I have some other things to post about Tlacotalpan but want to send this while it is fresh.  We decided to visit Oaxaca, about 170 miles away, and were advised to take the beautiful drive through the mountains.  It would take six or eight hours, depending on who told us.  Yesterday morning we left at 8:45.  The first thirty miles or so followed the river through many small towns filled with people and “topes”.  Topes are the speed calming bumps found in every town, large and small.  They are extremely effective at slowing traffic to a crawl.
          At the last town before entering the mountains, we stopped for a couple of delicious tacos at a roadside stand.  Fortuitous as it turned out; it was our last food for nine hours.
          Once leaving the city of Tuxtepec the road begins to climb, twisting and turning in never ending sharp curves.  From there it is 70 miles to Oaxaca.  Our usual rate of speed was 25MPH, never getting over 40.  The vegetation became tropical with much of it reminding me of the Costa Rica rain forest.  There were breathtaking vistas around every curve and terrifying drops along the road.  The road itself was surprisingly good, although narrow.
        There were no villages although we occasionally saw corn planted on hillsides so steep that I couldn’t have stood on one and a couple of times we could see the tin roof of a structure below the edge of the road.  It was a wild and desolate place with barely any traffic.  Ferns as tall as trees grew in places and other lush trees and shrubs overhung the road.
            Rounding a curve we nearly ran into a tractor-trailer semi blocking the road.  It was hard to imagine how he had made it so deep into the mountains but he could not negotiate the curve.  He tried to back up and got crosswise stopping traffic in both directions.  The tractor itself went off the road into a gully and stuck there.
          Within two hours there long lines of cars backed up in both directions and dozens of men, each with his own idea about what to do.  Since Max doesn’t speak Spanish, he couldn’t add his advice but he was convinced that the trailer couldn’t be moved.
          First they tried hacking down the brush around the tractor wheels and rocking it out like we do when stuck in the snow, but that failed.  Then someone came up with the brilliant idea of putting oil under the rear wheels of the trailer.  Most of the men got on one side and started pushing.  The trailer rocked off the dual wheels and it looked like they would tip it over before it would move.  Suddenly it started to slide.  They finally slid the rear of the tractor far enough to the side to allow a narrow path around it. 
         Those of us in cars and pick up trucks were able to squeeze around the trailer.  On the other side we passed a long line of vehicles waiting, most with no idea what was holding things up.  There were two big buses and several big trucks.  I can’t imagine that they could navigate the narrow space.  There was a steep ditch on the side of the road.
         We finally reached Oaxaca after dark.  It had taken us 10-1/2 hours but we felt fortunate that we weren’t camped in the middle of the mountains.