Mexico Trip In Oct 2008
We are heading to Cabo and need to be there by oct 24th. We have done the Baja 5 times, coming back the same way all but once. We came across the ferry in La Paz.
I'm looking for a great ride on the mainland for my husbands 50th. We ride Harleys right now there are 3 bikes 4 people going. If possible we would like to head to Mazatlan than take the ferry across. Can anyone tell me some must see's besides Copper Canyon, and routes that are a must. We can ship our bikes so we can leave from Texas or Arizona. Im just looking for some advise for the trip.
Maybe a little help on where i can get maps, should i buy a gps system
Thanks for any help:scooter:
First about Maps- get the foldout map of Mexico from CAA and you will have more than enough info for your paved - road - only trip on Harleys, though there are on this map a few very good gravel roads that can also be done with your bikes. No need for gps , you are not going into terra incognita, it is all occupied, with lots of towns and hotel availability is frequent. Stop in at one of the huge Mexican department stores like Soriana and scout their book section for a QUIMERA or a GUIA ROJI road atlas of Mexico for more detailed maps, or check out the book and gift shops at VIPS Restaurants and Sanborn's Restaurants in the big cities. or any of the book stores in Mexico
Your start date is not mentioned so if 24 Oct is a must for Cabo then counting back for a leisurelly tour you could be looking at entering Mexico from AZ( Douglas) or TX (El Paso or Presidio) around 16Oct.
Must see roads? Pretty well set on which routes you need to follow depending on your Mex start point. But from El Paso your choice is Mex 2 west to Mex 10 , same as from Douglas , then down to Mex 16 and Mex 23 to Creel. This is good two lane not as busy as Mex 45 straight south from Juarez to Chihuahua which also has a couple of toll plazas which you can avoid if you get off the main road in time.
For a really nice alternative, exit from Mex 45 at El Sauz west and near Campo 73 turn south to Alvaro Obregon- all high plains farming heavy with Mennonites( Mennonitas Canadienses ), to Cuauhtemoc. From there the only route for you will beMex 16 west and the road south to Creel.
From Creel do take the 55km paved road southwest to San Rafael , and back , with excellent pavement and curves and access to canyon rim viewpoints.
After that folow the road south from Creel , past Batopilas turnoff ( NOT for your bikes) to Guachochi. Balleza, Hidalgo del Parral ,.There pick up Mex 45 south to Durango.
If you have the time and weather is good you can you take a great side trip west fron Mex 45 at the junction of DGO 44 ( 125 km south of Hgo.Del Parral) and head for Santa Maria Del Oro and Cienega Escobar This is a relatively recently paved road and great scenery across the sierras . At Cga .Escobar turn south and downvalley and you eventually wind up back on Mex 45 and to Durango .Check out the western movie sets at Chupadero north of DGO city. .If you have more time , check out the Mex 23 (in and out) south of Durango , 160km roundtrip , good for a day of seeing real Mexican ranch and mountain country with few tourists.
Of course Mex 40 west to Mazatlan, with the "Espinacas del Dialogo "( =). ) and it s zillions of curves in the segment west of El Salto.This can be done in one hasty day but suggest you take two with an overnight at El Salto so you have time to linger at the various viewpoints. News release this winter said that they are going to build a superviaduct, one of the world's largest, longest , highest , across DGO/NAYARIT state line area to let traffic avoid the curvy section .
From Mazatlan take the overnight ferry to Pichilingue and then to Los Cabos.Gee, I just had a mini vacation in Mexico!
I frequent N.E. Mexico 'cause I live in Texas. Here are some things I've picked up for what they're worth...
Re: GPS - I use an el cheapo Garmin e-Trex Legend (about $120 if you search around online). It comes with a North America map (U.S., Canada, & Mexico). It's a "trail" GPS. BUT, you can buy a bicycle handlebar attachment for about $10 that'll work on your Hog handlebar. The GPS pops on-off easily, but won't fall off (believe me, I've tried...I ride dual-sport on some shitty roads). Some hardcore GPS-users with more money than I may disagree with my el cheapo approach.
GPS Mexico map caution. I found that the map on my GPS and the real world aren't always congruent! What looks like a road sometimes turns out to be a twin-track dirt road on some occasions. Fun if you're dual-sporting!
RE: Maps - I use an old, beat up copy of a Hallwag (Swiss) map I found at our local Hastings Bookstore years ago. Recently, I picked up an ITMB map at the same store (Maps for travel, City Maps, Road Maps, Guides, Globes, Topographic Maps). Waterproof, more detail.
Mexico map caution: I also have I found that the maps I have and the real world aren't always congruent! What looks like a road on the map sometimes turns out to be a twin-track dirt road on some occasions.
RE: Route Ideas
From Reynosa, MX (across from McAllen, TX) there's a twisty road along a canyon between Linares and Iturbide (look south of Monterrey on a map). Here's a Google map link of the area if it'll work. Great views, deep canyon.
Real de Catorce (SL Potosi) might be a good place to visit if you're going that far south. Note, there's about 10 miles of cobblestone road to get there and a one-way tunnel, old mine ruins...interesting. Gas is hard to find, fill up before you venture in.
Another route is south of Cd. Victoria along MX 85 (stay the night in Gomez Farias), then cut west before Cd. Mante toward Ocampo over the mountain range. Twisty, but can be foggy. Really, really foggy.
Or, SW of Cd. Victoria along MX 101 toward Juamave is twisty and fun.
You may already know this, but Mexico is a plateau country and it can be butt cold in the interior in October. For example, Real de Catorce is at nearly 10,000 ft. elevation, but you can really tell by looking around. I froze my butt off coming from there in March one year.
Contact me at email@example.com for any details and/or a great ride in TX 3 hrs from the border if you ship into San Antonio or Austin.
