Tips for short Baja California Norte trip on a V-Strom 1000 please!

Discussion in 'Americas' started by bruinADVguy, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. bruinADVguy

    bruinADVguy Adventurer

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    Hey guys. Leaving LA for 3-5 days in late Dec or early Jan and looking for suggestions! Settled on north Baja on the V-Strom 1000, per the suggestions so far ITT.

    The bike:

    2005 V-Strom 1000 with new Metzeler Tourance tires, big aluminum boxes, skid plate and engine guards. I know the Strom isn't really a true adventure bike. Camping is probably the goal.

    (Earlier more lengthy post with more options deleted.)

    2) Baja. Not sure where to go that doesn't require a true dual sport or involve hours of straight line droning on a highway. Is there a Butler for Baja? I can search this I guess. I'd kind of like to take the Strom down whatever side of the Baja peninsula is best, ending in La Paz or Cabo (edited: not going that far south). Beach camping would be cool (if safe). I'd like to maybe do some dirt roads, but I'm not an experienced off-roader and am going solo. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
    #1
  2. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    That's enough to choose from.:lol2
    Seriously, 3-5 days to Cabo, is illogical, no matter which bike or how many big steel boxes or skid plates...
    Yes, it surely rains in the winter in areas posed in #3:rofl and may get cold at night if at elevation.
    Baja has only a couple of paved highways all easily seen on most any road map/atlas. Anything else is a dirt road and not where many take big Stroms,etc.. You could get to the National Park in N Baja on that bike and camp. It's dirt and has big water puddles but full of Californians when I was last there.:-)
    Get to it by going north a few miles off one of two horizontal paved roads in Baja. If you haven't been to Mexico maybe just do a northern tour of paved areas and get in a relaxed 3-5 days?
    AZ/NM- whats "pretty" is subjective? If you want no snow, the areas below I-10 don't have any but do get cold at night but safe to ride there.
    We stayed in AZ's Patagonia SP in late February and was 29 degs. but a scenic area and fits into your 3-5 day window. Ride toward Yuma on a map.
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  3. bobbyinredwood

    bobbyinredwood Adventurer

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    Nevada Backcountry discovery route! The first three sections are high desert and should be rain free. Does get cold. Most of the route is on dirt fire roads that are fairly tame. Couple of sections of technical riding but theoretically you can bounce out to the pavement and avoid those. I just rode it solo a few weeks back, a great adventure!
    Baja could be fun but 3-5 days to cabo and back is not going to happen. Maybe taking the 5 down the east coast and on to Mulege would be manageable in that time frame. Will give you a little mix of dirt and pavement.
    I wouldn't go north that time of year.
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  4. bruinADVguy

    bruinADVguy Adventurer

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    Thanks for the tips so far!

    Kantuckkid, ok. I won't bother much with Mex I don't think. Well, I might try the park you speak of. I did a day trip to San Felipe last summer and it was the most boring ride down. Also, way too hot. Now it would be less hot but still boring, but the cooler weather might encourage me to explore more; last trip i just waited for night time and rode home (I know the advice is to not drive on Mex at night, but it was a necessity). I'll keep your advice on Az in mind.

    Bobbyinredwood, thanks for advice on Nevada. I'll check out the maps. I don't have a Butler for Nv yet. I did check temps for one elevated town near Death Valley last night , though. 16 degrees! Yikes!
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  5. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Must agree with the posts saying 3-5 days is not enough if you really think you could get to los Cabos and back in 5 days . One way spread out over 5 days would be an excellent ride though .
    As a frequent Baja tourist and longtime V Strom DL1000 rider I can assure you that your bike is one you DO NOT want to take off road in Mexico . It is fine if you can stick to hard packed ,graded gravel roads , like the concession roads here in Ontario .In Baja you will inevitably run into loose sand .Deep sand at times .Be prepared to wave bye bye to the Strom and walk out. No amount of bash plates and steel will help you other than making the dropping of anchor more effective.
    If that is all the time you can devote in Baja you can have a nice relaxing tour ON ASPHALT by doing the loop Tecate-Ensenada-San Felipe - Mexicali -Tecate - Tijuana in either direction.
    Explore a bit around south of Ensenada to La Bufadera, with an overnight or two , cross the peninsula to San Felipe for another overnight or two and head back up to the border. Explore some of the ASPHALT south of San Felipe and around the border area .
    Relax , slow down ,enjoy .Bring warm clothes for the case it is cold.
    PS your reply beat my reply by a minute.
    If you found the ride to San Felipe deadly boring you had better stay out of Baja altogether . There and in other parts of Mexico and USA and ..(fill in blank ).. there will be many long roads with such limited visual stimulation for folk not prepared to see "desert ". You will absolutely haaaaaate Nevada ,and much of Arizona and Utah and Wyoming and .....
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  6. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra

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    I wouldn't write off Baja. With the V Strom, you could make a nice loop. Head south on Hwy 1 towards Ensenada. I prefer Baja south of there but Ensenada wouldn't be a bad first stop. Ride south from there along the Pacific Coast - lots of little towns to check out. After Catavina, you could turn east on Hwy 5. About 25 miles of dirt through a construction zone which is mostly really easy. Might be some short sections of soft sand after Coco's Corner but nothing bad. I'd ride a street bike through there (but REALLY slowly). Ride back towards San Felipe. You could continue on to Mexicali and take Hwy 2 back towards Tijuana (Tecate is a nicer crossing) or take Hwy 3 to Ensenada and then to Tecate. Lots of choices.
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  7. OtterChaos

    OtterChaos Guzzi Sud!

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    As for the NorCal coastal route, Highway 1 is still closed just north of Ragged Point and that is mostly where the fun starts so probably not worth a ride focused on just that.
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  8. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil

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    True, but it's just that one section that is closed (Mud Creek). You can still access Highway 1 via Nacimiento-Fergusson Road, and head north on 1 from there.
    Highway 1 north of San Francisco is mostly open, with a closure north of Muir Beach, but if the weather looks clear, that section of highway is terrific -- but the camping will be chilly! :vardy
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  9. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    OP-tell us what you like?
    I read camping, maybe beach camping and off road gets lots of attention too but your honest in saying not a lot of experience.
    Mexico is not a place to learn to ride off road!!! especially on a big bike. Even in the part of Baja close to the border you can be a long ways from help. As Bakker says above and he has thousands of miles on that bike-listen to him.
    Post #6 is well worth consideration IMO. Lots to see and do in Baja and the time of year thrown in with your location-it makes sense!
    There's a winery tour in Baja countryside that's close by to you and in Ensenada the old Jesuit winery was interesting to me.
    I go to AZ in the winter for baseball/spring training, not riding FWIW. The national park I mentioned in Baja is high elevation, had snow in shady spots when I was there in winter but T-shirt's in the daytime.
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  10. dravnx

    dravnx Been here awhile

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    New Years Eve in Bahia de Los Angeles. Easy to do in 5 days. They have a great party in town.
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  11. b4thenite

    b4thenite Been here awhile

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    V strom is fine. Just stay on pavement. Experience the country.
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  12. RW66

    RW66 Been here awhile

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    Everyone has a different opinion about Baja because everyone goes for a different reason. I rode Ensenada to La Paz 2 years ago in 2 days with my wife. For me the long stretches of black top was not boring because every 50 to 80 miles things changed. I like to ride and I’m not a very good tourist. With that said it was 2 very long days to La Paz.
    If you are planning 3 to 5 and the Mexican adventure I recommend you stay north of Guerrero Negro and just look around between the sea of Cortez and the coast.
    However for me Baja is not Mexico. I think it is more American than Mexican. If you are looking for Mexico the mainland is much better and there is a lot of good ridding from Mexicali on south.
    Have a fun ride.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  13. bruinADVguy

    bruinADVguy Adventurer

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    Ok. I think I'm mostly settled on the north part Baja for this short trip. 5 days might be pushing it; it might be 3 or 4. That's ok. But I'm going to keep the Nevada Backcountry Discovery Route in my pocket for another day.

    I think I'll cross Tecate, take 3 across to 5 and head south, and then head up Hwy 1. Responses and follow up questions below:

    I gather you mean "Parque Nacional Sierra de San Pedro Martil"? So, I can get to it by going across Hwy 3 from either 1 or 5? Are these dirt roads through the park suitable for a very loaded DL1000 with Metz Tourance tires?

    Re: NVBDR - Technical? BF loaded V-Strom doable? Or rocks/logs etc? Mulege is a little further than I think I'll have time for. Planning to go south on 5 and loop back up 1, unless Bajai de Los Angeles is a must.

    So are there dirt roads between 1 or 5 and the beach? Can I ride them on my big fat DL1000? Beach camping is on the agenda, if doable and free or cheap, and if I won't get stuck. I'd appreciate any suggestions as to where if you got them. BTW, I grew up Southwestern Ontario and rode the concessions around Chatham-Kent. I think I can handle that. :)

    I'd like to get a little further south than you are suggesting, but time is going to be limited.

