After thoroughly enjoying 4 days in Xalapa I left about 6:30 the morning of July 4. In keeping with my preferences, I opted for the secondary roads heading to the Northeast, rather than returning to Veracruz and the main road North. The road wound through the densely vegetated mountains and was a fairly slow go, especially when stuck behind a truck on a winding upgrade. However, the countryside was beautiful and the drive took me through every city, pueblo, and wide spot in the road along the way.
Not too far out of Xalapa I came upon a fellow sitting beside the road with six large sacks. He gestured that he was looking for a ride so I stopped; backed up; we loaded his sacks, each of which I’m certain weighed more than 100 pounds; and away we went to Martinez del Torre. The bags, I soon learned, were filled with plants he had gathered from the mountains and which he was taking to town to sell to gardeners. I helped him unload his bags in Martinez de la Torro and took him to pick up his tricycle with which he would deliver is plants.
Eventually I arrived on the coast in the town of Naulta and headed North, along what is called The Emerald Coast. The road carried little traffic even though the road is lined with hotels and restaurants. I learned later that August is the peak month for visits to the area. I seems the area would be a nice vacation spot for those who don’t want to hang out with other gringos when vacationing. There is an airport not far up the road at Poza Rica.
A ways up the coast I drove past a restaurant with a large grill filled with cooking meat out front. The aroma of the grilling meat entered and lingered in my truck, even after about a half mile. So I stopped, turned around, and returned for a lunch of mixed grilled meat, onions, and cheese together with the omnipresent black beans and tortillas. As usual in Mexico more was served than I could eat.
From the Emerald Coast the road moved inland a bit, passed through Poza Rica, and returned to the coast at the city of Tuxpam. I did not stop in either City as I wanted to cover some ground after spending so much time in Xalapa.
The road leaving Tuxpam toward Tampico was atrocious, consisting of a muddy, pot holed terror. Though the mud soon ended the pot holes didn’t. I have found that the roads in Veracruz state are terrible compared to those in Yucatan, Campeche and Tampico. On the other hand I found Veracruz much cleaner than those other states. I noticed the Veracruz state governments is conducting an anti-litter campaign with billboards and TV ads.
At Tampico I passed through the city as I had decided to continue on to Altamira, just to the North, to look for a hotel. As it turned out Altamira was a huge industrial park with no hotels, so I continued on. As my good fortune would have it I ended up on a beautiful two lane Tamaulipas state road, with very little traffic, that wound its way through a beautiful coastal plain. I had no idea when I might arrive someplace with a hotel for the night, but eventually came to Aldama and the Delores Hotel, a very modern building with rooms for $260 pesos. I found an internet cafe in town, later had a dinner of fried shrimp and all the fixings at the restaurant next door to the hotel, and called it a day.