Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Travel Day: Valle de Juarez to San Miguel de Allende

Tuesday April 2, 2013    Travel Day
Between Hacienda Contreras outside of Valle de Juarez, Jalisco and San Miguel de Allende in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico:

Distance:  344Km = 206 miles.  First error (and really the only navigational error of the day):  I was leading in my RV and made a wrong turn heading into Jiquilpan and we ended up in the city center – noisy, narrow streets and traffic.  I noticed that we were outside a police station, so stopped to ask a policeman for directions out of Jiquilpan and how to get on the highway to Sahuayo de Morelos.   He indicated that I should wait a moment while he spoke with another officer and instructed the second policeman to escort [in his police car] both Renate and me (in our separate rigs) out of the city so we wouldn’t have to go on any narrow streets or get any more lost than we’d already managed to do!  

So, these are the bandito police in Mexico?  I disagree – they’re polite, knowledgeable and helpful.  When he’d ushered us to the highway entry for Sahuayo, he gave a friendly salute and a “Qué le vaya bien.” (“I wish that you will go well”).  [That attitude has been the norm wherever I’ve had any dealings with ‘the law.'  They've always tried to be helpful]. 

It was very slow going through Sahuayo de Morelos, and the other little pueblos until we got to La Barca where we entered the toll highway to Yurécuaro, which we skirted around and headed towards La Piedad de Cabadas.  

The terms ‘highway,’ ‘toll road,’ etc. do NOT have the same meaning as we’re used to in the States and Canada.  One reason is that Mexico is in the midst of a quest to become a late 20th or 21st century country; there’s an inordinate amount of highway construction, repair, etc. causing delays and detours, etc.  And, as the highways often transect the towns and cities, each pueblo has murderous speed bumps where I really have to come to almost a complete stop to avoid jarring everything out of cabinets and drawers of the ‘house’). We also skirted around La Piedad and headed towards Irapuato, on Mexico 90, passing Penjamo and Abasolo.  We turned East just before Irapuato on to Mex 45D and were able to bypass Salamanca and Celaya, two larger, crowded cities.  At Celaya we turned North on Mexico 51 for the last 39 Km to San Miguel de Allende. 

Renate had memorized the detailed instructions in the Church’s book for entering the city and finding the Weber Tennis Club and RV Park.  We literally drove right to the park, where you pull over and go ring the gate bell.  The owner, Hans Weber, Mexican mother and German father – hence the sons’ names are Hans and Walter! – came out and guided each rig into the park through a narrow gate; but from there it was a cinch to back the rigs into the reserved spots across from each other.