After leaving Mexico City, we headed west via Morelia, Chapala, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan. I got into trouble in Chapala for ´running a red light´ (cue ´Breaking the Law´by the mighty Judas Priest). Actually I did it twice at the same crossing and the poor copper there was frantically blowing his whistle at me when I didn´t stop both times. He caught up with me as I was waiting on michelle who went the other way (out of embarrassment probably) and it turned out he had more or less put out an APB on me in the little town (I´m not really that hard to miss though). He wanted my licence to book me for a ticket but I started arguing with him, shouting ´So you don´t like tourists then? Would you rather no tourists came here anymore?´etc (it was a very touristy sort of place). He didn´t really like me but I was in the mood for a good arguement. He ended up letting me off with a warning so I just said ´good´and took my fake licence back. The ex-pat english guy who had stepped to translate suggested that normally people express their grattitide and shake the officer´s hand when they are let off. Like f%ck!
Michelle is off to Baja early to get chatted up by Mexican blokes and American OAPs and I`m off to Creel and the Copper Canyon, the place where HU has its annual meet in these parts and will head over to Baja when I`m done. First I head to Durango via the Spine of the Devil, where the land falls off either side of the road. Its a pretty nice easy route to ride which I make complicated by trying to film some of the riding on my digital camera. I duct tape my mini tripod onto the headlamp protector mounts which seems to do the trick and after a few trials and I have some not too bad footage.
In Durango, theres some sort of parade going on in town in the evening. Dozens of Kenworth Freightliners acting as floats with, I`m guessing, the local school kids all dressed up in a variety of fantastic costumes and sets. The whole town seems to have turn up which might go some way to explaining why I couldn`t find anywhere to buy a beer. Not that I`m an alchoholic or anything, its just that if I don`t drink beer every day, I get very cranky.
Durango as you may or may not know, is home to some western film sets which is due in part to the wild west scenery all around the state of Durango. Even The Duke, John Wayne himself had an estate here which his kids let fall into ruin after he died. I ride out to the one in Chupaderes having somehow ridden past the one nearby in Villa del Oeste (Michelle would never do that, she never misses anything). It only takes five minutes to wander the dilapidated streets with the rickety `saloon` and hotel. Thinking that I can probably take the little dirt road behind the town back to Villa del Oeste rather than get back on the main road, I wobble off along the track. I get maybe a kilometer or two outside the town when I come across a dried up riverbed disecting the dirt track. I get off to have a cursory glance and think `yep, that`ll be a piece of piss` and get back on the bike. I gingerly edge my way into the riverbed only to find quite deep sand, something I neglected to think might actually be a problem. The bike is now going nowhere fast and in a matter of seconds, HB burries himself up to his nuts in the deep sand.
Its the middle of the day, very hot, dusty and there´s no one around. I calmly take off all the luggage including, ironically, the new TKC80 I`ve been lugging since Medellin and think this might not have happened had I fitted it yet. I push the bike over onto its side to get it out of the sand and somehow upright it. I plan on riding along the riverbed, turning around and going back the way I came but it doesn`t happen, the nearly bald rear just gets buried again. Again, I lay the bike on its side and turn it around to face the way I just came but this time I just can`t seem to lift it, the full tank not really helping matters. At this stage, I `m thinking I might be in a bit of a pickle when I suddenly see a group of three police 4x4`s coming my way along the track in a cloud of dust and about 10 coppers get out. Its quite a surreal sight and unbelievably they`d actually come out to give me a bollocking as they thought I was going to camp and didn`t want me to start a bush fire, awww. They stopped mid-bollocking and were just looking at me like some kind of loony with my bike on its side and luggage all over the place including a Bolivian Charanga. I found it very hard to keep a straight face and after directing a couple of them to give me a hand, in a matter of minutes I was helped out of the riverbed and back on the correct road. Phew, at least that wasn`t embarrassing.
Er, thanks guys!
Villa del Oeste turned out to be a theme park tourist trap with an entrance fee and directions on where to park the bike (just how did I ride past it?). The main street it has to be said was in a lot better nick than the last place, however each building appeared to be a restaurant or eatery and in place of the cowboys horses munching on nosebags, there were groups of tourists munching away on tacos. I wandered around the buildings but didn`t find it too exciting. I guess if I knew what films had used this set, it might make it a bit more interesting. At around 3pm, they started one of those street scenes, with cowboys, a sheriff and some can-can girls but I left halfway through, partly because I didn`t understand a word of it and partly because I really needed to get up to Hidalgo del Parral (where Pancho Villa was assassinated if you`re interested).