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Mexican Rave


Day Six

Thursday. I was up before the sun to capture another magical moment before returning to Creel. The road out was just as impressive as the one in. Yesterday’s right-hand sweepers were now left-hand sweepers that seemed to never end. Same weather, same road, same bike, different direction. Fun.

In Creel, we stopped and discussed the morning ride while Warwick and Susanne went back to pick up their rental bike. They chose to ride in the back of the pick-up to El Divisadero and back so that they could take all the scenery in without fear of driving off a cliff. Funny people those Australians, yet I wonder who actually saw more. I also know that Susanne enjoyed not sitting on a make-shift pillow strapped to a luggage rack for a day. A Kawasaki KLR 650 is not really meant to be driven two-up for any great distance. They enjoyed the change of pace, that was the key.

Kids at the Copper Canyon

From Creel we headed North for our last overnight of the journey. It was a long ride and we tried to stick together somewhat to keep everyone on track. Then came the town of San Juanito. Mike and I were up front, maybe five minutes ahead of the others. We made it through town and pulled over to wait. Harv pulled up a few minutes later and joined us, stating that the rest were right behind him. Fine. We waited.

Turns out Kass and Allen had found out the hard way that San Juanito has the largest “topes” (speed bumps) we encountered on the trip. We were warned about these and really kept our eyes out for them in each and every little village or town. They are a fine example of Mexican ingenuity bordering on the insane. They do work, no question, for that I applaud them. Kass on the other hand, would not. His Kawasaki Voyager, ridden two-up met its match and oil was shed. No problem. Mike sent the rest ahead, Dave showed up, and the bike was loaded up in record time.

Then things got interesting, well, for one of us anyway. Harv knew the way to Nuevo Casas Grandes, or so he though. What he didn’t know was that there was a turn-off, a new road, that headed North while the old road continues West. Harv was first, I was second. I knew about the turn-off and waited for the next bike. I wasn’t aware of what Harv did. We all made it to Nuevo Casas Grandes and our hotel, Harv just had the pleasure of driving almost to the next state over, Sonora, Mexico. Good thing he had a big, fast, comfortable bike.

The Hacienda, another excellent hotel. We parked our bikes in the courtyard, cleaned up, then, once Harv arrived, headed for our “last supper”. Only PVMT could find a place like this. From what I could tell, it was a privately owned home whose owner just happens to invite Skip and/or his guests to dinner. We had the place to ourselves. Good thing.

After a great meal we had a candid discussion about the tour – nobody mentioned the credit card except me. It helps to make your blunder the first day. Information overload blurs all but the latest offenses. Kass and Harv covered for me. To give you some idea on just how well they covered for me, let me share the a few lines from a song that two of the more talented fellow riders came up with. Carol, with a little help from Valle, penned THE BALLAD OF KASS: TOPE TROUBLE, sung to the tune of, well, that we are not sure of… you all know it, it starts out:

Down in the west Texas town of El Paso…

You know the song, we just didn’t know the name of it. Anyway, here it goes:

When riding in Mexico watch out for “topes”
Now listen, my bikers, to the ballad of Kass
He hit a “tope” and broke off his oil plug
He’s lucky he didn’t fall down on his &$$ !!

Now you know why I was glad we had the place to ourselves. I for one can not sing. Great evening.

Day Seven

Fine feet

Friday. For me, the tour was over and the adventure was about to begin. Mike took the group North to Columbus, New Mexico where Pancho Villa and his men invaded the United States in 1916. That is where the tour ended for many of the riders. I headed north for awhile as well, then veered right and headed back to Juarez to rendezvous with the ladies holding my bond and to collect $300. I was on my own and was looking forward to whatever happened.

Route 2 in Northern Mexico is a straight, black strip through a desert landscape. Like my first’s day shot down to Chihuahua, this was not pretty. I didn’t notice. You must remember, I had wanted to drive, on my own, in Mexico since my first cross-country tour in 1973 when I drove from Pulaski, New York to Douglas, Arizona following my high school graduation. I drove my 350 Honda a total of, lets say, less than one mile into Mexico. I still have the “Alto” sign picture to prove it. Years later, I felt eighteen again.

Uneventful on the outside, this three and a half hour dash across Mexico sealed the desire to travel farther and deeper into Latin America in the future. The Army check- point, the rugged landscape, the feeling of wanderlust, these can not be measured on the outside. It is what it did on the inside that I am faithful for. The extra $320 I lost on the deal was well spent.

What I didn’t bargain for was my return to the United States. It was hot. Very hot. Juarez on Good Friday, at 1:00 in the afternoon, is very different than Juarez on a lazy Sunday morning. The border crossing was backed up for miles. The bike, a well tuned, water-cooled machine, could not take it. It died several times. Some men sitting in the shade mentioned I should weave ahead. Great, they failed to mentioned that there were people with carts selling everything imaginable also weaving in and out. The bike died.

I made my heroic return pushing my bike up to the check-point, laughing all the way. His first words were, “How ya doing?” I giggled, “Great!” He let me pass. After a few minutes rest out of the path of traffic, the bike started and I was off. I had no problem reading the signs now. Life was great.

El Paso didn’t seem as hot. Funny how that works. I turned in my bike, said thank you and good bye, and found a hotel. I was done.

Day Eight

Saturday. I was up early and at the airport by 9:00 am. For the flight home, I had the hotel van drive me the 500, or so, feet to the airport. Funny how that works too. Everything went well, flights were on time, lunch was served. I arrived back in North Carolina and was met by my lovely wife. On the trip back home, I went on and on and on about my experiences. I still do.

COPPER CANYON

Area: 2500 Sq. mi. (North America’s largest canyon system)
Deepest Point: 7,544 ft. (280 ft. deeper than the Grand Canyon)
People: Tarahumara, Pima, Guarojillo and Tepehuane
Wildlife: White-tailed deer, coati, bobcat, gray fox, river otter
Annual Rainfall: 25 in.

PANCHO VILLA MOTO-TOURS (Skip and Nancy Mascorro)
4510 Highway 281 North, #3
Spring Branch, TX 78070
800/233-0564 803/438-7744
Fax: 830/438-7745
http://www.panchovilla.com/ info@panchovilla.com
Mexico Travel
http://www.mexico-travel.com/
1-800-44-MEXICO

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