Phoenix to Mazatlan...and Back...Ideas...July 3rd -July 8th

Discussion in 'Americas' started by BullShatter, Jun 7, 2012.

  1. BullShatter

    BullShatter Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    234
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ
    I am looking for some ideas for a 4th of July trip and I want for some feedback on, sights to see, routes, lodging, food, beer, etc.

    My plan is to ride from Phoenix to Mazatlan and back. The dates would be a July 3rd (Tuesday) departure, and returning on July 8th (Sunday). Simply put, 2 days riding down, two days in Mazatlan, and 2 days riding back. My thought is to overnight in San Carlos each way, but I'm open to ideas. I have heard that overnighting in Alamos could be an option as well.

    I'll be riding my '09 1200 GS with Jesse Safari Bags, a tank bag, and a BMW small 31L Sportbag as a tail-bag (debating if this will go with me or not).

    I am familiar with the ride to San Carlos/Guaymas, but have never gone beyond that, so any feedback is welcome.

    Also, if anyone has a recommendations on where to stay for two nights in Mazatlan, I would gladly take that under advisement!
    #1
  2. jimmex

    jimmex Guero con moto

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,936
    Location:
    West Texas
    Take your night vision goggles.
    #2
  3. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    9,138
    Location:
    San Antonio
    Agree with Jimmy.

    Those are some long haul days and its prudent to be sure to be off the bike two or three fingers above the horizon
    #3
  4. jimmex

    jimmex Guero con moto

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,936
    Location:
    West Texas
    You know...the best part of the Mazatan ride IMO is the Espinazo because of its stunning beauty and super fun twisties. Plus, that coastal plain is insufferably hot an humid. But I forget, you're from an even hotter place. If you could possibly put a couple more days into the trip, you could do the incomparable loop from DGO down through Nayarit and over to Mazatlan that we did last week. It was epic. I rode all the way from Dgo, DGO to my house in one day coming back so I understand the allure or doing long days, but to me you'll be missing the cool stuff: La Sierra. Sometimes a man's got to do....
    #4
  5. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,739
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    You're only going for a long weekend. No need to pack a lot of stuff if you stay in hotels. The Belmar in old town Mazatlan across from the ocean on the malecon is a tad faded but reasonable with secure parking riding through the double doors into the courtyard. Routes? 15 libre if you don't mind riding past sunset. 15 cuota if you want to ride during daylight hours.

    Sonora and Sinaloa will be hot hot hot. You're from Phoenix so probably used to it.

    I rode from Phoenix to Guaymas and then to just south of Mazatlan the next day a couple of years ago. Took the libre 15 road so those were long days. Much faster on the 15 cuota toll freeway.

    I'm sure you know to stop at kilometer 15 to get your tourist card and TVIP for the bike. And return them on the way home.

    I remember back when I had to ride like heck to get home to go back to work on Monday. You have my sympathy.

    Have fun,
    John Downs
    #5
  6. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    9,138
    Location:
    San Antonio
    Actually there's no need to turn in the tourist card and since you live in Phoenix you can consider keeping the TVIP as well if you're going to go back for another bite of the apple within 6 months. That's the convenience of living so close to the border.
    #6
  7. BullShatter

    BullShatter Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    234
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Thanks for the helpful advice thus far....

    Heat
    Let's face it, I'm from Phoenix, I ride in it everyday (104 today and I'm on the bike), run 4 miles in it everyday, blah, blah, blah....what I'm saying is that heat won't be an issue, I'm acclimated to it. I can certainly understand the apprehension of any of you northerners that don't have our extreme summer temps...likewise though, I'm clearly a sissy when it comes to snow and anything below 45 degrees!...Like we say here...you don't have to shovel heat!

    I have ridden numerous times from Phoenix to San Carlos with time to spare for tacos and beer...however, what lays beyond will be new territory and for me, like most of you, the ride is just as important as the destination....but I also have to factor in my time constraints....I should be back at work on Monday!

    Permits
    @TricePilot...Great idea, the permit should be valid for 6 months...correct...as long as I tell Aduana that's how long I will be in country, and that will carry me through the rest of the year. I will have future plans in the fall.

    15 Libre vs 15 Cuota
    @JDowns...Can I jump between the two with relative ease??
    It's just going to be a straight shot from Phx to San Carlos via the 15 Cuota, but how much am I missing by taking the Cuota from Guaymas to Mazatlan...points of interest anybody?
    #7
  8. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,739
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    Cuota versus Libre 15 from Guaymas to Mazatlan would sort of be the equivalent in Arizona of I-10 from Scottsdale to Tuscon versus AZ79 from Apache Junction down through Florence to Tuscon.

