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. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Keep in rollin' man, this is quite the tale.....
  2. Sunday Rider

    Sunday Rider Adventurer Wanabe

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    Man, you have restored my faith in JB Weld. Great repair! Glad you got it running again. Can't wait for the next update.:clap
  3. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    DAY 15 (Leaving Urique)

    Time to leave Urique. I reinstalled my cases and packed all of my belongings onto the bike. I had some beer left so I walked to the edge of the fence where the military is stationed and I dropped the beer into their compound. My consolation prize for them not being able to get a room last night. One soldier quickly grabbed the beer and as I was tidying up my luggage straps I heard the sound of cans being opened. It was also my way of saying thanks for being there and not giving me too much trouble the night before.

    Leaving town and headed west

    [​IMG][/url]

    Is this the correct route? I hope not.

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    Or this?

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    Garmin as useful as always in Copper Canyon. That screen will look like this for much of the day.

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    This is more like it. (on the way to Mesa de Arturo)

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    At first the road was dry enough.

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    And the view was great.

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    Looking down at Urique.

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    Then it got a little muddy.

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    Then it got bad enough to make things interesting.

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    Riding the big girl in this stuff was a bear. The hard rains from two days ago had turned the road into this clay filled mess. This is what that guy meant when he said some of the roads are impassable in the rain.

    Luckily for me this road was not as steep as what I had been on previously.

    However at times the front tire and fender would fill with mud and would stop rolling. I was skidding on mud, not rolling. Then I would hit a dry patch and it would roll again.

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    The rear provided just enough traction to keep going but barely.

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    Going down was easier.

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    The road was so greasy that in spots I would need its whole width to make it through a muddy section. I would start on the high side of the road then as I would skate along the bike would keep sliding down towards the low side.

    Progress was very slow and the bike, btw still being cooled by Batopilas river water, was heating up.

    I passed the Mesa de Arturo overlook without even stopping. The whole area was so muddy that I knew I had a good chance of being stuck if I stopped for pictures.

    I took breathers in the dry sections.

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    At a fork in the road... I came from Urique then made a right but I turned back around after spotting the sign. I remembered that I had to go toward Piedras Verdes.

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    Another nice and dry curve

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    I came across this area where some rocks had fallen on the road.

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    My oil pan is sweating bullets but I will take rocks over mud anytime.

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    The stuff I like

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    Not this again!

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    Who needs talent or a proper off road worthy bike? Fingers crossed, sphincter tight and hand on the throttle. It works every time.

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    Am I getting sensitive or is this rock giving me the finger?

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    Enjoying the view here.

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    I never stop long enough.

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    Good stuff

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    Eenie

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    Meenie

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    Miney

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    Moe

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    Congratulations, you are lost! To reward you for your efforts we removed 45 minutes from your life!

    Back on the right track I reached a mining area.

    The roads here are nicely graded

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    And the curves are so wide.

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    Oh so nice!

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    A super highway.

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    I am loving it

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    Miles of green stuff. I will never forget the smell in the air here.

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    I came across this broken down Ford Ranger that burned then was robbed of its drivetrain.

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    Did you hear me Versys? This could be your fate if you break down again.

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    I reached the bridge in Tubares. I remembered this bridge from a previous ride report so I knew here I was on the right path.

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    On the other side of the bridge there is a very nice little church.

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    Looks right out of a John Wayne Western movie.

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    Hells Bells?

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    The whole place is deserted. Nothing here but cow dung and Mexican ghosts.

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    I wish I could have stayed there longer to check stuff out but I was way late and losing light fast. I had to keep on trucking.

    Why does every vehicle have to burn?

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    Carbecue aside, that canyon road was very calm and an easy ride.

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    It's all good from here on out.

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    I still wondered here how long I had left to make it to Choix, my destination. No way for me to really know without a cooperating GPS.

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    Moonlit river

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    This is the last photo of the day. The ruins of a church stood on my side of the river and on the other side I could see a campfire by this dwelling. This is the only sign of life I had seen since the mine.

