CaveBiker -No Return Ticket – Just a Ride Report /w Pics

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by cavebiker, Jul 14, 2007.

  1. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    876
    Location:
    Hayward, WI
    I almost forgot this:

    Riding toward Vegas on I-15 there are long stretches of nothing. Well we were on a big long stretch and it was dark. My butt was falling off and I had to stop. We took the first exit and pulled off the shoulder at the end of the ramp. I just had to dismount for a while. We took off our helmets when another older car pulled over just where we did. It just stood there with it’s headlights pointing at us. About twenty yards from us I could see figures in the headlights. At first I was kind of pissed about the headlights pointing at us, than I got a feeling that this could be a bad thing. I told Heidi to get on the bike ASAP and let’s get out of here. Before we were gone another car pulled up next to the other car. We get the heck out of there.

    This may have been nothing but either way we put ourselves in a bad situation just 30 miles outside of Vegas, where a lot of desperate people are. If your gut says there is something Not Right, take action. It’s better to be safe then sorry.

    ==============================================================

    Today we head toward Yuma, AZ where we will stage for the border crossing. The Sporty will get new rubber, a new battery, oil and filter. I think that’s all. Maybe a new set of plugs to carry.

    It’s going to be hot in Yuma. Does anyone know of a camping spot between Vegas and Yuma?
    #61
  2. Bgunn

    Bgunn Mucha distancia

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,551
    Location:
    Rockford Wa

    Good rules for the road:deal :gun1
    #62
  3. BudLight

    BudLight Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 1, 2004
    Oddometer:
    174
    Location:
    Centennial, CO, Silverthorne, CO
    Hey Tom. Did I miss something? You are crossing the border again. Any chance you will end up in Creel mid October? I enjoyed meeting you there back in 04'. I plan on being there this year 15-19 October. I would look forward to meeting up if you are in the area.
    -Bud
    #63
  4. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    876
    Location:
    Hayward, WI
    Hey BudLight!

    Yes we are heading south of the border again :jose. I’m trying to downplay the ultimate destination because with a 2 year ride like this it’s not at all about the destination but rather about the ride and everywhere in between, we hope anyway.

    For sure, Creel was in the plan but with the cancellation of the Horizonsunlimited event we decided to start down the Baja. We received a great tip from PapaDulce on Scorpion Bay. The description of the place sounds like it has Heidi’s name on it :jkam . We should be around Mazatlan or Sayulita around the 15 th. Buzz on down if you have the time.

    That was sure a great time at the 04’ Creel event (Ride report) and it was a great pleasure meeting you. Heidi wants to check out the canyon some day. I hope the HU event finds another date.
    #64
  5. BudLight

    BudLight Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 1, 2004
    Oddometer:
    174
    Location:
    Centennial, CO, Silverthorne, CO
    FYI - The event is on! Check out the Upcoming section. Its just not sponsored by HU any longer. The Ibarra Brothers and Dr. Arturo have it all organized for 16-18 October. I will watch your trip report over the next two years. Have a great trip!
    -Bud
    #65
  6. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    876
    Location:
    Hayward, WI
    Way cool (Link) . Maybe we will swing up. I hear Durango to Creel is one hell of a ride. Thankls Bud!

    =======================================================
    Continued: Friday:
    The Super-8 hotel is connected to the Ellis Island casino. I’ve always heard stories of great and inexpensive places to eat and drink in Vegas but I’ve never been to any of them. Well the Ellis Island casino has to be the standard, 1 dollar big micro-brewery beers, $4.95 full steak dinner or hungry man breakfast. I saw on TV the Wisconsin Badgers were playing the UNLV Rebels. Red Badger shirts were everywhere. Cheap beer, lots of food, you know Wisconsinites are going to find this place.

    Of course the temperatures for where we are heading next are expected to be around 108 degrees, Yuma AZ. We were waiting for a piece of mail to arrive at the Super-8, it’s a day late. We wanted to be on the road early but instead are stuck in the hotel lobby awaiting the mail person. We’re not even sure it’s going to be in the mail today or exactly when the mail will arrive.

