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The Copper Canyon - Big Bend Loop

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Richard
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The Copper Canyon - Big Bend Loop


Prologue

It has been on my mind for about 2 years, sort of like that commercial where the guy has the little car stuck to his forehead. In that commercial, during each subsequent scene the car stuck to the guy’s forehead gets bigger and bigger. That guy had a new car purchase on his mind; I had Copper Canyon on mine.

It wasn’t like I had gone out seeking this. I was minding my own business, completely innocent. All I was doing was surfing the web over at Adventure Rider when I ran across a story called “Cantina Crawl 2004 (Sierra Madre and Copper Canyon)” by Kevlar. It sounded like an interesting story so I clicked on it without a second thought, completely unsuspecting of the long term effect it would have on me. It was a story with lots of pictures of a motorcycle adventure to Copper Canyon and it completely captured my imagination. Once I finished the story I called my wife into the room, pointed out some of the pictures of Copper Canyon to her, and told her I would sure like to go there.

It took 2 years for me to get everything arranged for the trip. I bought a KLR 650, made the necessary modifications to it for long distance travel, and took care of the multitude of other stuff necessary to make the trip (luggage, passport, gear, time off, funds, riding partners, etc.). Finally, I was ready to go.

Originally four of us were going to make the trip. However, one of the guys dropped out due to an arm injury. Another friend of mine was going to replace our lost rider, bringing our number back to four, but in the end my friend wasn’t able make the trip either. So, we were down to three riders just one week prior to the trip. But fate wasn’t finished with us just yet. Mike, the third rider, was having serious knee problems and decided the wisest course of action would be to stay in the U.S. He was concerned that his knee just wouldn’t be up to the amount of unpaved road riding we would be doing in Mexico. Mike and I would trailer our KLRs out to Big Bend together and he would spend a week riding in the Big Bend area while Uncle and I headed off for Copper Canyon.

The die was cast. The basic plan was:

Day 1 – trailer from Austin to Uncle’s place in Terlingua, TX (Big Bend area)
Day 2 – Terlingua, TX to Creel, MX
Day 3 – The road to Batopilas
Day 4 – Back to Creel
Day 5 – Divisidaro & Basaseachi Falls
Day 6 – El Paso
Day 7 – Indian Hot Springs, TX
Day 8 – Terlingua via the Lost Trail
Day 9 – Austin

Day 1 – Austin to Terlingua

Mike showed up at my house around 10 a.m. on the Friday before Thanksgiving. We loaded up my KLR into his trailer with his KLR and headed towards Terlingua as fast as the law would allow.

Loaded
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We made a stop at Whittington’s Jerky in Johnson City to stock up on jerky – regular beef, teriyaki beef, and turkey jerky. That Whittington jerky is just plain ‘ol good.

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Not much else to tell about the ride out to Terlingua; just 500 miles of slab. The real fun starts tomorrow
 
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R1200GSA said:
:popcorn:

Will you be able to share your route(s)?
Yes, I will be sharing the route. I'm trying to combine the story of my trip with enough travel information that others could use this as part of their own ride planning.
 
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The Copper Canyon - Big Bend Loop: Day 2

Day 2 – Terlingua to Creel, 386 miles

Uncle roused us out of bed at 6:45 a.m. The sun was not yet peaking over the Chisos Mountains, but the sky was bright enough to let us know that it wouldn’t be long till the sun made its appearance. The air was pleasantly cool and not a cloud was in the sky. It was going to be a glorious day in the desert. Despite my excitement at finally making a run to Copper Canyon, I had managed to sleep well during the night.

The previous evening, Mike and I had arrived after dark and hungry. We decided to go find some supper and wait till morning to unload the bikes. After rolling out of bed the morning of day 2, the first job was getting the bikes unloaded from the trailer and packed for the trip. Even though Mike wasn’t going to Mexico with us, he was riding Hwy 170, aka River Road, over to Presidio with us. For those who haven’t ridden it, Hwy 170 runs 67 miles west from Study Butte to Presidio and it is arguably the best 67 miles of motorcycling road in all of Texas. It is a twisty, scenic, gem of a road.

Mike rides a 2006 lime green KLR. That’s Odie in the background. Odie is locked in the howl.
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I ride a 1998 KLR. The weather was about 50 degrees and the sun was just now peaking over the Chisos Mountains.
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Uncle has a 2006 Wee-Strom. He has added Moto-Sport panniers, a bash plate / crash bar combo, and a new set of TKC 80 tires to toughen up the Wee and make it more “unpaved road” worthy. It worked too; the Wee-Strom is a very impressive machine. It had absolutely no problems handling any of the roads we tackled the entire trip. It’s easy to see why the assimilations continue.
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Uncle’s beloved BMW R100GSPD is in the background, covered up. He bought it new more than 10 years ago and has ridden it more than 100,000 miles. A year ago, pre-Wee Strom, I asked Uncle if he might consider selling the Beamer and upgrading to a new R1200GS. He said he had no intentions of every selling the R100GS because he felt it was the best bike he had ever owned. Yet today the old girl sees little action; the Wee has taken its place. Uncle tells me the Wee is lighter, more nimble, and handles better than the Beamer. He even mentioned maybe selling the Beamer; high praise indeed for the Wee.

After everything was loaded, our next action item was breakfast. The best breakfast in the area is Kathy’s Kosmic Kowgirl Kafe. This place used to be The Hungry Javelina and Kathy used to run it. Today, Kathy owns the place and the name has changed, but everything else is the same. Great food eaten around a cowboy campfire with a big, friendly, local dog nearby to scoop up any food you might drop on the ground. I highly recommend this place to you next time you are in Big Bend. You can’t miss it – it’s distinctively pink, located on the south side of Hwy 170, next to the Chisos Mining Company Motel. One thing though – don’t be in a hurry when you get there. Kathy waits till you order before she cooks your food, so settle down to Terlingua time and enjoy the unique pleasure of a cowboy breakfast. Both Uncle & Mike recommend the Frito Burrito. I think Mike had one every day of this trip that he was in Big Bend.

Here’s Uncle and Mike enjoying a cup of coffee and the fire while breakfast is cooking.
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Bikes packed and bellies full, it was time to ride. As mentioned earlier, we headed west on Hwy 170 to Presidio and the international border crossing into Ojinaga, MX. We didn’t stop to take any pictures of River Road since we had a long way to go before the end of the day. Once we reached Presidio we topped off our gas tanks and then rode over to the port of entry. It was here that we bid goodbye to Mike for 5 days. Mike was going to spend his time riding the roads in Big Bend while Uncle and I toured Copper Canyon. We would meet up with him in Sierra Blanca on Thanksgiving morning.

