Thursday, January 22, 2009

Research: Travel between Los Mochis and Mazatlan

One way I am using this blog is to document my planning process. Although I well know that plans rarely survive contact with reality (or, in times of war, contact with the enemy), I think it's still important to make plans and contingencies and to familiarize oneself with all the details that one can.

I think a future blog entry might be on the subject of crime and danger to travelers in Mexico, but I'll just touch on that for a moment here. Currently, Mexico is in the midst of a drug war of unprecedented scale. While most of the violence is occurring along the border, I am well aware that one of the factions, the Sinaloa Cartel, is based in . . . Sinaloa! Thus, I want to avoid lingering too long in Sinaloa. So, the goal is to get thru Sinaloa quickly.

Another consideration I have for the overall trip is travel distances and travel times. I don't want to travel more than 200 miles a day, or spend much more than three hours riding the motorcycle. There are a few reasons for this. First, I provide frequent breaks for Iggy, so that he might empty his bladder and refill it and that he might stretch his legs. Second, ditto for me, as I have found that long stretches take their toll on my body. I've suffered excruciating pinched nerves from long rides. I think it's the vibrations from the bike, although it's possible that posture plays a role. Third, the main goal of this trip is to explore Mexico. Above all other considerations, this is my Prime Directive.

So, traveling the State of Sinaloa presents an interesting challenge. The first thing I did was go to the Mexico forums on Lonely Planet and ask, "where are the cool places to stay in Sinaloa?" I also turned to my dog eared 5th edition copy of Lonely Planet's
Mexico Travel Guide
. The LP guide is already up to the 11th addition, so a lot of the info in the 5th edition is out of date of course. But towns don't just disappear, so I was able to find a three sentence description for the town of Cosalá. As you might have guessed, my next stop was Google, thru which I found the official city website (linked above) and other interesting info, including a map of its location.

Well, it turns out there's a lot of interesting stuff in Cosalá; it's designated as a Pueblo Mágico. I'll save the details for after I actually get there and see for myself, but if there are any readers that have been there, feel free to share in the comments. I am especially curious about the hotels listed on the official site's hotel page. The Hotel Colonial looks like it would suit my needs, i.e., it's cheap!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An Itch to Travel

My number one new year's resolution: Get out of Dodge. Or Los Angeles, as the case may be. And it is.

I don't like vacations, or at least ones shorter than a month. I much prefer to take long trips and spend decent amounts of time in a place if I like it. Last "real" trip I was on was in 2004, when I spent two months in Guanajuato, Mexico and ten days in San Luis Potosí. I cut that trip short to attend two weddings, but I sometimes wish I hadn't.

Mexico is back on the agenda. Besides the fact that I already love Mexican culture (it's one of my favorite things about Los Angeles), it's cheap, I speak the language (somewhat), and I can bring Iggy Pup. The weather is pleasant (at least where I want to go and when I want to go) and the people are warm and friendly.

I've sketched a quick itinerary. Cross at Nogales, Guaymas, Alamos, Los Mochis, Mazatlán, Durango, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosí, Querétaro. The four main places I want to check out on this route are Alamos, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosí, and Querétaro. I have friends I'll be staying with in SLP, so I might use that as a home base to explore Aguascalientes and Real de Catorce. Right now, 40 - 60 days minimum seems about right for the above destinations. If I want to stay longer in any particular place, I will. At the end of 60 days, I'll decide if I want to head further south than Querétaro.

Right now the goal is to leave at the end of February or the beginning of March. The rainy season starts for the most part in June and runs thru October (all this depending on where one is, of course).


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