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  #11  
Old 11-21-2012, 11:11 AM
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November 17-18, 2012

4:00 am wake up call to get to the starting point. Final prep for bikes.



Bikes topped off with gas and waiting for the start of the ride.








The Drei Amigos get a 5:30 start and we are headed south toward Tepic.





Marco and Prospector.














After gassing up in Tepic we head southeast toward Guadalajara, or, as we soon discovered, it should be called GuadalaHORROR.



Good ride back into the mountains before entering Guadalajara.





Then the fun stopped. It took some riders over 2 hours to get through.

We were trying to follow Peter through the city as he was splitting traffic on his Harley bagger. He was making it look easy but the rest of us could not keep up. I had even removed my bags for the ride. After clipping my first car mirror, I decided that I needed to make sure that I had more room, regardless of how easy Peter made it look.











We finally make it through GuadalaHORROR, head northeast and back onto the open road.





We turn due north and go through Aguascalientes with minor delay. A couple hours later, Zacatecas and Fresnillo are in the past.

Clouds began building up in the mountains to our west.



Another hour and we lose the daylight.



Going toward Cuencame we start getting on and off light rain. All of us are starting to experience the tolls of the ride, both physical and mental. A wrong turn and also a missed turn have to be corrected and cost us additional time. John became totally mentally fatigued. A truck was traveling up the highway in the same direction as we were traveling. John was approaching the truck from the rear at full speed. His mind did not process this information until he was about to rear end the truck. He went hard on the brakes and just barely avoided hitting the truck. We stopped at the next gas station for a break, topped off the tanks and continued on to Cuencame. In Cuencame we find the cuota and head back southwest toward Durango.

The rain stopped as we were making our way to Durango. Good four lane and very little traffic. In some ways it actually seemed to give us some much needed rest. We reached Durango, took the by pass, and were soon on the other side of Durango with no delays.

With Durango behind us, we left the cuota (toll road) and turned onto the libre (free road) headed toward El Salto. Another hour and the assault on the Devil would began. However, the ride to the final staging area in El Salto would soon prove not to be an easy one.
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Last edited by RoadDust; 11-21-2012 at 02:15 PM.
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  #12  
Old 11-21-2012, 03:25 PM
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The libre is a small two lane road that twist its way through the mountains. Peter and John were traveling faster than Marco and I were and they soon disappeared from sight. The temperature started dropping very quickly and we started riding through dense fog. It gave a feeling of being totally isolated from the rest of the word. The cold temperature and the moisture in the fog caused a thin layer of ice to form across my visor. I could no longer see through the visor and had to keep it raised. The cold air was stinging my face and eyes. My eyes had already been burning from lack of sleep and the cold was making my vision very blurry. The cold was also creeping into my body making response times very slow.

We continued making our way very slowly toward El Salto. We saw lights in front of us and as we approached we found two bikes on the side of the road. One had a flat tire and the two riders were attempting to repair the tire. We stopped and offered what little assistance that we could. Tire was repaired and all four bikes continued in to El Salto.

As we came into the gas station in El Salto there was another group of riders making their final preparations for their assault. Peter and John were also waiting for us at the station. The other riders left as Marco and I filled our tanks and added additional layers of clothing and glove liners.

Checking our time schedule, it appeared that it we kept moving that we might still have a chance at finishing on time. 50/50 shot.

Our battle plan was that Peter and John would be riding in front of Marco as he has a problem with night vision. I would be riding sweep. We left the station for our encounter with the Devil and within 10 minutes Peter and John had once again increased their pace and disappeared from sight. I moved up in front of Marco to help guide him through.

At this same time, carnage was also developing in the battlefield in front of us. One bike went down. The rider was injured, but both bike and rider were able to continue. Another bike went down in a curve. The two bikes following the first bike ran into the first bike. One broken leg with the bone protruding through the skin. The fourth bike in the group was able to continue on and get help. Another bike went down for the second time on the Backbone and the rider's spirit and desire to continue was totally destroyed. He was completely demoralized. His riding companion was able to talk him through it and they continued on. They were part of the 12 out of the 25 riders that were able to certify the ride.

