Baja 2012, my first moto tour
While chewin' the fat with my cousin at a family do on Thanksging he starts talkin' bout this Baja deal. He asks if I'm in and offers up a 2011 Triumph Tiger 800XC to get me to say yes. Okay, I'll do it. He's a MC dealer so he can do that kind of thing.
Here's the bike.
Now it's January were gettin' ready to leave. We live in Indiana and Tom's mom (my aunt Pat) lives in Tucson,AZ so the bikes are gettin' trailed there. Best part! Brent, who's also goin' will ride shotgun with Tom and I get to just fly there and meet 'em. 25K American Airlines miles drops me in Tucson on Saturday, Jan 6.
A little background: I bought my first bike in 1979, a brand new KZ1000LTD. I had just learned about credit. I have always owned between 1 to 5 bikes at a time continuously since then. I had never in all those years done a trip like this. Oh! and I'm new here at the ADV. After readin' some of the exploits here my trip seems kinda lame. Oh well, at least I thought it was bad ass for a while.
My cousin Julie, Tom's sister picks me up at TUC and whisks me off to aunt Pat's. Sunday morning we head south from Tucson to Green Valley. Brent overnighted there at Rick and Linda's house where the truck and trailer will be stashed. We all mount up and haul from Rick's toward Sasabe on some fine country roads. This shit is great! It's warm, well kinda' but it is dry. Tom's mounted on a Wee Strom, Brent on a 1200 GS. Rick, who's not going with us to Mexico, is on a KX400. Popular road for bikes. We see lots of 'em. Huh? Border Patrol checkpoint! Anyways we ride till we come to this snack joint with a weed theme and get a little grub. Cool place. More bikers.
Back to Rick's then back to Aunt Pat's. Big feast! Juicy steaks from the AFB PX.
Monday Jan 8: We haul out at 8ish. Had to scrape the frost off my seat. Tom and me cruise to the west side to meet up with El Brento. Were off to El Centro, CA to meet up with Jimmy, the Moto guru from Fresno. 80-85 mph on the I-10 and my hands are freakin' freezin'. Tom & Brento got heated stuff so on we go. "Gotta' break gravitational pull" Brent says. We pass Casa Grande before we take a quick break. It's warmin' up some now . I'll make it. Lunch in Yuma then on to ElCentro. Get a room at Motel 6 and settle in with some cold Tecates. Jimmy shows up later with Craig in tow. Craig has some affliction that requires legalized California prescription medication. Oh shit, I'm not used to this! Taco joint across the way for supper with more Tecate.
Tuesday Jan9: I learn about the Jimmy Dance. As an avid scuba diver I'm well versed in the art of gettin' smashed the night before and still showin' up prepared and on time to catch the boat. Jimmy? Not a diver. While he's packin' his 1000 V-Strom (in his long johns) I go get breakfast and a roll of duct tape. I need to extend the bark busters on the Tiger to cut more wind. Craig heads back north, he just rode down with Jimmy for something to do. We head west on 8 and up into the mountains.We exited onto the road that goes to Jacumba and then to Rt94 then south to Tecate. Hit the cambio for some pesos and cross. Passports, some paper work, $23 US and we're on our way. South on #3 toward Ensenada. Great road for this kind of thing. I'm diggin' it. We stop at Mustafa's for late lunch. Great food and a goddess for a hostess. On to Ensenada and the Hotel Santo Tomas ($35US). Good location. Good parking. We walk to the pescaderķa and grab a bite of fresh caught. Two for one night at Hussong's. Jimmy and Brent have vast Baja experience and know all.
I got only a few photos of the trip because I didn't pack a camera. Brent & Tom took some but refuse to share. Or maybe I didn't ask.
Wednesday Jan 10: Up & at 'em early as we got in around 12 or 1 last night. While Jimmy is doin' the dance I go across to the cajo automatica for more dough. Breakfast at the hotel restaurant (good), gas up and southward. We're goin' to be in Catavina tonight. The road is classic Baja (I know this now). Unremarkable then cool as hell, repeat. I even liked the unremarkable because it was all new to me. Lunch at San Quinin, don't remember the name of the restaurant. It was painted white and they were diggin' a hole in front. Prob'ly filled back in by now. Now the road is gettin' right. Cross a desert and go over a mountain, different desert, repeat. Boojums, what cool trees. Rock Gardens, awesome. They had rain in December (hurricane I think) and everything was greened up. Cool. Stayed at a fancy hotel in Catavina $90US I think. I botched my dinner order in the high dollar restaurant (sucked) but lucked out to find hot dogs con tocino for 20 pesos ea. across the way. (really good!) We bought gas out of a barrel from a guy and his wife because the gurus figured the next Pemex was Jesus Marie, 200km away. The Tiger will do at least 170 miles on one tank. El Brento's big GS? Not so much.
