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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by rickcorwn, Mar 2, 2010.
I'm sticking with my version. I'm thinking there aren't many man made pre-Cambrian structures.
What is it with these people that have to go around shedding light on a perfectly good scam.
As Rick said, what with the pesky obligations at home I'm still catching up from, I can't keep up with the posts. I kept a running ride report going over at www.teamstrange.com when internet was available. I'm going to cut and past the narrative here. Please excuse the typing, as the Mexican keyboards have the keys in different locations which causes major typos. If'n I was retired like my Dad and Rick, I'd have time to clean it all up. So here goes:
Got into Presidio with no problems mid afternoon. The RV power steering had started squealing so that needed to be looked into. But I digress.
The trip down was great. Made good time, had a blast. Until we ran out of gas only had 45 minutes of stopped time. Total stopped time including the gas fiasco was an hour and a half. Watched the Blues Brothers movie, which seems to have started to be a tradition.
So, on this trip we have Rick C, Chris M, Ian B, Me, Dad, and Bob S. Took turns driving and sleeping. The RV bounced WAY less with the larger enclosed trailer, and sleep was quite easy to obtain in the rear bedroom.
I was driving at 0500 when we pulled up to the gas station in Haskell, TX, and ran out of gas with the end of the RV next to the pump. Problem was, it was the wrong end of the RV. And the hose wasn't 32 feet long. It was uphill a bit so pushing didn't work this time. Luckily Ian had a one gallon gas can on his bike so three trips with that later and we were pulled up to the pump with the correct end of the RV.
Got into Presidio mid afternoon and unloaded the bikes. The power steering belt had started squealing so we took a peek, and found one of the mounting bolts was missing. Further investigation turned up a bolt stuck between two hoses. The recepticle for the bolt was on the pump housing behind the pulley and it seemed quite impossible to get back in there. Of course because it's a class A motorhome accessing the front of the motor requires a contortionist with tiny fingers. We dropped the bolt again, and while I was fishing it out of the frame (again) I found another wayward bolt about half as long. It was clear the shorter bolt was the correct one. We still don't know where the longer one goes. I suspect it was missing from some long ago repair and has been riding along on the frame cross member since then.
Bob and Ian tried valiently to put that shorter bolt in, but soon it was getting dark and we decided for the tarp strap repair instead. We'll see if it holds.
We had a great supper at the restaurant next to the Three Palms, and found that we have wireless internet in the Rv. Dad, Bob, and Rick are sharing a hotel room, and Ian, Chris and I are having a farting contest in the RV.
We have heard cryptic messages from Kevin P (powershouse) who is coming out of Mexico tomorrow. Apparently he slept outside in the canyons one night, and there may have been some sort of injuries. Until he fesses up, we'll have to make up our own stories.
We are going to stay at the Maria Delores Hotel in Chihuahua City tomorrow night. We are hoping to meet Kevin on the road and get more details.
From sideshow in that report:
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</TD><TD vAlign=top align=right>February 13 2010, 11:12 PM </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=1 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD style="PADDING-LEFT: 45px">
<!-- google_ad_section_start -->In the cold the bikes were unloaded from separate vehicles and loaded onto the magic bus whilst old friends reconnected and fresh handshakes were shaken. The loading was quick and organized, synonymous to any event where Charlie is involved.
This is what we left. Hoar frost had left a nice cool landscape, laden with a fog that threatened departure in both time and exiting the driveway. Probably 200' of safe visibility on a 55 mph stretch of road. Now you just pull that RV and trailer from the driveway out into that, mmmkay?
We crossed our fingers and made the lead to the highway. The RV providing ample room for on-road entertainment, rest, relief, scenery, and more conversation among all of these. Some might dread the thought of being trapped, stop-for-gas-only, while a near border-to-border is performed at about 50 mph. For some reason I welcome these experiences. Perhaps it's the lack of RV exposure I have in my life. Stories from some interesting riders make the time pass quite quickly.
Looking at the photo above and looking at our present landscape, times are good and getting better.
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<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=1 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #3b3b3b" align=left bgColor=#3b3b3b>Ciudad Chihuahua and Creel<!-- google_ad_section_end -->
</TD><TD vAlign=top align=right>February 16 2010, 9:44 PM </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=1 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD style="PADDING-LEFT: 45px">
<!-- google_ad_section_start -->We got a good start at Presidio. AFter crossing to Mexico I realized I had left my driver´s license in the RV. At the paperwork window I gave the lady my bike title, passport, tourist visa application. She asked for my DL, and I said I didnt´ have one with. She then asked¨for I.D. Without pointing out I had just handed her my passport, I gave her my birth certificate, and that satisfied her for ID.
