Krackers & Tequila, a Baja Experience

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by MTvtwin, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. MTvtwin

    MTvtwin noob rymes with boob hehe

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    79
    Location:
    the bozone
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    From the guys that brought you 50 redbulls and a pig on a rocket…. http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=483981
    We bring you Krackers and Tequila; a Baja experience. YES we are back, all new with nobbies, charming personalities and everything…
    Let’s start this off by shouting a BIG thank you to all the inmates that helped us plan this trip, and to all those who have posted ride reports in the past. Upon considering ride reports, we found that even tho you may have to look very very hard for some small part of wisdom or redeeming nature of this report, most others have offered some sage advice and these two Krackers want to thank everyone.
    #1
  2. MTvtwin

    MTvtwin noob rymes with boob hehe

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    79
    Location:
    the bozone
    My brother turned the BIG 4 0 this year and one day he says to me…. I need to go, I need to do something, I need, I need….. to do something.



    We are sitting in chateau Le Hill [​IMG]


    having cocktails one night and He states that we must ride Baja the coming spring….. I stated “really”? He says yes and pours me more encouragement. So I contemplate this new adventure… yes, yes I think we need to do this.




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    #2
  3. MTvtwin

    MTvtwin noob rymes with boob hehe

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    79
    Location:
    the bozone
    [FONT=&quot]We are taking the DR&#8217;s to Baja?&#8230;. Only one issue, mine still looks like this&#8230; [​IMG]

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    [/FONT]
    #3
  4. MTvtwin

    MTvtwin noob rymes with boob hehe

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    79
    Location:
    the bozone
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Have to admit the Wee's look pretty mean with nobbs, but how will they handle?

    We also did a bit of rewiring and adding some power ports to charge things......
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #4
  5. MTDuke

    MTDuke Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    387
    Location:
    Big Sky Country
    Thanks for telling everyone I'm an old bastard!

    At the start I want to say that my motivation for writing a ride report here is 3 fold. First, I have used ride reports as a great source of information when planning my own rides. Sometimes there are reminders of caution, sometimes hints on places to stay, food, cultural sites. Sometimes just reading them gets me in the mood for some adventure. Second, its a great way to document the trip for friends and family. You can share pictures and stories and not have to do it individually. Last, it provides a way to reflect on the experience. This is not least important.

    Being a family man with a 6 yo and 2 yo at home I needed some excuse to ride Baja so my 40th bday worked as well as any. You guys that don't need excuses are lucky. However, as indicated in another post this trip did represent somewhat of a compromise in several ways. First, we would be meeting my family in San Jose at a resort for some more domestic fun. It worked out pretty well to have them fly in and meet me and we all got what we needed on the trip. Second, we were riding DL650s instead of the originally planned DR650s. In retrospect, the DLs were a better choice anyway given our schedule and the number of miles we had to cover. There were certainly times I questioned this wisdom in the rocks and sand, but it turned out fine in the end.

    Our itinerary:

    Bozeman MT (truck)
    San Diego CA (truck)
    Tijuana
    Ensenada
    Guerrero Negro (End Day 1)
    San Ignacio
    Santa Rosalia
    Mulege
    Loreto (End Day 2)
    Cidudad Insurgentes
    Cidudad Constitution
    La Paz
    (East) Los Barriles
    San Jose Del Cabo (End Day 3; 5 nights at resort with family)
    Cabo San Lucas
    Los Cerritos (End Day 4 of riding)
    Todos Santos
    La Paz
    Cidudad C
    Cidudad I
    Loreto (End Day 5 of riding)
    Mulege
    Santa Rosalia
    San Ignacio
    Guerrero Negro
    Bay of LA (End Day 6 of riding)
    Cocos Corner
    Gonzaga Bay & Alfonsinas
    San Felipe (End Day 7 of riding)
    Mexicali
    San Diego (End Day 8 of riding)

    Baja veterans will notice all the tarmac........it was a shitload. I dont regret it though, we saw many of the highlights of Baja and will have a reason to go back with more dirt worthy machines.

