A Few Days Solo to Copper Canyon

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by kobukan, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. kobukan

    kobukan almost gnarly

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,712
    Location:
    Saco ME
    Sometime during this past year, while researching great places to ride in the southwest and Mexico, I read something about Copper Canyon. To be honest, I had never heard of it before, but I decided I really should go see it since it’s not that far from southern Arizona. As usual, I spent many hours researching and planning, studying maps, GPS tracks and ride reports by others who have made the journey. I wasn’t sure when I’d go, but I knew if I was prepared the opportunity would arise.

    For those who may be interested, more information about my general preparation for riding in Mexico can be found here.

    I was headed back to AZ in October and thought that might be an opportunity for a short scouting trip down to the Copper Canyon area, so I made sure I had everything I’d need if I decided to go for it. A few days after arriving in AZ I decided this was the time. It was the perfect time of year, I had done all the necessary planning, and I was going.

    There was one more thing I needed to do, however - get my travel permits. Most people do this when they enter Mexico, but since I was staying so close to the border I decided to ride down to Douglas, cross over to Agua Prieta and take care of it before the trip because I knew the first day of the trip I had planned would be a long day and I didn’t want to waste any time then.

    I went to Agua Prieta and got my permits on Friday. It was easy to do there since everything is right at the border crossing. It didn’t take very long, and would have been even faster if I spoke any Spanish. Fortunately, there was one guy there who spoke a little English. Everyone there was friendly and helpful, and I got permits for myself and my motorcycle, which will allow me to travel anywhere in Mexico for the next six months.

    And so . . . the journey begins.


    Monday October 22th . . . all packed up and ready to roll.

    [​IMG]

    I left Sierra Vista AZ a little after 6:00 am headed for Douglas. By 7:30 I was in Mexico, had made my way through Agua Prieta and was headed south on MEX-14 toward Hermosillo.

    [​IMG]

    My plan was to take the scenic route to Hermosillo, then ride across MEX-16, which I had heard is a spectacular ride. This certainly wasn’t the shortest route to Copper Canyon, but I figured I’d be able to accomplish a few things this way; ride MEX-16, get familiar with the general Copper Canyon area, and get familiar with more area overall, like Hermosillo and the road to get there. As much as anything, I really just wanted to gather information to see if I might want to make a longer trip to the area in the future, and if I did I'd have a general knowledge of the area and be able to make the most of a longer trip.

    The road south from Agua Prieta passed through a sparsely populated area, occasionally passing by tiny villages. There are a few actual little towns along the way and fuel was available in a few places along the way so that was not an issue. It’s about 240 miles from Agua Prieta to Hermosillo so I decided to get fuel in Moctezuma, which is about the halfway point.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Most of the way to Moctezuma was relatively unexciting, but the next 50-75 miles beyond Moctezuma the road twisted through the mountains and was a lot more fun, with some nice mountain views.

    I reached Hermosillo shortly after noon. I had no plans to stop, except for fuel before heading into the mountains on MEX-16. Hermosillo is a good-sized city and I was paying more attention to my GPS than anything else, just trying to get through there. I missed one turn, but was able to turn around and get right back on track pretty quickly - maybe a little too quickly . . .

    As I merged with the traffic flow and accelerated over to the center lane I noticed a Police Officer standing on the side of the road waving me over. Dang. As I slowed down and pulled over I noticed there were several officers, a couple Police cars, and a couple other cars pulled over. As the officer walked over to me I noticed he was carrying a radar gun so I presumed he was going to tell me I was speeding. They obviously had a speed trap set up. I don’t think I was really going any faster than the flow of traffic, but I was one of the lucky ones they decided to stop.

    I’m not sure why, but I wasn’t really nervous about being stopped. I just got off my bike, took off my helmet and got my driver’s license out. I was really curious how this was going to play out.

