I had big plans for today. I had been debating where to go next, either south to Culiacan or head east into the Sierras and Copper Canyon. The Copper Canyon route was just as long but was mostly through the mountains which would make it a longer ride. I’d heard about how beautiful Copper Canyon was but that it’s one of the most remote regions in Mexico and the area is narco central. After talking with a few other ADVRiders who had just traveled through there I decided I’d take the road less traveled and go to Copper Canyon.
The first 60 miles were a breeze, cruising along the 4 lane highway of MEX 15. Just before Ciudad Obregon, I took MEX 12 into the mountains. The road was flat with a few curves and I sped passed farms and a couple small towns. I woke up feeing fine but halfway through the ride I started feeling nauseas. I opened my visor to get some fresh air and kept riding. I thought since I skipped breakfast that maybe I just needed some food. My GPS showed a town just a few kilometers away but I had to stop to take a break. I took off my helmet and noticed my forehead was pretty hot. Great. A fever and nausea 60 miles into a planned 300+ mile riding day. I grabbed by bottle of water and drank just about the whole thing. I sat on the side of the road for a minute and then hit the road.
I reached the town in a few minutes and was feeling worse. I stopped at a gas station, filled up, and bought a Sprite. I sat along the wall of the gas station and enjoyed the refreshing soda. I must have been quite the sight. A sweaty gringo in riding gear, sprawled out against the gas station. Now this is the point in the blog where even before the trip started I was thinking how much of my trip would I share. I decided I’d share the stories of what it’s like to travel solo by motorcycle through latin america. So whatever that is. You’re gonna get it. Plus this story is just one of those moments that made me laugh so hopefully you’ll get some laughs too.
I knew this trip would be filled with a lot of first times, but this next one is one I could do without. I took my time sipping that cold refreshing Sprite, not even paying attention to the people passing by and looking. I just wanted a bed. I wonder if they’d let me sleep in the gas station office for an hour? Or see if there’s a doctor in town. Before I could decide what to do, a decision was made. Apparently the carbonation in the soda affected me more than normally. As I sat on the sidewalk enjoying that Sprite, I let out a little fart and instantly regretted the decision. Yikes! That was not just a fart. For all the times I’ve laughed at my friends who have “sharted” I guess I had it coming. Could things get worse! I got up and ran to the bano faster than Usain Bolt off the starting blocks. I pushed the door and it was locked. Ahh of course, I need 2 pesos. Ran back to the bike and grabbed the 2 pesos. I only packed three pair of underwear (don’t judge, it’s high-tech merino wool travel underwear) so this would have to be sorted out.
I got the emergency situation taken care of and then went to find the farmacia. I asked the woman for something for nausea. Even in the middle of nowhere Mexico I could get all the things I needed when feeling sick; a bottle of water, medicine, and a box of saltine crackers.
A few minutes later I was feeling better. I still had long way to go so I kept charging. The road left the farms behind and started climbing into the foothills of the Sierras. I took MEX 12 north where it would end in MEX 16. I had been on it for a while and my GPS was showing I should be there any minute, but there was nothing. I kept going further and my GPS was showing I had passed it. I reset the GPS to double check. Well there wasn’t any road that I saw and MEX 16 is a well traveled road so it must be further up the road. I kept going and the road started getting worse. Giant potholes and mud covering the road. I thought for sure I somehow must have passed it, but then I came around a corner and I saw a military checkpoint and a sign for MEX 16. There was a small shop on the side of the road so I grabbed a snack and rested for a minute. The guards were asking about my bike. I’ll say buenos tardes (good afternoon) and then they talk for a minute in Spanish and I just stand there. They are all really nice and just curious about the bike.
I get on my bike and get stuck behind a semi-truck that has to slow down to go over a speedbump. As I’m going 1 MPH one of the dogs from the military camp comes charing at me. There’s no where for me to go cause the truck is in front of me and there’s a wall of boulders lining the road on both sides.
Hurry up, truck! I probably said something different but that’s what I needed to happen. The dog was barking and tried to bite my boot. Sorry dog lovers, I had to defend myself. I wasn’t going to let a dog bite me. Just as the dog went to bite I met his face with the backside of my boot. I thought the guards might try to come after me for kicking their dog so as soon as the truck cleared the speedbump I hit the throttle and sped off. Hasta luego, Cujo!
The road went higher and higher. This was motorcycle heaven. Miles and miles and good road, endless curves, and beautiful landscape. A few miles on MEX 16 the clouds came in and it started raining. By this point I had been on the road for 7 hours. I was pretty exhausted. I rode for what seemed like forever till I reached the town of Yecora. The rain was coming down harder and I decided I’d call it a day and find a hotel.
Finding hotels isn’t too hard in towns. From the main road there will usually be a few hand painted signs advertising a couple hotels. SKY TV, Auga Caliente, Internet, y mas. Sounds like just what I need. When looking for a hotel I try to find one with secure parking that either has a gate or is out of sight from the road. Then I go in and ask how much it is for a room. Then I ask to see the room. They’re usually all clean. But I’ve heard it’s best to always check the bed for bugs before making a decision and paying. Hotel El Dorado had the only sign advertising internet so that’s where I went. 250 pesos for a night sounds good to me. Out of the rain, in a warm room with hot water. The hot water will be useful as I have an unexpected load of laundry to do.