Saying goodbye to Mike before crossing into Mexico
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It had taken about an hour to unload and pack the bikes, an hour to eat breakfast, and a little over an hour to get to Presidio, top off on gas, and reach the port of entry. So, it was 10 a.m. when I started on my border crossing paperwork (Uncle had taken care of this the day before). It took me an hour to get my tourist card, vehicle import sticker, and exchange dollars for pesos. The tourist permit was free because I was going to be in the country less than 7 days. If you are going into Mexico for 7 or less day, the permit is free; 8 or more days and you pay a fee. The vehicle import fee was $329.97 pesos, or about $31 dollars, which was charged to my credit card.

At 11 a.m. all the necessary paperwork was done and we headed west from Ojinaga on Hwy 16. A new toll road has been built, but the older, free road is still available, which is what we opted to ride. Navigation was not particularly difficult and there was sufficient signage to find either the toll road or the free road to the city of Chihuahua.

About 25 miles south from Ojinaga, after a pleasant, somewhat twisty ride through the desert, we climbed the first set of mountains we would cross that day. At the top of this first mountain range outside of Ojinaga is Peguis Canyon – a dramatic and beautiful canyon.

The valley of Peguis Canyon, looking southeast.
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Large religious symbol at Peguis Canyon. Candles were lit inside the little building. The big painted rock is unique, but we saw lots of those little buildings during our trip.
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We didn’t take the time to hike down to the view of the canyon. Here’s a shot from the Ojinaga web site at http://ojinaga.com/Peguis/peguis.html
APeguisCanyon.jpg


Also, you don’t need a tourist card or a vehicle permit to visit Peguis Canyon. The military checkpoint is set up west of Peguis Canyon so you can visit the canyon without having to do any paperwork or pay any fees. The next time you are in Big Bend I recommend a side trip to Peguis Canyon.

After leaving the canyon, we continued on to Cuidad de Chihuahua (Chihuahua City). It is about 140 miles from Ojinaga to Chihuahua and is mostly high speed riding. The first 90 miles or so is quite fun, with alternating stretches of desert and mountains. Once we hit Aldama though, the fun riding disappeared for a long time. Of the 386 miles from Terlingua to Creel, the first 150 or so are fun and the last 35 miles into Creel are fun. The middle 200 aren’t great though. The thing that surprised me the most from Aldama all the way to Creel is the high amount of traffic we ran into. At places it was bumper to bumper traffic, even outside the cities. The road repairs west of Chihuahua slowed our pace even more. So, we slogged through the middle 200, knowing better riding awaited us ahead.

Another thing that surprised me was how low the posted speed limits were. Not that anyone actually obeyed them, but it wasn’t uncommon to see a long straight of pavement stretching 20 or more miles across the desert with a speed limit of 80 km/hr (50 mph). Imagine a long straight road across the Nevada desert with a 50 mpw speed limit and you’ve got the right idea. We cruised at 70 mpw, which seemed to be a very safe speed for the given conditions (and we were passed by other vehicles moving quite a bit faster than us). No matter where we rode, the posted speed limits were very slow. We didn’t ride particularly fast anywhere we went since we didn’t want to take unnecessary chances, but we certainly rode faster than the posted speed limit. But, then again, so did everyone else.

Navigation proved to be pretty easy. There was quite a bit of signage and during the entire 380 mile day I had to consult my map only once. Adequate signage proved to be the rule, not the exception, and we were never “navigationally challenged” the entire trip.

West of Chihuahua we stopped in a restaurant for a very late lunch. I had difficulty getting the waitress to understand that I wanted bottled water, until finally figuring out that I needed to ask for agua purificado.

Uncle and the waitress. Lunch was steak for him, enchiladas pollo (chicken) for me. The food was excellent.
IMG_0771.jpg


As we continued our way toward Creel I started to suspect that we might not make it before nightfall. The slow start in the morning, the heavy traffic, and the road construction combined to slow our pace. It was going to be close. At the turn south off Hwy 16, we entered the mountains with only about 30 miles of great riding remaining until Creel. The sun dipped below the hills, but I knew we had about 30 minutes of light before EENT (end evening nautical twilight – or before it was dark). Things were going well and I started to believe we might make it, but it was not to be. Full dark caught us just a few miles outside of town so we slowed our pace and rode the last 5 miles or so to Creel in the dark. Note to self – next year don’t take 2 hours to pack and eat.

A potentially dangerous event occurred in one of the little villages we passed through before reaching Creel. The sun had just dipped below the horizon when I spotted a person standing in the middle of the road. He had his back to me and was just standing there, doing what I don’t know. I honked my horn to alert him that I was coming and he took a step to the side of the road, as if to get out of the road. Then he suddenly changed his mind, stepped back to the middle of the road, and turned to face me, assuming a crouch like he was ready to fight. A scene from the movie First Blood flashed through my mind. Rambo goes wild in the jail after being abused by the sadistic deputy and escapes out into the street. Rambo runs into the street and clotheslines a passing motorcyclist. That’s what the guy in the street in front of me looked like he meant to do to me. It was as if he was going to try and clothesline me as I rode by, or tackle me, or something equally insane. I grabbed the brakes and hugged the left side of the road as I passed the crazed man. He didn’t try anything as I rolled past him, he just watched me, then I saw his attention turn to Uncle. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a woman and a few other folks on the side of the road, watching the crazy man closely. I figured the guy was drunk and that was his wife and neighbors watching him stumble around out of control. Uncle managed to avoid the guy to, so we skedaddled out of there, not waiting around to see what happened next. It was Saturday night, so maybe the guy just had his drunk on. Either way I didn’t care; we continued on our way with no other issues, arriving in Creel about 7 p.m. It took us 8 hours to ride the 320 or so miles from Ojinaga to Creel.

After arriving in Creel, we located Casa Margarita’s Guest House and secured a room for the evening. $350 pesos por dos personas por noche ($35 per night for 2), including dinner and supper. After dropping our stuff off in the room, eating a very tasty supper, we wandered out to have a look at Creel in the dark.

Wow, things were really popping in Creel on this Saturday night. Creel has one main street and I think every car in town was cruising that strip. Music was playing, cars were cruising, people were walking around, and it was a festive, active scene. (That's not snow. My lens was dusty. Sorry)
IMG_0772.jpg


It was quite cool too, probably 50 degrees and falling. So, after about an hour of watching things, we headed up to our room, tired from a full day of travel. Time to sleep because tomorrow we were headed for Batopilas down that great road I had heard so much about and had traveled so far to experience for myself.
 
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When I drove down to Creel this past summer, we took the toll road and there was very light traffic. The road was in excellent shape and the speed limits were the same and everyone ignored them. It might be worth paying the toll.
 
