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Old 04-26-2012, 12:27 PM   #16
WoodWorks OP
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The road south from Bahía de los Angeles through El Arco was terra incognita to me. I had heard and read everything from: "Oh, it's just like the road past Coco's," to "Don't go there, it'll eat you alive on that pig. There's miles and miles of deep sand."

So I was hoping to get some intel from people I met in Baja, preferably ones who had ridden it recently. But no one I met had been there in the past few months, and the closer I got, the more I was hesitating.

What finally pushed me over the edge was what Harold told me. At 81 years of age, it had been a few years since he had ridden it. But in his day he had ridden just about every patch of dirt in Baja. In '64, he rode the length of the peninsula on a little dirt bike, back when the paved Transpeninsular Highway was still a dream. So when he suggested that I probably would make it back out to Highway 1 alive (though I probably wouldn't have much fun doing it), and offered an alternative, I listened.

Why not ride up to the mission west of here and then continue back to Highway 1 at Rosarito?

Say what?

Yeah, he suggested, it's a much, much easier ride. The mission is a cool place, and the valley it sits in is a little Garden of Eden. If it were me going...

So after dinner I did a little research, and the next morning I turned off (with considerable relief) toward the Misión San Francisco Borja de Adác.



It was a scenic ride.



And not too difficult.





Though there were a couple of rocky climbs that took me right out to the edge of my comfort zone. But after about an hour of riding that included some fairly challenging stuff, I rolled up to the old mission.

Actually, the 'old" mission, built in 1700, is pretty much a pile of adobe bricks out behind the "new" mission, built of stone in 1801.





The interior was comfortably cool.



And included the requisite Baja dog.



I climbed the spiral staircase up to the bell tower.



Where I was greeted with a view of the settlement (Pop. 7)



One of whom was Lucky, another Baja dog.



Lucky's owner, a young Indian named Genaro, took me on a small tour of the valley, showing me the garden plots with 300-year old grape vines, olive trees, date palms and pomegranates.



Above the gardens were 7 springs, 2 hot, and 5 cool, like this one, that irrigated the valley. Even in the heat of summer, he said, the flow is steady. Harold didn't exaggerate. This was the Garden of Eden.



After the tour i mounted up again and set out for Rosarito. But I took the wrong fork leaving the mission and ended up on what is possibly the worst stretch of dirt that I've ever ridden. Hemmed in by cactus, narrow, sandy, rutted, and off camber, it was a nightmare on my 500-lb. F800GS. I had no way of turning around, so my only choice was to continue forward until the trail met up with the main road. 3 miles, and about a gallon of sweat later, it did. How I got there without dropping the piglet, I'll never know.

But from there out to Rosarito it was almost a pleasure ride. A few rocky and sandy spots, but in comparison to what I had just ridden, a super-highway.

A short video of the ride from Mission San Francisco Borja to Rosarito in Baja California Norte.





You can see the HD version here.


The rest of the day was spent droning down Highway 1 all the way to Mulegé, where I checked into the Hotel Casitas. They allowed me to roll my bike into their courtyard, and that evening I had a delicious meal of fresh scallops under bougainvillea blossoms, accompanied by more than one beer. And to top it off, un vaso pequeño de lo mejor tequila.

Ahhhh. Bueno.



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Old 04-26-2012, 07:24 PM   #17
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More good photos.
I stayed next door to Casitas (I think) at Hacienda. But coming back there was a quinceanera at the town square next door with an extremely noisy band. The hotel crew said it would go til 3 in the a.m. and that I should go out to the beach to find a quiet motel.
But instead I went up to Noria on the road.
Casitas looks real nice but my 1200RT would never get up into the courtyard. I preferred Haciendas parking lot in the back.
Are you in Mulege now?
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:40 PM   #18
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Baja

Great pictures and write up David! Makes me wanna go back. Stayed in some of the same places in 2007 when I went to LaPaz on the old 650 Strom. We did that trip 2 up so stayed mostly on paved roads. I've been wondering how far south of Puertecitos the road was paved. I did that on a KLR in 2001 and went as far as Mulege on that trip. CoCo still looks the same, but his home has expanded. Maybe see you Saturday at Hansen's big BBQ.

Dan:
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:46 PM   #19
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Good thread.
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Old 04-26-2012, 08:01 PM   #20
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Looks like it was a great side trip to the Mission. Good find!!!
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:04 PM   #21
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Carry on geeza, carry on!
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:19 PM   #22
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Great stuff, Woody! Is that a GoPro? Full of envy as I sit here long for the day I once again hit the dusty trail. Oh, and I am convinced that was calcium chloride on your bike. I've seen the very same on mine. It bakes to the hot parts and washes away with the rain on the other parts. But, whatever. Keep rollin. Keep safe.
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Old 04-27-2012, 07:36 AM   #23
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>"Oh, it's just like the road past Coco's," to "Don't go there, it'll eat you alive on that pig. There's miles and miles of deep sand."

