WARNING: This is a long motorcycle ride story. Don’t start reading unless you now have the time and are not distracted. The story also contains history, some made and some factual; it’s up to you to decide which is parts are factual.
Welcome to October 2022, and also my birthday month. Years ago, I declared that one needs a birthday week to really honor thyself. One day is simply not enough. For this birthday I want another Baja ride, like the one we had last October, only better.
Riding to places; churning out a story or two, then locking it up on this blog, or sharing it; makes no difference to me. Today I’m all about just freeing up the mind. When you free up your mind, you are working at overcoming all the daily distractions of life. My riding and writing does that for me. By creating open space in your mind you increase your focus on life and hopefully also enhance the quality of it too.
We live in an age of too many distractions and all distracted people want to do are many different things at the same time? In the 1930s, T.S. Eliot wrote, “We are distracted from distraction by distraction.” Are we really just like hamsters on a wheel or do we have the ability to just get off that wheel whenever we want to? Even retirement life has a hamster wheel and it’s your choice of when to just jump off.
The adventure riders on this ride are Gpskevin, Yoda Roberto, Paul, Ray, Ramon, Frank V, Todd H, from Anchorage, James, Mike, Jens, Dal from Alberta, Larry, Bill from Bend, David from Hermosa, Luis from Mexico City, Tom and Mike from Davies, California and yours truly.
This Copper Canyon motorcycle adventure is a way for some of us to interrupt our daily lives. We are now forced to put down the computer or smartphone, interact with one another, eat healthy nutritious foods that are good for our gut and simply ride. At the very core of it all we toss in a little unexpected experiences, imperfections and some cross cultural diversity with the local population living their undistracted lives; enough so that memories are made. Some of those memories, for some, are enough to carry us into our maturing years. For others like me, we are terminally afflicted and the only known cure is to continue riding. Welcome to our world.
For those not yet familiar, Gpskevin uses something similar to a ouija board or matrix to select our ride dates. He then carefully analyzes everything on three monitors while viewing google earth. Others do something similar but, Kevin is the first and original and the one who has perfected it. Gpskevin carefully analyzes things like the awakening of molecules from about the time the sun hits the earth and rises up and over our planned destination; then he gradually backtracks it all down to the earth’s now warmed grasslands, forests, lakes, and rivers, essentially the earth’s soul.
With this type of knowledge at his mere human disposal, our riders travel to places, at precisely the optimal times, to do things like meet up with the Baja ferry, down La Paz, Baja California way. Our current ride plans has us returning on the ferry at Topolobampo on day 10. Everyday we partake in the most excellent of cuisine before moving on to our ride adventure that all takes place ride on the mainland side of Mexico. Why just reading about this should fire up your male or female motorcycle ride gene and shout, “just take my money please, I wanna ride “!
We continue on fully packed bikes onward towards Chihuahua and subsequently Creel and Batopilas. So how many pairs of underwear and socks do we really need? The food, fuel and lodging are all found on the roads we travel. Again this is where GpsKevin earns his keep. The route he selects for us are on a highly classified micro chip that one inserts into their Garmin GPS Navigator.
We look down to see if we’re still on course to Copper Canyon; in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. Its unheard of to lose a rider due to things like navigation, Montezuma’s revenge or bad roads however, we’re riding in the real Mexico so, anything else can still happen. Copper Canyon is known as the Grand Canyon of Mexico, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We ride for the thrill of seeing and meeting the people, eating their foods and enjoying their breathtaking landscapes. While it is called Mexico’s Grand Canyon, the Copper Canyon is not just one but, a chain of six different canyons.
The Tarahumara people who for centuries have lived in the area are what make this place both unique and special. Here’s a little history and hopefully a way for me to describe to you how I’ve finally wrapped my head about how the Tarahumara people first got here.
It all started with a little conquest that turned into a big one of biblical proportions on account of some bad leadership, decision making and a force multiplier little Spaniard germ, unintentionally brought over from the European mainland.
This little germ becomes the real power that wrought unforeseeable damage, carnage, death and destruction on the population of those beautiful bronzed bodied natives. Their lungs became ground zero, and from there the little germ extended its reach to many other organs including their warm still beating heart, blood vessels, kidneys, gut, and eventually their brain.
Yet at around this time; just several hundred years after the invention of the printing press, more than twelve million books were already in print in Europe. The population was just starting to complain that there were too many books – the start of human distraction!
One can’t get around the parts that come with some awesome leadership displayed by Cortez. He now uses leadership and well established tactics that this part of the world has never seen, followed up by superior Spaniard weaponry and the rest as they say, is only history.
Marina known as La Malinche, a Nahua woman from the Mexican Gulf Coast, becomes the force multiplier as well, as she made her contributions to the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, by acting as interpreter, advisor, and intermediary for the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés.
Essentially when you are free to shoot, move and communicate you are unstoppable; sort of how; if you’ve kept up with the Ukrainian war, you can see how it’s done in modern day real time.
The Tarahumara people are legendary for their running abilities that are directly part of their culture. They run for fun and don’t easily tire. Another word for their peoples name is titlantli, which also means messenger.
Long before the Spaniards arrived there was a special group of runners who served as messengers and couriers in their society. The messengers job was to carry communications from one part of the empire to the other.
When Cortes landed on the Tabasco coast at Potonchan, Godlike Motecuhzoma, who considered his people “Masters of the entire world, already knew about it. Why? Because the forefathers of the Tarahumara people brought him the news.
Immediately Cortes was met with resistance however, because of superior weapons and tactics, he quickly overcame those odds. And as a gift of reconciliation Cortés was given a dozen beautiful slave girls. It just so happens that one of these, a certain Malintzin (aka Marina or Malinche), would prove to break the language barriers.
She spoke both the local Mayan language and, crucially, also the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs. One of Cortés’ men spoke the former so that now the way was open to parley with any representatives the invaders came across. Motecuhzoma, after consulting his council of elders, decided on a strategy of diplomacy. When you have such superior numbers and this is your land, this was not a good chosen strategy.
He sent gifts to the Spanish which likely made the Spanish even more interested in plundering their lands. Initially, relations were friendly and valuable gifts were exchanged between the two leaders. Cortés received a necklace of golden crabs, and Motecuhzoma a necklace of Venetian glass strung on gold thread and scented with musk. Two weeks later the Aztec ruler was audaciously taken hostage and placed under house arrest. His entire population now was ravaged by Covid. Not really, it was smallpox.
After the fall of Tenochtitlan, the Spanish set about pacifying the rest of their NEW to them empire and kept looking for any other treasures to plunder. Gradually, the Franciscan friars arrived, spread Christianity; and now it was complete; the hearts, minds and souls were totally captured by those still alive. But wait, the Tarahumara high tailed it out of there to where? Why Copper Canyon, my friends, to where no mere horse or Spaniard could easily travel to. Plus, they spread themselves out so thin that they could not be easily captured as a group and taken back to the silver mines and subsequently to their death.
Traveling to “unknown territory” is my new motorcycle ride mantra; and riding with like minded friends; well, that’s where the real stories come from.
It also may seem hard to accept the fact that in our year 2022; the truth is that our new tools (smartphone, tablets, television, even your pets) in our daily lives, in the end, are what end up controlling us.
Day one motorcycle travel starts October 15, 2022