Thursday, November 21, 2013

GOLDEN AGE BACKPACKERS - Pause and Smell the roses not the Fumes!

Pause and Smell the Roses, not the Fumes

                    .....The Covered Bridges of Cottage Grove, Oregon

Silk Creek flowing through
 the center of Cottage Grove.
Article and Photos by John and Doreen Berg       


Are you heading south on Interstate 5 and wishing an alternate to an overnight stay in a chain motel/hotel, having an evening dinner and rising to an early alarm to hit the pavement for another tedious day of driving?  We had considered venturing off the beaten path making our drive more of an exploratory trip but our selections usually involved considerable detours to and from I-5.  This time we did discover the perfect stopover location, Cottage Grove!

Our deluxe room complete with my foot!
This fall our annual trip to Sacramento to visit our brother-in-law was significantly different.  On "Travel Zoo" Doreen discovered a "Dinner Package Special" being offered by Village Green Resort and Gardens.  The dinner package included two night's accommodation, breakfasts and a dinner for two in their restaurant with a bottle of complementary wine.   (See following "General Information" for details.)

Village Green is located approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Eugene, Oregon in the heritage town of Cottage Grove.  After driving eight to nine hours it was the perfect stop-over spot for us to enjoy the countryside and relax before continuing to our final destination- Sacramento.

Cottage Grove bills itself as a friendly recreational, family oriented small town.  For us the town added interest to an otherwise predictable drive.  Cottage Grove is small enough to be able to wander the local antique shops, view hand painted murals and examine intact collections of historic 20th century buildings.  And, of course, dine at local restaurants to sample the regional cuisine.  The first evening witnessed us dining at Stacy's Covered Bridge Restaurant marveling over their cedar plank salmon special.

The town also boasts a 17 mile dedicated paved bike trail.  Unfortunately due to the season's lateness, the resort's bikes were stored and the local bike shop had bikes previously booked.  The trail sections we saw from the road looked impressive.  Next time!

Swing Bridge -
The current bridge is at least the 4th on the site.
Cottage Grove has the distinction of being the "Covered Bridge Capital of Oregon."  The seven restored covered bridges do verify the town's claim as this is the largest number in any town in Lane County!  The bridges were built between 1900 and 1925, the regions heyday for construction and farming.  From local sawmills, readily available timber was used and house-like structures were built over the bridges to prolong the bridges' life spans.  The first morning of our stay we followed a detailed easy-to-follow map that was part of our resort package.  The roads we drove were paved and the traffic was sparse with the fall colours and landscapes creating a magical atmosphere as we visited and photographed each bridge.

Fall colours highlight the Mosby Covered Bridge
with Mosby Creek gently flowing beneath.
Lunch was at Torero's Mexican Restaurant and after a wander through the historical business section, we again consulted our tourist map and drove River Row Road to the Brice Creek Trailhead beginning at Cedar Creek Camp Site.  After taking a wrong gravel side road and climbing for a few miles, we turned back and easily located the camp a few meters past the erroneous turnoff.

Beginning our afternoon hike.
The trail follows the scenic Brice Creek

Our plan was to hike to a set of falls.  However, presented with a fork in the trail we elected to hike left while we should have gone right.  We missed the falls but the hike was enjoyable and scenic, plus providing needed exercise.

That evening in the Village Green Restaurant, we enjoyed our complementary dinner complete with a bottle of wine.  I selected a trout dish special and Doreen chose the salmon plate.  Both selections were delicious and cleverly presented.  After our meal a short stroll was in order prior to retiring for the evening and preparing for tomorrow's road journey.

Cottage Grove is favourably located to allow us to divide our 1500 kilometer drive into two days driving  with an intrepid pause to explore a region.  The historic town is situated close to the freeway making for an easy exit and return.  Yet, only a short drive from I-5 and you encounter the town surrounded by rolling pastures, lakes and beautiful forests.  We left Village Green refreshed and with an appreciation and better understanding of the county's environment and culture.  On our next drive south we plan to pause at Cottage Grove to further explore the surrounding countryside and ride the bike trail!


