Solo Ride to Cabo San Lucas from Salt Lake City

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by stiernan, Mar 31, 2021.

  1. stiernan

    stiernan Adventurer

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    Bountiful, UT
    This is my first ride report. In fact, this ride was my first true ADV ride. I’ve been riding/racing desert for years and recently acquired an ADV bike. I came home to find that my wife had bought a 2018 KTM 1090 Adventure R. At least that is the way I remember it. She might have a different recollection of how the bike got here, but I am sticking to my story. She then said, “You should go on a long adventure ride solo to Cabo San Lucas”. Again, that’s how I remember it.

    I live in Salt Lake City and began planning this ride about four months ago. My plan was to leave from my home and take two weeks to weave my way down to Cabo San Lucas. In this thread, I’ll go over my planning process, the ride, and where I stayed so you can learn from my mistakes. I packed and repacked. Eliminated gear and did what I could to shave off weight (off me and the bike). I had one reservation in place for the whole trip. This was two days in La Paz.

    This report is post-ride. So spoiler, I did make it to Cabo and back. A little wiser and extremely excited for another Baja adventure ride.

    Attached Files:

    #1
  2. BillUA

    BillUA Las Vegas, NV

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    In!
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  3. wilddoktor

    wilddoktor Been here awhile

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    In!
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  4. stiernan

    stiernan Adventurer

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    The temperatures from SLC to St. George were brutal. At times, it was 27degrees. This slowed me down a bit. Plus I added a quick ride to the Hoover Dam. So day one ended with a camping spot outside of Searchlight, Nevada. The reality of riding a fully-loaded ADV bike in deep sand was quite something. It was like having a monkey steering the rear wheel while I was trying to control the front.
    Searchlight.jpg
    #4
  5. MusicRider

    MusicRider Adventurer

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    Awesome looking tent.
    #5
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  6. lookatdirt

    lookatdirt Long timer

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    You have a very cool wife!
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  7. Beenriding

    Beenriding Been here awhile

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    Salt Lake City, Utah
    In like Flynn.. Just moved to Salt Lake back in September. Got about a year left until I can quit and go grab my 690 in Colombia. Thinking I may have to ride another bike down there again just for shits and giggles.
    #7
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  8. steved57

    steved57 Long timer Supporter

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    Im in
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  9. stiernan

    stiernan Adventurer

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    Bountiful, UT
    I should mention what is on the bike. When I bought the bike, it had the KTM hard case panniers. When I do this trip again, I am going to go with soft bags. I bought a Kriega bag, but I also purchased some Kriega knock-off soft luggage. I cannot emphasize enough what a mistake this was. The knock-offs failed. I know the common thinking is that the “knock off is probably made in the same place as the real ones” but this is most definitely not the case. The steel ends on the straps failed. I did drop the bike on a turn in the dirt. The force of the fall actually broke the retention mechanism on the left hard case. Putting everything back together, I noticed that all four metal pieces on the knock off bags broke off completely or bent. Anyway, just my two cents. I am now purchasing two additional 20L Kriega bags and keeping the knock off bags as a constant reminder that cheaper is not always better.

    Tires:

    On the recommendation of RTW Paul, I went with the Motoz Tractionator Rallz (150/70/18). I’ll show the tire new and 4000 miles later. The rear wore amazingly well. The front will need to be replaced but did fine as well.

    Tank Bag:

    I went with the Giant Loop Fandango bag. I know some folks find the tank bag annoying, but I loved it. It was easy to remove for fueling and held the most important stuff you don’t want to leave on the bike when you make a quick trip into the market. Giant Loop has amazing customer service as well.

    Tent:

    Redverz Solo. It was a bit heavier but having the ability to put the bike inside and out-of-sight was worth the extra bulk. When I do this again, I will travel with a smaller tent. In reality I only camped out twice in two weeks. It was nice to have the option, but I always had a room available.

    Gas:

    I carried a 1 gallon Giant Loop gas bag. I did use this twice. Having it on the bike gave me a warm fuzzy feeling because my bike was a fuel inhaling pig, especially when it was loaded with gear and had the aerodynamics of a brick.

    (Hoover Dam)
    Hoover Dam.JPG
    #9
  10. stiernan

    stiernan Adventurer

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    I crossed over at Tecate. It could not have been easier. I anticipated a longer process due to Covid. I created a folder which contained all of my required documents. This included insurance (Regular and Mexico policy), passport (copy), Covid vaccination card, medical evacuation insurance, and my vehicle registration. I kept a second copy of my registration and insurance in a pocket under my seat as well. I went with BajaBound. You can pay a little extra and get a bunch of extra benefits. Make sure the policy covers your bike storage and shipping back to US, immediate cash to travel, and a ticket back to the US (with coverage for transportation to the nearest airport).

    Crossing over at Mexicali looks easier on the map, but when you get there the line was at least three hours and people were pissed! Just angry folks stuck in traffic and I felt like I was going to get crushed. Riding over to Tecate was worth it. There was no line and I had one other motorcycle in front of me. We were both just waived through, simple as that. No document check.

