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Old 12-16-2012, 10:35 AM   #61
jrzyguy OP
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Ferry to topolobompo



Matt is purchasing tickets for himself and his bike ($130 USD).



Met another rider in line. Dan is from Seattle and is riding a 250 cc Kawi, known as the "Sherpa". It's impressive to see a rider on such a small bike so far from home. But as moto journalists tell us, it's all we need!



This is our ride...looks pretty safe.



Our bikes are secured (we think) for the trip across the Sea of Cortez. You would think that motorcycles commonly take the ferry and require tie-downs...so why is the only accommodation a greasy rope to be tied to the overhead beams? BTW, we're way below the waterline. We hope the bikes stay upright, and remain a little concerned since we're not allowed below deck once the ferry is under way.



Farewell Baja...mainland Mexico, here we come! We left at 3 pm and were scheduled to arrive in Topolobompo by 10 pm. The trip was pretty smooth (arrived on time) even though we had some strong winds out of the north. It was invigorating to spend time on an open deck and to study the sky in total darkness. Matt P had an astronomy app (yeah, he's young...doesn't it irritate you too) on his phone, so we were able to identify a bunch of constellations. It was fun being on the water!



"Don't you even think about taking my seat when I go to the bano"!

jrzyguy screwed with this post 12-16-2012 at 02:40 PM
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Old 12-16-2012, 11:24 AM   #62
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Heading to Copper Canyon



We stayed at the only motel in Topolombompo, and it didn't disappoint! We got an early start and headed north, taking a clockwise route around to Creel (which will take 2 days). This pic is of our roadside breakfast stop. Both of my companions can speak a little Spanish...we've learned to go with the "special of the day". And again, we had some kind of amazing soup.



This guy joined us for breakfast. He is definitely in charge!



Our chef has a very simple kitchen, but turns out some great food!


The road we're traveling is unexciting...it's straight and the scenery is nothing I wish to take pictures of. So, I think it's time for me to fess up and share some truth with those readers that have never been to Mexico. And the truth is, my pictures don't give an accurate or balanced account of what a traveler sees. There are lots of shabby vehicles, homes, buildings, and infrastructure of all kinds. That said, I'm not likely to share pictures of the "worn side" of things. So there you have it...full disclosure!


Now that we got that out of the way, let's look at and talk about some more amazing food!



Here we are at another roadside stand for lunch. FYI, any normal foreign traveler concerned with his or her health should be frightened to death to eat anything served at this establishment. But not us, we just don't know any better. And so what we had for a starter course was some of the best fish chowder the three of us have ever had...huge chunks of things that swim. Then the fish tacos arrived...check them out...they are every bit as fresh and delicious as they look. Another 5 star meal! OK, lunch is over...it's time to waddle back to the bikes...we need to make some miles this afternoon.

jrzyguy screwed with this post 12-16-2012 at 02:44 PM
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Old 12-16-2012, 03:10 PM   #63
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Great stuff jrzyguy !!!

Can you give us a little more info on the route you're taking to Creel? And, were you able to get ferry tickets same day or did you have to book in advance?

Thanks!
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Old 12-16-2012, 03:16 PM   #64
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Not sure which way you guys are going to get to Creel from Topolobampo but it should be anything but boring. Are you are going through El Fuerte, Choix, Tubares, Urique or Batopilas and then Creel? Ride safe!
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Old 12-16-2012, 03:50 PM   #65
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Getting to the good stuff

We continued north on 15D to Ciudad Obregon. Then we headed northeast on 12, and this is where the good riding began. The road didn't straighten out for hours, and when it did, it was a welcome rest for a few minutes. To add to the pleasure, the scenery was of tree covered hills...very nice. It was late in the afternoon when we finally connected with 16, and pointed east. And riding conditions only got better. The pavement was smooth and the twisties just kept coming. I rode 16 a few years ago and it seemed even better now, if that was possible.



The KLR rolling through a turn. Oh, and the weather was sunny and cool...perfect!



Matt W followed on his Beemer...actually it was one of the few sections that Matt wasn't leading. He has very detailed GPS mapping...not like mine. And since we like knowing where we are and where we're going, having him in the lead is a good arrangement.

Soon came a chance to be good samaritans...and we seized the moment.



While riding 2 up on a 125 (the bike of choice), the passenger's jacket got caught in the rear sprocket. What a mess. I gave them a knife to cut the jacket material loose, but it only went so far. The rear wheel needed to be removed in order to dislodge the material, so Matt got his tools out and they went to work. About 15 minutes later, they were ready to roll. Matt even shared his chain lube...bet that chain hadn't seen lube in quite some time.



