We gradually finished our descent out of the mountains and entered onto the flatlands leading to Mazatlan. We passed through two Military check points along the way.
The first one was easy. They just waved us through. The second one was a pain in the ass. It was set up where one road ended at a T and you could go right or left. We wanted to go right towards Mazatlan. Every vehicle on the road was directed off to the a dusty side road that ended in three "stalls". You were directed into whichever one was empty. Once was empty. These guys were very thorough and checked everything. They even lifted off the plastic cup that sits at the base of the gear shift and checked in that space. I didn't even know there was a space under that thing! (to this day, that thing keeps popping off) When our turn came we were ordered out of the car and told to stand off to the side. Like we experienced a few years back outside of Zacatecas, we were made to stand in a group and were carefully watched by two guys with machine guns. A wickedly nervewracking experience, even knowing you have nothing to hide.
All checked out, we were given mere minutes to reassemble all of our stuff that they had unpacked and were finally on the homestretch to Mazatlan. Along the way we encountered a most amazing sight. It was an urban dust devil. We saw many of them in the flat fields this trip and trips past, but never one in a semi built up area. It was very impressive.
We were actually going to be in Mazatlan twice for this trip. It was our pivot point on the Pacific after arriving to the coast from the central regions. First we would be heading north from it and then passing back through on our way down the Pacific Coast.
We arrived in Mazatlan, passing by the Golden Coast exit, which is the tourist zone. No way did we want to end up there. We were planning on staying more central or downtown. As we inched our way along Avenue del Mar, I spotted a Dairy Queen. I squealed in delight at the thought of having a Blizzard and made note of its' location for future reference. Much of the drive, once you reach the ocean looks like this:
Believe it or not, that is the only picture I have of our first time in Mazatlan!