2012 Trekking Baja, Copper Canyon
Day 0 – Prologue
This Ride Report (RR) chronicles my (SoosCreek) spring 2012 trip from the US Northwest to the Southwest and Mexico and back. This is my second RR as I did one last year when I took my Honda ST1300 on a trip around the US West. The link is below in my signature block.
This trip I will be taking my 2006 BMW 1200GS and starting down the west coast again but then heading to Baja and Cooper Canyon, Mexico. There are no firm route plans and I do not have a specific timeline.
This year I was able to coordinate a trip via Advrider with a couple of other Inmates who were interested in doing something similar for the Mexico portion of the trip. Iowa started a thread in the Trip Planning here:
http://advrider.com/forums/search.php?searchid=15102376 and we met on April 5th in Calexico, California right across from Mexicali.
Who Are We?
• “SoosCreek”, Steve, 54, Auburn Washington, 2006 1200GS (Center)
• “Iowa”, Zack, 31, Ames, Iowa, 2007 1200GSA (Left)
• “Fosdick”, Matt, 40, Denver, Colorado, 2011 KLR (Right)
<a href="http://stephenldavis.smugmug.com/ADVRideReport/2012-Mexico/22223069_K6GzmV#!i=1785105561&k=sdpqRww&lb=1&s=A" title="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug"><img src="http://stephenldavis.smugmug.com/ADVRideReport/2012-Mexico/i-sdpqRww/0/L/2012-04-0607-09-59552-L.jpg" title="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug" alt="Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug"></a>
What Are We Each Doing?
• SoosCreek started March 19th and is riding down the US West Coast and into Baja Mexico, over to Copper Canyon and around the Southwest
• Iowa started April 1st and flew to San Jose where his GSA was stored and rode down to Calexico then into Baja, Copper Canyon and back to Iowa.
• Fosdick started April 4th in Colorado, hitched a ride in a truck for his bike to Calexico, then rode around Baja and then rode to San Diego and trucked it back to Colorado.
When Am I/We Going?
• 2-6 weeks in April 2012
Where are we now?
Here is a link to my Spot shared page. I try and keep the tracking on.
SoosCreek Auburn to Calexico
Day 1, March 19th – 436 miles, Auburn, Washington to Bandon, Oregon
Started out with a straight run down Interstate 5 to get as far south as I could in 1 day. I had planned to cut over to the coast right from Olympia, Washington but it was raining in the Coast Mountains and snowing in the Cascade Mountains. In between in the “valleys” it was my best chance for keeping dry and covering some distance.
Well it probably was the “driest” route but I did incur Rain, Sleet, Snow, Hail and yes, a little sunshine. And it was COLD out there. Thank God for heated gear!
Day 2, March 20th – 325 miles, Bandon, Oregon to Fort Bragg, California
I have done this route before and it still very beautiful and scenic. Redwoods, ocean, etc. Weather was only so-so as it was cold and a little wet. No traffic. Stayed at the same hotel and crashed early.
Day 3, March 21th – 250 miles, Fort Bragg, California to Gilroy, California
Headed down Highway 1 all the way to Bodega Bay. I had not done the last section from Mendocino to Bodega before and it was extraordinary. Very curvy in and out of the canyons But there was some traffic and I was amazed at how fast the “soccer moms” in the SUVs were traveling. I even had to use some of the turnouts to get them off my ass. Had lunch in Bodega Bay and decided to go around San Francisco this time and head south. Tired of the foggy coastal weather.
Day 4, March 22th – 435 miles, Gilroy, California to La Quinta, California
Decided to just slab it and get down to the desert for some dinner with the in-laws. Will spend 2 weeks with the in-laws and playing golf and such. Nice to be in the warm weather. Ordered a new mesh motorcycle jacket. Shipped a bunch of stuff home.
Day 5, April 5th – 100 miles, La Quinta, California to Calexico, California
Ride was pretty short, but interesting. There was lots of wind along the Salton Sea blowing in from the right. Oh, and it was over 90.
