Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Carpinteria, CA
Stage 6, Urique to Chinipas or Mexican Death Slide
Stage 6 Urique to Chinipas, 95 miles, 8.5 hours.
Up early to pack. Slathered the finger with Antibiotic Cream last night and the red is going away, but the little piece of oyster peeking out from my fingernail lives on, ggrrrrrrr.
Head over to the mercado and get some pastries, snacks, and water.
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A large paved road turns out to double as a residential street and runway.
IMGP1120 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
No water crossings today. Turns out the road is better and we actually see several (less than 6 or 8) other vehicles.
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IMGP1122 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1123 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
Still a steep climb!
IMGP1124 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
Big scenic overview/rest area. Under construction for a while
IMGP1126 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
We just came from here! You can even make out the runway / street.
IMGP1128 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1131 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1133 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1135 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
Burt asked a local guy ‘Which way to Temoris?’ at the fork in the road. Of course the guy tell us the wrong way (what is with this?). Quick correction to the route and on the way again.
IMGP1136 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
Stop for lunch. Look, you can grind your own hot peppers so they don’t loose any ‘hot’!
IMGP1138 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
We just wanted something light so asked for fruita. The cook sent her husband to get some fruit. When he comes back she asks if we want it con dulce, sure why not. She sends him to the store for a can of condensed milk. Want some orange juice? Okay, it's off to the store again. Had some instant coffee and and asked for some leche, (I don’t really like those envelopes of ‘non-dairy fat’). You know the routine, it's off to the store again! I figure it’s her way of keeping him busy and in shape. Not much else to do in this little town.
IMGP1139 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1140 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1142 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
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IMGP1143 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1144 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1146 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1147 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
There is a large mine along the route today. They just basically tore a mountain down! I’m thinking the Mexican version of the EPA may not be as strict???
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Palmarejo Mine is an underground and open pit gold and silver operation, it produces an average of approximately 120,000 ounces of gold and 9 million ounces of silver annually. Now I’m thinking this must have stirred up the Mountain Gods and let me explain this while you listen.
A little VOODOO CHILE to set the mood.
We’re traveling on a big, wide (40-50’), compacted, clay road. Big equipment running around here, look out. So I catch myself heading down a hill and notice a hairpin turn is at the bottom so I downshift to second and the rear end just starts sliding out. Quickly go back to third and apply very light back brake, rear end just locks up and slides. Seems like the hard dry clay has a layer of grit or sand on it, just like ice. Well I’m drifting towards the edge of the road and a 15’ gully and nothing is working. It’s at this point I put all my weight on the footpegs as I am getting ready to jump off (YES, it’s bailout time) and it must have been enough to get my direction changed. Again, no witnesses, Brad’s too far back to see this move, I bet it looked impressive. Maybe I should contact the mine and see if they have a surveillance video, I would bet the miners sit in the lunchroom and just keep replaying the ‘crazy motorcycle guy’ video over and over. I’m able to slow and make the corner only to find a water truck in front of me.
This brings on a whole new set of circumstances. The guy is flooding this hard clay with water. Water running across the road, the mountain gods are laughing now. I find the driest line and survive. A little advice to anyone going past the mine. Stop at a nearby village first, there you will purchase (not very expensive) a chicken. You will then break the chicken's neck (the chicken has to be alive, it doesn’t work to break a dead chickens neck) and swing it around your head 17 times while singing ‘Yankee Doodle Dandee’. This will grant you good voodoo juju for about 10 minutes, now ride like the wind and get past this place.
What’s this? We must be close to our destination, here’s the beer store!
IMGP1148 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
And here comes the Calvary
IMGP1149 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
I was watching for Chihuahua dogs the whole time - we were in Chihuahua after all. Well my total count was 3. But today I saw my first ‘working-herding’ Chihuahua. When we were up in hill country there were 3 cowboys and their herding dogs. 2 Queensland Healers and 1 Chihuahua! This little dog had the spirit and cajones of a fierce warrior. I think he was the alpha dog, tail up in the air, chin up, high steppin it down the road, wow, who would have thought!
Let me just unwind here for a moment and contemplate life and death.
