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Author Topic: Possible Mazatlan Road Trip this fall  (Read 857 times)

US 41

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Possible Mazatlan Road Trip this fall
« on: May 12, 2017, 11:08:02 AM »

I am planning on taking a trip to Mazatlan this fall. The route I am planning on taking: https://goo.gl/maps/Fkm7CFrbK1x

I plan on spending three full days in Mexico. I've been thinking about doing this forever and I really have no excuse not to do it this year. I was thinking about renting a car once I got to Mexico, but I have to have a credit card (I have a debit, but not a credit), so I'm just going to take my own car. I've done slightly longer trips than this in my car, so I am pretty confident I won't have any issues, but if I do I am well prepared.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2017, 12:16:44 PM by US 41 »
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kphoger

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Re: Possible Mazatlan Road Trip this fall
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2017, 12:53:08 PM »

You and I have talked about this trip before, but...

You might consider planning one extra day in Mexico.  That would give you a leisurely two-day drive from Piedras to Mazatlán, and another leisurely two days from there to Ojinaga.  Maybe even try to hook up with Jbte while you're in México.  Give yourself a real actual break in Mazatlán, hang out at the beach, recharge your batteries before heading north again.

And taking your own car is definitely the way to go.  In fact, I don't see any advantage at all in renting one at the border.  Paperwork for your own car only ends up costing you about 40 bucks.  Just make sure your car is in good condition, as some of those stretches are pretty desolate.

If you want to see those new funky rectangular stoplights, you might consider detouring through Monclova.  I can also recommend a good restaurant there for lunch.
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Re: Possible Mazatlan Road Trip this fall
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2017, 06:23:15 PM »

I have my trip split up into three different parts in a way. I am giving myself 8 days to do the trip, even though I have it planned out for 7. In Mexico each day is split up into 9 hour segments (Eagle Pass - Cuencame; Cuencame - Mazatlan - Durango; Durango - Presidio). Those three days are all a lot shorter in mileage than when I will be driving in the US. I am giving myself 4 days (I'm buying 4 days worth of Mexican insurance) to spend in Mexico though, specifically if I do decide to stay the night in Mazatlan after the second day rather than head back to Durango (which I am highly considering).

And I have to agree with taking my own car being ideal. I'm only driving a little over 1300 miles in Mexico while I'll be driving over 2600 miles in the US. So realistically if I can make it 2600 miles in the US, I should be able to make 1300 in Mexico. I trust my car a lot and I keep it well maintained.
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Jbte

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Re: Possible Mazatlan Road Trip this fall
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2017, 09:06:26 PM »

Sounds like a great plan, just some suggestions;

-Keep at toll roads if there's any, libre roads are extremely slow, narrow, potholes, high traffic (slow and tedious to overpass trucks), speed bumps in every town, and there are no reliable services and sometimes dangerous spots for travelers. At toll roads, there are safer services such convenience stores and restrooms at toll booth area, you can speed up to 75-80 mhp, free mechanical service (angeles verdes), even your government travel security advisor suggest using toll roads. The suggested toll routes are MX49D and MX40D.

-Keep at safe or well-known hotels (chain hotels), in Mexico popular hotel chains are City Express, Hotel One, Fiesta Americana, Best Western, Holiday Inn, Fiesta Inn, Hampton Inn, Hilton and others. City Express and Hotel One are best in my opinion since they have small clean rooms for a great price (about 40-50 USD night), usually located only at main cities, in your case near your route there are such hotels only in cities like Torreón, Durango, Mazatlán, Chihuahua city and Saltillo. In smaller tourist towns like Cuatro Cienegas there are small hotels (not chain hotels) suitable for families. Never go or stay to roadside "motels", unlike the US, most of those places only allow up to 8 hours (some 6 hours), due those places are used for prostitution.

