The Curse of Casarare

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by buggs, Dec 28, 2009.

  1. buggs

    buggs Photog and Advent

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    The Chihuahua state highway from Creel is a well maintained paved road that winds through beautiful Ponderosa and pine trees. It had snowed yesterday but today was all blue sky. The nice asphalt was already dry from the melting snow and as I accelerated, I realized that this road was made to be ridden in motorcycles.

    As I leaned my bike to the right on another twisty curve I could hear the knobby tires of my DR650 dual sport bike squeak a bit in protest as the rubber met the pavement. I was careful not to lean too much, it was too early to chance an accident on our journey to the bottom of Copper Canyon on our journey to reach Batopilas in our two motorcycles. I was following Everest who was keeping a good speed, I looked down at my speedometer and saw that I was just below 50 mph pulling out of the wide curve. I had to remind myself not to push myself too hard, after all, we were here to relax and do three full days of riding the Tarahumara back country on our motorcycles.

    Tomorrow was Christmas day and I was glad to be away from all the commercialize propaganda of a holiday that no longer seem to mean much. I took a deep breath, taking in as much fresh air as possible and was glad to be here, riding my bike in Mexico, highway 25.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/buggs/4224687380/" title="Casarare by buggs, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2752/4224687380_b2f816f215_b.jpg" width="1024" height="662" alt="Casarare" /></a>

    I saw a blue a sign to the right announcing our approach to Casarare, a small Indian town on the side of the road. I could see that we were approaching another curve and down shifted to a lower gear in preparation to enter the curve at a decent pace.

    Everest is a much better rider than I and he tends to pull away from me on the curves, so I have to accelerate to catch up on the straight a ways. I saw Everest disappear on the turn and so I leaned my bike to the right to start my turn on the curve trying to maintain the same speed as possible.

    When I came out the curve I could see Everest had pulled away a bit and I immediately started to accelerate to ensure I kept a good close gap between us. As I started to gain distance and get closer to him, I notice that another curve was coming up fast, but this time it was a left turn. I still had some time to accelerate a bit more and gain a little more distant toward Everest before I had to slow down for the other curve.

    As Everest was approaching the curve I noticed he had moved to the center of the lane because there was a person in a yellow jacket riding a bicycle on the right side real close to the edge of the steel rail.

    Everest was approaching the curve with his bike on the center of the yellow line moving closer to the person on the bike. I could tell he was getting ready to make his turn on the curve as he leaned a bit.

    As he accelerated in anticipation of the curve he came to the side of the person of the bike. Suddenly the person on the bike made a quick left turn toward the middle of the road and right in front of the path of Everest.

    Everest hit him straight on without even having time to react making a loud crashing sound. I really don&#8217;t think Everest even saw him cut across him as he t-boned the bike rider straight on.

    I saw the bicycle rider get launched about 150 feet as he got the direct blunt of the front of the motorcycle at full speed. I also noticed that Everest had went down on the right side but the momentum sent him over the bike to the front sliding about 100 feet ahead of the motorcycle.

    &#8220;Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!&#8221;

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/buggs/4223919789/" title="Casarare by buggs, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2629/4223919789_be721ea41c_o.jpg" width="693" height="380" alt="Casarare" /></a>

    I immediately looked for a safe place to park my bike and run to help. It seem like in slow motion as every movement was fluid as I stopped my bike, placed the kick stand down, turned the key off, dismounted my bike and took off my helmet placing it on the ground.

    The motorcycle was on the right side, still in the middle of the street and Everest was on the ground on his side facing away from me. He was the first person I was able to reach and noticed he still had his helmet on but his face shield was gone.

    I called to him but got no response. He was not moving at all. I got real close to him, calling out his name about four times but still got no response. I opened his eye lid and noticed that his eye was also not responsive. I immediately started to feel for a pulse on his right wrist but I was not certain if there was one. My own heart was racing fast and I was still breathing hard as I had ran to get to the scene. In my own excitement, it was not helping me find a pulse. I am trained as a "first responder" and I knew I had to calm down if I was going to be any good here. It's never easy when it involves someone you know. Finally as I calmed down I detected a pulse.

