Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Carpinteria, CA
Stage 7 Chinipas to Navajoa or Mexican DUST Slide
Stage 7 Chinipas to Navajoa, 101 miles, 7.5 hours.
We have breakfast at hotel and get on the road to find the water crossing. Last night during my usual 0300 go outside and look around, there was some nocturnal activity going on. A black SUV drove past the hotel. The SUV stopped and started to back up. I noticed that it had no tail lights or backup lights. I slyly moved behind a column and waited. The truck turned up a side road and a couple minutes later returned with another -no lights- truck following. Seems like a person could make a good business of selling vehicle light bulbs down here, a lot of them are burned out, maybe its all the bumps in the roads?
IMGP1169 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
Takes a little looking around, but we get to the water crossing and the boys put on their tennis shoes. My boots are almost dry from the first crossing and now they will be wet again, double rats. Once we get across the guys get their riding boots on and we head off. It's at this point we realize we forgot to get water! Not one of us had thought to pick any up. Too late, not going to cross the river twice more. There must be a kiosk along the road somewhere not too far.
IMGP1170 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1171 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
A little THEME music for today's ride.
Immediately come to a big deep mud puddle. Nobody thought they would get wet and therefore no tennis shoes were donned. Now I’m not alone with wet feet! From there on the road starts climbing with areas of polvo (dust). Now I’ve read about this and seen pictures but never experienced it myself. Stomach tightened up a bit and in I went. Not so bad, maybe six inches deep only problem is you have no idea what is in and under the polvo. I manage to hit a rock in a fairly straight stretch and topple over. Poof, I’m enveloped in a cloud of dust. This is kind of like hunting for lost treasure except without the fun or reward!
Okay, this goes on for a while, so far I think I have endured about every surface condition possible on this trip. Again, climbing steep, hidden terrain, sharp hairpins. I thought this road might be better, but no, tough road today. It’s all fun and games for a while but then your mind starts wandering and you wonder how much more of this can there be, is better to keep going or go back - going back was not an option, I knew what was there!
IMGP1172 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1174 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
Then I meet my match. Not a long stretch, but very steep and lots of polvo. Burt and Mike make it up and then I hit a hidden rock half way up and over I go. Brad helps me back the bike down the hill and I try again, same spot and off I go again. This time the bike was thrown perpendicular to the hill and there was two ways to fall. The easy way, uphill, or the hard way, downhill. Gravity and fate determined that I was to fall downhill. Slow motion, 8 feet to impact, bike misses me, and I start sliding on my stomach. I mean this hill is steep, hard to walk up. Well as I’m sliding along thinking how good it is to be conscience my helmet starts scooping up silt powder. I must have been breathing through my mouth because once the helmet was full the polvo found the next best cavity, my mouth. This will become known as the ‘Mexican Dust Slide’.
cc 2012 131 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
cc 2012 133 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
Notice how wet my shirt is? It’s beginning to get a little warm!
cc 2012 134 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
Now this is where the lack of water was becoming a concern. Not only hot and dehydrated, but my mouth was full of dirt. I did have a ceramic filter and could have found a stream if it got too bad, but Brad appears with a water bottle with about a half cup of water in it. Not sure where he got or found it, I didn’t care. Rinsed my mouth and spit out a landslide of mud, twice.
There will be no third try. Everybody pitches in and we power walk the bike the last fifteen feet up the hill. The other option was to roll it backwards to the bottom, no thanks.
tough hill by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
tough push by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
We get going again and come up on Burt standing in the road. I guess a picture is the best way to explain this.
not a good scene by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
He caught one of the little bastard hidden rocks and got deflected, well towards the wrong side of the road. Looks like that one rock stopped his forward momentum, lucky for him. See that bush just past the edge, well that's not a bush, it's the top of a 80 foot tall tree! And so it goes.... At least there is no traffic, but then again, I don’t think any sane person would try to drive a vehicle on the road.
no harm, no foul by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
road back to Chiniapas by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
Found a little creek to clean up a little. Water was nasty, even way out here.
nice wash area by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1175 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
way to Los Tankos by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
I was reading ride reports on Advrider and came across this and would like to quote it here. It seems to sum things up pretty good and has some information that might be helpful to others that travel to Chinipas.
Qouted from Sjoerd Bakker on Advrider.com “AND NOW FOR A SITUATIONAL UPDATE FROM THE FRONT LINES....This morning in Chinipas Chihhuahua I awoke to the sound of choppers overhead. looking outside from the hotel I counted 5 choppers and two fixed wing aircraft of the Mexican armed forces circling low over the town center and then several of them let off groups of soldiers at the riverside behind the plaza Choppers kept circling for over an hour.Obviously it was a military action in search of narcos who may have been in town for the horse races yesterday .
