More Small Bikes and More Big Canyons

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by cwc, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. cwc

    cwc .

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    After our December trip [ http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=295653 ] I felt a strong need to return to the sierras of Chihuahua. Dean felt the same and we talked Bill Jones into going with us. Bills DRZ400 qualified as a small bike.
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    We planned to meet with the rest of the spring Moto Mutz trip along the way and Tury from Chihuahua was planning to ride with us for a bit.
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    Dean kept a diary and also was the trip photographer. Most of the pics will be his and I&#8217;ll include some of his notes. If there is a date on the pic it is Bill&#8217;s. I took 26 pics, Bill took 92 pics and videos and Dean took 730 pics and videos.
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    I expect that Arturo, Dean and Bill will insert their comments here as well.
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    Our plan was pretty loose. We really had no idea what we would do beyond trying some of the stuff we didn&#8217;t get done in December and showing some of the Mutz some new territory.

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    Here is where we went.

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    This time the Luxo-van was selected as the hauler of choice. This would be only the third time out of the garage in the last year, but it only has about 213K miles on it so I was pretty sure it would do the job. I loaded the DR inside and made a bed on the other side so we could get enough rest while driving straight through to Texas. Bill and Dean put their bikes on Bill&#8217;s trailer.

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    Due to some scheduling conflicts we left a couple of days after the rest of the Mutz. Reports on their adventures are here:
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    http://www.klr650.net/forums/showthread.php?t=37827
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    http://www.network54.com/Forum/154362/thread/1201508418/last-1203606872/Why+I+go+to+Mexico
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    After loading the van we left Minnesota about mid-morning on 3 Feb. There was the usual snow and ice in Iowa and Missouri with many vehicles in the ditches to add a little spice to the trip.
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    Dean sez:
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    4 Feb 08

    Later in the afternoon arrived at Paul & Voni&#8217;s, south of Alpine Texas. After unloading bikes we all walked across the highway to visit Cowboy Chris at his Cowtown Ranch, campground and hospitality center. Then back to Paul and Voni&#8217;s for a great home cooked supper.

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    Bill, Dean and me with the faithful DR.

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    Paul and Voni pose with Bill and me at the ranch.

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    Social center of the ranch

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    After yet another Texas sunset we were early to bed.

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    Tomorrow we go to Mexico.
    #1
  2. FXRocket

    FXRocket Phoneticide Squad

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    #2
  3. Powershouse

    Powershouse Flower Sniffer

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    #3
  4. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    :thumb

    :lurk
    #4
  5. cwc

    cwc .

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    Dean sez:
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    5 Feb 08000
    Up early for our trip south across the border. 46 degrees, a north wind and partly cloudy. Border crossing at Ojinaga went smooth enough, got all our required permits and headed for Chihuahua. Arrived Chihuahua at 4pm and got checked into the Maria Dolores, and then to a key cutter to get some spare keys for Charlie. Arturo Macias (Tury) stopped by and we had supper with him at a local restaurant down the street. It was very windy today, head and side winds, had to shift down at times, mileage dropped to 49mpg while traveling at highway speeds against the wind.

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    At the border we found that we could pay for the tourist visa at the same place we bought the vehicle permits. This was the first time this service was offered to us and it sure beats looking for a bank. Since we bought insurance on line the only other stop was to buy pesos. I bought US$550 worth and was able to return US$84 worth as we left 19 days later. Travel in Mexico is cheap, less than $25/day.

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    After the cambio our next stop was at this overlook a few miles in, just before the station where they check your papers.

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    We entered the chapel to get out of the wind. Note the wind damage to the roof.

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    Either a drug deal or we are arranging our pesos. I’ve never felt comfortable stashing cash on the street outside the cambio.

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    At supper with Tury in Chihuahua we did a little planning while the street vendor patiently waits for us to buy a candy bar. Tury will catch up with us in a few days. Dean was shooting the girl so all you can see of Tury is his hand.

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    Tomorrow we’ll get to a dirt road.
    #5
  6. cwc

    cwc .

