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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by av_mech, Jun 26, 2011.
One a.m. and still loading the Motovan for an early ish departure.
I guess since av-mech hasn't posted here in almost 2 years I can stop watching this thread. Hope his business is doing well.
those that are, cough, Tiger-new-to-me, are still reading-through, even if the mech is not writing! grin.
Did the store move?
Believe his business is doing well. I googled the business "Backcountry Pursuit" and it appears a second store is now open in Eagle.
Also has Facebook and Instagram if you're into that.
671 S Capitol Blvd
Boise ID, 83702
Our storefront in Downtown Boise is at 671 South Capitol Blvd. We are at Capitol and River right across from the Boise Art Museum and the next block North of the Library, nestled right in between FedEx and Reel Foods fish market.
1545 E Iron Eagle Dr.
Eagle, ID 83616
Our second home in Eagle, ID is at 1545 E. Iron Eagle Drive, Suite 106 on the corner of State St/Hwy 44 and Edgewood. We are located next to Mountain West Bank and Chicago Connection Pizza.
Tyson and I rolled into Bahía de Los Angeles last night. I'd stay tuned if you want to hear about fishing, riding and camping in Baja.
HOWDY! Yes, I am, in fact, still alive. Yes, the business is kicking ass. Yes, I am still ridiing. Along with skiing, snowboarding, telemarking, rafting, backpacking, climbing, canyoneering, and mountain biking.
Yes, we survived Mexico! Yes, there is a ride report coming. Yes, the photos are uploading as we speak. First episode should be up by the end of today.
It’s been an awfully long time since I have written in this blog. I know a few folks have actually been a little irritated with me that I stopped writing. I do apologize, but I have been living a good life with my new business.
ADV riding was all I did for almost four years. I immensely enjoyed writing this blog and going on adventures and misadventures. However, when I started Backcountry Pursuit, it was important to me, and my business, that I rekindle my love and passion for other outdoor adventure sports. I picked up a few new sports along the way like rafting and canyoneering and ADV moto kind of fell by the wayside. Not entirely, but I certainly have been riding less the last few years. Just to prove I haven’t been sitting on the couch getting too fat, here’s a few of the choice photos from the past few years.
Rafting and playing in the water
Hiking and Backpacking
I do still have Hobbes and he is still doing wonderful. A little battered, bruised, and broken after Baja, but he is still in good spirits. I continue to put on miles and have adventures. Hobbes has 36,480 on the clock now and those are all adventure miles as I don’t commute on him. I am still with Tamara and we take a yearly week long trip where we manage something around 2000 miles. I get a weekend or two solo and another weekend or two with Tamara besides our big adventure. So 3-4 weekends a year plus a week is all I am riding. The other weekends and weeks are spent with my many other toys exploring the outdoors and poor Hobbes has to sit home. So, I am still riding, but not writing and sharing. However, this last trip was way too epic not to share.
Let’s start out with a little back story. Before I quit my job to start Backcountry Pursuit a few years ago, I had six weeks approved off to ride my Hobbes to Alaska with my Dad. Circumstances changed, as they do in life, and I had to quit that job to start my own thing. That shot that adventure in the foot. So instead of me going to Alaska with my dad, by brother went to Baja with my dad. It’s all they can think about after going down the first time.
My dad still has his 950 and my brother still has too many bikes (if there is such a thing). However, dad is 66 now and doing a self support moto trip for months to Baja isn’t really in the cards for him. Not that he can’t or won’t, it’s just that he has something more comfortable to travel in nowadays. Being semi retired, at least for the winter months, he is essentially gonna be an expat while it’s cold in Wisconsin. He’s rolling in this down to Baja.
My brother has long been planning and prepping to go on this trip. He isn’t going for months like dad, but he’s going for as long as he can. Dad is already down there, Trevor is getting ready, and I am the late comer. I had to make sure that the business was healthy enough for me take off for three weeks. Let’s just say that we had a jammin’ holiday season and a very snowy November and December made for awesome sales. The more it snows, the better Backcountry Pursuit does.
