Pandilla Terracería a Creel: Road Less Traveled Part 3

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by gaspipe, Oct 18, 2006.

  1. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

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    The night went by slowly, awakened a dozen times or more rolling over my thumb or my knee. I finally gave up just after dawn to a terrifically sore knee. The thumb was an easy thing to deal with, but the knee was swollen and had a good deal of fluid built up. Must have broken a blood vessel or something.

    The bike had a broken turn signal and I straightened the fork a bit more against a wall.

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    We walked to the bus station to get some coffee & breakfast. The 'freight agent' at the bus depot was a terrifically beautiful young lady who couldn't have been but twenty years old. She stared at us, smiling, the whole time we were there, probably wondering what it's like to be able to travel like we do - the money and time being a lavish thing in a country where the general public is at a considerable disadvantage in comparison to the average American.

    Despite that, northern Mexico is full of happy people, and I'm glad to be in their midst.

    We packed up and hit the ~40 miles of pavement to Madera. Sometime, I need to spend a few days here and figure out how to bypass the pavement. Surely there's a way to do it, but the area is quite rugged.

    In Madera, we gassed up and restocked our water and food supplies. Generally, there's preciously very little resources to draw from where we're going, and a night in the bush with a Power Bar and a can of Tecate isn't out of the realm of possibility. Paul, sensing this eventuality, has a six pack of Tecate tucked away - just in case.

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    Madera, only about 100 years old and sporting a defunct railroad, is a large city compared to where we've been, yet none of us enjoy the 'urbana' of such a place. At la Avenida Indepencia, we turn due west once again, and head back into the Sierra Madre Occidentals. While riding out of town, we came across Windsor and Jim. They had made it to Mesa de Huracan - just up the hill from El Largo, and found themselves a great little motel to hole up in to get out of the storm. They elected to bypass our route and start heading on the pavement to Creel. A mistake, in my opinion. They must have felt the same, and although we didn't know it at the time, they turned into the Sierras at Matachi and rode the dirt road to Vallecillos and out to 16. We probably passed within 10 miles of each other on our seperate quests, oblivious to each other's presence.

    Big Dog Mark was looking for a suspension bridge west of Madera. We were heading to a suspension bridge, but I figured out that it's not the one he was looking for. This is the one I think he was looking for, crossing the Huapoca canyon about 15 miles north of where we were headed.

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    [​IMG]Sorry, Mark. Now you have to go back one more time buddy. :deal

    ---more later---
    #61
  2. lasvegasrider

    lasvegasrider To the edge of the continents

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    Ya know Bruce, the memories of our ride on the same route last year are finally flooding back. How odd that we had the water crossings last year during the rains but this year your group was presented with the same crossings without the added pleasure of fast water.:type

    So then you biffed on a bridge, broke a thumb and got pretty banged up.

    Some would consider suspending the ride at that point. So many challenges were ahead of you, and if you continued with the ride you KNEW a doctor would need to break your thumb again so it would heal correctly.

    Some of us, however, know the pleasure of the experience we are engaged in leads us to one choice -we RIDE ON :ricky :ricky
    #62
  3. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

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    You're right. We're both charter members of the busted hand and still ride on club (BHASROC), so you *know* what it's all about intimately. A fella does what he has to do, damn the consequences.

    You're also right on the thumb. It has knitted up at a peculiar angle, despite my lame attempt to set it in El Largo. It hurt too damn much to successfully extend the digit and right it, so I taped it up and dealt with it.

    Never bothered me much except sleeping.

    :dunno
    #63
  4. rapiti

    rapiti IOR Veteran

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    You guys and your hands! I hope its not contagious.:huh

    Bruce, do you ever wonder how many millions in lost productivity your ride reports cost our nation? Good onya! Hope to join your circus one day soon.

    Paolo
    #64
  5. aztec06

    aztec06 mono loco

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    no shots of the 'freight agent'? :huh
    #65
  6. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

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    Ya perv :evil Sorry, but nope.

    :lol3

    Hey Paolo - one of these days, eh?
    #66
  7. Ibarra

    Ibarra Viva Mexico !

