Los Tres Chaquetas Ride Baja

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by MufflerBearings, Apr 12, 2013.

  1. MufflerBearings

    MufflerBearings Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Ciudad Catedral
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    We started today&#8217;s ride with some trepidation. We planned to ride along the Pacific coast from San Juanico north to Laguna San Ignacio. I knew we could either take the &#8216;high&#8217; road, which was slightly inland, or the &#8216;low&#8217; road, which was closer to the coast. I&#8217;d read that the high road featured bike-swallowing silt and the low road offered bike-swallowing mud. The choice was clear &#8211; I&#8217;ll take mud over silt any day.:D <o:p></o:p>
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    So after another visit to La Cabana for a scallop taco breakfast, we fueled up at San Juanico&#8217;s not-quite-official Pemex and hit the road for points north.

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    The road north from San Juanico was firm, wash-boarded and fast. Just before Ejido Cadeje, we passed through what appeared to be some kind of abandoned primitive military installation.

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    We crossed a wide but shallow river just past Ejido Cadeje and turned onto the first road to the west, signed for El Datil. After a few miles, the fun, sandy roller coaster two-track took us down off the small mesa and out onto the coastal salt flats. The road through this moonscape was very hard-packed and so smooth it shined; it looked like ice, but provided good traction for top-gear riding across the flats. Mirages made it appear that we were riding across the top of a massive body of water. The vast openness of the salt flats provided a tempting invitation to throttle it off the established road and carve big arcs, but the two-foot deep tire tracks of drivers that had made that mistake before us served as a warning to stay on the road. The high speeds and cool coastal air made for a nice change from yesterday&#8217;s heat in the inland foothills.

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    Rising out of the salt flats like a mirage itself is the tiny settlement of El Datil. Before we even reached the village, a mob of kids came sprinting out onto the flats to intercept us and demand STICKERS, MISTER!! STIIIIICKERSSSS!!! Kids (and some adults) all along the peninsula had shown enthusiasm for stickers, but the kids of El Datil were the most deadly serious sticker collectors we&#8217;d encountered yet. Greg handed out the last of our sticker stash while Scott assumed the role of Sticker Police, ensuring that everyone who wanted stickers got them: &#8220;Hey! That kid already got four!&#8221;:lol3

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    This El Datil local is justifiably proud of his shark(?) tooth necklace:

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    We left El Datil with an escort of chasing kids and barking dogs. The kids were disappointed with my failed attempt at a wheelie:muutt (how to you say overloaded piggy KLR in Spanish?), but I think Scott and Greg were able to hoist their wheels up for them.

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    The ride past the Laguna San Ignacio and through the town of San Ignacio was uneventful. We eventually found our way after a few wrong turns and dead-ends onto fingers of land that extended into the Estero. The only traffic we encountered was a few carloads of surfers heading south for a surf competition in San Juanico that weekend. At the military checkpoint outside San Ignacio, Greg made the mistake of revealing to the soldier that he spoke Spanish. He was rewarded for his fluency with a round of vigorous questioning: &#8220;Where are you going? Where are you coming from? Where were you before that? And before that? Where will you go after today? Are you on vacation? What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?&#8221;


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    We ended our day with lousy Chinese fast food in cold and windy Guerrero Negro. I&#8217;m convinced that Guerrero Negro is the Spanish word for hypothermia.:vardy Maybe it was just an especially cold day, but if there is an iceberg off the coast of Baja, you can find it near GN. We secured a clean and reasonably-priced room with VIP parking at the Cowboy Hotel, where we decided against a soak in the spa:

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    Next up: Winding down with San Felipe Semana Santa madness.<o:p></o:p>
    #41
  2. Snownut

    Snownut Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Land of the Beehive
    Looks like a great ride.. I have much envy as I had some bad luck just before Gonzaga on my ride down there at New Years ending my trip prematurely. Looking forward to going back and finishing the trip, but its nice to vicariously see through your report.. Thanks!!
    #42
  3. booger1

    booger1 Long timer

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    Colorado Springs
    Excellant reading here. Can't wait to get back down there.
    #43
  4. acesandeights

    acesandeights Asperger

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
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    Location:
    So. Oregon

    Lucky for you I've been to Mexico plenty and often hear those words during my conversations with the locals. I'm pretty much an expert in the Mexican language at this point. Puto means five. Pinche also means five, and Chinga is a deep fried burrito. I don't know why, but it seems pretty much any place I stop they're always asking me if I want five deep fried burritos before I leave. I just smile and wave as I ride away. I hope that helps.
    #44
  5. MufflerBearings

