I woke up (earlier than I would have liked) to the sound of kids screaming, families arguing and cars revving. I guess my hotel serves as a stop over for families heading south and most of the guests were getting an early start to their day. Since sleeping was no longer an option, I decided to do likewise. It didn't take long to head out, especially since I remember seeing a Starbucks (yes, guilty pleasure, plus it'll be interesting to see it Spanish style) not far from me when I was cruising the town last night. I guess that will be my first stop.
Mexican Starbucks. Looks like the rest of them...
I got a quick coffee and hit the road. As I was heading out of town I decided to cruise around a bit more and take a look around. Riding down some random street, I saw a collection of motorcycles and a bunch of people wearing “gear” standing nearby. Of course I stopped to say hello. Apparently it was a local moto club getting ready to head out for their annual Christmas Ride where they deliver presents to local needy families. Good on them. We exchanged stories and got a quick photo and then I was back on the road.
The day mostly consisted of cruising down the highway with an occasional toll stop or a detour to the center of whatever city I was passing.
The first of these was Guaymas. I finally reached the coast! This town seems nice. It was really busy with holiday shoppers and (probably) tourists. The town has a nice hustle and bustle feel to it. I rode around the center and down some back streets to make sure I didn't miss anything important, then I moved on.
A view of the coast.
Uh-oh. I may be in trouble now...
More highway, toll booths and towns later I approached Los Mochis. The tentative plan was to stay here for the night, but it was still pretty early so I decided to detour over to Alamos (established in the late 1600s) where the road ends according to my gps (which was wrong). The ride over was nice and Alamos itself is very beautiful! The problem arose when I tried to find a place to sleep. I rode all over the cobblestone streets, through arches and down narrow winding alleys with no success in securing lodging for under 600 pesos. Not wanting to shell out that kind of cash, I decided to turn around and head back to Los Mochis. In my scrambling to find shelter, I neglected to take any photos of the old colonial buildings, plazas and cathedrals.
Back in Los Mochis I headed south keeping an eye out for a cheap hotel. Now I heard that these motor-hotels are everywhere so when I reached the southern end of town I just kept going. Apparently they are not everywhere and in fact there is a nice 170Km gap between them that I happened to find just as it was getting dark. Riding in Mexico at night (even on a major highway) is an adventure, especially on a KLR with its less than stellar lighting. I always scoffed at suggestions to upgrade the headlights thinking they were sufficient. Let me just say right now that I was wrong (well, they ARE sufficient, but leave much to be desired).
I eventually arrived in Culiacan ready to finally stop for the night. Today may have been my longest day in the saddle yet on this trip. I cruised the dark streets of Culiacan looking for a reasonably priced motel. Eventually I came upon one that had promise. The attendant started the negotiations pretty high and pointed out that I must have money since I have a "nice" (what he called it) bike, but we finally settled on the following: I was to pay him, personally, 200 pesos and he would sneak me into the motel, but I had to leave by 7am so that his boss wouldn't find out. I thought it was kind of shady, but contributed nicely to the adventure so I agreed. The place had secure gated parking (which I was locked into with no way to get out if he failed to show up in the morning) and a small room. Directly next door was some kind of night club that starting blasting bad beat music precisely when my head hit the pillow and did not stop until sometime after I finally managed to fall asleep despite every attempt by the giant speakers to try to get me to dance.
Sketchy. Night club on other side of wall =>