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Archive for September 29th, 2009

Day 295 – 29th September 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on September 29, 2009

Tuesday – Creel, Mexico

A day full of twisties, but also extremes of temperatures and road conditions, and I rode after dark, bad, bad boy

I did not sleep very that well, no idea why, but I was up around 6 and decided to get started on yesterdays entry while I had internet. I got this done and by then the bank should be open, so off I went back down the street a few blocks. But, once I got to the counter, they said they only deposit USD, they do not exchange, I have to go to a money exchanger, so now I head back the way I come, where I find a rip off merchant, the current rate should be 13.575, even allowing for some profit, that is way too low, so I only changed a 100, maybe I can find a better place later.

Back up the street and get packed, before heading out around the 10am mark. I was planning on heading to Creel, this was about 550km away and the roads were supposed to be twisty. I fuelled up before leaving and also found a better exchange at the servo, although I had to buy something, so I bought a pack of Burritos to go 🙂

One thing I had been warned about is Topes, these are speed bumps or ‘sleeping policemen’, this particular variety are slippery, but there is usually a gap to squeeze through.

No emission control down here!

The road was pretty straight for the next hour although it looked like a few hills ahead 🙂

There are a few small towns and each of them has Topes, so it is advisable to slow down, some of the paved ones are quite steep.

I found a sort of shady spot where I could have a snack on the Burritos, they actually tasted quite nice 🙂

Juts around some actual corners I see a coal plant, mainly done by hand, putting the stuff into bags, then a small village again with a very well connected small house with a plantation of satellite dishes on the roof 🙂

After a few more straight stretches the windy roads began, this was basically to continue for over 400 km and well into the night, it is funny to write that at this stage as it is only midday. 😕 But, it all started out as fun 🙂

I had another break shortly after this before crossing a major river system and into the first of many hill climbs and descents.

There were some interesting rock formations and I see these religious murals painted on cliffs on occasion, I am not sure what they are there for, but I also saw many shrines along the road.

There is no way that you can go fast on these roads because any right hand bend can give you a surprise, usually a rock fall, of which there were many, this one is minor, there could also be maybe a cow or two around any corner at all!

I had passed a couple of police roadblocks this morning, but the old ‘no hable Espanole’ got me through them, but there were other things to stop for, usually indicated by a single orange cone. In this instance it was a road crew, sometimes surveyors, another time it was a military checkpoint with a full load of guns but I was let through them as well. They seem to like corners, it give people less chance of seeing them prior to being stopped 🙂

The road signage was not too bad, although when the arrow says right hand corner, it sometimes goes on for longer than you expect, be prepared to always back off going into a corner as it is easy to run wide. As I have a knobby front tyre, I was not into full on leans anyway. This road is not for crotch rockets, unless you want to end up as a hood ornament of an oncoming semi using both lanes!

There was a nice lookout around the 256km marker where you could actually pull over and look up and down the valleys where you can see the road on the other side 🙂

Watch out cow!

They have a sign on many occasion, I have decided from experience it mean ‘very tight corner’ or hairpin bend ahead, I reckon I would not be far wrong as there were heaps of these 🙂

Soon after this I arrived at the town of Yacora, I still had 270km to go and it was 2.30pm. I fuelled and watered up here and bought a snack. I was also ‘spoken’ to by a couple of chaps in a wagon, they wore blue shirts but had dodgy hats and no badges, they advised the town was safe and there are many things to look at. I thanked them and said I still had 300km to go until Creel, they then asked if I wanted a smoke, I declined. I am still unsure whether they were local peace keepers or druggos, hard to be sure. I did not stay, but stopped just out of town a few k’s for a break and to eat my snack. As you can see there were clouds starting to form and after the searing heat of the day so far, it was welcome. It was still hot, around 110/40 but it was not that bad with the slow pace needed for the roads, so no blast furnace effect 🙂

Then on I go through some more small villages, slow down and also some real nice rock areas, great scenery, what a shame they do not build spots where you can pull over for a real look.

Another checkpoint going through the next town of Kipor, no photos as you can imagine, before I enter the state of Chihuahua.

For the next little while I watched the weather, it looked like I was in for rain and I soon stopped and donned the wet gear.

This building in progress had some interesting scaffolding holding up the roof 🙂

It is half past 5 and it is starting to get a lot dimmer, mainly due to the rain. I got a bit confused here, I started by turning left, because the 2nd sign said so, but after a few k’s down the road, my GPS insisted go back, that was when I realised that the 2nd sign is actually for the road to the right, here! So, if I turn right, then turn left I should find Creel. Well, my GPS was happy now, anything to please 😆 Btw, due to my camera not being waterproof, it stayed in a waterproof pocket most of the time, so there was a lot of nice scenery only I get to see the once!

It got dark real quick and the road turned to gravel and rocks and a bit of mud occasionally, watch out for Burros!!!

My eyes saw these better than the camera, but the road would alternate, paved then non paved and real rough in those sections, my speed was way down of course and it looked like my destination was still 150km away, not good, my 2nd day in Mexico and I am riding at night, in the rain on dirt roads, but what else could I do at this stage, there was nowhere to go! A lot of the road was being worked on, sometimes it was single track because they had dumped piles of dirt in one lane, one of these photos came out a lot better, I am still getting used to the camera for night operation. Of course I stopped to take these photos!

By half 6 I knew I was in for a long night to get to Creel, the road had stayed dirt for a long time now, so I stopped and deflated the tyres, it was still raining slowly, just enough to be annoying and have the visor down, the vision was better with it up but rain hurts when it hits your eyeball hard enough.

But, as much as I was apprehensive about being out here, I was enjoying it immensely 🙂 The only bad parts were the oncoming semis, the logging trucks and smelling fire and food, then suddenly seeing a small campfire by the side of the road, probably just road workers, but I was not interested in finding out! The bike was handling the road OK, I could see mostly OK so all in all a fun time 🙂

Mind you, when I finally found the paved road again near San Juanito, I was extremely happy 🙂 Now I could sort of make up a bit of time, but with wet roads and the chance of the rocks, burros, cows etc I could not really push it too hard. I nearly ran over an enormous rabbit, huge sucker he was, but missed. I eventually arrived in Creel at around 8.45pm and after a bit of riding around I found a Best Western where I scored a room. My jaw did drop at the price of $100US, but I paid it, I was just glad to be here, I could sort out Copper Canyon tomorrow 🙂

By the time I got sorted into my room, I found that the town was closed, I had lost an hour in time zone changes, so it was now 10pm!!! No food, no beer, by crikey what am I to do! OK, I cooked some noodles and went beer free to bed quite late, I was pretty buzzed about the whole day, a whole million corners with a good percentage in dirt.

I survived, but I will be rearranging my thought processes with respect to how far I can expect to go on Mexican roads.

Day – 362 miles and 583 km
Trip – 38,612 miles and 62,140 km



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