Baja for dummies

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Dan Diego, Nov 25, 2019.

  1. Dan Diego

    Dan Diego Long timer

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    We’re really not dummies...well, the other 4 aren’t, anyhow...but the way we set up the weeklong ride would make some people wonder. The plan was: No real plan...just a couple of possible ride locations.

    We planned to meet in Calexico, California, on Monday, ride to San Felipe —and other points in the Baja peninsula—and exit via Tecate 5 days later. And that’s pretty much how it ended up going.

    The riders were from Florida, Arizona and Texas. I’d ridden in Baja and other places with Steve, Brad and Dave, and this time
    Dave brought along his son, Carter, to round out the group.

    Steve and I were on Gen 1 KLRs, Brad was on a brand new BMW 850 GS and the other two were on Yamaha WR250s.

    We crossed into Mexico at 1pm and had our FMM tourist permits within 20 minutes. The ride to San Felipe along Highway 5 was straight and easy and we found our seaside AirB&B just before dark. We unloaded the gear and rode into town for some very tasty tacos and beers along the malecon, right on the Sea of Cortez. We were all in great spirits and had a fun time interacting with the locals. The Baja 1000 was scheduled to start at the end of the week, so everyone was prepared for the onslaught of thousands of visitors.



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    #1
  2. Dan Diego

    Dan Diego Long timer

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    The next morning we loaded up the bikes and found a nice place to eat. Chorizo and egg breakfasts would be a recurring theme on this ride.

    We were headed south toward Bahia de Los Angeles by 10 am. The weather was cooperating and the bikes were running well. Everything pointed to another fantastic Baja ride.

    Though the road to Bay of LA was just bad pavement and a series of construction detours, we still enjoyed the ride. Our bikes were perfect for this terrain and we made good time. We passed through Puertecitos and Gonzaga Bay before rolling into Coco’s Corner to see the man himself. Coco greeted us with a smile and some cold Pacificos. Ah, yeah! After some fun conversation, signing of his guestbook and topping off with fuel, we headed south along an off-road trail that would lead us to Highway 1. By the time we reached the point where the two highways met, we could see, sadly, that all of the dirt roads were being paved over. Soon, the small quiet towns we’d enjoyed for years would be more accessible to visitors in cars. And that’s just the way it goes. Progress, as it were.

    The view of the Gulf of California as you ride into Bay of LA is truly spectacular...just an amazing sight to see. We all pulled off the road and stared in awe at the little town on the shores of that beautiful bay.

    We quickly settled on a small hotel with a restaurant/bar and unloaded the bikes. The plan was to stay one night and then ride south to the tiny village of San Francisquito the next day...unless we could find a boat that could bring us out to see the whale sharks. And over beers, Capitan Luis showed up with a reasonable offer: He’d take us out for a half day of swimming with the whale sharks the next day. The price was right so we agreed. Brad decided to skip the boat tour and ride down to San Francisquito and back while we were out. We enjoyed a nice meal and called it a night.

    After a fine Mexican breakfast the next morning Capitan Luis picked us up at the hotel and we were on the water by 8:15. Spoiler alert: While we didn’t see any whale sharks, we still had a great time touring the small islands in the large bay. After we returned, we all explored the town on bikes, riding up into the hills and along the coast. It’s such a nice little place, definitely a new favorite Baja locale. We had a great dinner, hung out with some boisterous fellow travelers and planned the next day’s activities. E7945E59-4233-44AB-B4A0-87FFF213B67C.jpeg 824C83B2-7B4C-4C02-A9E7-9CBFD8374216.jpeg 48899847-EF39-4B64-B37B-3A9657594D04.jpeg D5533CE4-5CC7-42A5-BE06-C3BC56794982.jpeg 10A716DE-E435-4662-8615-228A7A1050B2.jpeg 4A48393A-980B-4728-A84E-8939289D5E2E.jpeg A9710730-771A-4AC7-927B-6DDDEC763EC6.jpeg 98FA8F0D-5649-4DDF-B715-3BD5741DFE4E.jpeg E5CC8ED7-FFD2-4EDD-AA8E-49CC42EABD4D.jpeg C8022742-0768-4848-86BF-71D4DE45AFC5.jpeg
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  3. Dan Diego

