She's got this crazy idea- exploring the 3 America's solo, for better or for worse...

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Hewby, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    So my bike is broken. My new friends in Moctuzuma have helped me locate a mechanic. He is young, inexperienced and loaded up to the eyeballs with work. He says he will come ‘mañana’ which almost turns into never. Using the collected knowledge of ADV I have diagnosed the problem, and with the encouragement of the forum, pulled apart the water tank and found that my pinion gears are sheared. Together we diagnosis the parts to be ordered, and offers of assistance flow in to help. Bisbioian aka Adam offers to pick up the parts from Tucson as his is heading to Mexico in a few days. The amazing Tom, aka Turkeycreek, offers to drive over and pick me up in his trailer and take me back to his beautiful hotel in the town where Bisbioan was heading. Marcin is on the phone constantly supporting me and others I have met along my route chime in with advice on what to order and how to check for the symptoms. My Mexican friends are astounded, as am I at the support network of people that rally to get me back on the road.
    The next day Tom, Aka TurkeyCreek arrives with his covered motorcycle trailer, and takes me back to the quaint town of Banamichi in northern Sonora. We wind up to the town through the beautiful lush winding roads of the Sierra… wildflowers intermixed with cactus. I longed to be riding these roads.

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    My delivery van! by hewby2, on Flickr

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    IMG_1930 by hewby2, on Flickr

    At the hotel los Arcos I am treated to spotless rooms and tranquil luxury. The internet that actually worked (most of the time). I delighted in Skype with enough bandwidth for video since entering Mexico. Lush greenery surrounded the courtyard, and the water features to seemed somehow to cut the heat of the day. It was amazing what Lyn and Tom have done- building up the hotel from a run down house. Everything is tastefully thought out to the last detail, and done well. Perfectly matched colors. Murals, and greenery bringing the place together into a beautiful sanctuary. And still they work hard to expand the small ten-bed hotel, Tom putting together plans for another beautiful straw bale building across the street.

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    Hotel mural by hewby2, on Flickr

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    IMG_1929 by hewby2, on Flickr

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    IMG_1928 by hewby2, on Flickr


    We put the bike in the huge back shed awaiting its repair, and away from prying eyes. My hosts Lyn and Tom delighted me with stories of ride tales and misadventures. He talks of his business running motorcycle tours through the beautiful Sonora, and also through the USA and Colorado. Both him and Lyn have a wealth of knowledge on the area and they assist bikers plan their adventures to take in the beauty, and history of the area. Working hard to create the perfect self guided tour, or a guided one depending on the persons taste.

    Their friends would wander in delightfully, and share further stories, and show of new second hand purchases; A bicycle with wire panniers, a golf cart that we had a tour of the town on. Their enthusiasm was enjoyable. This town too was building up for the Independence Day Fiesta. Tom put up flags above the hotel. Marching bands practiced for the event. Plans were made to go to Hermosillo to buy for fireworks for the celebrations. A simply lovely place to await the delivery of the parts, and getting my bike back on the road again.

    [​IMG]
    IMG_1932 by hewby2, on Flickr
    #21
  2. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    Bisoboinan aka Adam, arrives and delivers the parts on a beautiful red moto guzzi. He pulls in straight from the border to let us know he has arrived, goes home to change before coming straight back up to the hotel to start work on getting the bike back in working order. We piece together knowledge from the chain gang, the Haines manual, and emails and phone calls to Frank from ‘Z’s motorcycle werks and ZMW adventures’, a lovely knowledgeable and caring man who I had met on my way through Tucson. The pionion gears are sheared, and the waterpump a little damaged. We work late into the night, the frustrations of the assembly at times doing our head in. We have to cut the oil pipe and replace it with a tube pipe in order to pull out the clutch cover. Placing the lot back we break the clutch arm, and there is a moment of panic when we think we have really broken the clutch, and will need further parts. Thankfully, some thought patience then banging with a hammer we finally seem to sort the pieces back in order.

    Tiredness and hunger overcome us and we call it a night. The bike is still in bits on the garage floor. But we sleep.
    The next morning Adam does a stellar job at getting the bike together while I trade a little time in his overgrown garden helping his lovely wife. We do a shake down ride for 5 hours to get fireworks for independence day, arriving back just after dark. A few further tweaks made on the road and I feel almost ready to hit the road in the morning. Much indebted to my delivery driver and mechanic Adam, and hosts Tom and Lyn, for their support to put me back on the road south.
    #22
  3. CourtRand

    CourtRand Been here awhile

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    Sounds like you are in great company - Tom and Lyn sound like amazing people. It will be hard for you to move on maybe! Great stories so far - keep em coming!
    #23
  4. Cal

    Cal Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the up date re the pinion gears. Don't you wish the parts guy at the dealer where you bought the water pump kit would have said.... hey maybe you should take these 2 pinion gears also?
    Looks like a lovely hotel Los Arcos,hope to check it out in the future.
    #24
  5. jbcaddy

    jbcaddy Long timer

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    #25
  6. Paddygfw

    Paddygfw Adventurer

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    WOW!!!!!!!!
    On the edge of my seat waiting for the next installment:1drink
    #26
  7. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    The road without bears