General Information:


Village Green Resort and Gardens:  725 Row River Road, Cottage Grove, Oregon, 97424.  Web:  Telephone: (541) 942-2491 or (800) 343-7666.  Wi-Fi  is in all rooms.  
One of the resort's beautiful gardens.

Our deluxe room sported a fireplace plus T.V., fridge and microwave.  A set of patio doors led to a small private patio area.  Excellent decor and king size bed.

A spider enjoys the garden.
The resort offers a variety of special packages.  Our Dinner Package Special included a dinner with wine and two nights' accommodation in a deluxe room and breakfasts.  At check-in we were presented with an information package about restaurants, local maps, entertainment and coupons for a wine tour as there are many successful wineries in the region.  The resort features large gardens of flora, ideal for wandering through.  We felt that the package special was an excellent value as the dinner for tipping purposes was valued at $62.00 US.  The total package cost $139.00.



Torero's Family Mexican Restaurant  1205 Highway 99 North, Cottage Grove, Oregon.  Phone: (541) 942-1155

Located in a small shopping mall.  Good ambiance and the Mexican lunch was tasty plus pleasant prompt service.  Reasonably priced.


Stacy's Covered Bridge Restaurant 401 E. Main Street, Cottage Grove, Oregon, 97424.  Phone: (541) 767-0320

Located directly across from the police station.  Stacy's is an excellent restaurant.  We ordered the day's special, salmon cooked on a cedar plank.  It was one of the most delicious salmon meals we've enjoyed.  The server was courteous and attentive.  There's also a bar area for lighter snacks.  Our meal including drinks and tip was $60.70 US


Wal-Mart:  located next to Village Green Resort just off Row River Road.  The supermarket is a good place to stock up on lunch provisions for the next day's travel.

Travel Zoo:

Travelzoo is a publishing company listing travel, entertainment and local deals.  The company evaluates deals to judge their value.  On the company's web site they publish a weekly top 20 selections that can be sent to your e-mail.  We've taken advantage of offers and have been extremely pleased with the results.
Centennial Bridge
Built on old abutments to celebrate
Cottage Grove's centennial.
Seven Covered Bridges

1)  Centennial Bridge - reconstructed in 1977

2)  Swinging Bridge - built for foot and bicycle traffic

Chamber's Covered Railway Bridge
3) Chambers Bridge - built in 1925 and restored in 2011 - employed by a timber            company as a train bridge.

4)  Mosby Creek Bridge - 1920 and restored in 1990 - oldest bridge and open to traffic

5)  Stewart Bridge - 1930 Restored in 1996.- deep water below for swimming

6)  Dorena Bridge 1949 - now closed to traffic

7)  Currin Bridge - 1925 ( replaced an earlier bridge built in 1883) -  Restored 1995.
Massive timbers were used in most covered
bridge constructions.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Driving the Alaska Highway WITHOUT a Motor Home!

Natural Beauty and Animal Viewing

 Article and photos by John and Doreen Berg

Snow capped mountains, rushing swollen rivers, emerald green lakes, partially covered with frosted blue ice and numerous roadside animal sightings were to be the highlights of our Johnny Horton "North to Alaska" adventure.

When one thinks about driving the Alaska Highway, visions of motor homes chugging along the road with many pulling an extra vehicle, is the common denominator.  We elected to discover if the journey would be as successful using our 2006 Chevrolet Silverado 4x4 truck.  This provided us with an option for back road travel.  While we did not have the convenience of dragging our home behind us, we felt from a cost point, it was cheaper and made for a more relaxed, flexible drive.  We used the tailgate for picnic lunches.  We had an excellent two-way fridge in the backseat of our crew cab and took it into our hotel accommodations, making breakfast in the morning.  This cut the cost of our vacation by having only one meal a day in restaurants. From an economic budget perspective, we deemed the use of our 4x4 truck was a huge success.  For us, a motor home rental or a used motor home purchase was too costly.  Furthermore we were not left with a huge investment parked in our yard begging to be used again.  We found it easy to locate very adequate hotel/motel accommodations and concluded that our gas mileage savings off-set motel/hotel expenses.  A further plus was that our truck 4x4 provided us with easy and safe access to more remote spots.  Our trip provided a nice balance of outdoor activities, animal sightings and off-road driving.    For us, the holiday without a
motor home was a wonderful success.


