2 Weeks In Northwest Mexico

 Carl says:  To save space I’m going to insert my answers between Mike’s questions about trip planning.  Also, it helps me give more detailed answers when I know even more details about you and your plans.  For example, Mike, when are you traveling?  The region you’re headed for ranges from quite cold (Copper Canyon in winter) to blistering hot (summer beaches), and from dry to wet depending on the season.  

Not sure if you will reply to this since I’m sure you are busy people, but I’m planning a two-week trip to the West Coast of Mexico (Sonora, Copper Canyon, and possibly southward) and have a few questions for you after reading your book. Here are the logistics. My girlfriend and I are driving her non-4WD high-clearance 2006 pickup from San Francisco to Nogales. From there, we will probably check out Bahia Kino, San Carlos, Alamos, and lots of areas in between. Our goal is to spend as much time as possible on the beach. I’d also like to check out Copper Canyon obviously and any cool areas further south.

1. Since there aren’t any non-lethal routes from Alamos to, say, Creel, is the Hermosillo to Basaseachic to Creel route our best bet given our itinerary?

First of all, if you’re serious about spending a lot of time on the beach I’d say that a 2 week trip won’t really allow more than a quick side trip into the Copper Canyon.  Your itinerary sounds good — and your truck will be good for poking down unmarked side roads, though I’d definitely be prepared for overnight camping.  Most desert roads are frequently intersected by sandy arroyos and soft, seasonal “washes”.  If you are prepared to dig yourself out in a pinch it will just be another (sweaty) adventure, but do be prepared, both with tools, water, and spare food.  Thanks to sand traps Lorena and I have spent some interesting nights camped in unexpected places, but if you aren’t prepared and feel panicky, getting stuck can be a serious drag.

If you want to take the train to see the canyon, I suggest driving to El Fuerte — in my opinion this beautiful colonial town is a much better place to catch the train than Los Mochis.  You can arrange to leave your vehicle at a hotel or in the RV park.

By the way, there actually may be a “non-lethal” route to Creel from Alamos (or nearby) but I’m afraid I don’t have any good solid info on this yet.  I was in Bauichivo in October 2007 and noticed quite a few heavy ore trucks there.  A local cowboy told me that some kind of huge mine is operating to the west.  According to this fellow, the road to the mining area had been greatly improved and is now quite passable all the way through the sierra.  He wasn’t quite sure where it ended, but this would be worth asking about when you get to Alamos.

2. Do you know of any amazing beach on these stretches to camp or shack up in a hotel?

We love this particular stretch of Mexican coastline, so the answer to both questions is “yes”.  But… we don’t keep track of specific hotels and my memory is too unreliable when it comes to unnamed beaches and unmarked dirt roads.  I say “go for it!”  Also… Lorena and I often camp just inland from the sea in this region — we like our privacy and really enjoy being in the midst of the cactus forests.

3. Any nice coastal or inland towns in Sinaloa?

The places you’ve already named, plus El Fuerte, ought to keep you quite busy for the length of trip you describe.  But… there is definitely more to discover, so be alert for those tempting side roads.

Thanks for any help you could provide!