El Blanco Donkeys 2019 - 7 day Baja recap

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by mx813, Mar 2, 2019.

  1. mx813

    mx813 Been here awhile

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    Fuggy, it was good to meet you guys. Running unsupported...very cool.

    Yeah, you ran with 2 of our guys on 22 Day west when we had issues for day 5, which I haven’t yet wrote about yet. Coming soon.

    How was Raquel and Larry’s place. We tried a new place and well...it was ok.

    Did you ever find Mine Trail? I know the file transfer we were trying to do on the 64s failed that morning.

    -Mike
    #21
  2. mx813

    mx813 Been here awhile

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    That weather looks nasty! Where are you coming from?

    I will update day 5 tonight. Day 5 was another interesting day to say.

    All of our days have been interesting...
    #22
  3. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    Central Oregon. That pic was last night in Redmond. Doing the same this morning. Let me up, I've had enough.

    Enjoying your RR immensely.

    It gives one hope.
    #23
  4. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Ditto to needing more :-)

    I'm so effing done with winter :eek7
    #24
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  5. Moto Vaquero

    Moto Vaquero Trail less traveled

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    About time a real dirty Baja ride report popped up! This looks like my kind of ride and I am now freekin jonesing for a good Baja ride!
    I haven't been on some of those trails down there in a few years (can't ride them all...) and there have been some changes. I may have to bone up with you later Mike - oh, that sounded weird -
    I'll be following the rest of your fable with interest. Ride on!
    #25
  6. mx813

    mx813 Been here awhile

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    Hahaha. I think I know what you mean.

    Stand by...day 5 coming at you shortly.
    #26
  7. mx813

    mx813 Been here awhile

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    20 February - Day 5

    For the first time in our trip, we were ready to ride on time. Sun was out, slight breeze. All signs pointing to an excellent day!

    WRONG!

    As we were warming our bikes up and seconds from rolling out of Catavina, my buddy that crashed on Widow Maker, smashing his left radiator noticed a nice steady drip from the bottom most exposed area.

    CRAP!

    Since we were in a dry, wind free area, we opted to try to figure out why and where it was leaking. We guessed the cooling of the part/metal contraction finally showed that there was indeed further damage. I dug through the garbage can, found the 1/2 rack of Tecate beer box to use to mix up some JB Weld. Slathered that in...but it never set. Dang. Cleaned that stuff out and used 1/2 stick of quick steel and let that set up. Bingo. Now we can ride. 45 minutes behind schedule. We truly are now embracing the Baja Mantra.

    Our planned ride was Campershell trail to two track all the way to the ocean, ride south and then back east to meet up at the BOLA interchange with the chase truck to gas up. At least that was the plan.

    The leak reappeared. Insert some foul language. At least we were in a draw, in the sun and out of the wind. The guy who missed 2 days of riding due to the fuel pump issue and his buddy were about a mile ahead. Knowing their skill and they had the spot tracker, I told them to continue on to hit 22 day west and East and we will see them at the hotel in BOLA. After several back and forths on the radio “are you sure” they took off. They have the 4 gallon tanks so gas wasn’t an issue.

    So YZ laid over, more quick steel and a flash light to really try and find the leak, we continued to add more repair work epoxy. Now we are in a whole tube of quick steel. 45 minutes later, we thought we had it. The next escape route from this trail was 2 miles down where we would reassess time and leakage.

    It was leaking. Again. So...two tracked back to 1 south of Catavina. In 1.5 hrs, we had gone 6 miles. Now we are officially behind schedule. The reason to go to the hwy was to potentially intercept the chase truck which was long gone and we never saw them until the gas stop.

    At this point, the YZ owner did some drastic surgery to his radiator by removing 3 channels of fins in the area ...roughly 1” by 2” of exposed area so we could really apply and press the quick steel down between cooling channels. And another 1/2 tube of quick steel applied. And finally it was fixed. For good.

    To make up time, we opted to slab to Chapala and reassess what time it was and alter the track for the day for the 4 of us. Sun was out but the wind made the ride a bit cooler. We pulled into the lonchería just past the llantera at 5/1 Chapala area and the best cup of coffee for the whole trip of Baja.

    IMG_5354.JPG

    Warming up with a good cup of joe

    IMG_5356.JPG

    Wood cook stove.

    At this point, we continued to head down the highway to BOLA interchange when we experienced our first real dose of crazy drivers. In the hills south of Chapala, a truck got between me and my 3 friends. I knew he was there so I hugged the edge of the road to let him by. He decided to pass me on a uphill sweeping right corner...totally blind. I hit the brakes as I saw a Jeep coming and she was hugging the edge as best as possible. I could see the whites of her eyes of fear as the truck driver dove back into his lane feet from a major head-on. We pulled off the road to shake that off and then opted for a short detour west and then south towards the Bola interchange. I’m glad we did. The blooms, Cardin and boojum trees were spectacular.

