Mexico Mainland

The mainland of Mexico which we just about missed as we planned on taking the coastal route, was well worthy, although lack of a guidebook for Mexico has made things a bit challenging.

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Luckily we did not miss Guanajuato, a beautiful colonial city and an old silver mining town, located at 2200 meters where we settled for five days in an RV park or more correctly a parking lot behind a house.  The  view was a beauty, and unlike Ella who was afraid to step out of the van each morning, we enjoyed  our morning coffee admiring the colorfulness of the place.

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View from our camp spot overlooking the hillsides of Guanajuato.

One of the reasons we ended up staying in this particular spot had to do with our decision to learn some Spanish.  We found a school and enrolled in two classes a day: grammar and vocab.

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Some students slept more then others during class, although they may look keen in this picture.
Guanajuato

Aside from studying this was the first time in Mexico that we were able to wander aimlessly around the city.  This was due to the more humane climate this mountain town offered.  We even pulled out our sleeping bags during the evenings.  One day as we returned from town to our homey parking lot, we noticed a Westfalia.   We were thrilled, Brett started hi-fiving me and I had to calm him down, as we have a tendency to get overexcited about meeting fellow travelers.  The next two evenings, although they were school nights, were late ones as we shared travel stories with our new neighbours who were on a year long trip with their 10 and 13 year old children.

 

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One of many squares in Guanajuato.

Although we spent our days hiking up and down to get to town from our camp spot and wandering the streets of Quanajuato, one afternoon we attempted to go for a non urban hike, but after discovering a microbrewery 5 minutes up the hill we had to rethink our plan.  Considering the newly acquired craft brews were cold, there was no time to waste and we headed back home. However I have plenty of pictures from previous days.

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Our departure from Guanajuato was much easier then our arrival in which we ended up missing the turn off twice and driving in the wrong direction for about half hour each time.  Not to blame anyone but flying past the turnoffs and not listening to the navigator had something to do with this, in short it was Brett’s fault. None the less the drive continued as we headed to Teotihuacan, a small  town with well known pyramids, so they told us. However we soon discovered that dogs were not allowed to sight see, but considering we had legitimate paperwork for our working dog this was not a problem.  Although I am pretty sure they thought Ella was Brett’s seeing eye dog.

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Mountains overlooking Oaxaca

On our way south east we stopped in Oaxaca for a day of exploring and before heading to Hierve del Aqua (springs) we decided to stock up on food. As we were pulling out from our shopping spree we ran into a Swiss couple who we recently met and who turns out were heading in the same direction.  We pulled over, for what we figured would be a brief moment to say our hello’s and two hours later we were still there as the car refused to start.  Luckily Pascal is a mechanic, so together with Brett they spent the next few hours troubleshooting.  However we ended up having to get the car towed to a mechanic and after contemplating about sleeping at the garage, Astrid sparked up and refused to be idle.   We decided to take a chance and skip the adventures at the mechanic, so together with our Swiss companions we headed away. 

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The Swiss lead the way while we follow in our hopefully working van
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Mineral cold water pools and petrified waterfalls were quite the site, especially early in the morning before anyone else got there.

 

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This also proved to be a good place to finally get our awning made with our tarp, some rope and bamboo sticks.

Two days later and about a week and a half of cold evening temperatures it was time to get back to the coast.  We decided on a scenic mountainous route which would take us about 7 hours to travel 200 km.   The meandering road was slow but beautiful.  As we approached our destination after a day’s worth of driving we came to a stop behind a handful of other cars.  It appeared there was a landslide and the road was washed out in a spot.

 

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The time estimate for clearing the road was 2-5 hours so we settled in to wait among all the other drivers, including the Swiss couple who we once again found on the road.

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Brett sitting between the Swiss trailer and our van as we wait for the road to be cleared

About an hour into the wait, out of impatience and curiosity we walked back to the washed out road to assess the progress.  While we watched, a few rocks started flying down, then a few more, then some trees started rolling down and finally as another slide rumbled down we ran.  When we turned around the road block was bigger and we figured this would take a lot longer then a few hours so we found a place and settled in for a night.  Incredibly, in the morning the road was ‘cleared’ and instead of having to backtrack we were able to squeeze through and make our way to the coast.

 

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6 Comments

  • Dad

    September 14, 2015 at 10:50 am Reply

    What a great adventure. Glad Astrid is feeling better. Wonderful pics. Safe travelling.

    Love Dad

    • bpainter

      September 20, 2015 at 2:34 am Reply

      Astrid is doing well, a minor door repair the other day but nothing she can’t handle.

  • serge bourque

    September 15, 2015 at 1:06 pm Reply

    What an adventure so far! Great pics and stories. Looks like Mexico needs some geotechnical engineers to evaluate the stability of the slopes along roadways.

    • bpainter

      September 20, 2015 at 2:32 am Reply

      Thanks Serge! They could also really use help for the roadways too! And maybe standardize the speed bumps.

  • Drea

    September 19, 2015 at 2:16 am Reply

    I love the picture of Ella at school! I wonder what she would write in a blog post if she had the ability to write. Can’t wait to read more!

    • bpainter

      September 20, 2015 at 2:35 am Reply

      Thanks Andrea, we wonder the same thing. I bet it would start with when will the driving end?!

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