Baja Ride Pics ...not much of a Story...Mostly Pics
Somewhat new to the list....and no trip reports written just yet, but some pics of various places w/ bikes at ... <motoged.smugmug.com >
Trip reports promised in the future, whether they be single track adventures in the wilds of BC, bashing through Baja, or GSing wherever.
Cool dirt bike adventure set up...
Come on man...tell the story! I'm just all confused when I look at pictures only! :D :freaky :clap
Oh, okay....it was a dark and stormy night, and the wolves were howling outside the cabin door as the snow piled up to the window sills....and I said, "Shit....time to get back to the Baja!!"
So I prepped the 450 EXC, rounded up a few local dirt boys (March '05) and headed down south from the Great White North.
I had travelled Baja in a variety of ways since 1989, but preferred the moto-approach. In 1994 I rode my '81 R80 G/S from Palm Springs to the Cape and back solo over a 5-week period, camping mostly but a week or so in San Jose del Cabo with the ex. 3500 kms in all with only one flat and one spark plug shaking loose from the bottom double-plugged right cylinder....and that trip is it's own story.
In December,1999 I rode the 1100GS down to San Jose again with a few other GSers (two guys who had come on one of my Dual Sport tours, BC Canyons Rally in '98: Erwin from Germany and Pat from Bellingham, WA). That, again, is another story.
In 2002 I rode down the east side with several other GSers and that is even another story...
But, back to the 450 KTM..... After riding the BMW pigs in the sand, I swore that the next Baja riding would be on a good dirt bike.... The '04 EXC was the latest addition to the stable and I had developed a good relationship with it in the killer single track riding so available in this part of BC.....and I figured it would be adequate for a few weeks of double-track Baja routes....those so often ridden by other folks on this list.
This report won't talk about broken bones, how drunk we got, or bowel problems (except for one of our group who proved to be a real pain in my ass). It will more likely talk about what I love about riding the Baja and some of the ups and downs of group riding.
Bike Prep: Tires and gas are probably the main considerations after deciding on an appropriate ride. The 450 EXC hauled my 270 lb hulk with nary a twitch or complaint over the 2500 kms we rode in about 12 days. Perhaps a 525 would have served better, but I am not sure how.
A local Baja racer and Enduro Master, Al Perrett, recommended Trelleborg Supermaster for the rear tire and, after his years of racing and exploring Baja, he claims he has not found a better tire (he rides 610 Huskies). I still had about 500 kms of tread left on the rear when I took it off back home. As for the front, I had phoned several SouCal outfits and went with Baja Designs recommendation for a Pirelli MT18 HD for the front.
I went with the standard recommendation of Bridgestone Ultra Heavy Duty tube for and aft. NO FLATS in 2500 kms !!!
I used a 14 countershaft stock sprocket and a 48 Ironman on the rear....with a new X-ring chain that unfortunately was shortened a few links by a local shop (because the wrench didn't understand the long-short rear axle spacer on the KTM and set the chain too tight....one of his bike prep mistakes....the other being not re-assembling front forks damper rod correctly, but discovered week before departure).
Clark tank for the fuel with four aluminum 1-litre gas bottles in pack for longer days and between rancho fill-ups (never ran out of gas).
As for the packing (no camping gear....just clothes, tools, tubes, bike gear), I spent some time devising my system....the prize concept ended up being the tank saddle-bags I ended up using. Rather than use the tank panniers that I use on the GS's (Mountain Equipment Co-Op mountain bike panniers) as they could not be secured the way I wanted, I searched around and found some affordable alternatives......dog pack-bags!!!!
These bags are designed as a saddle-bag set-up for dogs and come in a few different sizes....and were expandable, rugged enough and less than $60 or so. The rest of the smaller units were back-pack auxilliary bags strapped onto headlight and rear fender. For the bulk of my gear, I used a midsize climbing pack (about 35 litres).
Oh...the boss just walked in....later for more....
Down through Mexicali to San Felipe...stayed at Kiki's at the north side of town area at his new motel addition to the trailer park concept...
My truck partner and I had been on the road for three days...and the other guys a loooonnnnggg day and a bit....and they arrived several hours after us. Kiki's is a good spot as it is on the beach, Kiki is a rider , and he can help arrange secure parking...and next door is another trailer park with a kitchen/restaurant of sorts that was good enough.
The day we got there a storm was hovering offshore.
It was nice to have some quiet company with whom to enjoy the view
El pero seemed content to make a wish on the rainbow....
After some cold Tecates, we meandered downtown for some bad fish tacos on the Malecon...and the next day rode west out of town for a shakedown ride....some nails in the dump set up home in one guy's rear tire, only to be discovered the next morning when we were ready to head out for two weeks of riding south...
And that is Tom Grenon watching the repair (and keeping a safe distance from a cranky flat-fixer), another Canadian from BC (Vancouver Island) who has recently been guiding small tours in Baja....he is a published motorcycle adventure writer/photographer with a cool website:
Tom arrived that morning to send us off with his sweetheart, Laura from Seattle. Laura has become an intrepid world rider....after doing her first off-road tour with my BC Canyons Rally tour in 1998...and then going on to tour with Helge Pederson and his Globeriders ....