I have also figured out a few things over the 3+ years I have been running the business. I need to work really, really hard during two times of the year. I call them the changeover seasons going from winter to summer and summer to winter. There is a ton of work to do and I bust my ass. But when we get all settled into the season, we go into cruise control and it is business as usual. I employ awesome people and I can dip out to go play. And I do. A lot.
After hearing about the adventures in Baja my dad and brother had a few years back, and the stars aligning for this trip, there was no way I was missing it. Family time is important. Time is not unlimited in life and you must seize opportunities when you can.
I didn’t have a whole lot to prep for. Hobbes is mostly ready to go with a turn of the key. I did throw in a new battery and mounted a new 606 for the front and a new Shinko 805 for the rear. These are the most aggressive dirt tires I have ever run on this bike and I am glad I put them on. I also dropped my front wheel off to get trued up.
Turns out wheels are supposed to be round. Hobbes’? Not so much. How did that happen? I’m at a loss! Anyways, a lot of the spokes were seized and they could do much for it. I’m gonna need a new hoop and spokes. Don’t have the dinero for that at present, so I’m just gonna have to go easy on it. Wink wink nudge nudge.
The only other prep I had to do was put a trailer hitch on my Subaru to haul it over to Redmond where Trevor lives. I guess this is a good time to state that we aren’t riding our bikes down there. That’s the only way I ever thought I would do a trip like this. However, it’s February and we have a lot of mountain ranges to cross to get south. Enter: Gertrude.
I’ve got to hand it to Trevor. He’s built one hell of an adventure van. Awhile back he sold his Tundra and bought a wheelchair van. He’s gutted and modified to no end. He’s tested it in Oregon and took a trip to Baja in it for the race this year to work the pits for MAG 7.
Gertrude is a big girl. She’s a 2000 Ford E350 extended 1 ton with a 5.4l Triton V8, power windows, locks, cruise control, rear AC/heat, 4 wheel disk brakes, and a 6' 2" inside height with the massive fiberglass topper. The doors are full height in the rear which makes loading bikes a breeze. He fitted her with Fox long travel suspension, big tires, winch, onboard air compressor for airing up and down, 40,000 lumen light bar, all sorts of tie down points, and a sleeping loft. She’s got tons and tons of mods all for not much money. He’s built a hell of a van and this is our ride for the next three weeks.
I arrived in Redmond with Hobbes in tow late afternoon on February 4th. Mom and Larry were there to send us off so it was nice to see them. Trevor was still messing with some suspension stuff on the van. I got busy unloading the Subaru and began staging the loading of Gertrude. We didn’t really account for just how long it was gonna take to get everything situated and loaded. We worked on it until completion somewhere around 1am.
February 5th. Departure day! We ate breakfast and said goodbye to family. Let’s hit it!
We decided to take 395 all the way because fuck the I-5. It was a good day of driving. Trevor and I were switching every two hours to stay fresh. The miles rolled by along with the scenery, states, time, and daylight. We just kept driving. Kinda like Forrest Gump.
We had a possible place to say in So Cal at a Forest Service Fire Base from a friend of Trevor’s. We arrived somewhere around 4 or 5am but the beds were taken from other workers. We decided to just press on and soon the sun was up. We stopped in Palm Desert, CA for breakfast and a few essentials before we crossed the border at Calexico/Mexicali. The Sultan Sea rolled on by and Mexico loomed on the horizon.
Now that the sun was up, we were both awake and excited about getting into Mexico. Just a few more stops in Calexico at a Wal-mart and Moto shop and we got in the queue to cross the border. We had to loop around to get back to the cambio with the best rate to buy pesos. Trevor and I both changed $800 US dollars for this trip and we both had to change pesos back after the two plus weeks.
Pesos in our wallets and it’s time to enter a different world. The biggest concern of the Mexican border guards is bringing stolen bikes into the country to sell. The guy crawled in the van and actually checked the VIN numbers on our bikes. I had been studying Spanish for a bit before this trip but it was quickly apparent that it was not enough.
After we passed inspection we were free to head into Mexico. The smell of unburned fuel and obvious lack of catalytic converters is immediately apparent. It’s simply amazing just how different things are on one side of an imaginary line to the other. You are in a different country and you know it.
