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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by booger1, Nov 9, 2012.
Thanks for your ride report fun read.
I used to own a magazine that kept me in Baja most of 4 years. Now living in upstate NY, your report gives me a much needed Baja fix. Hasta Luego amigo!
Glad to hear you got your fix from reading this.
What magazine was it?
Thanks for reading
Top notch , thanks for taking us along.
Knowing that my parts will be here in a couple of days I can relax. I take off on foot to explore the city.
I head south to one of SR's recommended sights.
The GPS shows it only being about 12 miles, but it doesn't have routing abilities with these maps, so that's as the bird flies. Several side streets later the blisters start to make their appearance on my feet. My only spare pair of shoes are my sandals, this may have been a mistake, but I can see the sign coming up.
I go in the direction indicated for a mile and find a farmer who tells me "no, it's back the other way".
So I head back, go through town.
I exit the other end of town when one of the blisters pops, my sandal fills up with the water from the blister and mixes with the dust that the road is covered in, to make a not so comfortable mud in my sandal. I reach what I thought was the destination.
I don't get the feeling that this is the tourist attraction, so maybe I didn't go far enough. I've come this far, what's a little more.
I reach the next small housing community and walk around a bit before retracing my steps back.
I spot a cab and flag him down. I'm informed that this is an old cab and is not in service, he bought it from the cab company, but still offers me a ride. I decline when he asks if I'm Americano. I just got uneasy feeling about this. He's persistent, I start to walk away and he follows me, trying to get me in the car. I put on my big boy face, puff out my chest and try not to show that I'm not hurting, but he can see through me. I'm still not going to accept this ride. Eventually he does turn around and leaves. I'm sure he was trying to be a nice guy, but I just didn't get a good feeling about this.
A mile down the road I flagged down a cab that was in service tried to tell him where I needed to go but then got a great idea. I showed him on the GPS where the hotel was, that was easy. 30 minutes later, I get dropped off just before sun down.
I should have done this in the first place, the cab fare was cheap.
Live and learn.
Back in the room I do my laundry in the sink with a bar of soap and hang out to dry.
The next morning I get an e-mail to head over to SR's house to install my parts.
I look at him and say, "You don't look Hispanic".
He laughs and says, "That's because I'm from Colorado".
So I get the story of how he came to live in Durango and installed the parts with the help of his tools and locktite.
He offers to take me around town, meet some friends of his, and get some real Mexican food.
He takes me to a large outdoor community place where Sunday brunch is put together.
It's a large awning over groups of tables. They boil the carnitas in cut down 55 gallon drums.
The fat gets boiled down and the meat gets it's flavor, mmm very good.
Chili's on a large hot plate.
I try paying with with some expired Mexican pesos. I didn't know that money expires, but nonetheless I pay with a more current bill.
We then go to see what I missed yesterday.
I walked right by it.
La Ferreria. An old iron ore smelting plant.
The place is well kept and beautiful.
A crematory, because in Mexico, I'm told, that's what they do. Put things in places that have no reason of being there.
Soon enough I'm tired and my new friend is beat from his overnight flight and we bid are farewells. He drops me off at the hotel. My plan is to go out tonight and see that Cathedral lit up.
I check to see if I have anymore of that expired money, sure enough, my bank in the US set me up.
The bills date back to 1985, this is roughly around $150 that I can't use. I'll be seeing my bank when I get back.
I fall asleep and my feet are still killing me. I don't make it out tonight.
Hi booger, your journey is medicine to my soul. Baja Life was the magazine, I owned prior to a hostile takeover. My memories of the wonderful people and their frontier are still fresh. cheers!
Great Ride Report, Baja is my dream ride and I hope to do it in the next five years!
Excellent RR and love the GoPro videos. A fellow 990 rider sucked in and subscribed
The day starts out like any other day. Packed up and head over to the Cathedral that I didn't get to last night.
It would have been nice to see this place lit up at night.
Head to the edge of town to get my morning fixings.
I share these with a guy staring at the bike. There's still way too much for both of us, so I pack the rest up.
The morning is cold but warms up quickly.
Something catches my eye and I pull over to see what exploded in front of me.
This bird testing it's fate with the Woody's Wheel blender.
The road is starting to wear on me and it's been awhile since I've been on dirt.
It's starting to warm up real good by now, I'm getting a little hungry so I pull over under a shade tree to finish off my morning breakfast that is now a melted blob. Still good.
I reach Parral and make the directional change, It's well past 2:00, but I push on.
I start to think that maybe I'll just go to Creel for the night and then head down into Copper Canyon in the morning so that I'll have all day in the canyon to make my way to Batopilas. That would make sense.
But I catch a glimpse of the canyon and can't fight the urge to enter.
The road winds it's way down in a series of switchbacks. It's steep so I shut the motor off to coast for awhile, just listening to the wind go by, but it's not long before I lose the rear brake. Close inspection, I've overheated the rear brake, the road is much steeper than I thought.
There's alot of construction going on to make the lives of the people at the bottom easier, they're widening the road.
An hour and half after making the turn off on to the road, I reach my first road block.
