May 13, 2021

This morning the group split in half. Gus, Tino, Jeff and Wendy turned south, heading towards Guadalujara. Gus was going home and Tino to visit his family. Jeff and Wendy continue to somewhere cooler so they could stay in Mexico for a few more weeks. The forecast for Alamos and this part of Mexico, was temperatures over 105 degrees, so none of us wanted to stay for another day.

The rest of us turned north and drove to the coast of the Sea of Cortez. We planned to spend the night at Bahia de Kino, just west of Hermosillo. As we drove north the roads improved dramatically and we were able to drive faster than 15 mph, even as fast as 60-70 mph. This was a big change over the past two weeks.

As we drove towards Hermosillo, we drove on the toll road. This really allowed us to cover ground quickly. The first tollbooth we passed cost us $176 pesos (about $9 USD). However, passing through the rest of the tollbooths was more interesting. Tino had warned that in Sonora, groups of the native people have taken over the tollbooths. They don’t feel they were adequately compensated for the lands that were taken to build the toll road, so they stand near the tollgate and ask/demand for money. There are no officials to man the tollbooths, but just 8-10 individual there to take money. We were told it was optional and most people just drive through. 

We gave some money at a few of the tollbooths, but most were very aggressive in demanding money. At one gate they held a rope stretched across the road to force you to stop. We followed the vehicles in front of us and just slowly rolled through as they yelled at us. At the last minute they dropped the rope and allowed you to continue. When we passed, the rope caught on our bumper and about pulled the guy down. I stopped for a moment and the guy quickly unhooked the rope. I think the reason the toll at the first booth was so high is the owners of the road have realized that they will not collect any tolls at the other booths.

We arrived in Bahia de Kino around 3 pm and drove through town. This town is essentially one long road that parallels the coast. We had planned to stay at a campground that Frenchie was familiar with, but it had been torn down and it looked like condos were being built at that location. The coastline is essentially end-to-end condos and has become a tourist destination. It is still small and quaint, but it looks like it has been discovered and is growing quickly.

We ended up staying at Hotel La Playa. This is a very fancy hotel and we got rooms overlooking the beach. It was the most expensive place we have stayed at ($90 USD), but by far the nicest hotel. We thought it would be a nice indulgence for one night.

The hotel has two infinity pools that overlook the beach and water. Eva and I spent time in the pool both before dinner and later after dark. We both commented that this is such a change from the 2 weeks of camping in the mountains and valleys of Copper Canyon. The hotel was nice and relaxing. We all had dinner at a restaurant in town and made it back to the hotel around dark.

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