Time to Test the Brakes
Written on Monday Jan 9th but posted today because we … gasp… had no internet for two days!
I won’t make you read Willie’s lyrics again, but we were on the road again today. Our intended destination was not very far, but it was one that we were both very exited to make. When we first thought about coming to Mexico again, it was one of the areas that was enticing to us. Ky had almost been here on one of his motorcycle group trips, but they ran out of time, so he had never been to the area and he really wanted to take me. In my last post, you saw photos and read about the Copper Canyon from the top and from a mountain top where the world’s longest zip line terminates. Today’s ride was once again breathtaking. Without hesitation I can say that it was one of the most interesting, beautiful and exciting car rides we have ever taken anywhere. If it seems that I’m using way too many superlatives, it’s not just a journalistic ploy to get you to keep reading. I’m sure future blogs and tales of our days will seem very dull in comparison to these past couple.
It is only about 85 miles, and the road is in excellent condition. That is, excellent, if you discount the fact that many stretches are littered with rock debris from slides down the steep mountains that flank the roads, with the occasional huge boulder sitting proudly, defying being swept away lightly. And then, there was the section of road that couldn’t hold on for another moment under the weight of the boulder that crashed down upon it, taking out the road as well as the guard rail that was designed to withstand the weight of a measly car or delivery truck.
What we did see was Tarahumara people walking in what seemed to be the strangest places. They are clearly not afraid of steep slopes and their houses are perched in remote spots that are frequently only noticable by the smoke coming out of a well concealed chimney. They seem to walk everywhere, and distances are not of any importance at all. They are said to be very shy people, and in trying to preserve their culture, they generally remain as separate from outside influences as possible. In the towns of Creel and Divisidero, the women, who are the craftspeople, and by necessity are also the merchants of their wares, seemed distant and tired. On our drive today however, we saw many men (who don’t seem to come in to town much), and all of them were quick to wave back to us, and they usually smiled. The altitude in Creel is about 7,500 and for the first two hours, we lost altitude and we thought it would be a fairly slow steep descent over four hours. But we were disabused of that notion when we climbed back up and over mountain ridges many times. Most of the actual 7,000′ descent in to Batopilas came in about the last hour which was about 12 miles with spectacular switchbacks.
After parking by the main square, we walked around a very industrious community where there is a great deal of building work being done. A new park is being built, rocks are being chiseled by hand, a huge decorative silver finial was being brought in by wheelbarrow, and stone walls were taking shape. Everyone is working very hard to make sure that the town maintains its Pueblo Magico status, which is very important for tourism. For lunch, we resorted to finding a place to eat in our Lonely Planet guidebook and it steered us in the right direction. After a delicious and hearty homecooked meal of chicken mole for me and some excellent shredded beef for Ky (along with the requisite refried beans, rice, and fresh tortillas) we were ready for our lodging search.
As usual, we had not made any plans for where we were going to stay for the night. There are quite a few hotels in town and we chose one right on the river. It has a beautiful cool courtyard filled with trees and flowers. I was finally WARM! It was about 80 degrees, and for the first time in 2017, I was happily wearing a short sleeved shirt 🙂 As we sat out on the terrace overlooking the river, we got to watch and hear the earth moving equipment up close and personal. We had asked how long he would be working before we booked the room, and we were told that he would soon be finished. It was interesting watching him clear the debris from the remains of high water that had swept over the hotel’s patio in a huge storm and flood couple of years ago which was devastating to the community.
Peace & Hugs!