2012 Roadtrip: Guachochi to Hidalgo del Parral and on to Torréon, Coahuila, Mexico

We left Guachochi at 10:12 for Hidalgo del Parral on Ruta 432 or Hwy. 25 and arrived at around noon (it was190km).  We had another new road (part of the Ruta 2010 system, we think) on our way to Hidalgo del Parral through the Sierra Tarahumara or what Audre calls Canyon Country or “País de Barrancas.” We were going through pine tree county too. It was a lovely curvy, up and down road (but not as curvy and up and down as the road from Creel to Guachochi was, so we made better time). We moved into prairie lands, then farmlands that were irrigated and very green in comparison to the desserty, sandy soil. The next portion of our drive was a wide plateau with some wide canyons. We were descending.

Rafael Aguirre in Guachochi had told us about a new and better road into Parrel that we took before getting to Balleza. We turned toward Del Rosario and El Tule (toward the Aeropista) and went 71 km on the new Hwy. 25. We passed through Huejotitán and we were driving through rolling brown hills with mountains in the distance and some irrigated areas of green. This terrain turned into a wide open desert with no place to stop and pee al fresco. We were listening to our CD and heard Vanessa Mae playing her distinctive, modern, classical violin. We had first heard her 10 years ago when we were in Europe and met her mother in Val d’Isere. It is a great CD that Dimitri made for our road trips with a mix of classical, jazz, new age and crooners.

We turned left onto the main highway, Hwy. 24, and it was in much worse shape than our Hwy. 25. It also had lots of truck traffic on it. In Parral, we stopped at the best hotel in town, a Howard Johnson, it was horrible. Actually, we drove up to it and turned around, thinking that we had gotten to the wrong hotel—what we saw couldn’t be a Howard Johnson. It was old, poorly maintained and smelly. Even so, we looked at a suite and at a standard room. Both were awful. We decided to keep driving to Torréon (4 more hours of driving) because there was no way we would stay in that hotel. (We posted our impression on TripAdvisor, BTW, to warn other people.)

The toll road to Torréon was great and we were moving at a speed of 80-85 mph (130 kph). We spent M$268 on tolls and it was well worth it for the 325 km. We were on Hwy. 45 to Jimenez and then Hwy 49 (and toll road 49D to Torréon. Along the highway was desert and prairie lands. We passed through the Zona del Silencio that we had been told about. There is evidently no telephone service or radio waves in the area and people report UFO sightings regularly.

The highway signs said beware of “tolvaneras” which we took note of. In Argentina, we had a close encounter (too close and it caused damage) with a goat which in Argentina was called a swelto.

We arrived in Torréon at 5:40 p.m. local time (there was a one hour time change) having driven 563.4 km total or 352.1 miles total that day. Its elevation was 1122 m and it is at 25° N. It was 100° with no breeze. Garmin got us to the hotel where we had a reservation for one night. Torréon is in Coahuila State and is an industrial town of around 600000 (but it really is part of several metropolitan areas, including Matamoros, Coahuila, and Gómez Palacio and Lerdo in adjacent Durango State) and had a population of around 1,215,993. We saw a Wal Mart and a Sam’s Club as soon as we got into town.

Dimitri had found and made a reservation at the Homewood Suites by Hilton (Calzuda Jose Vasconcelos No. 1935, Torreón, Coahuila 27272, tel. (871)222-5800, e-mail: telesforo.ferandez@hilton.com, web: www.torreon.homewoodsuites.com). The price for a one bedroom apartment (#312) was M$1222 (US$88) and we weren't sure what we would find. It was a new hotel, we had a full-ish kitchen (with dishwasher, disposal and burners) and a large separate, one bedroom and bathroom. Wow we were happy we pressed on from Parrel!

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