A ROAD LITERALLY CARVED OUT OF VIRGIN JUNGLE
By Malcolm Callister
The plan was to explore the status of a new section of Guadalajara to Puerta Vallarta highway being cut through the jungle east of our RV Park, then stop for Lunch. The eight side by side, off-road, 4X4’s from the LaPenita 4X4 club were on what they called a morning fun run, off-roading. They had invited me to join them as a passenger. This was January, dry season. As the 4X4’s raced across the trails we were enveloped in a moving dust cloud. Above our reddish-brown dust cloud, there was a blue sky, and clean mountain air and the sweet smell of the tropical forest.
Literally Carved Out of Virgin Jungle
From the top of the first ridge as the dust settled, you can see the construction service road. A mere trail, a long brown ribbon of dirt, snaking its way through the deep greens of the tropical jungle. It is this trail that the 4X4’s will follow. From this high point in the trail, you have the privilege of seeing a road in the making. A road literally being carved out of virgin Jungle.
This section of Guadalajara to Puerta Vallarta highway is still just service roads facilitating the installation of drainage ducts and road foundation. No bridges or access ramps, just gravel trails cut through mountains and dense Jungle. A Civil Engineers dream project.
With no bridges the trail drops steeply from the high ridges to the valley floors and stream beds, giving the driver and passenger a nerve shattering, thrilling drive down steep slopes, then having to gun the engines as the 4X4’s climb and fishtailed their way up the other side.
This is ideal 4X4 driving terrain testing the skill of the driver, the durability of the machine and the faith of the passenger.
After an hour of rugged mountain driving the lead driver, in clouds of dust, pulls thankfully to a stop. Rest time for machines and people. The dust cloud clears, showing views in brilliant sunlight. Dense Mexican jungle all about you climbs over the distant mountain ridges. Patches of banana, and pineapple plantations can be seen in the distance were they too have invaded the pristine jungle foliage. These are views of Mexico not seen by most tourists.
While stopped it is time to take a welcome drink, and a chance to stretch your tired muscles. You have had an hour of bracing yourself against the restrains of a safety belt, with feet pressed into the floor and hands on the Tee Bar. This hour of unfamiliar muscle tension, all adds up to a vigorous work out, and you are only one hour into a four-hour drive.
Endless Summers Restaurant
This is the halfway point of the drive. The restaurant “Endless Summers” at Lo de Marcos is a Sport Bar with Canadian TV and Sports Channel. The sports bar is owned by Jeff, a Canadian from Vancouver who welcomed the LaPenita 4x4 club as old friends.
Contact information for References used in this article
Endless Summer Sports Bar and Grill, Lo de Marcos, Mexico
LaPenita off-road 4X4 drive club, Web address: www. lapenitarvpark.com,
Telephone #: 01 327 274 0996
M&L Tip of the week.
Traveling in Mexico, check availability of fuel before setting out.