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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by liv2day, Nov 3, 2018.
Oh yeah, pics.
Really enjoying seeing Baja again. Thanks!
Woke up to another fantastic Baja day and took our time packing up. TR needed to rework a fix on the WR rack, so I enjoyed the quiet after all the peeps packed their campers and headed for the border.
This guy had stuck his rig out in the surf, was fully submerged until the tide went out and then they finally yanked it out. Suffice to say...no va.
Bombed to Guadalupe Hot Springs, seriously cool spot that’s a real oasis. The huge palms and tranquility makes it something special.
Plan for the last day of riding was to take a track that dropped us into La Rumorosa. Our Tiger rider decided to skip it and head straight to the asphalt. Turns out that was a good idea.
Track started ok, but we hit seriously deep sand and then it turned into a whooped out, rocky nightmare. Not sure what Code group is, but a race had gone through and made it no fun on bikes. We found a bail point and tucked tails to asphalt.
Was cool to ride the road up and down into Tecate, that’s one hell of an engineering feat.
Grabbed some killer tacos before hitting the border, really glad we talked our way to skipping the huge line of cars... imagine it was a 4 hour wait for them.
Loaded the bikes and started the 1100 mile haul home...still have 5 hours to go.
I’ll start the proper report once I get the 2000+ pics off the camera and processed. Also have a few hours of video to sift through, cannot wait to relive the adventure.
What an great adventure that was, and glad I could join you guys for the last leg of the venture north (944 miles for me over six days), Whoo Hoo! Thanks B.A. for picking me up on Loreto and letting me hang with your family in P.C. the first couple of days! I always appreciate your wonderful hospitality, and your fish tacos were the bomb! Also, definitely a big thanks to T.Y. for letting me ride that big DR-650 for the return trip ... she's a beast, but love the power and reliability of that ol' girl, and she treated me well!
Since my part of the trip happened over Thanksgiving week, I'm very thankful for being there, and that none of us had any major issues with crashes (besides the "buying a round of beer" tip-overs ), injuries, breakdowns, or FLAT TIRES ... despite riding some pretty gnarly sections of the trashed Baja 1000 course !
I can't say enough about how amazing it is to experience riding Baja ... such an incredible landscape, not to mention the Food, Beer & Tequila! Plus the people and culture are very friendly and hospitable, and also very patient with Gringos like me who habla un poquito Espanol.
So happy to check that off my bucket list, and hope to do it again someday!
Have wanted to get back to this report and post details of each day's ride with tons of pictures since getting back to the cold northWET last week, but it seems taking all that time off has a significant work penalty in that a whole $hit ton of stuff piled up...lol. Mostly have my head back above water and I don't want details to fade too far, so here goes.
To kick things off, a short trailer.
And a screen grab from Garmin on the overall ride.
When planning the overall ride, I guessed that we'd actually be on the bikes in Baja starting November 5th. We made good time on the slog south and crossed the border a day early, which meant the first day's ride was going to be broken up into a couple days.
We stowed the van and trailer in Potrero, a perfect spot that's just a short ride from the border crossing in Tecate.
Pretty hard to describe how completely amped I was on the ride to the border. This would be the first time I physically crossed the border into Mexico. And I was on my bike! And I'd be riding for 7 days on the way to Loreto where my family would fly in and we'd hang out for ~10 days before I jumped BACK on my bike with my buds to ride back to the border.
Does it get any better? No, not really. Perhaps the only way is that we could have stayed there for the winter. Some day.
Getting loaded and ready to ride in Potrero.
The border crossing wasn't painful at all, parked our bikes and walked across to exchange dollars for pesos and then go through the immigration office to get our tourist cards and passports stamped. It was right around lunch, so we found a good looking taco place and stopped for grub before heading east.
I had a track for the first day that landed us at Rancho Meling. Rather than follow that track, good 'ole TY said he knew of a great road that headed south and would land us up in the hills at Laguna Hanson. Ok, he knows the area. Right.
We bombed east on MX 2 for a while, then turned south on what started as a paved track and then turned to dirt. It was a fun road and I could see we were at least in the vicinity of my track (when zooming out...lol). After roughly 40 or 50 miles, TY stops and we pull up next to him. What follows is one of the best quotes of the ride:
"This isn't the road I thought it was."
Now, most people would have stopped 4-5 miles into it. Not TY...lol. Luckily, the E32 map showed exactly what set of tracks to take to get back on track and we headed off.