Our May 15th to June 4th time line frame proved to be an excellent choice.  Except for the first few overcast or rainy days we encountered beautifully clear sunny days and cool nights.  We were too early to experience the distracting annual insect hatch and the daunting annual summer tourist influx!  The Alaska Highway was in excellent condition with few winter frost heaves and cleared roadside right-of-ways for easy sightings of numerous roadside animals. There are wonderful spots along our route and we particularly enjoyed the Stone Mountain and Muncho Lake areas with beautiful white-blue ice retreating and dramatic towering mountains shimmering in the brilliant sunlight.  The North Country was welcoming the birth of spring as we cruised along the Alaska Highway.

Initially we planned to include a Chetwynd family visit and then begin our Mile Zero Alaska Highway trip at Fort St. John.  But as events unfolded, our Mile Zero start became Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge.

Larry and Penny, brother and sister-in-law, rolled out the red carpet.  Leisurely paced mornings began with morning coffee followed by scrumptious breakfasts.  Day One saw three of us drive to the nearby Windmill Electric Station which has more than 30 windmills perched atop Bear Mountain.  Speaking of bears, our first of many black bear sightings happened on the return from the mountain and Mr. Bear co-operated by hanging roadside long enough for us to capture excellent photos.

Northern spring mornings arrive early and our experience was no different with the brilliant sun pouring through the travel trailer's windows forcing an early departure from our cozy bed.  Shortly after a hearty breakfast we drove to visit Kinuseo Falls. A feature of the falls is its 60 metre height making it higher than Niagara Falls.  From the viewing platform you could feel the raw power of the spring runoff as tons of frothing water thundered into the river below.

We stopped at Jade Lake and decided to hike to a fossil find.  While the trail was clearly marked it was steep in spots and not sure how far, so most family members elected to return to the parking lot while Neveah (Larry and Penny's granddaughter) and I hiked further but after half an hour or more decided to return before the search and rescue team was sent out.   After a tailgate lunch we returned with stops at Tumbler Ridge and at a trail sign, outlining a hike to view dinosaur prints. Tumbler Ridge proved to provide ample opportunity to embrace the outdoors.

 All too soon our family visit and gourmet meals came to an end. Our Alaska Highway Mile One departure day featured heavy rain and a two centimetre snow warning for the Fort Nelson area.  Penny wisely suggested we delay a day but we felt a need to be on our way and thought, “What's a mere two centimetres of snow!”  How wrong this thought turned out to be!

Rain followed us to Fort St. John where we picked up some groceries and were soon traveling north.  By the time we reached Wonowon we were encountering snow!  As we traveled toward Pink Mountain the snow intensified and the road conditions became treacherous.  Finally, we decided to call it quits and returned to Fort St. John.  A stop at Wonowon confirmed our decision when checking with a truck driver he too was turning back and informed us that the road was temporarily closed near Pink Mountain as a freight truck had overturned.  That evening we were a bit discouraged and concluded that if the weather didn't improve we would select a more southern route and return home early. 


The next morning we woke to sunshine and clear skies!  And this weather was to continue for the remainder of our holiday!  Having learnt our lesson our next step was to consult the Fort St. John tourist bureau to obtain a current road report for Highway 97.  They reported that road crews were busy clearing the highway and we followed their advice to delay our departure until noon.  Our previous day's trials had taught us to respect northern weather conditions.  Much to our delight road conditions proved to be excellent with bare pavement and with snow roadside.  The only visual reminder of yesterday’s storm was the tractor trailer upside down in the ditch.  The drive to Fort Nelson was pleasant which comprised an early stop to enjoy our homemade bunwiches interspersed with photo stops of scenic sections.

