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Old 02-26-2008, 08:05 AM   #1
judjonzz OP
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Moto Mutz Copper Canyon trip, 2008

Day 1. First stop: Bucyrus, KS. Al came by about an hour before he said he would. Bt 8:30 we were loaded and rolling. After picking up Craig in in Red Wing, we got on I35 and headed south. By late afternoon, six Minnesotans in two vans had reached Richard's house in the southern exurbs of Kansas City in time for some beer, pinball and pool before supper. After eating, we helped Richard make final preparations to his KLRs, one for him and one for his son Bryon.



Saturday, Feb 2, day 2. We got to Presidio about midnight after getting on the road at 6:30. There is not much to relate about the trip except that Al kept us entertained for most of the trip wit what I will call the "Mathwig Monologue". It's not quite that, but a minimum of active listening is all it takes to unleash his bottomless fund of stories, from his days as a pipefitter, national number flattracker, and enduro rider. He’s retired now, and is usually content to tootle along in the pack, but as we were to see later on, he can still hustle a bike along a rough track.

Andrew, CJ and Katie were already here; they left Milwaukee on Thursday. They retired for the night before our arrival, but left a couple of beers for us on the rack of CJ's bike. We took a few moments to gawk at the new tanks CJ put on his 950 Adventure. In the morning, we put the trucks in the town impound lot, crossed without difficulty, and rode to Chihuahua.

One of our first stops in Mexico is this shrine to Guadalupe, the only one in the whole fookin' country.



Some of the equipment that made the trip.
Marty's 150cc Diamo scooter, and Craig's DRZ:


CJ's 950 Adventure with 12gal. tanks:


My DR650, getting its brakes bled:

There were several KLRs, too, but you guys see lots of those.



After watching the Super Bowl in Chihuahua (the bar was full of avid fans of the Gigantes), we rode to Nonoava via San Francisco de Borja. The first part of the ride we did last year, fun twisty pavement. Then we rode about 60 miles of dirt mountain road. There was some cool stuff on the road to Nonoava that I did not photograph: The road grader that fell off the cliff just as we rode by. We were on the old road that dead-ended at a rock slide; the new one was under construction up the mountain. The grader fell off, strewing parts down the mountain. The blade made it down to the road we were on. I didn't actually see this, except for the blade by the side of the road. I hope someone got a pic.
We rode through one town that looked like an animal graveyard: carcasses all over the place, including a half-decayed pig in the middle of the road. Buzzards flying all over. Another pic I missed.

A break on the road to Nonoava:


The only place to stay in Nonoava. They made us a nice dinner of chuletas de res.
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Old 02-26-2008, 08:07 AM   #2
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The view from our hotel:


Nonoava is a cow town without tourist traffic. Just one small hotel, but they took good care of us and put on a pretty good dinner of chuletas. The local judge came out to talk to us. The dueña had fetched him to help translate when she thought we were ordering way too much to eat. Felipe stayed for dinner and a few beers, too.

The next day we rode to Creel. When Marty and Charlie came through here last year, the road past this ranch was a mud bog. All dry now. The rock formations make it a mandatory photo op:


Looking down on Norogachi.


Two dead guys in the woods:


The day’s ride was a lot of fun, but long and hard, about 110 miles, most of it steep and rocky. Marty was already in Creel when we arrived, moving a little slower on his 150cc Diamo scooter. CJ and Katie were there after a visit to Basaseachi Falls.

After a night of debauchery in Creel, we rode down into Batopilas Canyon:

The road to Bato from Creel is about 40 miles of pavement, followed by about 40 miles of canyon road. On the way to the turn-off, we passed a 90s-vintage Benz diesel sedan with OK plates that had hit a rock in the road. The driver was very courteous to us as he waved us by.

At the turn-off, we stopped for a sandwich at the tienda while waited for Richard and Bryon to catch up. It was Bryon's first trip, so he was taking pics at every opportunity. While we wait, the big Benz pulls up. the driver climbs out, a 60-something in bibs with a shaved head. Naturally, his wife calls him "Curly". Curly and his bride embark on a rant about magnesium oil pans and the rocky road to Bato. "Anybody ready for a slug of Yukon?" asks Curly as he opens the trunk. Out comes a liter and a half; Curly tips it back and takes three big glugs. The big guy riding shotgun declines, as does Curly's wife. We take a pass as well. The long yellow sedan looks to be riding kind of low for the conditions as he noses up the road. Half an hour later, Curly's party is only a couple of klicks up the road as we overtake them at the construction at Basigochi.

On the way down the canyon, we overtook a large party of bicyclists, accompanied by a sag wagon. I said to myself “I bet Juanita will be full”.

A few nights before we arrived in Batopilas, there was a big gunfight in Bato. Federales apparently had a fugitive holed up in a house, and shot the **** out of it. The street was blocked when we got to town, but the next day you could go by and see the pockmarks in the cement walls. There were .223 casings all over the place. A KTM rider from advrider was camped in his rv at the end of the block. He said it was pretty scary.



