Denver to Copper Canyon-Solo Trip

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by WilderRider, May 10, 2011.

  1. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    I have wanted to get down to the Barranca del Cobre for quite a while. A window finally opened up and I decided to leave right after Easter, yet get home for Mother's Day.

    Originally, I tried to see if anyone else wanted to go, but when there were not any takers I decided to go it alone.

    The trip down to the border was not terribly exciting. I left Monday late morning and made it to Las Vegas, NM where I camped at Storrie Lake State Park. Not a bad place really.

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    The next day, I wanted to get close to the border and aimed for Deming, NM. The worst part of the day was the WIND. It was terrible, blowing at up to 40mph, mostly headon. I did almost 380 miles that day and it never seemed to give up. At one point, it dropped my mpg into the 20s on my DR650(which normally gets 50 or better). Between Hatch, NM and Deming, NM it was blowing sand so much that the visibility dropped to less than 100 meters. It sucked.

    I ended up finding a nice campings spot at Rock Hound State Park, though.

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    You can still see some of the sand whipping around back there.
    #1
  2. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    At least the wind died down overnight. It was much clearer the next day.
    The night before

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    The next morning.

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    I left for the border and made it there right about 9:00 a.m.

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  3. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    Having read up on my border-crossing procedures, I thought I was ready. Luckily this border is pretty slow and had almost no lines. I was out of there by 9:20 a.m.

    I will add a couple of notes for things that seemed to be different than I was anticipating.

    First, you need to remember to go get the vehicle import permit and your tourist card. Nothing will particularly tell you this at this border.

    Second, make sure you bring photocopies of your (1)passport, (2) driver's license, and (3) vehicle registration. They will keep this at the time you apply for the vehicle temporary import. I used my only copies that I was planning on keeping for an emergency. There did not seem to be any place to make copies, at least at the time I was crossing.

    Third, despite what my literature indicated, I was able to pay the tourist visa fee (262 pesos or about $22) at ANY bank in Mexico. I ended up paying this in Creel a few days later. Just don't forget. What I had read was that there were only certain banks where you could pay.

    Anyway, I had decided I was going to try and get to Buenaventura that first night and stay in a hotel I had read about in another report. It was a nice place with great parking for the bike.

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  4. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    One problem I had when I showed up was that I had ZERO pesos. To further compound problems, through my bad Spanish I misunderstood the hotel clerk and thought the Casa de Cambio (changing house) was closed, but would open at 4:00p.m. In fact, it CLOSED at 4:00 when I showed up at the bank.

    Luckily, the hotel clerk was very accomodating. After some more botched Spanish, she ended up changing $40, $27 of which paid for the room (300 pesos for one night) and at least left me with a little money for some dinner.

    I should also confess here that I am NOT an ATM user. I will be for my next international trip. It would have been a LOT easier to withdraw pesos from an ATM rather than repeatedly try and change dollars to pesos in the little towns I went through.

    The next morning, I went to the bank at 9:00 when it opened, but they proceeded to tell me they only changed money for their own account holders. So, if I did not have an account, I could open one and then change money. I did not want to have a Mexican bank account, but after talking very nicely to the customer service rep, he agreed to change $100 into pesos for me. That would at least get me gas and down the road.

    The roads from Buenaventura to Creel where fun enough and scenic, but I did not want to stop and take many pictures. My daughter definitely wanted to see pictures of "Mexican horses" so I did take some of those.
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  5. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    I was aiming for Hotel Villa Mexicana in Creel, mostly because I had heard they had both camping and WiFi. They did indeed have both, plus showers, a restaurant and a small tienda (shop).

    The camping sites were a bit spare, but I had the whole campsite to myself. It was only 100 pesos a night ($9.30).
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    It was not far from the front door either.
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    Nice restaurant (where I ate for about $10.00 including tip)
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    The reception area
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    The showers
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    #5
  6. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    The next day, I planned on taking it easy. I had been riding several hundred miles for 4 days straight and wanted an easier day. I had already paid for the next night at Villa Mexicana anyway.

    In the morning, although they had a sign about changing money, it took a little cajoling to get the front desk to change another $100 into pesos. That ended up being all of the pesos I changed for the whole trip.

    I walked into town to check it out a little bit and picked up some snacks and drinks. In particular, I ate some local cookies later
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    My plan was to ride out to the lookout at El Divisidero about 46km one way. A nice easy ride. Plus the road ended up being very fun. (It reminded me a lot of Coal Creek Canyon in Colorado). Great pavement and fun curves.

    The lookout was really nice.
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    There were also a thriving Tarahumara market that was fun to look at.
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    There were horse rides if you wanted them. (I know my daughter would have wanted one.)
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    Very peaceful to sit for a while.
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    With the odd stray dog, of course.
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    #6
  7. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    I hung around the lookout for about an hour and a half taking in the sights, buying a little something for my daughter, and speaking with a few people.

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    Then I rode back to Creel. Once I got to town, I was calculating a few things and realized I had better get to a bank to pay my tourist visa fee as it was Friday afternoon. I rushed down to the only bank in town and paid it just as they were closing.

