Possibly the longest drive EVER

After Troncones we headed to Acapulco to stay a night or two before we drove the 6.5 hours to Puerto Escondido. Acapulco turned out to be what we thought it would be – busy and too touristy, though the 60s and 70s remnants of Acapulco’s heyday were pretty sweet. We decided that one night was more than enough for us in Acapulco.

BAH…the next day started out like it was going to rock! We were up at 7:30am feeling good and ready to get on our way to the beach. Since we left the hotel at 8am we thought it would be a great idea to pick up some groceries at the Mega (aka Mexican Superstore) to save some money before arriving in PE. So we Mega’ed, went to the bank and then headed out of town. We gassed up and asked for directions to make sure we were on the right highway, “Si….si si derecho, derecho, derecho!” (yes straight, straight, STRAIGHT!) nodded our Pemex man. SWEET! The crazy driving in Acapulco was soon to be over! We headed…yup straight and all we came to was the airport and a dead end…we pulled a u-turn and tried another way which too was wrong. At the same time this was happening Marlin’s back tire started to squeak upping the irritation factor to a dangerous level. Then we asked some nice guys at another gas station who pointed us in the right direction, the problem was the entrance to the highway was under construction so we were feeling a bit clueless as to how to get on the highway. Just as Tom spotted the detour route the tourist police pulled up and shouted at us in Spanish. I happily thought they were going to help us get around the detour. I was all like smiley and happy then the guy came up and asked to see Tom’s license…uhhhhhhhhhh like this is what we needed to deal with some guy wanting a bribe. So we got out the photocopy of Tom’s license (we keep only copies in the glove box) and then the “policeman” aka tourist police which is not the same deal starts going on about how we did not respect the signs, were speeding and, since we refused to hand over anything but a copy of the license, were driving without a license and so we had to pay a fine of 4000 pesos ($400 USD) or he would impound the car and put Tom is jail.

Thanks to many friends in Mexico we stood our ground, refused to hand over any original copies and finally agreed that we should all go to the station. All of a sudden Tom asks for the cop’s ID and badge, which put the ball back in our court. He asked why and Tom smartly replied that we needed to show our embassy to make sure there are no problems when we return home! It definitely shut the guy up. He then said he would do us a favour, we only had to pay two fines and then we could go. We agreed and told him we would follow him to the station to “make sure all the paperwork is done correctly” and lo and behold his “boss” decided that we only deserved a warning and then pointed out the way to get to PE. We wore that man down! As we burned rubber we noticed another poor tourist being apprehended for some ridiculous traffic violation.

Yay the open road….we start motoring as we had lost a good hour driving in circles and being harassed by the cops. Thinking we had only the open road ahead of us we started to put some more miles on Marlin. We went through about 4 military checkpoints one of which requested to see Tom’s passport and both of us were on edge thinking that they were going to rip our car apart, fortunately for us they decided we were not worth the hassle.

As we crossed from Guerrero state to Oaxaca we were sure that we would make it to Puerto Escondido in the next few hours when I noticed that all the cars ahead of us were stopped. Naturally I was thinking this could be one of those highway robbery setups but turns out it was actually a road block as there was some sort of strike against the government going on and, this was the ONLY highway through. So, in the 35 degree heat with no A/C, we literally sweated out the strike which was supposed to end 4 hours later. Some version of luck must have decided that we had put up with enough and the rain started down and the roadblock let up after 1.5 hours.

We restarted the drive for what felt like the 10th time and reached PE at 8pm after dodging huge potholes in the tropical storm Odile…good times. This was one of the last things but maybe the best thing we saw on the LONG drive.


Just your average drive in Mexico from Kels M on Vimeo.

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  1. PAUL’s avatar

    I plan a trip from texas to Panama and am concerned about outlaws in remote locations on Mexico highways as the country seems to be fast degrading in public safety with US embassy travel warnings & such. Any updated info would be greatly appreciated

  2. kels’s avatar

    Hi Paul,

    I have heard there have been more warnings as of late about Mexico. We made sure to ask around about the roads we were taking as well as whether there had been any recent carjackings. We were pretty lucky with our time in Mexico and managed to avoid any issues except a few cop run-ins. Our advice it to call the embassy to get the most up-to-date information and make sure to ask locals about the situation of the roads. Don’t drive at night and stick to toll roads. For more driving information check out http://drivetheamericas.com hope this helps!