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Mexico by Geezer

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by RexBuck, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. Pete_Tallahassee

    Pete_Tallahassee Grampy

    Joined:
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    Tallahassee. FL. USA
    Thanks a bunch for your report. You know, you will never see everything you want to see.
    I'm now in Oaxaca and will follow your advice and take 175 north out of here tomorrow. I stayed in Mazunte for three days and have found your report very helpful. As I am traveling on a K1200 RS I can't exactly follow your path.

    Again thanks, Pete
  2. Sunday Rider

    Sunday Rider Adventurer Wanabe

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    Bummer about the clutch. How are you going to get into the US without a passport? Hope the last hotel you remember having it, will still have it there for you.

    Really enjoying your report and writing style. By the way the folks you rode with earlier in the trip, was that planned or did you just meet up and ride together?

    Keep safe and hope your clutch holds out.
  3. acejones

    acejones Long timer

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    He said he has a passport from another country that will get him into the US.
  4. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    Hey Pete, glad you are finding it useful. Yah, I know you can't do it all and there are some real crown jewells left for me when I return.

    There really isn't anything north of Tuxtepec that I was on that you would be unable to do on your K1200RS. The worst part was that little patch of gravel at the end of 182 but the scenery was so nice, I'd do it again on my Harley . . . just slower. :ricky

    By the way, where did you find a place to stay in Mazunte? My wife and I went over there for a day and there looks like a lot of cool restaraunts and shops but accomodation seemed sparse.
  5. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    Thanks again, man. As far as meeting up with people along the way, any bikers I met were "Holy cow, those folks are on something bigger than a 250 and look like they may be travelers - let's stop and chat."

    And, as Ace said, I have a "Get In Free Card" for the US.
  6. Sunday Rider

    Sunday Rider Adventurer Wanabe

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    't

    Ah forgot about that part. Ace reads and remembers better than me.

    I was wondering why you weren't sweating the re-entry. That would have worried me more than the clutch.

    Now about that Australia part of the trip that only got a two word mention.. Did you ride while you were there, or was that just a family visit.

    Great that you can ride with folks you happen upon and can share some fun together.
  7. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    Wasn't really part of the Mexico trip - it was a trip to visit one of our daughters and her family including a new grandkid we hadn't seen yet.
  8. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    Day 74 - Mar 29

    Heading over towards the Zacatecas area today. Leaving Ciudad Valles, it was warm (23C - 75F) and humid at 7 am when I was leaving but it is almost at sea level.

    First half of the day was riding some great curvy roads. Bonus, it's Sunday and few trucks are out to muck up a nice road. Looks like they are building a new Cuota for this stretch as I suspect this road gets pretty busy during the week.
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    Saw lots of Sunday riders out today from a couple of 1200 GSs, some sports bikes, a bunch of Harleys and some other cruisers.

    Second half was straight and fast.
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    Trying to baby my clutch a bit but it all worked out fine. Checked the gap and it is still about the same as when I adjusted it 2000 km ago so, doesn't look like it's getting worse.

    To help my clutch, I've been avoiding congested places but, thought I would try to find a hotel in Zacatecas since it shouldn't be too busy on a Sunday. It wasn't bad, they have a freeway right through town.


    Started raining. Hotels started popping up along the freeway but nothing turned my crank. Finally saw a sign for Hotel Don Miguel. OK, let's check it out. Pretty well has it's own overpass. Holy crap this place is big - multiple huge buildings. Went to the place where the "Reception" arrows pointed and went in, nothing there. Hmmm, place was really quiet - spooky quiet. Went outside to wait out the rain and saw a couple of employees walking around - in uniforms. Uniforms mean way higher class than a biker with really smelly boots. Later looked it up and here is one of their ads . . . can't think of another place I would rather not be at than this.
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    Saw a Howard Johnson, I'm ready to stop so I'll bite the bullet and check it out. Went to find a parking place and discover there is one street bordering that you can park on and there were about 25 State Police trucks parked there - I'm guessing their station must be somewhere here. Found a good place to park but it turned out to be in the middle of the exit lane needed by a very busy bus station across the street. Bus drivers said a bunch of things to me I didn't understand but, got their drift. Didn't want to stay here anyhow.

