Thursday, December 18, 2008

Adv #7 Continued: From San Carlos to Copper Canyon and Zacatecas

So after just one night in San Carlos at the campground, we left right away for Barranca de Cobre (Copper Canyon) which lies in the middle of the state of Chihauhua. We left San Carlos thinking maybe we’d be able to get to Creel, on the north end of Barranca de Cobre that same day. As it turns out, bad roads, countless twists and turns, dirt, and gravel made that a 3 day trip instead of one!Picture shows some of the terrain we have to deal with for an entire tiring day of riding on the way to Copper Canyon. On a regular 250 pound dirt bike, this is no problem. But we’re loaded with fuel and everything we need to live, and each bike is around 650 pounds when loaded.

After 3 tough days of riding, we’re finally arriving at Copper Canyon. I had heard this would make the Grand Canyon look like a ditch. Not sure if it’s that great…but wow, is it beautiful. My little point and shoot pictures will never do it justice though.
After a couple of nights at the high-elevation of the Copper Canyon area, we were searching for lower lands, and warmer weather. (Despite having all the gear, sometimes camping out at sub-freezing temps just isn’t that fun.) Having heard weak reviews of the west coast, we decided to head town to Hidalgo del Parral, and then Durango. This is big-time Pancho Villa territory! He was from the area and was also killed here, so there’s statues and museums and such for hundreds of miles around in every city and town.
By now, we’re certain this is a great country to travel in. Sure, it’s tough in that the roads are not well kept, fuel is not always right around the corner, signs don’t always show you where to go, and its tough terrain. But the people are an absolute delight. I mean, they are welcoming us with smiles and curiosity that just warms the heart. The “Celebrity Effect” as I’ve come to think of it was certainly evident in the U.S. Everywhere we go, whether it’s filling up gas, or walking through a parking lot, people inquiring about what we’re up to, why the bikes are so loaded up, where we are from, and where we are going to. Even more so here in Mexico though, people can’t believe what they are seeing. We roll through these small towns, and everyone stops what they’re doing to see the two largest motorcycles they’ve ever seen buzzing past them. (Our bikes are huge compared to most Harleys and other common bikes.) We’re bombarded with questions and excitement that sure is strange to me, but kind of fun to be around.

We stayed in some small towns along the way like Guachochi, and then Las Nieves before finally making to Durango. After a week of really being in such remote areas, it sure is neat to be back in a big city. Ciudad de Durango is the capital of the state of Durango.
Of course, parking becomes an issue for our motorcycles when we stay in a hotel in town. So we always inquire about secured parking, or in the case of Hotel de Catradal, just pull the bikes inside the hotel before heading out for a night in the capitol city of Durango. This hotel was once an enormous house owned by some wealthy family. Worked out well for us, cause the large hallways and interior courtyard were just barely big enough to fit the bikes through. Up some small steps, and into the hotel, our bikes were safe for the night.
Such a neat time to be in Durango, too. The town square was right outside our hotel, and holiday celebrations were at their fullest. People were friendly, always willing to help. It was nice to get out and meet some local folks during dinner, but all these beautiful dark-haired, dark-eyed girls are making me not want to leave!
Dear Mom and Dad,
I’ve decided I’m never leaving Mexico. I’m sure the enclosed picture will help explain why, and surely, you’ll understand. Thanks for everything you’ve done for me though.
Much love,
(Ha, ha....)
Originally we thought we’d head over to Mazatlan, as everybody talks about it. But…..there’s a certain turn off at this point about doing all the tourist/vacation kinds of stuff that all the Americans and Europeans do. (No offense, folks.) We’d heard good things about Zacatecas and decided to give it a shot. Still winding through beautiful country roads, hills, twists, and turns, we found a great deal on a hostel just off the town square and figured an easy way to get our luggage up to our room in the Hostel Villa Colonial. Zacatecas really is a fairly “touristy” city, but it’s full of great old architecture, markets, and even a gondola that takes you over the city. Good food, some shopping around for Christmas was a nice city to take a day off of riding in.

(More practice)
Dear Mom and Dad,
Seriously, I’m never leaving Mexico. More enclosed pictures will help explain my reasons for staying. Thanks for your understanding.
Your son, Eric
Still in Zacatecas, little Sophia and Ananya (below) were always around the hostel that their parents owned. So shy at first, they have a quiet curiosity about the two big guys. After just a couple of clicks of the camera though, those sweet personalities come out full. So cute and so polite…these sisters were absolutely adorable. Even at that young age, when you ask “Como se llama usted?” they stand right up, extend their hand, and introduce themselves.

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