Once settled at Hotel Mary (sure enough Juanita was full, not the bicyclists, but 30 of them put some pressure on lodging space), we gathered in the Zaguan bar for a few beers overlooking the river. We redded up the beer with Clamato, and Coons provided hors d'oeuvres in the form of a couple of bushels of cheeze puffs. Much merriment ensued, and continued for a couple of days as each of us gradually discovered all of the cheeze puffs John had secreted in our gear, thinking perhaps that he would need some unwitting mules (as well as deniability) to help him smuggle all those savory snacks into the USA.

The Mexicans in the bar were intrigued by Richard, who cuts an imposing figure, somewhere north of 300 lb. One guy bet Andrew twenty bucks he could carry Richard across the courtyard and back. He collapsed after three steps, but Richard had no trouble carrying him. The guy failed to pay off; we thought it prudent not to press the issue.

Dinner that night was chile rellenos on the front porch of the lady by the upper square. Turns out that the guy who Welshed on his bet (please forgive the ethnic slur, but I can say it) with Andrew was her husband.
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Old 02-26-2008, 08:09 AM   #3
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In the morning, we did the Yoquivo-Jesus Maria-Mineral Polanco loop. It starts with a gnarly 12-mile climb, where Walt dropped his KTM in the hole last year. The reward when you get to the top is a spectacular view and this shrine to... Guadalupe?? hey, I thought that other one was the only one:


The lunch stop at Mineral Polanco:

After this, the ride became too horrible to relate: guys getting lost, dropping their bikes, all manner of confusion. It was a relief finally to arrive at Satevo, where the old mission has received a new coat of paint:



On the way back to town we had to go past the Puente Colgante, which meant several jarras of michelada rojo (beer, clamato and spices) before dinner. Outside the bar, we ran into Curly, his bride and Man Mountain Mike. They were looking for someone with a flatbed to haul their car out of the canyon. Their trip down had lasted all day, bringing them into Bato well after dark.

Later that night, Leopoldo came out of his room at Hotel Mary and offered to help us kill off a bottle of Cabrito:



The next day, we rode over the pass to Rodeo, and crossed the Urique River. My nerves were a little jangly from last night’s Cabrito. I rode wide on one switchback and dropped the bike. A little further on, I almost highsided on a marbly turn, but instead ended under the bike.

All of the good pics of the river crossing were taken by somebody else. My camera didn't come out again until we got onto the road from Tubares to Choix, where Andrew had a flat. I started to give him a hand, knowing Tom-Sawyer-like, that Craig would not be able to resist pitching in. This is the same method I use for most of my tire changes:

From Choix, it was an easy half hour to El Fuerte, one of my favorite towns. The courtyard is one reason we like the Guerrero in El Fuerte:

We also like the fact that the owner is a fisherman. When he says he's going to bring back bass for dinner, he knows he's going to bring back bass.

While he was out fishing, we rode down to Topolabampo. Marty wanted to say he rode his scooter to the coast, and we wanted some seafood soup.


It's also nice just to walk on the beach, even on a bleak, blustery day:

We returned to El Fuerte to find that the fishing party had struck pay dirt. One of our party joined the hotel owner and his two fishing buddies on one of the big reservoirs outside town. Mark was unfamiliar with the bait-casting rigs they were using, but still managed to pull in five of the thirty black bass they caught. Mark had less Spanish than anyone else on the ride, but being a fisherman, he managed to get along pretty well with these good old boys. There were ten of us at dinner. Each of us had a whole fish al mojo de ajo, a filet (or two small ones), and a crack at more bass a la plancha, grilled, served on a wood platter, smothered with garlic and fried onions. The hotel is the Guerrero, and they would like to try to offer fresh fish every weekend, in case you are ever there. We promised el jefe that we would give the place a plug, so there you are.
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Old 02-26-2008, 08:11 AM   #4
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The next day, we were all suited up and ready to light out for Sinforosa Canyon via Tablon, Baborigame, and Guachochi, when my bike started acting up, would barely start and missed like crazy. Rather than hold up the other guys, or ride into BFE with a dodgy bike, I decided to ride up the coast and back to Chihuahua with Marty, who got his scooter to the sea of Cortez and now wanted an easier ride back. Most of the road was pretty good, but we encountered a few obstacles:

It was a bit of a letdown not to see Sinforosa, but in any case, there are no bad rides down here. The ride across hwy 16 was beautiful. Just west of Yecora, we stopped for lunch at a mountain restaurant. It was still a.m., so we ordered breakfast instead. I got the best chilaquiles I have encountered, a pot of bubbling beans, and a bowl full of big chunks of this incredible spongy cheese, mild-flavored, but with an undertone and aroma of barnyard funk. If you are repelled by the odor of manure, this cheese might have turned you off, but it was fabulous, and definitely did not come from some metropolitan creamery.

In Cuauhtemoc, we got cebollitas with our tacos, and ordered another plate of them, they were so good. They are pan-roasted small onions, just a bit bigger than the spring onions you usually find in the grocery store, but still young enough not to have big full grown bulbs. I only know of one place in the Cities that serves them, and this was the only place I have seen them in Mexico.