Met up with Zack (Iowa), Matt (fosdick) and Kevin (Kevin_) at the John Jay Best Western in Calexico, California. We walked over to Applebee’s for a beer and dinner, the only restaurant within walking distance. Keven_ and his wife are on a KLR but have a plan to start out later spend a couple of days in San Felipe. We might meet up in Mulege.
I'm in, keep it coming.....:evil
Day 6, April 6th – 226 miles, Calexico, California to Gonzaga Bay, Baja Norte, Mexico
We started the day in Calexico at 7:00 doing some last minute tasks. We got some Pesos from a money exchange station along the way just before the border and used our debit cards. It was easy and gave us some initial money to cover the next few days.
Border crossing was very simple. They just green lighted us into Mexico without any problems and we then went to get our tourist visas as the office just inside the border on the left. No parking, busy street, but straight forward process. We were unable to pay for anything since it was Good Friday and the banks were closed. They told us just to do it on Monday and we plan on doing it in La Paz.
So that also means we were not able to import our bikes on Friday in Mexicali as we had planned. Zach and I are going over on the ferry from La Paz so we will have to get it done there.
We rode thru Mexicali pretty quickly and only got lost once or twice as they had the main road closed for either construction or a parade. I could not tell which. It was after all Semana Santa.
We rode the 120+ miles from Mexicali to San Felipe where we found complete chaos. Seems the holiday packs them in and the town was full of cars and people. We could not even get down to the Malecon to see what was what. So we decided to just get some fish tacos at a roadside stand and continue on to Gonzaga Bay. Road was pretty good and paved all the way except the last 12-14 miles.
We went to Alphonsina’s for dinner and a few beers. We did not plan on staying at the “hotel” but it was full anyway. It seemed like one large extended family filled the place.
We decided to camp on the beach and but after some trying to get thru the soft sand we camped back off the beach where the road was and the ground was solid. Piece of cake.
Day 4, April 7th – 236 miles, Gonzaga Bay, Baja Norte, Mexico to San Ignacio, Baja Su
This day’s ride takes off from Gonzaga Bay, passes by Coco’s Corner and end in a Yurt in San Ignacio.
Pictures from the road between Gonzaga Bay and Mex 1.
Tire repair by Matt just a couple of miles from Coco’s Corner.
Stopped at Coco’s Corner
After Coco’s to Mex 1
San Ignacio. We stayed in the Yurts at the Bed and Breakfast operated by Gary and Terry. Great place to stay! Breakfast was wonderful! Highly recommended.
Day 4, April 8th – 0 miles, San Ignacio, Baja Sur
This was a rest day. Easter Sunday.
Zack went down to kiss whales in the bay.
Steve watched the Masters golf tournament on the big screen.
Matt fussed with a new problem, a missing frame bolt.
Since it was Sunday, nothing open in town, so we will try in the morning (Monday) to find a replacement.
Ok. I see where you are now, Los Mochis. We must have cross paths. I left Cabo on Easter Sunday, then left La Paz on Monday, the 9th.
Day 8, April 8th – 0 miles, San Ignacio, Baja Sur, Mexico
This was essentially a day off from riding. Zack wanted to go down to the Bay of XXX to do some whale watching and I wanted to watch the final day of the Masters Golf tournament.
So Terry set Zack up with a tour boat that took him and a Mexican family out on a boat to the whales. It was about an hour drive from San Ignacio. Might have a photo or two later.
And I watched the Master’s on Gary’s big screen TV in high definition.
Matt tried to find a solution for his missing bolt and cruised around town.
We walked over and had dinner at Rice and Beans and it was Ok. Things were much quieter since the holidays were about over.
Some of Matt's photos of the area:
Day 9, April 9th – 100 miles, San Ignacio, Baja Sur, Mexico to Mulege, Baja Sur, Mexi
This day we decided to move on down the peninsula to a new location. Matt called a parts store in El Vizcanio that they would have a metric bolt that would fit. He decided to head back to El Vizcanio, about an hour away back, to get the bolt and not take a chance on Santa Rosalia.
Zack and I packed up and headed down toward Mulege where we had made plans to meet up with Matt later in the day. We got to Mulege, toured the town, waited for Matt for a couple of hours but he did not show. So we decided to head down to one of the beaches to camp for the night. We figured Matt could meet us there.
