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Old 11-18-2013, 05:40 PM   #31
mikefletcher24
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Hey Cody,

It was to great to meet you and to hang out for a few hours. I noticed you left out the couple in hussongs who got swept away in passion, right to the bathroom. I will be following your adventure closely. Be careful and get lost once in awhile.
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Old 11-18-2013, 11:33 PM   #32
cmkaduce OP
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Originally Posted by mikefletcher24 View Post
Hey Cody,

It was to great to meet you and to hang out for a few hours. I noticed you left out the couple in hussongs who got swept away in passion, right to the bathroom. I will be following your adventure closely. Be careful and get lost once in awhile.
Yes! I should have mentioned that. Thanks for adding and we are definitely getting beers again once I'm back in the states.
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Old 11-19-2013, 07:39 AM   #33
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This looks like fun. Nothing like easing into riding in Mexico during the very calm and tranquil Baja 1000 weekend! If you're heading to Tecate today, be sure to drop by the brewery for a tour and free beer. The ride between Ensenada and Tecate through the Guadalupe Valley is impressive. From one [former] Midwesterner to another - this trip will change your life. You'll get back home and immediately start planning another escape to Latin America.
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Old 11-19-2013, 08:50 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by MufflerBearings View Post
This looks like fun. Nothing like easing into riding in Mexico during the very calm and tranquil Baja 1000 weekend! If you're heading to Tecate today, be sure to drop by the brewery for a tour and free beer. The ride between Ensenada and Tecate through the Guadalupe Valley is impressive. From one [former] Midwesterner to another - this trip will change your life. You'll get back home and immediately start planning another escape to Latin America.
I'll definitely swing through the brewery once the paperwork is sorted and glad to hear you loved every bit of Latin America!
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Old 11-19-2013, 10:28 AM   #35
rootsy
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Captivating report! Thank you for taking the time to post. Looking forward to hearing of your adventures. Safe travels!
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Old 11-19-2013, 06:02 PM   #36
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In!!
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Old 11-24-2013, 07:39 AM   #37
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Tecate

Rather than trying to obtain the FMM card at an off-border migracion office in Ensenada, I decided to head up to Tecate on Tuesday morning after saying goodbye to Billy & Trish. We had a few drinks the night before, so it wasnít the earliest of mornings when I finally hit the road. On the way to Tecate, there were a few bits of road construction with unguided gravel paths to follow around the construction workers. It seems no one slows down in the construction zones, and I was actually passed by a truck in a construction zone with workers presentÖnow you donít see that in the states very often. Upon reaching Tecate, Iím able to pretty easily find the migracion office. The process of obtaining the FMM, obtaining the TVIP, making copies, paying the bank for the fees, and paying the deposit took no more than 45 minutes at the most. There were no lines and all the migracion workers spoke excellent English and knew their jobs well. Iím thinking Tecate was a good choice vs Tijuana. While I was getting my paperwork done, a migracion worker said I could park my bike in the employeeís only zone without issue. He was right, and after the paperwork was sorted he said ďsoda propinoĒ. Iím thinking what the hell is a soda propino. I tell him no comprende and Iím on my way. I decide to get fuel and check my Spanish/English dictionary to look this up. What is now obvious wasnít so obvious at the time. The man just wanted a Coke for watching my bike. I went to a vending machine, spent 7 pesos, rode back to the migracion office (only about a half a mile) and delivered the Coke to him. The look on his face was priceless as his initial confusion faded and the gesture was recognized. From there, I went down to a motel a local recommended to me earlier. Once checked in, I was on my way to the Tecate brewery for free beer and a tour. I ended up talking with the Fernandos (two guys with the same name) at the brewery before the tour. The folks at the Tecate brewery were great. I was the only gringo, but they still conducted the tour in both English & Spanish. On the tour, I met a really cool dude named Javier. Javier or Javey, is in his early 20s going to school in Tijuana for Chemical Engineering. He invites me over for a beer after the tour so I oblige. Javey lives at home with his folks but he has a space outside that is all his own. There is an open-faced shed in the yard with a clothesline that has a wardrobe of clothes draped over it. We duck under the clothes line and into Javeyís space. He has a few couches, a little table to put your feet up on, speakers, and his laptop with wifi. What more could you want?? A nice little hangout. A few of Javeyís buddies had stopped by unexpectedly, so they joined us for a beer as well. After getting to the OXXO for beer, I put my beer on the counter and the clerk tries to charge me 4 times the actual price (gringo tax). I hesitated but was still about ready to pay it as Iím still so naÔve to this type of situation. Javey jumps in and tells the clerk how it is. Oh, did I ring that up at 4x the rate, my mistake, hereís the real price. This was a great lesson and I also received some good advice from Javey afterwards. With green eyes, they see me coming. Javeyís English is excellent. Shit, he even talks with me about quantum mechanics in English. I tell him Iím envious of his bilingual skills and hope to see him on the way back up so we can have the same conversation only in Spanish next time! I had a memorable night with Javey and his buddies. I am really impressed by their intelligence, genuine concern and pride for their country, and their welcoming nature. I see only better days ahead for Mexico if there is a generation like Javey about ready to start their careers.
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Old 11-24-2013, 07:40 AM   #38
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Mikeís Missing Sky Rancho

