Baja, ferry to mainland, and back

Discussion in 'Americas' started by PDXbuddy1, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. PDXbuddy1

    PDXbuddy1 n00b

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    Found this site and hoping to both get advice ( and maybe afterwards leave some) about upcoming 6 week ride down Baja, over the ferry to mainland, then down to PV. ending with (essentially) the reverse.

    Have had much advice from another (FB) forum, then found this site.

    We're planning to cross at Tecate after storing our truck and trailer nearby (coming down from Oregon) . Initial plan is as mapped out below - but thats just a sketch. our only rule is meeting our other halves in time in PV - so plenty of time on the way down. Have already heard that we should not take the "road" south of Mike's Sky Ranch to the observatory with loaded bikes- so reworking that part. IF time, thinking we will also add on a side trip from the ferry landing on mainland up to Copper canyon. Also, up Devil's backbone to Durango, but then back via the inland route towards Tepic.

    We'll be mostly paved roads/dirt roads - [not true off road experienced guys here ( 2 of us)] . I'll be on a KLR650, my buddy on his V-Strom 650. camping + motels (other than a week in PV meeting our other halves in a 'real' hotel).
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    thanks, in advance
    Mike

    #1
  2. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Guys , a dose of realism is required, okay you have six weeks , including a week in PV , but is that for the ENTIRE ROUND TRIP ?
    If that is the case it leaves about two and a half weeks to get to PV and you admit to being “ not true off road experienced guys”
    A lot of the paths you have marked are going to be a real miserable test . Your spouses may not like , or not recognize what arrives in PV
    Also you are running around and back and forth quite a bit with your “ plan” to go to the Copper Canyon from the ferry landing . Clearly you have no idea of what that means .Your route is only showing a visit to El Fuerte which is not in the CC , just up the valley from los Mochis and close to the Chepe railroad . Back and forth to Durango is nice for a two or three day expedition
    Not trying to dismiss all your routes but you might be happier with sticking to Mex 1 as much as possible and permitting yourselves a more relaxing less damaging ride with side trips on a number of certifiably usable roads ( I do not count a one track burro trail strewn with boulders , sharp rocks and deep sand as a “ road”)
    Believe me you can stretch the ride south down Baja into as many days as you care to give it while basing the ride around Mex 1 and enjoy it .
    Then do the coastal route on the mainland with similar side trips. Like El Fuerte , Mocorito , La Cruz , Mazatlan ,Mexcaltitan , San Blas , Tepic. etc etc etc
    For the return trip might I suggest that you do not
    make it “ essentially the reverse “
    Repeating on a same expedition the roads you did a week before is too unimaginative .
    Live it up .I like your idea of using the” inland route
    to Tepic “ from Durango I hope you mean the Mex 23 from Durango south to Jesus Maria and to Estacion Ruíz near/on Mex 15 - it is paved most of the way and your bikes can handle it easily .
    But repeating Baja is silly , just doubling your ferry cost in pesos and days .
    Get out the planning maps and set up a nice new return route from PV INLAND TO Guadaljara and north through Durango if need be to hit the real Copper Canyon via Hidalgo del Parral , Balleza and Guachochi ,CREEL, and Mex 16 west and up through Sonora to get you back to your trucks in California in those 2.5 weeks .


    Don’t ever believe the supposed time - required for the distances which the google map will supply.
    The time might work for a rider with great dirt skills and willing to push on . Taking a break for a rest or some photos will mess those times up quickly. No riding at night .
    I’m not fantasizing too much here about Baja , a friend and I just completed an eight day ride from Algodones to Pichilingue with a nice loop around through Cabo San Lucas , did paved side trips and could easily have spent many more days.
    No stress , no crashes in the desert tracks.

    Your KLR and Wee Strom will be ideal for use in this pavement and well groomed unpaved roads mode .

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    #2
  3. severely

    severely almost a noob

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    And forget camping, hotels are too cheap. I agree with SB, distance and time are different in Mexico so plan accordingly. NO NIGHT RIDING. Ride safe, have fun.
    #3
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  4. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    If camping on remote/deserted beaches is something that floats your boat (like it does mine), taking camping gear is worth it for the Baja part of your ride as there are lots of beaches to choose from. One in particular I enjoy is San Francisquito - pretty easy dirt road with some sections of soft sand. It's a spectacular beach and a family there runs a modest restaurant with cold beer. It's a little dilapidated and some complain it's too expensive but I only hope it's expensive enough that they can keep on operating. And by expensive, I'm talking about around $10 per meal and $2 per beer if my suspect memory is correct.
    #4
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  5. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Mike , RSVP on this thread .
    I see you have double posted this question and two others. It would be better to stick all of your questions into the single thread , move them all into a file so that once you have our attention we don’t need to Consider if there has already been a good answer given in the other posted place .
    If you have more questions just keep adding them to the single thread .

