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Old 04-04-2011, 11:46 AM   #1
lstzephyr OP
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Ah mexico mi amor. Batopilas this time.

A man said to us in a small backcountry town that we should "Go back to the highway and enjoy a good life". This simple quote said so much and became something we would repeat many times. It still echoes in my mind.

There were three of us. Rick, Andy, and myself. They had planned the route using as much remote back roads and as much dirt as possible. The route was pretty sporadic, and the maps didn't agree. All the fear currently about Mexico was in the back of my mind and even some of my friends that had gone told me to be very careful. When I would talk to someone about Mexico I would always say that I would go anywhere in Mexico and feel safe, however I would usually mention that I wouldn't go to Chihuahua. This is the story of our trip to the state I said I wouldn't go to.

When I left Tucson I was freaked out. I said goodbye to the dogs, called old friends to talk one last time, and prepared mentally not to come back.

It was the most beautiful place I have ever been.

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Old 04-04-2011, 12:26 PM   #2
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I met Andy and Rick at an event in Dragoon, Az about a month before we left for Mexico. They had mentioned that they might be going to Barranca del Cobre(copper canyon) around the same time as my spring break. I didn't think I would have time but I sent them an email at the last minute looking to join in. They hadn't left yet! I spent the next day more or less putting my bike into working fashion. My bike is a well-used and slightly abused 2000 Honda XR650R. Its chain was worn out, the back tire was thrashed, and there were a few other problems. Unfortunately I couldn't afford to fix everything and had to decide on going with a less than ideal bike or not going. At 3:30 am I decided I would go, afterall not going and not trying had never been a good decision for anything in my life.

The bike.



The riding companions.

Rick



Andy



I loaded the bike up and left about 10:00 am the next morning. I rode down to meet Andy to go over to Nogales to meet up with Rick. I sat on a fence post while I waited and gave one more old friend a call. He told me that I had always been crazy so this wouldn't be any different.

After Andy showed up we rode over to Rick's place grabbed some water and hit the road out of there. We got on a wide fast dirt road almost immediately. It was beautiful and I was really having a blast just flying alone standing on the pegs. Within 20 minutes however my tent and sleeping bag fell off my rack. I relashed those on there and adjusted my system. Then within another minute my spark arrester fell off as well. This was not the start I wanted for the trip. I had a few things bothering me(who doesn't?) and I wanted to let go of the stress. But I walked back and picked up all the parts and continued on. After all of the time we had spent that day we decided that stopping in on one of Andy's friends would be good and then hit the border the next day.

Andy gave him a call and we went over to his ranch. A very nice place with a very horny turkey that keep giving displays and trying to mate with the motorcycles.





He had some hawks on his land and took us around to show them off. He also had a nice little barn with an old truck.



We went to a local restaurant had a couple beers and talked into the night. It was a good night. Tomorrow we will cross into Mexico at Aqua Prieta and head down south. I briefly wonder what I am doing, but I figure it should be interesting.

lstzephyr screwed with this post 04-09-2011 at 09:28 AM
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Old 04-08-2011, 11:36 AM   #3
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The next day I awoke to the sound of a rooster at dawn. We started off pretty early, said our goodbyes and took off towards whatever city is the US side of Aqua Prieta. I had been told to ride once around the roundabout for good luck but I didn't. Perhaps I should have.

We stopped in a small town at a hardware store so that I could put my spark arrestor back on. This time I loctited the hell out of it like everything else on my bike. It wouldn't be a problem for the rest of the trip.

We arrived in town and looked around for something to eat, eventually settling on an old hotel in the middle of downtown. It had some interesting architecture!



After breakfast we headed to the border and got all the vehicle importation thing covered. After working all that out we headed out of town looking for the dirt road/highway heading toward Oaxaca.

The road ended up being very hard to find. We got on a brand new empty road that looked promising, but our progress was stopped when we found a man sitting on rocks, who told us we were riding in a construction area.



