Saturday, April 8, 2017

Durango to Mazatlan

On our way out of Durango, we made a stop at La Ferreria to visit El Parque Fundidora.
These are the ancient ruins of foundries where iron and other metals have been smelted since the time of the Spanish in Durango. Now they are only ruins, but they are a beautiful historical site and are often used for photo shoots.  While we were there some senior pictures were being taken. The landscape is beautiful and it is a peaceful well maintained site.

The preserved detail clearly shows where the water wheel was and where the beams for support for roofs etc. were.

There was even a fully preserved burner box for making the charcoal needed for the smelting process.

Some of the trees have been there for hundreds of years - just look at the roots from this old tree.

The grounds are very well maintained and you can see why this place is often used for photo shoots.

After our previous experiences, we decided to Stay on the toll roads.  Several miles onto the toll roads we experienced an accident with a huge truck and there were a lot of police and an ambulance, we still can't quite figure out if the accident was caused by lack of breaks or what he hit.

All along the toll roads, there are many, many amazing tunnels and bridges.  Some of these tunnels go on for a mile or more and some of the bridges are incredible engineering examples of great beauty.

These shacks are sitting right on top of the tunnel entrance
Since they are constantly working on repairing and/or improving the toll roads, there were several times that we had to be led through a long tunnel or a long stretch of road, on the wrong side by a pilot car.

It looks as though unemployment is greatly reduced by all the manual work done on the roads instead using machinery - then again, there is no waste of manpower because many times they use fake flaggers which really caught us off guard because they look like real people and I think that they actually use a photograph and blow it up into a realistic looking print.

There is also a lot of money and effort spend on stabilizing hills to avoid slippage, runoff and rockfalls.  Most of the rock faces alongside the roads are gunited and anchored and also covered with wire mesh.

We stopped for lunch at one of the many makeshift roadside restaurants - the 'owners' sleep out in the fields at the side of the road with their children - the whole family with their sleeping bags and a makeshift shelter.  The food was amazing.  The lady that fed us was very friendly and suggested that Gerald take a photo of her handing me food.  She opened each one of the cooking pots and explained to us what each contained and we even tried a new drink, previously unheard of to us, called Pinole. which is made from roasted corn (or the ancient grain pinole), ground into a flour and combined with water and some spices.  She introduced us to her husband and children and we left there feeling very happy with ourselves because we had managed to hold a really good conversation in Spanish and eaten good food at the same time.

This sort of food stop would never be tolerated in USA due to concerns over the health considerations but our host even took our money with her apron instead of her hands.  I think that in most of the world we are missing out on a lot of good authentic 'culinary' options due to those concerns and are missing opportunities to let our immune systems do their job.

It seems as though there is always something to see alongside the road, whether it is the view, the shacks used for homes or just more Federales (Federal Police) protecting everyone.

As we got closer to Mazatlan, the geology changed and we saw some very different colors in the rocks.

They are also very serious about protecting traffic and there are some good Runaway Truck ramps in the mountains. We were intrigued by the fact that there are red lines to be followed by vehicles that have lost their brakes - I can't imagine how scary it must be to loose brakes in these mountains but that red line (and the fact that motorists are advised to give way to vehicles without brakes) must be very comforting.

When you look at the load of this truck, the thought of losing brakes with this load and uneven distribution becomes even more scary.

There is always a way to make a living in this part of the world - check out this roadside restroom which costs the standard 5 pesos.

Is this a laundry and rest room ?
The alternate road (free road) most of the way is a narrow winding road through the 7,500 to 8,000 foot mountains - they call it "the road along the spine" and if you see the height of these mountains, you will see another good reason why we decided to stay with the toll roads on this trip.

As we got closer to Mazatlan, we noticed that there is a lot of construction still going on but there are also a lot of temporary shacks housing people alongside the road so you take the good with the bad as you drive in to Mazatlan and can see more affluence as you get closer to the beach and the hotels/resorts.

Could almost be Jo'burg

Quite a load and a man on the back too

Ian - this one is for you.  A yellow School Bus
Puerto Bonita is amazing, we were incredibly suprised by the quality and style of what we had booked.

From our balcony we can see miles up the beach and out over the ocean.

We could also look down on the gardens where there are Flamingos and swans (both black and white).

We were treated as VIPs when we checked in because we are 'owners' so had the quick check in but still went through the usual 'gifting' step of the checking so know what we are up against when we get our 'free breakfast' and $200 US resort credit etc tomorrow.

In the evening, we took a long walk along the beach and then had a lovely supper at the Bistro at the opposite end of the resort. I had Pumpkin and shrimp soup and I have never had soup that good before - Gerald had Northern Clam Chowder and ordered chicken Sinaloeas style (the local way of cooking here in the state of Sinaloa) - it was 16 oz of chicken and I tried to help but I couldn't do it justice so Gerald managed to finish it with a struggle.


  1. Fantastic, enjoying your journey through Mexico.

  2. It looks so beautiful and yet contrasted with some obvious poverty too. Glad you are having so much fun xx