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Old 11-22-2010, 05:52 AM   #16
donsethbear
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One of the nicest things about taking a motorcycle adventure like our trek through Mexico's Copper Canyon is forming strong friendships that will last over a lifetime.

I've known Tucson Joe Alonge for 3 years now; riding on WFO's, SW-FOG's and numerous AZ Beemers Bike Runs, such as North Rim of the Grand Canyon ride.

Joe and I were ride partners and room mates on this two week run, and we looked out for each other; he fell, I picked his bike up and he did the very same for me.

I lost Cy Noel my best friend from High School 2 years ago, we did everything motorcycle and boating together. It's nice to know I now have Joe as my M/C buddy!

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Old 11-22-2010, 06:06 AM   #17
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Subscribed!! Thanks.
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:14 AM   #18
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FINALLY!!

I've been waiting for this one!

Can't wait to hear the rest of the story, Bill!
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Old 11-22-2010, 01:48 PM   #19
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I've been wanting to do this trip sooo bad!! Any news on the 400cc law??
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Old 11-22-2010, 06:04 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Souperfly
I've been wanting to do this trip sooo bad!! Any news on the 400cc law??
As stated in my first post if you are unlucky enough to get a buraucrat who knows the rules your life could become difficult. In the end we were able to get all the bikes through (even the 225 XT) but I don't know if any money passed hands since I was not directly involved.
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Old 11-22-2010, 06:24 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yamafitter
As stated in my first post if you are unlucky enough to get a buraucrat who knows the rules your life could become difficult. In the end we were able to get all the bikes through (even the 225 XT) but I don't know if any money passed hands since I was not directly involved.
No money passed hands but there was a hint of bringing donuts next time. Rarely do we find people who are not willing to help us find solutions. We simply appealed to them for help and they came through. Speaking the language and even more important, applying the right psychology in this realm where those with the rubber stamps rule, helps. Thanks for sharing Bill!
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Old 11-22-2010, 07:20 PM   #22
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Day 2 - Batopilas to Urique (Plan A)

We were up early and took a walk through town just before breakfast...





The school kids were waiting on the bus...







Some of the local Indians were waiting on the local bus...



The old man in the doorway is one of the most sussessful businessmen in town and is the ex-mayor...



At breakfast, our guide Ivan told us a great story about the ex-mayor that I will try to relate here.
One day a couple of strangers came up to the man and said,
"You're a successful businessman and we want you to run for mayor".
The man said,
"There's no money in politics and I'm not interested"
The strangers said,
"Well there is all these weeds growing in the area at only cost a few pesos to harvest here but will sell for hundreds in the United States and as the mayor you would get to regulate the harvest and make lots of money"
The man says,
"This cannot be legal"
The stangers say,
"But as the mayor you make the law"
So the man agrees and becomes the mayor. As a successful busiinessman soon there is weed everywhere including the flowerpots in the town square.
One day an American traveller comes to town and takes photos of all of this. The traveller leaves and then the President of Mexico gets a visit from the US ambassador who presents the President with the photos and demands that the President do something about this. The President asks where the photos were taken and is told Batopilas and the President of Mexico asks, "Where?".
The ambassador leaves and the President calls in one of his generals and tells him to go to some place called Batopilas and straighten things out to calm down the Americans.
The general comes to Batopilas and goes to see the mayor. They ask the mayor about the weed and the mayor tells them that it is a good business. It only costs a few pesos to harvest and the Americans pay hundreds. The military tells him that this is illegal. The mayor tells the general, "But I am the law and I think it is OK".
The general slaps the cuffs on the mayor and hauls him off to jail where the mayor gets 15 years.
The mayor is sad but he watches what goes on in the jail and soon finds out that items are very expensive in jail. He feels he can start a business charging lower prices, pays off a few guards and soon has a thriving business. The mayor is happy.
In the meantime it takes the sons of the mayor three years but after selling off some the the mayor's prized cows and some other items they raise enough money as a "gift" for the judge and explain to the judge that their father was badly mislead by the strangers. The judge agrees to interview the father to see if he is sufficently remorseful and will make some arrangements.
The sons go to see their father to tell him the good news but the father is horrified to find that the sons sold his prized cows plus he is perfectly happy in jail since he has a good business going. The judge comes to see the father and the father tells the judge that he wants to stay in jail. The judge then tells the sons that their father is crazy and to take him home. The father is now mad at the judge and his sons for ruining his business.

