Ride South! ⬇️– In Colombia! San Francisco to Patagonia on an R NineT & HP2 Enduro

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by caliform, Nov 25, 2015.

  1. Vic5491

    Vic5491 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    832
    When you guys are in Ensenada, you MUST go to Hussong's Cantina one evening. IIRC they are closed on Monday but the place is a landmark that dates back to the 1890s and hasn't changed much over the years. It's simply great! A must do! Take a taxi so you can enjoy the evening.
    #21
    caliform likes this.
  2. Piston

    Piston Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,100
    Location:
    Central NH
    In! I'm sure this one will be great! I imagine your legs get toasty with no ventilation in the pants????
    #22
    caliform likes this.
  3. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,596
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Well I guess I have to get in on this one now since I don't expect much action on the AK report for a while. :dirtdog

    :lol3

    Looking phorward to more phabulous photography.
    #23
    overlander, rafalk85 and caliform like this.
  4. caliform

    caliform Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2014
    Oddometer:
    880
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Working hard on the full update. Almost done, but now we need solid internet to upload photos. Did half yesterday at a coffee shop, and went there again this morning only to find that... of course, everything is closed on a Sunday.

    We're taking the ferry over from La Paz to Mazatlan today, after an incredibly awesome time in Baja. Seriously, insane. You guys are getting such sweet photos and videos soon.

    Any tips between Mazatlan and Mexico City? We're thinking of doing the road to Jalisco, stop by Tequila, Guadalajara, etc.

    [​IMG]

    (via https://www.instagram.com/rideearth/, a few teasers there too...)
    #24
    Piston likes this.
  5. caliform

    caliform Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2014
    Oddometer:
    880
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Yeah, toasty. It helps that the pants aren't black, but the two vents at the top have us wanting at times. Fortunately I the jacket vents incredibly well, which helps a lot.


    Making lemonade outta lemons are ya :D
    #25
  6. SR

    SR Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,269
    Location:
    Western Mexico
    From Mazatlan I would recommend Durango, Zacatecas, Guanajuato, Mexico City over the route through Guadalajara. It is better riding and Guanajuato and Zacatecas are some of the best heritage sites in Mexico. The free road from Mazatlan to Durango is one of the best rides in North America. The only drawback being that it could be a little chilly in the high country.
    #26
    flying.moto and caliform like this.
  7. caliform

    caliform Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2014
    Oddometer:
    880
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Thanks! We'll head up that way. As a Dutchman I don't mind chilly at all! It's this damn heat that I can't handle, my blood is too thick for it.
    #27
  8. b4thenite

    b4thenite Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,244
    Location:
    Korea Town, Los Angeles,
    I strongly recommend Mazatlan to Durango TOLL road. Yes, the toll road. It is an engineering marvel. You have plenty opportunities for local roads, but this one is must. However, it's is hella expensive toll road tho.
    #28
  9. SR

    SR Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,269
    Location:
    Western Mexico
    I strongly recommend the free road. It is a lot more fun than the toll road. Californ, give me a shout if you would like to meet up in Durango city. I am here all week.
    #29
    caliform and mileen like this.
  10. Vic5491

    Vic5491 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    832
    I 100% agree with SR. I did what he recommended in reverse and it was excellent. The "old non-toll road" between Mazatlan and Durango is LITERALLY one of the best roads in all of North America. DO NOT TAKE THE TOLL ROAD.
    #30
    live2ridetahoe likes this.
  11. caliform

    caliform Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2014
    Oddometer:
    880
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Here we go!

    We’ve finally set off on our journey South. After riding North to the Arctic last year, we’d been talking at lengths about riding South. And so it began. In late November, we packed up the bikes and rode out.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Day 1, we were joined by our friends Jason, Michael, Tristan, Jake, and Alex, as well as my girlfriend who would accompany us to our first campground in Big Sur. After day 1, my girlfriend would come down to Santa Barbara / Los Angeles and bus back while we continued on to Baja, Mexico.

    We all gathered at Four Barrel coffee. Stu and I looked like serious spacemen with our new Rev’It suits, pristinely clean and attention-grabbing bright white/grey color scheme. They’d soon lose their pristine shine, fortunately.

