Northern Mexico & the Copper Canyon
Grand Circle Travel
May 8 - 21, 2008
This travel adventure began at the La Posada Lodge in Tucson, Arizona.
Our travel group was 42 members strong. Most of the participants
were from the western part of the USA. We had the usual
orientation meeting in the late afternoon. Some people were
late arriving due to travel problems.
The La Posada Lodge was very nice. The building were in the
southwestern style of architecture.
We boarded our tour bus at 8:00 am and thus began our
adventure in Northern Mexico.
We drove on a major interstate toward El Paso. At Deming, New Mexico
we turned south and drive toward the border. Our last USA town was Columbus, NM.
We crossed the border at Palomas, Mexico. The customs stop was just a quick
formality and then it was off to our lunch stop at the Pink Restaurant.
The famous border fence at the crossing.
In the background of this photo is the crossing point at the border.
Lawn figures on sale at the Pink Restaurant. They had all types of Mexican
products on sale including glassware, pottery and lots of jewelry.
It was an interesting place to have a good lunch.
Our second night on the road was at the Hotel Hacienda in Casa Grandes.
We are staying here for two nights. We had a delicious steak dinner at the
hotel after our long days ride to Casa Grande.
After dinner, I discovered that the local baseball team from Casa Grande had
a home game. So it was "take me out to the ball game." The game was
a minor league contest. Lots of exciting action, baseballs going through
fielders legs, stolen bases, and lots of crowd noise. The home team won 7-4.
While I could not understand the game announcements the game was good old baseball.
This historic site is notable for the diversity is has revealed over the years.
From approximately 700 to 1500AD, three different peoples- the Pima,
the Concho and the Tolima- inhabited Paquime. Paquime in it heyday
was an active trading center located between the Pueblo and
Mesoamerican regions. In the museum on the site could be seen
the influences of both north and south in the artifacts on display. There was
evidence of advanced architectural features, including
indoor plumbing and walls that dissipated the desert heat.
We returned to our hotel for lunch before heading out
to our next stop. Chihuahua.
In the rear of this photo is the Hotel Palacio Del Sol in downtown
Chihuahua. It was a modern facility which did not
have hot water for my shower on the first morning of our
two night stay. Ouch! The hotel was well located for
walking around the downtown area of the city.
The morning of May 11th, we had a early walking tour of the market area.
Above is a typical open air store selling women's clothing.
While walking around the city market we came upon a
store owner with her real Chihuahua.
The Chihuahua Cathedral dominates the city's main Plaza.
Our first stop of the next morning was at a city park where a
large statue of Anthony Quinn dominated the skyline.
An ornate park bench near the the Mexican "Cradle of Liberty," where
many prominent names of the nation's history are
connected to this city of one million.
The Palacio de Gobierno. This is one of the outstanding building of the XIX century.
There are many historical exhibits in the building. Many beautiful
murals are painted on the interior walls of the building.
One of the murals undergoing restoration.
Our last stop of the morning was at the home of the Mexican hero
General Francisco "Pancho" Villa. This museum is filled with Villa's
firearms, cartridge belts, and the bullet riddled car villa
was driving when he was ambushed and killed.
We had a free afternoon. It was necessary for each of the tour members
to pack an overnight bag for the next portion of the trip.
We will be staying at our hotel for the next two nights.
The morning of May 13th we began our day long trip to Divisadero.
On the way to Divisadero we stopped for lunch at this restaurant
located in an Apple Orchard. We had a very tasty Mexican meal.
The Hotel Divisadero Barrancas at the Copper Canyon.
The front entrance into the Hotel Divisadero Barrancas.
Sunset on the Copper Canyon walls.
Copper Canyon Sunset!
Sunrise at the Copper Canyon
Breath taking views!
On the next morning we toured to other outlooks along the canyon rim.
Our first stop was at a building site where we learned about making adobe building
blocks. A local craftsman is shown above making of a set of adobe blocks.
On the right is our hard working tour guise Raul Rodriguez who lives in Chihuahua.
We also visited a local church. Local vendors were present
to sell us Mexican handicraft products.
Barranca del Cobre scenery.
Another rim walk trail view.
Camera shots in every direction.
The cliffs behind the hotel. Some native Indians live in caves up there.
For the second part of our visit to the Copper Canyon we traveled on the
El Chihuahua Pacifico Railroad to El Fuerte. It is a seven hour plus trip.
we were in a carriage with custom seating. Above our train is pulling
into our local station at Divisadero. The station area was very interesting as
local vendors sold the usual Mexican handicraft items and others cooked
food for the passengers to buy during the train's twenty minute stop.
Rounding a canyon curve!
Passing the up bound train.
The train crews trade places for the second part of their run.
Canyon scenery from the train.
The railroad bridge we are headed for as we travel down to the last stop of the trip.
Our path travels the most scenic portion of the entire Sierra Madre Rail route.
We will travel over dozens of bridges, thought scores of tunnels.
We will pass titanic cliffs, remote villages pine forests, and vast canyon lands..
A local station stop as we travel along.
Crossing one of the many bridges.
Blue sky's and mountains, Perfect!
End of the line at El Fuerte. It was a great train ride!
The entrance to the El Fuerte Hotel, our stopping place for the next two days.
The building was originally a very large house and it was later added on to
and became a hotel. The hotel was furnished with many pieces of art and
native furnishings. It was museum in one sense of the manner it was decorated.
Our first morning in El Fuerte was spent visiting the Indian village of Tehuecco.
We learned about the life of the Mayo people who live in the village.
There was a demonstration of how to make corn tortillas. Above are the ruins of one of the
villages older church and the church currently in use.
We also visited the village elementary and middle schools.
The children were on holiday when we were there.
Some kids were around the school and they became my new friends.
They were fascinated with the pictures I took on my digital camera.
A Mayo Indian dancer performed for the group.
A father and son perform one of the deer dances. They had
small deer heads attached to their heads for the dance.
The dancer's costume was very highly decorated.
On May 17, found our tour group headed for San Carlos. It was a day long bus ride,
very boring. Above is the San Carlos Plaza Hotel which will be our home
for the next three days. It was very nice with a great beach and sally water to
help cure our bug bites. We were also given a great deal of free time to allow us a
chance to relax before the day long ride back to Tucson.
This island is in the San Carlos harbor area. It is called by some
people the snow island because it is covered with white bird poop.
One morning we visited a cactus garden.
After the cactus garden we visited a pearl farm. We were given a lecture
on how these pearls are raised and what techniques were used in breeding
pearls. This shot shows the buoy's used to hold up the pearl farm in the water.
Lastly there was the usual tourist trap gift show room where one could buy these pearls.
Next it was back to the hotel for an afternoon of rest. The last event of the day was
a sunset cruise and dinner at a local restaurant. The meal was great.
My last sunset shot! Tomorrow we drive all day to Tucson. A Mexican military
inspection turned out to be a 20 minute stop. Trucks awaiting
this inspection were backed up for miles. US Customs crossing stop took an hour.
We had to take all our belongs out of the bus so the could be x-rayed.
At last, we were in Tucson where we had our good-bye dinner.
It was a enjoyable trip. For me the highlight was the
Copper Canyon and the Train ride.