Summer Adventures 2012

Summer Vacation 2012

Details:

The Big Picture

Summer trip2012b

 Road Reports:

Road Report July 27

Summer trip2012c

San Christobal de Las Casas to Tuxtla

Beautiful 2 lane and shoulder highway from the Capital of Chiapas to San Christobal. It is “shoulder dancing” a kind of drive on the shoulder and pass when you can type highway.

Tuxtla to the Arriaga / Pacific Coast

Summer trip2012d

There are two options; the free road or the toll. On one of our map books the toll highway is not even drawn so we cannot calculate the distance. The other map has the highway penciled in but does not give distance.

We decide to use the toll as we haven’t been on it before.

It is a 2 lane shoulder dancing highway as well. Its was clear, no potholes or problems. It was much quicker to get to the coast as it didn’t go through towns or hit a million topes. We definitely recommend this road and will port a road log soon.

Arriaga to Tehuantepec

Summer trip2012e

The roads from Arriaga to Tehuantepec is clear and good except for approximately 10 miles where we experienced a detour for road construction.

Tehauntepec to Oaxaca

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The 2 lane road was well maintained. It was slow going as it twists and turns going through the mountains. Not as many topes as in Chiapas.

If possible, drive in the morning. The morning light was spectacular and made the trip very enjoyable! Not too many Pemex’s so stay topped up.

The Periferico around Oaxaca continues to be confusing and messy. Best to keep calm and try to navigate at non-rush hour periods.

Road Report – July 11

Palenque to Villahermosa to La Venta to  Tuxtla Guerrero.

The road has generally improved making it almost a 4 lane and shoulder road to Villahermosa.

The new toll Highway from La Venta to Tuxtla Guerrero is fast easy and beautiful. Lots of vistas and pictures.

This is a great road for RV’s that need space and fewer curves.

Road Report – July 10

Palenque to Tikal and Back.

The road to Bonampak and Yaxchilan was generally quite good. Paved two lane roads with few topes, 3 military check points as well as Migration. Met some fine folks that we hope to run into when we go traveling in South America.

When you leave the boat launch for Guatemala you must ensure you check out with Mexico Immigration. That means you go to the office, fill out a form and get a piece of paper.

You take a boat to Guatemala, (a launcha that seats 10 passengers and 2 crew)hop on the bus to La Flores. They have a “money changer” there; an old woman with a 3 inch wad of bills.

The bus takes you to Guatemala customs where you pay some cash, have your passport scanned and then your off! Two hours on a badly potholed dirt road and then two hours on a paved road and you hit Las Flores. Yes this was a chicken bus that stopped in every pueblo…

Tours to Tikal appear to be the main business in Las Flores and unlike the tour companies in Palenque, the prices fluctuate wildly. The bus to Tikal takes 1 hour and you are then charged approximately $30 to enter the park. It appears like Guatemala always has one more additional charge….one that they didn’t tell you about.

Tikal was great and will write about that later.

The return trip back to Palenque was uneventful. Again we met lots of great travelers – something we always seem to do when we hit the road.

It was wonderful to return to Mexico.

Road Report – July 9

San Christobal de las Casas to Palenque

Highway 199

The road to Palenque continues to be challenging with a million topes through the mountain passes. Mostly 2 lane no shoulder roads with a fair number of complete “deslaves” or washouts. The road drops away completely in many spots. Night driving is not advisable….ha ha.

We have noticed that fewer and fewer women are wearing their traditional dress. Soon everyone will be wearing jeans, shorts, and t-shirts and the beautiful hand embroidered blouses and skirts will only be sold in markets to tourists.

The two waterfalls along the way haven’t changed much in al these years. 2 different ejidos charge admission to Misol-ha. One for the road and the other for the entrance.

 Road Report-June 25

Tapatula to San Christobal de las Casas

The highway to the Huixtla cut off to HWY 211 is beautiful and clear. There are numerous immigration and aduana stops along the small stretch going north.

After the turnoff from the highway the road narrows immediately to a 2 lane no shoulder road. From Huixtla to Comatán the going is very slow. The road is narrow yes…..but the problem is not this….It is the dam topes. A zillion of them, in all different sizes, shapes and colors.

The road itself winds through mountain passes through small towns and settlements. There are no super steep grades or other hazards. A few military immigration stops.

This all changes when you approach Comatán. The lanes expand and shoulders appear in spots. Traffic moves forward rather than one step up, one step down and one step forward….The Tope Shuffle.

Comatán has many stores along the highway including an AutoZone, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Bodega etc.