    The mail shows up at about one PM. It’s getting hot. Highway 95 south from Vegas is rough rocky desert. Anything under a hundred degrees feels good to us now but this 105 degree stuff is tough to handle. We do just under 200 miles and find ourselves on old route 66 and a handful of inexpensive motels. We crawl into our room and crank the AC.

    The plan is to hit the road early and be in Yuma before noon, it’s only about 200 miles. We pass through Lake Havasu at about 8 AM and the temperature was already 97. Ouch ouch. I gas up just before an 81 mile stretch of nothing. It Is Hot… We buy a gallon of cold water and fill up all our jugs. We’re thinking survival here.

    OK again I’m not making any of this up. We’re about 20 miles down this hot road with nothing before we hit Yuma. The bike just dies. I tried the starter while we were costing and it seemed to turn over weak. We have plenty of gas. I’m wondering if the battery shorted out internally, or maybe that stupid power adapter I installed shorted. A few days ago we lost our right blinker, it’s not the bulb. I wonder if that’s related.

    Heidi and I start to prepare for a long haul in the hot desert sun (we are in the middle of nowhere!). About 5 minutes later I try the starter. The bike fires right up. We hop on and start to head back to the town 20 miles away. After about a mile we change our mind and decide to risk it and turn around and point it to Yuma with fingers crossed.
    =================================================
    Made it to Yuma, we thank our lucky stars. We’re checked into a cheap motel with a pool and life is good. Yesterday I got two new tires and a new battery. The blinker wires inside the wheel well were all fried and shorting out. I’m confident the shorted wires had something to do with the bike dying the other day. I’m glad to have a new battery anyway. I removed the electrical outlet also just for peace of mind. I’m sending the AC inverter home.

    We are on schedule to be across the border on the 15 th, just as planned. So stayed tuned! Much more fun to come. VIVA MEXICO!
    #66
  7. Doloe2

    Doloe2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2004
    Oddometer:
    102
    Location:
    Bellingham
    Nice pics!
    #67
  8. Road Rash

    Road Rash Infamous

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2003
    Oddometer:
    19,215
    Location:
    The Original OC, in Oregon

    :nod

    My wife and I stopped in Moab for a few day's on are way home from West Fest.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    and yes we plan to visit again :thumb


    Great repot BTW :lurk
    #68
  9. Hipster

    Hipster Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,031
    Location:
    Mpls, Mn.
    Hi Tom,

    When you install the new battery also inspect the cables. On my Sporty the vibration broke most of the positive cable lead wires and the electrical system did strange things too.

    Tom
    #69
  10. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    876
    Location:
    Hayward, WI
    Battery cables looked good. Thanks Hipster
    -------------------------------
    Sweeet pic Road Rash! Moab rules:thumb
    -------------------------------

    We are taking care of business in Yuma. I bought all new padlocks. One of the Brinks locks refused to open one day and another started getting sticky. Luckily the frozen lock was not on a pannier. I had to get it cut off. We have Master Locks now. Picked up 3 more water proof stuff sacks from Wal-mart for $10 and some toiletry stuff. Today I’m picking up motorcycle liability insurance for Mexico at a local Sanborn office. I’m getting out the Baja Map. I threw away all our USA maps, except a small section that includes the route between Yuma to Mexicali. I’m thinking of all the stuff I want to do before crossing the border, I can feel a buzz inside my body. Should we head for San Felipe the first night or go straight to the west coast near Ensenada? Ahhh! :drums
    #70
  11. roninwva

    roninwva Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Oddometer:
    467
    Location:
    Hurricane, WVa., USA
    :D Great story and trip. Kudos to your partner for hanging in there with you. I think your choice of bikes is great. I considered a Sportster this spring before my Alaska trip but settled on a wee-strom. Did you have to fabricate the brackets to hold you panniers? Keep the reports coming and good luck to the both of you.

    edit... Went back and read your preparations for the bike, etc., answered my question.
    #71
  12. Bgunn

    Bgunn Mucha distancia

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,551
    Location:
    Rockford Wa

    Welcome to Mexico !! :grinner The adventure continues.....:freaky
    #72
  13. freeflow

    freeflow get in or go in

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Oddometer:
    17,140
    Location:
    GB-Wisconsin
    :lurk
    #73
  14. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    876
    Location:
    Hayward, WI
    Before leaving Yuma we went through all our gear. We sent home a package weighing 9 pounds, all stuff we decided we can do without. It felt good to lighten our heavy load.

