The northern part of this peninsula was our goal. A good friend of mine, Kevin, who rides in Baja every year and raced the Baja 2000, has been trying to talk us into doing a trip with him down to Baja for about five years now. We've discussed over beers all the details of riding in Mexico and how to properly prep and pack for point-to-point riding in Baja more times than I can remember. We've drooled over all the photos and heard about all the great riding, food and people. Finally last year, Paul (RUE1), who I've been riding with for over 16 years, sits down at my desk at work and says to me "it's time...we're riding Baja with Kevin this coming February!" That's all I needed to hear. We told Kevin we were in for his next trip and starting the planning. I had bought a new (to me) XR650R two years ago thinking in the back of my mind that it would be a great Baja bike and Paul bought a used XR650R in November and we began the process of prepping these bikes for the trip. Kevin, who also would be riding the BRP, has been riding Baja for about 15 years and has made many trips to the peninsula riding various roads, single track trails, and parts of the SCORE course as well as several tip-to-tip runs from San Felipe to Cabo San Lucas and back, so he would be our guide for this trip. Due to limited time off available, we decided to do a 7 1/2 day ride with a couple of extra travel days from New Mexico. The time would limit us to staying in northern Baja, but Kevin assured us there would be plenty to see and ride in this region. He planned out a detailed route including many popular stops since it would be our first trip to Baja and booked all the motels for the trip. Two months were spent prepping the bikes with new tires, wheel bearings, chains, sprockets, cables, rejetting, full services and any other repairs deemed necessary to ensure a reliable ride for this trip. We also spent many evenings planning the various ways to pack for this trip and deciding what to carry...and more importantly, what NOT to carry. "Less is more" was Kevin's motto for the packing, so we packed minimal clothes and only necessary items, tools and spare parts to do trail side repairs. Most of our gear would be carried in backpacks along with fanny packs, fender bags, headlight bags, and finally a one gallon spare fuel container for the longer stretches. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o> <o></o> Finally, by the beginning of February we were ready for the trip. Gordy was kind enough to loan us his SPOT and set up a share page for the trip. On Saturday, February 13th after some last minute trailer wiring repair (who knew the kids would tear the plug off the trailer and not tell you ) we left Albuquerque about mid-afternoon and headed for our first night in Yuma, Arizona. Kevin had left earlier that morning and we met him at the Motel about 10:30 that night. February 14th We awoke early the next morning... loaded up... ...got a quick breakfast at Denny's... ...and drove to Calexico, California. We exchanged our money for pesos and headed for the border! After crossing into Mexicali, it was about a 130 mile drive down Mexico Highway 5 to San Felipe. The highway was in pretty good shape most of the way. About 40 miles north of San Felipe we were detoured onto a dirt bypass for about ten miles due to construction. Arrived at San Felipe around 1:00 in the afternoon. Kevin has a cousin who owns a beach house about 20 miles south of San Felipe and in about 5 miles on a sandy dirt road where we would leave our tow vehicles for the week. It was beautiful to pull up to the house and see the Sea of Cortez up close. What a beautiful sight! I think we found where all the Honda ATC's from the '80's have been hiding! We visited for a short time and cruised the beach a bit before gearing up and heading back to San Felipe on the bikes for our first night in Baja. This first day would only be a 21 mile dirt route Kevin knew on sandy roads to get back to San Felipe avoiding pavement. It was a little taste of what it would be like for the next week carrying loaded backpacks and riding sand!