Down the Devil’s Backbone and along the coast

Alzar School | 16.10.07

On our own now, Kristin and I made it from Chihuahua to Rodeo on our first day (just shy of Durango, where we had hoped to make it). Turns out Rodeo was the birthplace of Pancho Villa. Who knew? Anyway, we were excited to turn south-west from Durango, as we were about to enter the ‘El Espinazo del Diablo,´or the Devil´s Backbone. Our guide from the first week with Motodiscovery, Alfonso, told us this was another ride the company offered, so we expected it to be fun. The first hour and a half past Durango was relatively mild, a few turns threw pines, chilly, but nothing stunning. As we continued, though, it got twistier and steeper, and then, all of the sudden, there was a gap between the trees… and it looked as if you had reached the end of the world. Because we were cruising by quickly on motorcycles, it was hard to believe the glimpse was real. But then another gap would appear, and BAM… a stunning, gagged, lush canyon. You almost expected to see pteradactyls flying around, maybe a brontosaurus head poking out the trees. Eventually, we reached the classic photo op spot… a point where the ridge was barely wider than the two lane highway, and views to both sides. We stopped, took some pictures, chatted with a couple of Americans driving to Panama (one of whom owns a rafting company in Boquete).

That night, we made it to Mazatlan, tired and ready for a good night´s sleep. We strolled to find dinner, and ended up in the historic zone, at a quaint, beautiful square surrounded by nice restaurants. We had dinner, listening to a brass band play Beatle´s hits, songs from Grease. After dinner, we stopped in for a paleta-a homemade popsicle-and helped the owner of the store translate her menu to English.

Today, we rode from Mazatlan to Puerto Vallarta. The tolls between the two cities were unbelievable! I think we spent close to 50 US dollars! But, we did arrive in Vallarta with enough time to stroll down the lovely beachfront, taking in some great music and a gorgeous sunset. This town is definitely a tourist destination, but it still has Mexican character, and does not feel gaudy or awkward. Plus, we found a decent hotel for $28, which was also cool enough to allow us to roll our motorcycles through the lobby to the courtyard, so they wouldn’t be parked on the street overnight.