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Tres por uno Baja paseos (Canyon de Cobre sin cargo adicional)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by ScotsFire, Feb 16, 2020.

  1. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    March 8, 9, and 10, 2020: San Felipe & San Diego

    Once in San Felipe, this stretch wasn't real exciting riding wise, but still lots of fun interspersed in.

    After the party at the Parrot's Cracker a bit north of town, certain individuals were not as energetic the next morning (I won't mention any names, eh @Hohmie?)
    [​IMG]
    FYYFF!

    But a nice breakfast was had at the Green Café.
    [​IMG]
    I hadn't had the huevos with cactus before, but it was pretty tasty. The cactus had a consistency similar to asparagus, but a tart flavor, though the green salsa on top may have contributed to that.

    They graciously invited me to stay at the house they had rented that night, which as thrifty (cheap) as I am seemed like a great idea. After transferring my bike and kit to their place, a couple of them and I went out to take care of some laundry. A couple of them thought a more productive use of their time was to take a nap.

    On the way to the laundromat, the hordes of motorcycles in San Felipe for the rally were starting to hit the highway.
    [​IMG]
    There were probably a hundred bikes at the gas station. I wouldn't have wanted to be these guys. I heard a big group of them get back to the hotel at ten to five in the morning. I was glad to be spending the day parked.

    This group makes laundry fun.
    [​IMG]
    We might have missed the end of the drying cycle by a beverage or two. Whoever put a cantina next to the laundromat is a genius.

    The sunset that night was pretty, even with the other houses in the rancho in the pic.
    [​IMG]

    While their hospitality cannot be questioned, the decision to sleep on their couch should be. But after I cleaned out their frig making a big breakfast, I headed north.
    [​IMG]
    The ocotillo bushes were blooming. Kind of like indian paintbrush flowers, but on a wicked thorny stick. One can cut these branches and make a fence with them. Like most desert plants, if the base touches the dirt, it will likely send some roots down. I've seen hedges of these used to keep cattle in or out.

    I crossed at Mexicali, for not particular or good reason. The wait was around a half hour, which was helped by lane splitting. The motorcycle lane was gated off due to some sort of local police activity. The cart vendors were pretty good about getting out of the way, but I did get a lot of hairy eyeballs from people in cars stuck in the traffic. The California plated vehicles weren't a problem, nor were most of the Mexican ones, but apparently Wisconsinians (Wisconsans? Wisconsonians?) don't see the efficiency.

    I looked for a spot to check the map for the best route to SD and came across this in Calexico.
    [​IMG]
    Go ahead and insert your own BMW joke here, but I hit this 'Bucks on the way into Mexico for the first time three years ago. It was a surprisingly sentimental moment.

    The ride to San Diego was fine, if windy.

    I was fortunate that a rainless window presented itself when I was supposed to drop off my bike at San Diego BMW Motorcycles for the swap of the sump pan. The bad news was that the parts weren't in.

    Sigh.

    They were good enough to give me a loaner so I could leave the GS there.
    [​IMG]
    Lets just say I was underwhelmed with the G310R. I enjoy trying other bikes as much as the next guy, but I'd have been just as good off with a scooter. It didn't help that I'm not that comfortable on small sport-ish bike geometry. Knees feel like they're in my chest.

    But, it wasn't like I was out riding all day.
    [​IMG]

    I suppose it was too much to hope for a loaner like this?
    [​IMG]
    How often would you get to take out a newer version of your bike, also with a lot less wear and tear. 2017 F800GS Adventure.

    The nice part about being parked in San Diego for these two particular nights was it made it possible to watch Gonzaga win both their games in the WCC Tournament.

    The BMW shop said the parts SHOULD be there first thing in the morning, so I was hoping that it wouldn't cause me to be further delayed. I was really looking forward to getting on to the Copper Canyon.
  2. ktmnate

    ktmnate Long timer

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    Haha haha. You crack me up with the border and Wisconsin plated vehicles. I guess they aren’t used to lane splitting.
    ScotsFire likes this.
  3. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    March 11, 2020: San Diego to Mexicali

    YAY!! Parts were at the shop right at the start of the day! They got the install done before 11. So I brought back the loaner (yawn) and installed the new skid plate.
    [​IMG]
    Installing the Black Dog plate was very straight forward, easy even for me who has the mechanical skills of a chipmunk. As I said before, it looks like a real solid piece of kit. Looking forward to getting back on the dirt. Well, more aggressively back on the dirt. OK, kind of more of the same, but with less worry.
    [​IMG]
    Finally have my zipper up.

