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Old 11-30-2018, 08:47 AM   #41
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Re: 9 or 10 to 3: The Copper Canyon Sprint

RIP Jose. Great report Richard.
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Old 11-30-2018, 11:30 AM   #42
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Re: 9 or 10 to 3: The Copper Canyon Sprint

Been following this report closely. Sorry about your loss, Richard.

As someone from Mexico who didn't start riding until I moved to the US, I've been reading all these awesome reports from my side of the border and how fun it is.
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Old 11-30-2018, 04:28 PM   #43
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Re: 9 or 10 to 3: The Copper Canyon Sprint

It was around 2 pm and our first task upon arrival in Batopilas was to secure hotel rooms. Carolina's place is on the main square in town and a popular place with adventure riders so that's where we went. A few minutes later we had procured rooms and were unpacking our stuff.


Unfortunately, there was no electricity in town. Something had happened - a line had been knocked down somewhere - and electricity had been out for a while. Locals were expecting the problem to be repaired later today and, sure enough, they were right. Shortly before dark electricity was restored city wide.

After checking into the hotel we had enough daylight remaining to visit the Lost Mission in the village of Satevo, a few miles down river from Bato so that's what we decided to do.

Once we found the right road, it was fun riding. (Note - it's not always easy finding the right road out of town. There usually aren't road signs and many Mexican maps don't provide sufficient city street detail. More often that not, when I get lost it's in a town that I'm trying to find a particular road out of.)


The road mostly follows the river for a ways, with abundant twists and turns. It's a mix of class 1 and 2 riding - easily ridden with any adventure bike.




After a few miles of up and down and around, we rode around a corner and spotted the lost mission in the distance. The story as I have heard it is that this mission is over 400 years old and it's origin has been lost through time. Who built it and when is unknown. In any case, the local community cares for and uses it regularly.


It was locked when we arrived but a local fellow who introduced himself as Jesus (which I though was appropriate ) quickly showed up with a key. He unlocked the door and invited us to have a look.





Not being content to see things just from ground level, Jeff and Thomas decided to climb the ladders to the upper levels. I stayed on the ground to photographically document the occasion. After all, if you don't have pics, it never happened, right?


Look closely and you will see all three guys in the photo - Jesus, Jeff, and Thomas. Also, I can't ever recall seeing a picture from any other ride report of riders on top of the mission. I've seen lots of pics of adventure riders visiting the mission but not on the roof. I think Jeff and Thomas may be the first! That's going to be hard to top. (Note - see what I did there? Insert a mental cymbal crash noise now. :P)


While we were visiting the mission these boys showed up to have a closer look at the three gringos.
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Last edited by Trail Boss; 11-30-2018 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 11-30-2018, 04:42 PM   #44
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Re: 9 or 10 to 3: The Copper Canyon Sprint

Back in Bato, we rolled our bikes into the courtyard at Carolina's to keep them safe for the evening. Now it was time to goof off, eat, drink beer, and generally waste time. Not necessarily in that order.


Prior to electricity being restored, we had dinner in a tiny local restaurant where the lady cooked our meal on a wood burning stove (no need for electricity when you are cooking with wood). I had eaten at this same restaurant 12 years ago with Uncle and nothing had changed in that time that I could see. The food was still good.

Following dinner, we procured some Mexican beers and drank them on the balcony.

A few hours later, with the electricity back on, we wandered about town with no particular agenda, just taking in the views and snapping a picture or two.




Then, mostly because we were bored, we decided to eat again. We figured a couple of street tacos would do the trick. Thomas procured more beer to wash down our taco snack.




I don't drink much. In fact, I have to be really careful because I often have an allergic reaction to beer. (I'm serious and it's not funny. For example, I drank one Budweiser a couple of nights ago and was sick the entire next day. Ugh.) Luckily, I have discovered I'm less allergic to beer when in Mexico (again, not kidding) so I can drink a little more with a little less abandon. Which doesn't entirely explain why I try to go to Mexico on my motorcycle as often as possible...