    At least throw out a remark now and then to show that you have engaged . It can be annoying if we provide input and the OP is never heard from again .
    #5
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  6. matthewg123

    matthewg123 Adventurer

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    Following.
    #6
  7. PDXbuddy1

    PDXbuddy1 n00b

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    still trying to figure out the way things work on these posts/threads. I think the doubling came form my original newbie post page/thread? and then it was suggested I post to the appropriate geographic trip area. not sure if best to delete the 1st one?
    #7
  8. PDXbuddy1

    PDXbuddy1 n00b

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    Very much appreciate the dose of realism. the routes I posted were tentative for sure, with hopes of getting ' real' form input - which I'm getting. thanks for the detailed suggestions.
    #8
  9. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Your best bet is to follow Sjoerd's advice and continue your quest for knowledge and advice in this thread.

    Good luck with your plan, it's a good one.
    #9
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  10. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    Your trip up and back to Durango is a keeper, run up on the free road and back down on the toll road( if it is open when you get there as it was closed recently for major repairs) or the inland route via Tepic as you suggested. From Tepic to PV on 200 is a bit busy but lots of little beach towns to explore, Chacala and Lo de Marcos, all with inexpensive hotels.
    Your route map shows riding 15D on the mainland, may I suggest using 15 the free road, it is nice and will give you the full Mexico experience of riding through the small and medium size towns.
    #10
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  11. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    I also read that the 40D was supposedly closed down for a burned out tunnel and to expect all manner of transport trucks deviated from the affected zone .
    However we rode the entire Libre40 to Durango last week 3 October 2019 and there was absolutely not any sign of a problem with the toll route . There were only a few stray straight trucks on the whole ride and also very few private automobiles. Clearly the traffic was using the toll road at all points on it.

    I am wondering if that was a bit of an old event that some news service wrongly slipped in , fake news?

    The road was in excellent condition but there were a good number of small rockfalls resulting from tropical storm Nardo. It was easy enough to spot them and ride around any rocks that could ding a rim F87FACD0-C019-4A92-B049-F70B44D08107.jpeg 5C013F20-F63C-4022-9F84-A500DDC7EFD9.jpeg 52B36E56-07E8-48B3-8A51-F93B4A410682.jpeg FB3ABCB0-CBEC-4620-A970-3A47B875A26C.jpeg
    Those clouds on the last foto turned out to be the front of a thunderstorm which dumped rain on us when we got past and above the Espinazo monument , but it dried off before Mexiquillo . Altogether still a fun ride .

    I second the recommendation of staying on the LIBRE 15 , even at that you will have two 12 peso tolls at the bypasses for Guasave and Culiacán . This is a lot cheaper than doing the full toll road .
    We did cut across from the Libre to the town of La Cruz for the night and took the D 15 for the last section to Mazatlan and hit the last toll terminal with a charge of 64 peso per bike .
    That section gives a good impression of what the route looks like though. Fast trucks and coastal scrub interspersed with ranches and crop farms
    #11
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  12. PDXbuddy1

    PDXbuddy1 n00b

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    Very much appreciating the info you guys are offering. I will let you know what we end up doing..
    #12
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  13. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Some pictures of the Pichilingue ferry terminal on 2 October 2019.
    First is the older , south terminal building with the BANJERCITO office walk-up service window shown in its NE-corner.
    Second photo is that window , the place where you can get the TVIP , provided you got the FMM at the border. Enlarge the picture and take notice of the variable office service hours.
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    This Ducati was parked waiting for another ferry , Mexican plate , and it seems a wee bit overloaded
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    Mid afternoon, waiting for boarding to start at 5 365CB5D3-286E-4584-9A94-A7462E88D6EC.jpeg Sunset has passed and still waiting to board

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    Scheduled 9 pm sailing time has passed and no boarding done yet...., then we were informed that this sailing had also been cancelled , apparently some inspection had been failed.Back to a hotel
    In La Paz 9E9911AF-8793-469F-B058-F63505CBA29A.jpeg


    .. and back at the docks next morning . Where boarding did start only to be halted for a looooooong official inspection , lifeboat drill, fire drill, testing of extinguishers and fire hoses
    . Finally loading resumed .
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    #13
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  14. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    The “ scheduled departure time “ to Topo’ was supposed to be 9pm for an 8 am arrival . However since this sailing was already two days behind schedule it was a question of hoisting anchor as soon as the last truck was aboard C709DF7E-5687-49C5-A316-49817D6FFC47.jpeg

