05 Apr

Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende

Ever since we left Puerto Vallarta on the west coast, we’ve been struggling to know what time it is where we are.  Daylight savings, plus constantly traveling east every couple of days has really messed us up.  Sure, we ask Google what time it is whenever we have WiFi, but thankfully, we have nowhere to be at any specified time.

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Guanajuato is hilly and colorful, with cobblestone streets and underground tunnel roads. Large plazas with their shady trees are surrounded by cafés, restaurants, theaters, museums and an endless number of churches.

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A massive university of 20,000 students, and for a brief moment, I’m nostalgic for being a student again in such a pretty town of 70,000 people.

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We met our first overlanding couple in Guanajuato; Amaia & Rod are Chileans driving from Vancouver, B.C. to Santiago, Chile. We compared notes on where we’d been, what’s in the plans, and our shared comfort in knowing there are others also on this crazy trek.  Thanks for sharing a bottle of Napa wine – tasted just like home!

San Miguel de Allende is a neighboring town of similar size, about an hour away. We tried to reach it by country road instead of freeway. This looped us through tiny mining towns (the whole region is built up due to historical gold and silver mining). Until locals told us the road goes no further and does not connect to where we want to go. There’s nothing like asking locals for directions to a place you know is really far away and laughing alongside with them. Poor gringos… we’re lost in your beautiful country!

So our open-source GPS maps failed us. We made sure to note this online later for future travelers looking to offroad in the middle of nowhere.

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So, Bruno’s been pretty kickass at getting us from point A to point B (even if this requires an hour of backtracking, as described above). We’re learning to live with the check engine light, as whenever we get it checked by mechanics (free at Autozone!) it’s always the same P0420 error mentioned earlier. To reset the check engine, Travis has been disconnecting the main battery for 5-10 mins. This is certainly not ideal, since the last time he did this, an important wire that charges our auxiliary battery was loosened. We found out when waking up the next morning and discovered the fridge wasn’t running! Driving Bruno for a few hours isn’t enough for the alternator to fully charge the aux battery, so we had to buy a trickle charger to plug in and charge the battery over night.

Mexican Autozone has been great at checking the engine code for free, but it would be nice to be able to check the codes ourselves. We had a couple of failed attempts at buying functional code scanners off Amazon in the US before we left, so we don’t have our own.  Autozone only sells the $200+ USD code scanners, and Travis has been searching for a $20 one that uses bluetooth to connect to an Android phone. He created an account on the Mexican equivalent of ebay called MercadoLibre, found a cheap bluetooth code scanner and ordered it to be shipped to Puerto Escondido, where we’ll be staying for about a week.

My guy is a genius with the intertubes at his fingertips:IMG_1786

San Miguel is a very liveable city with cute shops and incredible restaurants (we had our first tamales, which inevitably brought up memories of Seinfeld). We stayed at a great RV park with a tennis club for locals (i.e. expat Americans and Germans). Woke up to church bells, Easter hymns and processions.

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Speaking of Easter, our calendar days have lately been counted as follows:

“What day is it, Thursday?”   “No, Friday.  Jesus dies today.”

“What city will we be in when he rises from the dead?”   “You mean when he uses his laser beam eyes to blow up the rock and tap dance out of the cave?”

You can guess who said what.  Happy Easter!

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  • Justin @ Root of Good

    Looks wonderful. We’re heading to San Miguel de Allende for 2 weeks as part of our own 7 week adventure in Mexico (with 3 kids!) starting in June.

  • Georg

    Join the discussion…Always looking forward to reading about your next adventure. Great to see that your spanish was good enough not to get you lost. The pictures are awesome, especially the ones with you in them.

    • Travis

      Thanks Georg!!

  • Tony Ortiz

    Bruno, ik zal volgende uw volgende avonturen, succes!
    I will be following your next adventures, success!

    • Amanda

      Dank u, Tony!