While i'm getting my life back together, please look at a fine selection of my photos:

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Barranca del Cobre - Creel to Batopilas

We arrived in Creel in dark (again....) and cold, at altitude of 2300mi t gets chilly fast when the sun disappears. The cheapest hostel in town according to the lonely planet was a hostel and it turned out to be a nice place with, as always in hostels, lots of young (relatively that is) people from all over the
world. I forgot the name but it's easy to find: follow the direction to City center, drive all the way down to the plaza, passing lots of other hotels. The hostel is located in the right far corner of the Plaza. The price was right too: $80,- for a bed, diner and breakfast. Pesos that is, not US$ ;-) Cheapest so far. Apparently I move in the right direction. Baja was pretty expensive, with La Paz as an all time high. Other tips: right across the plaza, crossing the railroad there's a small a small green colored shop with great coffee for only $8, and a cute very skilled and nice girl running the place too ;-) Creel is nice to hang around for a day, which we did, and there are lots of tours to do. The hostel rents out mountainbikes.

After a day of recovery from our 2 day dirt road adventure (Which actually can be done in one day if you start early in El Fuerte or Choix and don't spend an hour and a half building up karma credits trying to fix a local's flat tire
or give a local drunk guy a lift. And don't have flats or other
misfortune of course...) we needed another adventure to keep our adreneline going....

Our next adventure was the route from Creel to Batopilas. A 65km dirtroad. After all, not many bikers do this, and it would certainly add to our list of adventures. We figured that since this road is actually on every map it wouldn't be as rough as we experienced earlier- this assumption turned out to be not entirely right ;-).

The first 75 km. is a fantastic road with challenging curves and great
scenic views.

Due to a lack of navigation skills and absence of
preparation (except from water and food, i get smarter every day...) we missed the turnoff to Batpilas completely. And had to backtrack. Funny thing: there's a sign "Batopilas" if you come from the south, from the north there isn't.

The road turned to gravel immediately. First few kilometers were pretty smooth. Then a large stretch of very bad road on the trace currently under
construction. After that it's not that bad actually, see picture above.

Depending your skills that is. We haven't got any of that, and our bikes are heavily loaded with all travel gear. So we took it sloooow and easy. In hindsight, it would have been better to make it a two day trip from Creel and leave as much luggage behind. Below: After 20 kilometer you see this awesome view. You have to go all the way down, cross the bridge and then back up again.

Even if you are the experienced off-road type, the road doesn't invite you
to go fast. There's hardly any shoulders and it's all single lane,
blind curves and lots of rocky stuff etcetera. Is it a difficult
technical road? No, i must say. A heavily loaded Moto Guzzi
can do it, so how hard can it be? What scared the crap out of me
the most was the narrowness, the distracting scenic views -does weird
things with your orientation and balance senses- and steep drop offs right nex to the road.

In short, if you take it easy it's a great adventure and fantastic
scenery. See pictures. We needed about 3.5 hours to cover the 65km.

We took the 2nd hotel in the Batopilas village, a double room for $100, hot shower and free potable water. Very cheap. Downside is that it is a 15 minute walk to the plaza with other
(nicer, more expensive) hotels and a few restaurants. We had dinner at
Restaurant Mary's at the plaza. Good food, nice and fairly cheap.

Batpilas has a strange feeling. People wear guns there and at night public guards walk around with 9mm and m16's. Nice... It's perfectly save though, accoording to a local...

It shows that mexico goes through a turmoil. In Creel a protest display with coffins and a text about the murder of innocent people in august this year made clear that there's a lot going on underneath the surfice.

Personally i haven't had a moment i thought i wasn't save. You have to pay attention to your belonings though. People, kids in particular, have the habbit of looking with their hands instead of their eyes. Ow, make sure you count your change. Although people are friendly in general, the will check out if your stupid ;-) Keeps you awake though...

barrance del cobre