The Balaurte Bridge on the new Durango highway.

One last side trip before we head back north. Durango is on the Central Mexican Highlands and behind some more Sierra Madre mountains. To get there from Mazatlan we travel the 140-miles-long MEX 40D that is a masterpiece in road engineering. It has 115 bridges and 61 tunnels and spectacular scenery but nowhere to pullover and take in the views. No, we did not drive our RV’s up here and 8 of us plus our driver/tour guide are in a minivan and I snap one photo out the back window as I hate trying to get good photo’s from a moving vehicle.

Timeline murals depicting the history of Durango.

For better or for worse we spend two days being shown around in a funky tourist trolley. It was a fun time, good hotel, and you go along with what the guide deems as interesting tourist trivia.

Our funky trolley.
La Ferreria archaeological site.
Archaeological ruins are a good place to wander and ponder about times long ago.
Some color in the otherwise dry brown landscape.

One stop was the ruins of a foundry, Fundidora Ferrería de Flores, built here because of it’s closeness to iron mines and a supply of water, a dam, to provide energy to the foundry.

The story of the photo below is that they had a professional photographer setting scenes and taking photo’s. At one point, the photographer, makes a comment to us who were obviously American tourists. He spoke perfect English and it turned out his father was Mexican and mother American, or visa versa, and after growing up and studying in the US somewhere he was now resident in Durango.

This family were having a portfolio of photo’s taken.

Last stop was the Museo General Francisco Villa or Pancho Villa as he is commonly known and his involvement in the Mexican Revolution that ran from about 1910 to 1920. We were lucky to have an English guide take us around and my take on it was that the lengthy revolution was very territorial around  the Mexican states, seemed to have had multiple “revolutions” till one stuck and America’s involvement over the rather porous border.

Taken in 1915 shows Alvaro Obregon the left, Pancho Villa center and General Pershing on the right. Behind Pershing is his aide at the time, non other than 1stLt George Patton, well known for his later WWII role.
Pancho and his wife Austreberta Rentería.

Then we headed back down to the coast.

That bridge, seemingly suspended in midair.
A last water taxi across the channel.
Cruise ships.
The little water taxi dock on Stone Island.
Our little, crowded, spot in Tres Amigos RV park.
Tres Amigos.

Then we were off northward. It is 730 miles up to Nogales on the Arizona border and our plan was to do 3 hops: 260 miles to Los Mochis for an overnighter, then 230 miles to a RV park in Guaymas and then up to the US border. Now the Nogales border crossing is a busy one and full of trucks crossing into the US. The overall consensus among the RV crowd was to detour west to the Lukeville crossing which is small, no trucks, and a better bet despite the extra 90 odd miles.

Overnight patch of, secure, dirt parking lot.
Crossing from Sinoloa into Sonora.
Approaching our one and only military checkpoint. A very polite guy came into the RV asked a few questions then shook our hands and sent us on our way

Last two nights were spent at Hotel Playa de Cortés which had an attached RV park. At this point we knew we’d left sunny Mazatlan and that a wet storm front was waiting for us across the border. Skies were overcast and gloomy. On the positive side the hotel made the absolute best margaritas – non of this mixer bullshit, juice from fresh limes, good tequila and even a shot of cointreau to liven it up.

Seas were getting rough and the wind was cold.
Hotel gardens were nice but deserted.
A last toll plaza to deal with.
Difficult to discern but those are vineyards on the right.

A quick roadside pit stop – gloomy and cold outside.
It’s raining as we cross the border but there is no wait as we approach the one open lane. The guy asked for passports, checked our registration and let us go. Piece of cake!
Checked ourselves into Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and that night it rained hard with most of it coming in sideways.
Moved on up to Lost Dutchman park outside of Phoenix where we’d hoped to hike up to Flatiron on top but the snow made it a bit risky.
We went as far as the Siphon Draw trail end.

And that was was it – the end of our most enjoyable Mexican caravan.

Categories Trips