Just Another Baja Adventure, March 2014!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by catfish, Apr 4, 2014.

  1. catfish

    catfish Squidicus Adventurous

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2002
    Oddometer:
    796
    Location:
    Morgan Territory, CA
    Just Another Baja Adventure, March 2014!

    After years of everyone else's Baja rides & reports, a few of us decided it was finally our turn. We wanted the usual cool Baja places to see, but we craved some Baja singletrack also.

    MORE ride reports read, searches for Baja tracks, and PMs to those who might share ... yielded an adventure we hoped to be ready for.

    13-14 folks were exchanging emails in the beginning, but we dwindled down to only 4 for this adventure; Anders, Catfish, Jim, & Ken. 10 days & 9 nights in Baja.

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    Anders & Jim

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    Ken & Catfish (Mike)



    Heading to Ken's to stage in El Cajon.


    Ms.Beta (2011 Beta 520RS) & I headed south on Friday (21st) to visit friends in Escondido;

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    SunFire it is called.

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    Last place on top, with the guard flamingos.

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    Smoooooooth Tequila on hand ...

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    Friends with poodles ...

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    Friends with pasta ...

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    And friends who make sawdust.

    It was a nice evening of stories. Them hearing about our's about to start. & Mark tell's me of his next adventure in April. Sailing a 120ft. sailboat around Baja. I was envious, but I don't think it would do well on singletrack. :huh

    Up the next morning for a wonderful breakfast & visit, followed by a drive down to Ken's. I was the first to arrive on Saturday, but the others rolled in soon afterwards.

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    Final setup & prep in Ken's backyard. Jim & Anders on 530s & Ken on an older RFS 525.



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    We cruised in the Studebaker over to Lido's
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    for some great Italian food Saturday night.

    The Rite Aid was next door, so we went inside for the last travel item we needed; Imodium. A 12-pack, an 18-pack, and a bottle of 36.

    TEAM IMODIUM was Ready! :huh Little did we know ... :eek1

    It was hard to sleep that night!

    More later,

    Catfish ...
    #1
    The_Precious_Juice likes this.
  2. Slacker2

    Slacker2 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    Oddometer:
    28
    :lurk
    #2
  3. catfish

    catfish Squidicus Adventurous

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2002
    Oddometer:
    796
    Location:
    Morgan Territory, CA
    Day 1 - El Cajon to Mike's Sky Ranch


    Excitement was in the air before the sun was up. Breakfast, last packing, get dressed, and hit the road. Ken was going to lead us down to Tecate & the border, but he would not cross & join us in Baja until Monday evening in San Felipe.

    Took the backway across town via Mt. Helix & down 94 towards Tecate. I remember that curvy piece of pavement from the last time I was down here. :ricky

    We got green lights at the border & pulled over to get the FMM tourist visa. The guy in the office was the first to ask me if I was Santa Claus. I smiled, and whispered to him, "they make me use my real name, shhh!" he smiled and sent me to the bank window.

    Paperwork completed, we headed east towards Rancho Ojai & the last Pemex station before dirt.

    South past Santa Veronica, we turned east on the Compadre trail towards Laguna Hanson. Passed thru many ranchos with closed gates, but none were locked.

    Turning south past a large bush, we hit the first section of racecourse whoops. Big, DEEP ones. I tried to go right towards the less-deep side and plowed the front tire into the next whoop in a cloud of dust. Oops.

    I had a couple of bruised spots from me smashing my rearview mirror & knocking my GPS loose. Mirror mount & stem were OK, but no shiny part left. Ripped the locking pin off the back of the GPS (Garmin 60Cx) and zip-tied it to its holder. There was more GPS damage than I noticed, but was not apparent yet.

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    Nice roads to Laguna Hanson and stopped for the view.

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    Stopped at the Sawmill area afterwards for a break & a snack. Continued down to Kurt Caselli's Memorial next.

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    Pretty easy roads so far and very few baby-heads. Stopped for gas in Valle-T and then south to the back way into Mike's. Nice, fast route until the last section. The last part appeared to be little traveled, with much rain erosion & a few technical spots.

