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Old 10-15-2013, 08:55 PM   #31
advFord OP
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A Day to forget

I had big plans for today. I had been debating where to go next, either south to Culiacan or head east into the Sierras and Copper Canyon. The Copper Canyon route was just as long but was mostly through the mountains which would make it a longer ride. Iíd heard about how beautiful Copper Canyon was but that itís one of the most remote regions in Mexico and the area is narco central. After talking with a few other ADVRiders who had just traveled through there I decided Iíd take the road less traveled and go to Copper Canyon.


Gearing up to ride


Guaymas in the morning

Leaving Guaymas before the city is awake


The first 60 miles were a breeze, cruising along the 4 lane highway of MEX 15. Just before Ciudad Obregon, I took MEX 12 into the mountains. The road was flat with a few curves and I sped passed farms and a couple small towns. I woke up feeing fine but halfway through the ride I started feeling nauseas. I opened my visor to get some fresh air and kept riding. I thought since I skipped breakfast that maybe I just needed some food. My GPS showed a town just a few kilometers away but I had to stop to take a break. I took off my helmet and noticed my forehead was pretty hot. Great. A fever and nausea 60 miles into a planned 300+ mile riding day. I grabbed by bottle of water and drank just about the whole thing. I sat on the side of the road for a minute and then hit the road.


Highway MEX 12 outside Rosario

Highway MEX 12 outside Rosario


I reached the town in a few minutes and was feeling worse. I stopped at a gas station, filled up, and bought a Sprite. I sat along the wall of the gas station and enjoyed the refreshing soda. I must have been quite the sight. A sweaty gringo in riding gear, sprawled out against the gas station. Now this is the point in the blog where even before the trip started I was thinking how much of my trip would I share. I decided Iíd share the stories of what itís like to travel solo by motorcycle through latin america. So whatever that is. Youíre gonna get it. Plus this story is just one of those moments that made me laugh so hopefully youíll get some laughs too.


I knew this trip would be filled with a lot of first times, but this next one is one I could do without. I took my time sipping that cold refreshing Sprite, not even paying attention to the people passing by and looking. I just wanted a bed. I wonder if theyíd let me sleep in the gas station office for an hour? Or see if thereís a doctor in town. Before I could decide what to do, a decision was made. Apparently the carbonation in the soda affected me more than normally. As I sat on the sidewalk enjoying that Sprite, I let out a little fart and instantly regretted the decision. Yikes! That was not just a fart. For all the times Iíve laughed at my friends who have ďshartedĒ I guess I had it coming. Could things get worse! I got up and ran to the bano faster than Usain Bolt off the starting blocks. I pushed the door and it was locked. Ahh of course, I need 2 pesos. Ran back to the bike and grabbed the 2 pesos. I only packed three pair of underwear (donít judge, itís high-tech merino wool travel underwear) so this would have to be sorted out.


IMG_6993


I got the emergency situation taken care of and then went to find the farmacia. I asked the woman for something for nausea. Even in the middle of nowhere Mexico I could get all the things I needed when feeling sick; a bottle of water, medicine, and a box of saltine crackers.


Farmacia in Rosario

A few minutes later I was feeling better. I still had long way to go so I kept charging. The road left the farms behind and started climbing into the foothills of the Sierras. I took MEX 12 north where it would end in MEX 16. I had been on it for a while and my GPS was showing I should be there any minute, but there was nothing. I kept going further and my GPS was showing I had passed it. I reset the GPS to double check. Well there wasnít any road that I saw and MEX 16 is a well traveled road so it must be further up the road. I kept going and the started getting worse. Giant potholes and mud covering the road. I thought for sure I somehow must have passed it. But then I came around a corner and I saw a military checkpoint and a sign for MEX 16. There was a small shop on the side of the road so I grabbed a snack and rested for a minute. The guards were asking about my bike. Iíll say buenos tardes (good afternoon) and then they talk for a minute in Spanish and I just stand there. There all really nice and just curious about the bike.


I get on my bike and get stuck behind a semi-truck that has to slow down to go over a speedbump. As Iím going 1 MPH one of the dogs from the military camp comes charing at me. Thereís no where for me to go cause the truck is in front of me and thereís a wall of boulders lining the road on both sides.

Hurry up, truck! I probably said something different but thatís what I needed to happen. The dog was barking and tried to bite my boot. Sorry dog lovers, I had to defend myself. I wasnít going to let a dog bite me. Just as the dog went to bite I met his face with the backside of my boot. I thought the guards might try to come after me for kicking their dog so as soon as the truck cleared the speedbump I hit the throttle and sped off. Hasta luego, Cujo!


