• Friday , 22 September 2017
Pride before the fall

Pride before the fall

The road we took into the Urique Canyon pushed us and required all of our skills. Once we safely arrived at our camp neither of us were keen to backtrack the same route out. I started asking around for an alternate route to the parallel canyon of Batopilas. Of the six folks we interviewed:

  • 2 people said: no problem, there is a road (that does not show up clearly on any map) and bikes like yours will be fine.
  • 2 people said: no way, very difficult, don’t be crazy.
  • 1 person said: there is no road.
  • 1 person said: good road but challenging.

Furthermore, it was very unclear the potential length of the road: Mike’s GPS said 32-miles, the gas station attendant said 60-miles, and Google maps said 90-miles, WTF?!

Selfie Urique

How could it be any worse than the road we already did?  We were feeling pretty confident. Bad call. We should have known better. By now, we have come to realize that when a Mexican says a road is bad it means that it is a near fatal goat track, lined with rattle snakes, punji sticks, and a surface very much like a dry river bed. That is for riders like Shannon and I. For the Mexicans, in their weathered trucks, it seems to be a walk in the park and they just shrug when I blubber about how messed up this or that road is.

The good road to Batopilas

The good road to Batopilas

We departed Urique bright and early with a spring in our step as we headed for the magic road to Batopilas. The first five miles took us to the bridge across the Urique river, easy peasy. After the bridge the “special” road started. We made it two miles in on that road before the mammalian survival instinct told us to turn around. The road, right from the start was like riding up a stair well covered in billiard balls. The only way to keep uphill momentum was to keep on the gas and scramble around blind corners, always going up hill of course. At the two-mile mark Shannon went down hard and the bike landed almost upside down. She was fine but poor Zippy had gas coming out of every orifice and was thoroughly flooded. That poor bike would just not start. After 20 minutes in the 95-degree heat we were able to get Zippy back on her feet and move to the only flat spot within a quarter mile in order to get the bike running again.

Photos never seem to capture how bad it really is.

Photos never seem to capture how bad it really is.

After an hour of wrenching the bike started fine and we headed back the way we came with our pride in check. Neither one of us was willing to tempt fate on this road any longer. Shannon made it a 100-yards back down the road and came off again. Mike quickly and precariously parked his bike on the downhill and ran up to help Shannon. Zippy was flooded again and would not start. We got Zippy up and moved to safety on the corner of a switchback. Shannon looked down the road at my bike and stated “your bike fell too? “ In Mike’s hurry he had failed to verify that the bike was in gear when it was parked and it had rolled off its side stand and “auto crashed”.

Suck on top of suck. And, hence a round trip of four miles took four hours.

Safe and sound in Batopilas

Safe and sound in Batopilas

We left Urique the next day on the road we came in on and safely went the long way to Batopilas without issue. Batopilas is a lovely little village and we stayed for 3-days, did a little hiking, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Batopilas River

Secure parking in the interior courtyard through Juanita's living room.

Secure parking in the interior courtyard through Juanita’s living room.

The Satevo Mission - the result of the 9-mile hike.

The Satevo Mission – the result of the 9-mile hike.

Rolling up the sidewalks after dark in Batopilas.

Rolling up the sidewalks after dark in Batopilas.

Now off to Durango and the beaches of Mazatlan, hurrah and exclamation point!

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