So...on Tuesday I decided to ride to Mexico from Kansas City...I left on Saturday
This is my disclaimer for this RR. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
If you read my good friends RR it will help you to understand why I took this trip. There are also many references in this RR that may not make sense without reading Guaterider’s RR. I was not going to do a RR for this trip but Guaterider (Julio) said he would give me a hard time on his RR until I did it:D:D
I'm glad he peer pressured me into it! <o:p></o:p>
The link to his RR is <o:p></o:p>
I am also very long winded! So read and sort through the narrative or just look at the pictures:D<?xml:namespace prefix = v ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml" /><v:shapetype id=_x0000_t75 stroked="f" filled="f" path="m@4@5l@4@11@9@11@9@5xe" o:preferrelative="t" o:spt="75" coordsize="21600,21600"> <v:stroke joinstyle="miter"></v:stroke><v:formulas><v:f eqn="if lineDrawn pixelLineWidth 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @0 1 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum 0 0 @1"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @2 1 2"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelWidth"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelHeight"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @0 0 1"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @6 1 2"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelWidth"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @8 21600 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelHeight"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @10 21600 0"></v:f></v:formulas><v:path o:connecttype="rect" gradientshapeok="t" o:extrusionok="f"></v:path><o:lock aspectratio="t" v:ext="edit"></o:lock></v:shapetype><v:shape id=Picture_x0020_1 style="VISIBILITY: visible; WIDTH: 11.25pt; HEIGHT: 11.25pt; mso-wrap-style: square" alt="Description: 0" type="#_x0000_t75" o:spid="_x0000_i1026"><v:imagedata o:title="0" src="file:///C:\DOCUME~1\shamre\LOCALS~1\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\c lip_image001.gif"></v:imagedata></v:shape><v:shape id=Picture_x0020_2 style="VISIBILITY: visible; WIDTH: 11.25pt; HEIGHT: 11.25pt; mso-wrap-style: square" alt="Description: 0" type="#_x0000_t75" o:spid="_x0000_i1025"><v:imagedata o:title="0" src="file:///C:\DOCUME~1\shamre\LOCALS~1\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\c lip_image001.gif"></v:imagedata></v:shape><o:p></o:p>
Here I go...again
This trip started as many do, a year in advance with plenty of thought put into it. In this case, as many trip plans, things get all screwed up for one reason or another and in the end it is almost nothing like the original plan. This grand plan all started when I visited my friend Julio, aka Guaterider, in Guatemala last summer on my most recent Central American motorcycle trip. While I was visiting Julio he was planning his own trip that would take him and his wife Luisa to Alaska and back. A trip that I was very envious of! The fact that he was going to take nearly a year to complete it was what made me so envious. I can only dream of a trip like that at this point in my life. While I was visiting he was considering many aspects of this trip. One of the things he was pondering was pulling a trailer behind his GS to take all the things he thought he would need for the trip. After he told me how much a trailer was going to cost I told him I could build a trailer for him and meet him somewhere in Arizona with it. The idea for a trip to meet Julio on his great adventure was hatched! We discussed many other things about his trip while I was there and all the while he treated me much like many of the other riders he had hosted while they visited Central America. With the hospitality a King would appreciate!
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Over the months after my visit we stayed in contact. Like I mentioned earlier about planning a trip like this many of the plans you make change. Julio’s plans were no different! The trailer was no longer in the picture. Julio had found a larger top box to meet his needs. I still had this idea in my head for the trailer so I built it anyway but tailored it to my personality and with materials I had laying around in my garage. I’ll revisit that topic later. I still wanted to meet Julio on his great trip at some point. We initially arranged to meet I Arizona even though I was no longer going to deliver a trailer. I followed along on his ride report and picked April to meet him in Arizona. Well with my work schedule and Julio and Luisa’s travel pace, leisurely, Arizona was no longer going to work. We then talked about Colorado. He said that he was going to visit an inmate in Bolder and that I could possibly ride out with another friend of his, Dave, that had recently moved to Kansas City. I thought that would be great! Bolder is only 10 hours from Kansas City and an easy day of riding. Well again due to work I couldn’t get more than two days off in a row when they were in Colorado and neither could Dave. So now I was looking at when they would be coming south again. I was going to be in Seattle for a conference in August on my Harley with the trailer that I had designed for Julio but changed it a little to work behind my Harley so I thought that may be an option if timing worked out. We would also be hosting Julio’s daughter Isa at that time while she did an internship with my wife. As it turned out timing did not work out for meeting in Seattle when I was there either.
