The Luck of the Irish, Baja-style

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by tilliejacques, Mar 3, 2018.

  1. Big Sprocket

    Big Sprocket Adventurer

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    Apr 13, 2011
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    Placitas, New Mexico
    Birth defect. But I do my best to live with it.
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  2. Big Sprocket

    Big Sprocket Adventurer

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    Apr 13, 2011
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    Placitas, New Mexico
    I was looking for a dryer line??????????????? BS does stand for something else ya know!
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  3. NMTrailboss

    NMTrailboss Team Dead End

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    :lol3
  4. tilliejacques

    tilliejacques Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Phoenix AZ
    Day 6, Sunday, Cuidad Constitucion -> La Paz, 174 miles

    I was looking forward to this day. After a bit of pavement going south out of Cuidad Constitucion, there's a long straight dirt /sandy road that last year was a lot of fun. Now, after this year, I'm not so sure about that.
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    The Hotel Oasis did have excellent, super-atomic coffee early in the morning. Woke us right up. :happay:jump Got packed and rode over to the Cafe Parlante, which the hotel clerk had recommended yesterday, for actual breakfast. The place just to its left, with the palapa roof, was very good last year but they're closed on Sunday.
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    The American omelet looked good but the hot cakes the BorgDog and NMTrialsGuy had looked so light and fluffy that they were absolutely ready to float away. Boy, I would definitely get those the next time I was in Cuidad Constitucion. 5 breakfasts, water, some coffee for ~US$27
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    We did a stint of pavement for 10-15 minutes until we turned onto that straight-as-an-arrow road. Big Sprocket warned us that we were getting into livestock country and to maintain awareness of cows etc that might be on one side of the road and suddenly desire to leap across in front of you to the other side. Or maybe he said "on your mark, go!" or something like that.
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    I did well for a long while. Then, I failed to recognize silt for what it was, thinking it was just deep sand. As Big Sprocket described what ATeamNM had once said, silt can form and un-form in the same place over time. So now on this previously awesome track were now stretches of silt and somehow I made it through the first couple of fesh fesh beds, going 50-55 mph. But then my luck ran out. :yikes
    BorgDog made it through fine, and obviously Big Sprocket did since he's taking the picture. :lol3
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    NMTrialsGuy eschewed (or maybe that's "ah-choo'd!" since silt raises up such a fine plume of dust) the bypass on the upper bank and also made it through fine.
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    Me, not so much. I took the bypass but it was just as much silt as the road. I went over the bars and face-planted... into the deepest, softest, fluffiest cloud of flour-like silt that you can imagine. No rocks, no ruts, the hardest thing I hit was the Delorme as the bruise later on my knee attested.
    Boy, was I lucky! Oh, well, yes, a whole mouthful of dirt and dirt deposited throughout my helmet, jersey, gloves, thank goodness for goggles! Chopo did fine getting through of course and also of course picked up my bike while I was still spitting dirt out of my mouth. And thank you to BorgDog for the cloth to wipe off my face! :nod
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    But huh, I think there might be a problem with the front end of my bike. While I point the bars straight forward, I turn left. :scratch Chopo found a good-sized rock to straighten it out. After that I was quite careful with the silt (yep, locked that barn good after the horse was gone :lol3) and, as Chop recommended the un-travelled dirt might be better consistency, spent a lot of time up above the silted road riding between the bushes.

    Then we turned and the road widened and no more silt. :yay
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    As we passed sign after sign indicating turns to one rancho or another, we met a bunch more bicyclists, slowing down so we didn't dust them out completely.

