Its just before 4pm on Saturday. Im sitting in the lobby of Hotel Flores, in Loreto, Baja, the power is down, theres a deluge from Hurricane John outside the open door. Steam is rising off of my tired legs and my stomach is full of lobster. Maybe Im getting ahead of myself, let me backtrack. <o></o> The plan was to ride up to Bellingham, catch the ferry to Haines, then ride to Deadhorse, dip a pinky in the Arctic ocean, say Id done it I then take a couple of weeks seeing the sights of Alaska and the western part of Canada on my way down to Mexico for the second part of my jolly. Well, a week before I was due to go the weather was getting more and more marginal. I asked the wise old sages on Advrider what they thought. The general consensus was hat Id be better off trying next year. The weather was crapola and becoming more so. Now this was wise advice, but I felt more than a little disappointed. The route had been planned, the electric condom acquired, the bike wired, tires sourced. But being the wimp I am I decided to head south instead. <o></o> Day 1, 29<sup>th</sup> Aug 2006 <o></o> Headed to the Mexican consulate in San Fran to pick up a temporary import permit, I didnt wan document hassles south of the border. I finally got out of San Fran in the afternoon and headed down Highway1, through <st1lace w:st="on">Big Sur</st1lace> and beyond. As usual <st1:city w:st="on"><st1lace w:st="on">Monterey</st1lace></st1:city> was fogged in, so on went the thermals. The newly fitted XM radio was blasting out some type of music that rhymes with crap .I hadnt figured out how to change stations so was tortured for a couple of hours. The stop for gas allowed me to tune to something more fitting. After 480 miles my butt cried enough, and I stopped for the night at a Ramada in <st1:city w:st="on"><st1lace w:st="on">Irvine</st1lace></st1:city>. The room which Im sure does double duty as a sauna was as tiring as the days ride. <o></o> Day 2 <o></o> Off bright and early and across the boarder by about 9am. <st1:city w:st="on"><st1lace w:st="on">Tijuana</st1lace></st1:city> was as foul as usual. Within half a mile of the border I had to swerve around a policeman who was wresting some unfortunate to the ground. What made this a bit unusual is that it was on an elevated section of highway with no apparent way for either of these guys to get there. Maybe theyd both been dropped there by their supporters to duke it out mano-a-mano. Who knows? More fog, more thermals as I blasted south. When I finally got through <st1:city w:st="on"><st1lace w:st="on">Ensenada</st1lace></st1:city> I started to relax a bit, the road would be pretty open and fast until San Quentin. The radio was playing some forgettable 90s rock, but who cares, the sun was out the temperature was up, the adventure was on. The rest of the day was pretty lame, save for the stretch of road south of San Quentin. Fast, swoopy curves, good black-top, Ziggy Stardust playing. I finally pulled in to Bahia De Los Angeles at about 9pm. I had just gone on to my second reserve and the GPS was telling me I still had 20 miles to go. Last year I blew a tire about 50 miles from here and was stranded in a dive of a hotel for 4 days while I waited for a replacement to arrive on the bus from <st1lace w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">La Paz</st1:city></st1lace>. I was starting to think there was some form of Baja Triangle thing going on. Whatever. 520 miles. <o></o> Day 3 R&R I figured that if 1000miles in one day qualifies for an iron butt award, then 1000 miles in two days must be an iron buttock. So I deserved a rest. <o></o> Day 4 Not very ambitious today, I just wanted to make it to Mulege. Do some washing then head for La Pas the next day to catch the ferry to <st1:city w:st="on"><st1lace w:st="on">Mazatlan</st1lace></st1:city>. I picked up a voicemail from my eldest daughter who advised me that there was a Hurricane in Cabo and telling me to be careful. Well being a chauvinistic pig, and a geography God I sent her a message back telling her that Cabo was on the Gulf coast side and I was nowhere near that (note to self, listen to eldest daughter in future). Somehow the bable fish in my ear had heard Cabo and transmitted <st1lace w:st="on">Cancun</st1lace> to my brain. Once I started chatting to a guy called Steve, an actor doing a shoot at the hotel, I figured I should get to an internet café and find out what was going on. Sure enough Hurricane John was in my neck of the woods. The chap in the café smiled and shook his head when I mentioned my planned destination, <st1:city w:st="on"><st1lace w:st="on">La Paz</st1lace></st1:city>. You loco he said Im not sure whether that was a general conclusion or simply a reflection on the short term idea. I then tried Loreto with a hopeful look on my face. He shrugged and said maybe. Who needs a national weather service super computer when theres a simple scale of you loco to maybe to no-problemo to be freely had at your local internet café. Plus it was only 80miles south, that couldnt be so tough could it? What a wanker! <o></o> Day 5 I decided against putting the rain liner on. It was hot as snot this morning, and a bit of rain to cool the body wouldnt be too bad. I had a chat with an ex-pat living down here. Local knowledge is good; advice is only valuable if you heed it. This guy tells me about the rivers and basically