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Old 10-29-2010, 11:35 AM   #1
Z_HARSH OP
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Baja Single-Line Tour - 1400 Miles, 10 Days

This is quite belated but after getting laid off and a little trip to Alaska to look for work, it’s time to finally post this.

So here it goes, a story about a few crazy Colorado dirt bikers lucky enough to know the right people who are on a mission to ride some of Baja’s tightest little single-lines and throw in as much beech as possible.

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‘Guess I’m new around here so I should introduce myself. I suppose I’ll go by ZH. I’m not really that new, this site has kept me sane for the last couple years, but this is my first story. I grew up riding dirt bikes in Colorado and Utah. My parents told me that as early as 6 months of age we were riding triple on my pop’s XR 600, or maybe it was the 500 back then. I grew up riding with…well I guess you could call him ArvadaGeorge. If you want to ride the tightest single line in Colorado or Utah there are not many better people to lead than he.

We started out as a band of 3 from Denver at 8:00 in late February on a sunny Saturday morning after loading our three steeds into the back of a truck, headed quickly out of town and directly into ski traffic, no worries and a minor delay for we had the 24 cassette Lonesome Dove saga to keep us company, and soon enough we were looking for a three bed hotel room in Phoenix. A foldout will do the trick and before we knew it we were in Calexico exchanging money and getting car insurance then eating fish tacos in San Felipe.

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The choice of bikes and set-up: A 2001 and a 2002 DRZ 400 and a 2001 XR 400 (Scott Summers edition 440)

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I understand they are exactly “adventure bikes” but they’re street legal where I come from and sure, sure, sure, you may ask why so ancient but I always figure that at this point it’s hard to justify 3x the expense for a marginal bump in the fun factor. Plus these DRZs are solid. Don’t get me wrong, if someone wants to give me a pumpkin I will ride the s#@& out of it but on the other hand the only mechanical issues encountered was on the last day, after 1400 miles, on the last strip of pavement back to the truck, the XR burnt up its original clutch (can you say good timing?).

We had up to 6 gallons at our disposal: two clamato bottles that fit exceptionally well into some cheap ATV tank bags, one gallon on the fender (usually empty), and a 4-galon tank for mine.

Tomorrow we ride Bill’s infamous Rock Trail.

Z_HARSH screwed with this post 10-29-2010 at 01:50 PM
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Old 10-29-2010, 12:43 PM   #2
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Day one: The Infamous Rock Trail

We woke up early, followed the waitress into the restaurant, filled up with huevos mexicanos and headed out for an adventure.

We headed up the slab out of town and my head was buzzing, millions of thoughts rushing through and thought how lucky am I! I could have grown up playing a lot of sports but here I am with the fresh salty air whipping past on an un-supported ride with friends spanning generational gaps flying down the road on steel, plastic and rubber headed off into the barren desert wasteland. Before long we hopped on the beach for a 40-mile stint.

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Then up a nasty little wash. Not sure what it was, perhaps it’s just soft or maybe we were rusty and our bikes were a bit more obese than usual, but this darn wash is as nasty and wallowy as they come.

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We were down here 6 or 7 years ago and drove up and down this wash trying to find Bill’s trail, rode around for hours to no avail, but since then one of our buddies marked it for George, thanks Mark!

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….so here we are, one nasty rooted out hill followed by 40 miles of baby heads…. The hill really only had one tough ledge that I drug my rear tire up, then cleaned the rest and came down to add a well-placed rock and help AG up.

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Then it was this like this for the next 40 miles or so:

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Honestly, the last ten miles make sadistic rocks all worth it with beautiful switchbacks in and out of a wash, along little ridges, and ducking the massive “jumping cholla”.:

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Then some old, unused roads through Fred Flintstone Land and the most important task.:

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140 miles and all I could do was think how great that man named Bill is. Story is he hired a private plane to fly over 3 different times to put the trail through. He still rides it today, at the age of 70!

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Old 10-29-2010, 12:47 PM   #3
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Man oh man, the only way I'd go down some of that single track is on a Donkey! I like the pic's so far, put up some more.....
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Old 10-29-2010, 01:04 PM   #4
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As you wish.
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Old 10-29-2010, 01:43 PM   #5
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Day 2: Somewhere in the Middle

Day two was comprised of some of the most beautiful single-line I have ever ridden. It had rained quite a bit the month or so before we came and desert was greener than I have ever seen and painted with flowers but it also brought other problems as well.

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Luckily it wasn’t too bad. Before too long we had ArvadaGeorge's bike on its side and yanked it out. The other problem was we lost the trail. It wasn’t far away but after and hour and a half of walking around we were back on track, ready for some more. If we would have know where the trail was we wouldn’t have gone the extra 50 yards and gotten stuck but that is just the way it goes. Luckily some nice people had marked it because it was hard to see at times.