Photo compliments of Bgunn
It’s not that the horse is so small, this guy is tall. Lots of tall people in Mexico.
IMGP1151 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
Our Hotel, this kid on the bike would follow us all over town. Burt would yell at him and tell him to go home, hehehehehe.
IMGP1153 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1164 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
Anybody like Cheetos? How about a bag the size of a child, I think it was 3 kilos.(There's that pesky kid again!)
IMGP1155 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1156 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1158 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
I’m looking for a rustic front door for my house. I wonder if they ship?
IMGP1160 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
Profile Urique to Chinipas by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
Chinipas will from now on be known as ‘The Town with No Topes’. Maybe the Mayor hit one and spilled his beer and then had them all removed, not sure. It is strange to not have any. After all, the only vehicles in town are new expensive SUV’s. Maybe the government subsidizes vehicles for the farmers?
Get settled into the motel, showers, beverages, storytelling. Mike does some maintenance on some part under his bike. He has a technical term for the part but I can’t remember what it is, seems like it was related to the human anatomy in some way. It’s a hose that he thinks was sucking up water during the crossings.
IMGP1165 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1166 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
I think this was the only guy without a SUV. Didn’t actually get a picture of the guy. I was shooting from the hip to be discreet and missed, got the mule though.
IMGP1168 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
Mike also has some medicine I put on my finger, it wasn’t mercurochrome but something more toxic. I find the more toxic something is the better it performs. You know, those low VOC glues that are environmentally friendly but don’t stick, herbs when you can take a nice chemically derived pharmaceutical (better living through modern chemistry). But then, I’m a child of the ‘60’s, and it was all about radiation, nuclear bombs, mind control...... ahhh, the good ole days.
We take a walk around town looking for someplace to eat but it’s too early for dinner and nothing opens until 1900. While walking we notice a trainer riding one and leading another thoroughbred down the side street. They disappear and I ask some kid where the hippodrome (horse track) is. I guess my accent is off because he just stares at me with glazed eyes. As we continue walking I glance through a gate and there is the track entrance. Thought it best not to walk in uninvited. We end up back at the hotel and the restaurant door is unlocked.
We order the combination plate directly off the menu. Our waitress takes careful notes and writes it all down. Carne de Bife, ensalada, guacamole, papa fritas.....(She’s also the cook). She sends her daughter to the store to purchase the items (low inventory) and gets to work. They also have mixed drinks on the menu, haven’t seen any mixed drinks down here so I order a mojito and Brad orders a Margarita. The mojito turns out to be a glass of tequila (when I asked what it was she said ‘Johnny Walker’! I just smiled and drank it. The Margarita turned out to be a glass of rum. Brad smiled and drank it. Brad also ordered a ‘Blanca’, or light beer. He got a glass of Vodka, he smiled and drank it!
IMGP1163 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1161 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
Next the food appears. We get goat, rice, quesadillas, and beens. Not sure why she wrote down the order, nothing had anything to do with anything here? It was all good, and maybe they were just messing with the gringo’s, maybe they had seen the ‘Crazy Motorcycle Guy’ video? A memorable meal to say the least.
IMGP1162 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
Now every once in awhile Burt will come up with some story that you just couldn’t make up. For example, his brother was Evel Knievel’s mechanic. One night, Burt and a few of ‘the guys’ are beckoned to the hospital that Evel has been laid up in. Turns out Evel owes a tidy sum for his hospital stay (I wonder if he had a hard time getting insurance?) and needed to get smuggled out.The boys carried him out! Hehehe, bet you couldn’t do that these days. Don’t worry Burt, I think the statute of limitations is up, but you might want to check on that. Both Burt and Mike are veterans, hats off to them for their service. Burt was Korea and Vietnam, Mike Vietnam. I was in the Vietnam draft lottery, but that’s as close as I got. Thats one lottery I really didn’t want to win.
Again, off to bed rather early, didn’t even try the TV here, I bet it worked though, nice hotel.
Tomorrow we head to Navajoa, this will take us out of the canyon and back to civilization. I’m thinking the road was better today and probably will be better tomorrow as we’re getting out of the canyon and starting to see more (6 cars) traffic.
chabon screwed with this post 01-18-2013 at 08:37 PM