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    Dog of the day
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    We took Hwy 16 west toward Cuauhtemoc and turned south to San Francisco de Borja on a pleasant paved road. At SFdB we took a dirt road toward Carichi.
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    Dean Sez:
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    6 Feb 08
    Met a man on horseback named Cosme with his white dog between San Francisco deBorja and Carichic on a scenic ridge and valley. Cosme spoke good English as he had worked in Memphis Tennessee. There he worked 70 hours a week at the St. Judes Children Hospital and as a bartender at a strip joint. Now back home in Chihuahua, he raises cattle on the rangeland.


    We arrived in Creel and checked in at Margaritas, had a nice included supper of Chile Rellenos, and did laundry in the room. Tightened Bill’s spokes and lubed chains this evening before supper. Fun to all work together on the wheel. Today’s ride included views of rolling hillsides, some with the incredible stone fences going up and over the hill, perfectly straight and solid in place with no mortar whatsoever. Lots of cattle, some pigs, wandering wherever they please, a goat herder with his wheelbarrow of fire wood. Many wash lines, one of which had the full-length skirts of many colors, back lit by the sun as they hung on the lines in their half moon fashion.
    Our pack and ourselves were real dusty when we arrived in Creel
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    We had to go through a few gates.

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    The road was not particularly challenging, but very pleasant with good views such as this one at our lunch stop.
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    Cosme was out checking on the livestock. He rode up and we said “Hola”. He replied “How ya doin’”.
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    <o:p>Bill poses for a scenery shot. I think I worked his the camera for this one.</o:p>
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    <o:p>Dean liked the stone fences</o:p>
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    After lunch we finished to road to Carichic then continued on through Sisoguichi to Bocoyna where we took the pavement to Creel. I made a mental note to find the dirt route from Sisoguichi to Creel. I know it’s there somewhere.
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    Tomorrow we try to go to Batopilas.
    #6
  7. cwc

    cwc .

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    Dog of the day. If you are wondering about this, here's the deal. Dean took a pic of every dog he saw and he really liked them, so we are sharing them with you.

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    Dean sez:
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    7 Feb 08
    Started out for Batopilas heading south from Creel on an amazing twisty mountain tar road, exhilarating curves, climbs and dips, with calendar views of mountain ridges in all directions, and local people here and there walking somewhere, or tending herds, or washing clothes in streams. We stopped for a lunch break at an overlook where 3 Tarahumara women weave their baskets, bracelets, dolls, and other assorted handicrafts for sale to passersby, each lady in her different brightly colored dress. It was here that Bills bike failed electrically and would not start. Charlie troubleshot and determined that we would have a better chance of finding a battery that could be used as a constant loss system back in Creel. Bill and I started for Creel, starting his bike with a down hill roll and bump start, it carried him all but the last half mile to the Pemex Station in Creel. This was more than expected as it ran very rough much of the 35 or so miles back to town. With my eighth inch clothesline, we towed Bill to the station, it was across the street that he and Charlie secured a battery and all the wiring to make the set up that would turn out to power his bike the rest of the trip.
    We stayed at Margaritas sister property a hostel closer to the train station, Charlie secured a 3 bed room, with supper and breakfast, for somewhere around $10 per person. The entertainment that night was the light fixture in the room which was at just the right height for Charlie to hit his head on when he walked past or got out of bed. I think Bill and I stopped counting at around 11 hits.

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    Wandering around Creel you can usually find an interesting bike to look at.
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    Headed toward Batopilas.
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    The overlook where trouble began.
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    The shy ladies and their crafts.
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    Too bad we had so little space to carry things.
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    A few measurements pointed to a bad rectifier/regulator. We didn’t have a spare.
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    Back in Creel we found a battery and the necessary parts to replace the stock battery with the “enhanced capacity” battery.
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    With a little work the bike was ready to go. The battery brand name was not re-assuring.
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    We later got a small piece of wood to put under the battery making the mount a bit more stable. We also bought a used battery charger for 500 pesos but later discovered that it didn’t work. To our surprise, the seller cheerfully refunded the money. As it turned out, charging the battery was never a problem.
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    Margaritas hostel has secure parking, but it is several blocks away so we just locked up the bikes on the porch. They were fine.
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    Communal eating was the order of the day. This table includes people from New Zealand, England, Spain, the US and three bikers of questionable origin (not shown).
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    Bill displays the number of times I hit my head on the lamp. Later I got up to go to the bathroom thinking everyone was asleep. Bang - I hit the lamp again. Two voices from the dark corners said in unison “Eleven”.

