Next up on my low speed tour was to make my way down to Acapulco over the course of a few days. I was nervous of one stretch of this road as it is remote, underpopulated and infamous for banditry. Unlike most over-hyped Mexico travel warnings , there were actual, recent reported cases of highway robbery and even Mexican people warned me off it.
The other choice was to go inland back up into the mountains and head south from there, but I didn’t want to do this as it would put me even further behind schedule, so decided to push ahead down the notorious MEX 200 from Manzanillo to Zihuatenejo, and on to Acapulco.
I left Manzanillo early and I planned to crank through the route as fast as possible, with as little stopping as possible. However after a couple of hours on the road I didn’t perceive any danger so, rightly or wrongly I went with my instincts and relaxed the pace rather than transiting through as quickly as I could.
And what a road it was. It was relatively remote, with long stretches of nothing as it wound along the coast and inland through dense tree cover.
Playing it cautious I stopped early for the night at Colola, one of the few villages along the way, and got a cabin on the beach.
I took a late afternoon walk down the beach and into the village. It was most poverty stricken place I had seen yet. Dirt streets, flimsy corrugated iron makeshift houses and dogs sleeping on the streets. All that was missing was some tumbleweed rolling down the dusty street. It was kind of depressing so I didn’t take any photos.
The center of activity was a rudimentary general store. I bought a coke and sat down outside to watch the non existent street life. It was here that my wallet must have fallen out of my pocket. As I was walking back to the cabins a lady ran up to me asking if I had lost my wallet that she found outside the shop. A quick check of my pockets confirmed I had. No surprise though that the wallet was returned empty though and I could hardly accuse the lady of emptying in seeing as how she had found it and went looking for me. Fortunately it was my “fake” wallet. I keep my real wallet safely locked up on the bike and carry around another wallet with a little cash and some expired credit cards. The old cards were still there and I only lost about $10 so nothing to get worked up about. I chalked it down to a lesson learnt to be more careful in the future.
Back at the cabins I settled in for what I was sure to be a slow evening and an early night.
After talking to the manager it turns out the only game in town was the Turtle Hatchery down the beach a ways, and for the low, low price of $2.50 they would come and pick me up and bring me down to the hatchery and give me a tour. Since there was nothing else going on I signed up and someone came over to collect me after dinner. The experience is deserving of a post in its own right, so go here to read all about it.
I ground to a start at 10AM the next day after my now normal breakfast of fresh pineapple juice. The roads are dotted with small stands selling all sorts of tropical fruit juices and I stop frequently to hydrate with strange fruit drinks. Its refreshing, cheap, healthy, and balances out my evening diet of tacos and beer, which is also refreshing, cheap but not so healthy.
Onward I went down the road. There were so many great vistas to take in, but as is normal in Mexico almost no safe places to pull over and enjoy the views and take photos for your viewing pleasure. I’m working on a sort of a homemade camera mount on the handlebars of the bike in an effort the rectify this problem.
Traffic was light as the narrow road wound along the stunning coast over headlands and past mangrove swamps through small towns clinging to the side of the road and past pineapple plantations.
After a long day I finally made it into Zihuatenejo for an overnight stop.
From Zihuatenejo to Acapulco was only 140 miles. Great, I thought, I’ll be there in four hours easy. Once again I had underestimated the driving conditions. The road had gotten busier, but no wider nor less windy. On top of this I was travelling a much more populated area. Every few miles there was a small village or town to pass through which meant slowing down for speed bumps. then once clear of the town, I would get up to 60 mph for a few miles before coming to another town and slowing down again. this pattern went on all day with a few sections of road work where the road surface was churned up to dirt. I’m not complaining, mind you. I don’t really have a schedule so its not like I’m going to be late getting anywhere.
Eventually I ended up at a beach hotel just outside Acapulco. I’m staying here for a few days to do the laundry, clean the very dusty bike and generally relax before I get on the road again.