Friday, October 9, 2009

The Ride Back to Texas

I have to admit, after spending the night at the tienda, I was not enthusiastic about the ride out of there. I knew I had at least two more grueling hours of loose rock, tight switchbacks, and, muddy track from the heavy monsoon from the night before.

This ain't no Starbucks GS

As it turned out, the monsoons were a blessing. For the first few hours there was no dust thrown up and Nate and I could ride together, and, no dust from any oncoming vehicles. And we only had about 5 or 6 puddles to cross. I have video of this, but I forgot to clean the lens, plus, much of the footage was shot into the sun. I'll put something together anyway. No pictures though, really, as they were in the camera that got stolen out of Nate's tankbag at Nogales.

So anyway, we finally start coming down off the mountain. The roads got better and straighter and I started going to the trouble to upshift. Up until now I'd look at a straight stretch and calculate whether it was worth the pain of trying to upshift with the broken leg. Usually what I'd do is wind out first gear and pull in the clutch and coast the rest of the way. Anyway as we got close to Choix I discovered upshifting with my heel and it was all good after that. Choix was a relief because we hit blacktop and the way was now much faster.

The drawback of the ride from Choix to Los Mochis was the stifling heat and humidity. My temp display showed a max of 104.1F. I thought I was going to die.

When we got to Los Mochis we decided we'd splurge on a 1st-class hotel. We struggled our way through Los Mochis and hit the 4-lane road to the coast. SURPRISE! The coast was a seaport and not a resort place like we thought. 22 miles one-way for nothing. There was a hillside covered in houses that looked promising, but when we got there we found everything covered in graffiti, more than I've ever seen, and surly looking people everywhere. We book out of there barely putting a foot down. So on our way back to Los Mochis, we turned west for the airport. There are always hotels near the airport, right? Haha, NO!

We finally (re)arrive in Los Mochis looking for any hotel. We are knackered and dehydrated. Nate sees a Best Western a few blocks away and we circle around the one-way roads until we finally zero in on it.

Well, let me say that for $1,600p a night the room was not worth it. It was on the top floor with the window facing the southern sky. It took hours for the A/C to have any effect.

We go downstairs to the fancy restaurant and order what looks like good food, but it was the blandest, worstest food on the entire trip. Nate even got sick from it.

The next morning we eventually gear up and head outside. 8:30 am and we're already dying from the oppresive heat and humidity and can't wait to get rolling. North we go.

One of the hardest things for me was breaking the leg/ankle - not physically, but mentally. Was it really broken? Even if it was, couldn't I carry on to Panama City and have it looked after? What about going back to Creel? And on and on and on. Not only did I have my trip to consider, but I felt, and still feel, guilty about the other half of the team; Nate. After a lot of endless discussion I decided to head for Houston where SheepShagger would put me up, while Nate called it a day and headed for home via Nogales/Tucson. That sucked as I had hoped he'd carry on anyway.

So, we head north on Hwy 15 from Los Mochis to Ciudad Obregon, where I turned east on a super-twisty road hwy 12 at Esperanza, just to the north of Ciudad Obregon while Nate continued on to Hermosillo and beyond.

The road from Esperanza to Hornos to Rosario to San Nicolas was every bit as grueling as the dirt road the day before. Being asphalt only added a false sense of security. The roads were narrow with random potholes thrown in. 1st gear switchbacks that can't be enjoyed because you're waiting for a tractor-trailer to come around in your lane. If that wasn't enough, the switchbacks were so tight that the trailers chewed up the asphalt anyway into chunks. Add the random rockslide and you can see that it wasn't possible to blithely go skipping about the countryside.

The Pillars

To add to my trepidation, I was also running out of gas every fifty miles. The bike would just die, instantly, usually in a hairpin curve with no shoulder. I was not happy. 50 miles, wtf? As I'm riding and filling with gas every 45 minutes (and sweating finding a Pemex) I wondering what is wrong with the fuel delivery. I go through everything in my head and come up with nada. So I have an idea; I fill up at the next Pemex and go down the road a few miles and stop and pull over. I look at the bike and sure enough, there's a hose that is dripping gas. Oh, now what!? Well, it's the hose to the charcoal cannister that I snipped in half. The hose had fallen from where I perched it to hang down near the chain. Somehow with the gas sloshing it would create a syphon. There's where half my gas went, Yay!

I make it to a hole-in-the-wall Yapachic as the sun is setting and I buy gas from a lady at a house. Cuattro liter, por favor! Then I go to a small place advertising hotel/restaurant and ask for a room. "No hay!" What do you mean you don't have any rooms? Well, she only had two rooms in the first place and the folks eating there beat me to it. She sent me down the road to the only other hotel - at the very far end of town.

This place looks like it's been deserted years ago. I gotta piss like hell by now so I beat on the door that says Recepcion. Nobody answers. Fuggit, I pee on the side of the building at the far end. I come back and pound on the window and a little kid answers. I tell him I need a room and he goes screaming for mama into the sunset. Finally a young girl shows up and just doesn't seem to want to rent me a room. Geez, wtf? I'm the only one here. I get a key for room 8. I hobble down there and the key just spins and spins and spins. I stagger back to the recepcion and pound on the door and pound on the window - no answer. I gimp my ass back to cuarto numero ocho and mess with the lock somemore. Eh? I found the magic number of turns and it opens.

