2 Weeks & 10 Days in Baja

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by liv2day, Nov 3, 2018.

  1. Hohmie

    Hohmie Long timer

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    • Very cool! I'm pretty sure the pic of the cabana at Rancho Piedro Blanca is the room we stayed in March of this year, they are very accommodating, there is quite the night life at the little store (shack) with the locals coming through for treats. The only thing to watch for there is what I think might be calfing season ( I'm not a farmer so not sure) they had separated the calfs from the moms and they missed each ALL NIGHT LONG it was hard to get a good nights sleep, you should also check out the Toyota powered hay thrashing machine, quite ingenious. We are headed on a similar trip to yours in 2020 trying to end up in Loreto as well. Thanks for the report!
    • Gotta figure out this bullet point deal. Lol
  2. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist! Supporter

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    Thankfully, we avoided the deep sand as we were heading east. Well, at least most of it :eekers:eekers

    JP and I were out in front when we came to a fork in the track. Not wanting to chase what turned out to be a simple bypass, we continued straight up and over a rocky, semi-gnarly section. Climbing up was easy, but when we got to the other side, it was deep-arse sand. I was paying just enough attention to lean back when we hit it, had visions of the guys behind me doing a superman over the bars :eek7 :lol3.

    It only lasted 40 or 50 yards and when I looked to the left...there's the bypass coming into the nice, hard pack...lol. Pretty sure I have video of that section...always an adventure :nod
  3. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist! Supporter

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    That's awesome, though not so much on listening to cattle blather on through the night...lol. I wish I would have seen the hay machine and gotten a picture, next time.

    While we were there for the 2nd time through, a rancho couple from "down the road" pulled up with a calf in a trailer. We bought the vaquero a beer as his wife chatted with Alonzo's wife (believe they are the owners of the rancho). He wasn't keen on getting his picture taken, but I did manage to snap one with him...made him laugh when I showed it to him (and I'm sure he thought I was an idiot gringo...lol).

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  4. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist! Supporter

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    Our 10th day in the saddle would have us skirt the east coast, riding from San Francisquito to Gonzaga Bay with a stop in Bay of LA for fuel and lunch. We decided to skip a full b-fast and just have some coffee as we packed up.

    Once again, the snoring beasts ensured I was up before the sun, though I can't complain as sunrise over the Sea of Cortez is something I doubt I'll ever get enough of.

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    Learned a good lesson in not leaving gear, etc, out overnight. Grabbed my jersey to put on and found this little fella hanging out underneath it. Not sure if it was the funky smell that attracted it, but really glad it didn't stay attached when I threw this over my stoopid bean...lol.

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    From the morning lobster haul. One of the lobster men spoke excellent English and told us some of these lobsters would be on someone's plate in CHINA in less than 36 hours. From this tiny port, these crustaceans make the journey to Ensenada in 7 hours, get on a plane to LA and then jump planes to China. I cannot imagine how much that costs per Lb/Kg, but it must be nuts.

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    Color in the desert.

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    We wanted to take the green door trail as we made our way north and found the entrance pretty easily. It started off nice enough and I was having a good time riding it. Didn't take long for the sand to deepen though and after several sections of deeper stuff, I stopped and waited for the guys to catch up as I didn't think the Tiger sand pig would be having as much fun. Yep, not much fun on that pig. So, we cut across the desert and jumped back on the original road/track. I think it would have been really fun on my bike and any other small bike, but not so much on a fully loaded Tiger.

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    A Tiger in the wild desert...trying not to flop on its side...lol.

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    JP wasn't a fan of the deeper sand either.

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    As we were trekking north, I noticed a waypoint from one of the GPS files someone had sent me and decided to go check out this camp spot. Pretty damn cool place if you have grub to cook and want serious P&Q (unless you're riding with snoring beasts like me...lol).

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    Getting TYs good side :lol3

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    Back on the bikes and I was leading; came around a corner and saw this hawk in the middle of the track. He/she wasn't keen on leaving whatever it had and waited until I was ~10 feet or so away before it flew off. I was surprised when it flew a few feet to the side of the road and perched...waiting for us to go by so it could return to its midday meal.

