Overland Diary


Vacation is not always as relaxing as one may hope for. Sometimes it ends up being more work than pleasure - hence the phrase "I need a vacation from my vacation". Since we crossed the border in Tijuana and left the comforts of our "Tijuana home" (a beautiful house with a stunning view of Tijuana and San Diego and equally stunning hosts with overly generous hospitality), we have traveled over 2000 km in 5 days.

Now, to the unexperienced Ural rider, one may think… that's a busy schedule but not too bad. However, one must not forget the important time delays accompanied with every Ural ride. First, every stop adds an additional 5 minutes on top of a traditional stop (curious onlookers become curious conversationalists when given the opportunity). Second, at 40km/gallon with a 5 gallon tank, these timely stops become frequent events during our 10 hour drive (which is actually good for us in some since because it gives us time to stock up on cold water in the +100oF weather). And third, though the street signs may say 100km/hr max, Patty (who as a mind of her own) says 80km/hr max. So in the end, if google maps says the drive is 4hrs, we know it will really be around 7hrs.



Sonora is the northwest state in Mexico boarding Arizona. According to the locals, we were fortunate to be arriving at the at the time we did since we missed record highs of +125oF by about a week. That said, it was still hot! When we first crossed the Sierra de Juarez Mountian's heading towards Mexicali (via La Rumorosa road - a 3,000ft drop in 10 miles), it felt as if someone had a hairdryer pointed directly at our face as we drove through the desert (even at night). Needless to say, we decided to travel as fast as we could through both Sonora and Sinaloa (the state south of Sonora). Our average day for the first week consisted of an early rise, a 10-14 hour drive, a quick walk through town to grab a drink and some helado, a two hour maintenance session on Patty and then off to sleep to repeat the process the next day. Even with our rushed schedule, we didn't feel as through we were missing much. Most of the land along the way was either empty desert (not nearly as beautiful as the cacti riddled Baja peninsula) or miles and miles of agriculture (making California's central valley along HWY5 looks like a backyard garden). 

There were a couple of small towns a along the way that we called home for the night. After our surprisingly nice stay in the outskirts of Mexicali (where Gianmarco had to repeat multiple times that the room was needed for the entire night not just 4 hours - not sure if I should take that as an insult or compliment), we stayed in Bahia Kino - a midsize fishing village with a population of about 7,000. The village is broken up into two areas - Kino Nuevo (new Kino) and Kino Viejo (old Kino). There is nothing special of Kino Nuevo other than the sandy beaches. The entire area is lined with fancy vacation houses with a few hotels and RV parks scattered in between. Kino Viejo is a typical fishing village with excellent Marisco's lining the pier and delicious ice-cream shop open late to keep the night owls cool. 


San Carlos was our next stop and other than the surprising quantity of trash left of the beach, with the numerous bays and charming clusters of cobbled-stoned streets it would have been a perfect place to stay a couple of nights if we had more time. However, our August 4th boat ride from Panama to Colombia means we have to skip some spots in order to leave room for others. San Carlos was also the first Patty got stuck in sand - luckily there was a nice family who noticed us struggling to get her out and offered to help.




The 17th century colonial city Alamos was our next stop. As always, most of the city was seen from behind Patty's two windshields as we winded our way around the narrow one-way cobble-stoned streets. Many of the old buildings and streets have been renovated and as we drove around, it was no wonder why it was named one of Mexico's national colonial monument. The city is even more beautiful at night, with the picturesque glow on the majestic church in the city center and colorfully painted surrounding streets, we finished the day with a romantic stroll.




We ended our 5 day desert race in Mazatlan where we spent two full nights with our first Couch Surfing host, Buney. Most notable about Mazatlan is a drastic difference from the deserted daytime and crowed nightlife with all walks of people ranging from the athletic showoffs, slow walking tourists to hopeful fisherman. During our free day we took a drive around the bay (where Patty took out her frustration on us and took a bite out of each of our legs with her scolding hot engine), got stuck for the second time driving up the rutted dirt road leading to the lighthouse and finally busted out our swimming goggles as we floated around the rocky southern point.



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