Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Detour to Volcan de Colima

We have been falling behind on our posts so we have been working hard this week to catch up.  So fasten your seat belts here they come.
When we arrived in Melaque we soaked in the sun and blew up the stand up paddle board and got wet.  The bay that we were staying in was reasonably calm once we breached the heavy beach break so we were able to use the board here endlessly.  We stayed at a fancy trailer park/hotel for a few days.  It had a pool, was on the beach and was a great spot to talk to the Snowbirds who were on their way North about the area they had come from and where we were headed to.
One night in the Zocalo we met a really fun couple from Washington who were touring the area with their two daughters and mother in law.  They had just returned from the Comala area and gave us some great ideas on where to go next.
We were ready for some more tropical weather, swimming and surfing.  However, after a long look at the map we knew that we were going to be on the coast for a minimum of two weeks and this was our last chance to do something in the mountains unless we wanted to drive six hours.

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We made our way to one of Mexico’s Magic Pueblos Comala, which is just outside of the city of Colima.  
On the way up the pass, while Aneta was at the wheel, two very new silver Ram pick-up trucks with tinted windows all around and sirens blaring came flying up on us.  The passenger was hanging out the window waving to the cars to move over.  The strange thing was there were no markings and a guy in the back of the truck with an automatic rifle was sitting in the bed with no roll bar or seat in the back like we usually see.  They were past us before we knew it.  We were not sure if they were police or military or perhaps cartel; we later found out that they were undercover federalies who were in a hurry.

We arrived to Comala where we found a place that had camping with an outdoor patio and a hotel room.  We bargained for the room seeing that I had a fever and was done for the night despite the festivities in town.  It was a party the week after Samana Santa ended with way too much fireworks for such a small town.  The fireworks in Mexico are quite sporadic; they use any reason to blow some stuff up, weekly mercado, baptism, or religious holiday. The middle of the day suits them just fine and every one is the biggest boom you have ever heard.  
The next day we decided it was time to go grocery shopping where we met Jose (who used to be a postal worker in L.A.), his wife, and their new baby girl.  We got to talking about our trip and he offered a place for us to stay for a couple of nights while we looked for a new strut for the truck.  They had just moved into their house a few months ago and were finishing up the construction of their beautiful house.  We were able to cook them a couple of meals in return for their hospitality.  Thanks Jose.

I was also sick of being sick.  I had been sick for the previous nine days and went to the lab to give a sample to find out I had been carrying around a Blastocystis Hominis parasite. (I'll let you look it up).  I took some meds and was as good as new, how fun!!!!!  Jose's house was a great departure point for access to explore the center of the city and a visit to the local Zoo which was two blocks away.
The other draw here was Volcan de Colima which is one of the most active in North America at a height of 12,533 feet.  However, all that we saw out of it was a little smoke coming from the cone.  The last time it had a major eruption was in May of 2005.  We are not too worried about not seeing it erupt as there are plenty volcanoes that are erupting currently along the path of our journey.  We went back to Comala and camped for the next few days and checked out the town and area.  
The very little village of Yerba Buena was on the way to the volcano.  
There was not much in the town however up the road we did find some cabins with two greenhouses on the property; "fresh produce" we thought.  A truck was in the driveway so we stopped by to have a look around.  
There we met a couple and their daughter who gave us a tour of their property.  We ended up leaving with arms full of produce after a personal tour and a nice conversation with the owners.  
Owners daughter and her pup
The owners told us that there was no trail going up to the top and not advisable so we drove to the end where we met a gate and enjoyed the view from there.  On the way back to town we stopped at a roadside blackberry farm which we had spotted on the way up.  
Best Blackberry cafe we have been to yet.
Had to pull over and buy some peaches from this sweet lady
After that we decided to go to "Ojo de Agua", eye of the water.  
There are thousands of places called Ojo de Agua so if you want to confuse someone with directions just tell them it is close to Ojo de Agua.  It was starting to chill off but a dip in the clear water was necessary.  
It was time to fix the truck so I went to a mechanic that was recommended to us by Thomas from the hotel we were staying at.  There the mechanic and I cut, chiseled, drilled, and beat the strut out of the coil seeing that the threads were stripped.  I was able to practice my Spanish while we fixed the truck.  We are bummed we don't have any pics from this.  I gave him a tip because it took much longer that both of us expected and he still charged me the quoted price of 150 pesos.  With the truck ready for the "topes" (speed bumps) we packed up, said good byes to Thomas and took off back towards the coast.

Frozen cream and berries, Yum!!!
All the coffee beans that were being dried today  
Volcano Colima

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