Nissan Sport Magazine Publishes "Off The Map In Mexico" by Mark Stephens

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"Never, never, never trust a road map of Mexico." I've learned this lesson the old fashioned way, and seemingly a lifetime ago when Brooke and I had only been blissfully ball-n-chain for three years.

This story goes back to the Summer of 2006.  We didn't even have Chloe yet, nor did we fathom that our little muñequita would be waking our sorry keesters up at 2:14 am every night in just a year.

Anyway, we sat in a café down in old Colonial Guanajuato looking at this nicely detailed road map of Northern Mexico trying to conjure a primo backroad route from the Pacific Ocean over the Sierra Madre Occidental and into Batopilas, deep within Las Barrancas del Cobre, where we'd see the 16th-century cathedral at Satevo, experience the daily Tarahumara life and culture, camp really-really-in-the-middle-of-freaking-nowhere-Mexico.  All the detailed secondary (hell, and lesser . . .) roads made me dizzy with the adventurous possibilities.  "It's a map!" like it's the only delcaration one needs.  We grow up with the inherent God-given factoid of life that things printed on paper are - gee! - accurate. You'd think I'd know better, having a degree in English Comp and Lit - having sense enough to avoid journalism altogether. Pardon, but this seems to go here: "Journalism is unreadable and literature is not read." (Oscar Wilde)

Yeah, right, like it would ever occur to my white, middle-class mind that a map, for God's sake, could be wrong. Oh, but it was.

So Brooke and I decided to follow this little dirt road from El Fuerte, Sonora, Mexico all the way to Batopilas, deep in Las Barrancas del Cobre, Copper Canyon. We understood the dangers.  Chiefly of no gasoline to be bought anywhere, little odds of finding any kind of help without walking for a week (should anything happen to the truck), and - oh yeah! - drug cartels in the middle of harvest who, most likely, aren't interested in smiley American visitors. Forgot one: the infamous bridgeless crossing of Rio Urique where the 30-yard-wide water would surely be up to the fenders if we were lucky; beyond if not.

You can only get the full story in the Summer 2009 issue of Nissan Sport Magazine, so support your starving artists, inspired vagabonds, and we former dirt bags. Click here to buy your copy or subscribe.



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