The sights, the smells, the sounds, the language, the drivers, the trash, the poverty. It’s kind of sensory overload. For all intents and purposes, this is my first trip to Mexico. I went to Puerto Penasco almost 15 years back now when I was only 20, but I don’t really count that. We were only there for a day or two. I have also traveled to Argentina and Uruguay, but once again, that was a long time ago.
Back then I also knew some Spanish. I had been dating a girl from Argentina and I could actually hold simple conversations. Not so much anymore. Language is a use it or lose it thing. On this trip, I could do the usual ordering of food most of the time and meet and greet stuff. It is mildly intimidating. Think of all the words you know in English and then having to relearn an entire second set along with a bunch of other rules.
It is my biggest regret of the trip not knowing the language better. Talking with people is one of the best parts of traveling and one would get so much more out of a trip like this if you spoke the language. Can you get by with just a few words and English? Yes. But…should you? No. Trevor has been studying quite a bit and was also just in Mexico for the 1000. He totally got us through this trip. By the end, he was starting to talk in small paragraphs. Next time I will know it better. I am making it a life goal to learn this language. And yes, there will be a next time in Baja.
Border towns are not the place you want to be in Mexico. They just feel a little sketchy and it’s time to move past them as soon as you enter them. We tried but missed a turn and took a little detour though a pretty dang poor neighborhood. Astonishing. Y’all don’t know how good you have it in this country even if you are living in a rundown trailer park. Trust me. You have more than these people do. For those of us that make a good a good living and can afford a few toys and vacations, we are kings. Going to places like this makes you appreciate all the more everything you have and how lucky we are to live in this country.
Soon we found the right road and were headed South on Mex 5. Finding a good map for Mexico and Baja is challenging to say the least. The good semi-detailed road atlas is out of print and other maps have very little detail. Especially the dirt roads that we will be riding. Trevor found a pdf map by National Geographic that used his phone’s gps to put a blue dot on the map. It was a lifesaver every day on the trip. We were able to navigate many smaller dirt roads and found it to be fairly accurate.
The road to San Felipe was really good for the most part. Baja is not known for the quality of their roads. They are known for the opposite. Driving Mex 1, or any of the Mex’s in Baja can be described as follows: In the US we generally have 12 foot lanes. Go ahead and whack 2-3 feet off each side for a Mex highway. They just didn’t make the road bed wide enough when they built it in the first place. Now there is just room for a single yellow line down the center. A double yellow would rob valuable inches. Either that, or they don’t have the money for the extra paint it would take to put another line down the center. Either way, there is one line. The white line on the shoulder is, in fact, the edge of the road. Many times the white line is crumbling away into the ditch, which a lot of times is a sheer vertical drop off of at least a foot but sometimes as many as six. Don’t drop a tire off the edge cause you’re gonna have a bad time. The shoulder is…oh wait, silly me, they didn’t build one. Is it paved? It was at one point. There are potholes that will shake you to your bones and make your vehicle cringe in pain. And not just a one or a hundred, there are thousands of them. Actually millions. The potholes have potholes. Now imagine a semi truck coming at you going about 70mph. At least his mirrors, if not a few inches of his bumper are in your lane. But you can’t move over because the white line is eroding into the ditch and it’s four feet straight down. Also you are hitting pothole after pothole that are bump steering the shit out of the steering wheel and you are doing everything in your power just to keep the damn thing going straight. Now you are starting to understand what it is like to drive in Baja. Oh and sometimes the road isn’t there. Like is gone. Just watch for piles of rocks because it’s not like they have orange barrels.
Also, the speed limits are ridiculously low. Even for roads in this condition. Most of the time they are 40-80km/hr and that ain’t fast. Everybody is always speeding by a lot. Trevor says it’s so they always have a reason to pull you over, but we never saw anybody pulled over for what looked like speeding the entire trip.
So now the day is dragging on and we have arrived at San Felipe. Trevor wanted to stop at a Tacos El Pastor ristorante he remembered being awesome from his last trip. Good. I was starving at this point. We found parking which was limited due to a major Carnival celebration and parade the town was having. Tacos El Pastor is the shit! Real Mexican food in general is the shit. Not this Americanized crap we have here. The real deal.
I think something was lost in translation.