Sometimes you will require detouring to visit certain places like natural area destinations, usually, there are towns serving for that propose and there should be problem to detour to such areas I'm going to list;

-Poza Azul (26.922941, -102.123274), right next to MX30 near Cuatro Cienegas, it's a natural ponds area, with turquoise waters, resembles Yellowstone pristine pool.
-City Express Torreon, stay here for a night, there's a mall next to this hotel where you can find almost any store like in US (25.583382, -103.406803), at the mall I recommend Sushi-itto, its a japanese restaurant located at the first floor.

There's not really much to see in Mapimí town, just an old desert theme town, but has two main attractions wich will require to spend around 8 hours on both areas;
-Puente de Ojuela (25.793049, -103.791066), this might be one of the funniest gravel roads to travel on the continent, this road it's very scenic and scary to drive, you'll love it, for access it theres an operator that guides you if its safe to pass, due its a one lane road, so you must wait for the incoming traffic to pass (like 30 mins or so), as for the bridge it's just an historical wooden bridge with an old mine which you can be tour guided.
-Grutas del Rosario (25.668378, -103.877110), to access this remote area you most use dirt road for 20 miles, this area its under upgrade for paved road, so you should see half of your route recently paved, don't worry about security, its a safe place designed for tourists (not many visit it) but its a must go gem, this cave offers spectacular rock formations, crystals, this is a dangerous cave to travel due its poorly maintained by a wooded cable bridge, but youl'' be tour guided (maybe by a kid as my case xD) and it will make it as a great aventure like Indiana Jones..

Once you visited both places, use toll highway to Durango and stay at city express of that city (24.053279, -104.617638) (it's 2 hours from Torreón to Durango using toll, by libre that's up to 5-6 hours).

In Durango, just visit historic downtown (24.024532, -104.670495) and old west theme villa located here; (24.109463, -104.699075), if you  like pine forest or parks, you can visit Mexiquillo (midway of Durango-Mazatlán; here 23.714841, -105.669842), there are cabins, waterfalls, canyon views, even tunnels in a bike area. For eat; try this awesome sandwich (tortas) in Wallander (24.027444, -104.674462), The Wafle King for breaksfast (24.023916, -104.679874), here truly mexican tacos, Los Corrales (24.024504, -104.679520), Kanin Ice Cream best in town here; (24.024739, -104.680169) and least my favorite pizza of all time (MUST GO IN PIZZAS IMO) Pizzas Pizzaly (24.036545, -104.634747), there are different locations in the city.

In Mazatlan there are many places to go, best one is the waterpark Mazagua here; 23.302543, -106.481745 and the Aquarium (23.229197, -106.427485), for eat, there are 3 must go places; La Costa Marinera (Seafood; 23.260903, -106.465740), El Panama (international food great for breakfast; 23.243698, -106.451192) and nationwide well known restaurant; El Chucupetas; seafood 23.186979, -106.218594 in Villa Union.

edit; watch for weather, in Torreón and surroundings (including Mapimi) is extremely hot and dry, like Vegas, over 90-100 F almost all year round except winter. Durango city is colder but still hot, around 70-80 F, at the Sierra its all-time cold (around 50F), with snowfalls at any time even in summer, during the fall lots rain will be present, Mazatlan is tropically hot and sometimes dry around 80-90 F. The Durango-Mazatlan highway can be closed if there's present even little snow or ice in pavement, that's for security means.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2017, 09:36:35 PM by Jbte »
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US 41

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Re: Possible Mazatlan Road Trip this fall
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2017, 09:34:54 AM »

Thanks for the tips Jbte.

I have actually changed my plans just a tiny bit. I think I am going to enter at Presidio / Ojinaga instead and then exit via Amistad Dam (a few miles northwest of Del Rio / Cd Acuna).

I like the fact that I know the Ojinaga area fairly well and that I can make it to Durango by the end of the day. Then I can drive Durango - Mazatlan - Durango and still have plenty of time to go to the beach and hangout in Mazatlan for a little bit. I also felt incredibly safe in Ojinaga, so that seems like a good place to start.