    I ran toward the other person and notice he was a small Indian boy about ten years old. His whole body was shaking in spasms and his eyes were wide open fixed up to the top of his head. His mouth was open and he looked like he was going in shock.

    He had blood streaming down his face and knew he had some sort of head trauma. Both the little boy and Everest were in the middle the highway and I knew I had to do something.

    I looked behind me to see if there was any traffic coming but there was only the empty highway and another blue sign announcing the approach to Casarare.

    <i>Continued, , , , </i>
    #1
  2. hensons

    hensons Been here awhile

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    Wow, that was sooo much reading! Sounds like an interesting trip. Mexico scares me tho. <object classid="clsid: D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,0,0" width="16" height="16" id="movie" align=""><param name="movie" value="http://forumsmiles.com/content/5/mov.swf"><param name="bgcolor" value="#ffffff"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><embed allowScriptAccess="always" src="http://forumsmiles.com/content/5/mov.swf" quality="high" bgcolor="#ffffff" width="16" height="16" name="movie" align="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer"</embed></object>
    #2
  3. buggs

    buggs Photog and Advent

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    Ok, I know I can't leave this like this, I just don't have time right now to finish the story. I know some of you are wondering what happened to Everest and where are the pictures, right?

    Well, we would make it to Bato on this day:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/buggs/4224131223/" title="Copper Canyon by buggs, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4050/4224131223_84baa5db6b_b.jpg" width="1024" height="680" alt="Copper Canyon" /></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/buggs/4224132639/" title="Copper Canyon by buggs, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4031/4224132639_d50c7d5773_b.jpg" width="1024" height="680" alt="Copper Canyon" /></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/buggs/4224132769/" title="Copper Canyon by buggs, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2559/4224132769_de326b9fd7_b.jpg" width="1024" height="680" alt="Copper Canyon" /></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/buggs/4224132879/" title="Copper Canyon by buggs, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4051/4224132879_23a3ddaebf_b.jpg" width="1024" height="658" alt="Copper Canyon" /></a>
    #3
  4. motoxusa

    motoxusa Biker Dude

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    Thanks for sharing your trip experience and photos. I'm anxious to find out what happened to Everest and the little Indian boy.

    I went there in 2005, and it was one of the best rides that I've experienced. The road into the canyon got a little scary at time, especially when you came into the corners a little to fast. I crashed about half way down, and thank goodness it was on the mountain side instead of the canyon side. I was going a little too fast coming into a corner and had to brake a little too had. The rear wheel came around and ended up in the ditch. A big rock that was sticking out of the side of the mountain stopped me. It caught me right in the head, and I saw stars for a few minutes. A couple of the guys behind me where thinking of turning around, since they were on BMW GS's, and were have trouble anyway. A few minutes of rest, and we all proceeded down into the canyon. The closest I've come to that experience was in Utah. A road up the side of a mesa called Mooki Dugway was fairly close to the Copper Canyon road, but it was much shorter. It did have a lot of gravel on it , so you had to watch your speed. I was going up the mesa, which is a lot easier than going down. I didn't need to brake, just let off the gas. I may go back to the Copper Canyon some day and spend a more time exploring the floor of the canyon. We only stayed in the canyon for two days, which is not enough.

