Iron Roamer's, Brian Thiessen's, BMW 1200 GS parked overlooking the valley on the Devil's Backbone road from Mazatlan to Durango Mexico.

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


3 thoughts on “Riding the El Espinazo del Diablo – The Devil’s Backbone – from Mazatlan to Durango”

  1. Brian, your map shows your route on Highway 400. Did you consider Route 40 to the north? That looks wild….. maybe a bit too wild… lol

    1. Hi Jamie … Huummm I will need to check the map …. I did Highway 40 D (Devil’s Backbone). D is the free road ha ha. That is the route everyone in adventure motorcycling talks about. The Devil’s backbone use to be more dangerous before the new toll road. Now it has less traffic. IT was a lot of fun! You should try it 🙂

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