After four nights in Alamos we felt we had a good feel for the town. We found our favorite restaurants and went for long walks exploring every day. One day we walked up a steep set of stairs to a mirador and got a few pictures of this quaint city in the mountains.
You can see the whole city from the viewpoint. I circled the hotel on the left in this picture. The central town square is on the lower right.
We had to get a picture with the Alamos sign at the top.
We left on Sunday morning and took a back route out of town that took us through a remote area of Sonora, Mexico. We were on dirt roads for a while and were really in the middle of nowhere as we wound down the mountains towards the coast. After a few hours we joined the “cuota” or toll road and were heading back north towards the town of San Carlos on the Sea of Cortez.
The city of San Carlos is just outside the town of Guaymas and is more setup for the tourist trade. We had made plans to meet a friend, Richard, who was taking the ferry with his motorcycle from the Baja Peninsula. We knew Richard from the Norton motorcycle club and rode with him on the last Baja ride in March 2020. We made plans to ride together for the next two weeks of exploration.
We checked into the Hotel Marinaterra and scored a really nice 5th floor room. This was the view from our patio. Clearly a popular spot for the boating crowd.
The weather was warm and we had a scheduled day off to plan the next few days riding. Deby (and I) took full advantage of the sun and pool.
A nearby outdoor restaurant with music and dancing was our go-to dinner spot.
On the second night at that resturant we saw a familiar face walk in with a friend.
It was Tammy who we met in Alamos… small world.
Our goal for the next few days was to visit the famous Copper Canyon, below is an excerpt from Mexperience.com:
Barranca del Cobre, Copper Canyon, is a region in the desert of northwest Mexico that hosts some of the most spectacular and stunning natural scenery in Mexico’s inland territory.
The area known as Copper Canyon is actually a series of twenty canyons, formed over the years by six rivers. The area is sometimes compared to Arizona’s Grand Canyon, although the Copper Canyon region is at least seven times the size, and has different topography, flora and fauna to the Grand Canyon.
The Copper Canyon is in Mexico’s wilderness. The Tarahumara people, descendants of the Aztecs, still live a simple life in these canyons, as they have done for thousands of years. Today, they also sell their crafts and food to visitors who take the Copper Canyon Train Ride.
We seem to be having a copper theme to this trip. Of course we had to go. The GPS indicated a two day ride to get there, so soon we were climbing from the warm temperatures at sea level to the cooler mountain climate at over 5,000 feet. We would remain at elevations between 5,000 and 9,000 feet for the next two weeks. The road turned from straight and boring to nothing but turns in the hills. There was virtually no traffic and we had a fantastic time exercising the BMWs through the mountain roads.
Our destination for the night was Yecora. This is a really small town of about 2,500 people at 5,173 feet. Deby and I had stayed there before because it’s almost the only town between the coast and the inland mountains. Previously, we stayed at what was essentially a truck stop along the highway and it was “basic” so say the most. This time I searched online to find a better hotel in town and came up with the Hotel King. Must be the best place in town, right? I tried calling it for a reservation and there was no answer and no way to book online. No problem, we would just show up and hope for the best.
We pulled in and this was the office….. A slight change from the luxury Marinaterra hotel in San Carlos. No pool, no restaurant, not even a paved parking lot.
It was empty and locked, the place looked deserted. There was a sign on the door that I thought implied it was out of business so I immediately started checking my phone and GPS to find another hotel. Richard walked up the sign and read it more carefully and pointed out it really said to check in at the tienda down the street. Geesh, all those Spanish lessons and I couldn’t figure that out?? (I hope my tutors Fernando and Maria are not reading this..).
We were about to ride down the street to the store and someone ran over and unlocked the door. Yes, they had vacancies, of course, we were the only ones there.
Did I mention it was cold? Burrr, the rooms had some type of propane heater powered by a barbeque type propane tank. No outside ventilation. Richard or I couldn’t get ours started so we decided to leave it for the moment and go for a walk about town.
We met the local Priest who spoke good English so we chatted for awhile about his pueblo. He said mining was starting up in the area which was bringing a few more jobs but he was worried about all the deforestation that was happening. He was interested in why we were there, clearly this was not a normal tourist stop. I got the vague impression he was a little worried about us but he didn’t specifically mention anything.
A few days later we met a fidgety gringo in a restaurant in Batopolis who was there as part of some type “farming” operation. I’m not very judgmental, but his long hair and erratic behavior made me wonder about what type of farming he was really involved in. Of course, we knew better than to ask any specifics. We told him we stayed in Yecora and he couldn’t believe it. He was even more amazed we were at the Hotel King. He said next time to stay at the truck stop because they at least pay protection money to the cartels. Yea, ummmm, You just don’t know.
We returned on foot well after dark after a truly unremarkable hamburguesa at an outdoor roadside stand. Deby vowed that would be her last hamburger of the trip and stuck to it. I didn’t disagree. Back at the luxury accommodations we tried to get the propane heaters started with no luck. I walked to the tienda and this time with better Spanish skills got someone to give us a hand. Ours was out of propane and the guy from the store got Richards started somehow. Content with an early night and finally getting warm we read for a while and fell asleep worrying about carbon dioxide buildup. Well, at least we would sleep good.
It didn’t last. Our heating unit went out about midnight and Richard reported his ran out of gas about the same time. Fortunately , Deby and I had some body heat we could call on. Richard took all the blankets from his second bed and managed to stay a little warm.
The next morning we were all up early, cold and looking for coffee. It took a somewhat long walk into the center of town to find the only indoor restaurant. It was almost full of patrons discretely eyed us as we found our way to one of the last tables. We didn’t care…. coffee – por favor!
We ate slowly and waited for the temperatures to rise at least into the mid 40s before continuing to the city of Creel at the top of Copper Canyon.
Here is a picture just outside the Hotel King, the cows seem indifferent to the three gringos on motorcycles driving on their road.
Next – into Copper Canyon.
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Donn and Deby