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Archive for October 1st, 2009

Day 297– 1st October 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on October 1, 2009

Thursday – Batopilas, Mexico

VSTROM DOWN!! Read on

We were heading to Batopilas today, but had decided to do it later in the morning to try and let the major traffic go down first, buses etc, it was a major set of dirt switchbacks to get into the canyon. But, first I managed to find internet in the morning so I did an entry before heading into town to find a bank, I needed Pesos, I did find an ATM, but was limited to a small amount, but enough to cover a few days or so. I packed up and inflated the tyres to normal pressure as the first 65km would be paved.

We fuelled up and headed out around 11am, the road was nice for the most part, some gravel in the corners and the temperature was coolish with a cloud layer. Lots of corners of course and it was not long before we stopped at one of the very infrequent lookouts to shed some layers and have a look of course 🙂

As you could see, there were a lot of switchbacks to negotiate and we stopped and took lots of photos when we could. The GPS shows the road from my viewpoint 🙂

We came to the Batopilas turnoff which I though quite funny. Check out this sign.

So, the road straight ahead is highway 25, but the road we were to take to the right was highway XX, or Dos Equies,(Dos Ekkies) the name of a famous and very nice beer, very much to my liking, and who ever planned this road must have been drunk, as we were to find out 🙂 😆 Here at the roadhouse we met some riders from the US who had just come out of the canyon, this is Jeff, Takemi his pillion and Jim, on a GS1200 and KLR650 respectively. We discussed a few things, they said the road was mainly OK, but there were some fresh sections where the graders had been through that may be a bit slippery and there were also some steep sections with loose rocks etc and washouts, not fun, but it is obviously doable, so off we went 🙂

The first section was fine you just had to watch out for Burros!

The road works section was a bit loose and made me a bit nervous as it was downhill which created some rear end slides and there was the occasional little community villages where the ruts and pot holes were bad, but still and all, not too bad up to now, some great photo opportunities and of course there were shrines in many locations, some to thank who ever, that they made it, some because they did not!

As we descended it started to get very hot, it was 1.15pm when we left so we were going down into the hottest part of the day, but traffic was minimal, we did pass a group of photographers at a very nice location, we stopped as you could see straight down to where we were going 🙂 The road on the right is the side we were on, then there is a bridge over the river before following the road on the left, that is a long way down! But, the part we had just done was the easy part, now we were into switchback country, very tight technical corners, bloody donkeys, mountain goats, you can see them up on the ledge and lots of rocks. Loose ones and actual bedrock sticking through!

Did I mention switchbacks? I am sure I did, that is Vincent down there 🙂

We finally get down to the river, cross the bridge where there is a painted figure of the Virgin Mary and head back uphill until we get to La Bofa, a small little village where we stopped for a drink and some chips, we had had no lunch and it was stinking hot!

After about 15 minutes rest and trying to eat with 5 dogs looking hopefully at us, we headed off again, we still had about 28km, so we were half way there but it was now 3.30pm, we had been working hard for the past two hours and it was getting hotter and more humid. We came to a nice view of the road ahead where there must be a junction as one road went up into the mountains and one followed the river.

I was betting the one following the river was going to be ours. From here on the road deteriorated, lots of big rocks, washouts from the last rains and steep roads with hairpin turns thrown into the mix. It all had the inevitable toll and as I came around one loose corner I could see I was on the wrong line for the next one. I had been taking some big hits underneath from the lowered bike and I was trying if possible to stay away from too many big ones. Anyway, I stuffed up and tried to change line and ended up bumping over a big rock trying to avoid a bigger bit of bedrock, and stalling the bike facing side on downhill, not a good position at all 😦 If you look at this you can see the edge of the windscreen to the left of picture, the edge of the fairing at the bottom left and the big bit of bedrock I was trying to avoid.

It is called target fixation and in hindsight I should have taken the hit, but we all know about hindsight, it always too late. Anyway, as I tried to negotiate my way out and around the boulder from a stationary position, but also to miss the big loose rocks to my left and run over the one stuck under my back wheel, I ended up losing my balance and over we went, it was a step off for me while the bike landed heavily and even worse facing downhill and in a crap location 😦

I quickly turned the bike off and of course took out my camera as you do, it looked a difficult thing for me to lift uphill by myself and Vincent was ahead of me but not by much. I took my jacket and stuff off just as a 4×4 came around the corner in front of me and stopped.

