Tricepilot's México: Off-Road Through the Sierra Madre From Durango to Mazatlán

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by tricepilot, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    Well, SR took one video where things were not so well done!:

    Pretty exhausted, I failed to concentrate on a steep downhill into a sharp curve (doesn't look steep though in the video)

    Failed in all aspects! It was my second (and thankfully, last) crash of the trek

    Failed to consider culumlative fatigue factor

    Failed to engine brake properly

    Failed in body position

    Failed in line selection

    Failed in speed managment

    Failed in trailing brake

    Failed to avoid front brake in panic to keep from going over cliff! :eek1:lol3


    <IFRAME height=281 src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/69408481" frameBorder=0 width=500 allowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen webkitAllowFullScreen></IFRAME>


    My appearance says it all - just leave me here for the day, and bring me a beer! :lol3 :freaky

    Keep that in mind when I take Spanish in Costa Rica!
  2. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    SR had a pretty cool camera with a carabiner strapped to his backpack webbing

    [​IMG]

    This setup respects the first rule of moto riding and picture taking:

    Have the camera handy where you will use it quickly

    He also had fingerless gloves, which made operating the camera very easy

    Even my setup was poor compared to his - my camera was on my body, but inside a sketchy Walmart camera bag, that I had to unzip each time I got it out

    Plus, I had to put it away every time it rained

    Oh, we forgot to mention it rained in the Sierra! :eek1 :lol3

    With the Pentax, about the only thing you have to remember is to check the lens when riding in dusty conditions. Which we did. A lot.

    A lot of the GoPro guys failed to clean their GoPro housings when ridng in dusty conditions

    The Pentax takes great video - but I bought my own after this trip and found that you have to go in their and adjust the video resolution settings.

    The videos I uploaded to Vimeo - all taken by SR - were taken on the highes HD setting, and the files were huge. I don't think too many people would notice the difference in settings - but the difference in file sizes is very big

    Pentax has the GPS enabled WG 3 out now, for geotagging photos
  3. SR

    SR Long timer

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    The Pentax WR-X is unique from a lot of other point and shoots in that it has optical zoom, but the moving parts are all enclosed within the waterproof camera housing. You just have to make sure that the window is clean and not scratched. It takes good pictures and has a good battery life too.
  4. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    We kicked around the question of whether to report on this. Went back and forth on it, actually.

    It's actually part of the story, and if you're not comfortable with it, you won't be coming to the 2014 version, or any future version, of the ATV Ruta in the states of Durango and Sinaloa.

    The topic is guys with guns. Unauthorized authorites. Firepower in the Forest, or

    Narcos

    [​IMG]

    That guy to my left isn't riding a moto or ATV. He's working.

    In several of the ejidos we did see singles or pairs of vigilantes, enforcers, lookouts, whatever you want to call them. Narcos if you wish.

    Our big moment came rounding a curve (I was ahead of SR and by myself when the following happened) and down a hill to a shallow river crossing when I came upon 6 pickup trucks.

    And 20 guys with AK47s, sidearms, and vests. A few guys had radios. Just a forest, a river, and lots of nothing except the forest, and them. And us.

    I started a little bit of chit chat as SR was pulling up to the scene, and as he did, one of them offered us a beer! He didn't even wait for an answer, he went to a truck and returned with 2 cans.

    At this point I had the brilliant idea of capturing the scene for posterity by asking for a group photo. This went over like a lead balloon, but with more like a firm "no way" and no hostility and even a touch of a smile here and there.

    I think its fair to appreciate that to my understanding, these guys knew the group of ATVs and motos were coming and in fact had "permission" to be in their sector. So in this sense, if you are thinking about the 2014 Ruta, you can pretty much expect the same thing. The Ruta won't, and in fact can't, be run in the Sierra Madre without these guy's permission.

    I also think because these guys are there, it is safer in the Sierra Madre. How can this be? Well, last year, a kid fell off an ATV and broke his collarbone. Who was first on the scene and also got the boy out of there? These guys. They want tranquillo in their area, to be left alone to do what they do. There are a presence in force and because of it, each faction is staying in their own territory.

    Richard Grant in his book "God's Middle Finger" also subtitled "Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre" wrote a controversial tome about this exact area, and we were very close the the end scene in the book where Grant claims to have been chased by narcos. The book may be true, may be exagerrated, but the last chapter had me shaking my head in disbelief.

    [​IMG]

    Nothing of the sensational drama that Grant wrote about did we see in the Sierra Madre. We didn't go looking for, nor did we find, anything like pot farms, opium fields, or meth labs. We were minding our business and they theirs. We knew that and they knew that. You may disagree, but I feel the ride was safer because they were out there. I probably failed to fully explain why above, but that's how I feel. It doesn't matter, because if you want to do this ride, expect to also run into these guys on the trail.
  5. TXjames

    TXjames High Sider

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    I see no reason to kick around the sharing of this. It's reality. To act like it didn't happen would be disingenuous and downright deceitful. It's not as though you work for the DGO tourism board. You have no incentive to state otherwise and you did the right thing by posting. As you said, if others aren't comfortable with this sort of thing then they shouldn't visit.

    These guys aren't just protecting forest trails out in the middle of nowhere. They are the eyes and ears of those who oversee much of the operations in the country; particularly this area of Durango state. You're in a remote and lush region which offers protection and crop land to those outside the "law" . Don't fool yourselves and think otherwise.