    I think I just didn't enjoy the straight runs on my last trip to Mex for different reasons. I left Redlands, Ca early last August and rode 243/74/371/79 to Julian in moderate temps, followed by a shot down to I-8, and a heat blast along to El Centro. I then had the hottest ride of my life in the afternoon down 5 to San Felipe. I remember the air temp gauge on the FJR reading something like 118 or 119 degrees at the worst. I was so dehydrated and beat by the time I arrived that I just ate tacos and pounded juice and coke until the sun was well set by around 10 pm, and headed back for the border so as to not have to deal with the intense sun again the next day. I think it was closer to 100 degrees at that point, give or take, and it was comparatively pleasant. I then drove across I-8 to I-5 and headed north. Along I-5 I felt like I was suffering from hypothermia in 60 degree weather along the coast until I got home. I was then sick in bed with fever/chills/(maybe runs, not sure) for the next 3 days. Could have been the tacos, could have been the contrast in weather throughout the day. Could have been exhaustion. The ride was awesome and the jaunt to San Felipe for tacos made for a cool story, but it just kicked my ass. I think I could handle the straightness this time of year.

    That said, my last big trip was the national parks etc of Utah and Colorado, with almost all of the gold and red Butler roads woven in. It was probably the best 5 days I've ever had alone. But this trip is about a different kind of adventure; exploring and more relaxed riding.

    Thanks for the encouragement. I think checking out the towns is what will be fun about this trip. But I'll hit sand even along 5, you say?

    I was going to basically slab it until Mill Valley, head up 1/101 to Crescent City, 199 into Oregon, and weave through the National Forests back to the Bay. I was supposed to do that ride this summer before the UT/CO trip, but it wound up not happening. Maybe next Spring or Fall? Haha.

    Yes, camping on the beach would be fun. Again, concerned about getting stuck on access roads, though. Do such roads even exist? It seems the only roads mapped are the big ones (1/3/5). I wish there was a Butler map for Baja...

    Prob try to be back with the fam for NYE, but thanks for the suggestion! Weather in Bahia de Los Angeles looks cold this week...and so far south. Weird.

    Duly noted. Maybe just staying north, as Bakkar suggested, is the way to go. Maybe with a little dip slightly south of Ensenada and San Felipe and doubling back, without going all the way down to where 1 and 5 meet.


    Thanks for the feedback, guys. Looks like the agenda is starting to take shape!
    #13
  14. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra

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    There is just a little sand getting to Coco's. So little I was going to ride my ST1300 through there before I bought my 1290
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  15. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    I went to Cocos on a F650 and my friend was on a lowered FJR, he beat up the pipes a little but no problems! Sand.....throttle through!!
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  16. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority

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    I've been driven out of the "National Park" (aka: the observatory) by snow as late in the year as Easter. Snow in northern Baja is also fairly common at Mike's Sky Rancho and Laguna Hansen.
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  17. bruinADVguy

    bruinADVguy Adventurer

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    So it might be pretty cold even if no snow? Would you be sticking to the coast this time of year?
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  18. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority

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    Side roads from the pavement to either coast commonly are the most common place for people to get stuck in the kitty litter. When in doubt while solo, don't be afraid to park the scooter and scout ahead a short distance on foot.
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  19. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra

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    One of the beauties of riding Baja is the variation in temperature in just a short distance. In winter, Sea of Cortez side could be comfortable 60's, rain/sleet/snow up high, and cool and cloudy on the coast. Or nice and cool up high, cool on the coast, and howling wind on the Sea of Cortez. So plan your trip and adjust route for the best riding conditions.
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  20. OtterChaos

    OtterChaos Guzzi Sud!

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    [​IMG]
    Here I am on a bit of 5 near Coco's and you can see this section is dirt/gravel not sandy at all here.

    [​IMG]
    You can get a bit of sand in the places they are prep'ing the road bed for paving, not too deep really although I should have let a bit of air out of my tires. Still had no issues and it was fun.

    [​IMG]

    And here is the mighty dirt warrior bike I took to Coco's (I've actually done it twice on this bike) a Moto Guzzi V7. I don't even think you would need dirt style tires to get here, normal street tires would do the trick. I'm thinking I'll head back down to Baja next week as I want to get another ride in Mexico. Oh and I don't recommend having a large top box like I have on my bike here, too much weight behind the rear axle made handing a bit squirrely and in fact the washboards on the dirt section of 5 broke my luggage rack (which I got fixed in Guerrero Negro the next day).
    #20