So while I was in Seattle I was planning a return trip to Oregon a few weeks later with the possibility of riding out with Isa so she could see him as well. Since I have two motorcycles and Isa is a very good motorcycle rider herself it would not have been real difficult to make that work. But in the end it was cheaper and quicker for Isa to fly out. This was at that same time Luisa had to fly home for her job so it worked out for Julio and Isa to spend time together and they only needed one motorcycle to site see. I was still trying to figure out how to make my plan to meet up with Julio and Luisa work. It was getting to be late in the year and looking at my work schedule I was now looking at November being the next available time to take a trip. Living in Kansas City you never know what the weather is going to do that time of year. Julio and Luisa were also on the west coast. No matter how I went I would have to cross the mountains and face the possibility of snow and bad riding conditions. As time continued to tick away we talked more and I was now shooting to meet them in San Diego. I had the time scheduled off from work and set aside the concerns of crossing mountains and cold weather. That would just add to the adventure…right.
Since I was not going to be doing any back roads riding and the fact I wanted to show Julio the trailer that I built I prepared my Harley for the trip and not the GS. As time got closer, less than a week away from leaving, I let Julio know for sure that I was going to be able to make it this time! He was happy that I was going to be able to meet him. I asked him when they were going to be crossing into Mexico. He told me “Thursday”. I then told him I was going to leave on Saturday to be there, San Diego, on Monday. But since they were going to be crossing into Mexico three days before I was even going to leave that plan was not going to work either. We originally discussed Durango as a meeting place when I told Julio my NEW plans. Now I had to figure out where Durango was, get Mexican Insurance; figure out what border to cross, if I had enough time to make the trip and if there were any safety issues in Mexico along the way. Then convince my wife to let me take another trip to Mexico plus see if I had time to get the GS ready. The GS needed two new tires put on. They were in the garage so a couple of hours I could have that done. Plus it needed to be serviced. I have not taken the time to learn how to do all of this yet so that meant a trip to the dealer.
This conversation took place on October 27<SUP>th</SUP>. On October 30 we had another conversation after I had time to do some research on Durango. Zacatecas was now in the picture not Durango. With a quick search on my phone I found it and it was only 1350 miles from KC. That’s doable I thought. I continued to get things arranged for the trip. We even discussed my wife and I flying to Oaxaca Mexico when they got there but with kids and work that was not looking good either.
This was it! If I didn’t do it now it would not happen! So I made my mind up that I was going! This was on a Tuesday and I was leaving on Saturday for Mexico! I did research on the route to Zacatecas and emailed some friends about border crossings and all that stuff. Many of the things I do over a period of 6 months I was now doing in 5 days! Since I made up my mind to go the destination was just a formality at this point so Julio and I discussed some more places to meet and I told him I could wait to see where he was on Friday and just go from there.
On the 31<SUP>st</SUP> Julio asked if Creel, Copper Canyon, would work. I had no idea where Creel was and asked Julio if the roads were good for the Harley since it was Copper Canyon. I knew about where Copper Canyon was and that it was on my bucket list but that was it. He said the roads were fine for the Harley. I tried to do a search for Creel on my phone while we were texting back and forth but I couldn’t find it. The Iphone gave me two different locations for some reason, surely not operator error. Just so happened that I was at work and had access to a computer. A few clicks later I found it. It was about 1400 miles from Kansas City. That was a doable distance for the time I had to make this trip and still spend a couple of days with Julio and Luisa. I spent the rest of the night at work on the computer researching Creel, Presidio Texas border crossing and making reservations for hotels going down and coming back and many other things! Julio was going to make the arrangements in Creel so all I had to do was find them when I got there. Julio and I text me later and said to just go to the Best Western when I got there and he would check for me every hour if they stayed somewhere else. Now I just had to get through my crazy work schedule on Thursday and Friday so I could leave early on Saturday.
Finally it was Friday! I had worked a rough schedule through the week. I got home from work at around 4am on Friday morning and got up at 8am and started loading the Harley and getting it ready for the trip. One of the things I had to change on the Harley was my foot pegs. Not because they were uncomfortable, just the opposite, not because they were broken or old. I had to take them off because they are custom made with real, spent, .38 special shell casings in the end of them. They are designed to look like a revolver cylinder. I really didn’t want to explain that to the Mexican Policia or military. I really didn’t want to ride all the way there just to have them tell me I could not enter the country or even worse get thrown in a Mexican jail. So I bought a new set of front pegs and just took the passenger ones off. The trailer that I wanted to show Julio was also not an option any longer. It is not registered due to being a homemade trailer so I also took off the trailer hitch I had on the bike. After only four hours of sleep and working to get ready most of the day I had to go back into work at 3pm. I got home late Friday night. I was exhausted but I had planned it that way so that I would sleep well that night. I set my alarm for 5am so that I could be on the road early.
