This was our first real adventure ride, 2 up into a country we've never been to... Baja Mexico. After researching this forum and planning for the last 3 months we were ready to embark into a land of a different culture and language.
I came back into riding after 25 years and purchased the 07 Adv last October. I've taken many local rides, pavement and dirt, alone and with my wife. We experienced a fall on hard pack snow, got stuck in deep mud and
endured Death Valley's Racetrack and Titus Canyon. We were ready to take on Baja. Yet since this was our first trip we decided to stay on highway 1 with a few dirt road side trips.
The experience was incredible and although we didn't really venture deep into the back country, the trip still gave us a good taste of Baja; the landscape, the people, the culture, and the food.
The plan went like this: I rode from Boise to San Diego and met my wife at the airport (she only had a week off). Then we both rode through Baja to San Jose del Cabo to meet up with some friends who were vacationing there. We stayed for 2 nights and my wife flew home from Cabo and I rode back to Boise. 2 weeks total time, 4900 miles, and the bike performed flawlessly.
Now here are pics.
Crossing at Tecate: There is special feeling when entering Mexico for the first time ...a sense enthusiasm, anticipation and wonder.
We decided to do the Bufadora thing. Got in and out fast, then headed to El Rosario.
We came across a small ranchero and a goat corral.
We had planned to stay in San Quintin but a few "real" Baja bikers told us to head on to El Rosario and stay at the Baja Cactus. This pic is about 20 miles north of El Rosario along the Pacific. Since the highway had been straight for some time and no cars behind me I decided to stop and take this pic.... there was no place to pull out. While composing the photo, my wife say's "Uh, Honey, there is a car coming from behind." I look back and this guy is coming on fast. No time to put the camera away and blast off, so we're stuck in place waving the guy to go by hoping he wouldn't hit us. He must have been doing 80+
The highway generally doesn't have any shoulders or turn-outs to pull out on...a lot of the pavement had a 4-6" drop off at the edge. We would have to park the bike several hundred feet and walk back to get a photo.
The indigenous building material....concrete block. This small home unfinished and apparently abandoned maybe because of the 5 descansos adjacent to the home.
"Descansos are the roadside crosses and other roadside memorials built at the sites of fatal traffic accidents. The families and friends of accident victims construct descansos as a memorial for their lost loved ones. The name descanso comes from the Spanish word for resting. Also known as crucitas or memorias, the practice comes from ancient Spanish tradition of placing stones where pallbearers rested between the church and the cemetery. Later the stones were replaced with crosses."
We checked into Baja Cactus at El Rosario. They are building new rooms that are very nice, but we got one of the older rooms for $25/night. Not bad but you get what you pay for.
After settling in we walked down a block to Mama Espinosa's Restaurant. Great Food. Excellent service. Wonderful People.
A very popular restaurant
The Highway was awsome and the 1200 ate it up. There a many Vados "dips" in the road were the river beds would cross the highway...of course this time of year they are all dry, but there were hundreds of them. Also, many Curvos Pelegrosa " dangerous? curves. There were road sign arrows indicating a curve, but no indication of mph so you have to just read the road. Some curves would have 12-15 road sign arrows but the curve would be broad and others would have only 1-2 arrows and the curve would be tight, so you had to be aware of the curvature.
We made the trip into Bahia de los Angeles...had lunch and spoke with a few bikers coming from the south.
North and South of Guerrero Negro, the highway becomes butt aching straight. We were riding hard trying to make San Ignacio with some time to spend in town before dark. Cruising around 75mph I would stand on the pegs to get the blood circulating again, then after I sat back down, my wife stood up for a while....wow, at 75.
Our next stay was San Ignacio. As we rode in we crossed the lagoon and headed into town to find a place to stay.
The mission at the town centre and a few pics in San Ignacio
Well, after last nights stay at our $25 room, we decided to stay at the La Pinta....boy was that worth it.
Then we had dinner at the well know Rice & Beans.
The next day we were scheduled to reach Loreto...a short 170 miles from San Ignacio, but there was a lot to see and I planned on stopping every chance we got. The "Boulder Field" is like entering a different land....strange yet beautiful and full of different species of cacti.
South of Mulege we were amazed at Bahia Conception. We rode down to the beach and put our feet in the water to rest. This is definately a place to come back for a nights stay.
We arrived in Loreto an hour before sunset and after riding through town and up an down the Malecon, we finally found this great little motel...6 rooms...right on the ocean...got the last one.
The town mission
A tour guide we spoke to in San Ignacio told us not to miss San Javier mission, but we didn't schedule time for it and had to make Cabo by nightfall. We decided to give it go and headed for the mission at sunrise. The dirt road was rocky and bumpy. There were several minor water crossings through washouts but they were easy since the crossings were made of concrete. Total round trip was about 46 miles.