    Sent off by Tom to find the road without bears. The signage 'camino sinuoso' at one point had been doctored to say ' camino sin oso'. A small winding road through the mountains that locals I met along the way warned me dropped of into cliffs and were very steep!
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8041305894/" title="P1110522 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8173/8041305894_7b9853ca8c.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="P1110522"></a>
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    The Sierra Mardas is beautiful. Recent rain bringing the desert alive with color, flowers line the road, butterflies line my windscreen, and a variety of birds flit past the bike. But the roads are in a poor state. Lots of to huge rocks potholes, tarantulas, donkeys, turkey vultures, horses, cattle and dogs to keep you on your toes. Often running in front of the bike for a few hundred meters before veering off to the side.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8040739844/" title="GOPR5652 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8312/8040739844_eec3dcb540.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="GOPR5652"></a>

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    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8040739733/" title="GOPR5720 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8454/8040739733_a682e4a63d.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="GOPR5720"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8040746194/" title="GOPR5699 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8174/8040746194_0460588e83.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="GOPR5699"></a>
    Plus a water crossing or two (which I also use to cool off in). And really bike breaking sever speedbumps! The bottom of my bike is getting a beating.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8039776051/" title="GOPR5645 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8172/8039776051_1f7f2402c7.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="GOPR5645"></a>

    The amazing curves of hwy 16 with significantly better roads has left the sides of my footplates and toes being scrapped at least 10 times in 80km. One bank after another as I wound my way through the mountains. For a change this road had only the occasional truck coming round the corner on the wrong side, or half the hillside and trees siting my side of the roads. So it was defiantly an easier road to navigate. Though getting over 60 km per hour felt like you were flying.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8040749938/" title="GOPR5722 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8169/8040749938_89fb3b9705.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="GOPR5722"></a>


    The locals seem to have amazing patience. Seemingly unperturbed to wander down the road at 30km an hour, or down the main street at an excruciating 5 km an hour. Maybe enjoying watching the gringo on the bike try and keep from stalling behind them! But they kindly turn on their left indicator to let you know it's safe to pass. Or at times also to turn left! Not a fantastic combination!
    #27
  8. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity

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    I remember those fun driving habits and topes from driving a van to Guatemala back in '93 keep your eyes peeled
    #28
  9. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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    Hewby,
    Try taking the topes at an shallow angle.

    Glad you liked 'Sweet 16." Hwy 20 has apparently deteriorated a bit during the rainy season. Keep the RRs coming.
    #29
  10. bisbonian

    bisbonian Long timer

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    Topes.

    I hate Topes.

    Cruising along at 40mph (or 50 or 60) and all of a sudden there's a speedbump in the middle of the road? I've been surprised on a few occasions and it's not been pretty.
    #30
  11. Rob.G

    Rob.G Mostly Harmless

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    IN! :)

    Hey where did you get that mount for your iPhone? I saw one of those before but the guy who had it didn't know where it came from (it was borrowed). I haven't found it on the RAM site. I know it's not iPhone-specific, but that's it.

    Rob
    #31
  12. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    Hey Rob I got them from alt rider in Seattle. There is a specific iPhone mount but as I have a life case on my phone it didn't fit, so I just got the universal one with the fingers. it seems to work well when the base mount is not broken!

    Well they say Mexico will make you a better rider so getting a bit of practice! Will work on the Tope angle!

    Came down with dodgy food poisoning in Creel so holding off on the next ride report till I don't feel like $#^¥.
    #32
  13. Rob.G

    Rob.G Mostly Harmless

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    Thanks! I'll have to get one from them too. I also have a Lifeproof case.

    Rob
    #33
  14. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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    Hope you feel better. It's pizza night here at Los Arcos. Sorry you missed it.[​IMG]
    #34
  15. ThumperStorm

    ThumperStorm Long timer

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    Hope you are feeling better.:sick
    #35
  16. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    Thanks all. Back into perfect health and enjoying trying all that the Mexican cuisine can throw at me. Well not true. There is way too much food to try. But I am having a go. Ride report is still a ways off, however. ( too busy making up for lost time sick in bed!). Mexico is beautiful, the riding is brilliant and the people are lovely! But you knew that anyway. But just for the record. First swim in the ocean today at San Blas since my dip in the Arctic - the two worlds apart.
    #36
  17. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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    Glad you are feeling better and enjoying the ride
    #37
  18. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    I stopped at Basaseachi falls, after a fantastic ride over hwy 16. I found a free camp at the head of the falls, and had a lovely evening cooking on coals under the stars. The heat had dissipated and I wrapped myself snuggly in my sleeping bag. Once again surprised to feel the chill after the heat of the Sonoran desert.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/7998662017/" title="Untitled by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8302/7998662017_313facbe41.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Untitled"></a>