There are literally only 8 border crossings I'm willing to use when I drive to/from Mexico: Sonoyta, Naco, Puerto Palomas, Ojinaga, Cd Acuna (Amistad or the bridge), Colombia Int'l, Miguel Aleman, and Los Indios. I try to stay away from big border cities, due to long lines and drug related crime. The smaller crossings and towns have really short wait times and are typically safer.
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Re: Possible Mazatlan Road Trip this fall
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2017, 10:14:25 AM »

A little update on this. I had thought about maybe doing a trip to Central Mexico (Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, Matehuala, etc) instead, but after some reconsideration I have decided to go through with this Mazatlan trip. I'll be going in November. Anyways here's my Day by Day plan. I can usually make 12 hours (Google Maps time) in one day, so anything under 10 hours is very conservative for me to do in one day, especially since all I do (and want to do) is drive.

D1= Terre Haute - Newcastle, OK
706 miles; 11 hrs 38 minutes

D2= Newcastle, OK - Marfa, TX
592 miles; 9 hours 26 minutes

D3= Marfa, TX - Durango, DGO
556 miles; 10 hours 9 minutes

D4= Durango, DGO - Mazatlan, SIN - Cuencame, DGO
413 miles; 9 hours 20 minutes

D5= Cuencame, DGO - Eagle Pass, TX
423 miles; 9 hours 15 minutes

D6= Eagle Pass, TX - New Braunfels, TX
174 miles; 2 hours 49 minutes

D7= New Braunfels, TX - Texarkana, TX
422 miles; 6 hours 21 minutes

D8= Texarkana, TX - Terre Haute, IN
641 miles; 9 hours 39 minutes

Just calculating gas, tolls, Mexican permits / insurance the trip will cost me just over $500. (My car gets 36 mpg, but I calculate my gas at 32mpg. $2.50 per gallon in US, $3.50 per gal in Mexico. In short I overestimate my gas costs by quite a bit.)  Obviously I plan on spending more than $500. The New Braunfels, TX stop is to see a friend of mine. I'll arrive at his house in the morning, and leave sometime the next afternoon.

I figured I would try to keep all my Mexico days under 10 hours of driving. (Note: Ojinaga-Durango on my first day in Mexico is 9 hours. Will most likely enter Mexico at 8:30-9AM MT.) I know that there are military checkpoints every so often so I want to make time for those and I want to make time to take lots of pictures. I'm also aware that speed limits in Mexico are posted somewhat slow, and I have to watch out for topes. I also want to limit my driving at night as much as possible, especially in Mexico.
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Jbte

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Re: Possible Mazatlan Road Trip this fall
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2017, 09:29:56 PM »

D3= Marfa, TX - Durango, DGO
556 miles; 10 hours 9 minutes

If you use tolls you can make it to Mazatlán from Marfa in a single day, of course, if you leave Marfa early at 6am you should be arriving to Mazatlán at 5pm, but you can stay in Durango and drive by the next day, depending how you feel.

D4= Durango, DGO - Mazatlan, SIN - Cuencame, DGO
413 miles; 9 hours 20 minutes
Avoid looking for an overnight hotel in Cuencamé (it's a dangerous spot), you either stay in Durango or continue to Torreón. Toll route doesn't get into Cuencamé, use toll route, avoid libre in that area. If it helps using tolls at night would be a better idea to continue to a major city.

I figured I would try to keep all my Mexico days under 10 hours of driving. (Note: Ojinaga-Durango on my first day in Mexico is 9 hours. Will most likely enter Mexico at 8:30-9AM MT.) I know that there are military checkpoints every so often so I want to make time for those and I want to make time to take lots of pictures. I'm also aware that speed limits in Mexico are posted somewhat slow, and I have to watch out for topes. I also want to limit my driving at night as much as possible, especially in Mexico.
There should be only one custom inspection (not military), but military inspections rarely can be present, so there should be no delay on that matter, perhaps you might get inspected in the US side of the border going into Mexico. Some mexican speed limits are way off, I mean in some sections it's posted 40 km/h (25 mhp), but you can safely go over 90 km/h (56 mhp) and you'll see almost all traffic going over that speed, just don't listen to that speed limit can be dangerous, depending the are where you are located just use comon sense, all toll routes you can go 110 km/h (70 mhp), except the toll to Mazatlan (90 km/h or 55 mhp). In northern mexico speed bumps are rare, but there might be present in small towns or next to schools.