    The officer was very friendly and after looking at my Maine license plate asked me where I was from, where I was headed, etc. He was being very nice, and so was I, but I had a feeling he was trying to feel me out, just as much as I was him. After several minutes of chat, he mentioned that I would have to pay a ticket. He seemed to be implying that I would pay him, and he hadn’t written any ticket yet so I figured he was going to pocket the money. I asked how much, and he said “600 Pesos”, which is about $50 USD. By the way, he barely spoke any English, and I barely speak any Spanish, but we managed to communicate fairly well somehow, albeit slowly. Anyway, I thought $50 was a little too much so I started asking him for the ticket and where I would go to pay it. I figured this, along with the language barrier might help me at least bargain him down some. It took a while, but after maybe twenty minutes or so he finally handed me back my driver’s license and said if I paid the ticket now I could go. So, once again I asked how much, and this time he said “you decide” - I wasn’t expecting that! It was obvious at this point that we both knew what was going on and he just wanted to get a few bucks and let me go so I held out $200 pesos, which he gladly accepted, then shook my hand, wished me good luck and a safe journey, and walked away. It was an interesting encounter and a learning experience, and all in all for a little less than $20 USD I was on my way, which in many ways is a lot better than a US speeding ticket.

    After that I was on my way, headed east on MEX-16 away from Hermosillo, and civilization in general. I had a lot of ground to cover so there was not much picture-taking today.

    Fueling up in Tecoripa . . . fuel is scarce in this area.
    [​IMG]

    I covered a total of 465 miles and ended up in a decent little hotel in Yecora. I was hoping to make it to Basaseachic Falls, but the sun sets early if you're on the wrong side of the mountain. I was making good time until about 75 miles east of Hermosillo on MEX-16, then the next 100 miles was like the Tail of the Dragon all the way - the longest, twistiest mountain road I've ever seen, and I still had a long way to go on it!

    Hotel King in Yecora . . . very friendly folks, a pretty decent room (miles from nowhere), and it seemed pretty secure.
    [​IMG]

    The only stops all day were for fuel and a couple pictures. I passed through a few military checkpoints, but they were just like the ones in Baja - manned mostly by young guys whose eyes light up as they’re looking over my bike. They always ask me about the bike, but I never know what they’re saying. I smile, they smile, they say some things, I say some things, but nobody understands much of anything. Occasionally they look in my saddlebags, but the stops are always short and the soldiers are always friendly and smiling at me as they watch me ride way. I wish I could speak with them a little - they seem so interested in the bike. A little after 4:00 pm, about ten minutes after the last military checkpoint I stopped at, which was at the intersection of MEX-16 and the road that heads south toward Rosario, I saw a fairly large, black, furry animal with a long tail run across the road not far ahead of me - I’d love to know what it was if anyone has any ideas. Other than a lot of birds, that was the only wildlife I saw.

    Should make it to Copper Canyon tomorrow, planning on a lot more pictures then, but it may be days before I see the internet again - can't believe they actually have internet access at this hotel here in Yecora.
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    #1
  2. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,479
    Location:
    St. George, UT
    Interesting story about the speeding ticket. Looking forward to more . . . :lurk
    #2
  3. mntdawg

    mntdawg NOT FRAGILE OR GREEN

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,140
    Location:
    Salida Colorado or SE Arizona
    :lurk:1drink:jose
    #3
  4. buls4evr

    buls4evr No Marks....

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,318
    Location:
    Michissippi & Nuevo Mexico
    The critter may have been a cotamundi. They are in the area. Sort of a cross between a raccoon and an ant-eater:D. Weird looking. A little taller than a coon and about the same stance. That it?
    #4
  5. lexluther11

    lexluther11 Ride,Eat,Rest-Repeat

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,240
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Following along and will be going there soon myself...........:lurk
    #5
  6. refokus

    refokus Just Learning

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,565
    Location:
    North Phoenix
    This should b good....:thumb
    #6
  7. Mudclod

    Mudclod Mojo Moto

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,593
    Location:
    Killeen, TX.
    So far so good! Amazing coincedence, I used to live in Sierra Vista and had a remarkably similar DR. Rock on kokuban![​IMG]
    #7
  8. kobukan

    kobukan almost gnarly

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,712
    Location:
    Saco ME
    Just Googled them and I believe that was it - most likely a large male. Thank you!

    Nice looking DR Mudclod. :thumb

    You won't be disappointed lexluther11!

    mntdawg - we should go for a ride sometime.