Iíve been told that I have to swing by Mikeís Sky Rancho for a night. Iím hoping to meet some other motorcycle travelers who might be able to give me some insight on how bad the road is south of San Felipe on the Sea of Cortez side. I leave Tecate (con migracion y aduana documentacion) and head back through Ensenada following highway 3 toward San Felipe. I see a couple KLRs parked on the side of the road so I stop for a chat. They are locals and are the first locals I have seen riding bikes larger than 250cc. They speak a little English and we kick the tires a bit about Mikeís Sky Rancho before I get back on my way to be sure I arrive before sundown. I see the sign for Mikeís and start heading down the dirt road. I looked at the location when I had internet access earlier so I thought it wouldnít be too difficult to find. I rode for about 10 miles or so on dirt and sand before finally deciding that I didnít want to go further. The road gets a little more challenging as you get further in. I decided that with no partner, no support crew, a heavy & unbalanced machine, and no running engines heard for the past 10 miles, that it was best not to take much of a risk. Iím not bigÖand in this sand Iím not sure Iíll get the bike back up on my own if I happen to take a spill. By this time, Iím 30 minutes from sundown and donít want to ride at night. I find this little hut that someone has been working on building. The hut is maybe 40% complete and there is lots of wood stacked around that will be used to finish the job. I decide to stop here and put up my tent for the night. My apple will be my dinner, I have 1.5 l of water, and Iíve decided Iím not risking the Sea of Cortez side after this. Iíll be headed back toward Ensenada to grab highway 1 south first thing in the morning hoping to put on a few hundred miles before calling it tomorrow evening.
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Old 11-24-2013, 07:40 AM   #39
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The Baja Pacific Coast & A Kiss for Good Luck

I get up at the crack of dawn next to the only other lonely traveler on the dirt roadÖa cow that has gone astray and is mooing up a storm. It takes me an hour to break everything down and get it all set back up on the bike. I hit the road toward Ensenada and run into the same military checkpoint I crossed earlier. No issue Ė waved right on through. I continue south on highway 1 until stopping at the Pemex for a little petrol where the young lady filling my tank takes an interest in me. She speaks as much English as I do Spanish, so itís pretty tough to have a conversation. She says ďI love youĒ in surprisingly good English and I said ďpor que!?Ē in obviously terrible Spanish. She points to me eyes. Ahhh, verde ojos, Si!, Si! She asks where Iím from and I say Minnesota. She misunderstands and thinks I said Venezuela but we get it sorted. Eventually, I realize she has no Earthly idea where Minnesota is so I just tell her Norte America (not ragging on her Ė my geography is far from good). She asks if Iím hungry but Iím not, and I kind of want to keep moving along. I tell her bye and she gives me a kiss on the cheek before putting on my helmet as her friend giggles. I really need to learn Spanish. Maybe Iíll take some classes in Guatemala. I only make it about 20 miles further down the road before finding a nice little dirt road that leads to a cliff along the Pacific. I figure Iíll stay parked for a bit and see if anyone rolls through before setting up camp. I make my way down the cliff and am lucky enough to see a few dolphins swimming close to shore. There is not a soul in sight. I have never seen a beach this pristine without anyone else in sight in all directions. Since no one has come along, I decide to setup camp. No more than finishing camp setup, I see headlights coming down the beach in my direction. Crap. I canít tell if it is a car, motorcycle, atv, etc. As it makes its way closer, I can see that it is a raggedy old jeep that looks circa Baja 250 1974. Whew. Looks like some people just out for a good time. I donít even think they see me up on the cliff as they pass by along the beach. I call it an early night with the sun setting before 6:00 PM. As I lay in my tent, all I hear is the crashing of waves, wind rustling, and a few smatterings of raindrops on my tent. You donít get many nights like this.
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Old 11-24-2013, 07:41 AM   #40
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Rain Wreaks Havoc

