Mexico: Copper Canyon, A Ride Back in Time

Mexico: Copper Canyon, A Ride Back in Time
Most people visit Copper Canyon by rail, a spectacular ride on the Chihuahua Pacifico Railroad, crossing 39 bridges and 86 tunnels along a rift bigger than the Grand Canyon! Quite an adventure if you're partial to traveling in boxes, but the rugged scenery and cultural gems of the Tarahumara Indian homeland are even more accessible to a motorcyclist  -  and for the sporting rider the roads are to die for. And since this is Mexico, the latter is always a real possibility.

Tucson, Arizona, El Paso, Texas, or even San Antonio could be jumping off spots for this trip. My wife Jane and I live in Tucson and our good friends and unofficial guides on the trip, Rich and Cheryl Osburn, live southeast of Tucson in Sierra Vista. Our trip began bright and early on May 24 with a border crossing at the sleepy little town of Naco. Naco is a pleasant alternative to Juarez, Nogales or Tijuana because there are no crowds or long waits and it's easy to find your way.

At Naco, the customs inspection area (Area de Revision) and the offices where you get your visa and your bike's Permiso de Importacion Temporales are all next to each other just beyond the border portal. You need the permiso to ride further than 25 miles into Mexico.

Earlier Rich had steered us to Copper State Insurance Agency in nearby Douglas, Arizona, for our Mexican insurance ($ 28 for 5 days.) Even if your regular insurance policy covers you for trips into Mexico you must also have Mexican insurance written by a Mexican company. Don't ride without it. Mexican jails aren't a recommended "tourist experience."