We left Fort Nelson early for a brief drive to Liard Hot Springs where we planned a two night stay.  The drive was truly a North American Serengeti game drive!  Right on the outskirts of Fort Nelson we encountered our first animal sighting, three caribou grazing. Throughout the drive we continued to glimpse numerous black bear, more caribou, mountain sheep and several bison herds munching fresh willow shots and new grasses.  With little traffic it was convenient and safe to park roadside obtaining wonderful animal photos.  The sundrenched snow capped mountains and raging river runoff were an added bonus to our day's drive.

As well as enjoying the many animal sightings we stopped at such historic establishments as Tetsa River Campgrounds to enjoy their famous signature homemade cinnamon buns.  The delicious buns are now baked by a third generation Andrews.  Next stop was Toad River Lodge which looked inviting with new cabins facing a picturesque lake.  After viewing the 6 800 caps attached to the restaurant's ceiling we hit the road again arriving at Liard Lodge late afternoon.

After registering and depositing our luggage in the room, we grabbed our swim gear and walked the short distance to enjoy a hot soak in the Alpha Pool.  In the evening we watched the bison herd wander past the lodge as they munched the tender new grass shoots.  It was a novel experience, in the late evening, to sit reading near the window without the aid of an electric light bulb.

The next day we visited nearby Smith River Waterfalls and Whirlpool Canyon before returning to the lodge for lunch and an afternoon soak in the hot pools.  Liard Lodge was ideal as a place to relax and walk directly across the Alaska Highway to experience and enjoy the natural hot springs spa.  The 42 to 52 Celsius degree water bubbles from one end of the springs and flows into pools providing an outdoor spa for people to soak and relax.  We strolled along a wooden walkway that meanders through a swampy area.  We searched for the possibility of a moose sighting but alas we had to settle for a viewing of a variety of bird species.  We agreed that our Liard Hot Springs experience was a trip highlight.

Planning to reach Whitehorse the next day meant an early morning departure.  Very quickly we encountered bison herds and in fact traffic was stopped for a few minutes as an old bull and a few cows slowly wandered across the highway!  Our earlier black bear spottings had been so numerous that today's sightings only warranted a "There's a bear," comment and a brief glance!  We were "beary" spoilt.  A grizzly bear and cub did generate interest and an attempted photo through the windshield with the mother threatingly standing on her hind legs.  Fortunately she lost interest and raced into the roadside timber area.  We stopped for breakfast at Kathy’s Kitchen in Watson Lake and then went to the Visitors’ Center viewing a video on the building of the Alaska Highway in 1942.  We walked to see the famous signposts before heading on to Whitehorse.

Whitehorse boasts a vibrant tourist infrastructure with a welcoming Main Street ambiance, coupled with great restaurants, a fantastic tourist center, nearby hikes and numerous museums and a restored paddle wheel steamboat.  Leaving the tourist center with a city map and numerous brochures supplied by the exuberant helpful staff, we decided to use Whitehorse as our base and spend four nights exploring the many tourists' attractions being offered, plus providing us with a more intimate understanding of the workings of a northern community.

Blessed with gorgeous sunny days we donned our summer clothing and spent our time hiking well-defined local trails, visiting the excellent museums and wandering through the interpretive center capping the busy day with an authentic Mexican dinner!


A highlight to our Whitehorse visit was a day bus/train excursion to Skagway, Alaska.  The White Pass and Yukon Route of 1898 is a rare story in the world of railway constructions and was built as a result of the human stampede caused by the discovery of gold in the late 1800's.  Over the years the narrow gauge railway has been kept busy transporting war supplies, ores and today's payload of tourists.   Many travellers arrive in Skagway's harbour by cruise ships and elect to take the popular train trip.