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    The road we'd taken from Bay of LA south was just as rough and baby-head filled on the northbound return, was really glad to get off that damn thing and find Raquel & Larry's for a beer and some lunch.

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    The plan after leaving Bay of LA was to asphalt it for a while, then take tracks that would get us to the Calamajue wash. TY on the Tiger would skip this as we'd hit sand. The first track that was supposed to cut over wasn't there - all fenced along the highway. We found another track that hooked into what I laid out and took that. Once again, it started off great, but then I think it joined a section of the Baja 1k course and turned into whooped out hell. Given how late it was in the afternoon and knowing we still wanted to stop by Coco's before eventually arriving in Gonzaga Baj, we found a track to bail on back to the highway and bombed to Cocos to meet TY (he didn't want to do the wash on his Tiger-pig).

    Still took time to capture some of the killer fauna in this neck of Baja.

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    Note: not local wildlife.

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    Made it to Cocos as the shadows were getting long, but took time to enjoy a couple beers with him. So glad I had an opportunity to stop, talk, and enjoy a beer here.

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    We rode from Coco's to GB in the dark, which was quite an experience given the condition of the road. I believe they're trying to do road construction? Though the non-paved pieces could really use a grader. We passed by places where boulders had fallen on the road, lots and lots of embedded rock sticking up for pinch flats, and plenty of washboard.

    Suffice to say the ride into GB felt really long. And we didn't know where we were going to stay for the night. I noticed the sign for Camp Beluga as we cruised by and thought about turning around, but figured we'd head into GB proper and see what's what. Sounded like a good plan until I realized that GB proper wasn't going to be along the main road...lol. Our first attempt to get to the bay had us ripping along what I have to assume is the old runway. Did get some funny looks from the structure at the end as we tried to figure out away across the new runway (hint - there isn't...you have to go back to the main road).

    We then turned down the road on the north side of the runway and found a manned gate...manned with a gentleman who didn't speak much English. There was a group of 4 Asian guys in a truck in front of us trying to tell this dude they had reservations at Alfosinas. They didn't speak any Spanish and it would have been entertaining if we weren't beat and just wanted to get off our bikes. Good 'ole TY managed to get them through the gate and then we badgered the gate guard long enough that he let us through...we didn't have reservations...and there were no rooms left.

    We figured we'd eat and wing it on where we slept. Once again, TY comes through. He talked to the manager and we eventually landed in a room that was undergoing renovations. Not only that, but it was Thanksgiving and the nice peeps of Alfonsinas were serving a full turkey dinner with all the fixins. Although not high on my priority list, it was nice to enjoy a turkey dinner on Turkey Day (I was missing my family and our tradition of Thanksgiving at the coast with extended family). It was a bit tight with all 4 of us in one room, and I seriously contemplated just throwing my tent up somewhere outside, but crashed with a full belly.

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  5. mx813

    mx813 Been here awhile

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    Nice ride report. Hitting some of the 2 tracks you did for transfer sections. I liked the track you showed leaving Catavina to the pacific back to El Rosarita. Might do that via San Borja mision on to BOLA instead of crossing up to MX5 Bola interchange and 22 day east trail.

    I've always wanted to stay at Rancho Piedro Blanca.

    The road out of Mikes towards MX1 via Valle T'D...that is known as the cross-over road and our chase truck is going over it to meet us at Jardines just south of San Quintin.
  6. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist! Supporter

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    Thanks @mx813! When are you guys heading down there?

    The track we took from Catavina to the Pacific was fantastic, though I wish we would have taken the high road instead of the low road as it looked more fun. Not that riding along the Pacific was bad, but it added miles and then good 'ole TY decided he thought he knew where he was going and we ended up on this long arse straight section of carp that rattled the crap out of everything.

    Anyway, you're planning to get a trip report posted, yes? Need the vicarious Baja fix :D :D
  7. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist! Supporter

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    Day 11 on the bikes and we're getting closer to the border. We had an easy day planned on the trek from Gonzaga Bay to San Felipe, most of the miles would be on MX 5, though I hoped to jump off pavement and ride along the beach as well as check out some tracks on the west side of MX5. Today's ride was kind of a bummer on one hand as ending a trip like this and going back to work will suck, but also really looking forward to seeing my family.

