This little story is about a week long motorcycle ride into and around Copper Canyon, Chihuahua Mexico, from Southern California. The first time I ever heard Mexico had their own Grand Canyon; we were in Portland, Oregon shopping for a project trawler boat. The current boats owner needed to finalize the deal so that he and his wife could board their RV, drive it into Mexico and place it on a railway car.
What? I never heard of such a thing. Not only of the canyon being 3, 4, or even five times as large as our Grand Canyon but, of placing an RV onto a railway car. Once their big rigs were loaded onto the flatcars they would stay in them. “Ay, Chihuahua!”
The Copper Canyon is located in the northwestern Mexico state of Chihuahua. This is the birthplace of the littlest of dogs called what else but, Chihuahuas. These little dogs in Mexico are comical and entertaining; but, look out, once they cross the border they oftentimes become yappy and privileged.
The Chihuahua is even capable of dance on their hind legs while waving their paws in the air. I might just try to bring one back with me if I can get it to ride pillion. A pillion rider is a secondary seat behind the main seat or saddle on a motorcycle.
Yes, literally that’s where the canyon is – Chihuahua Mexico. And they get to live in their motorhome while it’s securely anchored (chained and choked) to a flatbed railroad car, while a locomotive pulls the entire train through Mexico’s Sierra Madre Mountains and the Barranca del Cobre, aka Copper Canyon.
Nearly 50,000 of the Tarahumara Indians still live in the canyon in simple dwellings or even in caves, as they have for centuries. The women like to wear bright, colorful cloth while the men are known for long-distance running of 100 miles or more.
Seeing the Copper Canyon in and of itself is spectacular and could be considered a complete adventure if nothing else were included.
Fast forward a half dozen years later and we are now living aboard that same 1985 trawler, that we named the Western Flyer, a 41’ Defever trawler. We’re in the marina in Marina Costa Baja, La Paz, Baja, California.
Friends of ours also living in the marina – a couple from Vancouver, Canada aboard their 40’ Benetau sailboat started planning for their own copper Canyon trip. Peter’s plan was to board the ferry in LaPaz, for an overnight ferry crossing of the sea of Cortez, spending one night in Mazatlan before figuring out the next move. There they would plan for a train ride on El Chefe.
Since at the time Patti and possibly my horizons were not yet unlimited, we both probably just chickened out and opted not to join them on this truly epic adventure. We never saw them again and their 40’ Benetau sailboat was subsequently auctioned off to another wealthy Americano. Not true but, thanks for hanging in there with the story thus far.
Fast forward another few years and now I ride a 2020 BMW Adventure motorcycle called a GSA 1250. The stars began to line up when GPSKEVIN came up with the entire adventure package for a ride to Copper Canyon. I heard about the planned ride from Roberto. It was being offered only to a select few experienced adventurous riders and I said I wanted in!
Riding a motorcycle takes you away from the reality of life and then gives you time to think. We get that coming and going; as the ride crosses the border at Douglas Arizona, our meeting location this Saturday for the dozen thrill seeker adventure bike riders.
The hardest thing about doing anything bold is taking that first step. And since we just returned from a week in Cabo, Patti is now amazingly accepting of this ride; possibly a little too eager for me to depart?
As I now see it, there’s only three possible ways to die on this ride; lightning, going over the side of the canyon and old age. I’m still betting that old age is going to get me one year.