We were up just after 7, but didn’t leave the room until well past 8 as it took over half an hour for us to unlock the door. In the end, Mike banged on the door loudly enough that the owner came over and spent 10 minutes trying to open it. Breakfast was at the birreria across the street where we met some lovely people, including a guy called Alán who lives in Culiacán and gave us his phone number to contact him when we got into town.
The highlight of the ride was stopping in a small town about half way to Culiacán which Miguel recognised. He had been there before on his previous visits to Culiacán. While Pedro and I enjoyed naps in front of a store, Miguel went off to look around. We stopped by a house of some people he knew, but it turned out they were in Culiacán, and only came out to the house on the weekend.
Culiacán is the capital of Sinaloa, and is not really high on the well-beaten tourist path, especially with tourism down in Mexico as it is currently. There wasn’t a welcome to Culiacán sign, but there were 10-15 police men fully decked out in black-full-body armour and face masks standing across the road. People always talk about the dangers that I’m going to face in Mexico, but that was the first time I really felt the difference. Sure, there had been organised military checkpoints in Baja, but this seemed much more than that. I said my usual buenas tardes to them and they responded and waved me through.
Miguel had arranged for us to stay with some of his friends, and so we headed through the sweltering early afternoon heat and packed streets. The saving grace was that it wasn’t rush hour. I was so glad that I had my mirror on my glasses and so felt confident riding in the heavy traffic. The people we were staying with lived on a hill, and a couple of the streets up to their place were comparable to the steepness of the famous streets of San Francisco. I managed to get up in my lowest gear, but my heart felt like it was close to exploding at the top. Pedro and Miguel went for what was probably the more sensible option of jumping off and pushing. The roles were reversed just before the house when we got to descend down a ridiculously steep which after going down a little, I decided to save my brakes and push it down while they flew down to the house. We were welcomed in warmly by Lorena and spent an enjoyable, although challenging evening, with our hosts who only spoke Spanish.