Baja - the best of.......the worst of...

Discussion in 'Americas' started by gaspipe, Oct 5, 2007.

  1. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

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    I got a chance to meet and chat with Shogs at the NCN brew and feed fest (thanks Meathead), and Gwen talked me into starting up a thread on the best and worst of Baja. As odd as it is, I've never ridden the paved roads much and won't have much to say about that, but I sure have hit a good deal of the roads less traveled there.

    This thread will take a while, and all constructive additions and corrections are very welcome. Bear with me, and check back now and again.

    [​IMG]

    Now.....how to present it all.....?? :scratch
    #1
  2. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    would probably be a good place to start.:nod

    Fer instance, a gnarly rutted rocky sandy former 4X4 road turned to single track leading to nowhere with nothing at the end but views of Baja might not be what GQ riders riding driveway jewelry down to Cabo looking for the Giggling Marlin are lookin' fer if ya know what I mean. :D
    #2
  3. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Gordo tonto y contento.

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    San Diego, not Mex, but I can smell it from here.
    Best place to run into stray Advriders...

    Cabo Pulmo. :thumb
    #3
  4. mutineer

    mutineer pierpont lives

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    spent quit a few nights sleeping it off in Cantu Cove near San Felipe

    but that was back in 90's when cameras had film

    so no pics
    #4
  5. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

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    Ah, yes: Definitions.

    A good place to start :nod
    #5
  6. PhilSpace

    PhilSpace The Ex-Gov

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    Very cool idea.
    #6
  7. Van Isle

    Van Isle Been here awhile

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    Main highway near Loreto Bay south has great views and astonishingly different Baja views of lush green mountains and gorgeous sea of Cortez stuff, too.

    I've heard of some awesome sweat bread in Santa Rosalia, but Coco says the mayor, Chief of Police, everybody are queers and you should be very careful there. :huh

    Just saying.

    VI
    #7
  8. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

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    Thanks Gwen. It was a pleasure meeting you at NCN. It's hard to believe we *hadn't* met before then, as after reading all your reports, I sorta felt like I knew ya... :deal

    Anyway, I've been thinking about this thread, and it will be an exercise in evolution and information. This post will likely serve to become something of an INDEX page. I do wish for folks to add information or PM stuff to me, and I'll incorporate it as I go.

    There's a lot of data and knowhow about the western crossings and northwest part of Baja, so I'm not going to spend much time there. I'm going to focus on the south, and the off the beaten path tracks. Touring bikes and big asphalt rigs won't have much use for this thread, and for that I apologize, but then again, y'all likely have yourselves well under control.
    #8
  9. charliemik

    charliemik Been here awhile

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    Best AND worst.

    The road south from Puertocitos to Coco's Corner. Best views of Sea of Cortez and that beautiful desert. Worst washboards I can recall. Deep and kinda odd pitch. We couldn't find a speed at which we could skip over the tops. By the time we got to Coco's Corner my buddie's R100GSPD was just about to lose the swingarm. And we had no wrench to tighten the locknut:cry . I had a couple of smaller, less important bits rattle off my bike. Still, very high fun factor:lol3 .
    #9
  10. AKjeff

    AKjeff Long timer

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    I've dreamt of traveling Baja for years. I'd always planned to do it in my Dodge, but lately I've been thinking the GS would be a better choice.

    Sorry to interupt, please continue, I'm listening.
    #10
  11. Cactus Dave

    Cactus Dave Born to Argue

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    :lurk
    #11
  12. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Gordo tonto y contento.

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    San Diego, not Mex, but I can smell it from here.
    The road north from Los Barrilles to Los Planes. Coastal, varies from graded flat to steep rocky two track on coastal cliffs, then veers inland near the north end.
    A *skilled* rider could take it on a loaded GS. Mere mortals need be careful. Very scenic. Could be a day run from town to town or provide a nice remote overnite if you're so equipped.
    #12
  13. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

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    North East Baja (above 31 degrees)

    I have three usual favorite modes of entry/exit from Baja.