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    Hola Pandilla!
    I hold one hand on my chest, close to my heart, and a glass of beer (Tecate) as I read this amazing and moving recollection of recent feats and adventures shared with you all, my dearest buddies.

    Thank you!!!!:deal

    Always an undescribable pleasure and an honor to ride with the likes of you gentlemen.

    Mexico Rocks doesn't it ?:clap :clap :clap
    #67
  8. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter Supporter

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    Geraldo--------you simply took the words out of my mouth.
    Thanks again for all you did for us on the trail----how did I know that riding with you would be one of my foremost riding memories.

    Who knows---our trails may never hook up again--but at least I have the memories of this amazing ride with you.

    hasta pronto my friend
    Perro Grande---and all of the pandilla
    #68
  9. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter Supporter

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    I think I left off where GasPipe crashed then we went on into El Largo

    The Motel El Huerto
    A pretty nice place complete with several alarm clocks for each room---how thoughtful.
    Each alarm clock went off at a different time and had a different tone. One for 1AM---one for 2:30AM--one for 3:45 AM and so on.
    You were guaranteed not to oversleep at the hotel El Huerto.
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    We headed out early and loaded up with water and goodies for our backpacks and ran thru the sizeable town of Madera.
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    Here is a 100ft. high cliff overlooking the river--on the other side was a beautiful ranchero off in the distance.

    I had tried to convince the guys to head West out of Madera to go see an old suspension bridge I had seen pictures of. I really wanted to find it but we headed off a different direction. This is on an old ranch road about 15 miles Southwest of Madera.
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    I was dissapointed not to see the suspension bridge---but lo and behold there it is down in the valley. I was going to get to see it after all---I was estatic. Come to find out this is not the one I was looking for---it's another one. Great-----a good reason to go back :D
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    Just a few miles beyond the bridge was this neat old log cabin---a good place to take another break.
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    Several times on this trip I was asked how I liked my Suzuki DRZ400 :huh
    Suzuki ?? Never heard of it -----is that one of those foreign jobs:D


    Later in the day we road into the very tiny town of Tutuaco
    There was no electicity in this town and I bet the people liked it that way. Once again our leader Geraldo who speaks fluent Spanish asked if someone in town would put us up for the night. I have forgotten to thank publicly Geraldo for always taking the lead and taking care of any language barriers we had.
    We were out of water and Geraldo arranged for this man to boil us some water for our camelbacks----we would pick the water up in the morning.
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    Here is their nice little house---so neat and clean.
    We were directed to the mayors house who gave us 2 options for camping.
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    One option was the old sawmill----the old building you see in the distance beyond these boys who were very curious about our motos.
    The sawmill dirt floor had been taken over by the cows and looked pretty miserable.
    Plenty of pies-------cow pies.
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    Option 2 looked much better-----an incompleted house that the mayors neighbor let us sleep in. We had a roof over our heads and we were very happy campers--what nice people.
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    We couldn't believe what was in the house--the only thing in the house.
    4 mattresses--what were the odds--only on
    The Road Less Traveled
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    We had bought some bologna and crackers at the mans house and a feast ensued.
    Best meal of the trip !!!!!
    Unfortanately Paul was carrying a six pack of beer in his dry bag with his sleeping bag-----yep-----blewyyyy.
    A beer bag.
    Paul was having a bad time with his beer---but the worst was yet to come---much worse !!!!!
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    By the way-------the really good stuff is yet to come.
    #69
  10. LaOutbackTrail

    LaOutbackTrail Certified Smartass

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    Well you guys sure are killing us making us wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :deal

    :clap Great!
    #70
  11. Ibarra

    Ibarra Viva Mexico !

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Exile Island....
    I know you fine fellers, don't mind a few somewhat anachronic insertions, so here you go....

    Some additional shots of day one (Agua Prieta - Huachinera)
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    I knew I'd seen that funny looking fin somewhere...:D

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    The pigs are happy

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    Wildwater's pig is most happy

    And sure enough, after multiple showers and some of the best desert riding in years, we finally reached the promised land... the small but magical town of Huachinera.