The bus departed Whitehorse at eight in the morning and our first stop was at historic Carcross a picturesque village and home to the Carcross/Tagish First Nations.  Carcross was first named Caribou Crossing for the caribou herds that swam across the narrows between Bennett Lake and the Nases Lakes.  Like all tourists we photographed some of the Yukon's oldest buildings in Carcross dating back to 1898.  We entered a few to browse the souvenirs and purchase a coffee.  We remounted our bus and enjoyed scenery on the drive to Fraser, BC.  Upon our approach I counted 21 parked coaches with more arriving.  The parking lot and railway platform looked like total chaos with countless hundreds of smiling tourists disembarking from the train cars searching for their bus to return to their cruise ship in Skagway.  When the time came for us to board the train, I thought we would be running, pushing and scrambling to gain a preferred right side for the best view!  This proved not to be as the train's loading and unloading systems were cleverly organized.  We were assigned a car and since there were few people on our bus we found ample available space in our designated car, a pleasant surprise compared to some of our earlier world travel experiences.

Leaving Fraser behind for our 27.7 miles trip to Skagway, expectations were high and we were not to be disappointed.  As the train twisted along its narrow gauge track we were treated to a yawning chasm of gaping gorges and beautiful waterfalls crashing from glaciers.  A much photographed steel bridge constructed in 1901 was the tallest cantilever bridge in the world.  Its usage was discontinued in 1969.

A black cross at Mile 10.4 marks the final resting place of two railway workers and their horses, buried under a 100 ton rock.  Their deaths in 1898 were the result of a blasting accident.  All too soon we were passing the maintenance sheds and rolled into the Skagway station.  Our exhilarating train trip was over.


Armed with a city map and inside information supplied by our motor coach driver, we set off to capture Skagway's touristy atmosphere with the main street featuring a wide variety of shops, three or four selling diamonds, and numerous restaurants.  As there were four cruise ships in port, approximately 7000 tourists provided a brisk business for the shops, restaurants and tour agencies.  With our limited two hour time in Skagway we browsed a few shops and decided to sample a locally brewed beer.  Finding no space downstairs, we wandered to an upstairs room and played a game of shuffleboard before heading back to explore the Skagway harbour and a walk back to the train station to locate our bus for our return trip to Whitehorse to complete a brief but enjoyable introduction to Skagway, Alaska.

Again, we enjoyed the drive with panoramic views, a stop at Fraser to pick up passengers and to clear customs.  We've now returned to Canada!  It was a full but relaxing worthwhile day trip concluding with an evening meal at the excellent Klondike Rib and Salmon Restaurant, housed in the two oldest buildings still in use in the Yukon’s Capital.  Doreen had oven roasted veggies with mashed potatoes and bannock and I had elk stroganoff with sourdough and a Caesar salad.  We enjoyed the restaurant's ambiance and food while re-living the day's many highlights.  The White Pass train day excursion proved to be another trip highlight.

The following morning saw us being on our homeward journey.  Arriving in Watson Lake we again visited the signpost display and attended an evening Northern Lights Show.

Our plan was to return via the Cassiar Highway # 37 stopping overnight at Stewart and possibly Smithers.  The morning drive was pleasant with excellent road conditions encountering few vehicles.  We stopped at the Beaver Dam Restaurant for breakfast and were informed the Cassiar Highway was flooding and closed to all traffic.  No wonder we hadn't encountered trucks!  One needs to check road conditions before departures. Again we were reminded that the north's weather conditions can be more severe than the coast.  It was a two hour return drive back to the Alaska Highway and then south to Fort Nelson where we once again stayed at the Shannon Motel.  That night we decided to travel directly home via Whistler and not wait for the Cassiar Highway to re-open. As we later discovered this was a wise decision as the Cassiar stayed closed for several more days.