    What is left of our survival kit (the beer is not part of the kit :)
    [​IMG]
    #74
  15. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    876
    Location:
    Hayward, WI
    [​IMG]

    Ok, we planned it just right and entered Mexico early on a Sunday morning, just like I’ve read one should do to avoid the long lines and hassle associated with crossing on a busier day. We first went to register the motorcycle with customs. We find the building right away and a guy tells us that we can’t do it here today and that we will either have to wait until tomorrow or do it somewhere else. We look at each other with a big F formed on our faces. How could this be, we crossed here on a Sunday 2 years ago with our jeep and had no problems. It doesn’t matter. We can’t get it done here today. We discussed going back to the US and crossing again tomorrow. The US is less then 100 yards away but that means we will have to pass through the US customs and that could be a real hassle. They could require us to unpack all our stuff for a search and probably would. Double F. We went to the Immigration office to get our tourist card while we were still thinking what to do. The people there were very polite and told us we could clear customs for the motorcycle in La Paz where we are planning on taking a ferry to mainland Mexico. GREAT! We hop on the bike and proceed into Mexico relieved.
    [​IMG]

    We’re tooling through Mexicali looking for highway 2 heading west. This is a big city of about a million people. Downtown there were people lying on the street all over the place. It looked like most of them were sleeping on the street. It’s so weird thinking the USA is just over there a stones throw away. We wondered if these people came here from all over Mexico hoping to cross the border illegally and failed and are now down and out living on the street. Yesterday was Mexico’s Independence Day, a big day of celebration, maybe these people had been out partying hard the night before and are just sleeping it off. Possibly a few but there were just too many of them.

    We expected to just run into highway 2 but the road we were on suddenly had a roadblock with police directing traffic. I pulled the bike up to the roadblock and asked a police officer, in Spanish, how to get to the road to Tecate. He replied in English “Do you speak Spanish?” I said “Un poco” (A little) He replied back with a big smile “Good, I don’t speak English” We all laugh. He calls over to another officer who came walking over saying “Parle vouz Francais” Now we are all laughing. This guy spoke English well and was very helpful to us. It was still a challenge to find the highway but Heidi and I are used to this. Don’t panic and just try the roads that feel right.

    The predicted highs for Mexicali were 105 degrees. I was dripping sweat on the counter while filling out my tourist form. Soon after Mexicali we started going up in elevation and the temperatures started to cool. This was a great ride, double lane freeway through rocky mountain scenery. At Tecate we turned south on highway 3 toward Ensenada.
    [​IMG]

    Ensenada was a lot bigger than we expected. It was great seeing the Pacific Ocean and all the seaside scenery but getting through town took forever. There were still a lot of celebrations going on for Independence Day. This seemed to add to the slow traffic.

    After Ensenada the traffic almost vanished. We were thinking of maybe camping that night along the Pacific coast on a beach somewhere but we came across all the camping spots too early in the day. We wanted to get deeper into Mexico before stopping. We stopped for gas at San Vicente. I asked the gas attendant if she knows of a good restaurant in town “Puede dicerme donde es un restaurante bien” She points to a place right next door, a quaint little Mexican restaurant. The waitress there hands us the menu, opens it up and points to the selection ands says “Only Mexican food” Like she was thinking we wanted American food or something. We thought this was weird but blow it off thinking we are not that far into Mexico and there are probably a lot of Americans coming through here during the Baja races wanting American food. Well the food was fantastic, the hot sauce was hot and I shouldn’t have tried to finish the whole thing. It was just too good.
    [​IMG]

    It was late afternoon and I was getting fried. We have been on the road since 7:30 AM. We cruised through several medium size towns. I pulled over and stopped in most of them to talk with Heidi and discuss an option of spending the night here. Heidi was adamant about pressing on and hopefully finding a camping spot on a beach. We get to Colonia Vicente Guerrero where there is a tourist sign with a palm tree pointing toward the coast. We head down that road. The road was dirt, rock and bumps. It soon became apparent that the beach was a lot further then we wanted. We turn around and get back to the main road. I tell Heidi that I’m toast and need to stop now, she agrees. We pull into a nice little place, motel Sanchez. Twenty bucks for the night and we are set. Ice cold beer is right across the street and we have a beautiful little courtyard with a huge tree in the middle to enjoy it under.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I had to take off the back of the toilet and manually flush it but what do you expect for twenty bucks? At least it flushed.

