Crossing the line: October 11
I find a Suzuki moto shop the next day. Talk to the owner and manage to negotiate for the new tire for the old one and some extra money. We are now ready for some kilometers. From Durango we want to go to the ocean, at Mazatlan. There are not so many kilometers but we have to cross the mountains through a place called “Espinazo del diablo”. We were told it’s one of the most spectacular but also dangerous roads in the world. We start in the morning, prepared for a long day. Sun rise guiding our way on the curves.
We have breakfast in a small kitchen by the side of the road. I only wanted to warm up. Our limbs were kind of frozen.
The federal government is building a new road from Durango to Mazatlan, a payed shorter highway that will go straight through the mountains, with lots of bridges and tunnels. It is not ready yet. So far everyone has to use the old road although at times they go in parallel. The funny thing is that the new “highway” it’s only a two-lane road.
Instead of having one road with 4 lanes where you can easily pass the slower vehicles, you get 2 roads, a paid one, partially finished and a “libre” one where sometimes you get this:
It’s really really hard to pass other cars. And sometimes you can also have surprises, like trucks breaking down in the middle of the curve, uphill.
The road is spectacular. Hanging from the cliffs, going up to 2400 meters and the views are impressive.
But it’s also very dangerous. It happened not only once that I had to hit on the breaks hard to barely avoid the trucks that were entirely on our lane.
There is no picture that can express what we felt when we saw a few tones truck coming our way, in our lane, speeding and having nowhere to pull over on right side. I got used to hitting the breaks before every left curve, just in case, without seeing if there is something coming from behind the cliff but always expecting to see a truck. And if there was a truck , there was a good chance it wasn’t on his lane.
And so the ride was a constant fun. If there was no truck, there could still be animals. A cute veal for instance….
It probably felt threatened and trapped between the pavement and the cliff therefore decided in the last second to run on the other side of the road.
Therefore, low speed, eyes wide open and increased attention. And even so…. you can still get extra surprises. Parts of the road were under construction and traffic from both sides was using one lane. There were floggers directing the traffic. We got to one of those working areas and we weren’t stopped by any flagger. So we went on slowly.
As we advanced we saw cars coming from the other direction on the same lane, the only lane!! Obviously either us or them were supposed to be stopped by the flaggers but they somehow misscomunicate. In this kind of situation you follow the “big guy goes first” rule. So we had to pull over fast on the lane under construction and sit this one out.
You cannot get bored on this road. Yes, it’a a spectacular road but I wouldn’t do it again unless I really had to. Therefore we are very happy when we begin our descent to the Pacific Ocean. Once we are on the West side of the mountains the climate changes completely. We are in tropical climate for the first time.
Lush forests, big colored butterflies and…. damp. Very damp. We get wet instantly.
The side of the road is very interesting, we see all sort of flowers hanging from the trees. We hear crickets and birds from behind the green canopy.
We didn’t do our research before leaving for Mazatlan so we didn’t realize that we were to cross a very important line. We reached the tropics. Actually just one: Tropic of Cancer!
Right there, in the heart of the forest, by the small sign “Tropico de Cancer” I realized how far away from home we are. A thought that came out of nowhere. I’ve never been so far South before on Planet Earth. We stop. Romanian traditional costumes also reached the tropics.
I didn’t realize how much change a simple mountain crossing would bring. We don’t really care about traffic anymore, we are busy looking around and admiring. We follow a car that was carrying fruits (what else?) and here we are in Mazatlan.
We get lost in the city and end up in a plaza where people were staying in a huge line. We didn’t find out what it was for but my attemp to mengle with Gunnar between the 125 and 180 cc motorcycles failed completely.
We find a place to regroup under palm trees with cold lemonade. Only now we realize how tiring the road was. We left early in the morning, rode the crazy road with infamous name and now we couldn’t find enough energy to look for accommodation. I stall a little bit longer in the shadows.
We search for hotels on the internet but don’t find anything cheap. Mazatlan is a touristic place, where lots of Americans spend their vacation. That’s a good thing for the local businesses but not so good for two travellers coming a long way and going far away, looking for cheaper places to stay. I finally realize there is a solution. Mazatlan is a pretty large resort so there is a big change to find here one of the hotels from ICH or Hilton chain. If there is one, then it’s probably very expensive. But on the other hand I used to work for more than one year away from home. And back in the corporate days those hotels were my hone away from home. I still have some fidelity points left from that period. Yes, it’s been a long and complicated day, so let’s spoil ourselves. We find Crowne Plaza hotel. It’s not in the city but it’s right on the beach. Excellent! We reboot instantly thinking that we could soon be on the beach. We book a room using fidelity points and head there. Geting on the boulevard by the beach we end up in the middle of the party.
Many pick-ups, driving slowly with high volume speakers, balloons and people dancing and cheering. We don’t understand what they are celebrating and what is going on. But, does it matter? We join them, it’s fiesta time, let’s party!
We don’t usually drink Coca-Cola…. but we apreciate the… refreshing… presentation! Same thing with the TelCel truck!
Disclaimer: the pictures above are taken by the wife. I am completely innocent, paying attention to the… traffic only! Ahem…
We pass the party parade and reach our destination. This long day started at 1900 meters on a mountain plateau, continued up to 2400 meters, finding our way through insanely driven trucks, animals jumping in front of us, dust, construction works, then we changed the climate completely passing into the tropical zone and ended up on a beach by the Pacific Ocean. What a day!
Route map of this post:Harta traseului din aceast episod:
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Next time we are heading to Mexico City. This city’s population is bigger than the whole Romania. Stay tunned!