KC to Newport Beach to Cabo and back. Wahoo!!!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Adventure_Mike, Apr 9, 2021.

  1. Adventure_Mike

    Adventure_Mike Adventurer Supporter

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    A couple of quick notes on Santa Rosalia. Would love others who have spent more time to weigh as I was only here for an evening and morning.

    I'll start by saying that if this was a resort town it would be exquisite! Breathtaking views, beautiful water, and every accommodation you could want. Except it’s not a resort town. It’s a previous industrial mining (copper/zinc) town on the bay that was built, shut down, and now the mine has been reopened and is operating again.

    Sunset from hotel terrace looking north.
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    Sunrise from the hotel terrace looking south.
    IMG_4756.jpg
    One more sunrise shot from the terrace. Breathtaking!
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    Let’s start out with the good! Incredible views. I am staying in a 600 peso ($30 USD) hotel (thanks Hill Climber!) that literally has million dollar views. If this was Cabo it would be on the Pedregal side and rooms would be $400/night. There is a beautiful promenade that runs the length of the town right next to the sea that is well kept, well lighted, and safe with adults jogging and mom’s and dad’s pushing bay carriages. You can tell when the town was built by the French that they wanted to make it a nice place to be and they created parks and churches for workers and mining executives families.

    Park on east side of town. Many families out playing and enjoying a beautiful night.
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    Monument on the promendade
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    Even the trash cans are beautiful on the promenade.
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    I would not call these follow on items negatives but items of note if you come to visit… The roads are literally the worst of any town I have ever been in Mexico or the U.S. Potted, rough, holes, not well marked. Granted this is Hwy 1 that runs right thru town and a main North South interstate but they are rough. And the town is not what I would call clean. It seems as if the mines were built, the town was built, and then when the mines shut down so did a lot of the maintenance and clean up which is to be expected.

    The hotel I stayed at is a great example. Hotel Morro which is just South of town has an absolutely beautiful French inspired courtyard and maybe the best views in Santa Rosalia with a balcony that is over yards long and easily 100’ up off the water. Very safe with rooms that are spacious, air conditioning excellent, and good internet but definitely not fancy. But like in town the outside terrace area has not been swept in years and there is trash in the corners. For guys with big bikes (Ultraglides, Goldwings, etc.) be careful coming in. The ‘road’ into the hotel is filled with 3-5” big rounded rocks that are hard packed into the dirt. Would absolutely recommend the hotel especially for the price and am guessing it is one of the nicer in town.

    In short if you are looking for beautiful views at super reasonable prices, Santa Rosalia is hard to beat. And it does have a small airport with flights daily and a ferry that takes you to the mainland. Would definitely recommend checking it out!

    Thanks again all for all of the recommendations and suggestions! You have made this trip 10x better. Thanks again!
    #41
  2. princess jamaica

    princess jamaica OLD DOG-NEW TRICKS

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    Santa Rosalia is definitely a blue collar town.They have spruced it up over the last few years because a small cruise ship was going to stop there.It did,maybe 3 times before covid hit,and that was the end of that.Hopefully,that will start back up,and SR can reap some of the benefits of those tourist $$$.Unless there is another airport,the one south of town has been shut down for years,and they just halted ferry service again.Ride safe,have fun.
    #42
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  3. Adventure_Mike

    Adventure_Mike Adventurer Supporter

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    One last comment on the hotel. They did have a nice restaurant with good food and exceptional service and the pool area is beautiful. Off to the next adventure! IMG_4765.jpg
    #43
  4. Adventure_Mike

    Adventure_Mike Adventurer Supporter

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    What an epic day of riding!

    Leaving Santa Rosalia and heading up it seemed like I was in for a day of hot, straight, and boring. Was I ever wrong! The trip out of Santa Rosalia was actually pretty boring but a few miles down the road and you start histing some awesome twisties going up and down the mountains. Super fun riding even on a big bike.


    G0163316.JPG

    Others have referenced the run from Mulege and Bahia Conception to Loreto as being epic and they were RIGHT. I would put the 25 miles past Mulege as some of the prettiest riding I have ever done. As pretty or prettier than Powell and the on par with Bali or Fiji islands. Super clear blue water with incredible beaches. I was taking everything from the gopro so these are all stills taken from video but this run was worth the trip itself.


    Mulege1.png Mulege3.jpg Mulege4.jpg
    The water views stop for a few miles and then open back up once you past Loreto. There are some stunning resorts south of Loreto. Will look up and post or others can share that might have more info. And then once again you hit some fantastic twisties that go for miles and miles. Good like North Carolina Smokie Mountain good. Tons of fun w/ no traffic and good roads.