We asked ten or twelve other people, and they all pointed in different directions. It was getting to be a bit ridiculous until we found a guy who spoke a bit of English working at a pemex. He gave us great directions and we rode right to it.

We more or less followed an old blue ford truck to the turnoff and as we got on the dirt road Andy went to pass him. The driver of the truck gunned it and started racing him. Andy made it past but at this point the guy was moving pretty quick. I went over a hill behind them in a 3rd gear standup wheelie as the hill was a bit steeper than I thought and just dropped out from underneath me. I passed them standing on the pegs wide open in 4th. The guys in the bed of the truck looked shocked! Rick said they let him by without trying to race at all.

The road was nice and wide open, completely desolate. It had a lot of beautiful views as well.





I stopped periodically to take pictures then would race back up to catch up. My bike was much quicker than the other bikes and I was more comfortable pushing myself harder.





Most of the intersections we would come to were unmarked. There would just be a random fork in the road. Usually we could figure out which way to go by judging the wear on the roads. These unmarked forks would become a regular occurrence on this trip.



Left or right?



One of the many obstacles on these backroads was the sketchy cattle gaurds. The other guys commented that they would go across really slow. I figured out they were almost perfectly angled to wheelie across them at high speed, and I thought that would keep me from falling in. After a slight bobble on one of them I decided to just jump them. Jumping them worked very well.



Another challenge was that there would be random collection of really deep soft sand. I hit one of them going something like 65 mph just cruising standing on the pegs, when all the sudden the bike is bucking and jumping around. Scared the hell out of me, but I kept it together and made it through unscathed. Got my heartbeat going though!

Andy wasn't so lucky. He said it was like going underwater.





He was unhurt and after a bit of hanging around, and cranking the bike fired right up and we continued on. Albeit a bit dusty.



We stopped for a break in a small town about midday, pretty much not having any clue where to go. The locals told us that we should go back to the main road, but one guy told us we could make it through the back way. So we went.



The view from the road out of town was beautiful.





It was getting late in the day so we started thinking of somewhere we could camp. After a lot of looking we decided to head into one of the ranches. I was a bit hesitant and all the drug smuggling stuff was going through the back of my mind but I figured why not. We rolled up and were given permission to camp on their property near the river.



It was seriously dusty so we decided to camp on the runway instead. The plane didn't have an engine anyway!











Andy cooked a bit for us and we all sat around drinking a bit of tequila. It was a good day, and even though I had no clue where I was it just didn't seem important.


lstzephyr screwed with this post 05-11-2011 at 02:28 AM
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Old 04-08-2011, 02:21 PM   #4
TemeculaRider
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Those wide-open roads look fabulous!! I'm counting the minutes til I'm back sur de la frontera!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PirateJohn
you are safer in 99% of Northern Mexico than you are in 99% of Jacksonville, FL.
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Old 04-08-2011, 03:24 PM   #5
pfdskipper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lstzephyr View Post

Andy gave him a call and we went over to his ranch. A very nice place with a very horny rooster that keep giving displays and trying to mate with the motorcycles.



He had some hawks on his land and took us around to show them off. He also had a nice little barn with an old truck.



Great stuff, keep it coming

By the way, that would be a tom turkey, not a rooster
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Old 04-09-2011, 09:31 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by pfdskipper View Post
Great stuff, keep it coming

By the way, that would be a tom turkey, not a rooster

Thanks! I corrected the turkey thing, I knew that, I just went stupid for a second.
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Old 04-09-2011, 12:05 PM   #7
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Besides el gallo being so annoyingly horny all the time, I really want to chop his head off when I'm camping at 3:45 in the morning he thinks he sees the sun coming up and starts the serenade.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PirateJohn
you are safer in 99% of Northern Mexico than you are in 99% of Jacksonville, FL.
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Old 04-11-2011, 12:04 PM   #8
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I'm pretty sure that not only does every town in mexico have at least one rooster but that all their internal clocks are off! I actually missed the roosters a bit when I got back because I didn't know when to wake up.
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Old 04-11-2011, 03:39 PM   #9
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The next morning some rooster woke me up. I have never been able to sleep much later than dawn in a tent, although I usually lay around and try to get a bit more sleep anyway. Eventually I gave up and wandered out.

