We drove along MX 200 and arrived at Manzanillo, another Mexican resort city. The only camping spot we’d read about was on iOverlander and it was parking behind a Wal-Mart – probably the only Wal-Mart on the beach anywhere in the world, we figured! It did not look like the greatest spot but we got out to check it out and met a local who advised that “yes we could overnight here but there were better places closer to town that were public beach accesses and many have bathrooms and showers”. So first we drove into the city to walk the malecon which we did not find impressive; it was not very long and did not have a lot going on. We did, however, enjoy some awesome natural organic coconut ice cream on our walk. Besides being a resort, this city is the major port of Mexico on the Pacific coast and has a huge port and industrial area between the beaches and malecon downtown.
We found one of the beach accesses our amigo referred to, took a walk on the beach till the sun set and then had showers for 10 pesos (about 60 cents) each before making dinner. We spent a quiet night listening to the surf again and were not hassled at all. Manzanillo is a very safe city since the military keeps high security around the port.
Friday morning we drove inland up into the mountains to a little town called Comala which was very pretty, had a lovely town square and all the buildings are painted white. It has a lovely town square with lots of one way streets.
Next it was the larger and capital city of the state of Colima, also called Colima, where there were again, no RV parks so we opted to find a reasonably priced hotel instead. It had AC, slow Wi-Fi and was very fairly modern with hot water! Often here in Mexico, rooms are rented by the 8 hour time period (or less; wink wink) so we booked 16 hours from 3pm. We were unable to park Tigger on the property as the entrance had an archway that was too low so we parked in front of the CAT business next door and all was fine. We actually went out to the rig to make and eat dinner since we had enough fixings and there was not much around the hotel as we were outside the main part of the city.
We got caught up on email and downloading and hit the road early the next morning as we wanted to make it to the trailhead of the dormant volcano, Colima in order to hike to the summit that day. The first forty minutes was quite exciting: NO topes! Well the entire drive took longer than expected and the last 18 km of road was rough and very slow. We picked up a family of hikers from Guadalajara (part of a scout troop as it turned out) along the way up and brought them to the national park gates with us.
We parked Tigger, changed our clothes (it was way cooler up here at 3400M!) and were told where the trailhead was. It turned out we were not at the trailhead we had hoped to be at and we were really feeling the altitude. We did hike a couple of hours but felt that this trail was too long at the slow pace we were moving at to be completed roundtrip before dark. Doug was beginning to feel quite lightheaded and dizzy and had a terrible headache. Both of us had pounding hearts at times and felt out bodies were telling us not to be so stupid! We did get some spectacular views of the summit and did see the sister active volcano spewing steam both in the morning before we arrived at the park and then after on our way back to Colima.
It was a bit disappointing but no regrets. We did spend that night at a Wal-Mart in Colima after asking a couple of employees if we could park in the back where the employee entrance was and where it was well lit and quieter than out front in the main lot which was not level. Again, an incident free night. Tomorrow we cross into a new state: Michoacán.