggs frequently and of course he wants to follow you as you say. Where else is he going to go? He is a part of your life today, tomorrow, and there after. Where would he be if he didn't have you? You are his idol and he will stand by you to the end as you will stand by him to his end.

I hope you are doing well. You, your brother and Mr Professor Jiggs must be exhausted and just tired of driving. Hopefully your destination is reached soon. My thoughts are always with Jiggs. Take care.As tired as you say Jiggs is, he looks pretty good up there in his picture. He seems happy enough. Good to see him.

1st Mate said...

Steve - Just as well you didn't stick around San Blas, it's the no-see-um capital of the west coast.

You're almost to La Cruz, a town you shouldn't miss. Not so much for the beach, which is nothing special, but for the town itself. And there's a very friendly and capable vet there named Duñia, on the main street heading toward the water a few doors from Philo's, who could give Jiggs a short haircut. You can also buy Xikuri, the best coffee beans to be had in Mexico, at Octopus's Garden.

Steve Cotton said...

Norm -- As much as I dread clippers for the dog, he will most likely need a crew cut to survive.

Calypso -- So far, in Mexico, we have had only one mediocre dinner. And we were surprised. But it was a tourist restaurant.

Susan -- Sutherlin? Our family has quite a few Douglas County contacts. Guayabitos is great. I may put it on the list for future extended cares.

Felipe -- Good idea on the buzz cut. As for the mole, you cannot imagine how mediocre this version was. The chicken was great. The sauce was right out of Hershey, and I do not mean Pennsylvania.

Chrissy and Keith -- My brother agrees with you. San Blas is a wash. But there are some great spots along the highway nearby. The views above the bay are outstanding.

Larry -- Saw the shrimp farms. Did not know what they were. The highway road is not that different from the secondary highways we learned to drive on. That does not make them any safer.

Constantino -- We had not heard about the shootings in Tepic. That may explain the heavy enforcement presence.

Billie -- We have only one more night on the road. But I will keep your advice in mind for future trips.

Peachland -- The beach at La Manzanilla would be perfect for Jiggs. The beach in front of the house where I am staying in Melaque has very rough surf.

Gloria -- Actually, Darrel and I are not tired, at all. We have taken the last few days in small driving chunks. We are enjoying our time on the road. Jiggs just wants the driving to be over.

Brenda said...

Glad things are going well. You will be home soon and able to settle down a bit. Jiggs will have fun exploring his new home. Will be lots of new "smell mail" for him. lol

Anonymous said...

Steve - I just caught up on your great travel commentary - thanks for making me laugh! I miss being able to laugh everyday! Sounds like you're having a good trip. Who dislikes the heat more: you or the pup? We miss you back here in fair Oregon.


Tom and Debi said...

Your trip sounds as if it is going very well indeed! Such a luxury, yes, to be able to be leasurely!
I agree with others on the clip job. We brought a 24 yr old Maine Coon Cat, with very long fur, and you should see him right now with his summer 'do'. It's not pretty but he is SOOOO much happier and active. He actually stands fully erect, well for a cat, where the week before the clip he just sort of slunk to where ever he was going. He's taking long strolls in the garden where before it was to the ground level bird bath and back. Give it a shot, the fur will grow back if it doesn't help!

American Mommy in Mexico said...

So bummed to miss you :(

Cynthia Johnson and Mike Nickell said...

Prof. Jiggs looks like he's smiling! I agree w/the others...some extra pe$o$ will get him into your room.

Anonymous said...

so glad you got to visit chacala. if i'd known you wanted to spend the night, i could have made a recommendation. i love guayabitos-i have a funny story about the name but no time to tell it now. using a computer at work and need to get off and ready to go for my training walk.

glad all continues to go so well.


Steve Cotton said...

1st Mate -- We stopped in Santa Cruz, but tooled down the road. No coffee drinkers here.

Brenda -- Jiggs is having a ball smelling away at each new stop.

Jaye -- I am acclimating to the heat. I am sitting under a palapa watching the sun set into the Pacific. What could be more relaxing?

Debi -- It is certainly worth a shot. He pants himself to exhaustion when we are out and about. When we get somewhere with air conditioing, he perks back up.

AMM -- I will need to get up your way before too long. I will let you know.

Cynthia -- He smiles through his pants.

Teresa -- As is always true, our improvisation worked better than our plan.

Anonymous said...

Well, everyone else has suggested it, but I'm going to chime in too. Give Jiggs a haircut. I've been oddly worried about him and the heat ever since you set off south. Maybe you can start with his belly as a sort of compromise, and see if that helps enough.

And I agree with you on mole. In my view, it's rare that it's really good. My personal theory is this: Chocolate burns very easily, and it should probably be added at the very end, like immediately before serving. But I suspect most cooks add it way too soon and it gets burned, giving most mole a rather off flavor.

Anyway, glad to hear your continued adventures.


Kim G
Boston, MA
Where too hot is seldom a problem. But too cold? Near-daily occurrence.

Jaclyn said...

Steve - I am enjoying your blog. I hope Professor Jiggs continues to do well. Missed you at Sachmod this week..


New Beginnings said...

Professor Jiggs is so darn cute - I know this trip has been hard on him but it does look like he is smiling! When Jackson first arrived in Mexico, the change in temperature and humidity was so extreme that he had a tough time for the first few months (like me). I think you will notice that he will slowly acclimatize. My friend has a golden retriever here that does very well.

Steve Cotton said...

Kim -- Jiggs thanks you for your concern. The vet was supposed to stop by the house yesterday, but we were out and about. We will do what needs to be done.

Von -- As much as I miss people from work, I can honestly say that I do not miss the work. If you could see what I am seeing from my back deck, you would concur.

New Beginnings -- He is starting to get into a regular sleep pattern without the heavy panting. I think he has been watching how the Mexican dogs are active in the morning, and sleep the rest of the day. He is an expert at the sleeping part.

Leslie Limon said...

Very entertaining! I have experienced a car accident and a bee sting, but have yet to encounter a transvestite theater show!!! Wonderful and entertaining blog!

Steve Cotton said...

Leslie -- As Meatloaf would (and did) say: Two out of three ain't bad.