We left San Felipe and continued south. We missed the PEMEX station and figured we’d hit one down the road. (That’s important) We were only planning on heading a little further south on our very long day to Gonzaga Bay. Also keep in mind that neither of us has slept much and we have been traveling for about 30 hours at this point.
We are on vacation and it is time for the first thing to really check out in Baja. We stopped at Valle de los Gigantes (Valley of the Giants). These are the tallest growing cactus in the world and they are only found in Baja. They can grow 60 feet and live 300 years. They are not saguaros. There are actually no saguaros in Baja. We arrived in the Golden Hour and watched an amazing sunset.
Light has faded on this long day. It is dark and we arrive at Gonzaga Bay where Trevor was planning to camp with a guy he met if he was around his place on the Sea of Cortez. He wasn’t home. We had planned on camping here for the night.
Our last known signal from dad was in Bahia de Los Angeles. He has a Spot messenger and Trevor took a screen shot of the google earth map while he had service. It’s further, but it’s not that far. We are both feeling pretty good even though we are running on no sleep. We make the decision to push on through the night to try to get to dad.
We pass the next Pemex station and it is closed. We did our best to estimate the mileage and fuel indicated in the van. We figured it would be close, so we decided to just go for it. We have motos with fuel sitting five feet behind us so we won’t be stranded.
It’s full on dark now and I am missing some views of the Sea of Cortez. I’m bummed about that but I am excited to see dad. Our reasoning for pushing on was it essentially gave us an extra day with him. We have planned on traveling the rest of the way from Gonzaga Bay to Bay of LA tomorrow. We needed to be there by Super Bowl time. But if we got in tonight, we figured around 10 or 11, we would have the whole day tomorrow.
They are still working on paving Mex 5 all the way until it meets back up with Mex 1. It’s a pretty big bridge project and they won’t have it done for several years at the rate at which things move down here. When we got to the gravel, Trevor wanted to air down.
We did this constantly on the trip. Anytime we were gonna be on gravel for more than 10 miles, it was time to air down. It makes the ride so much smoother and gives the 2WD limited slip van so much more traction. Trevor has these sick deflators that just screw on to the valve stems and let out until the tire reaches the pressure you set them to. Hands off. Quick. Easy. You can drive up to 25 mph with them on while the tires are deflating and they are done in about 3 minutes. The tires go from 70 psi to 25 psi in minutes without constantly checking or babysitting the valve stem. When it comes to airing up, Trevor spent the money on a badass Puma compressor that will inflate all the tires back up to 70 psi in about 10 minutes. It’s hard mounted and hard wired. The hose is stored in a repurposed frame pack mounted to the door of the van right next to the compressor along with extra ratchet straps, bungee cords, and garbage bags.
Bumping along we passed the famous Coco’s Corner. It was late, so we didn’t stop. Next time. Hopefully he’s still around next time. He’s getting pretty old.
The km’s clicked by and the fuel gauge continued to drop. Soon we were at MEX 1 and the turn off to Bay of LA is just a few km’s more. Now we know we are getting close. 62 km’s to go. Not much fuel left either. The theme soon became, “We’ll either make it or we won’t.” Actually, that was the theme a number of times on the trip.
We literally coasted in on fumes. Neutral going downhill and ginger acceleration going uphill. We also traveled slower because it was night. There were a number of in progress bridges being built over washes and there wasn’t much warning. Go off of one of those and it’ll ruin your trip. That 40,000 lumen LED light bar sure makes a difference though! Holy crap that thing is bright. Plus Trevor installed HID headlights which were already better than 95% of the cars driving around down there.
We used the screen shot of dad’s Spot message to find the camp and his camper. Trevor pulled right up to his camper 40,000 lumens a lumen-ing right into the sleeper. No action. Huh, they must’ve had Tequila. We get out to walk around to the door and pound on it.
“Hola? Es de management. You pay now. You pay for your spot now. “
“What the hell? We paid already!” in a sleepy voice.
“Noooo. No you pay now! Or you move your American ass” in our most fake Spanish accent.
“Oh! My boys are here!”
Dad came out of the camper and had a drink with us before he went back to bed. I had been drinking in the van since I wasn’t driving, so I had a pretty good start on my first night in Baja. We didn’t make it long before it was time for bed. I am tenting it on this trip and Trevor is sleeping in his loft.