For us the Alaska Highway’s appeal was its breath-taking scenic vistas and its fantastic road side animal viewing plus the visits to historical towns. Our road trip took in only a small portion of the many locations leaving more for a future visit!  We certainly enjoyed our experience plus found lodging, food and fuel easy to obtain.  A trip we recommend for others to explore.

General Information


Our accommodations were budget, central, quiet and clean.  Prices are Canadian dollars plus 15 % in taxes must be added to the price. The hotels/motels, unless noted, provided television, coffee makers, refrigerator and internet.

1)       Fort St. John

a.       Blue Bell Motel, 9705 Alaska Road, Telephone: (250) 785-2613,

b.      email:

c.       Reservations: 1 866-833-2121

d.      Description:  Basic motel but was clean and well appointed, bed was comfortable. Motel was close to stores and restaurants.  Easy to access the Alaska Highway from motel.

2)      Fort Nelson

a.       Shannon Motel, 5473-50th Avenue south, P.O. Box 480, Fort Nelson, BC, V0C1R0

b.      Description:  Located next to the Alaska Highway on a lateral road.  Although an older motel it had excellently appointed rooms with separated sitting area.  Friendly helpful managers. Rooms have been recently refurbished.  Excellent value and our favorite accommodation.

3)      Liard Hot Springs

a.       Liard Hot Springs Lodge, Mile 497 Alaska Highway, Liard River, BC

b.      Telephone: (250) 776-7349

c.       Reservations:  1 866-939-2522

d.      Description:  The Liard Hot Springs Lodge and campgrounds are ideal for visiting the hot springs.  Liard River Hot Springs Park is the reason to relax and utilize the lodge’s comfortable basic rooms.  Rooms lacked televisions, coffee makers and refrigerators.  A Wi-Fi system was being installed.  The lodge’s restaurant provided wholesome home cooked meals.  This was relatively an expensive basic lodge, but the only lodge accommodation located near the popular hot springs.

4)      Watson Lake, BC

a.       Air Force Lodge, Watson Lake, BC

b.      Telephone: 867-536-2890

c.       Description:  Air Force Lodge is a restored pilot headquarters used during the construction of the Alaska Highway and W.W.II.  The Lodge is quiet and spotlessly clean.  The lodge is similar to a hostel with shared washrooms and showers.  The basic rooms were comfortable with televisions only.  Complimentary tea and coffee were always available in the reception area.  Helpful friendly management.  Excellent value at $75.00 for a single person and $85.00 for two people.

5)      Whitehorse, Yukon

a.       Stop In Family Hotel, 314 Ray Street, Whitehorse, Yukon

b.      Description:  Hotel was reasonably priced, clean and comfortable and has been recently renovated.  Our room was well appointed with a comfortable queen bed plus table and chair set.  We received good service at reception desk.  The hotel’s Indian Restaurant was not open as the chef was holidaying in India.  Lodging is expensive in Whitehorse so we found The Family Hotel to be good value.  The hotel is centrally located, close to tourist bureau and excellent restaurants.

c.       Restaurants in Whitehorse we enjoyed.

Klondike Rib and Salmon Bake

                2116 2nd Ave.,

                Whitehorse, Yukon

                Telephone:  (867) 667-7554

This restaurant was busy with a casual restful ambience.  Service was excellent with fresh and flavorful food.   The varied menu featured seafood dishes.

Sanchez Cantina

                211 Hanson St.

                Whitehorse, Yukon

                Telephone: (867) 668-5858

                The popular restaurant featured authentic Mexican food with a varied menu.  Small restaurant, brightly decorated with Mexican ambiance.

Gasoline Prices -The Alaska Highway

                Gasoline was readily available along the highway and in the towns.  The price was a high of $179.9 per liter at Coal Lake with $149.9 per liter being the most common price.













Wednesday, May 8, 2013

BUDGET BACKPACKING- Petroglyphs Found Near La Luz Del Mundo, Los Ayala, Mexico

  Petroglyphs found near La Luz Del Mundo, Los Ayala,Mexico
2013/05/06                                                                                                                            By John and Doreen Berg

Ancient Rock Art Soon To Disappear!

