Home is Where we Hook-up

January 28, 2008

Making up some time

Filed under: Travel,Travel in Mexico — Heligypsy @ 9:42 am

After a hearty breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs and sausage, we were on the road by 7:30 a.m. We decided to follow more advice and take a toll road north of Veracruz, completely bypassing both Veracruz and Catemaco. Yep, we were gonna miss out on the monkeys Miguel had told us about at the border, but we had to get to Belize sometime! So, bypass it was. The advice on following this route was to get an early start, and bring lots of money, the toll road is very expensive. After spending the summer traveling the Attiki Odos toll highway in Greece at $2.70 Euro per booth, we thought the statement that the Mexican toll roads were “expensive” was probably just a matter of opinion.

Our challenge for the day was to get beyond Villahermosa which had suffered major flooding on Oct. 31st. Finding reports of current conditions proved to be difficult, we were not even sure if we would be able to get through. If the roads were passable, there was no chance we were even considering camping in the area…not with 300,000 devastated and now homeless people.

After long hours on the wonderful roads of the toll highway, we decided to shoot for Palenque as our destination. Well beyond Villahermosa, it was unlikely that we would make it before nightfall, but we pushed hard.

toll-highway-to-palenque.jpg

The tolls turned out to be very expensive, we were charged as though we were a semi-truck with multiple axles. The first toll we tried to explain that we were a single axle vehicle, but with dual wheels it was an impossible argument. By the end of the day, we’d collected receipts totaling $1000 pesos, or $100 U.S. dollars. Would we ever learn that the Church’s know what they speak of? Ha! But, just look at the beautiful road, it was worth it.

It was a scenic drive, abundant with pineapple and banana fields. Farmers sold pineapple along the road, beneath underpasses – which was a good thing since there was a lot of rain coming down that day. We arrived in Villahermosa to find the roads passable, and couldn’t escape the cliche that “everything happens for a reason”. Had we not been held up in Texas waiting for the vehicle title, we would have been smack in the middle of the nightmare and chaos of a city flooded equal to the devastation of Katrina. Well, no, we would have found an alternate route, but you know what I mean. For us, it was an uneventful passing through.

On to Palenque we pushed. I was nervous about the dusk coming on, with miles still to go. The warnings about not driving at night are not in reference to being held up by banditos, I can assure you of that. The warnings are because of free farm animals, broken down vehicles, rocks left in the road from said broken down vehicles, and on and on. Of course, you wouldn’t want to break down on the road at night, making yourself vulnerable to any bad egg that might come along. Keith carried on and we made it to our destination in Palenque under a full moon sky.

full-moon.jpg

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