    One curve-to-the-right hillclimb pointed me towards the sun, and I thought I had reached the top. Stopped with the right foot on the brake pedal and went to put my left foot down to steady Ms.Beta.

    Nothing but air under my left foot and over we fell. The front lower corner on the tank had fallen to a large rock, but I didn't see any fuel leak. Shut off the fuel & lifted Ms.Beta to her feet.

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    Kinda like this, but about 6 ft further up where the left foot was a dangler. :doh Cameras pointed downhill sure take the steepness away.

    It was then that I noticed the SMASHED left radiator behind the tank & its new coolant fountain! :cry

    As I was frantically thinking of how I was going to nurse it in to the Mike's with camelbak water & a few cooling-off breaks; Anders walks up and sez, "I have some stop leak."

    My entire mood changed for the better. He pulled it out & read the instructions. Meant for car radiator, so we only added about 1/4 of container & topped off the water. Ran the motor & the leak appeared to be slowing quickly.

    Rode about half a mile & checked again. Fan was running, but it turned off after a few seconds. There was no water under the radiator!!! :clap :clap :clap

    We continued down to Mikes and got in before dark! YaHOOOOO!!!

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    We were all smiles, except Anders. He said for the first of many times this trip; "no cell service here!" :lol3

    Beers, showers, more beers, and dinner. The cool bar is closed on Sunday nights. :cry

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    During dinner, the other Sunday-night group rode in with Chilly White. Hellsickle (Jeff) & other Colorado friends were in Chilly's group also. Their ride report is lurking over here.

    Nice talking to Jeff again and he gave me some special dessert to try. THANKS Jeff! :freaky

    Day 1: 220 miles, no flats, one smashed mirror, one GPS mount clip, and a smashed-but-sealed left radiator.

    There should be more photos as the others start posting soon.

    Catfish ...

    PS: I hate it when I realize I have not taken photos of crash damage yet. Fresh from the kitchen counter top & the garage ...

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    Threads removed & not exactly waterproof any more. If fact, many small rocks and sand found their way in ...

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    The dust is behind the top layer.

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    OOPS! :shog

    Catfish ...
    #3
  4. OldTriumphRider

    OldTriumphRider Livin the Dream

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
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    537
    Location:
    Friendsville ,Tn Smoky Mts
    I'm in ,takin your place at reading others Baja reports... maybe someday!
    love the pix
    #4
  5. bigtodd

    bigtodd Hi, wanna ride?

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,156
    Location:
    Surf City, USA
    Can't wait to read more, love Baja adventures. Was with a group of 6 a while back taking the Simpson trail to Mike's. Before taking the road heading off the back way, we let a local go by us in a beat up 4runner. We all said "how bad could it be." Fantastic track until that right turn up the hill. We had a drz650 and two 950 super enduros that had a lot of work ahead of them the next hour. Was really glad to be on my 525.
    #5
  6. 1224R

    1224R Long timer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    2,659
    More pics!!!!!!!
    #6
  7. catfish

    catfish Squidicus Adventurous

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2002
    Oddometer:
    796
    Location:
    Morgan Territory, CA

    Same hill I suspect. It is a fun route. I was expecting more at the water crossings, but its been dry down there too.


    Here is the first day's route down to Mike's;

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    Catfish ...
    #7
  8. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    19,088
    Location:
    Burbank CA
    another good baja ride.

    subscribed.
    #8
  9. catfish

    catfish Squidicus Adventurous

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2002
    Oddometer:
    796
    Location:
    Morgan Territory, CA
    Day 2 : Mike's, Mtn loop, & on to San Felipe!


    It was cool Monday morning, and I wandered around to take some photos. Some of Jim's photos here too.

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    Jeff (behind the chrome dome) & Chilly's group getting ready to ride north to Tecate for their last day in Baja.

    Breakfast was better than last night's steak. Checked the bikes over, and Ms.Beta only needed a few drops of water to full again. :D

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    Jim & Anders almost ready to ride.

