MEXICO Baja Ferry, "Devil’s Backbone" road to Durango Pt. 1

The time has come to leave Baja California Sur and take a ferry across to the mainland Mexico.  I’m really glad we chose to do Baja.  It’s a unique part of the world I’ll never forget.

James and I were prepared for the lengthy paperwork process to purchase our ferry ticket.  When we got to the counter there was only 1 seat left on the boat. No cabins, and deck space only.  I was okay with that. I usually go deck space only because it’s much cheaper.

While we were passing through the gate, I was doing the passport thing, James was behind me and another motorcycle comes roaring up asking how to get a ticket.  James talked to the guy giving instructions of which offices to go to, getting photocopies, etc etc.. When he left to do it, we sort of chuckled and thought “Good luck buddy, we’re boarding now and you’ve got the whole process to go through, let alone we’re not sure there is any space left!”

Later on, he came down the ramp with his bike, he made it!  Introductions go around, his name is Kevin from Whistler Canada.  We also met another Canadian, Patrick.  Kevin and Patrick discover they are nearly from the same area of Canada and surprised they never met before.. they have now!! On a boat in Mexico! We eventually met several bikers from California and Mexico down in the hold as well.  Busy biker boat!

How many times have I been on ferries throughout the world!  Actually just last night I was discussing the ferry on the Baltic Sea.. loved that one!  Ferries from Croatia to Italy, the Greek Islands to Turkey, little wobbly things across Russian rivers.. now I get to experience one in Mexico!

So accustomed to these things, however when we got on board, this one is clearly different.  Deck space is literally on the deck!  Outside!  I know it sounds like it should normally be the case, however it usually means you can sit in the lounge, or camp out on a carpeted floor.  This boat doesn’t have a lounge!  If you don’t want to be outside on a cold wet rocking boat, the ONLY option was to hang out in the super icky cafeteria.  And it seems pretty much everybody on board is in this one room.  I’ve never experienced a ferry like this.  It’s purpose is to take passengers, but it’s not really passenger-friendly. ;-(

James and I secured our table for the night.. And by the looks of the amount of beers those locals have consumed BEFORE we even left the port, this is going to be a VERY long night… not good.

We got our computers out and I can’t get my mind off the fact that I get to sit here for 12 hours.  I went to reception and begged for anything we could get cabin wise, and the lady said she had nothing at the moment, but I can check back after we sail.

Meanwhile, Patrick and Kevin find us at the table and sat down.. telling us they’ve got a cabin!!  Ugh!

I just went and stood at the desk making a nuisance of myself until she finally found us a cabin.. and it was cheap, thank God!!  Persistence works sometimes..

I then left the boys at the table and went upstairs.  Poor James has been traveling with only me for a long time and I quite honestly was glad he could have a break from me; some proper boy and beer time with the other two.

The next morning I am up early walking the deck.. and seeing the aftermath of the passengers who actually slept up there (still sleeping actually) with loads and loads of beer and whiskey around.  I’m SO glad we had a cabin.

I did meet one of the Mexican bikers. They were traveling in a group of 15, taking a tour of their own country, which I thought was cool.  We discussed in my seriously lacking Spanish skills about how hard it is to ride on a long trip with so many others.  Everybody has their own idea of when to stop, where to go, etc etc.  Group dynamics a bit challenging.

Kevin found me and he has a map.  We talk with the Mexican rider about which roads will be most interesting when we get off, and we decide to do this Espinazo del Diablo road (Spine of the Devil or Devil’s Backbone).  One of the curviest long roads they could come up with that goes inland from Mazatlan, where we disembark.

We’re off the boat and congregate with the American riders.. They are doctors with limited time away from home and office, so they make a b-line down the coast.  James, Patrick, Kevin and I have figured out that we have simliar agendas and plans.  So we’re ready to take on the super curvy Devil road today to Durango.

And we’re off!

We are enjoying the road, but Patrick has a funny problem.  On his Suzuki DR 650 there is an automatic chain lube.  The reservoir for liquid is attached to the front handle bar.  It works but it leaks, and Patrick is getting sprayed with the stuff continuously!  Making a mess of his jacket..

The road is quite an experience.  It’s full of giant semi trucks, sharp turns of which the semi-trucks seem to use up both sides of the road.  I had THE closest call when I saw the front of red truck on MY side of the road, right in front of my face on a turn.  A quick weave could have put me over a cliff.. Luckily we just missed each other.

I don’t have a photo of that one, I was a bit busy!  But here is what they often look like.  The truck on the right wanted to get in the left side to make a wide turn, but there was another truck there.  When I took this photo they were at a stop, and they eventually worked it out. 

To give a better idea of what the road looks like, I think Garmin has that covered.  This is one seriously curvy road!!!

Criusin’ !!!

Woo hoo!  Lunch time…!!

Guess what I ordered?!?  My still current new favorite, Chile rellenos!! ;-))

While we were eating another biker pulls in.  His name is Steve, an American riding a KLR who lives in Durango, where we are headed.  He offers to ride with us and show us a good and cheap place to stay in town.

Before we go, I best use the toilet.. in that little pink roadside building.  The restaurant lady must have sent the boy after me to make sure I paid 5 pesos for the pleasure.  Good little business guy he will make one day! Very cute too.

On the road again!

The little line across the photo above mid-cliff is our road.. gorgeous!  And something else that really strikes me here is all the GREEN!  I have been in southern California and Baja too long where green is rarely seen.

It’s been a long dizzy ride today and we pull in to Durango in the dark.

None of us really knew what to expect of Durango, and we were pleasantly surprised!  It looks and feels like an old European town.

The hotel right in the center lets us pull our bikes in for the night.  There is actually another biker there, Gary on a very old BMW traveling from the UK. 

2 seconds to change clothes and we are out on the town.

My head is still spinning from the Espinazo del Diablo!!!

What a great day.. to see the video version of today’s ride, check out James video in the link below

https://vimeo.com/37995226
Spine of the Devil video by James Cole

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About kangamerican

Originally from America. Proud citizen of Australia. Currently riding my motorcycle around the world. 44 countries so far and counting. ;-) View all posts by kangamerican

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