Jovales, Mexico to Creel (11/25/07 to 12/04/07)

December 4, 2007

We finally left Jovales after lots of snow, lots of kindness and lots of good food! 

We headed south on dirt (mud) roads thru the forested mountains, camped under a big ponderosa on dry ground, surrounded by the white stuff, on into El Largo, a lumbermill shanty town, and on to Cuarenta Casas, thru small, unbelievably beautiful canyons and a river valley with big gray and green rock outcrops.  Cuarenta Casas (40 Houses), is a grouping of cliff dwellings similar to Mesa Verde in Colorado.  We got there too late in the day to take the 1 hour/1 way hike to the ruins, so only viewed them from the overlook.  We camped the night at a campground near there (a patch of grass in the trees behind the caretaker’s cabin).  Him and his brother built us a campfire, made us coffee, offered Ralph a shot of smooooth tequila and talked (kinda, they knew a little more English than we knew Spanish), with us into the evening.  His favorite saying was “Yessir, Professir” and he was quite a funny character. 

The next day we made it to Madera and stayed 2 nights at a great motel, ate at great restaurants and met a wonderful English speaking couple (Jill and Mark) from Happy Valley, Arizona.  Heading south from Madera, we rode thru shallow mountain valleys full of corn and hay fields, thru several small towns and stayed the night at “Hotel California” (I’m not making this stuff up!!!) a dive of a place for $12 per night, painted bright pink.  They had a captive audience tho being the only hotel within 30 miles! 

The next day we passed thru Guerrero, a pretty little town, then on south thru the rain to a pretty little canyon where we met Ramon’, who invited us to camp on his picturesque property, with a stream running thru tall rock cliffs (that, by the way, he tried to sell a chunk of to us for $3000!)  We pitched our tent in a half finished house with a dirt floor and no door, because it was still sprinkling.  It rained a bunch during the night and the wind blew with hurricane force all night long!  Even tho the dust blew around in the house shell, and the metal roof was loose and banged all night, it was waaay better than camping in the open.  I don’t know if the tent would have survived! 

We biked to Creel the next day with a stiff headwind, which was no fun at all because it’s also way up hill!  Creel is at the head (top) of Copper Canyon and is full of people travelling here from all over the world on their own adventures!  Last night, 2 other bikers arrived at our hotel, Christian and Takuto, who are also biking from Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego!  We are here catching up on email, doing fun stuff with other travellers (yesterday, a hotsprings adventure with Dana, Jeff, Sally and Marty was great) and checking out the area. 

Our friend, Brad, emailed us and mentioned we’re doing a Lewis and Clark type adventure.  Like I later told him – sometimes we feel like Lewis and Clark, but lately we feel more like “Curly and Larry”, with our self-inflicted Spanish language immersion course! 

We are currently trying to figure out the next let of our journey which we hope to embark on tomorrow.  We plan to drop into Copper Canyon, a canyon much larger and deeper then the Grand Canyon, then take a hiking trail along the bottom, then bike up and out the other side.  Folks at the motel are calling us “crazy”, (not the first time), and although I didn’t write the book on crazy – only a chapter or two – we plan to do it! (Ralph wrote this part! Pat may have another plan, so we’ll keep you posted!).

Bikin’ On to the bottom!  Ralph & Pat   



  1. Sounds like you are really bikin on. Love it


  2. Sounds like the road continues to call you into yet even more beautiful and unexplored adventures. I am so inspired by both of you. Keep me posted on the continuum.
    My love to you both.

  3. You’re in the canyon! There is a man, Enrico, I think his name is, who offers mountain bike guide service in the canyon to all kinds of interesting places at all ability levels. The time warp in this place was so wonderful and its so full of little surprises. the Tarahumara sometimes charge small entrance fees to pass through some places but well worth it. Wish I were there. The place is a wild heaven on earth!

  4. Pat and Ralph;
    Just love it that you’re still bikin’ on!! I love the wonderful pictures, and we certainly enjoy the tour of each of your stops. My map must not have all the points on it, or I maybe need to get out my magnifying glass!! Think of you often and keeping you in my prayers!!
    Bike on…
    luv, ritajane

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