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. Sunday Rider

    Sunday Rider Adventurer Wanabe

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    A great update Jfman. The video of the 40 Libre was amazing, such lush curvy scenery.
  2. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    If anything riding the Cuota type roads at night felt safer as the traffic was very light. And night does come early in December and January.
  3. Mtl_Biker

    Mtl_Biker Long timer

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    You da man, Jean-Fran├žois!!!!

    Great updates!

    (Finally!!!)
  4. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    Thank you Eldor,

    Been dragging my feet on wrapping up this report but I got an instalement coming soon.

    Work has been hectic and my weekends have been busy as well.
  5. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    DAY 19 (Real de Catorce)

    Well folks on this day I must admit that I went full tourist. Real de Catorce is such a nice place to take photos and I kinda went overboard. Lots of photos and I uploaded maybe a few too many. Hope you guyz enjoy.

    Waking up in my tent here to the sound of a horse coming down the road.

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    The almighty bungee cords - All 3 held onto the rocks

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    I googled and despite the sign being shaped like a tent, "Ceda el Paso" does not mean - "free camping site".

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    Looks like I missed out on some great views by riding up this road at night.

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    In dire need of breakfast I roll into town.

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    I stop here at Meson de Abundancia

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    What can I say about this place? This place is so far my best hotel experience ever. Their restaurant is top notch by far the best food I had in Mexico and they have amazing coffee. Then there is the feel of the hotel which is rustic but everything that you want to work works. Hot water at will, great power, wifi in the lobby and if you tip the cleaning ladies they can do your laundry.

    The whole place just looks awesome. If you are traveling with your significant other, you must check this place out. It has a romantic feel to it. If you get a room with a balcony your SO can walk down into the street and recite you some poetry. You fall in love in/with this place.

    The restaurant Lounge

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    Hallway

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    Downstairs

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    Dungeon?

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    Second dining room

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    Key to my room

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    Laying in super comfy bed in my room.

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    Even the ceiling is interesting.

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    The cost for this room was 650 pesos. A little expensive for Mexico but worth every penny. I cannot recommend this place enough. The staff was super friendly and the whole experience was just amazing. I ate 4 or 5 meals there and everytime I was satisfied or impressed with the food. I could easily see myself spending many days in at this place wasting time away and relaxing, getting some rest.

    While eating breakfast I met a new friend that was also staying at the hotel and then we went out for a ride.

    Now lately I have had bad luck on rocky roads with my Versys so a change was in order.

    The replacements lurk behind these crumbling walls.

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    The big guns

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    The official boss of the ride. This little guy followed us everywhere we went.

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    Leaving town:

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    When asked our guide told us these were defense walls to protect the silver mines from robbers.

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    We are now riding up above town to check out some ruins.

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    Overlooking Real de Catorce

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    Leading the way

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    What a nice ride

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    This must be a treat on a proper enduro bike.

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    Arriving at the first ruins

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    More ruins up ahead

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    Other tourists: Real de Catorce is the only place on this trip where there seemed to be a decent ratio of gringos in town but it still did not feel crowed.

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    Massive water storage structure

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    Walking that line

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    Follow me to a dark place

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    Lets get out of here

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    After this our guide pulled the cover off a pit that was several hundred meters deep. He dropped a rock into the pit and it fell for what seemed like an eternity until we finaly heard it reach the bottom of the pit.

    We start making our way to a spot where the view of the town is the best.

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    Picture fails to grasp how impressive the view is here. I could look west several hundred kilometers. I am not certain but I guess the mountain range in the far distance is what I was riding across the morning before on Espinazo del Diablo. Someone correct me if I am wrong.

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    Going back down

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    This big Joshua tree is there to welcome us back into town.

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    Few shots of the town: some of it is ruins, some of it is fixed up.

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    After this ride, we came back to the hotel. There is one thing I did not know about Real de Catorce prior to coming there. Apparently one of the reasons people travel there is to experience peyote. The process includes hiking to one of the mountain tops there and take peyoto as part of a spiritual ceremony. I met a local shaman and decided to try a spiritual meditation session. Not too long after I agree to this, I find myself holding rocks in my hands and breathing in unusual manners. I am not certain I bought into the whole spirituality side of the session but the breathing exercises had quite an effect on me. After the session I pondered on trying peyote that night. I was quite interested in this experience but in the end I decided against it because the next day I would have to cover a lot of miles. Since this psychadelic wrecks you for at least a day after you experience it, it would not have been wise to do so.

