• The Road Less Travelled…

    Posted by Murray on January 18, 2011

    Motorbikes trips are generally about planning and organisation in order to achieve set goals in a safe and enjoyable manner. However, there are a number of things not to do, which we knew but just didn’t do for numerous reasons:

    1.Don’t leave late if you have a long unpredictable day ahead

    2.Carry detailed paper maps

    Our aim was to ride Alamos to Chinipas and the following day ride through Barranca de Cobre (Copper Canyon), one of Mexico’s famous natural exhibits. The road was not showing up on our GPS maps or the handful of other maps we had on board (probably because they comprised a Sydney UBD and the Simpson Desert). Locals sort of just looked at us strangely, shrugged, pointed up into the hills, waved arms and shook heads when we described our desired route. Didn’t inspire warm and fuzzy feelings. A kindly gentleman offered us a hand drawn map to see us on our way, advised us to be careful, watch out for the bad guys and the mariajuana crops hidden away in the mountains

    We left Alamos the following morning late…..very late. This was due to having a delightful extended breakfast, chewing the fat with locals about the route and fielding questions regarding the bikes, the kit, our trip etc. which is normally welcome but sometimes a challenge when one has to get on the track. Anyway, after stocking up on fuel, food, loo paper and equipped with a mud map, topo map and some PDF pictures in the GPS, we headed out. 10kms along the quickly deteriating sandy corrugated road, Loz declared over the UHF that a bolt had shaken loose from his headlight. After a brief stop to source another bolt from our spares kit, Loz discovered that a bottle of fuel additive had decided to explode inside his pannier, hence providing a well lubricated tent and cooking gear. Back on the track we rolled through numerous villages, dodging donkeys, cows, dogs, roosters and oversized Chev pickups. Occasionally we pulled up for directions which varied wildly both in time estimates and distance. Classic stuff and the Mexican people in these parts could not do enough to help. Very friendly! The road/track become more challenging as we entered Chinipas Canyon.

    It was the deep bulldust underlain with rounded pebbles and goolies that made it hard work! The hundreds of switchbacks through the magnificent canyon were challenging given the true road surface was hidden by the bulldust. Added to this was the random Chev pickups and trucks that would be often encountered on a hairpin bend with the trucks being on the wrong side of the road just to negotiate the bend. The intercom system became invaluable as the lead rider would provide a running commentary (ie. cow laying on road, overloaded red truck emerging from the dust, stay wide on this corner, bike down etc.). We reached the summit with a few hours of daylight remaining and then the fun really started. The heavily laden bikes, the gnarly rocks, deep bull dust, ruts, off camber hairpins (don’t look over the edge mate, just get around the corner and set up for the next one) and errant pickups was an interesting combination. To add to the brew, Lozza’s bike was still equipped with factory tyres which are generally an 80% road / 20% off road, hence the front wheel was like an ice skate on the rocks. In one particularly bike down, the locals showed their helping spirit on one stack and three guys pulled up and sprang out of the pickup to help Lozza’s bike up. They were happy to help and celebrated by grinning wildly and cracking beers whilst they drove off in a cloud of dust. After numerous get-offs and Lozza perfecting the commando roll, we finally spotted the lights of Chinipas (darkness had graced us with its presence by this time) way down the bottom of the valley nestled beside Rio Chinipas. Following some discussion (ie. see the lights, lets go), we committed to descending the winding 1800m elevation route down the mountain in moonlight rather than setting up camp with the weird donkeys and whatever else was out there.

    As we approached the lights of the town, we took a left turn along a sandy track and had a final flowing river crossing about 500mm deep with large cobbles. We rolled into a town full of staring white Stetsons and F350 pickups. We struggled off our bikes in front of a seedy looking hotel, covered head to toe in white talcum dust, totally spent.

    113kms for 6hrs on the road, a tough day.

    Comment of the night – now you really DO look like a ghostbuster

    Alamos to Chinipas

    Chinipas Canyon

    Spot the cactus?

    "We have situation Bike Down, do you copy that"

    Ayudamos el gringo

    Rio Chinipas and the sun is going....


13 Comments | Leave a Reply

  1. Anthony McNab on January 18, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Sounds absolutely incredibly awesome – I wish I was there. Today I worked for 10 hours, did some more on the front deck and patted the cat. Didn’t fall off my motorbike once.

    • Murray on February 7, 2011 at 12:49 pm

      Patted the cat!! Nice work bro…. oh, and how are the knitting lessons?

  2. Mumma Pamma on January 18, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    It all sounds a bit too hairy for me….Glad I am not on the back….Love the photos! Did you stay a night in the place where the chandeliers was? Mumma Pamma xx

  3. Tim Price on January 19, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Following your route with Google maps on satellite mode didn’t make it look easy.

  4. Rosie on January 19, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Ah loving it! And this is only the start … how exciting!

  5. Jaz Scales on January 19, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Your beards are starting to grow!! Thats the first thing i notcied!! Looks and sounds FABulous!! miss u xoxox

    • Rob Milla on January 19, 2011 at 8:25 pm

      Jazzie – Muzza has actually been growing that beard for 9 months now, and you can just start to see a few wisps coming through now….

  6. Louise Page on January 19, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Rob, I beg to differ…Muz was actually growing that in November last year just before he left…he mentioned something about needing to ‘get a head start’..?

    • Carmen on January 20, 2011 at 5:32 am

      Weeeeeeeeell, you can’t convince me, guys…. I saw he shaved in Peru!!

  7. Ben on January 20, 2011 at 3:19 am

    Sorry to break it to you guys, but you don’t really look like Ghostbusters….

    Dustbusters maybe!

  8. Andrew Scales on January 20, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    I am getting sweaty palms reading this….drunken Amigo’s, bull dust roads plus road tyres….Hmmm maybe you should invest in Pamma’s tea-towel for those moments!
    Q, Why is it that every liquid bearing container that Lozza puts into any enclosed space EXPLODES! At least it was the correct mixture…
    Keep on ride’n Tex’s

    • Murray on February 7, 2011 at 12:43 pm

      Thanks for the comment bro. So Loz has a previous history of stuff exploding in his backpack huh? Tasmania maybe. How is the surf?

  9. Beth Dew on January 22, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    You boy are brave.What a dirty road.Take care am following you .Love Aunty Beth.