July 21-22, 2012
Time on road: 21h 35m
International Rat Ride - Saddlesore
Arrived back at the Convention Center at 2:00 am. The bikes were beginning to line up for their anticipated departure time.
The bikes rode up to the top of the rally ramp two at a time and had their odometer reading and start time recorded before heading out. Around 150 +/- bikes started the ride.
Odometer reading recorded and a starting time of 3:06 am.
Headed out of Chihuahua and then took Hwy 16 back out into the desert. Came to our first turn on the route and went East on Chih 80 which is a cuota (toll) road. Good thing about the cuotas is that not only are they usually fast roads, but during the rally, for us there were free. Just had to stop at the toll booths, give them our name, and we were off again.
Sometimes there was just not a lot to see out there.
There were no gas stations from Chihuahua to our first Check Point in Ciudad Camargo. By carrying an extra gallon of gas and riding somewhat conservatively I felt that I should be able to make it to Ciudad Camargo without running out of gas, assuming that I did not run into strong head winds. Before the start of the ride, we were told that there would be a Honey Bee (gas truck) just past our second turn. This allowed me to pick up my speed on this section and ride at a much more aggressive pace. Made the second turn onto Hwy 67 and soon found the Honey Bee. Got in line and waited for my turn to get refilled with gas. Amazing how many motorcycles there were out in the middle of the desert in the middle of the night. Ten minutes and I was rolling again. 7:55 am and we began to get a little light in the sky.
Found the Pemex in Camargo where the first Check Point was located. Had my odometer reading and time recorded, filled up with gas, and was back on the road again. 4.5 hours into the ride.
Headed north out of Camargo and picked up the cuota going to Delicias. In Delicias we were to turn west and ride to Satevo. Only problem was that I could not find the road that we were supposed to take to Satevo on any of my maps. The GPS said that the road did not exist. As I came into Delicias I caught up with two other motorcycles. Mexican plates on their bikes and they were making a turn. Maybe they know something that I don't so I followed them through Delicias.
Don't know if it was the right road or not, but it got me to Satevo.
Over half way across the road to Satevo the GPS finally admitted that there really was a road there.
What would a ride be without a little rain in the not too distant future?
Reached Satevo, turned north on Hwy 24 and found the Pemex.
Next turn was west onto Hwy 16 and on into La Junta.
In La Junta it was south on Hwy 25 going to Creel. As we rode to Creel the terrain began to change. Hills, curves, pine trees, and mountains.
On down to Creel for the next gas stop. Past Creel the curves began to get more frequent and tighter. And, once again, according to the GPS, there is no road here. Finally reached El Divisadero which was Check Point #2 and approximately half way through the ride, 542 miles - 10.5 hours. Got the required photos and headed back through Creel.
Passed Creel and south on 23 toward Guachochi. Here the road really began to get interesting. No place to stop and take pictures and too many curves to take your hands off of the handle bars for a one handed shot. Up and down and round and round she goes. And of course you need a little rain to keep things from getting boring.
Finally reach Guachochi, the GPS now says that the roads do exist again, quick gas stop and on toward Balleza. Still a great fun road, but not as intense as the ride into Guachochi. Next turn is in Balleza and up to Huejotitan. Came to Balleza and made my turn according to the GPS. Took me down narrow streets which were eventually blocked off. GPS had me make a few turns to the right and brought me around in a circle back to where I had started. OK, must have missed a street so try again. Same streets, same loop, and back to the same starting point again. Check the GPS and it wants me to run the same loop again. We had the option to continue on Hwy 23 instead of going through Huejotitan. Hwy 23 seemed the better option to staying in Balleza and riding in a continuous circle. Hwy 23 to Hwy 45 it was.
Came to the intersection of Hwy 23 and Hwy 45 where there was a military check point. It seems to confuse the soldiers somewhat when I tell them that I do not speak Spanish. Quick check of the top box and I was sent on my way. Hidalgo del Parral is the next Check Point.
Reached Hidalgo del Parral just as it was starting to get dark. Made my way through heavy traffic and found a Pemex. Filled the tank and back into the traffic to the last Check Point. Odometer reading and time recorded and free refreshments.
Next Check Point is the Convention Center in Chihuahua. It's beginning to feel like the ride may actually have an end to it. East on Hwy 45 to Ciudad Jimenez. In Ciudad Jimenez I turn north and pick up the cuota road Hwy 45D. As I am heading north toward Chihuahua I notice a lot of lightning in the distance. Still over a hundred miles to go so maybe it will all be gone by the time I get there. Sixty miles out and it is looking like a 4th of July fireworks display, and of course, I am still heading directly for the middle of the storm. Thirty miles out and it starts to rain. Then I get into the construction zone. Almost impossible to see the road. No markers, lines, or reflectors on the road. No reflective barrels showing the lane changes. Just pot holes, some dirt, and a little bit of asphalt mixed in here and there. Just riding by my best guess as to where the road was. Only good news was that there was no longer any lightning.
Finally got into Chihuahua after being passed by all of the turtles on the road and a few snails. In Chihuahua there were street lights that made it somewhat easier to see the road. There were also many sections of the road that had flooded. Finally made my way back to the Convention Center. Arrival time was 12:35. 1,000 miles, 21.5 hours and the ride was completed. Odometer reading and time recorded and I could head to the hotel for some much needed sleep.