When he gets back to Batopilas the father is not feeling well so his daughters take him to Chihauhau to see a doctor. The doctor runs a bunch of tests and it is all very expensive. This makes the father sad. The doctor then tells him that he needs to walk more and sends him home. Now the father is mad at the daughters for sending his money just to be told he needs to walk more.
As punishment, the father has the daughters make bread every morning. The father would then walk through town and sell the bread. On the way back the father found aluminmum cans which he picked up and then sold for recycling. Soon he had a thriving business and he was happy and agreed with the doctor that walking was indeed good for him.

But I digress.. back to the ride.

We started from the hotel and had to go back through town to the gas station to fill the bikes before heading out. Here is a link to a short video of the ride to the gas pump...

Ride through Batopilas

When Scott filled the 530 KTM and parked the bike we noticed fuel spilling from the back of the tank. I thoght the screws holding the petcock were loose but Scott knew exactly what the problem was...



He had previously developed a crack in the tank and thought he had it repaired but the the repair had failed and was now worse than before. It took Scott, Russ and the rest of the group about 90 minutes to get the leak down to a small enough of a dribble to be able to ride the bike.

We finally left town and were on our way...







We finally stopped to gather up the group at an intersection...



Our lead guide let Scott & Chris ride up ahead towards Mesa San Jose. When Ivan showed up with the support truck he unfortunately pointed out that we were supposed to go the other way. I was then assigned to chase Scott & Chris down and send them back. Fortunately they had only gone a few kilometers when they came to another gate and had stopped to wait.

Now everyone was going in the proper direction and the next challange was six water crossings of the Urique River...

Crossing #1









...to be continued...
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yamafitter screwed with this post 11-23-2010 at 02:30 PM
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Old 11-23-2010, 02:14 AM   #23
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Day 2 continued

I put the camera down and went to help Phil get the bike out of the river. Fortunately Phil had the presence of mind to kill the engine before he dunked and the bike immediately started once we got the bike to dry land.
The rest of the group took the water crossing very cautiously...







Our Toronto Italian, Paolo tried to keep his tennis shoes dry...





It was then time for our female staff rider, Shelly to show the boys how to do it with style...



The next two crossings went by without issues but the fourth crossing was by far the deepest of those that we had attempted. I was out front and safely made it across. I was just getting the Nikon out of my backpack when Scott started across with a more agressive approach, clipped a submerged rock that completely submerged the 530 KTM. Scott immediately discovered that water is a poor substitute for air & gasoline as the piston return spring was not able to overcome the non-compressible properties of H2O. Again I put down the camera even before I had a chance to document this fiasco to assist fishing the thumper out of the water. Silly Scott hit the starter button and the starter made a noise that sounded like you got to the kidding. It was time to push the big pumpkin out of the water and start the de-watering process. While Scott was dealing with that I was pointing out the shallower line the the rest of the group and went back to my photojournalism. Here is our lead guide, Alphonso showing Don & Joe the correct line...



Shelly needed a little assist but got across with the bike still running...