I had thought that Marco and I were the last riders going through. However the bike that had a flat tire earlier was still behind us. Bike's tire went flat again. He spent two night at the road side inn.

We could hear the laughter of the Devil as his voice echoed through out the mountains as we continued on. It would be our turn next. But, as it turned out, the joke would be on the Devil. You just don't mess with the South.
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  #13  
Old 11-22-2012, 05:34 PM
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The Devil had his demons patrolling the roads. The glare from their bright shinning eyes would warn of the approaching beast around the next curve. Caution had to exercised negotiating each curve as the demons would often use both sides of the road as they rounded the curves.

Another 30 minutes and we were in the area know as La Hermita. This area has the highest elevation and the coldest temperatures on the Backbone. Steady we continue to ride through curve after curve of the 3,000 curves on the Backbone. It seems like we have been riding this section for an eternity. At the same time it seems like we have only gotten started. The mind is beginning to question if we are going to have the necessary resources and strength to finish the ride. As we round each curve we feel more energy draining from our body. This section is what the ride is all about. Riding the Devil's Backbone at night. This is the real challenge of the entire ride.

Pushing through the fatigue we continue on. The mind is beginning to numb and demand sleep. The edges of the road are beginning to blend into the darkness. Night vision is destroyed from the blinding lights when we meet a demon on the road. Often it would be hard to tell if the demon was in our lane and how far we would be able to move toward the edge of the road without going off of the road or down the side of the mountain. The Devil had also laid a few sand traps in the curves just to make it interesting.

I was watching Marco's lights as he was following behind me. I went through a double curve and then all was black behind me. Not good. I slow down to let Marco catch up with me. Still no Marco. I stop hoping to see Marco's lights coming around the curve. Still no lights. I have to go back. It could be nothing or it could be urgent. I am in the middle of two curves and really do not want to turn around here but I have no choice. I check for lights of on coming demons in both directions and start a u-turn. My mind is focused on two things, the status of Marco and not being caught in the middle of the road by a demon coming around the curve while I am making the turn.

I attempt the turn too fast, swing too wide and I am headed off the side of the road. I stop the bike, and start backing up so I can correct the angle of the turn. The grade was steep, I start going backwards too fast, lose my balance with the bike, and the bike goes down. I do a hard get off ending with a loud cracking sound. Love my Nolan helmet.

What could be more perfect. Bike is lying on its side in the middle of the road with me laying on my back next to it. I stand up, make a quick check, and there still no lights in either direction. Bike is on its right side so I put its side stand down. I attempt to lift the bike but it will not budge. I reposition and attempt again. This time the bike comes up about of the way. One last effort and the bike is now standing up straight. The elevation is just under 9K feet and I am feeling it. Still watching for lights I attempt to regain my breath. I can finally breath again and now comes the hard part. I now need to push the bike over onto its left side and hope that the side stand holds and does not allow the bike to fall on its other side. Holding my breath I slowly push the bike away from me. The bike starts going over, I hear a thud as the bike settles securely on the side stand.

I move around the bike to its left side. Slowly I let the bike roll back down the incline and over to the edge of the road. So far so good. A demon has not yet run over me and the bike, so that is good. One good thing about the bike is that if it goes over on its side, it automatically shuts off the gas flow. Often it takes a while to restart the bike. This was one of those times. I did not have time to get the bike started so I turn on the emergency flashers and start walking back up the mountain.

My lungs feel like that I am moving at a full sprint but I am only slowly making my way up the mountain. Finally get around the first curve and still no sign of Marco. My lungs are now beginning to feel like they are going to explode. As I make my way around the second curve I can see the head lights from a bike. Gasping for breath as I get closer I can see Marco standing by his bike. Front wheel of the bike is in a ditch and the rear of the bike is still in the road. When I get to where Marco is at, He asks me if I am OK. All I can do is reply with a weird animal gruntal sound.

