Baja on a Ninja 250

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by craig haggart, May 20, 2011.

  1. craig haggart

    craig haggart Old guy having fun!

    Joined:
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    Ride reports on ADV have provided me with information and inspiration, so I thought it might be useful to others if I post my own report. [NOTE: This was written in May, 2011, so some Mexico-specific information could have changed if you are reading this at some much later date.]

    Executive summary: My friend and I rode from Sunnyvale, California, to Mulege, Mexico (on the Sea of Cortez in Baja California Sur) and back. The trip was one week long due to my work schedule. We had no real problems at all. In fact, the only part of the journey I would characterize as even close to adventurous was the last couple of hours of the ride home because it was at night and it was pouring rain. Well, that plus the fact that I’m an old guy (57) with a bad back and I did the 2,000-mile trip riding a Ninja 250.

    But first things first. I’ll post information first, then add posts with the actual ride report to keep from having a single novel-length post. This one is long enough as it is!


    PREPARATION – BIKE

    I long ago realized that I’m an oddball, but lucky for me I don’t really care. I like smaller bikes (though my current “stable” includes a CBR600 and I love it). I decided last year that I wanted to do some moto-camping on something like a 250. I bought a 2008 Ninjette with about 4,500 miles on it last fall, strapped a bunch of camping gear on the back, and rode up to the Horizons Unlimited gathering near Petrolia in Humboldt County. I met a bunch of really nice people and I learned that a Ninja 250 makes a perfectly reasonable adventure bike as long as you don’t expect to jump boulders or anything. It’s inexpensive, it’s pretty simple, it’s obviously a well-tested design, and it’s very common. Parts or repair should be straightforward if necessary.

    I made a list of things that I’d like to do to the bike before riding it 2,000 miles in a country where pavement is sometimes less than ideal and occasionally missing the paved part. I added handlebar risers (3/4” is the most you can do without changing the cables), ginned up some supports for my soft saddlebags, removed the main side fairings, put on a “touring” windscreen (which is really only a few inches longer than stock) then added an additional windscreen lip to that, made an engine/exhaust pipe stone guard, put tubes in the tires, and made a seat topper out of foam, gel pad, and sheepskin. I made most of this from stuff bought at Home Depot. I topped it all off with ADV stickers on the front fairing and the saddlebags, of course!


    The fairings are expensive and vulnerable and they block access to the engine if anything needs to be worked on, which is why I took them off. The tubeless tires cannot be aired down more than a few pounds without risking a flat, which is why I put in the tubes (in case there was a reason to ride in soft dirt or sand). My butt is bony, which is why I added so much stuff to the seat. And I have adventure in my heart, which is why I put on the ADV stickers. Did I mention that I also got custom license plates? Yep, you guessed it: ADV NJA. Adventure ninja!

    All in all, everything worked exactly as planned. The only problems I had were both my fault: an intermittent tail light, apparently due to a flakey connection caused by me when I replaced the turn signals with LEDs and relocated them so they are still visible with saddlebags, and a loose handlebar mount also caused by me when I put on the risers and failed to use LocTite.

    Ansel, my riding partner, needed no preparation. His only vehicle is a BMW F650GS dual sport with all the adventure bike farkles, including heated gear, Zumo, Renazco seat, and genuine panniers with real frames. We met at the Petrolia gathering and rode back to the Bay Area together, and we did some offroad riding together down in Pozo la Panza OHV area last month. (Yes, I did in fact ride the Ninja! There’s probably still mud caked on the bike from that ride.)


    PREPARATION – INSURANCE
    As many people before me have said, U.S. insurers cannot actually cover you in Mexico no matter what they tell you. You need Mexican insurance. There are countless places to get quotes and buy it online, although I believe they are generally brokers for the same handful of actual insurers. My bike is cheap and I don’t have full coverage in the U.S., so I could only get the same coverage for Mexico. But I did bump up the liability to maxiumum ($300,000) and I bought the equivalent of Mexican AAA. I knew I’d only be in Baja, so I bought coverage for just that territory instead of all of Mexico. The total cost for me for one week was $68.

    I won’t include any links here because such things are relatively transient and it’s very easy to find Mexican motorcycle insurance by doing a web search. Filling out the online form was easy. You need your motorcycle’s VIN, your U.S. insurance policy details, and a credit card. Once it’s done, you print a page and take it with you.


    PREPARATION – DOCUMENTS
    You need a passport that will still be valid beyond your expected return date. I also brought several photocopies of my registration and insurance (both Mexican and U.S.). In addition, I photocopied my California driver’s license and the main page of my passport so I’d at least have the data in case I lost either of them.

    If you go beyond the very limited free zone, which you almost certainly will if you’re reading this, you are supposed to buy a “tourist card” which is essentially a Mexican visa. It costs about $24 at the current exchange rate and it is valid for up to 180 days. You can use it for as many trips to Mexico as you like during that period. I know that many people don’t get this visa and take the chance that it won’t be checked (and indeed, we never had to show a single document to anyone in Mexico), but if you DO get asked for it and you don’t have it, you’re screwed.

    The current version of the “tourist card” is called the form FMM. It’s easily purchased at the border. We crossed at San Ysidro, the 24-hour main border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana, and we got our FMM just after we crossed into Mexico. I learned how to do this from other people on ADV and HUBB: You stay in the right lane, which is marked for tour buses and vehicles with something to declare. You slowly roll up to the border guard and politely ask if it’s OK to park over there to the right because you need to buy a tourist card. She will say “Si!” You park, walk back towards San Diego along the small cement buildings until you get to the last one – migracion. You go into the office, chat with the nice man, present your passport, and fill out the form. You then go back out and walk towards Tijuana about 50 feet to the bank, hand them the form and pay them (they take U.S. dollars). You then go back to the migracion office with your payment receipt and the nice man will stamp your passport. That’s it.


    PREPARATION – MONEY
    You can reportedly use U.S. dollars almost everywhere near the border, but you will need pesos at some point. NOTE: Amounts in pesos are confusingly written with the same dollar sign as U.S. dollar amounts. The current exchange rate is about 11.6 pesos to the dollar, so you can get a shocking bill for a couple of tacos that appear to cost thirty bucks but in reality cost the equivalent of about $2.60. We tipped the same as we tip in the U.S.: around 15 or 20%.

    We got our pesos twice, both times at an ATM. Again, the amounts are confusing because they use dollar signs, but don't worry -- you aren't actually withdrawing $1,500, it's 1500 pesos (about $129). I don't know if this is true everywhere, but the two ATMs we used had instructions in both Spanish and English so they were totally easy to use.


    PREPARATION – SUPPLIES
    A large proportion of the stuff on my bike was water and fuel. The Ninjette is awesome in that it holds nearly 5 gallons of gas and it gets 50-60mpg depending mostly on speed. However, there is a stretch of the central desert where I knew (thanks to ADV ride reports) that no gas stations exist. So I strapped on my 1.5 gallon Kolpin fuel pack and Ansel also brought his rotopack. It turned out that we never did need to use any of that fuel, but it was comforting to have it.

    I do not like being ill, so I had no intent on drinking any untreated Mexican water. My saddlebags each contained a flexible 100-ounce Nalgene “canteen” from REI, plus I had a one-liter Nalgene bottle and a UV purifier (SteriPen, also from REI). These are items which now reside in my earthquake emergency kit. I drank only this water, plus coffee and a couple of beers. It was exactly the right amount of water for me. The weather was pretty cool for the most part, however; if it had been hotter, or hot the whole time, I would have needed to do some purifying. (I actually did purify a liter just for the hell of it, but I had more than a liter left after getting home so it really wasn’t necessary.)


