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Tres por uno Baja paseos (Canyon de Cobre sin cargo adicional)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by ScotsFire, Feb 16, 2020.

  1. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Goddamnit @ScotsFire, killin' me; workin my arse off the last few days and haven't had a chance to check the forum for updates. And I see your posts from Agua Verde to Mulege..wow. Want to say the hell with this damn rat race, cash in the 401k, figure out someplace cheap down there to call home and just start riding whenever the hell I want :lol3 :lol3

    Killer updates man, thank you for taking the time to post 'em. WRT to Loreto - celebrated my 10th anniversary there in '16 and that's what made me fall in love with Baja. Have had a couple of changes since then, but I still have a soft spot in my heart for Loreto (my wife is taking my boy there in a couple days). I love Mulege too, likely will end up somewhere between the two in the next ~15 years.

    Anyway, great updates. Kicking myself for not going a bit further south to Agua Verde...next trip.

    Knobby side down, hope you're able to get the bash plate sorted in San Diego and continue the rock bashin'...without needing to replace it again.
  2. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    March 5, 2020: Mulege to La Bocana

    Spent an extra day in Mulege waiting for the bash plate to show up. Did really exciting ADV things like laundry and sitting in front of a computer most of the day. There may have been some drinking involved too.

    So Thursday, I get a message on WhatsApp from the person who shipped the bash plate from San Diego. It's supposed to be at the Bajapack office, aka bus terminal. A walk down, and sure enough it's there!
    [​IMG]

    After another breakfast at Dony's, I open it up at the hotel.
    [​IMG]
    It's quite a bit more stout than the last one I had. Unfortunately, the package is missing some of the hardware. Also, it uses the bracket on the sump pan that was broken off. So short story, I arrange to get to San Diego to fit a new sump pan, procure the necessary mounting equipment, attach the bash plate properly, then march on. I get to this conclusion about twenty minutes before check out time, so JUST get out of Dodge while the getting was good.

    But where to? I'd been in contact with @advrockrider and @ktmnate in order to meet up with them, and knew they were in La Bocana the previous night and planned one more overnight there. So I packed up, sent them a text, and without knowing if they got it or not, headed that way.

    Quick run up to Santa Rosalia for another coffee and some fuel (there's a Pemex in Mulege, but it doesn't have premium).
    [​IMG]
    Best view from a gas station I know about. That's the bash plate on top of my duffel bag.

    To get to La Bocana, you need to go through Punta Abreojos, then turn north. It's paved the whole way, though the stretch between PA and LB has only been so in the last couple of years. Going towards Punta Abreojos.
    [​IMG]
    Pavement is ok most of the way, with some areas of some moderate potholes.
    [​IMG]
    I think there'd be some nice riding amongst the mountains and mesas in the area.

    The entire area has an unreal number of osprey.
    [​IMG]
    Entering Punta Abreojos. PA has a pretty nice vibe and seems like it would be a nice place to spend some time. Not sure if there's a lot of interest for motorcyclists, but there seemed to be a fair number of ex-pats around.

    La Bocana didn't seem as prosperous. There's actually more of interest there for riders, with a campground/cabins, and just generally more lodging. But it seemed a bit less tight. I hadn't heard back from Gary or Nate, so found a place to eat for a late lunch. Chunky's Restaurant served a pretty mean plate of scallops. While I was waiting for my food, Gary rode up on his black 990 and let me know where they were staying.

    The Baja Bocana Hotel is more like a BnB in that it is essentially a large house. It was however very well taken care of. Les and Blanca are great hosts, and had set Gary and Nate up for a special dinner with a local they knew.

    Joachim is a fisherman, belonging to the local collective. This means that he does ok for himself. Yet he enjoys hosting guests, so he's built a small bar on his property, that is only open to invited guests. When we got there, around ten or fifteen of his friends and neighbors were sitting out front, with a barbecue cooking up some meat. It was milk fed kid (goat) and was amazingly delicious and tender. Tecate's were flowing freely. But that was just the first appetizer.
    [​IMG]
    A huge plate of sashimi was the second course. Followed by a fish dish...
    [​IMG]
    ...and a full lobster each.
    [​IMG]
    It was an amazing meal, made all the more uncomfortable for having eaten the large lunch only two hours prior. But what I enjoyed even more was sitting and talking with Joachim and his friends. He is justifiably proud of what he's built up, and it's fun to go see his truck and especially his son's Kawi 450 race bike. The Mexican men were very interested in Gary, Nate, and I and were eager to converse with us.