My first day was going to start in Kansas City and end in Midland Texas, 800 miles away. When the alarm went off I was still exhausted from my work schedule so I slept another half hour and then got up. I was on the road by 6am. The temperature when I left was a balmy 36 degrees F! (2 C) It was still dark with daylight an hour and a half away. I put my insulated riding gear on. I was wearing a half so helmet a balaclava was a must with no windshield on the Harley. I was also going to miss my heated grips on the BMW. I may have to invest in some for my Harley. I took off and soon realized it was going to be a cold long day! My first stop was just south of Emporia Kansas on the Turnpike. I was just barely able to get my leg up and over my seat when I got off to put gas in because I was so cold. It hurt to even get my wallet out. After putting gas in I went in and warmed up but I only stopped long enough to use the restroom and log my gas and mileage in my phone.
By the time I got to my second gas stop in Gutherie Oklahoma it had warmed up some but I was still cold. Two more gas stops and a conversation with a Texas Trooper about my speed just outside of Wichita Falls I was in Midland for the night. I got there just before 7pm, almost a 13 hour day. I found a local place for dinner next to the hotel. While having a couple of beers I continued my research on my route to Creel. For some reason the phone was now able to find Creel.
I think the operator wised up a bit on how to use it. I was a little concerned about getting through Chihuahua and making it to Creel before it got dark. I was also concerned about how long the border crossing was going to take. I also had to find an ATM to get Pesos. I only had 400 Pesos on me from an earlier trip. I got back to the room and made the mistake of telling my wife that I was concerned about the roads and making it through Chihuahua and to Creel before dark. I could sense a change in her tone when I mentioned that. Some things wives just shouldn’t be told. One of those things is that you concerned about your route in Mexico! I had my SPOT tracker so that helped with her not getting too stressed out… I think. I then called the front desk and requested a 3:30am wakeup call so that I could be on the road by 4. I also set my phone alarm as a backup. When I finally got to bed I don’t think I even remembered my head hitting the pillow!
My second day started an hour sooner than I wanted. I was awakened by the wakeup call from the hotel. The only problem was that daylight savings time change had taken place at 2am. The hotel did not change the time in their wake up system. My wakeup call was received at 2:30am not 3:30am! Being in the dazed and confused state of getting up that early I looked at my watch, that I hadn’t changed, I looked at the time on my phone that had changed and then called the front desk and asked, without yelling, what time it was. He told me 2:30. I then told him that I had requested a 3:30 wakeup call and to call me back in an hour. I do remember lying down but I swear the phone rang two minutes later! I got up and got around this time.
When I got downstairs the desk clerk found some breakfast for me. I was at a Courtyard by Marriott. They do not have free breakfast but he found me some food for free. That made up for the early call I guess. It was almost warm outside and I was hot with all of my riding gear on while I was loading my bike and standing outside. I almost took some of my gear off but decided it was on and I needed to get on the road. After about an hour on the road I was very glad I had left all of my gear on. It was almost 3 hours before the sun came up and even in Texas it was in the low 40’s. I reached Presidio around 8am. I wanted to fuel up before I crossed because of the lack of Pesos I had. I figured there would be a station before I reached the border. I was wrong. I had to back track a little ways to find one. I filled up and grabbed some breakfast.
While I was eating an older Hispanic man greeted me and asked how my day was. He was a very spry young man of 87. He asked me where I was from and he then told me that he had spent time at Fort Riley Kansas while he was in the military. He had served in Korea. He was a very friendly man and I enjoyed talking to him. I sent a txt to my wife after the young man went about his day and I then headed to the border.
On the U.S. side they just waved me through. The line coming into the U.S. was pretty long. When I got into Mexico there were only three vehicles in the inspection area including me. The inspection took all of two minutes and then off to Migration. That took another 5 minutes. The longest process was aduana. That took maybe 10 minutes. All I had to do was give them my paperwork and they completed all the forms. I had to pay 10 pesos for copies and then I was on my way.
The border was one of the things I was worried about and it was all for nothing. It was less than a 20 minute process. I continued into Ojinaga and looked for a Banamex or any other bank that had an ATM with no luck. I had enough gas to get to Chihuahua and even enough money to get to Creel so finding an ATM was not a high priority. I made my way west on Mx 16 libre towards Chihuahua. The road was much more fun to ride than what I had been riding on the last thousand miles. I was almost immediately in the small mountains just outside of the city.