One of the men working tells me it won't be long before the road is clear, so I sit patiently.
45 minutes later the dozer has cut a path for me.
It's impressive to watch the large rocks go tumbling down the mountain.
I get the wave from the guy running the dozer to go ahead. A few more miles and I reach another landslide.
One of the workers walks down the hill and over to me to let me know it will be about 10 minutes. 15 minutes later a truck pulls up with lunch for everyone and they walk back over the hill, the dozer's shut off and I'm left to sit there and wait.
30 minutes go by and I'm starting to get irritated. I know there's nothing I can do but wait. I watch the dozer's pile up the debris in the road and still no effort to get the road opened, it's getting dark and I get more irritated.
Nothing left to do, I watch the dozer work.
About an hour goes by and I can't sit still, I've got to get through or make camp somewhere on the road, but I don't have any food and I'm almost out of water. My Spanish is really bad but I make my way up to the operator and he tells me 1 more hour. I'm relieved and go back to the bike and wait. About an hour goes by and I can see there moving to the road to clear it. They've got 2 dozer's working on it and I start to feel better.
Dozer comes back to where I'm sitting and shuts it down. I ask if it's clear and he says no, not yet.
He asks where I'm going and I tell him.
He then says says something else and my eyes open up.
"Es muy peligro"
He then repeats himself and says "Dru-gos, Mafia".
This gets my attention real good.
I ask if I should go back and he says the road is unpassable.
I ask if I should just stay here. He shrugs and says "Tu beuno".
I take that as I'll be alright and then he tells me I'm good to go.
So now I'm riding in this unfamiliar canyon in the dark with 'muy peligro' in my head. (I shouldn't have watched "The tourist" last night).
As I leave a rock comes sliding down the hill and I catch it with the side of the bike. The operator helps me dig the bike out.
I cross the bridge at the beginning of town and follow the concrete road.
My worsted fears are confirmed when I spot a stake bed truck stuffed with white plastic bags. I can't see what it is, but my intuition tells me this is no good.
2 men are standing at the back of it, I can see a rifle on one and I want to believe this could be military, but then I start to look at the other guy. My headlight shows to me real clear, a chrome pistol. Not everyone has one of these.
I take a deep breath, turn my headlight down to low, and maintain a steady throttle.
As I get closer I'm holding my breath trying to think of what I can do if something goes wrong.
I wave and yell "Buenos Tarde", and ride by.
I didn't want to say good night because I feared the bad joke that could happen.
I hear them say something but choose to ignore it and continue. My heart's racing and I'm watching my mirrors, but nothing is happening. I'm relieved.
I'm starving and it's late when I see a taco stand open. I circle back and park the bike and walk over.
As I approach there's 2 guys standing on the street talking to the 2 girls cooking.
One guy is watching me closely as I walk up and I take notice of this.
I get the feeling that this is the guy that has a hold on alot here. I act joyful and hungry and stare at the menu.
He says "Donde Va". I look at him and tell him "Aqui". I make my order.
He starts asking me a bunch more questions, questions I don't understand, so I just reply, "Grande Moto adventura" and tell him where I've been and where I'm going.
I don't know if this answers his questions but he seems satisfied, and tells me where to sit.
He points to the short wall in front of the stand. I let him know that my Spanish is bad and I see that they were talking and I'll sit over here. He again tells me to sit, but I take my burritos as the flatbed truck pulls up and move to where I said I would be sitting. The man moves over to the truck. They start talking, I'm watching them while looking down at my plate bringing the burrito to my mouth. I see them looking at me, but I continue to eat.
The truck leaves and they go back to talking.
I compliment the ladies and tell them all good night.
I get on my bike. I can't believe I'm riding out of here.
I circle the town centro and ask about a hotel, the guy I'm asking yells at someone else and he comes over, he speaks English and I'm relieved. He helps me find a room across the street. The lady tells me to push the bike through the house, into the courtyard, and leads me to my room.
I discover it's just after 10:00, it's been a long day.
I checked the GoPro camera to see if it had captured any of what had happened, but maybe it's luck that the battery had died looking back at the situation.
I head back out to the centro to talk to the guy who helped me and to get a soda. I don't say anything about what I saw, but asked alot of questions about the town.
It's a beautiful night, but I'm still hungry, I'm not sure what I ordered, but I know I ate.
I head back to my room after talking with the guy and lock the door.
I'm rattled pretty good and have visions of cartel crashing down the door, but the day's long ride and stressful encounters today have left me wiped out.
I shouldn't have watched that movie last night.
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Thanks for the compliments. This was the first time I ever tried doing video. The KTM's are great bikes.
Been following along on this and I must say you sure are pushing the envelope of safety there Amigo. don't get me wrong I am really enjoying your RR but I guess I just have a little different philosophy about cruising south of the Border, in like, I like to be done riding around 3 or so in the afternoon.
That said I must say they have done some serious damage on the road down since last October. So, did you make it all the way down or stop in La Bufa?
Awesome ride man
I agree with you. My plan wasn't to be out riding after dark, but the road construction got me there.
Yes, I rolled into Batopilas that night.
Love Batopilas!!! Can't wait to hear more!!
