Baja para dos - Nine-day adventure in Baja Mexico.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by TravisGill, May 6, 2017.

  1. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Oddometer:
    225
    Location:
    Germany
    Baja Day 5, Wednesday, April 26th. Grey Whale watching with Mario’s Tours.

    The half-way point and highlight of our trip was to experience the Pacific Grey Whale up close in their breeding and nursing waters of the Laguna Ojo de Liebre.

    We set our phone alarm for 6AM and hustled out the hotel door in order to meet up with the tour company before their opening time of 7AM. Our morning plans were flawed for two reasons:

    The first problem was the tour company we had picked; The Laguna Whale Watching Tours. Their website listed that they would be open at 7AM. Since we didn’t have any reservations booked, we hoped that we could get there in the morning and get two seats on the morning or afternoon tour. The problem is that Laguna Whale Watching closed their tour season the week before.

    Welcome to the second problem - the time. After arriving at 6:30 AM we noticed my watch and the bikes showed 5:30 AM!?. Apparently Baja Sur is one-hour ahead on Baja. Fortunately, our phones updated when we connected to WiFi or we would have been an hour late and missed an opportunity all together. Thank you auto update feature on the iPhone!

    Once 7AM rolled around, we began to feel that Laguna Whale Watching was not open for business. We went down the road to Malarrimo where they had whale watching advertised. It turns out that they were closed for the season as well. It looked like our window of opportunity to see the whales was fading fast. A huge bummer. The señor at Malarrimo got on the phone and found another company that was still doing tours. The tour company was Mario’s Tours and Restaurant and they were only about a 5 minute ride away! ¡Sacarse la lotería! We thanked him and hustled our way back to Highway 1.

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    Whale Xing

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    Pacific Grey Whale migration

    Once we parked the bikes in front of Mario’s Restaurant, an English speaking female approached us and relayed “You must be the motorcycle riders for the tour? You’ve got plenty of time; the tour starts in 40 minutes. Grab some breakfast or look around the museum.”

    I paid the price of 900 pesos each ($47.83 USD) for the tour. This ended up being the most expensive thing we did in Baja. This industry is defiantly tourist based and the high prices reflect that a bit. On the other hand, where else can you experience the chance of touching a Pacific Grey Whale in the wild?

    Mario’s Restaurant is highly recommended. It’s a beautiful building with great food and service. I enjoyed a breakfast omelet and Chantil enjoyed french toast. After breakfast, we made our way to the briefing area where the Pacific Grey Whale was discussed. Although we were the only US tourists in our group of ten, the guides did a great job of explaining everything in English.

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    Museum at Mario's

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    Tour guide briefing

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    Window decorations at Mario's Restaurant

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    Dogs relaxing in the morning sun

    After a thorough briefing, we loaded up the passenger van and made the 40-minute ride out to the boat. Our guides left us in the very capable hands of Captain Tito and his first-mate. A joke was made about how Captain Tito was the great-great grandson of the captain of the Titanic. Funny stuff.

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    Our boat for the next few hours
    After issuing us all life-jackets, and rain coats, we were skimming along the water towards the entrance to the lagoon to find some whales. We stopped near a huge salt barge to talk about the salt mining that made this area so lucrative. We also stopped to look at a large group of seals lazing about on one of the mooring buoys. Before long we were idling along in search for some whales.

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    Tug pulling salt barge

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    Salt barge

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    Seals lounging about

    Over the course of a few hours we ended up seeing quite a lot of whales and got pretty close to a few but never close enough to have them come alongside or pass under the boat. It was late in the season and the weather was a bit overcast so getting to pet or touch a Grey Whale was not in the cards. It was still a wonderful and memorable experience and a true highlight of our Baja experience.

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    Whale tail

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    Nice back

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    Capturing the memory

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    Mommy and baby


    It was well into the afternoon before we returned to the pier. Along the way back, we ate the provided sack lunch of a sandwich, an orange, a small Coke-Cola, and chocolates. As our boat nudged into the rocky shore and pier, we were greeted, once again, by our guides.

    After returning back to Mario’s, we thanked everyone for a wonderful morning and then made our way back to Guerrero Negro for a nap at the hotel. All that time on the water made us a bit tired.

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    Not a Baja Bug but a Baja Civic. What a beater.