    A diverse ride out, much like our ride out last year: a Harley-Davidson, a Triumph, a V-Strom, a KLR 650 and Stu and I’s bikes completed the set. Jake and my girlfriend rode pillion.

    I discovered pretty early that my kickstand is too long with the bike is all loaded up, letting me not kick it down when the bike is on an incline a certain way. It’s… still that way as of my writing this in La Paz, Mexico. I’ll see if I can find a welder on mainland Mexico. Stuart’s is a bit too short. We also forgot a few things but all in all, our planned departure time was only exceeded by about an hour or so.

    [​IMG]

    Wasting no time, we rode 280 to the Pacific Coast Highway, following beautiful curves to some lunch in Santa Cruz. We stopped at Burger, a place off the highway where you can get a burger sandwiched between two grilled cheeses. Yup.

    [​IMG]

    The bikes were holding up great. Load-wise, I think we were a bit lighter than last year, and I had no problem riding with my girlfriend on the back.

    [​IMG]

    After an absolutely superb ride on the twisties of the highway, we stopped near the Bixby Bridge for some photos around sunset.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This is a great place to view a superb section of the Big Sur coastline.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It was getting dark quick — unlike last year, winter means shorter riding hours, and so we found a nearby campground where we drank, grilled and exchanged stories at our campfire huddled between towering redwoods.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We had a brief ride to the Esalen Institute the next day (to drop off Jake, who was hitching a ride with us to there) and said our goodbyes to our riding partners. We were on our own now.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We had an absolutely perfect ride down the coast that day. Some of the best riding in California is the Big Sur stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway (the ‘1’) when traffic is mild, and traffic was surprisingly mild for most of it.



    [​IMG]

    Hitting Morro Bay, we pushed on until twilight when we pulled over to take off our sun-visors and sunglasses and find a route to Stu’s family in Santa Barbara.

    [​IMG]

    We took the mountain pass there and arrived well into the night. It was a bit dicey on the curvy road and it’d been a long day riding, so we happily ate dinner and drank a few beers and slept in the next day.

    Santa Barbara was a major stop for us — not just to spend Thanksgiving, but also to test our setup so far and fix some minor issues.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Stuart spent some time tearing down his bike and I mostly tweaked the loading setup, attempted to mount new locks to my side cases (unsuccessfully, I might add) and did other minor modifications.

    [​IMG]

    (also, who knew there’s some great Nepalese food to be found there?)

    [​IMG]

    Lovely town to be ‘stuck in’.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It also helped us plan the road ahead. I rode my girlfriend to LA and back — a nice test of the bike unloaded — and we left shortly after Thanksgiving.

    We spent Thanksgiving with Stuart’s lovely sister Lena, basking in our last bit of California sun.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And we were off for San Diego! Had to stop for lunch at, where else:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A brief stop in San Diego and we caught up somewhat unexpectedly with Tristan, who’d previously accompanied us on the first day. He would ride through some of Baja with us.

    I indulged in the local speciality, the California burrito (a burrito with french fries inside). Crazy American food! We’d miss it. Or would we?

    The next morning, we spent some time adding some to the thumper bikes and mounting some new hand guards on my HP2 Enduro from a local Powersports store we headed to the border at Tecate… to México!

    [​IMG]
    #31
  12. caliform

    caliform Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2014
    Oddometer:
    880
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Hey thanks! Totally missed this, so now we're in Zacatecas, but um... WOW. What a road. A MUST ride for anyone in the Americas. We had TONS of fun (and somewhat almost became a truck hood ornament... damnit guys, why take over a whole lane). Anyone who says you should take the toll road should re-examine their mental faculties, jump on a bike and RIDE.

    Great reading up on, and seeing the engineering marvel that is the Cuota, but that was easily one of my favorite rides, ever.

    In Zacatecas now, Guadalajara next... after that, Patzcuaro? Who knows!
    #32
  13. caliform

    caliform Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2014
    Oddometer:
    880
    Location:
    San Francisco
    It was a warm San Diego morning next morning, and after some of the previously mentioned maintenance work we headed to the border crossing at Tecate.