Jimmy says "never pass gas in Baja". Jimmy in blue, Brent by the GS.
The desert at Catavina
Dropping an awesome Baja RR on us for your 5th post, muy bueno mi amigo! More!
First to say in!
With those big bikes, do you plan to do any "off road"? Waiting to hear more, how long was your trip? One of these days....
Thursday Jan 11: Up and ready to go early. Is it just me? Of course it's just me. So I go to the restaurant for coffee. Anybody here? "Cafe, por favor". I sip and watch the weather girl on TV. Chica caliente! Doin' the show in a black sequined miniskirt. These Mexican women "get it!" Gringo Greg joins me. He's been out photographing the sunrise. Gringa Joanne comes in. She stayed an extra night because nobody told her the bus sometimes comes by an hour or so early. Now my amigos show up. Breakfast is good.
We head out for San Ignacio. The road is great. Climbing, we pass a semi on a hairpin as he's signaling for us to pass. Or is he turnin' left? Ten minutes later he passes me doin 150k. We stop at Laguna Chapala and Jimmy tells a few Baja 1000 anecdotes. Jimmy, at age 69, has been doin' the Baja moto thing for nearly 40 years. Brent has ridden in the 1000 and other races there. Yeah, I'm in good company. Further south in Jesus Marie we stop at the predicted Pemex. Across the lot is a little grub shack, 'Famosa Carmalita'. They have awesome tamales con pollo. Guy ran across the street to get us cold Tecates too.
Gringo Greg @ Famosa Carmelita courtesy of Joanne's fb
Now to Guerrero Negro where Jimmy wants to visit his amigo Fausto. Fausto ain't home but while Jimmy's talkin' to Senora Fausto I notice half the town is lined up to get fish tacos from a vendor across the street. At the time fish taco didn't seem like somethin' I would like but hey, half a town can't be wrong. They weren't. I'm hooked.
Stowaway in Guerrero Negro. I like cats.
From here the road is straight and desolate for 100km then gets better the closer you get to San Ignacio. We pull into Rice & Beans after mid afternoon. Cold Tecates, $$ here. Jimmy knows the guy, Ricardo I think. They rent us rooms ($40US) and we settle in. Gringa Joanne is already there. Gringo Greg dropped her off and said adios. Evidently Greg wigged out over payin' for some bug spray under his car in Guerrero Negro. Situation escalated and and the two got slammed for havin' no FMM. $$$ Greg said he would drive straight through to La Paz. Bad idea the gurus tell me.
Then a couple of high dollar Baja Trophy type racers roll in. It's some cat named Walker Evans and his posse. I'm learnin'. This guy's a nine time Baja 1000 champion. After dinner we buy him a beer and he joins us and starts spinnin' Baja yarns for hours. Beer money well spent. Jimmy had actually doused the guy with a fire extinguisher during a pit stop some 30 or so years ago. "That was you?". "Well yeah, your f%#*&n car was on fire". Laughs! This cat was quite a competitor.
Friday Jan 12: We roll out after breakfast at R&B (good). Gas up and head for Loreto. We soon pass a disco in the middle of nowhere. It's surrounded by semi trucks at 10AM. Hmm...Wonder what's the attraction there. Before we get to Santa Rosalia we go down dead mans hill. Steep as hell, hairpin turns, no guard rail. Oh, there was but they're sheered off at the ground. Wonder what caused that. To high up to see if there was a pile of trucks at the bottom. Santa Rosalia is an old mining town. Different look about the place. French architecture. We checked out some of the old mine structures and relic equipment. Cool place.
Jimmy w/friend in Santa Rosalia
South now past Mulege. We stopped for lunch at a nice joint where we ate cheeseburgers with fries and Tecate. It's right by the beach on the Bahia Concepcion where all the RVs camp. Next, on to Loreto where we stay at the Plaza (de Loreto). ($35US) Nice room. They let a group of single track riders park in the court yard. We parked out on the street right outside the front door, locked up with our big cables. One in the other group, rndozer, posted his trip here on ADV, http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...=763227&page=2. While reading it I saw a photo of myself standing out front. He was capturing the hotel itself.
rnrdozer & Co bikes in courtyard
We hit a happy hour down on the seafront. Joanne from Catavina joined us there. Clams, tacos, Tecate. Rider meeting. Back on Thanksgiving Tom said we would ride to Cabo. By Tucson the plan was La Paz. Tonight we decided screw it, we'll stay here an extra day and be in no hurry on the trip north.