MEX 16 and MEX 12 Intersection

MEX 16 and MEX 12 Intersection


The road went higher and higher. This was motorcycle heaven. Miles and miles and good road, endless curves, and beautiful landscape. A few miles on MEX 16 the clouds came in and it started raining. By this point I had been on the road for 7 hours. I was pretty exhausted. I rode for what seemed like forever till I reached the town of Yecora. The rain was coming down harder and I decided Iíd call it a day and find a hotel.


The view from MEX 16

The view from MEX 16


IMG_0123

Finding hotels isnít too hard in towns. From the main road there will usually be a few hand painted signs advertising a couple hotels. SKY TV, Auga Caliente, Internet, y mas. Sounds like just what I need. When looking for a hotel I try to find one with secure parking that either has a gate or is out of sight from the road. Then I go in and ask how much it is for a room. Then I ask to see the room. Theyíre usually all clean. But Iíve heard itís best to always check the bed for bugs before making a decision and paying. Hotel El Dorado had the only sign advertising internet so thatís where I went. 250 pesos for a night sounds good to me. Out of the rain, in a warm room with hot water. The hot water will be useful as I have an unexpected load of laundry to do

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Old 10-15-2013, 09:56 PM   #32
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Looking good.
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Old 10-15-2013, 11:06 PM   #33
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Cool2 Yes, good job bringing us along dood!

Thanks for writing. Subscribed!
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Old 10-16-2013, 06:41 AM   #34
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Doesn't sound like montezuma's revenge; I can't imagine riding for hours with it. And don't for get "sin lechuga por favor"!
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Old 10-16-2013, 08:19 AM   #35
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Cool report! I'll be riding along side from my office. Hope your "shart" has passed and you're feeling better.
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:49 AM   #36
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Subscribed. Great report - keep it up!
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Old 10-18-2013, 03:19 PM   #37
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Copper Canyon Part 1

I woke up to a beautiful crisp sunny day in the mountains of the Mexican Sierras. Then I woke up and realized that was all a dream and that it did in fact rain all night and it was still coming down. I wasnít going to sit around the town of Yecora for a day so I hit the road. I had about 160 miles to go to reach the town of Creel. 160 miles in the rain on this road is enough of a roadtrip for one day.


IMG_7008


Getting into the zone centro (city center/downtown) of any city is always easy but trying to find your way out seems impossible. Good thing my Spanish is so good that I can easily ask people how to get places. Thatís sarcasm. Iím learning more each day but when it comes down to it, I usually rely on finger pointing. I asked a man on the street which direction was the highway and after a minute of confusion he understood what I was asking and pointed to where I needed to go. He smiled and patted me on the back and said Ďbuen viaje!Ē


I got on MEX 16 and drove higher and further into the mountains. A thick blanket of fog covered the landscape making it easy to not be distracted and just focus on the road. So far the roads in Mexico have been mostly well paved asphalt with occasional sections needing repair. I knew after a night of rain that I should be extra cautious and take my time winding around the corners.


IMG_7006


Good thing I did cause there were a few times that either half of the road had been covered in a small mudslide or a giant boulder rolled into the street.


MEX 16 with a few small rocks on the road

MEX 16 with a few small rocks on the road


I wasnít trusting my GPS anymore on this highway so at every intersection with another road Iíd stop and double check my maps. Surprisingly enough even in the mountains if I open up Google Maps on my iPhone it will show the roads and where I am. After a few hours of driving I pulled over at a small restaurant in the middle of the forrest for a cup of coffee. A cup of hot instant coffee warmed me up and I was off.


IMG_7012



The road comes around a corner and into a small valley where it winds its way past farms before entering the town of Creel. I rode into the city center and did my usual hotel search. On the main street downtown there is a Best Western but it was too expensive for me. I found a nice place called Hotel Real la Sierra just a block off the main street. It was early in the day so I grabbed my rain jacket and camera and walked around the city.


Iíll write more about the people in this area of Mexico in the next blog but here are some photos of this small mountain town.


Main street of Creel, Mexico

Main street of Creel, Mexico


IMG_0129


Mission in Creel

Mission in Creel


Central plaza in Creel

Central plaza in Creel


IMG_0125


IMG_0144


IMG_0142


IMG_0140

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Old 10-18-2013, 06:46 PM   #38
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Motorcycles and sharts? Im in!
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Old 10-18-2013, 09:06 PM   #39
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go go go!
you are doing great!
be safe and good luck.
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Old 10-18-2013, 10:02 PM   #40
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Nice right up mate! I'm going to keep track cause I'm due in LA in feb 2014 to ride solo through Mexico and beyond . I'm enjoying your ride.