Everyone got through the paperwork stage quickly, Rick got insurance, and we all changed out our money for pesos. A great ride to Coyame where we had a quick break, and then a short while later on the road bumped into Kevin and crew, as the pictures above show. They had some great stories and I am looking forward to the official ride report. I commented on how dirty they and their bikes were, and they told me they had already washed everything off at least once.
Continued on to Ciudad Chihuahua and rooms at the Maria Delores. We met up with Arturo and had supper with him.
The next morning we decided to stay another day in the city so Bob could search out a replacement for a broken spoke, among other reasons. We walked to the bike shops, around the square for a shoe shine, and some light shopping. Chris is lusting after the belt buckle with the spinning dollar bill bling on it. I like the belt buckle with the removable round lighter that has a cadillac emblem on it. The weather was warm and sunny, and as usual we had a great time in the city.
This morning Dad, Chris, Bob and Ian took off early, and Rick and I stayed a bit longer for a sit down breakfast. Rick and I took the pavement to Creel, while the others had left earlier to take partial dirt. It was a bit cooler today, about 65. very sunny and excellent scenery.
We are all checked in at Los Pinos hotel, no problems today for anybody.
Tomorrow we are leaving to go to Uruachic via Maguarichi. The next day we will head through the Oteros Canyon to Bahuichivo for the night. Then head to Urique. Then to Batopilas. Internet is unknown in all those places except Bato (if they are open) so it may be a few days before another post. I encouraging the guys taking pictures to post them, perhaps they can get a few more up before we leave in the morning.
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=1 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #3b3b3b" align=left bgColor=#3b3b3b>Ch, ch, ch, changes..... Uruachi edition<!-- google_ad_section_end -->
</TD><TD vAlign=top align=right>February 18 2010, 7:16 PM </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=1 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD style="PADDING-LEFT: 60px">
<!-- google_ad_section_start -->This years trip has been an excersize in flexibility. I`m not normally good at changing the plan, but as I´ve said many times this trip, if I`m in Mexico and they have beer, I´m happy.
Yesterday we rode from Creel after bike repairs to Bob´s and Chris´s bikes the night before. Bob donated his tool role to some local´s college fund after not securing it properly. He went back to look for it but it was already gone.
The road through Maguarichi was spectacular. Last year it was raining and then snowing so hard I couldn`t see the scenery. My rear shock started puking oil, and the resulting ride quality was spiraling downward. I´`ve decided to ride the thing anyway, rather than call it quits and head for the pavement. If I was going to stop riding in the face of adversity, I´d get a harley and never leave the driveway.
Ian, Chris and I got in to town, me pogoing most of the way down the canyon. I asked Ian and Chris to go check out the exit road and see what the Oteros river looked like. Itç´s about 10 miles out of town and if it´`s too high there is no sense wasting the 20 miles of bad road in and out and then not having enough time to head for another town.
I got rooms for the six of us, bought beer and settled in to wait for everyone else to arrive. About dusk I hadn´t seen anyone and was getting worried when Ian and Chris rode into town. Chris`rear tire was flat, and he had ridden for the last couple of miles that way. He was glad to be in town before dark. They reported the river wasn´t too bad. Later we checked maps and figured out they hadn´t gone to the correct crossing but they had a good ride anyway.
Shortly afterward Dad, Bob and Rick came into town. Wasn´t sure who was riding rickçs bike because he was way too pale. His indigestion had returned and he had a really bad ride down the canyon to get to town. He gets the ^^he man^^ award for ridig that bike down that road in his condition. He went straight to bed.
Today we got up and decided to hang around town today. The other times I we have been in Uruachi we have been in late and out early. It was a pleasure to spend some time walking around. We met a nice governmen official who let us use the internet in his office, and we showed him the wonders of google earth and online translators. We ate tamales out of the back of an SUV that were excellent. Dad and Bob took a ride to check out the real river crossing, returning and saying it´s pretty high. Chris started feeling ooky, and Rick is feeling much better. Because of all of the above we are going to take a different route back to creel tomorrow, checking the condition of some previous year´s roads.