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Jbte

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Re: Possible Mazatlan Road Trip this fall
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2017, 10:00:34 PM »

BTW, you can consider going into Mexico by Laredo and quickly use the bypass to Monterrey, there are no stops or inspections (only the mexican customs) and you get into Mexico quickly, then continue to Monterrey, theres a single toll to Monterrey of 240 pesos (about 12 dollar). Take the Monterrey-Saltillo highway, its very scenic worth visit, if you have enough time, if you detour to Monterrey you can access the Cumbres National Park here; 25.652283, -100.450196 directly from the toll highway.

From this point you have two options, going to Durango or Zacatecas, from Monterrey to Zacatecas it's 6 hours drive, to Durango it's 7 hours.

Next day you can use Durango-Zacatecas 45 highway, it's well maintained and somewhat scenic, there is a National Park and a waterfall, both visited often as a tourist attraction, then the Mazatlán-Durango, you can opt to stay in Mazatlan or drive back to Durango, if its just for the toll highway (the 61 tunnels and bridges), right before the last toll  (Mesillas) you just take an U-turn and save 180 pesos (the last toll is located here; 23.256104, -106.052744) and stay in Durango.

From Durango you can drive in a single day to Presidio, Tx, then to Fort Stockton. From Fort Stockton next day easily use I-10 to San Antonio and New Braunsfels.

Proposed route; https://goo.gl/maps/RUPUJtGdwNx

edit; Not sure if you have seen this video... that traffic it's seasonal, by novemeber the road should be ok, not that much traffic.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2017, 10:36:23 PM by Jbte »
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US 41

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Re: Possible Mazatlan Road Trip this fall
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2017, 10:48:23 PM »

Is Torreon safer than it used to be? I know when I started planning this trip out initially a couple of years ago, Torreon was the "war zone" area of the trip. I have read that things have calmed down a little bit there, but you would probably know a little bit more about that too. I don't really want to stay in Durango the fourth night because it's an 11 hour drive back to Eagle Pass, unless I take tolls, which I very well may do. I have the money to pay tolls, I just try to avoid it, because it does get pretty expensive after a while.

Believe it or not I have been considering taking the southern route to Zacatecas and thinking about overnighting there, because it is only a 9 hour drive back to the border at that point. The Zacatecas - Saltillo route looks like a pretty high quality road and it is of course toll free, which is another big plus.
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Jbte

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Re: Possible Mazatlan Road Trip this fall
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2017, 11:25:44 PM »

Is Torreon safer than it used to be? I know when I started planning this trip out initially a couple of years ago, Torreon was the "war zone" area of the trip. I have read that things have calmed down a little bit there, but you would probably know a little bit more about that too. I don't really want to stay in Durango the fourth night because it's an 11 hour drive back to Eagle Pass, unless I take tolls, which I very well may do. I have the money to pay tolls, I just try to avoid it, because it does get pretty expensive after a while.

Believe it or not I have been considering taking the southern route to Zacatecas and thinking about overnighting there, because it is only a 9 hour drive back to the border at that point. The Zacatecas - Saltillo route looks like a pretty high quality road and it is of course toll free, which is another big plus.

Torreon it's safer than it used to be in 2010 or 2011, but only certain parts of the city, if you go to the commercial area, you'll do fine (the area around Galerias Laguna, which it's the main shopping mall of the city there are also chain hotels).  It's best to stay in major cities than in towns, there's more scrutineering and watch than in remote areas. Unfortunately, the violence is all time high now everywhere in Mexico (guess same is happing in US), but that doesn't mean to stop you from taveling just use common sense.