Nuestra Senora de Loreto
Saturday Jan 13: Loreto is laid back. Artsy. Lots of coffee shops. Good, 'cause I need somethin' to do while waitin' for the others get goin'. Oh, first I have to wait for the joint to open. Mex time! I'll have the cuppachino mocha au lait. Breackfast down a block east across the street (good). We decide to ride to the mission at San Javier today. We head west on a nicely paved road up through tight twisties for about 25km before it turns to dirt. Easily managed even by rook on street tires. It is finally a hot day. First of the trip. I take the liner out of my Firstgear mesh. Leaving the mission I'm bringin' up the rear when I see Tom standin' next to his wee strom layin' in the road. Seems his satillite doohicky thing that was mounted on his dash fell down into the fork well and was hangin by the wiring and locked up his steering. He got it shut down to the point it was more like a laugh in tip over. His clutch lever now 'sans serif'. When we got to the pavement we lit em up. Charging down the canyon was awesome. I would need to lower the rear brake lever as I discovered I couldn't use it in lefties.
When we got back to the main drag we headed south down the coast where we ate at a clam shack called Vista del Mar. Boy did we sock the clams away. Tecates too. We left there and went on south and west over the twisty road 'til it straightened out, took a piss break then let 'er eat through the twisty stuff goin back. We checked out a marina at Puerto Escondido. Nice sailing vessels. I should mention I love sailing too.
Almejas con tocino y queso
Back at the hotel Brento comes to my room and says my wife left a text on his phone. I need to call home right away. Oh shit! I haven't called since uh, I don't know. She's pissed because our boiler shut down and she had no heat or hot water. OK maybe more than pissed. NOTE: If you have a Verison phone it's useless in 99% of Baja. Brent had a ATT. I told her I'd fix it when I got home or she could call a service guy. She opted for the service guy. Another NOTE: I serviced the boiler last month and found a really nice torx combi set inside. Thanks service guy.
I got an awesome massage that evening at a nice spa around the corner at the Hotel Posada las Flores. First class work. We met up with Joanne and went to dinner west up the street at Tio Lupes. Mountains of food and Pacifico was on special. Drank mass quantities. Coversation degenerated to politics, Palastinian/Israeli conflict. Not good. We broke it off for the night.
What's left of food mountain at Tio Lupe's
Sunday Jan 14:
Had breakfast this day at Orlandos. It was good. On Madero near Juarez it think. I'm drawin' a blank as to what transpired today on the road back to San Ignacio. We stopped at Bahia de Concepcion for sure 'cause I got a photo.
3 of 4 amigos that's me next to the Tiger, Jimmy and Brent
What I learned today is that San Ignacio and my hometown are a lot alike. You can't buy carryout beer on Sunday! Ok, that's where the similarities end. In San Ignacio we again stay at R&B but go down into town to eat. Buenos tacos de carne de cerdo para la cena. From a street vendor on the corner of the square.
Mission at San Ignacio
Monday Jan 15:
I remember this day well. We headed west for 45km and turned NE to San Francisco de la Sierra. This is worthwhile! About fifteen miles are paved. Tight when you get to the mountain. Then maybe ten more at most after it abruptly turns to "graded". This would be my first awe inspiring bad ass road in Baja! Dirt, bare rock, sand, gravel, some as big as watermelons, ruts and washouts. All hanging on the winding canyon walls. Rookie me made on street tires so I figure anyone can. Jimmy was overheard calling it Copper Canyon quality. That should mean something to a lot of you here. I make a big deal of this because Brent had rode past this road numerous times and did not realize what he was missing. I'm sure a lot of you have passed it up too. A great side trip that doesn't take a lot of time.
I took a lot of pictures with Brent's camera but I have never seen them.
Photos I robbed from Tom's facebook Tom
After SFdlS we head to Guerrero Negro where Jimmy get's to see Fausto. In '83 Jimmy's ridin' buddy crashed big time. While the guy was healing up, Fausto had pieced the bike back together.
When we leave GN it's go time. We will make the Bay of LA. When we turn onto Mex #12 it gets real good. Great pavement all the way. Great scenery and great smells. At Bay of LA we stay at Guillermo's on the water. At dinner I asked for whatever the cook thought was best. He was right on. Slept in a small room for the $ but it had a bed and hot water.
Seeing some familiar places along the way... pretty amazing place, es verdad? :freaky
hey thanks for the thread, I subscribed :D
I'm thinking to to baja this summer, that would be much appreciated if, once done, you could give a little review like your roadmap, must-go places, avoidable places, etc. :)
thanks for the report, really interesting so far :clap
Subscribed! Another Hoosier :D
I'm Baja bound with my girl first week of April. Can't wait, I'm a Baja rookie too!
Lovin the narrative
Great first RR. Just needs more pictures for us poor folks who are stranded in snow this time of year.
I am still learning what plays well here. And yeah, I will post a map somehow.
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