approximate route: Cuatro Cienegas, Parral, Copper Canyon (Creel, Urique, Batopilas), San Blas, Michoacan coastline
Sunday 2011jan2 1046a
I got on the road from the Holiday Inn at around 930a, then stopped to fill up all of my gas containers, since I knew that there may be some long stretches without any. Then, I headed straight ahead to the bridge over the Rio Grande, to a different country. I paid the $3 toll then went in to Piedras Negras, stopped for a quick picture, and continued on, with no immigration or customs process until I was a long ways down the road pas Allende on 57. I got my visa and the temporary importation for my bike with no hiccups there, and continued on. I don't know what's going on, but riding has been causing my right shoulder to hurt. I can sometimes reposition it to temporarily contain it, but it is still an ongoing problem, probably starting around the day to Tally. I finally got to Monclova but passed the exit to 30, so after I got all the way to the other side of town, I turned around and took it then got lost in a neighborhood and after going back and forth on one way streets, finally found 30 again and was on my way to Cuatrocienegas. A beautiful, albit cold, ride through the high desert with an oasis river below. I got to c.cienegas and rode around looking for the hotels listed in the lonely planet book but couldn't find them after cruising around so went to the only spot that I found, Hotel Ibarra. I wasn't disappointed either. Clean, internet, heat, and surprisingly, hot water, and only M$300.
I was going back and forth having second thoughts last night about the trip, wanting to be in my own bed a little, but this morning I woke up fresh and feeling good. I slept long last night, so I got my room for another night and will explore the area today, then head out tomorrow morning.
Sunday 2011jan2 504p
I should have mentioned that I went to bed last night at 930p and didn't wake up this morning until after 830a; I was knocked out. I was slow to get up, then did some walking and got breakfast, then stopped with the hotel owner and paid for another night. Suiting up and taking off toward the west on 30 was next. I stopped at Rio Los Mezquites first, which had clear blue pools of water in the middle of the desert, perfect for a summer day, and I'd suspect nearly perfect for beer drinking and bikini watching. I got back on 30 and went farther, and took one of the small dirt paths headed out into the desert to the mountains. I went way out there and it lead to a small beautiful valley, perfect for camping (the nights get very cold and windy though). I got a little scared when I saw some dust clouds coming so turned back, but after getting on 30 again I saw that it was a numbered road. I road down that and another little numbered side road. I turned back on the first because I wasn't sure of the legality and the surface sucked. I went quite a ways down the other, but stopped after a while and then had to poop really bad, so did, then headed back. On the part of the road that goes between a valley, I came upon a family packed in an old Ford, stopped, because a little boy had to pee. Excellent day.
Monday 2011jan3 931p
Feels like I've been here more than two days.
I went to bed again around 1000p, but this time first woke up around 530a, guess I wasn't quite tired enough for another 11 hr sleep. Went down to El Doc for breakfast, and the waiter talked a decent amount to me, which was cool and probably good for learning. After that, and still early, I started packing and hit the road. 30 toward Torreon was a good ride, but 45 out of Torreon kinda sucked. Dead straight for over 100 miles. Of course I got lost in Torreon too, there is no N/S E/W marked highways, just the highway number and toward what major city, and the marking near intersections often get lousy, especially in cities. When I thought that I might be on the right road out of Torreon, I asked a guy on a scooter next to me if this was the way to Chihuahua, and he said yes, but his expression showed that it ain't the fastest way. The residential road intersected with a four lane highway, and bingo, right after getting on was a sign for Jimenez. I got off, but then no more signs. Shit. I got back on and decided to hit it from the other direction, and ding-ding, got a sign. Heading for Jimenez. I was going to take 44 across to 45 from 49, but no luck seeing it. I found 24 out of Jimenez to go to Parral and saw that there was no fuel for the entire stretch but knew that I could make it there without a problem, especially with my extras. Then, I got the idea to find a good camping spot, so I started turning down every dirt road that went toward the hills to find one. I found another stone quarry, but mostly just open range. I wasn't satisfied with any of the spots, Coahuila's spots seemed better, then heading back to 24, I switched to reserve, and decided to just hotel it. The afternoon was already turning into the evening, so I got caught up in a little Parral traffic, but found the hotel out of guide book right off of Plaza Principal, and pulled next to it, on a tight one way street, and got a room for M$275, and they let me park my bike in the lobby. Seems like a good, pretty city so far too.
Thursday 2011jan5 1023p
My ride over on Wednesday was awesome. My worrying was unwarranted on finding the route out of Parral, as all that I had to do was turn left after the Villa museum then a right at the next main intersection, then just follow the signs to Sierra Tarahumara. I saw a group of cyclist at the beginning and I was stuck behind a bus for a bit, but the road was awesome with beautiful sights. The road flattened out near Guachochi and I did go into town to check it out after a hotel and restaurant recommendation from an advrider, but nothing looked too appealing so I headed back out and continued on to Creel. The road was still flat for a ways before getting into excellent motorcycle country, some of the best. I had to fill up the bike with the fuel in my extra container. After cruising a little around town and seeing that ...bosque... hotel was outside, I continued on to the center and some guys at margarita's asked if I needed a room, so I ended up staying there, which was probably a good move, as there are many "like minded" folks there...