Just outside Comatán the roads revert to the Tope shuffle and shrink in size. There is a noticeable population change as well. The Mayan Indians – usually the women – now begin to wear traditional dress. Up here in the highlands they wear a black wool skirt that appears to be sheep skin rather than a woven fabric. It is hairy. They also wear a satin blouse in colors that we believe identifies a town or family – but we are not quite sure yet.

There is also a shift in what they produce for sale. The big sale item right now appears to be what we used to call a whirligigs They are carved characters that have various legs (wings or other limbs) move when the air catches them. Of course there is the roadrunner and a multitude of cartoon characters. There was even Dora – the Explora….

We have always scratched our heads with the local Mayan “artisans”. Every time we visit the San Chris region we notice that one “craft item” is all of a sudden produced and sold at over half the roadside booths or in the market. It is as if one person has a great idea and then everyone else in town copies them because they are successful.

Shortly before San Christobal the roads expand again but so does the traffic. The topes remain.

We are glad to be here. The weather is much drier and cooler than the coast. We put on jackets to go out for dinner last night and stacked up the blankets high in our hotel room.

Today we search for an apartment.

 Road Report-Post Hurricane – June 21

Ixtapa / Zihuatenanjo to Puerto Escondido

Highway 200 is in fine condition for the most part following the hurricane  few days ago. Of course you can see some downed trees and significant garbage/tree branches in waterways leading to the ocean.

The Highway washouts began once you are in Oaxaca. Some of the road pavement just falls off in about 6 place north of Puerto Escondido. They remain unmarked and unprotected. These would cause serious vehicle and personal damage if drivers do not see the utter drop-offs beforehand. Do not even attempt to think about driving at night.

Zihuat experienced light flooding and garbage flows to the ocean. They were cleaning up two days ago so should be back to normal.

Acapulco looked unscathed.

Puerto Escondido is fine – a few down trees but otherwise normal. Zicatella looks fine too except for the mostly southerly beach which looks like experiences a flood onto the street from the beach. A sand-out so to speak.

Road Report-Post Hurricane – June 24

Puerto Escondido to Tapachula

Roads were fine for the most part. The hurricane wrecked havoc in areas south of Puerto Angel. One gas station had the roof ripped from the pump area…a huge heavy projectile in the storm!

But the roads were fine.

Some ongoing roadwork south of La Ventana through some smaller towns but otherwise the roads from Salinas Cruz to Tapatula are a welcome relief from Tope hell on the coast of Guerrero and Oaxaca.

Border checks and immigration booths going north are proliferating at an alarming rate. At least a half a dozen now check road travelers as they drive north.

Tapatula continues to expand into shopping malls. Downtown disintegrates.

Off today for the interior.

 

Road Report-June 25

Tapachula to San Christobal de las Casas

Summer trip2012j

The highway to the Huixtla cut off to HWY 211 is beautiful and clear. There are numerous immigration and aduana stops along the small stretch going north.

After the turnoff from the highway the road narrows immediately to a 2 lane no shoulder road. From Huixtla to Comatán the going is very slow. The road is narrow yes…..but the problem is not this….It is the dam topes. A zillion of them, in all different sizes, shapes and colors.

The road itself winds through mountain passes through small towns and settlements. There are no super steep grades or other hazards. A few military immigration stops.

This all changes when you approach Comatán. The lanes expand and shoulders appear in spots. Traffic moves forward rather than one step up, one step down and one step forward….The Tope Shuffle.

Comatán has many stores along the highway including an AutoZone, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Bodega etc.

Just outside Comatán the roads revert to the Tope shuffle and shrink in size. There is a noticeable population change as well. The Mayan Indians – usually the women – now begin to wear traditional dress. Up here in the highlands they wear a black wool skirt that appears to be sheep skin rather than a woven fabric. It is hairy. They also wear a satin blouse in colors that we believe identifies a town or family – but we are not quite sure yet.

There is also a shift in what they produce for sale. The big sale item right now appears to be what we used to call a whirligigs They are carved characters that have various legs (wings or other limbs) move when the air catches them. Of course there is the roadrunner and a multitude of cartoon characters. There was even Dora – the Explora….

We have always scratched our heads with the local Mayan “artisans”. Every time we visit the San Chris region we notice that one “craft item” is all of a sudden produced and sold at over half the roadside booths or in the market. It is as if one person has a great idea and then everyone else in town copies them because they are successful.

Shortly before San Christobal the roads expand again but so does the traffic. The topes remain.

We are glad to be here. The weather is much drier and cooler than the coast. We put on jackets to go out for dinner last night and stacked up the blankets high in our hotel room.

Today we search for an apartment. 

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