May 11, 2021
The night at Hotel Paraiso del Oso was peaceful and quiet. It was our best night in a hotel on this trip. The morning was cool and clear as the sun was hidden behind the nearby mountain peaks. We all took our time getting ready before leaving at 10 am.
We drove in a southwesterly direction from Cerocahui, through Bahuichivo and on to Termoris. It was another mountain road that wound up and down through the mountains and small valleys. We had another encounter with the cartel as we entered Termoris. They must have had notice that we were driving their way, as there was a car waiting and they flashed their lights for us to stop. Eva and I were near the front so we stopped and they just asked where we were going and if all seven vehicles were a group. We told them we were tourists on our way to Chinipas to camp for the night. They smiled and told us to have a good day and enjoy our trip. They drove to the back of our convoy, turned around and sped past us back to town. Others in the group saw the AR-15s in the back of the car noticed that they were radioing to town that we were just passing through (or they were radioing to ambush us as we left town, but we evaded them by stopping to eat lunch near the horse racetrack at the edge of town).
The other interesting thing we saw were two different military convoys protecting refrigerated trucks carrying Covid vaccines. We assume they are delivering the vaccines to the small towns and need to ensure the narco cartels to not hijack this important payload. When we arrived in Chinipas, the convoy was at the clinic dropping off the vaccine.
The rest of the afternoon we continued on our way to Chinipas. We actually got a few minutes of rain as we drove the dirt roads. It was a slight help in keeping the dust down, and it made our van really dirty. We arrived in Chinipas around 4 pm. As we wandered our way through town, a police officer offered to escort us through town to the edge of the river where we set up camp on a gravel bar. We all sat in the shade of our vehicles, but it was still hot. After the sun went down the temperature became more bearable, and once it got dark it was quite pleasant outside and we enjoyed the evening. As we were turning in for the night the police came by and assured us they would patrol the area to keep us safe.
May 12, 2021
We left camp at 8:45 am, which is good as the temperature in the valley was rising. We took another winding road that followed switchbacks up the mountain side. Once at the top of the mountainside, we drove our way across the higher valleys until we descended down into the next valley. This drive was about 65 miles, but took 5 hours to complete.
We did stop at a nice green oasis in the mountains where a lady had a small tiende. We always try to stop at some of these small stores, just to buy something to support the locals since business has been so bad. However, at this tiende, we got lucky. The lady said she had made tamales this morning and they were still warm. Several of us bought tamales for lunch and they were very good. I told her they were the best tamales I have ever had.
When we arrived in Los Tanques, we were finally off dirt and back on pavement. We aired up our tires and continued another 25 km to Alamos. We stayed at the Hotel DoLisa, which was a very nice hotel. The rooms were large and clean, the shower was hot, the beds firm and best of all it has air conditioning. It was the nicest place we have stayed at so far. Later in the evening we walked down to the town square to eat dinner. They have a very nice square with a large church. The people there were very nice and suggested a few places to eat. We ended up eating at the Charisma Restaurant. It was good, but a little expensive for Mexico.