Thought about carting the head, but it was a bit too ripe.
Shadows started getting long and we needed to find a place to camp. Passed by Laguna Hanson and the cool cabins they have up there, then stumbled on a seriously fantastic place to throw tents up for the night.
Patti and her husband Hunter now operate the Oxxxo De La Sierra. They have fuel, fire wood, a store, cabanas for rent, tent space, and will cook meals too. Incredibly gracious and welcoming, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Patti explained her mother used to own the building and grounds and they've taken it over and are making a go of it.
I would go back in a heartbeat; we dined in their little cantina for dinner and breakfast. Ice cold beers and good food, can't beat that given the remote location. It was a cold night and I think it got down below 40, which made the fire perfect and having a mummy bag that closed all the way even more so...lol.
This is also where I was introduced to Cabrito tequila. Hunter gave us a complementary shot and that set the hook. I'm a whisky guy, but this stuff was fantastic for sipping (tried to have bottles with us for the rest of the ride...lol).
Kicked back after a great dinner and enjoyed several more Tecates around the fire. Pretty killer way to have my first day of riding Baja go.
We covered roughly 80 miles and found a great spot to camp. Fantastic first day of riding Baja.
Put a short vid together with footage from the 1st day of riding.
Hoping to get the 2nd day's ride posted tomorrow, was an interesting one after we left Mike's
'Bout time I put together the 2nd day's ride - need more hours in the day. Now that I've been back in the PNW for a few weeks...I really miss Baja
Our goal for today was to arrive at Rancho Meling and we were looking forward to getting there early since we shaved a little over 80 miles over what was supposed to be the first day. Yeah, didn't make it . But I'll get to that in a bit.
The morning started perfectly, if a bit on the nippy side. While I was getting some instant coffee going to help shake the sleep off, our wonderful hosts actually brought us coffee out to our camp site; how frickin' cool is that! Did I mention it was cold, think the mercury was around 39 when I rolled out of my sleeping bag to get some pictures.
After warming up with some coffee, Patti and Hunter made us a great breakfast and we topped off with fuel. Honestly, if you're looking for a great place to stay, these folks are fantastic.
Jumped on the bikes and headed south-ish, with a plan to stop by Mike's on the way to Meling.
Made it to Mike's and decided to have lunch. Have to say, after the incredibly warm reception we received at Oxxxo De La Sierra, I was less than impressed with how we were greeted at Mike's. Glad we didn't stay there, didn't feel all that welcome.
We left Mike's and this is where things went slightly pear-shaped
Now, I had received input from folks here (thanks @jonz and others!) that said the road leading from Mike's over the "hill" to Meling was rough and could be seriously hard for a big bike. For those reading, should have heeded that advice...lol. We made it a decent way up the hill, but ended facing a pretty steep climb after a switch-back with several nasty rock-steps. We were a bit tired from riding a decent distance thus far and rather than risking something stoopid on only our 2nd day, we tucked tails and turned around.
Picture doesn't quite do the incline justice, but you can see the rock steps.
Made our way back down past Mike's and looked at options. Fortunately, I had plotted an alternate route originally when I thought our Tiger rider was going to be 2-up. Which brings up something I had forgotten: always check to make sure your topo maps transfer. Upon leaving our campsite from the first night, I noticed that I HAD NO TOPO MAPS on my GPS - only the damn route and major roads. Seems that only the very "top" of the Baja E32 maps transferred to my Montana. Suffice to say, this made navigating the next 6 days interesting.
We found the track and made our way west. Although there were sections of the road that were fun, holy carp it was seriously beat-to-hell most of the way. Washboard nastiness for the majority of the track. And it was dark by the time I finally made it to MX 1. I had a couple of nervous moments as I was bouncing along, the first was encountering one of the Federale trucks packed with guys in the back and one of 'em manning the machine gun mounted at the top. They didn't really pay any attention to me, but that was a bit unsettling. I kept plodding along trying to pick my way through the baby heads and ruts - it was full-on dark shortly after I passed the Federales.
The 2nd moment that was a little unsettling happened as I was waiting at the intersection at MX 1. It's pitch black and I'm parked off the side of the dirt road with my helmet off waiting for the guys to catch up. A pick-up truck comes flying off MX 1 and misses me and my bike by 3-4 feet, so glad I wasn't a few feet to my right . Said pick-up truck drives roughly 75 yards, turns off their 1 working headlight and turns around. Hmmm. About 3 minutes later, a white explorer coming the opposite direction on MX 1 does the same damn thing, kills their lights after pulling up next to the pick-up. I threw my helmet back on and got ready to bolt, but fortunately, both parties took off in a cloud of dust about 45 seconds later. This was the only time the entire trip I felt a bit nervous, and I was super relieved when my buddies pulled up and we decided to head into San Vincente to find a hotel.