    A few notes about gear for any planners:

    Navigation- I bought the Nat Geo maps north/south as well as the LBmaps mapset for my Garmin Montana. This was the perfect combination. The paper maps were a good backup and provided the big picture for planning. The Garmin Montana was new to me on this trip and I grew to love it. The screen is visible in all conditions, the garmin hard-wired mount performed well, the touchscreen worked great with gloves, and it saved our ass at least 4 times. No stock, just satisfied and I got the maps here:

    http://www.lbmaps.com/

    Gear- Like many, I have wide variety of gear including a roadcrafter suit and lots of other pieces. I was worried about venting and heat so I ended up wearing a pressure suit and Klim windproof jersey. This was a very comfortable combination and I felt protected with just the pressure suit when it got hot. Felt like a poser most of the time but I was comfortable and protected and that was what mattered. I also bought a set of the new Gaerne G-Midland Adv boots. Very comfortable and I would purchase again although I have not tested performance in rain yet. Last note, we used the Sena bluetooth communicators between us and was very glad to have them at times.

    Bikes- Both were 2006 DL650s with all the usual crap on them. Givi panniers and topcase loaded with too much stuff (Including all of my DSLR camera gear). Skid plates were necessary off road and on topes, I have not looked at the bottom of mine yet but I hit something about every hour. We put TKCs on them prior to the trip, maybe overkill but they were very confidence inspiring off road and really surprised me on the tarmac. Great tire, I may just use this tire all the time.

    Photog note: I took my gripped 7d with 70-200 2.8, 24-70 2.8, 100 macro, and 11-17 2.8 as well as a 2x EC. Sean was using a G12. I used mostly the 24-70 with CPF and the 70-200......I might leave the rest at home if I had it to do over. I did take over 1000 pics so if you have a slow connection reading this report have a beer while it loads. :evil

    Necessary pic to maintain interest (part of ride namesake):

    [​IMG]

    I'll end this first post with a list of lessons learned from our first foray into Baja for others new to this part of the world.

    1. You will not make as many miles as you think. We planned to get to San Jose in 2 days but it took us almost 3. The roads (tarmac) are generally pretty good, but all of the small towns, school buses, farm implements, animals, twisties, military checkpoints, etc... will limit your mileage.
    2. Advice about not riding at night is spot on. The first day we road a couple of hours after dark to make it to Guerrero Negro and stay on schedule. We hit blind corners with horses running across, truck tires dead center of lane, and lots of other critters hanging out on the road in just a short while. Even slowing way down was not safe in my opinion and we chose not to ride at night again.
    3. What is it about Baja and Canadians? Must have great air service from all over Canada........each time we met someone we would wait for the abooot to come out Eh?
    4. About every 20 miles we would see a lone Mexican standing out in the desert. Did not appear to have a reason to be there, just standing there watching. No herding that we could see......just hanging out in the desert. What do they think about all day many miles from anywhere?
    5. Street tacos kick ass. If I could go back I would omit any food we bought that was not from a cart or small family hole in the wall. My Spanish is limited to about 6 words and we always got great street food. I also noticed some real attention to sanitary practices. One vendor took and changed my money with a plastic bag over her hand. Others I noted were careful not to directly touch food but use wax paper.
    6. We had no problems with access to fuel. The DLs have big tanks and good range and we were mostly around towns this was to be expected. No bad gas, sometimes premium was available, other times not. Didnt seem to matter.
    7. The military checkpoints actually gave us some confidence that some organized law exists. We did not have a single problem in all the checkpoints we encountered. Most of the time they just waved us through, at most we had to open one bag and tell them were we were going and where we came from.
    8. Signage in cities sucks. Do not expect roads to be clearly marked. GPS came in handy at times when we missed turns. Not a huge issue as there are not too many large cities but we got off track several times.
    9. Consistent with my experience traveling prior, we met some great people with great stories that we will relay here.
    10. One trip is not enough unless you have unlimited time. Ours was a nice survey of the entire peninsula, but I foresee more trips where we can explore some areas with greater attention.
    #5
  6. Snirt-MT

    Snirt-MT Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    75
    Location:
    Zootown
    Subscribed, can't wait to hear about it as I'm planning a trip down there in 2 years for my 40th (can't believe I just said that). I'm a one year newb on a KLR650 and can't wait.
    #6
  7. MTDuke

    MTDuke Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    387
    Location:
    Big Sky Country
    I was a bit concerned about getting both of these big bikes in the truck and although we have trailers we wanted to avoid pulling something if we did not have to. Turns out they fit fine in my full size truck and after finding a ditch to put the rear axle in to lower the back we were on the road.

