Debacle at the Alamo

by Andy Malnick |

We had been told about a ‘not too rough’ riding route from Alamos to Copper Canyon but having studied the map, we decided to do the sensible thing and take the B roads. Off we headed into the hills in bright sunshine, me astride my 1200GS and Tony on his 1150 Adventure. He had every conceivable extra including a sat nav, which was set to no motorways, no U turns, shortest route, never avoid unpaved roads.

Soon we were lost. We asked the way of a guy who was working in a farm yard and he told us the road we wanted was ‘back at the crossroads and turn left.’ At this point the clouds had gathered and the lightning had started – we were soon to find out this was the beginning of our first tropical rain storm.

Taking the guy’s advice, we went back and turned left, then, after heading on for another couple of miles, the rains began to fall, and so did we. After 35 miles of gravel, dirt and crashes we felt it was wise to turn back to Alamos on what had become a mixture of mud, sand and running water.

Had the bikes not been loaded up so much we might not have crashed so often. Tony in particular achieved many that were both stylish and dramatic. Number four was in sight of Alamos where the road was almost dry but for one patch which he hit at speed, putting him into a violent uncontrollable tank slapper and down he went. Unfortunately it caused the left pannier to be torn off and badly distorted.

We limped back into Alamos and passed what seemed to be the same people sat under trees and outside houses that we had passed on the way out earlier in the day. We decided to book into a hotel for two nights so we had a full day to dry everything out and repair the bikes. The hotel’s garage fronted onto the main square where we were noisily hitting Tony’s pannier when a guy stopped and introduced himself as Manuel. He had just returned from Tuscany in Italy and had a workshop around the corner. He was our new best friend.

With the use of varying size of hammers, braces and rivets, Tony’s pannier was soon back into a shape that would fit onto the bike. One of the brackets on my bike, which had ripped back in Alaska, was gently bent back too. Nice place Alamos.

Having had enough of dirt, we set off from Mazatlan to Durango – a gloriously twisty road that uses the Craner Curves and Eau Rouge as its inspiration. The surface is smooth and the bends mostly banked to make it easy to ride. Added to this, you are up in, and at some points above, the clouds with huge views. At one point the road goes along a knife edge with spectacular views either side. It was also the first ride for ages where we weren’t hot, sweaty and suffering because of the weather. Up in the mountains it was pleasant to be cool again.


The back brake on Tony’s bike had not been working properly since the Alamos Debacle – the disc was badly scored by one of the pads that had broken, so at our next stop we decided to act. We found out there was a BMW dealer in Veracruz and headed there, arriving hot, sweaty and dirty just before closing time. Our hopes weren’t high; it was mainly a car dealership.

The manager, Jose, promptly disappeared, coming back with a mechanic, who had been taken off another job and told to do whatever was necessary to get the bike safe. By 18.45 Tony and I followed Jose out of the dealership with the 1150’s brakes working, and a spare tyre fitted. We had also asked him to recommend a hotel and, riding a bike out of the showroom, he took us to one that his brother-in-law ran. Somehow we doubted a pair of scruffy foreigners would be treated like that in our local dealership...




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