Hermosillo, Mexico to Basaseachic
Motorcycling Adventure #5
6 days, Mar 2012
Ray & Jenny Jardine
Another fun day of riding, but first a little change of plans. Yesterday I had discovered that one of my front fork seals was leaking (on the Dakar). In fact, so badly that it had run dry and started clanking. Not good. The 200-mile Tail of the Mexican Dragon had taken its toll. Or rather, it had found a hidden weakness in one of the forks. The other fork was fine. It would be foolish to go deeper into Mexico with a bad fork seal. Especially into the remote mountains and canyons.
In addition, the Mexican Dragon had maxed out the GPS memory with all those curves. It only saved the last 150 miles. There was so much data that the first, initial tracks had to be overwritten. Usually the GPS can hold about 4 days worth of riding. Plan B then, was to head north, back toward home, via a much easier route. The morning dawned chilly. In fact, we found frost on the motorcycles. So we delayed our departure several hours. Eventually we set off at 10:00 am and headed for the local Pemex station a few miles back west. There we got gas and a quart of motor oil. I couldn't replace the fork seal because I wasn't carrying a spare, so I could only pour more oil into the fork. After doing that we set off going east on Highway 16. This part of the highway was enjoyable riding also, and most of the morning local traffic had cleared out. Within a few miles we found the turnoff to Basaseachic Falls, which we still wanted to see, despite our change in plans. We rode slowly through the town, bumped our way over the giant speed bumps, and then cruised along through a beautiful forest of pine to the small parking lot. Here we parked the bikes, grabbed our valuables and cameras and hiked part way down the trail to see the famous cascades. A suspension bridge spanned a canyon above the falls and from here we took photos of the gorge far below. It is indeed a beautiful area and Mexico has every right to be proud of this natural wonder. We are pleased that the entire area surrounding the falls is now a Parque Nacional.
Back on the road we carried on with the twisties, but today they seemed to be mellowing a bit. We were gradually descending from the high regions, and today the curves were interspersed with pleasant straightaways. We still climbed and descended, but overall we were descending. The clouds had built early today and provided welcome shade and a cool, pleasant riding temperature. One hundred and one kilometers east of Basaseachic, we turned off of Highway 16 and headed north on Highway 11, although on our maps the road was not numbered. This road was a welcome change, with long, straight, undulating pavement, and very little traffic. We were finally able to shift into 4th gear, and sometimes even into 5th, but not for very long.
We passed through several small, pleasant towns: Ciudad Guerrero, Santo Tomas, and eventually Matachic, where we stopped for gas (115 miles between gas stops). As we were getting gas, a pickup pulled up with two cows in the back of the pickup. The gas station owner's yappy dog started barking furiously at the cows, and the cows panicked, giving the truck a good beating with their hooves. The pickup truck driver got gas as fast as he possibly could and got out of there. We continued north, weaving and dodging rain squalls, and admiring the expansive countryside. We were out of the mountains now and in the high desert and agricultural regions. It was a high prairie and grasslands, interspersed with stands of junipers and small towns. There was very little of the noisy and dirty industrial works we had seen back to the west. Highway 11 (although on one of our maps this is listed as Hwy 23) ended at another highway (number unknown), where we turned left, north. The road led past several more small towns, and soon we arrived in Gomez Farias, where we found only one motel that looked like it was open for business, Hotel Central. There was a very small driveway that led into a small parking court. There were perhaps 12 or 15 units, and the pleasant woman running the place spoke a few words of English. And it was cheap, only 25 bucks. And there was hot water. There may have been heat, but we couldn't figure out how to turn it on.
Just after sunset, a police vehicle drove sloooowly along the main route through town with its siren blaring. Then here it comes again, but this time it was a full-on parade. Apparently the local high school was celebrating who-knows-what, with a parade, lots of whooping and hollering, and loud music. It was all lots of fun, with police escorts, a good bunch of kids, and lots of costumes, flashing lights and music. We joined the spectators at the curb and enjoyed the local celebration. Fun!
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