My trip from Cafe Roma in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to Mascota via a dirt mountain trail.

Okay, here goes from memory and what notes I recorded for myself on my cel phone. I gassed and reset my mileage counter here in PV at 08:30 Saturday am and left the Libramento turning into Col. Buenos Aires. Note that all distances are in miles and speeds in mph as that is what my Jeep shows. I took a bunch of pics, mostly while driving. Some of the best (or worst) areas, depending on how you look at it, I did not have the time or nerve to let go of the wheel or look away long enough to find my camera to take pics. I can say it was one of the most spectacular trips of a lifetime and I have done this type of trip in the Canadian Rockies.

Voice notes on my phone: 9:15 am I was 11 miles out of PV. Cold, stopped to put on my jacket.
Voice notes on my phone: Mile 14 was the pic of the sign showing Talpa/La Huerta 22km.

The trail or road if you call it that is well marked with signs ‘till you get to the Cuale turn off. There the sign had been broken off and was placed on the wrong side of the road. The turn to Talpa is to the left, somewhere past the photo that shows El Nogal. It is quite obvious as the road to Cuale looks much better and more traveled.

Voice notes on my phone: Mile 15 was the pic of the sign showing Cuale/PV

I have two photos there of the Jeep parked at the sign. Take the water puddle road to the left. A couple of miles up you will find a branch in the road with a marker showing Talpa. That’s the one. The road was good here but never more that 20 to 30 mph.
A few pics further you will see a washout on the road. The right side, which you can not see, was a few thousand feet down. Yikes.

Voice notes on my phone: Mile 15 to Mile 18, a real goat trail. 4x4 very comfortable in the tight soft sandy turns. Real narrow, real sandy and lots of washouts and up into the clouds.

There was always enough room for a car but sometimes it felt real narrow and I did not take my eyes off the road. I would recommend a car with good clearance and good tires as there are areas with lots of sharp rocks on the road and areas that have very soft sand. The switch backs on the road are tight and you almost have to come to a stop to make some of the corners. If you had an empty ½ ton pickup, I think you might spin out. I could have done it all in 2 wheel drive but the 4x4 sure made it feel a lot more secure. Some areas were 1st gear and I never got out of 2nd gear for most of the pass.

Photos 1857 shows a river valley after the pass. The photo does not do it justice. This was about 2 or 3 thousand feet down. Spectacular!
Voice notes on my phone: Mile 36 I thought I was in the Talpa valley. Not so. Just another high mountain plateau.
The photo of the ranch with the red truck was at the bottom of what I thought was the valley but it turned out to be a high mountain plateau. The rancher had a gate I had to open before fording the river on a concrete pad. He was there to be sure I closed the gate. Very friendly guy and we visited for a few minutes.
From here the road was mostly downhill, very steep but second gear held it most of the time without braking much. Again the 4x4 was comfortable as all four wheels engine braked. In two wheel drive the back wanted to slide and change ends with the front. You can see the extreme switch backs in one of the photos.

Voice notes on my phone: 44 miles back to the asphalt about 10 miles north of Mascota. About 3 to 3 ½ hours asphalt to asphalt