We would like to add an introductory note to this project. Covid 19 has impacted small towns and indigenous communities at disproportionate rates, so please don’t travel to do this ride – or any rides outside of your locales – until the pandemic subsides. This will give you plenty of time to plan for an epic and safe ride along the Camino del Diablo…
Fire up Google Earth, and look for a route across the Sonoran desert. Although it’s one of the most immigrated routes along the United States Mexico border, there isn’t anything there that would suggest it’s passable. It’s a massive empty, unknown expanse on the otherwise populated map. It is Shared Territory…
Before we begin to share the logistics of planning our transit of the Sonoran desert, it’s important to understand why we did it. This region of the US has been the mythology of media and political narratives. For those of us who don’t live along the border, or pay little attention to it, our understanding of it is shaped by headlines, flashes on a screen and singular policy decisions that we know little about. We set out to try and understand this landscape.
When you begin to plan your transit of the Sonoran desert, there isn’t much to go on. It’s cloaked in shadow and fear of the unknown. We started by calling the US Border Patrol and points of entry. We received messages ranging from “make sure to wear a helmet and bring lots of water” to “that’s crazy, you’ll be shot and killed.” However, one agent told us about the Camino del Diablo, a historic route, the only route that connects the Mexican town of Sonoyta to Yuma Arizona. That’s all we needed. From there, we started our research.
Once we knew the name of this route, we found a book about the Camino del Diablo. We emailed the author, and within a day, he was on board to help us plan our transit. His name is Bill Broyles, and as it turns out, he’s a living legend. A national treasure. A modern-day Indiana Jones. We rode across the Camino. He’s hiked across it. He “lives” the Camino. Within a week, not only did we have a better understanding of what was required for our journey, Bill had connected us with others who have dedicated their lives to this landscape. It is these people, and their generosity, that provided the perspective necessary to understand this landscape.
Enjoy the journey!
SHARED TERRITORY – Borderlands wouldn’t have been possible without the people who were willing to share their time and stories. We encourage everyone who watched this film to continue the journey into the Sonoran desert and there’s no better way to start than through the work of these voices:
–Lorraine Eilier:Learn more about how you can help protect the landscape and culture of the Sonoran Desert.
–Tom Kiefer: Learn more about El Sueño Americano / The American dream and the various humanitarian organizations Tom supports.
–Richard Laurgharn: Richard continues his 30-year commitment to a few individual desert plants. You can find photographs of the Organ Pipe featured in the film here: https://richardlaugharn.com/the-black-mountain-organ-pipe
–Bill Broyles: To learn more about the Sonoran Desert, or plan your own transit, make sure to pick up a book from Bill Broyles.
–The Town of Ajo:If you want to experience the Sonora desert by bike, make sure to start in Ajo.
–Sonoran Desert Conference Center: This is the place to stay.