    MufflerBearings Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Ciudad Catedral
    This is valuable information. :lol3 I will consult you before my next Mexico trip.
    #45
  6. MufflerBearings

    MufflerBearings Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2012
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    Location:
    Ciudad Catedral
    March 28-30, 2013<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    I guess it’s about time I wrapped this thing up.<o:p></o:p>
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    After enjoying a leisurely American breakfast across the street from the Cowboy Hotel, we got rolling at the crack of noon. We were waved right through the immigration checkpoint just north of Guerrero Negro, causing us to feel foolish for throwing $25 away on FMM permits at the border. An uneventful ride north on MEX 1 brought us to another military checkpoint near Villa Jesus Maria. We baked in the sun for a while, waiting our turn to have our belongings fondled. When we finally reached the front of the line, we learned from one of the soldiers that there are public restrooms available at the checkpoint, but only for female travelers. Real men apparently do their business in the desert. Greg expresses his feelings about this policy :boid:

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    We made the turn off MEX 1 onto the dirt towards Coco’s Corner and Gonzaga Bay. Coco wasn’t around, so we blasted on through to Gonzaga. Every palapa at Gonzaga Bay was overflowing with Spring Breakers, so we decided to push on to San Felipe.

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    At least the Spring Breakers in Gonzaga Bay had good taste in cars:super:

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    We found that San Felipe had undergone a transformation while we were south. It seems that every resident of Mexicali had made the short drive to San Felipe to celebrate Semana Santa by riding stand-up wheelies down the malecon on their quads. The town that two weeks ago was a charming albeit touristy little village was now a sensory overload of buggies, quads, pre-runner trucks, dust, police, blaring banda music and hard looks. The cacophony of noise was overwhelming; revving engines, booming stereos, screaming kids, hollering street vendors, piercing police sirens. And the nose was assaulted with smells of race gas, cooking food, rotting garbage, hot engines, beer, sea water, dirt and burning tires. In other words, it was a great time.:freaky

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    We spent the night in a sweet condo again graciously provided by Jim and Alice of bajabillsrentals.com. We awoke the next morning to find a dust cloud still hanging over town from the impromptu sand drags in the dunes at the edge of town the night before. As we rode into town for coffee, we saw Semana Santa celebrants futilely attempting to dig their Sentras and Civics out of the dune sand; the local towing companies made a killing this weekend. Today was spent eating and attending to much-needed maintenance on the bikes. The KLR had picked up a nail in the rear tire, and the XR350’s speedometer had rattled itself to pieces over the last 1,800 or so miles. I had the KLR’s tube patched at a local tire shop, and we removed the 350’s speedometer before it ended up in the spokes.

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    Oh yeah: there were a few air-cooled VW’s around town:D:

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    The next day, we made quick work of the Compadre Trail back to the border at Tecate, where we turned in our FMM permits, and I was presented with a nice bottle of Damiana “lady liquor” for my birthday:patch.

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    As I type this, the trip ended over four months ago, but the three of us still can’t shut up about it. We blather on and on about it to anyone who will listen. We talk of vague plans to do another Baja ride sometime in the near future, knowing full well that we’ll probably be retired before we all have the time to do this again. If it takes that long, fine. I’m stoked that we did it now. I’m stoked that I was able to experience Baja with my brothers. But next time, I’m wearing a different jacket:jose.

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    #46
  7. tilliejacques

    tilliejacques Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
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    470
    Location:
    northern New Mexico
    Thanks for finishing your trip report! :clap I was halfway thinking that you guys had chucked it all and gone back to Baja :evil.

    Love the 'Dub pics (hubby had a '74 Super Beetle--we took it to baseball games etc in 1983 LA because *everybody* knew he was serious about cutting in and they backed off :rofl).

    Also, thanks for the tips about the timing of spring break in G. B. and Semana Santa in S. F. !

    hm, I think I'll go back and re-read the whole thread from start to finish. :deal

    cheers
    #47
  8. FrameOil

    FrameOil Adventurer

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    11
    A couple of weeks ago, MufflerBearings and I were having lunch during a day trek around Big Bear when I noted that I cannot stop thinking about Baja. I want to go back again and again. Good thing is that the border is just a couple of hours away, and we can day trip anytime that we want to. A longer trip will take some more planning, but as it was stated earlier, it may be until we retire to do another trip like this again. As the rider with the least experience of this group of participants on this epic ride, I must say that if anybody out there with little experience is even pondering a Baja ride, then do it! I waited until my mid thirties to even start riding motorcycles, and only regret not starting any sooner. All of the trip reports, maps, GPS, etc that are available for Baja these days offer great guidance throughout the peninsula. Aside from the occasional pit bull chasing you down on the bikes, or rancher with face tattoos wanting you to stop at his ranch out in the middle of nowhere, Baja is a very magical place. Experiencing it with my brothers made it so much better and memorable. Personally, I can't wait to go back! The 1000 in 3 months!:clap
    #48
  9. Bleemus

