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Old 04-21-2010, 12:42 PM   #1
HiggyB OP
El Pollo Gordo
 
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Joined: Jun 2007
Location: NorCal
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Baja Again: Another solo ride around northern Baja

Roughly six months after my last visit to Baja (ADV photo thread, full ride report) it was time to head back. Unfortunately the planning of the trip went well, but the execution, notably first launch/departure, was botched up on my part. The end result of all that was that not only would the ride be roughly half as long as planned (thus no reaching Cabo as intended), but I'd also lost out on my ride partner who was understandably frustrated with me. Ah well, those personal life issues and a ready bike had me happy to push off none the less and so I hit the road alone for another week long ride to, around and home from Baja California. For those that want to read it, I've posted a full ride report on my personal web site. The photos are the same as you'll find here but there is quite a bit more text/description surrounding them to give you a better idea as to what the trip was like. You'll find that ride report here:

Baja Again: Another solo ride around northern Baja

Despite that ride report on my own site I thought I'd go ahead and post a photos thread here on ADV for folks to (hopefully) enjoy. Ready? Let's go...


Note: wait for it y'all as I'm using my lunch break today to copy/paste each post over to here from the BARF thread I posted a week ago (so yes, I slacked on getting it copied over here ).
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Tom

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Old 04-21-2010, 12:43 PM   #2
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Day 1: San Francisco to Ojai (410 miles)

The first day of the trip had me leaving San Francisco destined for the coast where I took Highway 1 almost all the way down to Santa Barbara, I cut inland a bit to the north just to break free a bit and head off towards the town of Ojai where I'd stayed last year. The ride was gorgeous as it was perfect weather and lord knows I needed the head space.


My KTM once again loaded up and ready to roll


Panoramic coastal view looking north at Piegon Point Lighthouse (click the image to view a high-resolution version)


Further down the coast I took a break to take in the view


I just can’t enough of the awesome California coast, this time it’s again a view looking back to the north


Self portrait shot, good times!


I stopped at a beach (which one?) where there were lots of seals napping on the beach…


…and I mean a lot of ‘em, a panoramic view to show what I mean (click the image to view a high-resolution version)


This guy decided to say waddup, is he throwing up the shocker?! Can’t tell…
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Tom

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Old 04-21-2010, 12:44 PM   #3
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Day 2: Ojai to Tecate (296.6 miles)

Day 2 offered the same great weather but the riding wasn't quite as exciting, it was a day that featured a fair amount of slab work in order to skirt over and around the LA/San Diego areas in order to reach the border at Tecate. After entering Mexico I secured a place for the night and then quickly enjoyed some tasty Mexican food and a few celebratory Tecates...


Me in Ojai getting ready to roll


Ahhh, good ol’ SoCal slab work…


¡Bienvendios a Mexico! Ok, just the border but c’mon…


First I secured a cabin out at Rancho Ojai (east of Tecate), once again they gave me a great deal…


…then I went into Tecate for dinner at the town’s central square…


…where I met up with this lil’ guy (son of the restaurant owner), we chatted in Spanish and he was cute as can be


Back at Rancho Ojai I enjoyed a few tall boy Tecates before nodding off to sleep
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Tom

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Old 04-21-2010, 12:46 PM   #4
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Day 3: Tecate to El Rosario de Arriba (292 miles)

Day 3, finally my first full day back in Baja!

I had a rough idea of how far to go today but my whole route while in Mexico was up in the air so I started the day with a coffee and maps, set out in a general direction with a "ride as far as I feel like" attitude. Given my mental state at the time (still chewing on deep personal life issues) I thoroughly enjoyed that sort of freedom and so I fired up the bike, pointed in a general direction and twisted the throttle...


Time for the morning route planning session


Heading south from Rumorosa in search of Laguna Hansen


Panoramic view of the terrain north of Parque Nacional de Constitucion de 1857 (click the image to view a high-resolution version)


Yes, I’m excited to finally be enjoying some time off-road


Another panoramic image just before entering Parque Nacional de Constitucion de 1857 (click the image to view a high-resolution version)


I’m stoked to have reached the entrance to Parque Nacional de Constitucion de 1857


Entering the park things finally started to get a bit wet with numerous “puddles” like this one, but no real water-crossings


Me taking a break when I finally reached Laguna Hansen, a gorgeous place where I had the north end all to myself


After hanging out at Laguna Hansen I rode south a bit, then made a pit stop here for a cold drink


Occasionally winter’s damage could be seen, the bridge partially washed out but the locals quickly adapted


(Day 3 continued in the next post)
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Tom

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Old 04-21-2010, 12:47 PM   #5
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Day 3: continued...


Up and over the hills I went, it’s now downhill to Mexico’s Highway 3


As I turned west on Highway 3 heading towards Ensenada, I enjoyed the lush green landscape


A photo from November 2009 while stopped along Highway 1 near Eréndria…


…and a photo taken in March 2010 at the same location, notice the intense color changes!


While stopped we made eye contact, that made my mind wander to thoughts of dinner…


The reward I gave myself for another great day of riding: carne asada at Mama Espinoza’s in El Rosario
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Tom

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Old 04-21-2010, 12:49 PM   #6
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Day 4: El Rosario de Arriba to Bahía de Los Angeles (212 miles)

Day 4 would be a mostly pavement day, as I wanted to make the long-ish ride down to Bahía de Los Angeles. The day did feature an off-road side trip out to El Marmol, but that was quite a let down to say the least. No matter, I enjoy any day spent out riding and this one was no different!


Another day ready to begin after breakfast at Mama Espinoza’s


Mexico’s Highway 1 winding it’s way south from El Rosario


The cacti (like behind my bike) and the Boojum Trees (to the right) were huge!


A lil’ thorny face with my KTM in the background


I was not impressed with my visit out to El Marmol...


...but at least I had fun on the twenty mile (or so) ride out there and back…


…and enjoyed a break sitting in shade of this tree


Just to be safe I topped up on gas in Cataviña


Mexico’s Highway 1, speed limit? 80 km/h… yeah right


Approaching Bahía de Los Angeles

(Day 4 continued in the next post)
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Tom

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Old 04-21-2010, 12:50 PM   #7
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Day 4: continued...


Panoramic view looking out over Bahía de Los Angeles (click the image to view a high-resolution version)


Man those fish tacos tasted good!
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Tom

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Old 04-21-2010, 12:51 PM   #8
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Day 5: Bahía de Los Angeles to Bahía Gonzaga (188.4 miles)

Ahhh, the day the drama begins! I left Bahía de LA bound for a mission in the desert hills and then out to Highway 1 where I'd head north to Bahía Gonzaga via Coco's Corner. Well things started out great and the mission was a nice visit but then in the middle of nowhere I got the first in a series of flat tires... ugh. Oh well, it's not "adventure" until something goes wrong, right?


Panoramic view of Bahía de Los Angeles from La Gringa (click the image to view a high-resolution version)


Ready to roll, leaving Bahía de Los Angeles from La Gringa


Riding south towards Misión San Francisco Borja


Misión San Francisco Borja


Visiting inside Misión San Francisco Borja


A panoramic view from atop Misión San Francisco Borja (click the image to view a high-resolution version)


Me in front of Misión San Francisco Borja


My quick and sad return to Misión San Francisco Borja, look at that rear tire…


…it had gone flat due to this lil’ bugger…


…which was a screw picked up way out here in the desert, seriously?

(Day 5 continued in the next post)
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Tom

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Old 04-21-2010, 12:52 PM   #9
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Day 5: continued...


I pulled the rear wheel off and set about replacing the tube (I had a new tube with me for the trip)


Thanks go out to Jose, who rode up on a horse and offered to lend a hand


Back on the road, a panoramic shot heading out to Highway 1 (click the image to view a high-resolution version)


Back at Highway 1, and at the southern most part of the trip, good times


Heading off-road out towards Coco’s Corner and Bahía Gonzaga


Me and Coco, hangin’ out (he remembered me from my last visit)


Panoramic shot of Coco’s Corner (click the image to view a high-resolution version)


Fast and fun riding on the way north to Bahía Gonzaga


Panoramic shot of the approach to Bahía Gonzaga (click the image to view a high-resolution version)
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Tom

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Old 04-21-2010, 12:53 PM   #10
HiggyB OP
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Day 6: Bahía Gonzaga to San Felipe (108.3 miles)

I woke up the morning of day number 5 intent on riding to San Felipe for lunch or so, then onward to Guadalupe Canyon for a night at the hot springs, but that wasn't to be as the day started with me finding yet another rear flat tire! Luckily there's a llantera (tire shop) near by and after getting my rear fixed yet again I put the bike back together and left much later in the day than expected. The end result is that I decided to get to San Felipe and shack up there for the night, it was Semana Santa and that meant it was time to party!


