Even as we leave, the car sputters a bit. We stop a few blocks away at a locksmith whom we’ve been told may be able to put a lock on our gas door. We’ve heard that this is a good idea, although we’ve never had a problem or suspected anything. We’ve noticed that almost every car here does have a locking gas cap or gas door, so they can’t all be wrong. The locksmith can’t do it, but suggests we find a locking cap. I’m pretty sure this doesn’t exist for a ’71 bus.
When we try to move on, the car is dead again. We never did drive it around to charge up the battery. Jason easily finds a jump from someone waiting at the traffic light next to us and we decide to put Guadalajara behind us.
It was a nice place. Four million people live here (2nd largest city in Mexico) but it doesn’t really feel like a huge city – very manageable. There’s great food everywhere. We hear it’s also an interior decorator’s paradise, but we’ve skipped all the shopping opportunities – no room in the van. We promise each other to come back here when we live in a real house again. And, we now have lots of friends to visit.
It was a last-minute decision to keep heading East and skip Lake Chapala and surrounding stuff (for now anyway.) We ended up on our first toll-road and coughed up almost $25 USD to get to Guanajuato on a perfectly smooth highway with no topes in about 3.5 hours. The bus ran pretty well, but still sputters a little going uphill and occasionally backfires going downhill. At least it brakes like a champ.
Before Leon, we started to see large numbers of people walking on the shoulder. It’s a long trek, but they walk as part of a pilgrimage San Juan de Los Lagos before Semana Santa. This was the place of some sort of “miracle” long ago (a child was supposedly brought back from the dead by an image of the Virgin Mary) and the faithful have been coming ever since. We thought about driving there to see some religious zeal, but decided to keep going. We’re content to bask in this miracle.
We got to Guanajuato near sunset – the best time – and promptly got lost. The city is a labyrinth of tunnels and hills. We found our campsite high above the city just in time to enjoy the evening glow and settle in for a chorus of discordant barking dogs and crowing roosters. We haven’t seen much, but we already really like this place.