says that if the first river I come to has the water coming over the bridge, then turn around, itll get worse. Alrighty then, Im armed with local knowledge, no stinking hurricane is going to get in my way. Im off. It starts to rain, a bit. Then a bit more, then some more in quantities that rhymes with bit. No probs, Im warm, I have new gripsters on the bike, Chris Rea is singing Road to Hell, and the GPS was counting down the miles. Strange how there were no other vehicles on the roads. I went through one valley and saw the most extraordinary sight. A forest of densely packed giant cactus partially submerged in a soup of steam. A one in a lifetime photo-op. Did I stop? Did I hell! Onward, only 30 miles to go, the wind is whipping up. I figured if I keep my own speed up the wind component will have less impact. Good theory, painful execution. Then the landslides start to get more frequent and more severe. Both lanes blocked, mud rim deep, then axle deep in placed. Onward we charge (Ive bonded with my bike now, so it's we from now on), all sanity has said bye-bye at this point. <o></o> Then the river. Was this the first river? I didnt know. A bunch of farm laborer trucks were stopped, the occupants all staring at me. An ex-pat from a Landcruiser was walking back to his truck having surveyed the torrent. Another signal I ignored. Hey, I may be 47, the prostate may have grown a bit, but the testosterone is still in ample supply. I asked him what he thought. He estimated it was about 18 inches deep. As I looked across the river, the portion over the road was about 100yards wide and moving at quite a rate in the middle. Quick mental calculation (I think I used some low level function of the brain for this calculation coz it was totally stupid what I did next). In a fit of bravado I announced Id better go for it then, itll be a bit of a show. Now, had I stepped back and analyzed what I had just said I would realize what a total plonker I was. I mean, did I think that if it didnt work out I could just stop, put it in to reverse and try later. Or maybe Id just park up in the middle. Water has a density of about 2 tons per cubic yard, and there were a few cubic yards passing by every, oh, millisecond. Plop into first. All eyes on the loco-gringo, off we go. Oh shit. Almost instantly the water is up to my boots. No sweat, the Oxtar Infinities are waterproof, says the A side of my brain, what a stud! But the bottoms of your boots are about six inches below your spark plugs (R100GS) says the B side of my clearly malfunctioning grey matter. Get thee behind me negative thoughts. The steering is getting much heavier; somehow I figured I didnt have a flat. The water ahead of me was moving MUCH faster. The B side decided to go to happy place with a parting thought Im so screwed. At this point I finally figured out that stopping was really not an option. The bike would go down the river; I would never be able to hold it up. Even if it wasnt loaded, the force of the water would be too much. Then the right cylinder died. No problem says the A side of the brain, we have a spare on the other side. Keep looking ahead, dont look down, keep the revs up, and keep the momentum. The steering is now VERY VERY heavy. The spare starts to splutter. The cylinders are both almost totally submerged; well my boots were mid calf in the water at this point, so you get the picture. As if by a miracle we climb up and out of the water. Salvation. Another ex-pat is sitting on the other side in his Chevy Blazer. I am now clearly the water crossing God. He asks me if I think he could make it across in the Chevy. Of course I ponder the question and try to look wise when Im clearly stupid. The B side of my brain comes back to life and poses the question how many sets of underpants did you pack? <o></o> Off we go again, both cylinders firing again. Im only 17 miles from Loreto. I know I cant turn around, theres no way Im going to get lucky twice on the same river. More mudslides. Then a semi stuck in a river, mud up to his axles, surrounded by heavy machinery trying to pull him out. The crew waves me through, clearly they have heard of my elevated torrent crossing status word travels fast down hear you know. Im tempted to say um, nah, Ill just sit here and wait for the river to drop but then Im in the mud. Jim Hyde would be proud. Keep the momentum up, eyes ahead, disengage brain and were through. My reputation in intact. The legend of the Loco-BMW-Gringo will be passed down from father to son. Five miles to go, 4,3,2,1 Loreto. But what the hell, the road at the edge of town in blocked; mud, water, police or maybe theyre all waiting for me. <o></o> I call up my hotel to get directions. The hotel is closed, the roads are impassable. Now what? Well I have my get out of jail card and so check in to the first place I find, they have a single room left. It starts to REALLY REALLY REALLY rain. Like REALLY hard. So, on with the shorts, put on my bush hat and go looking for a latte. What else is there to do? Everything is closed except a single restaurant that wants to close. Then the owner recognizes me and offers that he has no vegetables and can only serve me meat or fish. I suppose its a good time to be on the Atkins diet after all. Then the power goes out. At this time the eye of the hurricane is just south of the city and moving this way. Should be interesting.