We met some traveling doctors, and got some business decals fromt he tire repair guys next to the motel that made our day. I gave them some stickers from the US which where prompty stuck on their front door. We did a walking tour of the town and found the internet store and a cheaper beer store.
All in all it was a great day. Weather was warm, and the sun is going down as
internet is too slow for anyone to upload pictures, we are hoping to do that in creel tomorrow. then on to batopilas.
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</TD><TD vAlign=top align=right>February 19 2010, 9:11 PM </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=1 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD style="PADDING-LEFT: 105px">
<!-- google_ad_section_start -->Everyone is up to snuff today, and we had a great time! Dad and Bob reversed course and took the road back to Maguarich, and both of them did some up close road inspections. Bikes nor riders were damaged while contacting indigious surfaces, but dad did get his suit a bit muddy.
Rick, Chris, Ian and I took the ¨good¨ road north out of Uruachic. it was about 105 miles back to creel. They are paving roads like crazy down here. A road we were on three years ago is mostly paved now. I was getting sea sick with the up and down motion the bike makes with no oil in the shock. On the dirt going uphill the bike bounces and doesn´t gain much speed. Down hill when the back wheel is hopping I can predict the direction the bike will go most of the time. When there is mud and ice there is no predicting what the bike will do which provided me with much excitment. on the pavement it just seemed to lope along in and up and down motion, giving me the sensation of being on an eternal merri go round. up and down, up and down. i had to stand up to keep from hurling after awhile.
part way through the day the starte wouldn´t work, but it would bump start. once in creel it was discovered that the safety switch for the clutch lever had come unplugged under the fairing. With that fixed we got some cervesas and waited for Bob and Dad to arrive. once we were all in town we at at Tio Molca´s.
The new plan is to go to Urique tomorrow, then to Batopilas for two nights, then on to Guachochi, then to Nonoava and on to Chihuahua City and on out.
The weather has been excellent. it rained a bit a night ago, which has the mountains greener than í´ve seen before. hoping it´s even warmer when we are at lower elevations in urique and Bato. phone and internet are probably not available there, but hopefully will be in Guachochi.
Truck of the day. Photo by Roberto.
Next up a second day in Urique and then off to Bato.
In reading my ride report I should add this. While Ian and Chris did stop at the wrong river crossing, this was not their fault. Their instructions were vague, with me never having been there. They followed the instructions including my estimation of how many miles out of town it should be. Problem was, the instructions were faulty, vague, and mostly a guess. Just like getting directions from a local!
more pictures stolen from teamstrange, taken by Chris.
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Riding down the canyon wall to Urique we noticed a cut on the opposite canyon wall. Could it be a new road? The much anticipated short route to Batopilas?
Local inquiry indicated that the new road eventually hooked up with a road that went to Samachique which is at the junction of the highway and the road to Batopilas.
The road is new enough that most of it doesn't show on Google Earth.
This is not a shortcut to Batopilas, just another way to get there. It has the advantage of crossing the Rio Urique very early in the trip instead of the middle of the trip near Tubares. If you go past Tubares and the river is impassable you might have a problem. CC veterans should note that a new bridge in being built over the Rio Fuerte at San Ignacio which will open up other route possibilities in the south.
On Day 8 we went to Cieniguita de Barranca and returned to Urique just to evaluate the new road. The rest of the road to Samachique has been around for a while.
On Day Nine we rode to Samachique and then to Batopilas.
The marker in the profile is approximately at the tienda where we lunched in Samachique.
At the junction of the roads to Samachique and Batopilas we met Sho and Pat, two ladies from GB (not Green Bay) who were riding Honda NX-400's (?) basically 400cc Dominators made in Brazil. Their story starts here http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/tstories/dustyoldbags/004390.php
Photo by Bob
Travel time was 9 hours including all stops.
John was just across the street, right where Ian had patched my tire. The business building was actually a "desponchado." Translation -- tire repair shop. Ironic, no? The owner, Jesus, told John how he watched us fix the flat (probably laughing to himself) the night before. Odd that he didn't approach us, but maybe he didn't want to deal with American pendejos. With better vocabularies than me, both John and Ian were good about introducing theirselves to strangers. This often paid off for the quality of the experience.
Cool RR, I've found myself laughing throughout your whole adventure. Too bad about your sickness....I guess there aren't any fish tacos on maiinland to keep thing workin right...