    Man, this is getting awfully long. Sorry about that. I’ll stop now and post some of the actual trip later. My intent was to put as much data in one place as possible that might be helpful to anyone doing a search on ADV for Baja information.
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  2. AZ_ADV_RIDER

    AZ_ADV_RIDER Demons In My Helmet

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    You got me hooked but where are the pics??????
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  3. craig haggart

    craig haggart Old guy having fun!

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    Coming! If you have a Facebook account you can also see them on my page right now.
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  4. 1Man2Wheels

    1Man2Wheels Been here awhile

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    Brilliant & informative intro to a Ride Report.

    Keep it coming, cant wait to see the pics:lurk
    #4
  5. craig haggart

    craig haggart Old guy having fun!

    Joined:
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    DAY ONE: SUNNYVALE TO SAN DIEGO
    Ansel met me at my usual morning hangout, Coffee And More on Murphy Avenue in downtown Sunnyvale, Wednesday morning around 9:30. We were both loaded up, full of fuel, and ready to roll.

    We had talked about different routes to San Diego, and eventually settled on 101 all the way down to Southern California, then I-405 through west L.A. and Orange County, then I-5 where 405 ends around Irvine, then 805 to 163 to 8 because that’s where the motel is. We both find I-5 pretty boring and hot through the central valley, and Google maps actually says either route takes about the same total amount of time depending on traffic.

    It was a nice day, but whenever we got close to the Pacific the air had a very brisk snap to it. (This turned out the be the theme for the week, even in Mexico.) Still, it was a pleasant ride down 101. We hit L.A. in the evening rush hour as expected, but southbound 405 has a carpool lane along virtually its entire length. Unlike Bay Area carpool lanes, the ones in Southern California have a double yellow line except near offramps. As long as people follow the rules, you don’t have to worry about cars diving unexpectedly into or out of the carpool lane. This is a BIG help when lane splitting, and lane splitting is necessary because even the carpool lane backs up big-time. We were able to average maybe 45mph about half the time, which felt pretty fast, and at least posted speed the rest of the time.

    We hit San Diego at dusk as planned and found the motel with no problem at all (Best Western Seven Seas on Hotel Circle, fifteen minutes from the border, right where 163 meets I-8). Nice place, comfortable, and convenient. We hadn’t booked it in advance because we didn’t want to be tied to reaching a certain place at a certain time in case we got tired or had any issues on the way down, but they gave us the online rate anyway when I asked ($51 plus tax for a double).


    DAY TWO: SAN DIEGO TO EL ROSARIO, BAJA CALIFORNIA
    In the morning, we packed our stuff back on the bikes and rode a few minutes south on 163 to look for a coffee shop (I’m addicted to muffins and coffee for breakfast). We pulled into a Peets in a part of San Diego called Hillcrest, leisurely chowed down, had a moderately interesting conversation about tech work with one of those guys who works out of a laptop, gassed up nearby, bought sunglasses to replace the ones Ansel lost at a gas stop the previous day, and rode south into another country.



    As mentioned in one of the prep sections of my first post, we pulled over just beyond the border and bought our tourist visas. After getting back on the bikes, we followed the sign for the “Ensenada scenic road” (a.k.a., cuota, a.k.a. toll road, a.k.a. Mex 1D) and entered Tijuana.

    SIDEBAR: One of the things you will not appreciate about the U.S. unless you visit another country is the fact that we have a truly fantastic highway system here. Not only are the roads great almost everywhere, not only are the curves sensible and on-camber almost everywhere, not only are there guard rails where you need them, but the highway signs here in the U.S. are awesome. You don’t notice this until you go somewhere where they’re not so awesome. For example, where would you put a sign to let people know that a road is coming up that goes somewhere else? Me, I’d put that sign BEFORE the turnoff. I’d maybe even put an additional sign some reasonable distance ahead of time to let people know they might need to get in a different lane. Alas, this is apparently a radical idea that does not occur to highway planners in some other countries. Also, if you’re in the middle of the desert, and someone thinks it might be a good idea to put a sign for, say “Catavina” to let you know that you are indeed headed the right direction to get to Catavina, wouldn’t you think it would also be a good idea to spend the extra forty cents at the sign shop to get the DISTANCE to Catavina painted on that sign, too? You know, since the sign is going in the middle of the friggin desert and all, and there’s no town or people or gas or anything as far as the eye can see? I’m just sayin.

