Twenty-one days since we left our house, fourteen of them on the road. That's how long it takes four people and a dog to get from Bellingham to Oaxaca in a dodge caravan that has well over 200,000 miles on it.
It turned out we didn't have to rent a van in Saltillo. Once again, Homero fixed the van. Don't ask me what it was this time, because I don't know. Something about a badly soldered wire and a faulty connection between the computer and the transmission.
We limped into Oaxaca about 7:30 last night, where of course everyone was waiting for us. Mama made chicken soup and mole, and had both cold beer and hot coffee. Real food! I was so happy; we'd been subsisting off of puro bimbo for days. I'll make a whole post about road food in the future, for now I'll just say that gas station food in Mexico is worse than gas station food in the states.
Homero's brother Ulises and his family came by, and although his sister, Temy, is out of town, her daughters were here as well. The house was full of cousins running around and playing while we recounted the horrors of our trip. Bed early. Homero's still asleep.
Keeping the children amused in the car was not really so hard. I packed a big bag full of homeschooling books and games (more on that later) and we had lessons as we went along. The iphones, of course, and the ipod were a big help. And as you can see, the kids came up with their own ideas on how to pass the time.
Frequent rest stops were a must - not just to let everyone stretch their legs, but to rest the cars as well. We spent about an hour on the side of the road here waiting for our brake pads to cool down. It wasn't the wisest choice, perhaps, to go from Hermosillo to Chihuahua through the Sierra. Two full days of unrelenting hairpin curves and steep ups and downs. Twelve or fourteen hours to go 450 miles.
Also, 450 miles of spectacular scenery. Most of the good photos are not downloaded yet, but it was mostly cliffs. Red cliffs, white cliffs, black cliffs, cliffs like a stupendous bowl of eggs, cliffs like a waterfall of striped stone. Canyons and cracks that plunged for hundreds of feet below us. Most of the Sierra is empty. I had no idea there was so much uninhabited space left in Mexico! We went for hours without seeing a house, a cow, or any other sign of humanity except the road we were driving on.
The pecan tree at the hotel in Saltillo. While we were waiting for Homero and Crecencio to fix their respective vehicles, the children collected and cracked dozens of pecans. Mary braided the girls hair in travel braids, and I lounged and thanked providence for the shade.