    The only two bikes aboard get a ride up to the top cargo deck .And while still cinching down the GoldWing the ferry began moving away from the docks. We ARE UNDERWAY !
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    Hasty la vista Baja and La Paz
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    A lovely Mar de Cortez sunset to enjoy !before getting some sleep on a bench on deck . BDB06D14-5B5E-49F3-8E0E-233B06771882.jpeg
    These drivers of the massively overloaded with matrasses small trucks brought their own sleeping accommodations . Smart fellows FCF5A02C-7331-42CD-855F-B675138F54A6.jpeg
    After the 9 hours of smooth sailing ( Dieseling?) the port of Topolobampo appears. After another hour of slow manoeuvring and anchor dropping and backing into the dock we were finally in Topo at 2:45 . Within 20 minutes we were in a room at Motel Marina to catch up on good sleep, solidly through 9 am
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    Interesting to discover that this vessel , the San Guillermo , was originally registered in Limassol, Cyprus.
    The white ferry actually left Pichilingue after we did , passed us before sunset and was here nearly reloaded and ready to set off for Piche’ . Speedster !!!
    #14
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  15. knight

    knight Been here awhile

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    I slept on the back deck of the La paz - Mazatlan ferry one night and woke up the next morning with my clothes splattered with diesel droplets from the exhaust stack
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  16. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    The overloaded trucks with mattresses aside-hows about all that crap on the Ducati MC! WOW! That's more "stuff" than I got at home?:rofl
    #16
  17. Dan Diego

    Dan Diego Long timer

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    Like others, I bought Sjoerd Bakker‘s “Economical Hotels of Mexico and Central America” so I quickly cross referenced that hotel. Good stuff, SB!

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    #17
  18. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Gracias, Dan.
    The hotel’s tall sign has the lights turned off after 11 pm ( electricity ain’t cheap!) so you need to know your turn off point well.
    Also , depending on when you arrive and which ferry company you are using the point of docking can vary slightly . We were off the schedule and the dedicated ferry dock was occupied by that white BAJA FERRIES vessel , hence our Ferry TMC ship was backed up and tied off on the bare concrete frontage at the industrial dock to the side. I marked it on this maps. me copy.
    The official ferry dock exit leads directly onto the highway to Los Mochis but from this “emergency dock “ the traffic was directed around the buildings and south to a second industrial road . There were NO directional route pointers and in the dark with twists and turns it is quite easy to loose any sense of direction . You can’t really get lost , you will eventually get onto the right road but you waste some time , time you could already be checking in at the hotel.
    The “ emergency exit” will get you out of the compound onto a street where you turn RIGHT , then you come to an angled interesection where again you must turn RIGHT . This is the correct route north out of the port complex.
    Then on the mainland turn RIGHT again at the first street you encounter which offers that possibility and keep the eyes open for the second street to the left and you are at Hotel Marina .
    “ Toque el Timbre” - Ring the bell button beside the portal and the staff will answer and open the doors to let you inside the compound and you can check in. A really really nice hotel , no need to drive to Los Mochis in the night .
    Zzzzzzzzzz
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    A8EB29B9-9633-47CB-99A2-8FC0A56A7290.jpeg Hotel Marina
    #18
  19. colloquialoatmeal

    colloquialoatmeal Thumpin'

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    A couple things I'd recommend stopping and seeing on your way down through Baja:

    Hot tubs at Puertocitos. Last time I was there I got a free slab of fish and bottle of tequila!
    Coco's Corner, just south of San Felipe (gotta go at least once!). The road to this is very mellow/easy and will connect you back to the highway on the way out.
    In El Marshall, there is a place on the right side of the road that serves Al Pastor (Tacos Poblanos IIRC) stop here!! Best Al Pastor in Baja!
    Agua Verde, just south of Ligui. It's a small detour but very worth it!!!
    Piedras Blancas has a great little ranch and there are some really cool cave paintings in the area

    Depending on how deep in/technical you're trying to go there's some really killer riding in Comondu...

    I have been to Baja a few times and all through mainland and I can tell you Sjoerd really is the best resource on here and his book is amazing! I live in North PDX and if y'all ever wanna meet up and grab a beer I can show you my notes/maps as well as Sjoerd's book (although you should really be ordering a copy now!)

    Buen Viaje!
    #19
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  20. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    :thumbThanks Oatmeal .

    If you are travelling south of La Paz do watch out for a notorious gang which has a practice of roaming the highway on weekends IMG_0218.JPG IMG_0213.JPG

    We managed to escape after a friendly chat and no ransome was paid . It was the Vipers MC club from Cabo San Lucas who were on a Sunday ride from cafe to cafe , here in Todos Santos . Later on Mex 19 south the sport bikes zoomed past and the fellow on the KTM single brought up the rear at a slower pace . Then we passed them again as they were stopped at another cafe .

    On the side trip to Ensenada de los Muertos we came across this gang ,also dressed in black . They were grounded because of the cloud cover from Hurricane Nardo , deprived of the thermals they could not take to the sky .


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    #20
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