Thank you for all your help. Sjoerd & Scott you really know your roads. I am looking forward to the ride now.
My husband likes to fly by the seat of his pants i like to plan a little well at least know what road we are heading down:mchappy:
Do you mind me asking a few more questions later about our trip, i would like to read more on the website here so you dont have to repeat yourself. Thank you again for the information.
Sjoerd, what route would you recommend to get to Creel. I have decided to cross at either Nogales or Douglas. I'm wondering if i should take 17 to Hemosillo and 16 to Creel or
Douglas Hwy 2 to Hwy 10 than 45 or Hwy 28 down to Creel. If you or anyone else can tell me what would be more scenic and better roads to ride. If you were to do it again
to La Paz.
I would go from Douglas, and if from Creel, you head to Ciudad Obregon the route is twisty most of the way, and will take maybe 2 days. But can be done in a very long one day. Alamos in from Navajoa is a beautiful small, colonial city worth staying in. Several unusual accomodations, a convent and a hospital both redone as hotels. Sometimes there is a boat to La Paz from Los Mochis, but it may have been suspended, and the Mazatlan run will take 20 hours plus. Get a room with a king bed (not many rooms).
If you cross at Nogales it makes sense to go south on Mex 15 to Hermosillo. Mex 15 is not a bad road , getting to be mostly four laned and heavy truck traffic. And a few toll booths too , but nothing to worry about if you make a point of avoiding the one at Magdalena simply by going through the town, not the by-pass; north of Hermosillo about 35km you can turn off east to Pesqueira and take the paved road south and back to Mex 15 /17and Hermosillo so avoiding another toll . Mex 15 is rather straight and fast , leaving the mountain and valley landscape at Santa Ana , then just being flat semi desert ranchland with irrigation farms in spots.. From Hemosillo take Mex 16 east , again fairly flat for the first hour or two but after 160km the serious curves begin. as you start climbing into higher country.Mid Oct. it should be pretty with fall colours starting to turn on the trees and brush.
I would recommend spending the night in Hermosillo, explore the town and go to the outlook point (mirador) atop the small rocky peak with all the radio/TV towers at southeast of the Centro,you can ride the cobblestone spiral street to the top ,watch sunset.. Leave Hermosillo after breakfast and have a nice ride to Cahuizori or Basaseachic for the night, or if you want to stop earlier think of hotels in Yecora especially if it is after 4pm because this section is very curvy and slow and you do not want to be out at night dodging horses and cattle. .
If you enter at Douglas I recommend taking the route Mex 2 east across the mountains into the highplains country at Janos , then south on Mex 10.
Going south from Douglas on Mex 17 is a good paved road and scenic ,agricultural vallies of the Rio Sonora , but you are actually just backtracking to Hermosillo. But if that is what you want to do , nothing wrong with that, the route is interesting.Perhaps you mention taking Mex 17 south because on your one other trip from the ferry from La Paz you came north along Mex 15 and you are now seeking an alternate route to Hermosillo so you can pick up Mex 16 east from there and then take the inland route south from Creel. That sounds like an excellent plan. In my earlier post I dealt with some options on that route.
There really is no need to worry too much about which route is the more scenic, I figure everything you encounter will seem new and different. Do whatever route strikes your fancy, then on next trips you can work on different approaches.Avoid the urge to micro-plan every step of the trip,e.g. making hotel reservations all along the route- very hard , and even if you could this would be a recipe for disaster as you would find it impossible to keep to most of those scheduled, or you'll race along or ride into the night just to keep from losing your deposit. But you say you have ridden in Mexico five times so this should not be news to you. Give yourself lots of time to go slow ,to stop to enjoy the scenery, to explore the small towns, villages, engage the locals in a chat. . If you make your planned goal for the day early resist the urge to go another 100km" just an hour more ", when you barely have an hour of daylight left.Sure enough you will find that the "hour's ride" will turn out to be inadequate to cover the wee distance it seemed on the map.
Further to Lucky Explorer's comments about the ferry service, check out TMC and www.bajaferries.com.mx and www.sanbornsinsurance.com then click on their their ferry info , I think you will find regular service from Topolobampo ( port for Los Mochis) and from Mazatlan. Both companies run several vessels each and accomodations vary. However on the 5 to 6 hour run from Topo getting a cabin is not advised , don't see how you get any adequate sleep in such a short stay even if the sailing time is late at night. From Mazatlan the two of you might want to splurge on a cabin for the 16 hour overnight trip, but you can "rough it" in one of the lounges ' recliner chairs supplied for that purpose.
Lucky Explorer's suggestion for the route from Creel is a good one and would fit nicely into the route to Creel after having come down from Janos. That way you are not returning by way of the same route Mex 16 from Hermosillo except for the segment from Mex 16 down to Creel. On the return from Creel north back to Mex 16 you would be repeating but even then with your bikes you could handle the 85km gravel shortcut west from San Juanito to Basaseachic. This road is excellently laid out and maintained about ready to be paved ( I prefer doing loop rides, with a minimum of re-running the same roads in the same trip) Check out Basaseachic waterfalls from south rim of canyon and from north rim. Mex 16 west from Baseachic will be very curvy and slow going so think of the time/ remaining daylight. Good small hotels can be found en route in Basaseachic/Cahuizori , Yecora on Mex 16 and on Mex 12 south at Rosario ,then in Cd. Obregon where you enter Mex 15 just south of the toll plaza (Travellers from either direction on Mex 15 can avoid it by going through the city and re - entering Mex 15 later- a bit detour but easy and interestring, saves cost of half tank of gas.). Pace yourself.
Alamos is indeed interesting , turned into more of an artist colony and retirement place for the rich.
Decisions,decisions! What will it be via Los Mochis or the long way south via Mazatlan?. Enjoy.
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