    Soon enough we were at San Luis Gonzaga.
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    Not everybody believes in multiple horsepowers.
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    Another successful Big Sprocket steeeker give away!
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    More water crossings today with a cool egret just waiting for his photo op.
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    Soon enough we were back into the arid ranchos.
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    Sometimes the road would become a concrete "highway". Sometimes in obvious places.
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    Sometimes in the middle of nowhere, but where you could tell there would be a lot of heavy runoff during a storm.
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    But the concrete wasn't necessarily in the best condition anymore. And nothing like gravel on top of smooth concrete next to a cliff to make you pay attention.
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    Finally, we get our first glimpse the Sea of Cortez after San Felipe.
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    There were difficult, rubble-filled sections that eventually turned into regular dirt 2-tracks and then these green rocks showed up.
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    If only we'd had a geologist or two along to tell us about them, well maybe next year huh ATeamNM and belleringer?? :nod

    The vistas just got better and better.
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    Another shipwreck, this one more intact than the one on the Pacific side now is.
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    A ship off-loading, or heck maybe on-loading what do we know? Boy howdy, watch that first step off of the ship!
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    As we get closer to La Paz, the busier it gets. Though it's Sunday, this is still Carnaval and our hotel is on the other side of the Malecon, which is...closed! We end up in horrendous, horrendous stop and go traffic. I'm not sure which got hotter, us or the motos. Finally we reach the hotel City Express, generally a business-traveller hotel not too busy on the weekends. Well, not during Carnaval! The place was packed. We get to our rooms, once we figure out that in order to use the elevator, you have to put in your room key and then press the floor button. You can only reach your room's floor. Secure no doubt (didn't play around with the stairways) but impossible to go visit a friend on another floor.
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    After cleaning up (it took several washings to get all of the silt our of my hair :raindance), beering up, and ready to head to dinner, Big Sprocket had wanted to check out a restaurant not too far from the hotel that was right on the water. We get there and it looks like a nice place but no one's there except us and the wait staff. The menus are all drinks.
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    And no alcohol, just juices, smoothies, and ices. :confused I asked if they had food/meals and they said no, just drinks :scratch and recommended a place down the way. It was several blocks farther away, on the other side of the highway.
    But once we got there, wow what a place!
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    Ok, now these are the kind of drinks that we're looking for!
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    And the food was fabulous! The best meal of the trip! Beef fajitas, shrimp sautéed in butter and garlic, fried shrimp breaded with coconut, a combination plate with a chile relleno and a taco and fried shrimp, and some sort of whole-fish dish with cheese and mushrooms and peppers and onions.
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    Rounding up, let's say ~US$80 for 3 margaritas, 4 beers, and 5 meals.
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    Walking back to the hotel seemed quite a bit farther away. NMTrialsGuy was catching a cold and wasn't doing well at all, fading fast. BorgDog gave him some Nyquil and Dayquil which helped.

    The day's stats:
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  5. AteamNM

    AteamNM Wonna Be ADVrider

    Joined:
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    4,773
    Location:
    Sandia Mountains New Mexico
    OTB header crash in the feshfesh; all smiles!


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    Baja Queen of fesh. :ricky:nod
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  6. tilliejacques

    tilliejacques Been here awhile

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    Phoenix AZ
    ATeamNM, thanks for the kind words :shog

    but I'm sure that if there'd have been a rock or rut under that feshfesh, I would've been more like :( :cry :2cry

    er, I think face planting pretty much makes me a SUBJECT of feshfesh, not a queen! :lol3
  7. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    British Columbia
    nice ride nice photos
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  8. tilliejacques

    tilliejacques Been here awhile

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    Thanks, goodcat! :wave Hope you enjoy the rest of the days. :nod
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  9. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

    Joined:
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    PS... I don't even want to think about going over the bars on my KTM950 fully loaded. Especially at 53 yrs old hehe OUCH !!!!

    I'm in Los Barriles right now. Give me a shout if you get here.

    Cheers
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  10. mkjboyce

    mkjboyce BorgDog

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    15
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    Favorite dog of the whole trip in Cuidad Constitution. He was hurt some how, with a lame back leg, a ghost dog to most of the locals, but knew how to talk me into a bit of dinner. Glad my wife wasn't along or we'd be doing John Mcgown and Cookie redux. http://thebannerisup.district37ama.org/stories/john-kookie-1.htm

    Biggest memory of the day's ride was Laurie doing the silt dive and coming up smiling. Gnarly Girl. :lift Lucky she wasn't dinged.

