Creeeepy. Between the silent zoo of concrete clowns and hippos watching over over us from the abandoned water park behind the RV to the open cavelike abyss of the future dance hall under construction on the other side, it was tough getting a good night’s sleep. The fact that PJ looked up every website on Saltillo crime statistics and State Department warnings and read them out loud to me right before tucking me in probably didn’t comfort me much either. The hotel sits on about 10 acres and occupancy is only at 30%, none of said 30 anywhere near us. I tried to bribe the watchman with a Monster energy drink to stick near us, but after being excited about us being “tocayos”, he drifted off never to be seen again.
At 11:40 the gates burst open and a big truck came roaring in, a big trash truck carrying the silhouettes of two wraithlike goblins hanging off of the rear of the groaning monster. They stopped across from us at the trash enclosure and spent about 20 minutes loading up all of the bags of trash. Then the two refugees from Mordor grabbed their handles and swung themselves back up on the steps of the beast and the driver went roaring back out the entrance leaving the gate swinging open behind them.
We organized the RV quickly and were out the gate by 8:30 to start a 6 and a half hour hell drive across Northern Mexico. Tons of soldiers out and about and a large presence of federal police patrolling the toll highways. We went through seven toll gates for a total of $62.00 by the time we reached Durango at 3:00 p.m. We made minimal stops, a few to walk dogs and once for a few pesos of petrol. The guy tried the not clearing the pump scam leaving 100 pesos on the pump at the start, but I had him reset it to zeros. He made a big deal of it, going inside to have the other attendant clear it off. Nuevo León and Coahuila seem exceedingly desperate and poor. When we reached Torreon, the vibe seemed lighter and the state of Durango seems more prosperous and enterprising. Lots of farms and manufacturing going on.
The landscape was more interesting with buttes and mesas like scenes from a cowboy movie. In fact, Durango is known for its movie background. Lots of westerns were filmed here in the old days. We toyed with the idea of just pressing on to Mazatlan and arriving a little after dark, but I was in a near zombie state and it didn’t seem like the safest plan. Bloggers Kevin and Ruth had stayed on the grounds of the City Express Hotel in Durango a few years ago, so we decided to check them out. PJ google mapped it and we pulled in a little past 3:00.
I asked the folks at the front desk if we could park the RV in the back of the lot, but they weren’t authorized to give the o.k., that guy should show up at 4:00. We hung around in Lexi just glad not to be driving. Fed the dogs and relaxed. A little past four, I spoke with Jorge, the maintenance manager and he said we could camp in the lot no problem. We were even willing to take a room, but they don’t allow dogs and we weren’t going to leave them out in the lot solo. So we’re all settled in and hoping for more sleep tonight. Thanks for the tip, K&R.