    For dinner, we rode down the main street smelling all the wonderful restaurants before we decided to pull in front of the Taqueria Viva México. My staple meal was a Coca-Cola and three tacos; Taqueria Viva México didn’t disappoint. The couple who ran the restaurant seemed really nice. We asked about a dessert Churro and they pointed us in the direction of a place about a block away. As we returned to our bikes we exclaimed “¡Churro!” and they seemed to enjoy that by laughing and giving us a thumbs up.

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    Taqueria Viva México

    Once we returned to the hotel, we discovered a huge group of Mexican GS riders had taken up residence there. They seemed to be enjoying each others company and the Spanish party music went well into the evening. We had miles and miles of dirt road to cover the next day so we packed our panniers and tail bags, and then drifted off to a comfortable sleep…
    #21
  2. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Oddometer:
    225
    Location:
    Germany
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    Baja Day 6, Thursday, April 27th. Guerrero Negro to a few miles west of Punta San Francisquito.
    18 miles paved + 84 miles dirt = 102 total miles (164 km)

    Today was going to be a surprise for Chantil. She loves to hike and explore different places so I did some research and came across the website bajabound.com with some information on the Painted Cave of El Carmen. I hoped that this surprise side trip would be worth the short diversion from a long day of dirt road riding.

    We woke up early and loaded the bikes for what we expected to be one of our longer dirt days. After checking out of the hotel, we quickly made our way south along Highway 1. This first 18 miles was going to be our only pavement for the next two days so we enjoyed the good time we were making.

    The first 20 miles of dirt road was along a wide and very straight section. The road didn’t get interesting until you reach the Baja California border. There are no signs at the border; just a white concrete marker with a metal pole sticking up from the center. We stopped at the border for a break and ate a quick breakfast.

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    Morning sun and Saguaro Cactus

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    Some sections of the dirt road were washed away and marked accordingly.

    This is the start of what I would consider to be off-the-beaten path. We rode for miles and miles without seeing another vehicle, person, or dwelling. You really have to be emotionally prepared and have a vehicle you can depend on when choosing to go this route. Personally, I find it comforting to get away from people and enjoy the solitude of the isolated road.

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    Enjoying the open road

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    Cactus forests and well traveled dirt roads

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    Chantil making good time

    12.8 miles after the border, we reached the waypoint N 28° 7.522’ W 113° 18.527’ marking the road to the painted cave. After a short two-track road, we parked our bikes on a dead-end section just below the base of the hillside. The hike to the cave is via a short, easily identified, and well traveled walking path.

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    Beautiful forest of Saguaro Cactus

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    Boojum Tree

    The Painted Cave of El Carmen was not the largest example of native american artwork, but we found it to be very impressive. We were surprised at how well the place was preserved; there was no trash or graffiti anywhere to be seen! We enjoyed the peace and solitude of the cave while taking some pictures and flying the Mavic camera. I ended up capturing some great video of the cave entrance and the cactus forest below.

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    Well preserved by its isolation

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    Painted Cave of El Carmen

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    Cave folks

    Eight miles further from the painted cave trail, we arrived to our lunch spot - Rancho Piedra Blanca. As soon as we turned off the bikes and put down the kickstand, we were greeted by a smiling couple welcoming us to stay for a while. Since this was the longest distance between fuel stops for our mules, I asked the señor if he has any gasolina. He quickly returned with a funnel, and a full plastic jug to top off both tanks. We were a bit hungry so we asked about lunch. The señorita said it would be about “veinte minutos" and made her way to the kitchen and dining cabana towards the back of the rancho.

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    Horses and a donkey at Rancho Piedra Blanca

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    Old cactus marking the way to Rancho Piedra Blanca

    A small group of RZR ATVs arrived from the northeast. They were traveling the opposite direction and offered some advice on places to stay along the route. When we mentioned we were considering camping in Punta San Francisquito one guy mentioned an alternative since San Francisquito had lost a lot of its charm since the earthquake some years ago. I made a mental note and thanked them for the advise (Later that day I wish I had taken the advise).
    After a cold soda, the señor led us to the kitchen and dining room cabana where we were served a small salad and baked steak taquitos. I used the Google Translate app to chat with the couple a bit; letting them know we had two kids and we lived in San Diego. We relayed that they were very kind and generous and thanked them for the wonderful lunch. “Sometimes It's not about the journey or the destination, but about the people you meet along the way.” - Nishan Panwa.

