Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day 143 - Creel - La Paz (Baja)

Distance travelled (by bike): 17,000

Today was one of the hardest days i've ridden in a long long time, mentially and physically.
 I decided to take the mining road from Creel to Los Mochis, i was told it was possible on the motorbike and should take about 8 hours. 
At dawn i left Creel, Twisting through the mountains and around the canyon as the sun rose. When i got to San Rafael the fun began, the beginning of the mining road. The road was dirt, narrow and a majority of the time seemed like it was just stuck on the side on the mountain, with no railings or warning signs for the corners. 
For the first 4-5 hours i was really enjoying the drive, at about the 5th hour the road turned into sand, in places really heavy. Trying to turn through the hairpin bends began to get tough, with the weight on the bike the front wheel was slipping and if i applied the throttle the back tended to slide, not good when the drop is about 700 metres. I found this really tough going, with no direct route the road would twist down the mountain into the valley and back up the other side. Along the straight i decided on the more speed approach (easier to drive in sand going quickly), whilst around the corners it was no speed and lots of concentration. 
Throughout the journey today the scenery was stunning and everyone i passed waved to me. Whenever i stopped if someone was passing they would stop and ask if i was ok and did i need any help.
After 7 hours i was tempted to push the bike down the side of the mountain and slide after it, thinking this had to be quicker that taking all the corners. Thoroughly fed up, getting incredibly hot and my concentration slipping i pulled over, after a drink and something to eat i was feeling better. As i was packing up a truck stopped and asked if i was ok and where was i going, yes i was ok, i'm heading to Loa Mochis. He replied that the asphalt road started in 5 miles, i should be in Los Mochis in an hour. I was so relieved to hear that the road turn to asphalt i could have hugged him, spirits lifted i headed on.
I arrived at the ferry terminal in Topolobamba, (south of Los Mochis) in good time, i managed to buy a ticket (though it took some time and was quite a confusing procedure), then relaxed. The ferry arrived and we were told to line up the vehicles ready to load. Once the line had formed the army and their drugs dogs checked all the cars, passengers and belongings. I had to empty both panniers, rucksack and take the seat off.
Once loaded i found my seat (which cost more than the average hotel), it had been a long day. i can't remember falling asleep. 

sunrise over copper canyon

driving on the mining roads

the road keeps twisting, dropping away on both sides

getting serious 

people washing in the river

looking down one of the valleys


bike parked in the ferry

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