It’s the very first night in Baja and my sleeping pad has a hole in it. Not really a hole, more of a failure in manufacturing. I’m pretty drunk and pretty pissed. Good thing I brought the cot along or it would have been a long two weeks sleeping on the ground. After some wrestling, I figured out the cot needed to be set up inside the tent because it wouldn’t fit through the door. Square peg in a round hole situation, ya know? Finally, rest comes after 36 hours of driving. It was a hell of trip, but now the adventure truly begins.
Morning in Baja. Nearly every morning for almost as long as I can remember in my adult camping career, I take these morning shots. It is a great way to remember how the day of adventures starts. Plus it also makes a pretty handy delineator between the days of photos while looking through the photo album. For those of you who have been following this thread for a long time, you’ll remember seeing these. The tradition continues.
The first day was pretty leisurely until the Super Bowl started. We chatted with Dad and checked out his boat since it was the first time we’d seen this one. Dad has too many boats just like Trevor has too many motorcycles.
This was also the first day we got to me Joan, Dad’s girlfriend. They have been dating for I think well over a year and maybe going on two. Shortly after they met, they went to Costa Rica for like a month. The more the trip went on, the more I liked her. She doesn’t get fussed about anything, especially when things are going wrong. She doesn’t worry. She doesn’t tell you to slow down. Plus, she puts up with Dad. Not only that, but she wants to be in a camper with him in Baja for months on end. Yep, she’s pretty cool and I’m happy that Dad has somebody to share his time in Mexico with him. I think he’s much happier this way than he would be on his own. Not that he wouldn’t have a good time, but this is better.
We took a trip into town to check it out and go down to the marina. Dad wanted to talk to the guys coming in from fishing in the pongas to see what they were catching. Fishing is main focus of Dad’s trip down here. He’s done a ton of prep getting ready for salt water fishing, but really doesn’t have any experience. They have been in Baja for a few weeks and only gotten on the water for a few short hours. It’s been windy for weeks and that’s a big body of water with big waves for a little fishing boat designed for mostly flat water.
We chatted with a few Americans pulling a nice boat out and they got some Yellowtail, but they had to go farther out than Dad’s boat could go. They gave us some good intel on deep water jigging and even gave dad a lure to try. We’d end up seeing these guys at the super bowl party later.
After that we went to the museum in town and wandered around for a bit. Pretty cool stuff being by the ocean. I haven’t ever spent any significant amount of time near salt water and it’s all pretty much new to me.
Before Dad left the country, we told him when we got there to find a place to watch the Super Bowl. There was a hotel on the beach about a mile north of where were camped that was going to have the game on. They had food, beer, a TV and a bunch of people. The photo below is the only one I know have at present from the party. I am sure Joan has more on her phone, but with limited internet service, uploading photos from Mexico is also limited.
Dad had a big secret appointment he had to go to during the day and he wouldn’t tell us what it was. After we had dinner, he called everybody’s attention and had a birthday cake brought out. It was Trevor’s and my birthdays in January only nine days apart. He had found somebody to bake a cake for us in town in the days prior to our arrival. Pretty cool because it’s not like there is a bakery you can go place an order at. I wish I had a picture of the cake but I didn’t have my camera or my phone at the party.
Drinking and shenanigans ensued. Things got fuzzy and no pictures were taken. There was a fire after the game was over and expensive tequila came out. I didn’t even make it back to camp that night. I crashed at some other American’s house across the parking lot from the hotel and got a ride home on a RZR in the morning.
The next morning was a little miserable, but not as bad as expected. The motivation to get on our bikes over powered any hangover and we suited up. First day of riding in Baja!
Bahia de Los Angeles is kind of the end of the road and probably as far as the majority of tourists go. I’m not saying we are the only ones, but we saw one car all day after we left town. We fueled up at the Pemex and took the road south. It’s not a major road by any means and it took us awhile to actually find the way out of town. After turning around a time or two and hitting a dead end, the gravel and Baja opened up ahead of us.