As normal I had to stop at the aduana check 20 miles in and then a military check a few miles later. No problems at either one of those checks. I got the normal questions about my bike, how fast will it go, how much was it. My Spanish really sucks but I can pick up on some of what is said and reply with a 4 year old, ok maybe a 2 year old level of Spanish.
I got into Chihuahua with no problems and it was a good thing I had studied the maps well and wrote down the names of the streets I had to take to get through town. The first turn I had to make was just before I got into the downtown area. I had the normal hand written notes that I could read from my tank bag. They read “Cross river in Chihuahua take rt on Av Presa Techomatlan R Blv PAntonio Ortiz Mena L Anillo Perifenico De La Juv L Av Silveitre Terrazan” That’s all I needed as it turned out. I also found out that if I programmed my route on the map app on my Iphone before I lost service the little blue dot would always follow me and I would know the way and if I was off track I could get back on track relatively easy.
As I was making my way through Chihuahua I looked for a Banamex again. I even stopped at a Pemex gas station to ask where one was. The kid at the Pemex gave me directions to a bank a few blocks away. As I was driving towards the bank I saw a small blue sign on the front of a grocery store that said Banamex Cajero (ATM). This was strange to me because I had not seen many ATMs that were not in an actual bank in Mexico. I walked in and asked the man at the door where the Cajero was and he pointed me in the right direction. 3,000 peso later I was back on the road. I was able to make all of my turns getting through the city without having to make any U-turns. A first for me! My navigation skills were another reason I wanted to start early that day, so far so good!
I stopped on the other side of Chihuahua for gas. It had warmed up nicely and I was soaking in the sun. While talking to the gas station attendant he asked me where I was from and then asked if it was cold there. I told him it was. He then asked me where I was going. When I told him Creel he said it was cold there too. Not what I wanted to hear! He could see that on my face I guess and we had a good laugh over that.
My next challenge was going to be Ciudad Cuauhtemoc. It looked like an easy drive through the city on the map and it pretty much was. I did come across a Can Am Spyder in that town that had all the extras on it. It was a nice ride. I had to laugh though because the couple riding it was wearing all Harley Davidson gear from the boots to the helmets! The woman on the back was also wearing high heal boots, Harley Davidson, high heal boots!
Another pleasant surprise of the day was that there were road signs for Creel almost the entire way there from Ojinaga. They were also in Cauahtemoc which helped navigate the through the city. The only time I had to make a U-turn on my way to Creel was a few miles later. The highway went straight and turned into a small narrow road. I quickly realized the change and consulted my phone. Sure enough my blue dot was no longer on my route. An easy U-turn and I was back on my route. Just after I got back on the highway I had to exit onto another road that led to Creel. A short time later I was on a winding road with pine trees lining the road. This was a very different type of scenery than I had been riding in most of the day. I had really enjoyed the ride since crossing into Mexico and it was only getting better!
I reached Creel around 3pm with plenty of daylight left. I stayed on the main road through town and looked for the Best Western. I had seen signs for it for several miles leading to Creel When I reached the round a bout on the other side of town I figured I had gone too far so I turned around and took a side street that ran along the main road. I saw a small sign for the Best Western on a pole so I knew I was on the right track. I then saw the hotel and pulled into the parking lot. I knew I was in the right place when I saw Luisa talking on the phone in the parking lot and Julio’s GS parked near her. I had arrived! Luisa stopped talking and said “Shawn?” with a smile. I said “Hi Luisa” and then parked.
Somehow Julio knew I had arrived. Maybe it was the distinct sound of my bike rolling into the lot. I was greeted by Julio with a hug and a handshake. They had arrived at the hotel a couple of hours earlier and had time to get checked in and settled. We talked a few minutes and caught up. Julio gave me my room key so that I could put my stuff in the room.
