2009 Christmas in Baja

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Bonnie & Clyde, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde Wishing I was riding RTW

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    The wife(a.k.a. Marcia) and I made some last minute plans to spend the Christmas and New Year holidays in Baja. So the plan is simple ride down on the Ural and the HP2 cross in Tecate and and just relax eat some great food and see some sights.

    Day 1 Napa CA to Harris Ranch on Hwy 5

    We got the bikes all packed and fueled up ready to go the day before we left. We had to work but got off just a bit early and hit the road after work. We got some new Nolan helmets with the Bluetooth intercom system and this was the first ride and trip with them. (Post trip feed back we love them two thumbs up!) So after work got suited up and hit the road all in a hurry to make some time and beat the traffic I failed to take a parting picture. So we rode till it got dark and stopped for dinner.
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    Now last November we rode down to San Felipe Baja for Thanksgiving. We rode all day from Napa to the boarder. It was a long day for both of us. So we decided not to do a long day like that this time. So we decided to ride a bit after work on day one and then next day ride the rest of the way or just see where we end up. Remeber the plan is loose this time around. So that was it for day one a dinner stop and then to Harris Ranch on I-5... we only took one picture between the both of us.


    Day 1 - Wife
    We hit the road at 3:36 pm. I didn't know exactly what time I would get off work, so the fall back time was 5:00 pm. Mr. Johnson (a.k.a. Cory) already had the day off, so he was just waiting for me.
    I was able to leave work at 3:00 pm so I rushed home to get changed.We had already packed everything. Mr. Johnson just needed to pack the bikes, get gas, and check the tire pressures, which he did. What a good husband. :crash
    So I changed and we were on the road by 3:36 pm.
    We drove to Dublin, CA where the traffic was backed up pretty bad. We decided to stop off and get something to eat at Fudruckers. :dg
    Dinner was good. As for our plan to stop to avoid traffic, well that didn't go so well. We were in traffic pretty much until we hit I-5.
    We drove on I-5 and decided to stop in Coalinga. It was windy, which we knew, but I didn't realize how cold it was. My heated jacket kept me very toasty.
    #1
  2. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Oh ya!! Baja :thumb

    :lurk
    #2
  3. Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde Wishing I was riding RTW

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    All right it had gotten pretty windy and chilly the night before on our ride down so we slept well, but woke up pretty early for us. So up and at em pack the bikes and check out of the hotel.

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    We ate breakfast at the Harris Ranch Steak House. As a fellow grill man it was nice to smell fresh tri-tip on the grill first thing in the morning.
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    Ginger Bread House
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    All fueled up we hit the road.
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    We rode all day stopping only for gas and Starbucks. There was a light dusting of snow on the top of the Grape Vine but the road was clear. We rode all the way down to Springs Valley CA Hwy 94 just a few short miles from the Tecate boarder crossing. That is where we pulled up for the day. Pretty uneventful but hey we didnt have to work and we got to ride Moto's all day who's complaining? So tomorrow is Marcia's birthday Christmas eve and we ride into Mexico.:ricky


    Wife - Day 2 - December 23rd
    I woke up at 5 am for some awful reason. Maybe I was excited and wanted to get on the road. Luckly I was able to go back asleep and slept until Mr. Johnson woke me up at 7:00 am. We packed the bikes and headed over to Harris Ranch for some hearty American Breakfast. :dg
    I had biscuts and gravy with bacon. Mr. Johnson had Chicken Fried Steak, scrambled eggs (which I ate cause he doesn't eat eggs), home fried potatoes, and sour dough toast. The food was good, the service was average, but who in the world hires these hostesses?? We are two younger adults with no children, why in the world do these hostesses sit us by families with loud children?? The hostess did the same to a poor lone man. I was just annoyed. I know it is during the holiday season and a lot of families are traveling so they can spend the holiday with their families. I have no problem with that, but why stick two adults who don't have children in the middle of tables who have children?? :thwak

