There was really only one way to go south from Mazatlán, but after we left Tepic the final decision had to be made regarding our route. Were we going to take the Pacific Coast route as originally planned or head inland? At the Y in the road we hung left, toward Guadalajara, toward the mountains, toward the promise of cooler temperatures and fewer mosquitoes.
Things that swayed our decision:
– The oppressive heat and humidity. I never thought too much about the weather when I had shelter in a house and a car with air conditioning. I know we complain a lot about the weather, but we’re outside, in it, 24/7. There’s no escaping it. It’s near impossible to enjoy a place when all your body is telling you is how uncomfortable it is. Guadalajara is up over 5000 feet in elevation where we’re guaranteed it will be cooler than the lowlands. The cost of these cooler temperatures: ALOT of climbing. We haven’t been above 5000 feet since August when we were on Mt Hood in Oregon.
– Monarch Butterflies. They migrate to Mexico for the winter and we’d like to go see them, all 60 million of them, at the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, west of Mexico City.
– Safety. We’ve heard consistent reports from the locals that the Pacific Coast has safety concerns. And to reinforce this, on November 4th, Mexican Federal Police took over port security in the city of Lazaro Cardenas due to drug trade. The coastal route would have taken us right through there.
This is why we don’t bother to plan our route too far in advance. There are too many variables that can change it in an instant.
We’re camped tonight in a pasture at another cell tower perched above the toll booths for the highway. Cell towers make pretty good camp spots because they’re usually on high points by the highway with a service road and a clearing around them. We’ve decided to take the highway because of its generous shoulder, rather than the old road which is narrow, steeper and less direct. However, the highway bypasses most of the towns so it requires a bit more planning on our part for food and water.
It’s a cool evening, great for sleeping, only a few mosquitoes. I’m already thankful for our choice in route. The repairs to the tent seem to be holding up, although we’ve already noticed a few holes we missed. Luckily we’re now packing a hot glue gun. Scott mentioned if I want to bedazzle my bike, this would be the time.