    Then I went back to camp and had some dinner.
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    #7
  8. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    The next morning I started for Batopilas. Of course, based on the ride reports, it was something I definitely wanted to do. I had debated up until almost the last minute as to whether I was going to make it a day ride, or if I was going to pack up and spend the night in Bato.

    For several reasons, I ended up deciding I would have more fun as a day ride and a lighter bike. I paid for another night in Creel and left by 8:00 a.m., knowing it was about a four hour ride down to Bato.

    It was a fantastic road. It is 140km from Creel to Bato. The first 100km are some very fun tarmac. As curvy and scenic as Colorado.

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    It was hard to want to stop and take pictures.
    #8
  9. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    When the pavement runs out, the fun does not stop. You start going down some real switchbacks. Overall it goes from something like 2300 meters down to 400 meters. It is quite a drop.

    I had been warned by a frenchman I spoke with at El Divisadero that it gets really hot at the bottom. He was not lying. It must have been close to 70 in Creel that day and I would guess it was over 90 down in Bato.

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    Here is the shot everyone gets showing the road toward the bottom:
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    #9
  10. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    Those 40km take almost 2 hours. It is a fun road, though. It would be easy enough to do fully loaded, but it was a lot more fun without 50lbs of clothes and gear on the back.

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    Plenty of animals to try and get in the way too.
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  11. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    I reached Bato about 12:35 p.m. with all of my stops for pictures, etc. I knew I wanted to leave about 1:00 p.m. to get back to Creel at a decent time, so I did not stay long. I grabbed a bite right next to the river at the beginning of town.

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    The bridge coming into town
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    Some residents doing laundry.
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    Some homes at that part of town
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    #11
  12. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    I took a few more pics on my way back. It was just too pretty.

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    #12
  13. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    I also stopped to get pictures of the infamous bridges without rails. It might be a 50 foot drop on either side and those boards move as you roll over them.

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    Hard to get a perspective on the distance looking down
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    I actually took that last shot because the cover to my cell phone is down there. I had stopped to take the first pic and a sudden gust of wind blew it off of my gas tank and down the ditch before I could even turn around. I was lucky I had at least grabbed my gloves before they disappeared.
    #13
  14. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    The other excitement on my ride back was a truck going a little too fast around a blind curve. He made me drive over into the ditch (at least away from the cliff), but the bike went down. My only getoff from the trip. No damage to me or the bike, but I was not happy. Every other driver was very courteous during the whole trip.

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    I also thought it was kind of odd that I did not see a single other motorcyclist all day. In fact, I never saw more than a couple other motorcyclists the entire trip and all of them were locals on smaller bikes.
    #14
  15. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    I decided the next day to start making my way home. The road to Batopilas was going to be hard to beat and I had to be home in a few days anyway.

    Again, I had debated coming home a different way and decided on reversing my route. I rode back to Buenaventura and the Hotal Valle Grande.

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    the Valle Grande
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    #15
  16. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    I got to Buenaventura about 2:00p.m. and had plenty of time to check in and wander around. It was a nice Sunday afternoon and they were selling "elotes" all around. I had some of that with the apple soda.

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    They were also putting on a performance in the zocalo. I hung out there for a while people watching.

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  17. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    The next morning, I got up and left to cross over the border. I left the hotel around 7:30 a.m. and made it to the border near Palomas at 11:45 a.m. Unexciting crossing back over. I ended up riding back almost to Truth or Consequences and stayed at Caballo Lake State Park. Great camping for only $8 for the night.

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    The next day I did the 610 miles back to Denver on I-25. As you might imagine, not a lot of time to stop with those miles. I left my campsite at 7:25 a.m. and rolled into my driveway at 7:00 p.m.

    Another parting comment on the trip. The Verizon Nationwide Plus Mexico Plan was a complete bust. Not once in the 900 miles I rode in MX did I get coverage. It might be great for going to Cabo or Cancun, but the interior had ZERO coverage.

    I will also comment that I was a bit disappointed in my Shinko 244 rear tire. I put it on brand new for this trip and I had knobs breaking off under 1,000 miles.

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    Granted they were cheaper at only $50, but I was hoping for a little bit more. They still did do their job and I am keeping them on until I wear them out a little bit more.
    #17
  18. crazybrit

    crazybrit Defying any self identifying

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    Great RR. Thanks for posting. When I was there in 08 there was road construction just after Samachique. It was still all dirt but I heard they were planning on paving it all the way down to Batopilas. Sounds like some of the road after Samachique is now paved?
    #18
  19. miguelito

    miguelito Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the report. I haven't made it to Creel or Batopilas yet, and look forward to doing so someday.
    #19
  20. justplainray

    justplainray ucancallmeray

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    I would be interested in knowing what tire pressure you are running and the temperature of the day(s).
    I have 3400 miles on my 244s, on a mix of gravel, stone, dirt and pavement and no chunking. They are inflated to the max pressure as perscribed on the side wall and New England isn't as hot as Mexico. And at $48.00 delivered to my door from MC SuperStore....can't complain.

    Just my $.02 worth.
    Love the ride report, you lucky bastard. (I mean that in the nicest of ways)
    justplainray
    #20