    One is a straight line riding divided freeway high speed blitz, the other is more relaxed 2 lane blacktop cruising through the desert slowing down through the few small towns and eventually dumping you through surface streets through Tuscon.

    They both are basically parallel but miles apart in the desert coming closer together in the larger cities. And you can jump from one to the other. Cuota and Libre 15 come together when they hit the bigger cities of like Obregon and Los Mochis and it seems like I remember you had to take the cuota for a while through the agricultural area south of Los Mochis for a while.

    Don't get me wrong, if you had more time I love Jimmex's idea of cutting up 16 and looping down to Durango and hitting the Espinoza del Diablo and dropping down to Mazatlan and spending more time riding the great roads in the Sierra Madre. And if it were me with limited time I would ride all six days and drop in to Mazatlan for happy hour and hit it some more.

    But for your stated two days down two days there and two days back, the hot coastal plain is realistically the way to make a 2000 mile round trip in 4 riding days.

    And Tricepilot is absolutely right. No need to turn in your TVIP if you make sure to have them give you the full 180 days and not 60 or 90 like they sometimes try to do. Especially if you intend to ride south in the coming months. Great advice from SeƱor Trice once again.

    And as far as what to expect south of Los Mochis, less desert and more agricultural land as you cross down into Sinaloa from Sonora on the coastal plain. But basically a lot of straight line riding. The Sierra Madres is where the cranking and banking and beautiful vistas are to be found.

    Best,
    John Downs
    #8
  9. BullShatter

    BullShatter Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    234
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ
    @JDowns and Jimmex

    John, you and Jimmex are beginning to make me waiver on my original plan...now you've got me thinking about the Espinoza del Diablo, I don't have a map in front of me at the moment and Google Maps is not showing Hwy 16...where would I catch the 16 from Hwy 15 ? I remember seeing it on my paper maps, I just don't recall where it connects.

    I really do like the idea of riding all 6 days and dropping in to Mazatlan for Happy Hour and spend a night...Is there anything to see in Durango?...And it would get me out of the humid coastal heat as well...

    Apparently my plans were not set in stone!
    #9
  10. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,434
    Mex 16 runs from Hermosillo east aaaall the way to Chihuahua city( and Ojinaga border to TX) , with possibility to cut south from Basaseaschi( waterfall!) to San Juanito,Creel, Guachochi ,Balleza thence to Hidalgo del Parral., Durango,Mex 40 ,Espinazo to Mazatlan ... but we are talking here of a week of riding ...and more.
    #10
  11. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,739
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    Alright my man! Now you're talking.

    Easy to miss the cutoff on the south end of Hermosillo. If you're heading south from Nogales on the cuota you look for signs to La Colorada/Yecora after you pass through downtown Hermosillo. That is 16 heading southeast out of town across the flats until it starts climbing into the Sierra. 16 winds up into the mountains passes through La Colorada, Yecora and Cuauhtemoc. Make sure to stop and check out the tall waterfall at Basaseachic Falls. Beyond Cuauhtemoc but before you get to Chihuahua you cut south on 24 to Hidalgo del Parral where you catch 45 south to Durango. Espinoza is hwy 40 west out of Durango dropping down to the coastal plain and Mazatlan.

    Then, depending on how your time is, you can jet home up the 15 cuota.

    Way more fun than droning south from the border. Don't get me wrong, that is a LOT of riding. Sounds like fun to me.

    edit: Sjoerds route suggestion south through San Juanico/Guachochi/Hidalgo del Parral is a beautiful much more scenic alternative to 24 south. And yes you would be riding all day every day with this idea.

    Cheers,
    John Downs
    #11
  12. BullShatter

    BullShatter Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    234
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ
    OK...with this new plan brewing...where is a good place to stop for the night between Hermosillo and Chihuahua?

    Also, it looks like I could save some time and cut off before Chihuahua on Hwy 24, which then connects to Hwy 45 at Parral.
    #12
  13. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,739
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    If you head out in the early AM from Scottsdale, you will likely hit sunset around Yecora if you don't dawdle. I haven't stopped there and it's nothing to write home about. Others may know if there is lodging there. Maybe Google knows. Past Yecora there isn't much in the way of gas and lodging for a couple hundred kilometers other than some cabins at Baseseachic Falls.

    There is a cutoff south from the 16 at a horseshoe bend at Baseseachic falls cutoff maybe 100 kilometers east of Yecora and there is a road south through the mountains to San Juanito that will take you past the cutoff down into the Copper Canyon and eventually down to Hidalgo del Parral. Really nice ride. But with your time constraints it would be quicker to head east on 16 from Yecora in the morning to 24 south heading to Hidalgo del Parral and Durango.

    Best,
    John Downs
    #13
  14. Shibby!

    Shibby! Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,669
    Location:
    Currently - Canada
    Like others, I don't want to discourage you, but you are setting yourself up for a potential trip that is not very enjoyable.

