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. #1Fan

    #1Fan Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,032
    Location:
    Lakewood, CO , USA
    I see two hand grips there.... :huh:huh:huh
  2. Okeedokee

    Okeedokee Cranky Bastard

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    533
    Location:
    SC Coast
    Easy now!
  3. RefJeff

    RefJeff Is it Friday yet?

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    261
    Location:
    South Central PA
    I'm not sure WTH I'm looking at? :hmmmmm
  4. Okeedokee

    Okeedokee Cranky Bastard

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    533
    Location:
    SC Coast
    The roll of bailing wire says it all!:rofl
  5. bluestar

    bluestar sheep shagger

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2014
    Oddometer:
    26,950
    Location:
    sheep pen
    Better'n duck tape. :D
  6. #1Fan

    #1Fan Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,032
    Location:
    Lakewood, CO , USA
    I see English, so I'm guessing that's not a Mexican garage.
  7. mikegc

    mikegc Long timer Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    5,930
    Location:
    High Point, NC

    Whoa, there, bluestar. That's damned near un-American!:D

    Mike
  8. kwakbiker

    kwakbiker Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    762
    Location:
    Birmingham,UK
    Engine survived and youve killed the frame:D
  9. Mongle

    Mongle Knuckle dragger

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    12,714
    Location:
    North Carolina Y'all

    Bike broke down- found some young senorita named Graciela that took you in. She cooks like mad and can still roll her "rrs" with her mouth full. Selling all worldly possessions on craigslist and moving to Mexico for good...


    Close?


    :lol3
  10. fugarwe

    fugarwe Usual Suspect

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    108
    Location:
    Southeast Minnesota
    We we were on the stretch of road that bit your engine last week. We looked for the tell tale oil trail, but could not see it. Lots of rain in that area lately, prolly washed away. :D Met the nice folks in the area of the night flare. Very drunk, very big gun. One of the guys didn't feel the need to take off his mask, but again, was very friendly. They wanted to know the number of our group, and if we had cigarettes. I made sure on the return trip a few days later to have some.
  11. Max Wedge

    Max Wedge ADVenture mowing

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,214
    Location:
    Lwr Mi
    Hella?

    :deal
  12. Hill Climber

    Hill Climber Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,118
    Location:
    Kaslo BC summer, Yuma AZ winter
    Waiting patiently for "the rest of the story" ...... :kurt:snore

  13. jfman

    jfman Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3,300
    Location:
    Montreal (traveling Americas June '17 to May '18)
    DAY 12 - Part deux (Yet again still on the new/high road from Batopilas to Urique)

    [​IMG]

    Defeated I am, the Versys has a hole in its belly big enough to fit a burrito thru. I am in the middle of nowhere but I can see one or two homes way in the distance. I dont feel like abandoning the bike because... simply because you just dont abandon your vehicle in Mexico. It wont be there when I come back or stuff will be missing from it. A few minutes go by and I hear the sound of a thumper. That thumper is actualy a young man riding an ATV on the road. He stops and in all of my nervousness and crappy spanish I try to explain that I need oil and lots of it along with buckets of JB-WELD. He doesnt know what JB-WELD is so I pull the left side case off and I mindlessly forage thru my stuff to find my mostly used up tubes of this magic stuff.

    The first thing he tells me is "Calmate"

    He lets me know he is going to Urique to run some errands so I hand him 400 pesos for oil and maybe JB-WELD if he can find some. He will drop it off when he is on his way back home. Off he goes...

    I stick with the bike which is still laying on its side and I start cleaning the oil off the pan. With my trusty Wiss snips, I also start cutting my stainless steel whiskey flask in sheets to make up the filler pieces I will need to patch this all together. It looks like that metal might be too flimsy and it wants to bent in many different undesirable shapes when I cut into it. After a while I decide it might be better if I walk back to the impact site (where the above picture was taken) to look for the pieces of the oil pan that broke off. I quickly find two of the apparently four missing chunks and I spend a lot of time looking for the rest of it.

    The bike is hidden from view at the impact site. When I walk back towards the bike, I see some people on foot that are stopped and are looking at the bike in the distance (maybe 400 meters away and uphill from where I stand) These folks came out of nowhere it seems.

    I remember then that I left my top case wide open with my laptop, my DSLR and my Contour camera all up for grabs. My tools are also all strewn out around the bike. (just when you think I could not get any dumber on that day) I try to walk back to the bike calmly as to not appear nervous but I am freaking out inside. The people there see me from afar and the start walking away from the bike immediately. This is not good.

