Spending Christmas in Death Valley and the New Year in Urique, Mexico

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by jfman, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. MacG

    MacG Been here awhile Supporter

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    Probably the same sign! I was up there a few years ago on a short trip. If you are ever down this way LMK, I have a place you can stay and will show you some of the local area. :thumb
    #21
  2. BigWan

    BigWan The Cripple Maker

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    Enjoying your trip!:lurk

    Keep up the good work.
    #22
  3. bluestar

    bluestar sheep shagger

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    :lurk :lurk
    #23
  4. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    DAY 9 (Getting lost on the way to Creel)

    Well I think I know why this hotel is named Hotel King. All of the homes in Yecora are very modest but this mansion across the street from the hotel is humongous.

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    I went to this papeleria to purchase a spanish/english dictionnary but they were not open.

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    Back on 16

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    Free billboard

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    More 16

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    And more

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    I love this road

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    This man's horse was broken down and getting a tow.

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    Arriving to the land of the canyon

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    16 straightens a little bit

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    Here I make a right to cut across towards San Juanito.

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    About a kilometer down the road I see a bridge and thinking it is the main road I get on it (my Garmin is useless) At the beginning, the road is freshly paved twisties and takes me to an old village with a beautiful church.

    After town I start climbing this hill; you can the town in the valley below.

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    Closer look shows the moon between the two peaks.

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    Not long after this the road turns into an freshly bulldozed mountain road.

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    When I get to this sign I start scratching my head a little.

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    Guess I will have to turn on the data roaming my cell...

    Crap I am way off course on what looks to be a dead end according to my phone.

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    I backtracked to the bridge where I made the wrong turn.

    On the way back I spotted this amazing camping spot.

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    Natural roof dwelling with a stream running by.

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    Once on the correct road I ran into a shaded snowy area.

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    Pueblo Viejo in Creel. Room is pricier than the night before (500 pesos) but the owner tells me that there is heat and hot water.

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    I throw my stuff in the room then I go for a bite to eat.

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    When I come back I find out there is no heat (propane is gone) and the hot water runs out in less than a minute.

    Not happy about this since no one is left at the hotel to solve this.

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    I know a great way to keep warm in a cold room. Maintenance work!

    Time for front tire swap: I call this one the bed/bead breaker.

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    I hired this helper. Our deal was that I was gonna feed him some cakes and he was gonna help me put the wheel back on the bike. He was not much help in the end; with a belly full of cakes he left me as I was about to reinstall the wheel.

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    #24
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  5. cjmadura

    cjmadura Been here awhile Supporter

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    Subscribed!
    :lurk
    #25
  6. AutoRoc

    AutoRoc Adventurer

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    You had a coyote in your room. :)

    Really enjoying the pics. Your Home to Tijuana trip was one of the first RR's I've ever read and it's hard to forget. Camping at a creepy abandoned house, crashing, camping on a ski resort deck...hilarious! Canadians are some tough people and Mexico is really putting you to the test!
    #26
  7. Sleddog

    Sleddog Ridin, again:)

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    Please tell us you got up on the bed & jumped up & down...........:lol3



    #27
  8. chilejack

    chilejack Viajero Viejo

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    Call it "Breaking Bed" :wink:
    #28
  9. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    That 2013 trip to the west was my first long motorcycle trip. It was 98% pavement but I quickly got addicted to traveling during that ride. I would say that it is less about being tough and is more about turning off that give a s81t voice in your head; sometimes with good outcomes, sometimes not so great...



    No jumping as I dont want to bend the rim or the brake rotor or damage the bed for that matter. :)

    Thank you for the offer. You live where in GA exactly? I used to live in Lawrenceville and my folks still live there.
    #29
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  10. MacG

    MacG Been here awhile Supporter

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    I'm Northeast of Athens. Probably 70 miles form Lawrenceville.
    #30
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  11. kwakbiker

    kwakbiker Been here awhile

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    Birmingham,UK
    Great ride, on a 650 V myself, those trails looked fun, what tyres on your V1k?
    #31
  12. Mafketel

    Mafketel Adventurer

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    Not that the weather was great when i was there but boy after those snow pictures I am happy I was there a week later:rofl
    #32
  13. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    TKC80 front and Mitas 07 rear


    Winter happens there as well I learned.
    #33
  14. GAZONLINE

    GAZONLINE n00b

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    Excellent reportage de ta ride!:clap

    Et surtout féliciation pour ton courage et ta détermination.

