Day 174. Monday 20th Jan. Angangueo Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary to El Ocotal. Close to Zitacuaro.

Not a great nights sleep. It was freezing cold though we were warm and snug. At around 5am lightening started flashing again and thunder rolled around the mountains for about an hour.

Today we were hoping to see one of the natural wonders of the world, the mass flying of Monarch butterflies. We are in the mountains and at 3355m and with the cold weather, the butterfly’s it’s believed, are not going to show. The weather forecast is for three more days of cold weather so the decision is to move on. 

Having said that, within half an hour of getting up at 7.30am there is a ‘horse tour salesman’ knocking on the door. He says that because the butterflies wont fly in this weather why not enjoy a horse ride?  It seems like a great idea to utilise the visit to give the kids a ride on a horse for a few hours. Jen decides to join the others and I stay back and be ‘camp mother’. 

There is a crowd are gathering on the road below me and four Federal Police ute’s arrive with fully armed police. They are holding a meeting with what I assume to be, the tour guides that live in the valley below. I ask a policeman if I can take a photo. “Sure he say’s”, in a relaxed manner. After that he climbs the bank to chat. He is Marco Polo R….. a young guy in his 30’s with two young children. I told him how honoured I was to meet the real ‘Marco Polo’ and he laughs. Then I showed him how we have just followed his journey across Asia…:). 

He is carrying a Czech made Bren gun, 7mm? 

I question him about the purpose of the meeting but he wouldn’t be drawn, other than to say, “all is tranquil”. 

An hour after the family have left the sun comes out and now it’s a gorgeous, though cool day. By 11am I have dried & packed the tent, changed the air filter, topped up the oil and a little fluid in the clutch master cylinder and put  20L of diesel in the tank, from one of the Jerry cans. The bedding is out airing. It’s great to have this time to myself to get these things done as travelling in a group has very different dynamics and there is little free time.

Three hours later the team returned. I’m going to let Jen tell you about their experiences in tomorrows blog.

By 1.15pm we were on the road again. Headed in the general direction of Mexico City. Its only 225ks but too late to be attempting to get there by dark. The decision is then to travel just over 100k’s to a recognised camp site at El Ocotal. Thankfully 40ks of that was on the toll road but it still took us three hours. It takes forever to negotiate towns which all have dozens of Tope’s to slow pace to a crawl. The cost on the car owners in brake pads and clutches, not to mention fuel economy, must be immense. 

Another cold night envisioned. We are camped in a wooded area with basic facilities.

Butterfly mural
Marco Polo and meeting.

Visits: 46


  1. A fascinating insight to how the other half lives bro. The major issue it seems to me, is that so many people have guns, and are probably willing to use them. I know our system of government is not perfect, (you have told me so), but I have to say living in a peaceful gunless society has it’s benefits. All well this end, even had some much needed rain. Some fires still burning but a mixture of floods, dust storms and fires over much of the central and east Australia reminds us how fragile the enviroment is. Stay safe and happy.

    • Wise words my younger brother..:) The next days blog are full of interest. Particularly in relation to your comments about governments and their agencies. Have just read Adam Schiff’s opening address to the Senate on impeachment. Sobering stuff.

      Great to hear you have had some rain.

      We’re doing our best.

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