    I could go on and on about this, but I will move on . . .
    After breakfast we headed back to I-5 south in the direction of LA. Not too much excitement.
    The DIVA (a.k.a. Ural) did great on the Grapevine. I rode her 60-65 mph pretty much the whole way.
    Once we dropped down the pass we hit a ton of traffic.
    We stopped for a break and some coffee. Once re-energized we headed south towards San Diego.
    We stopped for the day in Spring Valley, CA. It was getting dark. We stayed in a Hotel that was rather rough. I've stayed in some rough or pretty basic hotels in Mexico, but this Hotel made those hotels 3 stars.
    There were like permanent residents that live in this hotel. There were about 12 kids running a muck around the place. You could smell the marijuana from the other rooms. The comforters were dark and stunk like B.O. I'm not even sure if they have ever been washed. The one thing that was cleen was the bathrooms, or so they looked clean from the poor lighing in the unit. The thing about this place that [​IMG] me off was they charged us $75.00 to stay in this dump for one night.
    After settling in, we walked over to Carls Jr to get something to eat. We went back to the hotel to get some rest before we crossed the boarder.
    #3
  4. xymotic

    xymotic Long timer

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    A Ural and hp2, there's a combo you don't see every day:poser

    I'm so in on this one!:lurk
    #4
  5. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    We've said it before and posted in the RR rules, if you have nothing nice to say, :stfu and go elsewhere.. plenty of other ride reports to read..

    Asshat comments punted and offender on vacation from this site.. :ban
    #5
  6. Thorne

    Thorne Sherpa-ing around

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    Baja............here we come..........:bubba
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  7. RockyNH

    RockyNH Older Than Dirt!

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    Looking good... like the aspect of text from both His & Hers! :evil

    Just subscribed!
    #7
  8. ChuckHazzard

    ChuckHazzard Registered Lurker

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    Subscribed!
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    More pics of the HP2 please!
    #8
  9. Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde Wishing I was riding RTW

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    Gadget Boy thanks for moderating and fixing my title mistake.
    #9
  10. Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde Wishing I was riding RTW

    Joined:
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    Its December 24th Marcia's birthday, happy birthday honey.:crash Marcia wasnt very comfortable or pleased with the honey moon suite i had checked us into for the night. :thwak She was up early with me wanting to get out of there. Im always getting points with her on special days.:lol3 For breakfast on your birthday honey im treating you to the finest Starbucks hot frothy caffeinated beverage and pastry you ever laied eyes on.:wave

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    We fueled up and I did a check over on the bikes oil, tires, nuts & bolts etc. A little clutch cable adjustment was all we needed. Its just a short ride in some beautiful country over to the Tecate boarder. The boarder patrol is all over that section of country.

    The helmet coms came in handy at intersection changes for the following rider and at the boarder. They work so well we can hear both sides of a conversation the other rider is having. At the boarder we could communicate and hear what the other was saying to the crossing guards.

    Again like last November I could not find a Mexican insurance company to insure the Ural sidecar. The HP2 no problem but not the hack. The other thing you need if the bike is not paid for is a letter from the loan company stating its ok for you to take the bike into Mexico for certain dates. You also need a tourist card if you travel south on Ensenada or stay longer than a few days. Again I decided we dont need no stinking papers. All we took was CA ID and passports. Dont do what I / we did do it right. That being said we didnt have any issues. Its a gamble we have taken before and felt confident we could handle any issues that could arise.

    So knowing we didnt have all the proper paper work crossing over is always a bit nerv tingling. Baja here we come!:ricky

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    Just as before we got a green light and a wave on through. Not even a second look well Marcia got a second look cause the sidecar but was just the normal thumbs up cool bike stuff.

    "That was easy"
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    Mex 3 out of Tecate through the Valle De Guadalupe Baja's wine growing region. Mex 3 heads down to the coast Mex 1 Ensenada.
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    Christmas tree and Olive tree farms
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    There was some major construction on the highway right smack in the middle of the wine region. So off the pavement on to detours that would never be allowed in the US. So we got slowed down in the long dirt detour that was pretty rough and cars passing each other with the mirrors just brushing by. We didnt take any pics of this section.