    La 16 au Mexique!!:huh Une autre route que je veux faire.


    Merci de partager.
    #34
  15. JR356

    JR356 Long timer

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    Hi,

    Great to meet you on your way south,glad I could help out in some small way.

    I hope those pants are working well for you.
    Given the conditions,I imagine you have needed the insulated liners quite a bit.
    I was following the weather after you left and had hoped you had somehow dodged the predicted cold and wind.

    Nice trip report and pictures!
    I'll keep following your Adventure.


    JR356
    #35
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  16. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    Thanks a lot for the deal the pants! I used the liners whenever it it got chilly but when it got really cold I used my widder heated chaps underneath the pants but without the liner.


    Merci pour tes commentaires. Si je passes dans ton coin jet te fait signe.
    #36
  17. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    DAY 10 (Creel to Batopilas)

    Woke up to the sight of a flat front tire. Somehow the bead had not set correctly and the air had come out during th night. For this I blame my run away helper. My little compressor felt inadequate to set the beadso I slowly rolled from the hotel to a tire shop off the side of the main road in Creel. They pumped the tire up and I was ready to go again.
    It is a straight line to Batopilas right?!?

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    Right?

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    Make a right here

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    Good stuff lies ahead

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    Donkey distractions are not good for your motorcycle travels. Makes you stop in twisties rather than enjoy them.

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    But don't you think my bike's color matches the donkey pretty well?

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    Now I am right on the edge of the Canyon

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    I look to my right and I see this great road in the distance. Too bad I am headed to opposite direction...

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    Opposite direction: well maybe not

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    So many switchbacks you can't fit them all in one frame. I was not expecting this road at all. The research I had done was dated and I was expecting to run into those gnarly dirt switchbacks. A part of me was slightly disapointed.

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    That being said I am amazed at the quality of this road. Is this really Mexico? : a country that I grew up thinking was poor and not well organized? They have gone a built a sweet road like this in the middle of nowhere. After riding on MX16 and this road I must say: Mexico, you have earned my respect.

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    This is where 'progress' ended and I hit dirt for the first time.

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    Bridge at the bottom of the canyon, the dirt road on the right is the one I had spotted at the top of the canyon.

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    Rock slide area

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    Everyonce in a while you run into one of those trees that is clinging onto the cliffside. Nature is a tough mother.

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    I arrived at the bridge in Batopilas.

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    Copper canyon welcome comitee: 3 military trucks with machine guns mounted on the top rack. To avoid issues I waited untill they were off in the distance before I took a picture.

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    Bus arrives at the bridge. I dont think you could pay me to be a passenger on that bus down those switchbacks. I passed that bus on the way down and you could hear the brakes squeal loudly a kilometer away.

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    Riding under the bridge

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    Here there is a tunnel that has water running thru it and then runs below the street where I was standing.

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    I spotted this new SUV in town with missing wheels. Well either this guy had 4 punctures at once or I need to keep a close eye on my bike in this town.

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    I went to the town center to find a place to eat.

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    In the town center I went to two restaurants but they were not open. There was no activity in town, apart from a few guyz suitting on benches the streets are dead quiet. I rode to a restaurant that had a bunch of newer trucks parked in front of it. It seemed open. I walked in and I could see that there were patrons there eating and drinking but the I was told ''no es abierto'' I did not ask the waitress why others were eating nor did I want to know why the young patrons drive brand new trucks in a place where most people are very poor. Needless to say I quickly left that restaurant.

    In deafeat I stopped back in the town square and I spotted a bar. I went to the terrace; there was only one patron. To my surprize this guy is white and speaks perfect english. I jokingly asked him why there is no one in town and he explains that the town has been pretty much dead for the last 4 years. He tells me that today I was the only tourist in town except for two Mexicans from Mexico City that came on the yellow bus.

    I ordered a beer and we chatted for a bit. He explained that he owns a house in the canyon and he spends part of his winters there. I feel very lucky to have run into someone that knows the area and was willing to share his knowledge with me.