    There was a shortcut to the Copper canyon on my map that looked unpaved, but took off 100km on my journey. This area was known for a high amount of drug activity and after the challenging conditions of the paved roads further north, I was concerned about heading off road alone for so long. However word on Adv had me speaking to the police at the road blocks, and other locals, to check on the planned route. After a number of nods I found the way to be a beautiful well made road, curving delightfully through the mountains to Creel. After lunch, I headed into the Copper Canyon to the town of Divisadero to the rim of the Canyon.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/7998673422/" title="Untitled by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8442/7998673422_007ce9fc28.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Untitled"></a>
    It was such a strange feeling, I was riding beautiful roads, seeing amazing sites, but my mood was low. After camping alone the day before and spending a lot of time on the bike in my own head I was surprised at how isolated I had made myself. My limited Spanish had made it difficult to interact significantly with people around me, and while I was used to traveling solo, spending so much time on the motorbike I found had removed me from others. My ties to home had me feeling down as I couldn&#8217;t be there for those that I loved. And in my head I questioned what I was doing here on the bike. I started to have second thoughts.

    I head to a hostel to try and get some interaction to get my self out of this rut. After pulling up and negotiating a dorm bed, with a cheap dinner and breakfast thrown in, I came out to the bike to find people waiting by my bike. A Dutch couple, Marjolein and Christian http://www.gs-adventures.nl/, who were riding two 20 year old GS&#8217;s south to Ushuaia as well. I am stoked to met people. It was like an answer to my prayers. I always find it funny that when I need something the universe provides it. I feel almost blessed, and very, very lucky. Both our hotels had the same deal for dinner so we spend the night eating sadly pretty bland food, but excitedly making plans to ride the supposedly beautiful but often treacherously steep and often washed out road to Batopilas in the morning together. Not something I was particularly keen on doing alone.
    #38
  19. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    The early hours of the am saw my body violently revolting against the dinner of the night before. My guts churned. My stomach heaved. My poor roommates. Sadly at one point I heard my heaving’s echoing throughout the hostel as others seemed to making the same intimate acquaintance with the toilet bowl as I was. I felt terrible. To make it worse I thought I had lost my new found friends.
    I dragged myself out of bed in the morning to let them know that I would not be joining them that day. As I arrived at their hotel, Christian was waiting for me, the looking the same ashen shade of yellow as me and holding his stomach. Marjolein was still in bed. It confirmed the dinner as the cause of our pain and we negotiated a free night in which to recuperate. I crawled back to my hostel, with water, fresh bread and a banana and almost slept through the whole day and a night.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8041358121/" title="P1110598 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8175/8041358121_9822ebecc4.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="P1110598"></a>

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    The next day we decided even though still feeling a little queasy the fresh air of riding would do us good. We both lost almost a week with breakdowns on our bikes as we arrived in Mexico, and we were feeling that our timing was getting behind. Conversations with others had ruled out Batopilas, my roommates having been there a week ago reported AK47 wielding men madly searching their bus. They stated they always felt on edge walking around the town, and scared of what they would meet when they rounded the corner. There were no police and army in this town, only the cartel that seemed to be overactive, and blatantly showing their force. Others told us that the road had been washed away again in the rain and was inaccessible. As none of us were feeling fully up to speed we choose the safe route, bypassing Batopilas and on towards Durango.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8041367808/" title="P1110604 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8037/8041367808_9d06416e16.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="P1110604"></a>

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    On the way we passed through the ‘Valle de hongos’, a picturesque valley with interesting rock formations where the indigenous Ramamuri people live in caves amongst the hillside.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8041341003/" title="IMG_1974 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8175/8041341003_108b6d3197.jpg" width="500" height="500" alt="IMG_1974"></a>

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    #39
  20. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    currently on the road, but I call Tassie home
    It took us 2 days from Creel to reach the fabulous Durango. Once there, we decided to stop and take in the sights, the street life, and the food for two nights.


    We found a cheap room in and old castle type building opposite the cathedral. For the first time on this trip we were offered to park our bikes in the hallway, something we had heard of, but never done. A really fun adventure driving them in!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8011026499/" title="Image 7 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8448/8011026499_296498b24e.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="Image 7"></a>
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    That night walking past another hotel we looked into the lobby to spot another couple of GS bikes parked amongst the grandeur of the big hotel. We left a note on the bikes, hoping to catch up with the owners. Which we did! We got an email as we were walking back past the hotel after a fabulous meal out, we walked in to meet two Kiwi’s; Dianna, and Ken. For a while we thought Diana was riding the other R1200GSA , an impressive feat for her size, but later we discovered her husband Dick was the driver and had retired for the evening. A lovely catch up about the road and thoughts of travel so far.

    A bicycle race was starting the next morning at 6 am headed by Lance Armstrong. We decided to crawl out of bed to watch the start. The cyclist were racing the road we planned to ride so it was timely that we were not on the road that day.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8012013103/" title="Untitled by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8174/8012013103_b5c4f49412.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Untitled"></a>
    #40