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Old 10-25-2004, 07:34 AM   #1
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Hayward, Wi - Copper Canyon Mexico 04' Pics

Ride Report: Hayward, Wi - Copper Canyon Mexico 04'

Just skip all of the dribble if you want and go to the photos of Mexico. I think I have a few good ones worth checking out. Enjoy!

Here we go, Spring 2003 on my way down to the bottom of Batopilas canyon. I camped on a ridge overlooking the canyon at about the 19K marker along the dirt section of the road. I was ready to go down deep and in more ways than one. When you cycle camp you need to carry water and of course I had to carry out my trash. I was over loaded, camping gear, tools and espresso pot, coffee and stove. At this point the road was steep but good and hard packed. A few k's later I pass a grader coming up from the bottom, O crap I've read about the grader. The road turns steeper and steeper with large fist size rocks everywhere and deep loose sand. A permanent 'F' formed on my face as I ride the Harley down the switch backs like a dirt bike, standing on the pegs and going as slow as possible.

I did make it to the bottom of Batopilas canyon but not beyond. After spilling three times looking over 1000' plus sheer drops and almost pissing my pants I looked at my odometer, calculated that with luck and my spare one liter gas bottle I could make it back to Creel right NOW. Sooooo.... big bad dirt biker on a Harley turns around and goes back up the canyon with his tail between his legs. I was just glad the bike was still OK and able to make it back across the border to the US.
All in all this was still a great trip. I vowed to come back with a real dirt machine sometime in the future.

Why now?:
OK it's a year and a half later, my wife and I are getting ready to do a two year thing starting out with the Baja, ferrying over to mainland Mexico, Central America and then who knows. My good friend Tom who has been my main XC-ski racing partner for almost two decades now, in the past doing up to four marathon races per season together also has a bike and a burning desire to ride. We talked about doing a fall trip somewhere but in reality I thought it would be tough to put together with my big trip starting December 15. About a month ago Tom sent me a link to this Horizons Unlimited web site that's devoted to adventure motorcyclists traveling all around the world. Anyway, Horizons Unlimited was having an annual motorcycle adventure travelers meeting in Creel, Copper canyon Mexico, having 'how to' seminars on traveling abroad on a motorcycle and lots of stories from around the world adventure travelers. OK I need to go to this meeting. Am I getting help from above? I see this as a sign and say to my buddy Tom "Lets do it". He looked at me for about a nanosecond then the plan was laid. Preparation for long distance motorcycle adventure travel is a lot like preparing for a XC-ski race. We talk about what conditions we may encounter analyzing our equipment and degree of fitness then discuss scenarios to see if we're missing anything or could prepare better.

OK enough, here we go!:Packing up the bike the weekend before departure. I'm taking the Harley but there's going to be KLR650s for rent at the event in Creel, Oh yeah!

Taking off from near Hayward, WI. Friday AM. Meeting my buddy Tom at his home outside of Minneapolis.

My buddy is ready to roll, we're off before 2:00.

It was warm and clear so we rode into the night. We stopped just south of the Iowa border at this off the freeway camp / RV site. This guy was a character, he lives in a 1974 school bus just behind this photo and was waiting for his boss to pick him up for work, his Mom finely showed. He invited us to come in his bus and watch TV the night before. Hmmmm? We passed, but it was nice of him to offer.

Motorcycle Friendly?
Looking to camp somewhere in Kansas. I Had to take this shot. I never could figure out where the picnic area was and was thinking this is maybe not a motorcycle friendly spot.

We pitch tent next to the river away from the main camping spots, Sweet, but Tom thinks we may be looking for trouble because of where we put up the tents. Tom went to walk over to the pay box when an official looking pickup truck raced up to him. I'm thinking o-crap. They're talking a hundred yards away then Tom turns around with the pay envelope he was walking over with. The guy in the pickup wanted to know if we had already payed. He said are tents aren't in a regular camp spot so we Don't have to pay anything. Funny!

