Big O's little trip...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Umarth, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Same here! thanks again for the great hospitality! And convey my thanks to your dad for flipping the bill for supper: feel bad that I didn't get a chance to do it my self, it jus slipped my mind. Had a great time with you and your family :)

    Now, GGG, time to take that monster of a bike of yours off road!!! Go! Go! :freaky
    #61
  2. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Days: 35
    Where: The Oregon coast

    After I left Gunner, I stuck to the highway. My goal was to barrel down the west coast to get to Mexico as quickly as possible. There where two motivation behind that plan: (1) the US is damn expensive and (2) I've already spent 3 months a few years ago roaming the area and did not feel the need to repeat the experience.

    And that's how I ended up zipping by the Washington state without even stopping for gas or food. We stopped in Portland for the night and go a shit hotel but it had WiFi, so can't complain to much.

    Before leaving the next morning I phoned around for a few parts that where needed for Big O (tire and head light among others) and ended up ordering them from the very same dealer, near Santa Barbara, that I had used 3 years ago when in the region. Was funny as I didn't even realise it until he asked if i'd ever done business with them and I realized that had. what a small world1!

    The sad part was that the parts where not in his inventory and had to be ordered from KTM, which meant a week's delay before I could get the parts! That kinda threw a monkey wrench in my plans of zipping through the US... So I looked at the map and saw Yosemite national park. Not a bad place to visit, no? :) So I decided that I would follow the 101 to San Francisco and then point Big O towards Yosemite.

    But before that, we had the gorgeous coast of Oregon to follow. It reminded me of the Cabot Trail, back in Canada. Only, much much longer. :)

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    This was taken from a beach right on the side of the 101, where I stopped to have lunch. I know, I know, my life is hell...

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    The last time I was in California with a motorbike, one of the things that I really wanted to see was giant sequoia trees, but being winter at the time, I never got to see any. Well, while going down the 101 in Oregon I saw a little sign indicating a scenic route that follows the 101. This is what I came across:

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    One more thing I can cross off the bucket list! Pee on a f'n big tree... :p

    Here's a nice tunnel we went through at some point. Can't remember if that was still in Oregon or if we had already crossed into California.

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    And this is where we ended up camping for the night. Nice little campground about an hour north of San Francisco. There was no room left but I pleaded a bit and the dude in the booth said: well, technically, you are on a bike so I guess I could let you setup your tent in the bike and hiker area... :)

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    Big O's take on the days events
    I'm not in the habit of worrying but I admit that I'm stating to. My rear tire has nothing left as far as thread goes and he's gonna ride me for a week before changing it? In hellishly hot conditions? this ain't gonna end well... :/
    #62
  3. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Day: 37
    Where: just out side King's Canyon (Sequoia national park)
    Odo: 12300

    Nice day of riding, going from chilly on the coast to freaking hot in Fresno. Ended up camping up a dirt track that snaked off the road in Sequoia national park. Nice and secluded, perfect for the nefarious activies I had planned for the evening!

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    Unfortunately, started to rain just I was getting the instruments of torture out. But fear not, my captive audience, we came up with a fix for that too...

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    The oil change went without a hitch. And thanks to gateraid, who so thoughtfully made a bottle with 593ml, filling the frame with oil does not require any guessing (manual states to put 600ml of oil in the frame).

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    And with one 1.5 liter water bottle (top cut off) to catch the oil coming out of Big O and two 1l bottles to contain it and add a roll of paper towels and you get zero trace on the ground of the nefarious deed! :)

    Big O's take on the surgery
    Aaaah! That feels better! And look, again my insides seem to be behaving quite nicely!

    [​IMG]
    #63
  4. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Day: 38
    Where: King's canyon national park, California

    The day started ludicrously early as I did not care to be discovered by some park ranger on a power trip, considering that I was camping on hallowed ground without permission nor having payed the all mighty U.S. government.

    So I hopped back on Big O at 6am and went about exploring King's canyon. Yes yes: King's canyon, not Yosemite! After chatting with a nice chap at a gas station, I concluded that I could do without the flood of vacationing tourist in motor homes. So I skipped Yosemite in favor of kings canyon which is almost as nice and deserted by the Legions of retirees and family feuds...

    Really nice park and deserted! And, Oh My God! The twistees! Heavenly! Simply Heavenly!

    Here are a few pics of the place. Didn't really feel like hiking, oddly enough, so all the pics are from the side of the road.

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    Here we have a good example of the twisties. You have two layers of them. The first layer is obvious on the right, but look to the left and you will see that the roads winds down all the way!

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    The sad thing was those damn RV's!!!! Going so slow that they ruin the twisties for every one else! Selfish old bastards!!!

    But, as with everything, it would seem that it is true and that you can have to much of a good thing! after about 4hrs of these crazy twisties, I was still in them and was looking at an other 200km of this before breaking out of them! Shit on the Dragon's Tail! This is where the twisties reside!!

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    Well, lucky for me, we came across a motel along this highway and that's where I called it quits for the day...