    After we got back out of the canyon and on the paved road back to Creel, I had another accident. I was riding a Suzuki DRZ400R with knobby tires, and like you was a little concerned cornering on the pavement. I was chugging along at a moderate pace enjoying the beautiful scenery when I came into an extremely tight hairpin curve. I laid the bike way over to get around the turn and I started to feel the knobs popping loose. I tried to raise up a bit and I lost control of the bike. I ended up going over the handlebars, and the bike flipped over and landed on my left leg. I was pinned face down and couldn't get any leverage to get the bike off of me. Thank goodness someone came along and helped me get the bike off of me. I had landed on my head and cracked my helmet, and my left leg was torn up pretty badly. There was no skin from the knee all the way to the top of my lowboy boots. Thanks goodness we had an orthopedic surgeon riding with us. He checked me out for any broken bones, and concluded that I had a badly sprained ankle. We fiddled with a couple of bent and broken things on my bike, and we proceeded into town. My leg hurt pretty bad that night, but the next morning I got on my bike and headed to the restaurant for breakfast. This was our last day in Mexico and after breakfast we headed for the border. Three weeks later, I found out that I had broken my fibula clean through near the ankle. He gave me a scolding, and told me that he'd have to put a plate and screws to fix the break, and I told him no. The xray showed that the bones were not that far apart, and only 1/4 in out of alignment. I had him prescribe and air cast, and wore it for 6 weeks. The leg is fine and it only hurts when it gets cold. BTW, I'm 74 years young.

    I'm anxious to read about the rest of your trip. Thanks again for sharing.
    #4
  5. Tury

    Tury Been here awhile

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    Chihuahua Ciudad
    Hola Buggs;

    Sorry to know about the incident, you are still in Batopilas ?,need any help concerning medical aid, legal asistance ? Phone number: cell. 614 1 42 0640:deal
    #5
  6. buggs

    buggs Photog and Advent

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    Thnks for the offer Tury, we are back home in Albuquerque!
    #6
  7. buggs

    buggs Photog and Advent

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    I saw that Everest was starting to move around and moan. I got closer to him and told him not to move. He didn’t listen to me, he tried to stand up and fell back down. I was also concerned about coming traffic, especially the ones coming from the south around the bend. Vehicles travel fast on this road and there were two people laying in the middle of the street. I helped Everest move to the side of the road. I asked him if he was ok and if anything hurt. He looked at me and asked what happened. He could not remember anything about the accident. I moved him and sat him on the side away from the road. I then saw the boy crawling to the side of the road.

    Well at least he is moving.

    I went to the boy and he actually stood up. He was wobbly but was walking away. I got him and sat him on the side of the road next to Everest. He had abrasions to his arms and the blood from his head had stopped. I inspected his head. He had a big lump to the top left forehead and a small cut to the top of his head. I asked him if he was ok and he said yes. I asked him if his head hurt, he said a little bit. I asked if his legs hurt, he said a little bit.

    A Mexican couple stopped and they tried to call for help but there was no signal on the cellular. The little boy asked the couple if they could take him home, but the husband did not feel that was a good option. I turned and saw that Everest was already moving his motorcycle to the side of the road. He could not remember anything about the accident but some of his memory about activity right before the accident was starting to come back. He had a huge abrasion to his right hip and a tooth had been knocked loose.

    It was just remarkable that both Everest and the little boy appeared to be OK. I rode to Casarare where a lady from the clinic rode to pick up the little boy and bring him back to the clinic. We rode our bikes back to the clinic and saw that the boy had sustained just minor injuries. Scrapes to his arms and legs, a lump on his forehead and a small cut, scrape, to the top of his head. The lady assured us that everything was ok and that they were going to take the boy home.

    Everest was little sore but wanted to continue with the ride. So we rode the switchbacks down the Copper Canyon in to Batopilas. We got a room at Marys for 250 pesos, ate dinner at the same hotel and a corn from the corn lady at the corner stand. We took a hot shower and we went to sleep. It was a long day. There will be another day to ride!

    Tomorrow to Urique.
    #7
  8. buggs

    buggs Photog and Advent

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    #8
  9. NMTrailboss

    NMTrailboss Team Dead End

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    Awesome buggs!! Keep 'em coming! :thumb

    :clap :clap
    #9
  10. Tury

    Tury Been here awhile

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    Good to know that the kid and Everest came out with minor injuries, and could continue with the ride ! and in the near future we can:freaky :clap
    #10
  11. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

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    Whoa!

    That's a crazy way to start a trip!

    I'm really glad everyone was Ok.

