Nov 16, 2019

The proper post for Friday, November 15th

This is what I should have published last night but it took me over 2.5 hours to write it today.  Impossible to have done this last night.  This is post is about driving from the Fletcha fuel station ( Guaymas/San Carlos area ) to Pemex 3970 at KM 75 which is 74 kms north of Culiacan.

We slept very well at the Fletcha fuel station, most of the trucks shut off their engines. At 7am it was 68F inside.   We did not want to leave until later because we only wanted to arrive as the sun was setting due to the heat.  Colin picked me up a coffee from the now open Oxxo.  Even though I react to too much caffeine I needed a treat. We were driving at 9:20am.  By the way, you save 20 miles each way by not driving to the Totonaka RV Park where the electricity is very iffy.  We never ever plug in there.

The only military vehicle we have seen while in Mexico as we drove to the Isla.

The way out was the way we should have come in the night before. The Fletcha is at km140 and the station is on the left. Stay in the right lane and take the returno. That will take you under the overpass directly to the Fletcha. We went over the overpass heading to Guaymas.  FYI there are no signs at this point mentioning San Carlos. We just kept going in the dark until we found a returno that had us going back towards the Fletcha. We turned into the gated lot and the guard after signing us in asked for a propina. I only had a twenty peso note but that was not enough. I found a further 20 pesos in change and we were in for the night.

To leave this morning ( yesterday, Friday ) we went to that returno and turned left putting us back on 15 heading south.  Very easy to figure it out during daylight.  The only toll booths in Sonora that are collecting are the very first one before Mexican customs and the two bypasses. All of the toll booths remain manned by staff who appear to be punching in the amount that should have been collected.  I wondered if the locals who have taken over the booths go home at night.  Perhaps tolls are collected then.

A local is standing at each booth with a container to collect donations. I suggest having a lot of small change to drop in.  Sometimes l only gave 6 pesos but no more than 10 pesos.  At km 58 – 59 @ Estacion Oroz locals have set up a fake tope and were collecting donations.

The roads at Vicam are in extremely poor shape. There was no large blockade today but I read that there had been a semi being used to block the way a few days prior. They only were looking for a donation.  Better to give a few pesos and move on quickly. Go slow through here as there are a few marked large topes but some are not marked.

Locals blocking the road to collect donations.

At the large Yaqui statue at about km 13 locals have created quite the blockage.  There are a lot of people and they’re actually using barrels as blockades. I gave 10 pesos as I was running out of cambio. Not more than 300 meters further there was a semi blocking the road and I had to pay again.  Pay attention as the next right turn is the beginning of the C Obregón bypass also known as the Navajoa cuota. This toll is based on the number of axels and we paid 318 pesos. This bypass replaces two tolls that take you through the city. Based on the last time we took those two tolls we paid 454 pesos so the bypass is a good deal. However having said that,  because no one is officially collecting those tolls you can save money but not time by going through C Obregón.

They are very serious at this blockade.

Two things to note, is that if you use this bypass the next fuel station is in Navajoa. So be certain that you have enough fuel. The second thing is that there is a new stop sign at the entrance to the highway.  There is no merge so be very careful.

Good thing that they could not see how much money we donated.  Just after here is the right turn to the bypass.

The Green Angels are patrolling Hwy 15. If you have a breakdown you can call them by dialing 078. There is a large unmarked tope not far from Pemex 1262. We only noticed it because someone was standing next to it selling stuff. For those who stay at the Pemex at km 75 it is only another 186 kilometres to go from Navajoa.  Last year we filled at the truck stop in Navajoa and where disappointed to see that the fuel there was more expensive than at the km 75 Pemex. This year it is the reverse, diesel at Navajoa is 21.87 and at km 75 it is 22.29.

A huge bug splat.

Our dash air conditioning was not blowing cool and by the time we drove through Navajoa it was blowing warm. So much for the repaired dash air conditioner that we had done in Lake Havasu.   It was repaired exactly one week ago and we only used it for two days.  My worst nightmare is driving in Mexico without A/C. We don’t  even have the generator so that we could not run the roof  air conditioners which we have done in the past.  This is a first. We had two large class A’s behind us, one from BC and the other from Alberta.  Not even so much as a wave as they blew by us. Colin is sticking to 55 mph today, his normal speed.

Keep your eyes open after Navajoa. There are new signs for new larger topes and there are some smaller unmarked topes.  There are several smaller bridges along here and as you drive scan ahead to see the signs of others having repeatedly bottomed out.  That is a good sign to slowdown over that particular bridge. We were airborne a few times until Colin figured it out and slowed when he saw all the black marks on the bridge.   The road is okay after the toll booth.  Around km 94 there is a tope followed by an unmarked tope.  I did not record every time this happened but those I mentioned were noteable.

This is why it is not wise to drive at night here in Mexico.  To be honest there was someone nearby to keep an eye on the cattle.

The rough roads we experienced last year before Sinaloa are gone although there are a few bad spots. Go through the car lane at the Fitosanitorio Inspection Station.  They will move the barrel and wave you through. The roads in Sinaloa have been repaired and are good to Los Mochis.

Quite the ride.  El Jefe means that he is the boss.