    After loading up everything, it was an easy hour to Tecate. Not surprised, but still relieved to find my pickup in one piece.
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    I'd have worried just as much if I'd have parked it somewhere for four weeks in Spokane, but it was just fine.

    I downsized my gear considerably given I don't plan on any camping on this part of the trip.
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    The bike seemed to appreciate the less weight. Especially in the curves headed east.

    Given the later than planned start, there was no way I was going to make it to Puerto Penasco like I had planned. So got as far as I could given the light and headed to Mexicali. However, just past La Rumerosa, it got interesting. Approaching the mountains just east of town, I saw what looked like smoke on the far side of the ridgeline. Turned out to be fog. Really thick fog.

    It was so thick, that I didn't even realize that I'd gotten onto the cuota, or toll highway. But it was worth the 13 pesos. I fell in behind a semi truck and kept his four way flashers in sight, while constantly checking the mirrors to make sure no-one was coming up from behind. No really, it was foggy. On corners, I couldn't make out the front end of the semi I was following. It was relieving to see a car maintain a consistent distance behind me with their four ways on too.

    Finally dropping below the fog level.
    [​IMG]
    It was kind of disappointing, as that stretch of highway would be a blast to run over in normal conditions. Very tight twisties.
    [​IMG]
    It's the best 75 cent roller coaster I've been on.
    [​IMG]
    I was able to pick it up quite a bit just a little lower than in this pic.

    The rest of the way into Mexicali was pretty uneventful. Traffic, while heavy, seemed pretty tame and easy compared to La Paz. So found a very clean, yet inexpensive hotel, and will be holed up for two nights as the rain forecast has come through. Looks better for the 13th (good thing I don't have triskaidekaphobia) to get to the other side of the Gulf of California.
  4. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    VIDEO POST
    February 27, 2020: Sierra de la Laguna Mountains

    The ride east from Todos Santos through the mountains.

    (Video 3:24, with music)
    liv2day, ktmnate, BA Chipmunk and 3 others like this.
  5. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    I liked the soundtrack
    ScotsFire and Muscongus like this.
  6. BA Chipmunk

    BA Chipmunk BA

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    Not sure why you compared your mechanical skills to that of a “Chipmunk”, when most of your brother Chipmunks are pretty handy with tools not to mention resourceful! Keep the rubber side down and stop bashing into stuff!
    ScotsFire likes this.
  7. BA Chipmunk

    BA Chipmunk BA

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    Yes, those are my other people!! Looks amazing. Now I just need a sail boat big enough for Inga (KTM) and her things. An excellent problem to have!
  8. NotaYinzer

    NotaYinzer n00b

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    Hope there's scotch in that coffee mug.
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  9. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    Mostly because I knew it would bug the shit out of you.
  10. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    March 12, 2020: Mexicali

    I really didn't expect too much in hanging around in Mexicali for a day due to the forecast weather, but sometimes the little details are the most entertaining.

    The Hotel Hacienda del Indio was interesting. It was gated with a 24 hour attendant, so the bike was secure. But it is in a mostly industrial area, across the street (MX HW5 actually) from the rail yard. It did have a kitchen on site, though certainly nothing fancy. Meals were between 50 and 65 pesos, so two and a half to three bucks.
    [​IMG]
    Had breakfast and lunch there while I worked on pictures and video.
    [​IMG]

    A calico wandered in and out looking for dropped food.
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    The cook even complimented me on my piss poor Español. I won't say the hotel was seedy or anything, but they did have a posted rate for 4 hour rooms.

    A handful of times since I've been in MX, the afternoon TV Novelas have been on. Specifically this one.
    [​IMG]
    Not sure why as my Spanish isn't THAT good, but the cowboy in the wheel chair must be a total badass. Everybody damn near pees themselves whenever he shows up.

    I had run out to do laundry during what I perceived to be a lull in the rain. I cut it a bit too closely.
    [​IMG]
    Of course the train stopped across the road just after this. The taxi driver next to me kept looking at me strangely as I kept laughing at myself. This wouldn't have been much of a deal if I had worn my riding boots rather than my hikers.

    Somewhat against my better judgement, I went out for Chinese food that night.
    [​IMG]
    Not the best, but not the worst. And a ton of food for around six bucks.

    While it certainly won't get labeled as an epic day, a day at the hotel allowed me to partake a little more in day to day Mexican culture.
    WYO George likes this.
  11. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    March 13, 2020: Mexicali to Puerto Libertad

    The weather, as had been forecast, was perfect! Clear and mild. Packing up and getting underway was pretty simple, after another two fiddy breakfast anyway.