While getting breakfast at a plaza side restaurant I could see militaries doing car and house checks. Upon leaving town for the new river bridge I had to wait a while in line as the army checked documents and detained several people.The soldiers were very courteous and friendly to me , professionals all around. While there the choppers landed at the airstrip giving a dust shower to us.
Now , the new river bridge is a bit of a cruel joke as there is really no direct road leading to or from it, and no useful directional signage to get you there or to the entry of the actual continuing road to the west.It took me a while to glom onto the fact that one needs to go north by the airstrip,over the bridge then back south to the old river crossing and the immediately beside the fancy horse paddock start the gravel road. It is marked as being 110km to Alamos, which it is. But hoooo boy!!! what a road!!! It is far more difficult than I was led to believe from other travel reports. It climbs steeply into the mountain , zillions of curves, many very steep sections ,lots of ruts,rocks, deep rock flour stretches as it travels through deposits of volcanic ash rock, Verrry challenging to say the least. I had some sweaty moments at first but got into it and kept my cool and stayed in first gear most of the time, dragged the back brake and rarely used the front, always searching ahead for the easiest line around the bad bits... No hero stuff for this lad! Slow and easy did it and I never once dropped the bike or got stuck or damaged the standard KLR plastic engine guard,YaaaaY. What a relief to be getting down out of the sierra and finally some more level desert ranches and finally pavement 20km before Alamos , Reached the town at five twenty CHIH time, long before sunset, and directly went to a motel.”
Hold on, back up here, there’s a bridge? Well, I’m not going back now, but that would have made going to get some water a lot easier. Need to file this information in case I go back. Will have to look at google maps and see if I can spot this...... next time I get internet. In any case, the road does get better, in some sense of the word and we continue.
Find a little gas station kiosk along the road. We all have some drinks, the girl came out with a pitcher of water and I drank the whole thing!
IMGP1177 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1179 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
beer and rest stop by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
We stop in a little village called El Tanque, named after the old fashioned water tank elevated above the small buildings. Pull up to the ever common Tecate Six store and small market. This is our first chance to really quench our thirst and I down a 1.5 litre bottle of water and another liter of Coconut Electrolyte drink. We hang out for a while chatting with the locals. The local guy is smoking his hand rolled ‘smoke’. A kid is sitting on the ground smoking his joint, not very concerned, just the way it is. Burt spends some time talking to the guy, it's kind of a Spanglish conversion. I think Burt might be getting some second hand smoke, he says getting hungry! Mike breaks open a can a spam which makes a good snack.
IMGP1183 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
cousins at Los Tankos by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1180 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1182 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1184 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1185 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
Mike also tries to find out if his lost cell phone is still here. Mike is learning spanish, and the best way to learn is to try to speak it. Thing is, Mike thinks speaking louder and waving his arms makes it easier to understand him, hehehe, it’s fun to watch. He pulls out his little note pad and resorts to drawing a picture of a cell phone flying through the air. I should have taken a photo of his sketch, it was that good. No one knows about a cell phone.
After our break we head off on a nice graded road. Seems to be rock overlain with a layer of sand. Some places no sand, others a few inches. All is good until I drift into the center of the road at 40-50 mph and start oscillating in the sand and I start thinking how this is not going to be a good way to end the trip. Takes me a second to remember to get the weight back and get on the gas. I thought about stopping to get a picture of the serpentine track I left but thought it best to keep moving. At the next stop Brad mentioned to me how impressive the track looked! And then, out of nowhere a brand new paved highway appeared. We were the only souls on the road and it was good to get up to speed and blow some of the dust and talcum powered off. Although the dust storm inside my helmet was a little disconcerting! Next town was Alamos which we just drove through, but it is a tourist town with some very cool colonial architecture. At this point I would consider that we had returned back to civilization.
IMGP1187 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
Motored on to Navajoa, our destination for the day. Checked into the Oro Negro Hotel. Probably the cleanest most modern of the motels we were in, although smallest room. Motel is located outside the edge of town at a truck stop area.
IMGP1188 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1189 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
Had a restaurant that was closed for dinner already and a seafood kiosk out by the highway. We ate at the kiosk and enjoyed the music of the jake brakes from the passing trucks. Great seafood soup comprised of whatever they dredged out of the gulf on that particular day. Shrimp, scallops, fish, octopus and ???
IMGP1194 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1190 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1193 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
IMGP1195 by DDMcGinnis, on Flickr
Here’s today's profile, steep climb in and out again.
Profile Chinipas to Navajoe
, on Flickr
Tomorrow's destination will be back to Santa Ana, completing our southern loop.
chabon screwed with this post 04-05-2012 at 06:10 PM