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The road to Batopilas

  I am no stranger to wretched roads. I’ve done the Alcan highway across Canada and to the tip of the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. I’ve done Highway 1 through the length of Baja California. I’ve done miles of gravel. I’ve done mountain passes. I’ve done 20 percent grades hauling a 30-foot trailer. A one-lane […]

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Bottom of the world–Barrancas del Cobre

  El Barranca del Cobre–the Copper Canyon–is an expanse of wilderness in the Sierra Madre mountains in northern Mexico that is deeper and larger by many times than the Grand Canyon. It is inhabited by thousands of indigenous Tarahumara, a people known for their ability to run long distances, usually in sandals, and who often […]

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The Miracle of Mata Ortiz: renaissance of a lost art

Juan Quezada was a goatherd, so the story goes, (or a collector of firewood or maguey cactus, depending on the story) in Mata Ortiz, a remote puebla in northern Mexico. His mother was happy that her young, uneducated but artistically inclined son was safely roaming the hills and mountains rather than fighting, for which he […]

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Paquim&#233-marketplace of the ancients

  A few years ago I was driving along the Arizona border when I stumbled across the Amerind Museum. It was a weird and eclectic hodge-podge of artifacts collected by a guy who was passionate about indigenous cultures. I wandered around, confused and amazed at the sheer doggedness such a collection demanded. Then I found […]

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What’s in my bag? Packing for a long trip

  I’ve downsized to a backpack, and it’s both liberating and confining. When I traveled with a trailer I could bring little tchotchkes that made the place feel homey. I could bring stuff “just in case.” I packed an entire box of books. But a trailer, even the teeny one I towed, is always with […]

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