A link in the chain had broken on Marco's bike and the chain then locked up the rear wheel. If his bike had gone to the right instead of the left, it would have been a totally different story, We attempted to move the bike out of the road, but with the locked up rear wheel and trying to work at that elevation, we were unsuccessful. Eventually we decided that there was nothing else that we could do with his bike so we started walking back down the mountain to my bike.

Getting back down to my bike we could see that the lights were very dim. Not a good sign. Another failed attempt at starting the bike. Neither one of us could remember how far back it was to the last town. There was one single light on the valley floor below but it was at least several miles down the mountain. No cell phone service. Temperature was at 30 degrees. There was a stone retainer wall close to the next curve below us. Looks like we will also be guest at the road side inn for the night.
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  #14  
Old 11-24-2012, 08:17 PM
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Marco and I discussed our situation and decided that the best thing to do was to stay where we were at and re-evaluate our situation in the morning during the light of day. We settled in and made the best of our new temporary home. Of course, being only 100 miles short to certify the ride did not make either of us too happy.

The road side inn did have some great views. However I can not say that I would recommend it. The bed was like sleeping on a rock. Pillows and blankets were not provided. No heat during the night. No breakfast, no hot water, and no toilet seat.

Pitch black, cold, and after riding for 20 hours straight, it was going to be a long night.



The next morning we discovered that there was a 100 foot drop on the back side of the wall. Getting up on the wrong side of the bed this morning would have really got our day off to a bad start.



The bike survived the night in spite of all of the demons passing by during the night.






Shortly after daylight we are able to get a pickup truck to stop. Driver agrees to take Marco back up the mountain to try and find a town with cell service. I stay with the gear.

20-30 minutes later I hear traffic coming down the mountain. I then see two Mexican Army Humvees. As they go past me I see someone standing up in the back of the first Humvee, hands up in the air and shouting, "We're saved! We're saved". Sounds and looks just like Hero from the series “Heroes”. Turns out to be Marco. Humvees go around curve down the mountain and disappear. Do a u-turn and come back up to where I am at. Block the road in front and in back of bike, park a Humvee in front of the bike.



Soldiers get out, and in military precision, with 3 on each side of the bike, pick up bike and put it in the back of the Humvee. We all load up and head up mountain to Marco's bike.

Upon reaching Marco's bike, the soldiers spin the bike around, pick it up and place it in the second Humvee. Good thing that they are not interested in stealing bikes. They would be very successful.

Head back to last Army check-point. Bikes are unloaded on military property next to check-point.





Have breakfast at restaurant next to us. Found out that when Marco first talked to the Army that they offered him coffee. He refused it because he did not want to be enjoying the coffee if I was still in the cold down the mountain.










Later we are told that there is a first class bus that goes through there to Mazatlan, but they do not stop where we are at and pick up passengers. Military will stop the bus for us. Military will also watch bikes until we can get then picked up.

We were standing around talking to military personnel while waiting on bus. Officer comes over and ask us if we want anything to drink. Go to get some cokes. Told that we do not have to pay for them. Pay anyway.

Asked how we want to get back to Mazatlan, bus or private vehicle. They will stop a car and we can ride back with them. Do we want to ride in a pick-up or car?* We chose the bus.

Taken for a tour of the barracks. Very nice. Was told that if they had known that we were sleeping on the road last night, that we could have stayed in the barracks. Must remember that for next time. While leaving barracks bus is coming down the road. Officer shouts for them to stop the bus. Bus is stopped and pulls off of the road.

We get our gear and load it onto the bus. We start to get on the bus as officer steps off bus and hands us two tickets. Not sure but I think that the bus company had to pay for them.

Get to Mazatlan, get a taxi to get to motel room. Clothes still at Felipe's house. No time to change anyway. Have to get to the awards ceremony. It would really be bad if the two officers of the Asphalt Rats Endurance Motorcycling, who failed to certify the ride, did not even make it to the awards ceremony.
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Last edited by RoadDust; 11-28-2012 at 04:18 PM.
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  #15  
Old 11-25-2012, 07:19 AM
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We got to the awards ceremony in time to say hello to a few people and then it was time to present the certificates. Large turn out from other clubs and individual riders. Good Band. Felipe did a great job on getting the event put together.

