April 2019. Baja Cali. 7 Days. 1600 miles. Mike's Sky Ranch. Coco's Corner. San Felipe 250. WR250R.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by GF-kam, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. GF-kam

    GF-kam Been here awhile

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    Spent last week riding 1,600 miles around Baja California with couple dozen new inmates on big bikes. Riders from all over the country including Canada.

    I thought rather than posting my daily journal, I would post a 20 minute video and let it do the talking.

    My short movie. Best viewed in full HD, full screen, with quality earbuds / headphones, and a cold Modelo Especial beer.








    Baja California routes. 1,600 miles in 7 days. Some very long riding days.


    Baja overview map 2019-04-15 at 9.50.26 AM.png



    This was my first trip to Mexico. The beauty of Baja and kindness of the people I met along way debunked many of the myths and fears I grew up with.

    I started my journey in Salt Lake City were I stashed my Yamaha WR250R since last trip. Another version of my Fly and Ride. First time I added a one way U-Haul rental in the mix.

    Before shipping my WR250R back east, I decided to rent a U-Haul and truck it out to Escondido, CA to start my Baja trip. So, my Baja journey started and ended in Escondido, CA on the bike. I crossed into Mexico through the Tecate border crossing. I live in Mid Atlantic region and this being my first trip to Mexico, I learned a lot of things. Stuff like necessary insurance, paperwork, and protocol. I'll try to organize and highlight some things you need to know.

    IMG_8743.JPG

    Couple of my regrets are: A) Not having gone to Baja California sooner; B) Wish I knew the San Felipe 250 was during my trip. I would I have watched the race; C) Not having more fish tacos.

    San Felipe 250. The Friday before race day gets very busy around San Felipe.
    IMG_20190405_110707.jpg


    Next time I'd like to be part of spectator crowd and hang out in San Felipe for extra day.


    Some other footage of San Felipe 250. My bucket list to catch one of the Baja or Dakar races during trip.









    Notable stops and places along trip:

    - Tecate
    - San Quintin
    - Gonzaga Bay
    - Guerrero Negro
    - Bahia de los Angeles
    - Mulege
    - San Ignacio
    - Mike's Sky Ranch
    - Coco's Corner
    - San Felipe
    - San Felipe 250





    The sand taught me a few things. While sand might be soft in theory when going down, you can get tangled up pretty bad. Some souvenir X-rays. Messed up a bunch of tendons in my right foot on day one. Busted my T9 rib on last day. Wasn't my best performance,. But, the company of the amazing new inmates and Mexican blond pilsner beer made up for the pain. I was very lucky my arms still worked and I could continue to ride. Learned a few things from this rodeo.

    IMG_9013.JPG IMG_9017.JPG
    Bad second degree sprain for sure. Despite wearing SIDI charger boots and soft luggage. Apparently paddling or going down in sand is recipe for busted foot.
    IMG_8858.JPG

    Spring is absolutely stunning in the desert. This was my first experience seeing all the flowers blooming in otherwise arid and harsh environment. Baja has very distinct climate zones. The northern region is more like San Diego weather. The lower elevations got up into the 80s. But, comfortable. Up at 4,000 ft. at Mike's Sky Ranch we had frost on bikes in morning. So, need to layer up for sure. No regrets bringing my Gore-Tex enduro jacket.

    Attached Files:

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  2. GF-kam

    GF-kam Been here awhile

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    #2
  3. miguelitro

    miguelitro I like the ads, in fact, give me more ads.

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    Baja likes to teach lessons the hard way and for some reason that makes some people lust for more! I'm one of those people too, been one since I was a kid and am still getting schooled from time to time by the peninsula.

    Mike
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  4. XTWalt

    XTWalt Been here awhile

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    Looks another exciting adventure Kam. Those WR's have been to some epic places already.
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  5. GF-kam

    GF-kam Been here awhile

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    Hey Walt,

    Hope you're well.

    The Yami WR250R did great. I just don't know how to handle deep sand. I wish the WR250R had giant beach tires.

    I am hoping to ride my WR250R more back east. I think I need some more saddle time with it.

    I have to give you heads up for beer next time I stay in Roanoke.

    Goof to hear from you.

    Kam
    #5
  6. StanBo

    StanBo Been here awhile

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    Come on up to NJ. We have plenty of sand.