I shart myself once cause I couldn't get my one piece rain suit off in time!
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Old 10-18-2013, 10:59 PM   #41
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Do you have your passage booked on the Stahlratte?
Colleen and James are booked on the 6th December crossing.
Perhaps we'll meet up somewhere.
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Old 10-19-2013, 05:15 AM   #42
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Stahlratte

Hey Colleen and James - I'm booked for the 6th as well so we will at least meet there! I'm in Mexico till the 1st then am charging to Costa Rica to see some friends. Have a RR or Blog?
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Old 10-19-2013, 07:00 AM   #43
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Copper Canyon Part 2: The Road From Creel to Hidalgo del Parral

The Road From Creel to Hidalgo del Parral

I came to Copper Canyon after hearing about it last year when I was in Chihuahua filming for the documentary tv series I work on, Roadtrip Nation. I heard how beautiful the canyons were and about the people that live there.


Copper Canyon is a system of six canyons in the state of Chihuahua. Some parts of the canyon are deeper than the Grand Canyon in Arizona.


Copper Canyon is named because of the copper and green colors of the canyon walls

Copper Canyon is named because of the copper and green colors of the canyon walls


I was planning on making the trek from Creel to the town of Batopilas, a historic village at the bottom of the canyon. With the rain and fog not letting up I decided Iíd skip it and go to Hidalgo del Parral to continue making my way south. I was looking forward to getting to the bottom of the canyon but Iíll come back with with a group of ADVRiders and really get lost. Plus the road from Creel to Parral might be my favorite stretch of riding yet.


The helpful staff at Amigo Trails gave me a few maps of the area with suggested stops to check out on my way south. 30km south of Creel I turned onto a rough dirt road for a few kilometers till a reached the Cusarare Mission and small village there.


The road to Cusarare Mission

The road to Cusarare Mission


The mission and museum next to it were closed when I got there and the rain started coming down again so I only took a few photos and was on my way.


Cusarare Mission built in 1741

Cusarare Mission built in 1741


The region is home to the Raramuri tribe of Indians. I stopped by the Amigo Trails shop in Creel and they have a wealth of information on the area and offer tours as well. Hereís a brief description about the Raramuri from Amigo Trails:


The Raramuri are believed to be the purest and best preserved ethnic group on the entire American continent. Their culture and spiritual values are a result of thousands of years of struggle, which has filled them with an intensity for life and a sense of harmony in human relations and in their relationship with nature, the likes of which our modern society, with all of its technological advancement, has been unable to understand or attain.


A group of kids at Cusarare Mission

A group of kids came running up when I arrived


Kids at Cusarare Mission photo 2


A typical home in the Sierra Madres region.

A typical home in the Sierra Madres region.


I continued south along the winding canyon road.

I continued south along the winding canyon road.


There are very few places to pull over to take photos. Which is probably a good thing or else I would never get any riding done.

There are very few places to pull over to take photos. Which is probably a good thing or else I would never get any riding done.


IMG_0163

After passing Batopilas, the sky started to clear and I could actually see some of the surrounding landscape.


The road leaves the canyon and makes it way through fields and forests.

The road leaves the canyon and makes it way through fields and forests.


IMG_0174


I had never seen this before. Most farms I've seen here do this.

I had never seen this before. Most farms Iíve seen here do this.


IMG_0167


Guachochi

I stopped in Guachochi for quick lunch


Jamon y queso taco.

Jamon y queso taco. Also known as a ham and cheese taco.


The road to Parral

The road to Parral


Plenty of long straight aways. These short pine trees reminded me of the Pine Barrens in New Jersey.

Plenty of long straight aways. These short pine trees reminded me of the Pine Barrens in New Jersey.


IMG_0194


Copper Canyon has countless curves. Motorcycle heaven.

Copper Canyon has countless curves. Motorcycle heaven.


IMG_0190


I carry paper maps and use a Garmin Rino 530.

I carry paper maps and use a Garmin Rino 530.


A beautiful vista before reaching Hidalgo del Parral



A beautiful vista before reaching Hidalgo del Parral


IMG_0200

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Old 10-19-2013, 07:53 AM   #44
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I'll have time in Costa Rica to hopefully get off road.
my email is dan@placesbeyond.com if you get a chance to send the tracks.
Thanks!

And yes, brews when I get back!

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidbrundage View Post
They're 8-10 day loops, mostly off- and small back roads.

Small world, I had no idea you were THAT close by. My office was on 17th and Placentia for a few years but I moved over to the East Side recently.

I know it's a long ways out, but I'd love to grab a drink when you're back in town and hear about the trip!
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Old 10-19-2013, 12:34 PM   #45
pceire32
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Great report, great shots. I'm in !
What camera are you using ?

Thank you
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