Visitors and snowbirds wintering in the Jaltemba Bay area have probably visited or certainly heard of  Alta Vista, a fabulous Tecoxquin(“Throat Cutters”)  archeological site.  What most visitors do not realize is that there are numerous, but smaller ancient sites displaying petroglyphs located right in our own backyard.


One such Tecoxquin site can be found just off Highway 200 and close by La Luz Del Mundo Church.  Not having visited the goat field since the 2012 season I decided to re-visit the field and update my notes prior to publishing.  Well, part of the plan fell apart when I discovered that the goat pasture containing the ancient art had been left to the goats and the ancient stone carvings were difficult to view being hidden in tall grasses and vines.  Fortunately, I was able to locate most of the spirals and mysterious carvings.  However, one decorative rock segment containing a beautiful spiral shape had been chiseled free and carted off.  A difficult feat because the missing stone slab must have weighed well over a hundred kilos!  The exact meaning of the rock carvings has never been fully explained, but the spirals have been interpreted to relate with the weather and the seasonal weather cycles.  I’ve also noted that an article suggested a coiled snake or comet as a possible explanation.  A few seasons ago a Huichal Indian convinced a friend and me that one rock shape represented an eagle in flight.  At the time his explanation was convincing.  You’ll have to decide what you want to see! 
With each visit over the last four or five seasons I’ve noticed that homes and pastures are slowly encroaching and damaging the number of boulders inscribed with petroglyphs.  Continued attrition is probably in the works because the ancient historical site is neither government protected nor guarded in any fashion.   It’s time to visit before the ancient rock art disappears.

If you have time, and don’t we all, take a stroll through the lower goat pasture to the top of the sloping field and you’ll find spirals and other shapes carved onto the large boulders.  The small site where you’ll find goats grazing is located in a grass filled pasture within easy walking distance from your parked vehicle.  As well as observing the ancient symbols you’ll be rewarded with a view of Los Ayala with the sparkling azure waters in the background.


How To Get There

Take Highway 200 driving toward Puerto Vallarta past the Los Ayala turn off and past the Oxxo Store and church on your left. 
Continue on about a half kilometer from the traffic light and turn off to your left just past a large steel traffic sign and park at a new palapa restaurant, La Ceiba. 
Walk up the gravel road passing on your left a home and goat pens until you reach a fence. 
Follow the path along the fence line to an iron wire gate.  Pass through the gate into the lower pasture and walk diagonally uphill to the left hand corner of the field. 
Once you reach the green belt of palms and scrub growth look to your left for an opening in the fence into the next or adjacent field.  It’s in this pasture that you can search out the large rocks with the shapes cut into their surfaces.  While this is private property the owner has never minded us visiting the site.  Just make sure you close the gate coming and going and a “gracias” or two will never hurt.

Running shoes, long pants, hat and water are suggested plus bring your camera!  Enjoy the ancient stone carvings before they completely disappear.  Returning to your vehicle stop at the new birria restaurant and enjoy a cool beverage of your choice.  Possibly a snack or a cerveza!   

We love to read your comments!

Written by John and Doreen Berg

About the Authors:

We are golden age backpackers in our seventies and have traveled extensively throughout the world. We come to Los Ayala every winter for three months enjoying the Mexican people and the warm waters of Jaltemba Bay and surrounding area. We first started coming to this area in 2002 and although we had been in Mexico many times before that we had never settled on one place until then. We like to explore new territory and to consider settling down for three months was beyond our imagination. At first we came for two weeks, returning to Canada and coming back to Los Ayala within the month. We just loved it! As the years went by we increased our time to three months. We haven’t extended it beyond this as we do love to explore other places in the world during fall and spring. Our goal is to provide viewers with travel information that will assist with travel planning. We place trip information in our articles to stimulate interest plus specific facts that readers can follow to duplicate our travels. Other travel related articles may be viewed on our blog: