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Old 04-19-2012, 09:22 AM   #16
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Matt is/was Ok. Only out some cash and the mental trauma. He headed back up Baja by himself to Loreto and such on his way to San Diego.
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Old 04-19-2012, 09:43 AM   #17
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Day 11, April 11th – 20 miles, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico

This was a down riding day. After what happened to Matt we decided to cancel our ride of the Cabo loop.









Zack and I went over to the Baja Ferries terminal in Pechilingque. We paid for our tourist visa with the immigration officer and then got the TVIP at the bank right there in the terminal. It was a very simple process and the lady was very kind. All was needed was passport, registration and a copy of the tourist visa.

We also bought our ferry tickets right there in the terminal, 1698 Pesos for bike and rider. Opted for a Cabana since we wanted some quiet and a place to store our gear while on the boat. At least the gear that we would not leave on the bikes. Cabana 770 Pesos.





Dinner was a burger at Applebee’s since it was close and we were tired of the Mexican food. Turned in early and had a quiet night. Doing some ride report, office work and watching TV.

Matt took off for the afternoon and went scouting the various beaches south of La Paz but before San Jose. He is headed back north to Loreto or there abouts on his way to San Diego to see his grandparents and load his bike back on the truck to go back to Colorado. He took these photos:







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Old 04-19-2012, 09:53 AM   #18
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Day 12, April 12th – 10 miles, La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico to Topolompo, Sinola, Mexico

In the morning we packed up and parted ways with Matt. Then Zack and I headed down around 10 to get some gas, go to the ATM, etc. and head toward the ferry knowing we had to show up around 12:30.

Not 2 blocks from the hotel Zack’s GSA dies and goes completed dead along the boardwalk at a stop. I saw him stop and circled back a couple of blocks to see what was what. Bike completed dead electrically. Nada.

So Zach pulls off the seat to check the battery and it turns out he had installed the seat incorrectly the day before and the cross bar was sitting on the battery cables. Well it wore thru the cables and shorted out the whole battery.





We were uncertain if there was any permanent damage, but decided for him to go to a Suzuki store we saw when we filled up at the Pemex to see about a battery. So we took out the old battery, put it in my top case and he took off on my bike.

Well the Suzuki dealer did not have it but he sent Zack up the road to an auto parts store that did have a battery that would fit. But it is dry and it would take an hour to fill it and charge it. It worked and we were back on the road around 12:30 and headed toward the ferry. Got there around 1:00 and went thru customs and got in line behind the cars.



About 10-15 minutes later the line started moving as they loaded the ferry with passenger vehicles. We were directed to the 2nd level and did what we could to secure the bikes. There was nothing to tie the bike down to in this level, but we decided they should be OK.





On the ferry we met a couple of experienced Copper Canyon riders (Chris and Larry) and had a couple of beers while they discussed possible routes with Zack. He has all the maps, Inmate notes and GPS routes.



Got to Topo and offloaded at the end of the line. Our compatriots led us to the Marina Hotel just off the ferry a little ways and we secured 2 rooms for 500 Pesos a night. Place was OK and it was 11 pm so I was happy to be down for the night.

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Old 04-22-2012, 07:42 PM   #19
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4 Days in Copper Canyon: An Overview

My General Approach

I never ever had a plan to do Copper Canyon, at least not like what we actually did. I had never met any of these guys, was unsure of who was really going to do what, etc. I figured I would go along as far as I liked and felt good about the situation. I knew I was not going to do Copper Canyon by myself, no matter what.

I assumed there was a high probability that I would just do Baja or at the most I would take the “easy” approach to Copper Canyon. The canyon is so huge that most of it does not have any roads, including dirt. For example, I took the road from San Juanito after Creel to Bachurichic and it was along the canyon, high elevation, absolutely no traffic. It connected to Mex 16 which I swear I drove at least 4-5 hours never getting up to 4th gear it was so windy.

My preparation was limited. My technical dirt skills are limited. I am 54 and I cannot pick up the bike by myself… But after travelling with Zach, who was prepared and had the skill, I figured I would go along and just back out if it got too hard. Such a plan!

The general Route Plan

I was following along with Zach. He had a somewhat of a plan and a variety of GPS maps and routes. Which was:

Day 1 – Los Mochis to Tubarse (where there is no lodging)
Day 2 – Tubarse to Ctown (was supposed to be short and most technical)
Day 3 – Ctown to Urique to Batipolis (via the “new” road without GPS tracks)
Day 4 – Batipolis to Creel and beyond

My Bike and the Crashes

Given my general lack of a clear plan on what I was doing, my bike was not as prepared as it should have been. I did not have crash bars and I was running Metzler Tourance tires and I had the Vario panniers. All of these “bad” choices would come into play as we did the road from Urique to Batipolis.

I had a number of lay downs or crashes with the bike during these 4 days. The bike had never been down before in over 16,000 miles. A couple were the fault of the installed equipment, a couple were the lack of rider skill and at least one was unexpected bike failure. I will number each of the crashes for reference and will describe within each day’s report.

The 4 days will be remembered for the rest of my life. I thank Zach for dragging me along on this adventure and helping me get the bike back upright each time.


Yes, this can be seen as long winded excuse for my lack of skill!


Also, can I get my "Adventure Rider" patch now that I have done Copper Canyon? I want to put it right next to the "Stupid Dumbshit " patch I also earned.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:20 PM   #20
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Day 13, April 13th – 150+miles, Topolompo, Sinola, Mexico to Tubarse, Sinola(?)

Zack wanted to get going early and he seemed to have a better idea of the time commitments for each day. So we were up and out of the Marina hotel before 7 am. Secure parking at the Marina even if you have to go down and up the handicap ramp. Photos from the Hotel Marina are below.







Tracking map of where we went this day….



We traveled from Los Mochis to El Fuerte to Choix. Stopped for gas and headed down the road toward Tubares. Turned into new pavement and we thought we were on the right road, but we got stopped at a reservoir. Backed up a ways, took another road and were down a couple of miles when we were stopped by a man and his two sons. We asked if this was the way to Tubares and he said emphatically “No Tubares, No Tubares”. So we back tracked the cow track we were on and passed a dark window SUV heading down the road. Maybe the emphatic response from the man was to make sure we did not stumble upon something we shouldn’t? I think so!

Crash #1 – “Alluring Rock”

So my first “spill” was actually a pretty major crash. I was going down this dual track for lack of a better definition and the road turned to the left with a sloped corner. There was a football size rock in the middle of the road and I tried to go up the bank to go around it, but my front wheel turned and I hit the rock head on, dropped the bike and launched over the bars. Bike ended up pointed downhill on its side. Seems I hurt my ankle a little, jammed a finger and did something to my chest. A week later I self-diagnosed this as bruised ribs as it still hurt to take a large breath or cough

My subsequent self-analysis of the situation is that I was too focused on the rock and did not look forward to where I wanted the bike to go. I also give some blame to the front tire not holding on the smooth rock that was to the right of the “Alluring Rock”. But I should have done better, bottom line. Damage to the bike was the left hand cover and a few scratches. No picture of the crash as I was mad as hell. Zach picked up the bike.

Pictures along the wrong way…







We eventually found the “correct” road to Tubares and started to make some tracks….The road starts pretty easy, but then has a few medium type sections, but nothing really hard. But it was hot, and dusty. It was a full day by the time we pulled into Tubares at the “Restauranti” . Which is really just someone’s house with a little supply store.

Zach walked in and asked the owner/lady who was rocking a baby (grandchild) in the living room if we could get something to eat. She did not seem very enthusiastic to say the least, but said “Si”. So we each drank a bottle of water, Tecate and then had 3 tacos or something. My first, but not last, experience with people making a living by opening their homes for business.

So we sat in the “living room” having our dinner, in our gear, in the dust, while the family just goes about their business. The daughter (mother of baby?) came by a few times, ignored us, dressed in designer jeans, et al, but they she did have to feed the pig before she went out. Her “boyfriend or husband or whatever”, came by to get her and had a large caliber pistol in his back waistband. We later learned his name was Juan and he was very friendly, just as long as we were not in his “girlfriend’s” house!

Zach asked about hotel or lodging, the lady said she would make up a couple of rooms if we wanted, but we declined. We assumed that meant someone in the family was going to sleep who know where!

BTW, as we sat after our dinner, the PIG walked over from his/her pen and wondered around the kitchen looking for scraps. And a dirty pig it was…I wanted a picture for you all but thought it might be rude if the lady caught us!

















Since we “declined” on the lodging, we had to come up with something else. Zach suggested sleeping under or near the bridge as recommended by the guys on the ferry. I recommended we ask someone before we took the liberty. Zach went up to the ranch above the bridge and as a man who was clearly the “Boss” of the place. He had the beautiful wife and the big hat! He said it was fine.

So we drove down to the river, under the bridge and cooled our feet. Juan came by and stopped to talk. It seems he has a ranch down the way for which his road is under the bridge along the river rocks. He came by again and shows us the big onions he grows. Seems the river is a busy place on a Friday night. Both with the cows and the people. Pictures from the “campsite”







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Old 04-22-2012, 08:54 PM   #21
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Steve. So glad to hear all went well. Wise choice not to be "in" the girlfriend's "house". Can't wait to get a bit of the rest of the story. Sounds like much more of an adventure than the luxurious accommodations of the Baja. Keep it coming.

Matt
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:58 PM   #22
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Welcome back to the USA!

Good to hear your back in the country. How was the trip? any other adventures? I have been using some of your pictures because they are way better than mine.

I will work on Copper Canyon Day 2 tomorrow.
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:16 PM   #23
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Can't say how great it was to travel with some good people. Great getting to know you a bit.

Was lucky to hook up with some Italians from LA for the jaunt north, and of course hung out with Idaho Dan and his sexy wife when I got back from La Paz. So I was never really solo for long.

Once I left La Paz, I headed back to Santispac. The Stanley Low Life was still there, along with close to a dozen Aussies, Irish, and Brits. He had a marg in my hand before I got my helmet off. They harvested some scallops, so we had a feast. Tequila flowed. Dan offered up his Suzuki,and half a handle of agave juice, for entertainment, and we terrorized the beach.
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:47 AM   #24
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Day 14, April 14th – maybe 50 miles, Tubarse, Sinola to Cerocahui

Waking up on a bridge foundation in Mexico in the middle of nowhere is not something I thought I would ever do, but here we are! Another sunny day in Mexico! The cows are here and a person walks across the river every so often.

Today, the plan is to ride to Cerocahui via Piedras Verdes and Mesa de Arturo. It is supposed to be both a short ride and a pretty technical ride. Zach tells me it should be the most difficult of the trip, so we pack up early. Zack brews some coffee and we each have a cup and off we go.

The ride is definitively more difficult than the day before. Steeper climbs and drops and some soft pulva (sp?) or whatever it is. Some of the rock is pink and I remember coming around this one corner (slowly) and the road just drops straight down with this fluffy pink powder dirt. I was thinking, how in the hell will I be able to keep the speed down and not drop this monster. But I made it.

Nobody around until we get up to the mining area and then a few trucks. As we reach the top, there is a wonderful cool breeze and pine trees. Views of the canyon are amazing! Along with the sheer cliff faces and vertical drops next to the road without any shoulder or margin for error. And people living along the mountain sides in places you would never imagine. Road is fun, just watch out for the donkeys, horses, sheep, trucks, rocks, missing road segments and an occasional person waiting for a truck to come by to give them a ride. This is what Zack came for, I just followed. Pictures from the ride:













I have read comments regarding how the pictures from CC don’t reflect the true vertical climb. Now I understand. This road is definitively steeper than it looks!







After Mesa de Arturo, we descend down toward Cerocahui, a village that Zack says is higher, cooler and has better lodging options compared to Urique. Here is a photo of the village as we descend:



Drove thru town looking for some hotel that Zack had notes on from another Advrider. Decided to stay at the Mission Hotel right next to the church and the square. It was a wonderful place and quite a step up from sleeping under the bridge. Room was $1000 Pesos which included breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Definitively the place to stay if you are looking in that area. Kind of a resort type place. Photos:



















They take their security seriously! Look at the barbed wire fence. It was electrocuted too.



Food was good. No television or Internet, but very peaceful.
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:19 AM   #25
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Day 15, April 15th – 1st Segment, 25 miles, Cerocahui, Chihuahua to Urique, Chihuahua

I split this day into 3 segments since it was a very long and for ease of writing…

The first segment is the ride from Cerocahui to Urique. I bought 20 liters (about 4 gal) in Ceracahui and did the ride up to Mesa de Arturo, down to Urique and then up and over to Batopilas and was out of gas. It was only 50 miles and I burned over 4 gallons of the "gas" in that 1 day. So I think 12 miles to the gallon, and yes it was up hill but also downhill....

We backtrack up to Mesa de Arturo where the road splits and we head down to Urique. Zack says it is about a 4,000 foot vertical drop. Road is pretty good and makes for a nice ride. Still have to go slow around the switchbacks!









A look back at the road down as we enter Urique:



Photos from the town:







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Old 04-25-2012, 10:58 AM   #26
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Day 15, April 15th – 2nd Segment, 25+ miles, Urique, Chihuahua to Batopilas, Chihuahu

We did not stay long in Urique as we knew we had a long ridge ahead of us. We went looking for the “new” road to Batopilas. Headed south out of town and asked a few folks along the way. Took the road along the river, it was a precursor of the rest of the day. Not a good road in sections at all. It took us down to the river and across and up the hill.

Zack scouted out the crossing and determined it was maybe 1-2 feet deep. Some less, some more depending on where you were. The town folks had lined the river with rocks to show where to cross. So we took off to cross the river.

Looking back.


Crash #2 - I started out ok on the river bed leading up to the crossing, but here is where my lack of knobbies came into play. Front just pushed the rocks and the back decided to slide. No big deal, pick it up and go. I asked Zack to ride it across since I thought my short legs would not be able to keep the bike up in the river if is started to slide…He had no problems but did mention how much harder my bike was to keep upright compared to his GSA with the Heidenau K60s.





The ride up the hill…











This picture shows the top of the climb from Urique and was taken at the sign. This section is not long, but very steep and very tough for bike bikes.



We got up to the top ok and rode along the rim and down and up and down and up. Seemed like it was teasing us. And it was hot and dry! No cars, no people, nothing but beautiful country and great vistas. A few tricky sections, but there was no turning around…

Crash #3 – Sliding on a corner
As we were going up and down along the rim, I came into a downhill corner to an uphill section and hit a “puddle” of fine brown sand and the front tire just did not go thru it, just pushed it and I went down again softly. Now the tires were starting to get into my head and I was losing confidence.

Crash # 4 – Engine stall and wheelie
This was the big dump. I was up on the pegs going up a “dry riverbed” type road and the bike was bouncing along the rocks and the engine stalled. No gas, nothing, for about a second. Then the gas came back in a rush, the bike wheelied and came down facing the other direction. I was fine, bike took a hit. Right pannier was broken off along with the bracket and along with some scratches, etc.

We got her up (thanks Zack!) and down to a kinda flat section of the road. Took a damage assessment, determined we could double zip tie the bracket back to the bike and cargo strap the pannier to make it secure. Worked. But now I was wondering about the bike so I decided to stay off the pegs and slow down (as if that was really possible I was going so slow anyway!).

Note: I stopped by Iron Horse Motorcycles in Tucson on my way back and discussed this with them. They said they had found that the extra weight (as small at it is) of the Touratech side stand foot print enlarger could cause the side stand to swing more than it should and that could have cut off the power for a second. They said some riders with this configuration carry a bungee cord and tie it up before they do any really rough riding. Good idea.

BTW. The services guys at Iron Horse checked out my issues or potential problems with a clear knowledge of the bikes and problems. Tucson being a huge off road market and the see all kinds of damage from crashes, etc. And they did not charge me anything! Thanks Jim!

Crash #5 – Downhill slide

My last crash of the day occurred just as we were starting down steep switchback on the top face of the canyon. Going downhill into a left turn and the front wheel just pushed in a soft section of rock. Now my confidence was gone, I was tired, I was hot, I was cranky and I had a 2 thousand foot drop along the road and I was unsure how the bike would hold the ground. I went as slow as I could and managed to keep her upright.

I took this picture of myself in my room at Juanita’s hotel just to show how hot, dirty, tired, sun burnt and dehydrated I was, but that I was still alive. I could definitively not been successful if not for Zack helping each time I biffed. I am sure he was getting tired of picking up the bike and of going so slow.



I hope to have some more photos or videos taken by Zack of this section....
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:16 AM   #27
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Day 15, April 15th – 3rd Segment, 0 miles, Batopilas, Chihuahua

Stayed at Juanita’s. Secure parking, 200 Pesos, hot water, just off the main square. You do have to ride your bike thru the main hallway and into her court yard.















Photo from around the town:







We ate both dinner and breakfast at Dona Mica’s. Excellent!



My temporary fix to the pannier problem...

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Old 04-25-2012, 11:18 AM   #28
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loving this adventure!
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Old 04-25-2012, 01:03 PM   #29
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Hey Soos: Nice report. Good to hear you made it. I also earned one of those "adventure dumbshit" stickers.

John
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Old 04-25-2012, 01:33 PM   #30
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[QUOTE=SoosCreek;18540815]







Hey Soos, that is the patch of grass where we kicked the boots and gear off and heard the water sizzle as we soaked the dawgs. At first I did recognize your water crossing pic, until I saw the house across the way. The water was up where all the guide stones were under water when we crossed. Some locals were sitting in front of the house watching when we crossed. I'm sure they have seen a few gringos get wet in that crossing.

Good report.
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