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Old 05-11-2008, 10:08 PM   #1
Sparkdaddy OP
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Joined: Apr 2006
Location: Salida, Colorado
Oddometer: 926
Denver to Copper Canyon and Baja

This RR is for my family and friends who wondered what the hell I was doing in Mexico on a motorcycle.

To some of the people that frequent this web site it may not seem like a big adventure but for me it was my first international trip by bike and I was extremely fortunate to be doing it. I took over 700 photos and figured that this format would be the best way to share my experience. I wished that I’d had a better camera and more time to compose my shots but it is - what it is. This was quick, down and dirty photography. Shoot and see what you get. I hope you enjoy!

The Plan:
Ride my KLR650 Enduro motorcycle to Mexico and back. The route was kept simple. Ride south to El Paso, cross the border and head to Creel, MX. From Creel ride the famous Copper Canyon. Once in the Canyon ride in a Southwesterly direction until we reach water and take a ferry across the Sea of Cortez to Baja. Once on Baja, ride north towards home. I bought maps and had a basic idea about how to go but really didn’t study them until we were on the road and then it was look ahead for the day and go from there. I didn’t make any reservations at hotels and had no definite plan on where we would end up the for the night. I had 16 days to go and get back. It was awesome.

Trip length: 16 Days
Miles Covered on Bike: 4116
From the GPS:
Total miles on : 4007 Miles
Max Speed 91.7mph
Moving Time: 88:49 Hours
Moving Average: 45.1 mph
Max Elevation: 11,202’ Eisenhower Tunnel
Minimum Elevation: (-14’) Near Mexicali on the US side
Camera: Nikon Cool Pix

You gotta love a plan. We planned on leaving at 6:00am but we had a spring snow storm dump this the night before. Not looking good.

We ended up waiting until noon and left when the roads were dry. We used our heated vests and grips and they did the job quite well. It was a pretty boring ride the first day, except for the van of college girls who were mooning us for several miles. It was all in good fun and I think they were really bored too.
Sorry no photos of that.

The Long Road.

It was about 34 degrees when we pulled into Las Vegas NM and we needed food and a place to crash. We quickly got a room at some dump on the south end of town and then jumped back on the bikes in search of food. Froman got the idea to ask a local cop who was sitting in his cruiser watching a bar. The cop’s recommendation was closed but we ended up finding an historic old Hotel downtown. The food was great as was the atmosphere.

Happy Hour was to be had in the room. The guys in the picture from left to right are me, Al, and Froman. Al is a good friend of ours and almost made the trip but couldn’t make it. He also happens to be one hell of a motorcycle mechanic and all around jokester. He helped me a ton in prepping my bike for the trip and we were both bummed that he couldn’t make it. So we brought him with us. Al, I had nothing to do with this except laugh and take pictures. It was all Fromans doing.

Day 2: Las Vegas, NM to El Paso, TX
Mileage: 419

A frosty morning to start the day.

A lot of this to get to El Paso.

Followed these guys for awhile.
Texas Moto Cop and US Army Air Defense Artillery convoy.

Arrived in El Paso and Froman wanted to see if he could find some ATV panniers for added crap carrying ability so we stopped by here. Cool shop but not much stuff for adventure types. The sales guy didn't know what tank panniers were.

Saw this in the parking lot with a nice ADV sticker. Anyone here?

No luck with panniers so we headed to a hotel and walked across the street to grab some Texas style BBQ. I was stationed in El Paso for a couple of years and most Texans say El Paso is not part of Texas.
I disagree. It's very Texas.

Al getting his grub on.

So we head back to the room and Froman decides it is a good time to put some new brake pads on in the parking lot. He had them with him so I guess it wouldn't hurt to put them on. They might come in handy.

While working on the bike Froman notices his brand new Kenda is chunking out around 700 miles. Not even in the dirt yet. That can't be good.
"Ahhh, it'll make er"

While working on the brakes Froman noticed that his caliper was actually bent and was wearing the pads in an un-even manner. So we had a couple beers and crashed out early and decided to look at it in the morning.

Day 3: Maybe 100 miles?
El Paso to El Paso

First thing in the morning we head over to a Kawasaki Shop to look for a new caliper. This shop is the only one down here.

Ride straight into the shop. We don't need no steenking appointment.
We are adventurers!

All hands on deck. These guys are on a mission.

