Broken Ribs,Bumps & Bruises,2flats,1Clutch,1Tranny,1FinalDrive, 1Shock Copper Canyon!
Broken Ribs, Bumps & Bruises, 2 Flats, 1 Clutch, 1 Tranny, 1 Final Drive, & 1 Wilburs rear shock! Thats the Carnage of our Baja & Copper Canyon Adventure!
Group Photo @ Coco's
Ok lets start this out with some disclaimers and sorry its sooo Late! This will be my first RR. I've been here awhile but have never been able to post pics until late. So now that I can lets start with this Baja to Copper Canyon Adventure!
Pre trip planning:
I managed to talk my wife into riding with me 2 Up into Mexico through Baja, take the ferry to the main land then across the wilds of Mexico to Copper Canyon. I told my Dad (Hi Ho Silver) what we had been planning and he said he was up for the challenge! So this is my account with the help of my wife who kept a journal of the ride. I will paste her journal on each day so you can see what she was thinking of this trip.
I planned this trip pretty much all by my self due to my wife said “Well if you want to go its up to you to plan it”. Really my wife and my Dad both work 5 days a week so due to my work schedule I had more time to plan this out. I wanted to ride as much off paved roads as possible.
I bought some maps then supplemented them with some AAA maps of Baja and Mexico. I read countless RR on ADV Rider and other ADV sites about this ride so I kind had a idea of where and how I wanted this ride to go. I got the Garmin GPS all loaded up with maps and I was ready to start planning this thing out (Never take a trip of this size with out both paper maps and a GPS use them to complement each other they are rarely on the same page.)
Day 1 – Saturday, May 13, 2006 261 Miles
Google Map of the days route
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&geocode=&saddr=napa+ca&daddr=lost+h ills+ca&sll=37.230328,-117.04834&sspn=3.691142,7.03125&ie=UTF8&ll=36.9411 11,-120.838623&spn=3.705243,11.206055&t=h&z=7
Departure day! My Mother and Father have been married since 1972! My Mom thought we were crazy and was slightly upset with Dad for going on this ride. It just worked out that we left Napa CA on Mothers day so that was just another thing to set her on edge.
Passports check! Money check! Bikes ready to ride Check! This is my bike packed and ready to ride! I had to let the wife bring pretty much what ever she wanted. We had way too much stuff! In the end the extra load would cost us in break downs and money in repairs.
We left late afternoon and made it down to Lost Hills CA. Our plan was to camp as much as possible to save money and to make stopping easy when tired. Umm as you will see that didn’t work out so well. The hard and fast rule that we all agreed on before we left was WE WILL NEVER RIDE AT NIGHT.
Day 1 camp site and that’s pretty much it for day 1. Here are the pics of the camp site next morning packing up and the journal entry from the wife.
Day 1 – Saturday, May 13, 2006
I have to give you some background so you don’t think we are heartless leaving on Mother’s Day weekend. We planned our trip to leave on Mother’s Day and celebrate Mother’s Day on Saturday. We took Mom out to breakfast at the Dip Sea Café. During Breakfast the conversation came up about us leaving on Sunday. Mom suggested that we leave early afternoon the same day, which would be Saturday. So we agreed. We decided it was going to be better to break up the long day. We left Napa about 2:00 p.m. and steered our BMW’s towards Lost Hills, CA. We arrived at Lost Hills around 8:00 p.m. We set up our tents and headed over to the Denny’s. Denny’s is the traditional dinner place when we camp in Lost Hills. On our walk over to Denny’s we were sporting our new shoes, KEEN shoes/sandals. It was about a 2 block walk, at the most! I got a blister on the back of my right heel. What a beginning. Our tent spot is not a KOA anymore. It is very run down. On some parts of the soil you sunk in, yuck, and frogs were everywhere. Nasty!
This could get good.
Thanks guys this will get better.
I want to do this right so it will take some time. I want lots of pics and as much detail and humor as possible.
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I don't want to miss this one.
I'm Very Interested In Where You Found The Red (fuel?) Jugs For The Back Of Your Box's.
