Deby and Donn do Baja!

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by donnh, Dec 25, 2011.

  1. donnh

    donnh Been here awhile

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    It’s Christmas evening, the presents are opened, dinner done, family gone home. My F800GS and Deby’s G650Xcountry are tucked into the trailer. Tomorrow we leave for Baja! A storm is blowing into Seattle tonight so I’m glad we are towing the first 1,300 miles to the border for a Tecate crossing, maybe on Wednesday. I’ve spent way too much time obsessing on the bikes getting them ready for the trip, tires (TKC80s), new steering stabilizers, fluids, luggage, filters, tools and spare parts. Updated riding gear, boots, helmets and pants. Technology including updated Baja GPS maps, GPS60, netbook, iPad and iphone. Geesh, all this in the weeks before Christmas. Is the truck ready? No. Bald tires were replaced, ready for snow in the mountains of OR and Northern CA. Last thing to do tonight is start the ride report and send the link to friends and family who want to follow our journey.

    Baja? I’ve never been there and am not sure what to expect. I’ve read pretty many ride reports and talked to friends who have been there so I have some idea what it will be like. After packing the big F800 I already know I’ll probably be wishing for my WR250. I realize now I’ll probably avoid the super single track sand and stick to the graded roads. Deby’s 650 is much lighter and probably better suited for Baja but I think for the first trip we’ll be taking it easy. The goals? Ride south. No reservations, only a rough plan, stop at Mike's Sky Ranch along the way, end up somewhere near La Paz and possibly meet Doug from Colorado Norton Works. Of course the goal of have fun, adventure and my main goal: don't crash.

    Truck ready to go :clap
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    Yikes – tight fit in the trailer :eek1
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    More to come - thanks for following.
    #1
  2. Bgunn

    Bgunn Mucha distancia

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    Sounding well prepared, and the weather seems to be shaping up down south. Fun ride to Mike's, can get cold.. Looking forward to this.


    Late morning at Mike's, last time there...:vardy

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    #2
  3. NorthwestRider

    NorthwestRider n00b

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    Looking forward to the RR. This is the trip I'm hoping to do one of these days. Have fun!!
    #3
  4. snooker

    snooker AttitudeIsEverything

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    WooHoo!

    Subscribed! Go Deby! Your fellow XCountry riders are behind you. Just start slow, don't crash until you FEEEEL the Mexican GROOVE take over you mind, body and bike...

    -matt
    #4
  5. donnh

    donnh Been here awhile

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    Boring, but boring is good, right? 674 miles south on I-5. No rain or snow through the Siskiyou mountains which was nice. About 10:00 PM we called it quits at the Holiday Inn in Willows, CA, about 90 miles north of Sacramento.
    Rest area along the way
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    Obligatory first meal picture
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    Guess who had the salad…..
    For my techie friends I’m posting this from my netbook as Deby is driving through Stockton. I’m connected via my iPhone hot spot. Sunny day today with temps in the 50’s, so far so good.

    I hope to get to San Diego sometime around 4:00, find a place to park the truck and trailer, get the bikes ready and have a restful night for a boarder crossing in the morning. 450 miles to go today, might need to switch from NPR on the radio to Frank Zappa on the iPod…stay tuned.
    #5
  6. TurkeyChicken

    TurkeyChicken Been here awhile

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    Looks like fun. That meal also looks really good, lol
    #6
  7. Zepfan

    Zepfan Been here awhile

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    The road to Coco's Corner y Rancho Grande. A nice little ride. I live in TJ so if you need any help let me know. Crossing is easy you don't need any permits or insurance for the bikes (unless you want). Just tourist visa. Stay Thirsty My Friends.

    Attached Files:

    #7
  8. Zepfan

    Zepfan Been here awhile

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    Takin a break at cocos corner.

