12 May 2009

Motoring in Mexico

If by now any of my readers might assume that my favorite pastime is gathering information about Mexico they would be quite right. I am fascinated with this country and its people and especially its long and colorful history. Today I came across a booklet that I acquired some time ago and I thought I would share it with you. It is called "Motoring in Mexico" and it was printed by the Travel Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the Pan American Union in Washington, D.C. in 1958. It is a "compilation of information on highways and facilities for the motorist". In addition to information for the tourist entering Mexico it includes maps of the major trunk highways. It also lists the condition of the highways as either "paved" or "non-paved. Almost without exception these highways were only two lane. Alongside the highway maps there are a parallel maps showing the elevations. Some of the elevation changes are quite abrupt and for the roads and the cars of a half century ago some of these must have been quite startling. To illustrate what I am talking about I have included four maps below. Note, for example the elevation change between Tamazunchale, which the old folks nicknamed "Thomas & Charley" and Jacala. The road climbs 5000 feet in the span of just a few miles. I'll bet your ears would pop on that one. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.




9 comments:

Steve Cotton said...

As The Joker said of Batman, in the orginal -- and better -- movie: "Those toys! Where does he get those wonderful toys?" I am in wonder at your toys, Bob.

Chrissy and Keith said...

Nice work Bob. I love maps. I can read maps of Mexico all day long. We have a rather large one on our wall here at home and I must have dozens of others in all different kinds of form. Some fold like maps, some are book bound, some I downloaded and printed. Does that make me a Map nerd?

Amanda said...

Very nice, I love that you research so much on Mexico, I don't have time to do the research so I just read your blogs. lol
I wish I had more time to read your blogs of the past. I'm getting there though. ;)

Bob Mrotek said...

Steve,
A challenge...you now live in a very interesting area. It is one end of an old Spanish land bridge from the Philippine trade to Veracruz at the other end. I am waiting to see what interesting stuff you come up with :)

Crissy & Keith,
I never met a map I didn't like and if that makes me a nerd too then so be it :)

Amanda,
Patience, amiga, poco a poco you will have enough time to piece together a very fulfilling life. You are a very intelligent lady and I admire your strength and energy. Hang in there :)

Constantino said...

Now I understand a little why there are so many "water stations" everywhere on the roads with gradient changes. I have never seen anyone use them, radiators must have been not as efficient in the old days, or may water too expensive?

glorv1 said...

Motor on Bob. I'm glad I only motor to get gas, work out, and grocerys, and oh yeah the nursery. I don't motor much but I do have a motor mouth.lololol Take care Bob.

YayaOrchid said...

I too marvel at your ability to find the most interesting little gadgets and toys to educate us your readers! Motor on, Profesor!

American Mommy in Mexico said...

Those elevation maps would be useful while driving in MX - a warning to the 340 degree turns as the elevation rises ...

The Calico Quilter said...

Good Heavens - and I thought driving over the mountains in the U.S. was bad. I have owned a succession of small, underpowered cars in my life that wouldn't have made it on those roads. I would love to see the highway between Tamazunchale and Jacala but I doubt I'd like to drive it!

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.