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and have created a wel- coming oasis. Like most Mexican


Basket girl divisidero.


needs met. Many Mexicans do speak some English, but may be embarrassed to try out their grade school English on you, just like I am with my Spanish. Just try – and smile. You’re not the first unilingual tourist they’ve met. Please don’t think speaking louder in English will make you more understood. Our first overnight was at the Los Arcos


Hotel in the small ranching town of Banamichi. We rode 30 miles west of a larger town, Cananea, then headed south on the Ruta de Sonora in the Sonora River Valley. Our group stretched out along the two lane road running parallel to open fields leading us up to the sharp mountains in the distance. Within an hour the gentle hills are supplemented with arroyos and drivable river crossings. During the dry season, the crossings are easy, but they become challenging during monsoon sea- son (July and August). The shallow rivers can have surprise pot holes or as Mark, one of our riders discovered, slime on the bro- ken pavement that is slicker than snot. Entering the river, he twisted the throttle too much and his bike went down quicker than the 2008 stock market. Several riders rushed to his assistance and got his unscathed machine upright for remounting. Once we all crossed safely, the steep nar-


row mountain roads threading through small villages provided a long, twisty end to our day’s ride, and we finally crossed the long concrete bridge leading into Banamichi. Owners Lynn and Tom Mat- thews greeted us with smiles at the doorway of the Los Arcos Hotel’s beautiful court- yard. Lynn and Tom both ride, so they understand the needs of adventure riders


small towns, Banamichi is an unassuming village where families have been getting by with nothing much more than their basic needs from ranching, farming, mining or shop-keeping since 1639. The zocalo (town square) is a great place to relax and take in the local community activity.


After a hot shower and a change in attire,


we met in the courtyard for libations, to review the day’s ride and to discuss the next day’s continuing southern journey along a mountainous, untraveled route in lieu of the well-traveled route toward Hermosillo. Finishing our drinks, we walked a block to Tacos de Martin. The wonderful thing about eating at Martin’s is when you’re brain dead from riding all day, Martin simplifies choosing what to eat. Martin prepares only one item, Tacos de Carne Asada, grilled over a mesquite fire and served with shred- ded green cabbage, pico de gallo, brined onions, avocado and cucumber, plus a cara- melized onion roasted whole, proving that if you are only going to do one thing, do it really well! After dinner, we agreed to rise at dawn; Tom wanted to join us for the ride to the canyon, and perhaps Lynn saw an opportunity for some peace and quiet. Shafts of light found their way through


the spaces of the blackout curtains in the morning, alerting me to the fact that I needed to move quickly to catch up with the others. Tom prepared breakfast while others nursed coffee and talked over a map. With everyone packed up and fed, we all topped off our fuel at the Pemex station. Pemex, the state-owned oil company, has done a very good job of providing stations usually every 100 miles throughout Mexico, so keeping the tank topped off isn’t a problem. With the clear, bright morning sun still


low on the horizon, breaks through the trees dividing the farm fields made for a peaceful beginning to our day. The only interruptions on the smooth two-lane country roads were passing farm machin- ery, speed bumps called topos, and the occasional pothole, sometimes a lot more often than occasional. Topos deserve an extra word when it comes to riding, as they are there to warn the rider of a congested pedestrian area or town. Topos range from being mild to aggressive enough to make your teeth slam together and upset the bike if you’re caught gazing at the scenery. We followed the tarmac down Highway


89, then took M-14 northeast towards Moctezuma for a short time until we made the fated turn south on Sonora 117, a steep, winding single-lane road that we weren’t sure was passable. Tom gave us the most up-to-date info, telling us he had traveled over the pass a few weeks earlier with a group. The major hazards would be oncom- ing traffic and rock slides – for 200 miles! Before reaching the steep mountain climb,


Adventure riding is all about the adventures of break downs and fixing problems on the road.


June 2016 BMW OWNERS NEWS


87


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