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    #8
  9. donnh

    donnh Been here awhile

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    Hey Zepfan (you mean a fan of the band? I'm a bass player and a big fan, will be jammin Zepplin 1 on the headset toorrow).
    Thanks for the note, we should be at Mikes tomorrow and hope to visit Coco's. So Far so good.
    #9
  10. donnh

    donnh Been here awhile

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    Arrg, my brain hurts. We drove in nonstop traffic for 12 hours today. I-5 straight south including stop and go all the way through LA, arrrrrrg. I'm used to heavy traffic around Seattle, but LA drivers are crazy! Nail it to 80mph - slam on your brakes two inches behind a truck going 55 - cut someone off and floor it back to 80 and repeat. If anybody is worried about me riding a motorcycle in Baja they should know I survived the most dangerous part of the trip already.

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    We found a storage place in LaMesa, CA, near San Diego and pulled in about 6:00 and commenced to transfer all our stuff from the trailer onto the bikes, needless to say in the dark.

    Deby ready to ride
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    Truck and trailer all tucked in
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    We found a hotel nearby and immediately made a bee line to the restaurant next door for some well deserved food and a beer - ahhhhhhh.:1drink

    Back in our room taking inventory of our possessions we realized we will be making a stop back at the truck tomorrow, let's see, think we need our passports? Oh - if anyone is following my SPOT link you will know what else I left in the truck.

    What else did we forget? Deby left her motocross riding gloves at home and only has cold weather gloves and I left the bracket for my GPS60cs in my shop. Watch for pictures tomorrow of the GPS held on with zip ties, ha.:eek1

    Tomorrow we'll cross over (sounds like what you say when someone dies) at Tecate and attempt to find our way to Mikes. :clap From here on out my only connection will be by WiFi.

    Stay tuned.
    #10
  11. Bgunn

    Bgunn Mucha distancia

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    Has to be nice to get on the bikes....If you run out of sun on the way to Mikes tomorrow, Trinidad isn't a bad place to stay.
    #11
  12. Max Wedge

    Max Wedge ADVenture mowing

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    This looks good! Subscribed!
    #12
  13. snooker

    snooker AttitudeIsEverything

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    D & D... I only know northern Baja... but stop in Valle de Trinidad for the taqueria that all the Baja 500/1000 racers go to. Turn at the Pemex station and go a couple blocks it is on the right. Has a covered patio outside and race stickers all over it. I love that place! Tacos adobada!

    I can't find a link to Donn's Spot tracker page - can anybody help me out?

    "... I am the Zombie Woof... " -FZ
    #13
  14. donnh

    donnh Been here awhile

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    This is a short note from Alfonsina's in Gonzaga Bay. The satellite internet is very spotty but suddenly came on. We arrived Thursday and stayed a second night. We leave tomorrow, new years eve for San Ignacio - Rice and Beans. I'll try to upload more if the internet stays up.
    Stay tuned.
    #14
  15. donnh

    donnh Been here awhile

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    We made it to Mike’s Sky Ranch and broke the golden rule of Baja riding the first day – we rode at night. We woke up early enough on the US side of Tecate but by the time we packed the bikes and went back to the truck to retrieve our passports and SPOT and stopped at a Target for some last minute things we found ourselves crossing the border about 9:30 AM. Probably not too bad. The day started out cool in the 40’s but the sun was out and Highway 94 was a nice ride. As we got closer to the border it started to warm up and we stopped to shed a layer and change from Seattle winter riding gloves to motocross gloves. Hmmm, no gloves for Deby, left behind. We stopped at a hardware store where Deby bought the brightest aqua gardening gloves she could find – nice style.

    We stopped at the US side of the border and filled up with gas an located all our paperwork, passports, check, insurance documents, check, drivers license, check, vehicle registration, check. We were ready for anything. We approached the gate and nobody was around when as if we triggered some type of sensor the gate went up and we rode through. That was it. Were we supposed to stop somewhere and show our documents? Nobody seemed to be near us or care so we rode into Tecate. How easy was that?

    The first order of business was to find a bank to get some Peso’s, after a tour around town we found one and took out 1,500 pesos, about $100.00 US. Some more maneuvering through town and we found Mex 2 and headed east. I was following a track on my GPS but had two paper maps as backup. We were supposed to turn south in El Condor and ride a graded gravel road south to Mex 3. My paper map had a different turn off highlighted and I later found my other paper map which was in my pannier had the same turn off as the GPS. We rode to El Condor and couldn’t find the road so we backtracked and took another road south. This started 55 miles of riding in mostly sand. I later heard someone call this the Compadre Trail.

