In an effort to combat some pretty severe air pollution, Mexico City implemented “Hoy No Circula” in the late 1980s. The law translates literally as, “Today, it does not circulate” and is meant to prevent at least 20% of cars from driving on or around the city each day of the week. The last digit of your license plate determines your day of no driving. Luckily, we had heard of these rules in advance and planned our time in the area accordingly.
Our introduction to Mexico City was both hectic and stressful. Despite our lack of a real map, we optimistically (read: stupidly) attempted to drive around the city to our campsite in the north with only a couple hours of daylight ahead of us. Distance-wise, this was not an unreasonable goal – the drive amounted to only about 80 km, or 50 miles. But we’re stubborn and as such, we avoid the toll roads as much as possible. In this case, that meant driving through the center of countless small towns on the outskirts of what is arguably the largest city in the world. It took us FIVE hours.
As you’ve probably noticed by the recent dropoff in post frequency, within hours of arriving in Guanajuato we decided to get comfortable and stay awhile. Prior to arriving we had heard many rumors that this quaint town was a beautiful spot and although we had originally planned on staying only 4 days, we ended up staying for almost 4 weeks. We were so struck by Guanajuato’s uniqueness upon arriving that on a whim we sent out an invitation for my mother to join us the day after Christmas a full 3 weeks away. Within 24 hours a flight was booked.
Entering into our second month in Mexico we made our way inland from the Pacific coast towards Guadalajara. The next phase of our trip brings us through the most densely populated section of Mexico, thus becoming increasingly cultural with more cities, more museums, and more history. Having already sensed that my brain may have shriveled a bit from the weeks spent on the coast, I had a growing thirst to fill the days with a larger number of inputs. Coincidentally, the opportunity to begin to quench that thirst came in both the literal and figurative sense in the city of Tequila.
As a lifelong East Coaster, I’m familiar with Portland, ME’s reputation as the foodie capital of the northeast, which is why I found it funny that we would have our best food experiences of the trip 3000 miles away on the opposite coast in Portland, OR. Our time in the city was spent hopping from one amazing meal to the next, stuffing ourselves silly.
After spending a number of consecutive nights out in the woods, we were ready to head back into society with the offer of a home cooked meal on the horizon. Our journey miraculously collided with two fellow travelers as they also were briefly passing through Seattle, one of whom I’ve known since college. Jake and Natalie were married last winter and have been travelling around Southeast Asia ever since.
Despite being on a bit of a time crunch, we were able to make the most of our short stay in Vancouver. Among its many charming qualities, Vancouver is extremely bike-friendly and we took full advantage of that fact. After an early morning breakfast and coffee overlooking the ocean in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighborhood, we headed out on a bike tour of the city.
At Joe Fasula’s insistence, we made a stop in Butte, MT on our way to Missoula to see the infamous Berkeley Pit. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Butte was in the midst of its heyday as the largest mining boomtown in the American West. The advent of electricity caused the demand for copper to soar and the town’s abundant copper reserves soon gave it its nickname as “the richest hill on earth”.