    Dug the YouTube video. Going to check your other ride reports now.

    A bunch of my friends got WR250s and I have a CR250L. Couple of us with the goal of doing what you did. Ride and fly home. Returning later to continue the ride.

    Did you run into any drawbacks doing so?
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  7. GF-kam

    GF-kam Been here awhile

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    Hi StanBo,

    Great to meet fellow CR250L and WR250R rider. We're almost neighbors. One inmate in my recent Baja trip was from NJ. His name was Jeff. I think he rides a DRZ back home. Thanks for thumbs up on video. I am still waiting for Oscar nomination in mail ;-) Great trip.

    I guess you're referring to Pine Barons. I see a ADV post on Rules of Pine Barons. I'll have to check it out. But, first need to mend.

    OK. Sounds like you're ready to make some notable trip decision. First of all kudos to deciding on smaller is better. Any of the popular street legal dual bikes like WR250R, CRFL250, DRZ, etc. can get up and around most of the Rockies. Less is more. Only trade off is highway speeds out west. Some of the highways are posted 70 and 80 MPH. I usually stay of highways anyhow.

    First couple of trips out west to Rockies was from Virginia. I trailered the bike out and back. I managed to find a storage facility north of Rexburg, ID who let me store my car and trailer. So, I had to ride a loop that started and ended in Rexburg. Second trip I trailer my bike to southern Idaho to ride ID BDR. Also found storage facility for one month period. I take 4 days each way to ride out from Virginia. After first few trips it got old. Both is terms of cost and time, the windshield time got tiring for me. So by third trip, I decided to find a storage facility in North Ogden, UT to leave bike. I trailered the bike out and left it; which meant I drove an empty trailer and car back.

    Pros and cons of Fly and Ride:
    I did three Fly and Ride trips. I was hoping to do more. Overall good experience. In part because we were very lucky to find a storage facility manager who was very accommodating to bikes. Bending rules on things like leaving gas tanks full of fuel and allowing us to run power to unit for tender and work light. PM me and I can get you more detail. I left my set of off-road riding gear boots, camping gear, soft luggage, spare old helmet, spare tools, and some common parts like oil filter all at storage facility. This was manageable since I used my vehicle to truck everything out on first trip.

    The big Pro is that you save on time and cost of getting to start of trip. Assuming most of your riding and camping gear is already in storage facility, you just Fly out and Uber it to your storage to start trip. Keeping your storage near a major airport hub will save you on flight cost. My carrier of choice from VA to Salt Lake City was Southwest. So basically savings in Time would be biggest pro. I was hoping to do more trips per year. But, between other trips I do and limited riding weather in Rockies, I really only managed to squeeze one trip per year. I have another buddy who does at least 4 trips from his SLC facility. I am trying to mix some international travel with trips out west. So again, I didn't get my moneys worth maybe.

    The Cons of Fly and Ride:
    I wish I had my only one dual-sport bike back in Virginia to ride. Some of my buddies keep telling me to get another bike. But after recent Baja trip, I am having Haul Bikes ship my bike back to Virginia. I would like to ride MA BDR few times. I also see you're signed up for that bike rally in PA by 5 brand dealer. I think Soggy Bottom. Definitely have to synch up. Look for Kam A. The other down side of storage is not working on your own bike. Was lucky I found an independent mechanic and suspension near North Ogden who took care of everything. He even picked up and dropped off my bike back into storage. Made FLY and RIDE easy from dealing with maintenance and repair. If you don't have this option, at end of each trip ( or beginning ) have to do all maintenance like oil change, tire change, suspension repair, etc. The good thing is, no valve check with WR250R. My biggest issues were a blown rear shock on one trip and leaky front fork seal on other trip.

    Let me know if you cannot find my other trips reports. You should find them under Gf-Kam and word WR250R:

    - Last of CDR on my F650GS Twin.

    - 3 Weeks in Rockies on WR250R

    - ID BDR on WR250R

    - UT Utah Eastern Loop of Monuments on WR250R

    - I also did southern India trip on rented Royal Enfield Himalayan


    Great meeting you. Ping with with any questions.