I suppose this is a good time to mention what Trevor is riding. He’s on the last production year of the renowned XR650R. The bike was purpose built to dominate the Baja race and it did just that. This bike is at home here. This particular specimen was a cherry that Trevor picked from the Craigslist litter awhile back. It only had about 3000 miles on it. The frame wasn’t even scuffed from boots rubbing on it. In typical Trevor fashion, it’s been modified and customized. He made it out to look like a much older Honda. I’m sure he’ll jump on here and correct me, but he was going for an 80’s look with it. I got to ride it later during this day and it just won’t stop trying to pull your shoulders out of their sockets! It rips, let’s just leave it at that. Plus, Trevor is a good rider.
We had an idea for a big loop, but we left late from being hung over and such. That idea quickly faded as we realized just how long it took for the little blue dot on his phone to advance. Today was gonna have to be an out and back. That’s ok. You see things differently going in each direction.
The road was great! Washboard, some rocky areas, and some typical Baja lack of maintenance where the road is washing away back to nature. Baja was hit really hard by tropical storms last year and the rain, wind, and flash flood did tons of damage to everything and much of it isn’t even starting to be repaired. We were having fun though.
How long have I dreamed of this moment? Ever since I first started reading stories on advrider years back, I have dreamed of this moment. That moment when I am finally riding my bike in Mexico. This is happening! I’m in my own personal heaven and I am here with my brother and my dad.
Trevor was mostly out in front. I stop to take pictures. Also, I like to think Hobbes is a dirt bike, but he is not compared to the XR.
After we conceded that the loop which looked good on the map was way, way, way too big for the day, we made the goal Punta San Francisquito. However, soon even that looked to be pretty far. We were looking at our mileage when we stopped at San Rafael and we’d gone almost 50 miles already. We still had a ways to go. Trevor said he had a range of about 130 on the low side and a solid 140-to maybe 150 if he went easy on the throttle. Shall we push on to get out to Punta San Francisquito. Well, “We’ll either make it or we won’t!” Hobbes had the fuel to make the whole trip and I could always run the last 20 or 30 miles when he ran out of fuel to come back with the rotopax from Dad’s boat or the van. Of course, it was also getting late and the sun would be going down soon.
The scenery was stunning riding along with the Sea of Cortez coming into view from time to time. The mountains inland were outlined and framed by many types of clouds in one sky. The plant life was different than any I had ever seen. Yes, we were truly in a different country.
We made to Punta San Fransisquito. It was about like I expected. It was very run down and abandoned. Much of Baja looks like this. We pulled up to the sea edge in the center of “town”.
It didn’t look like anybody was around but a lady came out of the main building. We exchanged our pleasantries and I remember commenting, “Fin de camino”. I doubt that is proper Spanish, but the meaning got across that we were at the end of the road and she smiled.
She asked if we needed a place to stay or some food. We declined, but I asked, “Gasolina?” “Si.” I’m shocked! They have fuel! We tell here we could use a few liters each. The only other people in town were two older men and one of them came out to the “gas station” with us. Why I didn’t take a picture is beyond me. I took a picture of the gas station but not of getting Hobbes filled up from a five gallon can in the middle of nowhere Baja! Check that one off the list at least. Mission accomplished on day one of riding.
We went back inside and paid what I am sure was about $7 a gallon. We were happy to have it and they deserved to make a profit to hauling all those cans that far out in the middle of nowhere. Certain things in life have value like that.
We said, “Adios” and got ready to head back to camp. It ended up being close to 90 miles and we had a ways to go to get home. Quite irresponsible I must say. Trevor never would have even made it close to home and he would have been waiting for quite some time for me to arrive back with fuel. However, “We’ll either make it or we won’t!”
Trevor smiles at me as he puts on his helmet and says, “You know what this means right? I don’t have to go easy on the throttle!” And he was off!
The way back north was more beautiful than the way south. Late afternoon ticked along as the light began to change a bit. The subtle hues of the desert come out during this time of the day and the harsh landscape softens. The clouds spread across the sky reflected the changing rays of the sun as we rode along in our heaven.
We stopped to play in a wide open sand wash. We didn’t have to watch the fuel anymore, so why not go burn some? This is where Trevor and I traded bikes for a bit. That XR is a beast and way more fun to ride in deep sand. Hobbes could use a steering dampener. I took a few photos of Trevor hot rodding and then we moved on down the road.