Yep, bent caliper. Replaced with a two piston version for better braking. Froman kept the original as a back up.
Job well done! Or is it?

Stay tuned.

Sparkdaddy screwed with this post 05-13-2008 at 05:51 PM
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Old 05-11-2008, 11:23 PM   #2
Sparkdaddy OP
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Joined: Apr 2006
Location: Salida, Colorado
Oddometer: 926
So we loaded up and headed down the street for some photo copies of our documents and this place was next door.

I soon realized that I had committed a HUGE party foul and forgot my birth certificate laying on my desk. So we try and make a go for it but were stopped at the Mexican border just outside of Juarez. I would be an illegal immigrant. That sucks. So we head back through Juarez and I started calling in for back up. Fed Ex next day please. What? No Sunday delivery? Make it Monday 8am sharp then.

Forgetting your travel documents while traveling. Cost $72
Staying an extra night in a hotel because of it. Cost $55
Telling Al (Mr. Photoshop) about it back home while he is on his computer.

We took a long undeserved rest on Sunday and watched the history of the Columbian drug cartel on the history channel. Those guys are nuts. We also heard rumors that the Mexican Army was recently involded in a shoot out with the same types a few days earlier. This could get interesting.

Day Four: El Paso to Creel
Miles Approximate: 350

First stop. We need money to be exchanged. Best rate in town we are told.

Our flag has seen some rough times lately.

Finally I'm legal! My Temporary Vehicle Importation Steeker.

And we are on the road in Mexico baby! WooHoo!

Stopped by this nice little place for lunch. Excellent tacos and CocaCola in a glass bottle. I love Mexico.

I saw this little girl with her mother outside a grocery store begging for spare pesos. Great colorful clothing. She was very bashful but a real sweetie.

Rode on and what do we find? Curvy roads. Sweet!

You see shrines everywhere.

We stopped for a break in a little village and Froman was having problems with his brakes again. This isn't good. We have about 150 miles to get to Creel. The adventure has begun.

We pulled into a hardware store to find some crush washers. The last mechanic used the old ones and it was clear they were not sealing the brake line. While looking in my translation dictionary for the word "crush washer" we meet a kid from Longmont, Colorado. He was from these parts and has family back in Colorado. He was studying in the states to become a Deisel Mechanic. Small world indeed.

Froman decided he could make it to Creel and the sun was falling in the sky fast so we loaded up again and hit the road.

Stay tuned.

Sparkdaddy screwed with this post 05-12-2008 at 01:04 AM
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Old 05-11-2008, 11:55 PM   #3
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Joined: Apr 2006
Location: Salida, Colorado
Oddometer: 926
We were going to hit Creel one way or another and during this part of the ride we really picked up the pace. We would slow down through the many villages along the way and people would wave and honk their horns. It was really cool. Once we reached the last speed bumps in town it was full throttle and on to the next town. A great ride.

We were in ranching country and it was beautiful. I saw many apple and cherry orchards along the way. When I first saw this cow I thought it was dead. He was actually tied down to this flat bed trailer and going for a ride.

We ended up committing the first sin in Mexico. Riding in the dark.
We did slow down but I didn't like it. When we arrived in Creel it was dark and we stopped by the first hotel we saw. It was the nicest Best Western I have ever seen and they had a bar and food. Expensive at $120/night. The room was great and even had a gas fireplace for a heater. It was cold out and we were beat. Here is what the room looked like.

Copper Canyon Coming up!
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Old 05-12-2008, 12:46 AM   #4
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Joined: Apr 2006
Location: Salida, Colorado
Oddometer: 926
Day 6: Creel to Batopilas.
Miles: 157 - 10 Hours of riding.

We woke up and Froman started working on getting his brakes fixed for good. After installing the new washers that he picked up it seemed to hold.
As we were loading up this fell out of Fromans bike. Ahhh loctite anyone?

It fell out from one of his bark busters.

Then we saw this. Missing motor mount bolt. Loctite anyone? Anyone?

Stopped by the Three Amigos for a free map. Cool place. This is where we are going. Wow! Great photo.

On the road. This is what I'm talking about.

Getting closer to the edge.

Look at that road.

More later.