    Calexico is my favorite place to cross, as there is 24/7 availability for obtaining your Tourist Visa and even an Importation Visa if you're headed to the mainland.

    I usually stay on the northern edge of town in one of the chain motels. The closer you get to the border, the more 'gamey' they get. I've had good luck talking the managers into letting me park my pickup there, since I'm a repeat customer and they seem to 'remember' me :uhoh

    As I mentioned before, I'm not going to spend any time talking about North Western Baja or much above San Felipe. There's ton's of info about that all over the web, and lots and lots of very experienced travelers to draw from. So, I'll not reiterate that stuff, and focus my attention on the 'meat' of Baja.

    The three routes IN that I like:

    1) Blow down the highway from Mexicali to San Felipe. Ride like the wind, and make miles. The real Baja for me starts *after* San Felipe. If you're on a time budget, bit the bullet and ride south on the pavement. Get gas in San Felipe. There are several Pemexes there (and decent accomodations and food, albeit touristy, if you get a late start).

    2) Laguna Salada - this is a cool ride. Go west from Mexicali on Hwy2 to the dead town of El Oasis. There's a nice graded dirt road the heads south on the western edge of Laguna Salada - right at the base of the huge mountain range that runs the length of Baja. Along this route is Guadalupe Canyon - a cool spot with Hot Springs and refreshments. Camping too. But it all burned down a few days ago :cry The road from Guadalupe Canyon back out to Hwy 5 can be a bastage is wet weather, and is best on a thumper. Bigger bikes might be an SOB as there are also some silt beds out there.

    3) La Rumerosa/Laguna Hanson - this is a nice ride, big bike friendly. This route starts at La Rumerosa, a ~40 mile ride west from Mexicali across the low desert, then climbing the mountains up to La Rumerosa. You'll pay a toll here :bluduh but it is a helluva view. At La Rumerosa, you'll have climbed up a mile, and you'll be in the pines. You'll go south from here to Laguna Hanson - an easy ride through the pines, and very pretty. If you take the easy road, you'll end up at Ojos Negros (motels, gas, food). If you take the maze or roads to the east, you'll eventually end up somewhere between San Joaquin or Jamau. There's fuel, food and lodging along Hwy 3 as you head back east towards San Felipe and the road to Mike's Sky Rancho. Remember, on this route, you're at 7000 feet - there can be snow and nasty weather!

    This far up north, motos are commonplace and generally well received. If you come across a gate that is closed, for doG's sake, close it behind you as you pass through. have couthe and courtesy.

    Laguna Diablo


    From this entry point on the last two options, you'll be on Hwy 5, headed west to Ensenada (not encompassed in this thread), or back east towards San Felipe. At the tiny pueblo of San Matias, there's the last gas and food until the paved hwy intersection ( 5 & 3) at El Chinero. Just east of San Matias is the turn off to the sandy tracks of Laguna Diablo - these tracks will take you to the Zoo Road at San Felipe. This route is for sand lovers. Big bikes will not be very happy.

    Mike's Sky Rancho

    At San Matias, you can opt to go up to Mike's Sky Ranch. The dirt road out to Mike's is well marked, and is do-able on almost anything with two wheels. This place rocks, but you have to remember you're at altitude here. There can be snow. There's always cold beer, a pool, and good food. Weekends can fill up if you're running late. You'll be camping in that case. Leaving from Mike's can take you to the west coast, or back to Laguna Diablo and San Felipe.

    San Felipe

    San Felipe is a bit too touristy for me. There are plenty of motels, several Pemexes, tons of food joints, and the maelstorm of tourism along the beach. Rice and Beans has a joint on the north end, and I always like to get a beer there while passing through, and pick up/drop off messages from the Rice and Beans in San Ignacio. The brothers appreciate the patronage, too.

