12.26.08 Costa Esmerelda to Ciudad Victoria
We were on the road by 7:45 am headed north. Our plan was to bypass Tampico entirely to avoid the Veracruz police. While we’d traversed the State of Veracruz already to get to Costa Esmeralda, the police farther north may be the most nefarious of them all. So we went way out of the way, toward Ciudad Valles in order to avoid them. The bypass around Poza Rica was terrific!
Then we hit a decision point and with little information, made a bet. We’d skirt east to Ebona and then up a “yellow” road in the Guia Roja Mapbook (don’t leave home without one of those!) straight up through a brief part of Veracruz into Tamaulipas State and up our good roads that I’d taken on the route down. We’d bypass 2 cities and mountainous roads.
Well, first we had to traverse Ebona, who I’m sure hasn’t seen a tourist in about 300 years. The roads through that small town were fine though. Then we had about 4 miles of good roads. Success!
But then we got into the brief Veracruz section that was horrific. Supposedly it is under construction, but it certainly ranks up there as one of my top worst roads for about 15 miles. It took over an hour, I’m sure.
Then, Veracruz Police! Yes, out there in the middle of nowhere, sitting on their vehicle swinging their feet, until they see us coming. Then they jumped up, waved 4 other cars away from in front and behind us, and tried to get us to pull over to the side of the road, which I was very slow to do. Instead, I pulled out my map and ask for directions, as if I was the one stopping them to get road advice, and they helpfully provided directions. Then as I slowly rolled forward, one said “uno momentito,” to which I nodded (like they were telling me how long it would take us to get to Manuel, as I’d been asking). Then said “Gracias, adios” and just drove slowly off, like I didn’t understand what he was saying. I took a chance doing that, but they didn’t yell or didn’t come after me, so I considered it a blazing success! Who knows what the officers swarming around our rig wanted, but at best it was to hassle us. Ugh! Well, at least they seemed nice enough being helpful with the directions!
Then after about ½ mile, we hit the state line of Tamaulipas and the road turned to terrific blacktop, top speed 55 mph! Whoo-hooo! I cannot say that I would go that way again, at least not until the road repair is completed, but we do not think we lost any time in the process, and in fact gained about an hour.
In very little time we were on the bypass up to Ciudad Victoria, continued past Hwy 70 intersection (the Pemex here was big but too busy) where you can go to Rosie’s RV park if you want, and then parked at a Pemex Station in Gomez, 15 miles north of Ciudad Victoria!
We are on Hwy 101 to Matamoros and hope to cross in good time tomorrow. It’s about 160 miles to the border from here and we cannot wait to return to America. I have to say, though, that I really love Mexico and definitely want to explore more of it in the future.
We talked at dinner about the things we enjoyed, learned, and noticed about Part 2 of our adventures. We have fond memories of the helpful people, the delicious food, the wildlife, the Mayan Temples, the spectacular scenery. We’ve been humbled by the hard work and strength of the adults and children. Lia said that Alaska was all about the wildlife, and this trip has been all about the culture, which we thought summed it up well.
We all also agreed that Spanish is a tremendous skill that future practice will help us learn more about the wonderful people we’ve met. We’ll also be more sensitive to being nice to people who are obviously new to the area or feeling conspicuous.
It has been a survival test at times, but we’re all stronger for the experience. I’m really glad that the kids’ eyes have been opened to life in other parts of the world. We look forward to seeing the true effect of the travel unfold over subsequent years.