Mexico 70, 20th August 2004

I suddenly found myself on a paved road, with a sign to the Basaseachi Cascade. There was a sign saying 10 pesos entry but no one in the pay booth. On the way to the falls I passed a camp site sign, again no one in the pay booth. I looked at the falls from the first, high, vantage point. Wow! The falls are the highest in Mexico, falling 246 metres.

You got that? 246 metres. Around 800 ft.

Those are full size trees down the bottom. I walked down to a viewpoint towards the right, which was amazing. I couldn't take pictures, I was too close to the falls to fit them on one picture. It came on to rain, I got soaked, no problem, and went back and hid in the camp site I'd earlier spotted.

I started looking ahead, to plan my route. Since realising I had to hit the Copper Canyon from the east and not the west and rearranging my route to do this I had the idea I would cross back west from here, Basaseachi falls, drop down to Alamos, then return to the US on the road running north east from Hermosillo, a road recommended to me by a truck driver I met in Manzanillo.

But now I read that Hermosillo is in the middle of the Sonora desert and gets unbearably hot in summer. Now I don't like unbearably hot, nor does little cat. We did not enjoy the heat in the Batoplias Canyon when we were broken down, nor did we enjoy the heat at the western end of our Durango run, out and back over the Devil's Backbone. There seems to be no way to bypass Hermosillo and the distances down to Alamos are quite large. So plans are changed. We will head slowly north from here staying in the high, cooler, mountain areas.

While route planning I realised my all Mexico map has gone missing. I didn't use it much, but it did show all Mexico, so it was handy for planning, and it was the only one that showed the topographical features. I think it disappeared with the Indian family I gave a lift to when leaving the Batopilas Canyon. I do tend to leave everything lying around loose and that map was easily stuffable in a bag. Why they should want a road map of Mexico I have no idea, they have no car, they probably never travel more than 20 km from their home village, and better local maps are available, free, in Creel. The other maps I use are Guia Roji maps, they are in book form. So I am down to using my world atlas to find the heights of places.

I started the new, even slower route, by doing nothing all morning. Well, I fixed the central heating, it would only run on half power. It had come loose from the floor, the whole unit had shifted and the air intake to the burner was incorrect. Now it works on full power. It is actually quite cold at nights round here, I have been wearing a tee shirt and spreading towels over the blanket and sheets to keep warm. So I dug out my sleeping bag from storage, towels are not intended to keep you warm. I've had a leak from my soiled water tank when it's full, I keep having a go at it, so I plastered silicone sealer all round the leak. While doing that I noticed a tyre was not at full pressure, so I drove out to get that fixed. At 40 pesos (2, $4) a go I don't really care how many punctures need repairing.

I went back to the falls and descended by a different route. The canyon is quite amazing here too.

The views of the falls from today's route were much better than yesterday, this is were I took the photo of the falls above, and the route was much easier, climbing back up yesterday nearly laid me out.

Little cat is doing really well. He even comes when I call him, and if he thinks we are having a game - my fault, I do chase him in a game sometimes - then if I need him to come I just start the van with the back door open and he nonchalantly appears inside, you know, as though he meant to be there anyway. He normally stays within easy reach of the van, but if I go wandering off he comes with me. Not by my side, like a dog, but he's in the vicinity. He certainly understands the word dinner. He has biscuits on the go all the time, but dinner is special. It's a tin of something. He's very content travelling. In fact I'm gathering a collection of photos, 101 ways for a cat to travel happily in a motor home. The rate the pictures are coming on I might have to make that 1001 ways. Only problem is, I have a wrist strap on the camera and he likes playing with it. So if he has one eye open when I pick up the camera he straightaway leaves his interesting position and dives for the wrist strap. Someone is going to get a super little cat.

Anyway, we are back at the camping site for a second night. I updated my route map and started checking through my photos. I have 1.3 Gigabytes of photos in my Mexico folder! I also found that I have been saving lots of superfluous information with the pictures I send out with these journal reports. Information such as make and model of camera, exposure time, whether flash was used, etc etc was being saved. I re saved the photos on the last report without this information and reduced the file from 850 Kb to 550 Kb. So sorry about that. For the past 5 months I have been sending you larger emails than I need. I checked my web site photos, currently there are 23 Mb of photos on the site, by re saving I can reduce that to 15 Mb. I'll have to look for a fast connection.

The morning dawned bright and cheerful, I was much more comfortable in my sleeping bag. It's my birthday today, 66, so I started out gently and took little cat for a walk.

Then we headed off in our newly decided direction, east then north. The easterly part of the journey was superb, trees everywhere, up and down big valleys

even craggy valleys.

Then was the time to turn north, I turn left up this wide valley.

The scenery is different to any other I have been on in Mexico. Big, well cultivated fields, lots of apple trees, cows in fields. I don't recollect seeing cows in fields here before, they are usually tied to a stake or being watched by a shepherd.

I stopped in Guerrero, nice little town, checked emails, visited the town museum, where the curator gave me a guided tour, I think he was pleased to see someone. He spoke English fractionally better than my Spanish, he congratulated me on my birthday. It was too early to stop for the night so I drove on. There was no sensible place to park up in the little town I selected so I continued on to Madera where I stopped in front of the Presidencia Municipal.

I've just now added the last section of my route so here is where I have been so far.

I will be adding a larger version of the map to my web site, so it will be possible to read the names of places.

Best regards

David Barker

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