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Old 07-31-2013, 09:07 PM   #61
Umarth OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoGoGavin41 View Post
Jason!

So glad we happened upon you the other night. Hope you enjoyed your time here in San Diego, and good luck in Mexico/Argentina/Beyond. See you down the road somewhere...

-Gavin/Kathryn/Ron/Pam
Same here! thanks again for the great hospitality! And convey my thanks to your dad for flipping the bill for supper: feel bad that I didn't get a chance to do it my self, it jus slipped my mind. Had a great time with you and your family :)

Now, GGG, time to take that monster of a bike of yours off road!!! Go! Go!
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Old 07-31-2013, 10:02 PM   #62
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Fleeing down south

Days: 35
Where: The Oregon coast

After I left Gunner, I stuck to the highway. My goal was to barrel down the west coast to get to Mexico as quickly as possible. There where two motivation behind that plan: (1) the US is damn expensive and (2) I've already spent 3 months a few years ago roaming the area and did not feel the need to repeat the experience.

And that's how I ended up zipping by the Washington state without even stopping for gas or food. We stopped in Portland for the night and go a shit hotel but it had WiFi, so can't complain to much.

Before leaving the next morning I phoned around for a few parts that where needed for Big O (tire and head light among others) and ended up ordering them from the very same dealer, near Santa Barbara, that I had used 3 years ago when in the region. Was funny as I didn't even realise it until he asked if i'd ever done business with them and I realized that had. what a small world1!

The sad part was that the parts where not in his inventory and had to be ordered from KTM, which meant a week's delay before I could get the parts! That kinda threw a monkey wrench in my plans of zipping through the US... So I looked at the map and saw Yosemite national park. Not a bad place to visit, no? :) So I decided that I would follow the 101 to San Francisco and then point Big O towards Yosemite.

But before that, we had the gorgeous coast of Oregon to follow. It reminded me of the Cabot Trail, back in Canada. Only, much much longer. :)











This was taken from a beach right on the side of the 101, where I stopped to have lunch. I know, I know, my life is hell...



The last time I was in California with a motorbike, one of the things that I really wanted to see was giant sequoia trees, but being winter at the time, I never got to see any. Well, while going down the 101 in Oregon I saw a little sign indicating a scenic route that follows the 101. This is what I came across:





One more thing I can cross off the bucket list! Pee on a f'n big tree... :p

Here's a nice tunnel we went through at some point. Can't remember if that was still in Oregon or if we had already crossed into California.



And this is where we ended up camping for the night. Nice little campground about an hour north of San Francisco. There was no room left but I pleaded a bit and the dude in the booth said: well, technically, you are on a bike so I guess I could let you setup your tent in the bike and hiker area... :)



Big O's take on the days events
I'm not in the habit of worrying but I admit that I'm stating to. My rear tire has nothing left as far as thread goes and he's gonna ride me for a week before changing it? In hellishly hot conditions? this ain't gonna end well... :/

Umarth screwed with this post 08-01-2013 at 09:15 PM
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Old 07-31-2013, 10:39 PM   #63
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Oil change #2

Day: 37
Where: just out side King's Canyon (Sequoia national park)
Odo: 12300

Nice day of riding, going from chilly on the coast to freaking hot in Fresno. Ended up camping up a dirt track that snaked off the road in Sequoia national park. Nice and secluded, perfect for the nefarious activies I had planned for the evening!



Unfortunately, started to rain just I was getting the instruments of torture out. But fear not, my captive audience, we came up with a fix for that too...



The oil change went without a hitch. And thanks to gateraid, who so thoughtfully made a bottle with 593ml, filling the frame with oil does not require any guessing (manual states to put 600ml of oil in the frame).



And with one 1.5 liter water bottle (top cut off) to catch the oil coming out of Big O and two 1l bottles to contain it and add a roll of paper towels and you get zero trace on the ground of the nefarious deed! :)

Big O's take on the surgery
Aaaah! That feels better! And look, again my insides seem to be behaving quite nicely!


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Old 08-01-2013, 09:13 PM   #64
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To much of a good thing...

Day: 38
Where: King's canyon national park, California

The day started ludicrously early as I did not care to be discovered by some park ranger on a power trip, considering that I was camping on hallowed ground without permission nor having payed the all mighty U.S. government.

So I hopped back on Big O at 6am and went about exploring King's canyon. Yes yes: King's canyon, not Yosemite! After chatting with a nice chap at a gas station, I concluded that I could do without the flood of vacationing tourist in motor homes. So I skipped Yosemite in favor of kings canyon which is almost as nice and deserted by the Legions of retirees and family feuds...