Anyway, enough about the nectar of the Gods (beer). Let's move on, shall we.

With the tacos and beer gone, we wandered back to the hotel. I headed off to my room, mentally preparing myself for the two long days that were starting the next morning.
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Old 11-30-2018, 05:23 PM   #45
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Re: 9 or 10 to 3: The Copper Canyon Sprint

Allergic to beer = getting old

I kan't lrink dike I oozed do eever...
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Old 11-30-2018, 06:35 PM   #46
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Re: 9 or 10 to 3: The Copper Canyon Sprint

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tourmeister View Post
Allergic to beer = getting old
True.

Unfortunately, my oldest son inherited the allergy (weird,huh?) and despite being in his 20s he has the same issue.

I feel really bad for him because I could drink beer in my 20s. And 30s. And even my early 40s.
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Old 11-30-2018, 07:23 PM   #47
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Re: 9 or 10 to 3: The Copper Canyon Sprint

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I don't drink much. In fact, I have to be really careful because I often have an allergic reaction to beer.
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Old 12-05-2018, 02:03 PM   #48
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Re: 9 or 10 to 3: The Copper Canyon Sprint

First - a big thanks to Richard and Thomas for allowing this Mexico-riding newbie to tag along. As Richard said above:
Quote:
What an introduction - going to Copper Canyon on your first adventure ride in Mexico. In my opinion it was a heck of a good start.
Exactly right, not just due to the destination, but also the quality of the guides! The only camera I brought with me was my cell phone - and it's camera died within hours of crossing the border. I finally realized I could still take photos with the front camera - so it was nothing but selfies for me. This is a particularly perverse sort of punishment for some unknown, evil act on my part. So, having Richard along as my personal photographer sure was ANOTHER bonus!

I know Richard isn't done with his report, but I'll chip in here with my perspective.

The Bike
I rode my xr650l - and it did just about perfect. Our highway speed was a leisurely 65, so I ended up getting about 55 mpg. It has a 4.5 gal main tank and I brought a 2.5 gal rotopax. That gave me plenty range, but the rotopax up on that tail rack is less than ideal. It's a lot of weight, high and back. And, the fuel weight sloshes around unless the tank is totally empty or totally full. 10 lbs of moving weight back on that rack was REALLY annoying. Note to self: figure out a better long-range fueling solution. I put all my crap in a big dry duffel bag on top of the rotopax - with another smaller drybag for tools - the idea was to put the heavy tools on the seat instead of the rack to minimize load on the subframe, and help keep the center of gravity as low and as far forward as possible. This worked - until I added a spare tube to that pack when on a side-trip without my main duffel. So: there's room for improvement there, too. Other than that, the XRL was a great ride - it's fine with cheap gas, fine on the highways, fine on all the dirt we did. The 'bang for the buck' on these bikes is pretty dern impressive.

Crossing the border, paperwork, logistics, etc
As the boy scouts say, Be Prepared. Thomas tutored me on what I needed to get the bike across (read MexTrek prep posts!), and I followed instructions. They asked me for proof of my US liability insurance - which Thomas said he'd never been asked for before. I had a paper copy on me, which I nearly never carry. All-in-all the crossings were uninteresting. I speak a little Spanish - but not enough; this would all have been a lot more time consuming if Thomas had not been there.