    I was hungry but no need for restaurant! ''Just grab some t-bones from the mercado and we will cook something up at home... you can camp there too.'' Sounds like a great proposition! The only minor issue is that there is no road that leads to his home so he explained I will have to cross the river with the bike to get to his place. Since the walk home for him takes a good 45 minutes he recommended I check out the ruins on the other side of the bridge before crossing the river to his place.

    When I showed up at the ruins some kid told me I have to pay 10 pesos to see the ruins. I bit my tongue and paid the due.
    The ruins are of a church (or is it a mansion?)

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    Roof is gone.

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    Leaving the area.

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    There was a pelt (goat?) drying in the sun at the ruins. A little bit creepy.

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    After visiting the ruins I rode to the spot where I had to cross the Batopilas river. Luckily for me the current was weak and with the exception of the first 15 feet, the river was pretty shallow. The smooth rocks however were plentiful and slippery.

    Video of the river crossing: My confidence level for the was not sky high but I still gave it a go.

    http://youtu.be/2gCM6oshEaA

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2gCM6oshEaA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    "https://www.youtube.com/embed/2gCM6oshEaA"

    Once on the other side I set up camp by the river.

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    There is a hotel across the river there.

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    And it is completely empty

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    I hiked up to the house to join my host for dinner. His place is a little slice of heaven in the canyon.

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    There is no power, no plumbing no convenional bathroom. A canal runs by the home and provides water.

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    His wife was cooking dinner: Everything is made from scratch.

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    She boiled corn kernels that are grown locally in the mermit, peeled the little skins from each kernels then ground them into a paste that she used to make fresh tortillas from on the steel plate above the fire. The Tbones I bought in town are from a local herd. The meat is a little bit dry compared to what I am used to but it tasted good, a little bit gamey. With the exception of the whiskey I brought, everything we consumed that evening was local.

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    I dont have any pictures of my host or the actual home. I did not ask his permission to make his name or his info pulic but if you want to hike in the area around Batopilas, send me a pm and I will send you his contact info. This guy have been living a good part of each year in the Batopilas for a decade. He used to organize multiday group hikes until the tourists ran out some years back. His wife is a Tarahumara woman so he knows the indian trails and dwellings all over the area. If you are into hiking and are coming to this area, you might want to meet this guy. He organizes hikes where you leave with no food and you buy food from the indians on the trails as you hike and sleep in natural dwellings and such.

    I had a great time and I learned a lot about the canyon, what goes on in the canyon and such. It is really nice to have the point of view of a person who spends a lot of his time in such a place when you visit it. One amusing moment was when I pulled my iphone out to show my host something and he grabbed the phone and started to show its features to his Tarahuamana wife who had never seen a smart phone before in her life. She genuinely did not give a rats ass about smart phones and all the 'cool' things you can do with them. In that respect, these native indians are wise people indeed .

    That evening my host explained to me that there is a sweet road that can take me to Urique. I was going to ride to Urique from the road at the end of town in Batoplias but this other road, not present on most maps, promised rocky switchbacks and memorable views.

    I was told that the condition of this high road varies from bad to impassable when very wet. The weather application on my phone was predicting strong rains but only for the day after tomorrow so I had a one day window of opportunity to ride this road.
    #37
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  18. Velocipede

    Velocipede Been here awhile

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    I think it would be fair to say that you are possessed of an adventurous spirit.Its amazing the situations a person can get into especially when riding alone.It surprises me how far off the tourist charts Batopilas has fallen.Very sad for the non criminal folks trying to eke out a living there.Take care.

    John

    PS I'm enjoying your RR and photos very much up here in the frozen north.
    #38
  19. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Really interesting report

    I've stayed at the Pueblo Viejo a few times and enjoyed it. Also stayed at the same hotel in Yecora you did.

    You're really getting out there :thumb
    #39
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  20. Sunday Rider

    Sunday Rider Adventurer Wanabe

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    Wow, what an outstanding update jfman. Great video of the crossing. So wonderful to see you enjoying the hospitality and wisdom of the locals through a chance encounter. Always look forward to your updates, especially on this record cold day up here! Well I guess you know that, since you are back home too.:evil
    #40