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. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    Thank you all for the comments.

    Yes traveling alone offers up ultimate freedom but I would say that Copper Canyon is a place where you might want to trade a little bit of that for safety and travel with a riding partner.

    And you are correct that its very sad to see that the only industry left in the Canyon is not helping the folks who want to make living off tourism. Copper Canyon would really be something amazing for all to enjoy once it gets cleaned up.

    Pueblo Viejo isn't a bad spot I just think that they arent well prepared for the cold snap while I was there.

    Winter is a tough one this year. I dont think I will ever get used to it. I do not think it is feaseable but I hope to be able to get away from it like this every year.
    #41
  2. #1Fan

    #1Fan Long timer

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    :D:D:D:lurk:lurk:lurk:D:D:D :evil
    #42
  3. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    DAY 11 (The new/high road from Batopilas to Urique)

    The two maps below show part of the high road between Batopilas and Urique in Copper Canyon. The road starts at ~600ft above sea level then takes you up to the top of a ~5500ft plateau/ridge before you drop down into another canyon and down to the Urique river which is also about ~600ft above sea level. Since the area between these two canyons is so remote, flatish and enjoys decent weather, it is prime real estate to grow crops that you want no one to be able to get to easily.

    The road is all dirt and has a great amount switchbacks to help you climb up the canyon to the higher flatter area and then a similar deal to go down the canyon on the Urique side.

    If you try to connect Batopilas and Urique using this road on google maps or on you typical Garmin GPS, you will not be able to do it. Somehow the higher part of this road does not exist on them so if you ever find yourself riding this road expect them not to be of much help.

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    Leaving Batopilas very late in the morning the first thing I had to do was crossing the river again. No video this time and a very crappy crossing. I got confused and crossed at a different track than the previous evening. This time I managed to get stuck in the river on some rocks and had to get off the loaded bike to manoeuver it around big rocks for about 30 feet so I could get back on the right path. I had to use some serious muscle to avoid dropping the bike in the river. The rocks are all round and loose so the river bed is very unstable.

    Halfway thru the river I reached a shallow part so I parked the bike to catch my breath.

    [​IMG]

    My cardio is pretty terrible. I was so out of breath and so stressed that I realized only on the other side that I had dropped my helmet in the river with both my Sena and Contour camera attached. They spent a good 3 minutes underwater. They both did survive btw.

    Once back on the main road I headed towards the dam.

    My bike instantly started to overheat so I pulled over in the shade to diagnose the issue.

    [​IMG]

    Turns out that when I got caught on those rocks in the river I bent a water pipe and cut the little hose going to the oil cooler as well.

    Should have bought that skid plate...

    [​IMG]

    I cut off the damaged part from the hose. I also pulled the pipe off the bike and I applied JB-Weld to the kinked part of the pipe that was leaking.

    [​IMG]

    Since I was going to be here for a few hours I decided to fix my sidestand. It had been all loose and bent from the bike being too loaded and having a higher stance with the tires I run. I spent some time bending and massaging it back to an acceptable shape.

    [​IMG]

    These two women were walking to town with some crops. I bought some weird cactus fruits from them.

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    After the deal was made for fruits, I pulled out my camera and asked them if I could take their picture. They informed me that the going rate for Tamahumara modeling pictures are 10 pesos. each! I laughed and paid them full rate.

    [​IMG]

    JB-Weld takes a while to set so I chilled there for a few hours. This man on a more reliable form of transportation went by.

    [​IMG]

    In a highly scientific manner, I applied a second layer of JB-Weld. You can never use too much of this stuff.

    [​IMG]

    Once the bike was all back together and had cooled down, I quickly rode to the damn which was less than a kilometer away. I used a coke bottle to get water from the Batopilas river to refill the cooling system back up.

    [​IMG]

    That crossing is easy peasy. There is an area where the concrete is a little damaged so in that spot the current in stronger but on my heavy bike it was super easy to make the pass.

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    Since I had left late and since my repairs had taken up most of the day I knew there was no way I would make it to Urique before night.
    What to do? The shade was a sign that it was getting late.

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    I considered riding back into Batopilas to stay the night but I knew that tomorrow, strong rains were coming.

    [​IMG]

    I had been told that this road might be impossible to climb up in the rain.

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    If I don't ride up this road now, I might never be able to ride it.

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    I had also been told not to ride at night in this area.

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    But there is nothing here that I can see.

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    For miles...

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    My mind is set: I will ride all the way up and as soon as I start going down I will camp on the road.

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    This is a really fun ride.

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    But the ride up was taking longer that I had expected.

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    The condition of the road was becoming interesting.

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    The slope was getting steeper

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    And rockier

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    I was losing light but the view was getting better.

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    This part was challenging for me. On a big bike if you hesitate, you lose momentum and you go down so you must keep going. Not possible to stop for pictures in most spots.

    [​IMG]

    But I managed to keep it together to the top.

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    At this point the view was amazing.

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    Walking around I saw these irrigation pipes in the middle of nowhere. The pipes were hidden, covered in rocks close to the road but not so much a few dozen feet away. I could only guess what lies at the end and no way I was going downslope to check it out.

    [​IMG]

    Looking down at the switchbacks I had just rode.

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    I was now entering the ridge/plateau area.

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    The picture above is the last picture of the day. And there is a reason for that. I thought that as soon as I would be done climbing up on the Batopilas side, I would immediately start to ride down to Urique. However the area up top turned out to be a lot more extensive than I expected.