Routes and maps
I'm somewhat of an amateur GIS nerd, so I had tracks and off-line maps not only for the routes we were planning, but several other popular tracks in the Canyon. I use an Android app called Locus, and downloaded OpenStreetMap-based vector maps for all of Mexico before leaving Texas. I was also able to download elevation data for the whole Canyon area - very handy when trying to avoid sub-freezing temps at altitude. My offline maps were not as good as Thomas and Richard's Garmin 'e32' maps - but this differences proved insignificant - there's nothing I needed that I was not able to find. Phone-based navigation is risky: what if the phone dies or is lost? What if the battery runs out? Phones aren't as rugged - what if it breaks in a fall? All these are real concerns, and I had no backup solution - other than my riding buddies. It all worked (the phone is waterproof, gets well over 24 hours continual use on a charge, didn't get lost or broken) - but it is a fragile way to travel. I think next time, I'll bring along a backup device (my previous Android phone, WiFi only) for cheap redundancy. The most annoying part of phone-based navigation is gloves. Note to self: buy a cheap stylus!

Comms
We all had radio-based, in-helmet comms. It took a little while to iron out the kinks, and even then, there were frequent times one of us would drop out or become incomprehensible. But, overall the system worked and was HUGELY useful. For stuff like coordinating gas stops, picking a place for lunch, warning of on-coming traffic, etc. There's room for improvement, and I'll be debugging my end of this system before my next group ride (primarily antenna placement, frequency choices).



Day 1: Alpine to Cuauhtémoc: Peguis Canyon is a geologic oddity. If you have any interest in that stuff, go check it out. Even if you don't give a hoot about how or why this thing is there, it's still an amazing view. Chihuahua = traffic. It's the only part of the trip where traffic was even part of the story. The comms system also picked up a lot of local chatter - so next time I'll recommend we use less standard frequencies. Cuauhtémoc was a cool town - and a lot bigger than I thought. ~170k people. Thomas and I walked around for a while after dinner, grabbed another beverage, and saw the sights, such as they were.

Day 2: Cuauhtémoc to Urique: Started out cold. Boring pavement until we turned south onto 25. But from there on, the roads kept getting better and better. The overlook at Divisadero was amazing, as was the food! From Divisadero to Urique was also amazing. Here's a satellite view of the dirt road into town; how could that NOT be awesome??




At dinner in Urique, our newly made local friends told a VERY interesting story. We were teasing the one that wasn't married about all the girls he must have in each little town - single guy with a large territory to work through. But, he said all the girls either leave town or get involved with cartel guys. The locals say the "girls smell like bullets" - that's a phrase I'd never heard before, and won't soon forget! He was at least partly joking.

Day 3: Urique to Batopilas: One of the best days of riding in my 7-ish years on two wheels. First half of the day was a 4300 foot climb in 11 miles, then up another couple thousand to top out just over 7000 feet. You stay up at altitude for about 15 miles, then descend down to Bato:



Day 4: Bato to Chihuahua: The keyword for this day was: cold. 230 miles with an average elevation over 6000 feet, maxing out at 8273. First gas stop I got a very bad but very hot cup of coffee in me, and with the sun high the coldest part was behind us. It was about 60 miles of amazing, twisty, paved mountain roads before we hit highway 83 heading north. From there, the road drops out of the Sierras, getting straighter and lower each mile, signaling the end of the trip.

Day 5: Side junket thru Manual Benavitas: Richard headed from Chihuahua back to Texas to be with his family, so Thomas and I had a day to fill. We got a route to the south rim of the Santa Elena canyon, so that seems like a perfect detour. It would have been, too, if we hadn't run out of daylight. We knew we'd be short on time, so we set a 'Turn Around Time' of 4:30. Regardless of where we were, we'd stop and head back to our hotel in Ojinaga at 4:30. Great plan; poor execution . We actually made that turn-around about 5:15, and by 5:30 dusk had set in. We didn't reach the canyon overlook, and did a lot more miles on dirt, in the dark than we wanted, but the side-trip was still a huge success. 'FUN' was our only objective.

Day 6: Oj to Alpine: We packed up the bikes, remembering the rest of the tequila bottle we didn't kill the night before, and headed north. Crossed the border, then detoured up Casa Piedra Road and on into Marfa for a light lunch and a heavy beer. 30 miles later we unpack the bikes in Alpine and the trip comes to a close.



