Copper Canyon December 2009

Cut to the chase and show me the Movie!


I found out three weeks ago that I was not going to be able to carry over all my remaining 2009 vacation and I had an extra week that had to be burned by year end.My usual riding buddies couldnít get away on such short notice so if I was going, I was going alone.It was 10 degrees and snowing all week in Omaha -- Not my idea of a vacation.Besides, Santa didnít bring me a 60Ē plasma to heat my house with, so Iíve gotta get out of here.


Iíd done 6 previous driving / riding trips into Mexico, but never solo.Worst part of going solo was there was no-one to share the gas expense, parking for the truck and trailer, and any motels needed (as it turned out I moteled every night due to the cold).


In the past Iíve left my truck at long term Airport parking.Its safe and cheap.El Paso airport was $4.50 a day with a $23/week maximum.I look on the GPS and can only see a ďWest Texas AirportĒ -- I figure that must be it.††††


HmmmÖSomehow I donít think this is the right Airport.


Still, its worth a picture.



Back to the GPS and I spot the El Paso intíl A/P.I head there and immediately find the long term parking Iím looking for.












Here I can fold my trailer against the wall and block it in with my truck in addition to the cable and lock.


I cross the border into cd. Juarez then ride in 12 miles (or 20 km) which is the end of the ďTourist zoneĒ and where the Aduana (immigration papers) and Banjercito (Temporary Vehicle importation) offices are. I was stayimg 7 days or less so the tourist card was free. A vehicle is about $30 US and good for 3 months (may be 6, not sure).


I then found a nice little truck stop.


I only ordered tacos, but they felt sorry for me in the cold and brought me a free soup.Just look at that Salsa and Pico!


And the tacos were great too.The food is always good in mexico, but this was to be the best meal I had all week.


Mexican moving van ?




Hereís my view from the ďcockpitĒ.GPS are a great tool, but I still like to back it up with a paper map.

(Both can contain errors, BTW)


While weíre at it, Lets talk GPSs.I have had several, mostly Garmin.Iíve had touch screens, and theyíre OK in the Car, but I still like a GPS with buttons on the bike. As Iíve gotten older I canít see the screen on the Garmin 5 as well, though it is a great machine for the size and money.A few years ago I bought a 276C second hand off of was fabulous, but I was too lazy to add map detail for most of my trips.I just bought a 478C, which is basically the same thing with 2 Gig of North America maps already built-in Ė And it still fits in my 276 toutatech mount for the GS.So, I can use it for most trips without having to do anything, and on a trip like this I can still load Mexico details from an old copy of Garmin World maps Ė though it doesnít do routing on these old maps, I still like Ďem.I also have some 10 year old Gramin topographical maps for the US, but they also donít do routing.I like adding these extra maps to the 478ís memory card.Now I see that people have hacked the Garmin map format I I was even able to download, for free, these trail maps for Copper Canyon:



From this site: ††††

It also does not do routing, but who cares.I know its 40 miles to the bottom.†† This map showed me where I was on every switchback, all the way to the bottom.


Hereís what it looked like:††











Driving south toward Chihuahua I was surprised to see apple orchards.Lot of them


A few shots of Chihuahua:













Chihuahua was pretty nice for a larger city.I never felt endangered here, road were good. I first stopped at the newďHoliday inn ExpressĒ just for kicks-- they wanted$99 US.Crazy.Who pays that in mexico.Place next door was just as new, with breakfast.I was too quick to choose as I saw places for $22 on my way out of town that looked fine (Gated parking is one of the few requirements for me to protect the bike). ††††











































Big lake on the way to Cuauhtemoc.






Ah, an advertisement for my destination.

El mejor lugar! (The Best Place!)


As I get close to Creel its snowing pretty good off-and-on.Iím not too worried, as the ground was warm enough o keep things mostly wet.

I did give up my hopes of camping and decided I better get a room with a heater Ö


Thatís it.Upstairs.(Hotel Los Valles)



$24 room, had another bed just like this one behind me, and my own tiled bath.There was a cheaper hostel in town, but not this nice.








