Third times the charm right???
I lost it again. Once at 11pm last night and again this morn.
Feb 5 - Tues
We woke up to about an 1" of fresh snow. I did not sleep well that night and was up off and on trying to keep the wood fire going and from getting wet.
Around midnight the wind was blowing so hard it was pushing rain through the mortar of the log cabin. We switched to a bed on an interior wall and doubled up on blankets. It was 40F in the room. The propane wall heater was not cutting it.
-Most hotels up in the mountains of Mexico ($250 pesos or more) have a wall mounted propane heater. Most of the time they work very well. We normally get a room and while unloading get it fired up and make sure it works. It can be hard to find the hotel staff when it gets late, so if anything is wrong take care of it ASAP.
We then get cleaned up, if there is hot water available, then hit the bars for food and drinks. When you get back your room it's nice and toasty. Turn it down to 1 burner from 3, unless you want to roast. Don't forget to crack the window, or you may not wake up at all.
Back to the cabin, Our only real source of heat was the fireplace, the main room stayed about 70F, but with no way to get a bed in there we were out of luck.
I guess they figure who in there right mind would stay here in the winter.
At first light we were up to a breakfast feast of bananas and cookies we had gotten from town last night. It was going to be a long day, possibly, so we wanted to get a start on it. We were headed to Creel to meet up w/ the rest of the pack, about 80 miles away. I warmed up and prepped the bike, while Katie got stuff packed away.
I dropped air pressure from 30 rear/ 38 front to 21 rear/ 20 front. All of our riding so far on this trip was pavement and I was hoping that once we hit the dirt, traction would be OK to continue over the mountains in this slop. If not, it would be a long way back around.
We were ready to roll at 9:15 and it had warmed up to 40F, but was over cast. There was 3 miles of winding, hilly pavement before we got to gravel.
I had Katie walk for about an 1/8 of a mile down the road just let me get a feel for the traction, plus if I crash and died, she'd be able to get help to rescue the bike.
Everything seamed fine, at least no worse than riding in WI winters, so she hopped on and we slowly made our way to the dirt road.
It would have been cool to get some pics of the falls w/ snow everywhere, as we had never seen any of those, but we both agreed it was not worth the risk.
Soon the sun popped out and our spirits were rising. I thought it was very peaceful to be in the mountains of Mexico w/ a fresh blanket of snow on everything, it was a very different perspective. Neither of us were cold and we just enjoyed the ride, must be our WI blood.
We had 60 miles to San Juanito. Normally this is a 2 hr ride in good conditions......
As we climbed from our 7,500 ft elevation the snow got deeper and temps a bit cooler, but the sun felt so good and the sights were great.
Snow sure does a great job of cleaning tires.
There was not much traffic on this road, but we were following a large truck that we didn't catch until many miles up the road. He looked at us like were from Mars or thought maybe we found a local crop for being on a bike in these conditions.
I could not ride in his tracks as it was slick and like riding on ice, I had to stay in the untracked area, but then you can't see what lies underneath. My front tire hit a large rock and sent the bike all over. I thought I had saved it.....for a second, but then I hit another and we went down. It was a slow crash at about 5-10 mph in about 4" of fresh snow. I had never crashed w/ a passenger and was worried for Katie's safety.
I remember killing the motor before we hit the ground to prevent the throttle from getting stuck open if my handguards got bent. Katie was pinned under the bikes swing arm by her ankle. The right rear Gobi was ejected, and the extra thickness of the Aqualine tanks and my custom crash bars surely saved her from more severe injury. I picked up the bike and she hopped up, more worried about the camera then herself. What a trooper. I gave her photo duty while I got the bike started w/o any hassles and re-attached the Gobi w/ a ratchet strap. No damage other than a broken pot-metal H&B lock tab, that I'll fix later that night. I have a spare w/ me as I broke the same thing last year. I suppose I could just leave them unlocked, but I worry that w/ all the bouncing around I might not notice a missing bag until many miles down the road. I like leaving the straps as a last resort. $13 for the price of admission on this ride is worth it to me.
She was not shaken up and was ready to get back on the bike, not like there were any other options.
I had her get off a few more time when things looked bad. I had a few more close calls, but lucked out. We climbed to about 9,000 feet and stopped for a lunch of granola bars, cookies and water around noon. We had done just 30 miles in the last 3 hrs w/ about 6" of snow being the most we had to deal w/. We had another 30 miles before we hit pavement again.
Soon after lunch we got into the construction area and found lots of clay/mud/snow/slush mix. This was hard riding because it was very wet and rutted, we were the first ones through today so far, so I could not tell what was a safe line to take. After a few miles the tough stuff let up and we got to some wider roads, ready for paving, that the sun had been warming up and melting off a lot of snow. Some places we got up to about 65mph and were making good time. We did that 30 miles in just over an hr. and arrived in San Juanito around 1:15 w/ sunny 50F weather.
We made it to Creel around 1:45 and were ready to get some real food.
It was sunny and 50F at about 7,500 ft.
Katie-my copilot/translater and all around great passenger. She's been riding for 3 yrs now, and normally rides her own 99 F650 at home. This is really the only time we ride two up anymore. Plus, she gets alot of sleep in riding behind me, how, I have no idea.
She has gotten much better at "just sitting there no matter what" I know I couldn't be a passneger, I get way too nervous. Last year she was very squirmy when we hit the dirt, when you have time to look down the 3-4,000 ft drop offs and see cars down there, I would be too.
I never get a chance to see that.....probably a good thing.
This year she was so much better, I would just ride like she was "a sack of pototoes", so to speak. Even when things got rough she would not move, untill the road flattened out and allowed us to safetly recompose ourselves.
We had a meal of 3 chicken burritos, 4 tacos, 1 quesadilla, hot chocolate, and a coke. I think the bill was $150 pesos. Great food. Better company.
We headed back to our room to find the rest of the crew had showed up from the early group.
We stay at Hotel Los Valles about $350 pesos/night for a single queen bed.
This is our second year on this trip w/ some of the same friends. There were first timers as well as long time Mexico Vets. 11 bikes in total. Everything from a scooter of 150cc to my 950.
KLR650s and DRZ 400s being the norm.
We head off to the bars for today's story swapping, food and drinks. Don't forget the Tequila.
John and Jud
Marty, Andrew, Al
Richard, Jud, Chuck, Mark
The Rekluse was a real life saver today as there was no way I could have slipped the clutch to maintain traction in the snow as well as it does. I would just concentrate on balance and slowly ease the gas on, if the rear wheel broke loose I'd let off and slowly do it again. Even starting from a dead stop, heading up hill was possible. I had the bike in 2nd gear most of the time to help from breaking the rear wheel loose so often. It never gave me any grief all day. Plus NO arm pump. Great job guys.
Another piece of gear that made all the difference was my new boots.
Last year I wore Fox Forum MX boots, I use them 90% of the time I'm off road riding, but hated the lack of traction. They are super comfortable and broke in almost emidiately. I rarely use my feet to slide around on the ground w/ so wanted to try something new.
I found the Aplinestar T3 w/ the ATV sole. I got them for my birthday present.
At first they were very stiff, being mostly plastic, but after this trip they are much better. Having a lugged sole is very nice and is a big advantage when you get stuck or need to be sure footed on a heavy bike like this. At about $150 they are a great buy for any DS rider, looking for a little extra protection. My only gripe is they are not very water proof. Last year I bought a pair of Seal Skins water proof socks ($35) the tall ones for just this sort of riding and they really worked well. Great way to keep your feet warm and dry on those long wet days.
Are you still awake, or am I putting you to sleep?