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Bandit,

The traffic was very light on the free road until we reached Aldama (after the toll and free road converged). From Aldama all the way to Creel we were in varying degrees and speeds of traffic, but always in traffic. The light traffic conditions for the first 100 miles or so lured me into thinking it would be that way everywhere except in the cities.

This was the only day we were in traffic. Everyday after this in Mexico the roads were much less crowded. Perhaps the traffic was heavy this one time because it was Saturday afternoon and everybody was out running errands.

I'm guessing the toll road is straighter and faster (but less fun) than the free road, so if time were an issue (like it was this day) I'd want to run the toll road.
 
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I was down to Ciudad Victoria in March, after not being there for five years, and was amazed at the amount of traffic. NAFTA has brought prosperity to N. Mex. and people have bought CAGES. Eh Gads, I'm sounding like an old fart, but the old days were better, IMHO.

I've been on the road from Nuevo Casa Grandes to El Paso many times in 1994-95, and could run the Beemer at a steady 90 w/no traffic.
 
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:popcorn:

I guess things have changed a bit in the last few years. When I went to Baja, all I needed was insurance and a birth cert (supposedly required); rode in and out without showing anything.
 
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Richard,

It is good to hear about another one of your rides with Roger. I'm really enjoying your report and look forward to the rest. Thanks! :clap:

Robert
 
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Randy,

If would be great if you could make the next one. I'm just not sure when the next one will be. For some reason my wife hasn't been very receptive to the idea of me taking a trip to Copper Canyon every Thanksgiving.
 
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Day 3 – The Road To Batopilas

Casa Margaritas was a fine place to stay. The room was small, but clean, and the beds were comfortable. At least they were comfortable enough that I slept well. There was agua caliente (hot water) too.

Casa Margaritas Guest House
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Our small, comfortable room
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We were in bed early the night before, about 9:30 p.m., so we were up early today. After getting dressed we headed down for breakfast only to discover that Creel time is even slower than Terlingua time. Breakfast, which was included with the cost of our room, started at 7:30 a.m. But, this is assuming the cooks got to work on time, which was not the case today.
“The cooks are late today, Senor. We will begin serving maybe 15 minutes late.”

I figured this meant breakfast would be served sometime between 7:30 and 8:30, so Uncle and I wandered out to have a look at Creel in the light of day. Not too surprising, Sunday morning in Creel is quite different than Saturday night. Bumper to bumper traffic from the evening before was replaced by empty streets.
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Casa Margaritas is catacorner from the town square. We waked around the plaza and I spied the answer to all our navigational questions.
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This was painted on the side of a building that turned out to be the headquarters for a tour guide company. Nice map. Speaking of maps, I had heard that accurate maps of Mexico were not to be found. We used 2 primary maps during our journey through Mexico – the 2006 Guia Roji Por las carreteras de Mexico (the Guia Roji Mexico Atlas) that I ordered from Maps of Mexico and the International Travel Map of northern Mexico that I bought at Barnes & Noble. Between these 2 maps and pretty good road signs we were able to find our way everywhere we wanted to go, only getting off track once.

We walked around town for a little while and then headed back to the plaza. The local Tarahumara Indians were setting up their wares to sell to tourists traveling on the train that runs through Copper Canyon, so we grabbed a park bench and watched them go about their business. Two Hombres de Norte Americano (2 guys from America) approached us and introduced themselves. One of them, Lyle, owns a construction company in Redding, CA but has a house and land here in Creel. He is trying to set things up so he can move to Creel permanently. He mentioned that he can live here quite comfortably on just $300 USD (United States dollars) per month and that electricity for his house was only about $5 USD per month. That made Uncle’s ears perk up and by the time this trip was over, Uncle was talking about buying property in Creel. I’ve got my fingers crossed that he does – please, Uncle, please, buy land in Creek and I promise to visit every year.

We finally decided that maybe breakfast was ready, so we headed back to the hotel to check in. Yep, it was ready. I forget exactly what we had, though I do remember some very tasty pancakes. Sorry I didn’t get any pictures of the food. It was good, trust me.

Now it was time to ride. We got the bikes loaded and headed out.
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It is about 48 miles of paved twisty, scenic, mountain riding from Creel to the turn off to Batopilas. What a wonderful stretch of road. I’ve been told that the road is pretty much like this for most of the 150 miles to the town of Parral. I plan to personally verify this on the next trip.

Uncle a few miles south of Creel
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About 3 miles south of Creel we ran across a beautiful mountain lake, Lago Arareko.
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We stopped to admire the view and take a picture or two and even before I could get off the bike the kids were on me and Uncle.

“Pesos?”
“Comprar (a bunch of words in Spanish)….?”

These little entrepreneurs were trying to sell us what I presume were locally made stuff and/or get us to donate a few pesos. Instead, I pulled out a bag of hard candy and passed a few around. If you bought something from everyone who asked or gave a peso or two to everyone who asked you would be out of money in a very short time.
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As I said above, the road itself is paved and wonderful. The views are even better.

Various shots of the area between Creel and the turn off to Batopilas.
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The obligatory bike shot
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Uncle
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More great scenery
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Finally, after about 1.5 hours of riding, we reached the turn off to the Road to Batopilas. There was a small tienda (store) across the street from the turn off so we stopped in for a quick drink and to lower the air pressure in our tires to about 20 psi.

This shot is taken from the front of the store. Creel is to the right in the picture, which is the way we had come. The first part of the road to Batopilas climbs up a ridge, makes a left turn, and then follows the ridge for a few miles.
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By the way, where the road to Batopilas makes a left turn and continues up the ridge there is also a smaller road that goes straight and down. I believe this is a logging road and dead-ends many miles away. At least I read a story of a guy who went straight at the intersection instead of making the left turn, and after lots of riding he ended up backtracking and losing several hours.

We had been at the store for a few minutes when Uncle spotted a truck about to exit from the Batopilas road. He started waving like crazy at the driver, who spotted him and drove over to us. It turned out to be a woman that Uncle knew from Terlingua. Her and her husband now live and work in this area and they have a house down the Batopilas road.
IMG_0791.jpg


Finally, it was time to ride the road to Batopilas.

More to come...
 
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The first part of Day Two's route: This is the route from Ojinaga to Aldama, along Hwy 16 (the road in red).
Ojinaga2.jpg


Hwy 16 continues on to Chihuahua, which is just off the left corner of the map. It was pretty easy to navigate all the way to Chihuahua and there were sufficient signs along the road that we were able to stay on course.

Getting through Chihuahua was drudgery in the bumper to bumper traffic downtown. Hwy 16 goes through town and I wasn't able to find the bypass to avoid downtown. We could have saved about an hour if we had found a way to loop around Chihuahua.
 
