Tiffani’s Yamaha FZ-07 Tour: Checking Off The Final Three States In Mexico

Chapter 3, Part 22

Mexico map
With the end in sight, Tiffany and Hollywood work at finishing off visits to the final three states in Mexico.Motorcyclist

It feels strange and almost unnerving to be so close to the United States now, especially with all of the natural disasters and civil unrest as of late making it feel like an unwelcoming destination. But with no alternative plans, we started on our way to carve through Coahuila, Chihuahua, and Sonora to cap off the last states in Mexico on the list.

After one long, dry, boring, and vegetation-devoid stretch of desert after another, we pulled into the only gas station to be found, which seemed to be the closest thing to an oasis in the far reaches of Coahuila. I glanced at the other vehicles in the station absentmindedly as the attendant focused on getting every last drop of fuel into my tank, and I spotted a rather loud and racy-looking FJ Cruiser sporting decals for the “Coahuila 1000” and hauling a broken, mud-coated UTV.

paddock in Mexico
Veracruz: Now here’s a bike you don’t see often in Latin America. Walking through the paddock felt just like home!Tiffani Burkett

I've obviously heard of the Baja 1000, but what the hell is the Coahuila 1000? More importantly, where do I sign up? The men in staff uniforms didn't speak much English, but the internet did! Before I knew it, we were weaving through traffic in Torreón and parking by a KTM tent outside the obligatory soccer stadium. We had made it to just the right place at just the right time to watch the finish of the race! While I definitely don't have much luck when it comes to weather, or lottery tickets, or road conditions, or basically everything else in life, I somehow make up for it with lucky timing!

Coahuila 1000 UTV
An overwhelming majority of the finishers and racers in the Coahuila 1000 were small UTVs. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that motorcycles are still cooler, even if none of the eight riders actually finished.David Hayward

We walked around the paddock, eventually finding someone who spoke enough English to give us a rundown of the event. Apparently the race first started about three years ago and spans about 1,200 kilometers of the uninhabited Coahuilan desert. The prize money was surprisingly big, the entry fees surprisingly small, and the turnout surprisingly reasonable.

Tiffani with racer
The only rider to actually make it to the after-party, even if he got a flat and technically didn’t finish the whole thing. I hope I’m still racing and making questionable life decisions when I’m 65!Tiffani Burkett

Well, except for the motorcycle contingent anyway. At the end of the race, not a single motorcycle had finished, with the only bike to limp through the finish line being in the back of a truck with a flat tire. The rider was 65 years old on a mid-'90s DR650, and claimed he trained for the event by walking his dog. He was a fun character and he laughed about having lost count of his crashes after the first 10. I still feel like I need to spend the next year training in sand and mud and come back just so there can be someone to actually finish that race on a motorcycle though.

We hung out late into the night, watching quads, UTVs, and Trophy Trucks limping over the line, coated in mud and sometimes even missing wheels, and we partied with the racers just like racers party back home. Some things have no cultural or national boundaries, and the racer spirit is definitely one of them.

The organizer of the event was so impressed with our story that he ended up giving us staff jerseys and hooked us up with a heavy discount on a nice hotel room for the night, and I settled in feeling really lucky to have stumbled upon something so unique. Although I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me a little homesick for the racetrack.

But as much as I loved the event, I have places to go and people to see, so we rode out the next day and continued through the endless desert. As we finally crossed into the state of Chihuahua, the landscape instantly turned to green hills and trees and air temps fell. I can’t even wrap my head around how drastically the environment changed in such a short distance. It’s almost like being in LA again, where you can go one block from Beverly Hills and immediately end up in the ghetto.

Tiffani riding near field in Mexico
Did I just ride through a wormhole into Montana, or is this actually still Mexico?David Hayward

We spent the night in Parral, an odd and almost European-looking town whose streets seemed to be gently draped around the hills rather than obtrusively cutting and carving into them. I kind of liked it for its tranquility. We spent an extra day there to enjoy the atmosphere and attempt to watch the little bit of solar eclipse that was visible this far south (layering two dark-tint visors and two pairs of sunglasses is more or less the same as eclipse glasses, right?). We made one last pit stop in Cuidad Cuauhtémoc, where we were surrounded by touristy shopping and enough federales that I didn't know if we should feel safer or more afraid, and then started the trek to one of our last major destinations in Mexico: Copper Canyon.

Chihuahua cliffs and pines
The cliffs and pine forests and twisty roadways were so spectacular I don’t even know what they can be compared to. You just have to go to Chihuahua and see for yourself.Tiffani Burkett

The hills flattened out to endless fields of yellow flowers and thick, lush grass. I could barely believe I was still in Mexico. Miles of ranch land turned into miles of dense forest and pine trees as we snaked along the cliff’s edge. I had been happy the day before to be riding in only 85 degrees, but today we were dropping into the 70s and 60s and I almost found myself shivering a bit on the ride. It’s been a long time since I’ve ridden in temperatures just this cool!

Mexico scenery
I must have stopped 100 times to take pictures, just because I was so completely stunned and excited by the change of scenery and the smell of pine. It’s amazing how six months of heat, desert, and tropics can make a simple forest feel so completely new again.Tiffani Burkett

I think we had both been missing the mountains, and I could tell Hollywood was especially thrilled to be in something a little more reminiscent of his home in Colorado. It felt good. Mountains are definitely good for the soul.

Made it! For a place I had never heard of until yesterday, this is a pretty satisfying sign.David Hayward

Now I really can’t believe we’re still in Mexico! We liked it so much we opted to set up base camp for a few days to explore. Who knew this country was so incredibly varied? I can’t wait to explore the canyon!