Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Days 18-21: Yuma to Mazatlan

The drive to Mazatlan was eventful. Not so much early on, but last night was a bear.

We went from Yuma to Tucson on Sunday. Easy drive. Pretty scenery. Tucson does some nice designs on some of the bridges and overpasses.

In Tucson, we got our Inter-Americas Drivers Licenses, got the oil changed in the truck, did laundry, and picked up a few odds and ends for the trip (like a soldering iron because a connection is coming loose in one of the tablets).  In the process, we did cruise the Miracle Mile, even though the whitewalls are on inside! (Listen to Billy Joel, "Still Rock and Roll To Me")

Crossing the border was easy. We could have driven right on over this one, too, but we made it a point to stop since we’re going past that 20 km buffer zone. We bought our tourist visa and asked about getting the permit, but they said we couldn’t do that until the 21 km checkpoint. So, we got back in the truck and drove through Nogales. Nothing intimidating or scary on either side of the border. Just a very festive and welcoming attitude on the Mexico side. Artwork on the overpasses, statues, and Blockbuster is still in business.

There were several of these random pieces in the median in the middle of nowhere. They are all the same dancing Indian. I was never ready when it came up, so this was the best shot I could get of it. I tried to get some good shots of the countryside, but the sun was in the way, making it a bit difficult to get a decent shot at 70 MPH. There is a Saguaro forest that I was looking forward to. I think we saw the beginning and end of it, but we made a wrong turn and drove through town instead of bypassing Magdalena. We’re learning a little more about navigating in Mexico now.

We stopped Monday night in Hermosillo. We splurged on a 600 peso room in a villa off the road because we had only snacked out of the cooler all the way down, and we were hungry. This place had an attached restaurant that looked (and was) very good. Bruce is still having some trouble chewing, and the meats were so tender that he could eat a good hearty meal without causing any pain. It was called the San Martin, and it’s right on 15. Excellent room and excellent restaurant. Hermosillo is a really neat town. The main drag is well groomed and well maintained

There is very little litter on the road and signs up discouraging littering. I believe there is a fine for littering, but not everybody cares. On the way further south on Tuesday, the jerk in front of us decided to throw his ice cream wrapper out the window.

We found Waldo in Obregon!

Finally made it back to the Pacific Ocean. I’m not sure what town it was, but that water was a welcome site to me!

In Navojoa, we stopped at the bank to exchange some more pesos. The girl at the bank didn’t speak English, and we had some moments where we didn’t quite connect, but at the end, she complimented my Spanish. Yeah, I just bragged on myself. Nobody ever seriously accused me of being modest! We decided to check out McDonald’s while here. I like to see if the Big Mac is consistent across different countries. The only country I’ve tasted a difference in so far has been Saudi Arabia. This one tasted like a Big Mac just about anywhere else. This was the first time Bruce tried eating a sandwich. It kinda worked. He got one bite as a normal Big Mac. Then, he split it into two Little Macs. It was slow going, but he did well with his Little Macs and fries. I liked this statue. I think it was coming into Navojoa. We also found the Hotel California, but decided not to check in. (Two old R&R songs so far in one post!! But, do tell me I don't need to give the reference for this one!)

There are lots of paintings on the sides of the hills. Statues toted up on them doesn’t appear to be so common, though. This one was the first we noticed. It was too far away to be able to get a decent shot of at 70 MPH on a bumpy road.

Beautiful sky leading up to sunset, too.

We decided it was getting dark and we weren’t going to make it to Mazatlan last night, so we got off the highway and headed to Culiacan for the night. Just a few km on that road, some punks on an overpass threw a rock down. Thankfully, it didn’t hit the windshield or my bumper sticker window. It did put a hole in the back window on the passenger side. The rock bounced off, but glass sprayed all over the cab of the truck. Nobody was hurt at all, thankfully. We believe it was a couple of teenaged kids because they rode their bikes onto the road we were on and stayed just past the ramp watching us while we were taping the window up. Then they rode their bicycles past us with their headlights off (as if we couldn’t see them in the dusk), and turned their headlights on after they passed us. They were sitting on the side of the road watching us when we drove past them going on to the hotel.

I want to be clear. This is not a reflection on Mexico. We just happened to be the ones under the overpass when the rock was thrown while we were in Mexico. This happens in Nashville, Tampa, and other places, too. There was a time while I was living in Nashville that it was “all the rage” in the juvenile delinquent circles. It didn’t stop until a brick went through an old man’s windshield and killed him, if I remember correctly. This was back when Chrissy was a baby. I drove those roads back then and was just lucky I didn’t get hit at that time.

Huge shout out to the good folks on the Expats Living in Mexico Facebook group! Having trouble getting in touch with the insurance company and not knowing if we needed a police report, so I posted for help. One person on there (and I’ll refrain from naming you for your privacy) actually called the number for me and posted that the number works. (Great! Now, I have to get with Movistar to find out why my phone’s not working.). Not only did this person let me know the number works, but also got alternative numbers for me and let me know that I don’t need a police report. Just contact them and they’ll send an adjuster to me. Since I don’t have to worry about a police report, and Google says they have an office in Mazatlan, I’ll just pop in when we get there (and swing by Movistar, too)!

Which we finally did (get to Mazatlan). The hotel we were planning to stay in didn’t have a garage (and that window’s already just taped on), so we checked around until we found one that did. We got settled in for a bit, and went for dinner…

And drinks! Bruce has a Margarita and I have a Bahama Mama.


  1. Wish you all the best in your travel adventure. I have considered something like that for a long time so I will follow your adventure. One question. Post in your blog what happens at every border cross in all the countries you go trough and finally what happens when you get to Ecuador. Since you will be staying there, what will happen at customs with the car you are driving. Will you have to pay custom taxes on its value? Very curios about that. Travel safe! Dario

  2. I would suggest that you post a map showing your progress with the route marked on it.

  3. I will definitely add more information on the border crossings, Dario. As for adding a map, I'm struggling enough with the technology just adding pix and videos. I don't think I could add a map, but if I figure out how, I'll certainly try!

  4. I hope you did not have problems with the big storm in Mexico. Good luck with your trip.

  5. We decided to stay in Mazatlan to wait out the storm. Thanks!

  6. Very interesting. We just got back from Panama and it was beautiful. Wishing y'all a safe trip.

  7. Very interesting. We just got back from Panama and it was beautiful. Wishing y'all a safe trip.