Tom whips out this chair he just bought from REI for cheap. I blasted him for not getting one for me. I'm tugging on this log to get it in just the right position for the nights discussion.

Foods down, beers cracked and the exuberating begins! Tom expounds then Boom, broken chair. I'm glad I had the camera.

Now we have a mission, "We can rebuild it!". Out comes the JB weld epoxy.

Socked in by a big fog:
That's OK, we have espresso coffee and breakfast food. We ride out easy by around 10:30 in still heavy fog. We are prepared to pull over way off the road if it turns to a pee soup-er.

When waking up in fog while camping you will be there all day if you want your tent to dry off before you go, so we plan to dry the tents out along the way while chillin at a wayside.

Super camp spot in NW New Mexico on a big lake.

Planning the route to the Mexican border.

Riding through New Mexico we had rain almost all day. It cleared up and got hot before dusk though, Nice!

We're planning on crossing into Mexico at Columbus, NM. This way we drive along the Sierra Madres on our way to Copper canyon.
Camp site at the Pancho Villa state park, Columbus.

Mexico border:
This woman did our motorcycle permits, nice.

First stop in Mexico:
I just wanted to buy some juice and chill a bit. My riding partner and I are in both the same mind set, now that we're in Mexico let's not just blast through but check it out.
These guys in the car had their hood open next to us. I can't ever pass up the opportunity to offer assistance and the use of my tools to people in need in the third world. I'm confident they would do they same for me. I wish I got a photo of their battery cable connections. We gave up and just pushed started them backwards.

Nuevo Casa Grande:
We stop at Nuevo Casa Grande for lunch. Great food and a friendly wait person.


The road to Madera and Creel from Columbus, NM is great, good shape, twisty and scenic.

Mexican cemetery:
It was ten times grander then what this photo shows.

Hotel Maria is just a block off main street toward the end of town. $20 / night with a solid metal gate that locks the courtyard after dark. A restaurant is attached and has great breakfast. I'm sure their other food is good, I just like to explore new cities in the evening by foot just for the fun of it, searching for a restaurant. Having breakfast right there at the hotel in the morning is great.

We walked around town and asked some people where's a good place to eat?
"Sam's Saloon" one of the best steaks ever for about $6.

Breakfast at Hotel Maria

Mexico along the way:
After Medera we have a easy ride into Creel so we're trying to take in as much of Mexico as possible.

We pull into Creel Wednesday afternoon a day before the Horizons Unlimited event starts. We set up the tents at the event site and start to walk down main street Creel in search of food and beer. I kid you Not, these next four photos are in sequence walking down main street Creel all within a half hour of each other.

Start of main.

Middle of main

End of main.

Walking back up main we meet the first adventure rider coming in for the event, Chris from Salmon Arm, Canada. Chris and all the people like him I meet at the event is what made this an unforgettable happening. Sure, cruising through Mexico and around Copper canyon was great as always, even more so this time because I had a riding partner to share it with, but the inspirational energy that spewed out from almost every conversation I had with and every presentation given by these supreme adventurers was unreal! At times I got so fired up I started to choke. Anyway Chris is one of our founding supreme adventurers. Back in 74' 75' he rode from Canada to Panama then flew his bike over to Bogota Columbia and rode on to the tip of south America and back. Wow, wow, wow, and this was the first guy we meet! Chris was super pleasant to talk with and I feel privileged to have met him.

After lunch we run into Budlight, a super guy from Colorado who we were trying to hook up with at the border at Columbus, NM but we got delayed a day due to rain. Anyway we all went to a bar and had a beer and some chat. After we head back to the rally site we run into two more dudes and Chris. Tim from Albuquerque, NM the guy in the middle drove down to Panama and back last year on his Wide-Glide. How cool! Tim had some great stories. The guy on the right was from California, not 100% on his name (Can anyone help me here?) but also a super nice dude.