I too was thinking about the gas jugs. Where did you get them?
Can not wait to read more of this adventure.
Here they are at Wally world the new style
Day 2 – Sunday, May 14, 2006 301 Miles
Day 2 – Sunday, May 14, 2006 301 Miles
Google Map of the days route.
We packed up and hit the road wanting to make some time. Kind of an uneventful day just some slab riding. The good news was we were on vacation on bikes and about to ride into Mexico! We rode from Lost Hills CA to Potrero CA near the border. Our plan was to cross the border at Tecate. We made good time and debated on crossing late that afternoon but opted to stay state side and cross early next morning. We set up camp at Potrero County park and enjoyed the evening. Tomorrow we cross into another Country!
Mother’s Day. Picked up camp and headed for a hearty All American breakfast, the Golden Arches – McDonalds. We drove until Dad could not take anymore. We were going to stop for coffee right after the Grape Vine. We told Dad that there is an exit soon after the Grape Vine with a Starbucks. Well, when we got on the other side of the Grape Vine none of the exits looked familiar. We ended up trying an exit and drove all around for a Starbucks – no luck. We finally stopped and found a Starbucks around 1 ish. It was perfect. I was able to take my heel out of the boots and rest them and we needed to get gas. We made it to San Diego in no time. We debated weather to go ahead and cross the boarder or not. We decided not to – our Mexican insurance did not kick in until the 15<SUP>th</SUP>. We camped in a State Park not too far from Tecate, Mexico, our boarder crossing point. Our camp spot cost $12.00. We ate dinner at some supposedly good Mexican Restaurant. It was not good; in fact it was a sad excuse for Mexican food. We headed back to camp and basically just hung out and took a nap. We took showers and then the mosquitoes started to appear. So I hid in the tent once I got out of the shower. We decided we should try and go to bed early so we can wake up early and cross the boarder. None of us knew what this would be like on Motorcycles.
Crossing into Mexico
Crossing the border at Tecate was simple. Ride through the gate and watch the border guard wave you through from the back of his pick-up. He didn't wave us to the office where we should have purchased a tourista permit. It would cost us later when we reach La Paz and wanted to catch the ferry to the mainland. However we were excited to get on with the trip. We immediately hit the dirt and headed south towards San Felipe. this 45 miles of dirt and sand were very challenging after two days of slab riding.
Day 3 – Monday, May 15, 2006
Day 3- Cross the border at Tecate and into Mexico we go! The plan was to make it to San Felipe before dark. I wanted to hit this dirt road off of Mexico 2 near El Hongo that heads south to La Huerta & Ojos Negros.
We had our bikes filled with gas our passports ready. All of our money hidden in clothes and boots. Double copies of all the important paper work we were ready for this border check and questioning. I guessed a good 45 minutes to an hour of looking through the bikes and checking paper work then we would get this stamp on our passports that says “Welcome to Mexico”. I knew we had to get a tourist ticket or piece of paper work of some kind but I thought we would get this during the check at the border.
Well it went even smoother than that and super fast. All we did was ride right on through the toll both didn’t even stop. There was a boarder patrol Mexican official type guy sitting just inside the toll both. He was sitting on the his tail gate and he just smiled and waived us on through. I thought wow that was easy (Just like Staples) Joke laugh. Then I thought but we need that tourist sticker stamp ticket thing don’t we? Too late we were in the middle of traffic and I didn’t want to stop and look like the stupid gringo I was. I just couldn’t walk up and speak my four words of Spanish trying to find out what I did wrong not to get the proper paper work. So I didn’t tell my Wife or my Dad we needed it and they didn’t know so how could that hurt right? On we went open the throttle!
Our first Mexican road sign and Dad Hi Ho Silver and some fountian my wife thought was cool I guess.
Ok so we found that dirt road of Mex2 that headed south. The local were using it to stay off the toll roads. It turned out to be challenging with some deep sand, and mud. It should be noted it was May but hot real hot. You will see that the wife and I wore these neck cooler things and they helped alot but it was way hot. Here are some shots of the first obsticle we came to on this dirt road headed to Ojos Negros.