    Heading south from town, it becomes a bit agricultural along MX5.
    [​IMG]
    The rugged mountains run all the way past San Felipe.

    Headed south, two KTM's were headed the other way. Sure enough it was @ktmnate and @advrockrider headed home after completing their trip. Gary plans on putting up a RR after he gets home. I'll make sure to post a link on this one when he gets it started.

    Shortly after they passed, I turned east on BC4.
    [​IMG]

    This area is nearly all agricultural, which resulted in many small farm towns to pass through.
    [​IMG]
    I left Baja in this one, entering the State of Sonora.

    The farming is possible due to irrigation from what's left of the Colorado River before it trickles into the top of the Gulf of California.
    [​IMG]

    As soon as the irrigation stops though...
    [​IMG]
    ...the desert returns.

    The north end of the Gulf is a tidal plain that meets the Colorado River delta.
    [​IMG]
    With Baja mountains in the distance.

    There were numerous puddles and areas of standing water.[​IMG]
    This is just outside of Golfo Santa Clara. Lots of mud tracked onto the roadways too.

    The highway climbs up higher and gives some better views.
    [​IMG]

    Then settled into some typical Sonoran Desert roads.
    [​IMG]
    Lots of straight lines.

    Stop for lunch in Puerto Penasco brought back some memories, as I'd been there a handful of times while I lived in southern Arizona. There are a lot of snowbirds and ex-pats there, enough that the city goes by its gringo name of Rocky Point more often than not. However, the high number of Americans and Canadians did ensure that I'd be able to find an un-masculine European coffee. It was also here that I discovered that the rain had fried my USB charging port on the bike. I found a car charging unit that I'll try to cobble together to get me through the next couple weeks till I can order something more permanent after I'm home.

    One thing I hadn't realized was how many large, high rise condos and resorts were east from PP.
    [​IMG]
    While this was the largest, it seemed like there were towers like the one on the right every mile or so. Crazy.

    Just like in Baja, the mountains are never too far away.
    [​IMG]

    The rains had brought flowers, but really not too many.
    [​IMG]
    There will likely be much more after the most recent storms though.

    This is a text book desert highway.
    [​IMG]
    Go in a straight line till a geographic feature forces you to turn. Then go straight again till something else gets in the way, probably thirty miles later.

    I pulled into the small fishing village of Desemboque planning on stopping for the night. Unfortunately the only hotel in town is not currently open. Too bad.
    [​IMG]
    The view from the parking lot isn't too shabby. Probably could pull off a pretty nice sunset there.

    So I raced the sun another 70 klicks to Puerto Libertad. Little bit larger town, but it too can pull off a sunset.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It surprises me a bit that the mountains of Baja are still visible across the gulf.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Pretty easy way to end the day.
    Birdu2, td63, liv2day and 10 others like this.
  12. Hohmie

    Hohmie Long timer

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    It's good to see you on the road again @ScotsFire, that was quite the deluge happening, we drove half way up through California in it.
    Have a great ride!
    BA Chipmunk and ScotsFire like this.
  13. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    4000-5000 peso per night for a room?
    That's 200-250 USD. That's full on all inclusive resort $.

    Did you mean to say 400-500 peso / 20-25 USD.
  14. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    No, I meant 4000-5000 pesos. Those were the prices I found online at the majority of the hotels in Todos Santos, especially those in the Centro. I was shocked as well. Those establishments seemed to have plenty of customers though.

    Most places in MX I’ve stayed at this trip have been between 300 and 650 pesos, with the average being 500. Often more expensive options are available. Los Barilles was more at 1300 pesos/75 USD, though that was the least expensive option I found there. It was actually less expensive to stay in San Diego, and the hotel was slightly nicer. Tonight in Bahia Kino in Sonora is close at 899 pesos, and last night in Puerto Libertad 400.

    The most expensive night’s stay on the whole trip was in Thousand Oaks CA. Not even close to the nicest room, and the place Inwas most worried about the bike overnight.

    One thing in my favor has been the recent strengthening of the US Dollar versus the Mexico Peso (as well as many other currencies). It’s nearly two pesos more per dollar than when I started four weeks ago, more than a 10% change.
    ktmnate and eakins like this.
  15. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    Wow, that's crazy $ for a non-beach front non-resort room.

    Yes I saw the peso is weak 22-1 with the virus.
    I've been to Todos, that's just stupid $ for what the town is. It's nice but not $200 a night nice.

    I suspect things are going to get real empty real soon with many properties and prices will be bargins again. Spring break crowds are about to evaporate.

