Rising out of the tree covered mountainside, dropping steeply around a hairpin curve after miles of switchback driving over the Sierra Madre Oriental, the Santuario del Camionero rises into view, promising that the worst of this mountain pass is behind you (at least if you’re travelling north…)
Just a half hour south of Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, is what I consider the most impressive of the genre of roadside shrines. Large (you could park a tractor trailer inside), well tended and full of religious statuary and adornments, this sanctuary is the shining example of roadside monuments.
Truck drivers stop here on their way over the sharply curved, narrow and inclined highway along route 101 to ask for protection on their routes, and particularly over this stretch, that is often shrouded in thick clouds and swirling fog.
Park by the side of the road in the gravel lot and look inside. The main altar is a stone Virgin of Guadalupe surrounded by silk flowers. The floor is carpeted with candles lit by grateful teamsters and fresh flowers placed lovingly by the faithful. Statues of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ are assigned niches on the side walls, surrounded by pictures, handwritten prayers, candles and small icons, some yellowed with age