    Arrived in Ciudad Constitución this afternoon and am staying at the Hotel Victoria. It is the newest and nicest place I have stayed at yet and 800 pesos it is not cheap but it would rival most small Hilton or Marriott properties and it has super secure parking. Could not recommend stronger.

    Was not sure what to think of Ciudad Constitución coming in but after a twelve block walk and some of the best tacos I have had on the trip I like it. Very friendly and very safe. It is a government center and a hub for the agriculture industry in the area.

    CC1.jpg CC2.jpg CC3.jpg

    Tomorrow is a bullet run down to Cabo via Lapaz. Not likely a lot of pics on this one as I need to make some time in the morning.

    More to follow as I parse thru video. We will be spending five days in Cabo (wife flying in) and then making the trek back up north but this time taking Hwy 5 over to Mexicali and then back over to Tecati for the crossing.

    Love everyone’s thoughts on things to do, see, stay, eat on the way back up north. Will likely only have an evening in place but looking forward to the adventure on the way back!
    #44
  5. Hill Climber

    Hill Climber Long timer

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    If you haven't yet, try a super burro instead of tacos... it features a large flour tortilla instead of corn... my favorite!
    Not trying to come across as an alarmist, but...... pay attention to the speed limits from the outskirts of La Paz (El Centenario) right through to Cabo via Todos Santos. Policia are fairly active throughout this area.

    Lots of touristy things to do around Cabo.... if you like snorkling, give it a go at Playa Santa María (about 8 miles towards San Jose Del Cabo, on the coast road). Bring a partial loaf of bread and you'll draw a fin filled crowd.
    You and your wife might enjoy part of a day in Todos Santos... an artsy small town with the infamous Hotel California as a tourist draw (contrary to popular belief, the Eagles did not own or name this hotel).

    If you want to get away from the Cabo boardwalk hawkers, maybe spend a night in La Paz... they have a fabulous malecon and fewer hawkers.

    If you scuba dive, there's a coral reef on the East Cape, Cabo Pulmo.

    Or maybe you just want to give your arse a rest and spend time with your lady !!
    #45
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  6. Adventure_Mike

    Adventure_Mike Adventurer Supporter

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    Hill Climber, one more time a HUGE thanks! I have been doing anything but the speed limit for most of this trip so the guidance re La Paz to Cabo is greatly appreciated as I would have been pushing the issue. Agree on your comments re Cabo, LaPaz, and Todos Santos. We have been doing the Cabo run a couple of times a year for about 15 years and have done the run up north to Todos Santos and LaPaz. Loved both. Wheels down in 20 minutes so better go load! Have a great day and thanks again!
    #46
  7. MufflerBearings

    MufflerBearings Been here awhile

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    I'm a sucker for Baja ride reports. I'm digging your photos, Adventure_Mike.

    If your schedule allows, consider staying a night in Mulege on your trip north. It's probably my favorite town on the peninsula. I like Hotel Las Casitas; they have secure moto parking in the courtyard and a good restaurant on site. Asadero Danny's is a short walk from the hotel for great tacos.

    A unique attraction just a few miles south of Santa Rosalia is Cereso Santa Rosalia prison. The prisoners make and sell surprisingly nice crafts in a shop on the prison grounds. It's not well-publicized from the highway; just roll up to the gate and tell the guards you'd like to see the artesanias and they'll escort you to the gift shop. Covid may have this shut down at the moment, however.

    The recently-paved Highway 5 from Chapala junction north is fantastic riding on a street bike, but remain alert for a few severe dips between Puertecitos and San Felipe that can ruin your day if you're not ready for them.

    Don't forget to drop in and purchase a Pacifico (or a Coke) from Coco at his new corner along Highway 5; you can't miss it, as it's the only structure you'll encounter between Chapala and Bahia de Gonzaga.

    Crossing north at Tecate is low-stress. You probably already know that motos go to the front of the line. I just ride the side streets in town and cut through the barriers right in front of the CBP booths. Ask permission from the driver you're cutting in front of, and they will almost always let you in. If not, the next driver back will.

    Enjoy your ride! Now you've got me contemplating a ride down to Mulege before it really warms up...
    #47
  8. Hill Climber

    Hill Climber Long timer

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    +1 on being a sucker for Baja RR's, especially with pics!

    Are the "Oh Shit, Dips" dips still there? I don't remember them from my last time down (late 2019), but then maybe I'm so used to them I don't take note anymore... Great air time off of them on my bike!!

