Bikepacking Home through Northern Mexico // 14
After 11 months of cycling, we have made it to Mexico. lets go! Victoria is very happy to be home. Nearly a year since we set off from the top of Alaska and after all the incredible highs and challenging lows along the way, Victoria was just a few weeks of riding away from reuniting with her family and friends at home in Chihuahua.
But getting there wouldn't be easy, and traveling through Mexico has its risks. it’s ok it’s just so overwhelming the route we had planned on going is a lot more dangerous than we thought it would be. So we were hoping to connect with locals and seek advice along the way so that we could make informed decisions and be as safe as possible. goodbye! We crossed into Agua Prieta After crossing the border, we got a hotel and hung out for a few days to enjoy the change of cuisine and gather some route advice.
And Victoria got a fresh haircut to mark the occasion. It is time to head out from Agua Prieta So now we are heading off into the mountains towards Chihuahua. We managed to link up with a few local cyclists who want to join us on our first mornings ride out of town.
So in good company, we hit the road Here our friend Tino is escorting us Pretty soon we are on our own on the open road. Hello! Good afternoon At the end of the first day, we made it to a small town called Colonia Morelos. This is probably going to be a pretty typical dinner for us every night. It's tortilla, beans, avocado and onion. Yum Man, the avocado Yeah I’ve missed avocado it’s a nice change from pasta. So in Mexico, in a lot of these small towns, there is something called a Comisario, which is basically like person who's in charge of making any decisions in the town.
And the good thing for bicycle travelers is you can just roll into a town, ask for the Comisario and nine times out of ten, they'll be able to find you a safe spot to sleep for the night for free We went to see the Comisario who told us that they actually had a room in a public building that we could stay in. And he sent us off with ice creams and hand here is our room for tonight woah thanks to the Comisario thanks Comisario Licho We opted to set up the tent as Comisario Licho warned us that there was scorpions in there, and Mexico does have deadly scorpions. So we thought better safe than sorry.
This is the set up got the fan going. Yeah, we're very tired. It's a long day, so good night's sleep. I just went to wash my face in this sink and then this came out of the drain.
So it’s alive? Yeah, it came crawling out From Colonia Morelos we continued along our road towards La Mora. How are you doing that? Easy That's not easy. What is that? Riding out of town, we came across a memorial to three women and six children who were murdered by cartel not far from here in 2019.
They were all from the nearby Mormon community in La Mora that we'd slept by the night before and it was a pretty stark reminder of the reality that this country still faces to this day. And we didn't want to be naive and ignore the dangers that come with traveling through these places It’s saying hi No! that was the most beautiful butterfly I’ve seen in my life yeah very cute It was so beautiful It’s so cute how they have like It's not a tongue I think but it’s... yeah the little lucky thing. Yeah Good afternoon! So we just got into this town, we we're drinking sodas outside the store, and we met this guy called Mario, who has now offered to let us sleep in his other home. So he's just escorting us over there now.
wow it’s beautiful here yeah so pretty! Here you can relax Yes Here no one will bother you if you want to rest tomorrow all day That’s so kind, thank you Thank you very much You decide, we don’t use the house Behind the door back there is the bathroom it already has water perfect After our morning at the monument, we began to feel a little concerned about the route we'd chosen. But in every little village we passed through, people would reassure us that these days it was ‘todo tranquilo’ or ‘all calm’ around here. This peaceful evening at Mario's place was the perfect reminder of why we were doing this. And we knew people like him would be looking out for us. It was going to be a hot night, so we opted to pitch the tent outside where we'd catch a bit of the breeze and could watch the stars. I’m not sure how well you can see this, but I'm just setting up the tent and the fireflies in the forest are putting on a show for us.
hey Hey, stop it Smells good. What are these trees again? Nogales. They give walnuts Walnuts? Very nice. We continued our journey on south towards the town of Bacadéhuachi. Going up there somewhere.
But before we could get up into those mountains, we had a huge thousand meter descent into Bacadéhuachi Hello! Hello! We just dropped into the town of Bacadéhuachi and we have reached our hottest temperature yet on the trip. My thermometer is reading 41c (106f) and it feels a bit like cycling in an oven. Apparently, this town has recently discovered the largest lithium deposit in the world. I'm not sure if that's true or not, you can do your own Googling, but maybe this town will be supplying the lithium of your next phone battery. So take a good look.
I believe there is a hotel here in town that we're going to try and find and get ourselves a nice cold shower. We’ve come from Alaska Really? Yeah Seriously? Yeah We got talking with the hotel owners about our trip and asked Oscar his thoughts on our planned route to cross into the state of Chihuahua, as we did with most people we met along the way, and he was definitely pretty concerned about it. Over there there’s a group, a cartel they call ‘La Linea’ have you heard of them? Yes He basically explained that our planned route would put us through some particularly dangerous towns that we'd be wise to avoid. He said it's just honestly, it's just not worth it Because I saw that truck, did you see the truck? Yeah, I think I got that part, he was saying like, That the n- (narcos/cartel) They were in that pickup truck and they had known about us for many miles. Like they are watching us. Yeah, they've had their eyes on us.
