WEDNESDAY, August 10
"The game is to find the tope before the tope finds you." --Dave Yuhas
The day got off to a good start with a glorious sunrise. Then the trouble began. To get from Hierve El Agua to the highway we had to drive through a small village. What we didn’t know was that preparations for a fiesta were underway; the road was blocked with no warning. When I tried to back up away from the blockage I ever so slightly bumped a vendor’s stall. From the looks on people’s faces I had run over the family dog. $5 later, all was forgiven.
And there’s more: On our map, the road east is a dashed line, signifying a road under construction. When we got back to the highway from Hierve El Agua, a road sign indicated the road was open. 10 km later, we found out the road was closed and still under construction. This meant we’d be driving over 300 km on the libre (free) road through tope-ridden villages. (In Oaxaca, topes are called “reductors.”)
After spending more than a month in the cooler elevations we left Hierve El Agua and headed for Chiapas State via the southern route which drops down to the Pacific coast. (The coast is allegedly gorgeous, but at this time of the year it’s a sauna.) When we pulled into the Pemex station in La Ventosa for the night the temperature was 97F. The temperature inside the camper was 91F. After 20 minutes the temperature had risen to 95F. And that’s with both fans going and all the windows open. But it’s a dry heat – like a broiler.
To get to La Ventosa we drove through a huge wind farm with thousands of huge wind turbines. Road signs in the area show an icon of wind blowing a truck over.
The highlight of the day’s drive (313 km) was seeing my first…VW pickup truck. But the scenery was fantastic.