After a couple of days in La Cruz, we had heard that a hurricane was going to touch land just south of Mazatlán in the next couple of day and would continue north. We decided that we would head inland away from the incoming storm. We left La Cruz heading down the coast until we came to Mazatlán where we stopped for some lunch before continuing on to Tepic where we turned left to go inland all the way to the town of Tequila, named after a local volcano. This is also where the drink Tequila originated.

As we entered the town, we stopped in at the Don Kiko tequila distillery where we were given a tour and sampled some of their wares. The general process is as follows.
First the Blue Agave placed into an Autoclave and cooked.
After being baked for 12 hours it then goes to crushing.
Then the crushed agave is placed into fermentation vat.
Yeast is then added to start the process.
From here it goes to distillation where it is distilled 3 times.
Once distilled its on to bottling and consumption. After the tour we were led into the sales area to taste some samples.
First was the various Tequila’s.

Then it was liqueurs made from Tequila.

From here we went into Centro where we found a spot for the night close to the town square. There are all kinds of distilleries around the Centro area.

While walking around we found a small restaurant that made local food, which we sampled.

As it was early evening by the time we had dinner, we found a local bar called “La Capilla” which was once listed as one of the worlds top 50 bars. This is a small local bar with very friendly staff and patrons. We started with a beer before trying a local drink called a “Paloma” made with Tequila.

Below, traditional local drink in the town of Tequila (Ice, Tequila, Lime Juice and Coke), too sweet for our taste.

Below, same as above but made with mineral water instead of Coke, more to our taste.

After this we called it a night and retire to our abode.
Next morning, we went on a self guided walking tour of the town.

In the town some of the stores were preparing for the Day of the Dead.

We also visited the Tequila Museum.

From here we continued further up into the highlands. We headed to a small town called Villa Corona where we stayed two nights, the campsite had naturally feed hot springs. It was the weekend and was full of locals, and the facilities we found were a little run down. We walked into the old town. The church we found in the town square was build in 1624.

There is also a church made of sand, it was raining so unfortunately did not spend much time trying to find it, check it out at: http://saudicaves.com/mx/puerto/index.html

From Villa Corona we had to go into the city of Guadalajara, this is a city of 4 million people and is a complete zoo to drive in. We needed to go into the city to pick up a part for our home, our inverter was not working properly and we had blown a fuse while trying to fix it, therefore needed a new fuse. We managed to contact a local solar installer that said he might be able to track one down as our fuse, even though it was made in Mexico was hard to come-by here.
That evening we headed down to Lake Chapala for the night while waiting the results of the fuse search. We stayed at Club Roca Azul located at the east end of the lake.

Next morning, we had a call from Miguel who had a fuse for us. We drove back into Guadalajara to pick up said fuse only to learn it had not fixed our inverter problem. After speaking with the manufacturer, they were going to send us a new inverter, we just had to determine when and where.

After reading Lonely Planet regarding the Monarch Butterfly and how it flies 3000 miles/4800kms from the Great Lakes area of Canada & USA to a few small treed areas of the Mexican highlands relatively close to Mexico City and reading they arrive from the middle of October through February we decided to see this natural wonder as it was the last week in October.
Butterfly Migration:
Millions of butterflies travel south into Mexico, from Texas and then follow the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains to the preserve. The butterflies congregate, clustering onto pine and oyamel trees. To many, the trees appear orange and branches sag from the weight. In spring, these butterflies migrate across America, sometimes ending up in Eastern Canada. Over the time it takes them to make this journey, four generations of monarch butterflies are born and die. The monarch butterflies migration patterns are altered by climate change. During migration, monarchs fly north once they are exposed to cooler temperatures. Dense congregations are thought to conserve heat. If warmed by the sun, the butterflies take flight. The beating of their wings has been compared to the sound of a light rain. The reserve is susceptible to lethal, freezing temperatures. (Wikipedia)

When we arrived in the small village next to Santuario Mariposa Monarca we were informed that they had not arrived and were not expected until late November early December. So much for Lonely Planet!!!!

Next: North of Mexico City