Thursday, 20 September 2012

Day 75: Mazatlan to Durango, Mexico

Greetings all
What a stunning day today. Dick had planned a ride over the "God's Comb" the mountain pass from Mazatlan to El Salto that took us up to 2900metres asl. Stunning vistas and great twisty roads.
We were up pretty early at the hotel expecting the cafe to be open at 7am only to discover it didn't open until 8. So we got on the road. Karen did a great job getting us out of town, along the busy Ruta 15 and onto Ruta 40. It was amazingly foggy with a thick mist not having any effect whatsoever on the speed the locals drove. Wonderful smells all along the way - not always pleasant! A very distinct smell of pig farms that made me think of my late father-in-law. And smile.
Quite a few cattle and donkeys on the road too. Lovely cows with fine brown coats and lovely floppy ears.

Then we were into the twisties! Here's Karen trying to cope.

Unfortunately I didn't have my photographer on board so I didn't get many photos. One as we passed the Tropic of Cancer.

We stopped at a cafe next to an army checkpoint and I sallied out to take a photo of their wooden soldier. The sentry didn't approve! Here he comes to tell me that photography is prohibito.

Kiwi checked out the bird in the cage and had a wee chat about how having no wings is no real impediment to freedom. The bird said "tweet" which I think is a bird word for bugger off.

The kids next door were having a tea party. How kewl is this?

No problems at the checkpoint and we continued on our way through the passes. Lots of huge trucks on this section: Kenworths, Macks, Fiats and GMCs and some make I haven't figured out yet. All articulated trucks that were obviously in contact with each other - you would often find a truck parked waiting on a corner for another to come. The ones going our way were mostly ok. When they could they would let you pass - the road was very narrow and very windy. The tricky ones were the ones you met on a left hand bend where they would come right out into your lane to ensure that their backends got round the hairpin. This meant you would enter into the corner only to find half of your lane was filled by the front end of a truck!
We were making pretty slow progress and could see the new toll road off to our left and right. What an amazing feat of engineering. Huge bridges leading into huge tunnels. Incredible stuff much of it done with physical labour and only limited machinery.

And here's a little story for you: I stopped to buy a muesli bar at a roadside cafe. The cost was five pesos. I got my five peso coins mixed up with my two peso coins and my two peso coins mixed up with my one peso coins so I gave the man 12 pesos instead of five. He just smiled and slid them back to me and took only the correct amount. Ok?
Soon we were onto the toll road. It was so new that they were still painting the yellow lines down the middle of the road. It was a quick blast through there and in to Durango where we found the San Augustin Hotel. A little expensive but they were happy to let us ride through here

to here to park the girls in the inner courtyard.

I went for a walk then and did some snapping. This is a very old town with churches built in the 1600s. Chur.

but with families living on the street.

Also blokes lining up to do the evening serenade!

And boys getting the band ready.

And that I think is about that. We have just met some lovely people, a woman from Tasmania riding a yellow F650 and a Dutch couple on an old R80 and a R100. I'm tired so I'll write about them tomorrow.
Today's run: 348kms
Cumulative: 20,193kms
Tip overs: 2

Location:Durango, Mexico

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