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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by cavebiker, Aug 24, 2016.
You will definitely have the only one of those in Baja!
Thanks man! I like that.
OK, all that's needed to get this bike 100% ready to ride off to Cabo and back are rear blinkers and a couple more pannier mounting holes and bolts. I wasn't sure how I was going to mount the blinkers, even this morning I had no idea. I just ordered the blinkers and knew I would figure out a way to mont them, eventually.
I think the blinker will be good here. I will find a way.
Not sure why everyone blanks out their place # but what the hey, this is fun, secret agent man...
Some sheet metal.
Some holes. (Now this is getting fun!!)
This should work.
Heck yeah I like it a lot!!!
Wired up and blinking
Alright! Street legal again and almost ready for Mexico.
No one can equal your enthusiasm here.
OK, this is Adventure Rider, lets keep it going --> the Sportster is all set to chase the Baja Mexican 1000 this Spring so now all I need to do is prepare 'myself' for next year's race. Chasing the race this year on motorcycles with Hipster is all part of this preparation. We will be talking race strategy and with other racers (wink). But there needs to be more, that’s a long and grueling race, I need more time behind the bars. (I make stuff like this up in my head all the time)
My Road to Baja Racing continues…
We successfully escaped the frozen tundra before the -30 deg. temps arrived, whoosh.
Winter Baja training grounds:
The Dominican Republic, we are back. Cavegirl and I spent two years here starting in 1995’ and another six months in 2011’, each time we had an off-road motorcycle to explore the island. We think of this as more a life style besides being our next big adventure. Now that I’m into racing motorcycles in Baja I need to be able to keep my body tuned during the off season, like those California people can do. We like the DR, nowhere we have ever lived is more centered around motorcycles and there is no place we have ever felt more at home. The climate is ideal, the people are super and the opportunities for outside and motorcycle adventure is beyond scale. And, if you are into independent adventure travel (wink wink) it is possible to do it on a tight budget. We will see, here we go --->
After securing an affordable place to live for three months the next step is to find the motorcycle. In the past we purchased a used bike from a retail shop then just sold it to some beach dude for a song before we left. This time we decided to rent because we’re only staying for 3 months. There are bike rental shops all over the North coast but this year I am having a hard time finding a decent off-road bike that isn’t some unknown cheap mystery brand. A rental shop website close to where we are talks about new Yamaha DT125s for rent, my favorite machine and the bike we had the last two times here. That shop has no DTs, only cheap mystery brand scooters or nice road bikes. We spent the next week looking for bikes and did find some almost new 250cc mystery brand dual sport bikes for a good deal. But I wanted a Yamaha, a brand I trusted, they use to be everywhere on the island, Hipster even rented one back in 2011’ when we did our “MEGA Dominican Republic Motorcycle Adventure” ride, still on page one of a google search “Dominican Republic motorcycle adventure” Unreal!
I finally discovered THE BIKE, stuck in a pack of road bikes, a Honda XR250 Tornado!!! Unreal, an XR250, I guess they are only still selling them in Latin America and Africa. Bonus for me. I read a bike comparison with the CRF250L, the XR250 was the better machine, at least for that rider. I’m so stoked. Back in the old days Yamaha was the only brand you saw here, now they have all the mystery brands and Hondas. We even saw a Harley Davidson shop in Santo Domingo!
The shop is closed so the next morning I jump on the back of a moto concho (motorcycle taxi) and ask for a ride to the shop. These moto taxi dudes are everywhere and cost almost nothing and are super fun to chat with.
The owner of the rental shop wants to oil my chain before I go. After, he says I am ready for anything.
The next thing I do is fill up the tank and purchase a map of the island. Now I’m flippen ready for adventure!
I immediately take a ride along the coast to the next village where our favorite Dominican restaurant is. I just wanted to see if it was still in operation, and it is! That glass case is loaded with Dominican specialties that we love.
Next I see empenadas being sold roadside.
This is a must stop so I can bring some home, I will be the hero today!