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    After this I kept riding up and down this canyon road on my way to Choix. The dirt turned to sand but it was fairly easy to ride thru. I also remember crossing some shallow creeks thru this road but nothing real bad. It's an enjoyable ride: too bad it was all in the dark.

    Of course I took a wrong turn and wound up riding through a tiny village on my way to Choix. There was a big fiesta going on at one of the homes there so when I rolled by I had 20 heads looking at me wondering who the heck was riding thru this little village after dark. What made it worse was that a few dogs(one of them a pitbull) started running after my bike.

    I finally reached pavement. Back to the civilized world.

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    I like to ride dirt as much as the next guy but here I was so happy to be back on the black stuff. I stopped for gas in Choix(or was it El Fuerte?) and I was in such a good mood that I decided to cannonball it to the coast. The road (hw32) was in superb condition and very straight and fast. Not much traffic but everyone is hauling butt at 150km/h or more. After riding at a snail pace thru the mud, I was enjoying this.

    I made it to Los Mochis and then I rode to Topolobampo, where the Baja Ferry departs. It was now around 10pm and the ferry was about to leave. I figured if the price is right and if sleeping quaters are available, I can sleep on the ferry and wake up in Baja California. Wouldn't that be great?

    I ran up to the ferry and learned that there were no rooms availble and to make things worst the cost of the ferry was steeper than I expected. Not wanting to sleep out on the ferry I decided to get a room in Topolobampo instead.

    I walked into the hotel lobby and as I was getting ready to grab a room a guy walked in. He was an American from Oakland California and he had just got off the ferry. We decided to split the cost of a room for the night.
    G-Tex likes this.
  4. #1Fan

    #1Fan Long timer

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  5. SteverinoB

    SteverinoB EstebanarinoB

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    Ordinarily I'd have given up on this RR with my advanced age and all but really ... this has been most excellent. I'm guessing it is going to be all asphalt from here on in or are you going to challenge that plastic repair bodge job with a little Baja Scrabble?
  6. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    Sand is very cushy for my jbweld oil pan :)
  7. kwakbiker

    kwakbiker Been here awhile

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    Good putty skills there:clap
  8. Sunday Rider

    Sunday Rider Adventurer Wanabe

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    Two updates in two days, man you are spoiling us.:evil Another great installment. I still can't believe that JB Weld held up to all that oil heat and kept the pieces together. Well done! JFMan is the new MacGyver.
  9. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Delicious photos deep in the canyon system
    jfman likes this.
  10. Max Wedge

    Max Wedge ADVenture mowing

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    Jonesin'...........
  11. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    DAY 16-17 (Mazatlan)

    Hotel in Topolobampo:

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    This hotel is a little steep (500pesos) but the staff allowed me to ride down into the complex and park next to my room.

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    After talking to my new friend I decided to head to skip Baja and head to Mazatlan where he is also headed for a bus connection. He was supposed to take a bus in Los Mochis but I offered him a spot on my bike. Just pay my cuota tolls and I'll take you ta Mazatlan.

    Does Mexico have helmet laws? The intrawebs say yes but I see tons of riders without them.

    I dont have a spare helmet...

    Maybe this hat can be modified to look like a helmet?

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    Well not really... oh well...

    We head down on 15D Cuota. Lotsa Cuota my friend. The pay tolls never stop. I think my pilion got the bad end of the deal here. No pics were taken because... not much to see on this 4 hour ride.

    If you wonder what the road is like between Los Mochis and Mazatlan and you have been on 99 in Southern California, look no further, it feels exactly the same with pay tolls. Its a really flat area and you can see the mountains way in the distance.

    After and hour or so we stop for gas.

    I read in the forum rules that you can not have a ride report about Mexico without posting a photo of a Pemex gas station so there you go:

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    My pilion's heavy backpack is hurting his back.

    Bungee cords to the rescue. I just can't live without them.

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    With no helmet on the cuota we pass the military checkpoints, no problem. Then we pass the Federal Police, they dont care. Municipal police dont seem to care either. We arrive in Mazatlan and on the main strip we get pulled over. Who would dare pull us over?