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    Chilling in the hammock at Punta San Francisquito

    As we continued east we came across some of the most beautiful and largest Saguaro Cactus forests we have ever seen. It was a bit awe inspiring to see just how tall some of them were. See for yourself in the pictures…

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    Not an optical illusion - that's one HUGE Saguaro Cactus!

    Cresting the dirt road and seeing the beautiful blue waters of the Sea of Cortez was moving. Although we were a bit tired from all the dirt riding, it gave us continued motivation to reach the sea and find the perfect camp spot to capture the spirit of Baja.

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    Taking a break

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    The sign marking the trail to Bahía de Los Ángeles

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    We heard good things about Rancho Escondido but never did stop

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    Boots used to decorate the sign to Rancho Escondido

    Unfortunately, we didn’t find the spirit of Baja that we were looking for in Punta San Francisquito; all we found was run-down homes and beaches. Definitely not the picturesque place we had imagined. Apparently, this small town has suffered recently from an earthquake and never seems to have recovered. We decided to make our way back to the intersection marking the trail north to Bahía de Los Ángeles and see how much road we could cover before dark.

    As the sun dipped below the small mountain range we realized our day of travel was at an end. We found a place to pull off the road near a dry creek bed. We coaxed the mules through about about 100 feet of deep sand and then set up our tent among the mules and the cactus forest.

    Although, we did a pretty decent job of packing everything we needed for the trip, we realized, day two into our trip, that the fuel pump portion of our MSR Wisperlite stove was attached to a fuel bottle that was left home in San Diego. No fuel pump. No hot water. No freeze-dried dinners. Sad face.

    Fortunately, Chantil came up with the idea of making a small camp fire using rocks to support the pot for boiling hot water. I went to finding tinder, kindling, and wood, while she found the rocks. Before long we had everything we needed for a genuine camp fire and had boiling water for our red beans and rice dinner.

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    Who needs a camp stove?

    After dinner, we enjoyed a small camp fire under the peace of a billion twinkling stars; thus ending our sixth day in Baja.

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    Dried cactus husks make for great campfires
    #22
  3. koa925

    koa925 Senior Stromer

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    56
    Location:
    san ramon, ca
    enjoying your report and pictures, love baja
    #23
  4. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Oddometer:
    225
    Location:
    Germany
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    Baja Day 7, Friday, April 28th. Camping west of Punta San Francisquito to Laguna Aqua Emerge.
    14 miles paved + 80 miles dirt = 94 total miles (151 km)

    Our morning consisted of waking up, packing up the tent gear, and getting the mules back onto hard-packed dirt. It was only a short 3 miles before we reached the intersection to Bahía de Los Ángeles where we turned right and meandered our way north. This portion of the road seems well traveled although we didn’t see any vehicles all morning and well into the afternoon.

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    Sea of Cortez on the horizon

    Mile 26 brought us to Playa San Rafael. I wished we had skipped Punta San Francisquito yesterday and camped here. A short two-track road brought us to a camp area on the cliff face. We quickly parked the mules and unpacked the tent so we had a place to lounge under some shade. The area was beautifully remote, with nothing more than the sounds of sea birds and the gentle waves of the sea.

    We spent a few hours enjoying brunch, taking pictures and video with the Mavic drone camera, and walking along the rocky beach. I even changed into my swim trunks and took a short swim in the sea; the water was cooler than I thought it would be (sea rhymes with be - a poet and I didn't even know it).

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    Playa San Rafael

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    The mules enjoying the cool breeze and views of the Sea of Cortez.

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    Rocky beach at Playa San Rafael

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    Great brunch spot. Wished we had made it here last night.

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    Notice the missing brake light lens that vibrated off somewhere on the trail yesterday. Bummer. Life is still good.

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    Bike and beach

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    Packed to the hilt but no complaining from the mules

    Although I could have hung out and enjoyed Playa San Rafael all day we did have a schedule to keep since our insurance policy on the bikes was only good for a few more days. Perhaps we should have stayed…

    As we continued inland we witnessed even more cactus forests that covered miles and miles of desert valleys. It really is incredible how much wide-open land exists in Baja.

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    Near perfect proportioned cactus. Perhaps he’s been on Cactus Health magazine?

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    Cactus forest

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    20 Km to Bahía de Los Ángeles.

    About 5 miles before reaching the town we noticed that there were quite a lot of developed campsites and homes along the beach. This seems like a popular place for people to vacation.