    I've returned from Copper Canyon, now I'm trying to beat the the big storm back to Maine - sitting in the airport now. My original flight for tomorrow morning was canceled - catching an earlier flight to Atlanta and with a little luck will catch a flight from there to ME and be home before noon - maybe! It was easier getting to Copper Canyon and back! :lol3

    I should have another chunk of the RR posted up tomorrow - from wherever I may be then. Copper Canyon did not disappoint and I will definitely be planning another longer trip there soon!
    #8
  9. kobukan

    kobukan almost gnarly

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,712
    Location:
    Saco ME
    I left Yecora a little after 7:00 am headed east again on MEX-16. It was a chilly morning. I’m not sure what the temperature was, but it was cold starting out - the elevation at Yecora is about 5,000 ft. It warmed up very quickly though, and even though I only had summer gloves the cold wasn’t a problem. Most of MEX-16 is at an elevation of 5,000-8,000 ft.

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    And so I was on the road again . . . twisting and turning through the mountains on MEX-16 again, and the next 150 miles was just as twisty as the previous 100 miles. I rode a total of about 325 miles on MEX-16 from Hermosillo to the turnoff toward Creel and Copper Canyon, about 250 miles of which was, as I already mentioned - like the Tail of the Dragon all the way - the longest, twistiest mountain road I've ever seen. If you’ve ever ridden the Tail of the Dragon in NC, just imagine it being 250 miles long at 5k-8k ft. elevation and you’ll have a pretty good idea what MEX-16 is like.

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    The road crosses a remote region that is very sparsely populated, but it is generally in good condition (entirely paved). There is not a lot of traffic, but there is some. Traveling across MEX-16 is definitely a unique experience. It is very scenic all the way - there are mountains in every direction as far as you can see, and there are canyons, and beautiful rock formations. Getting pictures of it all was very challenging, however. The road is two lanes (not very wide) with no shoulder and there are not many places to pull over to take a picture. Due to the elevation there are also a lot of trees and other growth. There was essentially 250 miles of blind curves. It was a little overwhelming to travel so far through such spectacular scenery wanting to stop at every corner for pictures, but knowing stopping often wasn’t safe, and I had many miles to cover.

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    There are some obstacles on MEX-16 and constant attention and awareness is advised - there are occasional rocks in the road fallen from the cliffs (most rocks were small, but some were fairly big), there could be a cow in the road fifty miles from nowhere, or a truck or bus could be coming around the next blind curve using more than their share of the road - it pays to be alert. On one occasion I hit some unseen sand in a curve and had a little slide, just enough to get my attention - it surprised me because there was generally no sand on the road. You just never know what’s around the next corner, and it’s easy to get complacent after a couple hundred miles of it.

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    If I had a dollar for every one of these signs I saw, I think it might have paid for the entire trip.
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    Fuel stop in Tomochi
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    Snack time
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    After riding a little further through the mountains, suddenly I came around a curve and I was overlooking a very large, beautiful valley of farmland. I would find out later just how large this valley really is. Within minutes I was out of the mountains and riding across flat farmland.

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    In this valley is the turnoff toward Copper Canyon. The valley, along with the rest of the way in to Creel is at 7,500-8,000 ft. elevation.

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    Shortly after turning off MEX-16 and heading south the valley narrowed into a mountain pass and I was once again riding a twisty mountain road. The road followed along a river and there were numerous beautiful spots where there were tiny farms/ranches in scenic little valleys along the river. Life as it was many years ago, seemingly unchanged for some.

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    About 30 miles from the turnoff I reached San Juanito, not exactly a big city, but bigger than I expected - a town of some size with all the services one might need. I stopped again for fuel and continued on toward Creel, another twenty miles down the road.

    Creel was also a little bigger than I expected, though still a small town. Like Sa Juanito, Creel was a town with all the services one might need. I didn’t stop in Creel, but continued on toward Batopilas.

    I knew there was road construction on the main route to Batopilas, but I had conflicting reports regarding whether or not the road was passable. Some said the construction zone could not be passed, others said it could. It’s entirely possible that at sometimes it could be passable and other times not, depending on the construction status on any given day.

    I had GPS tracks for two alternate routes into Batopilas, but hadn’t confirmed either of those routes would be passable either, and they were both considerably longer routes. I really just wanted to make the ride down to the construction zone at least so I could see what it was like, and if I was able to get past it that would be great, but if not I’d probably just head back to Creel for the night. I had also read that there was a good view into Canyon de La Bufa from Kirare, which is where the construction was.

