With Batopilas at the very left, the red sections are unpaved and the green sections are paved.

The (good) road in and out of Batopilas

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I rode into Batopilas from the north this week and found the road mostly paved (to my delight). Here’s an update on the roadworks and road condition.

I keep hearing things about the road occasionally being closed, though I can only imagine this would be true while the workers excavate or pave. Neither were actively happening on my trip in or out of the canyon. In fact, a whole heck of a lot of nothing was happening. Maybe some painting and concrete pouring, but that was all.

I did see lots of debris in the road, sometimes as big as a house. The unpaved sections are still very hairy and steep. I dropped the bike once on the way down the canyon. Down doesn’t always mean down, and I needed help to get UP the steep incline that was made worse by loose, upturned rocks and the washboard track of an excavator. The same section was mashed flat by vehicle traffic two days later when I rode out.

Photos from the ride out which took about an hour and 45 minutes:

Starting in Batopilas at 9:00am.

Starting in Batopilas at 9:00am.

The drive through town dodging oncoming traffic.

The drive through town dodging oncoming traffic.

The bridge across the Batopilas River from town to the road.

The bridge across the Batopilas River from town to the road.

The first dirt stretch out of town is flat and follows the river; mostly gravel but sandy in some places.

The first dirt stretch out of town is flat and follows the river; mostly gravel but sandy in some places.

The road climbs from the river and continues to be sandy.

The road climbs from the river and continues to be sandy.

With a steep fall to my left, I keep to the inside even if it is deeper sand than the left.

With a steep fall to my left, I keep to the inside even if it is deeper sand than the left.

And on to the gravel.

And on to the gravel.

Back down to the river and I see roadworks fortifying the bank.

Back down to the river and I see roadworks fortifying the bank.

Some more loose powdery sand on top of hard pan makes this a quick section.

Some more loose powdery sand on top of hard pan makes this a quick section.

Climbing away from the river again; lots of boulders on the inside track.

Climbing away from the river again; lots of boulders on the inside track.

This section of powdery sand and narrow road climbs 250 feet in a third of a mile; the three sharp turns average 13% grade and are wide enough for one truck at a time.

This section of powdery sand and narrow road climbs 250 feet in a third of a mile; the three sharp turns average 13% grade and are wide enough for one truck at a time.

This section of powdery sand and narrow road climbs 250 feet in a third of a mile; the three sharp turns average 13% grade and are wide enough for one truck at a time.

This section of powdery sand and narrow road climbs 250 feet in a third of a mile; the three sharp turns average 13% grade and are wide enough for one truck at a time.

A nice stretch of asphalt to shake away the nerves from the dirt.

A nice stretch of asphalt to shake away the nerves from the dirt.

These boulders fell sometime; what's stopping one from falling now?

These boulders fell sometime; what’s stopping one from falling now?

Landslides cover entire sections of pavement.

Landslides cover entire sections of pavement.

Landslides cover entire sections of pavement.

Landslides cover entire sections of pavement.

Here, a rock the size of a house has fallen onto the pavement.

Here, a rock the size of a house has fallen onto the pavement.

Roadworks high above the river.

Roadworks high above the river.

This is the steep section that felled my bike going the other direction; since then, the washboard tracks from an excavator have been patted smooth and my descent is easy peasy.

This is the steep section that felled my bike going the other direction; since then, the washboard tracks from an excavator have been patted smooth and my descent is easy peasy.

Coming to the bridge.

Coming to the bridge.

The section of dirt road between the bridge and the new pavement is the most dangerous and worst section of the entire road. Narrow switchbacks offer no room for error. Going over the edge means tumbling hundreds of feet.

The section of dirt road between the bridge and the new pavement is the most dangerous and worst section of the entire road. Narrow switchbacks offer no room for error. Going over the edge means tumbling hundreds of feet.

Finally, pavement for the rest of the journey out of the canyon.

Finally, pavement for the rest of the journey out of the canyon.

Beautiful, new, wide, unpainted pavement.

Beautiful, new, wide, unpainted pavement.

Concrete barriers to keep the rocks from sliding into the road.

Concrete barriers to keep the rocks from sliding into the road.

Occasionally there's an ass in the road.

Occasionally there’s an ass in the road.

The corners show signs of wear on the way out of the canyon.

The corners show signs of wear on the way out of the canyon.

Nice, long, straightaways.

Nice, long, straightaways.

More broken corners covered in gravel.

More broken corners covered in gravel.

The end of the road from Batopilas and the beginning of the road to Creel.

The end of the road from Batopilas and the beginning of the road to Creel.

With Batopilas at the very left, the red sections are unpaved and the green sections are paved.

With Batopilas at the very left, the red sections are unpaved and the green sections are paved.

Elevation in green; my average speed in blue; the red sections are unpaved; the entirety of the left most section is difficult and dangerous; only the steepest part of the middle unpaved section is particular difficult and dangerous.

Elevation in green; my average speed in blue; the red sections are unpaved; the entirety of the left most section is difficult and dangerous; only the steepest part of the middle unpaved section is particular difficult and dangerous.

Elevation in green; my average speed in blue; the red sections are unpaved; the entirety of the right most section is difficult and dangerous; only the steepest part of the middle unpaved section is particular difficult and dangerous.

Elevation in green; my average speed in blue; the red sections are unpaved; the entirety of the right most section is difficult and dangerous; only the steepest part of the middle unpaved section is particular difficult and dangerous.

 

Brian

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