T – Todays ride promised to be amazing. We had been told by travellers before us who had recently rode this section of Highway 40 between Mazatlan and Durango, that it was gorgeous and curvy and amazing! So we had high hopes!
I also had some very small nerves in the back of my mind. For this was the same area that last year two Australians were killed on. However I am sure we will both be fine and we also knew another rider who was heading the same way today with us. Safety in numbers and all that!
C – We were both sweating long before we even got close to getting on the bikes. That nice sweaty sweat you get from humidity! We both had enjoyed our short time in Mazatlan – it is a pretty cool city, with lovely humidity, warm temps and a beautiful sea breeze.
The thrill of the watching the thunderstorm come last night was just amazing. The build of intensity in the air, then the massive relief in the atmosphere as mother nature puts on her show.
I slept so, so well last night, I think catching up after my fun bout of Baja Belly and after 10 uninterrupted hours of sleep I was raring to go!
T – We said good bye to Le-An who was the lovely lady’s who’s house we stayed in last night and cruised on out. Our destination for today was around 220km’s up the road at a small town called El Salto just 150km’s to the west of Durango.
The traffic was heavy but well behaved and we had many people wave at us and beep to say hello. All day in fact! We made our turn off the main highway and down the Libre 40. There is a toll road that runs right along beside the free one and if it wasn’t for the promise of tight curves and scenic vistas then we would have taken it. It is apparently an engineering marvel with something like 62 tunnels and numerous massive bridges!
C – The scale of the engineering on the toll road intrigued us both, but really, as bikers, there was just no other way to go other than straight up the El Espinazo Del Diablo – or the Spine of the Devil. Local legend has it that when the Archangel Michael tossed out the devil from heaven and he landed here on earth and his backbone formed the rugged ridges of the Sierra Madres across which this road runs.
The minute we reached the outer limits of Mazatlan the feel of the air began to change. The humidity began to drop and a slight chill wafted us occasionally. Rosie was very much enjoying the cooler air, but we both knew at the end of this climb we would hoping for some heat again!
T – Our road led us straight up and into the mountains. The views started almost straight away with mountains fading out into the distance. All ensconced in a blue haze similar to the mountains near Sydney back home. Every curve on the road led us to more amazing scenery. It was frigging breathtaking!
The road hugged cliffs, skirted across ridgelines and cut through pine forests. It was just wow. What a road. And the corners just never stopped. As soon as we left one turn the next would be upon us instantly. Mabel was singing/screaming in delight/pain and I was grinning like mad!
C – The scenery was so different from what we had witnessed along the Baja. As the city disappeared into the distance, the vegetation turned a luscious green with beautiful bright flowers and butterflys the size of small birds flying about. I had one of those moments where you can’t quite believe something can be so beautiful, where you feel like a part of the environment.
We were not on the road very long when we were passed by a few big BMW motorcycles. I am sure everyone of them was having just as much fun as we were. This road is truly a bikers heaven. It is one constant corner – left, right, left, right, left, right! Mucho curva peligrosa!!!!
T – As we rose higher and higher the bikes begun to run worse and worse. Popping and farting their way up to over 2700 meters. Every time we would pull up to a stop one or both of them would chug and die. They were both running rich and ragged. Time for a tune up and a carby rebuild girls!
We met up with a lovely chap we met on the ferry, Rick, on his gorgeous MotoGuzzi V7. Gee that bike is lovely and I think I might get one when we get home. We sat behind him for a while as he was plonking along at our postie pace. The wash of deep throbbing noise coming back at us from his twin mufflers was almost as good as the scenery around us.
Eventually we passed him as he stopped for a photo. Hope to see you again on the road Rick! Chantelle and I both had the tummy grumbles, of the good variety, and it was well after lunchtime. So we picked a roadside restaurant where we tried Queso Gorditas. A type of tortilla stuffed with cheese and then cooked on a hot pan. Bloody hell. Call me Shirley and spank my bottom. They were damn amazing! If I was a greedier bastard I would have had a second one! Lunch today cost us $4 and consisted of two goditas, a soda, and two sweet chocolate cakes.
C – The gorditas were yummo and it was amazing that the lady made them from scratch, right in front of us!! Talk about fresh!!!
T – We saw Rick pass by as we were stuffing our faces and then another biker on a yellow 650 BMW pulled up next door. So naturally we wanted to go say g’day. We had been playing tag with this rider for the best part of the day. He would pass us when we stopped for a photo and then vice versa.
His name is Ken and though he is deaf we had a nice chat via text on his phone. He too is headed for Durango and ultimately for Argentina. Lovely to have met you Ken and we hope to see you further along too!
C – We headed out of the small pueblo where we ate lunch, both grinning by the thrill of the ride but starting to succumb to the shivers. It was getting very cold at this height and obviously we were dressed for the heat. The fact that we were sweltering in La Paz didnt make the cold any easier to deal with!!!
T – From here our ride took a downhill turn. In fact to begin with we were actually skipping downhill. Losing altitude and gaining some warmth. Then it started to rain. Just a few spots so we carried on. It got a little heavier, but not enough for us to break out the dreaded wet weather gear. Then suddenly it was bucketing down and we were drenched in seconds. We pulled into an abandoned taco stall and pulled our wet weathers on. Ken went sailing by in his nice textile all weather riding gear. Probably thinking “look at these bloody morons”.
We carried on in the wet. Shivering our tits off. In a short time though the rain cleared and we descended up El Salto. We needed a hotel and it looked as though we only had two options here. One that looked really dodgey and murky and one that looked expensive. We picked expensive. It cost us the equivalent of $35 for the night. Ouchies!
C – I was a bit disappointed at having to pay so much for a hotel room… but then I guess in the scheme of things, it really isn’t that much and after we rode past the cheap option, we were both very glad we chose the expensive one! We are both really missing camping though. There is something so special about being outdoors, being vulnerable and exposed to the elements. Whilst I might complain about being cold and wet, it is all experiences that you just don’t get sitting in a warm, comfy hotel room. Which I do enjoy, but it is so much more enjoyable when it is on occasion, rather than the room. Hopefully once we get through this area, which we are assured is drug Cartel territory, we will be able to camp more.
T – We unpacked the bikes and took a ride down the main thoroughfare in town. The road was narrow and one way and crammed with cars, dogs, pedestrians, boozers, and all manner of merchandise. We rode down one side and back up the next. It seemed like this was about all there was in this town and we made our way back to the hotel for dinner and some TV.
C – Highway 40 through El Salto was not much to look at it at all, but when we ventured into town it didn’t really seem to improve either. El Salto feels like a town which has not benefited from prosperity over the years.
T – Tomorrow we continue along to a place south of Durango. We like to just turn up in a place and sort out a hotel on the spot, but this is not working to well for us at the moment. So we have picked a town and a hotel for $17 and that’s where we shall go.