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Old 10-14-2013, 02:41 PM   #1
YetiGS OP
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Two Giants Go To Baja For A Long Weekend

We are giants in stature, not in mental prowess. As will soon be seen.


The Characters

longtallsally aka Sally aka Short Fat Sally



That's Sally on his 2007 R1200GS Adventure. Sally is 6'7". The only thing short about Sally is his attention span. Sally had ridden Baja once before with his wife on the back. He had never ridden any of the terrain we crossed in this short adventure.

YetiGS aka Yeti (me)



(I don't have any better pictures of me on this trip, Sally will have to post those.)

This is me on my 2004 R1150GS Adventure. I'm 6'3" and, while I'm not a giant compared to Sally, I didn't meet anyone else that was taller than me on the trip. I've been to Baja over a hundred times to go surfing or clubbing, but never on a motorcycle. Time to fix that.

The plan:
Day 1 - San Diego to Mike's Sky Rancho
Day 2 - Mike's Sky Rancho to Bahia Gonzaga
Day 3 - Bahia Gonzaga to Coco's Corner to San Felipe
Day 4 - San Felipe to San Diego

I can't speak for Sally, but ever since I first saw "On Any Sunday" and even more since seeing "Dust to Glory" I've wanted to go to Baja and ride. The openness, abundant dirt trails and roads, food and friendly people have called to me and it was only a matter of time until I went.

When Sally emailed about going, I was in immediately. We came up with a quick bucket list and knew we had to visit Mike's, Coco's and Gonzaga. With a route and a plan, and some quality GPS tracks from Just Paul we were ready to roll.

What could go wrong??


(Hint hint)

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Old 10-14-2013, 02:45 PM   #2
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Vamonos, El Yeti!

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Old 10-14-2013, 03:15 PM   #3
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Day 1

Day 1 - San Diego to Mike's Sky Rancho

The day's Spot track:



Sally had ridden down to my house from the Bay Area the night before, so we were all set to take off Thursday morning. After gassing up Sally's bike, we headed to the border crossing at Tecate. Sally can't sit still for long:



We rode some twisties to get to the border crossing since I somehow managed to miss the turn onto the 94 East.

I had forgotten the smell of Mexico. If you've never been, Mexico has a distinct smell, and once you smell it, you never forget it. It's like someone is always burning something and the smell just lingers in the air . . .

Anyways, once we crossed the border we rode east for about 15 miles . . .





. . . and then we turned south on the dirt:




After about 30 minutes, things went sideways for me. It had rained a ton the night before and there were mud bogs everywhere. We finally hit one that we could not go around. Sally was ahead of me by a fair bit and I could see his track through the right side of the bog. I elected to go to the left instead. Oops.



As you can see, I came out of the bog and the rear end of the bike decided to race the front end. The rear end won, and I lost.



The left cylinder guard was filled with mud and my elbow was a little sore from landing on it, but otherwise the only thing injured was my pride. (But not enough that I didn't take pictures.)

After waiting about 5 minutes to see if Sally would come back, I finally managed to get the bike back on its wheels. I tried the usual method of lifting the bike where you put your back to the bike and lift with your legs. No fooking way. That was NOT happening. After trying that 2 or 3 times, cussing Sally out for not turning around each time, I finally got pissed off enough that I bulldogged it like an NFL defensive lineman and simply pushed the damn thing upright!!


Within two minutes of getting going, Sally re-appeared having turned around to see where I was.


So we wicked it up a bit and got going down the trail . . .



Sally disappeared in the distance again, only to reappear in the bushes at the side of the trail with his bike on it's side:



As near as he could recall, he was on the right side of the trail when his right pannier starting hitting the edge of the trail. Next thing he knew, his right cylinder DUG in and he was launched over the bars and through his windscreen, Superman style!! He did a flip in the air and landed on his head!! Here are a few shots of the carnage:

The brand new helmet:



and the right pannier:



Additionally, his windscreen was shattered, one fog light was ripped of its mount and the driving light bent so it was point straight up!

You can see where his pannier skipped along and then the cylinder dug in:



It took about an hour and a half to fix things up enough to continue on.

(to be continued)
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Old 10-14-2013, 03:29 PM   #4
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Yeah that first one was a lulu and rang my bell a bit. I was still crawling back to the bike wondering what planet I was on when Yeti rolled up.

Thus, the theme of bike abuse (for mine, since Yeti's was flawless) begins....
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Old 10-14-2013, 03:47 PM   #5
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Day 1 continued...

After getting Sally's bike in rideable condition, we headed off again. This was some of the most beautiful and amazing countryside I've ever ridden through. The pictures will do it much better justice than I can . . .







At one point we took a wrong turn in some deep sand. This was the result:



Eventually we came to this:



A brand new paved road! Since we were getting worried about our time, we elected to take this down to Highway 3, rather than the dirt way. At the end of the road, we gassed up from a dude with a bunch of 1 liter juice bottles filled with gas.

We got on 3 at Heroes de la Indepencia and took it to Colonia Lazaro where we picked up the dirt again.



Descending into the valley, Mike's is up in those mountains in the distance somewhere.



It started getting dark soon after we got back on the dirt so I didn't take any more pictures until we saw this very, very welcome sight :



GoBajaRidin' (LINK) had a tour staying at Mike's that night and Bruno was planning his pre-running for the Baja 1000.

Here's our room for the night (it smelled wonderful ):



We got unloaded and went to the dining room for the famous Mike's steak dinner! (And, of course, a few Tecate beers! )

That's Bruno in the blue shirt that Sally's pointing at. He had some great stories about Baja and gave us some recommendations about what to do and, more importantly, what not to do due to the rains.



The bar at Mike's is quite the sight. Stickers cover every single surface that isn't covered with t-shirts, underwear, hats, animal skins, etc.