    Dan Diego Long timer

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    It had rained throughout the night and it was windy and brisk on our way north the next day. That part of Highway 1 doesn’t have a lot of fuel options, so we topped off our tanks from the back of a man’s truck along the road near Punta Prieta. We were hopeful that we’d find more gas along the highway but the first fuel we found was in El Rosario, 150 miles away. Those little 250s were on fumes when we rode into the Pemex there. Instead of eating lunch at Mama Espinoza’s, we pushed on through the chilly, windy mist to the small town of Erendira 120 miles away. 02621006-77CD-4D08-A1FC-19B1E26AC35F.jpeg 69A57E7F-5DC1-471B-908B-6ACD93DE053E.jpeg 5C5E4813-F41F-4435-A006-7E0A227F8500.jpeg C806A46C-5730-4B1F-9AB8-33DF669135B7.jpeg 76CD8A2C-E2EE-4798-B4C9-AD0D599DCB4F.jpeg CEE22D6E-8541-468F-BCE4-79F90D165A4A.jpeg CB5DADD6-228A-4C25-9574-725448AF1156.jpeg 9DA50381-5EBF-4173-927C-DD6D9973F9F1.jpeg C9B76AC0-55DD-4E15-88D4-150E4E4218B6.jpeg 9F9D28E7-D1A2-4CF5-9E16-8872770509E5.jpeg
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  4. Dan Diego

    Dan Diego Long timer

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    When we reached San Vicente to fuel up, I contemplated taking a cool off-road route across the mountains, but due to the heavy rains they’d had recently, I opted to continue along the paved roads. We rolled into Coyote Cal’s, a cool little hostel in the village of Erendira, by 4 pm and Rick, the owner, immediately pushed a bucket of cold Pacificos across the bar to us. Ahhhhhhhh!!

    We settled into beach chairs in the sand pit as Rick lit the fire. We talked bikes and the Baja 1000 with the other riders who were already there or arrived throughout the evening. As always, the vibe was chill and everyone was having fun. An announcement was made that the Baja 1000 was postponed for a day due to the rains...something none of us recalled happening in the past 50 years. C31FBDE0-EB62-48DD-AD7B-BC777CF02199.jpeg 38FD2B0C-837A-4DFB-AF59-FE1BCFF7108B.jpeg 625F6FC4-B886-4D69-90DC-024AFF178CC9.jpeg 8FF28B82-522D-4AE4-B518-61D104B15C41.jpeg 216F4EE6-7CE0-4F41-9136-7FFD4020DE25.jpeg 170EB0ED-E3FA-45CE-9D17-001B2C48780B.jpeg A7EEEE0A-1F88-4052-952D-4A41C2996466.jpeg B6797814-9FFD-44EB-AFCE-EFA9DDBA9AFD.jpeg 8FDE97B5-B941-4B8D-9911-2E78987D702C.jpeg 92F5D467-2A84-424C-AC12-35866BB50331.jpeg
    #4
  5. Dan Diego

    Dan Diego Long timer

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    Dinner was served at 7—Thai Chicken—and the place buzzed with excitement as we loudly discussed the postponed race and our memories of previous Baja rides. One by one, our team of riders peeled off and went to bed. There was mucha cerrveza that evening...

    The next morning was crisp and sunny with no chance of rain. After breakfast, we all rode out to a small volcano on the coast. We picked up shells as the waves crashed loudly on the shore. There was still some mud left on the dirt roads but nothing that hindered our morning ride. Within the hour we were back on Highway 1 headed toward Ensenada. We stopped at my favorite stand—La Floresta—for some of the very best fish and shrimp tacos in Baja. After stuffing ourselves with tasty local food, we fueled up and headed north to Tecate.

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  6. Dan Diego

    Dan Diego Long timer

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    It was an uneventful ride and we were back in the US by 1 pm. Brad and Steve headed east toward Phoenix while I headed west to San Diego with the other two. I parked my muddy KLR at a friend’s house later that day, happy and tired after another fun and satisfying Baja ride.

    And not surprisingly, we’re already planning our next one... AB1F7B70-6AEA-4B33-95B7-D903C5973F2A.jpeg FC8D5303-D9FF-4ED3-8462-675C265B0838.jpeg 8F721852-FE3F-4E9E-8EC0-C28297A7ADBB.jpeg 13D78CF5-09E0-4BF3-AD57-BBB17E5FDC1D.jpeg EA29E91A-CF83-47EA-ADB9-290F90CD1B19.jpeg 0818D64D-542A-4E32-B082-E87560D83302.jpeg 851DFC94-24F1-49BF-876E-E911F307923B.jpeg 44E5D6B2-1175-416F-B036-93F332EF28D3.jpeg 5B89CE7F-3896-424F-B33E-65EC933C32F4.jpeg
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  7. wilddoktor

    wilddoktor Adventurer

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    Thanks! Great RR! I hope to make a Baja trip as my first long moto trip, hopefully in 2020. Will do it with a buddy on our V-Strom 1000's. Your RR helps me keep the dream alive! :-)
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  8. Some Beach

    Some Beach Been here awhile Supporter

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    Dan knows Baja, so he's a good resource. Others have been to the peninsula more often but they can't pronounce the names as well :jack.