    OK, back to Tijuana. I did a Google street view of the route to the toll road before leaving, so I felt pretty confident of finding the way. Good thing, as the ride between the border and the toll road runs parallel to the border in a very third-world part of town. I intentionally rode around the “water” running across the road; after passing it I could smell that it was raw sewage. Eventually we got onto the toll road, which was smooth and fast. There are three toll booths total, and it currently costs the equivalent of about $2.40 at each one for either car or a motorcycle. We happily paid this small price to avoid riding through even more of Tijuana. The tollbooth attendants were fine with either dollars or pesos, but they only spoke Spanish.

    The third and final tollbooth ends just this side of Ensenada. There’s a wide apron after the exit where we pulled over to take a photo, use the bathroom, and get pesos from the ATM that’s there in its own little glass-walled building.

    In Ensenada, I made a blunder by not taking the fork marked for the truck route. This meant riding through the major tourist area about a mile and a half with many lights and stop signs before we eventually turned right onto the main road again. No big deal, but we had no desire to cruise Ensenada and the truck route would have been more direct.

    South of Ensenada, Mex 1 winds through an area that resembles California wine country. We made our first gas and food stop at El Palomar near Santo Tomas. There is a small Pemex station on the right just beyond the restaurant.

    About gas: The fuel industry is nationalized in Mexico, so all gas stations are Pemex stations and the fuel price is subsidized. When we were there it cost around 9 pesos per liter, which is about $2.90 per U.S. gallon. Pemex stations only take cash. We always paid in pesos, but I suspect you could probably pay in dollars at some stations although you’d likely take a big currency conversion hit. In any case, the important thing to know is: You cannot pay with a credit card.

    We ate at El Palomar; it was cheap and good. There were no other customers, and the single employee -- hostess, waitress, and cook -- was a dwarf who spoke only Spanish. I enjoyed my lunch immensely and would go back there in a heartbeat.

    Less than an hour later, we had ridden out of wine country and were near the chilly, windy Pacific coast once again. We passed through the very uncharming communities along the highway, including Lazaro Cardenas, and then it got even windier. Sand and silt drifted across the highway (which was one lane in each direction almost all the way), completely covering the northbound lane.

    The road finally turned east into low, barren hills with nice twisties. But before that, I noticed one of my handlebars was falling off.

    I looked down and saw that one of the two allen-head bolts holding the right handlebar on was backed out almost all the way, and the other bolt was loose. So I did what anyone would do: I rode with my right hand, using my gloved left index finger to screw in the backed-out bolt enough to catch a couple of threads and then kept my finger on the bolt head to keep it from backing out again. This worked fine, and I only had to do it for about 40 minutes. Those twisties were memorable!

    Just before El Rosario, we hit one of the many military checkpoints along Mex 1. The kids there were professional and courteous and spoke only Spanish. They seemed slightly alarmed at Ansel’s GoPro weatherproof video camera sticking out on his left side, mounted on a long piece of aluminum behind his pannier. This was almost always the case at the checkpoints, so we eventually started coming into them two abreast with me riding on the left. This made his camera far less obvious. I have to say that I actually enjoyed the military checkpoints because it was fun to try to use my limited Spanish every time. They just want to know where you’re going, where you’ve been, if you’re on vacation, what’s in the luggage (sometimes they even prompted us by asking “ropa?”) and occasionally they chat a bit about the motorcycle because they’re inevitably boys in their late teens or early 20s. We never had to dismount or shut off the bikes for an inspection, and out of the 8 or 10 checkpoints we hit during the trip we only had to open our tank bags once.

