Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Trucks, trucks and more trucks. I'd say 50 percent of the vehicles on the road that we drove today in Mexico were trucks. Big 18-wheelers pulling "dobles," tanker trucks, flatbeds loaded with oversized loads, old trucks, new trucks.......a steady caravan of merchandise going in both directions, into Mexico and to the United States. Fortunately Mex 57 has been expanded to 4 lanes and much of it is toll road now although when we first started this regular drive to San Miguel some 9 or 10 years ago, most of it was two lanes. Talk about your white knuckle driving through the mountains, this was it.

Caravans of older small trucks, pickups and vans were also on the road. One caravan that we saw a couple of times was about 8 trucks all with New York license plates. Each vehicle was packed with boxes and more stuff was covered with tarps on the top. The vehicles had "car permits" on them and we wondered if they were passing through Mexico or if they were being brought in to be sold and registered in Mexico. This must be a good business because we saw at least 3 different caravans like this.

Somewhere around Saltillo there is a factory that makes truck chassis. The Chassis isn't trucked to Queretaro where it is finished out. No, it is driven. When we first saw this we were astounded. The men with their faces wrapped in scarves drove the open chassis by sitting on a wooden crate that was tied to the frame. Things have improved. Now they wear a motorcycle helmet and they have a seat belt to help hold them on the crate. They also seem to have some windbreaker type pants and jackets. Today at one place where we saw them, the car computer said the outside temperature was 26 degrees and here are these guys driving down the highway about 50 or 60 miles an hour sitting on the wooden crate with a motorcycle helmet.

All along the highway are tiny tiendas and cocinas which are actually a one room house with an awning and someone cooking on a fire outside. There are so many of them, I've never been able to figure out how the truckers know which ones to stop at but over and over you see so many of them abandoned or with no business and then there will be one with six 18-wheelers pulled off the road to eat there. What is it? How do the truckers know which place has good food?

There is one overpass near San Luis Potosi where for several years we have seen young women just sitting under the overpass with big shoulder bags or else talking to the truckers that have stopped there. The women are wearing lots of makeup, have tight, tight jeans and provocative tops. Always, always, there are trucks stopped there and there is no cocina or restaurant in the vicinity. Our assumption has been that they are hookers. I've wondered how they do their business in the truck cab with those tight jeans. Oh, well, another kind of a "truck stop."

We stopped for the night at a motel next to the highway. All night you could hear the sounds of these big trucks swooshing past. A never ending caravan up on side of the highway and down the other.

Today I was wondering about these men who drive these trucks. Do they make good money for Mexico? How long are they on the road at a time?
Even in Mexico, what a hard way to make a living

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Those driven truck frames would make some good photos. I have seen the caravans of used cars coming from the States both here in Mexico and in New Mexico heading south. Round these parts cars don't hold up long as the roads beat the life out of them.
Calypso Juan in Xico