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    Tomorrow we actually make it to Batopilas.
    #7
  8. cwc

    cwc .

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    Dog of the day and it&#8217;s food source
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    We set out once again for Bato. All systems were GO.
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    Dean sez:
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    8 Feb 08
    Made it to Batopilas today. Bills Constant Loss battery rig is working fine. It was great to ride the first 35 miles over again, we had lunch at the same overlook, and shared food with the Tarahumara women. There were 2 little girls with the 3 women today. The gravel and dirt part of the road to Batopilas is under construction shortly after leaving the tar road. We passed right through the construction zone on the motorcycles, feeling quite small next to the quarry trucks and other large earth moving equipment. The views on the way to Batopilas are spectacular canyon and mountain side scenery. The rough hewn rock road which snakes down the canyon clings to the side of the mountains, through switch back after switch back, just a two track, one must be ready for an oncoming vehicle around any of the switchbacks, at which time you move up against the mountain or out to the edge while it passes. A quick wave and a "Ola", brings the same back to you in return.
    In Batopilas we are greeted by Charlie&#8217;s son John and Richard D., both nice fellas, good comeraderie. Also staying at Hotel Mary was a couple and their nephew, Curly, and Barb and Dennis, very likeable down home folks from northeast Oklahoma. They drove their Mercedes 300 down to Batopilas to visit friends. Not the best suited car for the road, its lack of clearance presented a well founded concern, as the oil pan could be ripped open at any number of places along the route, or even on the streets of Batopilas. The friend they are visiting is a mechanic and welder, so I will accompany them to his home in the morning as he might be able to straighten and strengthen the bent rear rack on my motorcycle.

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    Lunch stop at the site of the regulator failure.
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    Dean poses with the shy ladies
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    Construction at the start of the dirt road to Batopilas. It appears that this road will soon be paved.
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    The view. This is required in any report on Batopilas.
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    This fellow was very proud of his leather jacket. He even showed us the label. He did need some money, which Dean gave to him.
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    The road to Batopilas.
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    Footpath on the right side of the canyon that extends most of the way to Bato.
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    Break time at La Bufa.
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    Deans bent rack.
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    John got a really good deal on Cheesey Puffs.
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    Deluxe rooms at the Hotel Mary.
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    Curly, the mechanic from Oklahoma, on the right.
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    Barbara, Curly&#8217;s wife, with Dennis their nephew. Some of the nicest people you could meet.
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    Tomorrow is a non-travel day, but there are pictures.
    #8
  9. Mr. B

    Mr. B Slowpoke

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    This was my first trip to Copper Canyon, and my first trip on a small DS bike. I learned a lot about tightening loose spokes, what a regulator/recitfier does (when it's working) and how to not get in the way when people who know what they are doing help fix your bike. This is John Coons using his Leatherman to trim the platform for my big honkin' battery. [​IMG]

    The next day we set off with John Coons and Richard Dvorak. At the Mission at Satevo, the girl in the background hit us up for a "donation". Before we arrived at the mission, Charlie warned us that she would appear, and she did, seemingly out of nowhere. I think Dean contributed to her cause.
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    #9
  10. Mr. B

    Mr. B Slowpoke

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    I used to worry about buying my gasoline from 55 gal drums, pickle buckets and plastic orange juice jugs, but when you're many miles from a Pemex station, you're happy to find someone dispensing gas from anything.
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    Right after getting gas, One of our intrepid travelers (I won't name names, but his initials are CWC) started looking a little green around the gills. As luck would have it, in Morelos one of the none-too-ubiquitous public clinics was right across the street. While CWC was being treated, we chilled outside for a bit.

    John, Arturo (Tury) and Dean. Arturo is a doctor in Chihuahua and knew the nurse working in the clinic. He's handy to have along!