    Dan is also very generous to the other riders on his trips. What he didn't tell you was those little 250s were really a pain in the ass with their stock tanks but the group didn't put up a fuss and let us stop and refuel as needed. My little Yamaha doesn't get above 70MPH very often so I was often chasing the group when we were on the many sections of asphalt.

    Day 1 brought us to San Felipe as noted above. We woke up to rain the next morning and it was raining on the Pacific side as well, which would eventually lead to the Baja 1000 being delayed 24 hours (more on that later).
    Baja rain sf.jpg

    We enjoyed several cups of coffee watching the light showers.
    Baja sf house.jpg

    We ended up eating a wonderful breakfast and enjoyed a local school parade prior to leaving town. I was in charge of the route out of town so we took the scenic way when I missed the turn onto HWY 5. Baja sf parade.jpg
    #8
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  9. Some Beach

    Some Beach Been here awhile Supporter

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    Day 2 Dummy Recap:

    We left San Felipe for Bahia de Los Angeles late in the morning after I gave the group a brief "tour" of the town. We stopped just outside of SF to see a few of the giant cacti (Gigantes)
    Baja gigante.jpg

    Dan knew a nice route off HWY 5 that led to a scenic beach but it was a few kilometers long and mostly sand. Knowing Carter, @uno_mas, wanted to play in as much sand, dirt, and mud as possible, the group let the 250s have a run at it.

    Baja day 2 mud spot.jpg Baja day 2 mud tires.jpg
    The sand was easy riding thanks to the rain but the large section of mud before the beach was too slippery for my taste this early into the day. We headed back to the group and told some lies about the beautiful isolated beach.

    The joy of having two guys with 2 gallon tanks is getting to stop and look for gas right when the group gets into a nice groove on the pavement. Steve was nice enough not to complain and just posed for pics at each delay.
    Baja day 2 rest.jpg

    We made it to Coco's in time for a day beer and conversation. Coco gave us some fuel and we were on our way. Most of this day was easy, scenic roads with a bunch of short detours.

    Baja day 2 road.jpg
    Some of the detours has some built up gravel but no one struggled with it. One of our KLRs even rode a section of it sideways, but Harley guys are always showing off like that. I only had my phone with me so no evidence of the stunt riding. Here's one of the rider deep in thought just after the event.

    Baja steve.jpg

    We all stopped as we entered Bay of LA to enjoy the view.

    Baja la top 1.jpg Baja la top 2.jpg

    Day 2 ended at the hotel restaurant.
    Baja Day 2 end.jpg

    It ended too early for some. "Seriously, it's only 8 o'clock!"
    Baja day 2 steve end.jpg
    #9
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  10. uno_mas

    uno_mas n00b

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    sandridingbaja.jpg I enjoyed the group letting us ride some of the sandy routes to the beach, as well as left & right of the main gravel road out to coco's. Lots of fun sandy whoops, hills and some deep gravel.
    #10
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  11. Some Beach

    Some Beach Been here awhile Supporter

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    Day 3 Dummy Recap:

    The beauty of Bahia de los Angeles is amazing and worth the trip just to see the sunrise over the many islands. As Dan covered above we had agreed to go see some whale sharks with Captain Luis who had given us a 50-50 chance of telling the truth the day prior. The weather was not ideal and I don't think any of us really thought we'd see the famous animal but the water was calling us.
    Baja la water.jpg

    The small amount of money we spent on the boat ride was well worth the beauty we saw as we visited several of the islands and coves. We returned early enough to explore the town. On the first trip out we found a beach to play on and a new friend greeted all of us by biting our boots as we rode on by.
    Baja la beach one more.jpg

    Life decisions were made. Here our KLR crew debated which beach bar to visit during happy hour. We can still make San Francisquito right?
    Baja la beach meet.jpg

    The young played while the old continued the debate.
    Baja la beach 1.jpg

    We parted ways after lunch with the KLR crew diligently researching happy hour pricing. They said they went to the museum and they're at least as honest as Captain Luis. I took a rest at the hotel while uno_mas went out looking for anything that wasn't asphalt. I met up with him here just outside of town.
    Baja la cactus.jpg

    We found our KLR friends still diligently searching for the best bar and they led us right to it. Guillermo's for the win! It's right on the beach and the Tecate Red's were nicely priced. I think we'll chose this as our hotel when we return. Dan retold us the famous Uno Mas story.
    Baja la uno mas.jpg

    Steve wanted just one more cerveza before we went back to our hotel and Carter wanted to find one more trail. We all considered making a run for San Francisquito one more time. I was beginning to see a theme for the trip when we ran into the Uno Mas Drinking Team back at our hotel. They said they were a racing team but I think there was more to their story. One from our group stayed up past 8 that night and now knows their secret but would only say it had something to do with broken furniture. The "racing" team had given him a nice hat and some other swag to keep silent.
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  12. Dan Diego

    Dan Diego Long timer

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    The previously mentioned boisterous crew was indeed the Uno Mas Racing Team. Lotsa fun.