    Compradre Trail
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    Just before we left I added steering stabilizers to both bikes, wow, I’m glad I did. I’m ok riding in sand but it’s not my favorite, Deby is pretty new to sand riding and the steering stabilizers worked fantastic. Later at Mike’s we noticed most of the bikes parked outside had them, one of the guys called it “the hand of God”. Ok, that’s it, the hand of God helped us through the day. About half way down in the middle of absolute no-where two solders stopped us, I’m not sure what they were looking for but asked us to get off the bikes and looked through our stuff. They looked about 20 years old with menacing looking weapons and were housed in a shack with no sign of a vehicle anywhere. Someone probably dropped them off there for who knows how long. We hadn’t seen any vehicles at all so they must have been pretty bored. After a rather cursory search they lightened up and looked at our map to make sure we were going the right direction, we were. The next couple of hours was riding sand, hills and rocks. We made it to Mex 3 about 4:00PM as the sun was sinking behind the mountains. We hit the road to Mikes about 4:30 and knew it would be totally dark before we made the 20 mile ride up the mountain. The darker it got the slower we went until we were first gear riding up sand and rocks with our anemic headlights (note to self – upgrade headlights). The good news is that we both make it up with no mishaps or naps (ADV term for tip overs).

    When we got to Mikes there were two Honda 250’s and a 950KTM, small crowd. I figured for sure we would be the last to arrive, who else would be crazy enough to ride that road at night? Not. Two more bikes pulled in and they said they were part of a group of 8, the rest were on their way along with a chase vehicle.

    Obligatory picture of bikes next to pool at Mike's
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    Hey look- a shirt from home hanging at Mike's, I've ridden this a couple of times
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    Group of 8 ready to ride
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    I left my mark poolside - Northwest Norton Owners in Baja!
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    We sat in the dining hall and had steak dinner, swapped stories and lies and drank a few beers. By 8:30 we were back in our room. Power at Mikes comes from a generator that goes off at 10:00, no problem for us as we were crashed out by 9:00. Deby and I both figured the generator would be on again in the morning, wrong. It doesn’t come on again until evening. Not that big a problem except that meant no hair dryer for Deby which meant no hair washing because she can’t ride with wet hair under a helmet, which meant no shower. Note to self – take a shower at night at Mikes. Of course with my number 2 buzz I had no problem.

    Day 3
    Ahhh, it’s Friday and I finally had a hot shower, nice. Deby wasn’t so lucky this morning but couldn’t go any longer without hair washing so braved a cold wash in the sink. Hair dryer? Forget it, the electricity was off for the rest of the day. I’ve learned a few things about touring Baja – If the water is hot take a shower, it there is electricity charge up the netbook, if there is an open gas station fill up. I’m sure there are more rules to learn.

    I realize now that my ride report is completely from the perspective of someone who has never been here before so things that I find unique, funny or strange most veterans of Baja would take for granted. If you’ve been here many times you may want to skip ahead, I won’t be offended. Of course, it may humor you to read a new comers perspective.
    Back to the ride: We were the last to leave Mike’s after watching the group of 8 ready their bikes, load GPS files and pack gear into their chase truck. They had all the gear, steering stabilizers, extra gas, bright aftermarket lights and were ready for some crazy single track riding. They skipped the “road” when they left and disappeared over the ridge on some goat trial. I didn’t see the Honda guys (Two Italians who now live in CA) or KTM guy leave but they were just blasting to the border heading home.

    We left about 10:00 which was nice since it had warmed up to 70 degrees so we ditched the heated gear (did I really bring heated gear to Baja?), opened vents and made our way back down Mike’s road in the daylight. As expected we missed some beautiful vistas riding up in the dark the night before. After 20 miles or so of more rocks, sands and slightly trick decents we made it back to Highway 3. Ahhhh, it felt good to be on pavement. We cruised east on some nice blacktop with very little traffic towards the intersection with highway 5 where we came to another military checkpoint. Once again they looked through our stuff with only mild interest. At highway 5 we turned south for San Felipe for gas and money. One of the riders at Mikes, KTM guy, said that he rode south and ran out of money because he couldn’t find an ATM so he recommended we load up on Pesos when possible. We thought about staying a while in San Felipe but decided to try to get to Gonzaga Bay at a more reasonable hour to avoid another night ride.