    We left Montana with snow on the ground and drove strait through to Las Vegas getting there about 8 am.

    [​IMG]

    I wont wax on about Las Vegas, but I will say that I will never start a ride again after driving all night and spending a day in Sin City. One should be fresh and healthy at the beginning at least and we were not by the time we left town. If we were smart we would have kept driving once we hit town.

    We were (are) not smart.

    We got to San Diego and a day to recover prior to heading south to TJ. We are very fortunate that my aunt (thanks Lou and Rick) lives in San Diego and put up with us parking at their place and hosting with mucho beer and margaritas on both sides of the trip. We found a hill to unload the bikes and were off the next day south of I-15 rush hour morning traffic for the border crossing.

    Does he look hungover?
    [​IMG]

    As an aside, Seans girlfriend here in MT send him a list of tasks to do while in Baja along with some money should he chose to take up the challenge. As can be seen here, all tasks were designed to annoy and embarrass and here is Sean with his blow up sheep "Dollly" that would be his companion for the duration.

    [​IMG]

    I had taken notes from another traveler about crossing at TJ so had some sense of where to go. Immediately after driving across that magic line, there is a "to declare" area to the right. No lines, we were across, and we cut through a couple of lanes to pull over into that section. There were lots of border folks around as well as some heavily armed military but no one seemed to care that we parked in some empty spaces while we took turns walking up to immigration to get our tourist vistas. It was very quick, immigration and the bank are separated by 3 offices so it was just a matter for getting the paperwork, paying the 20+ bucks (cant remember exactly), and going back to get the stamp. Maybe half hour total with one of us waiting with the bikes and taking turns.

    Not too many pics as I read they get itchy with photos around these areas....but here you go with a couple.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We rode through TJ on the very nice toll road heading south to Ensenada avoiding the dead and rotting dogs that seems to be every mile or so. The best advice I had read on the internet was to get south of Ensenada asap and the further south the better. Our goal was Guerrero Negro for the night so we had a ways to go.

    I did feel the need to stop as we were leaving TJ for a ceremonial taste of the agave. Not much mind you.....

    [​IMG]

    We stopped in Ensenada for some pesos having just enough to get though the tolls from the border. Headed south, we were slowed considerably after getting off the toll road by slow traffic, lots of farm activity, school buses and buses for farmworkers, and the like. I was beginning to wonder if we made a bad choice crossing at TJ and if heading down the east side crossing at Mexicali would be better. Several hours of the Baja I did not expect later we finally made it to desert, cactus, open roads, and some nice even twisties scattered just well enough to keep the riding interesting.

    The desert was green this time to year:
    [​IMG]

    Necessary massive cactus pic:
    [​IMG]

    We had pulled over late in the day to consider our progress and take a break when these two pulled up looking like true Baja explorers.

    [​IMG]

    Sean will have to help out here with names, but we spent some time chatting and it sounded to me like they had seen some miles. The KLR had some fresh welds as I recall and we got some good information about riding south. I especially liked the deer hides glued to the headlight shrouds on their bikes......made for a nice "road hardened" look. Nice guys, we shared some agave and went separate directions.

    As I noted before, we decided instead of camping on the roadside we would ride a couple of hours in the dark to make G. Negro. Although we did not necessarily have any close calls there were enough obstructions in the road during those two hours that it clearly is dangerous. Whale watching season was upon G. Negro so the first 2 hotels we checked did not have rooms. The 3rd was a charm, 300 pesos for both of us, semi-secure parking, but the rooms were a little iffy.