    I can heartily recommend Baja Bocana Hotel. Blanca and Les have a great set up and are a lot of fun to hang out with. La Bocana might not be very polished, but it's a great experience.
  3. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    March 6, 2020: La Bocana to Bahia Asuncion and Bahia Tortuga

    We met Blanca and Les for breakfast at a restaurant on the beach on the southern edge of La Bocana.
    [​IMG]
    Thanks Gary @advrockrider for desayuno.

    The view from the porch at the hotel was hard to leave.
    [​IMG]
    That is a nest of osprey just across the way.

    Gary had been good enough to receive and then bring me a pair of riding gloves that developed holes in them just after I crossed into Mexico a couple of weeks back. We had a solemn ceremony to retire the older pair.
    [​IMG]

    Left the hotel around 11-ish. Not expecting to get too far so didn't feel rushed. I think La Bocana fosters that feeling.

    La Bocana National Forest.
    [​IMG]

    The road north was gravel, but generally in good shape as it runs along the coastline.
    [​IMG]

    The mesas not far inland.
    [​IMG]
    This specific area receives very little rainfall. Blanca and Les, who have lived in La Bocana full time for the last fourteen years, said that after their first year in town, it didn't rain for another five years.

    Another contestant for Shrine with best view contest.
    [​IMG]

    Nearby, there were Baja/Norra 1000 routes.
    [​IMG]

    Some very nice, and totally uninhabited beaches.
    [​IMG]

    It was very tempting to bring the GS out to this stretch of still damp so firm beach.
    [​IMG]
    But the hundred yards of loose sand with double fist sized rocks everywhere convinced me this wasn't quite the right time for that.

    This cut in the bank for the road shows this areas history of being part of the ocean bottom.
    [​IMG]

    Road wasn't too exciting, but still fun.
    [​IMG]

    Bahia Asuncion was a pretty nice town. This hotel seemed like a great spot to watch the sunset.
    [​IMG]

    As well as some sea life.
    [​IMG]

    It certainly had that Baja "no bad days" vibe.
    [​IMG]
    I had a really good lunch at a restaurant right near this spot above the beach.
    [​IMG]
    Part of it was this great soup made with fish balls.

    After the late-ish lunch, I went to Bahia Tortuga. The main road out there is paved, in very good shape other than some sand and dirt in a couple of vado bottoms.
    [​IMG]
    Other hazards as well. Several cows in the road when I came around the corner.

    Parts of it were surprisingly mountainous.
    [​IMG]
    The area obviously got more precipitation given the plants.

    It became pretty obvious that not a lot of us riders get out to Bahia Tortuga. I got a lot more looks than normal coming into town on the 800. It was kind of unusual in other ways too. Despite being a city with 10000 residents, I could only find one motel. And in walking around for almost an hour, found only a suspect looking pizza place as far as open restaurants. The two mini markets are of course across the street from each other. But since I found Indio at the first one, I didn't complain.

    Fishing is THE industry in town.
    [​IMG]

    Most fun thing about Bahia Tortuga was also sad.
    [​IMG]
    This stray, after a couple of pets and scratches, followed me around as I walked about town. She stayed with me for over a mile of back and forth. She finally bailed on me when I started down a street with several dogs in front of the houses. I found her later waiting for me where I'd first seen her near the hotel.

    So my verdict on Bahia Tortuga? No reason to go there once, much less again. I think there is some nice dirt riding nearby, but I would plan things so that a person could get down to Bahia Asuncion or further if at all possible, rather than stay in Tortuga.
  4. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Great updates @ScotsFire, didn't get a chance to visit that neck of the woods in my trip and it looks like a sweet place. I remember reading about Tortuga in another report and the consensus was the same - not much there to make a traveler want to stay. But Asuncion and that hotel look killer.

    Really like the shot you captured of the three palms and beach...most definitely a no bad days image.