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Day Two's route continued:

From Chihuahua you continue west on Hwy 16 through Cuauhtemoc and on westward. Make a left turn at the town of La Junta and remain on Hwy 16. The only thing is that my map doesn't identify the town as La Junta. It identifies the town as Mateos. However, on the ground, the town is named La Junta. In any case, there are signs directing you to turn left to stay on Hwy 16.

17 kilometers later you will turn left again to head down to Creel. For the life of me I can't recall the number of this road, but there are signs directing you to San Juanito. From this point on, it's all good riding as the road heads up into the mountains.

Creel800x6002.jpg
 
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Richard......This trip is so easy to do sitting here at my lap top in a nice comfortable chair......When we go in January we expect rain and snow and ice.
What were the temperatures like for you and Uncle?

Steve
 
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Steve,

We were blessed with good weather - no rain, lots of sun, little wind, and moderate temps. The morning temperature the 3 mornings we were in the mountains (2 mornings in Creel and one in Tomochic) the temp was about 35 degrees or so, with a good amount of frost on the bikes. With no rain and few clouds though, the temp increased quickly as soon as the sun came up, reaching a high of between 68-72 degrees in the mountains. So, while it was too cool for riding to be enjoyable the first thing in the morning (at least for me), it warmed up enough, fast enough, that we didn't lose much time waiting for things to warm enough to ride.

In Batopilas, at the bottom of the canyon, it was much warmer. I'd guess 10-15 degrees warmer. Warm enough that I was uncomfortably warm while wearing just my Technic suit (it is a fairly heavy suit, but isn't insultated). Same thing for the desert areas and non-mountainous areas.

I layered my clothing - base layer, insulating layer, and Technic riding suit - and by noon each day I had to shed the insulating layer because I got too hot. In Batopilas it was too warm for the insultaing layer.

At 7600 feet in elevation I'd guess that Creel can get pretty cold in Jan-Feb. Likely colder than we experienced. The same goes for the rest of the mountains. As long as it's not raining or cloudy, though, I'd guess the temps would warm enough that any ice/snow would melt.

One other thing I noted - the sun rose late and set early. The mountains had a noticeable effect on how long the sunlight was around and the days were noticeably shorter than out in the desert. So, when planning your daily distances, be aware that the days will be shorter.
 
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XR650Rocketman said:
Richard......This trip is so easy to do sitting here at my lap top in a nice comfortable chair......When we go in January we expect rain and snow and ice.
What were the temperatures like for you and Uncle?

Steve

A major cold front is supposed to arrive here this afternoon or tonight:storm: ... I suppose we should all go for a long ride to test drive our comfort level...my heated jacket liner is looking more & more attractive...
 
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Great report as usual Richard!

There is a way around chihuahua, coming from Ojinga you take 45 south toward Deliciasa by the airport and turn west (45 alternate?) a few miles down. Coming from creel; take a right at the first red light entering the city then go over the RR tracks. Keep turing right at intersections where left points to downtown, but its hard to miss that aspect. Thankfully a guy at the HU rally turned me on to this.

Also, most of the signs had a white chevron similar to the US, but the black hwy numbers are all faded to white!

With the bypass, I was able to leave creel at noon and get to presidio by dark but that was before DST ended. I wasted about an hour getting through cuahtemoc because they had all of downtown closed off for some reason.

The toll road, once i found it; between there and creel was pretty nice but the babes working the sole toll plaza were the main attraction :trust:

I dunno WTHeck is up wit the speed limits either, didn't see much radar down there except one on the first day. I was pretty much wide open and having a blast in the sonora desert hills my last day when i came up on that last military checkpoint. The soldier asked me "que tiene?" to which i answered loudly, Presidio, Texas! They had a laugh and let me go :rofl:

The sun was so low and bright in the horizon I couldn't tell what color the lights were as i pulled into ojinga. I would have no problem doing this solo, but some basic spanish is a big help. Lots of pesos is a big help too, and my ATM card worked well down there for that. Most allow 1500 peso withdrawals.

Next time I go to big bend I'm going to spend a day in mexico, really nice roads just outside of ojinga!

Best,
 
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The Copper Canyon - Big Bend Loop Day 3 continued

It is a little over 40 miles to Batopilas and another 4 beyond Batopilas to Satevo, home of the Lost Cathedral. This may be best 40 miles of unpaved road in North America. It is certainly the best road – paved or unpaved – I’ve been on in terms of exposure, scenery, and pure fun. I apologize in advance that my pictures don’t do the road justice.

The first 10 miles or so you travel through a pine forest, with glimpses of the mountains appearing between the trees.
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You will also glimpse some valleys with small homes and ranches in them.
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After passing through the forest, you enter the beginning of the canyon. The road becomes narrower, the drop offs closer to the edge of the road, and the distance you would fall if you were to run off the edge further.
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Around 17 miles or so, if I recall correctly, you reach the area with the great view of the road thousands of feet below in the valley.

Looking back the way we had just come.
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The money shot :-P
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I don’t know how far down it is to the bridge below, but I do know this - Creel is at 7600 feet in elevation and Batopilas is at about 1400 feet in elevation. It’s a long, long way down.

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Like I said, the pics don’t do this road or area justice. They just don’t adequately provide the scale, the massive size of the mountains, the depth of the valley, or the exposure of this road.

Your’s truly. As you can see, it was warm enough that I needed to shed all but my base layer.
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The following series of shots of Uncle riding down the road will give you some idea of just how large the mountains are. You ride this particular set of switchbacks as soon as you leave the scenic view of the distant road and bridge.

Uncle just heading down.
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Harder to spot, but still there. Uncle is still on the upper section of road in this picture.
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I like this picture because it gives you a better idea of scale.
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Last one, and yes, Uncle is in the picture, but is getting pretty small at this point.
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After we negotiated the first set of switchbacks, another set popped up. This is around the 20 mile mark and the building you see is a restaurant.
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There are 2 trucks in the parking lot of the restaurant – a red one and a white one. The white one, though you really can’t tell in the above picture, was pancaked. It must have run off one of the switchbacks in this area and tumbled down a hill, till coming to rest on the road below. It was towed (I can’t imagine it was driveable after the fall, considering how mangled it was) to the restaurant – perhaps as a stark, visual reminder that you must not let your attention wander on this road.

The following shots are taken in sequence, as Uncle rode further down the road.
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After exiting the switchbacks, we arrived at the portion of the road that could be seen from the scenic view above. The road hugs the side of the mountain, working its way down to the river below.

Can you spot Uncle in this picture?
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For those who missed him.
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Yes, that really is him. No, I didn’t use trick photography with this picture. He really is that small in comparison to the mountain.

