Deya and I are either gluttons for punishment or thorough, so we headed to talk to the authorities that are dealing with these problems, El Sub-Comandante. This was a nice guy, professional and obviously holding a higher office (with a beach front view) because he’s competent. The officer explained about the areas where incidents have occurred, the people who are being killed and the kind of vehicles that are being targeted. As it turns out, motorcycles are not useful to the bad guys, very few innocent people with particularly bad luck get caught in the crossfire, and we have already crossed through the most dangerous areas of the route.
We walked out of there feeling a little more hopeful than the Consulate but still had to make some decisions. Toll road or libre? Though most of the robberies seem to have occurred on the toll roads, the toll roads did have some advantages like better conditions, maintaining a higher speed, The Green Angels, etc. So we chose the toll road in the end and we heard that it was a beautiful drive anyways.
We left early as is our method and got onto the road easily; we paid the first toll and began the journey towards Tepic in Nayarit, South. People were right it was lovely and we travelled along the beach, mountains and a range of different environments. As we got further I was continually blown away by the cost of the tolls. It was total highway robbery packaged in booths surrounded by dudes with guns. The cost for motorcycles is exaggerated though because we pay per bike the same as a truck load of people would pay. For example, one of the tolls was $170 pesos each and it doesn’t get you that far, the conditions are not that great and there is still a potential for danger.
Hermosillo to Mazatlan was $80.7 Canadian dollars and got us 1000 kms. Mazatlan to Guadalajara was $126 Canadian dollars for 480 kms. Just a reminder that our budget for food, fuel and lodging is $30 Canadian bucks/day! I would rather buy beer but we always think about safety first. To put that in prospective for the folks back home, the Coquihalla Highway in B.C. runs about 200 kms and used to cost us $5 bucks each, now it is free. The Blue Ridge Parkway in the USA is totally awesome at 750 kms, and free! By the time we finished the tolls here we were well over budget and feeling taken advantage of. This would cause us to change our toll road attitude and start riding the free roads again.
|Green Angel pushing a car|
Our route took us into the well famous town of Tequila. This is a nice little town but when we arrived is was busy and hot. We pulled into a public parking spot at the town center and took a seat in the shade to hydrate. A police officer came over to tell us that the two parking spots are for an important municipal officer and we could not park there, of course they were regular spots. Oh thanks for visiting our town! Deya told him we were taking a break and we would leave soon. Another vehicle showed up and parked in the spot beside us. Eventually the important people showed up and the police officer came by to tell us to get lost. He then waved the important people around to the parking. I wanted to video this and make a complaint but it was hot and we needed to get places. So we left Tequila without taking a tour spending a dime or being able to recommend the place.
After we left Tequila and hit yet another toll we stopped for some water and a bolillo with peanut butter. I was getting dehydrated and needed a break; we also took the opportunity to oil the chains. While we pulled out some food, there were some local guys who worked there having lunch. They invited us over and we shared tostadas de atún (tuna with salsa and hard tortillas) and some other stuff. It was a highlight for us, we enjoyed good conversation and food and it was a better rest than we might have had on our own and was a good recovery from our sour Tequila experience.
|Thanks for lunch guys!|
We hung out for a bit at our destination and waited for friends of friends to arrive and host us. I was fully in the throws of heat exhaustion and would become less and less functional as the night wore on.
Spoiler: Just in case guys, the tolls are abusive in my opinion, it merely feels like organized robbery.