    As usual for most of the mornings of the trip, I was up just before sunrise and looking forward to seeing Gonzaga Bay in the daylight. It's a beautiful bay and I wish we would have arrived earlier and found Campo Beluga as I think it would have been more my style, but the Alfosina's folks brewed decent coffee and I enjoyed talking with Marco from Baja GS Moto Rentals. While guided tours don't sound that great to me, it was great listening to Marco's story on how he came to purchase the bikes and hear about his travels.

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    The fellas eventually woke up and we packed the bikes and jumped across MX 5 to get a bite to eat before heading north.

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    Just had to get a picture with this guy (right out front of the market).

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    JP and I jumped off MX 5 as I saw a track that appeared to hug the coast. Went down to what looked like small fish camp thinking we were set, but the track was nowhere to be found.

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    Turned back and found another track that headed north; decided to take it and eventually found ourselves on the Baja course. Woof - it was rough. And not like rough but doable, but rough in the sense that finding the first exit off that beat-up POS track was the only thing to do.

    Looks nice and tame right here...

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    But it turned into 4' deep whoops with basketball size rocks thrown here and there for good measure. I thought I had pictures of it, but didn't take the camera out. I know I was running video, might pull a frame from the video. We slowly made our way until we reached a point where we could turn west and hook back to MX 5. Unfortunately, the "track" that took us back to MX 5 was one of the washout sections where the hurricane had wiped out the bridge.

    I couldn't believe how deep the sand was and actually had serious doubts about being able to get the bike back to the road :eek7 :eekers. JP thought he was going to blowup the DR and I had my little 250 bouncing off the rev limiter trying to keep the front tire slightly elevated with painfully slow forward momentum. Pretty sure I burned a gallon of fuel going 1/4 mile...lol.

    We made it back to MX 5 and said the hell with doing anything off-road for a bit; needed to cool the bikes and catch our breath (as well as catch up with the Toms as they chose to take asphalt).

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    That hurricane did a serious number to MX 5, so many bridges and sections of road simply gone.

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    Although there was lots of devastation, the sights as you head up MX 5 are spectacular, tons of great views and little places that look like they'd be fantastic to camp.

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    After dodging potholes and riding asphalt long enough, JP and I decided to try our luck on the west side of MX 5. We found a nice track heading west and then hooked up with another track taking us north...only to find ourselves on the Baja course again (doh) :baldy :baldy

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    Grabbing a souvenir :-)

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    So, we turned back and hit MX 5 and decided to just beeline to San Felipe.

    Coming into San Felipe was a bit shocking - I couldn't believe the frickin' traffic. And it was really weird to see Chevron gas stations. We met up with the Toms at an auto parts store as the rack on the WR needed some love. They found the bolts they needed and we hit the taco stand across the street for some killer lamb tacos.

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    I'd read about a cool place called Pete's camp north of town where we could rent a palapa right on the beach to camp under. We headed there and it was definitely not what I had expected :lol3 :lol3. There were toy haulers and motor homes as far as you could see, all packed in like sardines. Granted, this was Thanksgiving weekend, but I didn't think it was going to be so completely packed. We found a palapa between two big groups of people who we later learned do this every year for Turkey Day weekend.

    On one hand, it was neat to be camping with such a fun group of people - they shared their fire with us, lent us a cooler so we could keep our beer cold, and were great to hang out with. On the other hand...didn't feel like Baja. All in all, it was a great night and we had a good time hanging out with all the people around us. But next time, I'd rather find another camp that didn't feel like camping on the beach in Oregon (lol).

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    Had an incredible moon rise.

