Monday, September 28, 2009

The Road from Creel

Nate's not as happy as he looks and neither am I

Nahrr, Nate's not happy here, either. We are both beat to shit when we find this hole in the wall with no hotel/motel, only a very small tienda:

Fer christsake, how can you be miserable with that kind of background?

Ok, so it seems that Nate lost his camera on his way home so I'm going to try to describe our quarters for the night.

We'd been riding since soon after sun-up on the trail from Creel to Choix. It was a few hours into the ride when I crashed and broke my ankle. That, of course ate up some time. The progress was slow going with endless switchbacks, loose rocks, blind turns, plus my paranoia that I would do something stupid and drop my bike on my hurt leg again.

As we come down off of this mountain...

we can see signs of civilization and we're all going "hurrah, hurrah, we're saved!"

But when we finally get there, there is n o t h i n g. I mean nada. While Nate scouts ahead for anything, this guy yells at me in English, right on! I ask him if there's an hotel, he says no. How about a tienda? Yes! right around the corner here! (A hidden dirt trail switchback. The tienda was literally 50 feet away, but down the hill out of sight). Good god, we're saved!

Nate has apparently lost his camera on the way home, so all of the pics from Creel on are gone, including the accident scene and all the pics he took of the tienda here, so I will try to describe it. Here is the only shot I have. The little girl is the daughter of the woman that's running the tienda.

Where I'm standing, taking the picture, is in front of the window where Nate and I bought a truckload of water and cokes. While we're standing there trying to re-hydrate (we were suffering heat exhaustion by now), I realized we had no place else to go. Nate was warned not to try to camp and Choix was too far, especially if the monsoons hit. I'm looking over at the covered patio thing where the girl is standing and I ask if we can rent the space. Now, the woman wasn't exactly surly, but it sure seemed as if she didn't want us there in the first place. Anyway, she says the equivilent of "welllll, I guess so." Cuanto questa? She doesn't know so I offer $100p and she accepts it. Hooray, we're saved I have an idea; I take the picture of the little girl and Nate takes a picture of the two boys. We're thinking/hoping that they belong to the woman. I break out my little photo printer, and just like the border crossing and all the hotels we stayed at, I print those two pics and give them to the woman. It turns out the boys belong to someone else, but the little girl is hers. You wanna talk about an attitude change! It was great. She was now on our side.

A little later a truck drives up with a bunch of "farm hands" and the driver bursts out of the cab and runs up to us yelling "Hey Amigos! How's it going!? You want some hash?" His hands are thickly stained from apparently cropping plants or processing or something. Wow, not what I expected. I think it's pretty cool, but Nate was a little uncomfortable. The guys load up on cervaza and stand around talking amongst themselves and with us for awhile and then take off.

We had the place to ourselves for a little while and the sun is starting to set when another pickup comes roaring up the drive and again, another guy comes running up to us. This one's a little different. He's got a bloody lip and is obviously phucked up. The first words out of his mouth is "Hey mudderfuckers, whatz happening?! You want some phucking dope? You like mexican poosy?! I blurt out "Dude, you know the real English! What the fuck's happening man!" "Man, I was just in an accident, look, I fucked up my lip and my head!" I start laughing my ass off and reply "Ha ha, me too! I crashed my bike and fucked up my leg!" We're laughing our asses off.

So we go back and forth with serious ghetto talk. He explains that he had a big operation in the states with dope and "poosy" and all kinds of stuff but he got busted and deported. When he talks with his friends listening in, he's cursing the US and his bad fortune but when he turns back to me he's all talking smack with his filthy english. I'm having the time of my life with this guy. He's certainly not the first guy I've talked with like this. Remember, the house I sold in Vancouver was a crack house - that's the kind of neighborhood I tend to live in. Anyway, Nate's a little worried but I assure him that if just checks his ego and let this guy rant and show off in front of his friends, everything should be ok. Our one hope was that after they left, they wouldn't come back in the middle of the night even more wasted and ready for a fight or something. They never did come back.

