¡Feliz año nuevo! January riding Mexico.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Lawrence908, Dec 31, 2015.

  1. Lawrence908

    Lawrence908 Adventurer

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    Been creeping and crawling my way through ride reports here for two years now and I'm finally doing a ride worthy of a little write up myself.

    I've got 6 weeks off work(amazing right!) and I've decided to spend the majority of it on two wheels. Being from Canada that meant I had to go somewhere else. So I made my way down to El Centro, California to prepare to cross into Mexico for a wild ride and a lot of adventure.
    Wildwilly has been kind enough to let me store my truck with him until I return to truck my bike back up to snowy, freezing, gloomy Edmonton, Alberta.

    I'll be riding my KTM 690 Enduro, kitted out with Rally Raid tanks and fairings and my choice assortment of luggage and goodies.

    Hopefully getting to venture more dirt than asphalt, but my real goal on this trip is to put timelines behind me(other than my return deadline), and to open up and explore the culture while making a crude attempt at the language as well.

    I'm a sucker for landscape photography, usually with my bike in front of it so I hope you like those kinds of pictures if you're going to follow along here too!

    Heading into Mexico tomorrow, starting off 2016 with Baja and eventually ferry from La Paz to take this trip inland.

    My steed:

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    Steed plus rider:

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    #1
  2. Sertguy

    Sertguy Been here awhile

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    Good times. I'll be heading down there in February, but on four wheels :baldy. Be safe.
    #2
  3. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Ride safe and post lots of pictures.:lurk....Dave
    #3
  4. Dan Diego

    Dan Diego Long timer

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    Cool. Looking forward to your RR and photos. Have fun.
    #4
  5. sasho

    sasho Dual Personality

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    Awesome!! You are going to have a lot of fun!! Just returned from Baja and already miss the weather.
    #5
  6. b4thenite

    b4thenite Been here awhile

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    be safe and enjoy!
    #6
  7. resslerm

    resslerm Adventurer

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    I'm in. Heading down in a few weeks myself. Maybe we can meet up in Baja. Ride safe!
    #7
  8. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    Nice bike
    You definitely picked the right time to leave the Edmunchuck weather and replace it with some desert riding.
    #8
  9. radmann10

    radmann10 Derf Supporter

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    I'm in for the trip, good luck!
    #9
  10. gsstampeder

    gsstampeder Long timer

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    :lurk:wink:
    #10
  11. Lawrence908

    Lawrence908 Adventurer

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    Alright, finally got some WiFi last night and now my pictures are uploaded. Here's some updates.

    Some pictures from my first day across the border. Not quite as warm as I expected first thing, but the sun and scenery seem to make up for it. I've since learned I didn't go to the right customs office on my way into Mexico, so I may be here illegally, but I'm sure it's a simple enough mistake and they can just stamp me in where I am now and hand me a tourist card, right? We'll see.
    I stop at Mike's Sky Ranch, the price is steep but would be well worth it if it were full of other bikers and Baja travelers. I picked New Years Day to stop in so my bike is a little lonely overnight, although quite safe.

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    #11
    goodcat likes this.
  12. Lawrence908

    Lawrence908 Adventurer

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    I'll likely be out of Baja and onto mainland Mexico in the next few days, possibly Friday or over the weekend but let me know when you're headed in, who knows!
    #12
  13. Lawrence908

    Lawrence908 Adventurer

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    My first Mexican town is San Felipe, very low key, very relaxed. Some roadside fish tacos, a little mayhem trying to find a working bank machine due to the holiday but it all works out and I head out of town, down the coast towards the famous Coco's Corner!
    I pull up and someone lifts the chain for me, I hear a Kiwi or Aussie accent and see some bikes parked in front of a camper. Happy to meet some travelers, we get to talking and immediately Coco is offering me soup, beer, a place to stay and of course breaking the ice with immediate insults.
    I had a great night there and met Stephanie Jeavons from Wales who is 2 years into her Round The World trip on a CRF 250L, and she's joined by Shane who is giving his DR650 a break in Bulgaria until warmer weather while he muscles a big 150cc bike around Mexico for a few months. They're heading North so we part ways in the morning but it was great to meet some real experienced travelers who have lots of stories to share.
    Coco's is a great stop and it led to a few introductions of others traveling Baja, definitely recommend it!

    Stephanie has a blog at www.stephmoto-adventurebikeblog.com or a Facebook page called One Woman, One Motorbike, One World Trip if you want to read more about their travels

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    #13
    goodcat likes this.
  14. AdvFan

    AdvFan Adventurer

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    You should have a tourist visa and/or stamp in your passport book from the immigration office when you crossed the border. They will not issue a TVIP in La Paz without the Tourist visa. Here is an article from HUBB forum explaining this.
    http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/central-america-and-mexico/stuck-la-paz-w-no-83898

    Baja does not require the TVIP but the mainland does and they are very strict about this. If you have to return to the border then maybe a trip up to Algodones, a ride thru the Copper Canyon, a return thru La Paz, into Baja Sur to Cabo and then scurry up the Pacific coast back up to Tijuana?

