My Road to Baja Racing. The Mexican 1000

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by cavebiker, Aug 24, 2016.

  1. K75STER

    K75STER Been here awhile

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    On The Pegs or In Vieques, PR
    Awesome! You just have to LOVE Baja!
    Glad to hear the good news!
  2. dano619

    dano619 Been here awhile

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    sunny san diego
    Ready to rock n roll!!
  3. koa925

    koa925 Senior Stromer

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    san ramon, ca
    Looking forward to watching you and firepig rip it up this year, ride safe, have fun
  4. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

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    I was planning on mounting my RacingTrax bracket today but I'm not sure how close i can get to my roll chart box. The photos of the box suggests there is an antenna coming out of the top, but bends at a 90 degree. RacingTrex gives no dimensions of this, and the photos at NORRA and RacingTrex show a different bracket then the one they sent me.

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    I'm thinking the extra space needed for the antenna is accounted for by the bulge out at the top right of the bracket, above the arrow. If so I can mount this close to flush to my scroll box. If not I need to mount it down by the amount the antenna will take, (which I have no idea) but that will move it down making it harder to see, because i will have to lower my head and I don't want to do that. Any insight will be appreciated. if nothing else i will just drill two holes in my aluminium platform, a flush mount hole and a lower mount position hole.

    OK! I found the pic I was looking for with the antenna bent at a 90 sticking out of the top sitting on the bracket they sent me. Just as hoped, the bracket bulged is to make room for the antenna, perfect.

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    So today is the day. My stitches got yanked out yesterday and all is good. My hand is the most delicate now with missing skin so Cavegirl dressed me up so I can install the RacingTrax bracket and put on a new chain without risking infection, she is the best.
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    Sweeeet!

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    And hey, I installed a stator so powering the RacingTrex box is no problem. Wiring up power... (fun to the highest degree!)

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    I love to get up close and do intricate wiring but through the years I've learned in order to see what the H I'm doing two pair of readers do it all, I can see anything... (the fight of life continues. I will not call uncle until I am out of ideas to keep moving forward)

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    Oh geeze, i have to drill a couple holes in the bike. Freaking A yeah...

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    I guess this is needed for the tracker beacon. last year i just used strong tape. I spent a lot of time today getting the old tape crap off the fender. I want the bike to look good at the starting line, like wrk2surf's bike looked in his pic. Well I guess it will never look that good ;)

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    Now time to put on the new chain. The old chain was still OK but I want no chain problems during a 1,300 mile Baja race, chain problems sound like no fun to me at all.

    I asked Cavegirl to help push the crate under the bike when I tipped it over. She didn't like how unstable it was so insisted to hold it while I installed the chain. I guess I can live with that (evil grin). I told her this is what Hipster did for me last year. She exclaims "I miss colter!"

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    This works for me...

    OK, tomorrow all I have to do is take a long run on the beach with Sam, spend massive quality time with Heidi and sort through the tools I'm bringing along so I can keep the bike tight. Thursday I meet BajaBoundMoto Tim in Cabo to catch my ride to the starting line. How Cool Is That!
  5. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv

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    Burbank CA
    wish you the best...from another xr400.

    show them that the old iron is worthy competitor....cheap and reliable.

    as usual, i will be following the race.
  6. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

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    Allright! The road to NORRA continues.

    Earlier today cavegirl brought the bike and myself to Cabo so I can catch my ride with BajaBoundMoto to the starting line in Ensenada. [​IMG]
    We know of this great strip of Mexican street food stalls just before the airport entrance. This is a highlight of any trip to Cabo. This guy was admiring the bike. Heidi exclaims "es un cuatrocientos" (it's a 400)

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    He gladly posed with his bike. This is Baja

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    This is our favorite food stall. But all the stalls here look good. There are at least 7 or 8 of them.

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    Check put those tacos! They're called Militos. Not sure exactly what they are but they are delicious.

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    BajaBoundMoto Tim shows up with his crew at the end of what sounds like a fantastic 8 day run of over 1,500 miles off road from Tacate to Cabo. The stories around the trailer went on and on until almost dark, Wow is all i can say. One guy is seriously considering doing NORRA on one of Tim's bikes in just 10 days from now! Everyone was so stoked from the ride they just did. And of course I'm stoked just to see the #2 loaded on the trailer ready to head to the starting line. Oh freaking yeah!
    crashkorolyk, roadcapDen and dano619 like this.
  7. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Yeah Dude, gonna be good!
  8. Hipster

    Hipster Long timer

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    I miss being part of Team Cavebiker this year. Now that you're a Baja race veteran, I hope your recent injury doesn't slow you down.
  9. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

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    i think you called it!