    At El Rosario we rode through town several times trying to find the Baja Cactus Motel, which turned out to be literally next to the Pemex station. We had passed it at least twice. It has a blank white wall and a sign that says “Motel." Did it really never occur to anyone that it might be a good idea to put the actual NAME of the motel on the sign? The road runs probably 3/4 of a mile through town and there are several other motels, so one would think they'd want to let people know which one is which.

    The new part of the motel has the more expensive rooms. They are reportedly very nice, with large tiled bathrooms. We decided to cheap out and went for one of the small, old rooms for about $30 (double) but it did have wi-fi.

    Lucky for me, Ansel brought Loc-Tite. I fixed my handlebar and we cruised town looking for some chow that might have vegetables. We failed. After hitting the mercado across the street, dinner consisted of oranges, bananas, and, for me, a few handfuls of Frosted Flakes. Hey, I thought it was pretty good!

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  6. craig haggart

    craig haggart Old guy having fun!

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    Can you recommend a reliable free photo host? I've used several over the years, and they always eventually get bought out or become no longer free or go out of business, etc.
    #6
  7. craig haggart

    craig haggart Old guy having fun!

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    DAY THREE: EL ROSARIO TO SANTA ROSALIA
    I forgot to mention that yesterday in the wine country, Mex 1 turned into a rutted dirt detour for about a quarter mile. We stood on the pegs and had no trouble at all, but it was surprising to see cars, RVs, and giant trucks having to negotiate a bad dirt road. I can’t even imagine what it’s like in the rain when it turns to mud.

    Something to keep in mind: If you ride in Baja, you will ride offroad at least a little bit. That’s because almost everything except the highway is unpaved. Many Pemex station driveways are dirt or loose gravel (though the stations themselves always have a concrete pad), and some of those Pemex stations are a good 50 feet off the road. Same with motel and eatery driveways and parking lots. It’s rarely a major deal, but if you’re not prepared for it you could have some trouble. The typical scenario is a dropoff of an inch or two from the asphalt onto rocky dirt, sometimes with a mild slope, followed by 20 feet of sandy dirt or gravel or dirt with fist-sized rocks, followed by the place you’re trying to get to. The Baja Cactus Motel driveway and parking lot is loose smooth stones in dirt, which is not at all easy to ride on with a packed bike (plenty of weight up high) and tires with highway pressure. Oh, and bring something to put under your kickstand to keep it from sinking in. I have a 3” x 3” piece of plywood and I used it several times.

    Onward! We filled our tanks and headed east into the Desierto Central. Next stop: Catavina, in the heart of the desert. We finally got nice and warm, and the road was like central Nevada. There were even some nice twisty sections through small hills.

    This is where I first realized that Mexican highways rarely have any guard rails anywhere. We saw countless roadside shrines along the highway, no matter where we were, each presumably marking a death. It seemed puzzling sometimes because the spots were often where there didn’t seem to be any particular hazard. After thinking about it, however, we realized that a lot of fatalities were due to the insane passing that takes place everywhere.

    The custom in Mexico seems to be for the passee to put on his left blinker when he decides it’s safe for you to pass. An odd custom, since he has no way to know how quickly you can accelerate, but it gets worse. The left blinker is also still the way to signal that you are GOING to pass. If you can’t see in front of that truck in front of you and he turns on his left blinker, you don’t know if he’s trying to tell you to go around him or if he’s about to whip out into the other lane right when you do, too. No wonder there are so many shrines in the desert.