    Kam
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  8. StanBo

    StanBo Been here awhile

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    The Oscar nomination was returned. Something about me not having the proper credentials? Lol

    I love my DRZ. It already is set up more as a rally bike then enduro. Bigger tank, rally fairing, racks, luggage etc. I hope to set it back up for Super Moto once the CRF is all farkled.

    Pine Barrons are great. Different sands to choose from and legal to boot. If you are ever in the area reach out and we can do some riding. I have done a bunch with the guys here. They are fantastic guides.

    I agree with staying off the highways. I recently made the mistake of not trailering my bike out to an event in PA (3 hours trip highway vs 6 backroads) and was stuck riding the whole way in torrential rain. But it is part of the adventure and could happen to me if I was out in the middle of no where on a long ride.

    Thanks again for the information on the fly and rides. I have done fly and rents. Less moving parts but more costly.

    My thought now was to ride the CRF out along the TAT let's say to a point where I was running low on vacation time. Maybe set up a storage facility and fly back home. To return and continue the trip once my vacation time rebuilt.

    I have all of your other reports loaded on my tablet now and I am slowly learning from them now. Thanks for posting all of your feedback. I know from the trips I have done remembering all of the smaller ups and downs can be a chore. But well worth it all.
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  9. StanBo

    StanBo Been here awhile

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    Oh and I will keep my lids peeled when at Soggy Bottom. I hope to do it on the CRF. I know one of my WR buddies has already registered and we got a sleeping space.

    I CAN'T FRIGGEN WAIT.

    All this riding and adventure makes up for the winter and busting butt at work.
    #9
  10. GF-kam

    GF-kam Been here awhile

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    OK. I just found some quality footage of the ride up to Mike's Sky Ranch. From start to finish. About 40 minutes. I didn't overlay any music on the riding section. But, the last 5 minutes of video has shots of ranch, creek, and setup. I thought the full unedited head cam video would be usual for anyone seriously thinking about riding up to Mike's.

    Caution, lots of sand getting up to the place. The shortest access road to Mike's is still 20 miles off-road. About 10 miles of sandy road alone.

    Enjoy !



    Kam
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  11. GF-kam

    GF-kam Been here awhile

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    This is my setup and mug shot before departing my hotel in Escondido, CA for Tecate border. Courtesy of my wingman. I think one of the only photos of myself.

    [​IMG]Version 2 by Kam A, on Flickr
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  12. 757klr

    757klr n00b

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    Thanks for the trip report Kam. It was great meeting you and hopefully we can ride together some this summer up in GWNF on the MABDR or TAT sections.

    Dakota
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  13. GF-kam

    GF-kam Been here awhile

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    Hey Dakota,

    Hope you're well. What a surprise. Sorry I didn't get change to ride some Baja segments with you, but you're far better rider to keep up with. I really had some bad falls due to sand. Normally I never " do my own stunts. " After the first fall, I was out of commission. Just lucky I didn't brake my ankle. I also picked up a broken rib which I didn't know about till I got home.

    If you're around, you should try making Horizons Unlimited Virginia Event. Lots of good seminars for overlanders. I'll be co-presenting my trip to southern India on Thursday night with Mahi. The event takes place near Appomattox. April 25 - 28. More info at:

    http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/events/virginia-2019

    I am happy to ride., but first have to mend a bit. I'll keep you posted on the bike arrival. Please don't hesitate to post photos and to this trip report. I am sure you have a different perspective from your ride.

    Kam
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  14. GF-kam

    GF-kam Been here awhile

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    One of the things I ignorantly underestimated about my Baja trip was the conditions of the roads. More specifically how much sand I would encounter off-road. The entire peninsula is predominantly sandy. Moreover, the wind blows the fine white sand onto the roads. Both paved and unpaved.

    Some of the main roads ( paved ) south of San Felipe are in horrible shape. 2' ft. wide potholes everywhere. A good 30 mile stretch is washed out and under construction. I cannot remember which hurricane took out a number of bridges between Bahia San Luis Gonzaga and San Felipe.

    I found some footage of where I had my first bad crash in deep Baja sand. Came around a corner at 25-30 MPH and encountered much deeper sand. Suddenly my handlebar swung left and right quickly and then locked up like a plow ski stop. Then next thing I now, I am face down on ground with the bike on me and my foot.






    If you're planning on some off-road riding in Baja, I highly recommend some practice on sand before a big trip out.
    #14