El Salvador – wrong turns on the road

The difficulty of driving through the countries in Central America is the roads are not clearly marked, and I have run into mistaken routes quite a bit in El Salvador.

First, it was on the way to San Miguel, where I did not make a turn – I thought I was going straight, and ended up going along Lago de Llopango, which is just on the outskirts of San Salvador. Pretty scenery, but it is always a let down to know that you are not on the path that you wanted drive on.

San Salvador

Lago de Llopango, just outside of San Salvador

fisherman

Fisherman behind November 5 dam, southeast El Salvador Central America

The beauty of driving in El Salvador, it takes about 4 hours to cross the country, so even if you do make a wrong turn, the results are corrected within a short period.

On the road to San Miguel, I still cannot figure out the road that I missed. It led me to this road just outside of San Salvador, and going a short distance along the rim of the mountains, it was really a great ride. It just put me back some time for my arrival in San Miguel.

A well laid out and paved road, it was an easy ride up and down the mountains on this mistaken route.

The view of the land leading out to the Pacific Ocean was breathtaking, and this is a nice panorama shot of the view.

sunset

Sunset in the southeastern mountains, El Salvador Central America

Scenery along the road to the river

Like so many countries, the land’s controlled by a few people, and about 50% of the population lives below the poverty line.

It has to do with not only the control of land, but also the customs and traditions of the people.

To change, it takes a lot of effort and faith. Since the fighting just ended about 14 years ago, change takes time.

Spent the night in San Miguel, at the Hotel Colon, which seemed an appropriate name. It might have been me, as I was pretty tired when I arrived, but the hotel is off my agenda for any return visit.

Off the next day to Chalatenango, which is in the eastern part of the country. I thought I would travel along the river, cross and get into the city within a reasonable hour to find an inexpensive hotel to stay in. So much for a well thought out plan………

The problem was that I missed a turn, those darn little things!

The road going to the river was a brand new, not well-traveled, concrete road. Scenery of mountains and valleys was truly a sight to behold. Once I drove near the river, it turned into dirt.

I even did the unmanly thing of asking for directions, and the fellow said go up a bit, and then take a left.

Well, I know these locals, and when I saw the left, it did not look like a great road, so I decided to continue going straight. Whoops!

dam lake

This is the lake behind November 5 Dam, southeastern El Salvador Central America

Nov 5 dam

November 5 dam - one lane road across the dam El Salvador Central America

I even followed some federal, armed security guys, and honked my horn to see if I could get some help on figuring out my place.

They finally stopped, fingers gripping at their machine guns, and approached my car. I came out of the car slowly, all smiles, and politely open my arms, indicating I was lost.

We all looked at the map, showed them where I wanted to go, and they indicated that straight was the way – so, we all shook hands, and down this stupid gravel road I went.

The road that I should have taken would have taken me to San Antonio Ranchero, but the road I took led me further up the river, to November 5 Dam.

To the town of San Antonio de la Cruz – a different San Antonio “city”, and I did not want to arrive there!

There is a one lane road that goes across the bridge, and you have one guy at each end, 24/7, 365 days a year to let drivers know when it is safe to cross.

At this point, I am still trying to figure out where I am in this silly country. I cannot find my place on the map, and I am truly at a loss of my place in El Salvador.

Crossing the bridge, I went into a town, and of course, another wrong turn. Local fellow spoke pretty good English, told me to go back to the fork, and go west, and I would be fine.

That put me on a road that took me to San Antonio Louis, which confused the heck out of me for at least an hour. I could not figure out where I was, for the life of me.

Went back and forth between 2 towns on a steep dirt road that I really should not have been on.

Then I saw on the map November 5, a town way west of where I should have been. When I asked for directions the second time in San Antonio Louis, I came to understand that the locals were trying to tell me I was in San Antonio Louis, and not San Antonio Ranchero.

Darn!! I am way southeast from my destination.

The folks in San Antonio Louis tried to convince me that I should not travel this part of the road at night, that I should sleep in the car, and head out the next morning.

I have learned on these gravel roads, that you can see the holes and rocks better at night, then during the day. So, off I went, trying to get to Chatatenango before the sun rose the next day.

I truly think that if I had taken this road during the day, I would have turned back. Rough, uphill rock and gravel road, deep ruts where the road had washed away from the rains. First time I have seriously scraped the bottom of my car on the road.

From the time I realized that I was in San Antonio Louis, and not San Antonio Ranchero, the directions were pretty clear on the map. I just had to take it slow and easy because of road conditions.

About 10:30 that night, I come across Los Amigos Hotel and Restaurant. It had just opened that day before, and I was the first guest that they had.

Great hamburger for dinner, thick and juicy. Best one I have had since I left the U.S.

$15.00 for the night.

After the ordeal of the drive, slept like a baby, and got up the next day to paved roads to my next destination.

Cheers for now.
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About John Wilson

Traveler, writer and photographer. No home now, just traveling the world in search of the lost chord.
This entry was posted in El Salvador - getting lost on a regular basis, El Salvador- the country, the people and pictures and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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