Riding the El Espinazo del Diablo – The Devil’s Backbone – from Mazatlan to Durango

I had a bit of anxiety today as I was about to ride the El Espinazo del Diable, or the Devil’s Backbone, from Mazatlan to Durango. There is a new highway I could take, but it is tolled and I wanted to experience the history of what some consider one of the most dangerous roads in the world.


My anxiety was not only about riding this road, but I would also be leaving gringo land. The Baja and Mazatlan is filled with ex-pats and vacationers enjoying the sun, beaches and fishing. You can sense a bit of home as you walk around. As I head into the interior of Mexico I am guessing that will no longer be the case.

As I thought more about this I realized that every time I have lived, worked or traveled internationally I have been supported. In Nambia the Chief of Police and a Superintendent made sure I was well looked after.

In Macedonia I had the support of a massive organization called the OSCE and a wonderful language assistant to help me out. I was also in Macedonia long enough to make some great friends.

When I did business internationally I had the backing of the Canadian government. And when on vacation I was almost always with friends and family. This is the first time really going out on my own, by myself.

The Devil’s Backbone

The Devil’s Backbone as far as a road goes was not that scary as it turned out. I kept expecting something bad and it never happened ha ha. Just lots of curves and beautiful scenery.





I reached a lookout point that was really amazing. I just walked around and took it all in. On the road was a sign saying Route 666. Huuuummm I guess that goes with the Devil theme. Now I have ridden Route 66 and Route 666.




I guess virgin Mary is there to neutralize the Devil.

virgin mary


In Durango I had booked the Grand Colonial Hotel. It was right downtown and had good ratings.

As it turned out it wasn’t that nice. But it was relatively clean and I made my peace with it. The big benefit of hte hotel was that it was right downtown and I could walk to see all the sights. They also allowed me to park my motorcycle in a sort of mall hall.




My Route for October 19, 2016


Gringo Mazatlan Mexico

It wasn’t long before I discovered where I was staying in Mazatlan was gringo Mazatlan.

Old Mazatlan

The last time, and only other time, I stayed in Mazatlan I was in the old town of Mazatlan and loved it.



I wanted to stay there again but the hotels ther either didn’t have parking or were too expensive. The latter was the case for the boutique hotel I had stayed at before.


I could afford to stay there for a vacation, but not part of a lifestyle.

Pedro Infante

When I got off of the ferry I had to ride by the old town and pay my respects to Pedro Enfante.

Pedro Enfante is considered a superstar in the golden age of Mexican movies and considered as a movie icon even though he died in 1957. One of his best known roles was in Full Speed Ahead where is played a motorcycle cop. A statue of him in this role is along the malecon in old Mazatlan.

The last time I was at the statue was during Mazataln Bike Week. There were line ups of motorcyclists waiting to pose for a picture beside Pedro Enfante.

This time is was just me and Pedro.


Golden Zone

Because there was a suitable hotel in old Mazatlan, I booked one in the “Golden Zone” where all the gringos go. The areas is basically resort hotels and condos, tourist traps, and gringo restaurants. There is even a restaurant called that.

Azteca Hotel

I booked the Azteca Hotel at a reasonable price and it was only a block off of the beach. It was really quite nice. The TV got CNN International and the NFL Network and it had a pool I made use of.


It was also the place the State Police were staying.


So I figured I would be safe?!

Lucky B’s

Lucky B’s was a sports bar a block away from my hotel. It was highly recommended on Tripadvisor. I went there the afternoon of the day I arrived and sat at the bar. To my left was a guy from Calgary and to my right a woman from Edmonton. The place was filled with gringos. I am surprise I didn’t take a picture of it. Grrrrrrr. Everyone was friendly though and it was a good place to relax.

Las Margaritas

It was Monday when I arrived in Mazatalan, and that means Monday night football. Las Margaritas was also recommended on Tripadvisor and it had the football game on. I watched the first half there. During that time I was the only one in the restaurant. I had a nice meal but the lack of atmosphere caused to to go back to my hotel and watch the rest of the game there.

Tuesday October 18, 2016

I had booked 2 night at the Azteca Hotel. The second day I searched out a coffee shop with WiFi to answer email and work on blogs.


Then it was time to walk the beach. I love doing that. And the water was so warm.



Then it was back to Lucky B’s to call it a day.

Tomorrow was a big day and I was a bit nervous. I would be riding the Devil’s Backbone from Mazatlan to Durango. THe road is considered dangerous, and I would be leaving the resort area of Mexico to probably a more “real” Mexico.

My Location for October 17 and 18, 2016


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