    So I continued on the main route toward Batopilas enjoying the scenery along the way. I reached Kirare and the construction zone to find a handful of construction workers and a few pieces of heavy equipment at work.

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    There was no way I was getting past this.
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    As I turned around I noticed a narrow road below running parallel to the road I was on. I had thought that they were paving the existing road, which is probably what they had done up to this point. This is apparently where all the switchbacks begin the decent into Canyon de La Bufa and it looks like they are actually creating a new route down from here. I rode back to where the pavement ended (about ¼ mile) and saw where the old road split off to the right. There was nothing preventing me from taking it so I started to venture down cautiously. The road was narrow, but had obviously been graded recently and I saw some construction equipment down there so I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get through. I was also a little leery of the heavy equipment at work just above me. A couple hundred yards down I saw that they had built a retaining wall there for the new road.

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    I continued past there and in another couple hundred yards I came upon a pile of rocks and gravel in the road. I immediately wondered if they had put it there to block the road or if it was debris fallen over from the work above - it looked more like the latter, but I didn’t see anything coming down at the moment. I stopped about fifteen feet from the pile, turned my bike halfway around and got off to take a couple pictures when I noticed a little bit of dirt and some small rocks falling from above down onto the pile, then more dirt and more rocks, then a lot of dirt and some big rocks, then some really big rocks . . . the kind that could crush a car . . . and I got back on my bike and got the heck out of there as fast as I could! I never looked back, but I could hear the loud thud of some big rocks landing behind me. That was close.

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    I did get some nice views of Canyon de La Bufa before heading back toward Creel.
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    On the way back toward Creel I considered heading to Guachochi instead and trying the route from there to Batopilas in the morning, but it would probably add two days to the trip; a day to get down to Batopilas, and then the next day getting back out, and this was really intended to be just a short scouting mission for future trips so I stayed the course back to Creel. I could still make it to Batopilas through Guachochi from Creel tomorrow if I changed my mind by morning.

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    I stopped for a few pictures on the way back to Creel.
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    Glad I wasn't headed the other way on this curve . . .
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    There is a beautiful little lake, Lago Arareco just a couple miles south of Creel. The signs were in Spanish, like everything else down there, but a picture of a tent on one of the signs appeared to indicate that there was camping at the lake. I decided to ride in the entry road to check it out. I found a few cars and several people enjoying the afternoon at a little beach, and there was definitely campsites there, although there was nobody camping. I found one particularly nice campsite and was very tempted to just pitch my tent there for the night, but even though I was carrying a tent and sleeping bag I wasn’t really planning to use them this trip unless I had to, and I was a little concerned about how cold it might get there at night since it was at 8,000 ft. elevation. I decided I had just enough daylight left to ride into Creel to scout out motels and return here if the motels didn’t look that great.

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    There is a rock shaped like an elephant at the entrance to the lake
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    I rode the couple miles into Creel and one of the first places I saw on the south end of town was Villa Mexicana. It looked like a really nice place with lots of little cabins, and it looked like a very private/secure spot for my bike, which is always a big consideration for me when looking for a place to stay. I rode in and went into the office to see what they had available. It turned out that they only have cabins, but they are about the nicest little cabins I’ve ever seen anywhere, and I’ve stayed in a few cabins. Nice and clean, plenty of lighting and electrical outlets, Wi-Fi, TV - all the comforts of home. They were like little luxury cabins, and they also have a very nice restaurant attached to the office so I had everything I needed. Cabins were $75 a night, but well worth it - I would highly recommend this place and will try to stay there anytime I’m in the area, but they told me I was lucky to get a cabin and it was only available for one night - it’s best to make a reservation in advance if possible.

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    I had some really good tacos at the restaurant, and then settled in for the evening. Even though I wasn’t able to get down to Batopilas, all in all it was an awesome day!
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    #9
  10. TooTallRacing

    TooTallRacing Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2007
    Oddometer:
    171
    Location:
    Lanesville, IN
    I'm loving this report. I hope to do the same thing, on the same bike one day. The DR really looks good in yellow. That is sound advice on being alert on Mexican highways, you just never know what's around the next corner.

