Mexico 65, 5th August 2004

After a late start I drove back to the outskirts of Zacetas and parked by the teleferico to go up to the Cerro. There was a super view.

In the centre is the cathedral.

From the top I could see there was an excellent road leading up to the Cerro so after returning to the van I continued round the periferico and drove up to the top, the car park was full so I didn't stop, and continued back down on another road. The whole journey around gave excellent views of the city, rather similar to the panoramica at Guanajuato. In fact many aspects of Zacetas are similar to Guanajuato, both were silver mining towns, both are built in valley, both have a similar architecture, both are fascinating to walk around, and both are almost impossible for driving!

I'd noticed a sign pointing to Durango just behind the Cerro, so I continued on round and took that road, it looked interesting heading off into the hills. I joined the main road by campsite of last night and continued northwards, stopping in Sombrerete for the night, after finding the town museum still open. Free admission and a superbly presented little museum, nice little town again with a mining background.

North of the city was a pleasant view back.

I'll mention here that just about all the driving since Tequila, with just a few exceptions, has been through flat not terribly interesting countryside, and continues like this to Durango. The fields are pretty well cultivated, the region is much more affluent than many I have seen in Mexico, there are tractors, there are many more cars and pickups, many of them new, and the house, whilst many are still small, are real houses.

One of my guide books mentioned a new national park near Sombrerete, Sierra de Organos, so named because there are rock formations looking like organ pipes. Several western movies have filmed scenes here. At the entrance I was asked, when was I leaving? It was only noon, but I said tomorrow. OK the man says, 20 pesos, it's 10 pesos a day. I drove in, found a superb campsite, and took a stroll around. It was super, it reminded me in a way of Monument Valley in the US. Little cat liked it too because we were in the same spot for a while, he could run around, climb trees and so on. I took a longer walk in the morning.

I took loads of pictures. Because the rocks took on a different aspect almost every few paces, and because some rocks were near and some were far the whole scene kept changing. I walked up one valley and down the next. At one spot, in the midst of nowhere there appeared a large concrete picnic table and barbecue stove. There was no sign of a path anywhere.

This was the view from my van window at the camping spot.

I continued to Durango and restocked my drinks store at Sam's Club then parked up for the night in the Wal-Mart car park. I had read many reports that said the road from Durango to Mazatlan was spectacular so I am headed off that way. I will have to return by the same route because I found out too late I need to approach the Copper Canyon from the east, my provisional route took me to El Fuerto on the west, and there are no other roads across the Sierra for 100's of miles apart from this one! So I either must miss it out or do it twice. I'll do it twice. I said the road up to Durango was flat, within a few minutes of leaving Durango it all changed.

Just a few minutes further on.

The road continued winding in and out of valleys with beautiful views. At El Salto it came on to rain in the early afternoon so I parked here. Since I have come this way to see the view there is no point in driving in pouring rain. By the time it cleared up, about 4.30, it was not really worth starting off again, I certainly don't want to drive this road at night.

Best regards

David Barker

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