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    As the name of the cultural festival suggested, (Luna de Montana) the moon made her apearance with splendor and full showing... it's about 5:30am and most of the town and visiting gringos are still cuddled up in their sleeping bags, or in the bed of one of the many gracious town folks who oppened their home to us dirty and foul bikers, just to keep us out of the rain and the cold:deal Gracias!

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    This was my cozy shelter for that night, thanks to Dona Monchi, an outstanding cook, and wonderful hostess, who was born in Huachinera, and is not shy to say that she'll be happy to hang her apron there when the time comes...

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    Huachinera rules!
    #71
  12. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

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    We turned due west out of Madera, and then southwest as the dirt road began. There's a fork in the dirt road up here - the left fork decends towards the old hacienda of Sirupa, the right goes into a park and archeological site, as well as the upper Huapoca Canyon, where Mark's lost bridge dwells somewhere.

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    Huapoca Canyon is an extension of the Copper Canyon system, and we'll be skirting the rim of it for the whole day approaching 9,000 feet once again.

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    The decent is amazing, following a small feeder river valley until the Sirupa river begins to come into view.

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    The road continues to wind downward to the river, each switchback affording a view as spectacular as the one before it.

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    There's a spot where the road comes about 20 feet from a sheer cliff of perhaps 200 feet above the river. Right below this spot is where we camped last year. The ranchers weren't happy, so don't plan on it if you're ever here.

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    The river crossing at the bottom is about 3,000 feet in elevation, so we'd decended over 3,000 feet to get here. It's a beautiful of a place as you'll ever see, and I wish we could spend a couple days here and expore, but we need to move on.

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    The suspended span of the bridge occillated about 2 feet while this log truck crossed. I was amazed how hard this bridge works, but the suspension cables need to be inspected and treated - something that probably won't happen until failure is imminent.

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    The road to this point is easy and well maintained. The going gets progressively more difficult as we head further south away from population.

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    Very few adventurers have been through here. I'm sort of amazed by that, as the area is fantastically beautiful and nearly devoid of humans.

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    Our plan is to make it to the tiny pueblo of Tutuaca and hole up for the night, and doing it requires crossing many miles of rugged and rocky terrain. There are no motels, no restaurants, no Pemex station, no banks.....If you don't bring it, it's not there. We plan accordingly.

    Hey, did anyone else hear thunder? :huh

    ----more later----

    #72
  13. Ibarra

    Ibarra Viva Mexico !

    Joined:
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    327
    Location:
    Exile Island....
    Indeed, having to leave Huachinera the next day, left us all wishing we could stay longer and continue to enjoy the festivities, unequaled hopitality and beautiful surrondings.

    Off to Tres Rios, via de sky route....
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    Who said the road to the sky was paved :huh

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    Must LOVE rocks over rocks, amongst rocks... to enjoy this ride:D

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    As DogWater mentioned, there are numerous areas through out this ride that closely resemble riding in British Columbia, except there are no tacos or gorditas in Canukistan...:deal

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    Hey that looks just like last year's pic, in that exact same spot! somethings are best when you find they have not changed, or been urbanized, or paved or subdivided etc...

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    We don't call him DogWater for nothing eh..

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    Windsor, handing out stickers to the kids:clap it was a pleasure meeting and riding with you and Jim, hope to see you next year !

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    After a sound sleep in the Hotel in El Largo, (except for GP and his bruiced ribs) by the way, in Mexico, wrestling, as in the US is more of a freak show than anything else, and there are two types of wrestlers, "los tecnicos" the clean and technical, and "los rudos" the tough and rude ones.... GP is one hell of a "Rudo" wrestler dudes!:eek1
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    even after his pig applied the infamous tank slapper of death, he quickly bounced back, amidst a lethany of profanity and censored gestures, a crowd pleaser for sure! :clap
    After the incident, given the noticeable swelling of his thumb, he earned the nick name of "Manos the Chango"
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    which actually led to a rather embarassing moment, when an old lady approached and tried to make a compliment to his "nice gloves", to which GasPipe had to say, "hey these are my hands"...:lol3

    Anywho... on we road towards Madera, and out to Sirupa valley and its wonderful ancient bridge.
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    Yet another micro climate and ecosystem, which is one of the most amazing gifts this ride has to offer, as you ride through deserts, tundra, high sierra, rain forests and agaves and nopales... :deal
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    The old bridge doing it's job.
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    Johnny Appleseed territory for sure, Chihuahua is one of the worlds leaiding apple growing territories, both for local consumption, as well as for export.
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    This is a small orchard we ride by, just before reaching the gorgeous valley of El Norte.