We chose the first major beach, it costs 80 pesos to get a Palapa for the night. The beach was still mostly full, but there was one space available. Supposedly it was 3-4 cars deep on the beach for the last week and they even had a carnival.
Zach and I set up camp, walked in the water, etc. then went to the restaurant on the beach for dinner. The restaurant was interesting. Group of Americans and Canadians get together for a poker game. About 8 of them, not sure how often, but probably all sharks by my read. We ordered dinner and guess who shows up? Matt. He had secured his bolt and wondered down the coast to meet up with us.
It appears he was able to find a hardened bolt to his liking and had it cut to meet the length. So all was go on that front. He then cruised to Mulege and hung out with some interesting Vietnam Vets at some establishment before coming down to meet up with us. He has to tell that story…
Day 10, April 10th – 290 miles, Mulege, Baja Sur, Mexico to La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico
We headed out with a plan to go to La Paz, stopped to have breakfast in Loreto on the Malecon. Rode the almost 300 miles thru Cuidad Constitucion , etc.
Got to La Paz and stopped in the Wal Mart parking lot to try and figure out where to stay. I had a Lonely Planet guide and Zach had both notes and GPS. We decided to find the Baja B&B, made lots of loops thru town, got lost a couple of times, lost Zach, etc. Normal big city stuff. Finally Matt and I found the location, but no one was home. Looked good but maybe no parking. Zach showed up and we moved on to our second choice.
We found the Hotel Mediterrane a few blocks away and just up a half block from the Malecon. $70 a night, including breakfast. Rooms were ok, service good, excellent secure parking and close to everything.
We headed out to tour La Paz and get some dinner. A few photos:
The Abduction, Mugging and Dropoff of Matt by the La Paz Policia
We went out about 5 p.m. along the Malecon to the Bismark Restaurant for dinner. It was about an 8 block walk from the hotel and was recommended. Dinner was good and the margaritas were both tasty and very strong. After dinner we started our walk back to the hotel and were doing some sightseeing, etc. Stopped at another bar for another drink, talked to some street vendors, etc.
Around 9 or 10 we were within a block of our hotel and Matt decided he wanted to go back and look at some necklaces again by a street vendor. Zack and I continued up the street and back to the hotel. It was only 9 or 10 p.m.
The following is based on information told to me by Matt (Fosdick) the morning of April 11th and has been provided with his permission:
Matt was walking back to the vendor when he was motioned over to the street curb by a female Policia. She asked him some questions and for some reason got on her radio to call other Policia. 3-4 of them showed up in a Policia truck vehicle, had him put his hands on the truck, asked more questions, decided to handcuff him and then put him in the truck.
They drove out of town a mile or two into the desert and started interrogating him and going thru his wallet, cell phone, hotel key and anything else in his pockets. All of this in Spanish of course and Matt did not know what were asking. They took all of his money, gave him back his wallet and his cell phone. He had a numeric password lock on his cell phone so they could not get into it and decided it was useless to them. He is handcuffed in the truck the whole time.
They then proceeded to take him back into town and drop him off somewhere in the city. He did not know where he was or have any money. He eventually finds a Taxi, has the driver take him to the Hotel. He then tries to wake either me or Zack to get some money for the Taxi. We are sound asleep and he tries to tell the Taxi driver that he will pay him tomorrow. The Taxi guy just leaves. Matt unlocks the gate and get into his room.
In the morning when I show up for breakfast Matt is there and visibly shaken. He tells me this story and is concerned that they know where we are staying since the room key had the hotel name on it. He is unsure if there is anything he should do or if it should be reported. He decides not to do anything and goes back to his room to get more sleep as he has been running on Adrenalin all night…
Yes, we had been drinking after a long riding day, but it was only 9 or 10, we were only a block or maybe 2 from the hotel on a well lighted main boulevard. Yes, we had seen both La Paz Policia and Tourista Policia around town all day and assumed things were safe. There were other Snow Birds and tourists around town.
And that's the story told to me by Matt the morning after. So be safe, never split up and don't trust anyone.
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