    When I get to the bike they are gone from sight. To my amazement all of my stuff is still there; absolutely nothing is missing. It is at this point that I decide the bury my Copper Canyon paranoia and bury it for good. The people that walked by my bike live on the crops they grow, cannot afford to buy a car and decided to not take any of the 1400$ worth of stuff that was laying there right for the taking. These people are good people and I am the one that need to correct my line of thinking. I am at this point convinced that more than likely the flare that was shot up the night before was a warning for themselves thinking I was a bad guy coming for them and not the other way around.

    Some time goes by and a man, accompanied by his three sons drives by in a truck, an early to mid 90's Chevy. He stops and explains to me that it's better if I bring the bike into Urique for the repair. There is a welder in town and he might be able to weld it all back together. For a mere 100 pesos, he will haul my bike into town. That resonates well with me, moreso the fact that in Urique I will be close to a bed and some food, my last meal being almost 30 hours ago. We load up the bike and both me and his three sons climb into the bed to keep the bike upright while we navigate thru the Canyon.

    The ride in a truck is very slow and takes a lot more time than on a bike. With four wheels, it is tougher to pick a rock free line and more bumps are hit. The brake of the truck are very squealy and the driver has to rely a lot on engine compression to slow the truck down in descents. The youngest kid is hanging off the roll bar like a monkey while the others and I are sitting on the wheel well hump grabbing the Versys at every bump so it wont tip over.

    Aparently in Mexico nothing wrong with your child hanging off a roll bar above high cliffs.

    [​IMG]

    In the presence of these kids I work a lot on my spanish. I ask them a lot of questions about living in the canyon. The older kid points at the flatter peaks in the distance telling me where are the "drogas" fields are. They also practice the english that I guess they learned at school.

    After a little while we encounter this burned out car.

    [​IMG]

    I asked them "Que pasa aqui!!?!" "Turistas!!!" they reply with big smiles. "ok pero quien poner el fuego?" My poor understanding from the explanation of a 11 year old kid is that tourists broke down in the canyon, abandoned their car and someone lit that sucker on fire.

    [​IMG]

    We arrive at the bridge and once we cross it we make a right to Urique.

    [​IMG]

    I spot the guy on the ATV near the bridge: he is chatting with some locals. He throws the oil into the bed of the truck as we go by and I thank him(dunno how to say keep the change in spanish). Once in Urique we stop at a closed restaurant to ask the owner for a room. He tells me 400 pesos which I claim is a high price so we negociate this down to 300 pesos a night. We get to the hotel which is completely empty so it looks like my only company will be the military as they are stationed right next door. Not very talkative guys(I tried) but at least I felt safe knowing that 20 feet from my door I had 3 armed trucks and humvees and half a dozen military guyz with weapons standing by.

    We unload the bike and I proceed to pay the driver the "hauling my broken Versys to Urique fee" that mysteriously became 400 pesos the minute before we unloaded the bike. With shoulders and hands raised: "tu me dice ciento pesos?" Happy to be in Urique, I did not argue too much and paid the newly adjusted gringo rate.

    Walk down to the main street.

    [​IMG]

    Navidad mural

    [​IMG]

    I am out of pesos so I am told that if I go to the grocery store I can withdraw pesos for a 5% fee. I go there to get maybe 2000 pesos out then I walk down to the main street to find a restaurant to eat at. Today is December 31st so all restaurants are closed except for one. I sit in, order food and start drinking some Carta Blancas. It is now dark out and the power keeps cutting off and on in the whole village which seems to be pretty normal for Urique. The rains that had been promised show up and it pours; quite the deluge. I sure am glad I am not in my tent this evening.

    Some young patrons come into the restaurant just for drinks. I strike up a conversation with them even though I dont understand 25% of what they are saying. A few good laughs later I buy them a beer and we chat some more. They invite me to party with them so we walk to the beer stand and we buy a six pack of Tecate and start working on it. One of the two locals invites me over to his house for the New Year Eve celebration. When I get there I meet his family and they proceed to feed me pork stew/soup and I drink some "spiked punch" that they have mixed up: good stuff. I felt very privileged to enter their home and family fiesta this way. The people of Urique showed me great hospitality not even two hours after I had gotten there: how great is that!? Now getting tipsy, my spanish seems to be getting better by the sip and I talk a bunch with the whole family. They ask me a lot of questions about the way life is in Canada and I do the same about Copper Canyon. After a bit we leave the house party and we walk back into town to meet up with some more locals. It's New Year's Eve afterall: We meet a big group having house/street party. We sample some of the local crops and keep drinking away. I run into a guy from Ontario(the only other gringo in town) there and we chat about Urique and my bike problems. I will have to look into this tomorrow but right now it's time to party. Around 11pm I am toast, done! I walk back to the hotel and immediately crash on the bed. The lack of sleep from the night before ensures that I will not have the chance to see the New Year fireworks in Urique. What a day!
  14. Bgunn