    Bleemus Long timer

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    Winhall, Vermont
    Great RR! Thanks for sharing!
    #49
  10. ADVMindset

    ADVMindset Americana Adventurer

    Joined:
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    1,214
    Location:
    Between here and there...
    Great RR ! Epic trip for sure !
    I Love Old Mexico and all of the air cooled VWs :clap
    #50
  11. burntlawnchair

    burntlawnchair n00b

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2013
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    3
    I can not express how grateful I am to have brothers like you! :thumbup:thumbup
    AN EPIC ADVENTURE INDEED!!
    THANK YOU !!!
    AWESOME RR!!!!!
    #51
  12. FrameOil

    FrameOil Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2013
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    11
    Burntlawnchair was riding my 1983 xr 350 the whole time. At one point it ran out of gas on highway 1 at about 55 mph. Instead of stopping and switching to reserve like a normal person would, Burntlawnchair elected to (while at speed) pull the clutch in, reach down, switch to reserve, then kick the bike over to get it started. I almost wrecked my xr650r due to hysterical laughter, but it worked out. He got the bike started, down shifted due to loss of some momentum, and continued on. I think some luck was on his side, too. Oh, and he was wearing women's moto pants for the whole trip.:rofl
    #52
  13. burntlawnchair

    burntlawnchair n00b

    Joined:
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    The reserve switch was pure skill!!! As far as the woman's pants are concerned....... screw you buddy! :fyyff
    If I were a little more technologically gifted i would post the sweet pictures of you and your brother lathering each other up with suntan lotion. that was a special moment !! :fpalm
    You Guys ROCK!!
    #53
  14. _Magoo_

    _Magoo_ master of disaster....

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
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    nuevo mexico
    awesome ride report guys! Baja gets under your skin, I can't stop thinking about a return visit as well......

    Hopefully next February if all works out, that is a special place for moto-folks!

    :clap
    #54
  15. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Burbank CA
    i have to say that this is one of the few and most entertaining rr in baja.

    been to baja many times and none is as funny as this one.....:lol3

    good job and thanks for sharing and making us laugh.
    #55
  16. coors

    coors gs 1200

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
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    80
    Location:
    guatemala
    Nice ride and nice ride report, it looks like a great ride, I hope to make it to Baja sometime.

    Thks for stoping by motocafe and share some stories. It was nice to meet you and your wife in Antigua. Always good to talk with riders over a few :freaky

    We look forward to ride with you down here in Guatemala.

    David
    #56
  17. Spacelord

    Spacelord Mutha Mutha

    Joined:
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    Dawsonville Ga.
    Great story, never really considered Baja until now but you guys made it look like a blast.
    #57
  18. motoged

    motoged Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    908
    Location:
    Kamloops, BC
    Great story....you guys did it the right way :clap:clap:clap

    Good choice to go north via Datil....the silt eats riders:

    First aid in Bahia Asuncion 2 days after crashing in silt:

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    A week later back in Canada:

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    More places to see next time:

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=666961
    #58
  19. Baja Ken

    Baja Ken Zorro

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
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    Location:
    Running Springs, Ca and bahia de los angeles
    Great report, Greg. Look forward to riding with you guys in April. ken



    #59
  20. TemeculaRider

    TemeculaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    565
    Location:
    La Paz, Baja California Sur
    A word of advice regarding the FMM. Get it and keep it. See, I'm so smart that I told people for years that it was a waste of time and money. "No one ever asks for it and they never will." Me and my biiiiiig mouth! Brought my Mom and Dad down along with my family of five in our van and we got asked for them at the checkpoint into Guerrero Negro. Cost us over $1,000 in fines and a lost day getting everything sorted out. Imagine my frustration and embarrassment after I had gone around and around with my Mom (reading her Baja guidebook) that I knew better and we didn't need the tourist cards!

    Two other things: If you pay tolls or stay in rooms or get gas, get a receipt and keep it with you. It never hurts to have proof of where you were and when. Also, the FMM (or lack thereof) could be the difference between your insurance paying or not in the event of trouble.

    I learned my lesson!
    #60