Wild Horses in Mexico

The Price of Haste in Chacahua

In México, North America, The Van by Dane + Penny3 Comments

There we were, bombing down a dirt road to the remote beaches of Chacahua, a place only accessible by boat. Clearly it is in fact reachable overland, although you can (and should!) cross the river in a lancha (small boat) to explore the most remote parts of the town. Once the road turned to dirt we quickly found out why many say it’s only accessible over the sea: it was tracked out so bad it felt like we were driving down railroad ties without the rails! Even aired down, we could feel poor Diego shaking apart at a slow pace of 20-30kph. Dishes, cabinets and Wyatt all rattling away. Then it quickly went from bad to worse as the whole van vibrated through and through feeling like a giant had grabbed hold of our rear axel and began to shake it vigorously. Immediately I looked low in my side mirrors to see the rear wheels both wobbling this way and that, nearly hitting the fenders in front and behind. With darkness settling in, we were crawling at a snails’ pace for the remaining 15km into the tiny town. As we pulled in, the sun dropped below the ocean to reveal a sky lit up with deep reds and purple swirls.

Rewind two weeks, as we were racing my bro and his buddy to the airport after we all slept in from a last late night out on the town. As you recall, we hung back and waited for them to arrive to spend just over a week in the Sayulita area with them. This had us behind schedule, so we were working to regain some ground to enjoy it later. After the airport drop, we stopped for cold roadside coconuts to shake the remainder of the hangover, cranked the tunes and were singing along down the coastal highway, only slowing down for topes. But, you know, they’re basically every couple of minutes! One French Canadian snowbird perched in an RV had claimed the count was over 300 from Puerto Vallarta to Acapulco! And, with only half of them marked with yellow paint or some hand painted road sign, we couldn’t spot them fast enough. We were continually hitting  them with too much velocity, hammering on the brakes, bottoming out on the rebound and letting a few curse words slip. Over and over again we cringed and cursed as we pushed southbound in haste.

Over the next two weeks we ripped through five states and ten different camping locations from Melaque to Escondido. We pushed so hard that Diego insisted on slowing down. Down that dirt road to Chacahua we ended up blowing apart both our rear upper control arms. Since Mitsubishi Delica’s are equipped with rear coil suspension for better articulation (instead of the common leaf springs) there are obviously more moving parts. These rear upper control arms stabilize the rear axel on either side from moving forward and backwards. So there we were, deep down the roughest road we’ve encountered in Mexico, at dusk with a rear axel basically pivoting on the driveshaft. We had to slow our speed down under 10kph to avoid damaging anything else. Had anything else gone, we would have been stranded alongside another truck this road had claimed earlier that same day! Although we really didn’t want to leave this place, especially just after we had finally arrived, Diego had to take priority. There were no ATMs in this tiny town and we couldn’t be sure that we wouldn’t need the cash we had for a tow back to a decent sized town. So, at sunrise the next morning we started the long 30km trek out at the same snail’s pace. After three hours we finally hit pavement again and thankfully the van handled good enough to keep up with traffic. We B-lined it to Puerto Escondido to order in the parts knowing it could take a few days, maybe more, to receive them.

So, with parts on order and after a busy couple weeks on the road, we welcomed the thought of slowing down. The forecast was perfect, the swell was building, and we realized that if we carefully planned our route away from rough roads, we wouldn’t need to stay in Escondido. There would be lots to explore in Oaxaca!


  1. Brian Croft

    Hi Dane and Penny
    Sure enjoy your updates. Heard you are in Columbia but never 100℅ sure. Up here we just finished the 3 day Craven Jamboree and had a great time. Thursday we fly to Vanc to visit Kev, Nancy and Thomas who was 7 in Feb. Haven’t seen them since Christmas when we saw you guys. Best wishes for a marvelous adventure. U Brian

    1. Author
      Dane + Penny

      Hi Brian (+ family!) Great to hear from you! We’re glad you’re enjoying the updates + yes, we are still in Colombia. It is a beautiful country. We sure miss all the family + have been thinking of everyone a lot lately. Please send our love to everyone + say hello to Kev, Nancy + Thomas for us! We were just saying the other day how much we’re looking forward to spending time with them when we’re back in Vancouver. Love from both of us 🙂

  2. Casey Weingard

    Mermejita is simply magical, wonderful to wake up and have a walk along the beach, come back to your eco friendly cabin to cook some breakfast then you can just be, and enjoy the view from your hammock, inmerse in your book or anything you have always wanted to do with time available.

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