Sunday, March 30, 2014

Hola from the heart of the Copper Canyon

Hola Mi Amigo's and Mi Familia

If you've found this blog by accident or mistake it just a few rambling thoughts from the road as Rosi and I continue our motorcycle travels as time and circumstance permits.

This time around we're on a bit of a quick trip south to the Copper Canyon to get a little riding in and to revisit an area we loved but which was too cold to explore last time we were here. Hard to believe it's been almost ten years!

The Copper Canyon is 1,000 feet deeper and three times larger in area than the Grand Canyon in Arizona and an amazing place. Last time we bused from AZ to Los Mochis and caught the train in but this time we decided to try a more adventurous route; two-up on our Suzuki DL650 VStrom.

We left Phoenix around noon on Thursday and rode approx five hours to the Mexican border where we crossed into Agua Prieta to spend the first night. And for those of you considering this type of trip but a little apprehensive about the border crossing I have to tell you, it couldn't be easier. I pre-ordered online all my Mexican customs paperwork so all we had to do at the border was pop into an office to have our passports stamped and we were on our way in less than 15 minutes. From there it was just a few minutes down the road to our hotel where we stored the bike in a secure compound and we made our way to the hotel restaurant for the first of many great authentic Mexican meals.

The only downside was the wind. The ride down was clear and warm but it was really windy once we got south of Tucson. Not dangerously so but enough that it kept us on our toes and it's really fatiguing after a while so were were glad to call it a day when we did.

Friday was a long day through northern Mexico from the border to Chihuahua. And as much as we both love all things Mexico, northern Mexico, not so much. It's just miles and miles of miles and miles. The weather was good albeit a little cooler than we expected and overcast for much of the ride but not too bad and the only negative aspect of the day was arriving in Chihuahua itself, which is HUGE. It's a typical, very chaotic, large Mexican city and a necessary evil that is more to be endured than enjoyed. But all's well that ends well and in this case we arrived safe and sound at our destination; a large, very well run, conference hotel with a great restaurant, a good sized bar and the ever necessary secure parking. Ahhhhh....... Muy Bueno.

Saturday, (yesterday) was another exciting day of riding in Mexico except this time we climbed high into the Sierra Madre so we saw much better scenery. It was amazingly similar to the pine forests at home and kind of surreal in a way. At first we had heavy overcast and it was quite cold but by noon the clouds parted and the temperatures rose so that when we arrived in Creel around 1:00 it was hot hot hot.

Today was fantastic - the whole point of the trip. We started out with a 8 klm hike into the surrounding mountains to visit a Taramuhara Indian village and to view some of the cool rock formations that we couldn't see last time because it was too cold. We did great, especially considering Creel is over 2,300 meters - or close to a mile and a half high for those of you metrically challenged. :-) No wonder we were a little winded on the uphill bits.

Then this afternoon we rode out on a VERY twisty but well paved road to an overlook area 50 klm from town where we rode a cable car from one peak to the next. It was AMAZING. Apparently it's the third highest/longest cable car in the world and it's longer and higher than the peak-to-peak at Whistler.

We're now back in a very cute and very quaint small family hotel while we rest up for another day of riding and site seeing tomorrow. This time to a lake about 10 klm from town, and then on Tuesday we'll start making our way home.

There's one bit of sad news to pass on though. There's a very noticeable lack of tourists every where we've been. In Chihuahua it wasn't an issue because the hotel was chockablock full with Mexican business people and some obvious conference attendees but in Creel things are way too quiet. Businesses are looking a little forlorn and unless things turn around with the security situation a lot of people here in Creel are going to be hurting - a lot.

Adios Mi Amigos
Signing off from Creel Mexico
Dale and Rosi
The second cable car as we passed it going in the other direction

View from the cable car

A typical Mexican highway toll booth

Getting ready to leave on Saturday morning

The courtyard of our hotel in Creel

Typical high mountain road 

Valley of the Frogs - can you see it? BTW, it's 20' high