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Old 12-01-2005, 11:57 PM   #1
G-Force Junkie OP
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My Mexico trip/Baja1000 report.

Baja. A word I first heard at about age 5 or 6. Rumaging though the garage I uncovered a framed photo of an off-road Taxi cab blasting down a dusty, dirt road, dirt and rocks spewing from under it with the front wheels off the ground after hitting a small jump. The year was aproximaly 1969, the race was the Baja 500, and the driver was my dad. 36 years later I find myself standing on the race course of the SCORE Baja 1000 waiting for our race bike to pull in for fuel and tires.

Friday Nov 11th: Supposed to have the day off work, naturaly some crap came up so I drag ass into work a 8am and finish stuff up, out of there by 10:30. I have everything prepared for the coming 2 weeks I won't be at the shop. Lists of what need to be done. Pre-printed purchase orders for product expected in that has to go to outside processings (polish, anodize, machine shop, etc) printed out and pinned on the bulletin board. Hoping to avoid pallets of stuff piled up around my tool box when I return (didn't happen, more on that later.
The previous week I had done a good job of getting all my gear together and the bike packed. If you have never planned to live off a bike for a couple of weeks, here are a few tips. Gather everything you think you need. Then cut the quanitys of everything in half. Then throw out 50% of what you got left out 'caus you probaly dont need it anyways. Unbelievable as it may seem, the rest of the world has to eat and do laundry as well so those services are available anywhere. I can write up a detailed list of what I took if anyone is interested for their future trips. The week before I had decided not to wear my Aerostitch Roadcrafter riding suit to Mexico...Too bulky, hot, and expensive. I went with my JR Balistic jacket I use of off-road and order a pair of First Geat HT Overpants. They were scheduled to arrive Wendsday. Tuesday evening I get a call that my pants were not shipped last thursday as they should have. Credit card declined. A quick call to find out they have the wrong experation date. Now I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, but at my work, if I get an order from a returning customer with the experation date is 8 months past, I don't try and run it. Logic says punch in the same card number with the experation date 1,2,or 3 years ahead and they always go through. As people get new cards, only the year of the experation date changes. Anyways, I fork over another $20 to get second day delivery so I will have them on Friday. Planned departure time is noon, hopefully I can avoid rush hour traffic down to San Diego . The pants arrive at about 3pm and I launch the loaded down Bumble Bee into commuter hell. You know its going to take a while when 3 hours into your 200 mile trip you are less than 100 miles from your starting point and your temp gauge is at 9 of 10 bars as you idle through the East LA interchange. I make it to my friends house in San Diego around 7:30pm and we get a bite to eat. I can highly recommend the City Deli in gay part of town, Hillcrest. Staying with the areas theme of diversity and acceptance, I chose a Black&White cookie for dessert.

Saturday Nov. 12: 8am and I make a run for the border! I cross into Mexico at the San Ysidro border crossing and head into the heart of Tijuana. If your new to Mexico, your in for a suprise. Or nervious breakdown, depending on your driving skills. I like to refer to it as "Combat Driving." Picture a roller derby, but with cars, taxi cabs, pedestrians, donkeys, and taco stands all barreling down one way streets full of potholes and no traffic laws. Luckaly for me, years of Combat Driving in the hellish greater Los Angeles freeway system has steeled my nerves, chilled the blood in my veins, and increased my vocabulary of profanities ten fold. Having no need for upholstery work, a new muffler, nor have my picture with a donkey painted like a zebra, I make short work of down-town TJ and break free south on highway 1 Libre. There are two freeways between TJ and Ensenada, Highway 1 Libre and Highway 1D. The D is a toll road that is like a modern USA freeway. The old Libre (free) Highway 1 is a two lane highway that winds through all the small towns between TJ and Ensenada. If you've ever done the "Rosarita to Ensenada fun bicycle ride", you were on the 1 Libre. I shoot south through Ensenada, Santo Tomas, San Vicente, Colonet, Vicente Guerrero, and finaly stops just south of San Quintin.

To be continued tomorrow...

G-Force Junkie screwed with this post 10-30-2007 at 06:46 PM
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Old 12-01-2005, 11:58 PM   #2
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Baja Taxi.
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Old 12-02-2005, 06:00 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by G-Force Junkie
Baja Taxi.

NICE !!!!!!!!!!
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Old 12-02-2005, 06:50 AM   #4
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that's going to be great
French vacation house for rent! 15 min from the WEC finale this fall!!!

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Old 12-02-2005, 08:17 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by G-Force Junkie
Baja Taxi.
I am in love!

All of a sudden I have these fantasies of building a Baja Taxi of my very own. Man, that would be awesome!
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Old 12-02-2005, 12:51 PM   #6
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Damn, was that place ever smooth???
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Old 12-02-2005, 01:31 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Jeff@TheQuadShop
Damn, was that place ever smooth???
Smooth!?! It's smoother now than it ever was! You young whipper-snappers got's it too easy these days, by a durn sight!