Marco gave out the certificates and then he wanted me to do another short speech. One again, he translated for me. Once again I am not sure about what he was really saying. He was smiling a lot and would look at me and laugh. I think that everyone was really glad when I quit talking.

Another really late night before the event came to a close.

A few pictures of the night:

Felipe (president of Pata Salada) and Marco




Hey, its not my fault. They just keep following me around. Wife still will not let me take one home with me.




Marco, Anna, and John




Roxie and Marco



It had been a long two days and it was well into early Monday morning before before the event came to a close. I think that I fell asleep a few times while sitting in a chair and talking to people. Finally I get back to the hotel, a bed that is not made out of rocks, and sleep.
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Last edited by RoadDust; 11-26-2012 at 07:25 PM.
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  #16  
Old 11-25-2012, 08:38 PM
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November 19-20

Felt good to sleep in this morning.

Different methods being considered for getting the bikes back down to Mazatlan. County of El Salto has said that they would take the bikes down but it will be a couple of days before they will have a truck free.

In the mean time, we are just having to hang around and relax. Watch the activity on the beach as we sit in the restaurant of the hotel. Few people are dropping by the hotel each day. More late nights.

The hotel (white tall building in center)




Views from the beach front
























The Pata Salada patch has three skulls on it. This came from these three islands.

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  #17  
Old 11-26-2012, 08:51 PM
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November 21, 2012

Transportation for the bikes is not working out. Now it is suppose to be Friday before they are brought down from the Backbone. Seems like the Devil is refusing to let us have our bikes back.

Time for another trip back up to the back bone and have a face to face discussion with the Devil.

Jorge, one of the Pat Salado members sourced a truck for us and around 2:30 in the afternoon he drove us back up into the mountains.

The Devil's Demons were out in full force and were still patrolling the mountains.







I had a very interesting conversation with Jorge (translated via Marco) during the ride. Jorge is ex-army the same as I am. Very interesting comparing the differences in experiences and similarities in training that the two of us had gone through. Bunch of tough guys down there.

A few pictures on the way back up into the mountains.









Reached the military check point after dark. Army picked up our bikes again and loaded them onto the truck for us. Army Strong! Gave the Lieutenant a Pata Salada T-shirt and a few Asphalt Rats patches and pins.


Back down the mountains to Mazatlan in the dark again. This time no problems and we were able to sleep at the Best Western in Mazatlan instead of the road side inn in the mountains.
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Last edited by RoadDust; 11-28-2012 at 12:34 PM.
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  #18  
Old 11-26-2012, 08:52 PM
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November 22, 2012

With help from the Pata Salada, Jorge drove the bikes down to the bike shop. We returned the truck to its owner and Jorge dropped us off back at the shop. My bike was ready and I went back to the hotel. Couple hours later and Marco returned to the hotel riding his bike.

Bikes were ready to go. Spent most of the rest of the day getting the gear ready for the trip back home.

No turkey for Thanksgiving. Our Thanksgiving dinner was every day Mexican food. Still good though.

Pata Salada wanted to get together one last time that night. I know how that goes so I pleaded old, incompetent, and tired. Actual got to bed early for a change. Marco got in sometime around 1:00 am.
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Last edited by RoadDust; 11-28-2012 at 12:36 PM.
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  #19  
Old 11-28-2012, 12:54 PM
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Good report guys,
I really like to ride the roads in Mexico,
I guess it helps to speak the language..
I will be going down to Oaxaca on a slow ride on the KLR to escape the Winter here in Texas.. Jan, of 2013
Mike
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  #20  
Old 11-28-2012, 03:19 PM
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The proper way to write and say is LOS TRES AMIGOS and in spanish culture wen there 3 friends/partners/ whatever the uses the phrase LOS TRES CABALLEROS (the tree knights)

Saludos Compadres




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