    Then its crest over the mountain and you see this wonderful view of the ocean and Ensenada. Point and shoot cameras on the fly dont do it justice.
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    We decided to go into Ensenada and have lunch and look around. Some sights along the way.
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    Rolling into town we passed a row of taco stands that smelled oh so good. I snaped a pic but I didnt know which one smelled so good.
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    So we flipped a u turn and parked. Its TACO TIME:dg
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    Further investigation found that this was the place.
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    Talked to some guys from Arizona who affirmed this was the best taco stand in town. "Your nose was right he cooks with charcoal"
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    Its a family affair. This guy had his two daughters and wife and one older lady probablly grandma. We had brought some candy canes with us to give out to kids. The youngest daughter 12ish was wearing a santa hat so I gave her a candy cane and practiced my Feliz Navidad. What an ice breaker. Dad and the whole family just smiled and the service came on and they started speaking english to us. We had a good lunch.
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    I told myself and Marcia I would try a lingua (beef tounge) taco.
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    Tastes like beef only softer almost chewy. It was a good flavor but the mental block was on. I ate it all it was tasty but that was the only one I ate.

    Again I spared no expense on Marcia's birthday lunch! $1 tacos:lol3
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    So lunch was a smash we decided to head up to Rosarito. You ever wonder how clean and where your fresh cucumbers come from?
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    Hey budy wheres your helmet?
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    This guy wasnt thrilled with me taking his picture but I found his helmet and felt better knowing he had one. These little Honda 125's are all over down there. Pizza deliveries etc.
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    Marcia saw this sign which is a common store around there and thought of me.:crash
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    Mex 1
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    These rings must be some kind of net system
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    GSA going south
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    We rode to our time share at the La Paloma. Gated parking with security and on site pools, tennis, restaurant, every thing a non ADV perosn would want so they wouldnt have to leave the comfort and safety of the hotel where people speak english. It was nice right on the beach and close to town. I had the wife with me so I couldnt rough it like I would like to with other ADVers, but again Im not working, I'm riding a Moto and in Baja. Tomorrow is Christmas Day!



    Wife - Day 3 - Thursday, December 24th

    We planned on getting ready and driving across the street to Starbucks for coffee and a pastery. I had noticed a whine/grind in the bike when I was traveling slow or slowing down. This started way before the trip and I tried to explain it to Mr. Johnson and show him but was unsuccessful. Well yesterday he was able to hear it himself when we stopped for our coffee break. So Mr. Johnson was going to adjust the clutch cable to fix the noise.
    Once all coffeed up we headed South again for the Mexican boarder, Tecate.
    Again, we crossed over with no issues or even a second glance.
    I don't know why, but as soon as we cross the boarder it is almost like a switch is turned on and all i can do is smile - I'm in Mexico. :ricky

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    We were looking for Route 3 to take us to Valle de Guadalupe route to Ensendada.
    It is always an uneasy feeling when you take an unfamilar route you haven't been on before. Not knowing if you are going to be out in the middle of no where and if there will be a service station on the way. But once we were on the Valle de Guadalupe my nerves were at ease. This is a road traveled by many. More like a scenic route.
    We got to drive through the Wine growing region - which was pretty country. Vineyards set in a valley surrounded by beautiful mountains.
    What a great ride. :ricky

    Then all of a sudden with no warning we are in a construction zone. The roads were under repair and we are now driving on a dustly rocky road. We were stuck behind a tour bus which was stuck behind a semi truck. Oh fun. It is pretty tight in some parts of the road and too dusty to see if we can pass. Well the tour buss passes up the semi and so does Mr. Johnson. So off I am to catch up and get out from behind this semi. As Cory stated above, the helmet coms were great. My visibility was pretty bad behind the semi truck, but with eyes ahead of me telling me it was clear I was able to take the plunge and pass the truck then we passed the tour bus.
    Once on the paved road we are now decending and the view of the ocean is breath taking.