So, conclusions?
There is a thread with over 39,000 posts on ADV Rider called 'Is Mexico Safe' - and for us, it was. Perfectly so. We met great people, had great food, enjoyed great roads. We were prepared enough, equipped enough, experienced enough, and most importantly flexible enough (also, maybe lucky enough?). A shortcoming in any of these areas by any of us would have put the rest of the group in a pretty sticky situation. Urique is a long way from anywhere, and had Richard's family emergency demanded his immediate reaction, well, I'm just not sure how we'd have achieved that. An American tourist was murdered in a town we stayed in two week prior to our arrival. Mexico was not safe for him. Choosing to ride a motorcycle is risky. Riding off pavement is risky. Riding in remote areas and in Cartel-operated lands is risky. Riding in November through the mountains during a cold-front is risky. Did we "get away" with this adventure, despite the risks? Or are these various risks over-stated and fear-mongering? I dunno. But we made it and I can't wait to do it again!

I'm not big on group rides, so MexTrek and similar things aren't in the plans for me. So, I was really lucky to be included in this band of moto-brothers. Hasta pronto, amigos!
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Old 12-05-2018, 02:29 PM   #49
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Re: 9 or 10 to 3: The Copper Canyon Sprint

I see a difference between a group ride and a rally event. To me, a good group ride is a max of 8 riders and 4-6 is ideal depending on the nature of the ride/trip. The more remote the riding, the more I lean toward the 4-6 number just because it can make things MUCH easier if you have anything unusual to deal with like an injury, wrecked bike, mechanical failure, etc,... Ideally, no one ever has to be left alone or head out for help alone. More than 6 and it gets harder to keep the group moving. Lodging options begin to narrow if you are winging it. I also like the 4-6 size because you are better able to get to know each of the other riders during the course of the ride.

I am glad you had a great time. I'd love to go back down there. I've never been able to visit those areas. My only trip was with Richard and four other guys back in 2007 before he started doing the MexTrek stuff and we were in a completely different area. It was definitely an adventure and there were some times I was WAYYY out of my comfort zone. But, it all worked out.
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Old 12-05-2018, 07:06 PM   #50
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Re: 9 or 10 to 3: The Copper Canyon Sprint

The Sprint

For me, the trip was essentially over. It was Wednesday morning and I was on a mission to get back to Texas. The three of us talked it over and though I told them my family situation didn't need to end their Copper Canyon trip they decided to keep the group together. Thomas and Jeff both agreed that they had seen what they had come to see and missing out on one more day of riding in the bottom of Copper Canyon would in no way ruin their trip. They were going back with me.

Following our usual routine, I arose early and grabbed a few photos around town.

An important local


The town square. In case you ever come here and want to stay at Carolina's hotel, it is to the left of the Batopilas sign, on the other side of the street and out of the picture.


The Old Woman

The day before, while we were eating supper sans electricity, this older woman stopped by the restaurant and said hello. She spoke better english than I spoke spanish (which isn't hard to do) and while her english wasn't great we could mostly carry on an easy conversation.

As I was walking around the town square on Wednesday morning she came out of her place next to the hotel and engaged me in conversation. A few minutes later she dragged me into her "store" and convinced me to buy her book about Batopilas that she had personally written. She lives alone, her husband having passed away several years ago. She never had children either. So, now she "adopts" the local children while scratching out a living selling a few handmade items and, of course, her book.


For 150 pesos I became the proud owner of Pueblo Magico, a spanish book about Bato that I can't read. About this time, Thomas and Jeff showed up and she sold each of them a copy of the book too. I have no idea how much 450 pesos means to this woman but my theory is that it's a lot. I'm glad I had the chance to meet her and was wise enough to buy her book.


Time to ride
Finally packed and ready to go, our last task before leaving town was to fill up with gas. It's almost obligatory that if you go to Mexico with me you will at some point buy gas from somebody selling it from 55 gallon drums. This trip was no different. How do you find the guy selling gas? Look for the sign - se vende gasolina - we sell gas.