So, by the crack of late morning, we headed south along the potholes to Puertocitos, onto the rough stuff, only to be greeted by a rain and hailstorm that lasted the duration of the elevated section of that route. Descending to the long stretch before Gonzaga Bay, one of the guys developed a leak from some wires coming out of the magneto cover...some worries, a bit of silicone, and we were off to the Pemex at Gonzaga..
The straight stretch south of Gonzaga was awash with spring flowers, and an exceptional year it was...
Before long, we slid into Coco's for a cold sip ....and the second flat-fix for Mr. Happy..
After the repairs and the panty show, we headed down through Calamuje Wash...
....and through the whoops to Bahia de los Angeles and the last room at Guillermo's....a good long day with a fine fish feed to end the day.
Keep em coming!
Now, a story with the pics
Yep, four snoring guys in a room, riding gear stinking it up and worries about the hot water running out before the generator shuts down... Up in the morning and south to Bahia san Francisquito. We met up with a batch of guys from San Francisco on 950 KTMs and 1150 GSs...cool guys with a great ride report posted last year at ...
We met themaround the bend near San Raphael's fish camp and they caught up with us at Bahia San Fran....I encouraged them to overnight and they did....lotsa beer later...
And the Palapa cabinas at San Francisquito...a great place to spend mindless hours shedding the worries of life back at the trough...
Gassing up, checking tire pressures, drinking Pacifico, having a smoke...
And back on the trail south to San ignacio...bummer that we had to do some paved miles....but Ricardo was a great host at Rice & Beans....and Mr. Happy fixed his third flat in two days...new tube this time..
Some of the scenery between Gonzaga Bay and San Ignacio....
And then the next morning out of San Ignacio southwest out to the Pacific salt flats ...
The road to the flats was quick, washboard, and had a few left hand turns that beckoned us to get lost....
....but Mr Happy here knew his way and we rode south through some wet stuff, past some locals stuck in a washout, farther south to the eastern route to Mulege....but not before Mr HAppy drowned his XR650R in a piddly wet crossing that the KTMs considered a welcomed bath...
This was another day of great riding, each on their own pace but generally keeping within sight of one another but out of each other's dust.
I had predicted this section to be a bit different than what it was but I loved it....When we crossed the stream that drowned the XR, we didn't know how big a problem we might have, so there was some group trepidation....Mr PIA made a correct suggestion as to how to clear the XR carb, but Mr HAppy had to do it his own way....and the mood sometimes was thick with tension.
You ever notice how great advice is often thrown on the shit heap??? My CycoActive map case attached to the bars was a great addition but my photocopied daily maps (from Baja Almanac) got soaked in the brief spray...as I was spreading them out on nearby roacks, we noticed a local elderly gentleman walking towards us...a baseball cap with Cape Canaveral stencilled on it and the peak was removed....this guy was helpful and tried to encourage us to visit his village a short ways away, but we declined....he perused our map using my reading glasses and pointed out after much consideration where he thought we were....he was as accurate as my GPS but had much more panache and soul....we dried the XR out and wound our way south to the turn-off to the route east to Mulege through Arroyo San Raymundo....where I stopped at the first rancho to get some gas....
and then headed east through varied terrain...
This ride was fantastic....we were all in good spirits having survived some threat of being marooned forever and perishing in the desert (ya, right)....a few ranchos along the way and great changes in scenery, twisting high speed varying road conditions....and even a surprise oasis....
At this point I was ahead of the other three so I pulled over for a smoke and H2O...Mr Happy and Mr Big pulled up, nodded, and roared off (the fast guys)....I was waiting for Mr PIA and after 15-20 minutes began to get concerned....I saw only three sets of tire tracks and figured he was back there somewhere either with a mechaanical problem or worse, a crash...or even worse, another heart attack (he had unfortunately suffered a mild heart attack the previous year while riding single track back home....and I thought it could have happened again....) so after a half-hour, I rode about 20 milers back looking for him and made it almost all the way back to the turn-off from the coastal route....he was nowhere to be found....
It started to dawn on me that he had passed me somehow at my oasis stop and I did not notice him pass. As he was unofficially my riding partner, i began to realize that he had proceeded without me from the oasis area and rode with the other two....as this became evident I got really pissed off for being abandoned in the desert.
Now, I have ridden Baja solo several other times and felt good about it, even when the usual unplanned things occured, but that was MY decision, and wasn't the outcome of somebody's carelessness, selfishness, and inconsiderate breaking of the cardinal rule "Rding Partnership".
I blasted on to Mulege building up a real head of steam and had at least an hour to rehearse my rant once at the hotel....
I pulled into the courtyard of La HAcienda to be greeted by Mr PIA witha beer in his hand, basking in the late afternoon sun, sarcastically asking what had kept me....I won't repeat it here but I had a conniption fit and reamed him out....it seemed to be the beginning of the end of the group cohesion for the rest of the trip....
But the Bougainvillea was beautiful...
and I got my favourite room ...
