While chewin' the fat with my cousin at a family do on Thanksging he starts talkin' bout this Baja deal. He asks if I'm in and offers up a 2011 Triumph Tiger 800XC to get me to say yes. Okay, I'll do it. He's a MC dealer so he can do that kind of thing. Here's the bike. Now it's January were gettin' ready to leave. We live in Indiana and Tom's mom (my aunt Pat) lives in Tucson,AZ so the bikes are gettin' trailed there. Best part! Brent, who's also goin' will ride shotgun with Tom and I get to just fly there and meet 'em. 25K American Airlines miles drops me in Tucson on Saturday, Jan 6. A little background: I bought my first bike in 1979, a brand new KZ1000LTD. I had just learned about credit. I have always owned between 1 to 5 bikes at a time continuously since then. I had never in all those years done a trip like this. Oh! and I'm new here at the ADV. After readin' some of the exploits here my trip seems kinda lame. Oh well, at least I thought it was bad ass for a while. My cousin Julie, Tom's sister picks me up at TUC and whisks me off to aunt Pat's. Sunday morning we head south from Tucson to Green Valley. Brent overnighted there at Rick and Linda's house where the truck and trailer will be stashed. We all mount up and haul from Rick's toward Sasabe on some fine country roads. This shit is great! It's warm, well kinda' but it is dry. Tom's mounted on a Wee Strom, Brent on a 1200 GS. Rick, who's not going with us to Mexico, is on a KX400. Popular road for bikes. We see lots of 'em. Huh? Border Patrol checkpoint! Anyways we ride till we come to this snack joint with a weed theme and get a little grub. Cool place. More bikers. Back to Rick's then back to Aunt Pat's. Big feast! Juicy steaks from the AFB PX. Monday Jan 8: We haul out at 8ish. Had to scrape the frost off my seat. Tom and me cruise to the west side to meet up with El Brento. Were off to El Centro, CA to meet up with Jimmy, the Moto guru from Fresno. 80-85 mph on the I-10 and my hands are freakin' freezin'. Tom & Brento got heated stuff so on we go. "Gotta' break gravitational pull" Brent says. We pass Casa Grande before we take a quick break. It's warmin' up some now . I'll make it. Lunch in Yuma then on to ElCentro. Get a room at Motel 6 and settle in with some cold Tecates. Jimmy shows up later with Craig in tow. Craig has some affliction that requires legalized California prescription medication. Oh shit, I'm not used to this! Taco joint across the way for supper with more Tecate. Tuesday Jan9: I learn about the Jimmy Dance. As an avid scuba diver I'm well versed in the art of gettin' smashed the night before and still showin' up prepared and on time to catch the boat. Jimmy? Not a diver. While he's packin' his 1000 V-Strom (in his long johns) I go get breakfast and a roll of duct tape. I need to extend the bark busters on the Tiger to cut more wind. Craig heads back north, he just rode down with Jimmy for something to do. We head west on 8 and up into the mountains.We exited onto the road that goes to Jacumba and then to Rt94 then south to Tecate. Hit the casa de cambio for some pesos and cross. Passports, some paper work, $23 US and we're on our way. South on #3 toward Ensenada. Great road for this kind of thing. I'm diggin' it. We stop at Mustafa's for late lunch. Great food and a goddess for a hostess. On to Ensenada and the Hotel Santo Tomas ($35US). Good location. Good parking. We walk to the pescadería and grab a bite of fresh caught. Two for one night at Hussong's. Jimmy and Brent have vast Baja experience and know all. I got only a few photos of the trip because I didn't pack a camera. Brent & Tom took some but refuse to share. Or maybe I didn't ask. Wednesday Jan 10: Up & at 'em early as we got in around 12 or 1 last night. While Jimmy is doin' the dance I go across to the cajero automatica for more dough. Breakfast at the hotel restaurant (good), gas up and southward. We're goin' to be in Catavina tonight. The road is classic Baja (I know this now). Unremarkable then cool as hell, repeat. I even liked the unremarkable because it was all new to me. Lunch at San Quinin, don't remember the name of the restaurant. It was painted white and they were diggin' a hole in front. Prob'ly filled back in by now. Now the road is gettin' right. Cross a desert and go over a mountain, different desert, repeat. Boojums, what cool trees. Rock Gardens, awesome. They had rain in December (hurricane I think) and everything was greened up. Cool. Stayed at a fancy hotel in Catavina $90US I think. I botched my dinner order in the high dollar restaurant (sucked) but lucked out to find hot dogs con tocino for 20 pesos ea. across the way. (really good!) We bought gas out of a barrel from a guy and his wife because the gurus figured the next Pemex was Jesus Marie, 200km away. The Tiger will do at least 170 miles on one tank. El Brento's big GS? Not so much. Jimmy says "never pass gas in Baja". Jimmy in blue, Brent by the GS. The desert at Catavina More later.