    For sure, stop in and say Hi to Coco,,, early indicators point to his move to the new location is a good one... Since there's no social security safety net in Mexico, he depends on generous paser'byers. On the bike I'll stop and have a Coke, in the truck it's a Pacifico. Either way, I leave a 500 p note saying I don't have anything smaller... wink, wink...

    Thanks, never knew about the prison artesanias.. on my list for next time down.

    I should mention that you should top your gas up at Jesus Maria (just north of Guerro Negro) as it's 220 miles to the next guaranteed gas station (San Felipe). Gonzaga Bay and Puertecitos gas stations aren't always reliable in being open, or having fuel. Old Baja rule: you see gas, you buy gas!

    To help out with getting onto Mex2D to Tecate, (Mexicali bypass) you have to go past (under) 2D for a few hundred yards, make a U-turn and head back south.
    Screenshots to simplify:

    To Mexicali North then East 1.jpg To Mexicali North then East 2.jpg

    It's a toll road so get your few remaining pesos out!

    You'll enjoy the uphill La Rumorosa twisties and views. I've been known to turn around and do them one more time!!

    Edit.... I wrote no Social Security but I should've said no welfare safety net .... sorry,,,,,

    Enjoy your time in Cabo
    #48
  9. Adventure_Mike

    Adventure_Mike Adventurer Supporter

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    More updates later but made it to Cabo! Nice ride down from Ciudad constitucion. Do appreciate the guidance re police south of la Paz. Ran across four but was going slow enough no issues. Thanks again and more later
    #49
  10. Salsa

    Salsa Long timer

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    #50
  11. Adventure_Mike

    Adventure_Mike Adventurer Supporter

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    Wow! Thanks for the notes/recommendations! Still trying to figure out what time I am leaving Cabo next week. If early will make the run all the way to Mulege and take your recommendation on Hotel Las Casitas. If mid day or later it may be a short visit. Have to continue to work my way north to return to that four letter word... work ;-]. Will watch for the dips and course make the stop for Coco. It would seem sacrilegious to do a Baja and not stop. Hoping the crossing back is just like the one down... there was no one in line and I rode right thru before parking but huge thanks for the guidance. On the trip down crossing was one of my biggest concerns as I had not done it before with a bike. Thanks again for all of the info and recommendations! Between you, Hill Climber, and others the trip has been 10x more enjoyable!
    #51
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  12. princess jamaica

    princess jamaica OLD DOG-NEW TRICKS

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    If you've got the room,bring some fresh vegetables and or fruit to Coco.
    #52
  13. Adventure_Mike

    Adventure_Mike Adventurer Supporter

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    Again, huge thaks for the guidance on gas, roads, and everything in between! Really appreciate it! Need to tell Baldy this site needs a 'love' button as 'like' doesn't do justice to my appreciation.
    #53
  14. Adventure_Mike

    Adventure_Mike Adventurer Supporter

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    Will make room!
    #54
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  15. Adventure_Mike

    Adventure_Mike Adventurer Supporter

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    I thought I would share a few observations regarding the trip down that I did not capture in the report so far. For those who have made this trip before this will likely bore you so feel free to skip.

    Driving/Riding in Baja Mexico… By far the ‘scariest’ riding the whole trip was from Costa Mesa, California to San Diego. Five lane highway where everyone races from zero to 80 MPH and then locks up the brakes to stop for three minutes and repeats and rapid lane changes with no signal are the norm. I get it… there are a TON of people in Southern California and folks have to get to soccer games, work, etc. but for a motorcycle rider it is defensive driving times ten. The safest path most of the time was doing 80-90 in the HOV lane but that leaves little room for correction if there is an issue.

    Roads… This sounds super silly for those that travel these parts but I honestly wasn’t sure what the roads would be on the way down. I had read reports about Hwy 1, 3, 5, 2, etc. with some being dirt, some roads being out with dirt/gravel bypasses, and all kinds of other stories but they were all jumbled in my head. The reality was that it is blacktop all the way down with 80% of the road being pretty good, 15% being ok, and 5% crap so not much different than the U.S. The two worst stretches of the entire trip were Topeka, Kansas and Santa Rosalia. It is one lane for most of the trip down except thru towns where it is two lanes and in many places there is no shoulder but there are places to pull off periodically that are either paved or hard packed dirt/gravel.