    We miss you to Tom. And forsure, once the stitches came out a week ago I regained 100% mobility and don't feel a bit of pain.
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    Only three stitches on this cut but this was the heavy spurting bleeder we we were concerned about at first. The others were way more stitches but we were able to get the bleeding under control before Heidi transferred me to the clinic on those. Heidi still questions my decision to clean and dress the cuts first saying if I would have passed out from the blood loss she would have been up S creek trying to transport me.

    Enough! on with the ride report--->
  10. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

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    Super! Ron Tim and I get an early start from San Jose del Cabo towing a trailer with 8 motorcycles neatly tucked in along with heavy gear bags of the seven riders. These guys are pros, we tool through Cabo as if it were nothing while he headed north. BajaBoundMoto Tim has some motorcycle parts he wants to give to an old friend of his he hasen’t seen for over a decade. While we were eating breakfast outside of La Paz (the best breakfast in Baja Ron claims) Tim’s friend just swings in.
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    Tim has a front and rear sprocket and a hand full of other parts he gives his buddy for his recently purchased bike. What a cool dude. He’s a heavy decal equipment welder. It was fun listening to him explain these huge highway construction machines he’s about to work on next week explaining what he has to do to them and is bummed he will most likely miss NORRA because of it.
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    He had a sock in place of the air filter, which is one of the parts Tim gave him.

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    Studly trio indeed

    Alright, we are tooling along starting to descend down the mountains toward Loreto when Tim claims he hears something funny. We all listen but heard almost nothing. Tim must be part Indian or something because he was so convinced the sound was serious. We all listen and listen. Tim claims the slight squeal happens only while breaking and turning hard left. We finally find an area to pull over and find the nut holding onto one of the trailer wheels was gone. There was nothing that held the wheel onto the trailer except a small grove the hub dug into the spindle after the bearing failed. We could not believe our luck the tire was still attached. As soon as we jack it up the wheel pulled right off. HS!
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    Tim has a natural engineering brain and instantly comes up with a solution that will allow us to limp into Loreto safely. Ron jacks up the limp axel as high as it will go while Tim tightens two heavy duty straps around the axel to a metal bar he had fabricated in the middle of the trailer. The load was too much for the metal bar and bent it. Ron and I go off into the wilderness searching for something long and thick that with do the same function and will not bend.

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    Ron scores an ultimate piece near some dilapidated building.

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    Brilliant, It works!

    We still have a long way down the mountains before we are in Loreto so Tim takes it as easy as possible all the while watching the tire go flatter and flatter. He exclaims we should be OK unless he sees pieces of tire fly off, which he eventually reports seeing. Of course there is no safe area to stop or pull over for a while but Tim just keeps a super cool head while we crawl to the first slight pull over spot.

    [​IMG]Like the first repair job we start a stop watch to see how long it takes (These guys are so cool it’s like we share some DNA or something. I’m digging it and they seem to be digging coming up with solutions, keeping cool heads and just getting it done, like I like to think I would do if I were in their shoes) Six and a half minutes we have it jacked up, placed on a large rock I find (I try so hard to be part of the crew and be of some help) so we can jack it up some more, just enough to get the spare tire on, and off we go to Loreto in search of a more permanent fix.

    (I have to stop here for now and post this sucker up. I’m running on fumes and need to stop. I will get this up to date ASAP, so hang the Flip on, the adventure will continue…!)
  11. Hipster

    Hipster Long timer

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    Mpls, Mn.
    Once again, it's an adventure just getting your bike to the starting line...
  12. princess jamaica

    princess jamaica OLD DOG-NEW TRICKS

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    KM111.5 POSADA CONCEPCION,BCS
    Saw you at the military check point just north of Loreto on Friday.At least I thought it was you.Have a great race,we'll be cheering you on.We have a super mechanic in Mulege should you need one(hope not !).
  13. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

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    How cool, you should have said hi! And thanks for the heads-up on the super mechanic in Mulege. Always good to know.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    OK, yesterday was a busy day but I believe I have everything under control now, so here we go! The adventure continues.-->


    Alright, Tim and Ron see two options for us. One: find a trailer repair shop that can repair the axel spindle that got fried, new bearings and the works so we will be 100% again. Two: If we can’t find anyone in Loreto to do this entire repair, purchase a super strong tire to replace the lonely tire on the left side, like a BFG-AT or similar and just continue rolling up the peninsula until we find a shop that can do the entire repair.