"My atheism, like that of Spinoza, is true piety towards the universe and denies only gods fashioned by men in their own image, to be servants of their human interests." George Santayana
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Old 12-02-2005, 11:34 PM   #8
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Saturday Nov. 12 continued:

The terrain as you head south along the Mex 1 very much resembles the desert and foothills of Southern California or Arizona. Lots of dirt, rocks, scrub brush, cactus, etc. Legal speeds are painfully slow. The entire trip I never saw a single road over 80 km/hr which is about 50 MPH. Going through every town, or in any curvy area, speeds were typicaly 60 km/hr (37 mph) or 40 km/hr (25 mph). Needless to say, speeding is just a way of life down there. 60-65mph is about as slow as I could bring myself to do on the wide open highway, and I was constantly being passed by semi trucks. Around 4pm, with the sun falling fast, I had reached San Quintin, aprox 200 miles south of the border. A few miles south I hit up the Cielito Lindo Motel. It is located on the bay Bahia Santa Maria. The area has a unique history. In the late 1800's the English set up a wheat growing opperation in the area and build a large pier and grain grinding mill to process it. Years of drought doomed the project so it was abandoned. The old mill has been converted into a hotel and the pier a campground is near the old pier. The Cielito Lindo consists of several one story building containing six hotel rooms each, a reastraunt with a small bar which is also the hotel check in. Beer and a hotel key in one place, very handy. I talked the price from $45 US down to $30 US for a crappy room that someone who spoke better spanish could probaly get for $20. The room smelled damp, the furnishing havent changed since the 1950's (cloth covered lamp cords, etc) and the floor was a horrable linolium. But the shower was hot once I realised the hot and cold knobs were plumbed backwards, and I had electricity untill they shut the generator off at 10pm. For those who are night owls, a single candle and pack of matches were provided on the bed side table, which was scarred with numerious burn marks. Scared to pull back the comforter on the bed and know exactaly what I was sleeping on/with, I chose to use my sleeping bag on top. Had a fantastic meal at the reastraunt of black bean soup, carne asada enchaladas with rice and beans, all the chips and salsa I could eat and a cold Tecate cervesa for a grand total of 120 pesos, about $11 US. Under the cover of darkeness I answered the question I had been wondering about since i arrived. Yes a BMW R1150GS with Adventure crash bars will fit through the hotel door. My trusty steed at my side, I drifted off to sleep.

Sunday November 13th: I awake around 8:30 pm, pack the bike up, return the hotel key to the bar, and I'm off. My general plan for this trip was to shoot south and slowly work my way back up to Ensenada seeing the sites along the way so I decide to check out the the other camp grounds/hotel in the area , the old pier, and the old mill. I make it to the Old Pier hotel after about 4 miles on a rough dirt road and find it borded up with a closed for renovation sign posted. Oh well, lets find the Old Mill, it should be a few miles up the road. Here is where the "adventure" begins. The road within 100 yards turns into a sandy, whooped out, rutted trail about 10 feet wide. Now I have been riding off-road in the desert and sand for over 15 years so the proper technique is not foreigen to me: Keep your speed up, weigh back, pinch the bike with your legs/knees, and keep your grip loose and let the front end flop and wonder around and steer with gentle weight transfers and small suggestions to the handlebars. It works wonderfully on a 250 pound Honda XR on knobby tires. Not so wonderfully on a 650 pound BMW on street tires, at least not at the speeds I was comfortable going. Needless to say it gets out of shape and spits me off within a half mile.

To be continued...
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Old 12-03-2005, 06:52 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by G-Force Junkie
Baja Taxi.
Ahh the Baja Taxi... That car was part of the history of the 1000 along with the Condor motorhome. That was back in the day when they would race literally anything.

Keep it comming Mike.
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Old 12-08-2005, 10:16 PM   #10
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Let's GO!!!

Come on G-Force, I was really getting into your story, I need another installment...