    Good luck and have fun
    #14
  15. Lawrence908

    Lawrence908 Adventurer

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    After a couple goodbyes in the morning, I headed South for Bahia de Los Angeles, I knew I'd get some fuel there and head onto to the questionable road that goes South. I'd read that it's pretty gnarly but Coco and the others seemed to think I'd be alright. As I pull into town and gas up, I see a couple loaded bikes at the next gas station, I swing by for a hello. After a couple sentences about where they're headed and where they've come from I realize Stephanie had mentioned knowing this couple the night before. I noticed their new suits and their new bikes and ask if they've just started their trip recently, the reply barely computes in my head. They've been traveling on bikes for 13 YEARS! THIRTEEN YEARS!
    They say they're headed down the same road I mention but I'm going to grab food first and maybe check out the beach they recommend first. I get some of the best fish tacos I've ever had, the American family I was chatting with ends up buying my lunch and wishes me safe travels.
    The road is definitely gnarly and there's the occasional baby head sized boulder in the rocky road waiting to bend a rim or pinch a tube. I get into a good rhythm and I'm feeling comfortable, the speed is up to 85km/h at some points and I realize I'm riding a little reckless for being in a desert with nobody in sight. A Spot GPS tracked should be last resort, not something I rely on because of stupidity.
    I slow down a bit and eventually run into Simon and Lisa Thomas, the insanely well traveled couple from the UK I saw at the Pemex gas station in town. I ask Simon to snap some photos of me riding down the road since solo riders don't get the opportunity of self-action shots often. We get talking and I ask if they'd mind some company camping the night since we're both headed that direction, they say 'sure why not'.
    The road is rougher ahead than it was up to that point, lots of rocky steep 'road' and eventually we hit some grueling sand covered section before San Francisquito. It's a battle with all bikes but Lisa powers her was through with the loaded 800GS along with the massive fuel tank added on, she has a couple spills in the sand mostly due to the traction control kicking on when it shouldn't. I take shoulder first crash in the sand when I'm looking back to see if a bike went down behind me but I pick my bike up before anybody notices. I'm such a self proclaimed nice guy that I tell them about it later though!
    We decide to set up camp right next to what looks like an untraveled sand track, some trucks fly by just after we get our tents set up but we don't care. Lisa mixes up an awesome meal with what they've got and I have to beg for food because I haven't picked up any yet.
    Amazing experience from this couple and I'm glad they let me tag along, though I'm sure they just wanted the extra muscle to pick up the big loaded GS's when or rather if they went down. Simon somehow manages to power the 1200GS through all that sand and not drop it once, shows you what experience can do for you in that kind of terrain.

    Check out Simon and Lisa at their website 2RideTheWorld.com or on Facebook at 2RideTheWorld to see how the pros do it.

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    The next morning shows us some nasty clouds in the direction we're headed. Plans for coffee get exchanged for a quick pack up and we head straight into the weather. The camera gets put away after the first stop and we power through some rough terrain with mild rain. Guerrero Negro gives us better weather, delicious food and a cheap hotel to recharge and rest.

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    #15
  16. Lawrence908

    Lawrence908 Adventurer

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    I thought that would have been what I get at the border and expected it, but I didn't have enough experience to know I had to go and find the building myself. I was surprised at just how open the border was. I knew Baja didn't need the TVIP but was going to get it right away anyways because I plan to ferry over in a few days. I had heard about this Tourist Card but didn't know where it came into play.
    Definitely a beginner move on my part and not one I'll make again. I'm going to try and find out if there's any way to get the Tourist Card near Guerrero Negro where I am, or La Paz or any option like that. If not, I'll do a long day headed straight up Mex-1 for the border to fix my mistake and right back down to continue my progress. I'm dreading a long Hwy day for sure.

    I'll read more into that HUBB link and I know there's a bunch of them gathered at Posada Concepcion so I may be able to get some good advice there.

    Thanks!
    #16
  17. RumRunner

    RumRunner Sit there, turn that

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    Great pics, luv'n the report :thumb

    DW
    #17
  18. AdvFan

    AdvFan Adventurer

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    Some people have gotten their visa at the airport but that is for travelers who flew into La Paz. Not a guarantee if rode in and you will have to return to Tijuana from there if no go...
    I was riding the same exact route you are on two weeks ago..Mikes, BOLA, Guerrero, Cocos, San Ignacio, San Felipe, Camp Rene...
    Great photos. Enjoying your RR. Everyone in Baja is soooo nice and friendly. It has been said that once the Baja bug bites you it never goes away....There is a lot of truth in that
    #18
  19. Lawrence908

    Lawrence908 Adventurer

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    Spent the day doing a whale watching tour out of Guerrero Negro. Begins with a car ride out of town, through an absolutely massive salt mine, they export 1,000,000 tons of salt each year, some for industrial use and some for table salt.
    After a bit of a trip you arrive at some pretty small 12 seater boats and head out into the lagoon. This is just the beginning of the mating season, when the grey whales come to breed so there only 2-300 whales at the moment but apparently the numbers can reach over 2,700 whales in the lagoon at once!
    An awesome experience and not much to say about it, but quite a lot of pictures, hopefully not too many of just whales backs bumping out of the water.

    No motorcycles in this update but an update nonetheless.


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    #19
  20. Lawrence908

    Lawrence908 Adventurer

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    Agreed, that's my takeaway from the HUBB thread. At this point I'm the same distance from La Paz as I am from TJ. Think I'm going to attempt the airport option and if that's an absolute no go, with no workaround I'll fork out the $$$ for the flight up to TJ and sort it out and be back in La Paz for dinner...hopefully that's the worst case scenario.

    Appreciate the link with some info, at least puts a plan in my head, rather than a wait and find out what the possibilities are.

    I can definitely see the appeal, I'm looking forward to seeing the mainland for a little comparison, but I can easily see why people love coming down here. After talking with some Americans that bought houses down here, it's nice to hear that it's actually affordable too, a very cool option for a getaway/vacation home or even something like retirement.
    #20