    Big O's take on the day's events

    And it was all the more welcome, that motel, as it had been raining for the last hour which had been forcing us to slowdown to RV speeds! Imagine the ignominy of it!!! Was almost enough to make me shed tears of shame!
    #64
  5. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Days: 39
    where: death valley, California
    ___

    Was nice to wake up in a bed, I must admit. And luxury of luxuries: I even had breakfast at the motels restaurant! All fed and Big O all saddled up, we departed for the next leg of the 190. In other words: a shit load of twisties for an other good hour!

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    And by twisties, this is the shit I'm talking about:

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    We eventually emerged from the twisties onto slow winding roads and here I though we where gonna make good time. That was counting without the thunder storm that raged here last night while I was calmly drooling in a motel pillow. The road was littered with debris. You had the whole gamut of junk of the tarmac: sand, gravel, pebbles, boulders, trees braches, you name it and it was on it. I think I even saw a peace of Merf Griffin! Our planned route even ended in a washout and had to urn around and re-route.

    An hour or two later we emerged onto highway 395. And, god damn it, there was a sign just teasing me: Death Valley 225km! The thing is, it's fracking July and death valley is the hottest place on earth that I know of. Just a few days back, they reached 54deg C (or 130F for you American royalists). and Death Valley just so happens to be one of those irresistible and magical places for me. But god damn! 54c! That's hot! And in full motocross gear to boot!

    That's when my brain did what it's been trained to do all these long years: it rationalized it!

    "He, it would be a great test for the bike ad your gear! To see if they can handle the heat. If they pass that test, then your golden for central America. Plus, you are 7 months late on your planed visit to the place. Remember, you where suppose to be on Telescope peak for your 40th!"

    And so I pointed Big O north, towards Death Valley and 2-3 hours later...


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    Just before entering D.V., I could not help myself but take the same picture I took of my old VMax last time I was here.

    Then...

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    What I bike that was!!

    And now...
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    Almost looked like some stupid politician had decided to nuke the valley there for a second!

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    Last few times I was in D.V. it was winter and the campgrounds where full. Full as in no room left. Well, it would seem that july is not quite the same. We where a woping 3 campers in the whole campground! can't say that I minded it one bit...

    Here are a few pics of D.V. that I took before hitting the sac.


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    One of the benefits of it being so hot, no need to get the gas stove out to heat up a can chowder!!

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    After an hour in the sun, it was quite warm! hahaha

    And in token of my missed date with Telescope peek for my 40th...

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    It's now 10pm, in death valley, the stars our out and so is the moon, casting a gibbous light on the valley's walls, in an empty campground. Gazing at all this, I can't help but feel like a very tiny little speck of dusk in the middle of a very big universe... But this speck of dust can't help but smile at where life has taken him and is quite brimming with hope as to what the future has in store for him...

    Big O's take on the days events
    *pant*
    *drool*
    *pant*
    #65
  6. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Days: 40-43
    Where: Santa Barbara, California
    Odo: 13700km

    Happy I got to see Death Valley again, but it was now time to continue on and get to Santa Barbara for the parts that I'd ordered for Big O. That took all day as we came out of death valley by the southern end: furnace creek to Santa Barbara 600km.

    Bright and early the next morning (well kind of... noon...) we got to the dealership and took possession of some stuff. Changed the rear tire right there in the parking lot.

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-xgKRR7p/0/M/IMG_0804-M.jpg">

    The bad news was that I noticed that Big O had crapped his crush drive bearing. Good thing he has 2! Hopped back in side the dealership and asked for some bearings. No luck! Not in stock, but he did give me the address of a dealer in L.A. that does have it in stock. Oh well, was kind of expecting it. Again, I'm seeing just how great my dealer in Montreal is. He stocks just about every part that you wear out normally.

    So, once the tire changed, was time to hunt for a camping site and finish up installing the rest of the parts that I just got. Found one 30min outside of Santa Barbara. The perfect place: bike in the shade! :)

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-V8gRWh6/0/M/_FX02922-M.jpg">

    Here's Big O naked ready to be fawned upon and Karma looking a bit worried about life...
    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-n6PxRnn/0/M/IMG_0816-M.jpg">

    So I replaced Big O's low beam casing, his two front break rotors, radiator cap, radiator fluid (as I had to add water a few times, cap was spewing all the time), checked valve clearances (all good) and changed spark plug. Speaking of which here is a pic of it. Wonder if it's indicating a lean condition? It was more gray than brown...

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-tSpzDX6/0/M/IMG_0815-M.jpg">

    And hunted down the oil leak that was coming from the top of the engine.

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-gpzgP6r/0/M/IMG_0810-M.jpg">

    I thought I would have to re-do the liquid Gasket, which is a job I absolutely despise as it takes forever to clean off the old one. But turns out that it was one of the front bolts that was loose and oil was coming out of it's Chanel. Me a happy camper let me tell you!! :)

    Once all dressed back together, went for a ride in the mountains just overlooking Santa Barbara. Another great road with lots of tight turns and no traffic! :)

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-dJq4TNp/0/XL/_FX02908-M.jpg">

    <b>Big O's comments of the day</b>
    Poor bastard! He thought he had that oil leak plugged, but it isn't! It's much less now but still, I'm still weeping some...
    #66
  7. gunnerbuck

    gunnerbuck Island Hopper

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    6,695
    Location:
    N.V.I, B.C.
    Hi Jason,
    i don't know which bolt was loose and leaking, but if it was one the bigger allen {m 8} bolts you should check and make sure they are not reversed... The front and back are different lengths and if you reverse them the longer bolt will bottom out before it fully tensions the cover down and then will leak...
    #67
  8. juames

    juames Have Fun, Don't Die!