When I tried it the key did not work. There was nothing special about the key. It was a normal magnetic strip plastic key like many of the hotels back home. I tried again and nothing. Julio then realized he had given me the wrong key when his did not work on his door. I got my stuff put away and we then went and grabbed a late lunch. It was nice to catch up with Julio and to finally meet Luisa. The two times that I had been in Guatemala I was not able to met her. It didn’t take long to see that Luisa was a very kind and caring person. Julio made a suggestion for the meal because they had eaten there before. Luisa thought that the meal Julio had suggested was too much food so she got some tacos. When our food was brought out our meal was half the size of what Julio remembered it to be and twice the size of Luisa’s! No worries though we helped her finish her meal after we finished ours. We then made our way back to the hotel. I finished unpacking and got connected with the internet so I could talk to my wife and kids. Another great feature of an Iphone, Facetime! I was pretty tired and laid on the bed with the TV on. When Julio came knocking for dinner it took me a few seconds to realize what the noise was. I may or may not have fallen asleep in my relaxing room with a gas fireplace. Luisa stayed in the room and we went for dinner to different restaurant. It was another great meal and conversation with Julio. Not as good as the meals he prepared for me in Guatemala but still good. We made plans to see copper canyon and other sites in the area the next day. It was another long day but I had finally met up with Julio and Luisa on their great journey! <o:p></o:p>
The next morning I got up around 7. It was nice to sleep in after the last two early days on this trip. I stepped out to see frost on our bikes. I was hoping to not have any more cold mornings on this trip. I was in Mexico after all and everybody knows it’s hot in Mexico. I looked over towards Julio and Luisa’s room and did not see any lights on so I made my way up the street towards the Centro where the restaurants were that we had eaten at the day before. It was a crisp morning and all of the school kids were walking the opposite direction as me to school. They were all dressed in their matching uniforms, maroon pants and white polo shirts. Just like back home some looked happy about going to school and others didn’t. I also got a little different feeling from the people in this town while I was walking around. They were not rude at all but they were not as friendly as many of the other towns and cities I had visited in Mexico. They rarely made eye contact with me or smiled. I also noticed this with many of the store owners and clerks during my visit. I continued up the street and took a few pictures and then made my way to the restaurant we had eaten lunch at the day before. I had checked the other restaurant but I did not see Julio there. I thought Julio said that if he was not in his room he would be eating where we had lunch but I wanted to check both places before I went in. A few minutes after I sat down Julio joined me for breakfast and said he had looked for me at the other restaurant. I guess great minds think alike. He said that he liked the other place better for breakfast but this place was good too. We talked about many more things and discussed the plans for the day. Julio is a very generous man and would not let me pay for any of my meals the first day. This is a common theme with Julio so when he got up to use the restroom I quickly got up and went into the kitchen to find the waitress so I could pay the bill. I almost had it paid by the time he came back. He tried to pay for it but it was too late! I had already given her the money! We walked back to the hotel after breakfast and took our time getting around too let it warm up a little before we left. Luisa stayed behind for the day to get some things done and relax. Our first stop was at the Pemex just outside of town. At least once on all of my motorcycle trips I will overfill or splash fuel all over my tank. This was that time! After gassing up Julio told me to lead the way and if I wanted to stop and take some pictures he would just pull in behind me since he had spent a lot of time in this area and had already taken several pictures. We were now ready to head off towards Barrancas Del Cobre! The road out of town was just as scenic and fun to ride as the road I took into town. I now had an unloaded bike that I could really enjoy taking corners on. The road was good but I quickly realized that the GS handles the Mexican roads much better. It wasn’t that the Harley was any less fun but it did not absorb the “small” flaws in the road as well as the GS. On one of the corners I even laid the bike over far enough to scrape the pipes on the pavement. I made it a few miles out of town before I stopped to take my first pictures. The view of the canyon was amazing! Julio told me that he was going to take me to the “small” canyon first so that I would enjoy it and not be spoiled after seeing the big one. I thought what I was looking at was the big one! Man was I wrong! I also told Julio that I forgot to warn him about following me. It’s kind of loud behind my Harley. In his RR he mentioned that there was something different about this visit to Copper Canyon but he couldn’t figure out. I think I figured it out. It was probably him following me and listening to my loud f’ing pipes that changed it. Haha. After taking a few picture at this stop we continued on down the road a short distance. I had to pull over again as we started to go down into a small canyon to take some more pictures. I also removed my GPS from the Ram mount on my handle bars and replaced it with my digital camera so that I could take pictures on the fly as well as video of the road. Once we were back on the road it wasn’t far before Julio took a side road that led to the “small” canyon. He warned me ahead of time that it was not paved. He even asked me if I would have to wash my bike right after since it was a Harley. He likes giving me a hard time about riding a Harley when I have a perfectly good GS in my garage! I told him I am not a typical Harley rider. My bike gets dirty and it goes off road. Come to think of it I’ve been home now for over two weeks and it still hasn’t been washed! Now that we were off the pavement now I did have to pay a little more attention to the rocks on the road leading to the canyon. I was also following Julio at this point and he kicked up a good amount of dust. I really didn’t pay much attention to the surroundings only what was directly in front of me. Once we got to the edge of the canyon I was immediately blown away by how large it