Really nice park and deserted! And, Oh My God! The twistees! Heavenly! Simply Heavenly!

Here are a few pics of the place. Didn't really feel like hiking, oddly enough, so all the pics are from the side of the road.







Here we have a good example of the twisties. You have two layers of them. The first layer is obvious on the right, but look to the left and you will see that the roads winds down all the way!



The sad thing was those damn RV's!!!! Going so slow that they ruin the twisties for every one else! Selfish old bastards!!!

But, as with everything, it would seem that it is true and that you can have to much of a good thing! after about 4hrs of these crazy twisties, I was still in them and was looking at an other 200km of this before breaking out of them! Shit on the Dragon's Tail! This is where the twisties reside!!



Well, lucky for me, we came across a motel along this highway and that's where I called it quits for the day...

Big O's take on the day's events

And it was all the more welcome, that motel, as it had been raining for the last hour which had been forcing us to slowdown to RV speeds! Imagine the ignominy of it!!! Was almost enough to make me shed tears of shame!

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Old 08-01-2013, 09:18 PM   #65
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Speck of dust.

Days: 39
where: death valley, California
___

Was nice to wake up in a bed, I must admit. And luxury of luxuries: I even had breakfast at the motels restaurant! All fed and Big O all saddled up, we departed for the next leg of the 190. In other words: a shit load of twisties for an other good hour!



And by twisties, this is the shit I'm talking about:



We eventually emerged from the twisties onto slow winding roads and here I though we where gonna make good time. That was counting without the thunder storm that raged here last night while I was calmly drooling in a motel pillow. The road was littered with debris. You had the whole gamut of junk of the tarmac: sand, gravel, pebbles, boulders, trees braches, you name it and it was on it. I think I even saw a peace of Merf Griffin! Our planned route even ended in a washout and had to urn around and re-route.

An hour or two later we emerged onto highway 395. And, god damn it, there was a sign just teasing me: Death Valley 225km! The thing is, it's fracking July and death valley is the hottest place on earth that I know of. Just a few days back, they reached 54deg C (or 130F for you American royalists). and Death Valley just so happens to be one of those irresistible and magical places for me. But god damn! 54c! That's hot! And in full motocross gear to boot!

That's when my brain did what it's been trained to do all these long years: it rationalized it!

"He, it would be a great test for the bike ad your gear! To see if they can handle the heat. If they pass that test, then your golden for central America. Plus, you are 7 months late on your planed visit to the place. Remember, you where suppose to be on Telescope peak for your 40th!"

And so I pointed Big O north, towards Death Valley and 2-3 hours later...




Just before entering D.V., I could not help myself but take the same picture I took of my old VMax last time I was here.

Then...



What I bike that was!!

And now...


Almost looked like some stupid politician had decided to nuke the valley there for a second!




Last few times I was in D.V. it was winter and the campgrounds where full. Full as in no room left. Well, it would seem that july is not quite the same. We where a woping 3 campers in the whole campground! can't say that I minded it one bit...

Here are a few pics of D.V. that I took before hitting the sac.








One of the benefits of it being so hot, no need to get the gas stove out to heat up a can chowder!!



After an hour in the sun, it was quite warm! hahaha

And in token of my missed date with Telescope peek for my 40th...



It's now 10pm, in death valley, the stars our out and so is the moon, casting a gibbous light on the valley's walls, in an empty campground. Gazing at all this, I can't help but feel like a very tiny little speck of dusk in the middle of a very big universe... But this speck of dust can't help but smile at where life has taken him and is quite brimming with hope as to what the future has in store for him...

Big O's take on the days events
*pant*
*drool*
*pant*
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:24 PM   #66
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Getting dirty

Days: 40-43
Where: Santa Barbara, California
Odo: 13700km

Happy I got to see Death Valley again, but it was now time to continue on and get to Santa Barbara for the parts that I'd ordered for Big O. That took all day as we came out of death valley by the southern end: furnace creek to Santa Barbara 600km.

Bright and early the next morning (well kind of... noon...) we got to the dealership and took possession of some stuff. Changed the rear tire right there in the parking lot.



The bad news was that I noticed that Big O had crapped his crush drive bearing. Good thing he has 2! Hopped back in side the dealership and asked for some bearings. No luck! Not in stock, but he did give me the address of a dealer in L.A. that does have it in stock. Oh well, was kind of expecting it. Again, I'm seeing just how great my dealer in Montreal is. He stocks just about every part that you wear out normally.

