We approached to border at el paso and the guard simply lifted thed gate and waved us throughout!! We barely had to slow down and after 5 minutes we both felt that was waaaay to easy so we rode back and went inside to ask. Sure enought the second guard said we need a personal permit and a one for motos which we procured after an hour and $900 usd deposit
We had georgeous ride through countryside and 2 days later made it to Creel which is the entry point to Copper Canyon. Getting to Creel we both felt the adventure is finally started. The trip thru US had some good moments but was largely full of BS.
Anyways. Creel is super beautiful landscape but the town forgettable. Town is at 7500′ and full of long needle pine trees, meadows and flintstone like rock formations. Leaving there you start to drop slowly into the canyons and holey hell things change. Shear drops of several thousand feet, rocks littering the road and many many 180 switchbacks. In the amorning we had frost on our seats and now we r in Batopilas , ,the bottom of third deepest canyon in the national park and fo sure it is around 6000′ down and 35 deg C. Colours and vistas are insane and pictures dont even come close.
We are in Tarahumara county, the local indians are athe up over the mountains to Urique. This terrain is easily the craziest road building i have ever seen and we started the ride with a river crossing which was fine as it was concrete toadway under water bit then climb started up up and up. For the life of me we cannot get rolling before 9-10 am and i tried like hell to beat the heat but we lost. On the climb it was sweltering and part way up i had vapour lock in my gas tank so we had to sit for Half hour to let things cool. The higher we got the steeper and looser it became and near the top we hit a crux section at which point we decided to retreat to Bato drenched in sweat. We were only 10 km in on a 75 km route and because of the late start and incredible heat we figured it safer to retreat. We met some mountain bikers the previuos day and they said the other side was more techy and their support van almost went over huge cliff after popping out of park. An adventure for another day.
We rode around back up to Creel and looking at the map the shortest route was due west to the coast and down to Mazatlan. We speculated the road should be good and the going easy as you exit the mountains onto coastal plains. Turns outwe were heading deeper into mountain country, gravel roads snaking along ridges and steep hillsides. Super fun riding but slow.
Oct 5 We rolled into big valley town of Chinipas at valley bottom in the midday heat. At valley bottom a truck w 6 guys all w assault rifles stopped us. Thankfully they were police but no uniforms. Sweating buckets in out goretex the route up out of valley was another crazy gravel road w very steep switchbacks and some serious drop offs on the low side. This was the only other road out of this town aside from the way we came in and we were now comitted. The climb up was a solid 1.5 hours in first gear, we passed a burned out car in the middle of the road.
5000′ of vert and when we got to the pass the adventure began. Tk noticed a puddle under my bike, gas was streaming out from somewhere. I popped the cap and a fountian of hot gas shot 10′ into the air and covered me. Then noticed the cause. My bike was so hot on the climb up my exhaust melted a hole in my stock gas tank so all we could is sit and watch it empty onto the road and be thankful me and the bike didnt go up in flames.
Now what, it was 4 pm, it gets dark at 7, i didnt want to ride the bike and we were way up high. While the road is loco, it is used often so 20 minutes later an SUV stops and Alvaro offers help. Only option is tk goes with him to get help and leave me w bikes because leaving a woman and or motos alone on the mountain a very bad idea around here. Plan is tk will try to find someone in town to come pick up bikes and i up. They leave, all is quiet, i figure it is 50/50 i spend the night up there which is ok as i have all the gear, and some whiskey. Then i hear a rumble and the afternoon thunderstorm hits, which really is not all bad since it has been hot as hell all day but the lightening is unsettling and the road is turning to goose shit. I work to find a place to get the bike up on a bank to load it and not long before a guy in small pickup stops and offers help and i say hell yes. His name is Angel (serious) and he works for sattelite internet company. It is a bit of a scramble getting it tied down in the small bed but it works and i follow down on tks bike. Now, I am affraid of heights and exposure. On the ride up we almost turned back because I was shitting my daks on the loose steep climb but Tk said all is ok just keep going and we did. On the way back down i was so focussed on watching the tie downs on the moto i forgot about the cliffs and all was now ok. 2/3 of th way down we met Tk. Alvaro helped her find this guy, Jose and they were coming for me. It was getting dark by now and the last half hour back to town went smooth, we got a hotel and Jose got us a mechanic, Florencio, in the morning. Angel was awesome and he stuck by us, also took a room and stuck by us to make sure we were ok. After dark the police dissappeared and we had pick up full of armed men haning out around hotel. Angel knew the head guy, said all is good and they hung around until 4:30 am dont inow why. Shit must go down in this town because our hotel is on the outskirt and our room neighbour was local guy w walkie talkie and his job was reporting to someone all traffic in and out of town. We dropped bike off at 9 and by 12 he was done. He had the whole back of the bike apart, the gas tank and all electrics out. Patched the tank w epoxy and wrapped exhaust w some foil insulation, truly amazing, and only charged me300 peos($25 cdn)!!! We gave him a bit more and dropped the customary case of beer and he was stoked. Jose is on the left, tk found him to come to my rescue the night before.
It was midday and too hot to leave so we will spend another night and leave first thing in am. Sorry there arent more pics of the rescue as shit was going down and was not a good time for photos. Here is pic from town of the mountain we had to climb. The pass is in the notch screen centre
Next day we left first thing to beat the heat and we finally managed to crest the hill and come down the backside toward the coast. First 50 kms took us 4 hours but we made it to los mochis and tomorrow we go see my bro Fred in Mazatlan
In closing if i could indulge a couple thoughts on the trip so far…..this is way more work than daily life at home. If i am not stressing about the motorbikes running smoothly it is the weather or the gear or the buggered up place we r stuck in. The heat is oppressive and in all honesty the days pass in relative discomfort. We have been hotelling it so at least we have a shower and cold beer but for example we have 400 km of mexi interstate tomorrow ahead of us. That said, me sitting alone in a thundershower on a mountain top in narco country flanked by a by burnt out car has an odd schadenfreude odour, the situation stinks and i will thought my bike was toast but in a way it was kinda fun and nothing like my typical friday after work mountain bike ride. Cant help thinking we are spending alot of money to be this uncomfortable but “there you go”, tomorrow is another day