    About halfway to Gonzaga we stopped at a roadside stand for some liquid hydration and a lunch snack. There were about 10 gringos sitting around on the outside patio who welcomed us to join them. They were staying at a house along the beach and thought it would be a good idea to spend the afternoon imbibing at this local watering hole, by the time we got there they had plenty to drink and were pretty chatty. Deby and I stuck to Cokes. This group has been spending Christmas week in Baja every year for the past 10 years and were avid Quad riders. The guys were very impressed that Deby was riding a motorcycle and they were all chiding their wives to learn to ride so they too could do adventure rides. They told us that the road south to Gonzaga Bay was now mostly paved but went on for a long time about how it used to take 5 hours to get there on a treacherous road through the mountains. Indeed, when we got back on the road it was a beautiful twisty road through a mountain range. I couldn’t imagine what kind of track might have made it through there before but we were glad to be on this nice road. Finally about 15 miles from Gonzaga Bay the pavement ended and we were back on graded sand and rocks, more familiar territory for us.

    Non-paved section to Gonzaga Bay
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    The only place to stay in Gonzaga Bay is Alphonsina’s Cantina, fortunately they had a room and just before sundown we checked into room numero ocho. The room was on the second floor looking out over the beach. It was a nice enough room with two beds and a bathroom with a shower. I went to flip on a light and nothing, bathroom light, nothing. I looked at the single twisty florescent bulb in the main room and the tube part was separated from the base part and dangled at an angle from the fixture. Must be a bad bulb right? Down I go to try to score a bulb explaining in sign language that the light doesn’t come on. By way of more sign language I’m told to go back up to the room and try it, I do and sure enough it came on, dangling wires and all. I’m slow, I make mistakes but eventually I catch on. It wasn’t time for Power On until I went to ask.

    Alphonsino's
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    After dinner we met a group off riders from CA who have been coming down for every year since, forever. They knew all the trails, all the riders, all the folklore and were glad to share. I was amazed how motorcycles, the Baja 1000 race and all things off road are just part of the culture here. These guys knew Malcom Smith and his son. They have ridden together and were full of crazy stories. Oh, Malcom has a place right over there, they pointed, and his son’s place is over there. They told of another rider staying in Gonzaga Bay who won the 1000 race the last 5, or was it 7, years in a row in his age class – over 60. Yikes, that is crazy. They had just returned from an overnight single track ride to Bay of LA. They were following a track from a famous person we had heard about called The Lizard Lady, they knew her of course. It sounded like it was barely a goat track, they had ridden 130 miles that day and were pretty beat. One of the riders was a 17 year old girl on a KTM 250. Way to go.

    By 9:00 the restaurant and bar were closed and everyone dispersed to their rooms. It was getting pretty cool outside and we came into our room to find it was pretty cool inside as well. Heat? Yea right. Deby and I piled blankets on the bed and crawled in to read before falling asleep well before 10:00. Getting to be a pattern.

    Morning Sunrise over Gonzaga Bay
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    After breakfast Deby chanced the cold shower while I sat watching the fishing boats heading out for the day. After more beach walking and shell collecting (Deby) I came in to find hot water and a shower.
    The deal is that everything here is off the grid since, well, there is no grid. All the power is solar and water is heated in black drums on the roof. It’s best to try a shower mid-day. As I type this the power has been off all morning, I figure they turned it off sometime in the night. My netbook battery is about out so I can’t forget to charge up tonight. The have a satellite dish and WiFi but the speed is so slow I can’t connect to any web pages but I can send and receive e-mails. For now I’m just saving these ride reports in Word and will upload when I can, maybe tomorrow. Oh, I got an e-mail from Gringo Doug, he’s still expecting us. His e-mail warned me not to take the road on the east side south of San Felipe, ha, too late now.