Tell the man how many liters you want. He brings it out in whatever type of jugs he has and with the help of a funnel transfers most of it to the inside of your gas tank.


Once we were all topped off, it was time to head for the top of the canyon. For those of you that haven't been here recently, the photographically famous dirt road to Batopilas, is gone. It is all pavement now and, in some cases, the road bed has been changed.

When I was here in 2006 it took Uncle and I about 4 hours to ride out of the canyon on the dirt road. Now that it's all pavement you can complete the trip in about 1.5 hours, which is what we did.

However, don't be fooled. While the road is indeed paved, the mountain keeps collapsing on it, spreading rocks, pebbles, and dust all over the pavement. In many cases the road is only one lane due to debris covering the other lane. In the case of this photograph, a huge boulder collapsed on the entire road bed, necessitating a dirt bypass. Note the guy with the rock hammer on top attempting to turn this giant boulder into two very large boulders.


A new bridge and some pretty pavement on the Batopilas road


The new overlook - this is the new spot to take pictures from to show the extreme switchbacks
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Old 12-05-2018, 07:35 PM   #51
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Re: 9 or 10 to 3: The Copper Canyon Sprint

Chihuahua here we come

Based on advice from our two friends back in Urique, we decided that once out of the canyon we would ride south to (almost) Guachochi. From there we would ride northeast, hopefully reaching Chihuahua before dark. This route was essentially the exact opposite of the route we originally intended to ride to get to Guachochi.


I'm really glad we decided to ride this way. Not because it was any warmer - the temps were in the low to mid 40s all day - or lower in elevation, but because it turned out to be such a fantastic road. It's all paved, but it is twisty and scenic the entire way. It was superb! I highly recommend coming (or going) this way versus going the way we did to get to Creel. This road is much better than highway 127 north of Creel.

We rode all day and ended up in Chihuahua prior to dark. Unfortunately we didn't have hotel reservations and this was the busy time of the year. All of the hotels were booked (and we looked hard for one) and even the (sex) motels were booked. (Note - a hotel in Mexico is exactly what you think it is. Motels, on the other hand, are not the same as in the USA. They are the place you go when you need a room for some romantic time with someone.) After a couple of hours, we finally located a motel, that was now supposedly a hotel, with two vacant rooms. I say supposedly because it was 6 pm and we had to wait for the rooms to be cleaned from the previous guests who had just departed. In any case, we got rooms, which was all I really cared about.

It was cold and dark and we really didn't want to ride the bikes to a restaurant. After debating our options, we finally decided to order a Domino's pizza for supper and buy some beer from the convenience store across the street to wash it down. I can faithfully report that though it took 90 minutes for the pizza to be delivered, it was exactly the same as Domino's pizza in the USA.

It was our final hours together in Mexico so we spent the evening hanging out in Thomas and Jeff's room, listening to music, telling war stories, eating pizza, and drinking beer. The next day we would part company as I left early and made a beeline for Texas. I figured I could make it to Terlingua before 2 pm and could be home in Austin before midnight. I was right and arrived home about 10:30 Thursday night. Thomas and Jeff decided to leave later in the day and were headed to the Santa Elena overlook. Along about 10 pm I bid them good night and wandered off to bed, knowing I would be up and gone by 7 am.

Epilogue

It has been a dozen years since my other trip to Copper Canyon. While this one did not go as planned, it was still an excellent trip and I accomplished 3/4 of everything I wanted to do. I still need to visit Sinforosa Canyon, so perhaps I can return again, this time in less than 12 years. Good travelling companions amplify the joy of travelling and while our group was small, we travelled well together and were blessed not to have any significant bike or health issues during the trip.

Thus ends my story. I hope you enjoyed reading it and that it inspires you to head out on your own adventure.