    Keep the sticky side down, hope getting things sorted in San Diego is quick and you're back on the road in no time!
    ScotsFire likes this.
  5. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    March 7, 2020: Bahia Tortuga to San Felipe

    Woke up at the regular time at Motel Nancy. It wasn't fancy, but worked out fine. Unfortunately no restaurant on site, nor even the coffee that the proprietor had offered. So I was on the road before 8, probably a record for the trip so far. I did tool around town a little, specifically checking on the road northwards to the fishing camp out on the point. I considered riding out there, but Google said it was almost a 45 minute trip one way. It partly goes through some mountains before dropping next to the ocean, and was a dirt road, so I decided to pass this time. As much as Tortuga has not impressed me, I would like to come back to the area for some dirt riding on a smaller bike. The point looks interesting, as does the coastal route between Tortuga and Asuncion.

    I had left the memory card for my camera in my computer the night before, so didn't get some nice pictures. The clouds were hung up on the mountain range that the road passes through on the way east, and were being picked apart by the rising sun.

    But I finally stopped, opened up the duffel, and retrieved the card for the camera for this.
    [​IMG]
    Some salt flats. They had a layer of water on them and were very cool to look at.
    [​IMG]
    OK, Salar de Uyuni it's not, but still pretty neat for a Saturday morning in Baja.

    Found a loncheria for breakfast in Viscaino. Fittingly enough, it was named "The Loncheria."
    [​IMG]
    The coffee was not my preferred frou frou stuff, but the caffeine hit the spot. As did the Huevos Mexicano that I couldn't finish as there was so much.

    Made way better time north, despite a foray into Guerrero Negro looking for a spiffier coffee. The boojum trees have more leaves and started blooming since I came through, geez nearly three weeks ago.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Flowers were out in force in some areas too.
    [​IMG]

    There were other signs of spring in North America too.
    [​IMG]
    This was the only time I had to wait to be let through, but there were a handful of other construction sites to get through. This was on MX1, immediately south of the MX5 intersection.

    Speaking of the 5.
    [​IMG]
    The long running modernization and paving project from Gonzaga Bay to MX1 is complete
    [​IMG]
    Very nice road that probably chops off nearly ten kilometers of distance by getting rid of many curves on top of the new smooth pavement.

    Somebody has a racket for distance signs though.
    [​IMG]
    There was one of these signs around every four kilometers through the new section. And this one isn't even correct. No distance shown to Mexicali, and the just previous sign said 115 km to Puertecitos (which is reasonably close to correct; it was around 105).

    While the new road is very nice, and frankly is well overdue, a big drawback is that Coco's Corner is now three or four miles off the highway. I made the side trip, and the former gravel highway is obviously not being maintained anymore. It was so washboarded that a two track shadows the former federal highway, and at one point another just cuts across the flats, all so there is a much more drivable surface.
    Coco was Coco, and I gladly took a cold Pacifico from him. There were three local men there, three generations of a family if I'm not mistaken. Of course Coco had me sign the guest book.

    <STAND BY FOR RANT>

    WTF ADV-ers!?!? In prime riding season, where I must have seen twenty or thirty other bikes headed south, I was the first moto for nearly a week, and only the third visitor in four days. Coco is a legend, and the Corner has a lot of history related to our lifestyle, on top of the racing and other travel in Baja. If you're running down the Five, take a half hour and pull in.

    <RANT COMPLETED>

    It's been spruced up since I've been through.
    [​IMG]

    I hadn't seen the tree in the reception area before.
    [​IMG]

    The honeymoon suite is looking nice.
    [​IMG]

    Beer can signage has been refreshed and relocated.
    [​IMG]

    The mysterious procurement of construction zone marking helps highlight the entrance.
    [​IMG]
    Nice visit.

    The decent towards Gonzaga Bay is very deceptive.
    [​IMG]
    The picture didn't quite capture it, but the horizon on the Gulf was WAY above the perceived land one, making it look like the road was going below sea level.

    There really isn't a part of the Gulf of California coastline that isn't spectacular.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The road maintenance on MX5 was done all the way through to San Felipe, or at least the airport turn off. The stretch of highway going south out of town is as bad as ever. A lot of this I expect was because of the extensive damage from the hurricane a couple years ago. Lots of replaced bridges and vados. Even the fifty mile section of cheese grater chip seal has been redone. Very nice! The vados have pretty much been totally rebuilt. There wasn't even one anymore that I could catch air off of, and the "Oh Shit Dip" is more of an oh well dip now.