    Bgunn Posible mañana

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,007
    Location:
    Rockford.Wa - Yuma.Az

    You can't make this stuff up...:lol3 Glad it turned out that way, and spending New Years eve in Urique having fun.

    First hangover of 2015 and bike repair tomorrow.
  15. SkizzMan

    SkizzMan Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    Oddometer:
    13,279
    Location:
    Austin, Tx.
    BINGO!!

    What did I win?? :lol3

    Great adventure, great story, keep it coming!!
    jfman likes this.
  16. Max Wedge

    Max Wedge ADVenture mowing

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,214
    Location:
    Lwr Mi
    :clap YAY! Thanks for the update! Glad to see you are back at it! :freaky
  17. fugarwe

    fugarwe Usual Suspect

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    108
    Location:
    Southeast Minnesota
    [​IMG]As of two weeks ago, it was still there. Farther a mile or two up the road there was another burned spot, but that vehicle had already been tipped over the edge.



    (I am not good with the picture-fu, so this pic might not show up. I bet my friend Jack knows how to make that happen)
  18. jfman

    jfman Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3,300
    Location:
    Montreal (traveling Americas June '17 to May '18)
    Thank you for posting this. Now I am curious to know how long it will stay there. :huh
  19. Quick

    Quick n00b

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2015
    Oddometer:
    8
    Location:
    Rigaud, Québec
    Merci pour la mise à jour. :D
  20. jfman

    jfman Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3,300
    Location:
    Montreal (traveling Americas June '17 to May '18)
    DAY 13 and 14 (Urique)

    Waking up in 2015, in Urique: It is wet, I am a little hungover and my bike is still broken down.

    The fence you see on the left is the military "compound" that is right next door.

    [​IMG]

    My room much like the state of my travels is a big mess. I sorted thru my stuff and gathered all my tools and assessed the situation.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I walked down to the restaurant where I had reserved the room in the empty hotel. The restaurant is closed but they still cook me breakfast. In my best spanish I tell the people I meet ''Feliz Nuevo Ano: salud a tu y tu familia" not really knowing if that is the correct greeting. I inquire about bike transportation: If the bike canmot be fixed I can get out of Urique in a few days: whenever groceries come into town, the delivery truck leaves the Canyon almost empty so I can pay those guys to carry my bike out of Urique on their next delivery.

    I also ask the owner about "soldar" my "carter de aceite" and lets me know that there is one guy that welds but he doesnt think he welds aluminum. It doesnt matter anyway because today everybody is off for the new year. Even the auto supply place is closed. I go back to my hotel to think about the bike.

    In my room the power keeps cutting on and off but when it works I have good cell service so I call my parents and a friend to let them know I am doing well but the bike isn't doing that great. I am thinking that even if I fix the oil pan, I may not be out of the woods because I might have spun a crank bearing riding without oil. The noises that came out of the bike before hitting the kill switch were pretty bad. I try not to think about this for the time being. I need to concentrate on fixing that big hole in the oil pan first.

    I decide it is best if I remove the exhaust system and the oil pan from the bike to get it fixed.

    I notice then that my ten day old center stand is bent beyond use. I am a little dissapointed there. It is bent from dropping the bike and hitting rocks constantly.

    [​IMG]

    The military guys next door are watching me as I am disassembling the bike. Since we cannot really talk, I act like they arent there but it's an odd situation nonetheless. I get the oil pan off and I bring it too my room to clean it up.

    [​IMG]

    Knowing that I probably wont find a person that welds aluminum here I will have to rely on my new best friend: JB-WELD

    I use what I have left over to set in place the two pieces of the oil pan I managed to save. Once that is done I put the oil pan in a safe place while the JB weld is curing. Seeing all the gaps that still exist, I know I will need a lot more of this stuff to get the pan sealed up correctly.

    The girlfriend of my new friend from Ontario knows a guy that might have some left over JB-Weld so we go to his place to see if he can sell me some.