Don't be so sure about your Senor Jesus shop owner...I had a tire problemo in Mulege and the 'shop repair' guys start removing my tire with a coupla long screw drivers. WTF? I immediately offered them my tire irons, which they accepted. Then when it comes time to remove the only good tube I have left they try and pull it thru the tire and rim from the wrong side....wow, amigos, wow.
I'm just saying maybe you guys had tools that Senor Jesus wasn't too familiar with....
Most of Tire Repair shops in Mexico, are for car tires only and they don't know or are afraid to deal with motorcycles tires. That is a fact.
On time near San Blas Nayarit MX, we had a flat tire and the guy from the "Desponchadora" told us: I would rather to fix a flat on a rear tire of a John Deere Tractor, than do it on a motorcycle" :eek1
From Spanish Language:
Ponchar: get a flat tire, flat ball (soccer, basket, etc)
Desponchar: undo the flat tire. (this is not into the dictionary, is slang),
actually derives from english:
Punch = Ponchar
–verb (used with object)
to cut, stamp, pierce, perforate,
While we expected this as well, we were interested in the ability to have a hot-patch over a rubber cement patch.
Jesus was prepared for other jobs. That ball-joint on the F150 in the pic above that's using a log for a jackstand required two jacks to get up there. He was also working on one of the city's CAT 416E backhoe loaders. With the roads they have coming into town, it was no surprise they were a busy shop.
Ian was talking with him at night and some of the local kids would be cruising around. Jesus would encourage the kids would light up the tires. He turned to Ian smiling and said something in the terms of "I like that. It's good for business!" Smart businessman.
A day of learning experiences and getting my ass kicked by a mountain.
Today is for exploring, we're headed for a new road that will hopefully take us to Batopilas via Samachique. We've got the advantage of traveling light today as we're going to return to Urique tonight. Traveling south out of town we find the river crossing. Now like I sad before my dual sport experience is limited (limited as in none) and this is a pretty good sized crossing. First we ride down stream for a hundred yards or so then turn and cross the last 50 yards of the main river. The down stream part is easy as the water is only a few inches deep. I'm thinking to myself "what chapter was that they talked about water crossings??" Let's see weight on the pegs, loose grip on the bars, let the bike do it's thing under me and the throttle is your friend. After observing a couple of the others cross it's my turn I take a deep breath and head in to the deep water. I try to follow the path that the others took seeing the depth of the water was a bit more than a foot. To my surprise I can see the bottom of the river clearly and am able to dodge the few real large rocks on the bottom. Just before the shore there's a hole where the water gets about 18 inches deep when I hit this I start to get all wonky but I gas it and the KLR saves my bacon and hauls my sorry ass right up on shore. Just like I knew what I was doing.
I hope others will post more on this.
Well after any water crossing there's a climb and this one was no exception. From the river we climb almost 1800 feet in less than 3 miles. Before this trip I had heard some say that the foot pegs on the KLR were too far forward, I never really understood why they thought that, now I know. These 3 miles kicked my ass. I'm needing to hang on to the bars to keep on the bike negating that all important loose grip on the bars. I have to fight the bike around every switch back and up every climb, which is pretty much constant. The next 3 miles are fairly level as we wind our way around the ridge to the other side everyone regroups at an intersection there. I'm toast, my arms are like noodles John points out were we're headed which is up, really really up. Looking back on the tracks the next climb will be an additional 3500 feet over the next 7 miles. There's no way I can make that today, I decide to go back to the water crossing and let the others continue on and check out the road. They all take off and I watch for a while as the disappear up the mountain.
Away they go.
The road back, this was the easy part not the part that I had trouble with.
More of that road around the ridge.
After a rest I turn back down the way I came stopping for some photo ops along the way. Once down at the river I find a shady spot and relax This gives me a chance to think about why I was so wiped out by this climb. One, like I said is the location of the KLRs foot pegs, not much I can do about that now. The other thing I realize is that big honkin' tank bag I'm using, that needs to go so I can transfer as much weight as possible forward on the climbs. After a couple of hours of R and R the group returns to the river. I bounce my theories off the more experienced riders and they agree with my idea and add a couple of tips and techniques for me to try. It's a good thing too because the road goes through and we're coming back this way tomorrow. But first we need to get back across this river. During my time on the river banks I was able to watch a few trucks through the water crossing and a couple of Tarahumara walk through. So I had a much better idea where the best path through would be. We mount up and dive in, I hope some of the others, cough, cough, Chris, cough, can post up some pictures and vids of the crossing I've just got this one.