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    Now the road turns into a four lane highway and everyone is flying down the hill. All I want to do is take some pictures. So I'm trying to keep up with traffic, make the turns, and catch the scenery that is before me. Well something has got to give, so I slow down. Mr. Johnson now notices I am not right behind him and asks what am I doing. Taking pictures. So I tell him to pull over and we take a few pics and the tour bus that we passed now is flying by us.
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    Pics taken we are now on our way again. We decide to head into Ensenada to check out the town before we head up to Rosarito Beach.

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    As we ride through town our stomach and nose leads us to a wonderful smelling taco stand/restaurant. It is a sit down at the table or bar open restaurant. We opted for the bar.
    First thing first, got to use the facilities. :flush The toilet room was small, as small or even smaller than an air plain bathroom. Look at the pics yourself. But hey, at least they have one and it was clean.

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    Ok, now onto what we came to Mexico for the :dg (food) and the :jose (people).
    Mr. Johnson and I had talked about Lengua tacos and how he would NOT try one and he wasn't even interested.
    Well I had found out the lengua tacos taste just like asada tacos, just more chewy. So we, Mr. Johnson and I, made a bet. If I ate an Asada (steak) taco he would eat a Lengua (tongue) taco. I don't eat beef and have not for 15 years. I don't like the taste and it upsets my stomach.
    So here we are at our first taco place in Mexico and we decide to fulfill our bet. Mr. Johnson said the Lengua tasted like beef just more chewy, I had the asada and the beef was as I remember it tasting. We then had a round of our regular tacos - Asada for Mr. Johnson, Pastor for me. These tacos were very good. The flour tortilla were the best. Didn't find a better flour tortilla our whole trip.
    I don't know if it is because this was our first tacos in Mexico this trip or simply because they were just good, but I think these were the best tacos we had. It might have been too that we were really hungry.

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    Now we are headed North to Rosarito Beach, Baja California.

    What we didn't know until later is there are two roads that run North and South - one is the Toll road and one the Free road. The Free road was the original road and a bit more scenic, longer, and has seen better days. The Toll road runs along the free road most of the time until the free road goes South-East, which is where it becomes longer.
    We were on the Toll road and ended up passing through two Toll stations paying $3.00 per bike per Toll station.
    The Toll road pretty much runs along the coast. Very Pretty.
    We arrived in Rosarito Beach and went into town to ride through then headed to our time share.
    Our time share was really nice. Gated, two bedroom two bathroom unit that slept 6, full kitchen, washer and dryer, top floor unit, 3 pools, tennis courts, pool table, resturant on site, beach access, close enough to walk to town, yet far enough away for privacy.

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    Room to spare
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    Today is Christmas Eve and once we were settled in we didn't want to leave so we had the front desk order in a pizza for us. It was a local pizza joint. Pizza was interesting. The flavor was ok, the crust was different - flat crust with seasame seeds. The only thing that could have made this Christmas Eve better was if we had found churos.
    All in all, it was a great day.
    #10
  11. motowest

    motowest Two-wheeled Adventurer

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    Great Ride Report so far!:D
    #11
  12. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
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    How many Tecate's will a Ural tub hold?

    :beer

    You two always give us a good report, can't wait to read the whole story!!:thumb
    #12
  13. Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde Wishing I was riding RTW

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
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    Gardnerville NV
    Its Christmas day in Baja so we decided we would get out of the room and take the Ural into town. We soon learned that the town doesn't start moving till around 11 AM. So we have time to kill. We ride around and find a little known store.
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    We decided since we have a full kitchen we would get some drinks and snacks. Well we had to wait for it to open. They had security guards watching the parking lot. They loved the Ural and asked a bunch of questions.

