Driving in Mexico means that you are focused ALL the time. Inside the cities there are a lot of people, cars, bikes, motorbikes, buses and a lot of things are happening at the same time. Driving there while looking for a place, is extremely difficult and Herman is absolutely amazing at it.
We left Matamoros and drove on an exquisite road to Tampico with mountains in the distance. Really nice views and very few cars and lots of transport trucks, but overall pretty quiet.
The GPS maps we purchased for Mexico are adequate, but they did not totally get the one-ways right in Tampico.
On "Throat Punch" Thursday we left our hourly motel on the designated hour and it was still dark outside. Herman wanted to got to an ATM to get some cash and we followed the GPS up a dark road and ended up turning into a one-way. Herman immediately realized, stopped and turned back to the right street to continue. Unfortunately, there was a cop car quietly driving along which immediately turned on its lights. He came to the window and indicated that he was going to ticket us for the infraction. We both said OK, and then he asked where we were headed. Herman said we were looking for an ATM. After some broken Spanish and lots of hand signals, we understood that we were to follow them. They drove us to the ATM in town. After some serious negotiation and demanding to go to the police station, Herman ended up paying the two cops $140 pesos. We did not get an official ticket, but we did pay a fine, which was not too much overall.
The rest of the morning was absolutely the worst driving conditions we had ever seen. We paid $300 pesos in toll fees throughout the day and until just after lunch, Herman had to dodge potholes that looked like the ramps in Ottawa for 300 km without fail. In the afternoon about 100 km outside Veracruz, the road condition was good again and the scenery immaculate. At the last turn we made a major mistake and took the wrong exit going through the most expensive toll booth of the day twice in 10 minutes. Luckily there are "retornos" on the highways, so you don't have to go forever once you go the wrong way.
In Vercruz, the GPS directions worked well and we found an awesome pet friendly resort type hotel: Hotel Suites Mediterraneo. I think we will chill here for an extra day to give the driver a well deserved break. Bring on a meal and a beer!