Sunday, April 20, 2008

Our Copper Canyon Bookdocking Adventure

For starters, today is Sunday and the Pope is visiting the U.S. and things continue to happen here and around the world. So I am posting some food for thought. I really like Bette Midler and one of my favorite songs is "From A Distance". If you don't know the song you can check YouTube as there are several videos of Bette singing this song. BTW, it was written by Julie Gold. Here is a sample of the lyrics:

From a distance you look like my friend,
even though we are at war.
From a distance I just cannot comprehend
what all this fighting is for.

From a distance there is harmony,
and it echoes through the land.
And it's the hope of hopes, it's the love of loves,
it's the heart of every man.

Copper Canyon (Las Barrancas del Cobre, Chihuahua)

If you have never been you'll want to go once you see the pictures. Copper Canyon is located in the largest state of the Mexican republic. The state is home to the largest Menonite population in Mexico. Chihuahua and the canyon are home to the Tarahumara indigenous people. The Tarahumara is a blog of it's own as there is so much culture, language and controversy surrounding them and the things "civilization" has tried to do for them.

This Copper Canyon adventure may take a week or two but it will be worth the ride so here goes:

As all of our boondocking adventures start out, we pick a place plan a route but not where we will stop or stay. I do most of the driving and as an early bird we are on the road by 7:30 in the morning. Well, if you haven't discovered it by now, the Mexican culture has taught me one thing, 2:30 in the afternoon is siesta and I don't take that lightly. So we usually begin looking for a place around that time. I get my hour nap and there is still time to explore the area we are passing through, have happy hour and fix a nice supper.

Instead of taking the traditional route from the North down to the canyon via Chihuahua, Chihuahua we headed West through Saltillo, on Hwy 4o to Torreon/Gomez Palacios and then headed North on Hwy 49 where we came to a stop for the night at Bermejillo, Durango. This trip is in April and the desert starts to heat up. The day trip was mostly uneventful except for a strap on mirror that went for a flight as we went through the famous mountain pass before Saltillo. We were able to stop and salvage that poor mirror and today it is still in use.

Here in Bermejillo it was hot and dusty and we stopped to buy a pollo asado. Food is always a good connection for information and the people there said there was a hotel with a big parking lot in the center and a city park. We checked out the hotel, and it is a good spot if you are looking for a gated place to spend the night. The fee was 10 dollars but we went by the park.

Sure enough, a nice green park with families out in the daytime sun having a good time. We stayed there for the siesta and as the sun went down we saw a primary school behind the park. As the police came by we explained that we were teachers on vacation and they said it would be a great place to park.

As a side note, we have fond memories of staying in Torreon on a trip two years ago. As we entered town (Gomez Palacios and Torreon are sister cities belonging to two different states) at night I realized I was going the wrong way. I came to an intersection and thought I had a green light but soon realized I had to wait for my arrow. I hit the brakes and ended up about 2 meters into the intersection. On the other side, guess who was there? Transito. They waited for me to make my turn and pulled me over. They insisted that I had made an illegal turn. Hey, they were right but I was going to pay a bribe. They never really asked for one but kept going from our car to the patrol car. Finally, I said I would wait until morning to pay the fine and they explained that the office didn't open until 11a.m. After some time, he realized he couldn't get me and then offered to show us the way to the hotel. Don't pay bribes, it is illegal. Use persistence and patience. Remain polite.

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