14 km of hell on hw 55

Trip Start Jul 04, 2010
Trip End May 10, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hostal Teshocutilia

Flag of Mexico  , México,
Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tenango de Arista at 2454 m to Oculan de Arteagua at 2200 m

36km/ Trip Alt 400m/ Max alt 2533m/Avg climb 4%/ Max climb 13%

Fabulous route not on any map we checked, except for extremely busy HW 55 for first 14km; Tenango-->Joquicingo HW 4 -->Piaxtla--> Ocuilan.

On our way out of town we stopped at restaurant for a delicious bowl of Aztec soup. An odd choice for breakfast but satisfied just the same. A creamy tomato base with soft cheese, tortillas, avocado and chicharones (deep-fried pork skin). Served with fresh bread.

Soon we found ourselves fighting for space on the narrow shoulder-less HW 55 with a steady stream of stinking trucks, buses, and cars. It was our most nerve-wrecking 16 km's of our entire trip. Trying to stick to that measly white line is a chore in the best of circumstances but while strugling to make it up those hills and being missed by inches by black smoke spewing monster trucks is enough to give the jitters.

We were thrilled when we spotted a guy in the small town of San Pedro with a little juice business out of the back of his pick-up truck, about 2 km from the turn-off on HW 4 towards Malinalco +Chalma. We polished off a liter of carrot/mandarin juice in no time.

It was a steep 5km climb when we left highway 55 for highway 4. But the orange juice guy was right about the traffic, it was much lighter and the best part was the lack of big trucks. So we all had room to ride. Beautiful patchwork of fields spread in all directions on the hilly terrain. Lavender was added to the sprinkling of wildflowers along the road. Just before the pass, we passed through pine and oak forests on both sides of the road. We made it over the 1st big pass then dropped into the town of Joquicingo.

Ladies were making blue tortilla quesadillas on the corner, a perfect place for a lunch stop. From there, it was ups and downs through sheep country. It was early yet when we got to a hand painted sign that read ‘hotel’ 100 meters. We had no idea if there would be any hotel in Ocuilan, so we checked this one out. It was a simple hostel above a store with shared showers and toilets. And right in front of a little church.

Good enough. We showered at went for dinner. The hostel owner said there was no place to eat nearby, we would have to go to the carretera (highway). We could not find much, so Ramen noodles began to look like a possibility. We settled on buying the only remaining chicken at the rotisserie chicken place and took it back to our room. We were surprised that we almost demolished the whole bird.
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Jodean & Hans on

The narrow road with all that truck and car traffic sounds hair raising. Good that you two were able to find a less traveled route. The soup for breakfast sounds great. Try to collect some of the recipes for these local dishes. It would be nice to try some of the foods you have encountered on your trip.
Take care and stay clear of those diesel fume spuwing trucks. J&H

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