was! I thought to myself, this is the small one! We parked a little ways from the edge and as we walked closer it just kept getting bigger and even more amazing. I took several pictures but none of them came close to truly depicting the depth and size of this canyon. While we were there Julio said that the road we rode in on was actually an illegal air strip used by the cartels at one time. The military came in and put large rocks all along the runway to prevent planes from landing anymore. He also said this area was known for strange rock formations. I remembered this in his ride report and asked him about a few pictures that I remembered. He said our next stop was going to be at one of those strange formations near the railroad. On the way back out to the highway I paid a little more attention to the road/airstrip and the surroundings. It would have been one hell of a landing or takeoff even without the big rocks in the way! Once we were back on the main highway we continued a short distance and stopped near a train crossing. We had crossed the tracks several times so far but this one in particular had a very large distinctive looking rock formation. Let’s just say Viagra could use it in their commercials. At the rail crossing there were several native Indians selling their wares. The train stops here a couple of times a day so that people on the train can take pictures of the rock formations. The Indians try to sell their stuff to those people when the train stops. I believe Julio said they were the Tarahumara Indians. They are nomadic and move throughout the canyons depending on the time of year to avoid the heat. They are also known as very fast long distance runners. I did a little research when I got home and found one documentary that said the Tarahumara routinely run over 100 miles at a time and the longest recorded run was 435 miles in just over 48 hours! They also do this without shoes or makeshift sandals! It always amazes me how much Julio knows about the cultures and history of the places he visits. After our short stop along the train tracks I continued to lead the way through the twisting mountainous road. As I was riding along I took some more pictures and videos of the route. I was really wishing I had a GoPro at this point because it was an amazing ride! I came around a corner and saw some buildings and a train depot off to my left and thought that it looked like a place we would stop but Julio never passed me so I kept going. After I made it around the corner where the turn off was to the train depot I checked in my mirror and Julio was not behind me. My first thought was something had happened to him. I made a quick U-turn and saw him waiting for me at the turn to go to where the buildings and train depot was. As it turned out this was our main destination for the day, Barrancas Del Cobre! We went a short distance to a toll booth to get into the park. We then continued on a little ways further and turned onto another gravel road that led further into the park. We rode past several places along this gravel/sand road that looked amazing and thought we would be stopping. When we stopped at another small checkpoint to show another guy our passes Julio said we would stop at some of the places we rode past on the way back. We then followed a single lane paved trail a little further. When we reached the end of the paved trail I saw several huts with more of the native Indians selling more stuff. There were not many people around when we got off our bikes but a short walk later I realized that this was “the place”. Julio was right about the “small” canyon we stopped at earlier. It had nothing on what I was now looking at! The view of this enormous canyon was like nothing I had ever seen before. I have seen the Grand Canyon and was/ still very impressed with it but this was on a whole other scale! It was almost hard to gauge how large the canyon was by just standing there. No amount of pictures could come close to portraying the view and beauty of this canyon! We were the only tourist there at that time. We did see a few more people later but no more than ten other people total. Julio asked me how this compared to the Grand Canyon. I told him I was much more impressed not only with the view but the fact we could simply enjoy it without all the people around. As we walked further along the railing in the “tourist” area looking over the sheer cliffs we made our way towards a brand new looking gondola or teleferico. Julio said that this new gondola cost millions to build. It was very impressive but there was no one around to use it. It may have been the slow season or just the fact it was a week day I don’t know but I saw nothing to indicate that the tourism in this area could support such a massive cable system in this area. I had the feeling that it was like a classic movie filmed in Iowa…If you build it they will come. According to a quick search about this project it cost 29.4 million USD to complete. This gondola is the highest areal ropeway system in the world. The cabins on the cable are 1475 feet (450 meters) above the ground at the highest point! We did not ride the gondola but maybe on a return visit I’ll have to do it. We also saw a zip line that led along the canyon rim. Again it looked like fun but we did not do it. After walking around I also soon realized that I was over dressed! The temperature had risen to the mid to upper 60’s F and it was turning out to be a very nice day. Julio said that there were several more places to stop on the way out so we rode back a little ways and stopped at a hiking trail that was barricaded so we could not take the bikes past the trail entrance. We took a short hike and ended up back on the canyon edge. The edge had no rails or sidewalks giving it a natural feel of how it has been viewed for thousands of years! This view was just as impressive and unique as the last! We could see an Indian home down in the canyon with a goat and a small corn field next to it. There was also an area not too far from the home with thick green trees and vegetation. It was clear there was much more water in that are because the other areas were brown and dry looking. It made sense that the Indians would build near water. Much like many parts of the US last year this area was in bad need of rain. Many of the native Indians died because of the drought. We enjoyed the view for a while and I tried to absorb as much of the beauty as I could. It was very tranquil and surreal! We then made our way back to the bikes. We kind of got a little disoriented going through the pine trees but we were able to find our way back to the bikes. We then made another stop where Julio had to show the second man our tickets. At this stop