    Other than that I recall a gorgeous ride down the coast, lots of missions in the middle of nowhere, some of the more technical rocks of the trip, and trying to sort out the mess that was my cockpit and bent bars/front end. Then a HOT painful slog through La Paz trying to find the hotel on the other side. :knary

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    Days were starting to blend together. Couldn't tell you the date or day of the week.
    But the food keep coming, better everyday. Weird to stay in a "fancy" hotel in La Paz during Carnival. You could hear the bands from 2 miles away. Should be easy to find a back tire in the biggest town in Baja tomorrow, eh?...:rofl
  11. Big Sprocket

    Big Sprocket Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2011
    Oddometer:
    71
    Location:
    Placitas, New Mexico
    The ride from C. Constitucion to La Paz and on to Los Barriles is always my favorite. It is a 275 mile day and usually come in at night. This year I thought it would be good to plan on staying in La Paz. Bad idea to stay there during Carnival but we made the best of it. This is a very, very remote part of Baja and is a beautiful & fun ride. Lots of Rancho's, goats and missions as you work your way out to near La Soledad.
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    Then after working our way up a rocky pass, you are rewarded with the Best vista in Baja!!
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    Near the bottom of the pass after some steep loose rocks waiting to re-group...
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    Then the awesome ride down the coast!!
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    Then finally in La Paz. It was like an LA traffic jam. The Malecon was closed off so we proceeded to go through Alto after Alto after Alto! Not fun but was rewarded with the best meal I've had in La Paz!
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    A great day of epic remote riding!
  12. nmtrialsguy

    nmtrialsguy Been here awhile

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    City of the Sun AZ
    Early on there was certainly some unexpected fesh fesh "fun." Last year this same road was a piece of cake. Coming upon BS and BD stopped, I'm wondering why are they stopping so soon, we just had a pee break? :confused Oh! Now I see why! Entertainment?! I saw BS poised with his camera, oh oh, the sand ahead looks deep! After scooting through it, :rayofI stopped and did not see TJ crash, but I heard her on the other end of the intercom: "oh no, ah, oomph, garble, garble, dammit, mumble, garble..." Me: are you OK?? TJ: "garble, garble, dammit" I'm really glad she was OK:raabia, slightly dusty but OK! :clap

    The end of this day found me suffering badly from a cold or what? Anyhow, feeling "sick as a dog" [​IMG]
    (where did this expression come from anyhow?) I dragged myself to dinner where margaritas did their best to fuel a recovery...the food helped and was really good, (I had the coconut shrimp--yummy!)

    I knew we were supposed to have a short day tomorrow, so I was optimistic that it, coupled with a planned rest day after that, might give me a good chance for a decent recovery.:snore
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  13. tilliejacques

    tilliejacques Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Phoenix AZ
    Day 7, Monday, La Paz -> Los Barriles, 67 miles

    As usual, the morning in Baja is pretty.
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    Today we were to reach our trip's destination of Los Barriles.
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    Because it was such a short day, mileage wise, we slept in. The hotel had a good breakfast, though construction in their normal room caused a meeting room to be used for the buffet. The best part was the automatic expresso coffee machine that made very good high-octane brew. :*sip*
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    NMTrialsGuy had a bad cough with his cold and was moving slowly until the coffee kicked in.

