rfay's blog

Zacatecas band winding through the streets

Band we followed around at night

In Zacatecas there is a tradition (I think especially on Saturday nights) of bands winding their way through the streets - kind of a roving party. People follow them around and drink mezcal. We heard one on Saturday night and followed it all over the city - it seemed like we went though every little alley. They were amazing entertainers. They always had something new going. The funniest thing was when we were going through a narrow alley and a dog was barking at us from a balcony above. The whole party stopped, and the band started a piece that involved barking. Every so often they'd stop and we (the whole crowd) would bark back at the dog!

Update: New Pictures and a Podcast (Audio)

It's been a while since we updated you with our location and route and everything, so we have a number of things for you:
  • Our location: We're in Parral, about 200 miles south of Chihuahua, having exited the southeast end of the Copper Canyon region. Nancy did up a wonderful new map of our route (below) so you can see our route.
  • New pictures: There are a lot of new pictures on the photos page.
  • Podcast: We have started an experimental podcast (audio listen) for you. Click the Podcast button on the top of the page.

Candelario Viniegra Chavez in his 6th grade classroom

Candelario Viniegra Chavez in his 6th grade classroom
I met Candelario on my 2003 trip down the Great Divide to Copper Canyon. He was a schoolteacher in a remote canyon town unreachable by car and I happened by his open-air classroom. We chatted a bit, and I talked with his class a bit. He then walked up the canyon with me for a delightful afternoon, showing me his favorite swimming hole and telling me all about his life. At that time he had to live several hours from his family in a tiny place where he was the only teacher, had no running water or electricity, and no walls on the school. But his delightful attitude and happy smile were my real memory.

Tarahumara girl at Curarare falls

Tarahumara girl at Curarare falls

We're now in Copper Canyon, the land of the Tarahumara. In Mexico they call this the Sierra Tarahumara (the Tarahumara mountains). [We tend to agree with the Mexicans about the perspective - it's *mountains*. ]

The Tarahumara people who have lived here for centuries are a fascinating people. The women are brightly dressed and the men have a special skirt that seems specially adapted to running, for which they are world famous.

The Tarahumara speak Spanish generally only as a second language (if at all) and live dispersed all over this region. They might live many, many hours on a winding mountain path from the nearest town or road. They seem quite shy, but this little girl gave Nancy a very pretty smile.

Efrén and his family in Humirá

Efrén and his family in Humirá

A couple of nights ago we stayed in Humirá with some of the most impressive people we've met on the trip. Humirá is right before the really big climb out of the second canyon out of Creel, and we got there about 4:30, knowing we had about 25K and more than 2000 feet of climbing ahead of us. We stopped to chat with a farmer out working with his whole family on clearing trimmed wood from their apple orchard. When we decided to bail for the night we rode back and asked them if we could stay at their place. That's how we met Efrén. We helped with the wood-hauling until dusk, and then set up the tent. They fed us beautiful blue corn tortillas in the evening (we got to see the whole process).  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

Luis Alfonso Valencia - Bicycle commuter near Navojoa

Luis Alfonso Valencia - Bicycle commuter near Navojoa
Near Navojoa, Sonora, we ended up riding with a very interesting local person, Luís Alfonso Valencia. He's a true Mexican bicycle commuter. He rides 25 kilometers (15 miles) each way every day to his job as a heavy equipment operator for the state of Sonora. All this on a single-speed bike. We were impressed. And he gave Randy a real run for his money in a little race. Only when Randy had (many) more gears to speed up with did he pull away.

Do you notice the wonderful reflectors he has for safety on the back of the bike? They're discarded CDs. So why do we use anything else? We're going to try to get some for our bikes.

In the flat agricultural region from Navojoa to the sea we saw many, many cyclists, mostly on bikes like Luís's. In one small city we saw three bike shops in one small region of the downtown. And we've seen bike shops in several towns we've been in. We're just hoping they have some of the parts we need when the time comes.

Website Updates - Hope you like it

We re-did the website - Hope you like it! You can now get to lots of things on the links up on top. Some of the changes:

  • Info from all of the trips is available in order if you want it that way. It's kind of hard to read everything backwards! So for example, you can choose "Canada" from the top of the screen and read about our Canadian adventures in order.
  • Buttons on the top lead you to the most-commonly-requested articles.
  • I added a "Contact" page in case people want to get in touch with us.
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