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    Notice the lights to the left of the moon? That's some poor dude who sunk his Explorer to the frame. Guess what, they weren't able to get it unstuck before the tide came in. So, the rig had a nice salt water bath (enema?) and was fully submerged. They did get it yanked out the following morning, have pictures of that I'll post when day 12 comes along :D

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    Rather than ride anywhere, we hiked up to the restaurant and had dinner. Reminded me of Alfosinas on the $$$ front. Too much for me, but was a good meal (and it helped that we had beer back at camp).

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    125 miles in the saddle, not a bad day at all :-)

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  8. mx813

    mx813 Been here awhile

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    Heading down 13FEB from Seattle area. Hauling 7 bikes down. 3 of us are driving straight through to San Felipe. The rest of the gang flies in to PHX and meet us in SF with a buddy that lives in PHX. Most of my 1100 mile route is 40% single, 50% double track and rest slabbing as transfer sections.

    Definitely looking forward to the trip. This will be 4th trip down, 3x self guiding. Self guiding is so much more satisfying and waaaayyyy cheaper.
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  9. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist! Supporter

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    That's awesome @mx813, can't wait until I'm able to get a 2nd trip lined up. Have a great friend in WI that I'm hoping can make the next trek.

    The route you're planning sounds killer, I would have preferred less asphalt on this trip. Will you be hitting any parts of the Baja course? If so...woof - that $hit is tiring...lol.

    Have a great time, you posting a trip report? And you guys are hardcore driving straight through from Seattle to San Felipe - that's a good 24 hours?
  10. Ktm Greg

    Ktm Greg Been here awhile

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    Great ride report Brad! thoroughly enjoyed all your great photographs and information shared. I'm glad my big 990 was not another "sand pig" to slow you guys down! ...I'm still working on a trip down there, and looking forward to it!
  11. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist! Supporter

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    Thanks Greg, really appreciate it! I hope you're able to get down there and ride soon man. And yeah, think the 990 would have been a handful on many of the tracks we hit.
  12. Dusty41

    Dusty41 Adventurer

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    Hey Brad if you can send a GPX of the Planed track and the actual track you took I would like to see some of the stuff I missed and the track from Mulege to Scorpion Bay. Here I'll include our current track
    Thanks Jim

    Attached Files:

  13. tomdubz

    tomdubz getting there Supporter

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    Looks like the fun was had.
  14. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist! Supporter

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    Had some time to get a video together from the day 4 ride - great day of riding from Catavina to the Pacific and then back across the peninsula to Bay of LA.

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  15. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist! Supporter

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    The plan for day 12 was to head inland from San Felipe and spend the night at the Guadalupe Canyon hot springs. Pretty sure it was one of @BigDogAdventures ride reports where I read about this place, knew I wanted to get there for a night as getting into a hot spring after a day of riding is nirvana (and one of the reasons why I enjoy riding in SE Oregon so much).

    The biggest concern with getting to Guadalupe was fuel. Unless there was fuel in La Ventana, we'd be in a bind and likely have to pull fuel from the tank on my WR250. The issue wasn't getting to the hot springs as it was only 120ish from San Felipe, but making it to La Rumarosa the following day. I talked with a few of the folks in Pete's Camp who'd driven down MX 5 from the border and most thought they passed a gas station along the way. Of course, none could remember specifically and one guy said he's sure he passed a Pemex...lol. Oh well, it's called an adventure for a reason.

    Started off the morning with sun streaming into my tent, damn good way to wake up. Made some coffee on the Jetboil and waited for the rest of the yahoos to roll themselves out of their tents.

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    A bit blurry in this picture, but the black thing out in the sand is the Explorer that took a salt water soak overnight. The tide receded and they were able to pull it up to the dry sand...where it wouldn't start and sat as we rode off.

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    Can't believe they were able to tow it out with a little Suzuki 4x4, but they did. Granted, they couldn't move it once it hit the deeper sand...lol.

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    Betcha it smelled great in that rig...not.

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    We loaded the bikes and said goodbye to the Sea of Cortez and the coast - be the last time we saw it on the trip :(

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    The slab up MX 5 was pretty much a drone, though it was made interesting as a bike race was in progress with hundreds (thousands?) of bicyclists heading south from Mexicali. Lots and lots of support vehicles, which was great for the bikers, but the cars/rigs stuck behind them weren't so happy. So they'd jump into the oncoming lane (which is the one we occupied) to pass. Fortunately, no really close calls, but I did throw a few fingers in the air as several made poor judgement on their closing distance.