    We are planning on leaving tomorrow, New Years Eve despite being told of a big party at Alfonsina’s and who know’s maybe Malcom Smith would show up….. hmmm.

    Parking
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    Deby and Mark - ADV inmate Lexluther11
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    Stay tuned.
    #15
  16. donnh

    donnh Been here awhile

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  17. snooker

    snooker AttitudeIsEverything

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    Awesome pics, looks like you are making major progress! Thanks for the Spot link...

    Heated gear? :lol3 you will laugh at that later!
    #17
  18. Bgunn

    Bgunn Mucha distancia

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    Had a little nite ride up to Mike's Star ranch eh? Thanks for the spot....looks like smooth sailing now.

    Keep it coming....:lurk
    #18
  19. busdriver803

    busdriver803 Adventurer

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    :clap Great report so far... riding Baja is something I've wanted to do for sometime and it just hasn't happened. Your first time adventure gives me more ammunition to convince the wife that we can do this. May need a different bike than the VStrom, hhmmmm what better excuse for a new bike than a ride to a new and different adventure.
    #19
  20. donnh

    donnh Been here awhile

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    Day 4 – A day of rest
    Not much to report on day 4. We hung out at the beach in Gonzaga Bay, talked with other riders, ate great food, went for long walks on the beach. About 1:00 in the afternoon Mark from Vancouver Canada showed up on a KLR 650, unlike us he rode his bike all the way south across the United States. He was heading our general direction so we agreed to ride together for the next few days. We met some new Amigos including Bret, Lennie, Bob, Dave and Bud. If you’re reading this it was fun hanging out.


    Day 5 – Gonzaga Bay to San Ignacio
    Despite our somewhat best attempts to leave earlier we departed Alfonsino’s about 9:30 after a hearty meal of Huevos Rancheros and plenty of coffee. When it came time to settle our tab for the room, drinks and meals the senorita asked me what meals I had and how many drinks including water for the last two days….hmmmm, I never thought to actually keep track, I thought they would. As I recited what I could from memory she wrote it down and gave me a total. I’m pretty sure it was not exactly right but close and that is all that seemed to matter.

    South from Gonzaga Bay it’s a gravel/sand road back to highway 1 with long sections of washboard and some medium deep sandy sections. The weather was perfect with enough of a crosswind to keep the dust off the riders bringing up the rear. Mark took the lead and we settled into a leisurely pace. There were some miles of dead straight road and other sections of uphill semi-twisty trail.

    Road south of Gonzaga Bay
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    Nice having someone riding with us to take a picture
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    After about 20 miles we came around a corner into some unexpected deep sand, I was to the left where it wasn’t too bad but Deby took the corner wide and caught her front wheel in the deep stuff, overcorrectiing she ran off the road and her bike decided to have a little nap. Mark and I valiantly turned around for the rescue. By the time she fell over she was going pretty slow so there was no damage to Deby or the bike. We picked up the bike and got it back to the road and decided it was time for a water break and for Deby to recollect her wits a little. The bikes had been taking quite a beating on the washboard road and after the tip over I decided to give Deby’s bike a good look-over to make sure everything was still hanging on. I’m glad I did – wow, I found a bolt that holds the rear part of the frame to the front part of the frame about half way unscrewed. I couldn’t believe it. This was Deby’s only crash which was really good since we had been riding on some pretty tough roads and if she hadn’t crashed this time I wouldn’t have noticed this major bolt holding her frame together coming loose. If that bolt would have come out I’m guessing the frame would have twisted and could have easily caused a major crash. Like I said – wow, I’m glad I caught it and actually glad she crashed.

