A lot of people we met before going to Mexico scared the living daylights out of us by telling all these horror stories about the country and it’s people. Since we’ve been to a couple ‘dodgy’ countries before, we told ourselves to keep their stories in the back of our minds, but to try to discover the country on our own, without prejudice and so we drove to the Mexican border at Sonoyta.
Before we got to Mexico, we had to decide if we wanted to take the more common route via Baja California or if we wanted to take the more ‘dangerous’ but also more beautiful route through the mainland of Mexico and seeing as we like to ride on curvy mountain roads, we decided to take the mainland one.
At the border a grumpy looking official asked us, in Spanish, what our business was, all the time not looking at us but at his papers on his desk, and because we know a very small amount of Spanish I tried to charm him by saying that we wanted to come and visit his beautiful country. After hearing my broken Spanish he looked up and behold, he could even smile. Stamping the necessary papers and chatting about the bikes and the route we were going to take, he wished us a safe journey and off we went. So far so good.
A first stop at a local money changing place and a well deserved sip of cold water.
The first night in Mexico we spent in a “charming” little town called Santa Ana because we had read on ADV (Adventure Rider website) that you could get a hotel for 280 Mexican Pesos, which is about 19 Dollars or 16 Euros. This was also the perfect place to put our Mexican sticker on the panniers, for Seb this is country number 57 and for me this is number 43 (not that we are counting…)
They do tend to drive very fancy police cars around here in Mexico.
According to a lot of foreign affairs websites, Sonora isn’t the best province to linger around in, so we decided to set a fairly good paste and do a lot of kilometers in the first few days. This didn’t stop us to visit a local snack truck that was parked next to a gas station and this was again the best place to practice our Spanish a bit.
We try to get by with the amount of Spanish we know and even if they answer in English, we still try to answer back in Spanish, just because we want to be courteous to the people.
A statement in Spanish, but I think it is the same for the rest of the world! (Television will brainwash you)
Some road signs tend to be a bit more fancy than the ones we are used to, notice the olive in the glass…
Riding the bikes makes you hungry, so from time to time, you stop at a local shop to get some cookies.
This shop was located in Soyopa, from where we wanted to ride to Tonichi, but after speaking to some locals, they kindly told us that there was no more road to Tonichi and that we had to make a detour and ride to Santa Rosa instead, which was a bit further than we had anticipated.
If you avoid the main roads, you pass through small villages and go over some very interesting bridges from time to time.
After a few more kilometers on some very well maintained roads, we ended up in a small town called Bacanora.
Bacanora was one of those places where we had to ask the locals where the hotel was, because there was no sign. We were lucky, because the first guy we asked turned out to be the owner of both the local shop and the only running hotel in town.
We could put the bikes next to his door, where he would keep an eye on them, but this meant that we had to ride them through his hallway…
In the evening we asked the owner of the hotel where we could find a cheap but good restaurant nearby and after following his directions, we came to a place that looked like someones home. When we opened the door, we came straight in their kitchen and all the people inside were staring at us. When we asked if this was the restaurant and if they were open, they told us that they had a party in the town and all their tables where there so they would not open up that day, but after seeing the disappointed look on our faces, they decided to open up just for us.
They had one more small table in their kitchen witch they gave to us and they took the two chairs they found lying around and we were ready to eat. In the end they even made us a local and very sweet dessert and this just goes to show that if you try to speak their language and open up, people will go out of their way for you.