    As for your question above? Nowhere. I slept on a river bed a few KM from a military stop. Froze my ass off.

    This road is SLOW going. No matter how fast of a rider you are, you'll be making VERY, VERY, VERY slow time. That being said, it's wicked fun.

    I did pass one small.... village? With a hotel right on the road. It was empty and they wanted more then I was willing to pay. I kept going.

    Many of these roads are deceiving and people don't necessarily understand that. 100km (60miles) in Mexico can sometimes take 3 hours. Average speeds are slow except on toll roads, and in which case you better bring your wallet. I generally found 400-500 KM was a early morning to dusk ride, not stopping for anything but a road side snack and gas. That was on the best of days.
    #14
  15. jimmex

    jimmex Guero con moto

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,936
    Location:
    West Texas
    Here's an alternative: Trust me the more time you spend up in the Sierra the more fun you'll have. Ride to Mazatlan the fastest way possible (cuota 15), eat Huachinango al mojo de ajo at Pancho's. Ride the Espinazo over the Sierra to Durango. This is not a full day's ride but you might want to stop there for the day anyway. Ride to Parral, then to Balleza then to Guachochi. From there take the super fun route to Creel. From Creel ride to San Juanito then go to Basaseachic on the new paved route. At Basaseachic, turn west on Mex 16 and ride the beautiful trans-Sierra road to Yecora. There is good lodging in Yecora BTW. Return home. This can be done either way depending on if you want the fun part on the tail end of the trip or the front. This route will give you maximum time in the mountains. It will be an awesome week on the bike. :ricky:jose:gerg
    #15
  16. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,434
    Heyyyyyyyy Shibby If you could not find lodgings on Mex 16 from Hermosillo to Chihuahua you must already have been suffering hypothermia and it's debilitating effects on the power of observation

    There are plenty of towns and villages along that road and I know for a fact that there are plenty of acceptable rooms for the traveller at reasonable rates

    Pardon the inappropriate (?) emoticon upper left -- not intended, I amusing a new method for this post and hit some key and cannot figure outhow to wipe it off.

    As for the OP plans , It has the makings of a good ride but. It really should be given lots more time
    the growing appetite is hauling in more than a available time will permit
    #16
  17. Shibby!

    Shibby! Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,669
    Location:
    Currently - Canada
    I started that day after camping in the bushes on the plateau rising from Batopilas. Went to Creel, then headed west on the 16.

    There may have been a place early on in the day, but I swear I only passed one small town going across a flat section between more mountain ranges. In those mountains I was stopped at a military check point. I even asked them and they said no places to stay. That's when I rode a few km's and saw a bridge. Went down the access path to the river bottom below and slept down there in my tent.

    The hotel I did stop at (it was my nephews b-day and I wanted to call him) was 350 pessos/night, where to most is very reasonable, but to me was quite a bit of money. I'll fully admit I was traveling for less then most and liked to stay well under 500 pesso's per day. I think I averaged around $32/ day with accommodations, food, gas, etc.

    Not saying it wasn't hypothermia either, because it was a chilly ride at times! The sun was going down and it was only getting colder real fast!

    On a side note, that road had spectacular views, turns and riding in general. Only bad thing was one flat tire for me which was changed on the side of the road with a 5" nail going through the bottom and side of my tire.
    #17
  18. SR

    SR Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,037
    Location:
    Western, Mexico
    +1. Jimmex, Sjoerd, and JDowns are all basically describing the same loop. In my opinion it can be done in 6 days on a GS.

    -2 days to cross the border and get down the coast to Mazatlan (hot and straight). In Mazatlan have huachinango at Panchos.

    -1 day from Maz to DGO or Parral (awesome riding but look out for trucks in your lane). Durango is a nicer town to stay in than Parral but it is only a 2/3 day ride from Maz to DGO and you can get to Parral in one long day.

    -1 day Parral to Creel on Highway 23 through Guachochi (awesome riding, brand new pavement on curvy roads very little traffic).

    -1 day Creel to Moctezuma on HW 16 and HW 20 cut north at Sahuaripa and Tapache (lots of curves, very isolated).

    -1 day Moctezuma to Phoenix.

    It wont be relaxing like sitting on the beach but it will be fun! :D I'd invite you for a beer in DGO but I will be out of town the week you are coming through. I like to spend the 4th of July in the US.

    PS: Someone needs to try out Highway 24 from Culiacan to Parral, that would be another option. They are working on paving it right now and it should be another great curvy through the Sierra. I have never done it but it looks like a neat ride!
    #18
  19. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    19,548
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    for that amount of time i'd just do rio sonora & sonora 16 and beach it at san carlos and reverse back out.
    #19