But he was saying that that's not a bad thing because... It’s not a bad thing because they know that we are not a threat Yeah And he said like I don't wanna it's, it's like... It's not for scaring us but it's for letting us know what's going on.
Yeah he was saying- I could tell just by the way he was talking like this isn't even out of fear, he's just trying to give honest advice. Yeah and then he was like, it's okay It's just so overwhelming. So we went back to the drawing board and took a look at our options on the map for a safer route. And honestly if everyone has been saying that this is the safest, I think we should do it But we're making the right decision. I think it's good to be smart about it.
So we’ve got a change of plans due to just a lot of people telling us that the route we had planned on going is a lot more dangerous than we thought it would be. So we're going to backtrack to a place called La Mora, which is where we camped on the river, and there's a road that crosses into Chihuahua there that apparently is the safest way across. And then once we're in Chihuahua, hopefully we don’t have to worry about this again. But we will always be asking the towns we go through how things are and making sure we're keeping as safe as we can be. So that was the plan. We grabbed a couple of beers and watched a movie to de-stress, and the next morning we got ready to hitchhike back.
The reality of Mexico is that there's cartel everywhere, but as a tourist on a bicycle it’s extremely unlikely that you'd ever be the target of anything. Some of the danger comes when you're crossing areas between two rival cartels, which is the case on the border between Sonora and Chihuahua. We managed to find a ride fairly quickly, which was able to take us halfway, and then not long after that, we got another ride, which took us the rest of the way back to San Miguelito.
We spent the night camped in a public park there on advice from the local Comisario, and the next morning he drove us back up to the monument, which is where our road began. Bye! We sat not far from the monument, mentally preparing ourselves for the climb ahead of us. This was the road that the massacre had occurred on just four years ago, and to say we were nervous would be an understatement. But we'd been assured by four or five different people at this point that because of what happened, the National Guard had since been patrolling the road and it was now a safest option across to Chihuahua. Well done.
Good morning Just made it to the top of the climb, finally. The time is now 12:30, which means that that climb took us five and a half hours but now it's all downhill. Well done. Oh my gosh. I think my Alaska hat might need a good wash after that climb.
That's got to be it. Hey, welcome to Chihuahua. ♫ I’m from mere Chihuahua ♫ ♫ the mineral of Parral ♫ ♫ listen to this song ♫ ♫ how happily I sing ♫ ♫ how beautiful is Chihuahua ♫ And with that, we've officially crossed into Chihuahua, which is Victoria's home state. Hey welcome home! Thanks It's crazy the places that people will bring trucks. Like what a crazy road to bring a truck on. Okay, we're just about to head into our first little town in Chihuahua.
I'll be honest, a little nervous because we've heard a lot of things, but hopefully we can find some nice people there and hopefully they'll have a nice, safe spot for us to sleep for the night because we're pretty beat after that huge climb. When we arrived into Pancho Villa, we saw Jaime outside his store who immediately waved us over anything else? for now this will be good to hydrate ourselves very good, very good We went in, got some drinks and then got chatting. And straightaway he introduced us to his family.
It was then we knew that we had absolutely nothing to worry about and, a lot like this bunny, we were in good hands. They’ve given us this lovely room for the night. Yeah, we definitely lucked out, we’re freshly showered, we feel like new people and Axel, another friend of them, he bought us dinner. He went and paid it and he left So we’re about to go eat dinner very smooth yeah, when you’re rolling its not too heavy its secure (?) I’m off on my travels Wheres your mom going? She’s leaving on her bike There you go! watch out for the cars! are you going to take a photo? come, come for the photo Thank you Tere, Juan, Andrew, Arianna, Adrian, Jaime and Olivia. Thanks for all of your care and support thanks for, for letting us stay and get to know you all and for everything everything, everything thank you We had an incredible time! Teresa made us a whole bunch of egg and chorizo burritos to take with us chorizo not chorITZo Chorizo Thank you very much, Teresa. In Ojo Frio, Juan from Pancho Villa told us to look for his friend who goes by ‘El Fierro’, which means ‘The Iron’ in English.
With a name like that, it was pretty easy to find him, and he kindly let us camp behind his home. goodbye! From Ojo Frio we had a fairly remote mountain pass to get up and over to reach the city of Nuevo Casas Grandes. Chihuahua is extremely beautiful. That's our road going up over there and then over that mountain. We’re looking for a place to camp Well done! Well done.