    We made it to La Ventana and the place was a zoo, probably the store's biggest day in a while. On the plus side, they had fuel. On the 'arrgghh' side, the guy running the store was obviously stressed, which made him an arsehole and he gouged us on the fuel price (think we paid close to $8/gallon). Oh well, better than pushing the bikes or siphoning fuel. Was cool to chat with some of the bike racers while we waited.

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    Found the turn-off for the track that cut across the dry lake and then went north. While not all that picturesque, it was cool as heck to be ripping across/around the dry lake. We had to naviguess a couple times as the tracks just disappeared, but we were able to make it to the hot springs without too much trouble.

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    Watch out for this hombre.

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    Riding into the canyon was awesome. It's truly an oasis with huge palm trees and lots of green growth. And we lucked out, seems they were supposed to be fully booked, but had a late cancellation and one of their cabanas was open. We shoved the main snoring beast into that and the rest of us set up our tents in the common area.

    The pictures will do some of this area justice, but not all of it. It's a great place and if you have a chance to visit, I'd highly recommend doing so. Not only are the hot springs killer, the whole place is well taken care of.

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    Had a good laugh at this setup, they had a truck running and hooked an inverter to power the lights. Not exactly quiet, but the lights were nice.

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    Had a great moon rise to capture too.

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    We covered 120 miles and enjoyed our 2nd to last day in Baja.

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  16. Cabrito

    Cabrito On the mend 76% Supporter

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    Catavina to the Pacific and back across to BoLA - that looks killer!

    Do you guys have GPS Tracks for any of your trip?


    Looks like they have some new buildings there in Canyon Guadalupe.. It's a cool place..
  17. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist! Supporter

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    Thanks @Cabrito! Riding through the desert from Catavina to the coast was one of my favorite sections. Wish my Mavic hadn't crapped out as there were a bunch of times I would've liked to have it chase us as we rode along the coastline. Assuming I get to do this again, I'd split the day into 2 and camp along the Pacific for one night, then head across the peninsula to Bay of LA and spend the 2nd night (getting to both places early enough to have plenty of time to enjoy them).

    WRT to the GPX tracks, PM inbound :D
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  18. TheAdmiral

    TheAdmiral Long timer

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    Breathtaking!
  19. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist! Supporter

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    Thanks @TheAdmiral!

    Had a bit of time to sift through the video from our ride on day 5; put the following together. This was our rip from Bay of LA to San Ignacio, covered some really cool ground on our way south, hugging the Sea of Cortez for quite a while.

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  20. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist! Supporter

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    Time to put a cap on this report and get it wrapped up. Our last day of riding Baja would take us from the hot springs in Guadalupe Canyon back to Tecate through the border crossing and then to where the van and trailer had been waiting for our return in Potrero.

    The guys were still sawing logs when I woke up, so I decided to hike up a small ridge and get some pictures as the sun was rising. As I said in my last post, this is a really neat place and should be on your list of places to visit in Baja should you make it there.

    Before hiking...coffee.

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    Great moon set over the hills

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    Walked to the "back" of the different camps and found the sun just starting to hit the upper elevation of rocks.

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    The sun hitting the far hillside was something to behold, with the oasis still in shadow.

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    Fantastic view from the canyon out to the dry lake bed.

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    Don't get too close or it'll hurt.

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    Hiked back down and found the guys stirring. Had to take advantage of another soak before getting geared and loaded up, great view from our little pool of hot water.

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    The ride plan for the day was to get back on the main "road" heading north, then take a track one of the inmates sent my way. The track looked great on Google Earth and started off well, but we soon found ourselves in deep sand. That wasn't too big of an issue as the Tiger rider decided to just hit MX2 and head west, but that deep sand turned into deep sand with 3' whoops and randomly placed softball & basketball size rocks. We rode that for several miles before stopping to take stock of how far we still had to travel.

