For the first time since entering the mainland, we wake up to a dry tent. No dew. This is fantastic. The wet tent always delays our morning departure as we rotate it around in the sun waiting for it to dry. Sure, we can pack it up wet, but it will smell pretty funky by the end of the day.
We’ve crossed into Jalisco, our fifth Mexican state. It’s beautiful here; the mountain landscape of the Sierra Madre and the fertile high plains. Fields of Weber Blue Agave plants in perfect rows dot the landscape as we pass by the birthplace of tequila and its distilleries.
In addition to the climbing, we have been fighting a headwind for three days, which has only gone from bad to worse. This morning we were 63 miles from Guadalajara, a distance we felt confident we could cover in a day. We got an early start but by lunch we had only covered about 20 miles, averaging 6.7mph, a painfully slow progress. At this rate, we didn’t have enough hours of daylight left in the day. Discouraged, we resigned ourselves that we would not reach Guadalajara tonight. We decided to try to make it to the outskirts of the city tonight, make camp, and ride the final stretch tomorrow morning.
But with about 25 miles left to go, I noticed that our pace had quickened slightly and we appeared to have just enough time before sunset to make it into the city. We decided to go for it even though we still had a significant climb ahead, both of us more than a little concerned we were setting ourselves up for a repeat of our ride into Tepic.
Guadalajara is Mexico’s second largest city. Our ride in had a few terrifying moments, further confirmation that we are not interested in riding into Mexico City. The highways feed directly into the city, where they lose the shoulder. There are few access roads, and even they are pretty frightening, narrow, potholey and fast. It probably didn’t help our situation that we arrived at sunset, during rush hour, in the rain.
And another first: For the first time since entering Mexico, I am cold. We are finally high enough in elevation. It’s in the 50s. It feels like the November Fall days I remember growing up in the northeast. Cold and rainy. In a way, it feels like it should.