Sparkdaddy screwed with this post 05-19-2008 at 05:42 PM
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Old 05-12-2008, 07:49 AM   #5
buried in the sand...
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Joined: Apr 2006
Location: Clinton, NC
Oddometer: 706
great report so far! look forward to more.
Richard Bryan | Clinton, NC
2006 Ural Gear-Up, 2006 DR 650, 2004 FJR
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Old 05-12-2008, 09:04 AM   #6
Gimpy Adventurer
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Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Salt Lake
Oddometer: 17,143
And?......... don't keep your fans waiting too long.
We need a good Copper Canyon fix. Went about a month
ago. Need more, need more.
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Old 05-12-2008, 09:25 AM   #7
King of all manfu
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Joined: Jan 2006
Oddometer: 3,654
Very very nice so far. Love the casual tude.

You guys are brave.
Guns keep society safe.
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Old 05-12-2008, 10:00 AM   #8
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Tampa
Oddometer: 11,251
Great report, can't wait for the rest
'09 Buell XB12XT, TL1000S, H1F, M620, CR250R, KX100, XR650R, Cota 315R

Summer 2009 Ride Report
Summer 2008 RR.
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Old 05-12-2008, 10:20 AM   #9
Sparkdaddy OP
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Joined: Apr 2006
Location: Salida, Colorado
Oddometer: 926
We were having so much fun riding the twisties on this two lane black top road that we rode right past the dirt turn off to Batopilas. We even got gas at the last Pemex station before the turn off but didn't bother reading the maps. 30 miles later we realize that we should probably look at the maps.

Near the Pemex.

Ranch Home

Abandoned Ranch Home

We should have followed this guy. He turned off on the road to Batopilas.

By missing our turn we ran into the dreaded "Bandito's" that we had heard about. They let us pass and told us that we missed our turn off 30 miles back. Yes, They were carrying some serious heat.

A typical traffic delay.

BOOM! Road crews were blasting rock on the road we needed to be on. Could be interesting.

Finally on the dirt, but we need to take it easy.

This part was like riding through 6"-9" inches of powdered concrete. It reminded me of snow boarding but not very fun.

The Holy Grail. We made it. Almost.

Out of the blue these guys show up. They are Tarahumara Indians that live in and around the canyon. The are renowned as long distance runners. We had a great conversation. I think he asked me if I thought the canyon was beautiful. I said "It's Gods country." He smiled and walked on down the road.

More later.

Sparkdaddy screwed with this post 05-12-2008 at 10:37 AM
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Old 05-12-2008, 12:57 PM   #10
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: May 2007
Location: Portland, OR
Oddometer: 2,208
good stuff!

How's the '08 KLR holding up? I have a very similar setup, right down to the Caribou Side Panniers & HT crash bars. Are you hearing a rattle around 3500 rpm with those? One of the tabs on mine actually broke (without dropping it), and I had to get it welded. I thought it would help with the rattle, but it only quieted it down a little.

Plus, the stock seat wasn't very comfortable after about 100 miles, let alone the trip you're on! I noticed you have one of those bead things.. Does that help?
The thing about quotes on the internet is that you can never confirm their validity.
- Abraham Lincoln
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Old 05-12-2008, 01:31 PM   #11
Boom goes the dynamite!
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Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Carlsbad, CA
Oddometer: 106
A KLR vibrating to the point where bolts come loose??? NOOOO!!!!!! Say it ain't so! I've been living an illusion for three years now.
"I can't believe that cop confiscated my expired learner's permit!"

2008 KTM 990 Adventure S
2011 Husaberg FE 570 S
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Old 05-12-2008, 01:47 PM   #12
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: Oct 2005
Location: Denver, CO
Oddometer: 1,803
RISK: "The loftier your goals, the higher your risk, the greater your glory."
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Old 05-12-2008, 02:02 PM   #13
out ridin'....
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Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Boulder, Co or lost in Mexico....again
Oddometer: 433

Hurry, we can't wait! I REALLY want to see how that Kenda tire situation pans out.....
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Old 05-12-2008, 03:19 PM   #14
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Joined: Jul 2004
Location: Placerville Co.
Oddometer: 5,123
I see that guy on the road everytime I go down there.

Super nice guy, but his wife is ALWAYS grumpy.

Keep it coming, I'm loving it.
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Old 05-12-2008, 07:04 PM   #15
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Joined: Jul 2007
Location: Summit County, CO
Oddometer: 63
Excellent post. I'm getting stoked for Friday when we leave from Breckenridge for Creel.
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