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    Tooling into Loreto Tim reminded me of the Terminator (tire repair shop on the right ‘computing-processing-forward’ another tire shop on the right ‘computing-processing-forward’ a tire repair shop on the left ‘computing-processing-pull in’

    Tim talks to the main man at the shop. A complete repair was not going to happen here today. He then discusses scenario #2 in Spanish, a stronger tire this size “mas duro” He’s got a tire but then explains to Tim where a shop is that can do the complete repair. We head off back tracking down highway-1 and pull into this shop.

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    This is a nice shop and the owner assures Tim that he can get’er done. He maybe even has a spindle somewhere on site that will work. We are ecstatic.

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    Tim and Ron know a bar and grill a short distance off the highway that has great hamburgers and fries; I think it’s called El Baracho or something. It’s easy to miss, there is a dark sign shaped in a silhouette of a cowboy on the West side of the road with an arm pointing down a dirt road. I exclaim that I will surprise Heidi with this place on our ride back, hamburger and fries are like her middle name. I say I will have to remember it because it’s easy to miss. Ron gives me crap stating “there’s a sign pointing to it!” At this point in the trip all three of us are clicking like we are brothers freely giving each other shit whenever we have the opportunity. I feel so comfortable with these guys whom I only really meet two days ago.

    Anyway, the bar was just like the bars in Northern Wisconsin, cowboy stuff hanging everywhere, animal hides, photos of Native Americans, wood beams and the works, it even has a pool table and a shuffle board table just like the Long Branch bar a short distance from our cabin home in Wisconsin. There was an American couple there that stopped by our table on their way out and asked us if we were riding motorcycles. They just finished a guided tour to Scorpion Bay. They talked and talked trying to impress us that they were hard core Baja people stating they would like to buy a place in Loreto to move here. But the guy said he has 15 motorcycles back in Washington State and wouldn’t want to part with them. Tim and Ron stayed mostly silent being good listeners. I being a loud mouth exclaim he needs to just part with them saying “they an anchor’ and suggested renting a place instead of buying. But then the guy said there’s really no where to ride down here stating there is only ‘one highway’ He obviously only rides road bikes and doesn’t think a thousand miles of pavement is sufficient. Then the STORY comes out! The woman talked about last year it took three days to get pesos for some reason. After they scored a roll they were out driving around and suddenly came upon some type of road block where the road narrows with speed bumps. They saw men in military uniforms holding big rifles waving then to come forward. They were both freaking out assuming they were about to get robbed of their roll and worse. The woman demands her husband turn their rental car around and get the H out of there, which he did just before the stopping point. He told his wife “Hang on I’m going to go fast” so he whips a shitty right in front of the military personal and floors the rental driving as fast as he could. All the while talking they kept saying they were so proud that they escaped this robbery and molestation attempt. Tim and Ron continued to be excellent listeners but loud mouth me had to say something “But those people are there to protect you!” But my words never registered to them, they must have thought Tim and Ron were with them on this, which they weren’t, because of their good listening skills or something. They kept saying how proud they were to have escaped unscaved. (And they want to move here!)

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    Cute puppies at the bar. Ron asked the waiter about the pig. I guess last time they had a little pig that ran around just like a pet dog :)

    We waited and waited for a call or a text or an email telling us the trailer is done, but nothing. The shop owner assured us that if it isn’t done today he will be working on it first thing tomorrow morning. And it wasn’t like a ‘mañana’ thing, this guy was straight-up and sincere. So once 6:00 PM came we knew we were spending the night in Loreto. Which was alright by me, I love Loreto and I love hanging with these dudes talking motorcycles, racing and Baja, it was like I was in a great dream, I couldn’t get enough of it. But these guys were on the clock at the end of a long gig and I could tell their disappointment, this was going to cost them another day trying to get home.

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    Loreto is fantastic as always. I head off on a long hike around town so Tim and Ron can just chill and unwind, perfect.

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    Around 10:00 AM Tim gets a call ‘it’s ready’. We roll in and hook up the trailer. The mechanic installed a new spindle, bearings and greased all the other bearings on the trailer, sweet! Ron spots an early 80s Land Rover in the back with no rust on it. He said if it was for sale he would come back for it, but it wasn’t. We had a nice chat with the shop owner. He pointing to an old Bronco in the back he plans on restoring to race NORRA some day. He also talked about all the pot holes North of GN that brings in a lot of business for him. He was a real jokester and a pleasure to talk with.

