“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”
– Miriam Beard
Some of my greatest holidays have been road trips through Mexico. Of course there have been countless drives to Oaxaca City; sometimes via Pochutla spending a cool evening with a fireplace in San Jose del Pacifico other times via Salina Cruz with stops in Matatlan to check out the mescal production. One of the most memorable road trips was with my daughter and husband in a 1972 VW bug which we christened ‘Gorgeous’. We drove to up the coast to Acapulco and then veered inland across a place called Infernillo which like its name denotes is an incredibly hot stretch. We were rewarded to arrive in Patzcuaro, Michoacan, a beautiful small city with a lake that has the island Janitzio in the center. We took a boat to the island and wandered around its steep streets- it reminded me of the Greek islands. From there we visited Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende. The climax of our trip was visiting the old mining town Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosi. This ‘ghost-town’ in the high and dry expanses of northern San Luis Potosí state was once a thriving silver mining settlement, has long been a pilgrimage site for both local Catholics and Huichol shamanists. The main road to Real de Catorce leaves Highway 62 between Matehuala and San Tiburcio. This is roughly to the east of Real, near the town of Cedral. From the main highway there is a 17-mile (27 km) cobblestone road which rises into the sierra, then the 2.4 km long Ogarrio Tunnel which only accepts vehicles one way (with travelers in and out having to wait their turn). Driving through this tunnel in our Gorgeous yet temperamental 1972 VW was otherworldly. As we emerged from the tunnel the town felt like a secret unfolding; stone buildings that had fallen into disrepair, broken road ways and plenty of people on horseback.
Road trips are amazing for seeing places way off the beaten track. Long hours spent in the car, especially if you have children are great for road games, sing-a-longs and ways for a family to reconnect. Warning, playing ‘punch buggy’ in this country can lead to many bruised arms.
This issue our writers explored cars; from Mexico’s booming car manufacturing to its interesting history and love for the VW bug to safety, maintenance and the adventures that come from dealing with insurance.
Enjoy and see you next month,