We then took the long way round rode over to Chihuahua from Cuauhtemoc. We rode north a long way through the Mennonite campos, stopping for coffee in one of them where the kids talked excellent English and sounded like american teenagers. They told us they had grown up on this campo, and never been anywhere else, but we didn´t get the whole story on why their English was so good.

Once in Chihuahua, we hiked around a bit, and stopped into the Zeppelin, a sleazy bar in the sleazy neighborhood of our hotel. Lili, the bartender, remembered us from previous years, so we hung there a little longer than we had planned, and ended up having 4 or 5 beers and some Cabrito.

The other guys caught up with us there the next day, having taken only three days to ride the Sinforosa loop. It sounds like they had an unkind reception in Tablon, and not much in the way of accommodations. Up the road in Morelos, the ran into Charlie Coons, Bill Jones, Dean and Tury (he’s a busy guy, who shows up in all kinds of trip reports). Charlie was sick, and Bill was running hiz DRZ off a car battery strapped to the seat.

Chihuahua is not a bad place to spend some time:
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Old 02-26-2008, 08:14 AM   #5
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The Pancho Villa Museum has some cool stuff, like the Dodge Villa was riding in when he was assassinated in Parral:



There's plenty of ordnance, too:


Heavily-armed women are always a turn-on:


But some guys are kind of weird about guns:



Most of the guys could not get in to our hotel. There was a group from a Norwegian management school checked in here, 26 girls and two lucky guys, on a 5-month round-the-world trip as part of their education. Man, did the balconies look and smell good for a while! Tomorrow we are out of here, back to Texas, and on the road home.

A lot of the places we were, it can be hard to find cigars, but you can get them in Chihuahua:


Ya got to wonder what goes on in this place:

A day or so of sightseeing is really enough. Time to go home.



Our last dinner in Chihuahua was one of only a few times that our whole party was together. We went for pizza to Dino´s, a place we had noticed on previous trips, but never stopped at before. It was a hit. For one, the pizza was, well, different, but really good. No tomato sauce, but some of them had sliced up hot dogs among the many ingredients. Second, the place served Tsingtao beer. Third, the jefe in charge was an old biker, who started on a suicide-clutch Harley, moved to a BMW, and now appreciated the irony that his current runabout bike was a C90 Honda.

Then we went for a couple of beers at Tierra Blanca, where a few guys are staying after the Norwegian girls filled up our favorite hotel. Somebody got the idea of bringing Claire and Annie from Manning´s down to work an exchange program with the gals at the Tierra Blanca bar. Claire and Annie are great, but I´d like to be able to ´splain something to them about presentation, and the young ladies here would be perfect examples.

We ran into Gilbert, who usually works breakfast at the Tierra Blanca coffee shop. I was sorry to tell him it was our last night in Mexico, and we were probably getting up too early to come in, but we would see him next year. We could still find an adventure or two, but the plan is to get up early and run for the border, then home by the weekend.

We left Cd. Chihuahua about 8:00 a.m. Friday. After a couple of burritos in Coyame, we crossed into Presidio about noon, found the guy who had the keys to the impound lot, and loaded up, getting on the road about 2:30 (having lost an hour to the time change when we crossed the border). In the middle of the night in N. Texas and Oklahoma, we ran into driving rain and some ice, but pressed on at a reduced rate. Marty and Richard moteled up around Lawton. Craig, Al and I continued, got clear weather before we got into Kansas, and by 5:30 Saturday afternoon I was unloading in my driveway.
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Old 02-26-2008, 08:18 AM   #6
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Wow!! Awesome!!

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Old 02-26-2008, 08:59 AM   #7
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Great pictures and report Jud.
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Old 02-26-2008, 06:51 PM   #8
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It never fails to miss all other riders...

Everytime I go anywhere either too early or too late damn it. I thought I would run into some adv motos on my trip but saw no one till Baja. Did you say Norwegians!! It would have been so nice. Someday....
Nice RR
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Old 02-26-2008, 07:25 PM   #9
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Scooter?

I'm down to one motorcycle (HP2) and one scooter (Reflex) Thanks for including pictures of the scooter .... maybe I don't really need the HP2! Cool....Bruce
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Old 02-26-2008, 07:44 PM   #10
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Viva Mexico!
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Old 02-26-2008, 08:01 PM   #11
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Great stuff - fantastico !






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Old 02-26-2008, 08:18 PM   #12
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Sounds like a ton of fun
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Old 02-27-2008, 07:20 AM   #13
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We go in April. Thanks for the idea of what we are getting into.
appreciate the work.
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Old 02-27-2008, 08:23 AM   #14
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Looks like a great time. That is really weird about the guy in the Mercedes named Curly. I know a bald guy they call Curly from Locust Grove, Ok. He drives an old Mercedes and chugs whiskey out of the bottle like that. It's gotta be the same guy.

I am really wanting to make that trip.
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Old 02-27-2008, 08:53 AM   #15
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Jud !...

thanks for the update, the Mutz crew travel well.

I had to pull out my maps to follow your ride report, thanks for that diversion
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