Baja – A current take on exploring Baja using paved roads almost exclusively

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Vic5491, Aug 30, 2014.

  1. Vic5491

    Vic5491 Been here awhile

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    Jonz, thanks for the info! If I rode the dirt section to Hwy 1 from 5, would I need knobbies or can I do it on Battle Wings 80/20 tires? Please realize that I will be on the road for a month so my bike will be heavily loaded down and can be a bit of a bear to handle on anything tricky. From what you have described, that section of dirt should be no trouble at all but I will only do it if I have someone to ride with. I took a fall 10 years ago and broke 4 ribs and my clavicle and such a fall out in the middle of nowhere alone could be the beginning of the end and I still have places to go and things to do. :)

    Thanks again for all the good guidance!
    Vic

    #21
  2. Vic5491

    Vic5491 Been here awhile

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    My map shows that run to be 150 miles, not 200. My bike can easily get 230+ miles per tank so this is a non issue to me. What are you riding and what is your range?

    Regarding Topes, every RR I have read says you must be constantly on watch for them. They are everywhere and many of them are so unmarked it appears that they don't want you to see them; that they want to punish speeders! While you will find more as you approach towns, you may also find them in the middle of nowhere. The message to me is "Slow down and pay attention."
    #22
  3. Vic5491

    Vic5491 Been here awhile

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    Ace, I have traveled all over western Europe and much of Asia and the same can be said for those other places. I am truly embarrassed that I am not fluent in more than one language but there is a reason. I just got back from Spain and France (riding the Pyrenees) and tried to explain to some of the folks there that even if one studies a foreign language in school, how hard it is to retain any proficiency in it in the US because of the size of the country and the fact that English is the universal language here. If you live in Spain, knowing a bit of French, Portuguese and maybe some German helps you get along and you get to use it often enough to maintain some fluency in those languages but not so in the US unless you live in an ethnic pocket, which most of us don't. I took German in college and it is 99% gone now. 45 years of non-use erased it for me, not that I consider that a loss. I hated the German language from the start. I wish I had studied Spanish instead!

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  4. jimmex

    jimmex Guero con moto Supporter

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    The road from Gonzaga to Coco's and on to Mex 1 is rough but not at all difficult to travel if your objective is to just make it. I, like the others, think you will have a better trip if you reconcile yourself to riding a few dirt roads; it really opens up your possibilities whereas strictly pavement will limit you. One option re: tires would be to run a Tourance type tire on rear and TKC DOT knobby on front. That would really open up a lot of areas if you decide to do more dirt. Saludos, JIm
    #24
  5. Vic5491

    Vic5491 Been here awhile

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    I was going to make this trip last Feb or March but life got in the way. You had extended me an offer to stop by for a day or two back then. I'm from Atlanta and IIRC you used to live here too!

    So, back to the road issue. If they have paved another 10 miles below Puertocitos, my calculations suggest it would be another 30 or so miles to Gonzaga Bay and another 30 miles (approx) on to where 5 intersects with highway 1. Is that correct?

    Are those miles easy enough that an old guy on a heavily loaded VStrom 650 running 80/20 (street/dirt) Battle Wings would have no trouble or are there challenging spots (deep sand, silt, big rocks, ruts, water crossings, etc.?)

    Vic



    #25
  6. Vic5491

    Vic5491 Been here awhile

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    Jim, IF I can find a riding partner, I will do exactly that. I just won't head out in the middle of nowhere on a dirt road alone. I have already considered the TKC80 option but didn't think of mixing them front/rear. IF I go off road, I'd strongly consider TKCs front and rear. Can someone tell me what kind of mileage I might expect out of a TKC80 on the front and on the rear? When running loaded on good pavement I generally run about 75 mph.

    Vic

    #26
  7. princess jamaica

    princess jamaica OLD DOG-NEW TRICKS

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    All of the above exist there,but the road is doable as others have said.Baja is hard to totally explain.It is a wonderful mix of people,scenery,culture and quirkiness that shouldn't be missed.You may find that you are planning on riding to Cabo,but never make it because you fall in love with some other area first.Prepare well and enjoy the ride.
    #27
  8. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    The pavement now extends to just below Gonzaga. Think of the area this way; this particular route has so much traffic they are paving it. They have already paved past where a full time Military Check point has been for several years. Again, there continues to be so many people traveling along this route it is getting paved and the Military has a check point. Before it was paved from San Flippy, the PEMEX station go its gasoline from TRUCKS that came in from Laguna Chapala through Coco's. Once upon a time getting to Gonzaga was an adventure, that time has long passed.

    Staying along this route and along the major paved roads in Baja is about as much adventure or as "dangerous" as crossing Texas, Arizona, or New Mexico on back roads.
    #28
  9. thetourist

    thetourist Just passing thru

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    I thought I might chime in. I am old, also. Not a gifted rider. I did the east road on a grossly overloaded Transalp some years ago. A very worn TKC on the front and a bald tire on rear. I just went slow. I had no trouble, at all.
    The views were stunning.

    I camped on the beach at Gonzaga. Fresh fish tacos and brilliant sunrise. Catch it while you can.

    I stayed overnight at Coco's and tried his "coffee" in the morning. There isn't enough sugar in the world to make that stuff palatable. :lol3 (not a coffee drinker).

    If you click on 'My Idaho', in my sig, there is a link to two trips thru Baja. Pics of the road. Most of the pics are now paved over.

    I did most of the road at 15-20 mph, but the section around Coco's and south I was running above 30 mph.