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Last edited by Trail Boss; 12-05-2018 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 12-05-2018, 09:32 PM   #52
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Re: 9 or 10 to 3: The Copper Canyon Sprint

Most excellent as usual
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The number one rule for this forum!
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Eph 4:29 (NIV)
Think before you post. Leave out the vulgarity, personal attacks and foul language!

Quote:
"However lofty the goals, if the means be depraved, the result must reflect that depravity." - Leonard E. Read

Lies are fragile. They require constant attentiveness to keep them alive. The exposure of a single truth can rip through an ocean of lies, evaporating it instantly. - Brandon Smith

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Old 12-06-2018, 02:28 PM   #53
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Re: 9 or 10 to 3: The Copper Canyon Sprint

Great reports. Thanks guys.
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Old 12-10-2018, 01:07 AM   #54
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Re: 9 or 10 to 3: The Copper Canyon Sprint

Yes - most excellent. Thanks for taking the time to write it up.
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Old 12-10-2018, 09:08 AM   #55
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Re: 9 or 10 to 3: The Copper Canyon Sprint

Richard, Will you be publishing one of your guide books for this area? And posting the tracks? If so, put me down for one. We're thinking of doing this trip in 2019.
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Old 12-10-2018, 10:02 PM   #56
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Re: 9 or 10 to 3: The Copper Canyon Sprint

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff S View Post
First - a big thanks to Richard and Thomas for allowing this Mexico-riding newbie to tag along. As Richard said above:


Exactly right, not just due to the destination, but also the quality of the guides! The only camera I brought with me was my cell phone - and it's camera died within hours of crossing the border. I finally realized I could still take photos with the front camera - so it was nothing but selfies for me. This is a particularly perverse sort of punishment for some unknown, evil act on my part. So, having Richard along as my personal photographer sure was ANOTHER bonus!

I know Richard isn't done with his report, but I'll chip in here with my perspective.

The Bike
I rode my xr650l - and it did just about perfect. Our highway speed was a leisurely 65, so I ended up getting about 55 mpg. It has a 4.5 gal main tank and I brought a 2.5 gal rotopax. That gave me plenty range, but the rotopax up on that tail rack is less than ideal. It's a lot of weight, high and back. And, the fuel weight sloshes around unless the tank is totally empty or totally full. 10 lbs of moving weight back on that rack was REALLY annoying. Note to self: figure out a better long-range fueling solution. I put all my crap in a big dry duffel bag on top of the rotopax - with another smaller drybag for tools - the idea was to put the heavy tools on the seat instead of the rack to minimize load on the subframe, and help keep the center of gravity as low and as far forward as possible. This worked - until I added a spare tube to that pack when on a side-trip without my main duffel. So: there's room for improvement there, too. Other than that, the XRL was a great ride - it's fine with cheap gas, fine on the highways, fine on all the dirt we did. The 'bang for the buck' on these bikes is pretty dern impressive.

Crossing the border, paperwork, logistics, etc
As the boy scouts say, Be Prepared. Thomas tutored me on what I needed to get the bike across (read MexTrek prep posts!), and I followed instructions. They asked me for proof of my US liability insurance - which Thomas said he'd never been asked for before. I had a paper copy on me, which I nearly never carry. All-in-all the crossings were uninteresting. I speak a little Spanish - but not enough; this would all have been a lot more time consuming if Thomas had not been there.

Routes and maps
I'm somewhat of an amateur GIS nerd, so I had tracks and off-line maps not only for the routes we were planning, but several other popular tracks in the Canyon. I use an Android app called Locus, and downloaded OpenStreetMap-based vector maps for all of Mexico before leaving Texas. I was also able to download elevation data for the whole Canyon area - very handy when trying to avoid sub-freezing temps at altitude. My offline maps were not as good as Thomas and Richard's Garmin 'e32' maps - but this differences proved insignificant - there's nothing I needed that I was not able to find. Phone-based navigation is risky: what if the phone dies or is lost? What if the battery runs out? Phones aren't as rugged - what if it breaks in a fall? All these are real concerns, and I had no backup solution - other than my riding buddies. It all worked (the phone is waterproof, gets well over 24 hours continual use on a charge, didn't get lost or broken) - but it is a fragile way to travel. I think next time, I'll bring along a backup device (my previous Android phone, WiFi only) for cheap redundancy. The most annoying part of phone-based navigation is gloves. Note to self: buy a cheap stylus!