This is our beautiful campsite for tonight. Made it to the top of this huge climb and just found the first tucked away spot we could. And it's actually pretty chill up here, right now It's 21 degrees (70f), and normally at this time, it's above 30 (86f) so it's going to be a nice cool night for us Today we are enjoying a 60 kilometer downhill into the city of Nuevo Casas Grandes, where we're hoping to get a hotel and a well-deserved shower.
But this downhill is just stunning. Holy moly. Jesus man, that is a scary cow. noo its cute! It's a bull! Just about got the two bikes in.
I'm going to stay all day in the swimming pool. stop stop stop There he is. Who is it? We all know him. I think its Benito Juarez.
Not a lot of options in terms of dirt roads between here and Chihuahua City. So for the next week, we're going to be riding mostly highways. Cheers! Where are you going? I’m going to Namiquipa why are we going to Namiquipa though? Because that's the town where I grew most of my childhood. Let's see how it goes. That's so cute.
I think those are Bison. Woah! Is that your first baby Bison? Yes 'El Tintero’ (inkpot) Reservoir So we're just sitting here enjoying a coke, and then Victoria just met her uncles. Her uncles just showed up and were like ‘Are you Victoria? We’re your uncles’ So that just happened.
That just happened. Bye! Good luck, don’t give up! You too! And with that, although we were still a few days from her friends and family in Chihuahua City, for the first time in nearly a year, Victoria was approaching familiar territory. Welcome to my town Namiquipa! Welcome to Miamiquipa And she was very excited to show me around. It's much more nice than what I remember wow This is new, all this is new, What did it used to look like? It was just not this modern, you know? Man, it's even pavement like all this used to be dirt It was dirt? yeah Let’s go to the ch- I'll take you to the church guys This is the church I used to go with my family, and my grandmother would get very mad if you didn’t go to the church on Sunday There’s a service No I think someone’s getting married You’re looking for some love huh? Just taking some pictures and it's time to roll out After our nice rest day in Namiquipa, It was time for the home stretch. We were just two days from the city and we were starting to see signs that Victoria was getting closer to home Chiva! I saw the optician van! almost a year No, my life, I love you Did you see that? I d- what happened? One of my mom's best friends Oh no way! Yeah she has an optician van Nice to meet you! How are you? Welcome! Thank you How are you? Yeah I’m good This is Silvia, but friends call her La Chiva Okay, very good, great to meet you! I love you a lot Chiva, so good to see you We set off into the mountains of Cumbres de Majalca National Park for our last night of wild camping before we hit the big city Tomorrow we arrive in Chihuahua I’m so excited to see my family, my friends Lets go! Follow us cyclists! What? This is gonna be our last day camping for quite a while. When we got to the city, we were planning to rent an apartment and take a nice, long, well-deserved rest over the hottest summer months.
And after nearly a year on the road, we definitely felt like we needed it. Just wanna get in my bed, and not wake up, like in 30 hours. 30!? Yes Or 2 days maybe. So we were definitely pretty excited for the home comforts to come Lets go to Chihuahua! Today is the day. We’re gonna ride to Chihuauha, we’re gonna see my family, I'm gonna meet my nephew It's a big day.
This is Cumbres de Majalca National Park. And it is very, very beautiful. A lot of interesting rock formations. As we approached the city, it all started to feel very surreal.
Victoria was about to cycle home from Alaska and the local cycling community had something pretty special planned to welcome her home. We have got the welcoming committee escorting us into town. Good to meet you! How does it feel (the bike) Fantastic! I love it. Where have you come from? Well, we started in Alaska a year ago a year? Yeah a lot Welcome to Chihuahua my friend.
Thank you very much. Thank you. This is crazy Nice to meet you Who is this old lady? So cute Oh he’s got your hat Do you want to wear it? You like it, huh? You like the hat? It’s so nice (the bike). Its cool huh? Wow, how beautiful is Chihuahua huh? Mhmm How do you like Chihuahua so far? It’s very fancy. I wasn't expecting it to be so fancy. This is the government palace. Wow. So this is our little apartment here in Chihuahua, here’s Victoria.
Hello! We've actually been here for a few months now, which means that I've finally had time to catch up on all the editing. We're just prepping to set off again in a couple of weeks, which we are very excited for. It's been a little too long, stuck in one place, but soon we'll be back on the bikes and we're very excited for that.
I just wanted to say a huge thank you to all of you for watching these videos and following along. We never expected to have this many people watching these and it is pretty incredible to see So thank you so much and I hope you've been enjoying them. And I also want to say a very special thank you to everyone who's been supporting us on Patreon, which is these people here. If you'd like to support our journey and help make these videos as good as they can be, then Patreon is really great way to do that.
For $5 a month, you can have your name immortalized in the credits and you’d be supporting our journey as well, which we really appreciate. All right, that's enough of that. Thank you very much for watching, and we'll see you in the next one. Bye!