The Zacatecas-Saltillo route it's toll-free also Durango-Zacatecas (except for a small toll at a bypass of Fresnillo and Calera, 55$ pesos or 3 USD), the road it's in good conditions. Another free-toll route its from San Luis Potosí-Matehuala and Saltillo except for a mountain pass (small toll), which offers beautiful landscape, even there's a tunnel.

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US 41

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Re: Possible Mazatlan Road Trip this fall
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2017, 12:11:57 PM »

Well I have my trip basically planned out in full now and I will have 10 days to do the trip.

Day 1= Terre Haute - Newcastle, OK (It's a long day, but I've done this twice before.)
Day 2= "" - Marfa, TX
Day 3= "" - Hidalgo Del Parral, CHIH (planned stops at Peguis Canyon, Grutas (Caverns) Coyame, Balnearios (Hot Springs) Coyame)
Day 4= "" - Mazatlan, SIN
Day 5= "" - Torreon, COAH
Day 6= "" - Del Rio, TX (planned stop at Poza Azul, a natural hot spring, in Cuatrocienegas)
Day 7= "" - San Antonio (seeing a friend)
Day 8= spending day in San Antonio
Day 9= "" - Walnut Ridge, AR
Day 10 "" - Terre Haute, IN

I'm tried to plan it out to where if I have to any night driving it will be very minimal night driving. I'll be doing this in three months though and I am extremely excited. I'll be going to some college football games on this trip as well in San Antonio. The two hot springs and the tour of the caves are all 30 pesos each, or $5 total. This is kind of the first trip I'll be on where I can actually afford to stop and do things. Most of the time I just drive because up here those three things would all cost me around $30+ total at least. I've been wanting to do this trip for 2 years and I'm just really excited that I'm finally going to get to do it.
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Rothman

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Re: Possible Mazatlan Road Trip this fall
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2017, 04:24:36 PM »

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Re: Possible Mazatlan Road Trip this fall
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2017, 04:26:06 PM »

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US 41

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Re: Possible Mazatlan Road Trip this fall
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2017, 10:59:44 AM »

My planned route has changed since I last posted on here. This will be the last modification as I am leaving in less than a month.

I still plan on entering at Ojinaga. From there I will take MEX-16 to Chihuahua. From Chihuahua I will go south on 45D and 49D to Torreon before hopping on 40D to Mazatlan.

On the way back I will take 40D to Monterrey and then take 85D north before reentering the U.S. at the Colombia border crossing about 20 miles or so northwest of Laredo.

My parents are really concerned (understandably) about me taking this trip so they offered to pay all my tolls if I promised to stick (mostly) to toll roads. Of course I accepted that offer which is why my route has changed. With this new route I'll get to drive through 6 estados instead of only 4 which is a plus (added Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas).

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Re: Possible Mazatlan Road Trip this fall
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2017, 11:28:34 PM »

Hey, long time no post for me.

Just wanted to let you know not to try and change your plans to include crossing at Del Rio.  Our best friends are in Mexico right now, and they had an hour-plus detour between Acuña and Allende because the recent heavy rains washed out a bridge.  Piedras Negras is still accessible, however, because the wash-out was north of Allende.

I also wanted to give my impression of the Paila–Colombia toll/free options based on experience.

Paila to Saltillo:  Free road is fine, although no shoulders and virtually no services.  Toll road not worth the price.  Typical speed on the free road is 90-100 km/h, posted at 80 km/h.  All speed bumps are very low-profile, easy to navigate at 40 km/h.

Saltillo area:  Toll bypass saves stoplight and traffic headache, doesn't cost very much, but has a lot of near-misses due to passing down the center line in heavy traffic.  Use caution.  The exit you'd need to take in Saltillo if going the free route was poorly marked and easy to miss, last time I was there.  Typical speed on the toll road is 100-120 km/h, posted at 110 km/h.

