Thursday, April 3, 2008

On the home stretch

Odyssey at Tres Marias restaurant

We are parked in front of the restaurant Tres Marias, on Mexico 16 a few miles east of the ghost town of El Morrión (map). According to my mapping software, we are less than two hours from Ojinaga and the border crossing to Presidio, Texas.

We had not really intended to come quite this far yesterday. Our goal was to be all the way through Ciudad Chihuahua, stopping perhaps just beyond the outskirts, where our map showed the town of Juan Aldama. Ironically, we had stopped at a Pemex just a few km short of Aldama to change a fuel filter (we've been noticing a lack of power on take-off), which would have made a good overnight stop.

The drive from Ricardo Flores Magón was pleasant and swift -- the toll road, while only two lanes and undivided, was posted at 100kph (62mph), which is about as fast as we ever drive. In contrast, most of the roads we've been on have been posted at 80 max (50mph). The privilege cost us $130 pesos ($12.50), though -- the diesel to go around the free route would have been cheaper.

The stretch of Mexico 45 from the intersection of the cuota to Chihuahua was familiar to us, since we did it last October on our caravan. As we arrived in the city, we found the new bypass around the east side of town, missing most of the traffic, stoplights, and bustle of Chihuahua.

Once past the bulk of the city, we headed east on Mexico 16, stopping briefly at the aforementioned Pemex. Just a few minutes later, we arrived at Juan Aldama, only to find that large vehicle traffic (that would be us) is diverted around the town completely on a bypass. This had us passing no businesses suitable for an overnight stop, and facing the prospect of either turning back into the town, where who knows what low wires or other bus-traps might exist, or backtracking to the Pemex several km back towards Chihuhua.

We opted instead to press on ahead, reasoning that surely there would be a roadside business of some sort, at least in the town of El Morrión if not sooner. After another half hour of driving, our disappointment was palpable when El Morrión came into view -- an abandoned cluster of buildings along the train tracks, down an impassable (for us) dirt road. We continued on over the next rise, and were relived to find this solitary business here in the valley, with a spectacular view of the hills we just traversed.

Today we will reach Ojinaga, where we will seek out a Pemex with diesel so we can fill up before crossing the Rio Bravo Del Norte (Rio Grande). If they don't take credit cards (most Pemex franchisees do not), we'll also need to find an ATM to get some cash.

We'll likely be in Texas by day's end.


  1. Sean and Louise, it's nice to read about your Mexico adventures. We cannot take our coach into Mexico as we have the new engine (unless we can get in and out within 1,000 miles). Maybe one day Mexico will sell ULSD.
    Travel safe!
    Mark in PS, CA.

    PS. I'm not really anonymous, not sure how to put my name on top.

  2. If you find the campground has too many trees and you don't need hookups, there's an open free spot near a corral a couple miles west of park headquarters at 2920.325N 10315.423W. FWIW (2000 info)



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