Posted by: vlbyers | May 29, 2010

Copper Canyon Part 3 or Jeanna, this ‘blogs’ for you!

Breakfast at Pioneras

Friday May 21,
Rising early breakfast was pancakes and eggs at our hotel-this was a place that is really in the middle of nowhere, on the side of the road similar to a hotel you would find on the way from LA to Vegas except this one didn’t have a pool. After breakfast we mounted our horses for what was going to be one of the highlights of our trip. Several of us were reluctant to commit to the ride, I was thinking that I could do more productive things like update the blog:) I really am always thinking of my readers), download some of my pics and organize them, or sleep in!! Before breakfast I took a little walk across the street where I noticed that some of the horses-7 to be exact, were already saddled and ready to go (Michael said that was marketing) so part of me felt obliged.

our trusty steeds

I also thought I can update the blog and go through the pictures on one of our long train or bus rides and when will I get another chance to horseback ride through the Copper Canyon. We donned our sunscreen, our hats and made sure we had plenty of water and we were off.

The start of our ride

The horses were well-behaved but also had a little spunk and would take orders when given, different from what I was expecting. We had a pleasant ride up, up, up through some pretty rocky and rough terrain, some of the roughest I have been riding a horse on. We had our guide with us but sometimes he was in the back which made it seem like we were leading the pack, the horses did great and we stopped at 3 different lookouts, which were amazing, along the way. The trip took about 2 1/2 hours total and we were all very pleased that we decided to do it. Our guide owns many horses including 3 yearlings and one colt that was only 2 week old, after our trip we cut up an apple and gave them all a treat.

Vicki, Michael and Harrison

From our ride we were taken into town to catch the train to Bajuichivo where we would go to Ceroacahui which was the next stop. Keep in mind we have made this trip up as we went along, making no reservations anywhere and keeping our itinerary open enough so we could add or change as we went along. So we knew that there wasn’t much in Bajuichivo and that ‘Diego’ would probably be at the bus station and he had a nice hotel that we could stay in (this info was from our guide Rodrigo). As we stepped off the train sure enough there were several people trying to talk us into going to their hotels, but Diego was not there. Well now we have a dilemna-we ask prices first-what is included like meals-and then have to make our decision sight unseen and without a recommendation and since we are about 25 minutes by car from the town we can’t just walk around and see what there is, there is nothing in this little town. So we don’t want to pass up a ride to Cerocahui but we don’t want to obligate ourselves, Francia she said that after we looked at her place and we didn’t like it we didn’t have to stay, she had to drive back anyway so she had nothing to lose. The road began our dust bowl portion of the trip, the only road in Cerocahui that is paved is a little bit heading into town and the road around the square, which is pretty much all this town is. Town square, 2 hotels that were open, one restaurant besides the one at the hotel, a couple small groceries and a pharmacy.
Francia’s place was adequate for us, hot and cold running water when you asked them to turn it on. The back of our room had a nice balcony but it was right over the main road leading into town-remember it wasn’t paved? We ate dinner at Jade restaurant, a part of the hotel, which was actually very good and then sat in the ‘courtyard’ in the swings and Larry got out his guitar and we had a fun jam session. The next morning we heard that there were lots of people in the square who were listening to our singing and enjoying the impromptu concert.

Vicki and Larry at Urique canyon lookout

May 22, Friday
We had read that you could take a trip down to the Urique canyon which is one of the 6 major canyons of the Sierra Madre mountain range that makes up the Copper Canyon area, and that it was a 5 hour trip by bus and was a fun trip to do. We decided to take this trip and talked with our host Alberto the night before so we arranged to leave after breakfast for this trip. Unknown to us he had also taken on another couple for this trip. His car was a 8 seater and we were now 9-we were a little disappointed that we would have to be so crowded for the trip but made the accommodation for the couple. Our first stop included getting gas, I know you all are wondering why would I put the trip to the gas station on the blog-it’s kinda like going to the bathroom everyone has to do it and we don’t need a picture. Well, I did get a picture of the most interesting ‘gas station’ I have ever seen and you now get to enjoy it along with us. Notice she is pouring from a 5 gallon container to a funnel, I hope we don’t need much 🙂

Fill 'er up

After we were ‘filled up’ we proceeded for about 45 min on a dusty dirt road to our first, and only lookout at the top of the canyon. Truly magnificent and words wouldn’t even come close to describing the beauty of this place, the pictures don’t even do it justice. After this lookout we proceeded down the mountain, about a 2 hour ride mostly on a single lane dirt road that clung to the edge of the mountainside. One lane does not mean there is another road for those wishing to assend-no it only means that if we meet a car we are praying we are on the inside not hanging off the cliff! It’s a really long way down for those of us who ventured a peek.
The town of Urique was nothing special, a dusty, really dusty small town. If we had known there wasn’t much to see we would have stopped the tour at the first lookout and gone back to the town to enjoy a nice spot in the shade with an icy cold drink, which is what the tour group from the other hotel did.
After the tour we were given a ride to the bus station to catch the bus to El Fuerte. The bus was faster, had more flexible schedule and was cheaper than the train.
In El Fuerte there are many options for hotels, many are quite lavish, so for our last few nights we thought we would check some of them out. Our first stop was the El Rio Vista, which means River View.