So, once the tire changed, was time to hunt for a camping site and finish up installing the rest of the parts that I just got. Found one 30min outside of Santa Barbara. The perfect place: bike in the shade! :)



Here's Big O naked ready to be fawned upon and Karma looking a bit worried about life...


So I replaced Big O's low beam casing, his two front break rotors, radiator cap, radiator fluid (as I had to add water a few times, cap was spewing all the time), checked valve clearances (all good) and changed spark plug. Speaking of which here is a pic of it. Wonder if it's indicating a lean condition? It was more gray than brown...



And hunted down the oil leak that was coming from the top of the engine.



I thought I would have to re-do the liquid Gasket, which is a job I absolutely despise as it takes forever to clean off the old one. But turns out that it was one of the front bolts that was loose and oil was coming out of it's Chanel. Me a happy camper let me tell you!! :)

Once all dressed back together, went for a ride in the mountains just overlooking Santa Barbara. Another great road with lots of tight turns and no traffic! :)



Big O's comments of the day
Poor bastard! He thought he had that oil leak plugged, but it isn't! It's much less now but still, I'm still weeping some...
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:38 PM   #67
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Leaking bolts

Hi Jason,
i don't know which bolt was loose and leaking, but if it was one the bigger allen {m 8} bolts you should check and make sure they are not reversed... The front and back are different lengths and if you reverse them the longer bolt will bottom out before it fully tensions the cover down and then will leak...
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Old 08-02-2013, 03:36 AM   #68
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Great rr so far, really enjoying it!

How many kms did the rear Mitas tire last?

Might check a bearing shop if the other KTM deal doesn't have stock. Will most likely be cheaper to...
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Old 08-03-2013, 06:57 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gunnerbuck View Post
Hi Jason,
i don't know which bolt was loose and leaking, but if it was one the bigger allen {m 8} bolts you should check and make sure they are not reversed... The front and back are different lengths and if you reverse them the longer bolt will bottom out before it fully tensions the cover down and then will leak...
Was one of the short outer ones. Front/left.
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Old 08-03-2013, 07:00 PM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juames View Post
Great rr so far, really enjoying it!

How many kms did the rear Mitas tire last?

Might check a bearing shop if the other KTM deal doesn't have stock. Will most likely be cheaper to...
Yeah, tried that. Called the bearing shops I could find in San Diego and nobody had them in stock. Much much cheaper but would still have had to wait a week.

So I just installed my spare one and ordered some from a ktm dealer in Mexico City. They should arrive just as I do too. :)

As for the mites, they lasted 13000km. But at that time, they where toast. Asphalt and sand, not to steep, they where still ok, anything else and they would not have given much if any traction...
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Old 08-04-2013, 12:50 PM   #71
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Nice trip.
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Old 08-07-2013, 09:17 AM   #72
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Finding Nemo, I mean bearrings...

Where: San Diego
Days: 43-46

Arrives in San Diego as the sun was setting. Had absolutely no clue as to where I'd be staying the night so I followed the gps until it stated that I had arrived in San Diego.

Now, needed to find accommodations for the night so I turned into a parking lot and starting looking at map for a likely place for free WiFi so I could find a hotel. As I was fiddling with the gps, out of the corner of my eye I spotted a nice sounding ktm 990 at the stop light. Apparently he spotted Big O also as he promptly jumped the mid lane curb and scooted on to my parking lot. Gavin and his wife where the riders of the 990.

Chatted a bit and ended up invited to their place for a chat and, if I cared, could make use of there couch for the night! Gotta love the ktm crowd! :)

A had a few things to attend to before heading out to their place, food among others. The restaurant I was at had WiFi so I took to opportunity to book a hotel for the following three days as price being really good.

After my errands, picked up a bottle of red and headed over to Gavin's place. I also met his parents as they where visiting. Really nice evening with all of them. Hearing of my woes with my bearings, Gavin volunteered his tools if I needed and his parking. Hard to say no to that, but I ended up finding, by pure chance, a ktm dealer that swapped in my spare set for free! Would have loved to see that happen at MotoInter in Montreal... As if!

Two days later they invited my for dinner at a nice restaurant. Here are my hosts:



As for my bearings, seems that they are really rare and none of the bearings shops I found in San Diego had them in stock and would have take at least a week to get them. Instead of waiting, I figured I could have my friend in Mexico City order them and I'd just pick them up when I get there in approximately 2weeks...

Next stop: Baja California via Tijuana!!
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Old 08-07-2013, 09:57 AM   #73
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Welcome to Mexico!

Where: Baja California
Day: 47

Prior to crossing the border I'd obviously researched on what that entailed and so I knew that the border crossing would require a few steps: (a) immigrations, (b) imports and (c) insurance.