    Loose frame bolt
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    After about 10 more miles we came upon Coco’s corner and pulled in to meet in person, the famous and I’m not joking here, the famous Coco. What an honor that he was there to welcome us. A Mexican family in a minivan was just leaving when we arrived and no one else was there. We parked and hung out with Coco for about an hour, drinking Cokes and swapping stories. Coco is truly an inspiration living in the desert making a living catering to people passing by his remote crossroads. For those who don’t know the Coco story (probably my friends and relatives reading this who otherwise wouldn’t be following ADVrider) Coco lost on leg below the knee some years ago due to Diabetes and recently lost the other. No worries for Coco, or at least his attitude doesn’t show it. He welcomed us with open arms and especially welcomed Deby, evidently he is quite the smooth talking ladies’ man. He told us it was a good thing we got there when we did because at 3:00 he was closing up and driving (yes he drives using a stick to work the gas pedal) up to Gonzaga Bay, where we just came from, to celebrate New Year’s Eve with his friend Malcolm Smith. We asked if he would be at Alponsina’s and he said no because he didn’t like the crowds. Before we left he told us to watch for washed out sections of the road and look out for where he marked them with old tires. Really? Yes, he drove to these sections and with no legs and got out of his truck and marked them with tires so people like us wouldn’t crash when we got there. Riding south looking at those tires in the road it really helped to put life in perspective for me.

    Deby and Coco
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    Deby and Mark lounging with Coco
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    Outdoor seating
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    Lodging at Coco's $10.00 per night
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    Getting ready to leave
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    After another 10 miles or so we came to highway 1, the main north south route through Baja. We were glad for the break from the sand and washboard and eagerly turned left to head south on nice blacktop. When we came to the turnoff to Bahia de la los Angeles (or Bay of LA as the gringos call it) we stopped to get gasolinia from a truck on the side of the road. Deby’s small tank on the G650XC was getting low and we didn’t want to take a chance getting to the next fuel stop in Guerrero Negro.

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    Roadside fillup
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    From there the road get’s closer to the Pacific Ocean side of the peninsula a strong cross wind picked up and the temperature dropped from a the 80’s down into the low 60s, burrrrr. We planned on getting lunch in Guerrera Negro but as we approached the turn off to town Mark, who was in the lead, was having the same thoughts as me…. Turn right and stop in a freezing cold town that reminds me of the Pacific Northwest or continue on this road that curves west where we will climb into the warmer hills with the wind at our back. He caught onto the thoughts I was channeling to him from the bike behind and turned left. Ha, I like riding with this guy. Since we were still hungary after not eating since early morning we slowed at every group of buildings looking for a roadside stand with something to eat, nothing, so we continued to Vizcaino where we stopped at the first stand with smoke we found. Good call. As the three gringo amigos dismounted a kid and his mother stopped to watch. The boy who looked about 10 said in perfect English “where are you from?”. I said Seattle to which he replied “oh, Washington”. We chatted for a while and asked how he spoke such perfect English, I mean, there was no trace of an accent at all. He said he grew up in South Carolina and moved to Mexico a couple of years ago. I didn’t press the subject but I could imagine that maybe he was raised in the US, probably attended school there like any other kid and then his family was deported. I wish him the best; it didn’t look like Vizcaino was the type of place that offered much opportunity to its residents.


    We grabbed a couple of cokes and taco specials from the stand and continued southeast, next stop Rice and Beans in San Ignacio. I wasn’t sure what to expect since it was New Year’s Eve and I hoped they had some rooms. As usual we arrived as the sun was setting so I was really hopping they had room. No problem. We arrived and Ricardo was at the outside grill steaming oysters over an open fire. He called us over and welcomed us to “the best place in Baja” and handed us each a beer and prepared us an oyster. I think I like Ricardo. He handed us a couple of keys and pointed to our rooms in a building in the other side of the parking lot. Curious, this is the first place we stayed in Mexico where the room had a key, must be moving up.

    As we walked across the parking lot to our room we saw something I had never seen before. It was a Ford F550 converted to an RV. This was the ultimate 4WD offroad monster truck camper. It said the Netherlands in the windshield. As we came around to the side a middle age couple was sitting at a camp table and said hi. It turns out Mark’s family is from the Netherlands and they instantly made a bond. These people were travelling around the world in this killer monster truck 4X4 RV, how cool is that. Here is a link to their adventure: http://web.me.com/jphannieontour/English/Welcome.html

    Monster Camper
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    [​IMG]


    Across the parking lot was a younger couple on bicycles they were on an a long bicycle trip, guess where they were from? The Netherlands. How strange is it that we all met in the parking lot of Rice and Beans on New Year’s Eve in San Ignacia Mexico. I wish I could say that we celebrated the New Year drinking champagne and dancing in the bar but the truth is we were probably all asleep by 9:00, or at least I was. Happy New Year.

