Aug 16, 2006, 6:04 AM
Post #2 of 19
To the best of my knowledge based on driving the route two times in the past week and four times in the last month, is that there is no more danger now than any other time. Though on the last trip we did run into an interesting election related sight.
Outside of Santa Ana traffic southbound was backed up quite a ways by a small group of marchers with Obredor (Thanks to Esperanza for the correction) signs. They were marching from somewhere north (I wish I knew where) to I suspect Mexico City. We passed them again on the south bound trip - many fewer -somewhere between Navajoa and Mazatlan. We also have seen more truck loads of soldiers on the road than usual, though the checkpoints seemed less heavily manned and less of a delay. In fact, thinking of it, the Mazatlan checkpoints were not manned when we went through at least once and they are always heavily manned.
The drive down is partiicularly pretty now, with greenery all along the way including the Sonoran Desert. Last week, we saw deer along the road above Hermosillo and a Javalina hustling down the median in the same area.
It's always a good idea to avoid Culiacan - I've been told this, but can't verify it as I don't go there. I am tempted now as I just saw the movie "Once Upon a Time In Mexico." Ridiculous plot, gorgeous Antonio Banderas and Selma Heyak, but lots of nice shots of Culiacan. It is reputed to be a center of the drug trade, but once again that is only what I have heard and can't verify personally. Further, it is off the main road and going there is a delay.
I have heard nothing about Los Mochis, but we don't stop there as we like other towns a lot better and it is a little off the road also. The streets are laid out so that it is very difficult to avoid traffic from cross streets. I find them dangerous for that reason. Really nice 100 year old restaurant - Mr. Edwards. The one hotel we have stayed in there, we do not recommend unless one is looking to replace his troop of trained cockroaches. These are big and aggressive.
Another town to avoid is Altar if you enter before Nogales. It is the jumping off point for border crossers. It is currently in a rather slow mode, probably because the desert is killing hot.
You don't say where you are starting from in California. That will determine some things. Also, do you have animals. That enters into the equation also.
The northern part of the drive is quite difficult for a trailer as there are no shoulders on a lot of the hiway. If you should veer off the driving surface, you are almost sure to have an upturned trailer and probably car also. The same applies to the area about 50 miles beyond Mazatlan to almost Tepic.(100 miles - 100 crosses for shrines). We always try to travel this stretch midday/midweek. Traffic is much lighter then and it is an easy drive. Anytime around the week-end the road is packed with Tapatios going from Guad to the beach or back at the end of the week-end. It is very difficult then.
We start in San Diego, usually mid day and usually go as far as Santa Ana/Magdelina. There are several clean, inexpensive, guarded small hotels on the southern outskirts of Santa Ana. Perhaps a little difficult parking for a trailer, but probably not - have never checked for that. Also, it depends on the hotel. This time we only got to Caborca and stayed at a nice place called El Camino with restaurant and bar. Clean, guarded, a little more than I expected cost wise ($700 pesos). Easy access for your trailer. Visible from the carretera midway through town.
After that the next logical overnight place is either Cuidad Obregon (lots of hotels/motels, but I stop at Navajoa and have no information) or Navajoa. In Navajoa, we have stayed often at the Best Western del Rio right on the river as you enter the north end of town. Clean, nice restaurant, usually it has cost $800, but this trip only $550 (Both in Pesos). Easy access for your trailer. Others recommend El Mayo on the south end of town. Was less expensive before del Rio lowered prices.
From there, the next overnight place is Mazatlan. Any hotel along the beach area is likely to be very difficult with a trailer. Parking is at a premium most places. Perhaps someone can recommend at place with good parking. Last trip (my wife flew down), I stayed at a $22 per night no tell motel. Clean, totally secure, obviously cheap. Watch out for the TV unless you are into really hard core porn. No parking for trailers. That is not the usual transportation of the clientele of such a place. They are good for travelers without trailers looking for good cheap secure (you get your own enclosed garage) lodging and for local couples looking for a short term, quiet place for recreation.
After Mazatlan, the only possible logical overnight stop would be Tepic. It is a difficult town to drive in with or without a trailer. We have stayed there in a good hotel away from the central city (unfortunately it was two years ago and we haven't found it again), but most of the recommended hotels are in the plaza area and probably impossible for a trailer. Perhaps someone else has an idea for a good place to stop with a trailer.
Good luck on your trip.
(This post was edited by dlyman6500 on Aug 16, 2006, 9:45 AM)