    The area right around Catavina is really cool. The geography changes to large sand-colored boulders and boojum cactus, which look like something out of Middle Earth. We pulled into the dirt entry to one of the small bodegas along the road, and a crazy American guy immediately launched into an incredible spiel about how he had written all of Elvis Presley’s songs, and he and his mother wrote the Beatles’ songs, and something about getting 5 million dollars out of the bank for Marilyn Monroe or something, and “…I know you think I’m crazy but I’m not…” and on and on. For some reason he ignored me and focused on regaling poor Ansel. Eventually he got around to asking for money and then we drifted inside the building where I was hoping for a taco and a cup of coffee. The place was really just a very sparse store, however, so we mounted up and rode just down the road to a place that appeared to be an actual eatery.

    Just as we got off our bikes, we saw three adventure riders stop on the road. They saw us, came over, and the five of us had lunch together. They were the only other riders we had contact with the entire time we were in Mexico, though we did see an adventure bike going the other way once, a couple of full-dress Gold Wings with trailers, and a sportbike near Mulege.

    The Beemer riders were true manly men. The three of them rode from L.A. to Cabo on their BMWs, almost all offroad and including night riding, and slept out under the stars. They were at the end of their journey and on the last leg home. They said the theme of their trip was “flat tires!” I liked them right off the bat. It was amusing to see the adventure bike lineup in front of the restaurant: BMW, BMW, BMW, BMW, Ninjette. Hmmm, who’s the crazy guy here after all? Maybe I should go hang with the guy who wrote Elvis Presley’s songs…

    I knew beforehand that Catavina had only an abandoned Pemex station but that gas was available from people selling it out of jugs. We were pretty sure we could make it to the next Pemex, but there was no reason to pass up gas when it was there so we topped up from the lady with the jugs (um, I didn’t mean it that way!) and pressed on.

    The remaining desert highway was much the same as the first half, except for a section of broken up pavement for quite a few miles. I had to slow to about 45mph or else I got beaten up like a 7<sup>th</sup> grade nerd in a pool hall. One thing about the Ninja 250, it sure ain&#8217;t got no fancy suspension and the forks have like 3&#8221; of travel.

    Speaking of speed: I was under the impression that the speed limit in Baja was typically 80kph (50mph) and that breaking traffic laws was the perfect way to get into hot water in Mexico. I actually used this information to roughly plan out the ride, expecting to get only so far each day due to potentially bad roads and low speed limits. The reality, however, was that although the posted limit was most often only 60kph (37mph!) and varied seemingly at random anywhere from 100kph to 40kph on the same desert highway, we were able to ride at whatever speed we were comfortable with. There is simply no way in the world ANYONE would ride or drive that highway at 37mph. It would be like driving 30 on a U.S. Interstate. Trucks would just mow you down.

    The highway once again turned towards the Pacific, and we once again had to put on polar fleece. We filled up at the first Pemex we came across, right where we expected one, in a little town named Jesus y Maria (which I just had to refer to as &#8220;Jesustown&#8221; from then on).

    Shortly thereafter we rolled through the state border of Baja California Sur at Guerrero Negro, where we didn&#8217;t even have to stop. The &#8220;border&#8221; appears to be primarily an agricultural inspection station for commercial trucks. The road turned east again, away from the frosty, windy Pacific, and an hour or two later we were in San Ignacio which I had initially thought might be our destination for the night. But the roads had allowed much better speed than expected, there was still plenty of daylight left, and we were less than an hour from Santa Rosalia, so we rode on.

    The Sea of Cortez was a lovely deep blue, visible in snatches from the twisty roads winding down the hills towards Santa Rosalia. I was expecting the town to be just a few roads going up a canyon, making it simple to find one of the budget motels from the guidebook. We found that there are actually two canyons. We weren&#8217;t lost for very long, though, as there&#8217;s not much there there (if you know what I mean).

    We found the main street into town and &#8211; it was jammed with traffic! We split traffic up the one-way street between the almost nonmoving lane and the parked cars on either side. There were stop signs at each corner, but they are apparently only suggestions. People either stopped or completely ignored them seemingly at random. We eventually found the motel, saw that it was both extremely ratty looking and totally without any secure parking, so we went with the backup plan and rode about a mile south of town to the nice El Morro Motel.