    Great views along the way.

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    Note the green sign in this image...we'd encountered this race course previously and it wasn't beat-to-hell. That changed once we started up into the hills.

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    The two Toms trundle along the main road.

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    This SxS went flying past while we were waiting for the Toms, off the main road, but hauling arse - check the extended suspension.

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    Up into the hills...and the deep sand.

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    Rather than continue beating ourselves to snot at a snail's pace, we found a bail-out track that took us back to the main road. We opted for that and found ourselves on the toll road, after jumping across the eastbound lanes and through the median.

    As we were slogging along the toll road, my eyes caught movement in my mirror. Seems all that jarring from the whoops and rocks had done a number on my packing job and the famous toolkit for JP's borrowed DR650 was just about to jump ship. I pulled over quickly while thanking the Mexican government for building the toll road with a shoulder. Re-situated everything and we were back on the road in a couple minutes.

    Unfortunately, what I didn't notice at that time was that my damn tent poles had gone AWOL too (didn't discover this until getting home and unloading). At least it happened on the last day of riding, but the crap thing is they don't make poles for my tent any longer :baldy :baldy. So, if you stumble across some tent poles when riding northwest from Guadalupe Canyon HS, they're mine :lol3 :lol3

    Even though riding asphalt on my little WR250 isn't much fun, I have to admit that riding the toll road west was one hell of an experience. That road has serious elevation gain and the engineering into building it over the mountains is amazing. Stopped at an overlook and took some shots.

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    Not sure what that blue pipeline is, but it was very, very long.

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    The ride along MX 2 was going perfectly until we hit the toll booth. And it wasn't that we didn't have money for the toll, but as we pulled into line, JP's DR650 died...out of fuel...LOL. Picture this - a line of cars behind us and we're up against an armco barrier of sorts. I scramble off my WR to get the 1.5l fuel canister I'd been carrying for 2300+ miles. We get that emptied into the DR's tank and she fires up at which point JP remembers he's NOT on a fuel injected bike and there's reserve on the petcock. Doh :rofl :rofl.

    We pay our toll and make our way to La Rumarosa where TY is waiting at the Pemex. We fuel up and a whole bunch of sportbikes pulls in. Having ridden sportbikes most of my life, I can imagine these guys had a blast ripping the toll road up and over the pass...excellent asphalt and killer twisties. Not a place to run off though :eek7. Some nice hardware in this crew; they were out for a day ride from TJ.

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    Back on MX2 heading west to Tecate. As we neared town, we noticed a very long line of traffic in the right hand lane. Thought there might be an accident or something, but it was the line turning right to go to the border crossing...yikes. We skipped the turn and made our way further west, deciding to stop for something to eat as we could be waiting a long time.

    Found a killer taco place and commenced chowing down. I wish we would have found this place when we first crossed the border. JP and TR were kind enough to get some beers from the Oxxo a block away...perfect.

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    My favorite taco filler besides pescado...adobado.

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    Prepared for a long wait, but fully satiated on the belly front, we rode up to a long line of cars and a Mexican federale pointing people who wanted to turn left to the very back of the line. What ensued was rather comical, TY started talking to the cop explaining that we had bikes that would overheat. After a couple minutes of this exchange, one nice gentlemen from the line of cars jumped out to interpret.

    The cop was having none of it, but TY kept going and we eventually found ourselves being waved past the tape barrier and into the line. Not only that, but another biker rode past us, splitting traffic and we tagged onto the back of him. Ahh...being a rider has its advantages :D.

    No issues crossing the border whatsoever, even though it had been closed the day before (or it might have been that morning, forgot now). We made our way to Potrero, loaded up, and started the long trek north.

    I calculated 2,315 miles from the GPX tracks, and had just shy of 2,600 miles on my ODO (riding around town, from Loreto to Mulege, etc). 13 days of riding and a total of 22 days in Baja. Have never taken that much time off from work before and don't know if I'll be able to again before saying goodbye to corporate BS, but I hope I can. This was truly a trip of a lifetime and something I've been thinking about every day since returning.

    So much more to see down there, can't wait to get back.

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