    That concludes the BLITZKRIEG into Baja. As I mentioned before, I really like to get south of San Felipe, or up in the mountains past Mike's before I slow down and start my Baja experience. Just my preference.....


    [lots more coming]
    #13
  14. VelvtRide

    VelvtRide i can haz a motrsykle?

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    Bruce! :raabia




    Great start!! Can't wait to read more. :clap
    #14
  15. Lobby

    Lobby Viel Spass, Vato!

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    Thanks, Gaspipe. This is cool.
    #15
  16. SunnySideUp

    SunnySideUp O hell, I'll do it!

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    I'll be making my first ride across the border this winter on a 650gs. Keep talking, I'm taking notes! Thanks.
    #16
  17. Django Loco

    Django Loco Banned

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    Is Zoo road also reffered to as the dump road? Is it still possible to cross over to Laguna Diablo and ride through it? I'd heard it was gated or blocked off now? I was there last year, couldn't find the way across coming out of Mike's.
    Lots of fences. Anything changed? Also heard if you take the dump road out of San Felipe that access to the Laguna is blocked off. True?

    Any current clues as to the state of the trail heading west out of Mike's. Any barriers or gates been erected lately? Any new twists to getting down to Mex.1/Colonet? I haven't been this way in 7 years. Once on the coast I usually stay at the Old Mill.

    Can you discuss the coastal section between El Rosario on down to about Rosarito or so? I see all these cool little tracks, whats the best way through?...looks tricky in places. Anyway to connect the north end... San Carlos (road ends?) to the Fish Camp at Puerto Catarina? If it doesn't go through, then any good loops to the coast and back to Mex 1 ?

    Thanks much for your expertise!
    #17
  18. Johnny Drunkard

    Johnny Drunkard Todo utz Super Moderator

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    :bow

    Thanks for taking the time GP.
    #18
  19. McMaster

    McMaster Any Direction Anytime

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    When are you going to be down there
    #19
  20. McMaster

    McMaster Any Direction Anytime

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    Mission San Ignacio is amazing you drop out of the desert into a huge palm grove lots of great date bread here taste treats also the mission here is spectacular get the hell off your bike and go inside it is truly amazing...The town square is quaint and usually a little taco stand is set up for snacks pretty taste quesidillas...Ride through the palms down at the lagoon was a great memory......

    Bahai de Los Angeles pretty cool little town great little market auto parts store and the famous Sea Turtle rescue I was lucky there were 3 turtles they were rehabilitating..Oh great lunch spots right on beach get some snacks at the market and take lunch out on the beach and watch the pelicans fish..

    Mulege okay I am leaving this winter on another Baja trip and plan on spending a few days here ran into Kurt from ADV down there and he turned us on to a beach called playa de escondido that was void of any of the large RVS and had plenty of palaps made a shell necklace for my self one day just sit on my ass looking out into the bay of conception every morning a pickup comes by with fresh made tamales and other food stuffs eggs etc...you can rent kayaks from the campground host and I caught fish here with ease plus lots of chocolate clams if you bring a mask and snorkel...The town of Mulege has a great grocerie and a treated water store plus a few other tourist shops they have dances on sat and I think on thursdays is the pig roast at a hotel there you'll have to ask I forgot the days...all in all my favorite Baja destination

    Todos Santos...If you like Chile Renos This town has a place right off the main drag with the best I have ever had in my life I will go back there just for those also has the "Hotel California" from the eagles song make sure you put your signature on the wall outside look for the ADV in red pen ...Tons of great silver jewelry for your sweetheart and tons of other art work I stayed at a capground in town gated and safe hot showers but beware I killed a spider in the shower whose legs stuck out the side of my 10.5 flip flop when I hit it

    La Paz was a neat place pretty much can find anything your looking for touristy but I will go back as I heard they have great place where you can get heaps of cooked shrimp for only a couple bucks also some great fishing out around the point...was only here for a few hours pretty large town....

    Well I will add to this thread after I get back this spring sure to find some more sweet spots south of the border

    Billy
    #20