Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Reflections on Road Trips

The year 2013 has been road trips.  First was the drive to the beach the end of December.  From the mountains of San Miguel de Allende to the shores of the Pacific.  It's a lovely drive through the terrain of semi-arid countryside around Leon to Guadalajara.  One notices the change in dirt color about an hour out of Guadalajara.  That rusty red dirt is perfect for making ceramics.  One of the most beautiful crafts that the State of Jalisco is known to produce.  In addition,  there are HUGE boulders strewn about from time to time.  I always wonder how in the world they got there and how in the world would you ever be able to move them.

Driving through Guadalajara is quite an experience - always.  One wrong turn or one missed sign and you are definitely on your own to traverse a city that I was recently told has over 10 million people.  I did not verify that.  I spent a lot of time in Guadalajara when I was exporting from there and I do know landmarks and some streets, but, it doesn't matter anymore, I still can get lost.  I'm so busy watching the traffic that I can't even tell you if it is still beautiful in the centro or not!  I'm just busy praying that I make my turn!

Once I'm through that episode,  I exhale and head off either West to the beach or East to home.  Interestingly going West are the salt flats for miles and miles and miles with a background of the mountains.  Then  upon coming close to Colima one sees the volcano with its own ecosystem.  Mexico has lots of volcanoes.  Always an awesome sight whether they are spewing or not.

From the semi-arid terrain to the lush and tropical is always a sight for sore eyes.  Just after Colima are the fields full of sugarcane, banana plants, mango trees and, of course, coconut palms.  Green, green, green.

It's all a visual feast.  It jolts me to travel.  I always see things I didn't notice before. 

Heading North this past couple of days was the same thing.  From the semi-arid to to seeing mountains in the distance is always a delight.  Near Matahuala, the mountain that designates Real de Catorce must be at least 10,000 feet high.  I've never been there, but its on my bucket list.  After all Queen Victoria was there lo those many years ago so I guess I can brave that tunnel through the mountain some day to see this village. 

Around Matahuala the mountains show paths where they used to extract silver prior to the Revolution.  The mines in that area were all flooded around 1910 and extraction is too difficult, I'm told. 

As I travel farther north, the mountains get higher and higher.  The roads now skirt the mountains in most instances - at least the toll roads do - the free roads go right through it.

The improvement in the roads in the last thirty years is astounding.  Back in the early 80's they were two lane and often one would come to a town where the road was unpaved.  One would follow the ruts made by the trucks and heaven help you if you needed to make a turn out of those ruts. 

Nowadays, the toll roads are four lane divided highways.  Fabulous - much less traffic then our interstates.
So one just puts the car on cruise control and heads out.  Due to little traffic, I do enjoy looking at the yucca forests, the snowcapped mountains around Monterrey and the shepherds on the sides of the road with their herds of goats.  Or, someone in a wagon pulled by mules heading somewhere.  Such a step back in time.

I always know when I've crossed into Texas.  Faster drivers, less polite and more of them.  I10 yesterday was exhausting.  Beltway 8 in Houston was like an autobahn.  NEVER doing that again.

Aaah, but I'm in the piney woods of Kingwood today.  Lovely soft rain.  Quiet views and birds were singing before the rain. 

Traveling certainly moves one out of their comfort zone.  That's a good thing.


Steve Cotton said...

You are singing my sing, sister.

Babs said...

Yes, we are "birds of a feather" as they say........

Shannon said...

Do you go through Centro in Guadalajara en route to Melaque? If I did that I would still be there. Possibly for years. I didn't know Queen Victoria had visited Real de Catorce!

Babs said...

Yes Shannon, right through. I used to take the Periferico Sur but it is such a bottleneck of traffic that it is faster just going through the city. The signage is the problem. There is a sign just about at the turn so if you don't stay in the right're screwed!

Yes, at one point Real de Catorce, along with Batopilas, Pozos near San Miguel and Guanajuato were the richest places in the World...because of silver and gold mines!The first three are all but abandoned now except for the exceptional architecture that is still standing in some instances.

Christine Barrely said...

Just know the pure elation of hitting the road...

Christine Barrely said...

The pure elation of hitting the road