The next day I’m up early to head up into the mountains attempting to find some back roads to do a big loop from the coast and back. I can see the backroads on the map and on google earth but they are not the same. The map shows a dirt road that dead ends on google earth. Another dirt road not on the map goes all the way to the city Moca like I want. These roads are extremely hard to spot while riding along. So of course, I miss the road and just continue into the Cordillera Septentrional mountains to Moca where I’ll attempt to find the dirt road to take me back down the mountain, just like I planned but in reverse.
On the way I pass a modern looking cock fight ring.
In a village half way up the mountain I spot this! I purposely ate a light breakfast to indulge in local roadside food today.
Empanada de huevo (egg empanada) these are so good it is unreal, no matter where I get an Empanada de huevo they are always cooked absolutely perfect with the yoke 100% intact with no runs. 50 cents!
I make it up to Moca a city famous for coffee and coco. Navigation is tricky here with three major roads connecting. I’m determined to find the back road into the mountains for the return ride so I finally pull out my smarty phone that I pre-loaded with DR maps. Fantastic, I can see where I am and where I want to get to. After stopping several times to pull out the phone I’m finally on the trail.
I dig these Dominican back roads.
On the way back I enter a village that had bold red arrows that I thought pointing me the way through town. I hit three dead ends and saw some cool stuff. Again, I pulled out my smart device and found the way out. I have always been against GPS anything stating that they take the adventure out of travel, but now I’m a believer. I cannot count the number of times I had some real cool routes planned for traveling around the island only to find I missed the road I wanted and just ended up back on a main road I was trying to avoid. So in my mind this smarty-pants GPS phone is going to allow me to find these cool roads and trails and multiply the adventure.
I love rural Dominican Republic, I just feel so at home.
When I see this river I knew I was getting close to the secondary road I rode to Moca on. The back road so far has been rough at times but nothing too technical. But after this, the next several miles is extreme steep with rock ledges and washouts, the type of section I will not lose momentum to stop for a pic. But how great! This is Baja training at it’s best. After 5 hours my legs are toast and my body feels tweaked, just what I want for getting ready for my next NORRA Mexican 1000.
This is where the trail connects to the secondary road I was trying to find, one sign stating a river name that is not on my map or google earth, Rio el Paris. But know I know and what a blast!
The next day I ride over to talk with Rafaelito, the owner of the moto rental shop, DominiEasySolution https://dominiseasysolution.com/ . The front break on the XR feels spongy so I ask if I can get the line bleed. I had it written down in Spanish and just showed it to him, although he does speak English well, I know weird technical terms are better in native language, and for sure he knows exactly what I’m saying.
Immediately Rafaelito jumps on the XR, pops and rides a wheelie to the repair shop 50 yards away, Ricardo’s repair.
I enjoy getting service on my bike at Dominican shops, I have always said this activity is a highlight of my day. And this is no exception. Friendly chit-chat and jocular ribbing are almost always part of the experience.
The boss Ricardo has about a half dozen mechanics working for him ready to jump on any job that comes by. That’s Ricardo in the middle, he motions me to take a seat next to him while I wait for my bike. How nice.
Bikes are coming in and leaving constantly, wheel bearings, flat tires and complete engine rebuilds.
This bike just rode in while I waited. In no time it looked like this, just incredible, the bike just pulled in, no appointment or even a heads up phone call.
Ricardo jump on this flat tire that just came in and I swear in less than ten minutes the bike is on its way.
I’m enjoying local activity from my seat. This van is called a GuaGua, a type of inexpensive local public transportation that you get by just standing on the side of the road, anywhere and hold your arm out. I do it like the locals, palms facing down while only raising your arm a little. No need for a New York hand waving with a full up arm thing, here you would look like a dork if you did that, no need. One dollar (50 pesos) will get you over 10 miles, we have gone over 20 miles and paid only $2, and forsure I over pay now. Years past I use to act like a jerk and only wanted to pay what the locals pay and would haggle if they wanted more. But now I’ve grown up, these are solid friendly people only trying to feed their family and give them a better life. What’s’ an extra 50 cents or dollar for a 20-mile ride!
My bike is almost done. The mechanic installed a new front caliper, new break lever, new fluid and bleed the breaks and totally fixed the spongy front break. Rafaelito said I am good to go and if I need anything for the bike to just bring it here.