Uncle at the bridge.
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You might think that since we are now at water level, we are in the bottom of the canyon. Not so, as the road continues to descend.
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3 ½ hours after turning off the pavement above, we reached Batopilas. About 1 hour of that time was spent stopped taking pictures, looking at stuff, or staying hydrated. 2 ½ hours was spent riding. These are the signs that greet you as soon as you cross the bridge into Batopilas.
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The bridge into Batopilas
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If I've done nothing else, I hope this report of this road has been enough to convince you to promptly add a dual sport bike to your stable and start planning your own ride down this unbelievable road.

More to come…
 
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Eric,

Thanks for the info on bypassing Chihuahua. That is really good to know.
 
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The Copper Canyon - Big Bend Loop: Batopilas

Batopilas

Batopilas is a great little town. It is about a mile long, spread out along one side of the river. It consists of more than 1 street, but not much more. We followed the main street through town, looking for Hotel Mary. When we reached the end of town and hadn’t spotted the hotel, I asked a few locals where it was located. The first two I asked gave me conflicting directions, but finally, the third person I asked was able to direct me correctly. Hotel Mary is on the main street about 1 block before the town square (la plaza). We had ridden right by it, but had failed to notice it. You would expect the locals to know where it was. Maybe it was my pronunciation or something that was throwing them off.

We checked in and they let us park our bikes into the lobby for safety purposes.
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We hadn’t eaten since morning and it was about 4 p.m. at this point, so after unloading the bikes and washing up we made a bee-line to the kitchen/restaurant there in the hotel. I order steak ranchero and Uncle got the enchiladas. Again, the food was excellent.
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As we were waiting for the food to be cooked a Hispanic woman came into the restaurant and engaged us in conversation. She was from Chicago or Indiana or somewhere in the area (I asked where she was from and she said something about Indiana, then Chicago then some other place I can remember, so I’m still not sure exactly where she lives). In any case, she was very friendly and visited with us during our entire meal. She was kind enough to take our picture too.
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She gave her name as L.A., mentioned it was a nickname and then told us her full name in Spanish which consisted of maybe 5-6 words. We just called her L.A. She told us about a local bar, the Nevada, and persuaded us to join her and some locals there once our meal was finished. It was hot and a couple of cervezas frio (cold beers) sounded like a fine idea.

Located behind the door with “cold beer” painted above it we discovered cerveza fria.
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Once in the Nevada courtyard, LA introduced us to several people, including Rojillio and Ramiro. Only Rojillio spoke any English and Uncle and my Spanish was not good, so LA and Rojillio facilitated our discussions. Ramiro had on a fine Batopilas shirt and liked country and western music. I just happened to have a Luckeback, TX t-shirt with me and arranged a trade.

LA, Ramiro, & Me after our t-shirt exchange
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Uncle and LA enjoying a cold one
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The locals were very friendly to the dos gringo touristas and we had a great time visiting with them.

After several cold ones, Uncle and I headed out to wander around Batopilas. It was Sunday night so I didn’t expect much to be happening. As darkness fell on the town, a few people gathered in la plaza. The plaza, or town square, appears to be the natural gathering place for anything that happens in this town. It is a cool place to hang out.
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LA had told us she was going out tonight to some party across the river. What she really meant was that she was going to another bar, el Puente Cogange, located next to the river to listen to some local musicians. Batopilas is not all that large and a few hours later, while exploring, Uncle and I stumbled across that place. The local group was playing music and singing and tourists and locals alike were enjoying the show while having a drink. We joined right in to a hearty welcome.

Good music and singing requires dancing.
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Arturo, lead singer (actually the only singer in this musical group), had a fine baritone voice.
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Arturo, Rich, and Rojillio. In case you are having a hard time seeing the three of us look to the right of the tall, blonde German gal
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Arturo could sing and dance at the same time, which the tall, blonde German gal found interesting cause she spent the entire evening dancing with Arturo (not that there is anything wrong with that). When they weren’t dancing, he would sing for her.
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That’s all I’m going to say about that. What happens in Batopilas, stays in Batopilas.

The musical trio of the evening. I’m thinking the guy in the cowboy hat might have had a lot to drink, but I’m not sure.
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Puente Colgante, the den in iniquity, exposed to the light of morning
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So ended our first, and only, night in Batopilas. We had enjoyed a fantastic ride down into the canyon and then a wonderful afternoon of food, new friendship, and discovery, and then a night of drunken debauchery. (Actually there might have been some debauchery around somewhere but neither Uncle or I participated, scouts honor.) Tomorrow brought a major change in plans, but I think it the trade off was well worth it.

More to follow…
 
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The Copper Canyon - Big Bend Loop: Day 4

Day 4 – A Parade and Then Back to Creel

If you’ve ever read any of XR650Rocketman’s ride reports on this forum, you know they typically involve an early start, riding hard and fast all day long on as much unpaved stuff as you can find, and maybe, if you are really lucky, reaching your final destination before the sun goes down. In the spirit of XR650Rocketman’s rides, our plan for day 4 was to ride from Batopilas to Urique in 1 day. It sounds easy, but it isn’t. There are only two ways to get to Urique from Batopilas and neither of them are particular short or quick. One way involves going cross-country through some reportedly very rough terrain, challenging navigation, and drug runners. We decided against this route. The other way was to backtrack to Creel and then take the one road past El Divisidaro and down to Urique. This is the route we had in mind. I think it can be done if you start early, ride like **** all day, and luck is on your side. I think it can be done, but don’t know if it can be done since Uncle and I didn’t do it.

Two significant things were happening in Batopilas when we woke up on day 4. The first was that for the first time ever a Mennonite man was marrying a Tarahumara gal. The wedding was scheduled for 1 p.m. but it was by invitation only and for some reason our invitations were delayed in getting to us. The 2nd thing was that it was Viente de Noviembre (November 20th) – a holiday for celebrating the Mexican revolution that began in 1910. There was a big parade scheduled for the morning and everybody was off work and gathering downtown for the big parade. Hey, I’m not in Batopilas everyday nor do I get to see an authentic Batopilas parade everyday. To heck with Urique, I can see it next time.

The parade was scheduled to start at 8 a.m., but we were on Batopilas time. The parade would start when the parade started, no matter what the clock said. So, we went to breakfast at Dona Mica. Rojillio, whom we had met the previous day and had spent the evening drinking with in Puente Colgante, met us at la plaza that morning and took us to it. It turned out to be a fine choice.

Breakfast was cooked on a wood-fired stove.
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The cook, Bellia
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Chorizo con huevos, frijoles, tortillas, and fruta (eggs with spicy sausage, beans, tortillas, and fresh fruit) made a tasty breakfast.
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After breakfast, we wandered back to la plaza and waited for the parade to show up. It was festively decorated for the event.
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Finally, around 9:30 or so, the parade showed up. It was well worth the wait. The parade consisted of every kid in town (the total population of Batopilas is around 1200 and it seems that 900 of them are kids). They were arranged by school or grade, with each grade/school dressed differently.

