Time just seemed to drip by in San Blas. The days went slowly, but at the end it seemed like it had gone so quickly. After our initial two weeks were up, we weren’t ready to go and kept adding one more day again and again until we’d been there almost three weeks. How did we end up spending so much time in this beautiful but buggy little fishing village on the Pacific?
It was time for a break. We’d been traveling pretty much non-stop for about ten months and decided we needed to find a spot to take it easy and work on some random projects that were in our heads and really to just have a place of our own for a bit. We’d heard much about the coast of the state of Nayarit from locals, and I’d read several cyclist blogs talking about San Blas. We figured we’d go there first and then decide if we’d stay or check out some more of the coast. But first we needed to hit the pedals and churn out a few miles from Culiacan. Despite our desire to get there quickly, our desire to avoid the doldrums of the toll highway was greater, so we took a couple scenic detours on the way.
2/17/15 Culiacán to La Cruz
The industrial, exhaust-belching highway out of Culiacán was still better than the hectic nightmare we’d ridden in on. The highway had auxiliary lanes where traffic was lighter and moved more slowly and most of the traffic was professional truck drivers rather than crazed commuters. I actually somewhat enjoy riding through industrial wastelands, provided the road is safe and air pollution levels are within a reasonable standard. Maybe it is the engineer in me, but I like to see the inner workings of a place, not just the showpieces. Shortly before we got out of this zone we passed a large crash that had involved a moped. There did not appear to be any ashen faces or gruesome material on the roadway, so hopefully the driver of that vehicle escaped unscathed.
This was a spur road that funnels traffic from the city to the Cuota national highway. As soon as we skipped over the Cuota everything was completely different. We were again on a beautiful two-lane road with lane-sized shoulders built for agricultural vehicles. Back into the veggie basket of Mexico with endless green fields, heaping produce trucks and friendly farmers. There were even people cleaning up trash from the road; all trash, not just returnables!
We blew past a roadside stand selling pan de mujer (lit. bread of woman) and I screeched to a halt in the dusty verge. This is typical Mexican sweet bread that comes in many different varieties. You may have seen it with the crumbly sugar topping in a checkerboard pattern. It was probably crappy. We were on a roll and I didn’t want to stop, but I am a sucker for roadside stands, so we went back. We have talked a lot about balancing the adventure and exploration with focused riding because there have been so many times where we were making time and did not take advantage of obvious opportunities to stop and talk to friendly people. We’re doing this trip to be able to make stops, taste the food and meet the people, but then it is so difficult to break out of a good rhythm, especially on days when we get started later than desired, i.e., every day.
Well, let me tell you, the bread was very good. She had the typical breads, and then some that were filled with pumpkin and others filled with cajeta (that caramel-like substance made from cane sugar). I had a very tough time understanding her accent, but I did make out that there had been another couple cycling through there a couple months back. She had first thought we were the same ones because of our apparent resemblance, but perhaps the resemblance goes no further than the overloaded cycles. Another benefit of the stop was that we finally figured out what the little dome ovens were that we’ve been seeing on the sides of the road.
We stopped for lunch at the El Huizchal restaurant in El Dorado, outdoors as usual. I tried the tostadas de pata. I was under the impression from my discussions with the waitress that pata was something to do with skin, but online searches come up with foot and/or tendon. Whatever it is, the texture was of the type that makes me want to hurl, so it was tough to finish. No problem. When you try new things, sometimes you get barfyville.
The family that owned the place was very friendly and had a good vibe. They offered Brandy a cot in the back to nap on because she was taking a power nap on the table. Before we left they took our photo with the bikes and when they sent the pics they said we were a huge inspiration to them, which helps inspire us to keep going.
We were planning to get in a few more miles of riding, but then Brandy got a flat and it was starting to get dark, so we climbed over the barbed wire fence and set up camp in some thorny, ant-ridden woods. The ants were so out of control that we skipped making dinner and just ate tortilla chips in the hammocks.