Thursday, June 05, 2014

The friendly roads.......

On the roads in Mexico is  indeed a experience. Lots of things come to mind.
Little things that make you appreciate life in Mexico because you have the freedom to do lots of stuff that you would be hauled off to jail in the states.

Let's start of with driving. Here you hardly every see speed limit signs. That is probably because even they are posted, no one, and I mean no one pays any attention to them.

On the AutoPista, which is our toll roads, they are clean, no garbage on the road or on the side of the road, because individual concessionaires bid for the contract to operated this gold mine.

So, they meticulously clean the roads so that you don't have that lone pebble float into your windshield and pit it. The AutoPistas usually will have a speed limit of 120 km per hour. That is about 75 miles per hour. When you drive 75 miles per hour it is not uncommon for cars to pass you doing about 90 or 100 mph.

I usually will set the cruise control for about 80 and still have 90% of the cars pass me.

Automatic Expandable Lanes, is another benefit of the highways here.
You can be driving and a two lane highway, one lane each directions and you will be forced over to the shoulder which is paved.

In essence the two lane becomes a 4 lane, with slower traffic always hugging the shoulder.

The next bastion of freedom on the roads is that there are bathrooms everywhere adjacent to the toll booths on the autopistas. However on the highways there are not.

 It is common to see a car or truck pulled over on to the shoulder with it's driver or sometimes one or all passengers, off to the side of the road looking away from the highway reliving themselves.
The government save tons of money not having to build rest-stops every 5 miles or so.

Here it is perfectly acceptable to wizz of to the side of the road.

Just try that in the states....not only will you get hauled off to the clink, but depending on the vantage point of where you might be doing it, lewd and indecent exposure charges are just the beginning.

If the cop is a nice guy he will hold off charging you with exposing yourself to a minor etc, which automatically brings with it a lifelong burden you will never get rid of.

Now when you happen to run low on gas you can pull over to one of the thousands of Pemex gas stations. There are so many gas stations sometimes, that you will find them across the street from each other and down the road within a 1/4 of a mile.
When you drive up, one or two attendants will come and fill your tank, clean your windshield and ask you if you need the water and oil checked or the pressure in the tires.
That use to be the norm in the states about 50 years ago, and in Oregon they still do that.  I think Oregon is the only state that has that law that you yourself can't fill your tank.

Once the attendant gives you your change, it is usually customary to give him or her a tip. Usually a 10 peso coin, unless they didn't clean your obviously dirty windshield.

Most often you will also find an convenience store located with or alongside the gas stations. The most popular one is OXXO where you can get fresh coffee to ice cold beer and lot of other items.   (OXXO is kind of like a 7/11 store)

Bathrooms are usually very clean and often have attendants providing supplies and keeping the riffraff out. They would also customarily get a tip, usually about 5 pesos or less.

While driving on the highways you will often pass a green tow truck parked on the side of the road. That is what is called the Green Angels.

The Green Angels is a free service to aid travelers on the highway. They are trained mechanics that cruise the highways helping stranded motorist who happen to run out of gas, have a flat tire or anything that impacts your driving on the highway. It is a free service by the Secretary of Tourism of Mexico.

Driving in the cities is sometimes challenging if you are not use to the aggressive nature  required to move forward.  I have gotten use to it and actually enjoy not being hampered by crappy drivers like there are NOB, where then often sit day dreaming long after the light has changed. Or worse yet, getting behind someone who is not sure of where they are going or not confident of their driving skills.
Here you often cue up two and three abreast at intersections to make left turns. The traffic in large cities moves very efficiently because of the energetic drivers.

On highways that are being repaired the opposing traffic is detoured to use one of the opposing lanes. In the states that kind of road condition would be preceded with cones 5 miles before and after. Here there are some cones, some painted rock and if you really lucky a guy waving a red piece of cloth telling you to slow down. It is unusual to see traffic backed up in situations like that, because everyone seems to know what is expected and traffic moves at the speed limit or a little less. NOB it would be slowed down to 20 miles an hour, causing a backup.

Gotta love driving down here!

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