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    Cool sign but the camp was closed

    Upon reaching Bahía de Los Ángeles we found a small mercado where we were able to buy some sodas, snacks, and top off our water supply. The señorita cashier was a bit rude despite me doing my best to speak Spanish with her. Not all folks you run into in a foreign country are pleasant; I’m sure it’s the same for tourists who visit the USA.

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    Mercado in Bahía de Los Ángeles. Notice the perro negro on the roof!?

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    Panditas gummy bear candy in my fav color. (Don't judge me by my dirty fingernails)

    As I was sitting next to my bike, an American (technically, aren't all people living in North, Central, or South America an American?) on a dirt bike rode by and asked if we were Ok. I gave him a thumbs up and we talked for a bit about our trip so far. I asked if he had any recommendations on a good taco place and he pointed me in the right direction.

    After some dinner and some WiFi it was starting to get darker. Although there were hotels in Bahía de Los Ángeles, we opted to leave town and make our way to Laguna Aqua Emerge. Interestingly, it’s called a lake but there hasn’t been water in it for some time; it’s now a dry lake bed. We hoped we could make it before dark.

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    Sunset riding on the two-lane highway leaving town.

    It turns out we didn’t make it to the dry lake bed before dark. We did manage to get off the highway shorty after sunset, however. The sandy double-track road, leading to the lake-bed, made progress slow. In addition, it ended up being really windy on the lake bed.

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    Night riders

    After picking a camp site near the middle of the lake-bed, we did our best to use the bikes as a wind-block while we set up camp. We decided it was too windy to use the tent and just slept under the stars in our sleeping bags. Once we were in the comfort of the bags, the winds didn’t seem so bad. It wasn’t much longer before we were both fast asleep…
    #24
  5. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Oddometer:
    225
    Location:
    Germany
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    Baja Day 8, Saturday, April 29th. Laguna Aqua Emerge to San Felipe
    174 miles paved + 31 miles dirt = 205 total miles (330 km)

    Waking up in the middle of a dry lakebed is an experience every adventure minded person should seek. It’s a unique feeling being in the middle of miles and miles of dry, flat, desert landscape. Interestedly, the winds had died down for about an hour during sunrise. We had the chance to fly our Mavic camera and capture a video of our camp site from 1,000 feet. At that elevation our bikes and sleeping bags were just a tiny blip in a sea of brown-colored, cracked, hard-packed dirt.

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    Dry Lakebed camping

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    Dried hard-packed dirt

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    Viajo - Spanish for “I travel”

    This also happened to be the first mechanical problem of the trip… While trying to start my mule, it wouldn’t turn over and indicated a weak battery. I didn’t leave anything on or charging all night so I was a bit worried. At least we were not too far from help and we had a recovery system, if necessary, to tow me into town. I unplugged the GPS, 12V accessory charger, turned off the switch to the aux lighting, crossed my fingers, and said a short internal prayer…

    … It started right up. I just had to ensure I didn’t accidentally stall the engine during my typical off-road follies. I also hoped to give him a good charging from the highway miles we had planned ahead. I estimated that I only had to shut him off three times that day and hoped it would be enough to keep his battery going strong enough to get us back home the next day.

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    Built for adventure

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    Nexx X.D1 Baja helmet with ProShot camera mount and X-COM Bluetooth

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    A good looking mule

    After breaking down camp, we rode around the dry lakebed enjoying the speed we could travel on what Chantil said “were the smoothest roads in all of Baja!” I set up the iPhone and tripod to film a bit of buffoonery as well.

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    Weirdo

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    The winds started picking up again so we left the lakebed and proceeded back onto the two-lane highway Punta Prieta Los Angeles as it continued west to Highway 1.

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    Heavy winds and dust storms

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    Blowing dust reduced visibility to less than 20 yards

    The highway was uneventful since we had already seen much of it on Day 4. We were in search of new lands to explore and that happened just after mile 38 where the dirt road winds north towards Coco’s Corner. This was the intended path we plotted, however…

    …The beginning of the road had miles of devilish deep sand. Together, we battled the mules through a mile of sand in the hopes that things would improve further along. I went ahead attempting to coax Chantil’s mule through another half-mile before I finally succumbed to the satanic sand. The 1.5 miles back to Highway 1 was exhausting. I felt a bit humiliated for not being able to ride across the sands like Lawrence of Arabia but was also grateful to have made it back to the pavement before my heart exploded.

