Road Trip to Mexico
From Gualala, California to Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico 2013

by Teri Saya

Note: Each link in this web page should go to it's own window leaving this one open.  {ctrl + w} will close the window your on and come back to this one.  At least that's what happens with my machine......carry on.


21 JUNE:  After packing a 6 foot roll of canvas (we decided to do a lot of painting in Mexico), musical instruments (congas, tambourine, flute),  a few paintings, sculptures, box of tools, household stuff, and of course our necessities into the car, we left Gualala at 2:00 pm.

With bumper to bumper traffic and a stop in Fairfield for dinner at 5:30, we arrived in Clovis at 11:00 pm.  Art’s sister, Dale, has a lovely house on a cul-de-sac.  She lives here with her pets, Lola, a very sweet shitsu-poo dog.  Sherman, a tortoise who wanders the back yard, and the newest addition, a kitten, PéPé Kato Trouble…..yeah, the name fits, cute but feisty.


We were very tired and so glad to have a place to stay, (Thank you Dale.)  We assumed we would be here approximately 3 to 4 days waiting for necessary things to arrive in the mail.  We were here for 3 weeks.


23 JUNE:  We visited with Art's brother and his family that included 4 lovable dogs, Lolly, Chewy, Buddy, and Rocky.


30 JUNE:  We went to the Art Museum where it was nice and cool inside and very HOT outside!  Even the squirrels couldn't stand it......


05 JULY:  We went to the Foresterie Underground Gardens....It was amazing!
11 JULY:  Went to the annual "Art Hop" in Fresno.  An amazing array of artwork, food, music, and people!

15 JULY:  We left Dale's house at 10:25 a.m.  Arrived in Escondido at my niece's placed around 6:00 p.m.

This was the first time meeting Krystal's new husband and their 5 month old baby.  They live in a very nice, gated community.  It was the second day in their new apartment.  We visited for a while, gave them some wedding/baby/housewarming gifts and then checked in at the Super 8 motel not far away.  Justin had to get up in the morning for work and we were tired from the drive, so we didn't make it an extra long visit.

16 JULY:  In the morning, after a quick visit with Krystal and the baby, we headed for the border.......


We crossed the border in Otay, CA at 11:25 a.m. with a very short stop by the Federalies and their cute German Shepherd who did a fine job sniffing.  They asked for no paperwork, no passports, no visas, no pink slip...they wanted to know why we were carrying congas.  After we passed, Art stopped at the nearest taco stand to have an official Mexican snack.



We learned very quickly that the timing in America is not the same in Mexico....


We stopped in Mexicali to have lunch at VIP's.  It's kinda like Denny's in the states, you see them everywhere.  Then, we rolled into San Lius at 5:30 p.m. and got a room at a place called Panda Inn.  Mandarin style deco with dragons on the doors, Chinese restaurant attached....guess what we ate for dinner?

NOTE:  So here's the weird took us 6 hours to get from the border at Otay near Tiaujuana to San Luis Rio Colorado, and yet it should have only taken 2 and 1/2 hours.......we didn't stop that many times.  (Hmmm- alien abduction you say?)


17 JULY:  The next morning we left San Luis at 10:00 a.m., drove along the border and through the desert for many miles.

We saw signs along the way.....


A storm crossed our path....


Trucks crossed our path......



We stopped at a Taco Truck and had some delicious beef head tacos.
This woman spoke English very well and we had a nice conversation.


It was my turn to drive and we stopped in Altar to get a snack and water at an OXXO.  Art was just getting out and two guys jumped at the car to try and wash our windshield. They started arguing and then it turned UGLY! They started beating the crap out of each other!  Art got back into the car and said, "Let's get the hell outta here!" and as I was trying to get it into reverse, the two guys, who were bloody at this point started beating each other over the hood of the car.  They're rags and windex bottles were still on the car.  I finally backed out and they fell to the ground still beating each other.  I stopped long enough for Art to jump out and knock off their stuff.  We took off in a hurry because someone had called the policia and we didn't want to be held as witnesses.  We passed the cops on the way out.


We arrived in Magdalena at 5 p.m. and checked in at the Hotel Los Cisnes.  A beautiful place with a pool.  There was a very nice young man who helped us unload our stuff into the room and offered to clean the blood off our car.....we gave him a big tip.


18 JULY:  We left Magdalena at 9 a.m.  It was a very long drive across the desert.  We arrived in San Carlos around 3:30. A quaint little community on oceanfront surrounded by odd shaped mountains.  The weather was hot and muggy.


