1998-2012 EarthRoamer

Creeping Along

By this time, I'm mentally and physically exhausted and I'm beginning to doubt my ability to get out of this predicament safely. At my current speed, my GPS is telling me that I will make it to Ciudad Constitucion in about 30 hours! It could be a lot worse I remind myself; I could be walking instead of sitting in an air-conditioned truck. I begin to think of friends at home, and my resolve to make it safely back home begins to rise. All is not bad. My Cummins engine is still running and I'm still moving. I have plenty of water, plenty of food, and a secure shelter. I am not sick or injured and I'm driving along in an air-conditioned truck. If it takes 30 hours, it takes 30 hours.

I proceed to creep along at incredibly slow speeds, frequently riding the brake pedal and using my exhaust brake to slow the truck to less than 1 mph on the roughest sections. With the temperature at over 100 degrees outside, I keep a close eye on oil, water and ATF temperatures. Even with steep grades, the air conditioner running, and the torque converter not locked up at such slow speeds, all fluid temperatures are well within the safe range. My Mag-Hytec double deep transmission pan is keeping the tranny cool, even under these torturously hot and rough conditions. Today, my Mag-Hytec tranny pan is worth its weight in gold.

After eight hours of driving, I am only 12 miles closer to my destination. I have probably driven 24 miles to get 12 straight-line miles and I've hit the roughest roads I have seen so far in Mexico. All day driving, and I've only covered a little over a fourth of the distance I need to travel to reach Ciudad Constitucion. At this rate, it will easily take me a couple of days to get to my destination. I should be discouraged, but instead my resolve is strengthened and I am firmly committed to reaching my objective.

It's dark out, and I'm getting hungry, so I just stop in the road and crawl back into my camper for a sandwich. I have decided that since the temperature is well over 100 degrees during the day, I will drive all night while the temperatures are cooler. There is no traffic on these trails and I have extensive driving lights, so at my slow speed the risk of hitting anything is negligible.

While eating, I get my latitude and longitude from my GPS and try to plot my position on my AAA map. I was hoping to pass through San Luis Gonzaga, since my guidebook says that the road from San Luis Gonzaga to Ciudad Costitucion is a "good" road. As near as I can tell, I am on an unmapped trail far west of San Luis Gonzaga. This is discouraging news. There is a very real chance that I will get to an impassible spot and will either run out of fuel or have to backtrack and find another route.

After eating, I begin driving again in the darkness, and quickly realize that even with all of my driving and off highway lights illuminated it is still too difficult to judge the terrain on the rough trails. I get to a particularly rough section, and after three attempts at getting through I realize how truly exhausted I've become. I realize that if I try to keep driving I will most certainly make a bad situation much worse. I abandon my plan to drive through the night.

I pull partly off the road and my truck is badly off level, but this will be my camp for the night. I crawl into bed and just as I'm falling asleep, I'm rudely awakened by a truckload of Mexican kids screaming and yelling as they drive by. At first, I think I'm dreaming since I've seen no one in eight hours of driving, but sure enough, they come driving by again. I pop my head up through the hatch on my roof and watch them drive away. They probably saw my lights and came out to investigate. I sure will be glad when daylight comes and I can be on my way.

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