    Subscribed!
    #10
  11. buls4evr

    buls4evr No Marks....

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,318
    Location:
    Michissippi & Nuevo Mexico
    I had planned to do this route in April 2013 with my wife and friends on WeeStroms. You are really giving me valuable info for our trip. Pretty disappointed that the road to Batopilas is so torn up though. I rode a TT350 Yamaha down there in 1989 (with Les French, Great Motorcycle Adventures Mexico then). It looks pretty civilized now compared to 89. I may run a trip similar to yours in 2013 then go again in 2017 after the canyon road is done. Really wanted my wife to see Batopilas but I would not ride a Wee down that torn up road now. Keep the great pix coming:clap.
    #11
  12. lexluther11

    lexluther11 Ride,Eat,Rest-Repeat

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,240
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Looking like a lot of fun riding..........thanks for the great pictures...:D
    #12
  13. Unclescar

    Unclescar Refried Bean

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    81
    Location:
    Bartlett, TN
    Imagine zipping through the Dragon and rounding the corner to see this...Killboy would have a field day with his camera :eek1 :eek1



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    Beautiful pics as well as a nice RR.
    #13
  14. team8

    team8 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Oddometer:
    453
    Location:
    Southwest Maine
    :thumb Nice RR, glad you made it back before the airports shut down, my daughter was flying out of here monday night, she is still here and will be stuck here a few more days.
    #14
  15. kobukan

    kobukan almost gnarly

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,712
    Location:
    Saco ME
    When I got up Wednesday morning and looked out the front door of the cabin I realized I had made a good decision not to camp at the lake. The layer of ice on my bike indicated that it had obviously gotten pretty cold overnight.

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    I wasn’t too surprised by the cold considering the elevation, and that was a small factor in deciding not to make a run to Batopilas. I knew it would be too cold for an early morning start, which might have at least given me enough time to get in and out of Batopilas in one day, even if it was just back out to Guachochi. I also figured trying to make a run to Batopilas just for a quick stop wasn’t really worth the time and effort since based on what I’d seen so far I was already pretty sure I’d be returning for a longer visit in the near future. I decided to save Batopilas for the next trip when I’ll plan to spend several days exploring the area properly.

    Looking back at town. There were some low hanging clouds.
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    I had a GPS track that I wasn’t sure I’d be using this trip, but after seeing the big valley leading into the Copper Canyon area I decided to follow that track home. It appeared to follow some secondary roads north through the valley, and looked like it was probably the most direct route back to Sierra Vista anyway. I had a feeling it might be a nice ride, and if they turned out to be nice roads that I could make decent time on it could be a great route to get from AZ to Creel in one day’s ride, about 450 miles.

    I had ridden so many miles through twisty mountain roads the past couple days I was hoping for a change of pace, and wondering how far north the big valley went. What I had seen so far was some really nice farmland.

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    When I reached the intersection with MEX-16 after heading north from Creel I noticed a lot of new towers being built for carrying big power lines. There seems to be a lot going on in the area and between paving the road to Batopilas and the obvious effort to bring a lot more electricity into Copper Canyon, it appears the area is growing . . . or at least someone is trying to aid in its ability to expand. If you’re thinking about going to Copper Canyon . . . go soon.

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    As I headed north on Route 31 I was impressed with how beautiful the farmland was and how different it was from all the mountains I had ridden through. There were huge apple orchards, fields of corn, and there appeared to be a variety of other crops as well. I passed through an occasional small town and these towns seemed to be doing comparatively well . . . surviving on the farmland. These towns looked nicer than many others I’ve passed through in Mexico.

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    One particularly nice looking town was Guerrero, only about twelve miles north of MEX-16. I was really surprised when I rolled into town - it was much nicer, and a little bigger than I expected. I’d like to try to spend an hour or so walking around there next time through. I pulled over at an intersection to take a couple pictures, but the best looking end of town was behind me. I took a picture of the corner vendor, and then put my camera away and when I looked up again the vendor who had been leaning against his pick-up truck was standing next to me. I was a little surprised to see him there, but he just smiled and asked me where I was from - in very good English. It’s always great to actually be able to speak to someone. I always tell people I’m from Maine (because I am, and my bike has a ME plate), but in Mexico nobody has ever heard of Maine, they just look at me when I say Maine and say “USA”? One of these days I’m going to get a map to carry with me to show them where Maine is relative to Mexico. Anyway, he seemed like a very pleasant guy and I couldn’t help but wonder where he was from, when I asked he pointed to the ground and said “right here.” I told him Guerrero looked like a very nice little town and he seemed anxious to tell me what a nice place it was and that everyone there was easy going and friendly. He asked if I was staying for a while and when I told him I was just passing through he seemed disappointed and told me to come back and spend more time there sometime. He seemed very proud of his little town of Guerrero.