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    "UMR" stands for something like rural free clinic. It's not quite free because you have to do some sort of community service as payment for the medical assistance.

    Dean took a lot of naps, now that I think about it....
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    Our hotel in Morelos provided off-street parking (we alwasy looked for that), but you had to sqeeze through this gate and drive around back. In dusty little towns like Morelos gringos on motorcycles attract a lot of attention. More than once people would have seat just to watch us unload our gear.

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    Dean driving around the back of the hotel. I'm not sure why Arturo is holding a knife here, but it makes for an interesting picture.
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    John moves the laundry so Richard can park. The pale blue building on the left has the shower and toilet. In this hotel there were no bathrooms inside, so if someone (like me) got sick, it was a fast and frantic run downstairs and outside to the outhouse. I wasn't nearly as sick as CWC was, but I had a restless night.
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    Dean was a hit with the kids. He always handed out balloons or showed them pictures of themselves. This group became our posse and followed us around town for the next few days.[​IMG]
    #10
  11. Mr. B

    Mr. B Slowpoke

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    John got a really good deal on Cheesey Puffs.

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    <o:p>Don't you watch "South Park"? Those are called "Cheesey Poofs".</o:p>
    #11
  12. Mr. B

    Mr. B Slowpoke

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    By the way, this is where I got the idea for the big honkin' battery. Two years ago Curt Henry "Hennepinboy" used this setup on another trip to MX. He says it's an old airhead trick for when your electrics go south (so to speak). Enrique Lozano "Quetzal" provides moral support.
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    #12
  13. kta

    kta Riding Everything Everywhere

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    About how long can you run the bike off a battery like this before it dies? I picture it being useful for a couple good long days - but I don't really have a clue.
    #13
  14. cwc

    cwc .

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    What is "South Park"?
    #14
  15. cwc

    cwc .

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    It depends on the bike. The DRZ sems to require very little current while running, but there is no kick starter, so you need some capacity for starting.

    We disconnected the lights to increase battery life.

    I think we could have done the whole trip without charging the battery, but Bill did charge it a few times just to be safe.

    IIRC the voltage never dropped more than 0.2 volts (from the fully charged 12.8 volts) between charges.
    #15
  16. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

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    Tury spoke very highly of you guys when I met him in Dogtown and I hope one day I get the chance to ride with you guys in the canyons, I had heard about many of the great routes. That HP2 would be my weapon of choice to hang with small bikes in big canyons. Its a 'small' boxer isn't it.
    Viva Copper Canyon!!:freaky
    #16
  17. cwc

    cwc .

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    Dogs of the day
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    Today we planned to ride out west of Batopilas to explore a new road with the potential to provide a shortcut to Urique. Due to a lack of ambition we got a late start and didn’t complete the task, but got a good start on it. Enduro-ince joined us for the ride. Next trip I’ll try to go all the way through this route.
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    Tury joined us today. He had planned to arrive yesterday, but got delayed and had to stop at the start of the dirt road to Bato as it got dark. He was able to wangle a place to sleep at a medical facility near Samachique.
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    Dean sez:
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    9 Feb 08
    Prieto Jesus Jose Morales, Curly and Barbs friend, fixed my rear rack this morning. Prieto eyed the problem then with pry bars we bent the rack to its original shape, while nephew Dennis held the bike down, did I mention he is a good sized man, and then Prieto fashioned two braces and welded them in place, and excellent job, that looks as it is part of the original rack. $10 dollars paid for the rack repair, and a 6 pack of beer brought a smile and cheers to all in his yard.
    Also Prieto’s wife, Prieta, made a great breakfast for us all.
    This afternoon 7 of us rode about 14 miles beyond Batopilas, once again spectacular mountain scenery. We visited a nice mountain Ranchero, 2 small boys were wide eyed. In the home were two raw hide sprung wooden bed frames which Charlie and I both tried out, quite comfortable. At the ranchero they also had one of the most brilliantly colored Peacocks I have seen, the ranchers middle age son had a satin shirt on that matched the brilliant green of the peacock.
    Arturo Macias joined us today, he is a semi-retired surgeon from Chihuahua, and it’s always a treat to have him along, he rode with us on much of the December trip.
    Arturo and I shared a room tonight, $10 dollars each. Batopilas has no off sale liquor, and the beer bar closes at 8pm. John Coons circumvented the law by having the policia buy him some clandestine beer and deliver it to him at the hotel. John introduced us to a lady named Lynn, a retired expatriate of 16 years who has a jewelry store just off the square. The police use her as an interpreter when needed. She told us of a stolen wallet from a customer of her store. The police rounded up 15 young boys, brought them to her store, she picked the thief and the moneyless wallet was recovered from the river bed, with credit cards, pass port, drivers license etc. She said that the police get what they want one way or the other, there are no restrictions as to how they do their job.
    Earlier today I took pictures of the scene of a 4 hour late night shoot out that took place on the main street of Batopilas, just several days before we arrived. No one has a solid story on just who was shooting at a couple of brothers, but one of them was dragged to the street and beat into absolute submission. Two homes across from each other were pretty much pock marked with bullet holes, as well as the red Chevy Suburban parked in the street between them.
    A fellow from Colorado named Tom (rides a 640 KTM) his wife and 10 month old daughter were in a pop up camper located just a couple of feet to the side of the cross fire between the opposing gunman. No injuries to Tom or his family but an experience they will never forget.