Later, a police pickup shows up and the mean-looking driver gets out of the drivers side and the two other cops with rifles get out of the passenger side. Those two cops stare us down while the driver loads up some sacks in the shape of bales. I have no idea what was going on (yes I do) and I stared off into any direction but theirs.

They finished whatever they were doing, and without ever having said a word to us, the booked. Now that, was uncomfortable!

The ex-surly woman invites us for dinner around the back of the house - frijoles and cheese. It had to have been one of the best meals of my life.

A little later on a final pair of pickups (I was surprised to learn that the spanish word for pickup is "peekup" ) shows up and the friendly amigos buy us beer. We sit around talking and having a good time while the monsoons start to roll in. They complained that they haven't had rain in 15 days and Nate tells them we'll get rain tonight because it's been following us the whole time. Sure as hell, the wind picks up fiercely and it just pours. The mexicans are happy and don't even get out of the rain. Nate and I move our gear further back in the patio because the wind is in the direction of the opening and just pouring in.

I happen to mention that mexicans don't know shit about drainage. It's now pitch black except when the brilliant lightning is flashing and we put our gear all the way back in the patio. Slowly the visitors go home for the night and all that's left is me, Nate, and Benny, the guy who flagged me down. Benny is a field hand there and he simply unrolls a straw mat, lays down and goes to sleep. Nate and I lay on a bed frame there but it's too uncomfortable for my leg so I lay out my thermorest and spend the night on the floor.

The next morning, sure as shit, our gear, including our helmets and gloves are sitting in three inches of water

Once again, I take a picture. This time of ex-surly Margarita, print it out and hand it to her. I think she appreciated it. She stood there and waved us goodbye.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Safely Back Home… Ugh!

The good news is that we are both safely back in the states. After 3 days covering 800+ miles per day, I returned home but without my camera that was stolen from my tank bag while checking out of immigrations at the Nogales boarder. That’s a serious bummer as I had some fantastic pictures there that I hadn’t uploaded to my computer.

Arno is safely in Houston. He is in the emergency room as I write, finally having his leg properly attended. We’ll update everyone on his status once we know.

Appreciate everyone’s support, it is certainly a bummer of a way to end the trip, but we learn from each and every one of life’s adventures, this was certainly one.

Take care,


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Down and out - AR NO bones left to break?

Hey guys... because we were behind we decided to take the most direct route to Los Mochis and bypass the traditional Copper Canyon sightseeing. We were thinking it would get us to the coast and heading south.

We got about 40 or 50 miles beyond the pavement when Arno took a spill on a downhill switchback and got his left leg tangled up in his pannier. Yes, it's broken, just above his left ankle.

We had a GRUELING ride getting Arno out. We almost hired a truck, but he thoght after a couple hours of me running around to villages looking for a doc that he could make an attempt. I mentioned going back to Creel, but he wanted to press on (it would appear that the larger weight bearing bone is in tact as he can hobble around and get on/off his bike and is actually more comfortable on than off). But we were going so slow that we didn't make Choix like we thought and we got trapped by approaching thunderstorms and darkness. We were whipped, exhausted, and way overheated when we managed to get a villager's covered porch to sleep on and wait out the storm and night. Actually quite the experience, will post about it once I get time.

Anyway, it took us 3 more hours this morning of difficult riding to get to asphalt and we are now at the Best Western in Los Mochis, Arno is exhausted and fell asleep w/his clothes on.

His bike is still a problem (fuel pump sucking air when fuel low causing it to cut out), now getting his leg attended is a problem, he's conceeded defeat for the trip as his leg is definately broken.

We've decided to get back to the States, not sure how Arno's going to do it, his problem is that if he sees a doctor here he'll be put in a cast and won't be able to ride his bike out. So we're probably going to set off for Tucson tomorrow. The other option for him is to fly him home and ship his bike. Not sure which is more painful for him, lol. He is otherwise healthy and fine (other than cranky) but obviously needs to make sure the bone is properly set.