    Nobody knows what JB-Weld or what "epoxy" is down there but after mimicking a person mixing then applying a putty, the person says "plasteceria?" My new favorite spanish word!

    He hands me an almost used up tube of Mexican JB-weld. They should have some more at the store that is currently closed. I mix the batch of mexican JB-Weld: their stuff sets very quickly and it doesnt seem to bond as well to the metal like the stuff I have known for years. It will have to do.

    I spend the rest of the day drinking watered down beer, watching JB-weld dry and watching tv (yes my hotel has American channels) I do watch the Mexican channels as well. Because of the new year, on the news they talk about the murder statistics for the year just passed. I don't remember the exact figure but: mucho mucho!

    The next day I get up early and I make it to the local tienda: I am like a kid in a candy store.

    Tienes Plasteceria? I cleaned them out and headed back to my room.

    [​IMG]

    The first batch goes on the inside of the oil pan. This stuff you have to push with your hands to get it to spread around because it is too thick.

    [​IMG]

    While that is curing I go back to the tienda to see about buying a piece of metal that I can bond to the bottom of the pan to make it stronger. Not have a protector piece will make my bike very vulnerable once the rebuilt oil pan goes back on the bike.

    They don't have any metal but a welder lives right across the street. I need an interpreter for this so I ask my new friends to help me out. We go to his place and we learn that he has gotten into a car crash and is bedridden with back pain. No way he will weld or cut anything today. He doesnt have any medicine left so I go back to my place and I empty half of my Wally World sized Tylenol bottle into a cup and I bring it back to him. After this, his wife tells me of another guy in town that welds.
    We go to his place. He tells me that in a bind, he can weld aluminum but he does not trust his aluminum welds to be good enough for an engine repair. I hand him a cardboard piece that I have cut out and I tell him "es possible hacer la misma cosa en metal?" "Es possible!" her replies. So I ask him "cuanto cuesta?" Barato o caro? He says barato but doesnt give me a price then starts building my piece right away.

    [​IMG]

    While the piece is cooling I ask him with a shit eating grin: Sooo... Cuanto cuesta? He says Veinte! I tell him es muy barato so I give him one hundred pesos for a job well done.

    [​IMG]

    I clean the piece up with my sand paper, I mix up a huge batch of plasteceria and I slap that sucker on.

    [​IMG]

    A last batch of plasteceria goes on top of the plate where it meets the oil pan for a more secure bond. The pan is heavy, very ugly but it looks like it might hold oil. It goes back on the bike.

    Not quite: the oil pickup now hit the floor of the pan.

    I had to modify it a little to be able fit the pan.

    [​IMG]

    With the pan back on it's time fill her up. There is no 10W40 in this town: that's is ok because my bike can also run on a complex blend of multicorporate lubricants.

    [​IMG]

    Looks like two stroke oil.

    [​IMG]

    Time to crank her up: will she run and run well?

    [​IMG]

    I hit the starter button and she knocks... and the oil light is on. I shut her off and restart her before the motor reaches high rpm to allow the oil pressure to build. After 10 tries it has not built enough pressure to shut the oil light off. This is probably the wrong way to go at this. My battery is also getting weak so I have to let it run at full idle rpm this last time. It runs for what seems like an eternity with the oil light on.

    Eventually the oil light goes off and she purrs.

    Never been so happy to see a bike idle on its kickstand.

    [​IMG]

    My new friends visit me and I tell them the good news. It looks like the bike will run and I will ll be able to continue on with my travels. We go drink beer by the river and then on the roof of my empty hotel. Soaking up the brew and the views in Urique.

    When it gets late I go back to my room and in a highly altered state, I watch a little tv and I fall asleep.

    At around 1:00am someone is banging on my door. Banging loudly. Very dazed I go to the front door and when I open it: it's an army soldier from next door. My first reaction is that I might be in trouble, the room looks like a mess and it also smells.... He talks to me in Spanish really loud and fast; I cannot make out any of what he is telling me. He wants to speak with the owner of the hotel. I tell him I dont know where he lives (which is the truth) He insits but after a while he leaves. As soon as he is gone I go to the bathroom to flush my welcome to Urique gift down the toilet in case he comes back.

    And then I go right back to bed.

    What that soldier wanted I have no idea. I thought he might be looking for someone or maybe he just needed a room in the hotel for some private time with a local senorita.

    Who knows?!?

    Tomorrow if all goes well I will hit the road.