    Back on the now busy highway, just trying to find a street I can exit on. Finally get off and cruising down this primarily residential street, see this little sign "Hotel Casa del Gobernador"
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    Look down the driveway wondering if it is one of those 3 hour love motels, decide to check it out. Perfect. Hotel
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    where my bike is
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    $500p - in a small town it would have been $300p but still, in a city, $40 for a decent room . . . .
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    As I'm out wandering down the street later, I glance over and low and behold, the frickin Cathederal is right there - about a block behind the hotel. A great city park right below it. Motherlode! I inadvertently stumbled on a great place in the middle of a big city.
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    Oxxo just a block down the street for my required cerveza. Picked up a bag of Fritos - beer and fritos, now that's livin. Later on thought I should wander down and find some food, couple of restaurants closed (Sunday?), saw some street food.
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    Came across a place called Super Elotes. Hmmm, check that out. You may remember, an elote is a cob of corn smothered in mayonnaise and crumbled cheese and with a bunch of lime, hot powders, salsas, etc. Well this is the same except (For a Grande . . . go big or go home) you get like an old style McDonalds Styrofoam hamburger container filled with corn from about two cobs, two spatulas of mayo smeared on and topped with a mound of cheese. Add your own requisite gobs of spices, stop at the Oxxo for another beer and you're golden. Hmmmmm!
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    About one in the morning I woke up with my stomach on Super Wash cycle. Watched TV for an hour. Guess I should've had the Regular instead of a Grande for my late dinner.
  9. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    Day 75 - Mar 30

    Great place, decided to stay another day.

    Wandered around the neighborhood, checked out the cathedral and the park.

    Neighborhood is quite nice houses.
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    Watched one lady come down the hill in her new Beemer, stops, waits for me to get out of the way, see her press the garage door opener, the doors swing open into the street, fast, by now she is across the street backing in and the doors close. All in less than 10 seconds. I actually think they are fast more because of the traffic coming down the hill than security concerns but it was impressive.

    Beautiful cathedral, very ornate. Apparently another creation of the Jesuits in the mid 18'th Century
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    The old governors mansion between the cathedral and the park is now a museum.
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    Beautiful little park.
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    Normally expect the City’s Zocólo to be adjacent to the Cathedral. Apparently there is a large square somewhere but I didn'’t get to it. Found this other great little square a few blocks away that acts like the usual town square for people to hang out
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    Ran into this scene of a transit cop having a heated discussion with a Coca Cola truck driver. The transit cop is the one dressed like a General. Neither is happy. Saw the driver putting his wallet away - probably had to get his drivers licence out :evil
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    Later on and just down the street, ran into the General again with another transit cop having just about an all out cat fight with a woman driver. She (cop) already had a tow truck there and things were getting nasty. The General was trying to keep it from getting really ugly. Finally lets the woman leave. The She-cop was pissed! Very entertaining.
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    Part of the old El Cubo Aqueduct has been rebuilt and actually requires traffic to pass through the arches. Originally built in the 18th century to carry water a number of miles into the city. Very arid area and without water, the city likely would not have developed.

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    One of the main streets, Gonzálaz Ortega Avenue

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    Two sounds you don’t hear much down here that I have heard in Zacetecas –- train horn and chain saw. I know there are trains around because you do see tracks sometimes. Heard them going through town 3 or 4 times now – guessing hauling mining products. Seems just about everything that needs hauling in Mexico goes by truck.

    I’'m sure chain saws are used for logging up in the pine forests in the higher altitudes, but everything else is pretty well done with a machete. Amazing what they use these for: Cutting small trees, cutting small trees into pieces, cutting brush on the side of the road, cutting sugar cane -– if it’s vegetative, it can probably be dealt with using a machete. More times than not when you see a man walking down the road in a rural area, he’'s carrying a machete. Go to the market and find the hardware guy and he'’ll have piles of them for sale. Can you picture our hardware stores at home having piles of knives around with 2 foot blades?