This was a nice little bar right at the site and a good place to meet the people coming in.
OK, one more person then on to some ride photos. This is Art from Louisiana, He was here with 6 others from Louisiana and I could fill pages about these people, some of the friendliest and warmest people I have ever met, plus the two women were hot! Art has been to every country in the world except four and has some great info on just about any subject related to travel. Also I have to add Art is the most crazy and one of the most talented bikers I've ever met, being into enduro and Baja type races all over. My hair is tingling just talking to these people and riding with them, I had to start questioning my sanity. Tons of fun and I learned lots about improving my riding technique.

Thursday's Ride:
There was an organized road ride the first Thursday of the Horizons Unlimited event. Federico from Zacatecas, Mexico was our guide to the most spectacular view of the canyon, Sinforosa Canyon. I've never been on an organized ride before but I thought I should check this one out, especially after meeting Federico. Getting ready to roll.

Just as I imagined, an organized ride is frustrating, you only go as fast as the slowest person which is fine but I like to go at my own pace. I'm a firm believer in making the best of a situation so I go into the 'taking lots of photos' mode and pull over often. This worked out great, I would catch up to the pack before long so no one was waiting for me. Super, almost 100 miles of the most scenic and twisty roads anywhere.

More later, Cheers

cavebiker screwed with this post 11-19-2014 at 05:37 PM Reason: bigger
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Old 10-25-2004, 08:13 AM   #2
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Outstanding.. Keep it coming.
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Old 10-25-2004, 09:38 AM   #3
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Great pictures Cavebiker and great meeting you. Your enthusiasm is contagious. Hope to see you again soon. Thanks for taking my pictures, they were great.
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"This is the story of America. Everybody's doing what they think they're supposed to do." J Kerouac
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Old 10-25-2004, 10:04 AM   #4
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very nice cavebiker.
We would be honored to have you at one of the Farm rides in Central Illinois.
loosely to unorganized backroad gravel touring.

looking forward to the rest of your post

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Old 10-25-2004, 11:38 AM   #5
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Ride report continued

Thursday organized road ride continued:
We all make a stop about half way to the end point at this gas station. The station is just before the dirt road turnoff to Batopilas Canyon. Cool, last year there was no gas between Creel and Batopilas. The two on the cruisers on the right have been on the road for six months. Cool, Cool people and a super pleasure to talk with.

Truck ride to Sinforosa canyon:
This road ride came to the town of Guachochi. We went to a hotel where we park the bikes and a couple of pickups drive all of us a half an hour to the view of Sinforosa canyon. The agreed on price for the trucks was 300 pesos but at the last minute it went up to 500. Hey this is Mexico, hang loose. BudLight jumped in and payed the extra and figured everyone owed him an extra buck and a half, Bud's the man

Sinforosa canyon:

Fun, fun, well worth the five bucks. We get back to the hotel and lunch is waiting for us, this is great. We were running late and didn't have much daylight to get back to Creel on. Several people were getting anxious about the daylight thing and for good reason, the road back is Unreal! Finely we all get started and negotiate our way out of town when a big group pulls into a gas station on the outskirts of town. OK.. it's one road back to Creel and no chance of anyone getting lost so I fire up the Sporty and blast out into the hills. I for sure thought I would be the first one back and by a big margin. I was cranking it and figured I wouldn't see anyone until back at the bar. But Wrong! Before I knew it I see these three dirt bikes in my rear view sticking with me and gaining. The road was straight for a while and I had twice the CC's so I stayed ahead for what seemed a couple of nanoseconds. The first slight turn, Zoom! Art, Warren and Jerry from Louisiana blast by me like I was on a Sunday drive. Then this other guy on this cool looking hot bike, blue with yellow flames flies by. Who is that man?