There was a communal dinner shared withe the other travelers, including Lena from Oz, Billy from Boulder, Will from Vancouver, and Tina from Seattle. Mostly some good conversation, first for the trip, and we agreed on a hike to the Valley of the Monks the next day.
After a late start in the morning, we headed off for the long walk there. A little hotter than expected, but all very good and with amazing scenery, small homes among extending fields and shear cliffs, and livestock among it all. We were fortunate to get a ride from some locals off of the road for the ride back, which was fun and provided some new scenery. Next was dinner and a few of us went out for beers during the night.
...I woke up early with her in order for her to catch the bus. We walked together to the stop, definitely sad. The obvious feelings were there, sadness that for me was one of the funnest times in my life was coming to an end, and I'm sure of a similar feeling for her. We waved at the other as the bus left. Sad. I walked back to Entre Amigos and slowly started packing, many times pausing for reflection. I picked a few more tangerines from the tree and took the scones that she bought for me along with the strawberry jam to the roof and reflected on this weekend. Damn, this is why I did this trip. I'm happy. This is the most fun I've ever had and probably the most content I've ever been. I can't overstate my contentment at that moment. The cabana, the food, the views, and the girl, it was all perfect. I slowly continued packing then felt like I had no idea what I wanted to do. Basaseachi Falls was the original plan, but everyone is saying that there is no water there, and I've spent about a week in the Copper Canyon area and feel like I need to start moving south, while the falls is north. Crap, I'll at least ride to Creel as planned and decide from there. The ride back was uneventful yet beautiful, with the wonderful euphoria of the curves once on the paved section. I really regret not stopping at Bahuichivo as I passed, as I'm pretty sure that she was there waiting for the train. I need to end my hate for stopping once moving. I got a room in the dormitory at Margarita's then noticed that my sidecase mount was missing some of the quick release pins, having been beat to hell on the bumpy roads from Urique. I pulled out the internet as i was afraid that the pins may provide some suspension for the weight but my search turned up nothing so I went up to la ferreteria to buy some bolts to use as replacements, which look like they'll work very well. I was real scared when I first saw the issue, thinking that I was going to need to find a welder and this was going to turn into a big deal, but now I've solved it in about an hour. I continued on the internet with writing and photos, now that I finally have it and no one else that I care to spend time with. Routes are difficult from the Copper Canyon in a southern direction, but I finally decided on Batopilas as I thought that I should visit it and it looks like, from my map, that there is a southwestern route, to the coast, that hooks up with Choix. Not sure of the route, but I'll head to Batopilas to see what's up. I also got a quick exchange from her on Facebook, saying each of our plans to head for Mazatlan.
Once, while she and I were in the kitchen cooking, I mentioned that I had brought a few books and had been planning to do some reading but so far had completed nearly none. Her response was that there was no need to worry about lost reading since I had good companionship now. I am under completely different circumstances now and this statement took me aback. I had never really thought of reading as a replacement for companionship and don't really believe that's how I used it or that that's all that it's good for, but she is correct in that I've never had the companionship I currently have with her. I have someone intelligent that I enjoy all conversation with, grabs my butt often, and lets me have sex with her.
Luckily I didn't get choked up the next morning when we were leaving, although maybe it would have been better if I did. I don't think I showed enough emotion. I had a beatiful ride along the coast, but rode well past dark to stop in Barra de Navidad. Then I got back on the bike the next morning and didn't even make Playa Azul the next day before stopping at some open land along the seaside to camp. Wierd the way it happens, but at first I was thinking that I didn't want to camp as I was playing the idea through my head while riding. As the time went, I warmed up to it, before, even with Playa Azul in easy reach, I decided to stop instead to camp. So I first went from wanting a hot shower and nothing less, to no shower, but beautiful scenery and a sunset. To make time around here is difficult. From San Blas to Esco, where I'll probably meet her again, is looking like at least four days. Damn.
Tuesday 2011jan25 559p
I woke and found breakfast in San Marcos then hit the road. Still a bunch of curves at the beginning of the ride and some continued throughout, but it flattened a bit toward the end in Puerto Escondido. I hit a bird, maybe a crow, with my helmet the previous day when leaving Acapulco and a feather got stuck in my helmet. On today's ride, I was riding along and then began to cross a long bridge when traffic came to a dead stop. I waited for a bit and nothing happened. Then a I-guess broke down car was pushed out of the way on the bridge and the other lane started moving steadily. My lane's turn came and a few taxis and I moved forward but then the line stopped again. I pulled out on my bike because I was getting sick of the waiting. When I got to the front, I saw that there were stones piled across the road and a little truck was blocking it. Af first I thought that the truck was in a wreck or broke down, but then I realized that it was some sort of protest. I pulled all the way up to the line and nobody really paid me much attention, so I just continued on. Maybe the city was Marguilles, or similar.
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