Here’s Rafaelito on the right and my mechanic on the left.
Some guys are yelling out ‘The boss!, The boss!” Here’s Richardo, the motorcycle repair shop owner “The Boss” on the left. He has a great shop with talented employees and a complete parts store on site. I couldn't believe he had a front break caliper for a Honda XR! This cost me nothing but I did give the mechanic a 100 peso tip, two bucks and everyone is happy. I always tip just a little and have always received surprise and thanks back, how fun and what a great feeling for a job well done and completed in incredible speed.
There are a ton of motorcycle rental shops along the Dominican Republic North coast but DominesEasySolution https://dominiseasysolution.com/ is the one recommended by us. Rafaelito is all professional as are his employees. The process for renting the bike is straight forward and you do not turn over your passport, just have a copy made of it. Way different from the process Hipster had to endure back in 2011’ when he rented the DT!
Stay tuned, this is just the fluff start stuff, there will be hi-adventure coming soon I suspect
On with the NORRA 1000 training effort:
Hispaniola has endured repeated bouts of heavy rains this last week delaying our two-up ride to the Samana peninsula. So, between the rains and sometimes during I focus on solo day rides on pavement or hard packed dirt, still packed with adventure potential, we will see.
Please enjoy a few pics of today's ride-->
Today this ride takes me through Sabaneta to start out where our favorite traditional Dominican restaurant is, right at the intersection of two major roads, the North coast road and the road traveling to the city Moca. Score, there open for business.
I talk about doing the Dominican Republic on a budget so this is what I’m talking about. A full plate of food, two fried eggs, a fantastic square of fried cheese and a heap of the very best mangu on the island topped with sauteed onions, a $1.25 and that includes a bottle of water! A dollar twenty-five! And packed with opportunities to practice my Spanish.
I continue along the North Coast road.
This is Sunday, my favorite day to tour Dominican Republic back roads because everyone is out and about and the road side food is in high gear.
I pass a more rustic but hopping Cock Fight arena, it sounds like the action is well underway. This place is big, the arena is at the far end, a bar and food is in the middle and a pool table with blasting Merengue music is closest to me. I’ve always wanted to attend and bet on a match, mainly for the cultural experience but this one dude in the white shirt was eyeing me up good and giving me a weird vibe. Maybe I need to be vetted first or something, not sure, probably just wanting to collect my entrance fee. Either way this was not the day, I’ll have to research that for another time, today my goal is to ride.
Heading up into the Cordillera Septentrional mountains.
I love the brightly colored homes in the DR – totally Caribbean.
I come across a roadblock. I always bring change for such occasions and enjoy trying to figure what the cause is about, In Spanish of course. But this time the girl got so embarrassed when I asked if I can take a photo “?Permiso Sacar una photo?” and all the others were egging her on that she ran away with the sign stating the cause, so I never found out, but I’m sure it was good.
I’m riding through new villages today, ones I’ve never been to, just for the fun factor of course.
The kid in the middle was riding a nice wheelie when I pulled up behind but wouldn’t do it again. I have to learn the Spanish word for “pop a wheelie!”
While trying to navigate though the next town I came across these dudes. That’s a big snake!
The next village I again have a difficult time trying to navigate through but did come across a fun celebration of some sorts.
A Band is playing and people are everywhere
I think I’m lost again but my DR-maps phone app says I'm on the correct road. My goal is to stay off the main roads and I succeeded. Fun stuff but when I’m this close to homes I always travel slow and quiet out of respect and safety.
This guy has strong legs to travel far like that! Incredible!
This truck was stopped and was in some type of trouble. I asked if I could help but I guess they had it under control. One guy was collecting large rocks for some reason.
A five plus hour ride up and over the mountains and back, the Dominican Republic, my favorite motorcycle adventure destination. I hope you enjoyed.
The Ride Continues...
In these parts there is no electricity. Tough people indeed live here.
The trail improves at times.
How nice, the operator of this shovel backs up, pauses and lifts the bucket motioning me to continue… In the US they would have just continued working until done making everyone wait. Or at least in my county they would, and have.
Heidi bought me a big bag of bright colored suckers for passing out to the kind, just to add more joy to the ride.