I'm watch'n this guy close he knows where the shallow path is
Ian back form the exploratory mission.
Back at the hotel we get cleaned up and soon discover that the restaurant has jarros of Clamato. Which John has been mixing himself all trip long. Clamato is basicly beer and tomato juice sometimes some lime juice and other seasoning mixed in.
As long as we're in Mexico and there's beer I'm happy
We retire to the deck overlooking the river in the restaurant and consume a couple of those jarros aka pitchers. Dinner is great, I'm really loving the Mexican food now that I'm well. In the midst of dinner there's a commotion out by the river just outside the restaurant. A few of the young dudes in town who've had a few beers downstairs (I got drunk on 2 beers last night, the 27th and 28th) at the bar decide to do some showing off in their trucks. One has gotten hung up trying to climb over a wall and the others are attempting to pull him off of it. Well there's lots of noise and yelling and dust being kicked up then of course after he's been freed from the wall he needs to exercise his machismo and show that he CAN climb over the wall. I'm not real sure how all this turned out because there were some other cowboys doing donuts with their trucks and kicking up so much dust the whole thing was obscured from view.
We grab our chairs and head for the curb outside the hotel to see what downtown Urique has to offer on a Sunday night. Well it's not much different that Saturday night. Except for those crazy Gringos. Chris mentions that his burly man beard is really a dust collector and could use a trim. Well John just happens to have his trimmer along. Hmmmm, trim is well, such a vague nondescript word it can mean so many different things to different people like Chris and John. A chair is positioned in the street and a towel wrapped around Chris and John fires up the trimmer.
John starts on one side of Chris's face and gets about half of it off he then decide that we'll do something funny as long as we're at it and goes to trim the other side of Chris's mustache. This is when Chris exclaims "hey how close are you trimming me" Well John had been trimming the beard "off" and Chris was thinking trimming as in "just shorter than it is now". Oops. Well the deed has been done we just need to do some damage control so Chris ends up with a soul patch. Those are still in style, right?
Hold it how much are you trimming
There, I fixed it for ya.
Truck of the day. the penalty for a mistake on these roads can be severe. :eek1
In the morning we're off to take the new road all the way to Samachique then onto Batopilas Canyon and Bato itself. The river crossing goes well for everyone well everyone except me. Actually the river part wasn't the problem I biff it just as I reach the shore. Onward and upward, the climb goes well I've turned my tank bag into a tail pack with tarp strap and I can lean forward enough to keep that all important loose grip on the bars. I told you this was a new road well so new that they're still working on it. This whole Copper Canyon area is nothing but rocks so to create a road up and around these mountains they need things that go boom. When we arrive at the construction area the workers there want us to walk our bikes through a short stretch because it's already all loaded with high explosives, be careful where you step too. After we walk all the bikes through we ask the workers how long before the big boom, hey we wanna watch. They tell us 3 or 4 minutes, well we better get going up to a safe spot to watch from. You remember that stuff before about Mexican code, well their use of high explosives isn't much better except the really careless guys, well they're not around anymore.
Careful where you step there John
We head up 6 or 8 switchback until our own safety officer Ian thinks we're in a safe position. We wait and wait and wait some more but no boom now it's been more than 20 minutes since we were told 3 or 4, time isn't anywhere near as important up here in the mountains as it is back home. We give up on the fireworks show and press on.
Waiting for the BOOM.
Scenery from here where we came from.
After 18 miles and a 5500 foot climb we're basically at the top of this mountain and I feel good, technique is everything.
Meeting at the top.
A little later in the day we followed a stream through this valley, what a fun little road we must have crossed that stream 20 or 25 times over the course of maybe 8 or 10 miles. Nothing deep or long just a good splash then on to the next one.
We finally arrive in Samachique where we stop for a break and some snacks. We've likely just been the first motos to take this new road and Charlie is keen to be the guy with the new tracks.
Just outside of Samachique as we get to the big road towards Bato there were two motorcyclist right there. We hadn't seen any other moto riders aside from a couple of locals since the very first day when we saw our Minnesota friends in Coyame so we had to stop and talk. Turns out they were the Dusty Old Bags, a reference to their luggage, two woman from Great Britain coming from South America and headed for Japan next. We jabbered about a lot of different things but one item I remember is they mentioned was that they thought that the road from Batopilas was scarier than the Death Road they had ridden in Bolivia. After exchanging info we're on out way to Bato.