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    This is the service entrance for the Hotel Mary. It is at eye level just outside the door and easily reachable from the sidewalk. There doesn’t seem to be a problem with people poking fingers in the wiring. At least not more than once.
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    The rack repair facility.
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    After the repair Dean loaned his bike to these kids to test it.
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    Power line repair on the main street. The electrician wore gloves while actually attaching the wires. I’m SURE they turned the power off before beginning work.
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    Getting ready for the exploratory ride outside the Hotel Mary. The green KLX300 is Tury’s. The KTM belongs to enduro-ince.
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    Luz Gil (pronounced heel), patriarch of the Gil rancho. The electronics on the wall is a solar charger control for powering the “sat” phone and 2-way radio setup.
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    Testing beds made of wood and leather. Quite comfortable and not lumpy like the mattresses in the economy motels.
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    View of Bato on the way back.
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    The sun sets on Tom’s KTM.
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    Richard spent some time today repairing farkles with tape and adhesive. It seemed to work.
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    Tomorrow we try the “new to us” road to Morelos.
    #17
  18. enduro-ince

    enduro-ince dirtslave

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,913
    Location:
    Placerville Co.
    Nice photos guys!! It was a pleasure to meet and ride with all ya all.
    That photo of the backhoe workin main street is great. That was a really good day for us cuz we got our street light back!!!!!! Brightened our nights and lives up a bit!!! Tope Bob, the tope builder in town would hot wire his jackhammer directly to two overhead wires at his chosen tope location. I'd walk by every day and compliment him on his work. He would say "mornin Tomas" I 'd say "Mornin Tope Bob". He really like that!!!

    Keep it comin fellas!!!

    PS That bag of cheesy poofs hung around outside Mary's for a good five or six days after you left. There were lots of dogs running around with orange stuff all over their lips!!!

    And that horrible looking black lab, man, every year we come down we are really amazed that dog is still kicking!!!
    #18
  19. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Oddometer:
    6,494
    Location:
    Mt. Vernon, Illinois
    It was so nice to get to meet and talk with you Charlie (we ran into Charlies gang on the road to Batopilas).

    That Dean was a hoot-----we sure enjoyed the story of him submerging his bike in the osteros ?? river between Marguarichi and Uruachi. We were lucky and made that crossing in one piece.

    Here's a pic my buddy Tim took of us.
    I even had my video camera on when you were coming at us---I'll need a disclaimer :D :D
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    #19
  20. Quetzal

    Quetzal Guatemalan Import

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Oddometer:
    464
    Location:
    Guatemala City
    Way to go Bill & Co., did you have a chance to practice your español with the authorities at the checkpoints?

    I'm glad you applied the knowledge adquired on our trip to the Guatemalan border with the adapted battery... you never know...:D
    #20