Imigrations is quite simple, as long as you know that you need to look for it as no one will bother to suggest it, that's where you get a tourist visa. The odd thing about Mexico, is that if you stay within 50km of the border, you can stay for as long as you like and not need a visa. That's the reason why they don't automatically send you to the immigration office. A perplexing thing also is that, at the Tijuana crossing, the immigration office is not even indicated. It's just a little 10x10 feet room with a small desk and a couple of dudes shooting the shit all day. Anyway, after asking around a lot, I found it and got my visa for 180 days, the maximum allowed.

The next stop was the Aduana office. Easier said than done! This is the place where you temporarily import your vehicle if you intend on going farther than 50km from the border. Took me 3hrs to find the place as no one at the border knew where it was. They just had a vague idea, so you can be sure that any directions they gave where complete and utter crap.

I ended up getting a good tip from a clerk at a hotel, that I just stopped at to ask. She pointed me in the right direction, then an other person pointed me down a street that had an building with 'importation de vehiculos' on it. And, happy me, just be side it, an other sign with : insurance!

I went to the insurance first and took a good hour got Big O insured. When the dude that sold me the insurance heard that I needed to import the bike, he told me that the next door building was not the one I was looking for, but gave me perfect direction to the actual place. Really nice and helpful fellow. As for importing Big O, once I was at the Aduana, things took like 15minutes!

So I'm all set! Me and Big O are ready, willing and able for Mexico!

Big O's take on things

Let's pray that it's not to hot, for clean twisty roads, and some mind blowing trails!!!



Oh, and Tijuana, just like any other city. Some nice places, others less so. But no reason to fear. Just stupid bad press from the media that have nothing better to write...
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Old 08-15-2013, 10:07 PM   #74
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Baja California

When: August 1st to August 6th
Where: Baja California, Mexico

Our first real day in Baja found us going south along the west coast of the peninsula. The weather was quit nice, somewhere around 22deg Celsius and sunny with a nice little breeze coming off of the ocean: perfect temperature for riding.

Highway One hugs the coast for quite a bit but not right at the edge. At one point, I decided it was time to see if we could find a our way onto the beach, so we just jumped off the tarmac at random and cut across country to see if we could find an access. As luck would have it, we found one within 30 minutes!



I'd read that the driving in Mexico was quite dangerous (donno, seems pretty much the same as Montreal to me, but with less cops to poo on your party) and as a consequence lots of people die on the road. Mexicans make these shrines right on the side of the road, to commemorate the deceased at the location of the accident. Some of them can get quite elaborate as this next picture illustrates.



Driving along we started seeing these big cacti forests. It was strange to see as where the cacti where just as dense your typical northern forest, only the cacti have no branches which lends them a very desolate feel to them. And some of those cacti get quite big!



Not only big, some are die hard Christians it would seem. I'll refrain from drawing any conclusions and/or parallels between the vegetable sort and the biped sort of believers...



I can't help but be reminded of Mount Doom when I see this mountain. Can't be sure but from what I could see of it while going half way around it, it looked like a real, but very dormant, volcano. Could be wrong, but I like to think it was...



At about half way south of the peninsula, the road turned east on us and left behind the pacific coast. Too bad as the nice cool air would suddenly change into this really hot and humid soup that made life quite uninteresting for us.

Right in the middle of nowhere, I noticed that the voltage indicator was indicating that Big I was not generating enough juice to power the head light. That was bad as I'd already seen symptoms of the voltage regulator wanting to crap out in Death Valley.

When we first left of the trip, I could have one head lamp on and charge my tablet at the same time or have both head lamps on and the voltage indicator showed that all was fine. By the time we got into Death Valley, I could no longer charge and have a head lamp on at the same time. And now, it would seem that even just one head lamp was to much!

So I ended up doing a mod that an in mate from the adventure rider's forum had suggested (thank's Luke) which was run a direct ground connection to rectifier. Found some nice shade to do the work under.




Which solved the problem as the voltage went right back up, but I'm still not convinced that my rectifier is not on it's way out. In La Paz, I decided to try and find a generic rectifier that would fit or could be made to fit Big O and carry it as a backup if ever it did crap out. Cause, no rectified, no go!

We passes by a region that cultivate tomatoes. And apparently, as I was later told by some locals, this is what comes with tomato plantations.



Here's is a shot of the from the hotel lobby at which we stayed at in La Paz.



Once I had secured a rectifier that would fit Big O, it was time to hit the ferry to El Mochis. But, I got to the ticket office 30min to late so had to spend an extra day in La Paz, which is of no real interest. Ended up going to the beach and downing a few beers while reading an Abercrombie novel.