    Day 6 San Ignacio to Loreto

    I think Mark was eager to get an early start but I was bound and determined to post part of my ride report since Rice and Beans had a relatively fast internet speed. It only worked from the restaurant but that was ok. I got there before they opened and set up my computer on an outside table and started the upload process. A few minutes later Ricardo opened the door and started feeding my caffeine fix while I worked. A few minutes later Deby and Mark came over for coffee and they chatted while I worked. When I was done we said goodbye to the Netherlands bikers and monster truckers and left for points east. It was a fantastic morning ride with great curvy roads through the mountains back to the Sea of Cortez side of the peninsula.

    East of San Ignacio
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    The temperature gradually climbed into the low 80s with a light wind. I felt like I was finally getting into a groove, relaxing and travelling effortlessly. The road met the coast at Santa Rosalia where we fueled up at the Pemex and turned south for a run along the coast. The road along the coast south of Santa Rosalia was one of the best roads yet, twisting along the coast with views down to hidden turquoise colored bays. We stopped for a late breakfast in Mulege at a small restaurant near the arched entrance to the town. Due to the holiday this was about the only place open but we had another good meal. There was an older gentleman setup on the long patio with a big bag of oranges and a press making fresh squeezed orange juice for the customers (we were the only ones), I had two. We drove through town a little scoping it out as a possible stop on the return trip. Lenny from Alfonsino’s recommended a place called Cliff’s near Jungle Jim’s bar. We found Jungle Jim’s but not Cliff’s and noted another couple likely hotels along the beach before we continued south to Loreto.

    We got to Loreto well before dark for a change and came across a place called the Desert Inn right on the Beach, a beautiful resort that was almost deserted. We got a room for $60US. This time I had to fill out a form which was another first for this trip AND I got a key, now I knew this was a classy place. We asked if there was a restaurant, yes but it was closed for the holiday. A bar? No. Internet? No, it was broken. Was there a restaurant nearby? No, they were all closed for the holiday. Hmmmm. Then they gave me a remote control for the TV and one for the wall heating unit. I had to give them a 100 peso deposit for the remotes, ok I suppose. None of the places we’ve stayed at so far had heat at night and since it’s been getting down to the 40’s or cooler it usually got cold in the room. I was looking forward to just a little warmth in the room. Of course when I went to try out the remotes there were no channels on the TV and the heating unit would not come on. Oh well, body heat again tonight which I really don’t mind.

    We were on the first floor so they let us pull our bikes around to the patio door to the room where we unpacked and got settled in.

    Bikes in front of hotel rooms
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    We decided to take a walk along the waterfront to the center of town to look for either an open restaurant or a grocery store for some food. We ended up with a loaf of bread and some meat for sandwiches from the grocery store and a bottle of wine. Deby prepared a delicious meal and we dined on the patio next to the beach with the sound of the surf.

    Sandwiches on the patio
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    During our walk through town we learned that Loreto was named after the city in Italy where the statue in the local church came from. The city was founded in 1697 and was the first capital of California which at that time extended from the bottom of Baja to Oregon.

    Loreto Church
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    Loreto town hall
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    In the 70’s and 80’s the government wanted to make this a resort city like Cabo and put some money into it but things never panned out. Nonetheless, it’s a nice place on the water with an interesting history.

    After dinner Deby and I took another walk along the waterfront when we came across this:
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    Another killer monster truck RV! What the? This was even bigger than the last one. It had European plates but nobody was around to talk to. Is this some type of new fad?

    There is a monastery nearby that sounds worth visiting, it’s 20 miles down a dirt road in the mountains and it is recommended that tourists book a tour in a suitable vehicle to get there. Sounds like my type of road – maybe on the way back.

    Next: In search of Gringo Doug
    #20