OK, Game On! I have new rubber and new breaks so I do everything to keep these guys in sight. I hammer on the straights and break hard preparing for the hair pin turns. I'm running like a mad man driving harder and harder, taking the turns like I'm a Cafe racer. Everything is cool, I'm driving great but every turn these guys leave me like I'm standing still. It seems like no time and they are out of sight. An hour passes and still nothing. Oh, I rationalize, they must have pulled off and did some dirt or something. I continue on super hard having the road ride of my life. At one decreasing radius curve I had to break so hard my front tire skitched. Yeah! my heart is pumping and I feel on fire. A few miles before Creel I see the tail light of that hot rod yellow flamed bike. Yes, I'm feeling good but this guy doesn't let me get any closer, but I still feel good. We both peel into the Horizons Unlimited event site. There are about thirty adventure bikers hanging out in front of the lodge including Art, Warren and Jerry from Louisiana drinking a beer. They said they have been there for about a half hour and are on their second beer. The guy with the flamed bike (Can anyone help with his name?) said he stopped several times to take photos. WTF!

Part of the Louisiana gang, left to right: Warren, Bill, Jerry, Art and Cindy. Outstanding folks!

Here is the story I got first hand of what was taking place up ahead of me:
Jerry, Warren and Art passed me first then several minutes later the flamed bike went flying by like I was standing still. Art, Jerry and Warren are racers and have been racing for a lot of years. I guess what happened is the flamed bike passed all three of them, Art was in second and was determined to retake the lead. The story goes, confirmed by both Art and the Dude on the flamed bike. Art had it wide open around a hairpin and overtook the flame machine. The turn went into an S, Art was going way too fast and locked up both tires and started fishing toward the 6 inch shoulder. The guy in the flamed bike said to himself "It isn't worth it!" and backed off and started taking photos. Back at the lodge we were all on such a natural high it was unreal, High five-ing, toasting and reliving the events that just took place. Art said that guy in the blue and yellow flamed bike "is one hell of a good rider!". Wow, wow, that for sure was the most intense and exciting road ride I ever did and no one could ever imagine what I'm talking about unless they rode that stretch between Creel and Guachochi.

To be continued:

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Old 10-25-2004, 11:58 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by BrklynDakar
Great pictures Cavebiker and great meeting you. Your enthusiasm is contagious. Hope to see you again soon. Thanks for taking my pictures, they were great.
You’re welcome. It was a great pleasure meeting you at the rally and I hope our paths meet again in the future.

Here is another shot of an outstanding adventure rider, Jacob from Brooklyn, NY.
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Old 10-25-2004, 01:14 PM   #7
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Hair of the dog that bit me, Lloyd...
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Old 10-25-2004, 01:48 PM   #8
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Dude, awesome report and great pictures. You have quite the photographic eye for the senioritas.
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Old 10-25-2004, 02:55 PM   #9
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Nice report CB. Thanks fer sharing.
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Old 10-25-2004, 06:48 PM   #10
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Great report and pics.
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Old 10-25-2004, 08:58 PM   #11
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Great eye with the camera there, Cavebiker. Too bad I didn't get to spend more time with you at the HU meet. I live about 30 miles east of San Antonio now, so if you need a place to stop and regroup before heading south o' da border, or just want to get a beer, you are welcome here. I'm going back to Mad-town for Christmas, so hopefully we won't pass each other in transit.

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Old 10-25-2004, 09:37 PM   #12
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Excellent report... enjoyed it!
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Old 10-26-2004, 12:05 PM   #13
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Thanks ya all for the thumbs up and thanks chain for the gracious invite, sounds like fun.
Also thanks AndyT for the invite, expect an email. We may pass each other, my wife and I are spending Christmas in Wisconsin and plan on doing Vegas for new years before heading down the Baja. I also wish I could have spent more time rapping with you and all the people I meet. That event was so unreal, everywhere I stood I was next to and chatting with the most interesting, exciting and inspirational people I’ve ever come across. I just don’t have words to describe the energy flowing around there, @#&)?%. To everyone I talked with, it was a great pleasure!