We found the La Palma hotel right on MX 1 and they had a room with 3 beds and let us park our bikes on the porch - perfect. One of the guys walked to the market and got 3 big Tecate's; so we relaxed on the porch and watched traffic fly by. I had noticed a street taco stand right in front of the motel when we pulled in and that place was hopping - locals kept stopping by. Walked up there and that's where I had my first adobada tacos, 17 pesos each. And they were killer, found my new favorite taco right up there with tacos de pescado.
We covered right around 170 miles, more than expected, but a cool damn adventure for the day.
Hoping to have time to get a video put together from the day, think there's some good footage.
Nice! Please keep coming.
3rd day in the saddle would end up being one helluva long one, but it was also lots (too many) asphalt miles - needed to get in the slab as we wanted to make it to Catavina.
We headed south on MX 1 and decided to take a track I had that made it's way to Rancho Meling - plan was to go there and have lunch. The track started off nicely, but we soon found ourselves riding through some gates wondering if we were trespassing (though the locals that saw us just waved). It was tough trying to figure out what's what as I didn't have topo information, and that became really apparent when the 2-track we were following ended in a semi-newly fenced agricultural place (lol).
No biggie, TY scouted a goat path around the fence and we eventually found our way to the paved road leading up to Meling.
Rancho Meling is quite the oasis and a seriously cool ranch. I can easily imagine spending a couple days relaxing there, very tranquil and the people were incredibly friendly. We enjoyed a good lunch and then jumped back on the bikes for the ride down. Having been a sportbike & track rider for many years, I really wanted to ride that road on something with slicks...lol.
Had a chance to get the Mavic out and use it to take a pano shot - pretty damn cool feature of the drone.
We hit MX 1 and knew it was a super long slab to Catavina. As we were making our way south, I remembered I had a track that went down to the Pacific and followed the coastline. Meant the day was going to be even longer, but F-it...have to see the ocean and ride by it.
It was fantastic to be riding along the Pacific and we eventually found ourselves at Pirate's Cove. Had to stop and have a couple beers overlooking the ocean, pretty cool hotel and I think ocean facing rooms were $50. Not bad and a killer view to boot.
Back on the bikes and we made our way to MX 1. It was late in the afternoon and we had a ways to go to Catavina. Actually had to pull over on the way and get my jacket out. Although we were slabbing it, it was a pretty ride along MX 1, especially as we started gaining elevation and getting into the crazy features.
It was dark by the time we pulled into the Mission parking lot. I had originally wanted to camp at the area southeast of town, but no one felt like putting our crap up in the dark and even though the hotel room was expensive, splitting it 3 ways took the sting out. There were several Baja racing crews at the hotel and it was super cool to see some of the rigs and bikes.
We threw our stuff in the room and made our way to the cantina across MX 1. Not a bad dinner and it felt good to sit down with a beer or three. The sand floor was cool too.
Long arse day on the bike, we covered ~260 miles. I like the elevation chart from this day's ride, the big spike in the middle is heading up to Rancho Meling. And then it's cool to see the elevation gain as we left the Pacific and started climbing to Catavina.
Good stuff! Enjoying the pics and words... Glad to see you got turned on to Cabrito Tequila - Just happens to be my favorite down there...
Had some time to get a video put together from the 2nd day's ride. Wanted more aerial footage, but didn't have time to get it.
In - cool stuff
Onto day 4! I'd been looking forward to scouting around Catavina after reading about it online, the rock formations and fauna of the area is truly something else. And thanks to the freigh-train snoring of one of my riding compatriots (lol), I was up before the sun. Grabbed a cup of coffee and did a little walk-about around the Mission hotel.
Roused the sleeping non-beauties and we made our way to the barrel gas stop before taking a track toward the Pacific.