    The tourist police are you kidding me!!!(photo shamelessly stolen)

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    Donde es tu casco? Humm... Lo siento... veo otra personna con no casco. Creo que es ok.

    They interrogate my pilion but he speaks zero Spanish, none. They think he is drunk or high. I try to explain to them that he is just asian. No fumar, no beber nada! That was funny.

    After about 5 minutes he lets us both go with no tickets given. Gracias! After this we part ways because clearly he cannot ride on the back of my bike around this town.

    Mazatlan is a little touristy but most tourists are Mexican. Some gringos here but not very many.

    I get a room here on the strip.

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    500 pesos weekend and 400pesos weekdays. Clean place and one of the cheaper places on the strip.

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    I walk across the street to check out the playa.

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    Chill on the beach to watch the sunset

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    Nighttime walk on the strip.

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    The tourist police patrols the strip all night long.

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    Am I late or early for this celebration?

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    The next day I go get breakfast.

    Drink:

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    Then eat : oh so good with the spices.

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    What is this I see?: A riding challenge in the distance?

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    EASY!?

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    My oil pan is telling me no.

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    Definitly a no go.

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    After this I ran into another rider on an airhead BMW with a recent Dual Sport front end installed. Cool bike but sadly I did not take a picture.

    Time to run some errands.

    Spotted this church on my way to buy a travel dictionnary.

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    I also spotted Herbie.

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    However no readhead in sight...

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    I have to pinch myself! I must be dead and gone to gringo heaven!!!

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    No words to describe this moment!!! ... ...Maestro?!?!!

    <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lrFVU3wQySs" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>

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    Ride back to the beach to watch the sunset with JB-WELD. So romantic!

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    Tomorrow.... Espinazo
    rob1313 likes this.
  12. westcoasttrekker

    westcoasttrekker Been here awhile

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    What wild adventure, thanks for sharing.
  13. #1Fan

    #1Fan Long timer

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    I hope you bought all three packages of JB Weld.... the way you ride, you're going to need it! :rofl:rofl:rofl
  14. AdrenalineGirl

    AdrenalineGirl Adventure Junky

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    I love the pictures from the river area. Awesome!
  15. Max Wedge

    Max Wedge ADVenture mowing

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    Thanks for the update. Great pics, took me miles away from the cube farm. :clap
  16. Quick

    Quick n00b

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    Thanks again for the update! :freaky
  17. bbenn75820

    bbenn75820 Long timer

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    Thank you for this excellent RR.

    "This road ended at a spa resort just after that curve."

    Early on in your trip on Hwy 20 you ran into a spa gate. I was there at the spa, a clothing optional spa when 5 college gals came in. Naked. What a treat for us guys. No doubt creepy for them, lol.

    ( I have not made it through your posts yet, hope this is not redundant )
  18. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    Well looks like I missed out on some experiences :1drink
  19. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    DAY 18 (Espinazo del Diablo)

    I have said it before and I'll say it again: the worst part of a trip is the day you start riding back towards home to make it back at work in time.

    From now on I ride while keeping in mind the number of miles I need to do each day. That being said I will try to make the best of what I have left.

    However that nasty feeling goes away quickly when your way home includes the 40 Libre aka Espinazo del Diablo.

    It starts out flat and not very curvy.

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    That feeling once again:

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    The folks on the 40 Cuota can enjoy tunnels, high bridges and straighter roads.

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    Libre riders have to endure this:

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    And this:

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    Another jewel in Mexico. This road is awesome and so much fun to ride. Very little traffic besides a logging truck or two.

    <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Qt0ng2ew_m4" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>


    Up high in the Sonoras

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    Crossing the Cuota.

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    Crossing an imaginary line.

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    And another one.

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    On the other side of the pass the curves dissapeared and I pulled into what I think was El Salto for a bite to eat.

    Train in the parking lot.

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    After this I kept going west on the 40 Libre and spotted, for the first time since entering Mexico, folks out on a motorcycle ride.

    I pulled over for a mandatory chat about our rides.

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    They were a father and son team out on a day ride. Great guys and somehow I felt happy to at least once run into some other riders while in Mexico.

