Hello Mexico, and life on the road!! It seems that we have been preparing for ages, so to finally be here feels like the best thing ever. It has only been 5 days since we crossed the border, but it feels a lifetime. Things are going, not as "planned", but as expected for the most part.
|You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who'll decide where to go.|
The border crossing at Eagles Pass/Piedras Negras was easy peasy. 2 or 3 questions and we were off into Mexico! Immigration was about 35 miles into the country, and was quick and uneventful! We had decided before hand to take the mexican toll roads (cuotas) for the first few legs of the trip, for speed, safety, and reliability and we have been thoroughly impressed, and have made great time getting from place to place so far! Chris has been an excellent driver, and adjusted very quickly to the wild wild west rules of the road down here, and Lola (the car) has been a beast, giving us 19-21mpg, while dodging car swallowing potholes, downed powerlines, goats, one wicked hail storm, and crazy motorists who apparently value speed over their lives!
|Taking in the gorgeous views on our way into Cuatro Cienegas|
Destination 1 was the highly anticipated Cuatro Cienegas. Shortly after arriving we realized that our planned campground (La Poza Becerra) was closed and looked like an old weapons test site. We left San Antonio at 5am, and although it was still early afternoon, we realized we now had to scramble to find somewhere to stay. No one in town spoke a word of english, the local ATM was being finicky and we couldnt get any pesos out, and we had no idea where the crap we would sleep! We found the local toursim office (a hole in the wall with 2 ladies that spoke no english playing on their facebooks) and used our limited spanish skills to obtain a map with a few places that might allow camping outside of town. We then asked around about currency exchange and found our way to a small convience store that will trade you a few pesos for a few bucks. Feeling lucky that we managed to figure this much out, we headed to the campground. The campground was actually cool... It was like a western ranch ghost town, with just a few construction workers during the daylight hours, and then only us all night! We choose a random spot, and of course the first rock that Chris turns over happens to have a scorpion and a snake under it!!! Really!!! Thanks Mexico, for the quick induction into this lifestyle!!! In the end it was both creepy and cool to sleep in our car in the middle of no where with no one around, and only the sounds of the wind and a nearby donkey braying. We can get used to this for sure!
|Camping spot night 1|
We made a quick stop through in Saltillo, and moved on to San Miguel de Allende, a beautiful little city set on a steep hillside, full of cobblestone streets and gorgeous architecture. Again, finding the recommended camping place near town turned out to be a wild goose chase. We had to make last minute plans, which thankfully turned out better than we could have imagined at first. We got a sweet little spot in a RV park located right in town, and have been just enjoying the city, and happy to not be driving for a few days!
|La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel|
|Palm Sunday parade...wtf|
|The streets and buildings are still in colonial form|
Yesterday we walked the picturesque hilly town for hours, and made sure to get to the highest place in town, for the best view! We are enjoying being still, chatting with locals and other travelers, and taking time to slow down and enjoy the life we have worked oh so hard for the past year!
|Mallary standing next to another Palm Sunday oddity|
|Mallary standing next to another Palm Sunday oddity|
|Beautiful little alleyway as we made our way to the top of the city|
|Chris the Redeemer|
|Another street view of San Miguel de Allende|
Today we just returned from an awesome day out on the bikes. Our original plan was to drive to this park called El Charco del Ingenio in a pretty big natue reserve then bike around. But the owner of the RV park told us it would be easier to just take the bikes to the park from here. Right now, as I write this, I am so happy we did... but at the time, during the moments of pushing our bikes up and up and up steep cobblestone hills with traffic... Not so happy. Until the moment we arrived at a surprise scenic overlook of the city!! So beautiful! Then we continued on to the park, found some very awesome dirt path off road biking trails and had a blast! Then, just to top off the greatness of the day, we toured around the Botanical Gardens, which was far larger and impressive than we could have imagined.
|Surprise! Consolation prize for the tortured climb up!|
|Canyon view inside the park|
|Scouting out some dinner|
|I'm a bird! (And also an idioto!)|
Overall, life is great! San Miguel de Allende might be a bit touristy, and also too expensive for our budget, but we are having a ball here, and are way under budget these past few days. Good to know that we can go anywhere, and with a little thriftyness and imagination, have fun without spending the big bucks, and still enjoy everything the place has to offer.
|The original "Plaza Azteca". Our thrifty find. We choose street food and hole in the wall places any day!|
We want to stress how friendly the locals have been so far, many have gone out of their way to help us even though there is a huge language barrier. We have never felt threatened or unwelcome, so far traveling here would be recommended!
-Chris & Mallary