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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mexico - Day 6 - Part 2 (the hard part)

Humming along, singing my song, thinking that everything was going a little too well to stay that way, I wondered where the adventure was. My friend Kevin had visited Batopilas a couple of years before and told me that the road was complete paved now.

Crap! How can I be a rough tough biker guy when the road is so smooth and curvey?

OK, make that a lot of curves! Suddenly I'm faced with switchbacks to match anything the Stelvio Pass has to offer. It drops like a rock and is as tight as a drum.

Fun. But also a lot of work on knobbie tires.

Then I met Daniel. He was the flagman on the construction project I hadn't expected. His guess was 30-60 minutes to wait until I could pass. Since I was the only one on the road we wisely decided to wait in the shade until the All Clear came through. It was a great chance to practice our Spanish and English on each other.

This is what lay around the curve for me. All that adventure I was yearning for was waiting for me in vast quantities. Massive rock slides had totally wiped out the road.

You can see me following a Cat D-9 that was punching a notch into the rubble so I could get through. I followed him a little too closely and missed the cutoff for the switchback that would take me down to the river. Trying to make a U-Turn by skidding the rear wheel without launching me over the edge was a bit nerve wracking.

Crossing the bridge I found more of the same going up the other side of the canyon. The Africa Twin and the TKC-80 tires dug in and gave me as much confidence as was possible in the situation.

When I finally rolled into Batopilas I was tired and it was getting dark. I had expected to have time to walk through the town and look for the hotel that my trusty guidebook recommended. What I got was a tour of the town behind a pickup truck full of the local police militia. They were friendly and waved to me but I wanted to make sure they took no special interest in me so I followed meekly behind them. I took a turn that I hoped looked like I knew where I was going and ended up in a dead end.

It was getting dark and I was not happy. As I retraced my path an old woman yelled, "Do you want a hotel?" I stopped and said I was looking for the Hotel Minas. She replied that this was the Hotel Minas. My gringo suspicion kicked in for a moment before I looked up and realized that I was about to drive past the very place I was looking for.

I asked, "Agua caliente?" She replied, "Si" The gods had smiled upon me. There would be a hot shower tonight.

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