Comms
We all had radio-based, in-helmet comms. It took a little while to iron out the kinks, and even then, there were frequent times one of us would drop out or become incomprehensible. But, overall the system worked and was HUGELY useful. For stuff like coordinating gas stops, picking a place for lunch, warning of on-coming traffic, etc. There's room for improvement, and I'll be debugging my end of this system before my next group ride (primarily antenna placement, frequency choices).



Day 1: Alpine to Cuauhtémoc: Peguis Canyon is a geologic oddity. If you have any interest in that stuff, go check it out. Even if you don't give a hoot about how or why this thing is there, it's still an amazing view. Chihuahua = traffic. It's the only part of the trip where traffic was even part of the story. The comms system also picked up a lot of local chatter - so next time I'll recommend we use less standard frequencies. Cuauhtémoc was a cool town - and a lot bigger than I thought. ~170k people. Thomas and I walked around for a while after dinner, grabbed another beverage, and saw the sights, such as they were.

Day 2: Cuauhtémoc to Urique: Started out cold. Boring pavement until we turned south onto 25. But from there on, the roads kept getting better and better. The overlook at Divisadero was amazing, as was the food! From Divisadero to Urique was also amazing. Here's a satellite view of the dirt road into town; how could that NOT be awesome??




At dinner in Urique, our newly made local friends told a VERY interesting story. We were teasing the one that wasn't married about all the girls he must have in each little town - single guy with a large territory to work through. But, he said all the girls either leave town or get involved with cartel guys. The locals say the "girls smell like bullets" - that's a phrase I'd never heard before, and won't soon forget! He was at least partly joking.

Day 3: Urique to Batopilas: One of the best days of riding in my 7-ish years on two wheels. First half of the day was a 4300 foot climb in 11 miles, then up another couple thousand to top out just over 7000 feet. You stay up at altitude for about 15 miles, then descend down to Bato:



Day 4: Bato to Chihuahua: The keyword for this day was: cold. 230 miles with an average elevation over 6000 feet, maxing out at 8273. First gas stop I got a very bad but very hot cup of coffee in me, and with the sun high the coldest part was behind us. It was about 60 miles of amazing, twisty, paved mountain roads before we hit highway 83 heading north. From there, the road drops out of the Sierras, getting straighter and lower each mile, signaling the end of the trip.

Day 5: Side junket thru Manual Benavitas: Richard headed from Chihuahua back to Texas to be with his family, so Thomas and I had a day to fill. We got a route to the south rim of the Santa Elena canyon, so that seems like a perfect detour. It would have been, too, if we hadn't run out of daylight. We knew we'd be short on time, so we set a 'Turn Around Time' of 4:30. Regardless of where we were, we'd stop and head back to our hotel in Ojinaga at 4:30. Great plan; poor execution . We actually made that turn-around about 5:15, and by 5:30 dusk had set in. We didn't reach the canyon overlook, and did a lot more miles on dirt, in the dark than we wanted, but the side-trip was still a huge success. 'FUN' was our only objective.

Day 6: Oj to Alpine: We packed up the bikes, remembering the rest of the tequila bottle we didn't kill the night before, and headed north. Crossed the border, then detoured up Casa Piedra Road and on into Marfa for a light lunch and a heavy beer. 30 miles later we unpack the bikes in Alpine and the trip comes to a close.