    Fortunately there was another much easier way to Coco’s Corner that is about 18 miles up Highway 1. This dirt road is graded and easily traveled although much of it is under some serious construction. There were traffic cones and heavy trucks parked everywhere. Interestingly enough, there were no flaggers; folks in Baja just go about their way despite multiple roads leading in various directions; most unmarked.

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    Construction zone

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    About to reach Coco’s!

    After a short period we reached the famous Coco’s Corner. We had a little idea of what to expect since we had read other ride reports but we were still surprised at how warm hearted and generous Coco is. His place is quite an attraction with the plethora of beer-can decorations, colorful vinyl racing stickers, t-shirts, and other signed pieces of women clothing hanging from the roof. We enjoyed a cold Coca-Cola, signed his guestbook, took a picture with him, and were soon on our way north once again. Yes, my mule did start again.

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    Cool Coca-Cola at Coco’s (That’s a lot of “C”s)

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    Stickers seem to be a theme at all Baja hangouts

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    Chantil and Coco

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    Coco’s Corner decorations

    It wasn’t much further after Coco’s Corner that we merged onto some of the nicest paved roads in all of Baja. The Mexican Federal Highway 5 is a surprising mix of beautifully flat two-laned pavement with wide shoulders. Speed limits in some sections was a whopping 100 KPH!

    However, ride another five miles and your being punished by roads reminiscent of a teenage boy - a face full of potholes with no shoulders. See for yourself:

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    Some pretty bad sections of highway

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    Baja Bug

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    PEMEX station. The second time I had to shut down my mule today. Yes it started again!

    Before long we reached San Felipe… on a Saturday… with no hotel reservations… BIG mistake.

    San Felipe was maddening; trucks, cars, bikes, ATVs, Mexicans, and Americans are everywhere. We attempted to get into five different hotel but all has the same answer - “No hay habitación.” It was getting late and I didn’t want to be on the road after sunset so I voted to continue north and hope for some camping along the beach. Just before sunset we found Campo Los Amigos. With a lot of faith and a bit of hope, we followed the sandy road towards the Sea of Cortez where we found…

    … a palm-frond roofed cabana right next to the beach. We parked the mules and set up camp before the last bit of light disappeared from another great day in Baja. Later that evening, a couple came by to collect the 220 pesos ($12 USD) for the campsite.

    My review of Campo Los Amigos: It’s a bit of a dump; the men’s bathrooms were locked and the women’s toilets don’t flush. The cabanas are falling apart and there was quite a lot of trash in the camp area. One neighbor played Mexican pop music until 10:45 PM (actually not too unreasonable for a Saturday evening) followed by another insensitive neighbor from California who shot off fireworks and M-88s until 11:30 PM. Chantil didn’t notice because she slept soundly through all of the noise. Her review is a bit more positive. She reminded me that the beach and the views of the mountains near San Felipe were beautiful. She’s right; they were, especially during the next morning.
    #25
    noshoes, CanuckCharlie and roadcapDen like this.
  6. AdventureDallas

    AdventureDallas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Oddometer:
    38
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Really enjoying your RR - the pictures, stories, reviews, risk assessments :). Thank you! Baja beckons...
    #26
  7. RidewithAB

    RidewithAB Just Ride!

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    350
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Nice report, great photos. Thanks for sharing...AB
    #27
  8. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Oddometer:
    225
    Location:
    Germany
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    Baja Day 9 (Final Day), Sunday, April 30th. San Felipe, Baja Mexico to San Diego, USA
    242 miles paved + 0 miles dirt = 242 total miles (389 km)

    I am definitely not an early riser - normally. Something changes when I’m motorcycle camping. Perhaps it’s because I go to bed earlier? Perhaps I don’t sleep as comfortably on an inflatable camping pad? Whatever the reason, I usually wake up around sunrise. This morning I was up and walking around the beach well before anyone was awake. I also collected a bucket load of trash from the campsite and beach area. Why do I do this? Because my mantra in life is “make the world a better place”. I’m also OCD and trash just doesn’t seem to belong on a beach - even if it’s Mexico.

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    San Felipe beaches

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    Campos Los Amigos

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    Beach camping on the Sea of Cortez

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    This morning was also a bit somber for me because it was going to be our last day in Baja. I think Chantil felt the same way because we both seemed to take our time packing the tent, sleeping bags, and mules. I was grateful that my mule started up, although you could tell the battery was straining. Once packed, we rode back to Highway 5, then north towards Mexicali.