First thing I gotta wash my hands. No water pressure. Great, so I wash my hand in the toilet tank (the reservior (you made me try to spell that!), not the bowl, ok? )

While I'm doing this a large truck pulls in with 4 of those giant tires. I have a smoke and go back to recepcion now that there's someone else there, and tell her I got no pressure. She says it will come on in a few minutes. I reply that the faucets been on for an hour. As I walk back towards the room I hear the girl say something to the trucker and they're both laughing - probably at me. I added them to my list of people to kill. But I figure the trucker will be alerted to the water and he'll get her to turn on the pressure!

Hey, I had nothing else to do.

After hours of this deserted hotel a bunch of tractor trailers pour in. It was amazing! I got to talking with a couple of the truckers and helpers and it was pretty cool. I told one guy about the water situation. 5 minutes later the water was flowing!

Those guys were outta there before sunup. I got up about the time the last one had left and I was ready for a shower. Guess what, the chick turned the water back off. $220p for the worst hotel ever

Anyway, I'm on the road minutes before sunup and I am freezing to death. My temp displays 44F. Once I get rolling though I won't stop to put on more layers. Besides, when the sun comes up it will warm the earth, right?

In the meantime, I've been texting Sheepshagger and he says he'll meet me in Presidio, TX and load the bike into the van for the rest of the way to Houston. I'm hauling ass to make the border before it closes at 6:00 pm. It took Nate and I hours to get through Chihuahua on the way down. I got lucky on the way back and paid attention to the detour sign on the way back. I got all the way through Chihuahua on the first try with no wrong turns!

From Chihuahua it was 90 - 100 mph where I could to make Ojinaga and the border on time.

I make it! 5:30 and I'm checked out of Mexico properly (not like the last time I left Mexico!)

About this time SheepShagger is at Del Rio, so I have a sub at Subway in Presidio and a gallon of some red drink, then hit the road for Marfa, Alpine, and ultimately Marathon.

This pic was taken at about 10 - 12x telephoto. That car is a Highway Patrol car. I'm glad I stopped, because I was haulin'. Thanks to this pic all I did was smile and wave as I passed by.

I make to Marathon, TX in what I estimate is about an hour before Sheepshagger will get there. I strip all the gear off the bike and settle in for a wait. A guy and his kids show up and he tells me he's from the area and that he gives tours, etc. As I'm sitting in my tires like a toilet ring, listening to him, I see Sheepshagger drive by, wtf!? Didn't he get my text telling him where I am? I lurch to the bike, fire it up and do a grand prix take-off after him, yelling at the strangers to "watch my shit for me, I'll be right back!"

I catch up, flashing my lights and shit, but Sheepshagger is not stopping. I finally pull up beside him and signal for him to turn around. He was out of cell range and didn't get my texts.

I always manage to get him to do my work for me

This is what a 400 lb BMW does to a dirtbike ramp

We dig around the area looking for a ramp substitute and I actually find a 6 or 7 foot piece of iron! We hook it up and load the bike. Right as the bike clears the makeshift ramp, it falls on my good foot. I don't know how much the ramp weighed, but I do know that it took both of us to lift. Now I'm hopping up and down like Daffy Duck and crying like a baby. It wasn't that bad though as it was balanced by the pain in my left leg

Well, we're done and off we go. SheepShagger and driven what, 10 or 12 hours to get to me, now it was time to turn right around and head back. We had a bunch of Redbulls and I talked my ass off. My driver was not going to sleep on this trip!

We make it to about 2 hours outside of Houston though and we're both beat. We pull into a truckstop and start to snooze. I guess those Redbulls don't like the redhead, because within five minutes I was off to the shitter. Ok, well, I'm awake now, dammit! Fuggit, I'll drive the last two hours.

We make it back in one piece. By the time we hit the house, I had maybe 10 minutes left in me. Whew!

Ben Taub ER. Anyone seen Idiocracy? This is straight out of the ER scene in that movie. If you haven't seen it, you should. It's a documentary held in the future. I got there at 9:30 am and got out of there at 6:30 pm.

That's all I got for now, folks!

And hey, I want to thank EVERYONE for their support throughout this whole trip, from everyone that clicked a link, to those that left comments, and especially Sheepshagger and Mrs. Shagger, at who's house I'm still at! I'm never leaving!

As far as the clicks went, I still don't have the final figure, as Nate is the guy who set it up and is in charge of it, but from what I can gather, you guys contributed about 4 tanks of gas or more for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you very much. With no income whatsoever, every nickel is appreciated. Seriously. Thank you.

And the final note for now is: what am I going to do from here? Who knows. I'm the kind of guy that takes a fork in the road when I get there. The one thing I do know is that I don't think I can afford to go all the way to Tierra del Fuego though. Marking time still consumes money. But I figure I have a few more weeks to heal and then I'm off again, but most like only as far as Panama. We'll see.

Stay tuned, I'll be back on this thread soon!

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