    After dark I went out for some shots of the town in the dark.

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    Setting my tent on the outskirt of Real de Catorce, I could not have guessed what this place had in store for me. The treacherous looking mountain road that lured me to this place ended up being a mere adornment as the town unexpectadly offered so much more.
    Wattner and rob1313 like this.
  6. #1Fan

    #1Fan Long timer

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  7. SteverinoB

    SteverinoB EstebanarinoB

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    Spent an afternoon, evening and the following morning in Real in 09 and your great pics make me feel a little guilty about not having stayed longer and soaked up some more of that hill top's wonderful vibe. Great stuff!
  8. Max Wedge

    Max Wedge ADVenture mowing

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  9. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    DAY 20 (Leaving Real de Catorce)

    One last meal in Mexico then it is back on the road.

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    Short video of me leaving town.

    <iframewidth="560"height="315"src="<a href="https://www.youtube.com/embed/M9imPm6Kooo&quot;frameborder=&quot;0&quot;allowfullscreen></iframe" target="_blank"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/M9imPm6Kooo" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>

    There are two ways in and out of Real de Catorce. You can ride up that nice canyon road I took on the way in from one side or you can come thru is this very long tunnel onm the other side. The tunnel is not wide enough for traffic to meet so you must get the nod from a local who supervises traffic to be able to cross the tunnel.

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    Here is a video of me crossing the tunnel. This gives you an idea of how long the tunnel is.

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    On the other side of the tunnel.

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    Once you leave the tunnel, you still have about 30 minutes of riding left on this very unique street surface.

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    Minor mirror problem...

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    Lots of vibrations at low speeds but once you reach a certain velocity it is not so bad.

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    The road also has grooves in areas from the weight of trucks and busses that travel through it.

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    My last goodbye to Real de Catorce...

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    At this point I knew the Mexico part of the trip was pretty much over.

    From now on the trip was more or less all about making good time to reach Atlanta and catch my flight home to Montreal.


    I snapped this photo at gas station off 57

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    As I rode North on 57 I had a good view a small mountain range on the right. I bet there's quite a few good roads up them but unfortunately there was no time for me to explore.

    Looking south a little further north on 57

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    The weather got a lot colder as I reached the vecinity of Monterrey. Just a degree or two above freezing point at there was light drizzle at times. It made for a bit of a crappy ride but at least I was making good time on the road as the locals like to drive fast.

    The city of Monterrey appeared on my right and looked quite impressive as it is build directly at the bottom of an imposing mountain. I owe it to myself to have a stay there on my next trip down to this beautiful country.

    When I reached the Nuevo Laredo area I got pretty nervous about my crossing back into the US because I had to make sure that I turned my TVIP back in to get my 500$ deposit back.

    There are many (Puentes) bridges that cross the river back into the US but you have to meke sure you pick the bridge that has a TVIP station otherwise you will not be able to turn in you TVIP.

    The TVIP refund station looked like a toll booth. The agent looked at my TVIP, verified the VIN of my steed and then handed me a receipt showing that the refund was sent back to my credit card.

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    Back into the states, the weather was still very cold hovering at or just below freezing point. I had left Real de Catorce just before noon and the sun had already set on the mundane Texas landscape. I was also somewhat tired but I could not stop. On the radio they were predicting snowfall and icy roads for the next day so I had to make it out of Texas as soon as possible. I rode thru San Antonio, Houston and finally went to bed at around 3:00 AM near Beaumont just west of the Louisiana border.</iframewidth="560"height="315"src="</iframewidth="560"height="315"src="
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  10. Sunday Rider

    Sunday Rider Adventurer Wanabe

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    That tunnel didn't seem like it was ever going to end. That was quite the line up to come through the other way. Feeling sad that this RR is coming to an end. Great pictures and videos jfman. I don't know how you can ride so long into the night and early morning.
  11. Max Wedge

