From Heaven to Hell and Back Again
Sorry for the delay, but it's ugly in between stops and we need some respite time to recover.
Our final day directly on the coast showed us that coastal living is nice for a brief period, but a bit messy after a few days. The RV was full of sand and covered with salt water and we (and the dogs) were ready to move along.
There aren't any good RV parks between Huatambampito and Mazatlan so we were targeting a nice hotel about halfway there where we could rent a room for $30, have a real shower, some pool time, and head out the next morning. Unfortunately, we missed the hotel.
The sun was still high in the sky so we decided to continue. Interestingly enough, we were driving along and someone started honking at us. Our new friends from France! Waving and blowing by us. It brought a huge smile to our faces. They left us in their dust and we continued. At the top of a peak, about 6 hours into our drive we stopped for gas, only to find our French friends, once again. They had been staying in the desert and were heading for the beach. We were of the opposite mind set so we opted for another hour and a half to Culiacan.
I told Laurie, "It looks like a relatively large town. All we need to do is find the Walmart and the hotel is right next door." Stupid.
Culiacan is a major urban area. We drove in circles for at least an hour and a half in major traffic on narrow streets until we lucked upon a sweet little college student who lead us on a 20 minute sojourn through town to our destination just before sunset. God bless her. We stayed at a very nice hotel that has a shitty little lot out back to accommodate 6 RVs. Some sites have electricity, some have water, some have sewer hook-ups, all have bugs and surroundings that resemble a dump.
Regardless - so thankful to find it right before nightfall after an unintentional 8 hour drive.
They had just added chemicals to the pool so we were denied the privilege of an evening swim, so we got up in the morning and headed right out. Amazingly, we made it out of town smoothly. We had 3/4 of a tank of gas and I didn't want to stop until Culiacan was in our rear view mirror. For the first time, we hit a long stretch of road that we could drive consistently at 60 mph. However, there was only one gas station - on the other side of the highway - that I didn't slow down enough to hit.
From that point forward, in their infinite wisdom, the Mexican government erected concrete barriers for miles and miles, preventing anyone from turning around to get back to the only gas station from hell and gone. By the time we reached the last toll station outside of Mazatlan we were on empty. I begged a couple of liters off of a security guard there and we limped our way into town.
Mazatlan has a population of nearly a half million people and over a half dozen RV parks. As such, I suspected it was going to be an unpleasant, tourist nightmare. Wrong again.
We're on the short stretch of playas (beaches) on the outskirts of town at an RV park called Las Jaibas that is on the opposite side of the road from the beach and surrounded by nature. We are one of 4 inhabitants at the park (out of 120+ spaces) and we like all of our neighbors and our host and groundskeeper, Rafael. Once again, the dogs are free to roam for the most part (with three other little dogs across the way) so they love it as much as we do.
We are minutes from town, from a Walmart (where we stocked up on supplies today) and from any amenities we could imagine, and yet, we feel totally isolated. Rafael talked me into paying for a week's stay ($150) and we may just stay that long. As I told him, we have a long way to go, but we're in no hurry. We have a couple of days of work to do and this is a pretty good spot in which to do it.