Our order on the road this day has been Ian and Chris out front running in the kinda fast range myself and John in the middle, John's speed matching mine because the failing rear shock and Charlie and Bob being kinda poky in the back. Over time we spread our selves over a mile or so maybe. Once we start down into the Batopilas Canyon I'm running alone the next thing I know is John is blasting along at a pretty good clip and passes me and heads off into the distance. Suddenly his bike is handling much better and he's picked up the pace. I think he caught up to Ian and Chris at the bridge at the bottom of the canyon when he stopped and put his feet down realized that his shock had completely broken and his KLR was now a low-rider. I continue along trying to balance enjoying the view and not target fixating and ridding off the edge. I tool through Bato a long and narrow town nessitated by the long and narrow canyon it's in until I find Chris, Ian and John with the very short KLR.
Headed down into Bato Canyon.
John and the low-rider :huh Hey, it handles better now.
They're parked outside the hotel waiting for Charlie to arrive to strike a deal with the hotel owner. Again right on the river it's a beautiful spot and the courtyard is wonderful. To get the bike back into the courtyard we need to roll them through the owners quarters but they're prepared there's a special rock placed so the motos can make it down a couple of steps. Bato is one of the lowest places we've stayed so it's easily the warmest and it feel great to be here.
Just across the street is the town square.
Once we're settled we head for dinner at a regular place John and Charlie have eaten before when in Bato. The place is under construction but they're still serving food they just set up a couple of tables in the kitchen and menu is whatever they're cooking tonight, no choices. The latest trend in gourmet restaurants these days in a special meal for small groups served in the kitchen of these high end restaurants. Well in Batopilas they're way ahead of the curve. The meal started with a potato soup with some I think goat cheese in it. Now I'm not big on goat cheese but this was delicious. Some one else is going to have to complete what we had for a main course that night because I've forgotten. After that we just went back to the hotel with a few cervezas and went up to the patio on the rooftop and enjoyed the views over the river and the lights of Batopilas. Good times indeed!
Waiting for our "connection" to return with our after hours beer purchase :slurp
The lights of Batopilas from the patio.
At the end of a trip we try to be sure everyone gets a copy of all the photos that are taken.
Now that we have people from the affluent classes going with us someone always seems to have one of those newfangled portable computers along and we can burn a DVD for everyone on the way home.
Looking at the DVD I was able to list the number of shots taken by each rider. The numbers below are after the dupes and duds are culled.
Chris 733 + 38 videos
What does this all mean Mr. Natural?:huh
I'll tell you what I think, Charlie. I think you and John have gotten spoiled making this trip year after year!
Bob took this pic in Urique. I can't remember the last time I was in a store and orange juice, horseshoes, and oil were in the same aisle, let alone the same rack. How do workers prepare for "clean-up in aisle 6" with such variety?
On the Day 8 scouting run to Cieniguita de Barranca, we had a nice preview of the difficulty ahead. Before we crossed the dynamite field on Day 9, we were stopped on Day 8 on the way up the mountain. We weren't sure if we'd have a clearing after construction was started. One of the workers had a truck up the mountain. Since we were scouting, we didn't have all of our luggage and this worker was eyeing up John's pillion. He asked for a ride up to his truck. John obliged, forgetting that his inoperable rear shock made his bike the worst candidate in the group. Not a problem, though. Santiago, the blasting crewman, was a good rider and his weight kept the bouncing down.
The trek to the truck was quite long. We were travelling through various stages of construction. The bulldozers tracks proved a challenge, especially with the grade. Some of John's 2-up riding. Santiago was waving to his coworkers as we passed. I'm sure they were thinking 'WTF?'
<embed type='application/x-shockwave-flash' src='http://vholdr.com/videoPlayer/embedPlayer.swf' allowfullscreen='true' allowscriptaccess='always' flashvars='height=281&width=500&plugins=yourlytics-1&yourlytics.callback=http://vholdr.com/callback.php&repeat=list&file=http://vholdr.com/xspf/node/72426/emb' height='281' width='500'></embed>
Santiago seemed fearless and John's favor was undoubtedly appreciated. Bob made sure to grab a shot of the finish.
