Trucks / Stories / Pictures


HS Schoch

Dangerous Shortcut to Sinaloa

On narrow roads from Tijuana to Mexico's heartland

On the spot where Jose Carlos Diaz ended his life his family or his friends have built a small shrine. But it tells a lot of the story. Of course there is a bukett of red plastic roses. The colour of the artificial flowers makes it easy to spot all the many places where fatal accidents have occured. And there is a picture showing the mexican truck driver and his white Kenworth truck, pulling a refrigerated semi. Also there is some debris that was left after the accident, some of it can be identified as smashed parts of the spoiler. For the rest - you have to snap a look of the road, coming dowhnhill in the northern direction and bending into a vado, a sandy riverbed. It's a tricky corner, and unfortunately it was the road to perdition for Jose Carlos Diaz.

In the Nortth of the Baja Calofiornia the roads are wider and it's an easy drive on the toll road between Ensenada and San Diegos counterpart Tijuana on the mexican side of the unbelievable border fence separting the rich from the poor. But when the truckies drive south, roads become more and more narrow. South of El Roasario the tarmac may give just enough space for two Korean passenger cars - but definitely not for two trucks. There is only a handspan of air between the camiones, when they meet on this stretch of the Mex 1.

What makes driving even more difficult is the fact that there is no "safety zone" where asphalt ends. Either the multy layerd tarmac is forming a big step before the desert begins or rains and storms have washed away the sandy ground - and the end of the road is the beginning of a canyon.

Last year the Army had to help when storms swept away some bridges and the road was blocked for several days. Mex 1 is not only linking the two provinces that form the Baja California. Many truck drivers coming or going to the Western part of the country use the road as a quick link to the province of Sinaloa in the Mexican heartlands. It's exactly 1473 kilometers from Tijuana to La Paz at the southern tip of the Baja. And from there the camioneros have many vessels bringing them to different destinations on the mainland.

Around Ensenada we meet some truck drivers waiting to pick up a fresh load in the vincinity of the harbour. The container truckers might not now how many kilometeres they make within one year. But they now that they make some 55 US-$ per day with their job, and that is good money in poor Mexico. Even if the job might be dangerous...

for the whole story contact: Richard Kienberger