Today is Valentin’s day.
Every sucker is accompanied with a ‘Feliz dia de Valentin’ greeting. What fun.
The riding continues to be fantastic and a great Baja training secession.
This guy stopped to show me the chickens he was transporting in his saddle bag. Way cool!
I’m getting closer to Puerto Plata where the power plant is.
No smartphone needed for these kids.
While checking my position this woman just walks up to me and stands smiling, so of course I ask if I can take here photo. Nice.
All I saw was deep water ahead and mud. I ask these people if this is doable “?es posible ir derecho?” I was assured it is.
No problem, a bridge!
The route is all what I expected and more.
The plan is to ride all back roads until I hit the main road to Puerto Plata, backtrack some, then back on the rural roads to where I started, but different roads.
I'm having a hard time navigating to the back country here, the village expansion sense 1995 has been unreal. In the old days the first turn off the main road and you are in the boonies.
I rode behind these guys for a couple K. I was fun watching them weave through and around traffic, motorcycles, bicycles two-up and cars. These moto riders in the DR are so good!
I check my position often here, the trail does not look right, but this time it is, many others times today is is not.
This route takes me through the lower foothills with less mud.
Back to the same river I crossed earlier but at a different crossing. it looked narrower on the map :|
I wait for these two to cross so I don’t splash anyone and so I can pick the line I want.
One more. I knew my return route would include an extra water crossing but the map shows this is a more main route, so I thought it would be an easier crossing and was.
Back to base camp. Almost five hours of riding standing on the pegs as much as possible. I experienced all the riding conditions I don't have at home, steep rocky climbs, long sections of deep mud and deep underwater rock field crossings. My legs are completely toast and I feel shot, win win, what a great ride!
I hope you are enjoying the Dominican Republic ‘Baja’ motorcycle training adventure
So here we go! A few more pics of the island Baja training:
Cavegirl and I went out on a few overnight rides. No photos we took came close to what we have done in the past. We discovered our once ‘undiscovered’ fabulous beach destinations have been discovered, complete with regulated parking (no more just riding onto the beach and parking under a palm tree) and trinket sales people pestering everyone who was on the beach. Other places like Samana, one of our favorits felt unsafe. So nothing to report there but some nice rides and good food.
I managed a few more overnight rides into the mountains and around the island.
This one village I noticed everyone standing around with their buckets. Then I see this water truck. ??? must have a water issue here.
In the middle of nowhere there is some great Dominican to find, and the family atmosphere is great. Here a family of 8 came in and sat with me, grandmother to grandkids.
I searched out some trails I’ve never done, mainly because I could never find the start. But now with my Android phone and the Dominican Republic maps app (which is unreal detailed) I can find anything.,
Starting up into the Central mountains.
I read about this in the guide book park (parque) it suggested using a military vehicle. After reading that I had to try it!
I like it.
I like it A Lot!
At the official gate I needed to pay 150RD, about three bucks. I think the guy was glad I didn’t ask for a stamp or receipt or anything…
There is a primitive camping area set aside. I am prepared to camp but it’s a little early so I push on.
The trail gets better,
This is total Baja training, but in Baja the gullies are often much deeper…
This is fantastic, I will return,
I love asking kids if I can take their photo.
Not much of a house but what a view!
At first the visibility was zero. Erie feeling for sure!
At the end of the park on the other side and the first village I ride through I felt something funny…
These guys jump on it immediately.
It is just unbelievable how fast they repair a flat tube, never even takes off the wheel.
While I waited this little colimdo blasted out lively meringue. How enjoyable, these people are saving my day and everyone is having fun.
I’m losing sunlight and I’m a long way from anywhere. I blast off forgetting to look for gas first.
A couple villages later I spot a plastic bottle on the side of the road that looked a lot like gasoline, and was. What luck!
I took a risk and rode into the twilight even after finding a place to camp. I knew of a nice hotel in Bonao I and Heidi stayed at before so I shot for that. And of course woke up to fantastic empanadas!
It’s still a full day ride back to Cabarete on the North coast. I spot a home along the highway selling coffee. Why does it always taste better on the road?