    After a few miles up there was a very wide road on the left. It was in fact wider than the main road and I could see it was more traveled. Thinking it was actually the main road I turned left on it but a few hundred feet later I wound up at a farm. A dog came running after the bike; I figured I must not be on the right path and turned back to the main road.

    At this point I was a little bit lost. GPS was not worth a crap up here btw.

    [[​IMG]

    Up there roadsigns are rare and often not there when the road splits. At times you just dont know if you are on the right path or not, you can only guess.

    I Kept riding for a little bit, hoping I would get away from the farms and get to a switchback area where I could camp on the Urique side.

    A few miles later, as I was cresting on the apex of a curve I saw a flare gun go off and straight up in front of me. For a split moment it lit the whole area where I was standing in the dark.

    My heart stopped. I quickly pulled up against the hill to not be able to be seen and I shut the bike off immediately. My mind is going at a hundred miles an hour.

    Who has shot a flare gun up ahead!?! The cartel? A farmer? The military?
    What is the meaning of this? A warning for me? A warning for them? A call to arms?

    I am not supposed to be here! Am I still on the right road? Was the main road really where that farm with the dog was? Did I wander into a private area? Am I just a half mile away from the cartel... and my death? I can't keep going ahead. Do I turn around? Do I stay here? Where could I hide? There's really nowhere to hide... I really fucked up this time.

    Out of fear and to be completely silent, I quit breathing and I am trying to hear what is going on. I'm expecing to hear people getting "ready for business" maybe people running, walking, trucks starting... but nothing. I still am not breathing. I am now in the dark and in total silence except for my heart which was is making quite a racket.

    After a minute I cant stand it anymore.

    Back to the switchbacks I must go.. where nobody lives. If I go back to the bottom of the switchbacks I will be able to see them come at me from a long way.

    I turn the bike around by hand, I get on it and ride back to where I came from. And I ride fast. It's a god damn miracle I don't crash. I am riding a dirt canyon road, fast, in the dark, in Mexico: pretty stupid stuff in hindsight.

    I ride back to the bottom of the first set of switchbacks and I park the bike in a spot where I know it can't be been from up above. I press the "help" button on the spot just in case, but immediately after I press the "ok" button. In a way to let whoever may be watching I was fine but maybe not all was well.

    On the high side of a switchback, I lean up against a hill and I just wait.. nothing happens for at least an hour.

    Then I start feeling impacts in the earth. Someone up above is walking up top and I can faintly feel the footseps thru the ground... and they are getting stronger. After a minute or so I realize the steps are from cows/donkeys roaming around the hills. Another case of my mind playing tricks on me.

    No way I am sleeping in a tent tonight. I need to be able to hear well and move quickly. I pull out my sleeping bag, I slide in it and I lean up against the hill to try to catch some sleep.

    Map with added notes:

    [​IMG]
    #43
  4. Vato Jinete

    Vato Jinete Feo del Norte Supporter

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    AAAAAAAAGHHH!!! Cliff hanger:becca
    #44
  5. Sunday Rider

    Sunday Rider Adventurer Wanabe

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    Sure go grab a beer and leave us hanging:rofl

    That is some steep road you rode up. It didn't look that bad in the picture from the distance. You got nerves of steel.:clap
    #45
  6. Ol Man

    Ol Man Long timer Supporter

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    .....and then....

    Great report. You obviously lived. :freaky
    #46
  7. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    Its going to be a little while before I get the time to write up another day...

    Well in the meantime 2 hints:

    1: As Old Man mentioned I lived. :lol3
    2: Things got a lot worse before they got better. :huh
    #47
  8. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    Interesting report. Can't wait for the rest
    #48
  9. Merlin III

    Merlin III Long timer

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    Or.......................:lol3
    Or.......................You are writing this report from a Siniola Cartel safe house, somewhere in the Golden Triangle. :cry
    #49
  10. docwyte

    docwyte Long timer

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    Screw work! You need to help the rest of us procrastinate!
    #50
  11. Sleddog

    Sleddog Ridin, again:)

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    You're gonna ruin your dinner...........:wink:
    #51
  12. Vato Jinete

    Vato Jinete Feo del Norte Supporter

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    DINNER!

    I had nightmares last night about being trapped in a sleeping bag at the mercy of

    Banditos

    or

    Snakes, Scorpions, and Tarantulas .......... OH MY!
    #52
  13. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    :ear :ear :ear

    :deal
    #53
  14. RideDualSport.com

    RideDualSport.com Zut alors!

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    DUDE! I am absolutely on the EDGE OF MY SEAT!!!
    WOW! I am glad you are alive to write this, or are you!
    #54
  15. kwakbiker

    kwakbiker Been here awhile

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    Ok really, thats a long enough wait now:rofl
    #55
  16. Max Wedge

    Max Wedge ADVenture mowing

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    ^^^^^^ What he said.
    #56
  17. MassiveLee

    MassiveLee Banned

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    Wow. Quite impressed with your sense of adventure. For a few moments, I saw James Coburn in my head, but riding a big modern bike.

    [​IMG]
    #57
  18. Hosebag

    Hosebag Difficult but Useful

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    Excellent report, nice to see some familiar spots again.

    Did using the JB Weld necessitate you dropping your boxers?? :lol3 :lol3

    [​IMG]
    #58
  19. #1Fan

    #1Fan Long timer

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    :eek2:eek2:eek2:eek1:eek1:eek1:kumbaya:kumbaya:chace:chace:grim:grim:hide:hide:gun1:gun1:gun1:gun2:gun2:gun2


    Ok, I wish there weren't so many emoticons on this site...lol
    So glad you're ok!!
    #59
  20. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    [​IMG]
    #60