I’m not going to hide it from you; we find northern mainland Mexico can get pretty grim. As pretty as the Sonoran desert can be, driving through it for days gets a little old.
Then, probably around Navojoa, the desert concedes its place to fields. Endless agricultural fields. For days.
No wonder most overlanders drive down the Baja peninsula and take the ferry from LaPaz to Mazatlan. It is THE way to go.
But, as you will see, we were able to find hidden jewels.
Our new friends from Bahia Kino had mentioned Alamos as being worth the detour. They were right.
Walking by the numerous merchants, street food carts, buses, taxis and general traffic, we follow the smoke column to the end of the central plaza and, after Frances investigation, decide we will not resist the tantalizing smell of chicken being grilled on mesquite charcoal. We’ll be back here for lunch for sure.
We are rewarded after a 500 kms long day drive as we get to the microscopic RV park just as night falls. As it says on the sign, we call Téo and he, his wife and little girl, promptly appear, walking out of the dark, out of nowhere to unlock the gate and welcome us in.
We have the whole 30 sites, 75 foot wide RV park for ourselves.
In the morning, after giving up on a cold shower, I fix the toilet (that had no water…) using a hose that was laying around, we have a dump and get back on the road.
Out of pesos, we have, for the first time, a hard time finding an ATM that will take any of our Canadian cards. As a measure of last resort, we get in town Mazatlan and finally find one. At Walmarts, of all places.
There is a line that is drawn in Mazatlan. It is the cut-off, as Philippe calls it. Starting in Maz, it’s summer in winter on the coastline. It’s hotter, the sun is brighter than ever, the vegetation is fuller… Wonderful.
Realizing it would be impossible for us to make it to the next “organized” campground on our list, we decide to test our luck and head for a beach called Playa Novillero. We have no clue of what the place is like or even if we can access the beach. We’ll see, when we get there.
We get to the end of the road and reach a small market like area. Not at all the quiet place we’d like to spend the night at. I make a right hand turn and drive on the rough cobblestone street for about half a kilometer to the end where I have no choice but to turn left to the beach and…
We find paradise! A picture perfect beach on which stands a small Mom & Pop restaurant.
We get out of the car and order a beer before anything else. I then ask the lady there if it would be OK if we’d sleep near the restaurant. Not only does she gladly accept but it turns out they live there full time and assure us the place is totally safe.
We enjoy a great dinner of fresh fish and shrimps.
Later on in the evening, as we fall asleep to the sound of the waves and almost no barking dogs, we are still impressed by how fortunate we were to find this place. Pure luck.
The next morning, we decide we’ll push our luck even more and try to reach San Blas using the small beach side roads.
Turns out a bridge that used to link both sides of a lagoon collapsed a while ago and was never replaced nor repaired… Since then, the road dead ends here.
Fortunately, we are only about 35 kms into this dead end road. A fisherman informs us we need to go back to Novillero and Tecuala to make it across…
Oh well, so much for our attempt at small roads.
As time passes, we get more and more use to navigating through smaller and bigger towns on smaller than bigger streets. I actually get a blast out of being able to completely stop in the middle of any street and either ask for directions or, as we did in San Blas, get a freshly squeezed O.J., and ask for direccion!
All this without a single horn honking! Those who drive small enough vehicles pass by and those who don’t simply wait. That’s it.
We finally reach La Penita de Jaltemba where we crash at the cozy La Penita RV park so I can catch up on the blog for a couple of days.
Looks tough unh! The worst part is the humidity really. It’s darn sticky down here you know!
In the next episode: Tequila the drink, the town, the party that never ends…