One more Mexico, Copper Canyon, Baja PlanningThread

Discussion in 'Americas' started by mtncrawler, Mar 8, 2012.

  1. mtncrawler

    mtncrawler Long timer

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    Instead of hijacking other folks threads with my planning questions - I thought I'd just post straight-away. I've already spent quite a bit of time in the search mode and have read several trip reports...:freaky

    I’ve got last minute clearance to head off to the south for a few weeks thanks to job transition and I thought I’d see what all the fuss is regarding Meh-He-Co…(OK, I’ve seen plenty of ride reports, so I think I know that one…). Tentative push off date from CO is 3/17…3/18. Need to be back in CO on 4/6…4/7ish.

    Thanks, in advance, for your patience in answering some very Mexico “gringo” questions…

    My plan is to somewhat reverse fellow inmates “Iowa” route that he mapped out in this thread – only entering Mexico from Columbus, NM (tentatively). I'l probably reverse the route exactly through the CC area to Mazatlan (unless there is good reason to change it up a bit) - with Baja being a littel more free form..:lol3 (I'm still creating the route - but as this time came up last minute, I'm expediting..:lol3)

    http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=211097911890235445270.0004b60b05c57d0332867&msa=0

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=761422

    So roughly - enter Mexico at Columbus, NM…head generally south to the Copper Canyon area – over to Mazatlan for the ferry, and then up Baja to CA and Phoenix – where I’ll decide whether to leave my bike there (family in town) and fly back to Denver (time/weather permitting call) OR ride all the way back. That’s the rough plan. If this timeline and direction coincides with anyone elses - I'm not opposed to meeting other inmates - my timeline is pretty firm though (within a day or two).

    I’ll be riding my 09' 12GSA and an pretty comfortable solo on some off-road/beaten track type routes (WABDR, Colroado Passes/BC, NM desert stuff). I’ll be carrying camping stuff (especially for Baja), but being an outdoor enthusiast, I’m pretty minimalist load wise.

    Any route recommendations, better places to cross coming from the I-25 (TorC, NM) places to stay, general words of wisdom….etc :D

    Couple of questions that I’d like some clarity on - I'm sure not the last.
    1)I’ve heard that documents such as vehicle registration, drivers license, and credit card need to match “exactly” otherwise there could be border trouble. So how exact? :lol3 My CC has my full first name, middle initial , and last name – my moto registration (Colorado – no lien holder) has my full first name – no middle initial – and full last name. Is that “exact” enough? Also addresses; I live in a townhome – the unit number is listed as “#4” on registration .vs. plain “4” on drivers license. Will that trip someone up?
    2)I’ve got a good list of paper copy maps and have read some good threads on the Copper Canyon/Baja area in regards to GPS maps (but the posts that I saw were from a few years ago). I have a Garmin 62s and Basecamp (Mac). Sounds like the general rule is that the E32 maps are better for off-roading/single tracks, where the Bicamapas maps are routable and may not contain more off the beaten path roads. Is that still the general consensus? Have things changed or updated recently?
    3)Route recommendations from the border, south to CC?
    4) Ferry reservations - do I need or can I just show up (withing reason based on schedules obviously)
    5) I'm getting quotes for 18 days for online insurance for like $180-$300 depending on level of colission coverage. Sound about right?

    My first time to Mexico – I’m excited!

    Thanks! Mike
    #1
  2. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    As far as your first question (#1 of 5) you'll be fine
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  3. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    Double check your name as appears on your state registration and on your passport (or passport card).

    Most of the time there's not a hitch unless in the case of very common nicknames, e.g, John/Jack; Robert/Bob; Richard/Dick; William/Bill etc. Probably not an issue in your specific case.
    #3
  4. mtncrawler

    mtncrawler Long timer

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    Thanks TP!
    I'll double check that - I think I'm OK - all docs say "Michael" and not "Mike". (My mother would be proud...)

    Great RR's by the way..a plethora of information (loved your "border crossing 101" threads..:lol3), entertaining, and in my case, enticing! So it's all (well some) your fault!..:D

    Mike
    #4
  5. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    I would agree that "close enough" I am also one that has my name look a little different on a lot of documents/credit cards, but I never had a problem in Mexico or with the TVIP.

