I know of a lot of people who have driven across the Continental United States in a few days before; I’ve done it myself. But I had not yet met anyone who had done it in Central America. While I didn’t drive the entire length of the region, I did get from Nicaragua to Texas in a little under 4 days. It was a lot of driving and I saw a lot of scenery.
I was most amazed at the diversity of the natural scenery ranging from marsh and swamplands (above) to savanah-like plains (below). As I drove in some parts of the country I almost expected to see Zebras and Lions at any moment. Many parts of south-central Mexico looked much like Africa to me (plants, not the people LOL). Previously in my trip I had seen beautiful pine trees and blue lakes in the mountains that looked to me like you might find in California or Idaho.
Just north of Mexico City I passed a hotel that was on the other side of the highway and I decided to make a U-turn to go back. In the center median was a 3′ deep (1 meter) cement drainage basin and I put the front of the Blazer right into it. There was no way I was getting out without help. I saw a passing Highway Patrol car and flagged down the officer. He came over and asked what happened and I told him. He reminded me that it was illegal to make a U-turn over the median but only gave me a warning.
He called for a tow truck to come and pull me out and when it was finished I asked what the (tow-truck) cost would be and I was told that there was no charge as these tow-trucks were contracted to help out motorists on the highway and were paid for by the state. When I insisted on paying “something,” the Officer said that it was forbidden to even accept tips. He said that he and the tow-truck operator were “only doing their duty.” I was most impressed; after being hustled for bribe after bribe in the border frontier, it was nice to see an honest and ethical cop in Central Mexico.
Once I passed the Tropic of Cancer the scenery quickly changed to a dry hot desert where I saw miles and miles of Joshua Trees (2nd photo below), miles of open desert and rocky mountains. Much of northern Mexico looks like what I “thought” Mexico would look like – probably based on my previous experience in the border regions. Aside from the Yucatan Peninsula, I hadn’t ventured further south than Ensenada.
I was quite impressed with the roads in Mexico – the toll roads at least. The highways were wide and smooth and cut through the mountains rather than going around them. On the way down we spent much of the time driving the “old” highways and they were murder on the truck’s transmission. Driving the more “level” toll roads is the way to go if you need to get from point A to point B in Mexico.
After passing through my last set of mountains I came to the American border and found a hotel to crash at for the night. The following day I would get up, cross the border and then drive non-stop from Mexico to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I found a decently priced hotel that looked clean enough, checked in and went for a shower and found this little fella in my bathroom. Yuck! I was beginning to miss the United States…
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