    Hotel San Jose: Cheap, hot water.......what more is needed?
    [​IMG]

    Yes, we carry too much shit. One guy said we had more on each bike than he had in his truck. At least there is room for beer once the day is done.
    [​IMG]

    One thing I like about the Givi bags is that I can unload my bike in about 3 minutes and have everything in the room. Stripped after day 1.
    [​IMG]

    Coffee and WiFi to check in within 20 steps in the morning
    [​IMG]

    We found some food, ate, and bought a 6 pack of room beer. I must be 40 cause we packed all 6 beers out first thing in the morning, not a one touched.
    #7
  8. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks House Ape

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,204
    Location:
    Ashland, OR, USA
    I'm in! Heading down in two weeks, and looking forward to the rest of the story. Great start! :lurk
    #8
  9. MTDuke

    MTDuke Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    387
    Location:
    Big Sky Country
    We will try to wrap it up as soon as possible in case it helps with planning. Let me know if you have any questions if we are too slow.
    #9
  10. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks House Ape

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,204
    Location:
    Ashland, OR, USA
    I'll be sure to hit you up with any questions that come up as you go along. But the biggest one I have right now is one that you probably can't answer: What's the Hwy 1 - El Arco - San Francisquito - Bay of LA road like these days?

    So no hurry, I'm sure I'm going to enjoy this one!
    #10
  11. MTDuke

    MTDuke Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    387
    Location:
    Big Sky Country

    We sacrificed two routes on this trip that were originally planned, this was one of them and I regret it. If we had 3 more days......its good though. Its great to leave Baja wanting, it only means that we will be back. Let me know if I can help, folks on ADV have been great to us.
    #11
  12. MTvtwin

    MTvtwin noob rymes with boob hehe

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    79
    Location:
    the bozone
    #12
  13. MTvtwin

    MTvtwin noob rymes with boob hehe

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    79
    Location:
    the bozone
    #13
  14. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks House Ape

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,204
    Location:
    Ashland, OR, USA
    Hey MTvtwin! Those pix are too small! I'm old! My eyes aren't that good anymore. :huh
    #14
  15. MTDuke

    MTDuke Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    387
    Location:
    Big Sky Country

    Yes, send those pics to me and I will make sure they get full view!
    #15
  16. MTvtwin

    MTvtwin noob rymes with boob hehe

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    79
    Location:
    the bozone
    Does he look hungover? YES YES AND MORE YES
    [​IMG]

    As an aside, Seans girlfriend here in MT send him a list of tasks to do while in Baja along with some money should he chose to take up the challenge. As can be seen here, all tasks were designed to annoy and embarrass and here is Sean with his blow up sheep "Dollly" that would be his companion for the duration.

    [​IMG]

    Yes, (Susan) the girlfriend certainly enjoyed herself and would not allow me to know about this scheme until the ride started. We tried to fulfill all the requirements but due to the riggers of the road "Molly" lost some of her fluff, and the small details required us to come close so I may owe her.

    We had pulled over late in the day to consider our progress and take a break when these two pulled up looking like true Baja explorers.

    [​IMG]

    Sean will have to help out here with names, but we spent some time chatting and it sounded to me like they had seen some miles. The KLR had some fresh welds as I recall and we got some good information about riding south. I especially liked the deer hides glued to the headlight shrouds on their bikes......made for a nice "road hardened" look. Nice guys, we shared some agave and went separate directions.

    Now what Wade did not mention is that we were pulled over due to the road being so rough that we thought tires were flat and we did not want damage to be done. On a previous ride report we noticed one guy with an AL rim using rocks to beat it back into shape to hold air and did NOT want that happening. Sorry about the names and I hope they check in with us. After this, I started writing down names, since my memory fails on occasion.


    Hotel San Jose: Cheap, hot water.......what more is needed?
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Working in Environmental Health I have been on hundreds of bedbug inspection and while they can occur anywhere, one of my routines when staying anywhere is to pull back sheets and look for signs. You can read more about bedbugs here... http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/ehs/topics/bedbugs.htm

    We found some food, ate, and bought a 6 pack of room beer. I must be 40 cause we packed all 6 beers out first thing in the morning, not a one touched.[/QUOTE]

    And these beers sure came in handy the next day....
    #16
  17. MTvtwin

    MTvtwin noob rymes with boob hehe

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    79
    Location:
    the bozone

    Apologies, my brother just outlined how to attach pictures and will be going back thru and editing so people can see them...... SEE? I'm still learning lessons from our ride :wink:
    #17
  18. MTDuke

    MTDuke Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    387
    Location:
    Big Sky Country
    We woke up early eager to get on the road. After testing the hot water and finding some coffee and WiFi to check in with family we were on the road. Checking in was fairly important as some in our family were worried that we would be abducted by drug cartels or worse.