The last night we where in La Paz we ended up staying at this nice bed and breakfast, la Bonita Casa I think it was called. Spent quite a bit of time chatting with the owner, real nice and chill dude. Turns out that he drive's a chase vehicle for his friend that races the Baja 1000. He almost managed to give me the urge to want to do the Baja 500. Almost...


Big O's take on the days events


But seriously! Beaches??!? They f'n suck dude! You get salt all over you, sticky sand everywhere and shit. Who in there right mind would do that? Oh right... Him... Never mind...



This is more where I Iike to be...



And,

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Old 08-25-2013, 10:11 PM   #75
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Looking for some Copper

days: 54-56
where: Creel, Chihuahua, Mexico
odo: 18800KM


Route:


From Los Mochis, we headed north-north-east to Copper Canyon of which I had seen pictures of whilst browsing Google Map. The place seemed very promising and a quick gain in altitude was definitely not going to make me sad: it's really uncomfortably hot on the coast! Hot and humid. erk

Took a whole day to get to Creel, which is a tourist town right on the edge of Copper Canyon. My idea was to get there, find a hotel that would babysit Big O for two days while I took the Very scenic train back to El Fuerte and back. Supposedly one of the most spectacular train rides in the world.

The last stretch of road that brings you to Creel is hightway 16 and that is an other crazy winding highway! With it fair share of dead bodies on the side of the road, for example:



I ended up staying two days in Creel and not taking the train. I figured doing the back and forth on the train was kind of stupid as I could just use Big O to get me to those places of interest in Copper Canyon.

First day there, following some research on the net for what to see here, I attempted to go to Batopilas which is located some 5-6000 feet down into the canyon.

Here are a few pictures of the road from Creel to Batopilas, even thought I failed to reach it that day...







About 40-60km from Batopilas, you get off the main road and take a side road that is in the process of being paved. They are actually making a federal highway to Batopilas, must probably for the tourists. Here is a look of the decent, or part of it anyway.



But unfortunately, they made some serious engineering mistakes and the road that they've just build is already falling apart:



And here we can see that even big machinery are not immuned to falling pebbles.




So it's back to a dirt road for the descent:



Going down was spectacular, especially with the rain and clouds:




Unfortunately, I had to turn around a bit further down cause the rain was literally turning the road to the consistency of pudding and it was getting close to dark. At moments, my wheels where down to the axels in shit mud!

So we went back to Creel with the firm intent of trying again maniana but leaving earlier in the morning.

The following morning, before heading out for Batopilas, I stopped for some information at 3 Amigos. 3 amigos is a small business that rents ATV's to tourists and gives organized rides to places that are hard to get to by your standard means. The owner was a treasure trove of information and even took the time to draw me a detailed map of how I should go to Batopilas (a tiny town down in the canyon) and then out of Batopilas to El Fuerte. And all that on very fun dirt roads that would be perfect for a bike like Big O.

He also coached me on how to react if I was stopped, while in the middle of nowhere to and from Batopilas, by drug traffickers. Apparently, the region is a major drug growing spot and many different cartels are growing there shit here. One of the things that happens is that you get stopped by dudes with machine guns and shit whole want to make sure that you are not smuggling in guns for their enemies. From what the owner of 3 Amigos said, you just want to get them to understand that you are just a tourist passing through and generaly they just let you go on, laughing at the crazy gringos.

So, following his advice, I opted to drive to the town of Guachochi, stay the night and then head out to Batopilas from there.

Came across this odd specimen on my way to Guachochi. Hey, who are we to judge what other like in jewelry...



Took about 4 hours to get to Guachochi, so I had ample time to do so local site seeing. One of which was a nice view of a canyon that you get to on a road that resembles this:




Seeing as the sun was starting to set, I was going quite fast on this road and what had to happen happened: I hit a stone really hard. Turns out, as I would discover later, I punctured my tube and busted my rim pretty badly. Will teach me not to regularly check the air pressure in my tire... Still, the view was quite beautifull.



Then back to town, had supper and these two teenage girls with there parents came over to chat. they where super friendly and spoke English! they are the owns who told me that there was a water fall right in the middle of town and that I should go check it out. which I did.



After that, found a hotel, noticed that the front tire was flat so patched that up and hit the sack, for tomorrow would have us making a second attempt at getting to Batopilas!!

Big O's take on the day's events

Tried to pull a fast on him while he went off for a wee: hid myself in the grass. It almost worked but he eventually spotted me. Guess orange is not the best color for hide and seek...


Umarth screwed with this post 09-28-2013 at 04:11 PM
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