    Partially due to the outstanding shape of the highways, I made much better time than I expected and got to San Felipe a day earlier than I'd planned. The Harley rally in town did make finding a room a little more challenging than usual (and the moto noises of loud pipes and sport bikes doing wheelies up the street outside the hotel were another issue). But I found a nice, if more expensive than I've become used to, hotel on the south end of downtown.

    Met up with @Hohmie and his posse (well, more his wife Wendie's posse) and had supper and a couple of drinks at Parrots Cracker. A party was going on as it's going under new ownership. If I got the story correct, the manager is now the owner so there shouldn't be much change.

    It was a beautiful, if largely slabbie, ride.
  6. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    March 8, 2020: Intermission Thoughts and Observations

    Spending a down day in San Felipe before a border run tomorrow, and shop visit in San Diego Tuesday. This sort of concludes the first and kind of second of the three promised trips in Baja. The breakage really put a limit on what I was willing to take on, road wise. It also killed the opportunity to ride with @ktmnate and @advrockrider. They were planning on doing the high road to San Juanico, one way or another (perhaps a couple different ones) across the peninsula, then the route through El Arco and San Francisquito to Bay of LA. All riding that I'd have enjoyed the hell out of. C'est la vie.

    The silver lining is that this will give me a couple of extra days for the Copper Canyon. The silver lining is there due to the clouds, which are supposed to be dropping rain this coming Thursday and possibly Friday across much of Northern Mexico. I'll find a spot to sit it out if necessary.

    A lot has changed in Baja since I last did an extensive trip three years ago. The Highway 5 completion is the most obvious, but in reality a ton of infrastructure has been improved or refurbished. Economic conditions in most areas seem better, and is shown by the home improvements and more locals in restaurants than I remember.

    I think this is a great thing overall, but a part of me recognizes that a little of why I like to come down here is slowly eroding away. Baja has always been the place for overland travelers to learn. I've described it as moto travel with training wheels. And it is getting easier all the time. Certainly there won't be a lack of good times or interesting people and places to interact with for... well ever. But what we as so called Adventure Riders crave is changing here. My recommendation is that if you've never gone to Baja, GO. No really, you have to go. It's not that difficult (unless you want it to be like certain nimrods who take big bikes places they shouldn't go) and the people down here make it so enjoyable.

    Lots of interesting and cool places to go without leaving pavement, and your opportunities expand exponentially if you dare to get your tires dusty. So the most important thing is to find a way you're comfortable with that still makes you squirm a little in your gut so as to stretch yourself and head this way.
  7. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    ^^^^ times a gazillion. Only done one trip in Baja thus far and cannot wait to get back down there and ride. Starting the CABDR tomorrow and it's going to be fantastic, but there's nothing like riding Baja.

    Appreciate all the time you've taken to craft this report @ScotsFire. Going off-grid for the next ~8 days and can't wait to read and see what you've posted when I'm back.

    Safe travels man :thumb:thumb
    ScotsFire likes this.
  8. ktmnate

    ktmnate Long timer

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    We just did the route from page 4 of this report . Ice house road, I must say that it is not big bike approved. We went from San Juanico to Mulegé. At about 16 miles (heading East) to 18 miles there was a climb with boulders and steps. The kind that if you didn’t have a clean run, you had to start over. The water crossings also had surprises (big boulders). Other that that it was great.


    Robert it was great meeting up with you I wish you could have stayed longer. Mike at Cowabunga says hello. Our current plan is to be in San Felipe Wednesday and Thursday. And at Tecate on Friday.

    I hope you got your custom bashed bash plate sorted. I might be looking for a new one after the rocks today.
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  9. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    VIDEO POST
    February 22, 2020: El Patrochinio

    This was really interesting to put together. Just watching the pieces of video made me wore out, just by remembering how draining it was riding it. It was also very hard to cut and edit it for a shorter length. I probably should have let someone else compile this as I just couldn't cut out the hard parts, even when they don't look THAT hard in the video. It was so much, that I had to make it in two parts. You have my permission to use the skip forward button if necessary. It did make me not put in any music, though my girlfriend immediately googled a list of 18 minute songs (thanks @NotaYinzer) when I mentioned this to her.

    As a reminder, this was supposed to be a five and a half hour ride, which I threw in the towel after nine hours in the saddle, being forced to wild camp due to dwindling light, and even more so lack of strength and energy.