We hunkered down in Mulege for a few days, rode south to the bottom of Bahia Concepcion, rode up the peninsula for a bit along the shore lined with shell middens...
.... crossed over to Sea of Cortez and ended up in the most spectacular little oasis canyon and picturesque bay lined with gringo homes at San Sebastion. I wanted gas and asked around. There were about a dozen or so houses of various sizes and expense rimming the bay. I rode up to one where some men were doing stone work and asked about gas....one of the guys came over with two cans of cola and offered them to us...very kind offer, and we chatted for a bit.
Within a few more minutes a gringo came up with four cold beer and offered them to us saying, "Years ago when I was riding down here I thought it would be so cool to ride into a place like this and a guy would come up with beer and offer it!" His and our wish came true....Muchas Gracias , amigo. Que bueno!!
Another two guys (all gringos) came up...the tall guy was giving us the once over and the friendlier guy offered the gas. Irode over to his "surfer home" and we got to talking about fishing, smuggling, road conditions, corrupt federales, and the usual enquiries. He helped me out and I paid for the gas ....and enjoyed his hospitality for a few days afterwards....
On the way back up to Mulege, we all rode our own ride.....
Boca San Nicholas just south of San Sebastion (Arroyo Verde)
Road repairs in the beautiful canyonscape west out of San Nicholas...
And a great old indian fish camp south of Isla Requeson....time for a smoke...
One of the sweet bays along Bahia Concepcion....
And back to La Hacienda for a hot shower and cold beer....and a smoke..
Some Mulege impressions....
And the Four Riders of the Apocalypse...
And then we started back north....but that's another story...
Wow...really great photos.
Super report. You guys are brave out there in the bush like that! Thanks for helping me kill the 1st 30 min of work today.
The ride north seemed to go awry. Mr PIA and I rode west out of Mulege back to the Pacific coastal route and waited for Mr Happy and Mr Big....we waited at the junction for about 1.5 hours, wondering what had happened and what our options were. Good riding etiquette says "retrace route and find buddies"....Mr PIA says "Fukkem, let's wait here" . I catch some rays, have a smoke just in time to see the military patrol drive up and give us a lokk over. I explain that we are waiting for friends and they continue down to Scorpion Bay 20 miles away. I decide the right thing to do is retrace our steps to Mulege and we return to La Hacienda...no amigos....so the smart thing to do is ride pavement to San Ignacio (bummer on knobbies and a KTM seat) and we get there as the sun is setting....
and find the other two at....
This less expensive establishment is a bit more difficult to find in San Ignacio than Rice & Beans, and is also 1/4 the price....I am happy to find the guys. Mr PIA almost runs smack into me as I turn into the lot as he has a tendency to follow me closer than a suppository....and he continues down the street only to be chased by a dog that helps him crash on the cobblestones....we run out into the street to have him roar up cursing a streak.
Karma is sometimes quick enough to give some folks whiplash, it would seem.
I suffer through a cold shower only to later realize hot water was somewhere yet to travel down the pipes.
We go out to eat, have a yelling match about someone short-changing the bill....and the mood is hitting a new low.
The next day it is up to Vizcaino and over to Bahia San Francisquito where I think we will be spending an overnight as previously planned. When we get there, the plans have somehow been hijacked and the three others have decided "we" are going through to Bahia de los Angeles...
I can't believe that the plans have changed this way without discussion and, despite me reminding them of the previous planning ideas, we were off to B of L A. We chose a more upscale joint than Guillermo's and had a good meal and swapped lies with other riders (KTM, GS)
Here, somehow the plans also excluded an overnight at Gonzaga, so the idea of lounging by the ocean was only something I tought was a good idea....the three others were on a race back to BC
I agreed to finish my ride as originally planned, borrowed a set of tire irons
and left the next morning after a warm sunrise and a chilly goodbye to los tres pendejos...
Along the way I came across my friends on two separate occasions fixing flats. Being reassured they didn't need any help, I followed their lead and set off on my own for a great ride back through Calamuje to Coco's, who radioed ahead and snagged me the last available room at Alphonsinas...
I lenjoyed the company of several couples from Idaho heading south on GS's and KTM's and a few other bikes...they treated me to supper and we all had a great time swapping lies.
The next morning was a windy ride back up to Puertocitos....
an ugly little place....
And the ride home took three days and took the scenic Arizona, Utah route instead of I-5 slab
And that was that trip.....
Next December with a different crew....no tears shed.....Mr Happy will likely hook up with us in December....we will show him how to relax and explore instead of Baja-1000 it all the time.....he says "Okay, so I will ride the KLR"
And so to wrap it up, some last pics.
The Trelleborg Supermaster after 2500 kms...
North of Coco's on way to Gonzaga...
Isla Requeson in Bahia Concepcion....
South of San Ignacio....
tell us more about mulege:ear ...please. nice report,glad you guys didn't kill each other.:rofl
Yer right, Ged, I gotta learn to relax! - and, believe me, you automatically relax when you switch from a race-prepped XR 650 to a KLR!
Excellent report, and it makes me wish summer was over so I can get ready for our next "relaxing" outing!
Lookin' good! :thumb
Here's to future ride reports and pics. :beer
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