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    Alright, North of Loreto is a standard military roadblock where everyone is checked to make sure you are not a bad dude or are carrying anything illegal. Before we even come to a stop Tim spots a gentleman in a cowboy hat holding a clear plastic jug and a hose. Tim immediately says “He looks like a rancher and needs some gas” before we are even done with our inspection Tim asks the rancher if he needs some gas. The rancher holds out his small plastic jug, Tim pulls out one of his big gas cans and hands it to the rancher saying “todo” meaning take it all. After the rancher asks “Cuánto?” meaning ‘How much cost” Tim waves his hand and chuckles meaning nothing, it’s free. As if it was completely automatic. What a cool thing.

    OK! We are almost up to date, one more post should do it. So hang on, this adventure will continue--->
  14. princess jamaica

    princess jamaica OLD DOG-NEW TRICKS

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    KM111.5 POSADA CONCEPCION,BCS
    Fili is the shop owner in Loreto.He has worked on my Disco.Have a great race,great time.
  15. mx813

    mx813 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
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    359
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    WA

    Hmmm....pretty sure I swung in one of those hammocks...Hotel Oasis?

    I really would like to get back to Loreto for a few days and just walk around, eat, shop with the wife instead of being pressed for time on a bike.
  16. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

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    1,332
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    Hayward, WI
    Fili, what a great guy. i could tell right away that he meant business even though he was joking with us from the get-go.

    Is your Disco the one right off highway-1 in Loreto? I bartended and bounced in discotheques starting at age 18 for 5 years, from Wisconsin to Tempe to Daytona Beach. Brings back memories. We will have to stop by our next time through and shake a leg!

    You called it, Oasis. Heidi Sam and I stayed there on our way down, Paradise.


    Ride Report continues --->
    Super, everything is good with the trailer, us and the rancher has gas. We lost a solid day on our journey north but hey, I got time. I just hope Ron and Tim can endure my constant questioning. To me it’s like I’m spending time with rock stars whom I’ve been fans of my entire life. This is just unreal. I concisely try to practice good listening skills and not be the self centered loud mouth that I am. All I want to do is hear about racing, motorcycles, Baja and life. It’s like I’m listening to an adventure novel play out in real times and I’m in it. How cool is that! Thanks again Tim and Ron.

    Alright, we have a long day ahead of us while we try to make up lost time. These guys want to get home and punch out so they can prepare for the next. I almost feel bad for enjoying every mile. Tim and Ron are both former Baja 1000 motorcycle racers and are now running support for others as experts in logistics, strategy and technical support. The stories are endless but I know are only scratching the surface…So Cool!

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    Tooling through Santa Rosalia we talk about the town and how interesting it is. I exclaim I know of a good coffee shop, Ron loves coffee as do I. Next door is a favorite taco stand of Heidi’s and mine. Tacos it is!

    We tool…The Stories…The Baja…The People….The Culture…Fantastico…

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    Tim’s wife Jennifer is racing NORRA this year solo in Vintage Class 1/2-1600. Tim is assisting work still being performed on her race car as we drive. It is so interesting listening to that. Jennifer won NORRA in 2016 racing an XR400r. She is my idol and the sole reason I picked the XR400 as my race bike. And here I am today. sometimes I feel like I have to pinch myself.

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    North of Guerrero Negro Ron knows of a taco restaurant just off the highway that supposedly has unique and great grilled cheese tacos. Unreal, this is another place i will have to surprise Heidi with. but be careful with the hot sauce!

    We finally make it to Ensanada, I think it was after Midnight. Thanks again guys, I owe you for the pleasure of your company if nothing else.
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    They did end up spending the night at the swanky casino right across the street from me. Early the next morning we unload my bike and they take off heading toward the border

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    I hope you are enjoying the stories and pics half as much as I’m enjoying reliving them by writing and posting. Hang on, there’s lots more to come--->
  17. dano619

    dano619 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
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    618
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    sunny san diego
    For sure enjoying your posts-----bought a 400x from Tim 100 years ago, great guy!! Good luck to you and your support team!!
  18. Ratman

    Ratman Lucky Rider

    Joined:
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    1,302
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    Baja is good
    Cavebiker....with a capital C. You have been in the company and rolling with Baja Racing's best. I'm of the vintage of Tim's mom and dad. We all lived in North San Diego County, and Tom Morton and his wife contacted me in late 1970 and asked if I could use them to pit for me during the upcoming NORRA Mexican 1000. I was small time and needed all the help I could get. The Mortons helped me every way that they could for 10 years or so. In that year I raced this home built VW based buggy....... I'm really enjoying your story and your enthusiasm comes thru loud and clear. I'm a fan of yours.
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    dano619, mx813, Halen and 1 other person like this.
  19. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

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    I'm glad to hear you are enjoying the report, that means a lot to me.

