Copper Canyon and Baja 2019/2020

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by Claddaghman, Oct 26, 2019.

  1. Claddaghman

    Claddaghman Been here awhile

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    6F3D7526-C3E5-4949-9BCD-B9F869130E75.jpeg After getting caught in a September snowstorm in Rossland, B.C. a new plan for surviving the Canadian winter was formulated: HEAD SOUTH!

    The Plan:
    1. Nov 8, 2019 Depart PNW taking coastal route southbound as much as possible.
    2. Nov 15, 2019 Arrive Palm Springs and secure storage unit for motorcycles to use as base for return trips throughout the winter to explore Baja California and Copper Canyon area.
    3. Nov 16-Dec 3, 2019 No time to waste, 1st trip into Mexico.
    - head to and tour Copper Canyon area Nov 16-25
    - catch ferry San Carlos-Santa Rosalía Nov 25/26
    - ride north Santa Rosalía to Palm Springs via BdLA, San Filipe, Ensenada Nov 26-Dec 2
    - bikes back in Palm Springs Dec 3 for storage until return in January for another lap.

    Our details:
    We are a group of 3 motorcycles, new to riding in Mexico but experienced in international travel (Europe, Central Asia, Ecuador, Morocco, New Zealand).
    Bikes: 2 KTM 1190 Adventure R’s, 1 Suzuki V Strøm 1000 (more novice rider).
    Routes: not looking for extreme off road due to travel loaded bikes and novice rider. Want to enjoy the ride and stop and smell roses (eat tacos) as much as can.
    Advice: all welcomed especially re specific items

    Specific items:
    Route recommendations Palm Springs to Copper Canyon: how many days?
    -Thinking Mexicali crossing, Puerto Penasco, Banámichi or Hermosillo, Basaseachi, Creel/Divisadero base for trips to Batopilas/Urique respectively.

    Ferry Crossing San Carlos-Santa Rosalía: able to roll up and secure passage or need to advance book?

    Documentation: Insurance, FMM, TVIP, Insurance
    If the necessary documentation is made to cover period of 4-6 months, do they all allow multiple entry/exit or does documentation need to be set up separately for each trip across the border?

    Those are the questions I have to start, likely many more to follow.

    Gracias.
    #1
  2. Claddaghman

    Claddaghman Been here awhile

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    Quick note: if people are wondering why we aren’t storing the bikes in Baja or somewhere else in Mexico it’s because Palm Springs offers multiple flight options for our group traveling to/from different parts of Canada that are inexpensive. Palm Springs also offers easy access to friends and family who are wintering in Southern California and Arizona.
    So with that in mind we are looking for suggestions regarding 3 week-1 month long trips looping back to Palm Springs exploring Copper Canyon and/or Baja. If we are biting off more than we can chew we are happy to adjust. Just looking for ideas re what is possible given the time frame available in the months of November, January and March.
    Goal of the trip is to experience Mexico and avoid Canadian winter. If all goes well it will become an annual thing, possibly using Mexican storage, to facilitate further exploration. No need to do it all this year.

    Gracias
    #2
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  3. mrmushman

    mrmushman Adventurer

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    I'm jealous I have no choice but to gut out another 6 month winter here in MT and show up at my low paying job 5 days a week.

    Glad to see someone out there is "living the dream".
    #3
  4. stormdog

    stormdog Long timer

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    Why the ferry in San Carlos instead of the one from Topolobamba ?
    #4
  5. Claddaghman

    Claddaghman Been here awhile

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    I’m fortunately at stage in life where able to work less and play more. Your time will come.
    #5
  6. Claddaghman

    Claddaghman Been here awhile

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    We are thinking of taking the ferry to Santa Rosalía in November for a few reasons:
    1. Fewer kilometres getting to it from Copper Canyon and fewer kilometres getting from Santa Rosalía to Palm Springs. Only have 3 weeks for November trip and need to limit distances when possible to increase experiences.
    2. For the experience of taking that route vs La Paz-Topolobampo (also practice run for Jan (see 3. below))
    3. If all goes well we may take La Paz-Topolobampo route in Jan and loop up to El Fuerte to take train to Copper Canyon and then return to Baja via Santa Rosalia ferry.

    That all said, are there reasons you know of that suggest we shouldn’t take that ferry?
    #6
  7. boatnut

    boatnut Been here awhile

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    Following... Fellow Vancouver Island guy here. Will be riding to P Vallarta area leaving Jan27th ( three of us). Copper Canyon, Hwy 40 etc on way down. Ferry to LaPaz and Baha home. Ridden Baha a few times, Puerto Penasca as well but no further south Mainland, yet. Very experienced advisor suggested to me 250klm a day is about right as a goal.
    #7
  8. Claddaghman

    Claddaghman Been here awhile

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    I take it you’re taking coastal route south to avoid cold/snow inland.