View from Rio Vista Hotel

The price was right but we were hoping to have a step or two up from our basic accommodations of the last week. We were pleasantly surprised as we looked around this very pretty hotel, lots of antiques for decorations, clean and interesting walkways, the walkways led all around the hotel which had different areas with gardens, benches or verandas by the rooms, quite common in Mexico as they add another portion as they have the time and money so creating a mazelike feel. The rooms themselves were large with 2 beds in ours, a TV, air conditioning and nice bathroom with a rock (instead of tile) shower, quite beautiful. We decided to stay here for the night and see what there was for the next night. Our friends put their kids to bed and the adults decided to walk the few blocks to town and have some adult time.
We chanced upon this very little bar, no room for tables or chairs inside, a couple of tables outside. The bartender was quite funny when we asked her where there was a bar she didn’t even mention hers, until she talked about a few in town and then she made the offhanded remark ‘and of course this one’! I think one reason we chose to stay is that she was so ‘not’ pushy and very sweet, putting up with our semi-spanish. We asked how her drinks were and she said very good so we sat down and ordered 3 margaritas and one bloody mary. When we got our 24 oz drinks in the styrofoam cups we were amazed, not only at the size for the price but they were some of the best margaritas we have had. After our dusty, dry hot day they went down very easily–one is probably enough.

Harrison, Danielle and Larry

May 23-24
We spent the next 2 days exploring the town and there is plenty to explore in this town. Many museums, restaurants, other hotels some with the option of ordering a drink and using their pool. We took advantage of this option at the Hotel Hidalgo, a very nice upscale hotel with a pool on the 2nd floor. After ordering our tea and lemonade for the kids we jumped in and had a great time, the kids were in heaven when Larry started giving them rides on his back. They convinced me to take part in the frolicking and we had a game where the kids tried to get each other off while they were on our shoulders. I must be getting old because then later that day I had trouble holding my head up and turning it was painful-I guess it is a form of whiplash! Every day it gets better, but I am still unable to have full range of motion in my neck.
May 24, Monday would be our last day here, we befriended some kittens at the hotel and I was so close to asking if I could have one, I held off due to our plans to return to the states in Aug and the expense of taking an animal on the plane. One of these days though I want to get another boat cat-we still miss Black Cat. We hopped the bus from El Fuerte a little later than we had planned, about 1pm and the hour+ ride to Los Mochis was relaxing. We walked several blocks to the bus station, looking for a restaurant preferably Chinese on the way to the station. Of course this was the wrong time to be looking for open restaurants so we were not successful. We did however score on the bus, taking the Touristar was one of the best decisions. Spend the extra money on a bus like this-clean, 3 seats across, lots of leg room with a leg rest to really stretch out and recline for sleeping. We even got a small meal as we boarded, the TV is hooked up to use earphones so we didn’t have to listen to the booming TV if we didn’t want to-this alone is worth the extra cost, unless you have our bud ‘Michael make a deal’ then it isn’t more expensive at all.
We got into Mazatlan at 11 pm and took a pulmonia to the marina without any difficulty at all. What a great trip, and although when we departed for this trip we didn’t plan to spend every day and plan all our activities with ‘Whatcha gonna do’, we had such a great time and were happy it turned out that way. It started out just buying tickets for the same train, then Barb had great info on some much cheaper hotels than I did, so we stayed in the same motel the first night. We just went to the train station together, since there is only one and it leaves at 7am, ended up getting seats pretty close together too. At one point their son Harrison asked ‘are you going to follow us everywhere?’ Well I have your answer now Harrison, Yes!!
Great trip, great new friends, thank you but ‘Whatcha gonna do?’


  1. Hey Vicki! Lisa Nesbitt forwarded your blog and I have been enjoying reading about all your adventures! What an amazing journey-in every way-physically, mentally & spiritually! Wishing you good winds and fair weather and more great times ahead!

  2. Hey Mom. Wow, you never mentioned your neck issue, are you feeling better now? And it sounds like you’ve found a couple of kindred spirits in your new found friends. Will you have to part ways after your Aug vacation? Love you guys!

  3. I love the Gas station. Your right, its like a really good bathroom story, and you know how I love those! Sounds like a blast!

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