Posted by Grant on December 13, 2006, 10:44 pm, in reply to "Sites of interest traveling home to Texas"
Ricardo--Darrell's idea about the Pacific coast is a good one, but after a while in LaManz, you may be ready for something different. Hiway 85 runs parallel to the Gulf of Mexico (which is 80-100 miles to the east of the road)and to the Sierra Madre Oriental, which runs some 40-60 miles to the west of the road. The country to the west of the road (much of it known as the Huasteca) is very wild, with several untamed rivers I'd like to explore some day. Stretches of the eastern slope of the Sierras (in other words, 40 or so miles west of Hiway 85) hold the northern-most tropical rainforest that exists on the planet, complete with many birds not found farther north. The road, from south to north, passes thru Pachuca (ugly flat desert city), Tamazunchale (pretty country , but strange town with apparently only two hotels, both located too close to the noisy main drag--plan to stay somewhere else that night), then a stretch of beautiful, lushly vegetated mountains and valleys with really wild-looking rivers, then Ciudad Valles, Ciudad Victoria (where you can tell you're getting closer to the border), Linares, Montemorelos, and finally crossing the border at Reynosa/McAllen, a more pleasant crossing than Laredo. Be sure to go around Monterrey (the "Pittsburgh of Mexico"), which has air pollution sometimes worse than Mexico City or Guadalajara. There are some wild stretches through pine forests south and west of Tamazunchale, in the area around Parque Nacional Los Marmoles. Once you got to that area, you could visit Xilitla, home of "Las Posas", a surrealist village/sculpture project constructed in the 1970's (?) throughout acres of rainforest by the locals under the direction of a rich eccentric Scotsman (Salvador Dali has been quoted as saying that himself and other surrealist painters were only amateurs, but that the guy that designed Las Posas was the real thing.). You can rent a cottage in the jungle in the Las Posas project itself for about $35/nite, but be aware that the mosquitoes can be bad just before and after sunset.|
If you're wanting a little-travelled road across the Sierra Madre Oriental, you can take a road that starts just east of Queretaro (it looks like Hiway 123 on my map, but I can't be sure because it's worn)through Bernal, Jalpan, Landa de Matamoros, and then down into Xilitla.
I'm not aware of anything interesting north of Ciudad Victoria, but the country between Tamazunchale and Victoria is gorgeous. Also, although Hiway 85 s well-built, it is very winding--one whole day I didn't drive any faster than 35mph because of all the switchbacks. Also, be prepared for more topes (road humps) than you've seen in any other part of Mexico--the state of Hidalgo should be renamed Topelandia. Despite the slowness of the road (or maybe because of it), I really enjoyed the drive. If you should happen to wind up in the town of Huejutla, 54 kilometers east of Tamazunchale, go to the Restauran Catedral--they have the best enchiladas I have ever had, and I've made a project of trying to find the best. I asked the cook what was in the sauce, and all she would tell me is "chile rojo y chile verde". Do be advised, though that because of the greatest concentration of topes in the world, the 54 kilometers from Tamazunchale to Huejutla takes an hour and a half.
I'm not sure about a route across central Mexico to get to 85 because I drove down 85 to get to Oaxaca last year and then drove up the west coast to LaManz. Two interesting cities you might pass near if you drive east from LaManz are Morelia and Guanajuato. With a little imagination, in either of those cities you could think you were in Spain instead of Mexico.
You said you wanted to make the drive in 3 days, but unless you plan to blast through on the autopistas, I'd allow 5 days. Bueno suete.
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