Border to border ... and more

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by proparapi, Nov 19, 2020.

  1. proparapi

    proparapi n00b

    Nov 19, 2020
    Baja Mexico (for the moment)
    I made it to Mulege after much adventure.

    In August I rode the bike (Royal Himalayan) from Montana to Medford Oregon with my camping gear strapped on the bike. This bike is not built for middle-aged people riding long distance.

    I started from my house, 30 minutes from the Canadian border and stopped in Medford Oregon.

    This leg was uneventful.

    I worked the fires for 9 weeks and saved some money.

    When the season ended I headed south. My plan was to make it to Bakersfield the first day.

    I made it to Sacramento.

    Ok. Bakersfield in two days?


    An hour from Bakersfield, at Kettleman’s City, my oil light came on.

    I cautiously rode into the city and got a motel room. I let the bike cool and I walked two miles, in the heat, two find oil for a motorcycle at Napa.

    On the return walk a highway patrolman gave me a ride to the motel. I think he was more curious about some stranger walking through town. He was polite and helpful. I appreciated the ride.

    Back at the motel I added oil and the light went out. I went for food.

    Food, shower, bed. This was a regular routine.

    Day 3 I made it to my brother’s house in the high desert. I rested for two hours then pushed on to my mom’s house in Palm Springs.

    Visited, ate, shower, bed.

    In the morning I left early for the border. I planned to stop in San Felipe for the day — about 4.5 hours total ride from her house.

    The border crossing has changed since i last came through. It seemed simple enough but It put me into Mexicali at a new spot.

    The road split but the sign indicated that San Felipe and Tijuana were both in that direction. I assumed that this road would split again and I would veer south to San Felipe.

    Nope. I got lost in the city. Eventually I found my way to the highway and headed south to San Felipe.

    Repeat the process: food, shower, bed.

    Bahia de Gonzaga is two hours. The goal was to stay there a full day and rest. I opted for two days.

    Riding the bike takes a toll on my body. It’s not built for long distance and I am getting old.

    When I say “sleep” I mean “crash for 10 - 11 hours “

    I left early and got there mid morning. I got a palapa and hung my hammock.

    By evening the wind picked up. It blew cold and blasted me with sand.

    My neighbors were friendly — but that was the beer talking ... a lot of beer. Their 4 dogs barked incessantly. The neighbors got hammered drunk and fought. The wind blew harder.

    I set up the tent and hid inside. In the morning the wind had lessened. I drank coffee and sat in the hammock. After a few hours the wind picked up again. News reports said two more days of cold fierce wind.

    I decided to rent a cabin. I added a day to make it through the worst of the wind.

    No WiFi and no cell service. I hid in the cabin and played games on my phone. I cooked meals on my camping stove. I waited and prayed.

    On the morning of the 3rd day I planned to leave regardless.

    The wind is usually less in the morning before the sun heats up the area and the winds rush in.

    I packed my bags and waited. The beach is gated. The gate isn’t opened until 8am.

    At 6:15 I saw an RV heading for the gate. If it got through early then I was going to make a break for it.

    I loaded my bags on the bike and raced for the gate. The RV had gone through. I wasn’t going to be held back.

    By 6:30 I was through the gate and on the highway heading south. My goal was Guerrero Negro. 4 hours away.

    I made it 30 miles.

    In the middle of nowhere — with no cell service and no one around — I hit a rock and blew out the tube in the front tire. My heart sank.

    I parked the bike in an open spot along the rode and immediately fell to my knees in prayer.

    I got up and walked to the side of the road. I took out my red bandana to wave at cars — if any might come. It was early and I didn’t expect anyone for a while.

    Americans driving north saw me. They had the immediate expression of “we should help him” this quickly became “fuck ‘em”.

    They didn’t stop.

    A carload of Mexicans stopped. They were sympathetic but had no room for my bike or me.

    They drove off.

    I was getting concerned.

    I turned from the road and was near tears. I prayed out loud to the quiet desert, “Jesus, I need you. I’m all alone. Send me an angel.”

    Five minutes later Jose stops. He’s driving a truck but the bed is full of luggage. He’s overflowing with optimism, “I think we can get your bike in there.”

    We do.

    He drives me 30 minutes south to a roadside tire shop.

    They’re skeptical that they can fix it. If the tube exploded then they can’t and probably won’t be able to get a replacement tube for days — if at all.

    Jose offers to take me to Guerrero Negro. That’s my goal for the day so I am eager to agree. I will be putting miles behind me in the comfort of a truck that someone else is driving.

    Halfway to GN we stop for breakfast. We eat lobster burritos. He buys.

    The day is improving.

    Back on the road we get to GN

    He’s got a long drive ahead of him. He’s going beyond my ultimate destination.

    I suggest that he take me there. I offer to pay for gas. Deal!

    By 2:00 pm we’re in Santa Rosalia, 45 minutes from my final destination. It’s the last place to find a real tire shop.

    He drops me off and arranges for my tire to be fixed.

    San Jose de Los Angeles.

    That’s what I call him.

