Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 21 (135km): 100 kilometers to nowhere

Today was a very difficult day, I guess that's why they call it an adventure not a vacation. We awoke in Altar in our nice little hotel. We got some breakfast at a corner store just up the street. The crickets had invaded the enclosed parking where our bikes slept for the night so it was a bit awkward packing the bikes. By the time we hit the road it was quite warm. The plan for the day was to go to Puerto Libertad and then follow the coastal route south.

The highway to Caborca was straight forward. We stopped for gas there and also to get directions for the road to Puerto Libertad. We found the road, or so we thought. Everything started out well but soon the road turned to gravel, and then sand. We came through a very small town where the sand was very deep. Alberto had a massive bail in the deep sand (he was leading). We were very lucky that he was okay, but the new locks dad gave us for our cases got damaged. Well those lasted about 1.5 days. All I saw was Alberto's bike bucking wildly and then he went flying and I saw a puff of sand/dust. When the sand cleared I could see his bike down and his case lying beside it. While he was fixing his case I noticed that the local traffic were avoiding the sand by taking the higher ground. We did the same once we got going.
Repairs needed after the first big crash
The road was mostly hard packed but there were pockets of deeper sand and I had to pull off some surprising saves. It's weird riding such a heavy/big bike in sand. It goes all over the place and then somehow it straightens up. It's a very weird feeling. It would be much more fun to play in sand with the F8GS naked. Then we came into much deeper sand. First it was in pockets, and then it was just constant. By that time we had both dropped our bikes, and feeling a bit defeated, not to mention dehydrated, we had lunch in the shade. My case now had also broken off and my new lock became old news.  
Taking a break

It was a much needed break for lunch and more importantly water. We were facing some very deep sand. After regaining some of our strength, we continued further but there was much more dropping of bikes. Luckily we saw our first car of the day and we asked them for directions. It turned out that we were on the wrong road and that the sand was going to get much worse. Okay that made the choice easy, we were heading back to Caborca. The only problem is that by this time we were exhausted, and now we had to go back through 1-2km of deep sand. By this point we had emptied the water from my rotopax into the camelbaks. The water was burning hot from the sun. 
Digging into the sand
Slowly making forward progress
Hard to keep it in a straight line
We made it through the really deep stuff but not without dropping our bikes repeatedly (me more than others). We were past our breaking point, we were broken. Then a miracle happened. A family in 4X4s was coming back from a ranch they had visited for the weekend. First we met Marcelino and Emanuel in their Suzuki Samurai. They gave us cold water, which we were very appreciative of. Some of their other family members arrived and stopped to talk to us as well. They gave us some cold Gatorade and it was delicious. They offered to follow us in case we needed help picking up the bikes but also because it was getting late and they said it wasn't safe for us to be by ourselves. So off we went back to Caborca in the convoy. Thankfully neither of us dropped our bikes again. Marcelino and Emanuel escorted us to a very nice hotel in town. They were excellent and very helpful. We cannot say thank you enough to those guys and their family. Thank you Gilas guys.
Our new friends that helped us get back to Caborca
The hotel is fantastic. Very modern, clean and new. We showered up and boy did it feel good. Today I found out what it feels like to have your eyes sting from sweat. Not a pretty picture. After we started to feel human again I ordered room service, which actually turned out pretty well considering my broken spanish. If you find yourself in Caborca, Sonora, Mexico and are looking for a bit of luxury go to the Oasis Hotel. It's right off the highway. It is out of the budget of most travelers but it would be worth 5 times as much in Canada so considering our weakened state we figured it was a bargain. 
Living luxury
Hotel entrance

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