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    Ms.Beta warms up for the ride

    Today, I was planning to explore the gnarly back way up to the Observatory, maybe loop over to El Coyote, and then back to 3 and over to San Felipe to meet Ken for the night.

    We headed SE from Mike's and climber further into the mountains. Got to the last intersection (to El Coyote) and continued up the rocky shelf road to the Nat. Park.

    Parts of this 2-track flowed and moved well, but the higher we went, the rocky-er & ledge-i-er it got. Exposed to the sun and no wind, I needed a break.

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    Got thru the next sections OK, but I'm going too slow. Overheating again in the sun & thin air. We get around to a side that has a little shade and we take a food break. Looked at the time. We'd been climbing for 1.5 hours and had only gone 12 miles. :huh :eek1

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    I decided this was going to take _me_ too long to climb this & still get to S.F. at a decent hour. So, I announced we're heading back down. Jim smiled & agreed! Anders seemed to be bewildered that his cell phone still had no connection?!? :dunno

    Riding DOWN this shelf road was completely different than climbing it. The flow & mojo returned. We were back to Mike's in no time. Hmmm... This is the return route FROM the observatory, but go up an easier way from the El Coyote side to make it a loop. Hmmm... next time.

    We FLEW up the easy road from Mike's to the pavement. Until I spotted singletrack! WHOOOOOOOOA!!! I spun around and darted off on a cow trail thru the cactus.

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    It faded after a half mile and we were surrounded by deadly cactus! We slowly found our way back to the road and hauled ass again!

    East on Hwy-3, we stopped in the little town of Francisco R. Serrano looking for gas & some lunch. After a few "gasolina?" on our part & finger pointing with who-knows-what in Spanish on their part, we wandered to the right place. So, coming into town from the west, its the 1st place on the left.

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    Gasolina is around the right side in the back. Anders spun a donut after his gas up and the old guy looked around and said "Loco!" I said, "Si, Gringo Loco!" :lol3 One of the guard dogs chased & bit Mr. Loco's boot!

    The owner was recommending burritos for lunch, and we were thinking tacos. He REALLY recommended the burritos, so we trying some carne burritos for lunch. OMG, those were the best carne burritos in the world! Served with bean & rice, a nice spicy salsa. Then out came the sliced tomatoes & home-made cheese. What a feast for lunch! BUUUURP!

    Waddled outside to find this little guy guarding Ms.Beta from any wayward banditos.

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    Heading east again, we start looking for back ways into Laguna Diablo. Nothing but fences until the last road we did turned on.

    The dry lake bed was a BLAST! I really like carving BIG ESSES at stupid lean angles back & forth. I noticed Anders sneak up to my left and we nailed them! We stayed pretty even until I topped out maybe 1-2 mph slower than his 530.

    Next came some sand roads & washes towards San Felipe. We modified the route a couple of times to avoid nasty big-ass whoops.

    On the last section over to the pavement, we noticed 2 quads heading west towards us. As they go closer, we could tell they were without helmets & appeared to be 2 on each.

    Then all I could see was this bouncy BRIGHT GREEN bikini top driving the 1st quad, and a similar BRIGHT PINK? bikini top driving the second. I secretly hoped Anders had the GoPro going when we met them! :evil

    Into San Felipe we ride, straight to the center of the Malecon, and turned right along the beach ... Wait a minute ... this looks wierd ... like we've going the wrong way on a one-way street. :doh We ARE going the wrong way! So, I turn around and head North slowly looking at the people & places to eat.

    Next thing I know I'm being passed by the LARGEST Police Officer in Baja on a 250 dual-sport. I waved! :rofl Back towards the El Capitan, I spot Ken walking towards the malecon & we talked. He said the others headed to the motel & so did I.

    We checked in and got to the showers. Washed some riding gear set 'em out to dry.

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    Hey look at the adv-bikes on the end! From Washington? We would meet them later ...

    Next came a visit to the liquor store for several bottles of Ken's favorite Baja vodka; Oso Negro! Walked thru the t-shirt & tourist traps until we found a place that said margs & fish tacos on the signs.