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,209
    Location:
    Ottawa
    Great rr so far, really enjoying it!

    How many kms did the rear Mitas tire last?

    Might check a bearing shop if the other KTM deal doesn't have stock. Will most likely be cheaper to...
    #68
  9. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Was one of the short outer ones. Front/left.
    #69
  10. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Yeah, tried that. Called the bearing shops I could find in San Diego and nobody had them in stock. Much much cheaper but would still have had to wait a week.

    So I just installed my spare one and ordered some from a ktm dealer in Mexico City. They should arrive just as I do too. :)

    As for the mites, they lasted 13000km. But at that time, they where toast. Asphalt and sand, not to steep, they where still ok, anything else and they would not have given much if any traction...
    #70
  11. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Oddometer:
    3,516
    Location:
    Corral de Tierra CA, Ketchum ID
    Nice trip.
    #71
  12. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Where: San Diego
    Days: 43-46

    Arrives in San Diego as the sun was setting. Had absolutely no clue as to where I'd be staying the night so I followed the gps until it stated that I had arrived in San Diego.

    Now, needed to find accommodations for the night so I turned into a parking lot and starting looking at map for a likely place for free WiFi so I could find a hotel. As I was fiddling with the gps, out of the corner of my eye I spotted a nice sounding ktm 990 at the stop light. Apparently he spotted Big O also as he promptly jumped the mid lane curb and scooted on to my parking lot. Gavin and his wife where the riders of the 990.

    Chatted a bit and ended up invited to their place for a chat and, if I cared, could make use of there couch for the night! Gotta love the ktm crowd! :)

    A had a few things to attend to before heading out to their place, food among others. The restaurant I was at had WiFi so I took to opportunity to book a hotel for the following three days as price being really good.

    After my errands, picked up a bottle of red and headed over to Gavin's place. I also met his parents as they where visiting. Really nice evening with all of them. Hearing of my woes with my bearings, Gavin volunteered his tools if I needed and his parking. Hard to say no to that, but I ended up finding, by pure chance, a ktm dealer that swapped in my spare set for free! Would have loved to see that happen at MotoInter in Montreal... As if!

    Two days later they invited my for dinner at a nice restaurant. Here are my hosts:

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-xH3fKQs/0/M/IMG_0817-M.jpg">

    As for my bearings, seems that they are really rare and none of the bearings shops I found in San Diego had them in stock and would have take at least a week to get them. Instead of waiting, I figured I could have my friend in Mexico City order them and I'd just pick them up when I get there in approximately 2weeks...

    Next stop: Baja California via Tijuana!! :clap
    #72
  13. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Where: Baja California
    Day: 47

    Prior to crossing the border I'd obviously researched on what that entailed and so I knew that the border crossing would require a few steps: (a) immigrations, (b) imports and (c) insurance.

    Imigrations is quite simple, as long as you know that you need to look for it as no one will bother to suggest it, that's where you get a tourist visa. The odd thing about Mexico, is that if you stay within 50km of the border, you can stay for as long as you like and not need a visa. That's the reason why they don't automatically send you to the immigration office. A perplexing thing also is that, at the Tijuana crossing, the immigration office is not even indicated. It's just a little 10x10 feet room with a small desk and a couple of dudes shooting the shit all day. Anyway, after asking around a lot, I found it and got my visa for 180 days, the maximum allowed.

    The next stop was the Aduana office. Easier said than done! This is the place where you temporarily import your vehicle if you intend on going farther than 50km from the border. Took me 3hrs to find the place as no one at the border knew where it was. They just had a vague idea, so you can be sure that any directions they gave where complete and utter crap.

    I ended up getting a good tip from a clerk at a hotel, that I just stopped at to ask. She pointed me in the right direction, then an other person pointed me down a street that had an building with 'importation de vehiculos' on it. And, happy me, just be side it, an other sign with : insurance!

    I went to the insurance first and took a good hour got Big O insured. When the dude that sold me the insurance heard that I needed to import the bike, he told me that the next door building was not the one I was looking for, but gave me perfect direction to the actual place. Really nice and helpful fellow. As for importing Big O, once I was at the Aduana, things took like 15minutes!

    So I'm all set! Me and Big O are ready, willing and able for Mexico!

    <b>Big O's take on things</b>

    Let's pray that it's not to hot, for clean twisty roads, and some mind blowing trails!!!

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-NjSdRHV/1/M/IMG_0821-M.jpg">

    Oh, and Tijuana, just like any other city. Some nice places, others less so. But no reason to fear. Just stupid bad press from the media that have nothing better to write...
    #73
  14. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    When: August 1st to August 6th
    Where: Baja California, Mexico

    Our first real day in Baja found us going south along the west coast of the peninsula. The weather was quit nice, somewhere around 22deg Celsius and sunny with a nice little breeze coming off of the ocean: perfect temperature for riding.

