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Old 10-18-2006, 11:10 PM   #1
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Pandilla Terracería a Creel: Road Less Traveled Part 3

A couple years ago, I decided it was time to use my explorative energy to figure out a way to get to Creel on a rugged, mostly dirt route rather than busting my butt riding south on paved highways into the heart of the Sierra Madres of Northern Mexico. I dubbed these rides the "Road Less Traveled" when I started them in 2004. If you're reading this report, I'm sure you've read the others I have done before, but for the sake of completeness, I'll summarize a bit.

On year one, I made my way from Douglas, AZ to El Largo, CH on an exquisitely beautiful and challenging ride, but unfortunately ran out of time to complete the ultimate goal. I had to ride pavement from El Largo to Creel. I resolved to do it again the following year.

On year two, I was very fortunate to team up with mi buen amigo Gerardo Ibarra to ride a modification of the original ride, plus add an additional section from El Largo to Madera via pavimiento, and then plunge back into the dirt at Madera and forge a route to Basaseachi. That trip was ill fated at the tiny villiage of Tutuaca with a fractured radiator, and we had to ride out via Vallecillos and onto 16 to Creel. Despite that problem, the ride was excellent and proved to be quite a challenge as well as fantastically beautiful.

This year, still undaunted, we decided to finish this ride. Ibarra, working with the local folks in Huachinera, Sonora, successfully combined La Fiesta de la Luna with our quest to Creel for the Horizons Unlimited meeting, and extended a public invitation for others to join us, expedition style, to ride to Huachinera and then on to Creel.

Which brings us to the start of our mission. La Pandilla de Terraceria a Creel was formed once more. Sadly, many original riders from previous years were unable to attend this year's attempt , but the posse filled out fast.

Missing guys, a for you:
Jonz & jumpingchollo - professional obligations
lasvegasrider - healing up that flipper
Maxvert - prepping for a trip to South America
This year's Pandilla, all hard riding and experienced dirt bikers:
Ibarra - Gerardo -US/MX - XR650R
doGwAter - Paul - Chilliwack, BC - 525EXC
BigDogAdventures - Mark - Mt. Vernon, IL - TE610
Leewildwater - LeeBob - Bryson City, NC - XR650R
gaspipe - Bruce (Me) - Counce, TN - XR650R
A week before we left, I drove to Indianapolis and picked up Ibarra's bike while running another errand in the area. Lee, Mark and I converged at Casa de Gaspipe in western TN the following week, loaded up all four bikes and gear, and headed west to Douglas, AZ. There were about 25 riders total scheduled to meet at Douglas to ride to Huachinera for the Festival, and then many onwards to Creel.

On a lonely New Mexico highway under a juicy sky.

Silliness and countless tins of Altoids help pass away the time of zillions of hours of driving.

We crossed the roads of southern New Mexico where my Continental Divide Ride terminated just a few weeks earlier, the area more green and lush than when I'd left.

Nearing the NM/AZ border, we stopped for our last road meal. Stop here if you're ever in the area. The service might be a bit slow, but the food is worth it.

When we reached Douglas, we checked into the Gadsden Hotel - an icon of the past economic boom of the town. 2007 marks the 100 year birthday of the Hotel. It's cool.

Early the next morning, Paul arrived. Mark set up camp in the lobby and gregariously and generously programmed many rider's GPSs with route and MX map data we'd accumulated in past excursions.

Ibarra arrived into Creel at dusk, and the Pandilla was complete.

Paperwork done, pesos exchanged and bikes finally prepped, we had a rider's meeting Friday evening at the bar, warning dirt route riders of the pecularities and dangers of Mexican cattle guards and other anomalies of riding in Mexico, and the riders divided themselves into groups of dirt vs. road travelers.

The rain started at about 2300 with gusto.

Sometimes, an absent rider gets his bike decorated by his buddies.

At 0700 Saturday morning, riders began to assemble for breakfast and to start the ride to Huachinera. The rain and wet weather (or beer ) cut the number of riders to about 18 total at kickstand up time. Where'd everyone go?

K7 was gracious enough [HiYa Gerry!] to offer to to lead road oriented riders to Huachinera via asphalt via Moctezuma. Only three riders tucked in behind our dirt pandilla when we reorganized at los tanques on the eastern edge of town, near the dump. Again, where'd everyone go?

This road has changed a bit in the last couple years, as Agua Prieta has grown and the tourism industry is thriving. It's still dirt, but it will be paved soon enough.

The skies were heavy, dark and threating. It wasn't a matter of IF it will rain, it was a matter of HOW MUCH for HOW LONG that worried me. Flash floods are a real concern where we're going. Some of the road we will traverse IS a river wash.

And off into the desert we went, as the adventure begins.

