It’s been a rough couple weeks. I left Guaymas on November 15, intent on staying off the highway and traveling on back roads. This was after all the main reason I bought a “gravel” bike. I had too many close calls on highways with trucks and cars in the past so I was determined to get off main roads and ride on unpaved back roads.
But the back roads in Mexico are really awful. Often just sand, washboard, rocks and dust, the riding is slow and painful. In sand the bike just stops and I have to walk for a while. The rocks are jarring and it feels like my teeth are being knocked out. Then the passing cars and trucks throw up so much dust I have to put on my mask and close my eyes.
Camping too was tough. I am in an area where there is a lot of farming, mostly wheat. So miles and miles of flat wheat fields with no place to camp. When I did find a place, it was invariably in a dusty, dirty place. So by the next morning everything was covered in fine dust. My tent, my panniers, and me. Not fun.
But I continued south, through the towns of Vicam, Oronia, Villa Guadaloupe, Villa Juarez, Huatabampo and into Los Mochis, a larger town where I got a hotel, washed clothes, got my hair cut and took a rest day. I had to wash my bike and panniers off before bringing them in to my hotel room, they were completely covered in dirt and mud.
But enough complaining. On to some photos.
All Mexican cities seem to have these big signs announcing the name. It is a nice feature. Just before I took this photo there were a dozen kids climbing all over it. But by the time I got my camera out they had left. A missed opportunity.
Besides the many regular restaurants, Mexico has thousands of little street food stands that sell tacos or mariscos, seafood dishes. Here is a typical place where I got six tacos for about $5.
I passed by an elementary school and the kids had drawn little pictures and phrases on a wall I thought were worth capturing. This one is titled “cooperation.” It says, “I do what you can’t and you do what I can’t.”
“A bird perched in a tree never fears of falling from the branch because its confidence is in its wings.”
“Discipline is the the bridge between goals and achievement.” I love the little hand prints.
As I’ve said, I was in a rich agricultural area. I camped one night near a huge field of these things which were covered by plastic tents. I found out later they were calabasa, or squash.
I rode next to many kilometers of irrigation canals. The water came from a big dam many miles away. But the canals were often filled with trash and smelled awful. The standing water was also a breeding ground for mosquitos and tiny black flies or noseeums. So I had to spray myself with repellant each day as well as use my thermocell repellant and mesh bug suit. The joy of camping.
Weirs to control the flow of water. As you can see the area is flat and boring with few camping options.
I did manage to camp but it wasn’t easy. And as I said, dirt everywhere.
As usual, I passed many memorials to accident victims. This one was particularly tragic. The adults, both 29 years old, died with a two year old boy on September 26, 2021, just three weeks earlier. The letters D.E.P. in Spanish mean Descanse En Paz, Rest In Peace.
Here is a short video I made on one stretch of quiet road.
Here I am in the morning just leaving a campsite. Dirty as usual.
Typical back road, Sonora state.
A cowboy herding his cattle. He stopped by later and said the difficulty was finding any vegetation for his cattle to eat. It’s a tough life in the desert.
That’s it for now. I will continue south to Culiacán and Mazatlán over the next couple weeks. Below is my route and current position. I have now left Sonora and am in the state of Sinaloa, infamous for its drug cartels. Hopefully they will leave a poor dirty bicycle tourist alone. Stay tuned.