El Fuerte has earned the status of a “magical city,” which is a distinction the Mexican government bestows upon cities with rich history and enchanting appearances. This distinction also comes with some dinero to support the city in beautification and restoration projects. As such, due to popular demand, El Fuerte recently built a replica of the fort that once stood atop a hill overlooking the city, jungle, and river. It now serves as a museum to tell the town’s story.
On the way to the ferry, though, Alfonso has a surprise for us! We follow him through Ciudad Obregón, buzzing at lunchtime, and we’re continually impressed with how flexible the drivers here are. Picture it: a clunky herd of 13 Americans on big motorcycles maneuvering together through intersections and stoplights, occasionally stopping in awkward places to clump up again so we don’t lose anyone. Instead of taking their rightful turn at a stop sign, the other drivers patiently wait and wave us all through so that they don’t break our group up. They give us wide berth so that we can make the inevitable last-minute lane change when we realize we’re about to miss a turn, and nobody gets edgy when we filter around them on all sides at stop lights to stay with our leader (which is actually normal here anyway).
So, we follow Alfonso through a maze of city streets and then a series of dirt roads… all to arrive at his family’s own restaurant! It’s a beautiful establishment, and everyone comes out to greet us. The chef personally welcomes us and proceeds to cook an assortment of dishes for everyone to share.
When lunch is finished, we race to the ferry terminal to make our 6:00pm check-in time. While the process is slow as the port marines check all of our papers and panniers, everything goes smoothly. About 3 hours later, we’re aboard the ferry.
MotoDiscovery has reserved all the bunks on the boat, but that’s only 10. The rest of us will sleep on the ferry deck. It’s a nice night, though, and some in the group prefer the open sea air to the diesel fumes of the lower bunks anyway. The two of us waited a bit too long to figure out where to sleep and ended up taking different places; Brayde found an empty bunk and Matt took the deck. Tomorrow’s bed will be a welcome sight!
– Matt & Brayde