there was a platform that went out over the edge about 20-30 feet with mesh steel on the floor so you could look down to the bottom of the canyon. Julio and I had no problems with going out onto it and looking at the views but while we were there an older couple arrived and the woman DID NOT want to go out onto the platform. She was finally convinced to go out on it by her husband. They tried to take a picture of themselves with the canyon in the background when Julio offered to take their picture. Julio and the gentleman had a good conversation and he also noticed my license plate and asked me where I was from. A few minutes later a young couple in their early 20’s walked to the platform. Again the young lady wanted nothing to do with the platform. This time she was just pushed and forced out onto the platform in a playful manner by her boyfriend. Once she was out there she had a good time and was laughing about it and taking pictures. We then made our way back out to the main gravel road. Well at least I thought it was a road. We drove to the end and took some more pictures of the canyon and Julio told me that the gravel road was the airport! Yeah the runway ended at the canyon drop off! I’m not sure that I would want to fly into that airport. Our last stop was at the hotel that Julio and Luisa stayed at on their way north. It had an amazing view of the canyon and was very nice. Very expensive as well! At this point Julio and I were both getting a little hungry and it was about 30 miles back to Creel so we decided to head back and grab some lunch. Julio led the way back this time. I think he was tired of listening to my loud ass pipes! Haha. It did give me a chance to get some pictures and video of Julio riding on the twisting mountain road though. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
Once we were back at the Hotel we saw several bikes parked outside the main office of the Best Western with Jalisco, Mexico license plates on them. There were three GS’s like the ones Julio and I have, a couple of new 800 GS bikes and a Honda ST. They were all much cleaner than our bikes and had all of the expensive gear on them! After we gave the bikes the once over we went to our rooms but our keys would not work so we went to the office to get the keys fixed. When we got to the office we saw Luisa there talking with the guys on the bikes. Her key quit working as well. Julio had a good conversation with the guys and asked them about getting tires for his bike. The tires he had on his bike were ones that I had suggested to him but did not work out as well on his trip as they did on my trip last year. I really hate it when I try to help friends by giving them my opinion/advice on something and it does not work out. This was definitely one of those times! He had put some Heidenau K-76’s on after I recommended them to him. He had only put about 5,000 miles on them and they were looking pretty worn out. I used the same model of tire the year before and got almost 9,000 miles out of them before I took them off. The tires I had used looked better than the ones on his bike after putting 9,000 miles on them. Makes you wonder about tire companies and the materials they use when making their tires. The guys from Jilasco could only suggest a Honda place in Chihuahua for tires but that was in the wrong direction for Julio. After we got our keys fixed we then headed back to the same place we had lunch at the day before. This time I ordered something different and Julio and Luisa ordered what we had the day before. This time it worked out a little better for all of our appetites. It was another great meal and conversation with Julio and Luisa. It’s hard to really put my finger on what I enjoyed the most about talking with Julio and Luisa. They are both very generous people and love sharing their experiences with others. They are very knowledgeable about life in general and have a unique perspective on how to approach this game we call life. One of the big things that made talking with them enjoyable was our different backgrounds and where we have been in our lives. You can’t get much more different than an Iowa farm boy who now lives in the “big city” of Kansas City and an Austrian/Guatemalan couple who live in Central America. This unique combination gives a different perspective on things that I take for granted every day. Luisa also has a thirst for knowledge that is very refreshing. She had questions about everything from the minor details of an English sentence structure, like I’m the one who should be giving lessons on that but anyway, to asking questions about my job as a police officer and comparing it to what she has seen on TV. We even talked Politics since Election Day was the next day. I’m not one to talk politics but talking with Julio and Luisa also gave me some insight to how our political agenda in the U.S. affects people outside of our country. After we ate we walked around and did some shopping along the main street our hotel was on. We stopped into an art studio/tourist information/moped rental shop that had some pictures of the area hanging on the wall. Julio showed me a picture of the road he had ridden down to the bottom of Copper Canyon the first time they were here. I really wanted to ride that road but one I’m not sure how long it would have taken on the Harley. The Harley would have made it…I’m just crazy enough to have done it! But the road was closed because they were paving it. This was a disappointment because it is one of the more challenging roads to ride in this region. So I’ve been told. I asked Julio to compare it to riding the White Rim road in Moab since we had both ridden that road. I did the White Rim road in 2010 two up my wife on the GS. He said the road in Copper Canyon was much more difficult. We had a nice talk with a guy at the studio, well I listened anyway. Again that 2 year old Spanish level kind of hinders my communication abilities. We then went back to the room. Julio caught up on his ride report and pictures. I gave him the pictures and videos that I had taken that day to add to his collection. I then walked back to one of the shops I had stopped at earlier and got a few souvenirs for the family while Julio was getting the computer stuff done. It was then time for a little afternoon siesta. A few hours later the three of us walked back up to the other restaurant we had eaten at the night before for dinner. Another great meal and I think we were just a few minute away from being asked to leave because we had sat there so long talking. After a short walk back to the room it was time to pack things up for the next day. We were heading to Hidalgo Del Parral then next morning. <o:p></o:p>
What I woke up to the first day!