    I guess the soft smell of peaches and apples, reminded Wildwater of how mangled and battered his butt was, surely not peachy and certainly more mashed than dropped apple pie :lol3
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    Here one of the members of the Pandilla, who shall remain anonimous as not to put his marriage at risk, lends himself (under protest) to perform the delicate "butt powdering duties"...:rofl :rofl :rofl
    What none of us could understand is why after this "revealing" episode, they would want to stop every other mile, and do it again, arguing that they didn't quite get it right the first time.....:moon

    Riiiiiiiiding and riiiiiiding does wierd things to some people you know.
    #73
  14. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

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    Another powerful thunderstorm blew into the area as we made our way high into the Sierras, one of the last habitats for the thick billed parrots which once lived in Arizona and New Mexico also.

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    This old cabin is on the edge of an old apple orchard. Last year, there was a caretaker here, but this year, it was all borded up and locked. Nadie esta....

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    This area leads us into some old logging roads, full of turns and dead ends, and as the rain begins, we grouped up tight, whisking through the forest like a flock of birds on the wing.

    The road became increasingly more technical and difficult - the tempo of the ride rising to a not yet reached crescendo of dirt road nirvana.


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    The rain frosted all the pines, and made the forest almost magical in appearance - something right out of a Lord of the Rings setting.

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    We climbed many impressively steep and rocky slopes, and crossed a dozen small streams, now swollen with runoff - and have yet to have seen a vehicle or a person since we left the Sirupa Bridge, hours ago.

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    Miles and miles of two track in the old forests, about as far from population as we can get in the area.....and then the hail started.....

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    ---more in a while---

    #74
  15. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

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    We were wondering who had Lee's "powder my bloody pulp bum" pics....

    :lol3

    :clap
    #75
  16. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

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    As Ibarra and I reached Yahuirochi, the rain and hail stopped and the skies began to clear. And the temperature began to fall. It's going to be chilly tonight.

    This is the town where last year's riders, complete with sad puppy dog eyes and rumbling bellies, obtained a meal of fried salchichon and tortillas from a local family. That level of hospitality is all but unknown in the States. Sad.

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    As Ibarra and I sat and reminisced about last year, how much the road conditions had changed, and planned where to be tonight, it was hard not to notice that the other three riders weren't here. No motor noise. Nothing.

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    We'll wait 20 minues, and then we'll turn back to find them. We don't have a lot of time to waste, or we'll be stuck out after dark, and that has proven to generally be a disaster every time for me.

    At almost exactly 20 minutes, doG rides up. His sidestand and mirror are gone, and some fresh grooves are worn in his fuel tank. His eyes are still wide and it's pretty obvious he took a header out there. Lee and Mark roll up, and confirm the crash. dOgwaTer is a bit bruised up, but able to go onward. Wet & rocky = technical riding.

    We climb out of Yahuirochi and make out way to Vallecillos, where the main road goes left to Tomochi and Highway 16, and where we turn right - out to Tutuaca and the great unknown beyond.

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    This road has been fixed up quite a bit - widened even - since we were here last year. Progress makes it's way into even the most remote corners of the world. Eventually.

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    We reached Tutuaca at dusk, got fuel and some provisions, including a kilo of salchichon and some crackers for dinner. There's nowhere to eat here. No motels. Nothing but fresh air and beautiful vistas. The tienda owner and Ibarra set off to see the mayor about a room or barn we can bivouac in this evening, and additionally he offers to boil some water for us to replenish our water for morning.

    Hospitality.

