Back at the highway we changed goggle lenses (We got REAL good at doing this), and busted down the highway. The sun was setting and we had miles to make. Our goals were set on Puertecitos
About now I should discuss some of the rules riders always stand by in Baja. Well, I could review a few others, but the main one was:
DO NOT RIDE AT NIGHT IN MEXICO.
We were all aware of this from our pre-trip research.
So droning down the highway taking in the view of the setting sun, it was clear, on day #1, we were going to break the golden rule of Mexico. We were full understanding of this and pushed on.
Now, I could understand other’s concerns. Riding at night isn’t safe at the best of times. Riding at night in a foreign country not known for its signage and road upkeep? In either event, I sure felt good knowing I brought the sun with me. That 8” race light may look silly to some, but you flick that HID on and it instantly warms the soul, and probably a few road side donkey’s and cows. I love it!
So busting ass down the highway with the sun setting. Another thing you learn in Baja is the sun doesn’t set for long. It’s setting, and then it’s black. Just like that. We’re now riding down a perfectly smooth highway discovering their “rock falling” signs should be taken with more then a grain of salt. Normally there is rock on the highway, and sometimes a lot of it! Not confidence inspiring when you are breaking the golden rule.
Half hour later, rolling down the dark road and listening to my engine drone I see a tire in the middle of the road. I barely get the chance to think to myself that “this is odd” when the perfectly smooth slab pavement ends and it drops you down onto a beat up rough section of “gravel road”. Whoa!
Some more explaining of Baja. Gravel roads aren’t what they are here. Most of the roads are indeed gravel or sand, but hidden in such roads are either extremely sharp, or big rocks firmly planted in the ground. On a motorcycle, a sure threat to pinch flats. Always remain on your toes when riding “gravel” roads down here. If that’s not enough, the abundant road signs on the highways don’t make it to the gravel roads. There are no signs. If you are lucky there is a tire stuck in a drainage rut, or a tire to notify you of either a huge hole, or an abrupt end of the road. In Baja, a drainage rut can be large enough to swallow a bike and rider with ease. I’ve seen a few that had to be over 7’ deep.
We roll into the entrance of Puertecitos and stop for some discussion. We passed a truck unloading supplies in what appeared to be a small convience store 200 meters back. It was discussed that they think the town was just over the hill, and I respond I think we’re in the town. Nobody believes me because there wasn’t a light to be found. Sure enough, driving back to the guys unloading the truck assured that we were, indeed in Puertecitos and that there are no hotels, only camping. Being that we had a rather long day and it was late we decided we wanted a hotel. This left us with one option, push on for another 40 miles to Bay of L.A where situated is the hotel by the name of Alfonsinia’s. A well known establishment for motorcycle and offroad enthusiasts.
Keeping the story short, after a grueling ride in the dark we surpassed the rough gravel road and made it close to our destination. I was leading at this point and saw what appeared to be a flashlight waving in the distance. I figured that was rather odd. As I neared it turned out to be a military checkpoint. Now, I don’t know if it’s just me, but I felt no issues regarding safety or my well-being. I don’t know if that was my general regard to any Mexican, but they have proven over and over to be the nicest people. I roll up to the young military soldier and explain the situation the best I can. Said we’re coming in from Yuma, heading to Alfonsinia’s and plan on riding all the way to Cabo. He chuckled and bit and said we’re crazy and let us through. 5 min down the road we finally made our destination to unpack, unwind, and relax.
Once there we met some other riders. The only other two people at the hotel. One riding an older GS, and the other a Sherpa. These two had some amazing stories of their adventure, and past rides. This was the starting point to some of the experiences we had in Mexico. Every rider you meet shares that common bond. They know your doing it not because it’s easy, but for the adventure and experience. You’re instantly one of them and it shows with how people come up and talk to you, and the stories begin.
Shibby! screwed with this post 03-23-2011 at 09:47 AM