Mexico 48, 19th June 2004

I went to see the museum at Teotihuacan, the one that was closed when I visited the ruins. I got there at 8 am, the ruins opened at 7 am, but the museum did not open until 10. So I gave it a miss and started heading west,
just north of Mexico city, across a flat seeming fertile plain. It's still green everywhere of course, there is rain just about every day, quite heavy sometimes, but only for a short while. It's also not blistering hot. I'm currently wearing jeans, not shorts, with Tee shirt plus normal shirt, but there is never any need to take a jacket. It is just pleasantly warm. Of course, being around 7,000 ft helps, it is presumably searingly hot on the coast..

I reached the town of Coyotopec and the road I wanted seemingly petered out so I retraced steps and took the highway. After 5 kms, where I wanted to turn off to the next town there was a toll booth. 126 peso says the attendant. What? I said, I've only come 5 Km. (I'll remind you, 126 pesos is 6 or $12. And 5 km is 3 miles) He says, it would only be 55 pesos but you have twin back wheels. The fee is for going through the toll booth he
continued, not for the mileage. Oh, can I go back then I asked. Sure he said.

Well the original road did not peter out but it was rough. Very rough. After about a couple of miles I reached the camp site in Tepotzotlan that I was heading for. Gate firmly closed, no bell, no sign of life. So I parked on the plaza for the night.

The front of the church is decorated with an all types of carvings.

The interior is unbelievably lavish with painted and gilded statues and ornaments.

There is a Jesuit monastery adjacent, beautifully built with wonderful shaded gardens and paths.

I then headed off in the general direction of Toluca. On the way I spotted a lawnmower repair shop so dropped my generator in. The mechanic looked at the plug, checked the spark by holding the lead to see if it made him jump. It did. Then he pulled the starter cord, it fired on the second pull! Next door was a car upholstery workshop, so I got this guy to sew up my split passenger seat. At this rate I'll have everything like new in no time.

I carried on, I couldn't find the road to Toluca but no matter, the scenery was stupendous. You know, sometimes I can't hardly believe I'm actually in Mexico and seeing views like this. I drive down the road looking at everything, often laughing to myself or with a silly grin on my face it's so beautiful. I was really sad to leave my house in France, I thought I was settled there for the rest of my life, but they say, every cloud has a silver lining, and if I'd still been there, I wouldn't have been here, if you get the hang of that, and, over all, I think I am probably happier now, travelling.

I stopped for the night in a state run camp site, in a pine forest near Santiago Acutzilapan at something approaching 10,000 ft altitude. Although I was a bit cold it was so nice there I decided to stay a second night and while there get my washing done at the laundry. Unfortunately when I found the only laundry it the town, in the morning, it was closed. All the washing machines were broken I was told, so I continued on, with more views. Yesterday was cloudy, so I didn't take photos. Today I did.

Of course, I have to have lunch.

And then continue on.

I diverted to look at another ruin, Calixtlahuaca, which has a circular pyramid, but which is, by my interests, newish.

As with many other structures, there are several stages of building, one on top of the other. Here are very steep steps from, I think, stage 2.

 

After Toluca I climbed up towards the extinct volcano the 15,390 ft high Nevada de Toluca, there is a 20 km dirt road runs almost to the top. I stopped for the night at the final gate, 13,300 ft., and was amused to think most people who fly balloons have not been up this high in a balloon, and I'm here in my motor home! I've actually been up to 22,000 ft in a balloon, I once spent an hour and a half up there trying, successfully, with Simon, to find a wind that would NOT take us towards a huge glacier over the Alps. At the gate, back here on the ground, they told me I would not be able to drive the final 6 km to the summit, the road was too narrow, I would have to walk for 2 km (with 2,000 ft climb) to get to the top. I'll see what tomorrow brings.

It's started raining, good, that means clear skies and good views in the morning. It's also very windy, from time to time the van is rocking, I've checked the brakes are on, and I am closing the bathroom window, for the first time ever, there is a cold gale blowing through. It also reminds me, I'd better get my sleeping bag out of the cupboard, a couple of sheets and a Mexican blanket are not going to keep me warm up here tonight, I've already put a sweater on and I saw patches of snow high on the mountain on the way up.

Best regards

David Barker

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