I’ve been making attempts to find someone to do a Baja ride for a couple of years without success. I’m 68, retired and divorced from Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. I’m not a bad rider and I can take care of my own bike. I have friends that want to ride Baja with me but we just can’t get the schedule worked out. This year a separate group of four went, I believe it was late Jan and early Feb. I knew three of them but they wanted to keep their group size to four, so I was out for that group. I kept seeing posts from that group talking about the cold weather, something to remember. Looking through different forums on ADVrider I found a semi-retired guy that was looking for someone to travel with. I got a couple of my friends to agree to travel with us, but for a number of reasons they had to drop out. So it was that I would meet up with a stranger in El Centro on Friday March 23. On the recommendation of a friend that couldn’t make the trip I called the Motel 6 there and talked to the manager. They would watch our vehicles if we stayed the first and last night of our trip. I talked a few times with my new partner on the phone and we exchanged multiple PM’s, text, and email msgs. He had traveled in Baja last year with a father and son, so he had Baja experience. I’d never done anything like this before so I thought we were going to be good and we moved forward. The first day it took me way longer than I wanted to pack and we were about noon getting away from the motel. It was lunch time so we ended up at a famous In and Out Burger, which I had never seen before. They’re a lot like a Blake’s Lotaburger in New Mexico. I better mention now that I was brining along a Sherpax trailer behind my ’18 701 Husky. Sounds like a disaster in the making but it really wasn’t. The partner has a trailer he pulls behind a Goldwing, so he was a little accepting. The first day the partner went on about this being our vacation and we had no reason to rush. We’re going to slow down and enjoy the trip. Sounds good to me! I said that I had up to five weeks for this trip and wouldn’t mind staying that long. But first we had to find insurance for the partner because he didn’t want to buy online pre-trip. Partner was a person that likes saving money and only bought two weeks of insurance. I had a year. He also wanted to exchange some dollars for pesos. On advice from my friends with experience it would be better to get peso out of the ATM’s in Baja. Once we got all of that taken care of we crossed into Mexicali, which was a pretty rapid process. I was very interested in looking at Mexicali, which gave me a similar feeling to visiting Kharbarovsk, Russia. Sort of what I think of as third world, but not a bad thing. It was a great feeling that gave me a sense of adventure. I was a happy rider. Our plan was to make it to San Felipe the first day, so we took off down highway 5 and pulled into town just before sundown. At the Calimax grocery store I found two ATMs. One was only in Spanish and didn’t have any pesos anyway. They also had a Santander ATM which brightened me up because I recognize them from traveling in Canada. Sure enough it was also in English. I got 6,000 pesos twice out of my credit union, which cost me $301 plus $4.50 per transaction. After this the partner wanted to go somewhere to eat and he remembered an open-air café on the boardwalk. Once we got there we found out that this was Cancer Walk 2019 weekend and the place was packed, and supposedly the motels too. Here I had the shrimp tacos that I had been hearing about for years, and they are every bit as good as their reputation. We got separate rooms because I don’t see any reason to give up my sleep to a snoring deaf person. Partner said he never heard his snoring because he just took his hearing aids out. My room had a funny smell and there wasn’t any hot water, but the view was great. A little disappointing but I didn’t mind since I was finally in Baja! It didn’t take long to pack this morning. Once we were ready to go the partner said, “We don’t have time for breakfast. Lets go.” Wow, big attitude change. For some reason we had to be in Bahia de Los Angeles by night fall. The ride down 5 to Gonzaga was outstanding in many places. The highway storm damage was there but it was easy enough to recognize and take the detours. I can’t remember ever before riding on an ocean coast and I was itching to stop for some pictures, but partner was in a hurry. He was riding a big, extremely loud KTM v-twin and enjoyed riding fast. However, I was way back and didn’t see any reason to not stop and take some island and coastline pictures, which really didn’t turn out as good as being there. Partner was waiting for me at a bridge that was closed. He proclaimed how he has always been a risk taker and crossed the bridge, that really did have a couple of sections that looked like they were ready to complete falling. I took the detour and rode by a beach with a few campers on it that looked great! Too bad we didn’t have time to do a little exploring. About lunchtime we made it to Gonzaga Bay. We got gas from the Pemex there and sure enough they didn’t have any change, a situation I had heard about before. I didn’t mind because for me it was only a few pesos, like 10 cents. From the gas station we rode down to the Hotel, which by the way is supposedly five doors down from Malcolm Smith’s house on the beach. Lunch was more outstanding shrimp tacos and two beers. Lunch was so cheap it seemed insignificant. The road was good for a little ways more then it got really rough. We came to a T in the road. I said we should follow the tracks leading to the right. Partner was very insistent that we go left. Of course we went left and ended up at Coco’s Corner and would have to back track to the T and follow the other tracks. At least it was another chance for a beer. We also met some very nice foreigners on rented BMWs, GS of course. When we left I lost my bag off my trailer, which really surprised me because it was held on with cargo straps that should not have loosened up. This was the only time I lost something. Anyway partner and the BMW riders rode on ahead. I finally caught up with them where 5 meets up with highway 1. Everyone took off again and I rode solo the rest of the way to Bahia de Los Angeles (BLA). When I got to town I saw a couple of riders and asked if they had seen the partner. No, they had not and they said I could probably stay at their place if I needed it. It was getting dark so I told them I’d come back if I couldn’t find partner. I found partner sitting at a roadside taco stand on the south side of town. He told me that he had been there only 5 minutes, that he rode 55 mph the whole way since seeing me last and didn’t understand why he never saw me until now. I had switched my instruments over to kilometers, and had ridden 100 to 130 km/hr the whole way. I’m not a math major but something doesn’t seem right here. Anyway, partner had time to find a place for us to stay on the beach, which was managed by this great old man named Kerry. He really was good to us during our three-day stay on the beach. Kerry also gave me a copy of the Baja Handbook written by Joe Cummings. That book is full of a lot of useful information for any traveler in Baja. Just a great deal for me to have it. The first day in town we spent most of it with Juan Espinoza from Ensenada and owner of Espinoza Racing. He’s a former quad racer that has done the Baja 1000 and other races. He is currently switching over to cars. He is sponsored by Red Bull and had so many war stories to share. He too was a great person. He was here selling his imported goods that he brings back from the USA. It’s amazing how may tourists come to Baja without their sporting gear (snorkel, fins, fishing, whatever, etc). Juan makes a good living this way. Next he was moving down to Loreto, which is one place I definitely wanted to visit. However, partner said there was no way he would visit Loreto because he had seen it last year and thought it would be a waste of time. The second day I locked the trailer to this fish displaying rack and we took off for the road to Mission San Borja, which isn’t far out of BLA. The mission road was about 40 KM long and pretty rocky, but the landscape was something special. I had a great time on the 701 and the only way partner could pass me was to feign the buddy system. I was supposed to stop and wait for him, and he would say go or wait up. Sure enough the first time I stopped to wait on him he flew by me. It didn’t take long to pass him back on that heavy twin. When we got to the mission and sat at the covered tables, partner says, “So you really can ride.” Just like anyone else. The Mission was an interesting place. Partner didn’t want to take the tour but I did. It was founded in 1762 and was made of hand carved stone arches. The tour guide seemed like a young man but he was a little older. He has seventh generation ownership of the mission and is a part time archeology professor at one of the universities on the Baja. It was definitely worth my time to see it.