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Bubba

Dec 5, 2006, 9:42 AM

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Pico Orizaba to The Mountains of OZ Over the Highways From Hell

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There is no escaping the fact that to leave the Mexico of or distinctively part of Mexico as defined by Mexico City and its environs or those points north of there is to enter a different land. Whether or not you like it is a different matter and of no consequence.

You leave Puebla with great expectations heading down what the Red Guide tells you is endless freeway to Tuxtla Gutierriez only to find the freeways to be icons to anticipated corruption and inability to cope with environmental limitations. The cuota out of Puebla seems fine but once you get to the flatlands commencing around Ciudad Mendoza approaching Orizaba the new roads turn to unstable mush as roads are not maintained. Then, as you head south toward Veracruz and points south the cuotas are of uncertain quaitity as wetlands destroy endless miles of supposed freeway. It is, to say the least. distracting. Then, as one approaches the turnoff to Villahermosa and Tuxtla, the road turns to shit. This would be a scandal anywhere but Mexico where irresponsible roadbuilding is an expectation.Once on the "new" cuota to Tuxtla, one can experience the ultimate example of corruption in North American - the Tuxtla cutoff, which is relatively new and a lasting monument to incompetence as one drives about 290 Kilometers over some of the worst roadbed this side of Kabul. This road, which is nearly brand new, is so atrocious that, after a while it becomes laughable. Imagine 290 kilometers of dodging baches the size of your mothers kitchen.

Now, what is fun about this, is that the Tuxtla road cuts through some of the most beautiful topography on the planet. This is the land of OZ, unbelievably beautififul green mountainous regions as if sculpted by Hollywood. Not to be believed if not personally observed.

When you finish this mind-boggling experience, you find yourself in Tuxtla Gutierrez, a mailgned city of about a million people which, in fact, is fine place once you get used to it and you are on your way to the magical San Cristobal de las Casas and here is what is fun about that. The new cuota from the valley at Tuxtla to the mountain valley at San Cristobal starts at the ancient and important, to say nothing of quite charming, city of Chiapas de Corzo at about 450 Meters and, within 40 kilometers climbs to 2,200 Meters and the Jovel Valley in which rests the magical city and I swear to God a more spécatular 40 Kilometers never existed in North America. I won{t go into it at present as it is an intensily personal experience. More about that later.


(This post was edited by Bubba on Dec 5, 2006, 9:46 AM)



DoDi2


Dec 5, 2006, 3:12 PM

Post #2 of 9 (6193 views)

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Re: [Bubba] Pico Orizaba to The Mountains of OZ Over the Highways From Hell

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HOLY COW Bubba, that's a kewl trip report. Is it true or just good 'shrooms?


wendy devlin

Dec 5, 2006, 3:30 PM

Post #3 of 9 (6188 views)

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Re: [DoDi2] Pico Orizaba to The Mountains of OZ Over the Highways From Hell

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In Veracruz, once saw, a three-lane soaring over-pass, beginning in one cornfield.

Ending in another. No connection to the near-bye passing highway.

Was connection ever intended?

A feat of engineering unto itself?

Or ?

Surreal.


jacpowell

Dec 5, 2006, 3:39 PM

Post #4 of 9 (6186 views)

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Re: [wendy devlin] Pico Orizaba to The Mountains of OZ Over the Highways From Hell

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Similar overpass on I-70 in a Denver suburb some years ago. However, the land was eventually (decades later) made into a gonzo shopping/office center, and the overpass became part of the exit ramp from the interstate. Happens it was owned by an influential person who kept his agricultural tax (low property tax) by grazing horses on it until he was ready to move on development. It was a real gas to go under the overpass on I-70 and have horses looking down at you. So - Mexico isn't the only place where certain things happen with "arranged foresight." The question to ask is whose land does it begin and end on?

Bubba, I've been on the new cuota to San Cristobal - at dawn, with mists rising and village folks making their way to the market. Oz it is.

