El Chaco


Friday Dec. 2

At the break of daylight, I was up and breaking down camp. We had everything organized and were out the gate by 8:00 am. Said good bye to Juan and drove down to the toll road to Tepic. An uncomfortable noise was coming from the rear tires and I stopped on the side of the road and crawled around underneath and couldn’t find anything wrong. We drove a short ways more to a point where the pavement changed from concrete to asphalt and the noise disappeared. It wasn’t the tires, it was the road causing the sound.

The pay road was of the new style where you get a lane and a half going in each direction. Slower traffic kind of straddles the right/ center lane and cars going either way challenge each other for the center of the road. It can be chaotic at times, but no more hairy than blind passes without the extra space which has always been the norm.

Blue agave – Tequila country
The cars and trucks approaching us from the opposite direction started flashing their lights at us and we knew something unusual was coming up down the pike. As we crested a rise, a 5th wheel motorhome and its tow truck were upside down across two thirds of the highway. An older woman was sitting on the side of the road on a piece of RV flotsam talking to a woman firefighter who was checking her over. She seemed to be uninjured and she had a smile for her helper, so hopefully no one was seriously hurt.

The landscape became more and more tropical jungle as we made our way further south. Vines were choking the trees and new colorful flora started to appear on the roadside. We exited the toll road on the road into San Blas. The road grew narrow and the trees encroached on both sides creating a tunnel of foliage to navigate with our tall, wide, boxy vehicle. We actually had to stop a few times to allow oncoming traffic to pass to avoid damaging the RV on the branches hanging into the street.

Lots of small villages with their requisite topes, speed bumps of varying design bringing traffic to a crawl. Vendors were taking advantage of the slowing by stepping up to the car to sell their various goods. Mostly dried shrimp, fruit or some kind of nut. We bought a big cup of fruit for a buck and snacked on it as we were avoiding trees coming up to the turn off to Matanchen. We stopped for a moment to regroup. PJ put the items that were shaken out of the closet back in their place and I asked a storekeeper how much further El Chaco hotel was. Close, he said, close.

The road was under construction and we had to bump over several miles of washboard dirt roads. Things were shaking and dancing in the back, but everything stayed more or less in its place. The dust in white and everything on the back of the RV, the chairs, the ladder and the bikes were completely coated in white powder like sugar doughnuts.
Finally, the roadwork ended and we rolled up to El Chaco. They have 5 or 6 RV slots on the grass adjacent to the beach at Matanchen Bay and we rented one for two nights. The long timers were using the two open sites for parking their trucks, so we had to hunt them down and ask them to vacate a slab for us. John’s our neighbor, an annual visitor from Idaho who likes to spend the cold months here at Matanchen. He helped me get parked up and answered my questions about the area. Really relaxed vibe.

We took the dogs out on the beach and had a swim ourselves. Really fine sand that gets churned up by the shorebreak and into your shorts, hair and eyeballs. We put the dogs inside and had a swim in the nice large pool. No one else around. Refreshing water and beautiful surroundings. We hung out for a while, then went back to the RV and cooked up an early dinner.

 I had the half kilo of shrimp from Mazatlan, so I sautéed it up with mushrooms and pineapple. Added a little stir fry sauce and garlic then served it up over rice. Good stuff. No internet for the campground, so I’m typing this up early then will list it in the restaurant where they have wi-if for the guests. A few Mexican weekenders are bar-b-queing under the palapa and bumping some ranchero music. We’ll see how long they rock it. A cloudy sunset with spates of rain all afternoon. Supposed to rain tomorrow. 

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