    Right across the street from the motel was OK Disco karaoke bar. I slept like rock and Heidi listened to bad karaoke all night. I did wake once about three AM to purge my fabulous Mexican meal but then fell right back to sleep. I guess my eyes were bigger than my stomach. At least I didn’t have food poisoning….
    #75
  16. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    876
    Location:
    Hayward, WI
    Mexico:
    I wake up hungry and had to go find food. Colonia Vicente Guerrero is a nice small village with several restaurants. I walk up and down the main street and pick a place where a lot of the locals were eating. Huevos rancheros and coffee. I feel like a new man. Further up the street I get some fresh squeezed OJ to go for Heidi. We enjoy a lazy slow morning at the motel knowing we are in Mexico and all is good.

    We’re on the road by about 10:00 AM. The sky is clear and the temperatures are perfect for riding. I almost need gloves but opt to go without knowing it will be getting warmer throughout the day. Cruising south we soon see the Pacific on our right with beautiful sand beaches and dunes. This is where we were hoping to make it to yesterday but were glad to have stayed the night in Colonia Vicente Guerrero.

    Just before the road turns inland we stop for gas. A couple miles later we see a road sign saying 328 km to the next gas station, about 200 miles. If we aren’t experiencing a head wind or aren’t traveling too fast that’s about our range before hitting reserve. I’m glad I bought that 4.2 gallon tank from Ebay last year, without it we would be hosed.

    The winds were strong, hitting us at an angle of about 100 degrees. The road is twisty, we were averaging about 50 MPH. I knew we were getting better then 50 MPG and should have no problem making it 200 miles.
    [​IMG]

    We’re cutting almost straight across the Baja from west to east, from the Pacific coast to the Sea of Cortez. The road is super curvy and mountainous with constantly changing vegetation. At times it was just rocks, than 50 foot tall cacti and huge boulders.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Up and down, twists and turns. The highway here is super narrow with zero shoulder and steep drop offs on both sides. There is no time to be thinking about anything else except driving. About 30 miles from the last gas stop we’re sailing along and BAM! The bike just dies. No precursor, no indication anything was wrong, the bike just quits. This is the same thing that happened about 60 miles before Yuma. Luckily we coast to a tiny pull off on the side of the road. Before coming to a stop I tried popping the clutch a few times, nothing. We dismount. Heidi and I are looking at each other with indescribable emotions in our eyes. What the _ is going on here. We wait a few minutes and try the starter. The bike fires right up. We waste no time getting back on the bike and continue on. There is no way I can describe what is going through our minds. This is only our second day in Mexico and we are having big problems with the bike. The road didn’t get any wider or straighter and I had little time to think about what this means. We just continue on. There is nothing on this road for the next 170 miles and we need to continue. The thought of turning back to the last town didn’t even enter our minds. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe we just couldn’t accept the severity of our situation. We dreamed and planned too long for something like this to stop us now.

    170 miles, the bike is running perfect. We make it to the gas stop and the road to Bahia de Los Angeles. After stopping and dismounting Heidi wanders off to some shade. It’s hot here. After filling up, Heidi walks back to the bike. I see a look in her eyes I’ve never seen before. She was freaked to say the least. It started hitting me to. What the heck is going on here. I think about the fried blinker wires we repaired in Yuma. I was just kidding myself in thinking that had anything to do with the bike dying the first time. There is nothing hot on those wires unless we are blinking and even then the battery is isolated from those wires through the blinker module. The worst thing that could have done was to fry the module and that has nothing to do with the ignition.

    Fuel stop:
    [​IMG]

    42 miles down a dead end road to Bahia de Los Angeles. Heidi has read about this place, it sounds just like the kind of place we like. Small village on the Sea of Cortez with fishing and sailboats. We plan on spending a few days here and sorting out our situation.

