Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

travel update from copper canyon mexico

Well my last update had a little rant going through it. Lo Siento si estaba malcreado (I'm sorry for those who were offended). So the day after my last update my old travelling mate Shannon with whom I have been to Japan, Costa Rica, Mexico and Hong Kong with, and I hop into his pick-up truck with a picnic of back yard plums and apples from farmers market and Splitsky the scenesky for Washington. The colombia River Gorge to be more precise, Of course (as always) via the scenic route! Along tahe way we pick up a hitchhiker named Grant from Australia who is a world traveler too but on a motorcycle. he ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere and we took him to get gas and then back to his bike. good for my travel karma I reckon...
The river goes through some fabulous scenery.We criss crossed back and forth between Oregon and Washington many times, big bridges little bridges draw bridges...
Breathtaking panoramic views.. America's Pacific North West is a big rain forest but not tropical. We passed parallel 45 which made us just half way between the north pole and the equator.Giant, I mean giant trees. Redwoods, Douglas fir, Ash, aspen, birch ponderosa pines and many more which I did not know the names for. Such birds to see too. We saw osprey and many redtail hawks a couple of golden eagles and many many more.
This is a great and swift river that goes all the way to the pacific ocean. It is deep enough for ocean going freights and barges to travel 600km inland! We stayed on the pacific in a small town in Oregon. We had a real nice room right on the ocean and when I woke up i got to go out side and take a lovely walk on the beach. It was cold and grey and started to drizzle a little so I cut it short. One problem here is that the weather is very uhhh "British" mostly grey and cool. Actually quite cool! I have been hanging out in the tropics mostly for the last 5 or 6 years and I am quite sensitive to the cold.
so what else? (Y que mas?)
We got a little tourist action going and stopped at the Evergreen Aviation Museum and saw many old and interesting planes and helicopters. Some peaceful and some military.
The high light of this was the "Spruce Goose" this is the largest plane ever built. It was only flown once. for less than an hour! I dont know why...It was the dream child of the famous American Industrialist Howard Hughes. It was magnificent. The wing span is more than 100meters long! the cockpit is 50 feet above ground! It had eight enormous wing mounted engines. there was a world war 2 B17 bomber parked right next to it and it was like a porsche next to a bus! It is good to travel with others sometimes. I never would have gone if my pal Shannon hadn't wanted to see the Spruce Goose. I am glad I went.
Our road trip took us through Tillamook county and so, we had to go to the great Tillamook cheese factrory. The deal is that all these dairy farmers in the area have formed an association and they are all share holders in this giant facility that makes about half a million pounds of cheese per day!! About 220,000 kilos per day. Virtually all Cheddar! they also make a little jack and colby and colby jack. Wow! What a place! Of course we tasted a large variety of cheeses and bought a few tasty treats to take with us too! Fun sometimes to hang out with tourists! The airplanes were Shannons idea but it was my idea to see the cheese. Shannan was happy in the end too!
And so it went, cruising in Shannons big new Chevy truck. We listened to cable music from the 1960s and we both sang along.Shannon is doing well and his business is thriving and so we lived it up on his expense account. Not my usually cheap as dirt road trip. We stayed in real nice hotels and ate in real nice restaurants. No avocado tomato sandwiches in the front seat, Oh no! nice restaurants all the way. We stopped a couple of times to sample some of Oregons wines at winerys we passed.
Yamhill Winery was the best. Nice pinot noirs and a lovely sweet reisling as well as some nice chardonnays too. But as far as wine is concerned, I hate to be un-patriotic about this but, the best wine of the trip was a flawless malbec from mendoza Argentina. Whoa baby! What a lovely wine!! I have been to Mendoza. So I am a little partial but this is a great wine region. The Oregon wines are also quite fine. No doubt about it. (Sin Duda)
Finally we ended up at the Rogue regency hotel in Medxford Oregon. this is a special thing for me. I began my travels on October 1 2003 and on that fateful day took my car to Oregon to see Shannon and 5 days later we slept in the very same hotel the night before we left for Japan. Now we checked in on September29,, the night before I fly to Chihuahua. 5 years and 360 days later. I got all sentimental. Then I took a hot tub and had a beer and felt better. I will finish this update in a few days when i am in mexico.
Okay it is 8 days later and I am in Creel in the copper canyon of Mexico.I spent 3 nights in the city of Chihuahua which was very pleasant but uneventful. I found a good cheap room in the San Juan hotel above a noisy popular bar and went down and watched futbol with the locals and had a couple of drinks. I went to the home of Pancho Villa and that was very interesting. They have the old car he was murdered in and it is all full of bullet holes.It made me think of Bonny and Clyde...
The scenery along the way from Chihuahua to Creel was also very nice but not really like totally amazing...The best parts of the canyon lie ahead. I get back on the train tomorrow and go to the colonial city of El Fuerte. The best views of the canyon should occur in this part of the journey. The train ride is supposed to be fantastic I will let you all know soon!
I am staying in Margaritas guest house in Creel near the train station. 7 dollars a night for a dorm room with hot (too bloody hot) water and free breakfast and dinner. Great deal! Nice people and I am meeting lots of cool travelers. I am sharing the dormitory with ...Yes you guessed it... Grant from Australila arrived on his motor cycle last night. A long way from Idaho. He is headed to lake atitlan in Guatemala which is where CorNEALius and the MERRY prankster are (Crystal people I know from South America) and where I am going too!!! Wow! what a small but gigantic world it is for a guy on the road. On October 1 I began my seventh year of travel. Wow who would have guessed?
So I returned yesterday to Creel from Batopilas. Batopilas is a remote village of mostly Terahumara indians in the bottom of the Copper canyon. This is ground zero of the drug war. it is all shut down. only a couple of hotels open. No Tourists. when we got there we realized we should get out of here. Just indians soldiers and DEA agents in black Baseball caps enblazoned with AGENT. Lots of M-16s. Obviously after one walk through there is no industry (legal) to support this population. We (Mona from Canada, Roberto an italian chef who has a reataurant in Tulum and his charming wife Dianeta) ask around a bit and everyone here is a marijuana grower.
This is what the war is about between the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels. control of the marijuana plantations. We wanted to walk through the forest to the old mission (8 kilometers of not so well marked trails) but we also wanted to live long enough to send this update and decided to return to Creel the next morning.
The journey to Batopilas was fantastic. stunning views! Beautiful rock formations. lots of wild goats or sheep ( I dont know how to tell them apart) on little rocks in most precarious places. One of those rare moments where i wish I had a camera...I visited some cave dwelling indians also and saw a beautiful waterfall near Creel and also a place called "valle de los hongos" wth huge rocks shaped like mushrooms. Way cool. reminded me of Kapadochia in Turkey...
Next update in a week or so from the pacific coast of Mexico .
Peace and love to all of you
So here are some interesting ideas to ponder till we meet again...
Peace and Love to you all,
Rambling Robert
"If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law." Henry David Thoreau

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." Thomas Jefferson

"The war changed everything in my life and I was one of thousands forced to leave during the ethnic cleansing in my city. But they did not manage to change me. I have NOT learned to hate my neighbors and I never will."
Lana Obradovic, from Bosnia Herzegovina during the religious genocide during the 1990s


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