Jackie


NJ2VER


Dec 5, 2006, 7:07 PM

Post #5 of 9 (6163 views)

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Re: [Bubba] Pico Orizaba to The Mountains of OZ Over the Highways From Hell

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We took that run from Coatzacoalcos Ver. to Tuxtla G, Chiapas last February. Actually meant to go to Palenque but a soldier near las Choapas pointed us that way. I didn't know any better since it was not on my map (its on newer maps and google earth). Well anyway it was mighty beautiful. I had to jam on the breaks a couple times, and once hit a rock the size of a soft ball that damaged the sidewall of my tire. There were several road crews working in some areas, so it is under improvement. In Chiapas we took in the Zocalo in Tuxtla and the Canyon del Sumidero and then drove back to Coatza. Ver. the same night. Now that road is lonely & scary at night, but then again driving around New Jersey is more stressfull. Its not a trip I'll soon forget.
Attachments: MEX06D 010b.jpg (80.3 KB)


Bubba

Dec 8, 2006, 2:24 PM

Post #6 of 9 (6076 views)

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Re: [DoDi2] Pico Orizaba to The Mountains of OZ Over the Highways From Hell

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HOLY COW Bubba, that's a kewl trip report. Is it true or just good 'shrooms?

DoDi:

True but I could use some good "shrooms".

Chiapas is so beautiful that there are times I doubt my own experience. Actually, Veracruz and Puebla states are unbelievably beautiful as well.

Orizaba town was an old Spanish garrison between the port of Veracruz and Mexico City that fronted the main highway at the foot of the mountain pass from the Puebla plain. It is now a fine place to stop as you drive from Mexico City to points south and has a number of very good restaurants and hotels in its center. The scenery between Puebla and Orizaba is spectacular to say the least as one drives from the high plain to the tropical reaches of Veracruz State. On the way from the high plain at Puebla to the bottom of the pass at Ciudad Mendoza there are three small populated areas named La Esperanza, La Estancia and Maltrata. Maltrata is at the bottom and La Esperanza is at the top. I think we can discern where these names came from.

South of Orizaba and Cordova the freeway becomes atrocious and is a difficult drive but one does pass through some attractive countryside on occasion. It is when one passes into Chiapas on the La Venita - Tuxtla cuota that one enters paradise if one can glance up from the baches long enough to take in the scenery. Donīt go to your grave without seeing this beautiful place.

NJ2VERīs picture gives one a good glance at this beautiful drive but no picture does it justice. You must go there to believe it.


(This post was edited by Bubba on Dec 8, 2006, 2:33 PM)


Bubba

Dec 9, 2006, 3:09 PM

Post #7 of 9 (6040 views)

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Re: [Bubba] Pico Orizaba to The Mountains of OZ Over the Highways From Hell

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By the way, I donīt want to mislead anyone. While the cuotas from Puebla to Veracruz State and on the La Venita-Tuxtla cutoff are in atrocious condition in places, the roads in Chiapas are really excellent even in many parts of the outback. In fact, these roads strike me a really too nice. I suspect the army wants the rural highways to handle their tanks and military supply trucks.


Bubba

Dec 15, 2006, 3:15 PM

Post #8 of 9 (5978 views)

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Re: [Bubba] Pico Orizaba to The Mountains of OZ Over the Highways From Hell

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Because the autopistas from south of Orizaba to Tuxtla Gutierrez were in such sad shape, we decided to return from San Cristobal to Ajijic/Guadalajara via Tuxtla, Juchitan (Oaxaca Isthmus). Oaxaca City and Mexico City/Toluca. This seems to us to be a better route. If anyone has an interest in these alternatives, let me know and I will go into more detail.


Bubba

Dec 16, 2006, 3:26 PM

Post #9 of 9 (5941 views)

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Re: [Bubba] Pico Orizaba to The Mountains of OZ Over the Highways From Hell

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Because the autopistas from south of Orizaba to Tuxtla Gutierrez were in such sad shape, we decided to return from San Cristobal to Ajijic/Guadalajara via Tuxtla, Juchitan (Oaxaca Isthmus). Oaxaca City and Mexico City/Toluca. This seems to us to be a better route. If anyone has an interest in these alternatives, let me know and I will go into more detail.

Well, now we can say with experience that if one wishes to drive from Lake Chapala to Chiapas here is how you go:

Autopista 15 from Ocotlan to Toluca and then to Puebla through DF and on to Oaxaca over that splendid freeway to the curvy two lane road to Tehuantepec on the isthmus on Highway 190 to Tuxtla. I figure a twelve hour journey from Lake Chapala to Oaxaca and about eight hours from Oaxaca to Tuxtla. A fine and beautiful drive indeed.

If you donīt like the fun city of Tehuantepec donīt tell the colorful ladies in charge there that you donīt like it or they will kick your sorry ass. They be in charge and brook no nonsense.
 
 
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