Onward up the mountain. The high road over Urique on this side was as amazing as the opposite side from which we came the day before. To my dismay, the flat tire had returned about 1.5 miles before Cieniguita. It was leaking fast but I was able to make it to the tiny village.
Bob quick pulled the camera to again capture someone else's bike causing delays in the schedule. Was a gorgeous spot to fix the tire and the town had an old wide truck rim waiting for us for a perch. Bob found the offending sliver of metal that had caused both flats and with work, it was removed and Ian had me practice proper patching. The ATV in the background of this picture was a tourist who spoke good english. He was stopped to visit a girl, but it wasn't his girlfriend. I didn't get to talk to him much since I was working on the tire.
My kneading of the patch edges looked like crap compared to Ian's. We joked that if I told someone that the poor job was his work that nobody would believe me. "No way would Ian's look that bad." The only tire trouble on the whole trip.
Coming back down the mountain was just maybe even more fun. Ian and I were enjoying the steep descent.
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Just a clarification. The beer/tomato juice drink served at the Urique motel is Michelada (spelling Arte?). I first got hooked on this beer/clamato/spices mix in Batopilas at the Puente Colgante. Once in the states I found Budweiser is making a lesser imitation calling it Chelada. It's good, but not as good as the original. Normally I wouldn't be caught dead drinking that crap Budweiser makes, and had to put up with alot of crap from my freinds about drinking "football beer". Until they tasted it. Everything else Bud makes (or miller or Busch for that matter) still tastes like watered down goat piss filtered through sweat socks, but at least they got this right.
In my defense on photos, I did take a few, but they were on my phone after I left the group. I took several of the shots on Bob's camera, mostly because he was involved in fixing something or other, so I took the shots of the repairs. Once I get the pictures off the phone, I can pass them along. I'd say I took about 6 or 10 pics. So there.
See there, those tire repair photos? I took those with Bob's camera. Case closed.
As Charlie mentioned, the bonus of the new-found route is crossing the river early.
The locals have figured out a shallow(er) crossing and have it roughly marked out with large stones. We asked some locals for the crossing and they were quick and helpful. The crossing location is no secret.
This is Bob coming back from checking Cieniguita de Barranca's passability. He made it look the most dramatic.
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i left off when we were back in Creel. We got breakfast at lupitas and made final adjustments to the bikes. headed down to Divisidero and enjoyed the view. once past San Rafeal they are beginning to pave the high road to bahuichivo. Soon i suspect it will be paved to Temoris and beyond for the mines. We had to bushwack a bit to find the low road to Bahuichive. it hasn´t changed much other than there are no more water crossings. the road is used little, because of the new and improved high road. i hope they leave this one alone. We stopped in Bahuichivo and had a snack, then headed for Urique. The overlook into the urique canyon is being completely rebuilt with a larger viewing, parking, and bathroom area. i assume there will be shop selling trinkets also. The road down seems the same as it was six years ago.
We got gas at a new gas station just as you come into town. it has a pemex pump, but other than a cement hut that´s about it. better than the can and hose routine, i guess progress has it´s merits.
We got rooms at the hotel barrancas urique. for others who have been before, that´s the hotel with the restaurant on the second floor overlooking the river. it now sports a bar under the restaurant. the bar resembles the cowboy bar in Bato, with less atmosphere, tables, chairs, and lighting.
They served beer in the restaurant so there wasn´t a need to hang out in what seemed like a fallout bunker.
The food was good, and he rooms cheap. we paid 200 pesos for a room with two beds in it. Dad did the negotiations and did not dissapoint. that translates into about 8 bucks per person per night. the motel is about equal with the maria delores, and even had hot water. water pressure lacked.
When we were at the overlook we spotted a new road cut into the canyon walls on the other side of the river up and over the ridge toward bato. plans were changed to spend two nights in Urique to allow for exploring the new road.
They are paving the ¨runway¨ in Urique. they have also institued several one way circular routes to keep the traffic moving int he same direction on the narrow streets. some silly motorcyclists didn´t understand the signs.
there is apparently an internet place, but it was never open while we were there. still no pay phones. it was warm, since it´s about 1700 feetdown there.
