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Transportes Chaves was ready at 6:30 a.m. in Hermosillo and left shortly after 7 a.m. It
was Second Class, which in this case meant very comfortable sofa-like seats. The bus
seated forty passengers, without a TV or onboard bathroom. Executive Class would be
luxury with super-wide seats, twenty-four passengers, TV, and bathroom. First Class was
thirty-two seats, with TV and a bathroom. The bathroom removes eight seats that you find
on Second Class. Third Class is generally a shorter bus, windows open for fresh air. It
looks like a school bus.
I preferred the Second Class without the TV and curtains. In First Class I felt like I was in
a rolling movie theater and missing the view.
The bus headed east across the plains, looking directly at the Sierra Madre Occidental,
brown and barren. The tall, jagged-edged peaks looked like a saw, which the word sierra
means. We climbed the low hills then entered the Sierras where twists and turns slowed
our progress. It was a 180-mile, five-and-one-half-hour trip. It became six hours when
we stopped for a lunch break near Yecora, just before our descent through a majestic,
wind-eroded canyon, where the driver pointed out various forms. There were craggy faces,
mushrooms and turtles.
We drove past Tepoca, a town with glittering galvanized roofs in the sun. I asked Jesús
Ramon, my seatmate, “What's the industry here?”
I expected, “Sawmill, lumber, maybe mining.” But Jesús said, “Marijuana.” I let that drop.
Just before 2 p.m., we arrived in Yecora, a dusty and wind-swept town of about a thousand
residents. It was obvious that the best place to eat was our stop before reaching the town.
Yecora reminded me of the Texas town in The Last Picture Show , a place you wanted to be
from, not going to. The Pemex gas station was the highlight. I quickly became concerned
that I'd be spending a night here. Three young men stood across from the Pemex on the
highway. I asked it they were waiting for a ride or if there was a bus.
The tallest fellow, who looked like a student, said there would be an Estrella Blanca (White
Star) bus within a few minutes. It was the Obregon-to-Chihuahua bus that could take me
most of the way to Creel. What good fortune!
Within fifteen minutes I flagged down the bus. As I went to board the Estrella Blanca bus,
the driver told me, “There are no seats.”
I said, “That's okay; I can stand.”
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