    There is this cool rock overlooking the city from La Bufa hill – I think it looks like a giant lip or tongue sticking up
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    Night
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    Found out afterwards there is some neat things to see up there . . . next time.
  10. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    Day 76 - Mar 31

    Now we are out on the high prairie – pretty flat and straight ride to Durango. The odd bend in the road
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    Started seeing a lot of these Rigid Yuccas – they were in bloom and looked really pretty spread out over the plains. Tried (with lousy results) to get some pics as I’'m cruising down the highway
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    finally got a close-up
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    Always a few varmints grazing along the road
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    Stopped at a nice roadside restaurant for breakfast.
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    Guillermo whose family runs the restaurant came over and started asking about my bike and the trip. He spoke no English so, it was him asking questions a couple of different ways before I caught on and the same for my answers. Sometimes I would paraphrase what he said and we eventually would figure stuff out. Had a good conversation. The most difficult thing to convey to him was when he asked about my Ride Bell and trying to explain in my limited Spanish what road gremlins are.
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    Was relieved to see the familiar brewery along the highway to Durango . . . no longer worried they might run out. :1drink

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    Had contacted SR, the ADVer in charge of Durango to ask about some of the roads in the area and he offered to show me around when I got there. That is great because when I was here last year, Virginia dragged me through some pretty crappy parts of the town and I had a pretty poor impression of the City.

    SR comes down and picks me up and we went for a stroll around the downtown. He has a bit of a tradition that he presents his guests with Scorpion key-rings -– actually, pretty cool.
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    Took me up to his office. SR is a geologist and runs the Mexican branch of a US mining company. Gave me a quick lesson in Geology and how they prove out ore bodies to decide if they will be profitable to mine. Combination of old school pen and paper and new technology with all sorts of mapping programs based on drilling, satellite imaging and airplanes with sensors. Quite a sophisticated and tedious process. However, I figured with everything SR showed me, I should be able to go out and find me some paydirt. He didn'’t think that would be a wise move.

    Hopped in his truck and drove out to the remnants of an old (early 1700s) iron smelter used by the Spanish. Very cool speculating on how they operated this.

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    Stephen standing inside

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    The refurbished Hacienda that would have had the smelter
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    Took me up to the mirador for a spectacular view of the city
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    Finally, he took me to a restaurant called La Tia Chona and I had this spectacular dish called chiles en nogada. This was one of the best meals I'’ve had in Mexico. There was five different things on the plate and it was like a kid in a candy store trying to figure out where I wanted the next bite to come from. Yummmm!
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    Stephen is a pretty busy guy, running a busy exploration operation and with a young family. Really appreciated the time he spent with me showing me the town and taking me to that fabulous restaurant. Thanks man.
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  11. Jick Magger

    Jick Magger Exile on Main Street

    Joined:
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    Okanagan Valley BC, Canada/Scottsdale, Arizona
    Rexbuck

    I went to the same restaurant and had the same meal in Durango. Couldn't agree more. Best meal I had. Good to see you hooked up with SR. I wasn't so fortunate as we touched base after I had gone through town.
    <a href="https://jickmagger.smugmug.com/Travel/Motorcycle-Travel/Mexico-March-2012/21848631_7x72Sr#!i=1746074329&k=r3kHRdB&lb=1&s=A" title="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug"><img src="https://jickmagger.smugmug.com/Travel/Motorcycle-Travel/Mexico-March-2012/i-r3kHRdB/0/L/P1010767-L.jpg" title="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug" alt="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug"></a><a href="https://jickmagger.smugmug.com/Travel/Motorcycle-Travel/Mexico-March-2012/21848631_7x72Sr#!i=1746070456&k=TkvsNXF&lb=1&s=A" title="Dinner in Durango..Wow"><img src="https://jickmagger.smugmug.com/Travel/Motorcycle-Travel/Mexico-March-2012/i-TkvsNXF/0/L/P1010766-L.jpg" title="Dinner in Durango..Wow" alt="Dinner in Durango..Wow"></a>
  12. SR

    SR Long timer

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    Western Mexico
    Thanks Rexbuck, the pleasure was mine. I really enjoyed meeting up with you! Good fun! Yes, La Tia Chona is an great restaurant!