Iím a big Cagiva fan.Here in Creel I found a bike-on-a-stick kiddie toy, bust be from the Glory days in the 80s.







Wednesday, Creel, Chihuahua, Mexico

Icy seat.††† Icy roads.I decide to get gas and eat and let things warm up a bit.







Someone was nice enough to maint a map of the Canyon on the wall.



Nice little church in Creel, and my first Water Crossing.


Then I spot the sister ship to my bike.Another Blue 2005 R1200GS BMW.

Turns out this guy has been doing a North American tour since November.

Heís from Montreal, and he crashed out a week ago.He has a hole in the valve

cover, broken spark plug, and some other damage resulting in no compression,

most likely a bent valve or rocker.Heís trying to arrange a truck to civilization.


ďRoad with IceĒ




But, as I descended from over 8000 ft. to the bottom of the canyon(< 2000 ft) things warmed quickly


One of the many Shrines




This is the road down to the bottom of batopilas Canyon.



Then it goes over there.




and eventually across this bridge.


These planks were very smooth.


The next bridge didnít need guardrails I guess.



Yeah, kids at the bottom are playing in the river.



This place looks very nice.


One more bride and Iíll be in Batopilas.




Many of the local men wore these bright shirts and white skirts.


Nice downtown area.




I need to get some lunch and get back on the road.Itís only 40 miles to the pavement, but itíll take 2-1/2 hours.


Hey Mikey, Isnít that your uncle Ben?


Enchiladas con Pollo


Scenery on the way out.



Quirare? Isnít that the poison the dip their darts in?



Finally, back to the black top. Its later than Iíd wanted, so I decide to get back to Creel

Rather than go on another 200 miles to Hildago de Parral


Thursday bring us more icy roads.I had to take it pretty easy.



Much of the paved roads around Creel reminded me of the Black Hills of South Dakota.

However, this reminded me of the high prairie East of Fairplay, Colorado.



A few pics of Vicente Guerrero (I think)




And Santo Tomas



Past this funeral Ö


Very colorful Cemetery.




Hereís where my 10 year old ďGarmin World MapsĒ let me down.Iím overdue for a road that takes me over the Cont. Divide, but I canít see it.The only thing to the right is this dirt town, and dirt roads leading out of it.



And the eventual gate.Dammit!

Back to the Highway I guess.Will I have to go all the way to Nogales to get North?



Ahhh, one mile further and hereís my road. Garmin was only off by a little.



Another large (and largely dry) lake.



Awfully nice house for Mexico.(I think Iím in Ignacio Zaragoza)



I finally pull up to the Border at the extremely small crossing between Puerto Palomas, Chihuahua and Columbus, N.M.No line to close out my Vehicle Import, tourist card, or to cross into the US. Gas was 7.8 pesos per liter, or $2.20 or so per gallon so I would have filled up in Mex if Iíd had any pesos to use up.As it is Iíve only spent the initial $1750 pesos ($135US) I got from Banomex when I came in, ad 25 of that was on Taquila to take home.I did charge $95 worth of Hotels, but $115 for 5 tanks of gas and 4 days worth of meals isnít bad.


Columbus, NM had nothing open at 8PM and I was worried I should go back into Mex to gas up when I discovered a closed gas station that has Pay-at-the-pump.Wheeeeh.At this point Iím cold and starving and 65 miles from El Paso. Better get-er-done.†† Itís 40 degrees when I pull into El Paso.Wouldnít have been bad if I had dressed for it.I have an electric vest back in Omaha, but who takes that kind of stuff to Mexico?Could have used better pants than jeans too.Anyway, the coat, gloves, heated grips-- All lifesavers.


Now Iím in the truck, but hereís what the mtns. Near Alamogordo looked like.


Roswell, still crazy after all these years.


Aardvark on a stick in Portales, NM



B-29 model and monument in Great bend, KS


And thatís all folks.

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