    I can't speak to the ferry issues or the baja portion, but I will say that I think your route sounds a little too tight for a trip of that length and with such firm dates on either side. I think you should be thinking you will have to leave the bike and fly back to Colorado.

    I went to CC canyon and back last year about the same time: (my report here). I also went to Baja and back last fall: (that report here), so I took them in different sections. I would just remind you of what I am sure you know. You need the halve the mileage south of the border for what you can do in a day. If you like 500 mile days, plan on 250. If you like 300 mile days, think of 150. The roads and progress get slower down in MX, but, of course, that is a lot of the fun.

    And I would recommend my route through Buenaventura. I liked going that way. I also crossed at Columbus, NM and that is a nice place to do it. I would do it again there.
    #5
  6. mtncrawler

    mtncrawler Long timer

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    Thanks for the comment WR! (Nice RR by the way...:D)

    Yeah, I know I may be pushing it and you are right about the mileage expectations. I guess, once on the road, I'll just be flexible - worst case - I need to push it back through Baja (or accelerate through the mainland somewhat) to be sure to hit Phoenix aqround 4/6 or 4/7.

    Thanks for the Buenaventura recommendation. BTW, I saw your post in another thread on GPS maps. The only reason I'd be leaning towards the E32 maps is because I'm on a Mac and BaseCamp. Bicamapas only works (or at least gauranteed to do so) on PC's according to the website.

    Mike
    #6
  7. Oddfellow

    Oddfellow Beasty Rider

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    I run Bicamaps Mexico on a Mac with Garmin Roadtrip. Works pretty flawlessly. The only hitch I ever had was it directing through Chihauhau and routing me the wrong way down a one way street. My versions are old, I'm sure the current ones are even better.

    I do think your routing and time frame are a bit ambitious. Can be done but don't dawdle. It's fun to dawdle sometimes.
    #7
  8. mtncrawler

    mtncrawler Long timer

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    Thanks Oddfellow

    I had heard of others success using Bicamapas on Mac's - but being a GPSing newbie of sorts, I was a little hesitant. For $50, I decided to try it out. Already downloaded Roadtrip :D We'll see.

    I'm starting to rethink the route based on WR's and, now your comments. Maybe just stick to Copper canyon - then maybe the Big Bend area - BUT even if I had to kick it a little after Copper Canyon...I have visions of slow days and many cerveza's camped on the sandy beaches of Baja...maybe ferry over from Topolobampo to save some time? I've got a week to figure it out!

    Mike
    #8
  9. going south

    going south hero & Zero...

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    My experience with the ferry issue or non issue, I have just shown up 3 times now Los Mochis (topolobampo) to La Paz... & La Paz to Mazatlan & Mazatlan to La Paz ... not a problem, nor have I heard of anyone getting put on hold till the next departure....

    your ride sounds great! but a little high speed and not a lot of smelling the rose's... but that's just me, I'm kinda sniffy like an old dog......:freaky
    #9
  10. BoulderGuy

    BoulderGuy out ridin'....

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    You should have no problem if the names on the docs don't match exactly. No reservations for the Topo/La Paz ferry needed. (Have not been on the Mazatlon ferry) Highly reccommend Columbus/palamos for the crossing. Try Bajabound for the insurance quotes. FYI, I live in Boulder and have a bunch of paper maps of CC showing the roads that actually exist. I've been on the route you'be laid out a bunch of times and would be more than willing to give you copies of the maps and run you through the route.
    #10
  11. mtncrawler

    mtncrawler Long timer

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    Thanks going south!
    Yes, I like to smell the roses as well...I think I could do the mileage (based on other trips US on/off road) but it's starting to feel like a push - especially for a Mexico first timer. (Been to SA twice, sans moto) We'll see.