  We checked into the Hotel Creston. The room was large with 2 double beds and the TV clicker was tethered to the night stand.(steal the clicker? really?) The curtains did nothing to keep out the light, however, the air conditioning worked well. Our room was nice and cool. The pool was just outside our door and there seemed to be a family reunion going on. Many people (mostly children) in the pool.


We had margaritas and a late lunch at a seaside restaurant watching the pelicans dive for fish….speaking of fish, Art ate a whole one!  We went back to the hotel, rested and watched TV for a bit.  Later, we got up and began to wander around the town.....such a beautiful place!  We strolled around the neighborhoods and found some very unique doors.
Click here for photos.


19 JULY:  We wandered through San Carlos checking out the little shops, then walked to the beach.  In the afternoon, Art wanted a taco and I wanted a hot dog.  We found a street vendor that had both.  The hot dog wasn't exactly what I was expecting.  It was kinda small and shriveled and the vendor insisted on putting on the condiments, but I didn't know how to say mustard in Spanish, so she gave me a double dose of mayo instead.  I was hungry and ate it anyway.  Two hours later I was not feeling well.  Three hours later I was shivering, sweating, and nauseated.  Four hours later I was begging Art to shoot me. (If you've ever had food poisoning, you know what I mean.)  I could not sleep that night, not just from the pain but from the very loud music and partying across the street at the local bar ALL NIGHT LONG!


20 JULY:  We left early.  I barely had enough strength to get myself into the car.  We were on the road for an hour and 30 minutes.  Art turned into Obregon and got us a room at the Travelodge where I immediately fell into bed.  My sweet, sweet honey went out to the nearest Pharmacy and met with an "in house doctor" (which is unheard of in the States) and got me some meds and electrolytes.  He made sure a trash can was beside the bed and then went out to explore the town, letting me rest. He told me later that this town and the people here were very nice and had a big beautiful church with tall spires where he went inside to listened to the choir sing.


21 JULY:  I was feeling better, but very weak.  Art gave me some chicken soup and told me he was going to get the room for a second night.  I was very glad and slept the rest of the day and through the night.


22 JULY:  We left Obregon at 9:15 a.m.  I was feeling much better and we took turns driving.  .

We headed for Mazitlan.


About an hour before we got to Mazatlan we ran out of gas.  And of course it was on my watch, (damn!)


Thank goodness for the emergency Kiosks every couple of miles.  We pushed the little red button on the SOS pole and spoke with a lady who sent a guy out w/ gas.  He arrived in about 20 minutes and had us back on the road again.  Unfortunately the gas that was put in the car caused problems.  The car started to sputter and stall.  Going through the toll booths, Art had to put the car into neutral and keep one foot on the brake and one foot on the gas to keep it from dying.


We barely made it into Mazatlan where we turned into a very nice looking place on the outskirts called Hotel Oasis.  The rooms here rented out on a 12 hour basis for an extremely reasonable price, which seemed odd to me. We had a large load on top of and inside the car and were glad to see that included in the price was a garage which could be locked. We walked up the stairs and into a spacious, clean room. As I looked around, I realized why these rooms were rented half day at a time. It included a king sized bed with a large mirror on the ceiling above it, a sitting/viewing area with two couches, one facing the bed and the other facing the stripper’s pole which stood very prominently on one end of the room next to the wash basin. On the night stand, in a glued down ash tray, was complimentary mints and condoms. There was a phone and a large tissue dispenser on the wall next to the bed. There was a swivel butler in the wall.  The ancient T.V. which sat up on a rack just at head level had about five channels, all of which were grainy with static except one channel which came in clear as a bell playing pornography....if we weren't so dang tired, this could have been a fun!



23 JULY:  We left Mazatlan at 10:00 a.m.  Once we were back on the highway, the car seemed to be ok.  We thought, good! Maybe the car just needed a rest.  We rolled into Tepic at 1:30 and had lunch.


Here are a few things we saw along the way:










We arrived in Zapopan at around 5 and didn't get to the house until 7:30 p.m..  The car started acting up again and Tom-Tom could only tell us how to get to Zapopan Centro.  The traffic was unreal!  We had taken the wrong turn and were lost.  Finally, Art came up with a plan....he flagged down a cab and told Juan where we wanted to go and we followed him.........




...right to the front door of HOME.



We paid a total in toll charges $1,674 pesos which is about $128 US dollars to drive on the Mexican highways.  Add the cost of gas and the hotels, it would have been waaay cheaper to fly.  But then we would not have our car or personal belongings we brought from Gualala.


It was quite the experience!


NOTE:  Tom-Tom, our GPS, was ok but badly outdated for this country.  It took us to an ancient on-ramp that we had to four-wheel on to get through to the highway.  We decided "Juan-Juan" was the best way to go.