    I've read about many Canadian's with FM3 expiring in the next month but worrying about Canada shutting down border access back in. I know inbound flights to Mexico had to drop rapidly in the last few days. They were doing border shut down exercises 2 nights ago in TJ.
    ScotsFire likes this.
  16. ewr2004

    ewr2004 Last year, Baja. This year, Baja. Next year, Baja.

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    "I ran into another inmate, though I didn't get his ADV moniker. Eric was on a WR450 and had ridden lots of backcountry routes on his way south."

    Bob, it's Eric. Absolutely great report, I've enjoyed every entry. It was great crossing paths and sharing info with you. We'll chat again soon (when we cross paths again)!
    ScotsFire likes this.
  17. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    March 14, 2020: Puerto Libertad to Bahia Kino via the coastal route

    The day started of picture perfect! Breakfast was at a small restaurant, and was good. With one small problem.
    [​IMG]
    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over?

    I got over the coffee disappointment pretty quickly.
    [​IMG]

    Wildflowers were in heavy bloom next to the highway.
    [​IMG]
    Looking back towards Puerto Libertad.

    Let the desert roads begin.
    [​IMG]

    This area was pretty lush.
    [​IMG]

    After thirty or so kilometers, I turned back towards the coastline, on the "back" way to El Desemboque.
    [​IMG]

    It was really nice to be back on dirt!
    [​IMG]
    A bit washboarded here and there, and some soft sand occasionally as well.

    Blooming away from the highway too.
    [​IMG]

    Turned onto a two track at this sign.
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    Which took me out to the shore.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    I was kind of hoping that I'd be able to do at least a little riding on a beach on this trip. Probably not this one.
    [​IMG]
    Though really, it's no worse than parts of the San Tadeo Arroyo were.

    Parts of Baja were still visible. After looking at the map, I believe that the mass on the right of the picture is the island off Bahia de Los Angeles.
    [​IMG]

    The last little stretch of road into El Desemboque was pretty easy, if also being used as the town dump. The road heading south however.
    [​IMG]
    This is the main route into this town. At one time it was a very nice, raised, two lane gravel road.
    [​IMG]
    It's now at times some of those things, but not all at the same time. The bad part was that whenever it wasn't all rutted out, it got horribly washboarded.

    The area was very much like other parts of the Sonoran Desert, often reminding me of southern Arizona.
    [​IMG]
    With some differences.
    [​IMG]
    Both these pictures were taken from the same spot.

    It was the first time I've seen a straight line desert road have to change course with a sea being the geographic feature causing it.
    [​IMG]
    Not that this road really was all that straight anymore.

    Mountains ever present.
    [​IMG]
    The differing colors of the hills is also very Sonoran.

    As I mentioned before, the ocotillo, like most cactus, will try to take root if stuck into the ground.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Nearby ocotillo were blooming.
    [​IMG]

    Kind of the bummer for the day.
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    Zipper on the tank bag blew out. Having to use a belt to keep it shut. I doubt it's very waterproof anymore.

    The road turned to pavement at Punta Chueca, the next town. I noticed some unusual electrical work while I was airing up my tires.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    The wires running across the highway was a nice touch.

    The pavement was a really nice change from the rough road from El Desemboque.
    [​IMG]

    Pretty easy finish into Bahia Kino. I had wanted to go further for the day, but the washboard sections really wore me out. Kino Vieho (Old Kino) wasn't hard to hangout in.
    [​IMG]
    Nice beach.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Bahia Kino is pretty touristy, but was a vacation place for Mexicans mostly. There seems to be a pretty significant snowbird and ex-pat area, called Kino Nuevo (New Kino) but very few of those folks seemed to be around. It made for some interesting people watching. I've come to the conclusion that well to do Mexican young adults are just as snotty as American ones.

    Here's the video for the day. One reason this is a couple of days behind. The pictures just don't convey how f'd up that road was like the video shows.
    (Video 5:51, with music)


    Surprisingly tiring day, and while stopping "early" was the right thing to do, it did make me feel like I was sort of behind.
  18. BA Chipmunk

    BA Chipmunk BA

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    Can’t get enough of the costal pics, ride safe my friend and be mindful of boarders closing?
  19. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    March 15, 2020: Bahia Kino to Chinipas

    I laid out a route that I felt would get me "caught up." Google maps says it takes over 9 hours. I didn't believe it.
    BH Ch Route.png I mean really? Yeah, it's 300+ miles, but still.

    So off I went. The first "half" was all slab, with a significant portion being the libramiente (freeway). Now these are usually toll roads. Which is funny since libra means free, and the libramientes are almost always cuota. Anyway, it was for some reason a toll holiday on the 15. I wish I'd have known that instead of taking the off highway route through Guaymas.

