After taking a taxi from Topolobambo to Los Mochis (on Sunday) we met Rich and Elaine at the hotel in Los Mochis. We were staying one night and catching a bus in the morning to El Fuerte to catch the train.
We spent a pleasant two hours on the bus, stopping frequently, and enjoying the sites of living in Mexico. We passed through a major agricultural area where many types of fruits and vegetables are grown.
The city was founded in 1563 by the Spanish Conquistador, Francisco de Ibarra, the first explorer of the lofty Sierra Madre Occidental mountains. In 1610 a fort was built to ward off the fierce Zuaque and Tehueco Natives, who constantly harassed the Spaniards (no kidding). For years, El Fuerte served as the gateway to the vast frontiers of the northern territories of Sonora, Arizona and California
For nearly three centuries it was the most important commercial and agricultural center of the vast northwestern region of Mexico. El Fuerte was a chief trading post for silver miners and gold seekers from the Urique and Batopilas mines in the nearby mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental and its branches.
Once off the bus we located a taxi, a 4 door pickup truck driven by a man with only one leg. He was amazingly quick and mobile including helping to load luggage in the truck box. In fact we liked him so much we used him every time we needed a taxi.
We arrived at the Hotel Rio Vista "El Mirador" which basically means a view of the river. It was tucked away high on the hill. As we had not booked ahead Reg and Rich went in and checked out the rooms and giving us a thumbs up upon return.
What a great hotel, rustic but very unique. Lots of artwork, antiques and old pictures of Pancho Villa. Our rooms were set on a large balcony overlooking the Rio Fuerte river and it was a spectacular view. The owner brought us our very own cooler of "pony" Pacifico beers (means half size), which we enjoyed while watching the sunset. Then he asked us if we wanted dinner and we said why not, save the wear and tear on Rich's ankle. We just let them decide what to serve and it was fantastic. Nachos, tortilla soup, fresh water perch with citrus sauce, zucchini, potatoes, a cold bottle of white wine topped off with a flan dessert.
El Fuerte is a very historical town with lots of nicely painted buildings and the usual town square. The Palacio Municipal Building was open, as they usually are, in all towns and Elaine and I went in and enjoyed the murals and took pictures.
When we came back to El Fuerte after our train trip we watched the local high school kids doing band practice in the square. We enjoyed a great dinner and breakfast in the Posada del Hidalgo hotel home of the legendary Zorro (until age 10). Reg, Elaine and I wandered around the town, which was quite busy with folks Christmas Shopping!!! We stayed in the same hotel, Rio Vista and again enjoyed their service and good food. We arranged for a river tour, which I will cover off in another blog.
We also went through the extensive museum which had a ton of photographs donated that were originally taken by an American photographer. We were followed around the museum by a few local boys practicing English in the hopes of a few pesos.
We celebrated Reg's birthday with drinks, some small gifts and dinner at El Meson del General Restaurant, specializing in seafood. Back to the Rio Visto for an early rise in the morning to take the "river tour" hosted by Felipe (seperate blog).
11/30/2012, El Fuerte, Mexico
Barrancas del Cobre - The Copper Canyon.
Well, another great adventure under our belts!!!! I am going to break up the blog in pieces followed by the appropriate photo albums (I have new photo software so may be a bit slow at it!!!) I am going to start with the entire train ride there and back. There will be a blog on El Fuerte, Creel, Batopilas and Divisadero. We travelled with great people, Elaine and Rich of SV Windarra. Rich was a pretty good sport considering he slipped on a wet marble floor and hurt his ankle at the hotel in Los Mochis on the very first day of our adventure!!
The train trip itself to Creel is about 8 hours in total. The railway is made of 656 kms of track, 37 bridges, 86 tunnels. One tunnel takes a 180 degree turn followed by a bridge with a 90 degree turn. The train travels through the Sonoran-Sinaloan transition tropical forest and then it climbs 8,000 feet into the Western Sierra Madre while skirting the Copper Canyon. The construction of the railway was 60 years in the making and was completed in 1961.