    He’s skeptical. He doesn’t believe in God. I do my best to convince him otherwise.

    we say goodbye. I want to hug him. I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

    An hour later and my bike is fixed. I ride the final 45 minutes to Mulege and drop my bags in a room in the center of the plaza.

    Repeat process: food, shower, bed. I am so happy to be here.

    Within the week I found and rented a two bedroom house. It’s 3 minutes walk to the river and another 12 to the beach.

    I haven’t been exploring yet. The goal is day trips to remote beaches.

    The bike is in the shop getting a new chain.

    Unfortunately It’s been there a week.

    What should have taken an hour takes a week in Mexico.


    The right chain has to be ordered from La Paz. This takes a day.

    The wrong chain has to be sent from La Paz. This takes a day.

    The wrong chain has to be sent back to La Paz before the right chain can be sent — but you have to wait until Monday, which is a holiday. They’re celebrating the day of their revolution. One of 27 revolutions that occurred in the modern era.

    So the wrong chain gets returned to La Paz on Tuesday but the right chain is not sent on Wednesday.

    “It should come Thursday”

    But it could be Friday because another celebration of a different revolution might be occurring... or the feast of some dead saint.

    I’m here. I rented a house and eager to do some day trips to remote beaches.

    I will post more when they do.

    Attached Files:

    AngusMcL, pceire32, Cal and 5 others like this.
  2. chudzikb

    chudzikb Long timer Supporter

    Jul 17, 2016
    Man oh man, you went on this trip without leaning how to change a tube? I wish I had your confidence in the kindness of others. Glad it worked out for you.
    GotDammitDave, pceire32 and Dirt2007 like this.
  3. fastring

    fastring Been here awhile

    Aug 5, 2012
    Monroe, GA
    Sounds like an adventure! Building up the tools and skills to be self supporting is a good thing to do. Changing Thats why there is a big push, among many, for tubeless. Very easy to fix tubeless but you can (and should) carry a spare tube and some tire irons IMO. I have some great memories of the towns you went through and hope you build up the same! Thanks for sharing your trip!
    pceire32 and proparapi like this.
  4. Salsa

    Salsa Long timer

    Dec 12, 2006
    Arizona, Alaska
    You have just learned that Manana does NOT mean tomorrow!

    It means LATER !!!

    pceire32 and proparapi like this.
  5. proparapi

    proparapi n00b

    Nov 19, 2020
    Baja Mexico (for the moment)
    I’ve changed innumerable bike tires. I’m sure I could have figured it out. It did not occur to me to bring a spare or irons. It totally escaped my mind. *note to self. “Buy irons and a tube”
  6. chudzikb

    chudzikb Long timer Supporter

    Jul 17, 2016
    My kid is an eagle scout, I learned a thing or two from his training. The "be prepared" moto means something, I truly live the motto "better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it". To an extent, can't bring everything, and weight is truly the enemy.
    pceire32 likes this.
  7. 9Realms

    9Realms Drawn in by the complex plot

    Jul 23, 2010
    Central Minn.
    Welcome to you.
    Great reading, I found it interesting.
    pceire32 and proparapi like this.
  8. proparapi

    proparapi n00b

    Nov 19, 2020
    Baja Mexico (for the moment)
    I got the bike back last Friday.

    it was a pleasure riding it again.

    I made it to a mile short of the house and the new front tire blew out unexpectedly. I almost dropped the bike at 20 mph.

    i got it to the side of the road and contacted the mechanic. He came out with his truck and we hauled it back to his shop.

    examination discovered that the tube split about 4” long.

    imagine surviving in the middle of the ocean on a cheap pool toy.

    now imagine that this tube is in your front wheel. :-(

    The mechanic showed me the difference between his tubes and what had been installed a week earlier.

    he put his tube in and charged for the part only. No cost for labor or picking me up.

    back on the road I went home and parked the bike.

    overnight I developed a raging case of dysentery.

    when I was well enough I gathered my things to ride into town and get medicine.

    nope. Not happening.

    the front tire was flat.


    nothing I could do but go inside and hide in the bathroom.

    I informed the mechanic by phone and told him that I would get the tire to him on Monday.

    after two days I finally had the energy to remove the tire.

    an acquaintance delivered it and waited for it to be fixed.

    the mechanic put a new tube in and no charge.

    the tire is still holding air.

    but I’m gun shy.

    i have got to buy or have made some irons — and a patch kit.
    Cal and pceire32 like this.
  9. Pete Pilot

    Pete Pilot Been here awhile

    Jul 17, 2015
    Prince Edward Island. Canada
    Man your having no luck at all. I have NEVER had a flat. 5 Mexico wanders. Alaska, Yukon. Many miles wandering B.C. sw Texas, Az. south California and so on. Never a flat. I know, damn lucky!!!! Must be something in that wheel causing a problem for all those tubes. Where you at now? Do take care. Petepilot
  10. proparapi

    proparapi n00b

    Nov 19, 2020
    Baja Mexico (for the moment)

    Mulege. I’m here through the winter. The goal is to base here then explore various empty beaches and the sierras.

    i considered taking the ferry to mainland. I have friends in southern Mexico. It could be be an adventure going to see them. But I’m gun shy on adventure. For now.