With everyone over it was decided to find some shade and have lunch while Scott, Russ & Barack attempted to get the KTM running. It took almost 2 hours and they were able to get the motor running but even with the oil we had in the support truck, the oil still looked like a watered down white chocolate milk shake. In the end it was decided to load the bike into the support truck and shamefully finish the day on the hook.
We were supposed to be heading for Urique but it was already afternoon and we were not even halfway and it was becoming obvious we would be riding in the dark. A command decision was made to change the destination to San Isidro since dropping into Urique Canyon in the dark would have been just too dangerous.
After a few more river crossings we came to an intersection and then came to the gate of the Sauzal open pit gold mine. There had been a pre-arranged agreement to let us ride through the mine property but it still took a little time for the M16 toting guards to get hold of the correct person on the radio to unlock the gate and allow us to proceed. We were supplied a lead truck to follow through the mine property to ensure no one got crushed by one of the huge ore moving trucks that were running all over the mine.
Once safety through the mine the roads improved dramatically as the road was now the main supply road from town to the mine. We then came to a main intersection on the gravel and our lead guide, Alphonso took the turn toward Tubares which ended up being incorrect. We went quite a ways and got all the way to the bridge before Alphonso realized his error and turned the group around. Unfortunately, Ivan with Scott in the co-pilot seat took the correct turn and now the support truck was in front of the bikes.
Ivan would ask along the way if anyone had seen the bikes but no one had.
At the exit of the mine property, Ivan & Alponso had agreed to meet in Mesa de Arturo if the group got separated so Ivan continued on. We were now on the correct route climbing up and then dropping down the canyons and valleys. We came upon a major construction site and had a slight delay. The road crew had just dropped fresh sand and gravel up a fairly steep switchback and nothing had been compacted. It took some technique and a lot of momentum to make it through but I just stayed in the track of the backhoe and found I could get enough traction not to sink in.
Chris was not so lucky with the 990 KTM and the heaviest bike in the group buried itself in the gravel. It took a few folks to get the bike rolling again to make it out. In the meantime I had worked up way up a few more switchbacks and stopped to enjoy the surrounding vista and watch the sunset.
I was now following Russ and as we went around another switchback, Russ' KLR stopped and I saw him look at the petcock. Out of gas. Russ flipped onto reserve and the bike started up but without knowing how far we had left to go Russ had to idle the bike to get as much distance as possible and dropped to the back.
It got dark. It got cold.
I was following Alphonso and was completely focused on the rear taillight of Alphonso's bike. In the dark all I saw was a faint red haze in the dust and a little bit of the road being lit by the headlight of my WR. After what seemed a very long time we came to pavement and the streetlights on San Pedro. Alphonso stopped at a small store to ask directions and asked me where everyone else was. I had no idea. We went back to the intersection and waited. Still no bikes. I had not seen any turns off the road but afterwards had found out that there were some and the rest of the group were not sure which way we had gone and had to wait for traffic coming the other way to ask if they had seen motorcycles and finally manged to find their way.
In the meantime Alphonso sent me on to Mesa de Arturo since I had a GPS on my bike to find Ivan and send the truck back to help find the others. Alphonso then went a little ways along the road where he could see some of the approaching road that the bikes should be on. Finally the bikes arrived but made the wrong turn and also went into San Pedro. They went a little further into town and Barak stopped to ask a driver in a white truck for directions. Unfortunately this was all witnessed by a military patrol that had a report that there were strangers in town with weapons. The next thing that Barak, Phil and Chris knew they were surrounded by solders pointing automatic weapons at them and yelling at them to surrender. Phil is deaf in one ear and does not speak Spanish so Barak told Phil to get his hands up and get on the ground. Chris had his hands up but had not got off the bike and the soldiers were poking him with their rifle butts and almost knocked him off the bike. The three were then forced face down onto the ground while Barak was trying to explain to the commander who we were.
About this time Alphonso arrived on the scene and was finally able to make the soldiers understand that we were not the people the military were looking for. Everyone was released with the sincere apologies of the commander but it is not an experience anyone will soon forget.
In he meantime I was having my own little adventure trying to find Mesa de Arturo in the dark on a mountain dirt road in a land where I do not speak the language. I flagged down a bus and askd, "Mesa de Arturo?" pointing ahead. The driver then spoke to me in Spanish but I was clueless but through sign language and gestures I understood to say on the main road.
The GPS was almost useless since the brecha (gravel road) shown on the GPS was no where close to the track the GPS was showing. By nothing more than sheer luck I finally came upon the truck just before Mesa de Arturo. I was never so happy to see a pickup truck in my life.
I grabbed m jacket out of my bag in the back of the truck and jumped in the cab to warm up. I then had a decision to make. Do I follow the truck back and help find the others or do I stay put while the truck goes back. I was very low on fuel so I opted to stay put. As the truck left it suddenly got very dark and very quiet. All I had for light was the GPS display and the stars shining through the trees. I started hearing all the animals in the woods. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. I focused on other things and after about 20 minutes I heard the bikes and then saw the headlights approaching.
In less than 30 minutes we were at the motel just outside San Isidro drinking Tequila & Mezcal shooters while the motel staff prepared some hot soup. After some comparision of stories and a few more shooters it was getting late and everyone sleep soundly in their cabins to see what the next day would bring.