    Highway One hugs the coast for quite a bit but not right at the edge. At one point, I decided it was time to see if we could find a our way onto the beach, so we just jumped off the tarmac at random and cut across country to see if we could find an access. As luck would have it, we found one within 30 minutes!

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-F4vKRDj/0/XL/_FX03033-M.jpg">

    I'd read that the driving in Mexico was quite dangerous (donno, seems pretty much the same as Montreal to me, but with less cops to poo on your party) and as a consequence lots of people die on the road. Mexicans make these shrines right on the side of the road, to commemorate the deceased at the location of the accident. Some of them can get quite elaborate as this next picture illustrates.

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-nRmskqg/0/XL/_FX03045-M.jpg">

    Driving along we started seeing these big cacti forests. It was strange to see as where the cacti where just as dense your typical northern forest, only the cacti have no branches which lends them a very desolate feel to them. And some of those cacti get quite big!

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-GrWxR7w/0/XL/_FX03043-M.jpg">

    Not only big, some are die hard Christians it would seem. I'll refrain from drawing any conclusions and/or parallels between the vegetable sort and the biped sort of believers...

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-gXmFb7C/0/XL/_FX03064-M.jpg">

    I can't help but be reminded of Mount Doom when I see this mountain. Can't be sure but from what I could see of it while going half way around it, it looked like a real, but very dormant, volcano. Could be wrong, but I like to think it was...

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-xtDS3Rn/0/XL/_FX03048-M.jpg">

    At about half way south of the peninsula, the road turned east on us and left behind the pacific coast. Too bad as the nice cool air would suddenly change into this really hot and humid soup that made life quite uninteresting for us.

    Right in the middle of nowhere, I noticed that the voltage indicator was indicating that Big I was not generating enough juice to power the head light. That was bad as I'd already seen symptoms of the voltage regulator wanting to crap out in Death Valley.

    When we first left of the trip, I could have one head lamp on and charge my tablet at the same time or have both head lamps on and the voltage indicator showed that all was fine. By the time we got into Death Valley, I could no longer charge and have a head lamp on at the same time. And now, it would seem that even just one head lamp was to much!

    So I ended up doing a mod that an in mate from the adventure rider's forum had suggested (thank's Luke) which was run a direct ground connection to rectifier. Found some nice shade to do the work under.

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-6SBgNvm/0/XL/IMG_0827-M.jpg">


    Which solved the problem as the voltage went right back up, but I'm still not convinced that my rectifier is not on it's way out. In La Paz, I decided to try and find a generic rectifier that would fit or could be made to fit Big O and carry it as a backup if ever it did crap out. Cause, no rectified, no go!

    We passes by a region that cultivate tomatoes. And apparently, as I was later told by some locals, this is what comes with tomato plantations.

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-9gRH2RP/0/XL/IMG_0826-M.jpg">

    Here's is a shot of the from the hotel lobby at which we stayed at in La Paz.

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-3JcJkpt/0/XL/IMG_0836-M.jpg">

    Once I had secured a rectifier that would fit Big O, it was time to hit the ferry to El Mochis. But, I got to the ticket office 30min to late so had to spend an extra day in La Paz, which is of no real interest. Ended up going to the beach and downing a few beers while reading an Abercrombie novel.

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-D8xNN2F/0/XL/_FX03082-M.jpg">



    The last night we where in La Paz we ended up staying at this nice bed and breakfast, la Bonita Casa I think it was called. Spent quite a bit of time chatting with the owner, real nice and chill dude. Turns out that he drive's a chase vehicle for his friend that races the Baja 1000. He almost managed to give me the urge to want to do the Baja 500. Almost...


    <b>Big O's take on the days events</b>


    But seriously! Beaches??!? They f'n suck dude! You get salt all over you, sticky sand everywhere and shit. Who in there right mind would do that? Oh right... Him... Never mind...

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-bTQx5rS/0/XL/_FX03009-M.jpg">

    This is more where I Iike to be...

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-SQPV8V2/0/XL/_FX02923-M.jpg">

    And,

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-6gbtC8N/0/XL/_FX03055-M.jpg">
    #74
  15. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    days: 54-56
    where: Creel, Chihuahua, Mexico
    odo: 18800KM


    Route:
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    From Los Mochis, we headed north-north-east to Copper Canyon of which I had seen pictures of whilst browsing Google Map. The place seemed very promising and a quick gain in altitude was definitely not going to make me sad: it's really uncomfortably hot on the coast! Hot and humid. erk

    Took a whole day to get to Creel, which is a tourist town right on the edge of Copper Canyon. My idea was to get there, find a hotel that would babysit Big O for two days while I took the Very scenic train back to El Fuerte and back. Supposedly one of the most spectacular train rides in the world.

    The last stretch of road that brings you to Creel is hightway 16 and that is an other crazy winding highway! With it fair share of dead bodies on the side of the road, for example:

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    I ended up staying two days in Creel and not taking the train. I figured doing the back and forth on the train was kind of stupid as I could just use Big O to get me to those places of interest in Copper Canyon.

    First day there, following some research on the net for what to see here, I attempted to go to Batopilas which is located some 5-6000 feet down into the canyon.