    We talked for a bit then as I was getting ready to leave the son told me my bike was leaking fuel.

    I looked and sure enough one of my 5$ side rack mounted jerry can was leaking fuel onto the back wheel. one of the corners has developped a crack where fuel was seeping so I had to get rid of it. I really need to figure out a proper way to carry extra fuel on this bike.

    After this I got on the Cuota to make it to Durango and that is where the problems started.

    First a traffic jam caused by truck crash.

    <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3_g1GnAnybY" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>

    Then once in Durango I spotted wet weather ahead.

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    I pulled over near this underpass to put on my riding pants:

    Can someone translate?: I'd like me a-Harley?!? Sorry buddy.

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    Not long after this it got dark and this is when I noticed that my low beam bulb was out. All I had left was the little witness light which runs at all times and the high beam. I also had my LED foglights but they are wired to run with the high beams only. Because of this I would ride on the high beams but whenever I would meet cars on the road I would have to drop to the low beams and lose all useable lighting. Pretty bad situation for me because I would ride in the dark and also for the oncoming cars because they could barely see my little witness light.

    I crossed into Zecatecas like this.

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    I got off the road in Fresnillo and stopped at a Pemex/Oxxo to fill up and fix my lighting problem. I asked around to find bulbs but at this time the parts stores were all closed. My only option was to steal the bulb from the high beam and install it in my low beam. That however was easier said than done. Pulling a bulb from this bike is a complete pain in the neck. There is barely any room for hands behind the headlight assembly and even with the side panels off I had a hard time reaching the bulbs.

    After 10 minutes of fiddling on the bike, the Municipal Police pulled into the parking lot in a machine gun equiped truck. Then just a few moments later the army shows up. The soldiers all jump out of the the truck and set up a secured permiter around me as I work on my bike in the parking lot.

    One soldier seems interested in my bike ans asked a slew of questions (in spanish) Problema!? "La luz!!" I replied. Donde es tu mujer!?! (got a kick out of that one) "Si tengo mujer, no tengo dinero par ir a Mexico." Quatro cilindros mile!? Max velocidad de tu moto? and so on...

    First thing I asked "aqui es ciudad peligrosa para los gringos?" He said no so I guess they just got a call about a broken down white dude and just wanted to be certain I would be safe. Then he asked me: Donde vas? "Real de Catorce" I replied. I aslo asked him what the prettiest state was in Mexico and he said it was Chiapas. I will have to put that on on my list.

    After a while I got the bulbs out and the correct one back in.

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    Before I left I asked my new soldier friend if I could take a picture of him and his buddies. (not everyday I have half a dozen soldiers holding automatic weapons as I work on my bike) NO! No tomar foto!!!

    I was pretty bummed about this so I cheated a little bit and turned on my camera as I grabbed my helmet from the ground when I left.

    You know what they say: Proof or it didn't happen...

    <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YB5Rwls8Y5g" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>

    After this I rode to Morelos and headed North on 54. I stopped at a gas station near Villa de Cos and there was a hotel there. It was now around 10pm but I asked the guy that worked at Pemex if there were any more hotels north of here on the way to Real de Catorce. I was still feeling good and wanted to sleep closer to Real de Catorce so I could spend more time there in the light the day after. He assured me that on the corner of 54 and 62 there was a hotel.

    I got back on the road and of course when I arrived there there was no hotel, just a closed restaurant. Not wanting to backtrack, my only other option is to ride to Real de Catorce at night.

    I made a right near Vanegas to approach Real de Catorce from the old road, not the tunnel.

    There is a mountain behind that fog.

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    After a little sandy section I climb up the stone road leading to my destination.

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    The road gets a lot steeper and when I get very close to town I realized how small and peacefull this place really is.

    It's now 1:00 am so I better not disturb anyone: I quietly set up camp directly on the road and I go to sleep.

    (photo taken the next morning)
    [​IMG]
  20. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    Right on! I use to ride my bike all the time at night in Mexico, but everyone will tell you you will die if you do that. :lol3