And some things I have never done once.
Tuesday was the day I marked at least one thing off of my list. The list of things I want to do before I die -- even though some of the activities could easily result in "GAME OVER."
This was one. Sorta.
I have never ridden on or piloted an ATV -- an all terrain vehicle. Those four-wheeled vehicles that pre-teens use to terrorize sunbathers on Mexican beaches.
There was no reason for not doing it. My house sitter is a big advocate -- having had one in his youth on the family farm.
It turns out that its ride is a cross between a motorcycle, a wave runner, and a horse. And I long ago mastered all three.
Last week, I saw Ray Calhoun of The Only Tours at Rooster's restaurant late last week. We met about three years ago while my neighbor (at the time) and Ray were figuring out exactly where true north was on the beach.
I really do not remember why that was so important then. But it was.
I would then see Ray on the beach or guiding one of his ATV tours through the back roads of the Costalegre. But I never had taken the time to set up a tour for myself.
When we talked last week, he told me he was heading out on Tuesday to scout the streams and roads before this season starts. I invited myself along as a paying customer.
Let me give you the bottom line. I love ATVs. And I love the challenges Ray offers on the trip.
We were gone for about four to five hours. Riding on beaches and back roads. Fording streams. Climbing landslides from our summer rains -- slides that I could not have climbed on foot.
You heard me go on and on about the scenic vistas of Michoacán. Where there is a stunning sight around every corner.
I have slighted Jalisco's coast with my prose. This is a view in the hills looking south toward Manzanillo. When this place greens up, it makes Greenpeace look like minke harvesters.
Unfortunately, when you have one hand on the throttle and both hands on the brakes while dashing through shifting sands, it is difficult to get good shots. As you can see.
And that is too bad.
We passed through clouds of tiny to large butterflies -- as if we were in a Mardi Gras parade surrounded by blue, white, yellow, organge, brown, and black confetti.
Gray hawks. Turkey vultures. Lizards. Snakes. And birds I have never seen before. All on the back of a steed that could take us almost anywhere our dreams could imagine. We went down trails Ray has never explored before.
And I think this is the first time I have seen the Mexican and Red Chinnese flags flying together at a business complex. It turns out it is a joint venture mine. The locals in Tequesquitlán say it is an iron ore mine.
That makes sense. It is in the same range as the Peña Colorado mine on the road to Colima. If I remember correctly that mine is a joint venture with the British. It is almost as if both Guadalupe Victoria and Porfirio Diaz were still setting policy in Mexico City.
But there may be more than iron ore in them thar hills. Our local source lowered his voice and got that Hispanic glint in his eye -- the same look that propelled Nuño de Guzman through the highlands.
"They say there is -- gold." The perfect opening line for a short story.
But we were not in a short story. We were on another of those adventures that make me as giddy as a school boy. At least, until the adrenalin has burned off with what is left of my testosterone, and my buttocks start telling me it is a long time since I sat a saddle. That hot tub would have been welcomed last night.
I want one. An ATV, that is. If I get that house in the country, it would be a perfect fit. Something more to tie me to Mexico.
Unlike the area around Lake Pátzcuaro, the roads and fields around Melaque do not have banks of fall wild flowers. But the mountains do.
Not the pastel pinks of Pátzcuaro with its cosmos. These flowers are boldly tropical. Oranges. Purples. Reds. Blues. Yellows.
Nothing subtle. But I could not help but notice this flower (whose name I do not know) is certainly close kin to the cosmos. As leggy as a Las Vegas chorine. But in a brighter costume.
It seems that all good times eventually meet, shake hands, and become one.
For your own adventure, you would be well-served to contact Ray when you are in town.
I intend to take a few more runs myself.