Trevor was still in the lead and up until this point he was stopping about every five miles to check in and make sure I was still bringing up the rear. However, I hadn’t seen him in at least 20 miles and I was starting to get a bit worried. Did he miss a corner? Was he off the road and I went right by him? As the miles click by I become pretty agitated. What can I say? I have a bit of my mother in me.
Then I heard an awful noise coming from my front end. It took me a little bit if poking and prodding to find the problem. My hugger fender in the front finally died after all these hard miles. I had broken it pretty early on in my ownership of Hobbes, but did a good Franken zip tie job to fix it. Baja had other plans for that fender. I had to walk back down the road to find the piece that had come off. I shoved both pieces in my backpack. Now I was concerned about something else. With that fender gone, the 606 knobby up front could possibly pick up a rock, carry it around the tire a little bit, and knock the brake line far enough to catch a knob on the tire. At that point one of two things could happen and neither would be good. A. The tire would just rip the brake line out of the left caliper and I’d lose my front brakes. B. The brake line might be strong enough to catch a knob, hold it, and lock up the front tire causing a crash. Crap. Now I’m worried about that in addition to the fact I haven’t Trevor in at least 45 minutes.
Finally I see Trevor waiting for me. Relief! I expressed my displeasure and we made an agreement going forward that it wouldn’t happen again. He tells me not to worry about my brake line and I try not to think about it. We move on down the road and on from the discussion.
FUCK YEAH BAJA! I had to stop and take a picture of this. Going the other direction, it’s just another junk refrigerator out in the Baja desert. Going this way it’s art and expresses perfectly how I am feeling at the moment.
Soon it’s dark and the only the light is the light from our bikes illuminating the Baja road ahead. We are getting closer to Bahia de Los Angeles. There is an amateur race that happens here and the course runs parallel to the road for the last 15 miles or so into town. Trevor was riding the wooped out race course and I was matching his speed on the regular road. I was moving right along for riding in Baja at night and Trevor was downright hauling ass. That light he has on his bike puts mine to shame and I thought mine was good on the Tiger! I might in the market for some light on the bike. Trevor said this was one of his favorite moments of the entire trip as we were riding side by side coming out of the desert and back into town.
Welcome back Tyson!
Hi Jerry! How's things in your world? Still in Denver?
Doing good yup still in Denver!!
Thanks for the update!
Fuck yeah Baja! I forgot about that and I'm glad you grabbed a photo.
Yup the infamous XR650R is one badass moto and mine is an '07 I bought from the original owner and I'd guess it only had a thousand miles on it or less. It still had the original front tire! It's my main dual sport and I've raced a couple XC and endurance races on it but I prefer my 2 stroke Gas Gas for racing short course stuff. I'd like to race the San Felipe 250 next February and I'll use the XRR for that. The only problem I have with the XRR is two-fold. It's kick start only, and it's only too big for me when I'm kick starting it. When I flood it or crash and I'm tired, it's a real challenge for my 30" inseam to kick start that monster. I was born in '85 and the late 80s and early 90s were a great time for Honda and I love the old Honda skunkworks bikes. I did my best to make my '07 look like an ~'87. I swapped the blue seat for a comfy Seat Concepts that I borrowed from Larry, my riding buddy that came down with me in November for the SCORE 1000. Here's the halfway finished report from that trip http://advrider.com/index.php?threa...ovan-stuffed-with-xrrs-and-no-script.1108183/
I had a really nice 2003 Toyota Tundra 4x4 that I sold so I could buy a 2WD wheelchair van. Many thought I was being foolish. However, many hours of critical thinking and research led me to taking the leap. Am I happy with my decision? You better friggin' believe it! Just think about this, what else could contain two large motorcycles, a kayak and 2 non-collapsable paddles, a full size shovel and broom, sleeping loft, six large cargo bins, air compressor, two passengers plus misc supplies, drive almost 4000 miles roundtrip, deep into Baja, on surfaces ranging from interstate highway with the cruise control on to remote, rocky roads back to an old Mission from the 1700s at night at 50 mph? All inside a mostly weather proof and lockable box? Hell no I don't miss having a pickup truck and I don't forsee having one again anytime soon.