BTW, what are you doing next weekend (17-18)?
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Old 12-09-2005, 12:41 AM   #11
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Sunday November 13th continued: Great, this ought to be fun, picking a fully loaded GS up in the sand. With all my strength I manage to right the bike without unloading everything. A quick once over reveals nothing too damaged, the right system case poped out out of the notch on the passenger peg and put a small crack in the mount. The road looked much worse ahead so I decided to turn around and head back to the highway. I run up the highway 5 or 10 miles and take the turnoff for the Old Mill. The road is dirt and rocky, but well worn and pretty easy to maintain 30 mph or so before the windshield starts vibrating too much. Note to self, ditch the Tobinators before doing alot of off road work. Where the road meets the ocean it is actualy the launch ramp for the numerous fishing boats that work the area. The Old Mill has been converted to a hotel/restraunt/bar, and across the street is the Old Mill Campground. Pretty nice place right on the water, would be perfect to back a trailer or RV right into one of the slots that line the shore. I take some pictures, decide I've had enough of the sand roads to try and find the old english cementary, so I head back to the highway. As I said before my plan was to work my way north sightseeing along the way, but I realized there was not a whole lot to see. Mexico doesnt really have many "attractions", and the historicaly intersting places I wanted to see like the Old Mill, Cementary, missions, etc were difficult to find or anti-clamatic when I did. I think my brain was still in 6th gear from the busyness of modern life in the USA. I needed to slow down, and have fun. So thats when I decided to not have any plans at all. I can't be dissapointed if I have no plans or expectations. This idea was pretty liberating and set a much better mood for the rest of the trip. I headed back north on the highway with no intended destination, a full tank of gas, and a smile on my face. Along the way I stopped at a couple of the small towns to buy a soda or look at the marketplaces. My impressions of these small towns were two-fold. On one hand it looks pretty delapadated and depressing. I almost felt sorry for the people stuck in that situation. Then I felt stupid for showing my ignorance. As your average, middle class America, anything less than perfectaly paved streets, manicured lawns, and late model vehicles seems "poor." Fact is most of the world is probaly more like these little towns that my suburban idea of "normal." On the other hand It was facinating to see what these people were doing with what they had. I didnt encounter any beggers or bums, people ran buisnesses in the worst conditions and appeared to survive at it, I saw people taking pride in their old beat up clunkers of cars by washing them with a bucket and a rag in the middle of a dirt parking lot, children going to school, etc. Maybe its what you do with what you have that makes you a good person, not simply what you have. I pulled in behind a red Goldwing just south of Colonet and rode with it through the twistys up to San Vicnete where we both pulled off for fuel. The Goldwingers were a nice Canidian couple that were finishing up a 2 week trip all the way down to Cabo/La Pas and back. We chatted for a while and watched as several trucks and buggys pre-running the Baja 1000 came into town. The Canidans were headed to La Bufadora and I had a general idea to sleep somewhere around Ensenada. As I neared the turnoff for La Bufadora, I figured, hell, why not, lets check it out. I made it to the "blow hole" around 3pm and found the Goldwing in the parking lot. Here comes the hassle about adventure riding. What in the hell do you do with all your crap when you want to leave the bike unattended, especialy in a touristy area that probaly have pick-pockets and other such people looking for easy pickings. I brought a PacSafe wire mesh security thing for my duffelbag that contained all my clothes, I left my Thermarest open to be stolen, and lugged my backpack and tank bag with me. I need a better system. If you have never been to La Bufadora, it is a naturaly made rock formation at the south end of the bay the Ensenada sits on. As the waves come in, they are funnled into and up a hole in the rocks where it shoots up in spectacular fashion much like a geyser. The walking road to the blow hole is lined with shops selling all sorts of tourist trinkits, food, pharmacys, etc I grab a $2 USD bag of churros as I am starving having eaten only a powerbar earlier and some oatmeal for breakfast. For the record, a quarter pound of sugar, lard, and dough is not the best thing to fill an empty stomach with. Having no need for poor quality silver jewlery, Viagra, or velvet paintings of Elvis or 2 Pac, I return to the bike and head off. There are numerious campgrounds on the pensiula to la bufadora, however the couple I looked at were pretty sparce and setup more so for trailers and RV's, not tenters. On the way back to the highway I pass the Hotel Bufadora perched on the hill next to the road. It looks promising so I check it out and $35 USD later I get myself a room for the night. It is a 3 story building that they are working on renovating. The top and middle floor appear to be finished, the rooms on the lower floors are still gutted and had no doors on them. I am happy they have a gated parking lot, not to mention the bike is not visable from the road. This is good, I doubt I could make the stairwell on the GS to get it to my second floor room. I strip off all my gear and bags and head down the road to find dinner. I stop off at a road side tamale stand and get a 4 tamales at eighty cents USD each. They only have odd flavored fruit juice in cans, so I make a second stop at a local market for a liter of Coke. $3.25 USD and 10 pesos later, i am stuffed and ready for bed. While the room was much nicer than the one the night before, the bed looked a little sketchy. Perhaps it was the painted cinder blocks that made up the non-existent box springs. Needless to say I slept in my sleeping bag again and was out by 8pm. Good thing because the house across the street had roosters to wake me up at 4am. To be continued...
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Old 12-11-2005, 06:54 AM   #12
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Damn, I got drafted to go shopping & I missed the NBC airing of the Baja 1000 (noon PST). I thought I could catch it on OLN@ 10pm. I did catch it, but it was the Baja 500. Anybody know if NBC will air it again?
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