    My back up plan if my bike shoots craps. $ 1,100 USD from the Mexican Walmart. Made me think of E and her trip thru South America.
    moto.jpg

    Last but not least… the people of Baja and I will include both Mexicans and non Mexicans. In general there is a spirt of ‘just be nice’ that seems harder and harder to find these days in the US, much of Europe, and Asia. Whether it’s the guys working the roads stopping to wave or the trucks helping you pass or the person on the side of the road making egg and bean burritos all had a spirt of ‘just be nice’. I met people on the road from Canada, Netherlands, the U.S. and of course Mexico and everyone’s default position was nice. Even the local Policia, which I was warned about before trying to shake down Americans for petty traffic violations, were nice including on two separate occasions proactively reaching out to visit or making sure I was being careful in certain spots where the roads were a bit tricky.

    Ran into Martin and his friend from Netherlands multiple times who were traveling in their RV. Each time we would pull over, check on each other, and he would he would share another insight. He actually rode his bicycle from Ensanada to Cabo and back years ago. Wow!
    Martin.jpg

    I’ll close the first leg of this trip the way I opened it. I have to thank Mike Jones, Tony, Robert, Ed and the crew at Engle Motors in Kansas City. Without their heroics in getting a part in and installed this trip would have not have happened. I also want to thank CJ and Anne, long time friends in Colorado who were so nice to stay up late visiting and to let me crash on their couch. To my beautiful friends in Albuquerque (you know who you are!), thank you! To my friend Ken in Phoenix, thank you for dinner and the awesome discussion. To Randy Wolfinbarger, you and your family are so special to me and have been since I was five years old. You have no idea. Thank you. To Matt and Denise, there are no finer people, friends, or hosts. Matt, it has been almost twenty years. Thank you for always being the friend that is there every day. And last but not least previous riders who provided the inspiration and confidence to make the run including RTWPaul, Radioman, Jamie Z, EvergreenE, Abosit (Old Weed), Brett ('been everywhere man'), flyingdutchman177 (Ed), and of course Baldy for starting this website and managing it all of these years. For those who have not and enjoy adventures, read their stories. They are awesome!

    Mike
    #55
  16. Adventure_Mike

    Adventure_Mike Adventurer Supporter

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    Hey guys, can someone give me specifics on Coco’s new spot. Still a Baja newbie and want to pick up some fruit and vegetables to drop. Thanks!
    #56
  17. MufflerBearings

    MufflerBearings Been here awhile

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    Coco's Corner
    https://maps.app.goo.gl/QHy4BznSpJoLZMUy7

    His new location already shows up on Google maps. The last time I passed through was in February of this year, and at that time he was preparing to move to the new location shown on the map. You won't be able to miss it - there really is nothing else out there.

    If you want to pick something up for him, your best bet is probably a grocery in Guerrero Negro. There isn't much in the way of stores between there and Coco's.
    #57
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  18. Adventure_Mike

    Adventure_Mike Adventurer Supporter

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    Thanks! Will plan on that.
    #58
  19. Adventure_Mike

    Adventure_Mike Adventurer Supporter

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    A couple of quick non moto updates...

    Realize a lot of Adv folks don't care for Cabo but we've been making this run for well over a decade and for us is always a nice 'get away' from the job, work on the farm, side projects, etc. A couple of from day 1 in Cabo. More moto updates in the near future...

    Enjoying first cup of coffee...
    Riu.jpg
    Dinner with my beautiful bride of 20+ years
    Jen.jpg

    One of our favorite places to hit. Arguably best sunset in Cabo. Expensive but not crazy... Pizza is $ 19, glass of wine is $12, $6 beer and free live jazz. Again not cheap but is generally our one big 'splurge' when we come down.
    Sunset.jpg
    #59
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  20. Adventure_Mike

    Adventure_Mike Adventurer Supporter

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    An quick update and two questions. Mike Jones from Engle Motors was kind enough to share a copy of Motorcycle Journeys through Baja. While it was published some time ago it was super helpful and worth picking up if someone was doing the trek for the first time.

    baja book.jpg

    Question... the normal route out of Cabo north would be straight up Hwy 19 thru La Paz. Having done that route I am contemplating taking Hwy 1 up thru San Jose and then 286 over to La Paz. It adds an hour but is there anything cool to see/ride going this route? Thanks in advance for any thoughts or recommendations!

    Cabo1.png

    Anyone have experience with shops in Cabo? My front tire is not great and if I could squeeze it I would have it replaced Monday or Tuesday. Looking online the only motorcycle shop I see with great service references is Honda Motos Los Cabos. Appreciate anyone's thoughts. I am trailering from California back to KC so I only have about 1,200 miles. Thanks!
    Honda Motos Los Cabos
    #60