Sunday, April 20, 2014

Worlds Highest Cable-Stayed Bridge, Durango

Tucson To Oaxaca Via Durango's New Cable-Stayed Bridge

The bus to Durango uses the new highway 
where the highest cable-stayed bridge in the world, 

the 403m (1,321ft) tall Baluarte Bridge, spans 

a deep canyon in the Sierra Madre 
 Occidental Mountains between Mazatlan 

and Durango.

After my visit to Tucson I headed back to Mexico to see the world's highest cable-stayed bridge,  the 403m (1,321ft) tall Baluarte Bridge.  This high bridge spans a deep gorge in the Sierra Madre Mountains on the new highway between Mazatlan and Durango.
I first went to the Saguaro Shuttle in the 4,000 block of South Sixth and took the van shuttle to Nogales.
     The trip actually started with a Sun Tran from the "Ronstadt Transit Center." ("Transit Center" ?  please, you won't find an information booth, decent signage, maps that a human can read, lavatory, etc;  unless you are a local you are forced to ask the angry drivers for directions.)  (read some funny Sun Tran reviews)
 But the bus is a bargain at $1.50 USD.

     Saguaro Shuttle charges $12 USD for a trip to Nogales.
I walked through the Mexico border crossing with no check of luggage and stopped at the immigration office (INM) to get a six-month tourist pass, FMM.
After paying the $28 USD for the pass I then caught a 70 Pesos taxi to the Tufesa Bus station.
     At the Tufesa location there are bus options.  Next door you find an Estrella Blanca Bus station serving Omnibus, TAP, and Turistar buses to Mazatlan and south.

At that point I booked a Tufesa Bus  to Mazatlan ( no waiting line) but considered Omnibus because their service has greatly improved with the addition of Plus Service that utilizes the latest in bus luxury.
     The reason for my Tufesa choice had everything to do with the huge Easter weekend line at the Omnibus and TAP ticket window.  Bus Guide, Mexico

     Tufesa service is decent enough but they do not stock paper in the lavs and you realize that although the bus is labeled "High Class," in English no less, the service is just what you would find in normal economy service, well-worn lavatories with no paper.   (Tufesa gets high marks in US reviews, except for this humorous one)

Tufesa's "High Class" service, a decent ride
 but no paper in the lavatory on the Mexico buses.

     The Tufesa Bus departed Nogales at 5 pm and reached Mazatlan at 9 am.  I slept much of the way.
     After breakfast I took a taxi to the Mazatlan Central bus station where I booked a Chihuahuenses Bus to Durango.  The bus uses the new highway where there are cable-stayed bridges, one of them the highest in elevation in the world, the 403m (1,321ft) tall Baluarte Bridge.  This bridge spans a deep canyon in the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains between Mazatlan and Durango.

The new road between Durango and Mazatlan, 
with 60 tunnels and nine high bridges 
will replace the  notoriously dangerous,
 "Devil's Backbone."

The new highway cuts about six hours from the usual trip between Mazatlan and Durango by using nine bridges over 300 meters high and 60 tunnels to replace the notoriously dangerous, "Devil's Backbone," a winding road through the towering Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains that I will not soon forget driving with great fear from Mazatlan to Durango.
The road is a marvel of engineering and the cable-stayed bridges quite a sight.

      Durango offers a small colonial center with pedestrian-only streets and a zocalo.  The town also offers bus service to Mexico City and many other locations.

     Omnibus Plus provided luxury service to Mexico City,  Norte Station,  for around 1000 Peso.  Luxury TV screen at the seat back, menu of entertainment. WiFi , ear phones, leg room, two lavs,  paper in the lavs, and lunch with water and beverage,  that's luxury bus service.

Omnibus Plus service offers airline type seating with
menu TV screens, WiFi, leg room, sandwich and drinks

     I reached Norte Station in Mexico City, drew some cash from the ATM and then booked an AU Bus from ADO for Oaxaca.
Durango Bus station offers Omnibus Plus service to 
Mexico City
     The AU bus does not have a lavatory but does make many stops.  In fact so many stops that a six or seven hour trip turned into nine hours.  We arrived at 3:00 pm, time enough to walk to the zocalo for coffee and get ready for Oaxaca's Silent Parade.

Oaxaca's silent parade, a Good Friday
 tradition during Easter Week

Oaxaca Bus Service

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