    The motel is built on a cliff overlooking the ocean. The parking area was large, secure, and paved (although of course it was a dual-sport ride to get there from the highway). The rooms were very large, had air conditioning and wi-fi, and the place even had a Visa sticker on the lobby window! Alas, we never once used a credit card in Mexico because even this outpost of modernity relied on the Internet for processing payments &#8211; and the Internet was broken today. My feeling is, it was broken yesterday, too, and the day before that, and it was going to still be broken next week. This also meant no wi-fi. But they happily took American dollars. The nice, large room came to a total of $52 for the two of us.

    The room had a covered balcony overlooking the ocean, and the whole back of the motel had a paved patio on the cliff. We both took the stereotypical postcard photos with palm tree and lovely pinky orange clouds at sunset. Very pleasant.

    We dumped our stuff into the room, got back on our much lighter bikes, and rode back into town for dinner at a &#8220;taco stand&#8221; that was actually a permanent kitchen in an open corner of a building. They made fun of us in Spanish while we ate. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
    #7
  8. craig haggart

    craig haggart Old guy having fun!

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    Hey, I just tried to edit the "day one" ride report to add photos, but they don't show up. I first tried using the ADV image icon thingie; no go. I then just wrapped the links in [​IMG]
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  9. createAbang

    createAbang Vagabundos del Moto

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  10. craig haggart

    craig haggart Old guy having fun!

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    Thanks, Mike. There are 274 pages in that thread so it's kinda hard to get specific info; however, what I had been trying should have worked. I did learn that you can only add one image per post if you go with the attachment route. I'm going to do that, though, because I resized my images already and they are all quite small (about 0.1MB each) and because it's the easy way!
    #10
  11. craig haggart

    craig haggart Old guy having fun!

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    Ansel and me heading out of the Coffee And More back parking lot in Sunnyvale.

    .

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  12. craig haggart

    craig haggart Old guy having fun!

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    The grounds of the Best Western Seven Seas in San Diego, near the spa. Nice!

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  13. craig haggart

    craig haggart Old guy having fun!

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    Ansel at our peso-obtaining stop just beyond the last toll booth on the Tijuana to Ensenada "scenic road" (the cuota, or toll road).

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  14. craig haggart

    craig haggart Old guy having fun!

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    Here is the El Palomar restaurant/motel and the Pemex on Mex 1 just before Santo Tomas, where we had our first lunch.

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    #14
  15. craig haggart

    craig haggart Old guy having fun!

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    100
    Location:
    Sunnyvale, California
    Beamer, Beamer, Beamer, Ninja 250, Beamer. Who's the oddball here?

    Attached Files:

    #15
  16. craig haggart

    craig haggart Old guy having fun!

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Oddometer:
    100
    Location:
    Sunnyvale, California
    A partially built apparently abandoned building in the middle of nowhere. We actually saw many of these, usually with "se vende" (for sale) spray painted on the side. This one had a couple of burros wandering nearby.

    Attached Files:

    #16
  17. craig haggart

    craig haggart Old guy having fun!

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Oddometer:
    100
    Location:
    Sunnyvale, California
    Here's one of our postcard-style shots from the patio of Motel El Morro near Santa Rosalia, overlooking the Sea of Cortez. And the air temperature was absolutely perfect!

    Attached Files:

    #17
  18. jimmesa

    jimmesa Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    102
    Location:
    Mesa AZ
    Craig, All you need to post pics is in the first post by Baldy. Jim
    #18
  19. craig haggart

    craig haggart Old guy having fun!