    Here are a few pictures of the road from Creel to Batopilas, even thought I failed to reach it that day...

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    About 40-60km from Batopilas, you get off the main road and take a side road that is in the process of being paved. They are actually making a federal highway to Batopilas, must probably for the tourists. Here is a look of the decent, or part of it anyway.

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    But unfortunately, they made some serious engineering mistakes and the road that they've just build is already falling apart:

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    And here we can see that even big machinery are not immuned to falling pebbles.

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    So it's back to a dirt road for the descent:

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    Going down was spectacular, especially with the rain and clouds:

    [​IMG]


    Unfortunately, I had to turn around a bit further down cause the rain was literally turning the road to the consistency of pudding and it was getting close to dark. At moments, my wheels where down to the axels in shit mud!

    So we went back to Creel with the firm intent of trying again maniana but leaving earlier in the morning.

    The following morning, before heading out for Batopilas, I stopped for some information at 3 Amigos. 3 amigos is a small business that rents ATV's to tourists and gives organized rides to places that are hard to get to by your standard means. The owner was a treasure trove of information and even took the time to draw me a detailed map of how I should go to Batopilas (a tiny town down in the canyon) and then out of Batopilas to El Fuerte. And all that on very fun dirt roads that would be perfect for a bike like Big O.

    He also coached me on how to react if I was stopped, while in the middle of nowhere to and from Batopilas, by drug traffickers. Apparently, the region is a major drug growing spot and many different cartels are growing there shit here. One of the things that happens is that you get stopped by dudes with machine guns and shit whole want to make sure that you are not smuggling in guns for their enemies. From what the owner of 3 Amigos said, you just want to get them to understand that you are just a tourist passing through and generaly they just let you go on, laughing at the crazy gringos.

    So, following his advice, I opted to drive to the town of Guachochi, stay the night and then head out to Batopilas from there.

    Came across this odd specimen on my way to Guachochi. Hey, who are we to judge what other like in jewelry...

    [​IMG]

    Took about 4 hours to get to Guachochi, so I had ample time to do so local site seeing. One of which was a nice view of a canyon that you get to on a road that resembles this:


    [​IMG]

    Seeing as the sun was starting to set, I was going quite fast on this road and what had to happen happened: I hit a stone really hard. Turns out, as I would discover later, I punctured my tube and busted my rim pretty badly. Will teach me not to regularly check the air pressure in my tire... Still, the view was quite beautifull.

    [​IMG]

    Then back to town, had supper and these two teenage girls with there parents came over to chat. they where super friendly and spoke English! they are the owns who told me that there was a water fall right in the middle of town and that I should go check it out. which I did.

    [​IMG]

    After that, found a hotel, noticed that the front tire was flat so patched that up and hit the sack, for tomorrow would have us making a second attempt at getting to Batopilas!!

    Big O's take on the day's events

    Tried to pull a fast on him while he went off for a wee: hid myself in the grass. It almost worked but he eventually spotted me. Guess orange is not the best color for hide and seek...

    [​IMG]
    #75
  16. Umarth

    Umarth Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    MTL
    Days: 60-61
    Where: Batopilas, Chihuahua
    When: august 18th

    Been a long time since the last blog update. And to those who care; sorry about that, but after Batopilas and the events that occurred getting there, blogging has been very low on my list of priorities.

    First off, let me reassure you: all six of us made it out of there alive, if the worse for wear. Brett is the luckiest by sporting only a slight graze on his hip, Bryce a severely bruised shoulder and knee and me, an ugly cut to the scalp! As for the bikes, they are in pretty bad shape, Big O being in the worse shape as he's bleeding oil badly.

    The how and why make up this blog post. But I'm getting ahead of myself, so let me start this tale of woe from the beginning...

    Sunday, august 18th, I got up late as it seems that that is how I now like to travel, scrounged around for some breakfast, added air to my front tire and eventually got around to asking the GPS to get me and Big O to Batopilas, which it obligingly did by laying down a course for us to follow.

    After less than 15 minutes I knew this was not going to be as straight forward as I had expected. The GPS was sending us off into the jungle, on swamp ridden mud roads! Ever since the TCAT, I've developed an allergy for slimy or under water roads, when alone anyway.

    So me and Big O looked for alternate routes that would get us to Batopilas without having to run the risk of drowning in rivers or disappearing in quicksand. After about an hour of scouting the trail roads around Guachochi, we came across four cowboys on horse back. I figured who better to ask and road right up to them. Yikes!

    These dude where sporting huge pistols and semi automatic rifles! But by the time I noticed that (driving up I was too concentrated on the road which was quite technical) it would have looked real weird for me to just turn around (and offer them my back for target practice?).

    With no choice but to plow on, I asked them (one of them with his hand firmly on his pistol) in very bad Spanish if the trail we where all on lead to Batopilas. One of them started talking fast and aggressively but I completely failed to understand his words. I replied with: porfavor, hable un mass despatio! Jo no comprendo espanol mui bien. To that, another one of the cowboys answered is bad English: why you go there? What your business?