Pancho Villa showed up. I thought he would be taller.
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I believe this was Zapata and his wife. He was shorter than I expected too.
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More shots of the different grades.
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An acrobatic display.
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Another shot of Pancho Villa, armed to the teeth.
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The parade ended at la plaza, with all the kids lined up around the perimeter. Everyone gathered around for some short speeches and the ending ceremonies.
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It was a fine parade. If your schedule permits, I’d suggest being in Batopilas the morning of Nov. 20th next year (or any year for that matter).

With the festivities over, we loaded the bikes and headed out toward Satevo and the Lost Cathedral. Satevo is 4 miles further down river and the road getting there was the roughest we experienced during this entire trip. It was rocky, rutted, washed out, and generally in poor condition. In other words, a fine dual sport road.

If I have the story correct, the Lost Cathedral is more than 400 years old and no one knows who built it or when. It is built of red brick, which seems to be an unusual building material in this part of Mexico even today. It is still in active use, too.
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A couple of fellows were working on the roof.
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After our visit to the Lost Cathedral, we rode back to Batopilas. Back in Batopilas Uncle wanted to stop in at the store of a German fellow who hand-paints postcards. We located the place and went in for a visit. His art was beautiful and we both bought a painting. I recommend you stop in when you are in town. His sign says “art postcards” and is the only place like it in Batopilas so you should be able to find it.

The best way I can describe Batopilas is that it is like being in a town in the Old West around 1900. While there are cars, electricity, and other modern conveniences, there weren’t a lot of them and, it appears to me, that despite these modern things the way of life here more closely resembles life in the old west than life the typical lifestyle of the 21st century American. Whatever the case, I really enjoyed my visit to Batopilas and am anxiously looking forward to my next trip there.

We left Batopilas and began our journey back to Creel. A trip to Urique was out. We were going to have to keep a steady pace to get back to Creel before nightfall, but even so I couldn’t resist stopping for a few final photos of the canyon.

Looking back towards Batopilas. See the truck?
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In case you missed it.
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The mountain make the houses look small, don’t they?
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On the way up, the first mechanical problems of the trip cropped up. I began to have serious doubts as to whether my KLR was going to hold together long enough to even get me back to Creel. It was looking really bad.

More to follow…
 
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The road from Creel to Batopilas. From Creel you travel a paved road through Cusarare and down to Samachique. Near Samachique you turn onto the unpaved road that runs down through La Bufa to Batopilas.
croppedmap2.jpg
 
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Steve,

The parade was definitely worth the change of plans. I can't believe how lucky we were to be there to see that. I didn't realize Nov. 20th was a significant day of celebration, so it was just dumb luck we were in Batopilas that morning. There were other parades in towns all over Mexico that day, but I'm glad to have seen that particular one.
 

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Makes me want to rob a bank so I can afford the time of and money to go... :-P Right now that is about the only way it would ever happen :doh:

Awesome report. :popcorn:
 
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Richard Thanks for the great ride report.Please think about a trip tour down there in 2007. I'll buy the gas. Thanks,Ben
 
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Ben,

I'd love to return in 2007, but I'm not sure if my wife will be as understanding as she was during this first trip. After things settle down some at my house, I'll plant the idea with her and see how she responds.
 
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The Copper Canyon - Big Bend Loop: End of Day 4

About 20 miles up the climb from Batopilas my front tire started making a grinding / squeaking noise. Something was definitely wrong inside the hub. At first I thought the brakes might be dragging, but that was not the case. At the first opportunity, I pulled over and discussed the issue with Uncle. We figured either the wheel bearings were going out or the speedo worm gear had a problem. I was praying it wasn’t the wheel bearings.

What should I do? I wasn’t exactly in a spot where I could get the bike towed back to Creel. Eventually, somebody would come along and maybe they would be in a truck and would haul the bike to Creek for me. On the other hand, if I keep going and it’s the wheel bearings and they lock up, then I’m going down; hopefully not over the edge of a precipice to my death at the same time.

I field checked the bearings and made the decision to keep riding, praying I would make it to Creel without incident.

We continued climbing and the noise got louder and more persistent. Once we reached the paved road we were able to reach higher speeds, which made the noise worse. Then my back brake went out.

Going into a hairpin turn I grabbed front and rear brakes and noticed that my rear brake wasn’t working. I wasn’t running hard so the front brake was more than adequate to slow me down to the appropriate entry speed, but as soon as I came out of the corner I pulled off the side of the road to see what the problem was. It turned out that the rear caliber was stuck and the brakes were dragging, causing them to heat up, which in turn overheated the brake fluid, which boiled, causing a loss of brake pressure. I removed the caliber, freed it up, reinstalled it, and didn’t have any more problems with it the rest of the trip. I’m guessing that the caliber got stuck from all the dirt embedded in it from the road to Batopilas.

The shadows were getting really long at this point. We had gotten a really late start due to waiting for the parade to end and the work on the rear brake had eaten up precious daylight. It was going to be a race as to whether we would beat the darkness back to Creel, and I was handicapped because I deliberately kept the pace down in case my front wheel locked up.

We made it back to Creel, though, right before darkness, and my wheel didn’t seize up. We checked into Margarita’s Plaza Mexicana Hotel, which was a more upscale place than Casa Maragaritas which we had stayed at 2 nights previous (both places are owned by the same folks though). We had payed $350 pesos ($35 USD) for 2 at Casa Margaritas, a price that included breakfast and dinner. Margarita’s Plaza Mexicana charged us $480 pesos ($48 USD), but the room was larger and nicer and included a tv. Breakfast and dinner were included in the price too, but in this case you got to sit at individual tables, instead of a community table over at Casa Margaritas, and the food was a little more upscale. It was the best $48 dollar hotel I’ve ever stayed at.

Dinner at Margarita’s Plaza Mexicana. Dinner was some sort of tuna casserole and it was delicious.
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After dinner and a few cervezas, Uncle and I retired to the room for the evening. I discovered that even in Spanish the Simpsons are really funny. The Spanish Homer is a hoot. We ended day 4 watching Novellas (Spanish soap operas) in our room. It had been quite a day.
 
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The Copper Canyon - Big Bend Loop: Day 5

Day 5 – Fixing the Bike, visiting El Divisidaro and Basaseachi Falls

The first morning we woke up in Creel there was frost on the bikes. When we woke up the morning of Day 5 there was even more frost on the bikes.

It was a little frosty
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We had the bikes locked up in a fenced in area for security purposes. So, we rolled the bikes so they would be in the sun and went back to the hotel to grab some breakfast. Other than the oatmeal and fruit I don’t remember what they served, but I do recall it was quite good.