    One of my favorite memories of this ride was Carter getting after it in a beach in Bay if LA...with his new friend nipping at his boot as he attached the sand.
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    #12
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  13. Some Beach

    Some Beach Been here awhile Supporter

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    That was the coolest dog in Baja!

    Bajabeachdogmini.gif
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  14. Dan Diego

    Dan Diego Long timer

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    Although Marmaduke/Scooby was a sweetheart, too.
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  15. Some Beach

    Some Beach Been here awhile Supporter

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    Day 4 Dummy Recap:


    The day started out promising,

    Baja day 4 rainbow.jpeg copy.jpg

    then we rode right into the rain and it was cold and wet most of the day. Very scenic riding from the Sea to the Pacific but most of us would have enjoyed those heated grips on Brad's new GS. I didn't take any photos of the ride due to being a wuss from the desert, and everyone was able to test out their gear's wet weather abilities or lack thereof on this day.

    Late afternoon we arrived at Coyote Cals and started in on the first bucket of beers.
    Baja day 4 Cals 1 copy.jpg

    Some bikes pre-running the Baja 1000 course rode by and @uno_mas went back out to play on a small section of the muddy route.

    Baja day 4 Cals2 copy.jpg

    Our KLR riders discussed more important things. Red or Blue for the next bucket?

    Baja day 4 cals 3 copy.jpg

    Brad was off somewhere with another GS rider discussing BMW things most of us wouldn't understand but we did get a new guest rider out of the deal. Norbert, "Bob", is a badass Frenchman holding his own with a bunch of rowdy 'Muricans that night. We invited Bob to join us the next day on his GS with a street tire. I'm glad we did as he fit right in with our sardonic group. (Day 5 teaser photo of Bob back on his bike just after showing us how to properly place a GS on its side.)

    Baja day 5  norbert crash copy.jpg

    The evening was abuzz with the news of the Baja 1000's very unusual delay (Dan has several good photos of this night in his first posts). Carter and Steve met some racers from the previous years who were taking a break and playing tourist in 2019. We all enjoyed their knowledge while we were given continual drunken updates on the race delay by a few in the crowd.

    Baja Pro Tip: If you have insider knowledge at Cal's, rumor has it that you can get a private room prepared with essential oils. Ask for the Baja Rain Delay Special.
    #15
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  16. Some Beach

    Some Beach Been here awhile Supporter

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    Day 5 Dummy Recap

    After a nice breakfast at Cal's we prep the bikes in the packed parking area.

    Day 5 Cals bikes copy.jpg

    After days of rain the roads out to the beach were a bit muddy

    Day 5 mud road copy.jpg

    No center stand was needed on the new GS

    Baja day 5 bmw mud copy.jpg

    Dan and Brad enjoying some dry sections
    Day 5 dan brad.png

    We rode out to the Volcano

    Day 5 vulcano copy.jpg Baja day 5 volcano copy.jpg

    We enjoyed the ocean views for a while before heading north to Ensenada

    Day 5 beachin copy.jpg Day 5 dan steve wave better copy.jpg
    Day 5 WR sand copy.jpg

    Steve was stunt riding again on the way out

    Day 5 KLR Down.png

    Thanks to the Dan, Steve, Brad, and Carter this was a great ride. Baja is a special place and Dan did a great job of putting this together with input from the group. I'll end this recap with a great Baja view.

    Day 5 Baja fish taco copy.jpg Day 5 fish taco 2 copy.jpg
    #16
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  17. Drunk_Uncle

    Drunk_Uncle Long timer

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    08DDBBA0-DBA1-42D9-80EE-386E3067FAE3.jpeg Well I am seem to be the member of this Motley Crew to chime in. It was a great time and as mentioned before Bay of LA is a great place to base out of for trail riding. Really only have one picture to add which is of me at Coco’s Corner.
    #17
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  18. uno_mas

    uno_mas n00b

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    I really enjoyed riding with you guys, looking forward to our next adventure. Every one of us improved our skills and further cemented our technique in the mud. I'd ride with these KLR brothers anytime.

    steveandme.jpg

    The two Spanish speakers made the trip much more enjoyable.

    oceanview.jpg

    You know it was a proper Baja adventure when you can no longer read your license plate.

    bikesmuddy.jpg
    #18
  19. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Great RR guys, so cool to see your pics of Baja. Have been down there a couple times, once as a visitor via plane and the next time on my own WR250 - spent ~14 days riding down to Loreto and back.

    Can't wait to make it back some day, appreciate you taking the time to get all the pics posted and the story told :ricky :thumb
    #19
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