[Originally posted December 31, 2007]
I spent the last two days exploring the less civilized part of Baja.
I left San Felipe heading South. After Puertocitos, the road turned to dirt:
I saw two more coyotes. I think they're up to something.
I spent most of the afternoon standing on the footpegs doing 40-50 mph on a rocky, sandy, rutted, ugly excuse for a road. There were many tempting opportunities for jumps and other such hooliganism but sanity got the better of me; I've already seen a flock of vultures picking over a lone bovine carcass on the side of the road. Nevertheless, the bike handled the day beautifully -- this is the kind of surface it was made for. I only had a couple moments of terror when the frontend decided to set off on its own route through Baja... but gassing it really does work. I wish I had gotten pictures of the rough spots, the road looks pretty good here:
After a couple hours of this, I found a gas station at Bahía de Gonzaga. Parked next to it was a an ancient derelict airplane. This was unusual but not surprising since derelict cars seem to litter the landscape of Baja. The shocking part was when people climbed in and that relic took off.
I struck up a conversation with three bystanders who were just as amused as I was: Scott (who has ridden a KLR all over the US), his sister Heather (who owns an old Guzzi and an old BMW airhead), and her boyfriend Max. They're down from LA to stay at a place they bought on a tiny beach just a few miles away. "Come camp on our beach!"
I brought camping gear on this trip but I didn't really expect to use it; hotels are cheap here and I like showers. However, I try to make a habit of saying "yes" as often as possible, and I *did* go through all the trouble of riding out to this desolate place. I bought a six pack of Tecate and some munchies at the store (like the gas station, the only one in 70 miles radius and staffed erratically) and set off to find my new friends.
Scott, Heather, Max, and their five dogs are awesome. They pointed me to a great camping spot just a stone's throw from the ocean, fed me spaghetti, made a fire, stayed up drinking and chatting with me most of the night, and even made me breakfast! Camping out here... wow. The only sound comes from the waves and the only light comes from the sky. There isn't even the faintest hint of city-glow from the horizon. The milky way shows as a brilliant band. I doubt there is an inch of coastline in the US that you can get this experience from. Fifty years from now, probably not an inch in Baja either...
The next day's ride was another rendition of my own private Baja 1000 (abridged), but the roads on this side got a little better (or I'm getting more confident) and I kicked the speed over 60 mph for much of it. Probably stupid but it was fun as hell.
Baja has abandoned hulks of derelict cars in abundance.
Baja severely lacks ROAD SIGNS.
I think someone may be on to something here:
Back onto pavement, the miles flew by and I crossed into Baja Sur. The terrain got rockier and the wind was raging. I had the bike leaned over 20 degrees just to ride straight. I'm not sure what produced this accident but I'm certain the wind was involved:
I made it to Santa Rosalita just after dark. It's NYE and I had hoped that I might find something festive in a coastal town. It turns out all the locals do here is go to church and go to bed! All the restaurants and most of the bars are closed. I had a few beers with a couple other gringos I met on the street and now I'm going pass out - riding dirt is hard work.
Next stop, if I can manage it: La Paz
[Editor's note: I did]