The trailer I was going to show to Julio. Hence my tag line.
Dinner spot in Midland Texas. Clear Springs Cafe
The lodging choice of Julio in Creel!!:clap:clap
Very nice!! The gas stove was very nice for the cold nights in Creel. Julio said something about a sauna in his room:D
Main street in Creel
Lunch, breakfast, lunch place
The view of first time I pulled over for a picture on the way to the main canyon
The "small' canyon. If you look on the right side of the picture at the bottom of the canyon the white line is a full sized bridge going over the river!
There are some buildings in the clearing across the canyon
It took three pictures to get the whole canyon!
or a panoramic
The Harley was a little out of it's element but that's alright :D
Stop at train tracks. Another thing the Harley did not like...Topes!!!!
Julio getting his camera for some pictures
The local indians selling their crafts
The "Big" canyon:clap:clap
The shiny thing on the far ridge is the end of the gondola line!
Again too big for just one picture!!
Seems like you are getting old , you start missing out on the details like the color of the tablecloth and the exact temperature of the few beers we had :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:rofl:rofl:rofl:rofl:rofl:rofl:rofl: D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D
Good to see that you came through with your RR
I knew I would forget something! :D
I should have taken those notes after all:rofl
Too long didn't read. Nice pics of the canyon. Maybe after I retire I'll read the report and find out just where that canyon is!
More Pics o...f Copper Canyon.....
Julio taking in the view near the gondola
A view of the gondola from the start to finish. You just can not see where it ends very well...to far away
You can see the gondola on its way out and almost see the return point
A metaphor for Mexico? A 29 million dollar gondola overlooking an indian hut.
If you build it they....might....come
Zip line Copper Canyon! Something is not right here....the second safety line is missing...and two people going at the same time.
Our hike to the undisturbed view of the canyon with no rails or sidewalks
The amazing view! Below is the oasis in a drought striken area. We walked to the the rock point in the distance
The cliff wall on the left is was our first of this part of the canyon
Another indian home in the canyon.
This is at the end of the runway for the airport. Great view but I dont think I would want to see this as I was taking off or landing
The platform view
To the left you can...almost.... see the hotel Julio and Luisa stayed at on their way north to Alaska
She REALLY didnt want to go out there! Julio was enjoying the view
A closer view of the hotel
An odd pairing of motos in Mexico...ok anywhere
Near the hotel and train depot. The locals waiting for the train so they could sell their crafts
The hotel on the cliff
Heading back for lunch in Creel
The Jilasco group of bikes.
ATVs were very popular in Creel. Another one of my favorite activities
Luisa used her outgoing personality to get some people to take pictures of us.
This is inside the tourist/tour guide/scooter rental place
I'm in, because reading a Nailit ride report is as much fun as riding with him!
I was wondering how you're trip went, now I feel like I am along with you guys.:freaky:clap
We all know something is cooking when things get quiet in KC ha,ha!
you know me too well:rofl
I still want to do the Mexican Iron butt! That will be a heck of a RR I'm sure!!:D
Nice pics. I read some, will read some more later on. Nice trailer set up at the beginning. Nice place to make it when its so cold at home.
Brings back some good memories of my visit there. Couldn't read the report much. Too many run on sentences. Need to consider using more paragraphs.
What I could read was pretty good though.
Good pics !
This is my second keg trailer. The first one had two kegs on it.
It was nice to get away but the weather was almost identical to back home at that time. Not now though!
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