We had run out of water the night before while cooking so we decided to go up to the ranch and ask for some. The night before a group of horseback riders had arrived right before we went out to the runway. One of the girls had walked up to me and asked for a ride on my bike. After another girl translated her request to english I said "sure, why not?". Rick walked over and we all chatted for a second, and I realized I should probably take off my helmet so as not to seem rude. Right when I took off my helmet the mother said rather loudly that it was getting dark and we should get going. I found it funny.

When we went to the rancho to get water they were very courteous. We were invited inside and talked to the Senora of the house for a short while. The girl who had come up to me the day before cooked us some burritos, and we were given some cake as well. I found it interesting that none of the daughters said a word to us, and the sons only said "Whats up?". The entire family sat in the corner and watched however. It was an interesting thing for me to ponder.

The road out of Rancho Oaxaca was pretty much more of the same. I wasn't comlaining at all! The other guys had decided that I should lead as they somehow got it into their heads that I was a hotshot rider. I took it as a compliment and enjoyed being able to ride around as if I was alone but still having back up in case of a bike failure.



Being out front allowed me to pause and take pictures of the others riding. I got to the point that I would stop just to take a couple pictures, bump start the bike down the hill, then pass them and run ahead, only to repeat it all.



There were these random sections of concrete, probably to keep down on errosion. I found it funny that there would be 20 foot of smooth concrete 100 miles out in the middle of the desert.



I was just cruising along when at one point I saw a truck and an ez-up looking thing off in the distance. I immediately thought about stopping, but I figured I would find out one way or another if it was anything to be concerned about. In the end it ended up being on another road near a fork, so I just blasted right past. He was probably wondering who or what I was, just the same as I was wondering about him.

More open dirt.



A little posing



This section road has some spectacular scenery and it seemed to change every 20 miles slightly. It was very much like Arizona, but also very different.



Eventually we came upon some pavement. I got there first and right as I was thinking of pulling over to wait on the others, a truck came around with a loose ladder in the back. The ladder swung out of the truck right next to me and for a second I thought it would hit me, I dodged to the side and went by it with inches to spare. I pulled over just after to calm down a bit, just another slightly sketchy moment in Mexico.

The others caught up and we ducked into the next few small towns to try and find some gas and food. The signs of these small towns were very elaborate.



In general though there was little in the town except people and a couple small businesses. Andy liked this place however, he commented that they had two beautiful women and a bar, what more could you need?

The scenery was still fantastic!



The road curved all over the place though, sometimes it wasn't in the best condition but I was having a blast! This sign seemed appropriate.



The highway was in very good shape for Mexico however and the scenery was just beautiful.



We had been looking for a fork in the highway and were trying to find a town on the map that turned out to be a mountain.







The road was cut into the side of the mountain and was endless curves. I don't think it was straight for more than a quarter mile. We came upon an overlook area and I was amazed how many people stopped to talk to us. It seemed like everytime I turned around someone new was pulling over to talk. Andy said we were like rock stars. I joked that maybe he was but I was more like the photographer following them around, as I tended to wander off with my camera and take pictures of everything.







Rick commented on the fact that there was a trash can! Something you don't see very often.











I think that overlook and all the people that stopped to talk to us was a major highlight of the trip. It was just so cool. I think we hung out there for a couple hours.



The road down was even more curvy than the roads we had been riding. Which looked something like this.



When we got to the bottom we stopped for a bit then headed into town. It was still pretty early in the afternoon and we were planning on staying in one of the towns down the road. Once in town we stopped to check out the church, and to talk to a few of the locals. The sun was low in the sky and the church just seemed to glow!



We road around town and down to the next town to try and find a way through. But the roads weren't exactly marked well. Even the main road wasn't in that great of shape.



After exploring a back exit out of town that crossed the river and asking for some directions we decided to just head into town again and find a hotel.