    Cheers
    SR
  13. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    Day 77 - Apr 1

    To Parrel today. Pretty straightforward, uneventful ride. Go in a straight line with a few curves thrown in early on. Man, in the latter half, that road was straight. These pics show about the most excitement along this road

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    SR told me that Pancho Villa’'s birthplace was along the way – I was in such a stupor, I never did see it.

    Got into Parrel -– wanted to find a hotel on the outskirts so I wouldn'’t have to ride into town -– still fretting about my clutch. Found a Howard Johnsons right outside. Decent room, pricey - $750p but good internet. When I rode in, saw they have a restaurant which is good since they are kind of away from everything. Then I find out it isn'’t open. Oh well, will have to walk for my beer, and food.

    Couldn’'t find a restaurant within a mile walk so headed back for delivery. Phone wouldn'’t dial out so had the lady at reception order for me – I think she did much better communicating on the phone than I would have anyhow. Actually received what I wanted.


    In the last couple of days I have started to notice some liquid (looks like oil) oozing from the right side of the engine. Not a lot so have just kept my eye on it. Oil level is rock solid since I changed the oil 5000 km ago. Will have to noodle this thing out.

    You may recall early on the controller for my heated liner crapped out. I asked Gerbings if they could tell me what to look for so I could fix it but they didn'’t want me messing with the control unit. Offered to send me a replacement but I figured that could be problematical coming to Mexico.

    I had heard that it gets cold in the mountains around Creel so, wanted my liner working. Had picked up some supplies a few days ago (switch, roll of tape and some wire nuts – about $2.50) and, got to work.
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    Looks like shit but works like a charm.

    Subsequent to this, I sent this mess back to Gerbings and they shipped me a new controller. First class!
  14. arraflipper

    arraflipper Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    462
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    I had read the first part of your ride report then some how forgot to read the rest. I spent last evening and a little while today getting caught back up. Great pictures and storys you have been sharing of your travels. Sure have enjoyed reading about it all. Was wondering how you pick a spot to ride to, as you seem to hit some really good spots?
  15. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    Glad you have enjoyed it arraflipper.

    As far as picking places to ride to, a big part of it was reading lots of ride reports and other discussions about Mexico on ADV. There is a wealth of experienced Mexico riders here. On my map, I would make note of towns people recommended or enjoyed and note roads they enjoyed. Then it was just a matter of hooking them together. Sometimes I would notice something on a map that looked like a different way to go and give it a shot. Sometimes, I would let the map program give me suggestions on how to get from point A to point B.

    Many times a day's destination may be just a random town along the way where I grab a room as it is getting late and it's time to stop. Some great surprises.

  16. hookeniggy

    hookeniggy Good at getting lost

    Joined:
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    Hej Geezer
    Really enjoy reading your story, i am following you from The Netherlands, i find your writingstyle very entertaining and the pictures are wonderfull, Mexico looks like a wonderfull place.
    I left my motorcycle in Canada last year during a visit and feel like heading for Mexico now too.:clap
    Nice job and thanks for all the effort you´re putting in:wave
  17. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    Hi hookeniggy
    Thanks so much for the nice comments - I really appreciate them.