Not long after sunrise I made first tracks on the beach at Bahía Gonzaga


Panoramic view of the back bay at the north end of Bahía Gonzaga (click the image to view a high-resolution version)


Oh yeah, Bahía Gonzaga is a fly-in location! (nice old couple from Oregon, long-time Baja visitors)


Upon attempting to leave I noticed that I had yet another rear flat so off it came…


…but this time I took it to a llantera (tire shop) to get fixed as one was nearby…


…and then finally get things back together and hit the road (this is out back of Alfonsina’s)


On the road headed north towards Puertecitos and on to San Felipe


Unfortunately some lazy work strapping on the blue dry bag resulted in catastrophic bag/tent damage, damn


I don’t approve of my gear tie-down skills, or rather my lack thereof that day


I made a pit-stop at a familiar location where I’d taken a photo the year before

(Day 6 continued in the next post)
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Tom

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Old 04-21-2010, 12:57 PM   #11
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Day 6: continued...


Soon enough I found the pavement, it’s now only 30-miles of dirt heading north out of Bahía Gonzaga


I pulled myself a ways off-road somewhere south of San Felipe to sip a Red Bull, the off-road parts of the trip were all but done


At this point my day, and evening, devolved into a bit of unphotographed drinking fun. So imagine a parade of beer, tequila, dancing, Mexican music, crowds of people, etc. - all packed along the malecon in San Felipe!
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Tom

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Old 04-21-2010, 12:58 PM   #12
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Day 7: San Felipe to Palmdale (368.7 miles)

This was to be my last day in Baja as I decided that I'd ride north to Mexicali, cross the border and start heading back to San Francisco. I left without a clear sense of where to stop for the night, I just figured I'd ride until my mind/body/otherwise said "stop", so off I went with no destination in mind other than "somewhere north of the border". I pushed on, well after dark until it started getting chilly, I started getting tired and sadly my front end began to feel a bit "off"... yup, flat tire number three.


Topping off the tanks at a Pemex before leaving San Felipe


Mexico’s Highway 5 was under repair, this was the replacement route (yup, dirt) that went on for a number of miles


Looking northwest at Laguna Salada while on my way to Mexicali and back into the USA


A final in-motion self-portrait before a tame ride to Mexicali and across the border


After crossing the border I rode for a while, stopping for the worst burger ever in Salton City


It was starting to cool off and I needed some pep, I closed all vents and sipped coffee while getting gas


While doing slab work scooting around the LA area I was treated to an awesome sunset
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Tom

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Old 04-21-2010, 12:59 PM   #13
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Day 8: Palmdale to San Francisco (407.1 miles)

My last day on the road and it started with needing to deal with yet another fucking flat tire, this time up front. I called the local Honda dealer to ask about doing a repair and not only could they do it right away but the owner drove out in his pickup, grabbed me and my tire and took me to/from the shop so I didn't have to walk the tire the 1 mile or so to the shop, then again back. Nice guy with a cool bike collection who is also a long-time Baja rider. Then it was time to hit the highways and make it on home!


I started my last day on the road dealing with flat tire number three, this time up front


Luckily the owner of the local Honda dealership (Palmdale Honda) offered to give me and my tire a lift to/from his shop, thanks!


And I got things put back together again so I could hit the road for the last leg of the ride


Funny, I have a friend named Hanford Lemoore…


I stopped to sip some go-juice…


…and gas before starting the last 200 or so mile push home


And after all of that I return home safe and sound and in one piece
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Tom

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Old 04-21-2010, 01:01 PM   #14
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Eight days and almost 2300 miles of awesome riding, ok it was all awesome except the three fucking flat tires and the fact that I failed to properly strap down my gear one day costing me a rear dry bag and tent, but awesome none the less! I'm truly sorry to my intended ride mate as my personal issues ruined the opportunity for him and left me riding solo once again. I don't mind the lone-man journey, but I really want to enjoy Baja with others at some point, maybe next time.

As always I climb on my bike for fun and mental health, for this trip is was a source of stability in a time of emotional turmoil. I found my god once again, we talked at length and through it all I had a great trip and returned home with a sense of calm about how to proceed on the path that lays in front of me. I'm thankful for motorcycles and Baja, for me the two are an exercise in perfection and they offer me a slice of paradise.

I love Baja through and through and can't wait to go again!
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Tom

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Old 04-21-2010, 01:37 PM   #15
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Love the baja reports! Thanks for the pics and the stories...
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Setting up of other roads, travel on in old accustomed ways."
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