    Max Wedge ADVenture mowing

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    Awesome RR! :clap:deal Edge of my seat many times! Is everything repaired now, no harm done?
  12. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    The versys is still kicking and going strong. I am however researching ways to upgrade the cooling system and remote mount the oil filter and last but not least fab up a custom skid plate for its belly.
  13. kwakbiker

    kwakbiker Been here awhile

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    Would not want to be on that cobble road in the wet:eek1
  14. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    DAY 21 and 22 (Cajun pit stop)

    The closing of this ride report is long overdue so here goes:

    Riding in the cold really takes a toll on you. Once I was at the hotel and felt the warmth I was very tired and slept like a log until late the next morning.


    The next morning the temps were very cold yet again but on this day I only had to make it to New Olreans where I had planned one last stop to enjoy the French Quarter.

    I will take rain over ice and snow anytime.

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    No denying I am in the South.

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    I arrived in New Orleans and stopped at the Frenchmen for a room. A budget busting 184$ but I said "fugg it" it was my last night in a hotel for the trip.

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    An expensive place to crash but it did have that New Orleans vibe to it.

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    Bright colors and creaky floors.

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    And the bed was super comfy.

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    I went next door to the record store...

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    Yep you saw right, a cat lives in the record store.

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    This souvenir shop had two old bikes that tickled my fancy.

    Old Airhead BMW

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    And an old Panhead HD

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    Then I went to Tujague's for an expensive dinner where I ate gumbo and consumed a few drinks. Met some guyz from the West Coast who were on a business trip. With the cold weather in NOLA they had me dreaming of Southern California. One mentioned I should tried Mother's for a sandwich before leaving town the next day.

    My plan for that night was to go watch some live Blues and Jazz but when I got back to my room I was just so drained that I feel asleep only to awake the next morning.

    Sandwich at Mother's the next day. Good sandwich but what a loud place, and I don't meand the patrons!

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    Some "Castle" on my way back to the highway. (I think in Jackson Square)

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    With the temps were still barely hovering above the freezing point, I headed North to Atlanta to my folks home and to catch my flight. On the way there I stopped for gas and people were hurrying up to fill up their cars quickly because of the cold.

    This temperature keeps most riders off their bikes in these parts. Quite a few weird looks on the highway that day and one thumbs up.

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    Pulling in at my parents home.

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    Yeah it's late... and my flight leaves in the wee hours of the morning.

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    My dad is watching the game in front of the fireplace.

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    I call some good friends I havent seen in years and we make plans to go out for food and drinks before I head back out to Canada.

    But first I must put the Versys in its resting place. The shed will have to do for the old Versys until the next ride.

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    Georgia does get below freezing at times so I had to drain that Batopilas River water out of my Versys.

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    After that I went to check on the spare motor I bought for my bike.

    Found a motor from a crashed bike for a good price the year I bought my versys so I grabbed it just in case I ever need a motor for it. I call it my own extended warranty plan.

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    That investment is already paying off as I am going to rob the oil pan from it to replace that JB-weld mess I have going on there.

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    The bike now put away I went out with my friends. It sure was nice to see them again after 5 years away. Had a great time and when it it got late I came back home.

    Got my stuff ready and got a ride to the airport.

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    Not this again!

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    The End
  15. Mtl_Biker

    Mtl_Biker Long timer

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    Wow!


    Amazing report! Thank you for sharing it with us.
    jfman likes this.
  16. Sunday Rider

    Sunday Rider Adventurer Wanabe

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    Great RR JFman. I was just looking at this yesterday and wondering if you had finished it, and I missed it. Too funny.
    Now you've solved that mystery engine picture that we were guessing at earlier. :clap

    Thanks for the ride along.
    jfman likes this.
  17. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

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    Thanks for the RR!!!
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  18. MacG

    MacG Been here awhile Supporter

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    Great report, Thanks! :beer
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  19. mikegc

    mikegc Long timer Super Supporter

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    I thoroughly enjoyed your report. It takes a lot of time and effort to do this and it's most appreciated.

    Mike
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  20. itspossible

    itspossible never far enough

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    waaaaaaa....it's really over. Great RR , many thx.
    jfman likes this.