    [​IMG]

    The ride there is a beautiful, twisty road, opening up to views of green pastures and rolling hills.

    [​IMG]

    Lovely.The border came up quickly.

    [​IMG]

    I stayed with the bikes while Stuart and his friend Tristan did their paperwork. At the border, you can typically just roll through (no checks of documents done whatsoever!) but in our case, we wanted the tourist card. The Mexican tourist card, or ‘FMM’ is required for longer stays in Mexico and any trip to the mainland. It costs about $20 (US).

    [​IMG]

    We were losing light fast, and after all the border paperwork we headed down the Mex-2 to find our turnoff to the first dirt trail we could find. Out of light, we opted to camp at a campground instead of riding the dirt South more.

    [​IMG]

    I know deserts can be cold, but this night surprised us. The wind was already whipping us and as the sun dropped and we ate some roadside tacos and drank Tecate tall boys (of course) the temperature dropped from the low 50s to about 45, and kept dropping.

    [​IMG]

    We approaching freezing temperatures that night. It was really something. With no real fire pits we just turned in for the night and slept.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The next morning we finally got up to do what most motorcyclists come to Baja for: trails and off-road fun. Our campground was mere miles from the turnoff to the nice and fairly easy Compadres trail, which connects the roadside town of El Hongo to Ojos Negros, on the Mex-3. It’s a perfect way to connect from Tecate to Ojos Negros and get further South towards the Mex-5 on the coast of the Sea of Cortez.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Compadres Trail is an immediate showcase of the diversity of biomes in Baja California. Many think (– myself included) of a place full of stereotypical cacti*, plain desert and many rocks.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In reality, the variety of landscapes is astounding. As we crossed the 100-or so kilometers of the trail we saw high desert, steppe-like plains, deciduous and pine forest and many zones in between. It was beautiful.

    [​IMG]

    * (in Baja, this would be the Cardon cactus. They get huge, as they are the tallest cactus species in the world! I hugged one.)

    [​IMG]

    And an incredibly fun ride, too! Some somewhat gnarly parts involved sandy washes, roots and rocks but nothing incredibly challenging. A perfect introduction to Baja dirt riding.

    We came upon an entirely burnt down area, too, which made for otherworldly landscapes.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Ojos Negros was reached and we had some (incredibly great — probably my best ever) roadside al pastor tacos before slabbing it on the highway to Valle de Trinidad. Light was essentially gone by the time we rolled in into a dusty road to the hotel where we happily charged our devices and showered some dust off.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Still hungry for more dirt, the next day we set off to head to the motorcyclist staple spot in the nearby mountains known as Mike’s Sky Ranch.

    [​IMG]

    The road to Mike’s famous rancho is about 31 kilometers of pure unadulterated dirt fun (unless it’s wet, in which case it can be a bit of a nightmare).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    While may rip on it with much lighter bikes at higher speeds, we still ripped it up pretty good.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Stuart got off his bike to take a photo and his bike promptly took a nap in the sand. Whoops.

    [​IMG]

    Deep ruts of sand, rocky turnouts, downhills, and even a little creek crossing at the end. We were pulsing with adrenaline. It was awesome, even on our huge, heavy loaded bikes. Mike’s was sadly completely empty save for us.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We put some stickers with its new (and plentiful) companions…and ate some lunch and had a beer before heading back the same way, now even faster.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    From the highway, we made it to San Felipe before we lost all the light, which is a cool if somewhat touristy beach town with a beautiful lighthouse.

    [​IMG]

    After stopping I broke out some tools to ensure all bolts were still properly torqued after all the bumpy dirt roads. I’d lost one bolt in my bash plate already!

    [​IMG]

    San Felipe is on the Mex-5, a road that isn’t yet fully paved. It runs by the coast of the Sea of Cortez and eventually connects with the Mex-1, and was a significant leg of the old Baja 1000 off-road race track.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We had some great fish tacos (Baja is made of great, fresh fish tacos) and toured town taking photos. It seemed really apocalyptic with boats on dry land and many derelict buildings.