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    Sign marking Los Amigos

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    Rockodile

    What was going to be one of our least adventurous days suddenly became the most “adventurous”…

    As Chantil rolled on the throttle to pass me on the highway she noticed that her mule had no power. We both gently eased off to the shoulder and the side of the road. I rode her mule for 100 yards down the road and noticed the same problem - no power. I suspected a clogged air filter. In addition, the engine RPM would stick even when the throttle was released. We went to task of pulling apart the bike next to the side of the road while cars and trucks sped past without stopping. After about 30 minutes, we had the air inlet and air filter sections removed. The filter ended up being fairly clean and we didn’t see any other issues. We still had the same problem. What to do now?

    We decided that our best option was to go back into town and see if we could find a hotel and then find a mechanic the next day. While Chantil put her bike back together I set up the rope and webbing system that we would use to tow her mule back to San Felipe. I also took a moment to kneel down on one knee and offer a sincere prayer for inspiration, guidance, and help with our situation.

    Chantil wasn’t too excited about being towed, especially because we had not practiced. Lesson learned - practice before you actually need to use a skill. It turns out we didn’t need to tow Chantil because she was able to ride along the shoulder while idling along in third gear. Before long we had made it to a hotel that looked like it might have WiFi.

    I remember thinking that I wanted to ask the hotel receptionist if I could use her WiFi to get some help with finding a mechanic. What I wrote on Google Translate was “My motorcycle broke down and I am in need of a mechanic”. I then intended to follow with “Could I use you WiFi to find one?” Before I had a chance to follow with the question about using the WiFi, she motioned over a teenage boy to help. I showed him the message about needing a mechanic. He motioned me to follow him to the parking lot. It appeared he wanted me to load Chantil’s mule into the truck. I did my best to explain that the motorcycle was ridable as long as the mechanic wasn’t too far away. He seemed to understand. We then followed the truck about five blocks to a house that had clearly belonged to a mechanic - it was surrounded by cars, bikes, and ATVs in all levels of disrepair. The mechanic motioned us to park Chantil’s mule under a covered awning where we went to task of explaining what the problem was. Google Translate saved the day once again; helping to identify the problem as well as introducing us to Charley, the mechanic.

    In ten minutes we had the seat and air inlet off the motorcycle. Charley noticed a broken wire on top of the fuel pump and tank. He quickly stripped a new wire and replacing the connector. I was impressed that he found it so quickly and assumed this was the problem. Unfortunately, the low-power problem continued. It turns out the broken wire was to the low-fuel indicator.

    After playing with the throttle and noticing that it was sticking open, Charley motioned for us to remove the entire air inlet section from above the throttle housing. Once removed the problem was immediately apparent…

    …There was a two inch by two inch piece of foam stuck in the throttle housing!! How it got in there is a mystery but I’m pretty sure it was our fault. I’ll try and explain… Before we left for the trip we cleaned and oiled the air filter. Getting to the air filter requires that the panel covering the battery is removed. The battery on Chantil mule is a smaller lithium battery so foam padding was placed around the battery to keep it from bouncing around. Apparently, we failed to notice that a piece of foam ended up inside the intake muffler during the air filter cleaning. What’s even more amazing is that piece of foam vibrated around inside the intake muffler for nearly 1,300 miles of bouncy Baja roads and didn’t get lodged into the throttle housing until the very last day of our trip. ¡Loco!

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    Charley the mechanic.

    While leaving Charley’s, a pair of stupid dogs began chasing us on the motorcycles. The larger dog ended up bitting her pant leg and nearly knocking her off balance. Fortunately, the dog let go before she crashed. Mean dogs!

    Highway 5 was easy traveling allowing us to cover a lot of miles without any incident. Just before reaching Mexicali we turned west onto Mexican Federal Highway 2D. This toll road is a well maintained four-lane highway with wide shoulders. The highlight of the day was the winding canyon section over the Sierra de Juárez.

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    Mexican Federal Highway 2D

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    Riding over the Sierra de Juárez

    We decided to return to the small town of Tecate for entry back into the USA. We were hoping for minimal traffic at the border crossing; boy were we wrong! Once we reached the border fence we quickly realized that it was going to be a long afternoon of waiting behind two lanes of cars that stretched for as far as we could see.

