We got up early and got the bikes loaded and made a final trip to Walmart and REI where we answered numerous questions about where we were headed and why we didn't have guns with us
Carrying guns across international borders doesn't sound like a very intelligent choice but maybe that's just me!
The trip through the border was interesting but uneventful. As we approached the Mexican border, both of us had a slightly nervous feeling that we haven't had at any other border. It was likely because everyone we had met in the last week had been warning us that if we crossed the border into Mexico, we would be murdered, decapitated, raped and robbed in that order. Of course, like most things, the reality is a little different.
The Tijuana border crossing is the busiest land border anywhere in the world, with over 17 million vehicles and 50 million people per year passing through the gates. Of course this area can be very dangerous, so we had no intention of sticking around after we made it in. It took us about 2 hours to cross, get inspected, arrange our tourist cards, and register our motorcycles for travel into Mexico.
After we were cleared, we pulled out and began riding towards Ensenada along the Pacific coast. The Baja peninsula is separated into two states, Baja California, and Baja California Sur.
We've been running into quite a few teams from the Baja 1000 off-road race, which begins in a couple weeks. They started arriving to pre-run the course as it changes every year.
While the Baja is desolate, there are quite a few towns and settlements along the way. No problem with gas, although they don't take Visa at the ones we have stopped at. In terms of the quality of life, the level of prosperity is much lower in Siberia and Mongolia that it is here. There are shops and stores and restaurants, that while not up to American or Canadian standards, are certainly much higher than what we experienced on the last trip.
Shortly after we rode though Ensenada, Simon had announced he was going to go it alone. Tension had been rising in the group for a day or two and none of us were surprised at his sudden departure. Ride safe.
We stopped at a small motel in San Vicente. The hotel owner was great, gave us some tips on good places to eat, shop and even provided us with a thick chain to secure our bikes over night.
Bike Update: Cory's bike is running great (loving the new rear shock!). Tim's bike has developed a leak in the final drive, which was actually pulled apart and serviced before we left. We will be monitoring it as we make our way south to Cabo San Lucas, where there is a BMW dealership. Hopefully it is just a seal, and not something more serious.
Tim (Troy in the background)
We were being lazy in the morning and didn't hit the road until after 1pm. Along the way we ran into Mike who is walking from Tijuana to Cabo with his donkey to show people that Mexico is in fact safe.
We didn't feel too ambitious so we rode about 200km to "Old Mill" just South of San Quintin. This place is run by 2 ex-pat Americans and seems to cater to ADVriders, motocross riders, Baja racers etc. There were 3 Baja 1000 teams here. They had just dropped off the Pro-Trucks and were head back north. We spend some time chatting with everyone and getting settled in.
A group of 12 MX riders along with 2 UTVs and a F350 support truck rolled in. It's a company that rents bikes and runs tours in Baja. Everyone seemed to be having a great time. We met up with everyone at the lounge next door for drinks.
Troy (from Australia on a KLR) and I enjoying the Margaritas and Pina Coladas:
Tim and Troy:
Neil (from Denver on a KLR), me, Tim and Troy:
Neil after a few too many Margaritas:
We're just relaxing today. The MX tour and Baja teams all split early this morning so we were woken by the roar of bikes and trucks.