Saltillo to Monterrey:  Toll road is fantastic and cheap, free road is more clogged with trucks.  Typical speed is as fast as people's cars can go.  You'll see BMWs from Mexico City doing close to 160 km/h through here.  They do use radar here (and around Saltillo), though, so don't push it must past the posted 110 km/h, maybe 130 km/h tops and keep an eye out.

Monterrey area:  Free bypass is fine, no stoplights since 2010 or so, dirty and clogged with trucks but still flows OK.  Toll bypass is outrageously expensive for only a few minutes in savings.  Typical speed on the free road is 100 km/h, posted at 80 km/h.

Monterrey to Nuevo Laredo:  Everybody on both sides of the border says to avoid the free road for security reasons.  I've never taken the free road.  The toll is kind of high, but the highway is great.  Typical speed is 110 km/h to 120 km/h, posted at 110 km/h.  North of the toll road section, the pavement is in worse condition, the speed limit is lower, and 90 to 100 km/h is more reasonable, posted at 80 to 100 km/h depending on which side of the state line.  I've encountered military checkpoints along this highway in both directions on multiple occasions in the past, but haven't used the route since 2014 so the area may now be under less scrutiny.
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Re: Possible Mazatlan Road Trip this fall
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2017, 10:51:40 AM »

Sorry it took me so long to reply, but I'll probably just stick to the toll roads for the most part, especially since they're already going to be paid for. The trip will be 9 days total (2 to Mexico, 3 in Mexico, 2 in San Antonio, 2 to get home). It will be a lot of driving, but I'm sure it will be a fun trip. I leave on November 6th, so it's coming up pretty fast.
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Re: Possible Mazatlan Road Trip this fall
« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2017, 01:38:10 PM »

Sorry it took me so long to reply, but I'll probably just stick to the toll roads for the most part, especially since they're already going to be paid for. The trip will be 9 days total (2 to Mexico, 3 in Mexico, 2 in San Antonio, 2 to get home). It will be a lot of driving, but I'm sure it will be a fun trip. I leave on November 6th, so it's coming up pretty fast.

Will you have a cell phone?  Do you have my number?
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kphoger

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Re: Possible Mazatlan Road Trip this fall
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2017, 04:11:19 PM »

Do call me if you have any car troubles between Torreón and Saltillo, especially.  I could make some calls on your behalf in that area.
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Re: Possible Mazatlan Road Trip this fall
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2017, 07:43:32 PM »

Thanks man! I looked and I still have your number in my phone.
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Re: Possible Mazatlan Road Trip this fall
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2017, 08:57:19 AM »

Just wanted to let everyone know that I made it back to the US. Made it to Mazatlán too.  :bigass: Did it alone and slept in my car both nights at the Cuencame rest area (Pitts/Pemex on the toll road). Followed the route above except I went south out of Ojinaga on CHIH 67 and CHIH 69. On the way to Colombia I actually had to drive the wrong way on MX 2 (a divided highway) for a couple of miles to get around all the truck traffic waiting to get into the US at the truck only crossing in Laredo (I69W).

Will post pics in a few days.
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Re: Possible Mazatlan Road Trip this fall
« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2017, 02:05:19 PM »

Exciting!  Can't wait for the pictures!
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Re: Possible Mazatlan Road Trip this fall
« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2017, 10:18:46 PM »

Chihuahua Estado Route 67


CHIH 67 Road Sign


Driving in Jimenez, Chihuahua


Southbound on MX Rte 49D


Autopista Torreon-Durango


Autopista Durango - Mazatlan (multiple photos)
















Pacific Ocean in Mazatlan


Autopista Torreon - Saltillo








Autopista Saltillo - Monterrey






Toll bypass around Monterrey




Autopista Monterrey - N Laredo


















Bypass around Nvo Laredo




On the way to Colombia
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