    Ordered Margs & fish tacos, except me; I tried the big-ass shrimp tacos. The margs were kinda sweet & weak. Out came the Oso Negro to fix that! :eek1 :lol3 :freaky

    We were stuffed with pretty-good food. Then we ordered the next round of Margs. And emptied 2 bottles of Oso Negro to fix these margs!

    We swaggarted back to the motel to find our new adv friends outside, and it was a BIG PARTY! Then someone noticed the KLR had a loose foot peg. And a twisted handlebars/forks. Whether they wanted it or not, the drunks were here to HELP! Out came the tools, tall tales of adventure, and more Oso Negro! :freaky

    We learned they are headed to Brazil for the World Cup Finals. Like 4-5 months OFF! Neither had any dirt experience to speak of. Their ride report is over here. Good luck guys!

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    Hey what's that on the fairing?

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    YIKES! Not the first moto I've signed while feeling NO pain! :lol3:rofl:freaky

    Day 2: 110 miles, no flats, no moto damage as I recall, & too much Oso Negro!


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    Catfish ...
    #9
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  10. ktmnate

    ktmnate Long timer

    Joined:
    May 7, 2003
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    3,088
    Location:
    Somewhere
    Oh yea! One more week and I'll be on my way.
    #10
  11. Y E T I

    Y E T I Unpossible

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2007
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    Location:
    San Diego
    :lurk
    #11
  12. mikefletcher24

    mikefletcher24 Baja rider

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    73
    Location:
    Chula Vista, Ca
    How was the road thru the dry lake bed from mikes to San Felipe? Thnks
    #12
  13. advrockrider

    advrockrider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Oddometer:
    704
    Location:
    Norcal
    Yep, one more week buddy and its beer and tacos! I will be watching this one for sure, keep it coming. Did I miss the pics of the girls on the quads?
    #13
  14. catfish

    catfish Squidicus Adventurous

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2002
    Oddometer:
    796
    Location:
    Morgan Territory, CA

    I understand the excitement. Its hard to concentrate on things I should be doing. She has a list & checking it twice. My head is dancing thru the rocks & cactus on the 22-day trail.

    Taxes? Now?!? Grrr...



    Smooth, fast, & dry! The south end of the lake bed was softer & required a bit more throttle if you got off the road/2-track down the middle.

    The roads after the lake bed are deep sand and require some speed to stay on top.


    Catfish ...
    #14
  15. Y E T I

    Y E T I Unpossible

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,395
    Location:
    San Diego
    When we were down there in October, we really wanted to ride the lake bed, but the rains from the week before had turned it into a mud bog. Gee, I guess that means we'll have to go back. Darn. :lol3


    So, any shots of the pink and green bikinis?? :evil
    #15
  16. mikefletcher24

    mikefletcher24 Baja rider

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    73
    Location:
    Chula Vista, Ca
    Thanks
    #16
  17. catfish

    catfish Squidicus Adventurous

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2002
    Oddometer:
    796
    Location:
    Morgan Territory, CA

    Alas, Anders didn't have the GoPro on when he met the quads. :cry I'll just have to rely on the images burned into my memory. :evil Sorry guys! :lol3 :rofl

    Anders did say he had great GoPro footage from each day, and would edit a video for each day. I can't wait to see 'em!!! :clap :clap :clap




    Day 3 - To Alfonsina's!

    Everyone knew today would be an easy one, and we sure drank like it last night! :freaky
    I can't believe I got talked into adding vodka to house margs! What was I thinkin'?!? :huh :dunno :doh

    Ken seemed fine, but the other two were quiet next door. We heard Lem & KLR outside getting ready to head south.
    Took the morning pills, glued my teeth in, and wandered outside into the sun.

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    Hmmm ... I don't have a single photo of Lem or KLR with their bikes?!? When I have my ride-leader hat on,
    I frequently forget I have a camera. Thank goodness that Jim takes lotsa good trail photos and we're
    borrowing them for the ride report. THANKS Jim! :clap

    Ken was ready for some juice to go with his O.N. :eek1 and I wanted something to eat. The others were up now,
    but none of them wanted anything for breakfast. Some got coffee & others found the corner juice guy.
    We slowly got ready for the day's ride. Some were hurting more than others. Lem & KLR were off on their
    great adventure as we waved good bye.