The track that headed out through the desert was simply amazing. Not sure how to describe that terrain, felt like riding through a Dr. Seuss book . Probably one of my favorite sections of the whole trip, the track was flowing and mostly smooth. Plenty of elevation changes with mind blowing scenery the whole way. Although this was where I discovered my Mavic didn't agree with all the rocks while being strapped to the bike, we did find some crazy cool rock drawings after a short hike in the desert. One note of caution if you see the same sign we did and decide to go look for the rocks - a path starts and peters out - you have to hunt around for 'em as the trail to them isn't marked. I'm glad we kept hiking around and found them, need to do some digging on how old they are, etc.
Did I mention how cool the plants are!
The rip through the desert was amazing and the topper was cresting one of the small hills to find the expanse of the Pacific Ocean looking back at you.
I don't remember how many of these beaches we passed, but there were lots. We decided to take a break and have a snack at one of 'em. No one around for miles; just us, the ocean, and some birds. How frickin' cool is that!
Back on the bikes and more of these as we made our way south. Yeah, pretty tough to take...lol.
We made our way to Santa Rosaliita for fuel and a snack break; definitely a beautiful location.
The original track I laid out had us taking off-road tracks before hitting asphalt into Bay of LA. It was getting late in the afternoon and we didn't want to be riding at night (again...lol), so we decided to slab the ~60 miles (100k). I have to admit, it's damn cool to be looking at the Pacific Ocean at 3:00 or so in the afternoon and then just over an hour later, you're looking at the Sea of Cortez.
We made it to Raquel & Larry's shortly before dusk and met Ruth. One of my favorite stays of the trip and I really hope Ruth keeps the hotel going and gets all the legal stuff sorted (using the hotel name, etc). She's an incredibly gracious host and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay - want to go back with my family and hang out for a few days.
Twas another long day in the saddle, part of the reason why we chose to slab the last bit. Just over 213 miles ridden - wouldn't have made it any shorter given how cool the whole day was (well, not so much the slabbing part...lol).
Day 5 on the bikes would take us from Bay of LA to San Ignacio and be another long day of riding. Thanks to the acoustics of snoring beauty (lol), I was up before the sun again and walked the ~50 yards to the wonderfully calm Sea of Cortez. Honestly, it's tough to describe how tranquil it is here. The desire to simply forgo the day's ride and hang out was pretty strong.
And you simply cannot beat a sunrise over the Sea of Cortez, or the Bay of LA for that matter.
Made my way back to picnic table outside our room and made some java. Yeah - paradise.
We enjoyed a fantastic breakfast, said our goodbyes to Ruth, and started the trek.
The road leading south out of Bay of LA was pretty tough with plenty of baby heads - not all that much fun really...lol. I think I jumped off several times as there was 2-track running parallel and even though some of it was whooped, it was still easier to ride than the road. That said, the scenery was amazing and really something else as we climbed in elevation.
Bye bye Bay of LA.
And there were some really cool spots that took us close enough to the coast for spectacular views.
Stopped at one point along the way for a break and to check out a killer beach. This made me want to say the hell with it and throw my tent up.
Left that beautiful spot and started the trek inland shortly thereafter. We did have some fun as we turned west to ride toward Rancho Piedra Blanca; ended up in super deep sand. We missed the main road connection somehow and paddled our way for what seemed like a stupidly long time before finally connecting with the road again. No pics of it, but I know the video will be good - chased Tiger TY as he managed that sand pig through it - big props for that.
A stop at Piedro Blanca for lunch and fuel, this would be another place I'd like to bring the family back and stay for a few days. Great people and a really nice spot.
Rather than deal with whooped out deep sand as we made our way to San Ignacio, we took the easy way out through El Arco. This was another not-so-fun road (lol), made even more so by catching up with a semi hauling a heavy piece of equipment making a dust tsunami behind it. Oh, and there's no place to pass...lol. Just settled in about a mile behind the behemoth and enjoyed the washboard.
It was dark when we pulled into Rice & Beans in San Ignacio. I had one terrifying moment on MX 1 after stopping to get a couple shots of the sunset. I pulled back out onto the road following a RV. I wasn't paying as close of attention as I should have been, but noticed the RV swerve into the oncoming lane and wondered WTH that was about. I found out a couple seconds later - a bunch of damn cows in our lane. I locked the rear up and slid into the oncoming lane; missed that damn cow by about a foot. Suffice to say, the adrenaline flowed into my system and I was 100% alert for the next 2 miles into town. Scared the $hit out of me.
Anyway, we ended up chowing at Rice and Beans and calling it a day; right around 210 miles ridden and even more incredible stuff seen as we continued our way south. Didn't want to see any more bacas up close and personal though.