It's just as well that I didn't make it to Cananea on Day 1. I wasn't prepared for what I would find which was nothing like I would have expected if I had expected anything.
In U.S. cities there is a line of motels on the highway with bright neon signs exhorting you to stay with promises of Free WiFi or Free Hot Breakfast or something. In Mexico there are hand painted signs saying Hotel leaning against a building. Maybe just the word Hotel painted on the side of the building itself.
The areas I was going through were not tourist spots and the hotels catered to truckers and itinerant workers. No TripAdvisor ratings here. It was not easy to tell a flop house from a hot spot as I rode along. Since I had camped the night before it was a problem I could defer for the moment.
The problem I did have was trying to get out of town. I must have passed this statue of a miner 5 or 6 times. It wasn't a big city but I certainly got to see all of it.
Which brings me to another point, food. It was early and I was hungry. There are no Denny's or Mickey D's here, just places that said "Taqueria" or maybe "Burritos". One place looked good, a small joint with a few local workers eating in the open air but I passed it by. Here's what I wrote in my journal,
I'm not afraid of bandits or scorpions but I am terrified of making an ass of myself while ordering food in a restaurant.With the help of the gps I finally found my way out of town and headed south. I had wimped out and ate a granola bar rather than confront my fear. I vowed not to do that again.
This is the road I intended as an interesting shortcut from one highway to another. Hmmm, deep sand and lots of running water. DBAJ alert! There would be lots of places like this along the way. Places I could attempt if I had to or if I was not traveling alone. However, I decided to take the path of caution and went back to the road I was on.
This is Mexico's way of saying, "Caution, danger ahead!" These memorials are for people who have lost their lives on the highway. In this case they might have missed the curve and went sailing off the cliff. The bigger the memorial, the greater the danger. In many places there were multiple shrines just to warn you that some people are slow learners.
Arizpe is a small town that was once the capital of most of northern Mexico and what is now Arizona, Texas, and California. Some time ago the capital moved to Hermosillo leaving this a quiet farming community. In 1775, a year before the Declaration of Independence, Capt. Juan Bautista de Anza led the march from Arizpe north establishing missions along the way and ended by founding the city of San Francisco, California. His remains are interred in the floor of the church under a glass panel. That was just a bit creepy for me so I moved on.
The rest of the church was beautiful and I sat for a moment to enjoy the art and majesty of it.
When I went back to my bike I hit the jackpot, Senora Carmen Puente. She maintains a little two room museum of the town's history. Her English was little better than my Spanish as she showed me the artifiacts but we managed to connect and understand each other well enough.
There was a little of everything including Carmen herself. It seems she is the great-great-granddaughter of De Anza. It was a lovely experience all the more exquisite because the museum is unmarked and our meeting was purely by chance.
After that I was on the road to Hermosillo where I found an internet cafe to write this post.
I headed east on Mex 16, the main east-west route through northern Mexico. I had avoided it earlier because I didn't want to drone along a freeway. How wrong I was. Once I got past the flat area it was a 2 lane mountain road that was a motorcycle delight. Plenty of curves, great scenery, and COWS! Nothing like a few cows wandering about in a blind curve to get your heart pumping.
Between the cattle, rock slides, and tight curves I was averaging only about 40 mph but I was having a ball!!
I've finally got the pictures (all 1,987 of them!) sorted out now so I'll be able to post more every day. See you tomorrow.
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