    I went thru in Mar and the end of Oct. It was hot in Oct.

    No one mentioned the Observatory Road. 65 mi of stunning mountain pavement up to the Nat Park. It said "No Motos" when I was there in Mar. No traffic, so I couldn't bum a ride up to the Observatory. I stayed at Rancho El Coyote on the way out. The nicest room of the whole trip. I think $60 with meals.

    Do not go 75 on the road south of San Felipe. There are deep vados. The last one, just before Peurtocitos, is a killer. NOT an exageration. A deep 3-4 ft vee of pavement.

    Don't worry about the language. I'm as Gringo as you can get (Idaho) and had no problems. Just take your time and learn a couple of phrases of politeness. Most everyone spoke some english.

    TKC and a Tourance is a good combo if you want to run off pavement. The TKC's are just like road tires, to me, except for the slight rumble as you stop. Keep some air in your tires and the cast rims are no problem.
    #29
  10. Vic5491

    Vic5491 Been here awhile

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    Got it! Good clear way of saying that I would not be alone even if riding alone! Thanks.

    #30
  11. Vic5491

    Vic5491 Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the insight and perspective. Sounds like I should put a TKC80 on the front and not worry about doing this road at all.

    I tried to find your "My Idaho" link to your Baja Ride Reports but couldn't find it. Can you send a note with the links embedded?

    In saying that I normally run 75 on good pavement, I meant in the US. I only mentioned that to see what kind of mileage I might get out of TKCs. On Baja, I will ride slower and be on guard for Vados and Topes and other road hazards like giant potholes, livestock, etc. By allowing myself two weeks on Baja, I should not need to hurry to see it all and have time to hang a day or so where the vibe is really good for me. Even the two weeks is not set in stone. If I fall in love with a place and want to stay longer, I can.

    Vic

    #31
  12. thetourist

    thetourist Just passing thru

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    "My Idaho" is at the bottom of my post. Below my Signature


    Baja pics

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=675227&page=5


    A couple yrs later. Entered thru Yuma and down the Sea of Cortez side with a couple dozen riders.
    We parted and I went on to St Ignacio and back north thru Catavina and up to the Observatory. I think I was on Anakees this trip.

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=321329&page=25



    The ridge section, with the broken axle, and me buried to the skid pan, is all paved now.
    #32
  13. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    I got about 4000 miles on a TKC80 front tire on my KTM950SE on my South America trip. Of course, after the trip I learned I could have reversed the tire around 2000 or so miles and gotten significantly more miles. I changed it at a convenient location in Colombia before it was totally worn out but the cupping was bad. Reversing the tire is supposed to delay cupping.
    #33
  14. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    :deal
    One famous vado about 15 miles south on San Felipe is known as the "Oh Shit Dip." Usually the name is spray painted on the pavement. Lots of gouges from trailer hitches. The new section south of Puertocitos doesn't have any vados and is probably the nicest paved road I've ridden in Mexico.
    #34
  15. BobLoblaw

    BobLoblaw Comfortably Numb

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    This past January, I rode from San Felipe to Coco's, stayed there overnight then out to Hwy 1 the next morning. Past Gonzaga I did not see one single other vehicle, so don't assume this is a highway and if you crash someone will necessarily come along . Just be prepared to be able to pick up your bike on your own.

    I found the route modestly challenging in a few places but it is easily doable by yourself. Just go and have fun.
    #35
  16. BobLoblaw

    BobLoblaw Comfortably Numb

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    I got 7000 miles on a TKC 80 mounted on a R1150GS. Those KTM guys are madmen:D
    #36
  17. Vic5491

    Vic5491 Been here awhile

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    How cold is it on the east side of northern Baja in January?

    Thanks for sharing your experience re traffic, or lack thereof, beyond Gonzaga. Do you suspect that was due to the time of the year or what?

    I can pick my bike up on pavement if I am not hurt but if I were hurt or in gravel or mud I might not be able to. If I were hurt and in gravel or mud, I'd be down until help came along. That's why I'm reluctant to head out on a 60 mile dirt road alone. Years ago on a lighter bike I'd have never even given it a minute's thought but times have changed for me.

    Vic

    #37
  18. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    The curvy roads of Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia did tend to bring out my squiddly side on occasion. :ricky

    One of the beauties of a down and back trip lasting a week or more is the ability to adjust for the weather. Cold and rainy on the Pacific at the start (also, possibly snowing at Tecate)? Cross at Mexicali and stick to the Sea of Cortez side. Days should be around 70 +/- a few degrees during the winter. If it's nice, start at Tecate like you're talking about and catch the Sea of Cortez side on the return trip. Likewise, if one of the occasional 2-3 day windstorms kicks up on the Sea of Cortez, route over to the Pacific.

    edit: the dirt road is not 60 miles. My Bicimapas mapping program shows 36 miles from Gonzaga to Hwy 1, and a little of that is paved now so probably 30 miles +/- of dirt
    #38
  19. Vic5491

    Vic5491 Been here awhile

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    I just looked at my map and found Hwy 12 to Bahia de Los Angeles. Thanks for the tip. I'll consider it if I have time! Thanks!

    #39
  20. BobLoblaw

    BobLoblaw Comfortably Numb

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    I think it is variable year to year but last year it was pleasant in the high 60's low 70's. Get bloody cold at night at least at Cocos's elevation.

    Mid February might be a better early year start date.

    I didn't see any mud. I understand your hesitation but I think you will be just fine. BTW I'm just an average rider and had no problem.
    #40