    29.3195353, -114.2848394

    Roughly where we headed west and then south by southeast. This was a nice break from slabbing. Picked up 1 a few miles north of Bola interchange and met up with the chase truck 30 minutes behind schedule. Very acceptable by Baja standards. At this point, we were back on track and headed to the start of 22 Day East. The rains had left that trail in near perfect conditions...no dust and zero fresh tracks on it. This told us we were ahead of our two friends that headed west from our second attempt to fix the radiator.

    We pretty much rode 22 Day East with no breaks as it was good. Only stopped to gather together and continue on. We hit the two track between San Borja and Bola around 2:30 and after discussion, decided to skip the Mision and head to the hotel. Arrived at Hotel Villa Vitta around 3ish and proceeded straight to Dos Pinos next to Costa Del Sol for plates of fresh pescado tacos.

    IMG_5355.JPG

    Tacos! And beer.

    The hotel itself wasn’t fancy. Just a hotel. Food was decent. I opted to try something different as the previous 3 times I have stayed at Costa Del Sol. Would I go back to Villa Vitta? Maybe when it was warmer and pool was full but they were remodeling the pool deck so a lot of debris and material laying around.
    #27
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  8. mx813

    mx813 Been here awhile

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    The mud...

    I should explain the comment Fuggy made about “muddy PNW riders...”

    The first several days of riding were on a lot of two track roads to get around. And when they are wet, that stuff sticks. And makes you taller if you walk on it.

    I’d figure that stuff when dry would fall off eventually. Are you kidding me? It’s like red clay glue. It sticks and doesn’t let go.
    #28
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  9. mx813

    mx813 Been here awhile

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    I have a buddy that lives in Tumalo about 2 miles west of the state park there. The amount of snow he is dealing with on his horse ranch is crazy. Going to be awhile before EFR is ready to ride.
    #29
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  10. fuggy

    fuggy Canyon Explorer

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    Nice meeting you donkeys! Crazy weather that week in Baja eh? We had a good time, finished 5 days and just under 700 miles of trails. Will post up my ride report when I get some free time. Larry&Raquel's is great in Bahia De Los Angelas, we book through Ruth Batista (new owner/she is on FB) and she takes great care of us.
    #30
  11. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    +1 to that recommendation, will go back to Raquel y Larry's and Ruth's fantastic hospitality if I ever get the chance to be in the area again. We liked staying there so much on our way down, that we stopped by for a quick bite and to say Hi on the way north to Gonzaga.

    @mx813 - glad you were able to get the radiator sorted and stop the leak; troubleshooting that type of mechanical and resolving is always a pia. And really glad you weren't witness to (or involved in) and head-on; sounds scary as hell. I still have visions of nearly t-boning a cow that wandered into the road as I was making my way to San Ignacio. Didn't see too many erratic drivers while were we down there.

    Good update, looking forward to day 6 :-) :-)
    #31
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  12. mx813

    mx813 Been here awhile

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    Looks like I know where we will be staying next time we are in BOLA.

    Day 6 will be postponed until tomorrow. Just finished reading the RR “Rhythms of Baja” and wish I hadn’t. Got to glean as much info as I can out of that one for my “future” rides bank.

    I do long for a repeat of my first trip to the tip/Buenaventura area but as a teacher with limited time off during the school year, it is difficult when factoring in drive time to just get the bikes to Baja. So...I currently take a day or two unpaid to make it work.

    Retirement is 8 years away...
    #32
  13. scotty313

    scotty313 n00b

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    Good read. I'm heading down to San Felipe Sunday to start our ride on Monday. 9 of us will be going clockwise on a 4 day to loop back around to SF. 40% chance of rain Mon, Tues, and Wednesday.
    #33
  14. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    Reading and absorbing all of these epic Baja reports I can right now. Amazing the tidbits of advice that can be gleaned...even after hours of map work. Two weeks from this morning we will depart on our first ride day from HSV to SQ. Simply. Can't. Wait.
    #34
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  15. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Good on you man, I hope the next 8 years pass quickly and you're able to take full advantage when you're done with the grind. My wife and I are dreaming of the day we say eff off to the man and start spending winters in Baja.

    Now, how about day 6 :dukegirl It's frickin' snowing again this morning :arg :arg
    #35
  16. mx813

    mx813 Been here awhile

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    Snowing in Auburn during my first period of teaching. Un-fricking-believable.

    I promise day 6 tonight.

    Two words for day 6: Wind. Rain

    Along with a mechanical as a chaser.
    #36
  17. DustyMonkey

    DustyMonkey n00b

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    Awesome report! Following from Snohomish. Ashamed to say I’ll be heading down March 30-April 7 and missing the D100 for first time in 15 years.
    #37
  18. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    Keep an eye out for two white F150s both full of (dirty) KTMs heading north. We'll be on the way home as you are on your way down.
    #38
  19. mx813

    mx813 Been here awhile

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    We had 3 consecutive former D100 chairmen on my trip. 2010-2015.

    I just sweep the weekend now. That makes me happy.

    No more organizing 80 porta-potties for 5000 guests.
    #39
  20. DustyMonkey

    DustyMonkey n00b

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    Unfathomable what you guys do to put that event on!
    Would love to connect for a ride sometime. Planning on the 1000 in November. Any interest in a 50 plus team?
    #40