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LA to Tulum, Day 10 — Puerto Escondido to Tulum

By Larry Crowson

Day 10

It was raining softly when I woke up and the surfers were already pounding the waves. I really wanted to stay for a couple of days—I was both road tired and wanting to explore this inviting place.

Walked down the malecon and had coffee and breakfast and then headed out south towards Puerto Angel, a small fishing village that I had heard about and wanted to see for myself. It turned out to be a little surfing and fishing village with not much in the way of services but lots of For Sale signs. I got out briefly to see the turtle museum and then got back on the highway. I was feeling the call of home and it was time to fly.

I cut up at Salina Cruz and headed over the Oaxaca mountain range towards Minititlan and the Gulf of Mexico.

A couple of hours in, I came upon a huge wind farm. Going up, there must have been over 100 parts being staged for assembly. This was a large valley in the mountains and I have to assume that it blows hard here between the oceans.

I came into a small village in the mountains called Matias Romero. It seemed like a junction for many smaller roads all converging from the countryside and the street merchants were out in force selling everything you could imagine. I even saw several folks selling Parrots just sitting on their arms.

Well this place has had a history of trouble with the cartels and drug smuggling, and I ran into a pretty serious Mexican Army checkpoint where they proceeded to go over my paperwork and car with a fine tooth comb. They were all very polite and then told me to have a safe day and proceed as I pulled away. Literally 100 yards ahead was a Federale checkpoint where the guys acted like we were going to do this all over again in case the Army missed something. I have driven many thousands of miles in Mexico and never seen this before.

The guys were all about checking my VIN numbers to make sure they match my title and car permit paperwork.

Funny thing was, this one cop seemed almost disappointed that it did match, as his partner was opening up a few bags asking me what each item was where had I’d been and was going. One of my bags had several boxes of Trader Joe’s chocolate covered almonds with Sea Salt, and he didn’t seem to understand why I had so many. This isn’t my first rodeo, so I opened one up and offered him a taste. He immediately said no politely, but I insisted and you should have seen the smile come across his face as he chewed on it. Priceless! Wish I had a picture of it! He then said he understood why I had gone to so much trouble and I told him my wife would kill us both if I didn’t show up with these intact. He laughed real hard and said take care and have a nice drive.

The drive over to Minititlan was uneventful until I turned off onto the new highway heading towards Villahermosa. About 5-6 miles down, both lanes on my side came to a halt with everyone out looking down the road. I figured it was an accident which can cause quite a stir, sometimes for hours. Well, all of a sudden, lots of folks further ahead started turning around and heading back and then just ahead I noticed some farm workers cutting an opening into the fence to access the small dirt road running along side of the highway and everyone started taking their turns jumping the dirt mound to get up and over onto the dirt road. I wasn’t so sure if my Honda SRV would clear but what the heck—made it, now what? I hadn’t a clue where we were all heading now and after a mile or so we came to a bridge junction going over the highway in both directions. It seemed that no one knew exactly which way to go so I followed a couple of folks left towards the town off in the distance. A couple of miles of weaving thru the little village and we came to another on ramp back to the highway and we were off again. I never did find out what had happened back there.

The rest of my drive back to Tulum from here bored me, as I have made this drive many times thru the countryside and then the jungles off the Yucatan— home was calling and I picked up the pace considerably now. Traffic flow here was an easy 80-85 mph until you reached a small town. Everyone seemed to be going towards Merida or Cancun up the Yucatan peninsula. Two more Army checkpoints and then home.

In closing, this was a long road trip and I had no choice but to keep up a good pace, but it also opened up a wealth of incredible beauty to explore further on longer trips as I seek to better understand my newly adopted country of Mexico.



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  1. Which was your favorite spot in Oaxaca during your drive?

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