Now that the sun was up and the bikes de-frosted I pulled the front tire off my KLR to see if I could identify the problem. A close inspection revealed that the bearings were fine. The problem turned out to be that the speedometer worm gear was binding. I examined it and couldn’t find any damaged splines so I’m guessing it just needs more grease. We didn’t have any grease available, so I simply removed the worm gear and rode the remainder of the trip without a speedometer or odometer.

Now that the bike was operational again and my fears about locking the front tire while rounding a hairpin turn with a 1000 foot dropoff next to it had been alleviated, we could get back to the business of riding.

Our plan for the day included a visit to El Divisidaro and then Basaseachi Falls. From there we were going to head north, getting as close to the international border at Juarez / El Paso.

From Creel it is about 30 miles of paved, twisty mountain riding to El Divisidaro. This road is different than the paved road south to Parral in that, while twisty, it contains mostly high speed curves and very few of the switchbacks and slow speed curves the other road has. Divisidaro is a popular spot for viewing one part of Copper Canyon due to its beautiful and dramatic views. It doesn’t disappoint.

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Uncle at Divisidaro
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We didn’t stick around long at Divisidaro. The view is great, but after 20 minutes or so I was ready to move on. We rode back to Creel and then headed north to the town of San Juanito. From San Juanito there are 2 ways to get to Basaseachi Falls – the longer, paved route and the shorter, unpaved route. Of course we took the unpaved route. This is a dual sport adventure, after all.

North of Creel is the town of San Juanito. Chihuahua Hwy 23 goes west from San Juanito to Basaseachi Falls. It is a 60 mile long dirt road.
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The first 20 miles of this road had me regretting we took this route instead of the paved route. Major road construction was going on and there were trucks and workers and rocks and dust everywhere. Yuck. It was hard to tell exactly what they have in mind for this part of the road, but they were definitely widening part of it and may be paving the first 20 miles or so. This was, easily, the least enjoyable part of the entire trip.

However, after 20 miles, things got a lot better. Miles 20 – 40 were actually very good. The road winds through a mountainous pine forest, affording us with some spectacular views.
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I pulled off the road and climbed a small hill so we could take a short water & beef jerky break. During this entire trip we never really ate a lunch meal. Mostly we ate a good breakfast, stayed busy all day, and then ate supper. In between our two main meals we mostly dined on that great Whittington’s jerky and some bottled water.

Taking a break
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Overlooking a valley and small pueblo from the top of our hill stop
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Miles 40 – 60 weren’t bad, certainly better than the first 20 miles but not as good as the middle 20. All in all, I’d recommend this road, especially if the construction is complete by the time you get here.

We passed 3 other riders heading in the opposite direction. The first, a fellow named Buzz from Houston riding a KLR, was on his way to meet some folks in Creel. We visited with him for about 2 minutes but he was in a hurry to get on his way. Nice to meet you, Buzz. About 45 or so miles into the trip a new Triumph Scrambler and a KLR passed us headed back the way we had come. We waved, but did not stop as we passed. At this point, it was late afternoon with maybe two hours of daylight remaining. Unfortunately for them they had at least 3 hours of riding before reaching San Juanito, so they either camped out or ended up riding in the dark before they reached civilization.

At the end of this DS road is a sign directing you to Basaseachi Falls, the tallest waterfall in Mexico.
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There are 2 entrances to the falls. The eastern entrance, which we took, provides a scenic view of the falls from a distance. The other entrance, the western one, affords you an opportunity to walk up to the falls and look over the edge and/or a path to hike to the bottom of the falls.

To give you an idea of just how big the falls are, take another look at the picture above. There are several people standing on the edge of the falls. Can you see them?

Can you see them in this picture?
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See that little, bitty white spot? Well, that’s a guy wearing a white t-shirt. Honest.
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Full zoom
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After taking in the falls, we headed east on Hwy 16 looking for a hotel for the night. We discovered Hotel Magaly in Tomochi.
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Though the room was only $250 pesos ($25 USD) I, unfortunately, can’t recommend this place to you. No heat, concrete floor, and a lingering smell emanating from the bano (bathroom). The other choices in this little pueblo didn’t look any better but next time I will try one of them if for no other reason than to avoid the odor.

The food in the hotel restaurant was good though, so don’t be shy about eating there.

More to follow.
 
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Bruce,

Very cool. I think it's going to be a great ride/rally. I've already put in a request with the WeatherGod for pleasantly warm weather, a little wind (just enough to keep cool), and no rain. I slipped a $20 in the envelope with the request, so we'll see how things turn out. :-P
 
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I was supposed to ride to Garner SP with a freind yesterday morning. As you can see I'm still at home pounding on a keyboard. :-) So much for weather discussions. All is not lost though. I just ordered some new quieter pipes for the LC. That's my problem; if I'm not riding, I find ways to spend too much money. :eek2:
 
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The Copper Canyon - Big Bend Loop: Day 6

Day 6 – North through Mexico

It was cold again this morning and there was frost on the bikes. We had a long way to go today, but decided to eat breakfast while waiting for things to warm up.

Breakfast was good – Huevos Rancheros
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Huevos con Chorizo
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Uncle and Irma. Irma owns the place.
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Our plan today was to head east on Hwy 16, then run north to La Concho, then run north east through Gomez Farias, Buenaventura, and Magon to Villa Ahumada. In Ahumada we would catch Hwy 45 and run it north all the way to the border.

Headed east on Hwy 16 we had a great time in the twisties. About 30 miles or so east of Tomochic we reached the edge of the mountains. A large plain stretched out in front of us, with another, smaller mountain range in the distance.
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We ran north through that plain, headed for the turn-off at La Concha. The riding in this area was okay – nothing spectacular, but not a completely straight, boring road either. The map indicated we would pass through the pueblo of La Concha after making our left turn. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly correct. Following the road signs, we turned northeast as indicated to get to La Concha, but the pavement quickly ended. Maybe the road through wasn’t paved?
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The road wasn’t unpaved, the road wasn’t there; it ended in La Concha. I flagged down a local and showed him on the map where I wanted to go. He told us to backtrack to the highway, go north a bit and we would find the correct road. Bingo! He was right and we were back on track.

From here all the way to Magon the road was quite good, with a mix of twisty hill riding and high speed desert riding. After Magon, we were back in the Chihuahuan desert and the riding was all high speed, mostly straight roads, all the way to Juarez.

Remind me to never go through Juarez again, especially the international border crossing. It was bumper to bumper traffic, hot, and choked in smog. Just navigating through Juarez was hectic with all the traffic, taking about an hour and then it took another hour to get through the border check. We arrived in Juarez fairly early. We left more than 2 hours later due to the congestion. Not fun, plus it ate up all the remaining sunlight.

