I still don't have a real idea where to go. However, I have to decide it here in Parral since I must chose to either go further east or south to Durango. I tried to do a bit of research [kind of a first timer here]. It appears to me that there are endless options for southern Mexico [I already have enough ideas for that, thanks!] but where I am, it seems to be somewhat a touristic no man's land.

A day by day approach also doesn't seem a very good option to me. I also would like to avoid the big cities of Durango and Zacatecas. They are supposed to be beautiful but there are many beautiful towns in Mexico and I simply don't like the idea of the hustle and bustle cycling into all of the major cities. Early on, I also abandon my loose idea of going towards Guadelajara what I would like but it would mean a bit too much of zick zacking through Mexico for the time given.

Riding the region of La Huasteca in the east of Mexico and visiting the cities Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende were already set as my "must do" destinations before approaching Mexico City. I got them either recommended or have the intuition that I might like these places. After a lot of back and forth I simply put in Guanajuato in my navigation app, cut out Durango and Zacatecas, and there we go - 1000km, 4500m elevation gain [that's less than half of what I did in 300km in the Copper Canyons], no idea what awaits me in between. Wasn't it the unknown that gets me fired up?

For good measure, I add a little bit of "physical" spice to my interinary. Let's try to make it to Guanajuato in about a week - just to keep me going in case the route is not as entertaining. Alright, it's 10AM. That took a while. If we want to be in Guanajuato in about a week, we better get going.

Well, the first day was un-entertaining [not in a bad way]. Trees are gone, just grey bushes, 80km of straight road to Jiminez where I have a delicious taco break, turn south in Jiminz, 100km of straight road ahead. I alternate between Zen-mode and Spanish learning mode. I will have a lot of road time the next days, I figured, so perfect to really get some stuff done. I listen to "Coffee break Spanish" - amazing so far! [credits go to Gabriel in Seattle, who recommended it to me].

From Jiminez on I am on a toll road [I don't have to pay, but also am not really supposed to be here on a bicycle]. The safest roads and tourists are recommended to stay on them. However, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. It's like if you would discover Germany on the Autobahn only...

The good thing, though, it's a two lane highway with almost no traffic, mostly trucks [which are the best drivers in my opinion]. The non-toll road runs just next to it, so most people take that one. As I push through a gnarly headwind, I must unfortunately realize that I will not be able to reach today's destination [some hot springs with free camping]. Even though the road is considered super safe, I simply don't feel like riding in the dark. Oh yeah, camping is also a "thing" that I want to work on this week. I am a bit sick of hotels by now. I stay up too late, I get going too late, it's loud [remember, Mexican towns are loud], cheap hotels are also not always the most pleasant places, scenic is different...

I certainly do enjoy the upgrade of my hygiene standards especially with the warmer weather. It's also certain that I will stay in hotels more often from now on. But every night? No, gracias! If I could reach at least a 2:1 ratio for camping vs hotel I would be very happy. Which brings me to this evenings issue. I am on the toll road. Since I left Jiminez about two hours ago, there was not a single exit and it is fenced of course. How do I get out of here? I start looking for holes in the fence but can't spot any. I am basically caught on the road. I already envision myself sleeping in one of the drainage tunnels that run underneath the road every couple of kilometers. At 5 PM I spot a gate and a dirt road behind. Unlocked! Yes! It's a bit early and I could really benefit from the extra hour until darkness in terms of milage. Nonetheless, I decide to not push my luck further. A nice camping experience is important, too, to find my confidence wild camping in Mexico. I find a nice secluded spot behind some bushes on what appears to be cattle land. While I push Klaus through the sticky bushes and cactus fields I already prepare mentally for some flat tires tomorrow. I cook up some water and pitch the tent during a beautiful sunset. I haven't been cooking a lot recently. In the US the days were so short and it was too cold, so I rather kept moving instead of turning into an iceblock while cooking. With a nice potatoe mash with tuna [you waited for it, didn't you?] in my stomach I watch the beautiful star sky and milky-way above me. Oh I missed that!