Ural (A.K.A. The Yeti) does Baja!
The wife and I had two weeks of vacation to burn and a free hotel down in San Felipe Baja. So we looked at each other and said “Yeah why not! Lets ride down there!” The wife has been riding solo M1 indorsed since 2004. Long story short she never was comfortable riding a solo bike in the dirt. We like to camp and stuff so dirt is usually on the menu some where along the way if not just to get to the camp site. This would cause a certain case of white knuckles. So we took delivery of a 2007 Ural Gear UP in Arctic Camo in April of 2008. We have been breaking the Ural in and learning how to ride it since we got it. So after some Sidecar training at Adventure Sidecar school up in Hood River OR by none other than The Red Menace on ADVrider.com (Vern) and several trips totaling some 9,000 Kilometers the stage was set for our trip to Baja and the wife (Marcia) was comfortable with the hack and ready to ride!
Day 1 November 7th 2008
Napa CA to Boulevard CA 617 Miles (yes 617 miles not an error) 15 hours (LOONG day)
With the bikes packed and with great excitement we where ready to ride to Baja! We took some of the obligatory bike shots all packed and ready!
One of the challenges to over come when traveling with the Ural is fuel range. Our solution for this trip was a 5 gallon gas can strapped down to the step on the side car. This solution is not pretty but IMHO it worked perfect as you will see later. The big bag on the rear rack of the Ural is a inflatable Kayak just to answer that question right off the bat. We love to Kayak and this pack able Kayak is the perfect answer to the Adventure motorcycle enthusiast. We were headed to the Sea of Cortez of course we are bringing the Kayak!
0800 clutches out and we where off and running. We just slabbed it down the I-5 wanting to make time and distance. Nothing real fancy to take pictures of other than some cotton bails in the central valley. The only “Event” was running out of fuel once on the Ural and having to use the spare fuel. We poured in the gas and rode on. The Ural never missed a beat.
We rode all day and all night. Yep that’s right we covered 617 miles in a super long 15 hour day! I think that is some kind of world record for a Ural and my wife was riding it to boot! Yes the wife is tougher than on old Calvary saddle!
Our plan was to cross the boarder the next day at Tecate so we wanted to be positioned to cross early the next morning so we rode all the way down to the boarder. We found a hotel in Boulevard CA at approximately 11PM. We were tired, cold and ready to hit the hot showers. Thank God we had the GPS for that hotel or we would have never found it. So we parked in front of the room and staggered in the room dropped our stuff and took long hot showers and sacked out. Tomorrow we ride into Mexico!
The URAL is my bike, so I named the URAL. No the Yeti is not my bikes’ name. My bike is the URAL DIVA. So please remember that. My husband sometimes forgets and calls it the Yeti, not sure why.
We woke fairly early, for Cory that is. He just got home around 2:00 a.m. from work, took a shower and went to bed on Friday morning. So with just 5 hours of sleep under Cory’s belt we woke up and started to get ready. We packed our bike as much as we could on Wednesday night. The only things we needed to pack was our backpack and to do a quick mental checklist to ensure we have what we need. With a quick picture of us posing in front of the bikes we were on our way.
Just for a little back ground. We rode to Baja California and main land Mexico in 2006 two up on a R1150GS with my husband’s father. Cory and I didn’t take many pictures, Dad took most of the pictures. So this time, we promised ourselves we were going to take the time to stop and take some pictures. We both have digital cameras strapped to our backpack strap and a lanyard around our necks just in case we loose grip of the camera while moving on the bike. This turned out to be very helpful and a great idea. Also in 2006 we were able to communicate to each other on the same bike, so this year we had to look to other options so we can communicate. We were looking into the new helmet Vemar. We went to one of the local BMW dealerships to try the helmets on for sizing and get some questions answered on the Holiday in October 13th
. The BMW dealership was expecting to receive a shipment of helmet in the week of our departure; however they did not order my size XS). Long story short the BMW dealership We left with the understanding both of our helmets were estimated to be in the week of our departure. That item was checked off the list, either we had them in time or we didn’t, nothing else we could do about it. November 1st
we received a call that my helmet was in. The BMW dealership could not answer why Cory’s helmet was not in. All they saw was a special order for XS and it was in. Amazing is all I could say. As of Thanksgiving day, we still haven’t heard weather Cory’s helmet is in.
On the road we didn’t hit much traffic in the bay area because our bikes can ride in the car pool. Once on I-5 we were just riding as fast as the URAL DIVA could go.
We ran out of gas once today. I think Cory said we were about 2 miles short of the gas station. Oh well, that is what the 5 gallon spare was for. I was trying to ride the URAL DIVA at the fastest safest speed I could, which turns out to be around 55 to 63 mph.
Not to fast, but that is the nature of the beast.
We stopped for lunch around 2ish at the Iron Skillet, bottom of the Grape Vine. I had the lunch buffet which was good. It was kind of cool riding the bike and the Iron Skillet had some warm soup. Yummy.
We fueled up and was out on the road again. It was pretty much smooth sailing until we hit LA area. We were in Friday evening Holiday weekend traffic. With the side car we are unable to split lanes. Darkness came upon us quick and as I have prescription sunglasses I had to ditch them in the sidecar without being able to retrieve my regular glasses. Dark and blurry, Cory and I were separated for bout 10 minutes unable to communicate to each other. He changed lanes and I wasn’t paying close attention, so when the time came it was too late for me to make the switch lanes with him. Cory tried to lag behind so I could catch up; however his lane was moving the fastest. So here I am trying to weave through traffic not being able to see well. I only saw Cory because of his reflectors on the saddle bags, otherwise I would have missed him. Back together we continued on towards our destination, as close to the Tecate boarder as we can. We passed through the town of Escondido, CA. We were debating on weather to keep going or to stop for the night. At the gas station we pulled out the map to assess our situation. I urged us to keep on going. I am not a morning person at all, and Cory was talking about getting up at 4:00 a.m. I would rather keep traveling at night than wake up at that horrible hour. We filled up our gas tanks and I put my electric jacket on and kept on going.
We made it to Spring Valley, CA faster than either of us had expected. So we decided to pass right on through to keep on going, Huge mistake.
In our deciding what we were going to pack I opted to leave the camping gear behind, even though Cory had recommend we bring it. Well the camping gear could have come in handy right about now. As we kept on going on hwy 94 in search of a hotel we pulled off the road once again to ask each other if we should go back to Spring Valley where we say Hotels in town. I have to say it was all my fault, I just hate getting up early.
We kept on.
We passed the road where we would turn off to go to the Tecate boarder. It was cold, dark, and we were just plain exhausted. I had my electric jacket on the whole time. I was starting to feel very bad because I knew Cory didn’t have his on.
He just had his short sleeved shirt and his jacket on. We turned off the road we were on and I almost immediately saw the Hotel we were looking for. It was a beautiful sight. It was 11:10 p.m. when we pulled into The Lux Inn parking lot. The hotel was about $70.00 a night. I gladly paid and we were in our rooms. After Hot showers we were sleeping before we knew it.