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    When we had finsihed shopping some other Americans had gathered around the Ural. They told us when they pulled up, the security guards where all sitting on the bike acting like they where riding it.:lol3

    So snacks and drinks bought and the trunk of the URal a regular grocery cart we started looking for some Christmas brunch. Not much open and not many people moving around by 11 AM we guess most had spent time with family. We found a taco stand open.
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    Christmas Brunch
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    It was an absolutely fabulous day and like I said not much going on. So we just drove around the town and down to the beach.
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    You can drive right out on to the beach.
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    Hey look there are people out on the beach. Lets go for a walk honey:crash
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    Honey its kind of bright out here and I forgot my sunglasses
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    So the wife said lets go back to the hotel and get your sunglasses and walk from the hotel which has beach access down here. OK honey.

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    Now Im joe cool
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    We had a nice walk on the beach. It turns out that on Christmas day all the locals come to the beach and they have booths and stands selling stuff. People playing soccer and flying kites. Horse back rides or ATV rides. Pretty cool really.
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    Candy & nuts
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    We walked the beach which was now loaded with locals. Then we turned into town and walked back to the hotel. A locals moto.
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    Merry Christmas Good will to men.
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    Had to get Marcia by this sign. Hotmamaandme
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    Its Christmas so I asked the front desk a good place for dinner. He told us a place and we whent later for dinner. This was a nice candle lite dinner.:crash
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    Wife- Christmas day
    We were on our way back from Walmart we were looking for any taco place open. What we learned is, that if you are not a breakfast eater then you will go hungry until lunch time - which is what we ended up doing.
    We saw this taco stand open and swung around to stop - we almost gave up hope. Being Christmas morning we didn't want to pass this taco stand by. They had adobada tacos and asada tacos. We had our usual tacos: 2 asada and 1 adobado for Mr. Johnson, and 3 adobado tacos for me. The flavor was very good, but just how the guy was switching between the meats almost made me not want to eat. But we are on an adventure here, so I decided not to think about it too much.
    With food in our bellys we were headed back to the hotel to unpack our groceries, but decided to head to the beach.
    Mr. Johnson had read in tour books that there are booths set up on the beach and we wanted to check them out.
    Again, we were too early as they were just getting up. The only booths we saw was fruit stands. We were in search for churros. So we decided to walk along the beach.

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    Almost as soon as we stepped away from the bike we were approched by this guy. I know we totally stand out and are a huge target for these guys, but I also know this is how they make a living and I don't want to dismiss them right away. So I take a look. He has some nice things, but nothing I couldn't live without. I had shown some interest in a one of his items, and asked, 'How much?' I was pretty surprised with the response, $20.00 USD. I'm not here to get great deals, but I am also not here to be taken advantage of. I thanked him for his time and we turned to walk away. He came down in price the further I walked away and decided $10.00 was a fair price for both.
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    As we started to walk on the beach Mr. Johnson was shadding his face and squinting his eyes. Our helmets have a nice sun visor so he didn't bring his glasses with him - they were in the hotel on the table. I could see that Mr. Johnson was not having any fun and was suffering. So we decided to head back to our room.
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    As we were walking back to my bike I was approched by the gentleman's wife. She was showing me pictures of how she styles hair in braids and asked me if I would like my hair braided. I couldn't believe she asked me. I though she would see the length of my hair and completely avoid me. I was tempted, but I know that it would have taken forever, and I mean forever for her to braid my hair. I just could not make Mr. Johnson suffer in the bright sun light while I was getting my hair braided.
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    View of the beach from our Hotel
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    Beach access to our time share, Mr. Johnson now has sun glasses.
    We walked along the beach into town and on the way purchased some toys for our nephews and some nuts.
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    We asked our front desk guy for any recommendations to eat. He recommended this place.
    It was Mexican food filled with white people. It wasn't the best meal we ate. Funny thing is, we told the front desk guy the next night when he asked us about our dinner, we told him it was 'kind of white', but he didn't get it.
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    #13
  14. Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde Wishing I was riding RTW

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,975
    Location:
    Gardnerville NV
    We decided to ride down together on the Ural to La Bufadora (a natural blow hole). It was a good 1.5 to 2 hour ride south of Rosarito. Im glad we did it. Marcia snaped pics along the way while riding in the side car. It was a very nice day.
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    As you ride into La Bufadora this is what the cove looks like
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    I didnt realize it was such a tourist trap really. It was nice to go see it but people swarmed into this place.