Some scenery on this road, and a stop to look at the Map and double check.
We made it to Ojos Negros after more time than I would have ever guessed. Like I said there were some sections on this road that had some hard stuff for a bike 2 up with all that crap on it, but we made. We passed this husband and wife pushing a baby stroller full of what looked like walnuts and carrying the baby. It was hot and they looked like they were tired hot and thirsty. Like total tourists we rode on by and waved and thought man they look like they could use some water or a ride. We got not lost but ummm turned around because the maps and the GPS didnt match and there were no road signs. So we turned around and passed the couple with the baby again. Turned around again and stoped this time to ask directions. They asked for some water and so I gave them some water they seemed greatful. It was hot and so we sat down for a hand made ice cream stick in Ojos Negros.
Rested up and ready to ride we headed to San Felipe. On the way there out in the middle of no where in the hotest most stupid place to put a military check point they had one and we got stop and searched. The wife and I got pulled off to one side and had to open EVERY pocket or bag or box we had. My Dad sat there and shot the bereeze with this guy with a M-16 and hardly looked in his tank bag. I asked what the point was and I was told "We are looking for drugs, you know the war on drugs? And we are looking for guns and weapons". They missed my ASP baton and my pepper spray thank God or they didnt much care. I asked to take some pictures of them and they told me NO! Move on!
The Hotel we stayed at in San Felipe because it was "Too hot and Im tired and hungry".
Some shots of the town on our stroll around after we hit the BanOMex for some Mexican Money! Its realy starting to feel like a adventure now. Gun men, fake money, and Mexican food every where!
Day 3 – Monday, May 15, 2006
We woke up early to cross the boarder and to go through customs. Right before the U.S. and Mexican boarder we filled our tanks with some U.S. regulated gas for the last time for two straight weeks. There was a market and a bank. The Bank was closed and did not open until 9:00 a.m. about a 20 minute wait. We decided to wing it and go ahead and cross the boarder. There was no line at the boarder was we approached. Once at the gate, Jose just waived us on through sitting on the back tail gate of a truck 30 feet away. We joke that Mexico was going to be a synch. Not until much later did we find out that this was not how we were suppose to do things at the boarder. We were jazzed to be in Mexico and begin our adventure. Lets say that we should have done a little homework touching up our Spanish Speaking and Reading. We crossed over at Tecate, not a high tourist trap, so they do not cater to Americans. All and I mean ALL the signs were in Spanish. Our first experience to Mexican highways and signs, we got turned around, went east instead of west or vis versa. We were not on the Highway long when Cory decided we were going to take this dirt trail. It was not bad at first. We hit a deep patch of sand and we almost went down, but we stopped and the bike just about toppled over. Cory was struggling to hold the bike up so I had to slide off the seat to the left and push the bike to the right so it would not fall. This was only the beginning, and I mean it! Not too far down the road we came to our first water crossing. A huge puddle of water that cars and trucks would not drive straight through. We stopped to assess the situation and a car approached the puddle from the opposite way and hugged the side of the puddle and the edge of the road, so only one side of the car was in the water and one side of the car was on dry land. This was my que to get off the bike, also a KODAK moment. We have a fairly new camera that does videos. I should have done my homework on the camera part since Cory did all of the other homework. My plan was to capture a video of Cory riding through the puddles. Cory patiently waited on once side of the puddle while I waited on the other side of the puddle trying to get the camera to work. Well I could not pull the video option through so I waived Cory on through to get a still picture. Cory road right through the center of the puddle like a PRO. I then remounted the Bike for our next adventure.
This dirt road was about 3 hours long. It would have been shorter if we did not cross the same strip of sandy road three times. Lets me just say this early on, either the signs were not very clear or the lack of sign. The latter is the one we encountered most of the time. On this dirt road there were no signs. This area we drove through had pretty parts. Not all of it was sand, but most of it was. In the pretty part we drove past a few farms and a church. I took a few pictures while on the back of the Black Beauty. Cory saw a snake on the side of the road that he said was about average size. I am glad I never saw any snakes the whole trip. I probably would have been so scared that I would have made us crash. On the same road our GPS was telling us to go one way, but there was no road and the sand was thick in parts. We had knobby tires on the whole trip, in anticipation for the sand, and I felt like it did not help. We were doing S’s in the sand.