    [​IMG]

    The next day we rode down the Mex-5, treated by incredible views of the Sea of Cortez from the volcanic landscape.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Incredible landscapes.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It’s unreal how some parts of this coast harbor absolutely no life, just sharded rock and pumice from long-dead volcanoes. Some beach spots (Puertecitos, for instance) still have hot springs that you can dip into at low tide, emanating that classic sulfuric smell.

    [​IMG]

    Incredible turn after turn on this freshly (and excellently) paved road. We stopped at the oft-visited Alfonsina’s at Gonzaga Bay. Gonzaga Bay seems to be a quirky community, complete with its own security guard, runway and airplane.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We met a few other travelers, including a Canadian couple driving this beautiful 1953 car up and down from Canada to Baja and back.

    Great fish tacos here, too (no surprise there).

    [​IMG]

    The Pemex gas station (Pemex is the state-run and only gas station company in Mexico) at Gonzaga Bay was completely out of gas, and we decided to just push our luck and head down the road.

    We’d heard some horror stories of the unpaved section of this road connecting with the Mex-1. Some people at Alfonsina’s called it bad — so bad, in fact, one man told a story of a girl traveling North from Argentina who supposedly called it the worst road she’d ridden, ever. We did find the spot the road ran out, and gave way to dirt:

    Mexico’s working very hard on it, it seems; I’d be surprised if it isn’t all paved by next year. It was a pleasure riding some of it on dirt.

    We made it to the turnoff for the connector to the Mex-1, and right there it was:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Coco’s Corner. A famous stop of the Baja 1000 and of many trough-travelers. Coco has lived here for 26 years and is an incredibly friendly, generous man. We lost most of our light and really loved the desert scenery… and started debating if we should make it over the worst part of the road.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Coco chimed in and said we could stay in one of his trailers for free. Incredibly cool. Thanks, Coco.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It gave us a chance to shoot desert sunset…

    [​IMG]

    … and the crisp, clear desert night.

    And we even recorded some time-lapses. Coco seemed to really enjoy the company so we watched a movie with him — the hilarious 90s erotic thriller ‘Fear’. We ate some ramen he offered and turned in early.

    [​IMG]

    (Coco also collects underwear and other garments. Yup)

    [​IMG]

    At the crack of dawn Coco invited us inside to drink some coffee. We paid him some cash for the beers, water and hospitality to reward his generosity and chatted a while. He offered another movie but we had to be on our way… the rest of Baja awaited!

    [​IMG]

    Until next time, where we go over the pass and explore Baja California Sur.
    #33
  14. Prototype4342

    Prototype4342 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2015
    Oddometer:
    6,622
    Location:
    Rio Rancho, NM
    In from /dbt/. Safe travels
    #34
    caliform likes this.
  15. caliform

    caliform Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2014
    Oddometer:
    880
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Oh shit, been a while. I want to post there but I've had such shitty internet I am lucky to get it out here (and I can't crosspost images there, obviously). I'll be along again soon.
    #35
  16. Prototype4342

    Prototype4342 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2015
    Oddometer:
    6,622
    Location:
    Rio Rancho, NM
    I'd rather post on ADV too heh. Going through your AK trip report right now, planning to ride to Alaska summer 2017.
    #36
  17. norton(kel)

    norton(kel) Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    3,346
    Location:
    Berthoud CO.
    In. Great so far.
    #37
    caliform likes this.
  18. UncleJ

    UncleJ It's Happy Hour Somewhere

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    908
    Location:
    Minne-snow-ta
    First time I've seen a RR when the camera gear is worth more than the bikes! :lol3
    #38
  19. squidchief

    squidchief Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,117
    Location:
    Northern Nevada
    Well I rode with you two to Prudhoe Bay, I might as well tag along as you head south if you don't mind. Unfortunately your beautiful photography isn't coming through for me on this one. I'll have to settle for the written RR ... which in all honesty, isn't too bad either.
    #39
    caliform likes this.
  20. canuckscott

    canuckscott Adventure Awaits!

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2015
    Oddometer:
    121
    Location:
    Portland Oregon
    Quick question, just curious why you gents wear hiking boots instead of riding boots? I personally hate to ride without mine.
    Enjoying the hell out of this RR. fantastic pics!
    #40
    DavidM1 and caliform like this.