Bob Ray and Greg McQueen, laboring through violent thunderstorms and
somewhat less violent PJF checkpoints, made it to Poza Rica this morning at
approximately 0400 CDT. There they got some sleep, phoned home, and were
pushing off again at about 1130. From there the route would continue along
the coast toward Vera Cruz, the toll road south and east to Minatitlan,
and on eastward to Villa Hermosa, the last town of any significant size
until they reach the Yucatan.
The distance from Poza Rica to Villa
Hermosa, an industrial town in the narrowest stretch of Mexico between the
Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific, is about 480 miles. They should be able to
make it close to Villa Hermosa by tonight, unless they encounter serious
road construction or heavy traffic in the outskirts of Vera Cruz.
From Dallas to Poza Rica in about 26 hours is not ordinary tourism. They
were planning to stop for insurance and money exchange in McAllen. They
would then head west some 20 miles for some big bonuses in Rio Grande City
TX before crossing the border and turning back east, running along the
south side of the river. South of Matamoros they would recover the coast
road, cross the Tropic of Cancer, and put on another layer of sun block.
They apparently ran into more than moderate traffic on that section, as
well as a few PJF (Policia Judicial Federal, a/k/a Federales) checkpoints.
Those aren't shakedown stops, as in the old days. The PJF is the U.S.
equivalent of border patrol/state police. They are merely making sure that
our heroes' vehicle papers are in order and that they're not carrying drugs
For first-time visitors to Mexico, it's nonetheless a
disconcerting experience. The average age of the PJF officer is about
nineteen. He wears a black T-shirt, carries an automatic rifle, has a .45
stuck loosely in his belt, and doesn't speak a lot of English. That is a
description of someone you don't want to ignore. Often the best strategy
in dealing with the PJF is to keep repeating, "I'm sorry, but I don't speak
German" until they grow bored and wave you through.
Beyond Villa Hermosa the road forks at the village of Escarcega. Go north
to Merida then east to Cancun or east to Chetumal then north to Cancun.
The distance either way is about the same, but the bonuses are better on
the Chetumal route and the road is fast and desolate. If they can make it
anywhere near Cancun by tomorrow night, they should be in terrific shape.
As noted in an earlier post, virtually every decent bonus on the leg is in
that immediate area.
The Brew Crew II may not have continued. On the leg from Memphis to Dallas
their van was overheating and lobbing five quarts of oil onto the highway.
That's too bad. They'd have loved the beer in Mexico.
Ay yi yi yi!