Another coffee stop.
Of course, time for a rear flat.
I timed it, under 15 minutes from the moment I pulled in. Wow!
On another ride I ran across this street race of mopeds and whatever. What fun!
I’m getting tired of al these flats. Next time I rent a bike I may purchase new tubes and maybe tires. Or at least I pack better field tire repair tools.
Running home to cabaret.
Check out the roasted chickens.
I think cavegirl will like one of these, maybe two…
Amber is huge along some mountain roads I cruise. Today I stop looking for a big amber rock with a bug in it. Score!
OK, that’s enough. The Dominican Cavegirl and I love and will always consider our home away from home.
Right now, while I type this, I’m working my way across the country. I’m in New Mexico at a cozy motel finely, I’ve been staying at the shady under $50 dumps until tonight, feels good! So, my next posts should be riding to and following the Mexican 1000 and if things go as planned, I will do a thread highlighting all the NORRA moto teams progress following them the whole way down the peninsula from start to finish. We’ll see how this goes, should be fun!.
Bike riding i love it Nice looking Ride Bike someone has given me a chance to Ride bike
I trailer-ed the Sportster a ways south, over the divide and past most of the snow. Been there and all that and now I know I'm not into the cold as much as i use to be.
I'm like Out Of Control with the stickers. I don't know whats wrong with me, and Heidi encourages me?? We encourage each other! Are we all nuts!
The Glamour Shot from today
For sure I'm loving the new setup. It feels more like a sport bike compared to the chopper thing I had going before. The smaller bags and probably the lower profile I present with the moto bars are making the big difference,. especially at higher speeds, I feel no signs of the vortex wobble at all. Although doing 80+ across the desert all day on a Sportster with moto bars will set you straight. I'm glad I worked this in. I'm in training and I must get spent, otherwise i did something wrong. Today at times my hands were so tweaked I just had to pull over and take a small break. I couldn't believe it, i kept telling myself "No, I'm going to make the next whatever miles" and instead pulled off to recoup. This gotta be doing something good!
Storm cells coming through the desert right now, weird. I'm glad I have the bike parked and stripped before they hit. I'm planning the entry point into Mexico. Whats the funnest way to take on a bike!!!!
Always a good read cavebiker . Your enthusiasm is contagious . Now I need to visit the DR . Looks like my kinda place. I feel the same about Costa Rica , like a second home . Thanks for the update. Keep on keepin on.
OK, I staged in Yuma for two nights, didn’t need to do that but that’s our team protocol, Cavegirl and I, it’s a way of minimizing risk before starting a big road trip. We always know we can take as much time as needed before proceeding from staging point, so two nights is minimum and feels right. The first thing I do is I borrow a medium Philips screwdriver from a motel maintains crew guy to fix my wobbly left rear mirror, then I troubleshot and fix my broken left blinker, sweet! All my packing is dialed in, I think I figured out how to get media off my cameras and android device, the bike is running great, my paper work is ready; Mexico here we go!
I’m tooling along well past the Tacate border crossing and I hear a distinct sound, like something fell off the bike. I have acknowledged my hearing has been declining lately so I knew I should not ignore this (because I heard It) so I pull over and inspect. Yup, no gear fell off but when I did my rigidity test on the panniers (like I always do) I immediately knew a fender bolt fell off. Shoot, there is no one to blame but me. I built this bike and I had this issue before. I really thought I did good on this connection but I obviously did not and have to start over and do it different, better.
I carry long big tire-straps so I strap one through the bolt holes, not good but that’s all I got, and it held.
I couldn’t believe it when I saw this a few clicks later. I forgot the word for bolt in Spanish so just winged it, luckily there were a few bolts the same size I needed on the counter. The shop owner asked me how to say it in English “Bolt” “ Nut” What fun.
I’m all done and try to make the face ‘Yeah, that was fun’
There is no shade near the shop but a few Ks up this! What kind of word do I live in!
This is the new bolt and nut, perfect! 5 pesos (25Cents)
And of course, lots of loctite! (what happened??)
Made Ensenada unscaved , Oh yeah!!!
Now all that needs to happen is bajaboundmoto deliver FirePig and we can get the action started!!!