Nest Post - Day 3
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yamafitter screwed with this post 11-25-2010 at 05:55 AM
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Old 11-23-2010, 02:49 AM   #24
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Day 2 Stats

I forgot to add the stats from Day 2...



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Old 11-23-2010, 12:55 PM   #25
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CCCs

Excellent ride report! Glad you all had the huevos to do Copper Canyon! More probs with the military than anyone else! Thanks for taking us along, looking forward to more.

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Old 11-23-2010, 12:56 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motonazar
...there was a hint of bringing donuts next time. Rarely do we find people who are not willing to help us find solutions. We simply appealed to them for help and they came through. Speaking the language and even more important, applying the right psychology in this realm where those with the rubber stamps rule, helps. Thanks for sharing Bill!
mmmmmmm... Donuts!!!!

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Old 11-23-2010, 01:02 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yamafitter
mmmmmmm... Donuts!!!!

Watch it, you don't know where those donut holes have been
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Old 11-23-2010, 01:40 PM   #28
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Questions from the Spot Follower

Yamafitter, some questions on this day from the guy sitting at work following the spot track all day long.

Did you guys do a river cross in Batopillas, the tracks looked like you did. Sort of looked like river cross practice.

Why so late out of Bato?

Don posted a pix of a cable car. Is that how you got the Spot track in the mountains south of Bato?

Did the truck / trailer follow the bikes over the Urique river crosses?

The google earth overhead image where you had the military encounter has a lot of "crops" growing around it and a rather large dirt airstrip, which I believe you rode down the next morning. Wrong place at the wrong time, eh?

Is the motel San Isidro near any town? From overhead, it looks like a large place out on it's own.

Inquiring minds want to know.
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Old 11-23-2010, 02:22 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbolesaz
Yamafitter, some questions on this day from the guy sitting at work following the spot track all day long.

Did you guys do a river cross in Batopillas, the tracks loo ked like you did. Sort of looked like river cross practice.
We crossed a bridge coming into town at the end of the first day. we rode along the river for a piece (see video at start of Day 2 post) when backtracking to the gas pump. Due to resolution of the SPOT it may have looked like we crossed the river but did not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbolesaz
Why so late out of Bato?
We had to fix the leak in the gas tank of Scott's 530 KTM as reported at the start of the Day 2 post. We lost maybe 90 minutes. We were also late finishing breakfast and getting gear loaded on the truck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbolesaz
Don posted a pix of a cable car. Is that how you got the Spot track in the mountains south of Bato?
The SPOT was on my bike the entire trip. I have a second generation SPOT that has a much stronger transmitter to get a signal out than the Gen 1. Just like my Gen 2 FJR is far superior to a Gen 1

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbolesaz
Did the truck / trailer follow the bikes over the Urique river crosses?
The truck went everywhere we did which was amazing. Especially down the decent into Chinipas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbolesaz
The google earth overhead image where you had the military encounter has a lot of "crops" growing around it and a rather large dirt airstrip, which I believe you rode down the next morning. Wrong place at the wrong time, eh?
The military had been informed there were strangers in town and they don't come any stranger than Don.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbolesaz
Is the motel San Isidro near any town? From overhead, it looks like a large place out on it's own.
The motel was very close to Mesa de Arturo, maybe 15 minutes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbolesaz
Inquiring minds want to know.
Hope this clears some things up for you.
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Old 11-23-2010, 04:08 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yamafitter
The military had been informed there were strangers in town and they don't come any stranger than Don.
Ain't that the truth....

:)
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