The next day we went exploring on bikes with almost no luggage. We headed south of town to the river crossing, which was a challenge for most of us. the water was moving slow and the locals were happy to point out the shallow route. lots of movies and pics taken, and everyone did an excellent job crossing. We headed up the road, which wastes no time in climbing the walls quickly. We came to the school where the road ended several years ago when Richard and I had gone exploring. at this point Rick thought he was getting tired and didn´t want to risk the return of the the scourge, so he hung out there for a bit and returned to the river crossing.
The rest of us climbed and climbed, and eventually came to a couple of crews with jackhammers drilling holes in the bedrock. a bit farther and we came on a crew filling the holes with explosives and running igniter cord. they assured us the road went to cienequita barrancas, and that the road would be passable when we returned later in the day.
one of the workers appeared to want a ride up the mountain on the bike to somewhere, so i loaded him on the klr and took off. about 10 feet into the ride i remembered my shock probloms, but the ride was actually better with him back there. he was also an excellent passenger, and didn´t flinch when i started to lose it in the freshly graded rubble left from the earlier morning´s blasting.
A few miles up the switchbacks and we got Santiago to his pickup. They had a camp up there clinging to the side of the mountain, with tarps for tents. The whole thing was not OSHA approved.
We were happy to talk to these guys, sice Cienegquita barrancas was the goal. we were sure a road led from there to samachique, if it was still there.
after about 15 miles we pulled into Cieneguita, which had a church and a small store. Chris pulled in on a flat rear tire. That got dissassembled quickly and the tube was patched. closer inspection of the tire with better lighting and more moral support showed a metal shiv was still in the tire and had caused both flats. more struggling and we got it out. no more flats for Chris since i left them.
We were happy with the new gps track, and headed back to meet Rick at the river. he had had a chance to nap under a tree and critique the local´s crossing techniques. with his information we were able to cross even better.
Another night of wandering around town and food were in order. We got to watch the locals playing bumper trucks in the road behind the restaurant. pretty exciting stuff for sunday night. you would think that people who only have a road in town to cover each night would have memorized the big hole they kept getting their trucks hung up on, requiring getting pulled or pushed out by other trucks.
The next day we got up and re-crossed the river,with all of us making it up the blasting crew in good time. this time they wouldn´t let us ride the bikes through, as they had just filled holes right in the road and didn´t want the bikes to set off the explosives. not wanting to argue the point, we pushed the bikes through with a high five from santiago.
We eventually made it to samachique, which is the town with the hospital where you turn off the pavement from creel headed to bato. A new route was discovered and documented! it ran through a really tight canyone with lots of little water crossings and tarahumara villages. it was very beautiful.
when we got to the pavement (!) that heads down to Bato we bumped into two senior english ladies who are traveling the world on bikes. they have a website at horizons unlimited, look up ¨dustyoldbags¨. they quickly pointed out they were referring to the saddlebags.
The road to bato will soon be paved. it is paved much of the way to the overlook at the lip of the canyone and the rest of it is getting ready to be paved. a local in bato told me they are planning to pave as much as possible. Go now, or forever hold your peace.
at about la bufa i realized i was riding MUCH closer to the ground, and found my rear shock as bent and broken. it doesn´t seem to like getting used with no oil in it and gave up the ghost. I was determined to make it to bato and continued on. Hey, that´s where the empty trucks are, right? I´m still glad I chose to ride after it failed 20 miles into the first dirt road on the trip. A new shock will be required, but that investment is nothing compared to what i spent to get to mexico with my freinds. While hanging around in creel or chihuahua by myself would be better than being home working, it wouldn´t be better than being at home with the family. Either way, it all worked out.
We pulled into bato and got rooms at Juanitas. Juanita´s is still the best, cheapest, most beautiful hotel i have stayed at in mexico. She is building a secure parking area just across the bridge by the bar. parking for a four wheeled vehicle was a worry in my future plans to bring Laura and the girls to Bato, and this solves that problem.
Undoubtedly exciting is trying new paths. Mexico was all new to me, but knowing that Charlie was excited about something made it even more interesting. The route that avoids the old Tubares stretch (which would have been new to me) was rocky and went through a few small villages.
The highlight of the route to Samachique can be seen on cwc's post #69 in this thread. The center of the map pic shows where the track and a stream converge. Lost in the pic is the corresponding elevation, which in my best guess, includes the steep slope between 35 and 50 miles on the graph cwc provided. Through this wooded gusset between mountains, you travel up against the flow of the stream. You also cross the stream about, well, 20 times (not exaggerating). Ridiculously fun.
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