I think this was my best photo of the trip. I never hand out $ to beggars unless crippled but I always buy from little entrepreneurs. Handouts to beggars is training to stay in poverty while buying Chicklets from little people is sending the opposite message. The little girl said I paid for ten but I only wanted one, some say this is also bad but I disagree.

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Old 10-26-2004, 04:16 PM   #14
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Thursday Eve:
For the evening meal at the Hotel Ville Mexicana I was fortunate enough to sit across the table from Grant Johnson, the leader of the whole event. To my left was Tim from Albuquerque who rode his Wide-Glide to Panama and back last year plus several other distinguished adventure bikers. A trip was in the making for the next day to the bottom of Batopilas canyon. Tim was getting fired up and wanted to go. I was saying how I spilled three times last year on my way down to the bottom and someone else was saying "No way on a Wide-Glide" and I seconded that statement. Grant kept silent for a while then spoke out and said something like "No!, you can do it on anything!" and went on with a presentation type speech of examples of all these people doing amazing things and going to amazing places on totally the wrong bike. Two up on a full dress Harley in Africa in waist deep mud and some one doing Alaska to the tip of South America on a 50cc something and on and on. No way was I going down Batopilas canyon again on my Harley, I wanted to rent a KLR650 and do it but the rental bikes backed out and didn't show. I'm screwed, I like to think I'm a smart guy and when I hear something I hear it. So then of course I turn to Tim and say "Lets do it! We'll stick together like a team and go as slow as possible and if things turn to shit we'll pick up and turn back." Tim "I'm in". What have I said? It may have been cerveza related. Their were six of us going and I was the only one who has been there before (bang head). I wake up the next morning with a slight hangover and was saying to myself "what was I thinking last night. No way am I going down the canyon on my Harley!". The first person I see from the gang that morning says to me "Hey, we are getting ready to go!" I say " I'll be ready in ten minutes!". I couldn't let the gang down, I guess I was the leader. Ahhh!

Friday AM:
We're out of Creel by about 10:30, super day warm and sunny.
The Gang. Tim and the other three I'm not 100% on names but the guy second from the left I meet the first day and the couple on the right were from Mexico, I meet them the night before. All are super people to ride and talk with.

We took a few photos along the paved rode section.

We planed on stopping at the gas station just before the dirt section going down to the bottom of the canyon. We all pull in and a few Poncho Villa bikers were just hanging around the pumps. "Hey! What up?" Ville bikers "No gas!" A truck came with a big tank and took all the gas and no more until tomorrow. I think God is trying to tell me something. We all hang around talking, I was thinking the gas was going to just show up. A bunch more Poncho Villa riders show up. Two GS's show up in the back of a pickup truck, I guess they rode down the canyon yesterday and no way were going to ride back up so they hired a truck. I guess that's the good thing about guided tours, they take care of you. Another story came up about a tour group last year in South America where a large truck was passing on a blind curve and wiped out three bikers, one died, one lost half his leg and the other is still recovering. Super bad but us adventure bikers need to hear about things like that so we can prevent it happening to us. In sailboat adventurer journals I read when ever there is a loss of life of an adventure cruiser or loss of boat. Big articles are written to critique what happened and why and what should have took place to have prevented the loss of life or loss of boat or both. The same should apply to us, we need a forum on crashes and prevention.

Anyway the dirt bikers had big tanks and headed down the canyon while Tim and I do a photo taking tour back to Creel and pull into town on fumes. All and all a good day and we Did give it a shot.


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Old 10-26-2004, 04:55 PM   #15
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Tom, great photos and write-up. I enjoyed meeting you and your side-kick Tom. My photos are over at I followed the Lousiana women folk when their men left them in the dust on the way to Gauochi and it was all I could do to keep up with them. It was a great experience and opportunity to meet some nice people. I am in Denver, so if you pass this way on your big trip, look me up.
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