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    Preferred parking
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    We got our first Churro's of the trip
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    Check out this view for lunch! This little taco stand had a million dollar view.
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    This is what all the fuss is about the Bufa
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    Officially seen, smelled, and tasted La Bufadora we headed back to Rosarito
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    Sun down
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    Back into Rosarito for dinner. Fresh off the spit into the tortilla fagetaboutit!
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    We got back in the bike and decided to just cruz the main street cause all the shops and poeole were buzzing.
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    We rode past this taco stand and it was just packed with poeple. It smelled awsome and I had a bit of room left for a taco so I pulled in.
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    Tacos Azurdo (spelling?) this taco an adobada or el pastor was the best of the trip for me. Knock your socks in the dirt.
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    #14
  15. Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde Wishing I was riding RTW

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    We had been told that there would be a local swap meet or flea market for the locals on this sunday or sixth day. So we wanted to go check it out and walk the booths and sample the local color and flavour. The front desk told us we would find a churro stand on the way to the swap meet.


    Found it!:dg
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    Hot and fresh breakfast is served!
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    We found the swap meet and drew some attention in the Ural just parking it. Several familes, kids, parents, came over to check out the sidecar. We smiled & tried to answer questions. It was then I realized I forgot my camera at the hotel.:thwak So Marcia took a few pics with her camera. Into the market we go. It was busy and there were a lot of people there. Fresh meat to pirate DVDs and clothing could be found. It was fun really walking around with the locals. We stopped at a taco stand in the market cause it packed and it was selling shrimp tacos. We havent had any shrimp tacos yet on this trip. So we ordered up a taco snack.

    Breaded and fried shrimp taco
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    After walking through the market we jumped back on the Ural and headed back to the hotel for a walk on the beach. One of life's lessons is stop and take time to smell the flowers.
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    #15
  16. Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde Wishing I was riding RTW

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,975
    Location:
    Gardnerville NV
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    We had noticed that a tail light bulb was out on the Ural. I had spare bulbs etc. and thought it would be a good day to just go over both bikes. Bolt patrol on the bikes check oil and tires etc. That took a bit of the monring and let Marcia sleep late. Once I finished with that it was into town for lunch and some more shopping. Rosarito has a real old fashoned leather shop. They make gloves and jackets ect. we wanted to check this shop out.

    First things first brunch
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    The churro dough is squezed out of this tube into hot oil
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    From the hot oil to the sugar and cinnamon
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    Into a bag $1.00
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    Locals stopping too
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    This mural was on the other side of the street. Liberation was the theme.
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    We found the leather shop but it was closed. Found this sign for Marcia
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    We had Mexican food for dinner
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    #16
  17. Kodanja

    Kodanja Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    Oddometer:
    707
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho
    Sounds like you had a great time!
    #17
  18. GalacticGS

    GalacticGS 1200 GS Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,620
    Location:
    Camas, WA
    Great report Cory and Marcia! :thumb

    Looks like a great way to spend Xmas!

    Hope to see ya at the n00b's DV ride...
    #18
  19. ZONKR

    ZONKR Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Oddometer:
    562
    Location:
    Valley of the Sun
    Great report and pictures. I've been down on the GS a few times but not yet on the Gear Up.


    we cross the boarder

    Border is the line between two countries
    Boarder is the exchange student from Slovenia that rents you spare room.:lol3
    #19
  20. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    18,466
    Location:
    Burbank CA
    love the pics....especially the tacos....:tb :tb :tb :tb :tb


    cory, good to see you and marcia are true adv travel bugs.
    #20