    However, your perspective is insightful and probably shared with others who visit or live in MX. Learn to live with it or don't go. It's that simple.

    BTW, great RR Trice. And SR. I dream of sharing a similar ride one day. Until then, keep posting!
  6. SR

    SR Long timer

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    It was funny and interesting to see the reaction when Tricepilot asked these guys to get together to pose for a photo. One of them who looked like the Jefe laughed out loud and said no thanks, I don't need to be any more famous!

    This helps you understand that there is a good reason not to make a big Exposé out of these things. These guys don't need or appreciate the publicity, so those of us who have to interact with them on a long term basis try to keep our encounters with them on the down low. This conundrum is precisely what Trice and I kicked around.

    I've ran into situations like this maybe a dozen times and this one is fairly typical. In these places they see themselves as civil protection, and as authorities they typically ask the same questions, where you are from? and what you do?. These questions usually go very easy when you are sitting an a dirt bike. They are not worried about motorcycles. They concerned about the other guys, in the next valley over or the next state. Once they know who you are, they are polite and almost go out of their to show that they are the good guys.

    I won't gush over these guys too much. I'd prefer to see the region have a real government with real laws and a real economy, but that's how it is and always has been, and probably will be for a while.

    I politely declined the cervesa with the true excuse of wanting to get to Mazatlan by dark, and then gave them a wheelie show on departure as a good will gesture.
  7. motoged

    motoged Been here awhile

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    So....rollin' a fatty with these guys might have slowed the ride down a bit, I suppose .....:D :kumbaya
  8. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    Kind of like the idea of riding Mexico in general - if the idea of it conjurs up trepidation in the soul of the candidate, then they're better off at home.

    This ride has a lot of twists and nuances and ingredients you don't find back in the US or Canada. I come here all the time so its like a second home to me, but to others, I understand that they may harbor misgivings due to what their coworkers, neighbors, friends, and family might say.

    If one can overcome that, then all of that becomes part of the attraction. You can find gnarly terrain in Colorado, Utah, and plenty of other places. Take that and place it in a Mexico context, and you have an "off-road mole" - something with so many elements it's hard to pick which one stands out.

    Ha! "off-road mole" - I'll have to bottle that :lol3
  9. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    I wouldn't have been surprised if that was next on the agenda :lol3
  10. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    Like yeah - SR does that wheelie and leaves me in the dust, still parked with these guys!

    He's off across the river - all their eyes were on him - now all their eyes are on me!

    I thought I heard a guy rack the slide on an AK47 - but I didn't stick around to verify that! :freaky :lol3
  11. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    [​IMG]

    All was quiet in the ejido then we heard the sudden roar of the golf carts.

    Hector (Jr) is checking his six to make sure they see him and he doesn't get run over.


    That one ATV with the neon blue whip antenna wanted to be seen after dark - he was one of the ATVs that came in both nights near midnight. Good thing he was lit up.
  12. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    [​IMG]

    Hector's brother had a leak on his moto and was frequently adding oil. Like a lot of oil.

    These two guys were basically like all of the moto riders out there - very experienced, very fast, and nothing really was a major obstacle to them.

    I was the lone moto pilot in the opposite category :lol3
  13. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So much for Miguel telling me the night before that this day's route was nothing compared to the day before. These pics and SRs pics of the landslide section prove otherwise.
  14. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    [​IMG]

    SR, the far more experienced rider, kept hydrated - but even he wasn't fully bulletproof from the rigors of the ride.

    Big difference though between him and I - he laughed at the challenge - I worried about it.
  15. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    <IFRAME height=375 src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/69354543" frameBorder=0 width=500 webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></IFRAME>

    <IFRAME height=375 src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/69355428" frameBorder=0 width=500 webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></IFRAME>

    I wish the entire Ruta was like the photos described as "Switzerland", but alas, not the case.

    Here is the same section of Day 2 traversed first by SR, and then by an ATV. The bouncing of the ATV should give some idea of what the terrain was like. SR made his run look easy, per usual. In fact, the ATV to me looks like a slow rolling German tank from "Savng Private Ryan".

    A BMW demo rider could do this but the "average Joe" BMW or big bike rider would have his hands full, especially after already 18 hours on the trail.

    This is kinda like what the canyon drop was like, but the rocks weren't this intense there.
  16. SkizzMan

    SkizzMan There, that's it

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    Errrmmmm, I think the fact that this ride COULDA kicked your ass but you just wouldn't let it makes it a lot more meaningful to you (and impressive to the rest of us) than strolling that scoot through pastoral settings while listening to The Sound Of Music on your iPod.

    Just sayin'............
  17. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    Crap! Who told you I had The Sound of Music on my IPod?!?!?! :freaky :lol3
  18. slowoldguy

    slowoldguy Tire Tester

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    The hiiiiiillls are aliiiiiive.....
  19. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

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    Schizzman reminded me about Roll the Bones 2013 - but I have to be sure there is no conflict with Tricedaughter's sorority father/daughter sourire at Texas A&M which is also in October
  20. slowoldguy

    slowoldguy Tire Tester

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    October 25-26. New venue at lovely white trash Lake Whitney. It's always a hoot.