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    Occasionally I would pass through areas where trees lined the road . . . it was very pretty and the October leaves were turning color.

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    I rode for miles and miles through the big valley, still at about 7,500 ft. elevation . . . it seemed to go on forever, and it was beautiful.

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    A couple times I came across a few miles of twisty road through some big hills, but then I’d be right back in the valley again.

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    I passed a few hay-wagons along the way.
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    Computer diagnostics for all kinds of vehicles at the “Ciber Shop” - seemed a little out of place.
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    More hay
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    Eventually the valley narrowed some and appeared to become more ranch land than farmland

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    Doing things the old fashioned way

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    After riding through the valley for 150 miles (all at about 7,500 ft. elevation) I hit about a ten-mile long stretch of road that wound through some mountains.

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    Dogs are everywhere in Mexico. This one was miles from any home or people. It was scrounging for road kill and wagged its tail every time I said something to it.

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    I began to descend and I could tell I was finally heading for lower elevation because the air was warming, the grass was turning to dirt, and trees were becoming cactus. I checked my GPS and I had dropped to about 5,500 ft. elevation when I came out the other side of the mountains onto a lower valley/plateau. I had been riding for several hours with my jacket all zipped up and a sweatshirt underneath, but it seemed a good ten degrees warmer all of a sudden and I had to stop to remove the sweatshirt and open all the vents on my jacket. The valley at 7,500 ft. and surrounding mountains reminded me of Wyoming, but at this lower elevation it was just like Arizona.

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    At this point I still had a couple hundred miles to go to reach the border, but I had been making good time on this route and it looked like I could easily make it back to Sierra Vista today. I don’t like riding at night anywhere, especially in Mexico, and typically avoid it, but it looked like I’d reach home right around dusk so I continued north to the AZ border.

    I passed through a few towns along the way. Casas Grandes was one of the bigger ones and I tried to stop at a nice looking roadside taco stand because I hadn’t eaten much all day, but it was about two minutes after 2:00 o’clock and they were closing up for the afternoon siesta so no taco for me. It’s hard to get used to things closing from 2:00-4:00 in the afternoon, but many do, including some Pemex stations.

    I kept going north and the scenery stayed about the same most of the way until I reached the last fifty miles of MEX-2, which runs along the US-Mex border within less than a mile in places. It was a little strange being within a mile of the US and knowing I still had to travel fifty miles before I could cross. And it was a little different running along the border on the Mexican side so close that I could see the border fence in some places.

    After a few miles of riding through a big field along the border, the road climbed into some mountains, and once again I was riding twisty mountain roads. I wasn’t really expecting that, but it turned out to be a really nice ride through the mountains most of the way to Agua Prieta.

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    Surprisingly, this twisty mountain road was obviously a popular trucking route. I saw many eighteen-wheelers through here, probably more than I had seen in the past few days. There were even a number of double-long rigs winding through there. Some of the curves were so tight they could barely make it and they were just barely crawling along. They were obviously in radio communication with the other trucks because some were stopped at certain points waiting for others doubles to come through because they would not be able to pass on certain curvy sections of the road.