    More desert, mountains and cacti:
    [​IMG]

    There is no traffic and the road is straight at times. I have a little time to think about what the heck is going on with our bike. I have a theory now about why the bike is starting back up after quitting but it doesn’t explain why the bike quits.

    [​IMG]

    Again I’m not making any of this up. We are tooling along less than 20 miles from the Sea of Cortez and the bike just quits again. We coast to a stop, dismount, take off our helmets and look at each other. This can not be happening!
    I stay calm, confident my theory about why the bike starts back up is correct. A few minutes later I hit the starter and the bike is running as if nothing is wrong. We hop back on and continue on. Bahia de Los Angeles here we come….

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We made it. In my mind I bend down and kiss the Sea. This is what we dream about, places like this.
    [​IMG]

    We cruise around the village and find a place right on the water. A little expensive but we are right on the beach. I pay for three nights.

    I practically run and get beer and tequila. Heidi says we need to engage in some high level discussions. Tequila, Fresca and beer. Let the talks begin.
    [​IMG]

    View from our room:
    [​IMG]

    Later that day 5 dudes arrive in a van from LA, California. These guys are fired up and ready for a good time. They’re here to fish but aren’t going out until tomorrow. While we were all down on the beach, a fishing boat comes to shore and we all walk over to see what they caught. Their hold was almost full of fish. The guys ask the fisherman how much for a few fish. About 5 bucks. The guys dig in the hold and throw out 6 Parrot fish. They bring the fish over to the restaurant at the motel and have the cook clean and cook them using their homemade salsa they brought from California. The guys invite us for some fish tacos, Veracruz style. The fish was excellent and these guys are super friendly. I don’t think I have ever heard a group of guys laugh so much while just hanging out.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    HELP! What is wrong with our bike? Why does it start up again after waiting just a few minutes? Are their any mechanics out there who have experience with these symptoms? No indication of any problem then the bike just dies. Two incidents in one day now. This is SERIOUS. We can’t travel for 2 years in Latin America like this. We have been lucky so far. All three incidents happened with no traffic around and we had an area to pull off the road safely, but just barely. HELP……..!
    #76
  17. kbear

    kbear Mudbiker

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    125
    Location:
    South Central Wisconsin
    Cave,

    I am a new guy on this forum, but as a fellow cheesehead I'll try my hand at helping you out with your bike problem. Could it be possible that your gas tank or cap is not venting properly? Try cracking the gas cap next time it happens and listen for air rushing into the tank. I know it has not done anything like that until now, but it could be that a piece of dirt suddenly lodged itself in the vent hole?? Other than that, it seems like it may have something to do with the extreme heat you have been riding through, causing an electrical short. Check the spark plug caps. On my KTM I had that happen when I first got the machine. I was riding on a hot day in tight woods trails with no air flowing and the machine would die, then fire up a few minutes later. Turned out the plug caps were shorting out. Hope that helps. I hope it is something simple such as that.

    Great ride report so far, keep it coming!!!

    Good Luck,

    kbear
    #77
  18. Loud Al

    Loud Al .

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,962
    Location:
    Forest Grove, OR
    It could be vapor lock. When you say the bike just dies does it feel like you turned off the key or does it feel like you are out of gas. This only seems to happen when it is hot so I would suspect vapor lock. I don't know how the fuel line is run on your bike but you could try to insulate it and see if that fixes your problem.
    #78
  19. bike4ever

    bike4ever Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2007
    Oddometer:
    51
    Location:
    Thawed Wasteland
    Cave,

    You know I know nothing about Harley Sportsters. Now that's out of the way, I had the exact same thing happen with my K75. It only happened when it was very hot - riding along, the engine would cough a couple of times, then dead. Always restarted, sometimes without even coasting to a stop. To make a long story short, it was a hall effect sensor that sent an engine timing signal to the electronic ignition. Probably not the issue for your "older" technology....just trying to keep the trip alive! Hope its something simple.

    DW

    PS: DA has been given a complete bill of health! No worries!:clap
    #79
  20. rokklym

    rokklym one man wolfpack

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,516
    Location:
    Westby Wisconsin
    Dude, fantastic story so far! Hopefully it is something as simple as a vapor lock. My bike did the same thing for a while when it was hot and I had a new tank with a bad vent hose.

    Viva Baja !!
    #80