Making it happen
I was just rereading my blog from last October “On Travel and Drug Lords” about travel in Mexico. At the time I was encouraging people to sign up for the very first #CopperCanyontoCabo tour. It was to take place from December 26 to January 7 and included not only the train, but a hoped-for cruise of the Sea of Cortez aboard a yacht.
I was so pleased. Eight friends signed up, paid their money and were ready to roll. Then I got on-line to the Ferrocariles de México to buy the tickets for the train. Nope! All gone! Nary a ticket left. I couldn’t believe it! What the heck had happened?
It seems that every Mexican in the world likes to take trips over the holidays. Christmas and Easter are particularly enticing. Families pack all the kids together, with Abuelitas and Tias (grandmothers and aunts) and all the cousins and clamber aboard. Of course, there are baskets of food or snacks or drinks, although I suspect the restaurant car would like for them to come eat at the commodious, cloth-covered tables. The trip is as good as going to Chapultepec Park on a Sunday. But not for Gringos.
The lack of tickets meant that I had to refund all the money, everyone was disappointed, and I had egg on my face! Which brings me to the question of the Chicken or the Egg. Which comes first? Do you buy the tickets first and hope to fill your quota? Or do you entice the paying passengers first? It seems if I want to travel on the CHEPE train in December, I will have to buy the tickets first and then just hope.
And then there is the question of Regional versus Executive. The Regional takes 16 hours and stops about a gazillion times at every little tiny town on the route. I don’t know if there are pigs and chickens in the luggage car but certainly there are immense bundles of market goods tied up with string and covered with burlap, or now-a-days, with white reinforced plastic Chinese sacks. The Regional starts in Chihuahua, the regional center of the area.
The Executive starts in Creel, about half-way down the canyon and only runs every other day. So, one either has to take vans down to Creel to board the Executive, or take the Regional to Creel, spend the night there or at Divisadero and then board the Executive.
Unlike the Regional, the Executive does not stop at every town. It cruises past the smaller stops and leaves the pigs and chickens for the locals. It also doesn’t take as long.
For this March tour, we are committed to the Regional. I did not want to have to be hauling luggage on and off the train and spending one night in the mountains before leaping up to pack and jump back on the train. I want our stays to be luxurious, comfortable and above all relaxing. Having to pack, unpack, repack and move every day is not fun.
Once we get to Baja California, we will get to luxuriate at the Posada de las Flores for several days before going up to Loreto, to stay in their sister hotel. We won’t even have to pack to go overnight on the yacht. Just bring an overnight bag. Then a final stay at San José de los Cabos.
I will have to leave the group to head back to Austin on Sunday. Since flying on Tuesdays is much cheaper (several hundred dollars cheaper, but more about that in a later blog), most of the group is coming back on their own on Tuesday. Hopefully, fulfilled, relaxed and Happy as little clams- Sea of Cortéz clams, of course!