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We came out and ArgadaGeorge spotted the most beautiful little virgin wash, smooth and wide, full throttle straight-aways and no reason to back off corners:

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After that its off to the dry lakebeds linking into another little trail and skirting around some not so dry lakebeds; we even saw some century plants in full bloom on the way:

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This is where the track log said we needed to go. It was getting late and finding a way around a couple of the “dry lakebeds” was a bit troublesome having to bush-wack through the strong shadows but we were soon to our pink hotel; that was one Kick Ass Tuesday!!!

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Old 10-29-2010, 02:01 PM   #6
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There's so much pink in the hotel, the lake in the pic above is turning color.
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Old 10-29-2010, 02:41 PM   #7
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Beautiful pics!! Tough ride!
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Old 10-29-2010, 03:21 PM   #8
benwiggin2
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What an epic ride!
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Old 10-29-2010, 06:02 PM   #9
wallache
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z_HARSH






Like a glove! Took me a minute to even notice the headlight tank.
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Old 10-30-2010, 09:54 AM   #10
rides2little
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Looking good.

More more more.
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Old 10-31-2010, 11:52 AM   #11
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Thanks guys!

Wallache, yea, we only really needed the 6th gallon on the fender one or maybe 2 days and emptied it as quickly as possible. You just have to remember to unplug your headlight if you end up having to ride at night.....but it fit perfectly there and didn't flop around.

When riding that type of terrain you don't want any extra weight, especially on the front in the sand. For clothes all we brought was one pair of sweat pants, one extra t-shirt, a pair of sandals, 3 pairs of boxers, 3 pairs of socks, a book to kill some time, an emergency blanket, a few power bars, a tube of honey, a tube of peanut buter (to put on tortillas), some instant coffee, a cup and burner from the army supply store, and our typical tools and extra tubes. Since we were staying in hotels and eating out for breakfast and dinner, that is all we really needed.
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Old 10-31-2010, 12:12 PM   #12
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Day 3: Pacific and Cross

In preparation for the trip we took a bit of care getting ready for this day. We were headed up the Pacific straight through the silt beds. We had pre-filters in and socks over the K&Ns but luckily there was enough recent rain that it was a nonissue. Nice, but I kind of wanted to see what all the silt hype was about. Before too long we could smell the salty air and then saw the waves crashing.

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We cruised up the coast and checked out some of the sites along the way.

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Then I did something dumb. We were jumping in and out of the compressed silt beds and one of the zip ties used to attach the bungee chord holding down the saddlebags snapped so I stopped to replace it. I got back on and tried to catch up and tried to catch up…and tried to catch up. Then when I didn’t catch up I stopped and waited and waited and waited. I should have turned around and gone back to where I had last seen them, that’s the rule, but just before this happened we stopped and TM suggested that we get a move on it because it was already 3 p.m. and we still had 100 miles to cover before bed. Somehow I convinced myself that the left to cut over to Mex 1 wasn’t too far up so I thought I would go see if they were waiting there. When I got there it was obvious there were no tracks where the track logs said we should go. All I can say for myself is that time is a bit warped in the middle of the desert sometimes and miles are a lot shorter in Baja.

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It feels a bit empty sitting on the Pacific with nothing but my lonely cylinder knowing that we are staying on the other side of the peninsula. I started weighing my options. On one hand I have never used my emergency blanket and there was enough light to gather some firewood, but, I also saw a little red line on the GPS that looked like a good option back to the highway and if I got a move on it I might even be able to make it before dark. I checked my fuel, roughly calculated the distance knowing that I can probably scrounge some gas on the highway if needed and started the race against the sun.

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…it was a photo finish....well maybe I lost, but just barely. I put on my headphones and sweatshirt, moved my extra gallon container, plugged in my headlight and started cursing down the slab. That is another thing about the ol’ DRZ, its stock headlight is killer. By the way, do you think a rabbit would take your front tire out if you hit it at say…50 mph?

When I rolled into Bay of LA and pulled up to the gas station the attendant immediately handed me a note from ArvadaGeorge and pointed me to Larry and Raquel’s. I drove the longest few k’s to the hotel and was filled with relief. Scarffed down some food, slammed a beer, typed a quick note to the gf and parents letting them know I am having a blast in Baja (not mentioning the previous excitement of course) and was out like a light.
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:30 AM   #13
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Thumb Thanks for a great post!

2 questions:

1. Those pics are unreal, what do you use for a camera?

2. Do we get to see days 4 and on?

Thanks again, awesome
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Old 12-01-2010, 02:23 PM   #14
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Absolutely fantastic ride and report
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:54 PM   #15
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Just got back a week ago from running chase for the 2010 Baja 1000 and this just makes me want to turn around and head right back down.

Thanks for taking the time post it all.
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