He watched as I took some more photos then offered me a hand to move the bike. He had no choice really as I was blocking the road 🙂 We managed to get it upright against the slope and by this time Vincent had walked back uphill to see what was going on, thanks m8 🙂 He had seen the 4×4 go past him and was not sure if I was a hood ornament or not 🙂 I thanked the dude, who was in an expensive truck and was carrying a pistol on his belt and he went around us and on up. We walked the bike down to a spot on the left where I checked out the damage and put all my bags back on again. The main damage was to my dignity, but the Happy Trails Crash Panniers saved the bike from any damage but copped a massive ding and the hand guards saved the controls and levers etc, the front indicator was scratched and dirty but undamaged, which is a wonder, and my front PIAA was knocked around but unbroken 🙂

I was a bit shaken and of course the adrenalin rush made my hands shake a bit, but after a short while I had no choice but to go on, there was nowhere else to go. So, around the next corner I stalled it again in more loose crap which once again made me nervous, but I got through that section fine and we carried on. We still had about 20km to go and most of it was OK, lots of corners a few more hill climbs, lots of pot holes and big bedrock poking through, but finally at 4pm we arrived at the town of Batopilas(Bat Oh Pill As), and wound our way over massive topes and through the streets that followed the river for another few kms, before we found a motel that had come recommended as a place with a lock up for bikes. The photographers were also staying here and were just getting their truck put into the lock up, that is Mike on the left just stepping up on the kerb.

After getting the bikes behind bars, we unloaded some minimal gear and grabbed a room each, only 500p each(about 38USD) and they were comfortable clean but most importantly had aircon, the first thing I turned on when I got inside, it was very humid here!

The old Spanish influence with an inner courtyard with rooms arranged around the outside. Everything had bars on the windows and doors and it turns out this place, up until last year was a major crop grower of grass, the smokeable type of course. The government shut it down but the effects linger, there seemed to be a lot of big new cars here and not much work to be had! Anyway, after a shower we went looking for a beer, after today we needed one 🙂 Vincent was also tired, his bike is not adjusted for his height and all the time he spent standing up on the pegs had been a strain, on top of which he also had some Montezuma’s revenge and had not eaten much today either. After a few beers and a look around, we went to a small place for a feed that we had been told about by the other bikers, but it was not open? So, we had another beer and tried again half an hour later, still not open so we had dinner at Carolinas, just across the road, here we had a great dinner, after we had ordered, the other place opened up, go figure 🙂

After that we had another beer at the first place we had been to, but we got sort of hassled by some dude who wanted to sell us pot or coke or something, even saying ‘No Hable Espanole” had no effect, he was drunk and kept on at us from another table. We left of course as the pub owner came out and just patted him on the head, not a good sign 😯 So, we went back to the motel, I went and bought some beer from a shop and we did some computer work, photo uploading etc and also looked at some maps, each of us having slightly different wants and needs, but some were the same for the journey south. Whatever happened and whichever way we went, our paths would cross as we were on a similar schedule, so we would work something out, whether it was ride our separate ways or ride together for some parts, we would see what unfolds.

During dinner I had mentioned that I may want to stay another day down here, as after what happened today, I was a bit out of confidence and did not really want to ride back up through all that slippery crap. There may be an opportunity of getting the bike put on a truck, who knows, that is for tomorrow to decide. I did not want to quit the ride and also did not want to wuss out on the ride back up, but I had a long way to go over the next four months or so and I could see the limitations of having ducks diease and a heavy bike up those roads tracks. I am allergic to pain, it hurts and I definitely did not want to get hurt, I was not worried about the bike, it was tougher than me, but I also hate picking the damm thing up, it is heavy!! And on steep paths, it would be harder to manage.

Vincent was aware of my feelings and said either way, ride or stay tomorrow is fine by him, so no guilt complex there, although there could be one if I took a truck and he had to ride solo 😕

I hit the sack after another shower around 11pm as I was knackered


Day – 89 miles and 143 km
Trip – 38,612 miles and 62,140 km

Cheers
TravellingStrom

USACanadaMexico

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