    Ah shit! I was remembering what the guy in Creel had said, that going to Batopilas, I might run across banditos and be suspected of smuggling weapons to rival groups of banditos. The area being a prime drug production zone. The Three Amigo's dude had told me to very quickly make it clear that I was simply a tourist wanting to see the beautifully canyons, which I very fucking promptly did: Jo soy tourista!!! When the meaning of my words sunk in, they gave a second look at all my gear and the bike and, luckily, came to the conclusion that I was just a crazy gringo. The English speeking cowboy started laughing and told me that the road didn't go to Batopilas and that even if it did, I should turn around unless I wanted to get shot. At least that's what I could make out of what he tried to say. On that nice note, he said <i>a dios</i> and they all left me there, somewhat shaken I must admit!

    We did the only sensible thing to do: we turned around with the intention of abandoning the Batopilas idea. But I hate being scared off of something that I want to see and experience and thinking of what the 3 Amigos dude had said, I looked at the GPS again and noticed that there was a newly paved road that was heading in the general direction of Batopilas, and that road was not on the GPS. And the 3 Amigos had said that part of the road to Batopilas was paved. I decided to give it a try and see where the road lead. Worse case, I just admit defeat and turn around.

    Turns out it was the road to Batopilas! It's paved for about 40kms, then turns into a dirt road. A segment of it is in the process of being paved, so expect the Batopilas adventure to be pretty tame is a few years. But luckily for me, at the moment it's after those first 40 clicks, it's pure dual sport territory!

    Unfortunately, only an hour into it, I had to conclude that the wise thing to do was turn around: the patches on my front tire tube just where not holding and, idiot that I am, when I tried to used my spare tube, I punctured it 4 times while spooning the tire back onto the rim.

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-g5FCxR8/0/M/IMG_0838-M.jpg">

    In the space of three hours and about 70 km, I took the front wheel off 4 times to refix the same holes! I remember hearing Gunnerbuck comment on how 4mm tubs where a bitch to patch and I also remember wanting to ask him to elaborate on that but never came around to it. Well, now I know: side road patches just don't f'k stick to them! I was actually pretty doubtful in my ability to get back into town. Both my tubs where punctured and both refused to hold the patches more than and hour. I would have cared a lot less had it been the rear wheel, but the front one? A washout happens real quick if the tire decided to let go of the rim. But anyway, that proved to be a non issue as I managed to limp back to Guachochi in one piece.

    Back in town, the first thing I did was locate a store that sold tubes. Took a bit of asking but eventually got direction to a bicycle store that stocks motorcycle tubes to. Just as I was getting back on Big O, in parking lot of the bicycle store, this KLR comes in with two riders, a rear wheel on the rear rack and one of the riders holding a tube in one hand sporting a gazillion patches.

    These where the two Kiwi's that the dude at 3 Amigos had mentioned having given them the same directions to Batopilas as he was giving me, namely: Brett and Bryce. Turns out, they got a flat some 80km from Guachochi on their way from Creel. We talked a bit and ended up at the same hotel that night. Had supper and decided that we would attempt Batopilas together the next day, but first picking up Brett's bike 80km away.

    Morning come, coffee consumed, we "raced" like a bunch old men back halfway to creel for the retrieval of Brett's bike. Big O's front tire tube had given me false hopes in being able to hold it's breath yesterday but turns out it was still leaking, so as Brett changed his rear tube, I changed Big O's fron diaper... That done and Brett grinning like a school boy skipping school, from being once again mobile, we "raced" back to Guichochi. Race being very relative considering our rides: two KLR and one 640 with an improperly adjusted carb, at 8000 feet.

    It was around 2 in the afternoon when we finally left the pavement and were officially on our way to Batopilas (me and Big O's 3rd f'n attempt!). And since this was Brett and Bryce's first time at off-roading, I took a few moments to give them the basic idea and the technics involved.

    The first hour was great! The road was dry and just perfect to wet the kiwi's appetite for dual sporting. Unfortunately, mother nature had other plans in mind for us and soon after, started dumping rain on us. So much so that the road/trail turned to slimy shit real fast.

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-PhtbjSn/0/XL/1004526_10151544751086922_1720402636_n-M.jpg">

    Me and Big O where the first to go down, unexpectedly hitting a patch of slimy shit that was impossible to steer and/or break in. Wasn't too long before the Kiwi where also having trouble of their own. :)

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-ZqZkVLF/0/XL/IMG_0839-M.jpg">

    Soon after that we came to the first of a handful of micro villages that lie between Guachochi and Batopilas. This village, 3 or 4 brick and mud houses, is split in half be a stream that was overflowing at the time (from all the rain) and like all new to dual sporting, the Kiwi's couldn't help themselves from crossing it a few times to have there pictures taken. Here is Brett happily getting wet...

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-774GvM8/0/M/1150829_10151544750301922_1668809314_n-M.jpg">

    Unfortunately for us, the time it took to take pictures is also the time it took for the local ass wipes to gather the gang and mosie on over to our neck of the woods. Just as I was asking this old timer, sitting on the front steps of his home, the confirmation that Batopilas was in the direction we believed it to be, 7 dudes come crashing our party in two big ass pick up trucks. And every single one of the buggers sporting either rifles or shot guns.