It was almost dark when we finally arrived in El Paso. We headed east on I-10, looking for the first motel we could find once we were on the outskirts of town. I finally spotted our home for the evening – the Americana Inn. $65 for the night got us a clean room at the back of the property and as far away from the freeway as possible, a hot shower, and television in English.

We had been out of the country for 5 full days with no contact with anyone in the states so Uncle and I both broke out our cell phones, turned them on for the first time since we had left Terlingua, and started checking messages and returning calls. I let my family know I was back in the states and all was well.

I already miss riding in Mexico.

At least I've got 2 days of riding in Big Bend still ahead of me to help get me over my sadness though. :)
 
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The Copper Canyon - Big Bend Loop: Day 7

Day 7 – Indian Hot Springs

There are several roads out in the Big Bend region that I’ve been eyeballing for a few years, wanting to ride. One of these was the road down to Indian Hot Springs. Several DS riders that have ridden this road have called it the best dual sport road in all of Texas, rivaling anything in Baja for beauty and remoteness. This trip was my opportunity to experience this road for myself.

Our plan was to meet up with Mike at The Lodge in the west Texas town of Sierra Blanca. It took us a little more than an hour of slabbing it on I-10 to get to Sierra Blanca from our motel in El Paso. Once there we linked up with Mike, topped off our gas tanks and headed south towards Indian Hot Springs.

The first part of the route heads south on Hwy 1111, a paved road. After a few miles though, Hwy 1111 ends and the rest of the loop is unpaved road. Here’s our first look at the unpaved road. It’s basically flat and runs southwest across the desert towards the distant hills.
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We are headed in the direction of those mountains in the distance.
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Before tackling this road, we lowered the air pressure in our tires down to about 20psi for better traction.
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Mike on the route to Indian Hot Springs
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After a few miles of straight, high speed riding, we reached the distant hills. Things got a lot more interesting at this point. The scenery was better and the road twistier and more fun.
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We stumbled upon this fix-er-upper special. It’s probably your for the taking, bullet holes and all.
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More road shots
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Mike
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My KLR and the road
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As we approached the Rio Grande and the end of this road, I spotted a small military observation site with camoflauge net, two trucks, and several soldiers. They were sitting on a small hill, in plane site, so I thought I would be stop and ask about road conditions up ahead. This was not well received by these fellows at all. As I headed towards them they reacted like I wanted to start a war. They jumped up, quickly put on their gear, and armed themselves with their M-16s. Several took up positions behind the trucks. They didn’t draw a bead on me with their weapons, but positioned themselves so they could do so quickly if needed. I recognized what they were doing as I’ve done the same thing many times with the teams I served with during my military career, especially in hostile situations in foreign countries.

A Border Patrol agent was with them and he walked up the road to intercept me before I reached their camp.

“What do you want?”, he asked in a challenging tone of voice.

“Nothing. I just stopped to say hello.”

“You need to leave, Sir.” he replied, pointing back the way I had just come.

“Okay.”

“Where are you from?”

“I’m from Austin. My two buddies and I are headed down to Indian Hot Springs, enjoying a ride on our motorcycles.”

“Well, you need to leave.”

“No problem. Have a nice day.”

Mike had pulled up behind me during the exchange. I signaled to him to make a U-turn, and we exited the area; we didn’t even stop to take a picture of them from a distance.

I don’t know if they’ve had problems or are expecting problems, but I wish them the best. It was Thanksgiving Day and those fellows weren’t at home with their families. Instead they were at work, in the middle of nowhere, with their scopes trained on Mexico.

Once we reached Hwy 192, we turned east towards Indian Hot Springs. Hwy 192 was paved, but the pavement ended in a very short distance. From here till we got back to Hwy 1111 the road was unpaved. We paralleled the Rio Grande for many miles. We were in the desert but much of the land we rode through was a swamp. There was lots of water and we even ran across a large pond full of ducks. Yep, ducks in the desert.

We also ran across a couple of havelinas.
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These 2 didn’t know what to do as they were caught in no-man’s land. There was water on both sides of the road and they clearly didn’t want to jump in the water. They ran back and forth across the road looking for a way to get clear of us. I stopped my bike and shut off the engine to give them a chance to clear out. Eventually they decided to run up the road to a point where there was no water and they could get off the road. Once they were off the road we continued on our way.

We came to an open gate with cattle guard. The two sentinels stationed there told us where we were.

Sentinel one
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Sentinel two
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Before we reached Indian Hot Springs, we came upon 2 abandoned buildings.
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A short distance later, we finally reached Indian Hot Springs. The mountains in the background are in Mexico.
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Today Indian Hot Springs is a private ranch / resort that can be rented for special events. I was told later on that the Border Patrol had recently rented it as a base of operations for a training exercise. Since we hadn’t rented it and it was private property we did not enter the grounds, continuing on our way.

Up to this point, the road from Hwy 1111 to here had been okay, but I wouldn’t call it the best dual sport road in Texas. Not even close. Things were about to change for the better though. Way better.
 
Joined
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Re: The Copper Canyon - Big Bend Loop: Day 7

Your encounter with the troops was interesting and encouraging. :giveup: Wish there were more of them on the border. That brings up a question: do you carry and personal protection while you are out and about in the back country? I'm also interested in what type of tires y'all were running on the different bikes. I'll be needing a new rear very soon as mine in worn to the point of being squared off. I've had my XL600 for only a couple of months and she gets pretty squirrelly when cornering on pavement with those worn knobbies.
 
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Gibbens
Bruce,

None of us were carrying any personal hand guns or anything like that. I don't know if there is a way to legally carry a firearm into Mexico and didn't want to risk carrying one illegally.

Mike and I are running Avon Gripsters on our bikes. This is my 2nd rear Gripster and my first front Gripster. I really like the Gripster. It works great on pavement, has been more than adequate on unpaved roads, and gets decent mileage (I got about 5k out of my first rear Gripster). This is the first set of Gripsters that Mike has run and at the end of our trip he told me he really liked them.

Uncle is running Continental TKC80s on his bike, front and rear. He had them installed about a week prior to our trip. After the trip was over he told me he really liked the TKCs. I don't know how much was bike, how much was tire, and how much was rider, but Uncle never had a problem keeping up on the unpaved roads, even on the road to Batopilas and the road to Satevo.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
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Bruce
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Taylor
I agree. I don't think you can legally carry any firearm or ammunition even in Mexico. In the states you might have the same problem inside Big Bend. I'm not sure about state land.

As long as your uncle has been riding I'd trust his opinion. What tire did he have on his bike before the TKC. That might give a relative, pun intended, idea on the improvement by changing to TKC
 
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