April 2009


Guess the states and win a prize!



And two concerts, one in camp with a great light show with a great light show! And the other behind my hostel.

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It started the week before as a trickle. An email here and there asking not just for information, but for accurate information on when the bikes would arrive in the port of Altamira on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. When we booked the shipping container we had been told it would take three to four weeks for the voyage, and after three weeks, we were told the boat would be a month late. Now, no one could say for sure if they would would arrive on the 29th of April as promised, or the 31st like the Hamburg Sud website had listed.

One thing we did know for sure, we needed another customs agent. This one charged us $350 USD per bike to do the paperwork. By this time I was too worn down to fight so I just laid back and counted ceiling tiles while they did their business. And there was a lot of business. The bikes arrived on the 31st and two 12-hour days later, about 25 letters, 50 stamps and a good sniffing from a German Sheppard,  I was riding out of the final customs check ON MY MOTORCYCLE!

Here’s a photo of the happy reunion:

Deseo and me in Customs

I spent the night on the beach with Mike and his friend Mat who had driven down from Minnesota to collect the last two motos and the next day rode to Monterrey to meet Roberto and his girlfriend Gabby. Roberto, Gabby and I planned to ride Copper Canyon together.


I know that Mexico and the crime has been a central issue in the US news lately, but until we arrived in Urique in Copper Canyon, I hadn’t seen even a hint of the problems. From the top of the canyon the village looked incredibly tranquil, but things were different in town. As we pulled in, the main street was blocked because a little Cesna was landing – and on every corner of the 200 person village there were military police dressed in black and M-16′s on their hips.

Three days before we arrived forty people, Narcos, marched into the village wearing masks and carrying guns. They kidnapped 12 people and took 5 trucks. After a day, they released 9 of the 12 and assassinated the remaining three. Of those three, two were people fighting the traffic of pot out of the valley and the third was an informant for an opposing cartel. The plane was actualy the mayor of the town and his family. Because of threats against his life, the mayor only moves via plane. And remember that this is a town with a population of 200 people – how can they support that? I think there may be a deeper story…

Our experience in Urique was amazing. We camped in the yard of the sweetest family – Grandpa, Grandma and two of their six granddaughters.

Dawn in camp:


And the family doing what they do, Grandpa playing, the kids singing and Lola making tortillas…


Grandpa, who’s name is Chiro, suggested that we go down to the foot bridge over the river where there is a sandy beach for a picnic – GENIUS! We bought a pollo asado and started walking. I loved the scene, dusty cars driven into the river to be washed, teenagers sloping in mud. A peaceful day playing out… until. Over the hill, accelerating fast, a truck flew into the riverbed. Tires spinning and throwing sand and rocks into the air, the truck did doughnuts around the muddy teenagers until a boy spilled out. He started fighting with one of the muddy boys, the the two crews pulled tire irons and threatened and postured and pulled while the girls all cried and screamed. And it occurred to me that is was the same play in micro that had gone on it town with the narcos, and the same theme that has driven so many Westerns. Small, peaceful Mexican village threatened by a few violent assholes from the outside. Over and over, we never learn.

The foot bridge over the river:



From Urique, we rode back out to Creel where we spent Easter Sunday


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