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Route: Durango to Zacatecas
Date: November 30, 2000
Logged By: Mike and Terri Church
Vehicle: 19-foot Class B Van

000.0 Miles (000.0 Km) -- Begin at the corner of Ave. Filipe Pescador and Blvd. Fco. Villa in northeast Durango and head east on Mex 45, it is signed for Zacatecas. This is a free road until very near Zacatecas.

000.7 Miles (001.1 Km) -- Large Ley supermarket on the right.

001.6 Miles (002.6 Km) -- Pemex #3939 on the right. It sells magna, premium, and diesel and is medium-sized with good access but not much truck parking.

007.5 Miles (012.1 Km) -- Cutoff to the right to Gómez Palacio, this is the outer Durango ring road.

007.8 Miles (012.6 Km) -- Road becomes two lane. This road has a moderately rough surface (lots of patches) and lot of hills and truck traffic, plan on averaging about 30 mph until past the town of Sombrerete. Kilometers count down to Zacatecas, you are now at Km 274.

031.8 Miles (051.3 Km) -- Enter small town of Nombre de Dios, the sign at the edge of town says there are 4,500 residents. Watch for topes (speed bumps) whenever you near a populated area. Topes are used instead of traffic cops, they work well to slow traffic. You can easily break a spring or ruin a tire if you hit one at any speed, watch how gingerly the truckers cross topes. Topes are so effective at slowing traffic that vendors often stand next to them selling a variety of things, usually wrapped in plastic bags.

032.5 Miles (052.4 Km) -- Pemex #1449 on the right. It sells magna, premium, and diesel and is medium-sized with good access.

033.1 Miles (053.4 Km) -- Leaving Nombre de Dios.

050.7 Miles (081.8 Km) -- Enter outskirts of Vicente Guerrero, population 13,500. The road only runs past the edge of town so it's not particularly crowded.

050.8 Miles (081.9 Km) -- Pemex #1457 on the right. It sells magna and diesel and has good access. We stop to buy gas. Magna is going for about $2.15 U.S. per gallon. Actually it sells in liters for pesos but we convert so we know what is going on. The price increases at the beginning of the month, it will be more expensive tomorrow so we fill both tanks to the top.

058.7 Miles (094.7 Km) -- Pemex #4937 on the left. It sells magna, premium, and diesel and is a huge place with lots of truck parking.

060.1 Miles (096.9 Km) -- State line, leaving Durango and entering Zacatecas.

076.6 Miles (123.5 Km) -- Entering the town of Sombrerete. A very interesting looking place, a massive green monolith overlooks the town and it has just rained. This town has a long history and several buildings worth stopping to see. The unusual light from the dark clouds and shafts of sunlight makes the landscape look like central Spain.

078.4 Miles (126.5 Km) -- Pemex #1453 on the left. It sells magna, premium, and diesel. Medium size with good access, not much truck parking.

078.7 Miles (126.9 Km) -- Out of Sombrerete. After a long hill climbing out of the gorge that the town occupies the road ahead looks good, the landscape is flatter and the surface in better condition. In fact we now are averaging about 45 mph and aren't risking our lives to do it.

120.2 Miles (193.9 Km) -- We cross the Tropic of Cancer. Most highways in Mexico have a globe-shaped monument erected on the line to mark it, this one is no exception.

128.8 Miles (207.7 Km) -- Pass through the town of Rio Florida, a small three-tope town.

132.1 Miles (213.1 Km) -- The road merges with Mex 45 which runs from Torreón to Zacatecas. It is a four-lane divided highway. In a few tenths of a mile there is a returno (u-turn route) for those wishing to drive north toward Torreón instead of south toward Zacatecas.

132.8 Miles (214.2 Km) -- Pemex on the left with magna, premium, and diesel and lots of truck parking.

137.6 Miles (221.9 Km) -- Exit for Fresnillo to the right. This is a large town. If you do not exit you will be on a toll road that runs around the town. If you get off the free road probably runs right through town. See below for the cost of convenience.

145.0 Miles (233.9 Km) -- Toll booth. Rates: auto - 16 pesos, 2 or 3 axles - 33 pesos, 4 or 5 axles - 46 pesos. The booth operator short-changed us, but only one peso. Still, you should count your change before driving off.

145.1 Miles (234.0 Km) -- Some free road traffic rejoins us. For the next few miles there are multiple exits from and entrance to the highway. We're not sure of the configuration of the free road so we can't give you advice about avoiding the next toll booth, but it's another inexpensive one anyway and it's late in the day.

159.9 Miles (257.9 Km) -- Pemex #2439 on the right. It is large with magna, premium, and diesel and some parking for trucks.

164.5 Miles (265.3 Km) -- Toll booth. Rates: auto - 8 pesos, two or three axles - 14 pesos, four or five axles - 40 pesos.

165.2 Miles (266.5 Km) -- The free road with lots of truck traffic rejoins us.

171.2 Miles (276.1 Km) -- Saltillo exit to left. The road we are on is widely divided at this point with traffic headed the other way at least a half-mile away. This road to the left crosses the distance and connects with Mex 54 which runs north to Saltillo from a junction with those opposing lanes.

174.7 Miles (281.8 Km) -- The lanes divide and run around a monument set in the middle of the road which is in the form of an obelisk.

177.1 Miles (285.6 Km) -- Intersection with Mex 54 from Guadalajara which intersects our highway from the right. Zacatecas is about four miles ahead.

See our book Traveler's Guide to Mexican Camping for information about camping in Zacatecas.

Copyright © 2001 Mike and Terri Church

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