    Thank you for telling us the tale.
    I'm thinking of going down to Copper Canyon in the future, and I'll remember this as I ride that road.

    The road looks awesome by the way. :thumb

    Q~
    #11
  12. freddiekd

    freddiekd Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    We just returned from that area with 5 riders and there are many close calls such as yours. Lots of little people walking and riding bikes on the roads and probably assuming they are safe from much traffic. Then, by not watching dash across in front of a vehicle. I've had to hit the brakes a few times when the kids riding bikes don't expect you.
    Of 5 riders we had 6 "getoffs" resulting in some bruises and scraps but nothing serious on our last trip.
    I know that won't stop you from riding, nor will it stop the kid from riding his bike but at least a lesson was learned to watch the others.
    It's difficult enough just taking care of yourself in those mountains. Glad everyone is ok and I'm sure it was a trip for the memory files. Enjoyed your trip story and hang in there. Maybe we'll see you there some day as we go a couple times a year.
    Stay safe and continue with the freedom of riding. :clap
    #12
  13. Thorne

    Thorne Sherpa-ing around

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    awesome pictures
    #13
  14. mundobravo

    mundobravo Long timer

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    new mexico
    thanks for posting this ... I had a close call here in the states with a bicycle, didn't go down but the guy grabbed my handle bar to keep himself up while I beat on him screaming "let go" .. glad to hear your friend and the kid both walked away.
    #14
  15. InternetExplorer

    InternetExplorer Cain't ride-no legs.

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    You ever gonna finish this ride report, son?:evil
    #15
  16. Montek

    Montek Eternal Noob

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    wow keep that r.r. coming. hope all turned out good after the mishap

    Monte
    #16
  17. buggs

    buggs Photog and Advent

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    The Encounter with the Drunk Sicarios

    December 25, 2009, Batopilas Chihuahua.

    [​IMG]

    The motel Mary is in the heart of Batopilas, right across from the main church. The sounds of children singing Christmas songs and Christmas music from a loud speaker serenaded us late into the night. We woke up in Batopilas on Christmas day. I saw that Everest was getting ready for the day, cleaning his helmet. It is amazing how one day he is lying in the middle of the road breathing his last breath and the next day he is full of life waiting to ride out of the Copper Canyon.

    We ate a quick breakfast in the motel restaurant and headed out. Today we try to make it to Urique. On our way out we stopped in the Cathedral of Satevó. I tried to get direction out of the canyon from here, but no one seemed to know. We went south on a dirt road and when we came on a fork we were not sure which direction to go. We asked a young man in an old beat-up truck. He pointed to the right up a huge mountain.

    We could see the road winding its way up the top of the crest. As we were climbing we came to another fork and decided to go left, but after a while the road was getting real rough. We had to track back as we saw that we were going the wrong way. The dirt road up the mountain was very good, rocky in some areas, but not bad. We continued on the road, eventually we made the left turn and continued through a few small towns reaching a small town of Rodeo where we stopped for a break. Some kids came out to greet us and I bought them some candy at the small local store.

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    We continued on some very interesting roads and scenery. It was a nice day, it was Christmas day and we were having a blast riding in some of the more interesting roads in Tarahumara country. The accident from yesterday was still fresh in my mind and I attempted to put it out of my mind, but I still had the strange and unexplainable premonition.

    It actually started to get warm and Everest wanted to stop to shed some clothing. Suddenly the road took us to a river without a bridge. It was not very deep, perhaps knee deep, but there was a lot of gravel made up of huge rocks. I thought Everest would stop to talk about how to enter the river, but he stood up and accelerated his bike to enter the river.

    I don&#8217;t have to tell you what happened next. He went down right on the middle of the river. The current was strong and I was trying to still find a good place to set down my side stand on the huge rocks. Somehow Everest was able to pick up his bike and push out of the water. He was soaked. I placed my camera and clothed in a plastic bag and rode through the river in a slower pace.

