Copper Canyon Crazies
Everyone told me I was crazy to go to Mexico. "Don't you watch CNN?" they would say. "Don't you know all tourists get shot on sight" they would tell me. I had concerns but most of the issues were at the border and we would be well south of there in Copper Canyon so I decided to join some friends from the FJR Forum that also had dual sport bikes for a ride from Creel through the Copper Canyon region out to the Sea of Cortez and back.
Don (BeemerDon on the FJR Forum) spearheaded drumming up interest and hooked our group up with Skip of MotoDiscovery. A friend of Don's had to back out at the last minute which was the only reason I got to go since the trip was sold out.
Ten brave souls met up at the Hawthorn Suites in El Paso on Sunday to met with Skip and some of the staff to head over to the border crossing at Santa Teresa to take care of the paper work to get the bikes into Mexico.
The Magnificant 10 were is no particular order:
- Don (beemerdon on the FJR Forum) from Arizona riding a GS850 BMW
- Chris (ChrisD) from Georgia riding a 990 Adventure KTM
- Scott (FJRider) from Texas riding a 530 EXC KTM
- Russ (Rushes) our token hillbilly from Arkansas riding a 650 KLR
- Joe (Joe) from Arizona riding a 400 DR-Z
- Phil, the retired Montana rancher riding a 400 DR-Z
- Phil's good friend Ken riding a little Yamaha XT225
- Our crazy Italian Canadian Paolo who would normally be riding a Vespa but was on a rented 400 DR-Z for this trip
- Pat from Washington State on a rented 400 DR-Z
- yours truly (yamafitter) from the Great White North on my Yamaha WR450F.
There appears to be a new rule that the Mexican government considers any bike 400cc or smaller to be a dirt bike and cannot be ridden on the highways. It didn' seem to bother the buracrats that one of their co-workers rode to work on a plated 125cc machine or that 90% of the bikes licenced in Mexico are below 400cc. There were rules and they were going to be followed. My 450cc WR450F enduro bike was fine because it was 50cc over the limit. After a number of phone calls to superiors and a visual inspection of the bikes, by some divine intervention common sense was allowed to prevail. With tourist visa and bike import permit in hand we then returned to El Paso TX for the offical meet & greet dinner.
Skip, the owner of MotoDiscovery would not be on the trip with us but two of the staff were at the dinner. Shelly who would be driving the support truck and Barack who would be one of the bike guides. We would meet the other two staffers in Creel.
The next morning everyone was ready and the first chore after breakfast was to load the bikes up for the trailer ride down to Creel...
My WR450F bound for Mexico...
It was time to get comfortable for the long van trip down to Creel. Just before Chihauhau we took a "shortcut" that took us through some very scenic areas to give us a taste of the views we would be experiencing for the next 10 days...
We stopped for a great lunch before the "shortcut" and by the time we took the "shortcut" around Chihauhau the sun was starting to set.
We pulled into Creel in th dark and parked the vans and bikes for the night and headed down the street for a late lunch and meet the other two staffers that would be on the trip, Alfanso "Chicon" Munoz who be be the jead rider for the trip and our historical and cultural guide Ivan Fernandez (more about Ivan later).
Time for a little food porn...
I'll end this post with Don contimplating how he is ever going to get his GS Beemer "Miss Piggy" over the Sierra Madre
More to come...
This better be good too it took you guys a year and a half to plan this thing :lol3
I better tune into this one myself, looks like a different way to approach to CC.
I'm in for this. I took a similar ride to Copper Canyon last year. We started from Presidio, went to Copper Canyon, Urique , over to the Sea of Cortez and then took a Ferry across to Baja. I love that place and would not be afraid to go back.
As a matter of fact I was down there just last week. Went down to the ISDE in Morelia. I got the same thing from everyone "Your not really going to go to Mexico are you?"
Looking forward to the rest of the RR.
Ok, made it to AZ and have been riding on FS roads in the Cornado State Park area. Wow with all these rocks on the ground it almost feels like I'm riding the K-Trail in AR.
Anyway Bill, I'm looking forward to your report! It was a great trip!!
This will b good. Only been there as a vagabond backpacker many years ago. I knew dos bolletos and dos cervezas and thatz about it. The people were kind for the most part. Hitchhiked a fair amount. Looking forward to some great ridin! Thx
Day 1 - Creel to Batopilas
With the bikes unloaded and some Mexican styled breakfast in the belly (I had the rancheros) it was time to start the ride. 10 years ago the pavement stopped at Creel but we had 50 km of really fun twisty pavement to run that reminded me of the Cherahola Skyway in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:State><st1:place>Tennessee</st1:place></st1:State>...
We gathered the group up at the bridge crossing the Urique River for a bit a rest stop before coming to the end of the pavement...
We then came up to the road construction. In <st1:place><st1:PlaceName>Copper </st1:PlaceName><st1:PlaceType>Canyon</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> there's no flashing signs, barricades or flagmen to tell you there is road construction is ahead. You may see a flag stuck in the ground but the "normal" method is two rocks stacked on top of each other. Barack had told us about this method at the riders' briefing so then was no drama. The road crew had just finished rolling out a section of gravel that was perfectly smooth, flat & compacted. After we went through there was 13 perfectly preserved motorcycle tire tracks. As we went by the roller operator we could see him just shaking his head as we upset all his hard work. Given that this is <st1:country-region><st1:place>Mexico</st1:place></st1:country-region> it is my guess that they will just tar over our tracks so when you head south from Creel in the future you will be able to follow my lines through the corners.
We stopped again in the town of Quirare to get the group together before coming to the rim of the canyon. The view from the outlook was spectacular...
It was then time to "drop in" as we say in the ski biz. Here is the link to the video on YouTube since I can't seem to get the embedding to work...
Decent into Batopilas Canyon
This video only takes you halfway down to the river.
Once we got to the bridge there was a school bus that had just came down the same road taking a buch of kids to a basketball tourny in the same town where we were headed. Scott and Russ provided much of the entertainment for the kids while we waited for the rest of our group to make it down...
We then just went a little way to a little hamlet called Bacuseachi to find some shade and wait for the support truck that had our burritos for lunch.
As we were eating the school bus rolled by with all the kids hanging out the window waving as they went by.
Once we had some fuel for the belly it was time for the final leg of the day. While rolling around a corner there was a big truck tire laying in the middle of the road. A few kilometers later I came across our guide, Alphonso carrying the Mexican school bus driver on the back of Alphonso's bike. A little while later I passed the school bus being driven by one of the students. The story I got later was Alphonso caught up to the bus and told the driver where the missing tire was. The bus driver then told one of the students (about age 13) to drive the bus into town while the driver went back with Alphonso to retreive the missing tire. We are not exactly sure how the driver was planning on getting the tire to town but this is Mexico so I imagine it happened somehow. I don't even want to think about a 13 year old driving a school bus on that road.
As we arrived in Batopilas, the town was celibrating the basketball tourney and the square was full of song, dancing, food and games. We got to our hotel and after a quick shower to get rid of the road dust we got some cervesa and went to check it out. Dinner was just down the street and the hot sauce was not for the faint of heart.
Here are a few stats from Day 1...
Great place to visit and ride...........keep it coming.:lurk :lurk
Can't wait for this to evolve.
Did the trip to Bato in Jan 06. Good trip except I went down and messed up a knee.
I have already seen some familiar sights and look forward to more.
Nice report Bill, Maybe next year for me?
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