So, I'll let him update you about him. I'll post all the details and pics later - bottom line is that it looks like the trip isn't going to continue from here...

Thanks again for everyone's support...


Monday, September 21, 2009

Parents, don't let your kids do drugs. Or let them play with video editing software

Don't do Speed from Arno Jones on Vimeo.

While I'm running all over town trying to find splices...

Swillin' is chillin'

Couldn't have done it without you, Roger! Mil gracious!


For anyone else who suffers this malady on the side of the road, once the problem is identified the fix is easy.

Here's the failed piece - Fuel Pimp Controller (yes, even the pimps get pimped )

Well, it's too late to hit the road today, but we're going to motor on first thing in the morning. Let the trip continue!

While I wait for the sun to come up so I can work on the bike, I thought I'd take some pics of where I'm at (La Posada del Creel).

The main lobby

The computer room

The kitchen, that we have the full run of

Can you see the laptop on the far table? That's where I'm sitting right now

My "garage". When it rains, there's about 3 inches of standing water here. After the humiliation I suffered at the hands of Nate posting my boot pic, I broke out the sandals. What a mistake!

This is one of those posters where you stick your head behind it. I am going to try to remember to stick my lobster-colored, gringo head in there and see if I can pass for a native

My work bench. No work happens when it rains though. We have to run for cover.

Yes, this is common throughout the Mexico that I've seen so far. You get used to seeing a wastebasket full of used shitpaper next to the bog

Nate will do a better job of describing this place, but anybody heading to Copper Canyon on the cheap will definitely want to stay here. It is a most awesome place and the staff (Roger) is a tremendous host.h

Conquistadors in search of gold...

Al Stewart - Midas Shadow:


You've got your ticket and your hotel keys

And your overnight bag at your feet

You're looking down on the tropical trees

While the Spanish maids pick up the sheets

Conquistador in search of gold

For all the jack-daw reasons

The Midas shadow that's so hard to please

Follows wherever you go.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained they said

So you played for the winner takes all

And tossed the dice high up and craned your head

To see how the numbers would fall

You stole the game so easily

Your luck ran with the seasons

But still the shadow that the night won't free just

Follows wherever you go.

Conquistadors in search of gold...

Arno does a great bug eyed Marty Feldman! Quite the Conquistador!

Yesterday was interesting trying to work with fuel and electrical systems while the rain came off and on in heavy sheets. It was sliding off the metal roofs and would fall in big globs down our backs while working.

Getting the ring off and on without a special tool is no challenge whatsoever for a hillbilly mechanic using a hillbilly wrench!

We got the pump working with power directly to it, put it back in the tank but could not get the bike to run. We took it back out and checked the "lifelong" fuel filter. Sometimes we could blow air through it and then it would stop up completely! We played around with it and attached it to the pump, powered it up and out shot a nasty black looking fuel! Bad gas for sure, and no screen to filter it out!

Here's a picture of the fuel filter:

Here's Arno during one of our typical "let's stop and think about this" moments...

The bad stuff purged from the filter, we tried it again and after "burping" the pump (with it directly wired) good clean fuel came rushing out! We closed it all up and wired it up properly, no start! Bummer...

Then we figured out that the controller could be blocking the signal to the pump, so we hooke up the diagnostic tool again - NO fault codes...

So, we took the controller out of the loop and hot wired the pump to run while trying to start the bike... Result - VROOOOM!

This is what a wet bike that's running, at night, with a happy Arno looks like:

With a lot of help from all of Arno's friends, we've determined that we can rewire the bike to bypass the fuel controller and that older versions of BMWs run that pump without any controller at all (it's function is to reduce the speed of the pump after start to 80%).

So, Arno just has a little wiring work to do and then we'll be under way again. We've considered leaving today, but with the rainy afternoons think we'll hang in Creel for tonight and launch out for Copper Canyon and Los Mochis on the western coast tomorrow. We will need to work on getting the pump and controller properly fixed down the road...

Thanks again for everyone's help!