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    We continued to ride, it was starting to get late and we were not sure how far we were from Urique. As we came around a bend and started to climb a hill, I could see a large white truck coming down the hill. I could see several Indian men on the back of the truck. There was a narrow gap between some trees just enough for the truck to fit. Everest managed to cross the gap before the truck made it through. He sped up the hill and I had to wait for the truck to make it through the gap so I could get through.

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    But the truck stopped in the middle of the gap blocking my path.

    I could see two men inside the cab of the truck. Suddenly the driver got out and I could see he was wearing a military jacket with blue pants. He was carrying an assault rifle, AR-15.

    I did not like this a bit.

    I tried to back up to turn around fast, but he was moving too fast toward me. I then saw that the passenger had also exited his truck and he also was armed with an assault rifle. I became afraid of what they might do and thought for a second of ditching the bike and running as fast as I could, but I knew I didn&#8217;t have time to do anything.

    I could see that Everest was reaching the top of the hill kicking dust in the distance.

    The driver reached me first but he was laughing and that made me relax a bit. One thing you never want to do in these kinds of situations is show fear. He stopped right in front of my bike and asked where I was going. I told him Urique and he asked where I was from. I said the U.S.

    I told him we were just doing a motorcycle ride to see the country. I notice he had two beer cans of Tecate in his hands. He reached out and tried to give me one saying &#8220;here cabron have a beer.&#8221; I said no thanks and I could see in his facial expression that he did not like my response.

    He stood there looking at me and I could tell he was intoxicated as he swayed in his stance. His friend pointed at me with his weapon, &#8220;did this cabron just say no?&#8221;

    &#8220;Listen guys, I would be happy to join you for a beer, but it is getting late and we are trying to reach Urique before it gets dark. Otherwise, I would be honored to join you for a drink.&#8221; I pointed up the hill.

    &#8220;You see up there?&#8221;

    Everest had reached the top of the hill and had stopped far up the distance.

    &#8220;That is my friend up there and he is waiting for me, so I need to go,&#8221; I said trying to sound unalarmed, but my heart was beating a hundred miles an hour.

    They both looked up and they could see a tiny figure of Everest waiting for me to come up. The driver came around the bike and looked at me real closely. He could not really tell who I was, as I was wearing my helmet and sunglasses.

    &#8220;Are the gringos in the bicycles up ahead your friends?&#8221;

    He kept playing with his rifle and I could see that he had two more magazines sticking out of his jacket pocket.

    &#8220;no,&#8221; I responded.

    He started to laugh real loud.

    &#8220;Well we scared the shit out of them, not sure where they went,&#8221; he said while both he and his friend laughed out loud.

    They both turned around still laughing and went inside their truck. Both were having a hard time keeping their balance as they walked and I could tell both were intoxicated. I could hear the gear grinding as he shifted to first gear and drove past me, even the men in the back of the truck were laughing.

    I started to ride up the hill and met Everest mid way, he was coming down to see what was the holdup. I motioned him to keep going.

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    We travelled another hour or so and we came to a &#8220;T.&#8221; We decided to turn left to reach a small town down the hill called Tubares. In the small town of Tubares I saw a small church that was falling down. I parked my bike to take some pictures. As I was taking pictures I could detect movement underneath a pile of wood inside the dark shadows of the church.

    I called out to Everest and I saw two blond men come out of the shadow with their eyes wide open. They were bicyclists from California and they told us they were hiding from two drunken armed Mexicans that were making them drink beer. They asked me if it was safe to stay here for the night. I did not think it was a good idea. On my way in I saw several houses with a bunch of pickup trucks and SUV&#8217;s parked in the front. I could also see a bunch of men drinking beer outside. This is narco territory and I myself would not feel safe staying here. I told them they should ride out and find a secluded hidden area to sleep for the night.

    It was starting to get dark and we still had many miles to go before reaching Urique. Everest and I decided that we would ride to Urique even if it took us all night. As we watched the bicyclists ride out, I wodered if they would be OK. We mounted our own motorcycles to try to reach Urique in the dark of night.

    I could hear gunshots in the distance, echoing on the walls of the far away canyons.
    #17