    The first of many gear rearrangements Tecate Hotel.JPG I had intended to cross the border and drive straight through to San Felipe, but the freezing weather in Utah changed my schedule. This is why I was grateful to have not made any reservations which only would have added unneeded pressure.

    I stayed overnight in Tecate at the Estancia Inn. It was very secure with an enclosed parking lot and a 24 hour guard at the gate. The room was decent at $66 per night (US). Nice water pressure and hot water! You’ll appreciate having pressure and hot water after day 5 in Baja. I left in the morning and got on the Mexico 2D towards Mexicali. After La Rumorosa you’ll get into a fantastic climb and turn section. The lanes are narrow and the road was pretty rough. Half way through the mountain, there was nasty pile up. A semi hauling scrap metal over shot the turn and flipped over. I don’t think anyone walked away from that one. It was a sobering reminder to stay on the defensive.

    First dinner in Mexico. I could smell the food carts right after I crossed over! Heaven.
    Tecate First Dinner.JPG

    The first view of Laguna Salda desert off the Mexico 2D
    Tecate Canyon Turn Off.JPG
    #10
  11. idea man

    idea man Remote Plate Spinner Supporter

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    Nice shots of Hoover Dam and the damn desert. Thanks for taking the time to post this.
    #11
  12. Aces&8s

    Aces&8s Been here awhile Supporter

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    I'm in. :lurk
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  13. stiernan

    stiernan Adventurer

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    I stopped in San Felipe and fueled up and then continued toward Bahia de Los Angeles. Don't be stingy on getting fuel. I coasted to the intersection of Mexico 1 and Parador Punta Prieta (Hwy to BLA).

    Map.jpg

    It was just after sunset and I found the old guy selling gas out of the back of the pickup truck.
    Parador Punta Prieta.JPG
    This is where the extra fuel in the Giant Loop bag would have been nice. I bought four gallons (give or take) for about 400 pesos. Plenty of gas to get to Bahia de LA. The poor guy was spilling fuel everywhere. You can get gas at a couple of places in Bahia de LA. I rode the highway at night which I don't recommend. It is like riding on the moon. Huge potholes. They repaired some of the road but gave up half way.
    #13
  14. stiernan

    stiernan Adventurer

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    In Bahia de Los Angeles, I stayed at Bahia Villa. It's off a dirt road but with no reservations and arriving in the dark, I was out of options. The rate was $75 US. The room was decent with a 1970's kitchenette and two beds. I shared the room with two very large black widow spiders. Limited hot water.
    Villa Bahia.JPG
    Bahia Villa.JPG
    Tiburon Room.JPG
    #14
  15. Burro driver

    Burro driver dba John

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    Montrose, Colorado.
    Congrats on your first trip!
    When crossing at Mexicali go west of town a few miles to hwy7. Its the commercial truck crossing. Crossed there several times and have never had to wait
    #15
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  16. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    A bit late, but definitely in for this RR @stiernan! Did my first (and only thus far) ride in Baja back in '18; crossed at Tecate and did 2600+ miles of riding. Didn't go further south than Loreto during this trip, but can't wait to get back down there and ride further south (though I'd stay way from Cabo...not my style).

    A bit surprised at the costs of the hotels, $75 us is a boatload, though totally understand rolling in at dark and needing to find someplace. Hopefully, more reasonable accommodations were found later in your travels.

    Riding Baja is magical, good on you for taking the plunge and doing it solo.
    #16
  17. radmann10

    radmann10 Old fart Supporter

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    Sand
    Sand sucks IMHO no matter what you ride. The big bike wants you to go faster and stay on top of the sand. That way when you crash it hurts more lol!
    #17
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  18. stiernan

    stiernan Adventurer

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    I left Bahia de LA and headed toward Santa Rosalia. I was tailed leaving town by about a dozen Ford Raptors in a convoy. They took the turn off road to Mission San Francisco. If I had to guess, it was representatives from SCORE. Trucks were freaking awesome. I made stopped at the crossroads of Santo Dominguito and spoke to a couple doing my same route on bicycles. Nuts.


    Crossroads at Santo Dominguito.JPG

    I made it to San Ignacio after going through a military checkpoint and a pop-up state police checkpoint. No problem at either. They just waived me through and you get a thumbs-up from some of the folks. I did some off road exploring but being solo, and in the middle of the desert where no one can hear you scream, kind of limited my off-route adventures. This was the furthest into Baja I had been.

    San Ignacio town center.JPG

    I had only seen the Mission at San Ignacio in pictures or in Cameron Steels "Rip to the Tip". What an amazing place.

    San Ignacio.JPG
    #18
  19. radmann10

    radmann10 Old fart Supporter

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    My son and I did the trip to Los Cabos from Phoenix on a KTM990 and a Husky TE630, great memories!
    #19
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  20. advrockrider

    advrockrider Long timer

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    Good start to your report. FYI, in BOLA we always stay at Costa Del Sol right on the main street, clean rooms and good food at a much better price.
    #20