Booger, you know I love this report, but dude be careful!
Everything is good, working on some video.
Great RR; currently in Todo Santos enjoying a bit more of the Baja hospitality before we ride back up to Canada. 1 up on a KTM you can take the roads we couldn't 2 up on the GSA. At least with my skill set, the road from Alphonsina to Coco's and onwards to Mex 1 was enough, until I get better in the soft stuff loaded for 2up camping.
I have seen this before on other ride reports and I'm not sure as to why so many riders are compelled to secure their bikes in the rooms. I have travel all over the world, some on motorbike, and I have never done that, not even considered it. Especially not in places like Baja. The only time I have ever had our GSA locked overnight was in Downtown San Francisco upon suggestion from the hotel bellboy, and I felt I was taken for a ride.
I do not wish to start a debate on security; carelessness vs media-imbued-paranoïa, but just sayin'.... I don't get it.
Now back to the program, great vids and pics. Thanks for sharing and enjoy the mainland
Thanks for taking the time to read my report while your out on the road.
As far as securing the bike in the room. I live in Phoenix and have had freinds bikes stolen so I've always done that. And now I'm use to doing it that way and feeling safe about it. I'm sure nothing would have happened, but that is your horse and if somthing would happen, then what. I do have full caverage insurance, even down in Mexico, but would rather not deal with loosing it.
Good luck on your trip.
If not for security then I do it for convenience. It's nice to have everything in the room without having to carry it in.
I'm up early still thinking about what I encountered last night, but I walk out to explore Batopilas and hopefully find breakfast.
I enjoy people watching, but it's still too early for this town and don't find many up yet.
Nothing is open yet, but feel that I need to get moving.
The handyman at the hotel helps me get my bike out onto the street so that I can pack it up.
Today's destination is Urique, so I stop to get fuel and find more old buildings before leaving town.
It's a great day to be riding.
With all the road construction, I'm having a hard time finding the road to be on. Soon I cross the river and feel I'm heading in the right direction. But it's not long before I'm on roads that don't line up with the GPS maps and I start to get uncomfortable.
The roads turn into rough trails and I start to worry about ending up on a pot farm due to last nights endeavors.
I try several other roads but they all don't seem to line up either and finally I decided that I had enough and turned around to go back out the way I came.
20 miles outside of town, the road is blocked off.
I dig out the Spanish English translation book and these guys start to laugh. I see the humor in this as well.
Who goes deep into Mexico with very little Spanish?
I worked with the Rosetta Stone program 6 months before leaving, but have found that with the stress of all that has happened, I'm forgetting everything.
I finally put together the phrase "What time will it open?"
I'm informed not until 7 or 8 at night.
I can't ride this road again at night, I know what that looks like.
They see the stress level rise in me and offer a "mary-jew-wanna" cigarette.
Again I decline, and they start laughing again.
After building another phrase "Is there another way out?"
They team up on the GPS and start to point out towns to head for. They're speaking too fast for me to take this all in and I decide to get out my note pad and they write the names of the towns down for me.
Again the road is not on the GPS but I feel confident in their directions and turn the bike around.
The road is scenic and good for my soul, but feel that a two wheeled drive vehicle would have a hard time on it due to it's steep inclines and switchback way of meandering around obstacles.
I don't stop much knowing that today could be a long day, but when I do stop, I get uncomfortable when I hear a vehicle coming. Last nights adventure is plaguing my head, and feel as long as I keep moving I won't have to answer any questions.
The views are incredible and I start to feel more comfortable with being on a road that's not on a map when I see a military truck coming my way.
I finally reach a town I believe is Carbonetas and pull up to a store to get something to eat.
And the response I get is "Buenos tarde".
I'm shocked to see that it's 12:30 already. I find something to eat in the unlit and understocked store, but am surprised to find Pepsi. I haven't seen this since entering Mexico.
I share the cookies with the lady running the store and what I believe to be her mother.
I look at the GPS and discover that I'm barely half way. This is going to be a really long day.
The road gets smoother and I'm starting to get more comfortable with stopping and taking pictures.
I'm not sure why, but when I reach blacktop road I'm relieved. I love dirt roads and traveling off-road, but today has been a long day and it feels good to have reached it.
I finally reach the blacktop road I rode on yesterday and start to take my time taking in the sites.
I stop to relieve myself and disturb this couple.
These grasshoppers are almost 2 inches long, they're huge by Arizona standards.
I pull into Creel, 10 hours after I left Batopilas.
These young boys come up to see the lonely Gringo and the monster of a bike he pulled in on.
Future adventure riders.
It's time to unwind and I think about what I encountered last night. All the stories of decapitations, thefts, and hostage takings that you hear about in the US.
Nothing happened. I gave respect and they gave respect. They weren't interested in harming me, they just want to make sure I wasn't there to interrupt there business.
Nothing happened, sure it was a scary ordeal, but it was the stories I hear from the news and people that hurt me the most in this situation and of course the movie "Turistas" that I watched in Durango.
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Great RR. The last couple of vids with all those turns and twists - is my kind of riding. The scenery looks amazing.
Looking forward to the rest of the trip.