The smatterings of rain turn into storms that carry from just after nightfall all the way through the early morning hours. I snap awake from a dead sleep at 3:30 AM letting out a small shout in the process. I know I didnít wake up from nothing. I look outside to see the bottom side of the KLR staring at me. The storms softened the ground enough where they ground could no longer support the weight of the bike. Ugh. I get dressed and head outside to pick up the bike in the mud. Iím able to get the bike up after a few grunts and lean it up against the hard cases until I can find a large flat rock. I head down to the beach and quickly grab one. OK the KLR is now back up, on solid footing, and doesnít look much worse for wear. After sunrise, the rain has subsided. I take my time packing everything up trying to keep the mud away. The little flies here are driving me bananas swarming around incessantly. I canít wait to get on the road. Iím all packed up and now for the real challenge. I need to ride about a quarter of a mile to the highway in what has now gone from sand and solid ground the day before to a muddy mess today. I make it about 150 feet before crashing. Snap goes the left-side rear view mirror. One of the hard bags already came off on impact. I remove the other and try picking up the bike. Grrrrnt. Nope. I take all the tools out as well as remove the dry bag with all the camping gear. Letís try this again. Grrrrnt. Success! Now to find a rock for the kick stand. Once everything is loaded back up, I have to navigate through the mud getting stuck several times in the process. Dismount, push the bike backwards, look for a different line, remount, try again. It takes me a solid 45 minutes to traverse this quarter mile and Iíve worked up a good sweat. Iím so glad to see blacktop again.
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Old 11-24-2013, 07:42 AM   #41
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Billy & Trish Make a Second Appearance

Not long after I leave, the rain comes back and I ride most of 200 miles in the rain. In my peripheral see a biker waving me down at the intersection from highway 1 to Bahia de Los Angeles. I turn around and as I get closer I see that it is Billy and Trish hanging out at an old abandoned restaurant for the night! They are camping for the night outside under shelter attached to the building. Billy of course already found and chopped their firewood for the evening. They are hanging out waiting for the skies to clear, but they heard from a local that we can expect another 3 days of rain. Ugh. After hanging out awhile and a hot cup of tea, Iím back on the bike for the last 40 miles or so to Bahia de Los Angeles. Iím still cold and Iím wet as well. Upon arrival, I stop at the Pemex for petrol and bano. The bano is out of service. I quickly pay and head down the road passing several hotels before landing on one that looks like it will do for the night. I negotiate a 600 peso room to 400, which is still high, but Iím cold, wet, and tired. Done. Wi-fi is advertised on the sign but of course it isnít working. Hopefully, I will find a place tomorrow with internet access.
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Old 11-24-2013, 07:53 AM   #42
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1 Week Evaluation

As I sit here typing, I come to the full realization that the culture shock I expected is much more difficult for me than I initially anticipated. I heard the language was fast, but when I hear it here in Mexico, I can hardly make out even the most common sentences. Iím still doing Pimsleur in my earbuds and Rosetta Stone on the netbook. These programs help, but the amount of hours I need to commit are in the hundreds, maybe even thousands, to truly begin grasping the language and take large strides toward fluency. Iím starting to get discouraged and still feel very overwhelmed. To add to this, there are so many of the conveniences in the US that I miss dearly and have taken for granted. For example, Iíve wanted to connect with a guy on ADV that is from MN in Baja right now but have no way to do it because everywhere I stop the wi-fi that is advertised is broken. Further, just having to think about common things that you donít think about in the US becomes mentally exhausting and makes you feel like a toddler trying to sort out basic sentences and numbers constantly. There are times when I question whether I should continue all the way down to TDF. One thing is for certain. Mexico in Baja is only slightly less expensive than the US, so I need to move along quickly. Iím going to try making it at least half-way to La Paz tomorrow.
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Old 11-24-2013, 08:48 AM   #43
mikefletcher24
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Hey Cody,

Sounds like your getting into the thick of it now. I would imagine that from time to time you will find yourself struggling with your circumstances in the moment. I'm sure this is the normal ebb and flow of feelings you will have as you head south. It will be these struggles and times of doubt that you will overcome that will make this trip worth the effort. Maybe from time to time you could take a few days off the bike when your settled somewhere comfortable and take a break from the mental strain. Good sleep will go a long way to recharging your soul. I am so envious of your freedom and unknown adventure waiting ahead. I hope all is well with you and God speed my friend.
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Old 11-24-2013, 09:44 AM   #44
Catracho
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Haha, great rr so far! I'm really enjoying it
Don't get discouraged yet, get to the main land and you'll find cheaper accommodation and many more tecates.
As for the Spanish, I would recommend just mastering a few sayings you're going to use everyday. Hopefully you start to understand some of the responses and pick up a few words everyday. when I was trying to learn I would walk around a town asking people where I can buy a needle. Nobody knows, but you get to hear responses and directions and you can pretend you understand by nodding and saying donde? Ok gracias.
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Old 11-24-2013, 10:38 PM   #45
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Hey Cody,

Really enjoying your report. It can be fucking cold and wet in Northern Baja in November. By the time you hit Baja Sur south of Muleje around Bahia de Concepcion I imagine things will be looking up. Hang in there and keep up the good work reporting back. People back home shoveling snow in Minnesota need their winter entertainment doncha know.

Before you know it you will be in southern Mexico down at the Oaxacan beaches north of Puerto Angel basking in the sun in a hammock sipping a cold one. And then there's the mountain riding in Guatemala. Oh baby. You're gonna have a blast. Keep the faith.

Hope to see you down the road amigo.

Your ADVpal,
Tio Juan
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