    Pt 1. First run into the obliterated road
    (Video 19:29. YEAH, 19:29. Better get some pop corn)


    Pt 2. Second try for a "work-a-round"
    (Video 13:53)
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  10. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    VIDEO POST
    February 23, 2020: Escape from San Tadeo Arroyo

    The first part of the ride back through San Ignacio. Very cool run down a narrow canyon with lots of water.

    (Video: 4:51, with music)


    Note: Putting these videos up from a hotel in San Diego. Amazing how moderately decent internet makes putting these up a lot easier. It seems a little weird to be drinking tap water and flushing toilet paper too.
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  11. WHYNOWTHEN

    WHYNOWTHEN where are the pedals?

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    Scotsfire, if you had been as stupid as we were and ignored the cowboy’s advice on the road being no-bueno, you would have got to some of this rocky nonsense:

    9372E0AC-3BF8-43D4-94C5-490879CE8459.jpeg B5D5AFED-E228-40A8-A3C5-F860EBA5EF14.jpeg


    We also had to retreat through that beautiful canyon
    64E022B0-24BE-46D8-AB55-A068673B06D3.jpeg

    And then ignore rule #1

    6C490539-6ED1-4923-828E-7F69D37B1DAD.jpeg
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  12. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    Wow - that's some tough riding on a heavy bike with a heavy load. Enjoy your down time
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  13. FinTec

    FinTec Been here awhile

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    WHYNOWTHEN:
    Can you clarify where this road is? The crazy huge rock one in the pic above. Want to avoid on big bikes next month when we are down there.....
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  14. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    Feb 22 El Patrochinio information
    Firstly, you really have to try to get yourself into idiotic situations to get where I was.

    To help others not be as stupid as I was (am?), here is some more detailed information on the El Patrochinio Debacle.

    My Planned Route
    EP M Planned Route.png The main darker blue one.
    Google Maps Link: https://goo.gl/maps/tZbgNpRK3RLjn4HLA

    Actual Route from my InReach tracker. I do NOT have a gps track for this as I've already cleared the memory.
    EP M Actual Route.png

    The washout where I turned around is at: 26.832841, -112.640716

    The route between where I had to stop and backtrack due to the blockage/washout, and where I actually camped that night (several hours later).
    EP M Difference.png Google Maps Link: https://goo.gl/maps/4qjnswcwBNibpU5t9
    It was 18.7 km difference.

    @WHYNOWTHEN I contemplated trying to walk my bike through like you guys did, and might have tried it with my 450. Decided the risk, especially by myself, of injury or significant bike damage was too great. Was the "road" northeast of that washout that shitty for a while, or was it just near that Hand of God Obliteration? Curious if you basically did a loop in what I had to come at from two directions.

    Mad props to you for getting through that!
  15. WHYNOWTHEN

    WHYNOWTHEN where are the pedals?

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    We tried to do the route that Scotsfire tried. From San Ignacio to mulege through El Patrochinio. That route no longer exists!! It has been gone for a few years now. Other (better) groups have tried and have made it to the same high point as we got to. You could possibly hike through carrying a mountain bike if you had enough time and energy.

    @ScotsFire, we didn't make it through, we just went further before we had to turn around. The 'road' rapidly got worse and worse and then near the top of the next pass became impassable. We had small bikes with good off road tires and no luggage. You must be a big strong guy to have got as far as you did with your kitchen sink.
    ScotsFire likes this.
  16. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    So the masochist in me wants to know: Do you think it could be done east to west, coming down the slope you couldn’t get all the way up? Specifically on small bikes?

    I wanted to check out the eastern half of that route, but didn’t have the proper moto protective kit when I came back north.
  17. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    VIDEO POST
    February 25, 2020: Mulege to San Juanico

    A much more sane ride than the previous attempts, though still kind of rough near the end of the four hours across the Baja Peninsula.

    (Video 3:36, no music)


    M SJ Route.png https://goo.gl/maps/9jyoeS3MF6Ewawfi9
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  18. WHYNOWTHEN

    WHYNOWTHEN where are the pedals?

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    Nope! Others have tried. Look for an RR by Climberevan. I think he attempted it from the other direction.
    ScotsFire likes this.
  19. ktmnate

    ktmnate Long timer

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    I really like the video. Like you said the video makes it look smooth. I know you put in some work getting over the pass.
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  20. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    I think that pass is easier east to west, as it wasn't too bad for me. The last thirty miles (first for you) in the bottom of that arroyo was more tiring for me.