    BoulderGuy - Great offer...I'll send a PM along shortly. I work in Boulder - for one more week anyways...:lol3
    #11
  12. Cyclenaut

    Cyclenaut Adventurer

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    Howdy mtncrawler...looks like you have a great trip planned...if you end up w/ a day or two in Phoenix, drop me a line, we could hook up and do a ride if you have time....have a great safe trip
    #12
  13. pasomonte

    pasomonte Been here awhile

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    Mike, I just got back from a similar trip. Here are a few observations.
    1. I'm not sure that you can do a temporary vehicle import from Columbus. I think you have to do that at Santa Teresa or elsewhere. If you come in at Santa Teresa there wont be fuel for like 100 miles into MX. Arrive at the border full and with some pesos (or change at Bancjercito).
    2. Nuevos Casas Grandes isn't a particularly charming town. Try to get to Mata Ortiz where there is a guest house run by Marta Veloz with excellent homemade food.$35 w 3 great meals. http://www.ortizpots.com/traveling.html
    3.Assuming you like riding forest roads there is an excellent route to Madera from Mata Ortiz down the top of the Sierra Madre del norte. Take the new road to Cueva de la Olla and turn south at about KM 23 to Colonia Garcia. Its a long way and no services, perhaps 100 Km of dirt. There are many stream crossings and a few tiny hamlets. The entire day is scenic and the roads are similar to USFS Rds in the US. there are a few log trucks on the south end. The last hour of the day is back on pavement from La Mesa del Huracan into Madera. I stayed at the very comfortable Hotel Casa Grande. There are also cabins north of town.
    4. I didn't find Creel particularly interesting although I saw more Tarahumara there than anywhere else. Maybe camping at Cusarare would be better here.
    5. I couldn't get any reliable information about leaving Batopilas except to backtrack to Creel. I spose I should have lurked around here in ADV rider until I found something. Hotel Real de Minas in Bato is excellent.
    6. Tubares to Choix is scenic but there will be a lot of fast moving trucks and pick ups coming at you because of the gold mines. They will ALWAYS be in your lane on every curve. I think you could probably camp along the river because hotels in Choix are pretty dismal.
    7. Ferry service is more frequent from Topalabampa (los Mochis) than Mazatlan. There is an excellent Yamaha shop in Los Mochis where you can get service if needed. Los Mochis is a really nice and prosperous little city. Its a good place to do laundry, change oil, shop etc. Seafood is awesome here.
    8. Get your maps in the states. Maps are very hard to find in rural Mexico. There is a great deal of road building and many new roads are possible including a supposedly new road out of Batopilas to the west. http://wide-world-maps-and-more.amazonwebstore.com/9706211845/M/9706211845.htm
    9. About 1/3 of all Pemex stations listed are actually closed. Check before you go.
    10. The Tecate crossing cannot process Bancjercito refunds at this time due to some equipment problem. I had to go to the eastern truck crossing in Mexicali. The road to Mexicali from Tecate is incredible.
    thats it, Have fun
    PM if you want my GPS
    tracks
    #13
  14. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    Yes, it is possible to obtain a TVIP at the Columbus/Palomas crossing
    #14
  15. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    +1

    And very easy to do, I might add. Of course, I got it before the mandatory charge for the full depost.



    Sounds like you have some good ideas. I will say that kicking it on the beach with una cerveza fria is great and I highly recommend it. But it is a lot more fun without any time pressure. Either way, make sure to take pics and tell us all about it.
    #15
  16. mtncrawler

    mtncrawler Long timer

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    Pasomonte,

    Thanks for the detailed response! :clap I've made note of your recommendations for stops, routes, and the shop in Los Mochis on my "list". Great info.

    I'll probably shoot you a PM for the tracks so that I can compare/contrast/use against the route I'm building. Just curious what were you riding?

    Thanks again,
    Mike
    #16
  17. mtncrawler

    mtncrawler Long timer

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    Thanks for the clarification TP and WR!

    WR, right on! I'm still debating the timeline/route. At least I have an "out" in Phoenix to hustle back to Denver. My brother graciously signed up for babysitting my bike - if it comes to that. He did insist I leave the keys..:lol3
    #17
  18. mtncrawler

    mtncrawler Long timer

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    Thanks for the offer Cyclenaut! Somehow I doubt I'll have the time..but I'll keep it on the list in case it works out!

    Mike
    #18