Long Awaited Update

It has been quite some time since my last update. The last two weeks of my life have been spent in the Sierra Tarahumara mountains and the Barrancas Del Cobre. The region is remote and rugged. Modern amenities are few and far between; internet access, yea right.

The dirt track I followed out of Alamos is only accessible via four-wheel drive or via bicycle powered by a determined masochistic touring cyclist. The route to Alamos from Mazatlan is a toll road sporting a blissfully wide shoulder. The miles of tarmac passed quickly as I rushed to find the route less travelled.

I am currently in Creel and very short on time. I’ve been out of civilization for quite a while. As a result, my time here has consisted of chores long neglected and recuperating in the comfort of a dormitory complete with hot showers.

This post will provide a tiny glimpse into the blissful chaos of the last three or so weeks of this epic adventure. I am still trying to absorb all that has happened. The mountains here, and more so the people, have made this portion of my journey one I doubt will be topped. In the coming weeks, I hope to tell the individual stories in more detail. But, for now, this snapshot must suffice. Continue reading

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A Week Off Work – Mazatlan

Felix jumps into our pool.
Felix jumps into our pool.

My adventure turned vacation. My Mom booked us a resort in Mazatlan and here we stay. For a week. The longest I’ve been in one place since leaving home on the 8th of July. With a refrigerator and a stove; a toilette and a shower. And beds. Glorious soft beds of a material I don’t stick to. We even have a pool that ends in the Sea of Cortez. Life is good; though, it’s not without problems.

The resort gave our room away so we had to wait an hour for them to sort out the problem. No big deal. As Aldous Huxley wrote,

“Your true traveler finds boredom rather agreeable than painful. It is the symbol of his liberty-his excessive freedom. He accepts his boredom, when it comes, not merely philosophically, but almost with pleasure.

Even the flood wasn’t a big deal. I woke in the morning to find water covering nearly half the room and more pouring from the ceiling. The AC froze up. We went days without. However, I draw the line at “the noise from hell.” Like nails on a chalk board, opening the refrigerator door made us cringe. It is terrible. Really. It was so damn loud it served as our alarm clock in the morning. One of us waking the other opening that awful door. It is torture. If I ever need information from someone, I’ll make them listen to that sound. In minutes, they’ll be squealing like a pig.

"Fixing" our leaky ceiling.
“Fixing” our leaky ceiling.

All complaints aside, this week has been wonderful. I explored the city and made new friends. I had the bearings changed in my front hub for 20 pesos (that’s $1.50). I swam in our pool and watched the sun set into the sea. I rode my bike unloaded, racing and passing cars at 30mph. And best of all, I did absolutely nothing. For days, I lounged in the comfortable cushions of our couch. Thank you SO much for this wonderful week off  “work.” It’s exactly what I needed for the apex of my expedition.

Tomorrow morning, Felix and I leave the resort and go our separate ways. I’ve decided to turn north and ride into Barranca Del Cobre (Copper Canyon in English). Felix continues on to Mexico City. We’ve been together, almost inseperably, for five weeks. It will be strange riding off without him. I consider him a close friend and cannot wait to visit him in Germany. Maybe we’ll even bump into each other again on this trip. Adios amigo. It’s been unreal.

I have decided I cannot miss the Grand Canyon of Mexico. Six distinct canyons in the Sierra Madre Occidental form the Barranca Del Cobre. It is the largest and deepest canyon in the world. It also has hot springs; though, soaking in one for the first time will not come without cost. For those of you who have seen the Grand Canyon in the US, I am literally riding into it. I’ve never seen it so I ride blissfully unaware into hell. I face climbs up to 2,500 meters (8,200 feet); descents to 400 meters (1,200 feet); on rocky and rutted dirt “roads.” This will be the most challenging ride (and push and maybe even carry) of my life. It will also be the most beautiful. Wish me luck!

MazatlanDinner

We took advantage of the stove and fridge from hell cooking everyday. We also ate a lifetimes worth of guacamole and egg salad.

MazatlanBeardCheck

I trimmed my beard. What do you think?

MazatlanBearings

While exploring the city, we passed this small bike shop. In ten minutes, and for twenty pesos, he replaced the bearings of my front hub. It rides like new again.

MazatlanCleanBike

We also washed our bikes. They were in dire need from the swamp and from the dust of the desert.

MazatlanRyanAndHansel

Hansel works the night shift at the front desk of the “resort.” He took me on a tour of the city and to the top of this lighthouse.

MazatlanRyan

It wasn’t easy carrying our bikes to the top, but we managed. And the view was worth the effort.

MazatlanMazatlanWaterFront

Mazatlan is a beautiful city. It’s also very touristy. It was a nice change from the desolation of the Baja desert; however, I’m excited to leave the beaten path; the lights and noise of civilization. Copper Canyon, here here I come.

MazatlanFirstView

Hansel, my tour guide for the day, informed me of an old railroad that runs to the top of this hill. It’s purpose? To deliver ice shipped from the US to the rich people who lived up their.

MazatlanDSCF6711

Felix jumps into our pool.

MazatlanDSCF6719

Josh, who we met in the hostel in La Paz, came over for a visit. They want to know whose muscles are bigger.

What a week…