    These lads were drawn to the motos like moths to a flame. Every kid loves a motorcycle.....I sure did. :nod

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    ---more in a bit---
    #76
  17. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

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    The mayor presented two options to Ibarra for La Pandilla: 1) An abandoned sawmill with a roof, or: 2) A house, under construction and unfinished.

    Not wanting to impose, we took a look at the sawmill. It would have worked fine, except the local vacas had the same idea, and perhaps involuntarily decorated the area with a thick, thick layer of manure. Can you say campylobacter and hepatitus?

    We opted for #2, and went for the partially built house. We didn't know it at first, but we hit the jackpot there!!!!

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    The owner's wife came down and gave us the key to the lock as the sun was setting, but the door was welded shut. :lol3 I found another way in an about 30 seconds, and we explored our situation as darkness enveloped the valley.

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    Ibarra and doG have thermarests, but Lee, Mark and I are traveling a bit more spartan, and have but a tarp and a 40F sleeping bag. That concrete sure looks hard. :umph Much to doG's horror, his 6-pack stash of Tecate became a 4 pack, while two beers liberated themselves to marinate his thermarest inside his dry bag. He smelled like the floor of a bar.

    SCORE! There were 4 mattresses in the house. doG graciously offered to take the floor, so he got two thermarests for his trouble, while the rest of us grabbed a mattress and set up camp.

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    By God, we stunk. We hung most of our stuff in the rafters in the other room to dry and air out, but it was a losing battle.

    We split the remaining room temperature Tecates with a slab of salchichon & crackers, chile/lemon totopos, some beef jerky (vaca muerta :lol3 ), and we enjoyed a meal of kings in the dark.

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    Life is GREAT!

    Tomorrow we go where no one has been before. I'm psyched.

    Bigdog took the liberty of farting :eek1 us to sleep with a lullaby tune he trumpeted forth in B-flat. Extraordinary, and worthy of David Letterman, no doubt.

    During the night, various creatures circled the cabin as I lay awake, sniffling and coughing. Damn it, I think I'm catching a cold. WTF? :huh I NEVER get sick.

    Map of the day:

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    ---more later---
    #77
  18. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

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    Bigdog blew revally at o-dark thirty. It wasn't with his mouth either. :uhoh We packed up camp and rumbled out of the edge of town back to the tienda to get that boiled water we'd been hoping for.

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    What we weren't expecting was breakfast! HOSPITALITY!!! Coffee was on, and a breakfast of fried salchichon, beans and Mark's flapjacks :D were cooked for us on a wood stove- and it made us right with the world one more time. Me gusto mucho a Tutuaca. :nod

    dOg's bike needed help to stand since the billet sidestand bequeathed itself from future duties in yesterday's biff. Luckily, an obliging fencepost was handy to lend itself to the task at hand.

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    We watered up with some funky water, although boiled, left a gratuity, and set off to ride where I'm pretty sure no one has been before. Last year, the slimy rocks conspired with the gravity monkey to pull Gerardo down into the river, fracturing his radiator core. We were so close to completing the route, but we couldn't.

    This year, we WILL.

    And off towards Prietas Azules and Highway 16 we went....

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    ....and into the unknown we were. We all successfully traversed the spot from last year, and quickly found we were indeed on a road that was not only seldom used, but perhaps NEVER used.

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    Perfect....just the way we like it. More rocks, please. :deal And then there were two HUGE boulders across the road. I guess this is why they don't come this way anymore.....

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    This is as good as adventure riding gets for me. Adversity and difficult terrain. I like it. We ALL like it.

    Damn those are some big rocks. Can't get over them.....

    :clap

    ---more later---
    #78
  19. rapiti

    rapiti IOR Veteran

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    Awesome!! :clap
    #79
  20. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

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    besides super pictures, one of the best things about a great ride report is what comes through from the narrative. The tone and tenor of the ride can be heard. This one is great for sure. Ibarra, Mark, and Bruce have really made me laugh tonight; it seems like the group was having a lot of fun just being together. Wish I had been there, even with the flat(tulence) trumpet playing :D.
    #80