House and Church near HermosilloView All Sizes
Classic MexicoView All Sizes
Desert CemeteryView All Sizes
Mexican Kids on the Beach in Santa CruzView All Sizes
Zocalo de SayulitaView All Sizes
Summer’s Mariachi Band EscortView All Sizes
Rare Family PhotoView All Sizes
Dad and Family Driving in the Wedding ProcessionView All Sizes
My Dad and Sister RobinView All Sizes
My dad and sister eating oysters in Santa CruzView All Sizes
JOURNAL : November 20, 2009
|Series||Driving from Portland to Sayulita|
This is my last drive down to Mexico, but certainly not my last visit.
Over the years my family has traveled through Mexico numerous times. From Tijuana to Tapachula by foot, train, motorcycle, van, plane or sailboat we've covered just about every major city and town in search of adventure, portable goods and good times. At various times we've all lived down in Mexico seeking cultural enrichment or a change of pace. Each day the land reveals its treasures and composes its citizens with generous affection. Many of my fondest memories are of growing up in Mexico or in the midst of a crazy scheme to smuggle something back to the states.
The Carretera in SonoraView All Sizes
This time I vowed I would never drive down to Mexico again. From now on I fly. For one thing the roads seem to be populated with many more topes — speed bumps — than I ever remember. Imagine speeding through a seemingly endless desert only to suddenly hit 20 or 30 hard speed bumps in a row. And not nice smooth bumps but sharp, abrupt jolts like hitting a curb where unimaginable and irreparable damage is done to the vehicle. The other bummer was the expensive tolls. Granted, the roads have dramatically improved, but it cost us several hundred dollars in tolls to make the round trip. Why were we driving down in the first place?
My sister's wedding was a rare opportunity for the family to congregate in one place. It was also nice to visit Sayulita again — the previous occasion being the birth of my nephew Nainoa in October of 2005.
The Wedding CeremonyView All Sizes
In the weeks before the wedding my dad and younger sister were in Mokuleia on Oahu while I was up near Portland about to head down to Los Angeles for the winter. We discovered that flying down to Puerto Vallarta would be very costly, so the three of us decided to bundle in my conversion van for the trip and share expenses. The other advantage to driving down would be the opportunity to check out places there and back, like our briefs stops into Santa Cruz and El Golfo.
Beyond the 1000-mile leg from Portland to L.A. the drive to Sayulita is over 1500 miles each way. That month over 4000 miles were added to my odometer.
The Streets of SayulitaView All Sizes
So, after countless speed bumps, endless driving and expensive tolls, we arrive in Sayulita for the wedding.
Summer had reserved a three-story vacation rental next to her house for the family. We relaxed or ambled around town or cruised down to Puerto Vallarta about 45 minutes south. Wedding day we all packed into the small Catholic church near the zocalo. Serenaded through the streets by a Mariachi band, the bride joined the groom at the church. For the ceremony the priest read a few solemn lines and the Mariachi band kicked in with a boisterous tune, alternating for most of an hour. The church disgorged us into the plaza for photo ops. The red Porsche my dad had commandeered was replaced by a Honda quad we raced through the jungle to an extravagant wedding reception just around the point at a secluded beach.
The Lush Coast of NayaritView All Sizes
Rather than take the carretera through Tepic as we had done various times before we opted to follow the coast and bypass that city and the elevation climb. This gave us a chance to cruise through coastal communities more leisurely, and discover more of Mexico's treasures.
For me this meant timeless vistas of rural life in northern Mexico, like the strange but touching scene of a heavily decorated cemetery surrounded by miles of empty desert land, or the ramshackle homestead with an immaculate miniature church in the yard.
For my dad this meant oysters in Santa Cruz.
About this day
November 20, 2009
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