Day 171. Friday, 17th January. From Zihuatanejo to Volcano Paricutin, near Angahuan.

A peaceful night within the gated Hotel La Quinta de Andreas car park. A leisurely start, as we have to wait for the refrigeration engineer to return the fridge. It cannot be fixed. The compressor has failed and cannot be repaired. A replacement cannot be obtained here, due to the different voltage.

While Dennis is cooking porridge I manage to do some washing and wash my hair in wash basin in the hotel toilet. One has to take advantage of whatever facilities are on offer!

Around 11.00am the fridge was returned. After paying the 350 Peso bill we said our farewells to Mike and Karen. There was much discussion over whether we should find a camp on the beach and wait until early tomorrow morning to head up in to the hills. Or, should we set off north straightaway. We decided to do this, realising we would have to go all the way to Uruapan. There are no places to stop on Highway 37 in between.

Highway 37 is a toll road and we stopped four times during the afternoon to pay tolls. About £13. Traffic was quite heavy with many trucks and the driving can sometimes be a little crazy. Double yellow lines are completely ignored. Everyone overtakes wherever they feel like it.

We hoped it would get cooler as we left the coast. It got hotter. Up to 35 degrees, but the humidity dropped. The drive was not very picturesque. Arid hills with sparse vegetation. We did pass a huge reservoir with many fish farms and flocks of white pelicans.

As we got closer to Uruapan the vegetation became more lush. Uruapan apparently exists due to the mighty Rio Cupatitzio which creates the subtropical vegetation. Progress through the city was slow. Once through the city we climbed more or less constantly. We were headed for Volcan Paricutin.

The Paricutin Volcano was formed less than 80 years ago. Rising in February, 1943 from a farmer’s field. Dionisio Pulido was ploughing his cornfield, some 40km west of Uruapan, when the ground began to shake and spurt steam, hot ash and sparks. Dionisio struggled in vain to plough over the vents, but quickly realised this was futile and ran for safety.

Once out of Uruapan and climbing all the time, we came to Nuevo San Juan Parangaricutiro. This was a new town created to house those displaced by the eruption. A very busy, lively place. Very slow going though with narrow streets and many of the inevitable topes.

We came, eventually to a gravel road. We have come to learn that travelling in Mexico takes considerably longer than our mapping Apps and Sat-Nav advise. Traffic, narrow, winding roads and topes all slow journeys down dramatically.

Darkness was not far away and we couldn’t reach our planned destination at the ruins of the village of San Jan Parangaricutiro in daylight. We started to look for somewhere to stop for the night. Eventually pulling into a reasonably flat space among pine trees, just off the gravel track. Having set up, a truck with 4 Mexicans pulled up. I thought they would tell us to move. They were friendly and just asked us not to light any fires.

We settled down, cooked dinner and had an early night.

Fish farm in reservoir

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