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Oddometer:
    100
    Location:
    Sunnyvale, California
    [FONT=&quot]DAY FOUR: SANTA ROSALIA TO MULEGE, MULEGE TO SAN IGNACIO[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]We loaded the bikes up Saturday morning and went back into Santa Rosalia. During our stroll through town the previous evening, I had smelled the heavenly aroma of fresh-ground coffee and realized that we were standing near a shop that sold my favorite drug. It was closed, but I knew where I was going to go in the morning! Unfortunately, it turned out that the coffee shop was actually just a place to buy coffee beans, not brewed coffee. We found a restaurant with a covered outdoor patio and had breakfast there instead. [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]We were a little concerned about leaving our fully loaded bikes with all of our gear parked on the street several blocks away. I had brought a small, fairly long chain with me, and ran it through the arm of my Aerostich suit and the visor opening of my helmet, then locked it to the bike&#8217;s triple clamp. I have no idea whether or not this was necessary, but nobody bothered our stuff. [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]After breakfast we rode about an hour south to Mulege and found shady parking just a block from an internet café. The proprietor indicated that we could use his wi-fi for free if we were there to eat lunch, so we ordered some food and a couple of beers. Ansel was anticipating a nice cold Pacifico since there was a sign outside and the plastic chairs all said Pacifico on them. Inexplicably, the owner said they didn&#8217;t have Pacifico beer. Ah well, Tecate had to do. [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]We discussed our options for the remainder of the trip: either continue riding south on Mex 1 for a couple more hours to Loreto, or making this our turnaround point and opting for a side trip to Bahia de los Angeles the next day instead. We could have done both if all continued to go well, but neither of us wanted to feel rushed so we decided to make our afternoon in Mulege the southernmost point of our journey. [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]Mulege is known for the nearby beach, but we just walked around the town itself and took a few photos. We came across a motel named the Hotel Squid. Of course we both immediately visualized the small courtyard filled with GSXRs ridden by kids wearing t-shirts, flip-flops, and no helmet. [/FONT]:D

    [FONT=&quot]Once again we left our bikes unattended with all of our stuff on them while we walked all over town; once again nobody disturbed anything. [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]After our lazy afternoon stroll, we hit Mex 1 again but this time heading north. We had passed a full-on sportbike going the other way on our ride from Santa Rosalia to Mulege; we passed him again at just about the same point, again going the other way. It was notable because we saw very few motorcycles on our journey and I think this might have been the only sportbike we saw in Mexico. [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]We stopped briefly in Santa Rosalia so I could buy another phone card because the one I had gotten in El Rosario no longer worked. It may have been used up, but I couldn&#8217;t tell because the message on the phone in Spanish made no sense to me. There was a card phone just outside the door of the place I bought the new card, and the guy at the counter assured me it would work in that phone (it didn&#8217;t). Oh well, it only cost a little over four bucks and I had hopes that it would work at our next stop (it did). [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]We rode the return section between Santa Rosalia and San Ignacio at a nice pace, having ridden the same section going the other way just the day before. We knew there would be a short section of twisties with the added spice of truck traffic and no guard rails. We had some exhilarating moments interspersed with a few buttpuckers. [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]The San Ignacio motel I had identified as a likely first choice turned out to be directly on the highway and a couple of miles from the actual town center, so we opted for the Motelito Fong. The room was tiny but had two beds and a bathroom and the parking area looked very secure. The shower was pretty funny: A length of ¾&#8221; PVC pipe sticking out of the wall with an elbow on it, with the bathroom light switch and electrical outlet on the same wall about 3 feet away. At least it would be somewhat difficult to spray water on the switch because there was no shower head. [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]We walked into San Ignacio, which turned out to be farther away from the motel than we had thought. Still it was a very nice afternoon, and San Ignacio is an oasis of countless date palms along a small river so the walk was pleasant. The town center was rather charming, with a beautiful shady tiled plaza across from the town&#8217;s Mission Kadakaaman and surrounding shops. We ate outside and had an excellent, mellow time people-watching, then walked back to the motel for the night. [/FONT]
    #19
  20. craig haggart

    craig haggart Old guy having fun!

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Oddometer:
    100
    Location:
    Sunnyvale, California
    Photo taken during a walk around Mulege.

    Attached Files:

    #20