While on this deep sand area, we were lost and saw a family, man, woman, and a baby in an umbrella stroller walking on this deep sand road. It was hot. We stopped to ask for directions, they did not understand our broken Spanish, but they did ask us for Agua – water. We filled up their Culligan water bottle 16.9 oz. We kept on going in the same direction but began to second guess ourselves and depend more on the GPS. We turned around and headed in the direction we just came from. As we were approaching the Mexican family we hit a deep patch of sand and almost biffed it. Cory had to cross the handle bars left then right a couple of times. I thought we were goners and were going to crash right in front of the Mexican family. Cory pulled it off and waived like it was all apart of the plan. We drove to where the GPS was directing us. The road the GPS was directing us to was gated and a closed sign posted on the gate. So we had to head back past the Mexican family again. They must have thought we were “Loco Gringos”.
We continued to drive in the direction we were first heading. We made it to a small little town, Ojos Negros. We stopped at an Ice Cream stand. Cory and I had a Chocolate Ice Cream and Dad had a Coconut Ice Cream. It tasted heavenly. While we were sitting in the plastic chairs in front of the stand we saw a bus pull up and let the Mexican family out that we gave water to. We called them over and bought them 2 Ice Creams. It was such a hot day. They no longer had their stroller. So she had to carry the baby while the man carried a large bag of what looked like walnuts. While we were eating our Ice Creams we saw some kid herding some cows down the street riding bare back on a horse.
After we ate our Ice Cream we were forced to mount the Black Beauty and continue on to our destination. A short time after we left the Ice Cream stand we hit a paved road, it was wonderful. The road was not in the best of condition, but it was Paved and 100 times better than sand. We pointed our bikes towards San Felipe. On this highway there was no view, just desert and lost of ups and downs like a roller coaster. Before we got close to the coast we experienced our first search, Military check point. They were very thorough with us, but laid back with Dad. They searched every bag and every compartment, I mean EVERY! It was so HOT, we were dripping in sweat helping them unload everything then we had to repack and reload everything. The Military men had good broken English. They had automatic machine guns. It was quite intimidating. We had our collapsible baton with us, but they never saw it, thank goodness. They looked us over with a fine tooth comb, Dad only had to open 1 or 2 bags, that is. They did not fiddle through the bag like they did to us. Ahhhhh.
Once we passed through the check point we were headed towards the coast and the temperature cooled a few degrees. We stayed the night in San Felipe in a nice hotel. The room even had air conditioning. We ate at the Taco Factory. We had a combination of Shrimp, Chicken, and Steak. The shrimp was the best so we ordered another round of shrimp tacos. We then walked towards the water and had a photo moment. Don’t forget I am still nursing a blister on my right heel. I was really going through the band aids in our First Aid kit. We walked all over town and checked out the stores in search of desert, more like Churros. After walking all over town we headed to the market by our hotel and bought Coca Cola, water, and Ice Cream
(American). We woke up the next morning not quite knowing what was ahead of us.
Hey Dad look for your Map of Mexico!
Can you find your map that had the daily miles on it? It would be nice to have miles posted for each day.
Great pics and report !!!! You did'nt take the Ural? Keep the pics coming.:lurk
road to ojo negros
After the first water obstacle the road was decent and scenic until we dropped out of a grove of trees and hit the sand. I lost track of how many times I nearly fell and saved it with a quick thrust of the legs one side then the other. Cory was having similar problems and I don't know how he did it loaded as he was and doubled up. The heat was a factor and took so much out of you as you were standing a lot and fighting to maintain the flying pig upright on two wheels. It was the first taste of much more that was to come our way over the next two weeks.
Tacos in San Felipe were worth the ride. I'd do it again just for the tacos.
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