We asked many people were to go and eventually one man walked about a mile to show us where the hotel was. It was a cool little place, and was amazingly laid back. The restaurant was open sometimes, the lady of the house was only around sometimes, and we were told to park our bikes in the courtyard. This wouldn't have phased me at all except for the fact we were expected to just ride up the sidewalk, dodge a tree and a truck with inches to spare, make a perfect 90 degree turn and then enter the gate. No problem! I did it without hesitating and Andy followed, but Rick waited patiently for the truck to be moved.

It was nice to get a chance to work on the bikes a bit, and to get a shower.



That night we went out looking for a bar. We wandered fairly aimlessly for awhile, asked some young girls, then found an older gentleman who ushered us into his bar. There hadn't been anyone in sight until we showed up but the bar was quickly hopping. I'm sure he loved us! The questions immediately went along the lines of "where are you from?", "how did you get here?", and "where are you going?". I went to fetch the map as it was pretty hard to explain anything without it and in the process of getting a key for the room I accidently told the hotel proprietor to close the restaurant! Oops. We stayed at the bar for a few more drinks, then headed back starving.

When we came back we had to plead with the Senora to open the restaurant to feed us, and eventually she complied. But not without forcing her daughter to come and help her! The food was fantastic, and It was a great night. I really enjoyed that little bar and the people in that town were very special. That night, I didn't wonder what I was doing at all, I was simply happy.

lstzephyr screwed with this post 05-11-2011 at 02:29 AM
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Old 04-11-2011, 09:38 PM   #10
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Very nice, Alan! I'm really enjoying your ride report. Like Glenn Hegstadd (sp?) says "It's all about the people." Funny how a night in a little town spending time with simple people who are interested in you can be so memorable. Mexico is good for that. I think us ADV riders do alot to spread goodwill down there and it's obvious that you guys represented us well!

Very much enjoying the r/r, amigo!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PirateJohn
you are safer in 99% of Northern Mexico than you are in 99% of Jacksonville, FL.
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Old 04-28-2011, 12:33 PM   #11
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A Good Team

I guess I should weigh in here and say that doing this trip with Alan was pretty fantastic. Alan is a capable rider, a good companion and a team player. He also doesn't snore... yet.

I've ridden motorcycles for a very long time, but when I started dual sport riding I realized how much I didn't know about motorcycle riding. Alan helped me along with instruction and muscle and he didn't laugh too heartily when I biffed. I say "muscle" because lifting a fully loaded KLR650 (the "tanker") is more that I can do myself. Both Alan and Rick took on that service without complaint.

There were a couple of days (one where we made a whopping 24 miles in 8 hours) that tried all of our limits, but we all worked together and got through the rough spots to have a great trip through Northern Mexico.

Oh.... and that picture of me. I don't really look like that.

Thanks Alan and Rick.

-A
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Old 04-28-2011, 09:11 PM   #12
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cool rr
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Old 05-04-2011, 10:06 PM   #13
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Better Pictue

OK Alan here's a better picture of me:


These girls actually waited for us so they could have their pictures taken with the moto guys. Ahhh, it does an old man's heart good.

Just noticed that we all have the same holes in our pants.
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Old 05-04-2011, 11:16 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by lstzephyr View Post
One of the many obstacles on these backroads was the sketchy cattle gaurds. The other guys commented that they would go across really slow. I figured out they were almost perfectly angled to wheelie across them at high speed, and I thought that would keep me from falling in. After a slight bobble on one of them I decided to just jump them. Jumping them worked very well.


Those dang Mexican Motorcycle traps!

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Old 05-05-2011, 12:59 AM   #15
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Hey! this reminds me of our trip in 2008. We entered at Aqua Prieta and spent the afternoon looking for the dirt road south. "gee the maps say the road leaves buy the dump! Nope, thats not it!!" We finally found the right road after going east on the highway about 8-9 miles.
As I also joined a trip at the last minute, I didn't know where I was most of the time. I figured I really didn't need to know too much! I think you were on the some of the same roads we did. Loved those cattle guards...
Great report!
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