    BorgDog was worrying about the state of his rear tire, original with his new moto. Since it was Monday as well as Carnaval, not a lot of shops open today. Once everybody was ready to go, he and Chopo took off to the shop where there might be a tire. It didn't work out and we left, going through the part of the Malecon that was open. Most of it was still closed, with huge stages that had even huger speakers, since the party would continue through Tuesday night. This was a real party town for Carnaval and we're just not a party group, at least not an all-night party group like everyone else in town seemed to be! :snore

    So Carnaval was a big deal in La Paz, in Loreto according to Mike at Cowabunga's, in San Felipe based on our trip 3 years ago, a semi big deal in Cuidad Constitucion, and nothing much at all in Bahia Asuncion and Todos Santos. That is definitely something to keep in mind when planning where you're going to stop when. :deal No clue about the Cabos or the border areas, haven't been there at that time. :dunno

    With a pavement ride ahead of us since we had decided not to take the overland route (and thus not following the planned map shown above),
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    we tried a sandy 2-track that beckoned from the side of the road.
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    Unfortunately, after we passed the rancho that was the normal user of this track, the sand got very deep again. Not sure that we were up for possibly 30-40 miles of that, we opted to bail.

    But once we got onto Highway 1, it was a twisty canyon-fest of a ride down into Los Barriles. I think Big Sprocket was wishing for his Ducati here! :nod You could see, when you dared to take your eyes off of the tight blind corners, a large wash far below with tire tracks everywhere. NMTrialsGuy thought that was the location of the Los Barriles 300 race.

    We checked into the hotel plenty early enough to enjoy the afternoon.
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    The pool and spa were pretty to look at but c-o-l-d. :vardy I guess if you plan to visit in the summer, it would be warmer and feel very nice.
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    Los Barriles is very norteamericano. Lots of US and Canadian people wintering here. Or just plain living in Baja. The hotel corner bar under a palapa roof had the tv for the hotel, tuned to the Olympics. Lots of people watching the curling, eh. One lady highly recommended Restaurant Piscis and El Pirata restaurant. Ok, tonight let's go Piscis.
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    Totopos y salsa, por favor! And 5 margaritas, 4 beers, 2 meals of chile relleno with shrimp, combo plate with chile relleno/tamale/enchilada/tostada, combo plate with steak tampicano (usually pounded very thin but this one didn't seem to be)/ enchilada/sauteed vegetables/small quesadilla, beef burrito and tacos, all for $US98 (according to the bilingual bill :lol3).
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    We strolled back to the hotel, happy to have a whole day tomorrow to wander around town and hang out. Oh ok, maybe bike maintenance too.

    The day's stats:
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  14. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist!

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    Another round of excellent updates :thumb Really glad the header into the silt wasn't worse; been over the bars several times myself and it's never fun. I like how pretty much every meal is the best meal of the trip, makes me long for the outstanding fish tacos we had while in Loreto.

    Hope the down day was easy maintenance with plenty of time to goof off. Looking forward to the next update :ricky:ricky
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  15. tilliejacques

    tilliejacques Been here awhile

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    Thanks, liv2day! I was glad to have gone over the bars in silt instead of a bed of rocks! :nod

    While I'm very much not the moto mechanic, I think that "easy maintenance" is sort of oxymoronic in Baja :lol3 But I guess we'll have to wait and see... :evil
  16. GR8ADV

    GR8ADV Of all things I have lost I miss my mind the most

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    I Love that Baja feeling of " no, I just don't want to do any more sand..." LOL remember it well. Heading down from Seattle for a quick Baja fix at the end of the month. Thanks for posting, its fun to read.
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  17. NMTrailboss

    NMTrailboss Team Dead End

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    Caught up again...just awesome! The food looks fantastic!!
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  18. trailwerks

    trailwerks Missing Two Wheels

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    Jan 16, 2008
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    Santa Fe, NM
    I am still waiting for the "best food of the trip!"......:rofl
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  19. El Chorizo

    El Chorizo Adventurer

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    Dec 28, 2016
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    San Diego
    What an inspirational RR. Some buddies and I are trying to put together a weekender down to San Felipe. My schedule is the cog in the wheel. Reading this just helped me re-prioritize. My schedule suddenly cleared! Thanks for taking the time to write this.
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  20. Eric B

    Eric B Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
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    San Jose, CA
    Great report so far.
    The bicycling couple look familiar. I think we met them near El Arco, around Jan 26
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