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What's The Deal With All The "In Tow" Junk Cars On The Interstate In Texas?

Two drivers, both dual U.S.-Guatemalan citizens, leave Texas for a week long trip through the Mexican states of Tamauplias, Veracruz and Chiapas. Both say their desire to provide for their families in Guatemala trumps security concerns about traveling through Mexico. (Lorne Matalon)

If you do much highway driving in Texas, it's a familiar sight: old, rusted trucks packed to the gills with toys, motor oil, textiles, and building materials traveling down the interstate.

Sometimes, they're hauling an additional truck -- "IN TOW" spelled out in painter's tape on the rear window.

Where do the trucks come from, and where are they headed? Are the drivers scrapping them, selling them or something else?

That's what a listener from Alpine asked West Texas Wonders recently. Conveniently, former Marfa Public Radio reporter Lorne Matalon looked into this very question back in 2015, after he met a group of Guatemalan men on a stop along their journey back to Central America at Marfa gas station.

Matalon found that these old cars and trucks that are considered too old for US consumers are propping up the economies of entire towns in Central America & Mexico.

Tune in to the audio for an update from Matalon, as well as a rebroadcast of the original story.

Sally Beauvais is a reporter at Marfa Public Radio.
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