The knife couldn't get into the tight spots.



Matt even sharpened my knife after the guys took the edge off it...I'll bet Matt was a Boy Scout!



We made it as far as the town of Yecora, before the temperature dropped dramatically. The town was a bit sketchy, but we weren't going to find anything better down the road. When you are in the middle of nowhere, and there is no apparent source of serious income...and yet there are late model trucks with those spinner wheels, it makes you wonder. Our room was OK. We had a heater, 3 beds, and a bathroom...all we needed.



This is a typical convenience store, with the basics. Again, it has the necessary merchandise, just not a dozen brands of every product in several sizes...which we don't need anyway.



This is where we had dinner and breakfast the following morning. We managed to find it even without a sign. Lots of locals shared a small dining area with a wood burning fireplace as the only source of heat. The food was not fancy, but good.

In the morning, our bikes were covered with frost...the temperature was 25 degrees. We didn't have our earliest start that morning, but it up to 62 degrees before we left.



This pic is typical of the beautiful countryside we were rolling through. I got separated from the 2 Matts, after we took a mid day break. We reunited in Creel, late in the afternoon.

jrzyguy screwed with this post 12-16-2012 at 04:22 PM
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Old 12-16-2012, 04:11 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by kobukan View Post
Great stuff jrzyguy !!!

Can you give us a little more info on the route you're taking to Creel? And, were you able to get ferry tickets same day or did you have to book in advance?

Thanks!
We had ridden out to the ferry in Pichilinque, about 20 minutes north of La Paz, to get the skinny on tickets and the ferry schedule several days before leaving. And it was different from the info in my Lonely Planet...glad we checked. We were told to arrive 2 hours before the scheduled departure to purchase our tickets. They did have a bank at the ferry terminal, so a temporary vehicle permit could be picked up there in a pinch. Everything worked out as we were previously told.

Our intended route to Creel, and down into the Canyon, was to be clockwise from Topolobompo...north on 15 D to Ciudad Obregon, northeast on 12 (my map shows 12, but the road number is actually different) to San Nicolas where it connects with 16, east on 16 to 23 (signs to San Juanito & Creel) which is a right turn, and south from San Juanito to Creel. From Botopilas our plan was to ride the dirt out to Choix/El Fuerte. My next post will explain what happened. I hope this info is helpful...best of luck.

jrzyguy screwed with this post 12-16-2012 at 06:23 PM
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Old 12-16-2012, 04:18 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by BoulderGuy View Post
Not sure which way you guys are going to get to Creel from Topolobampo but it should be anything but boring. Are you are going through El Fuerte, Choix, Tubares, Urique or Batopilas and then Creel? Ride safe!
I understand your question. The explanation was just given to Kobukan in detail. We planned to ride from Botopilas out through Choix/El Fuerte. Hope this clears it up.
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Old 12-16-2012, 04:56 PM   #68
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Creel and beyond



I arrived in Creel late in the afternoon to see a celebration and parade coming down the main Street.



We stayed at Marqurites (sp?), just a stone's throw east of the main road. There are less expensive places in Creel, but it feels good to treat yourself to a little comfort every now and then. They included dinner and breakfast in the room rates ($400 single, $550 double)...the dinner was good but lacking in quantity, while the breakfast was just fine.



This is a shot of the courtyard...pretty nice. And the rooms are well furnished and comfortable. But all I really cared about was a warm room and hot water...it had gotten cold by the end of the day.
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Old 12-16-2012, 05:17 PM   #69
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Creel and beyond continued



A morning shot of the main Street. The shop owner sweeping up is a familiar scene every morning...and the broom of choice is typically a small broom, never a larger push broom...can't figure out why, that's just the way it is!



This is the view as we approach canyon country. The road out of Creel toward Botopilas is about 40 miles before a right turn, and is good riding. A few years ago when I visited Copper Canyon, the road turned to dirt at the right turn. I've heard stories that pavement has continued down into the Canyon...let's see what we find.



A twisty road...so far it's great riding.



I do love the road signs. Just in case I'm daydreaming and forget I'm in Mexico, the signs always bring me back.



We stopped at the tiny shop at the turn to Batopilas. The 2 Matts took a picture of a couple local men sitting on a log...and then printed the picture and gave it to them.
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Old 12-16-2012, 05:53 PM   #70
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Down toward Botopilas

As we started down the road was paved. The miles rolled on and still pavement.