So, conclusions?
There is a thread with over 39,000 posts on ADV Rider called 'Is Mexico Safe' - and for us, it was. Perfectly so. We met great people, had great food, enjoyed great roads. We were prepared enough, equipped enough, experienced enough, and most importantly flexible enough (also, maybe lucky enough?). A shortcoming in any of these areas by any of us would have put the rest of the group in a pretty sticky situation. Urique is a long way from anywhere, and had Richard's family emergency demanded his immediate reaction, well, I'm just not sure how we'd have achieved that. An American tourist was murdered in a town we stayed in two week prior to our arrival. Mexico was not safe for him. Choosing to ride a motorcycle is risky. Riding off pavement is risky. Riding in remote areas and in Cartel-operated lands is risky. Riding in November through the mountains during a cold-front is risky. Did we "get away" with this adventure, despite the risks? Or are these various risks over-stated and fear-mongering? I dunno. But we made it and I can't wait to do it again!

I'm not big on group rides, so MexTrek and similar things aren't in the plans for me. So, I was really lucky to be included in this band of moto-brothers. Hasta pronto, amigos!

Jeff
And or anyone else who is looking for a gas container solution that won’t slosh. I use a “Gas Bag” (you gotta love just sayin it). I purchased the 1 Gallon size. Works great no sloshing and it shrinks to the amount of gas you have in it. I have not had any problems with it.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Old 12-11-2018, 12:42 AM   #57
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Re: 9 or 10 to 3: The Copper Canyon Sprint

Awesome report, and I'm sorry about your brother in law.

As a side note, I've been up to the Santa Elena Canyon overlook twice this year. The trail is becoming very faint and it's very easy to lose it in many areas. It's still worth the effort though.
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Old 12-11-2018, 01:27 PM   #58
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Re: 9 or 10 to 3: The Copper Canyon Sprint

Great report! I can’t wait to go back - this time on a smaller bike! I spent probably 95% of the Bato to Urique road in 1st gear. It was pretty nerve racking. Actually my next trip down there may be with my wife in the jeep. Just refreshes the soul looking at those pics.

The ride from the border after you get out of the mountains to Chihuahua seems to go..on..for...ever! That’s one section I’d love to be able to push the hyperspace button on.
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Old 12-12-2018, 08:15 AM   #59
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Re: 9 or 10 to 3: The Copper Canyon Sprint

Quote:
Originally Posted by copb8 View Post
Richard, Will you be publishing one of your guide books for this area? And posting the tracks? If so, put me down for one. We're thinking of doing this trip in 2019.
Bart,

I don't have any plans to publish a guide for the Copper Canyon area. I just don't know it well enough to write a guide.

Tracks for the Copper Canyon area are available. You are welcome to the tracks I have from this trip. However, JT (and probably others) have much more extensive collections of proven tracks in CC than I. I suggest reaching out to JT and starting a discussion.

Also, I highly recommend the E32 gps map. It is a very good map and shows most of the dirt roads in the canyon. If I didn't have proven tracks of Copper Canyon then I would not hesitate to rely on the E32 by itself. It's not perfect (no map is) but it is easily good enough that anyone can use it and have a great time in the canyon.
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Old 12-12-2018, 09:28 AM   #60
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Re: 9 or 10 to 3: The Copper Canyon Sprint

Quote:
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Bart,

I don't have any plans to publish a guide for the Copper Canyon area. I just don't know it well enough to write a guide.

Tracks for the Copper Canyon area are available. You are welcome to the tracks I have from this trip. However, JT (and probably others) have much more extensive collections of proven tracks in CC than I. I suggest reaching out to JT and starting a discussion.

Also, I highly recommend the E32 gps map. It is a very good map and shows most of the dirt roads in the canyon. If I didn't have proven tracks of Copper Canyon then I would not hesitate to rely on the E32 by itself. It's not perfect (no map is) but it is easily good enough that anyone can use it and have a great time in the canyon.
Thanks Richard. I'll definitely reach out to JT. I do have the E32 maps already and they are very good.
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