October 19, 2004 

We had a terrific morning kayaking in the Laguna Agua Brava.  We found a spot to put the kayak in next to a bridge over the lagoon and immediately we saw a Great Egret.  As we paddled along we saw Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Little Blue Herons, a Green Heron, several White Ibises, an Osprey, a Brown Pelican and I swear we saw two different groups of American Flamingos fly overhead.  We also saw Gulls, Frigate Birds, Vultures and Geese. 

On our way back down the road, we saw several men working on the side of the road.  Curious, we stopped to see what they were doing.  They had large mats spread on the ground and covering them were large quantities of shrimp!  They were using sticks to spread them out and they were drying them in the sun to be packaged and sold, heads and all.  


October 20, 2004

After spending the night in Tepic, we stopped at the Laguna Santa Maria del Oro, a volcanic lake that turns different colors depending on the weather conditions.  Unfortunately today the sky was very hazy so the color of the lake was a dark blue rather than the turquoise we were hoping to see, but it was very pretty nevertheless.    

Further down the road we stopped at Volcan del Ceboruco to check out the ancient lava flow.  It was quite a surprising sight… one minute we were in bright green foliage and the next we were in black jagged rock.  The highway cuts right through the lava flow, so there are big chunks of lava in each side of the road.

Next stop was the town of Ixtlan del Rio where we visited the ruins of Los Toriles.  This archaeological sight has both reconstructed building sites and a burial tomb.  The burial tomb contained numerous bones, ceramics, tools and jewelry.  The burial dates to between 300 BC and 300 AD.  The city of Los Toriles flourished from 700 to 1200 AD and was characterized by altars, walkways and drainage ditches.  

Our final stop for the day was to visit the town of Tequila.  Yes, the very place where the alcoholic beverage of Tequila is made.  We took a tour of the distillery La Cofradia, and learned everything we ever needed to know about making Tequila.  

We also were able to take tastes of the Tequila at each stage of the distillation and aging process – very tasty.  All along the highways leading from Tepic to Tequila we passed field after field of blue agave plants.  These are the plants from which Tequila is made.  Our information indicated that at any given time there are millions of plants growning! 

We wondered how the farmers lived considering that very few fields were growing food plants.  We learned that many farmers sell their crop of agave years before they are actually harvested.  Kind of like selling futures on their plants, this way they get a monthly stipend from which they can live on.

Arriving in Guadalajara late in the day, we were attempting to locate a RV Park when we got pulled over by a policeman.  Although we had done nothing wrong, he insisted that we had broken the law by driving our “truck” into the city.  When he won’t listen to our argument about how we live in the vehicle and that it wasn’t a commercial vehicle, we realized we had entered into the “mordida culture”. 

This is a bit like the Twilight Zone where reality doesn’t need to exist.  Mordida is a slang term for bribe.  Many government officials, including the police do not receive much pay.  So to supplement their income they demand bribes for their work.  In our case, we talked to the officer for a long time and our choice was to have to go to the police station the next day to argue, or pay him $20.00.  We we’re happy, but we were tired and wanted to get on our way, so we paid the money.

Then to add insult to injury, the RV Park that we were seeking – the one that caused us to go into town in the first place – was out of business and being developed into a gated community!  So we went back to the highway and went to our 2nd choice for the night.  


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