Smart move on your part! Bahia Los Angeles - San Fransiscito - Hwy 1.
Solo it's a very long ride... and very few (if any) vehicles on the road. Something bad happens and it's a long-ways from help. I've heard the final 10 miles to El Arco are a deep sand wash. I missed it, we took a 'wrong' turn and ended up at Hwy 1 some miles north of the El Arco road. (Note: That part of the road was gravel and pretty easy).
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:40 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David13 View Post
Are you in Mulege now?
Nah, I'm already back in soggy Orygun.

Quote:
Originally Posted by O-Man View Post
Maybe see you Saturday at Hansen's big BBQ.
Are you kidding me? Free food? I'm so there!

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Originally Posted by Toadride View Post
Oh, and I am convinced that was calcium chloride on your bike. I've seen the very same on mine..
I thought of that too, Doug, but the mechanics at A&S confirmed it was radiator fluid. And I'm all too familiar with calcium chloride from a ride I took up to Deadhorse a few years back. If it had been that, it would have been splattered all over the pipes and bash plate, but they were clean.

You still have your F800, or is it gone?

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>"Oh, it's just like the road past Coco's," to "Don't go there, it'll eat you alive on that pig. There's miles and miles of deep sand."

Smart move on your part!
Yeah, I'm thinking I dodged a bullet there. Had I been on a lighter bike, then maybe. But with those loaded panniers, I was pushing 500 lbs. I could just see me sticking out a leg to dab in the sand, and SNAP!
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WoodWorks screwed with this post 04-27-2012 at 10:59 AM
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:58 AM   #25
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Still got the F8. Waiting for the new NTX to come in.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:32 AM   #26
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Great RReport- I went through there in January. My only regret was not going through El Arco but I was solo and decided to be a bit more careful. I got conflicting reports of fuel availability. I was running Heidenau K60's and they worked pretty well in the sand on my G650GS. Glad you got home OK.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:48 AM   #27
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Damn you WW. Now I have another trip to put on the list! After a long winter those dry, dusty roads are looking sooooo good!
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:58 AM   #28
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My original plan called for my turn-around point to be a ride around the eastern shore of Bahía Concepción. I own a 16-foot, wooden sailboat, and for some time I've thought that Bahía Concepción would be an ideal place to sail it in. The bay is about 25 miles long, and about 6 miles at its widest, and it's protected from the worst winds that blow up the Sea of Cortez. So a weeklong (or longer!) gunk holing trip down there is high on my list of to-dos.

Anyway, I wanted to check out possible anchorages along the eastern shore. But to do that I had to ride around to it on the single dirt road that showed up on my maps. This turned out to be more difficult that I anticipated.

I rode down the length of the western shore (a great ride) looking for the turnoff.



But when I reached the bottom of the bay, all I found were two dirt roads blocked off by barbed wire gates, and a single, rough track that seemed to lead straight down onto a beach, with deep sand at the end of it. Stumped, I rode back and forth twice to see if I had missed anything. But no road materialized. It was there on the map. But nowhere to be seen in the real world. So I reluctantly turned north, satisfying myself with a bunch of telephoto shots of the far shore.



It was pretty clear, even from that distance, that the eastern shore was pretty much just one long series of alluvial fans, and there weren't any protected coves in sight. I guess I'll be anchoring on the west shore.



On the way back north, I came across these vultures sunning themselves along the side of the highway. They all had their wings outstretched, and it made for a great photo. But of course by the time I got out the camera, most of the camera-shy birds had retracted their wings. I waited around for a couple of minutes. But the show was over.



I was going to spend the night in San Ignacio on the way back north, but because of the early turn-around, I arrived there in time for lunch. Rice & Beans was open (and empty), and I had possibly the worst fish taco and rice and beans of my life there. You'd think a place called "Rice & Beans" would at least be able to deliver a decent plate of rice and beans. But I've had better Mexican food in Alaska, for God's sake.



So I started the long slog back up Highway 1, including crossing the vast emptiness of the Vizcaino peninsula.



I crossed back into Baja Californa Norte just north of Guerrero Negro.



Stopped for gas in Villa Jesús María, where I disturbed this very pregnant Pemex dog.



And later in the day entertained myself by watching my bike's odometer roll past 40,000 miles. Not bad for a non-commuter bike in three and a half years, eh?



I thought about staying in Cataviña and photographing the boulder fields at sunset. But every asshat within 1,000 miles had spray painted his name on every boulder in sight, so I just kept going to El Rosario.

I swear, I hate people.



At the end of a long day, I found a great little motel in El Rosario (Baja Cactus), and had a much better meal at Mama Espinosa's. The next day, after one more little diversion onto the dirt, I was planning on crossing back into los Estados Unidos.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:16 AM   #29
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great report and trip thank you for sharing.
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Old 04-28-2012, 01:25 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodWorks View Post

Since I had the whole road all to myself, the hooligan in me came out.

And then boom, end of pavement.


so the adventure can start now right



looking foward to this
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