    The road heading south/east from G. Negro was faster than we had experienced the day before. It was nice to peel some miles off and head east not having seen the Sea of Cortez yet. We were on a deadline to get south so our chance to see explore local sites would have to wait. Fewer pictures too unfortunately.

    We made a brief stop in San Ignacio surprised by the palm trees and oasis that seems to come out of nowhere. Immediatly to the right coming into town we saw Rice and Beans and had to stop given its notoriety.

    [​IMG]

    They had a mesquite fire going on the outside grill that promised food later that I'm sure would have been great. We sat for a bit and got some fluids and met Chris Ridgway notable because it sounds like he spends all of his time riding motorcycles or driving cars very fast despite having his left leg amputated. Incredible!

    [​IMG]

    I wanted to know more about how he rides with the prosthesis pictured above but we all had miles to make.

    [​IMG]

    After crossing Baja west to east the Sea of Cortez was a welcome sight and we were ready for some food at Santa Rosalia. Immediately entering town we follow our noses to this El Pollo Real on the very north part of town. We doff gear and sit down and quickly realize our limited Spanish has once again foiled us when trying to order food. Sean asks the waitress for a menu and she thinks about it for a moment before a light seems to go off in her head and she says "Si". About five minutes later she comes back with two plates of chicken, some tortillias, and fresh pico. Henceforth on this trip "Menu" will be translated into "Chicken".

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Maybe it was because we were starving, or maybe the fresh tortillas and pico had some impact, but that was the best chicken I have ever had. Amazing.

    Riding south through town we see that the town seems to be built around some massive industrial works of some kind that were now in rusted and no longer functioning. We wanted to stop and investigate the story of this town but again our deadline was crimping our style and we would have to wait for the return trip. Pics and story of Santa Rosalia to come.

    We blast through Mulege and on to Loreto again promising to stop on our way back and check out the town. Just south of Loreto we stop and evaluate our progress. If we continue we would end up staying inland somewhere most likely Cidudad Constitution and we both would rather be by water for the night. So, we head back north into Loreto to find a place for the night while we still have some light.

    Loreto turns out to be my favorite town of the entire trip. Its clean, seems to retain the charm of Mexico while still being somewhat of a vacation destination for gringos. We ride down main street and check a hotel next to the water........800 pesos no way. Riding back to the main street I recognize a hotel from other ride reports called "Hotel Junipero" and we stop to check rooms. We settle on 400 pesos a night and the front desk lady points to me and says "Moto?". Si.....Moto. I follow her around back and she opens a cast iron gate and motions that we can pull bikes into their small courtyard. I am impressed. As we pull the bikes around back an older gentleman is moving umbrellas and tables to make room for our bikes. If fact, he was arraigning umbrellas to cover our bikes for the night and I was again humbled by their thoughtful service. I recommend this place highly for moto travelers.

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    Adding to the charm of Hotel Junipero is that it backs up to the oldest mission in Baja. Sitting out on the patio with a beer and cigar while the bells ring for Mass at dusk was a great way to end the day.

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    We went in search of food and quickly came to a taco stand "Tacos and Beer" about a block away. What could be more perfect? Aside from Sean choking for a half hour on a fresh jalapeno the food was cheap and exceptional. As we were eating we notice another pair of motos heading down main street. We had spoken to this couple earlier in the day on Mulege and I tried to flag them down to offer our advice/experience with Hotel Junipero in case they were on a lodging hunt. Turns out they found it on their own and we got back to our room to find their bikes were tucked in next to ours.

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    Sean has notes on names, but this couple was traveling down to La Paz for a work exchange experience and we chatted briefly about the ride, bikes, and random travel issues. They are both on ADV too so I want to wish them safe travels if they are still motoring somewhere south :wave .

    I found on this trip that it was easy to avoid the nightlife being so tired at the end of each day. Maybe its because I'm 40 too.
    #18
  19. MTvtwin

    MTvtwin noob rymes with boob hehe

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    79
    Location:
    the bozone
    #19
  20. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks House Ape

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,204
    Location:
    Ashland, OR, USA
    Hey! Come on! Keep it coming! You guys got day jobs or something? :ddog
    #20