Since arriving in Sinaloa, we seem to find ourselves in Birrerrias most mornings. They sell Birria, a stew made from a variety of meats, but most commonly goat and lamb. This was to be no exception as Pedro spent his regular 50 pesos on a Birria and a coffee. I had half a burrito left over from the night before, and that was enough for me. In the Birreria, we met George, a guy from Obispo who spends half his time in the US and half down in Obispo. He speaks great English and was eager to help us with whatever we needed. He asked about our trip and our plans for the day. Mexico and Brazil would be playing in the afternoon, and we figured we’d watch it in La Crus, but according to George the cartel has a strong presence there. He told us that we should be OK just visiting briefly, but not to stay long or show we had much. We thanked him for his advice and headed off.
I had decided that we should switch from the free road to the toll road. I say I, even though there are two of us, because Peter seems much happier to delegate the decision making to me. Maybe it’s that I have more time on the road, but it’s not something I find difficult. When I was riding with C, I was the one who did the route planning, to a level that was over-controlling, and so even though I’m trying to improve that while riding with Peter and Mike, it’s not something I’ll get to practice now I’m just with Peter.
The toll road passed countless corn fields and was much quieter than the free road had been, and consistently had a shoulder the whole way along it. The shoulder varied from perfectly smooth to bumpy and gravely, and so I tended to ride down the outside lane. Traffic was low enough that it didn’t prove a problem and it lead to much more consistent road conditions. One thing C and I had noticed in the US was that, outside of California, there didn’t seem to be much by the way of emergency phones on roads. There are phones every mile along the motorways in the UK, and especially before everyone had mobile phones it was really important. Mexico-15D not only had a phone every 2-3km, but a bench and 3 big barrels. Two of the barrels are for rubbish and one is to collect rain water to use to help out overheating vehicles. The only slight change I wish they’d make is adding a bit of cover to the benches to give some shade in the heat of the day.
In the 50km it took us to get to La Cruz, there was nothing that would be called an exit in the US. What they do on Mexican toll roads is have a bridge over the road where there are exits. That’s really the only way you’d know an exit was coming up, because they are nothing more than dirt roads, possibly leading to a paved road, that go off to a town that might be a few km down the road. There are no signs saying there’ll be an exit in 1 km, and it’s only down to some intuition from locals that you might know of any services. Some of the bridges had been spray-painted on to mention a convenience store or mechanics that might be in town. It wouldn’t surprise me, if during the whole 220km between Culiacan and Mazatlan there are only 3 or 4 official-looking exits.
La Cruz was about 4km from the toll road, but I saw a sign pointing the other way mentioning a beach, and figured would have a place to watch the game. We got to the ocean and found a few restaurants, although only one of them had the satellite dish needed to show the game. With how popular football is in Mexico, we had assumed we’d watch the game in a bar with lots of passionate fans. As it was the TV in the restaurant was in the kitchen, and while the crowd was definitely excited about Mexico scoring the opening goal, it was just one person, the owner. His TV was also a little smaller than we’d imagined, it reminded me of the TV my grandparents had in their caravan. The main difference being that instead of being sat right in front of it, it was 3-4 metres away, on the other side of the kitchen. With a bit of squinting, it was possible to make out what was happening, and we were treated to a 2-0 win by a full-strength Mexico team against a Brazil team preparing for the Olympics. Although we were tempted to camp at the beach, the town of Dimas was only 25km further down the road so we headed on. Looking back, I’m not sure if that was the best idea considering how things went in town.
I see mountains
Corn, with mountains