At 2pm I noticed a bee crawling on the carpet towards me. I used a Kleenex to pick it up and sent it out the window, just the insect, not the Kleenex. At least I thought that I had released it outside.  Not five minutes later Colin got stung on the chest. He picked it off and threw it down and stomped on it.

Colin is applying a cold can of coke to his chest.

Very hot inside at 92F in the back and much hotter in the front where we were sitting in a sauna with the sun shining through all that  glass. Of course we had our driving windows open and despite the bees we also opened the screens for better air flow.   All of the other windows are flip up and you can’t drive with them open. I did have the Fantastic fans running in the kitchen and the bedroom.  With the sun on the solar panels we were able to do this.

This is how I kept cool, by rolling a cold wine bottle over my shoulders, chest and back. I then changed out that bottle  for a cold one once it warmed.  I also had one cold gel pack in the freezer that I was able to use.

The toll booths were extra slow here in Sinaloa and while in line I was able to quickly assemble tuna salad ( pre made ) sandwiches while waiting to go through the toll just before Los Mochis.  As we drove on I found it difficult at times to know where we were.  There is a lack of mile/kilometre markers plus so many of the Pemex’s have been taken over by other fuel companies that my road log is of no help – no Pemex numbers.

At least all those bottles were empty.

As we drove through Guasave Colin commented that we might need new airbags. My heart sank as we just replaced the back ones a few years ago. He said that ever since entering Mexico he heard a hiss of expelled air with each tope we crossed.  Later he sent an email to our contact at Freightliner back in Kelowna. Surprisingly we got a quick reply at 6:30pm saying that the new piece they put into the airbag back in the Phoenix area was likely causing the hiss and that it was normal.

Glad that those are not our tires.

The roads before km 75 have been repaired and patched but we still had some slow going 35 mph sections. Perfect timing as we arrived at Pemex 3970 @ km 75 with the free wifi about 5:10 pm just as the sun was setting.  Filled up with diesel and parked and opened all the windows. Still 92F inside and we were wrung out from the heat. I found another bee crawling near my driving window. He is no longer in this world. No idea where they’re coming from as our screens are closed unless we needed the air as we have been, driving the past few days in the extreme heat.

The sunset from the Pemex at KM 75.

Still 81F inside at 7:30pm.  Time for cold showers.  We didn’t have much of an appetite nor did I have the energy for the meal I had planned so for the second night in a row we had cheese quesadillas.  I did a short post which was my last blog post and we were in bed by 10pm.

Red, white and blue.  So very many trucks last night but they were quiet for the most part.

Just to let you know that we arrived back here on the Isla at 2.25 PM today, Saturday.  This was after Erik removed our generator.  Very hot and humid here. We are well, it has taken me until 7:30PM to cool down.  I think that my blood must have been close to boiling.  The que pasas of today will be my post tomorrow.  Thanks for sticking with me thus far.

Our first Isla sunset. So very humid at 61% and 82F at 8PM. So grateful for the air conditioning that we are paying for.

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18 responses so far

18 Responses to “The proper post for Friday, November 15th”

  1. Alan Brechin says:

    Hola Colin Y Contessa,
    That was a very informative blog Contessa of the run from the Flecha to Pemex 3970. It will be very useful when we make the same trip in December. You put a lot of effort into the post and thank you again.

    • contessa says:

      Happy that this post can be of use. I will finish up the rest of the journey later today. Right now I am just enjoy the sound of the surf. Cloudy and humid. See you in just under a month.

  2. The Connor’s says:

    Welcome to the Isla…tada, you made it! Treat yourselves to a kickback day, you’ve earned it! See you soon.

  3. Cindy says:

    Hola! Wow what a long trip down it your there now…so things can start going your way! Relax and regroup! Nice way to use your wine bottle too! Enjoy for me! ????

  4. Maxx Trails says:

    So happy to hear you have made it to the Isla, now hopefully you will have a chance to relax and even more importantly cool down!

  5. Yay, so glad you made it albeit melting all the way. I truly hope your connections in Mazatlan can get all your stuff sorted and that you may now relax – you go take a walk on that beach!

  6. SandyM says:

    Thankful for your safe arrival on the Isla – yes a kickback day or two or three is in order. Do enjoy and will look forward to many more sunset’photos.

  7. Linda Sand says:

    Good to know you finally made it to Isla. Sorry it was such a horrendous trip.

    • contessa says:

      I have heard some snippets and others have also had some challenges, not as many as us but still not an easy time for them.

  8. Dolores says:

    Oh my gosh!! U guys have had a time, u are there!!!! Hope all goes well from here on and u get to relax with that beautiful view!!!

  9. Deb says:

    So glad you’ve arrived safe and sound. It may be wise to take a day or two to just decompress and cool down before you jump into the work of setting everything up. Putting it off for a day or two won’t make much difference in the overall picture but it will make a lot of difference to your own well being. Relax and enjoy!!!

    • contessa says:

      Thank you Deb. I actually was still hot at 8PM last evening. Colin said that he was cold and could we please turn down the AC! I wonder if I heated up my blood stream and increased my blog pressure. Still not strong today.

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