    Ratman, thank you so much, this is like the best reply's ever. And thanks a ton for posting that pic, so so cool. This hits at the heart of what off-road racing is all about and how it all got started. You and the Morton's are pioneers of the sport and everyone in it today have you and others like you to thank. And please, Do Not hesitate to add more pics like this, it somehow is hitting me at my core. i think it reminding me of when i was a kid scratch building model cars and launching them off the top of stairs to see if they can take it, then rebuilding them. That is the coolest pic ever, i mean it.
    dano619 likes this.
  20. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

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    Hayward, WI
    OK, Ride Report continues --->

    Ensenada!

    Tim was trying hard to make sure I am going to be comfortable and enjoy my week in Ensanada before the race starts. He offered to drop me off at a hotel at a nice beach resort area outsider of Ensanada. But I’m kind of a strange dude (da! Do ya think) I love exploring large Latin American cities on foot searching out Mexican culture, street food and places where locals dine, and Ensenada is certainly a large Latin American city. I’m not into fancy food or touristy stuff. I grew up in one of the largest tourist areas in the Midwest and I’m back living there today, I search out other.

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    The first morning I head out on a long walk working my legs and looking for real Mexican food.

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    Score.

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    Ensenada, the home of Baja racing.

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    Right across the street is an empanada restaurant! Cavegirl is going to so jealous.

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    The employees were stoked to add my racing sticker to their collection. How fun.

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    The area where I’m staying seems like an old Mexican area. This restaurant, a few blocks away had several large tables filled with locals enjoying a meal and each others company. This plate doesn’t look like much but was fantastic, eggs smothered in mole sauce. Baja mole is to die for.

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    Now I’m getting boring but there are so many verities of empanadas I just had to go back and try something I never had ‘Hawaiian Empanada’ Out of this world!

    Yes Ensenada is tourist orientated but with just a little effort it’s easy to find great street food where there are no gringos in sight, except me. Street Fish tacos, marlin tacos, I can’t get enough. After all these great eats I’m prompted to go off on marathon walks around the city to burn off calories and tune the legs. I did try to find a taco place that came highly recommended to me by Ron, Paris something. While searching it out I noticed the area I was entering was heavy tourist oriented, not my thing but I figured I should give it a try. HA! Funny guys, Not the kind of tacos I was looking for. Good Humor!

    OK, let’s bring her back to motorcycles and Baja racing. When Ron helped me unload my bike he noticed the steering was binding when turning hard right. He said “you gotta fix that” He also suggested I install softer hand grips stating it will help my hands in the long run. And forsure I need help with that. Months ago when I was planning on riding the XR400 from Cabo to Ensenada prior to the race I planned to look for a place in Ensenada to install new tires and mousse. BajaBoundMoto Tim reached out and gave me a name of a good shop in town “Moto Garage 730” owned and run by a Baja 1000 Ironman, Francisco Septien.

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    I get the bike to him my first day and he is all over it. I said “You are a Baja 1000 Ironman, you are the man I want prepping my bike for NORRA” “Grips, cables and give it a good go over” That’s all I needed to say.

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    At the end of the day his mechanic Victor was still working on it. He showed me the new handle bar stops he fabricated to prevent pinching the cables and wires against the steering damper mechanism, beautiful. Victor has all my hacked wiring torn apart and is redoing it right. I am so happy. I’m told to come back tomorrow at noon.

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    The next day at noon Victor is showing me the fried rear bearing I have. Francisco tells me he wants me to be able to finish NORRA. WOW! Did I bring it to the right place or what!

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    Victor on the left. Baja 1000 Ironman Francisco on the right. What a fantastic experience. Based on the charge for two days of quality work at Francisco shop I will be inspired to bring the bike back here whenever I need work. Thinking back I CANNOT believe what the Honda shop charged me in the states and all the things they didn't do. But in the end it's all on me, it's my bike.

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    Again I can’t believe how lucky I am to have this fall into place as it did.

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    I recommend ‘Moto garage 730’ to anyone who wants their bike worked on or prepped for racing by a pro. Thanks a ton Francisco and Victor, you guys ROCK!