Escort in Esqueda
Gringo Tax

January 17, 2016

Opting to continue south past Turiachi instead of heading west for the Ruta de la Rio Sonora, we climbed up to the mining town of Nacozari, and then downhill all the way to Cumpas.

What happened…

Amanda writes:This ride was a bit different than what we normally do as it relates to distance. We knew we had to ride about 100 km each day. While Andrew made a decision as it relates to the route, I was oblivious. I trust his instincts and was unaware of a choice in direction. I just knew that we had miles to cover.

I liked the stealth camping spot we found as it was flat and we were able to find a spot for the tent where we didn’t have to clear cacti from the ground before laying it down. Andrew has been fiddling with the stove for a few days trying to make it run more smoothly and then it broke. I knew he was frustrated so just reinforced to him that we’d be fine. We are smart travellers and carry emergency food rations that don’t require heat. He was pretty adamant that we have a hot meal and suggested that we start a fire. While I was being compassionate about how down he was about the stove, I held my ground on not having a fire. Over the last couple of months we have heard more than one story of cyclists being robbed, one of whom was attacked by gun point after setting up his tent in a similar stealth spot. Add to that the two men from Australia that were recently killed on side roads in Mexico relatively close to where we are, and I’m having nothing to do with drawing attention to ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a firm believer that we think positive and therefore attract positive people and situations; but we also keep our radar up and make smart choices. Andrew finally gave in and we made the best of our situation and slept well.

Andrew writes: We woke up to find ourselves run out of water. This was due in large part to poor planning during our police escort in Esqueda yesterday; we just forgot to re-stock. We had a few options, including cycling back into town to fill up our water bottles, finding water in the sleepy town of Turiachi about 10km ahead, or dying of thirst. Since we really don’t like to ride backwards, we set off in search of water in Turiachi.

It’s Sunday today, which means that nothing is open. It was also quite early in the morning when we arrived in Turiachi, which means that nothing is open – thus we just kept riding. When we reached the junction for the Ruta de la Rio Sonora, which would have us climb up and over the mountains to our west to reach Bacoachi, I decided to pull the plug on going that way. It just would’ve been too hard in the hot sun, with nothing to drink. This is another example of the fluidity with which we travel. Many people had told us many good things about the valley to our west, but I was certain that there was beauty to be had south of us.

It took us until lunch to climb to Nacozari, which is quite a large mining town at the top of a mountain. We filled up our water and bought a few things at the Pemex/Oxxo (think convenience store with a gas station attached) and then settled in to enjoy the fruits of the previous few days labour – 80km of downhill. Sure, there were a few uphills in there, but by and large the payoff was HUGE. When it was all said and done we had reached the town of Cumpas, and our quest for a place to sleep began.

We made short work of cycling through this tiny mining town, and had our heart set on finding a wild camp site just outside. There was a bit of a tailwind behind us, and the terrain was cooperative though so we were getting pushed further and further south of town. Every metre of roadway to our right and left was fenced, which made finding a suitable camping spot difficult. Then we saw what we thought was a driveway to our right, and it looked like a fruit orchard. Perfect! Except it ended up being a somewhat busy road to the town of Jecori, and the “orchard” in which we camped had litter everywhere, which is pretty typical of Mexico actually. Still, we were out of sight of the trucks that rumbled by every 15 minutes or so, and spent the late afternoon and early evening soaking in the sun rays and reading our books.

When it came time to make dinner, disaster struck – the pump for our camp stove broke. No problem I thought, there is lots of firewood around, I can just make a fire and we can cook over it. Amanda refused to allow this, citing the safety and security of the stealthy nature in which we were currently camped, versus all of the attention we could potentially attract from the nearby dwellings.

I was pretty pissed off at this, in part because I felt like it was my fault that it was broken, and in part because I wasn’t looking forward to eating flour tortillas with flour tortilla filling. Actually that’s a bit of a joke, since we carry lots of yummy things to put into our tortillas including nutella, peanut butter, and honey. I think Amanda might’ve even been able to dig out a jam packet or two. So dinner wasn’t entirely awful.

Today’s Photographs

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Escort in Esqueda
Gringo Tax