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 Route Recommendation?

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cheenagringo
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PostSubject: Route Recommendation?   Tue 09 Aug 2011, 12:56

A week from today, I will be driving from the Guadalajara area and heading for Patzcuaro and Santa Clara del Cobre. Will head out on the cuota 15D. I have taken the exit which cuts off to Zacapu in the past and then one goes through Quiroga and on to Patzcuaro. My other option would be head to Morelia and then take the highway back towards Patzcuaro. Personally I feel like the route through Zacapu may be the shortest and fastest?

Any thoughts or recommendations?
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Peter
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PostSubject: Re: Route Recommendation?   Tue 09 Aug 2011, 13:08

Maybe for Pátzcuaro but not Santa Clara, an earlier exit, one marked for Uruapan (via Paracho), is quicker to Santa Clara through Pichataro then the Zirahuén backdoor route into S Clara. I believe right now there is a little whoopti-doo around Cherán the locals will direct you to.

Not living in Pátzcuaro I'm not sure about the backroad cut-offs from Chapala/Guadalajara but I know some will go the extra distance through Morelia to either gain speed and time on the autopista or for the safety of it. Hopefully someone who knows that better than I do will chime-in.

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cheenagringo
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PostSubject: Re: Route Recommendation?   Tue 09 Aug 2011, 13:27

Two mapping programs and my GPS say that the route you are suggesting is the shortest but not the fastest by about 40 minutes. I considered the Cheran situation and figured that might slow me down? And why deal with a possible situation when I can easily avoid it?

To be somewhat candid, had I been able to leave directly from the Guadalajara Airport, I would certainly have figured that I could get to Santa Clara del Cobre by early afternoon. Now that I have to go out to Lake Chapala to pick up the rental car, I figure that it will delay my departure by 2 to 3 hours. With that assumption, I am fairly resigned to not getting to Santa Clara that day. All firm commitments are for the following day, so no big deal if I don't get there.
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Peter
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PostSubject: Re: Route Recommendation?   Tue 09 Aug 2011, 14:58

Those mountain roads are slower-going than the autopista, certainly. I don't know about any of the other cut-offs the folks use to get into Pátzcuaro so it very well could be fairly quick and straight roads. If your GPS programs tell you that is slower by 40 minutes I have no reason to doubt them, and those things are supposed to know best, right? Regarding a "situation" in Cherán, seems unlikely to me.

What does you GPS say about the time to go through Morelia as opposed to other cut-offs? It is the longer route for certain but for time I don't know what to tell anyone that might ask. I would like to know the answer to that. New routes always seem longer.

Looking at the map and guessing, with all other things being equal, I would say the Morelia route would add a good 40 minutes or more but with the autopista and those cut-offs being unknown to me I would guess there is a chance it could be somewhat equal in terms of time. It's a question I would like to know the answer for.

The slow spots are from Chapala through Ocotlán to the autopista (when approaching Ocotlán for the last leg to the autopista, stay to the right to do a cloverleaf to accomplish your left turn there). The other slow-down is passing through Morelia but is not so bad as you are on the pereférico to pass through the outer edge of town to the Pátzcuaro highway - a number of traffic lights but generally steady traffic flow - stay in the middle lane most of the way to avoid getting stuck in a lane where a number of cars are turning from, a fairly good distance after the railroad tracks is when to get ready to go off to the right for Pátzcuaro but you still have to watch and not get caught behind combis and buses stopping for passengers.

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cheenagringo
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PostSubject: Re: Route Recommendation?   Tue 09 Aug 2011, 15:24

My GPS is out in the van getting the battery charged, so I didn't check it. The day that an owner of a GPS thinks that it is always right - they are doomed!

I did run your questioned route through Morelia on two different travel programs - one estimated 31min. longer and the other 36min.

I also ran Chapala to Patzcuaro or Chapala to Santa Clara on "Rutas Punto a Punto" and it too suggested the Zacapu/Quiroga route. When I drove this route on one other occasion, I had another set of eyes looking out. Some of that road is kind of a middle of nowhere thing between 15D and Zacapu and maybe not the best of choices when driving alone?

I understand what you are saying about combis and buses! Even in our van where I sit higher, I have noticed that spotting road signs in Mexico can be somewhat problematic. Maybe they are lower and provide less warning than what we are used to NOB?
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Peter
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PostSubject: Re: Route Recommendation?   Tue 09 Aug 2011, 17:15

Mexican road sign are sometimes non-existent though most all of the important ones are there. Most exits give little warning and signs aren't there until you arrive at where you need to make the turn. In multi-laned traffic it can come up quickly and you can find yourself out of position to make the turn safely. To make up for this there are a lot of Returnos to let you turn around and try again.

Sometimes returnos are the only way to make certain turnoffs, like the Chapala highway where it is necessary to head toward Guadalajara a short distance then make a U-turn to head into Chapala. Similar for the Pátzcuaro highway when coming from the other direction of the circular perférico where you have to overshoot it and make a U-turn in order to get on it.

Mexican driving can be an adventure for certain. Finding your way through a big city often requires having been there before and remembering how you did it. It is always noteworthy when discovering something is just like its shown on the map. Always fun is knowing when you must be in the right-hand lateral lane in order to make a left turn. That's when returnos are most handy.

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cheenagringo
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PostSubject: Re: Route Recommendation?   Tue 09 Aug 2011, 17:34

There are so many things about the roads and the traffic in Mexico that fall into that: "not to be believed category". My problem has been that I never seem to have a camera at the ready when I spot something. This trip, I will do some experimenting with my Flip mini video cam mounted on a mini flex tripod. If I can figure out a stable mounting place, all I will have to do is touch the ON button to record the fun.
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