We followed a river, sometimes on one side and then sometimes on the other side, after crossing some pretty scary bridges. The train picked up and dropped off people on the way. Major stops included Temoris (the town with the red roofs), Bahuichivo, Cuiteco, San Rafael, Posada Barrancas, Divisadero and then Creel before continuing onto Chihuahua.
At San Rafael we saw Tarahumara women and children, one of Mexico's most distinctive indigenous peoples, selling bags of apples and hand woven baskets. Their clothing is very bright and they wear sandals made out of old tires and leather straps (which tourists can buy anywhere in Creel). The Tarahumara men are well known in the trail running world. There are marathons held in the area, I think, every year.
The train stops at Divisadero and people can get off to get a quick look at Urique Canyon and buy a great lunch of quesadillas or gorditos made of blue and yellow corn. They were packed with meat, potatoes, fried onions and cheese and were very good!!!!
The views were to numerous to keep track of. Hanging your head outside to take photos was a bit daunting as the tunnels came up pretty quick! The train had very comfortable seats, a great snack car. Elaine and I did the best we could hanging out in the open areas between the cars while trying to maintain our balance on a very bumpy ride. I hope you enjoy the pics in the album. It is amazing countryside to see and you get a real appreciation for rural Mexico. It was well worth the trip to see this amazing piece of the world.
11/30/2012, San Carlos, Mexico
Just thought I would post a few comments on the marina where Three Sheets spent the summer. I must say when we got back in late October the weather was much cooler than when we left in late June!!!! This marina and small town is pretty devoted to the gringo's and mexican's who keep their boats here. There is quite a strong sport fishing industry and we saw lots of boats coming and going. Our boat was docked beside a large parking lot where there was a long stone wall. If you got up early enough you would see the cats in a very long row chowing down on the food that someone came by and put out every other morning. In another section of the marina there was a group of cats who lived in a big tree!!!
The people were very friendly. We had a great dinner at JJ's on the main drag of town eating fresh fish tacos and margaritas. The local pub was great too and even tuned in one of the TV's for me so we could watch the Breeder's Cup Races.
You can see in one of the pictures why the point is called Indian Head. We left early in the morning in good clear weather on our way to Topolobambo and our planned venture to the Copper Canyon.
Hey all - A bit limited on the internet - Just a note to let you know we enjoyed our trip to Barrancas del Cobre (Copper Canyon). We were gone 8 days and I hope to update the blog as soon as I can. We will be here for another week or so in Topolobambo!!
11/13/2012, San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico
Hey All: Well we finally got our tourist visa. We kind of messed up coming across the border. We had to go back to the border today and got it all fixed up. We are heading out of San Carlos, Wednesday morning, Nov 13, 2012 to head towards Topolabombo. We figure it will be a 3 day trip with stops along the way, of course, to enjoy the scenery. We are meeting up with friends from Windarra to do a 10 day sight seeing tour of the Copper Canyon. Will be very excited to do this as we hear it is spectacular. Weather here right now is quite cool, although I am sure not as cool as back home in Canada - ha ha, sorry folks. We are looking forward to the next stage of our journey as we head south towards the Panama Canal. Will keep the blog updated as best we can. Take care everyone and enjoy the SNOW!!!!
10/29/2012, San Carlos, Mexico
Hey all- we made it here in the wee hours of Sunday morning - about a 20 hour travel time!!! We were exhausted but had no issues with anything except for the length of the journey. Three Sheets was in great shape thanks to Carlos who did a great job looking after her. The weather is perfect, hot in the day and cool at night. We had great visits with as many people as we could which did not allow us for any second visits so we hope people understand. A very special thank you to Reg's sister and brother-in-law, Ray and Sue who have always opened their home to us AND spoiled us rotten!!! We welcomed a new grandchild, Henry Owen Wilson to our family this summer- that would be number 6! Enjoy the rest of 2012 and we will do our best to keep everyone apprised, through this blog, what we are up to. Love to all and keep in touch