    In California we have a beautiful thing for motorcyclists called “lane-splitting”. Why is it so beautiful you ask? Because it allowed motorcycles to avoid traffic congestion by riding in the free space between the cars that clog our freeways. Since I regularly commute on my motorcycle, I am more conformable with lane-splitting than Chantil is. In fact, Chantil will generally avoid lane-splitting. So here we sat behind the choking exhaust of hundreds and hundreds of cars and trucks all while baking in the afternoon sun.

    It only took about 10 minutes of nauseating slow progress before Chantil decided to give lane-spotting a shot. I’m so glad she did!! Before long we were at the front of the line and just minutes away to returning to the United States.

    [​IMG]
    Lane-splitting through traffic to the border

    The rest of the trip was uneventful. We rolled into our parking lot just after sunset having completed our first motorcycle trip outside the comforts of the United States! ¡Viva México
    #28
    imnothng, Scrambleon, noshoes and 3 others like this.
  9. wolffo

    wolffo mas gasolina!

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2014
    Oddometer:
    30
    Location:
    Lakewood, Colorado
    great trip!

    to fake a dog out....stab the brakes...... then hard on the gas
    or completely ignore the damn thing
    #29
  10. strictlyJDM

    strictlyJDM Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
    Oddometer:
    87
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Baja rule #1, no riding at night....Brother and I broke that the first day! ha! that led us to learn another baja rule

    Things just take longer to do in Baja and time flies!

    P.S. We also stumbled upon Baja Cactus Hotel! we had a great dinner at mommas, it was too dark to move on and we were beat. One of the nicest hotels was right next door! would def stay there again.

    P.S.S - whale watching was also worth it
    IMG_9725.JPG
    IMG_9646.PNG
    #30
  11. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Oddometer:
    225
    Location:
    Germany
    Thanks for the comment and kind words.We enjoyed reliving the adventure through words and pictures as well.
    #31
  12. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Oddometer:
    225
    Location:
    Germany
    Thanks for the advise.
    #32
  13. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Oddometer:
    225
    Location:
    Germany
    It's hard to beat Baja Cactus Hotel. Great picture of petting the Grey Whale! Perhaps a similar picture is in our future once we schedule a Baja South trip.
    #33
  14. strictlyJDM

    strictlyJDM Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
    Oddometer:
    87
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    We did it out of san ignacio because we heard it was better from a local but im sure we both got the same experience!
    #34
  15. liv2day

    liv2day Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Oddometer:
    298
    Location:
    Sherwood, Oregon
    Awesome trip and report (again), thanks so much for documenting your travels and putting together this write-up. Really glad it was a "relatively simple" fix on the bike your last day, be a tough way to end the trip with the bike no bueno. We picked up a CRF250L for my wife a couple weeks back and will be hitting Baja when we're able to work the logistics (need coverage for our boys - hoping my in-laws want to fly with them to Loreto and meet us somewhere).

    In any event, sounds like an excellent trip with nearly a bit of everything :thumb:thumb. Think this is the 7th or 8th Baja report I've read since joining the forum, always enjoy reading about riding down there, seeing the pics, and "learning" of the experiences.

    Good on you guys for taking that trip on :ricky
    #35
  16. bajabinder

    bajabinder Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    10
    The first time we were headed back through the border on bikes we encountered the same bad traffic. We sat there about 2 minutes before a nice local lady got out of her car and told us "motorcycles go to the front". It's true, and we haven't hesitated to do just that every time we cross back. No problemo!
    Thanks for a great read and pics
    #36
    1800cycledude likes this.
  17. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Oddometer:
    225
    Location:
    Germany
    I've heard San Ignacio is better as well. I wish we had more time and had done the trip a month earlier.
    #37
  18. gasandasphalt

    gasandasphalt Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    552
    Location:
    S/W New Mexico
    Thanks, really enjoyed your trip..you did a great job of keeping us along for the ride...
    #38
  19. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Oddometer:
    225
    Location:
    Germany
    Thanks for reading and sharing our adventure. Appreciate the kind words and the comments.
    #39
  20. advrockrider

    advrockrider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Oddometer:
    808
    Location:
    Norcal
    Good job on the report. I've been going to Baja for ten years and never had a problem or felt that I was in danger. The way I look at it is if my time card is going to get punched, it may as well be in Baja, doing what I love.
    #40
    KZJohn likes this.