    You know what? That kind of entrance tends to not go unnoticed nor leave you indifferent. Well, unless you just happen to be from New Zealand it would seem!

    So these two pickup trucks howl up and stop right next to us poor buggers, blocking both advance and retreat, while the gorillas in the back of the trucks lower their guns onto our marry band of shit-out-of-luck tourists. My mind goes into "fuck you Jr" mode for the "I told you so" that I know I'm gonna get IF I manage to get my skinny ass out of here. While the kiwi's seem to be taking it like an every day occurrence. Bryce just leans up against the house wall while Brett looks all doe eyed at them and asks, all innocently, if they'd mind if gran'pa here were to take a picture of everyone AS A SOUVENIR!

    WTF Bret!?!?!?! His only answer came in the form of one of the dudes jumping off the pickup truck, landing right in front of him and aiming a f'n cannon of a pistol an inch away from his face. In the mean time, an other dude got out of the truck and started talking, a lot, in Spanish and overdoing the testosterone bit to my taste. Brett wisely, in my terrified assessment of the situation, shut for F up and just waited to see where this was going.

    El Heffe quickly caught on that his monologue was wasted on us and switched to English. He basically told us that this was Juárez Cartel territory and that they would not tolerate smugglers on there turf. That's when I did something doubly stupid: I took off my helmet, so that they could properly see my face and help with communications. Doubly for two reasons: (a) helmets offer great cranial protection and (b) leaves your hands free when on your head and not in your hands. That said, helmet off and I my hands, I stepped up to the talking dude and hardly had time to open my mouth before he clubbed me on the head with his pistol! Last time I went down on my knees that fast I was taking out the trash at a restaurant I worked at and hit my head on the cast iron hydraulic doodad that auto-closes the door. Must be a switch directly linking the skalp to the knees cause there is no delay: it gets hit, you go down! I also felt like I was bleeding but only found out an hour later just how big a cut my scalp was sporting.

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Other/Mismach/i-pznfNCG/0/M/IMG_0308-M.jpg">

    Brett got the brilliant idea that it was time for him to intervene, brushed off the gun pointed at his head and kicked mister blah blah right in the chest! (I later learned that Brett's a black belt in Taekwondo). Not the best idea! While Blah Blah man was busy landing on his back, the dude who had had his gun in Brett's face fired at him!! Lucky-stupid-bastard was missed by the bullet! It tore off a layer or two of skin from his thigh but that's it!

    That's when Bryce stepped up to the plate, cool as can be thank you very much, hands in the air and shouted for everyone to cool down! And miracle of miracles: no more shots where fired!! Given, a lot of angry shouting and gun waving was going on. He went on to say that we where not smugglers nor affiliated with any cartel or any drug related group, that we where just tourists passing through, on our way to Batopilas and that they where more than welcome to search our gear to see for themselves that we where not smuggling anything in.

    Were I less insecure of my manhood and had my head not been buzzing so much, I would have kissed him right then and there cause his speech just defused the whole situation! They did search our bags and us, relieved us of all our cash in the process but ignored our other valuables! Shit, my camera alone is worth more than Big O so you can imagine just how disbelieving I was at that turn of events!!

    Once the search was done, we where told to haul ass out of here before they changed their minds and buried us in the mountains! It goes without saying that we did just that and hauled ass!!

    I'll admit that I've never been more scared in all of my life! Even the time in Thailand where I almost died in rapids did not come close to the shit that had just went down!! For the next hour we went as fast as we could, the going being rather thought, what with the rain turning the road to shit.

    We eventually stopped and took stock of the situation. I had an ugly cut to the head, which had bled like a pig at the slaughter house but had now stopped, Brett's bullet graze was more painful if cleaner as it hardly bled but left a 1/4 inch by 3 inch strip of fat exposed, where the skin had been sheered off. I had a good first aid kit with me and it sure paid for itself then.

    All gauzed up, we decided to head on to Batopilas, mainly because I could not find a way to get back to Goachochi without going back through that crazy ass village. We still had a good 4 hours of riding to do and it was getting late in the day. It was clear that we would not make it into town before the sun had set. Oh well...

    The scenery going into Batopilas was so beautiful that it even managed to shake our fears away. We even started stopping and snapping pictures!

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-W5VhrDC/0/XL/_FX03189-M.jpg">

    Here is Brett and Bryce posing for the camera.
    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-XVDm7jG/0/XL/_FX03200-M.jpg">

    And the bikes,

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-Dz8sjkt/0/XL/_FX03203-M.jpg">

    This next one looks like it was taken much later than it really was. We where in a really dense cloud and it was making it look like it was near dark.

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-pkNg3Zx/0/XL/_FX03182-M.jpg">

    The road was getting worse and worse and at one point proved to much for Brett's rear luggage rack; the vibrations managed to unscrew a few of the bolts that hold the rack and the top box onto the bike. One of those bolts was pretty big and we had nothing with us to use as replacement. Necessity being the mother of all inventions, I ended up carving a "bolt" from a dry peace of wood and zip-tying it in place. We where laughing pretty hard at the wishful thinking of that road side repair let me tell you! And you know what: the damn twig lasted all the way to Batopilas!!

