Saturday, April 26, 2008

Copper Canyon - El Divisadero, Chih. to San Rafael, Chih.

We're pretty relaxed people and when we are on the road we don't have much of a plan. If we see a place we like we just plunk down and hang out for as long as we want. The lookout at El Divisadero was such a great place and hard to leave. The days we spent there are still great memories. Everyday was a different view, the sun cast different shadows and the sunsets were incredible. The people came and went while we were there and never gave us a second glance. Sure, a couple people wanted to know where we were from and what we were doing there. I always want to tell people we work in a circus because in most parts of Mexico where there aren't a lot of rvers, that is what Mexicans associate caravans and rvs with.

San Rafael is a short drive down the highway from El Divisadero. In fact, it is the end of the highway. The highway ends right here:
The beauty of boondocking in Mexico is, you just need to ask. As you can see in the picture, this store is up off the road and has a parking area. We parked on the road and went in to talk to the owner. She said she had no problem with us staying there overnight and we could stay longer if we wanted. Of course, in exchange we purchased groceries and snacks that we would take on the train. We disconnected the truck from the trailer and took up the least amount of room as possible. We have the cat with us so we put out food, water, lights (LEDs draw .01 amps) and some music. We didn't have to worry though. The Tarahumara buy some of their goods from this store so the kids would hang out and play with the cat through the window.We boarded the train for El Fuerte and a ride of a lifetime. The Chepe (Chihuahua-Pacifico) used to carry rvs on a caravan tour. That tour no longer exists and we aren't sure if it was banned by the railroad for safety reasons or something else. If anybody knows, leave a comment.
The train offers first and second class. We took second class and as teachers on summer vacation we were given a 50% discount. We road second class and there was never a dull moment. Either it was fantastic mountain views, or the interesting stops made along the way.

We arrived late in El Fuerte and took a taxi into town. We paid 120 pesos which we thought was a bit expensive but it was a long way to town. We checked out a couple of hotels and chose La Herradura. This hotel is two blocks off the main plaza, has newly remodeled rooms and great air conditioning.We showered up, fixed a drink for happy hour and to celebrate our arrival in El Fuerte. After, we hit the street looking for the plaza and a great restaurant. As we walked the plaza asking for information, a man approached me and asked me if he could help. He spoke in English and told me he had lived in the states for awhile and returned to start his family. This is so typical of Mexicans, they will go out of their way to be friendly and show the good side of their country. It ceases to amaze me after all these years. No wonder I love living here. Well, we did find a great place to eat based on this guys recommendation. A quick story about our hotel. We went to bed around 11p.m. There are only 20 rooms in the hotel to begin with and ours was closest to the lobby. We heard a loud screaming coming from the lobby and it seemed as though it would never end. Finally, we went out to the lobby to ask the two guys sitting there if they could tone it down. The young kid said, "I can't, this guy is deaf and he can't hear a word I'm saying". ;). They took their rocking chairs outside to continue their conversation. The next morning we had a couple of hours before the train left for our return to San Rafael. We had a quick breakfast and took some photos of the town.

Back on the train, I took awhile to read and enjoy the scenery. We were really up in the mountains and you find people living on small ranches along the route. Some places I guess are so remote that the kids come out to wave at the train as it passes by. Simple life and so desirable and beautiful. We work so hard so that in the end we can live simply. Here, it is just a way of life.

I'm going to wrap up our great Copper Canyon trip here. We headed home on the same route and were strapped for time. We drove as much as we could stopping for nap time and pressing on the next day. It was a great trip, and I highly recommend it to anyone whether you RV or not. We met a nice couple from Nova Scotia who had flown down to Chihuahua just to take the train. They loved the trip and stopped several times on their route for days at a time. They said they would love to come back and stay longer. For me it's the same way. I love to be out exploring and I like to have my little house with me. Finding out of the way places where you find the unexpected. Peace and quiet and a respite from the reality in which we live.

Tomorrow I'll be posting my plan for the blog and also another survey question. Stayed tuned and until tomorrow, be happy and enjoy life.

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