Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Dead Horse Curve (unpleasant subject)

There's a section of highway, at the base of a small mountain between Tzurumutaro and Sanabria (the turn off for Ihuatzio) that is notorious for its blind curves. For reasons incomprehensible to us, it's also an area where livestock, both cattle and horses, freely range unfettered. The result is that there are often the corpses of cattle or caballos.

We had just finished smelling the last of one such rotting carcass when another unfortunate victim was seen lying on the other side of the road, a hundred or so meters closer to Sanabria.

We feel badly for the victims, but we have no solution to the problem. Ni modo. At the very least, we use extreme caution when driving around the curves. When riding in the combi van, we have to adopt the motto, "Fe en Dios y adelante." "Faith in God and forward."
We once had a driver steer with his knees, while texting on his cell phone, on this same stretch of highway.

The last victim's situation was especially asqueroso; after a few days, its head was missing.

Sorry to upset your stomachs. I'll offer a photo of some beautiful, live horses, taken alongside a less trafficked stretch of another highway near here.
Click on photo for full view.


Bob Mrotek said...

Don Cuevas,

When I first came to Mexico to live in 1999, I lived in a small town about 30 kilometers outside of Monterrey. I replaced a nice young man who had hit a horse on the highway at night and as the horse came through the windshield it decapitated him. When I finally gathered up the courage to drive my boss advised me to always carry a pocket knife so that if I hit some livestock I could cut out the brand and hand it over to the authorities so that they could arrest the owner for letting his livestock wander onto the highway. He explained that if I didn't cut out the brand the owner of the animal might cut it out first so that there would be no proof of ownership and thus no claim upon him for damages. Be therewith advised. Always carry a knife when driving...and don't be squeamish :)

Michael Dickson said...

That combi driver would have gotten a piece of my mind, and I bet the other passengers would have applauded. Or wanted to. Speak up! Suffering in silence is one of the biggest curses of Mexico and is responsible for many problems here.

Don Cuevas said...

Thanks, both Bob and Felipe.

I'm afraid I'd be squeamish.

As to the reckless combi driver, I was the only passenger on board at the time.

I might get confused and cut a piece out of the combi driver's hide. (Yeah; sure.)

I've taken the relatively low-profile attitude to living here of "this is how it is: adapt and make no waves." Other incidents come to mind, involving an expat friend, but I don't want to get into that here.

Don Cuevas

Michael Dickson said...

Yeah, Cuevas, carry a blade and slice out the brand. I wanna watch while you do that. But you´re a baker, not a butcher, so . . .

Some Gringos think this is not such an issue in Mexico anymore, but it is. I personally have seen folks hit a horse (on the stretch in question) and a huge pig (took off the car´s bumper). A Gringo friend of mine barely missed a burro between Pátz and Morelia one night. Another woman I know was in a taxi on that same highway that dodged some big animal and crashed into a concrete abutment. Luckily, there were no serious injuries.

Gringos face a bigger risk of doing this, especially if they have not lived here long. We come south mentally hard-wired not to expect big animals on night highways, so we really are not paying much attention. Very bad.

The recommendation is not to drive on highways at night, but that´s kind of hard to do.

Don Cuevas said...

Felipe, we rarely drive at night, and we try to be very alert. Oddly enough, we've never seen animals on Dead Horse Curve on the few times we've driven past at night. (Luckily.)

Almost ran into a vehicle pulling out from the shoulder of the highway between Morelia and Pátzcuaro during a blinding rainstorm, but that's heedless motorists, not ignorant animals.

I am also curious as to why some dog food factory doesn't haul the poor dead beasts away.

Don Cuevas

Slippery!!! said...

Don Cuevas..

My name is Mark, and i live in Northern Michigan, just thought you might find it interesting that here we have a tremendous amount of deer that are hit a lot.
It would be next to impossible to prevent it, as they find their way onto the roads and freeways all the time. I guess it is just something we have learned to adapt too.
I truly enjoyed your description of your trip. I would love to someday visit Mexico deeper South, as it seems like a beautiful place to visit. Thank you for describing it for me, as well as the pictures.

My Regards, Mark