    While we where laughing, we heard what sounded like a truck. All laughing stopped! And sure enough, it sounded like one and was getting closer. Someone wisely proposed that we bugger off real quick and do our very best at NOT coming into contact with whoever was in that truck.

    Took about 20 minutes for the truck to catch up. The road was just to slippery for these loaded bikes and for riders who had never been off road before today, to be able to outrun a four wheel drive vehicle.

    Brett was up front, Bryce was following and me and Big O where closing the rear where the truck came into view. We pretty much all looked back at the same time to have a peek at the truck and I'm sure, had we had helmet microphones, we would have heard three simultaneous F words as we realized just who that truck was: the truck was one of the two from our near disastrous encounter...

    There was no way I was stopping and signaled the Kiwi to not stop. Big mistake! The truck never bothered to slow down and just passed us. I was lucky and just had a scare looking at how close I was to going off the road and down the side of the mountain, Brett faired less well and went down but stayed on the road. Bryce on the other hand was not as lucky: the truck's side mirror hit his handle bar and he went down instantly. After toppling over, the bike did a 180 deg turn and hit a big rock that stopped it but not Bryce. He continued on off the side of the road! I almost dropped Big O, seeing that.

    That bugger has no right to be so lucky cause he managed to find the one spot where there was somewhat of a ledge with shit to grab, anywhere else and he was a goner! He crawled back out of there, limping pretty good and nursing his shoulder.

    We waited a bit, Bryce just relaxing and waiting to see if anything would start to really hurt, while Brett and I went over the KLR's to make sure they had sustained no injuries. We eventually got back on the bikes and yes, continued on to Batopilas but the mood was getting pretty dark and angry...

    The rain came back with a vengeance, making the road very unpredictable at times. The worse moments was the last hour or so going down into the valley to Batopilas. In about an hour, you go down 6 or 7 thousands feet on extremely steep switchbacks that alternate between gravel and clay like mud. Most of the time, just pulling in the clutch and leaving the brakes alone was the only way that the bikes would stay upright, the roads being so slippery. But sometimes you could not do that as bends where to close and you just had to slowdown or else go over the cliff. On one such situation, it was now pitch dark, the road went from gripie gravel to slippery mud with no warning. I absolutely had to slowdown to be able to make the turn that was coming up so I used to back break. The only effect was to have the bike go side ways and towards the edge. As Big O is now sliding down the slope (but still standing up) I see what's coming: a bolder about a foot and a half across is gonna hit Big O right under the engine! Shit shit shit is what I'm thinking! But lo and behold! Big O just slid over it!! And we stopped just beside it in about a foot of slushy mud that had the consistency of chocolate pudding. And Still Vertical!! Brett came up and we where both disbelieving it!

    We did a quick stop at one point to take a shitty picture of the sun set and of how wide the road was...

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-S7wcVgg/0/XL/_FX03205-M.jpg">

    <img class="yui-img" src="https://gnarlyrides.smugmug.com/Travel/BigOTripping/i-KMKGg3M/0/XL/_FX03209-M.jpg">

    We eventually got into Batopilas at around 10pm! Let me tell you that we where VERY happy that the day was finally over!

    But wait! The day could not end without a we bit more drama. After finding a hotel room and grub, I noticed that Big O was low on oil and checked him over. f'CK!!!! The steel braided oil line that feeds the stator has a hole in it and it's literally pissing oil! I'm surprised that there was any oil left in the bike and even more surprised that the engine was not starved of oil! And to make things worse: Battopilas sure as hell wont have anything to replace this. In his current state, Big O wont make it out of here on his own power...


    <b>Big O's take on all this drama</b>

    I call: Bullshit! What a load of horse manure! And if anyone of you reading this believed it, then you stand as proof: people believe what they want to believe!

    Everyone we met going in and out of there, if a bit apprehensive at times, where very polite and quite helpful. As Mexicans have proven to be at every turn so far...

    Ok, the pictures are true and so are the Kiwi's. Well, aside from the picture of the cut that is...

    <b>Karma's take on things</b>

    I guess it was a good thing that I was there, cause even if we had been warned a few times about potential bad encounters in this part of Chihuahua, I succeeded in keeping everyone safe and injury free...
    #76
    Riel, G-Tex, Mat and 1 other person like this.
  17. enduro0125

    enduro0125 Sticks and Stones™..

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    Oddometer:
    42,116
    Location:
    NY
    Holy shit. :yikes
    #77
  18. Shooby

    Shooby Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,307
    Location:
    San Diego
    + 1 ^

    Karma indeed. Stay safe and avoid anymore bullet/pistol whip holes, K?
    #78
  19. Motoriley

    Motoriley Still riding like crap after all these years.

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,130
    Location:
    Deepest darkest burbs of Montreal
    Hi Jason. Your post really freaked me out. Be safe my friend you are scaring the shit out of me. I contacted all the other players and if you need something you ask. Don't be shy. Keep on going and for fucks sake stop getting pistol whipped and/or shot at!
    #79
    Maxxwell likes this.
  20. C-Stain

    C-Stain Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    15,635
    Location:
    Canoodia
    I'm with Riley on this one. :eek.

    Christ man - be careful!
    #80