Kev and I rode the toll highways today of Highway 15 today further south. This is actually the first tolls we have paid. Each section cost 32$Mex pesos, per bike about $2.45 US dollars. We paid these tolls three times today. Now you would recon that the highways would be a pretty good ride if you were coughing up cash…think again. You definitely need to be on your toes. The lanes are narrower than regular highways, the paving can be choppy and chewed up with some cracking and the locals travel fairly fast. You need to make sure that you keep in the center, or right of center of your lane. The reason being is that the passing vehicles tend to float towards you as they pass, interested in your setup, know doubt! You just don't want to hit one of the chewy, gravely patches as it pulls you and their passing wind blow pushes you! Now I have to give it up for one section of road that was magically paved! You are going to laugh, but it was like riding on freshly shaved legs! Maybe the chewed up gravely section reminded me of rough prickly legs hey?…ha ha ha.
We crossed over into the state of Sinaloa, and almost immediately the farmlands around us were low, lush and green. We could have been riding through Thailand! We turned off the main highway and took a country road towards the town of El Fuerte. It was nice to be off the grind of the main road for a bit. As we rode further into the colonial farmland area, visions of the sun bleached bitumen road ahead pitted with sandy potholes and puffs of fluffy spinefex grasses hugging the rough edges road ahead transported me back in time….I love it when that happens! I was reminded of great times spent in Tookarook and Gunamatta, Australia, rollerskating and bicycling down the rural roads as a young girl.
A warm and magical feeling took over as we pulled into the El Fuerte township. This is what I had been waiting to see! El Fuerte, which means "The Fort" is a town that oozes old style spanish colonial charm. Old style haciendas line the raised walkways in the clean cobblestoned streets. Wrought iron lighting fixtures, huge heavy carved wooden doors with rustic hinges, latches and knockers, hand blown glass bubbling out of iron framed lights light the hotels, restaurants and homes. The elaborate iron pagoda in the middle of the square is surrounded by activity… a hombre cooking up fresh fried churros tossed in cinnamon and sugar, a balloon hombre, a mexican hotdog vendor, a table for the kids to paint up moulded plaster casts of super heroes, a family selling tambourines, maracas, and those wooden snakes that slither in the air. Ice-cream vendors, side walk cafe's, many wooden benches occupied by couples, friends and families…..and then the Church!
Kev and I were looking for this one hotel. Rated number 2 on Trip Advisor, a good thing…but what had drawn me to it was the comments about being an old style hacienda and being able to safely leave your motorcycle there. I really can't believe that we found it on the first go! One of the reviews about this hotel had mentioned that it was near the city square. Now finding the town square was a feat in it's self. The streets are lined with high walled houses and restaurants, almost making the street like a tunnel in the town. You need to try and look forward in the distance above the walls for the high church steeple or church cross. This is it…The Hotel Torres Del Fuerte, but, I think that I have just traveled the wrong way down a one way street, and the place is hopping! Leonardo Rivera, the night watchman, directs us to the back entrance of the hacienda and waves us in to the courtyard with the bikes. I follow his directions, Kev is right behind me and we pull up into the paved courtyard area. This feels good, the bikes will be secure here. We have just crashed a large mexican baptismal party, that is in full party mode. We have drawn a bit of attention! A couple of the band members come over and chat with us while we unload our gear and secure the bikes. "Come to the party, I play the bass, and I play the violin….it will be great!", they say…kind of sounds like a scene out of Nacho Libre!…Classic! Kev and I squeak our way through the 200 guests in the courtyard…Squeak you may ask….Yes our boots squeak when we walk. Unfortunately it cannot be helped, but kids love it!…ha ha ha We check in and are shown to room number 6 located at the front of this awesome Spanish colonial hacienda…..WOW, this is amazing! I am loving everything about this pad. Our room has rustic, solid, dense, wooden shutters that open onto the street latched by hand forged iron latches, concrete tiles mosaic floors, thick concrete walls painted a deep burgundy red, with a thick white boarder around the windows and doors, heavy wooden carved furniture, a stone shower and basin and antique spanish style chandeliers…just loving it!
The next morning we wake to absolute darkness. "What time is it?", I ask Kev. "Wow... it is almost 9am!", he replies. The heavy wooden shutters have blocked all rays of light, just like a casino room in Las Vegas. The rustic, dark, heavy wooden double doors of our room creak as I fiddle with the iron latch and push them open. Wow….I feel like I'm in a Spanish movie as my eyes embrace the beauty of the hacienda courtyard garden. I feel as though Antonio Banderos could show up at any moment! We are escorted to the restaurant area at the rear of the property…the light is just magnificent and I have to break away and run back to the room for my camera! Kev and I enjoy a fantastic breakfast of fresh squeezed jugo naranja (orange juice) fresh papaya with lime, chorizo and eggs, papas (potatoes), and bacon. Kev and I are the only patrons of this hotel, and are enjoying every single minute of it!