    As far as heading to Mexico . . . the sooner the better, get on a plane, fly to Canada, pick up your bike, point it south, don't slow down until the sides of your mouth are touching both ears :D
  18. hookeniggy

    hookeniggy Good at getting lost

    Joined:
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    You're more than welcome Geezer,

    Looking forward to your next updates and adventures:freaky

    I'm flying to New Brunswick in june (where i left my bike) and planning to ride west first, and then south from there, got lots of time, so sometimes hard for me to stick to a plan, but after reading your report think its very tempting to head south in a straight line,in the meantime i'll enjoy your story's, pretty awesome there:clap
  19. calimusjohn

    calimusjohn Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Sprague River, OR & Salome, AZ
    Enjoyed your report very much. I rode the length of Baja and then around the top of the Gulf of Mexico to San Carlos and Guaymas. I was only able to stay 60 days before returning to the States for prior commitments. (January and February 2012)
    I too read of the "Dangers" of traveling south of the border. Topes and cervesas seemed the most dangerous elements to me. (Well there was one "Hooker". . .)
    I was repeatedly stopped by the police in La Paz. The La Paz Motor Officers ride Suzuki Vstroms. I was riding a new Vstrom. They all wanted to hear about my tour and especially about the bike's Farkles. It involved a lot of pointing, touching, laughing and enjoying the moment. They often then escorted me to my destination: -Lights and Siren- great time!
    A night time scene: many, many Harleys diagonally parked along the curb, I stop. They are at a funeral parlor in respect for a fallen rider from a different M/C club. He died saving his children from a house fire on Christmas. Simply a brother. As a side note - I am 73. Heading for the Arctic this summer. No more excuses.
  20. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    Day 78 - Apr 2

    Much better ride today. No, a fantastic ride today. Road from Parral towards Guachochi meanders through some hills and valleys - very relaxing for the morning and immensely more entertaining than coming to Parral.
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    Stopped for gas along the way but they were out of premium. Figured I could make it to Guachochi without touching the spare gas.

    This is a really common type of logging truck I saw in a number of regions
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    Now, get up a little closer and you don't want to be that close. One chain holding the whole works from flattening whatever is unlucky to be behind him if it gives way. And in true Mexican fashion, the helper for any truck will be sitting on top of the load.

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    Stopped in Guachochi to feed me and my bike. Great little restaurant served great bacon and eggs Mexican style
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    Went to the Pemex on the way out and they don't even have a premium pump. So, filled with regular having visions of my bike exploding somewhere in the mountains. Surprise Surprise! Ran like a charm. Only had one brief instance of preignition - when I was pulling out of a hole after taking some pictures. Good to know.

    It's about 140 km from Guachochi to Creel on Hwy 23 and the first 50 or so was nice and relaxing - like into Guachochi . . . then it got good. . . really good. Just a great twisted road with pretty decent pavement (no potholes) and spectacular scenery. Up and down - valleys then canyons. Beautiful! Some great shots didn't get taken (as usual) because there is just no place to stop and I was just having too much fun to stop. . . :ricky
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    Lot of cattle raised around here - really dry

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    This is technically part of the Copper Canyon complex although I understand the main part is even more dramatic, higher mountains and deeper valleys. Had planned to jog down to Batopilas but with me doing the worry wart thing about my clutch, gave it a pass. Another item on my list for next time.

    I have come to the conclusion that the State of Chihuahua is the most friendly to bikers. I haven't been waved at so much anywhere. And when they wave, it isn't some wimpy lift your hand up, it's full blown arm up in the air, fingers outstretched and the whole thing waving around. If you go by a group of men, it looks like a bunch of elementary school boys wanting to get picked for a team. Pick me. Pick me.

    I think this State is making a conscious effort to encourage tourism. Cleanest roads I have seen. Actually saw people out picking up garbage.


    When I was going through one town, this guy was standing in the middle of the road. By the time I turned around to take a pic, she had wandered under this tree.
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    Women (and many girls) in this area dress traditionally. I have noticed in areas where the women are more traditional that they rarely make eye contact and in fact many times will turn their back to you as you go by.
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    Couple of girls heading to school
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    Creel is a nice town. Touristy but not obnoxious. Tons of hotels, most look pretty descent. More restaurants than you can shake a stick at - a sign of tourists. Not a lot of street food. Some artsy shops, real coffee shops and souvenir shops.
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    I'd love to come back here once my off-road confidence is better and explore these canyons.