---more tomorrow afternoon---
gaspipe [the original]

Hair of the dog that bit me, Lloyd...

gaspipe screwed with this post 08-17-2007 at 08:46 AM Reason: change image links
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Old 10-18-2006, 11:19 PM   #2
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Old 10-18-2006, 11:32 PM   #3
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I guess next year I'll just have to go so I won't be up late at nite on the edge of my seat waiting for the next post to see what happened.

I have been practicing my river crossings though, is this a good thing ?
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Old 10-19-2006, 02:38 AM   #4
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This is going to be great!!

Keep it coming
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Old 10-19-2006, 06:46 AM   #5
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Yeah Baby! this is what I come here for - another Gaspipe and BigDog Adventure!

Woo-hoo, bon temps roulez!


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Old 10-19-2006, 09:17 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by gaspipe


And off into the desert we went.

---more tomorrow---
Hey Bruce! :grinner

My stupid-ass broken hand put paid on the idea of riding with you guys,

Show me what I missed buddy!
2up on our 2002 hyper modified 1150GS-A+ priceless and stable as a rolling platform for my wife's photography.
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Old 10-19-2006, 09:58 AM   #7
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Its here! Another Gasepipe adventure.
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Old 10-19-2006, 10:10 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by lasvegasrider
My stupid-ass broken hand put paid on the idea of riding with you guys,
Missed ya dude. I'll get into the report a bit later this afternoon. Mark, Lee and Dog will hopefully chime in. All got some excellent shots of our invasion.

Here's a teaser....

gaspipe [the original]

Hair of the dog that bit me, Lloyd...

gaspipe screwed with this post 08-17-2007 at 08:48 AM
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Old 10-19-2006, 10:13 AM   #9
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Ride Gaspipe Ride!!!!!!!
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Old 10-19-2006, 10:38 AM   #10
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Bitch' my back yard and I have yet to make one of these dirt year dammit!
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Old 10-19-2006, 12:21 PM   #11
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oh boy, there goes productivity

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Old 10-19-2006, 12:44 PM   #12
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Day 1: Rain, Mud 'n Beer

As we crossed into Mexico, and then left Agua Prieta behind us, the adventure began. Ibarra and I had advised the larger bikes to take the asphalt to Huachinera due to all the rain, which quickly seemed to have been a good idea.

Although I've been this way before, it seems to be different each time I ride it. Perhaps it is a combination of my state of mind and the dynamic changes imposed by mother nature on the trail.

The first of the ugly cattle guards is just a couple miles beyond the dump. It was pointed out and negotiated with ease by the Pandilla. My preferred technique is a handful of throttle and some air. The problem is the slats run parallel to the tire rotation, and the distance between them is generally wider than the tire. And there is usually a 3' hole in the middle.

The rain had indeed made the road a bit tricky. It alternated between mud, wet sand, and rock almost imperceptibly.

Heavy, dark clouds enveloped us, and terrific blasts of lightning shook the sky as we rode into a massive cell, complete with gale force winds and hail!

It was difficult to see, but none of the Pandilla hesitated as we moved through cell after cell of thunderstorms.

We were fortunate to get periods of sunshine between rains. At least it did keep the dust under control. We crossed the headwaters of the Rio Bavispe at Rancho Oaxaca, and headed into the foothills at the base of Colonia Morelos.

Morelos is a relatively new town, about 120 years old, founded primarily as an agricultural foothold along the frontier area. Not much growth seems to have been realized yet, but the pavement link north and south is coming soon enough.

A little way south of Morelos, the road begins to challenge as it becomes a deep sandy wash, interspersed with boulders. It was here some confusion set in. Paul was riding sweep, but somehow thought Lee was behind him.

No one likes to wait, but the scenery soothed the soul, and we whiled away some time.

After an hour of reaquiring everyone, we took off again into the foothills towards San Miguelito, where the Bavispe Valley begins to unfold to the south before us.

It was here we found a bus! It was unable to get up a muddy hill. The men were all in the road repairing the wheel track, while the women and children were high above on the edges of the road cut. It made for a surreal scene as we roosted our bikes up the muddy hill as the stricken busriders cheered us on.

A few hills later, we stopped, Ibarra's bike developing a mechanical issue.....

---more in a bit---
gaspipe [the original]

Hair of the dog that bit me, Lloyd...

gaspipe screwed with this post 08-17-2007 at 09:21 AM Reason: updating pic links
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Old 10-19-2006, 12:52 PM   #13
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I can't wait for the rest, sure enjoyed the last two
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Summer 2008 RR.
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Old 10-19-2006, 01:33 PM   #14
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"UpChuck"? My buddy!

Formal moderator request..... .....

Can "doGwAter" be officially and irrevocably be changed to "UpChuck"?

The reason will be made clearer later.
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Old 10-19-2006, 01:39 PM   #15
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Another Gaspipe adventure!!!
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