    Got gas & air at the Pemex and headed south. Ms.Beta did not need any water! :thumb The track for the day was mostly on the beach, but it moved in
    & away many times. Our first few attempts to get to the beach resulted in fences that must not have been there before.

    We finally got to the beach and wicked 'em up a bit!

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    We got tired of the rough sand and headed inland for some different terrain. All we found were whoops, and that old too.
    Eventually we hit the pavement & scooted down to Puertecitos. Passed Cowpatty on the right on the way into town.
    Wandered around town, and it was deserted. The only thing that looked like a restaurant or cafe was closed.
    Only saw one other human nearby, so Ken went over to ask what was available.

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    Nothing on a weekday.

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    Nice spot, closed also.

    We wandered back up to Cowpatty next.
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    Looks like our kinda of place! :freaky But the sign sez closed on Monday & Tuesday, and its Tuesday.
    We could hear voices in the back so that's where we headed.

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    Richard is the owner/proprietor of Cowpatty and its his day off. That means no hot dogs; just beer or soda in the back,
    and not until everyone decided what they wanted. Richard made it very clear many times that he makes ONE TRIP for
    everything at a time. Seemed reasonable for his day off, right?

    His buddy Tom & dog were there visitin', so we found us some shade and started drinking with them too.
    Very interesting conversations over the next few hours.

    The guys who skipped breakfast (& now lunch too) were hurtin for food. I pulled out the big bag of Costco nuts
    I brought along and it made a few passes around the tables.

    2 other dirtbikers came up from the south and stopped for a beer or three. Many new conversations with these guys about
    trails & other things to the south.

    A woman in a pickup drove up and Ken went to talked to her. He returned with a couple of tamales as she was driving
    away. Several others jumped up & flagged her down for some lunch too!

    After many beers & Richard stories, we were ready to ride. I asked the group of they wanted to ride up the Rockman trail
    before Alfonsina's. The looks I got said "not today!" This group was still recovering from last night! :dutch

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    Stopped at the market across from the Pemex at Gonzaga, and used the "pay phones" to make some calls.
    No cell service here either, said Anders! :lol3 Got some more trail snacks, fuel, & into Alfonsinas.

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    After unpacking, showers, and another round of beers this group was ready for dinner. I wasn't interested in more beer,
    but I watched the bartender make a Marg. When I saw how many limes he was squeezing for each marg, I knew I
    had to have one. I surveyed the tequila selection, and saw one of my favorites (Antiguo Resposado by Herradura) on the shelf. :clap

    I pointed to the bottle and requested a Marg. OMG, it was the best Marg in Baja! Not too sweet and YUMMY! :jkam
    I also knew it would not hurt me! :evil

    Tom, at Cowpatty, said to order the fish & shrimp combo dinner at Alfonsinas & I think 3 of us did.
    However, we all forgot to ask about the fish soup. Tom said its not on the menu, but they always have some & its GREAT!
    The garlic butter sauce on the combo dinner was exquisite! :dg

    When it was time for another Marg, Anders could not resist and ordered one too. :clap :clap :freaky :freaky

    I think we all slept very good that night.

    Day 3: 114 miles & no flats! :clap


    Catfish ...
    #17
  18. kkug

    kkug Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Oddometer:
    977
    Location:
    Escondido Ca .USA
    :wave Catfish -remember me from Cal City ? We were just down in Baja for four days last weekend.

    Can,t get enough of these Baja reports . Good Job !

    You were in my hood too !!!
    #18
  19. SFMCjohn

    SFMCjohn 13

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,031
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA, 94102
    Hey Catfish,

    Wonderful pics and great MAPS! :clap

    Looking forward to a Window Rock map ... :ricky

    see you around the campfire,
    -- SFMCjohn
    #19
  20. CA_Rage

    CA_Rage Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Oddometer:
    110
    Location:
    Bay Area - CA
    I love Baja reports! It's on my list of must do rides.
    Thanks for sharing.
    #20