    It was SOOO exciting riding over 200 miles on the freeway, that I forgot to take pictures. Or more likely not anything worth stopping to take a pic of. I did stop in Obregon for fuel and tried to get a coffee. I asked for (or so I think) an iced vanilla latte with a chocolate chip cookie. I got a vanilla shake with chocolate sprinkles. I didn't complain, but did get a little ice cream headache.

    A ways past Navojoa (Navajo?) the route turned north. And to dirt.
    [​IMG]
    This is a public road, but is gated as it's the major access to a mine. I had to explain where I was going to be let through.

    The aforementioned mine.
    [​IMG]

    The riding and the views were continuously greater and greater.
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    [​IMG]

    The vegetation got thicker and thicker as the elevation rose.
    [​IMG]

    View from another mine.
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    It was generally very steep.
    [​IMG]
    The only sections that weren't were running along ridge tops.

    The mine where I took the above picture.
    [​IMG]

    I was having a great time, though as the reoccurring presence of the long shadows shows, it was getting towards the end of the day. It's a bit exaggerated with the hills. I was considering trying to find a room in the next town, but changed my mind when I got there.

    Las Chinacas is just across the Sonora/Chihuahua state line. It seemed a bit small to have a room, but it was the young men standing around in the main intersection that really convinced me. Among the dozen or so of them, half had AK-47's slung over their shoulder.

    Now, intellectually I had come to the conclusion when planning this portion of the trip that I would see things like this. It appears that it's one thing to sort of expect it, and quite another to come around the corner and there it is. After attempting to swallow my seat through my sphincter, I waved to them just like I wave to anyone I make eye contact with. The fact that they didn't wave back shook me more than the guns did. I wave ALL the time. Pass a car, wave. See someone on the side of the road, wave. Kids playing or someone at the bus stop, I wave. And ALL of them wave back.

    Till now. I couldn't quite figure out if the cold looks I DID get were more WTF, or "Is this guy really THAT stupid?" or both.

    So needless to say, I didn't stick around and look for a room. Nor did I slow as much for water crossings, or stop for pictures.

    Till I couldn't resist it anymore.
    [​IMG]
    Finally coming off the mountain. My stop is in that valley.

    There!
    [​IMG]
    Yet Chinipas is still over 30 kilometers and probably 2000 feet elevation away. Also, just after I snapped this pic, I heard voices a ways off.

    As you can imagine, on something this steep, you at times can see some additional switchbacks below you. On one just after this, I could see a pretty new pickup sitting on the pull out on the corner. With some more men. This time all of them, though only six, had rifles. At least one of them nodded at me when I waved.

    So again, no more pictures. Till there were.
    [​IMG]
    Except that I was so discombobulated I got WAY too close to this switchback for a nice picture., but it does show the road at the base of that cliff, showing how it ran across the face.

    Getting into Chinipas riding wise
    was
    not that hard. A rough wilderness dirt road for sure, but there were only a couple of spots I felt the need to stand on the pegs, say for a little bit of loose incline. Coming into town coming from the west puts you on the wrong side of the river. Part of the road had washed away, so there was a bit of two track along, and in the river. After El Patrochinio it was no sweat.

    Once in town, I fueled up immediately, then found a hotel. It was reasonably priced, clean, and a huge room by MX standards. I changed and did go out as I was famished. The guy across the road from the hotel with the radio that had been there while I unpacked the bike was gone, but I didn't stray further than the two blocks down to the taco stand and mercado across the street from it. Ate, then right back to the hotel.

    Interactions were very weird. It was almost like no one wanted to even acknowledge I was there. The guy sitting in the checkout at the store ignored me for nearly 30 seconds before ringing me up. The lady making the tacos was nice, but even she only talked enough to get business done.

    Also interesting was the condition of Chinipas. It was really nice. All the streets were paved. There was a steel pavilion in the centro square. Things were just well kept. It was obvious that there was a lot of money in town, though there are still operating gold mines in the area, with a long history of such.

    Suffice it to say, I'm still processing this experience. I will however look a bit more closely to routes suggested by Google Maps in the future. Though, for the record, traveling that route by car, or more possibly truck, it's totally a legit nine plus hours. I was over eight on a bike.
  20. advrockrider

    advrockrider Long timer

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    Good update, ride safe. I'm sure there areas just like anywhere that aren't the best to ride in or through. Sounds like you stumbled into one but your instincts were on point.
    ScotsFire likes this.