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    After a while I came back down out of the mountains to level ground again near Agua Prieta. Then, I came up behind a long line of trucks stopped in the road. At first I wasn’t sure why. I thought maybe there had been an accident or breakdown, but I also suspected it might be another military checkpoint - I just couldn’t tell because there were trucks stopped ahead of me as far as I could see. I had been through many military checkpoints over the last three days and they had become fairly routine. I noticed a dirt road alongside the paved road and was giving it a good look considering passing everyone on the dirt, but I thought that might not end well if come flying up to a military checkpoint. I wasn’t too keen on sitting there for an hour or more, and about then a guy came walking up from alongside the truck ahead of me. Of course he didn’t speak English, but he kept motioning for me to go down on the dirt road. After a couple minutes of that I decided to go for it, but slowly and cautiously. A couple hundred yards up the dirt road I could see that it was in fact a military checkpoint, but there was a car and a couple pickup trucks ahead of me on the dirt. Apparently, all smaller vehicles passed on the dirt while the big trucks were checked out on the road. The military guys had a separate setup on the dirt so everything was good. I made it through there pretty quickly and was on my way again.

    The border fence just east of Agua Prieta
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    Shortly after the checkpoint I was making my way through Agua Prieta, and across the border to Douglas back in the good old USA. I wanted to drain as much Mexican fuel as possible so I continued on to Bisbee and fueled up there a little after 5:00 pm. A half hour later I was back home in Sierra Vista.

    It was a great ride and a very successful scouting mission for future rides. Each day turned out to be very different. The first day riding from Agua Prieta to Hermosillo, dealing with the crooked cop, and then riding halfway across the spectacular MEX-16 to Yecora. The second day riding the rest of the way across MEX-16, then south to Creel and Copper Canyon, almost being crushed by construction debris, then finding the perfect little cabin. And day three, riding back out of Copper Canyon and north through the beautiful farmland and nice little towns along the way.

    I marked all the fuel stops I saw, and a number of places to stay and points of interest along the way for future use. I’m glad I took the time to go the long way and ride MEX-16 because that road is unbelievable. Even the crooked cop in Hermosillo turned out to be a harmless, yet valuable learning experience. I’m also glad I decided to take the route home north through the big valley because it turned out to be a very nice ride and now I know I can easily get to Creel in one day from AZ via that route.

    For anyone that’s thinking they might like to go to Copper Canyon someday . . . do it, you will not be disappointed. It’s a unique and beautiful place full of friendly people. Next time I’ll plan to spend a day getting there, and then spend several days in the area exploring more of the back roads and meandering down to Batopilas the back way.
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    #15
  16. going south

    going south hero & Zero...

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,191
    Location:
    Alaska, Mazatlan. sometimes seattle!
    Man oh Man you are killing me, that looks Awesome, great pic's... I need to get out more...
    Thanks for taking the time...:clap
    #16
  17. kevinsinvegas

    kevinsinvegas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    51
    Location:
    Sin City
    Copper Canyon just moved up a few spots on the Bucket List after reading your RR. Thanks for posting :clap :D
    #17
  18. beemer67

    beemer67 Really Old airhead

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    219
    Location:
    Fish Limb, B.C. Canada
    Great pictures. I was a week ahead of you, and did a similar route. Saved potential ticket though, just carried on from Montezuma via Sahuaripa straight south to Yecora. :evil
    If you do this route again, take the turnoff just past Basaseachic, great road direct to San Juanito and you get to see the falls too.

    Camping is good at Villa Mexicana as well ($10), but it does get cool overnight. Supposedly, they will be working on the road down to Batopilas for the next four years., so the route you planned via Guachochic and Yoquivo is the right one. Road is paved halfway to Yoquivo (and it is currently being extended) Rest of the way is good as long as there hasn't been any rain.

    The other route, Samachique to Batopilas is much rougher and definitely impassable after rain.

    Really enjoyed your write-up and the pictures.
    #18
  19. kobukan

    kobukan almost gnarly

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,712
    Location:
    Saco ME
    I considered those routes, but I really wanted to ride as much of MEX-16 as possible this trip. I think next time I may try both of your suggestions either on the way down or the way back.

    "A little cool overnight" if you're from Fish Limb, B.C., for the rest of us its damn cold, and I'm from Maine. :lol3

    Thanks for the road info. I keep hearing that those roads are pretty rough after a rain.

    Looking forward to getting back down there again sometime and doing more exploring.
    #19
  20. CeeBee

    CeeBee The Cake Baker

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    168
    Location:
    Little Town north of Houston
    Yes, It was a nice place and I can relate to the cool in the a.m. - You did alot in three days! definitely worth a trip back to see all thats there. Great report! Thanks for posting
    Later, Chuck
    [​IMG]

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    #20