We reached the mission around 8:30am...well before the tourist vans start showing up. We were the only ones there and got a private tour...in Spanish, but we seemed to understand most of what was said.
We got back on the highway at 10:30am and headed for San Jose del Cabo to meet up with our friends. We stopped in La Paz for ice cream on the Malecon and also made a stop in Los Barillos. We spent too much time and left Los Barillos at sundown knowing not to drive after dark. We had about 15 minutes of dusk before the sky went completly dark. We followed a local driver all the way into San Jose and made it safely into town. What a change of pace. Oh well, we booked a resort for 2 nights and had some R&R with our friends.
We went snorkling at Chileno Beach and I found this postcard pic just over some rocks to this private little beach.
After 2 days in the sun on the beach, I left my wife at the Cabo airport and started my way back to Boise. She really enjoyed the ride down and wanted to go back on the bike. She was worried about leaving me but at least she knew what the trip would be like and where I would be staying.
I decided to head up the Pacific side via Todas Santos. Nice little town, but I liked the east side riding better. I by-passed La Paz since I wanted to make Loreto by sunset. Here is a pic near Loreto (from on the way down). I stayed at the same little ocean front motel and got an early start the next day headed to El Rosario.
Another great place to camp around Bahia Concepcion
I stopped in San Ignacio again to see the town square, filled up at the Pemex station and got a quick bite to eat. Knowing how straight and boring the highway is outside of Guerrero Negro, I got the bike up to 90mph to help it go quickly. The 1200 just purrs at this speed. I tucked my head down a bit to deflect the wind and quiet things down.
Listening to Herb Albert and the Tiujana Brass I was in my own world....when up ahead about a 500ft a policia with lights on was heading toward me. I hit the brakes and got down to 75 as he passed by. I thought for sure he would turn around and pull me over...but to my luck he was chasing another car going the other way. I decided to keep it 70 into Guerrero Negro.
After fueling up and posting an e-mail at the local internet cafe, I waved to a few dirt bikers heading north. I caught up, passed them and later stopped for a snack at Catavina. As I was drinking a Coke and muching peanut M&Ms, the bikers pulled up and stopped for a snack as well. We talked a bit and they were also headed to El Rosario. I headed out and after stopping for a few pics they caught up to me. I decided to follow them into town and we had dinner together at Mama's. This time I decided to stay at Mama Espinoza's motel and the dirt bikers stayed at the new units at Baja Cactus.
This is what it's all about....meeting people along the way and sharing each others stories and these guys had some great stories! It was Rick's (black shirt) 16th time to Baja! He gave me some good tips on crossing the border and places to ride next time. We spent 3 hours just talking. After riding alone for the past 2 days, it was a pleasure to be in company.
It was foggy leaving El Rosario and the coast line was cold and cloudy. The sun was trying to get through and it finally did and warmed up to around 74 degrees.
I decided to photogaph a few of the Desconsos along the rode and this one caught my eye. I looked over the embankment and saw burnt wreckage and debis still left there at the bottom of the canyon from years ago.
There was a ton of highway construction....mostly bridges being built over the river beds to keep the traffic moving during the rainy season. Some of the Desviacion "Detour" were on dirt. My wife called these detours, "Devastations"
A few more pics of the highway
As I approached Ensenada I was suprised to see how many workers there were in the field, but I guess it does take a lot of workers to get things done.
Going through Ensenada
I stopped at this Pemex in Guadalupe and this boy was trying to tell me something. The only think I could think of was that he was interested in the bike. A group of Amigos were watching me so I was careful to illustrate what I would do, and slowly picked him up and set him on the bike. Then I lifted him off and he ran over to tell his friends.
During our trip, many of the Mexicans would wave to us...kids in the back of a car...a car coming at us flashing the headlights and giving a thumbs up...others honking as they went by when we rested on the side of the road.
A few miles down the road as I passed through another small town I saw these kids and quickly pulled over for a photo. They waved and yelled and came running up to me just smiling and laughing. I signaled for them to group together for a photo. It was Palm Sunday and they were dressed in costume with palm leaves. The boy on the right played Jesus.
I came into Tecate where I entered...used my new friends tip about crossing the border and stopped on the other side to exchange the last 100 pesos I had. Then northward through Califonia towards home.
I didn't want it to end, yet I still had 2 days to get back. Even the trip back to Boise was great and I met more bikers and had great experiences. I'll probably post the Baja pre-ride from Boise and post-ride to Boise later. The experience was exhilarating and although there are many more adventureous riders, I think it was a great start.