Lately I've been consumed with the idea of a 26' Freightliner box truck with a 16' garage and 10' of permanent living space. I'd load my '54 Willys Jeep in the garage plus a bike or two. The really tall semi-truck sized tires would help absorb the potholes and the big Detroit turbo diesel would still get nearly 10 mpg with such a light load. It's a couple years off into the future but a Toterhome is definitely on the list of things to build.
Good start, don't stop now!
Here's a video tour of the Motovan that I just uploaded for those that are curious. Those with keen eyes might notice something missing from my bike in the video that it has in the photos above.
It’s day three in Baja and I am really settling into vacation mode. It is our last day in the Bay of LA area and one of Trevor’s major missions on this trip is to see a bunch of missions. Today we are taking the van to go see Mission De San Francisco De Borja.
Now, the van only has two seats in it and we have four people. Good thing this is Mexico and we have ratchet straps! We use the tie down rails in the van to strap a few of Dad’s camp chairs down, Voila! Seating for four.
There were just a few miles of pavement and we turned off on the dirt. Trevor dropped the air pressure we were off! Baja had had some rain in the recent past so the desert was totally green. I will say it time and time again that I love the desert. It seems some my favorite places I visit are in the desert.
This was my first time seeing Boojum Trees. Yes, they are actually the trees that inspired Dr. Seuss for many of his illustrations. Such a unique thing these trees are. Once again, just like the cacti, they are pretty unique to Baja.
We bumped along for a few hours in the desert. Actually it’s pretty smooth in this van. Soon we arrived at the mission. A lady and her daughter came out. They kind of gave us a tour. Once again, there was that pesky language barrier, but we were able to mostly get what they were telling us. They were part of the family that has been here for generations and helped with the major restoration it underwent.
This mission is the furthest north solid stone mission in Baja. The remnants of the old adobe mission were slumped out in the back. People sure went to great lengths to spread the word of God and convert the heathens who had happily been living here for thousands of years. There is a big spring just up the wash that provides a bunch of freshwater and why not put a mission right on prime real estate?
We were simply in awe of the craftsmanship. Massive stones are perfectly placed that people in today’s day and age would be hard pressed to do with fancy machinery. The spiral staircase was something else. People back then must have had much smaller feet because the treads weren’t very big!
We asked to see the spring and the younger girl took us out there. One of the springs was actually hot and it is where they do their bathing. The spring then feeds fields of olives and fruit. They make their own olive oil to sell here. It’s probably their main source of income.
We came. We saw. We photographed. It was time to head back to break camp and head on down the road.
Back in camp things went pretty quick. We thought Dad was gonna be way behind loading the boat and getting it hooked up. Turns out the old man can move when he has to! We were on the road with just a little daylight left.
We decided to find a spot on the Pacific tonight and turned off of Mex 1 to Santa Rosaliita. Finding your way though a town in Mexico at night is sometimes a bit of a challenge. Sometimes you aren’t sure if you are actually even on a road. This town has a major wash that runs though it that we needed to cross to get out the beaches. It was unbelievably rough! We had some radios and told Dad to wait while we took a look. It was the right road and soon Dad got his cumbersome rig with the trailer out of town and heading down the road.
Since it was totally dark, we took the first beach we came to less than a mile out of town. In hindsight, maybe we should have gone further, but we were taking off right away in the morning to head south. We ended up camping in an area that was more popular for dumping trash rather than enjoying a pristine beach. There was no firewood to be had the wind was ripping. We migrated into the camper for a night of drinking and Yahtzee.
After we were all good and buzzed up we headed outside for a smoke and a blow up ensued. Dad, two sons, family business, politics, and alcohol can be a bad combination. We got into it pretty bad. Voices were raised and Joan had enough. She went into the camper while we continued to battle outside.
Things finally calmed down and I don’t think any of us went to bed too angry that night. Don’t me wrong, Dad, Trevor and I get along great, but we do have these moments from time to time. It’s nothing new and you know what? In the morning everything was pretty much fine. Another day of adventure tomorrow.
Good video! If y'all want an in depth tour of the van, this video is really concise. He did a great job hitting all the highlights that make this van great for a trip like this.