Arco Norte

Up and around mexico cityWe have been having great luck with the cities and parts of town we've been staying in, but we still are far from city people.  At this point were just dreaming of getting back to the beach. Images of sand and waves dance through our heads and when we wake up each morning it's those images that fuel our drive and keeps up moving.

As such, it was an easy decision to not stop in mexico city. Doesn't hurt that at this elevation we're bundled up like winter back home (except maybe the surf trunks and flip flops).  If we wanted to be wrapped up in toques and scarves we'd stay in the PNW!  Well, that and we aren't allowed to drive through on fridays because we have the wrong plates (and somehow always seem to end up here on a thursday evening). Instead we hopped on the arco norte (the cuota or toll road that wraps around the city) and tried to make good time.DCIM100GOPROGOPR4640.DCIM100GOPROGOPR4634.sunsetWhen we mapped this portion of the drive out the night before, we assumed it might take us 3 days.  There aren't many towns along the way and the best lodging consists of a gas station parking lot.  We charted the 2 pemex stations that seemed to be at about thirds and set out on our way.  We were making great time, so we refueled at the first one, deciding to keep going and swapped seats headed for the second.  Were mostly elated that were finally headed downhill and the roads are in good shape... and we just shaved a day off our drive- Sweet!

Jen kept the pedal down and by the time we reached the second pemex we were both calculating the number of minutes (and the number of kilometers) left in the day under hopes of getting to an actual hotel bed for the night.  We blasted by the second station and decided to make a run for it knowing we couldn't beat sunset but hoping to get into Tonala before darkness set in.  We still have a very firm rule about not driving after dark- but what seams like endless days on the highway are apparently pushing us to test the limits.

Trying not to waste minutes we swap seats while still on the highway at full speed.  A less than graceful dance performed in a tight space under already questionable conditions...but we make it work and I tried to get us all the way to Tonala just outside of guadalajara.  The last 20km we're staring at every gas station and 24hr shop wondering if we should be pulling over and hoping we don't have to double back for any reason.  E insidebry karmastreet tacoscarne

DCIM100GOPROGOPR4644. The sunset to our left was glorious, except the fact that it meant our minutes of daylight were waning.  We pulled into tonala on fumes and only a few minutes after having to turn on our headlights for the first time in probably 3 years.  I honestly don't know if they were shining or not... but we pulled the switch for good measure...

Tonala as it turns out is quite the shopping (and eating) destination.  We ate amazing late night street tacos just before bed and again with a different family with sunrise for breakfast.  Just outside our room was an enormous handcrafted goods market that we could have walked around for hours.  As we head out of town we discuss actually staying.

If we decide to spend a few days between here and tlaquepaque we could probably furnish our next project for a small fraction of the price, even with the cost of shipping a container full of furniture back to the states.   In reality, it's just me trying to find an excuse to have a shipping container sitting out front to build something out of!!  We buy a few lanterns and head west for tequila.

Finally!!  A stop we're excited to make!DCIM100GOPROGOPR4641.

lanterns red tequila