After a few beers, it was time for shut eye.

Night night Piggies:





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Old 10-14-2013, 03:55 PM   #6
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This looks like it is going to be a great report! Nothing like a muddy stretch with the big bikes!

DD
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Old 10-14-2013, 03:56 PM   #7
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This has potential... I'm in
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Old 10-15-2013, 05:13 AM   #8
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I've always wondered what the bottom of a GS looked like

jk of course, I've seen the bottom of mine a few times.

Jim
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Old 10-15-2013, 09:12 AM   #9
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Old 10-15-2013, 09:32 AM   #10
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Hey Yeti.
It's good to see a Ride Report from ya.

Off to a good start.
I'm "In".

Q~
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Old 10-15-2013, 01:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Questor View Post
Hey Yeti.
It's good to see a Ride Report from ya.

Off to a good start.
I'm "In".

Q~
Hey Q!


Unfortunately, it'll be a short report, but two of the days were DAMN long!
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Old 10-15-2013, 02:19 PM   #12
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Shit

I left my notes and maps at home so I'll have to do Day 2 once I get home.
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"You had better bring an extra magazine. Yeti's amped up on weird shit are hard to bring down." Lonestar2112
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Old 10-15-2013, 10:39 PM   #13
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Day 2 - Mike's to Gonzaga Bay

Today's Route:



The original plan for Day 2 was to leave Mike's via a different route than we came in, head east on 3 for a ways and then hit the dirt to cross a dried lake bed and then across to the 5 and go south to Gonzaga where we would camp for the night. That was the plan.


Two things conspired against the plan:

1. Bruno
2. Sally's Bike


After dinner the first night, we discussed our route with Bruno to get his feedback. When he saw we were planning on riding across a dry lake bed, Laguna Diablo, he strongly advised against it. Apparently the rains had turned it into a mud bog. He also told us that the sand between the lake bed and 5 was deep and thick. Not bueno.


There was also the small matter of repairing Sally's bike. It had made it to Mike's, but that was with me carrying the windscreen on the back of my bike and parts dangling dangerously.


After a delicious breakfast of eggs, rice and beans, it was time to get to work.





How many zip-ties does it take to hold a Pig's windscreen together?





Eventually Sally got everything, including the headlight, working again and it was time to head off to Gonzaga. Due to the late hour and the lake being a mud bog, we elected to just motor the 3 to the 5 to Gonzaga.


But first, we had to get to the 3.... Hasta manana Mike's!!





The trail out was a blast!! We pretty much flew out to the freeway. I'll post up some of the video once I get it edited.






We took the 3 to the 5:





And caught our first glimpse of the Sea of Cortez (aka Gulf of California)



We headed south of San Felipe looking for some lunch. Bruno told us to look for Laguna Percebu where there was a good restaurant and bar. We were riding along, starving, when suddenly we saw a sign for "Percebu," right as we blew past it. A quick u-turn sorted that and we were on the dirt road to Percebu.

While I went inside and secured the essentials (beer and a menu) from the cute bartender (sorry, no pics), Sally took pictures of our bikes out front:



We ordered up a couple of Tecates and, I thought, Shrimp tacos. I know I said, "Shrimp tacos for both os us, please" because we had been speaking English with the bartender. Here's what showed up:



It may not be easy to tell, but those are not shrimp tacos. Oh well, we dug in anyways.



We decided we HAD to have shrimp tacos too, so this time I said, "Quatro tacos de camarones, por favor." And we got shrimp tacos!! Oh. My. Dog. They were delicious!!! The white sauce was amazing and the shrimp were just lightly battered and then fried.



I also have to say, Tecate beer tastes much better in Baja than it does in San Diego. No idea why, but it's true!!

Between the two of us, Sally and I have a decent grip on the Spanish language, but when we got the bill, we could not figure out what our first set of tacos were. After asking the server, who turned to the bartender to interpret, it turns out we had goat tacos, followed by shrimp tacos. The goat was delicious!! It really tasted like carnitas.

Following lunch, we continued south on 5, catching amazing views of the Gulf's azure waters:



In contrast to days gone past, the paved 5 now extends almost all the way to Gonzaga. It currently ends about 2 miles north of Gonzaga. It's nice when you need to eat miles, but I suspect some of the charm is going to leave the area now that it's more accessible.

After the military check point just north of town, we pulled into the Pemex in Gonzaga and met these guys. They are filming a documentary on riding in Baja and had some great stories to tell. I wish I had taken a picture of the pannier where they were recording the number of crashes per day.



I also spotted these cool painted seashells:



One cool thing I saw, the gas station attendant (you do not pump your own gas in Baja, sort of like Oregon) had a pet rooster. The rooster was constatnly hiding from the stray dogs that hung around. Then the attendant would whistle, like he was calling a dog, and the rooster would come running!! He then chucked some grain on the ground for his pet rooster to eat:



We had made it to our destination for the day, Alfonsina's:



We, however, had other plans. We wanted to camp at the Palapas to the south . . . (that's them to the far right of the picture)



More tomorrow, Mrs. Yeti is calling my name
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"You had better bring an extra magazine. Yeti's amped up on weird shit are hard to bring down." Lonestar2112

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Old 10-16-2013, 06:54 AM   #14
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Old 10-16-2013, 11:11 AM   #15
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"I also have to say, Tecate beer tastes much better in Baja than it does in San Diego. No idea why, but it's true!! "

I have been saying this for years!

Good call on not going through Laguna Diablo after a rain. It's tough on a dirt bike, could be a real pain on a big GS. The silt bed at the south end is a challenge too.

If you want something more challenging than the new highway 5 south of San Felipe try the Old Puertocitos road, just bring a kidney belt.
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