We were close to 7 miles in, riding a very brisk pace when these 2 Spaniards (Oscar & Lola) passed us riding 2 up on an 800 GS...and then gave us a lesson on how it's done, fast and smooth. They were like one body on the bike, her head off to the left so she could see the road ahead and knew what was coming...very impressive!



But at a little more than 15 miles in, the pavement ended and a road crew advised us that the road beyond was impassable. Oscar, the Spaniard, walked down to see for himself and returned to confirm the bad news.



This was Oscar's, "you tellin' me I can't go on" expression, before he took a look for himself!



Oscar and Lola have been on the road for 2 years. They started in Argentina and have been as far north as San Francisco. They ride fast, and are off road in the dirt as much as possible...but they stay in areas they like to spend days checking it out. Their BMW is covered with tape, so that every logo and identifying mark is hidden...it looks like your average old beat up bike. They have learned a lot and generously share what they've picked up along the way.



This is our group, trying to figure out where to go from here.



This is the view down into the Canyon, 100 yards from the road work...it is the "money shot", the perspective that for the first time lets you see how deep and immense Copper Canyon is.

jrzyguy screwed with this post 12-16-2012 at 06:00 PM
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Old 12-16-2012, 08:14 PM   #71
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Sherpa from ferry

Hi Jim, Looks like you guys are having a blast, I'm down at Playa Azul at the moment, and the Sherpa is still going strong, I see you met Oscar and Lola! I rode with them down the Baja for a few days, I think they said they're headed to Veracruz. Riding the 200 down is awesome after Manzanillo, its crazy twisty. You must have used the wide angle lens with the ferry line pic, I look fat! Glad i found your RR. Hope to see you guys down the road soon.
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Old 12-16-2012, 08:44 PM   #72
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Hi Jim, Looks like you guys are having a blast, I'm down at Playa Azul at the moment, and the Sherpa is still going strong, I see you met Oscar and Lola! I rode with them down the Baja for a few days, I think they said they're headed to Veracruz. Riding the 200 down is awesome after Manzanillo, its crazy twisty. You must have used the wide angle lens with the ferry line pic, I look fat! Glad i found your RR. Hope to see you guys down the road soon.
Dan
Dan, good to hear from you. It seems like a huge coincidence that you rode with Oscar and Lola...they are a colorful couple, no doubt about it. And yes, Veracruz is where they plan to rent a house for awhile and to chill. I had some issues with my carburator, so my bike is at the Suzuki dealer in Zacatecas. I'll meet with the tech in the morning and hopefully resolve the problem tomorrow...we'll see. Let's keep in touch and maybe our paths will cross again. In the meantime, safe travels. Jim
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Old 12-17-2012, 12:35 PM   #73
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You be careful out there Jim.

http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2012/1...thers-and.html

Carb troubles? Sounds familiar...

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Old 12-17-2012, 04:50 PM   #74
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You be careful out there Jim.

http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2012/1...thers-and.html

Carb troubles? Sounds familiar...

Dave
Wow Dave...that's a sad story. It reinforces my sentiments that my stuff just isn't worth dying for....I can always replace my stuff!

Yeah, I have carburetor trouble...I'll fill you in once I find out what's wrong and get it remedied. Ted told me that I should take the carb apart and know how to fix it before leaving. He deserves to say "I told you so"...smart ass lawyer!

jrzyguy screwed with this post 12-17-2012 at 05:38 PM
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Old 12-17-2012, 05:35 PM   #75
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Botopilas another time

We (Oscar & Lola, Matt W, Matt P, and I) rode out of the Canyon together and stopped at the little convenience store at the intersection. There were a half dozen or more heavily armed men in civilian clothes in front of the store...they spoke to Oscar, asking if he had seen a certain white SUV...they claimed to be Mexican Special Forces. We quickly vacated the premises, heading south on 23...sorry no pictures...my riding partners forcefully called me back to my bike as I started walking over to purchase a snack...Bimbo makes some great junk food...what can I say, the pull is strong!

Oscar and Lola had a recommendation for lodging (Mario's) in the town of Guachochi, 50 miles down the road. It began to rain and the temperature was dropping. I'm not trying to make anyone feel unprepared but I just dialed up the thermostat on my heated gear and had a toasty ride.





Mario's place had an attached restaurant, so it was convenient to put the bikes in a secured area and be home for the night. Oscar and Lola are a fascinating couple. Travel stories and their philosophy on life were shared in abundance...it was a festive time!



Our room was a dump though. It poured heavily through the night and most of it came through our ceiling...my bed had to be moved...and the tile floor was a pool by morning. Thankfully our bags are waterproof, or it would have been a bigger mess.
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