Fun road stories:
After unpacking the essentials from the bikes panniers I proceeded to wrap my big cable lock through the real wheel and my longer cable lock around the tree. I left the backpack secured to the sissy bar with my metal PacSafe thing. I use the PacSafe mainly to deter snatch and run events.
While I was leaving the motel to go on a hike the owner steps out and asks if I leaving my backpack on the bike. We started talking, I agreed with him about theft danger stating that I had my race bike stolen from Los Cabos last year after NORRA. Then he went into his stories of a well known Baja race team from California had two race cars stolen, one car was left running with the keys in at the hotel while they were getting ice or something, the other was just heisted somehow from the ‘also well known hotel’ parking lot. He then tells the story of two bicycles getting stolen right out of the back of a pickup truck, he’s pointing right out in the street in front of us. He says the robbers just cut the cables in daylight while people watched, threw the bikes in their pickup and drove off. I thanked him a ton then proceeded to remove my backpack from the bike.
Cavebiker, I'm still enjoying your stories and your enthusiasm almost three years into this RR. I'm heading to San Felipe to see the race this weekend; I'll be keeping an eye open for you.
Thanks man, I was looking for you but you know how crazy it is in Ensenada during a race. We may have meet but no one said they were MufflerBearings
It's raining out here in Wisconsin so a good time to update the thread, for the fun factor of course.
How about a few NORRA videos to get things started again-->
2016 NORRA MEXICAN 1000 Motos -->
This video is my fav, I’m obsessed with it.
NORRA Mexican 1000 on a Stupid Sportster -->
These Biltwell dudes are the best!
2014 NORRA Mexican 1000 Official Video -->
2017 NORRA Mexican 1000 -->
Allright! For those who have never been to Ensenada for a race, I will attempt to show the scene-->
Ensenada is slowly waking up, the onions are being cut at the taco stands.
At the starting line area tech inspection is all setup and ready to go. there are a lot of discussions going on among the officials.
Mike Perlman is busy checking every stall making sure everything is up to standards.
Registration opens at 9:00 AM, calm before the storm...
Stay tuned, there will be more to come...
Alright, i'm new at this so please bear with me, it will get better.
And a few pics while we are at it.
60+ Vintage Dudes class
I'm not having any fun!
Waiting for motr racers.
Waiting for FirePigs I come across Mike Kunz, Brody Kunz, Maggie Kunz.
They are having road book scroller problems, intermittent advance switch. Mike and Brody are looking for Kevin and Michele to see if they can help.
Stay tuned, more to come...
What a day! Race cars, race bikes and race people, Baja race people. Enjoy -->
Sal Fish and other Baja notables.
With my Press Pass I was in on the Press Conference kickoff party. Sal Fish said some great words about Mike Perlman and what he has done to the sport following his father and going beyond, very nice.
Jacob Ware and Simon Edwards! I had a great video interview but the video was of my foot and I must of killed it when I thought I was doing their interview. Simon talked about the difference between motorcycle adventure travel and racing, "you have to pay closer attention when your racing" I'll have to re-do the talk with Jacob and Simon, it was great.
These guys were jealous after Simon and Jacob's interview, They said "We won class last year!" So forsure they need an interview to.
Kevin and Michele & FirePig
The most rock'en 2-up racing couple.
Check out Michele's foot pegs!
Not much of a video but it shows a little of Michele's attitude, cool!
Nothing great yet but I think it shows the vibe down here during racing times. Hope you enjoyed!
You know it Tom--> the fun continues!!!
2019 NORRA Mexican 1000 race Coverage: Saturday contingency day-2:
Bikes are rolling in for tech inspection
I interviewed Ernie ‘EDub’ Vigil racing a 2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE. EDub tells me it’s a well balanced bike with great suspension. He says once you get it up to speed it’s stable and fast and he should do great. He wants to prove out the machine and show what he can do on it. I wished him all the luck. We’ll be watching.
EDub in a real interview
This is the car that passed me in the wash on the last section of the last day last year, scared the heck out of me but they did give a wide birth when they passed (big eyes!)
Stay tuned, the race hasn't even started yet!