Camp cooking this trip was towards the quick side, so after coffee and hot cereal, I packed everything up and headed into Barranca for fuel. That was found at a little store, and pumped from barrels. Back on the pavement, next destination Mision La Purisima. The road begins it's Northeasterly bend there and becomes a little more interesting. Here the highway arrives at the edge of the canyon.
Wherever you find brand spanking new road work in Mexico, it means you are coming to the end of it. The asphalt was getting fresher and fresher as I came to La Purisima, so the end had to be near.
By San Isidro, another 4 kilometers, the "road" had degenerated into a rough, heavily traveled, one lane village track. In testimony to the poor roads in Mexico, a recent model truck was broken down- and had stopped right where the front axle fell out from under it- right in the middle of the road. Orbit just zipped on by.
A few kilometers further on came an important intersection- and the beginning of the slowest part of the trip. One road led south down the back side of the Sierra Giganta and would complete the loop at San Javier. The other route (shown as Highway 53) would take me on a longer trip, returning to the East side of the peninsula, and Highway 1 to Loreto. Also at that junction, the road turned to a single lane of rocks and dirt. Mostly rocks. I chose the longer route, and immediately climbed a steep switchback series to look down over the valley.
This quickly proved to be the world's worst "highway". No typical automobile would be able to traverse it, and most SUV's would be forced to turn back at some point. The through trip is strictly for very serious off road machines. It's long, the route is difficult to follow, and the road barely exists in many places. The most interesting, fun sections were the worst ones, such as this downhill section that has eroded away to nothing but boulders.
Of course, the TW handled it easily. Most of the long section was extremely rocky and rough. The center of the single track was a foot deep pile of fist-to-skull sized rocks, both sharp and rounded. In many places the road had been taken over by large flash floods. "Patches" and "repairs" had been done by a bulldozer operated by a blind fellow with both hands tied behind his back. Even down towards the junction with Highway 1, the flat stretches were too rough to make better than 20 mph.
At long last, the reward for all that work was hitting tarmac again, where #53 unceremoniously meets Highway 1. From there an easy ride back to Loreto. The GPS says the trip was 256 miles in length, and average speed was 20.5 mph. The main price I paid was sore shoulders and legs from standing on the pegs- all the while being pounded by those rocks!!
The bike handled it beautifully. My rear bag carried almost all the gear, weighed around 40 lbs with tent, sleeping bag and air mattress, food, stove & pot, tools and air pump, a small folding chair, netbook, map, some extra clothes. On rides where I'm not familiar with the territory I carry 2 gallons of gas on the front rack. The 230 6 speed used 4.25 gallons of gas for the trip for an average of 60 mpg.