Friday, February 13, 2009

El Mar

(Batopilas, MX - San Blas, MX)

OK, here we go...
Since our last post, we´ve been makin tracks. We made it out of Batopilas on Wednesday after spending a couple days lounging about and exploring, and took to the road once again. The bike was having some trouble overheating on the way up the canyon and I was mildly distressed (to say the least.) I discovered the following morning that the fuse for the radiator fan had blown and, after removing the side panels, seat, and gas tank, was finally able to trace the wires and find the fuse holder to fix the problem. (Note: On KLR motorcycles, although the fan and radiator are on the left side, you will find the 10A fan fuse on the Right side, zip tied to the metal rail just beneath the fairing!)
Back at altitude leaving the canyon, we found our way along some fantastically windy asphalt roads to the town of Guachochi for lunch. We met up with some other riders there who were down from Calgary, an older couple on a BMW 1150GS, John and Joanne, and their friend Lloyd who was traveling in style aboard a bright orange Honda Goldwing 1800 with trailer in tow. We ended up following them into Parral and enjoyed a dinner on John (Thanks again John) and engaged in a robust political debate about the merits of capital punishment. Those of you who are thinking that this may not have been the best idea are dead right. Not that things didn´t stay civil but boy o boy did the mood change. Grace became less enthusiastic about staying awake as she approached hour #2 of thoroughly being ignored by me as I drank and spewed circular logic nonsense to our new found friends.
From Parral we had a long ride down to Durango which was miserable, once again, doing 70mph for 5 hours on the KLR, and spent the night in the heart of the historic district. It was actually a lot nicer than we anticipated upon entering the city limits. After about an hour of hunting, we managed to find a nice hotel and a good restaurant downtown and enjoyed wandering about... a bit. We both really liked how the buildings were layed out. They had a very plain, flat front which suggested a less than interesting interior, but upon entering they would open up to reveal a large, lush courtyard.
Before I go on, I´d like to take a second to comment on the highway trash issues they are having down here. The roads are honestly, a dump. They have signs every few kilometres that remind drivers that "A clean highway is a safe highway," and yet this seems to have no affect on the masses. The roadsides are COVERED in garbage. Every stream that you pass has become a dumping point for vehicles to back up to and it´s a daily occurrence that we see trash being shuttled out the windows of car windows as they drive on their way. The roads are in fantastic shape for driving and I applaud the work on infrastructure, but the trash has got to go. Maybe someone could write a letter explaining the "Adopt a Highway" phenomenon that has gripped the US?
Although the roadsides are a mess, It is nice to report that the Federales at the military checkpoints are an absolute pleasure. They are mostly kids around 18 years old with massive machine guns and a curiosity about the bike. Up until today it has been nothing but an enjoyable break in the ride, but today, they dropped my bike! Frickin Dude wasn´t comfortable letting the bike lean against it´s kickstand and so insisted that he would balance the bike vertically as I opened the side cases for inspection. Unfortunately he wasn´t ready for the weight and lost control, letting the bike crash down on it´s side. He was mortified and I was pissed. The other guys helped pick the bike back up and the inspection was over. Lucky for me, I´ve already dropped the bike in the exact same fashion about 6 times so far on the trip, and it´s nothing new for the old girl so no damage was done (Not that I would have really made much of a scene anyways)
Yesterday's ride was epic. From Durango we had about 150km of average ho-hum riding on the way to Mazatlan, when we arrived at the "Devil's Backbone" This is a world famous stretch of road that runs along a mountain ridge and provides amazing views of deep valleys far below on BOTH sides of the road. This was a hell of a lot of fun to drive but really gave all three of us a solid work out. (She´s one of us now...)
We spent the night in El Rosario, at the hotel Yuaca, last night where we stayed up drinking with 5 new bikers from Calgary (I don't know what the deal is with Calgary) who were on there way to meet their wives and girlfriends today near Puerto Vallarta. They were all on Street Bikes and were averaging a far quicker pace than us (Though they did miss out on Copper Canyon, due to ground clearance issues, HA! Take that Canadians!)
Todays ride was brief and mostly uneventful beyond the fact that we've finally made it back to the ocean here in San Blas. This town is fantastic and we've already made some friends who all intend to rock the night away with some live music at McDonalds down the road (it´s a bar) Tomorrow the big event here is that the city will crown "Mr/Ms Transvestite San Blas 2009" in the main plaza. Apparently it's a pretty good show. Not sure if there's a parade. Not really sure what to expect at all other than I´m confident it will be nice and weird.
The beach here is fantastic and it's not too crowded. I think we may stay an extra day to relax. We'll see. No rush. Our lives rock. Peace.

1) Disassembling the bike in Parral in search of a fuse
2) On the road, Grace is the photographer
3) Semi drivers are maniacs around here. This guy just lost his load but we saw another one on it´s side yesterday trying to negotiate a tight corner at high speeds.
4) One of the churches near our hotel in Durango.
5) They are constantly burning the roadside brush (not exactly sure why) but the flames honestly melt the plastic as you drive by. This was a particularly unexpected and hot one to pass.
6) Grace likes to eat and drink.
7) She also takes fantastic pictures.
8) At first glance, it looked like a painted sculpture, but after doing a u-turn we found that someone had cleaned a horse right there and posed it with the bottle. Strange yes?
9) It´s art I think.
10) Looking three directions from one of the stops on the Devil´s Backbone.
11) Next.
12) It was awesome.
10) I have to stretch when we take breaks. I get so sore.
11) Finally, back to the ocean.
12) She´s so cute.

P.S. As I´ve been working on this blog I have learned that, of the 10 people staying at this off-the-beaten track hotel, the owner (Chris) is originally from Port Townsend,WA and two of the guests used to live next door to me on Orcas Island. The son, Liam Hampton, was a student of my Mom´s in 3rd grade and both Paul Townsend (his Dad) and He have been out boating with Poppa Storey. Unbelievable. I´m going to have another Cerveza.


  1. hello, great to hear from you!!! i was a bit worried when I zoomed in and you had been on the side of some desolate road for 11 hrs. We are yucking it up with the the Canadians up here in canada while you do the same in mexico. Keep up the good work and stay safe. love the stories love the photos, keep em coming. Love you guys.

  2. Happy Valentine`s you two. Vicariously enjoying the journey without having sore bums! Insidious Canadians... somehow I even married one 20 yrs. ago! The trash in Mexico adds to the rich textural landscape, without it it would be Sedona, Az. Reality check. All is well here, glad to hear the overheating prob. was as simple as a fuse. Grace keep posting those great photos, Love Papa and Sandra

  3. Great photos guys! It was great to get to chat with you on IM...I'll keep it on always but seems more likely to get you after 5. It's so great you get to be on this fantastic journey together! Can't wait until your next post!'s the highlight of my day!

  4. Ah, thanks for the tapas (sp)! It's been fascinating to watch your progress. If you see a lizard, take a photo for me? And, oh, one of a good meal, for Palma and me? I'm ready for the next installment! Love, Mum

  5. seems like you have already gotten so far!