    Not sure when you’re returning to Vancouver Island; we will be heading north in March, May see you then?

    Thanks for passing on daily mileage recommendation.
    #8
  9. boatnut

    boatnut Been here awhile

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    Actually trailering down to Red Bluff CA. Found a private acreage offering secure covered storage really inexpensive.. $75 month. From there down thru Bakersfield etc over to Phoenix. Cross at Agua Prieta.
    #9
  10. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    Are you taking the Himalayan?
    #10
  11. boatnut

    boatnut Been here awhile

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    Cal I'll pm ya so not to dilute the thread...
    #11
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  12. stormdog

    stormdog Long timer

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    I have never used the San Carlos ferry so I don’t really have an opinion on it . I was just curious that’s all.
    My “ normal” Copper Canyon route has me going in from the north and coming out in the south so when I do head to Baja the Topolabamba ferry is the one that seems to make the most sense.
    By the way It has been a few years since I checked on the train, but at the time they were not hauling bikes.
    #12
  13. Claddaghman

    Claddaghman Been here awhile

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    We would love to do your “normal” Copper Canyon route but think that it would add more km and thus more time than we have in November. Like the idea however of continuing on new roads rather than backtracking. Out of curiosity how long would be a reasonable time to do it your way, starting from and returning to Palm Springs?

    Re train in January we are not thinking of putting the bikes in the train. Planning on leaving bikes at hotel in El Fuerte and doing train trip up to Creel and back down (2-3) days so that friend can see the canyon. Suspecting January weather might be problematic riding up to Creel.
    Any thoughts on January riding to Creel?
    #13
  14. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    I apologize I am investigating routes, but many threads on CC are round trip. I realize there is a maze in there, but what is a general timeline for a one way through Copper Canyon, say from Creel to Durango or Parral (if fast internet). I have put this trip off so many times waiting for the right time that I am now not opposed to a mostly paved route, but also dont mind intermediate off road. I assume the 9 days listed above is pretty leisurely, enjoying the canyon as much as you can, can it be done in 3 days leisurely, is 4 better? Enjoy the trip OP.
    #14
  15. boatnut

    boatnut Been here awhile

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    #15
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  16. Claddaghman

    Claddaghman Been here awhile

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    Looking forward to someone answering our questions re time needed/advised.
    #16
  17. stormdog

    stormdog Long timer

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    Keeping in mind I’m not the “smell the roses” kind of rider
    I took two friends on a trip last November that went like this
    Day
    1) Yuma to Magdelana de Kino
    2) Yacora
    3) Creel
    4) Chinipas
    5) El Fuertes via Alamos
    6) Urique via the lake ferry
    7) Batopilas
    8) Parral
    9) Maria Del Oro
    10) Durango
    11) ferry to Baja from Mazatlan
    Not your kind of trip but it might give you and others time and route ideas
    I would think this would be doable for you
    Creel
    Batopilas
    Creel
    Urique
    El Fuertes
    It’s an easy day ride from El Fuertes to the ferry, which crosses at night.
    Spend the night on the ferry breakfast in La Paz
    The hard part about the ferry is after you get your boarding passes, there is a nice lunch/ beer drinking spot just a few miles north on a great beach.
    The hard part? Trying to stay just sober enough to ride the bike back to the terminal and into the boat.
    #17
  18. Jomosom

    Jomosom n00b

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    Stormdog,
    I am confused by number 6 on your itineray, "Urique via the lake ferry."'
    Are you referring to the Ferry on Lake Pátzcuaro?
    #18
  19. stormdog

    stormdog Long timer

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    Darned if I know the name of the lake
    I’m traveling and don’t have a map handy.
    But if you head east out of El Fuertes, kind of stay straight thru Choix like you were headed for Tubarios,
    And then turn left in 20 or so miles, then turn down a small two track to the right, eventually the road comes back to the lake.
    If you sit there long enough ,this old thing shows up and hauls you across
    #19
  20. Claddaghman

    Claddaghman Been here awhile

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    Stormdog,
    Thanks for your very helpful response showing what can be done, albeit at faster than smell the roses pace. I’m fine with speeding things up a bit if need be as often first round is a scouting trip.
    I’m specifically interested in the section Creel-Chinipas-Alamos as this would allow a loop to ferry in San Carlos vs out and back via 16.

    Couple of questions re Creel-Chinipas-Alamos:
    What bike did you do this on?
    Suitable for a travel loaded V Storm 1000 with limited off road experienced rider? Clearance issues? Steep climbs/descents?
    Any GPX files of your route?

    Thanks again for your feedback!
    #20