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Old 03-14-2013, 04:39 PM   #1
GREGRIDES OP
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Joined: Aug 2012
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Laugh Baja Again!!!

So, this was my 3rd week long ride in Baja. Went with UTMA group for 2nd time, much better than 2 years ago, we didn't have any snow!!! Yay. Left 3/15 drove to Vegas from SLC overnighted there, then drove to San Felipe. We always have a big group that we break down into smaller groups of 4-16 riders. I got into a great group this year.

Amazing what guys do on these trips; the night before we're to start, one of the young guys is pulling his clutch out to replace it--the night before a weeklong ride in Mexico!!! He was able to get everything going, but it was touch & go on Sunday morning.

Day 1-San Felipe to Meling Ranch; we bypassed the dry lakebed, due to some inaccurate trail description, and took the hwy around to the entrance to Mikes Sky Ranch. Finally off the pave at about noon. The ride up to Mike's was great, not challenging, mostly dry & did I mention no snow this year--yes!!! Later in the afternoon we carried on down the other side, a bit more technical with rocks, ruts, the usual fun. We concluded at Meling at 3:30--made great time & finished in daylight, also a nice change from my prior trip. My KTm 530 worked flawlessly! It was a very cold night at Meling, which sits at about 5,000 ft elevation. Had a nice dinner up there, and stayed the night in a room sans heat. Meals were excellent & the staff was very nice to 40 motorcyclists!

Day 2 - Meling to Santa Maria-if you've been to Baja, you probably know that we aren't covering a lot of ground these first days. We all wanted to ride trails, but also get to our destination with plenty of daylight to enjoy the hotel or beach or whatever. This day we rode a nice hwy stretch out of the mountains down to the Pacific coast, then down to Camalu for fuel. From here, down to the beach & coastal dirt roads south. We're all still trying to figure out how to best carry extra gas, so we can make our destinations -- my solution, a heavyduty plastic water bladder from REI started just fine, more on this later. We rode down along the Pacific for several miles, even on the beach, great fun, hard on the bikes, though. We eventually made it to Mission Santa Maria, a super nice hotel here right on the beach, too! What a great spot. Someone rode a Yam Super Tenere down from San Diego-nice bike & so clean!!! Our little group broke up into beach riders, and others like me who took some pics & enjoyed margaritas & beers on the patio. A nice group dinner was also enjoyed.

Day 3-140 miles, lots of rocks, sand and cactus today-best day of the trip for me. We rode out into the central Baja area, south toward Catavina, miles & miles of trails, rocks, etc. We had a trailside lunch at the Oasis, see the pics of palm trees. Had my first get-off today on a rocky climb, no damage except to the ego. I was following a 16 year old kid a lot of the way, he's going to be a very good rider soon--fun to see him pick lines & motor around on a Yam TTR225. We made it to Catavina around 4 PM, got some cold beers, hot shower & another nice dinner. What a great trip so far!!!

Day 4-Catavina to Bay of Los Angeles-OMG-this was a big day for me! I did say I wanted to do a lot of riding, today we did. left Cat at 8:30, didn't get to Bay of LA until 7 PM, in the dark. We rode west to the coast to get some great pics of the ocean, then back toward the other coast. After 60 miles of dirt track & trails, we were talked into riding the first half of the 22 day trail, a nice singletrack with plenty of cactus, loose rock, and sandy sections. Right at the limit of my riding ability on the big KTM, what a blast--took us about 3-4 hours, and one guy ran out of gas a mile from the highway. This trail was almost all 1st or 2nd gear for me, but it was awesome! I must've had 7-8 get offs today on this trail, but you just gotta dust off & get going again, there's no alternative. After finding a local with gas barrels to fill us up, we still had about 80 K to get to Bay of LA. I love my Baja Designs HD light--worth the money for an hour of dark Hwy riding anywhere! Somewhere along the way my stock KTM kickstand decided to fall off, as well. A nice late fish dinner at Villa Vitta in Bay of LA & a hot shower rounded out the night.

Day 5-Bay of LA to Gonzaga Bay-This was another great riding day for us; thank God my little gas canteen plastic bag decided to spring a leak, meaning no extra gas, so the short route today. We headed up the whooped sandy road 19 K north of Bay of LA for about 30 miles of whoops then into Horse Piss Canyon, through there to the main road to Coco's Corner for a late morning Coke. We hung around Coco's and talked w/ 4 guys on big ADV bikes, who were also doing a long Baja adventure--the big bikes looked cool, covered in mud & grit. Then onto Gonzaga Bay, probably my favorito place to spend a day or two in Baja, so far. I was motoring down the road toward Gonzaga at warp speed--then a pop & no more motor . . . . bummer. My riding buddy John pulled me toward Alphonsina's but we took a wrong turn, broke the tow strap at the beach. I then got a "total body workout" pushing my bike across the beach sand back up to the dirt road just past the main runway, damn! I was lucky to break down a mile from Alphonsina's & Gonzaga Bay. Had we taken the Window Rock trail with the other guys, my bike might still be in Baja!
We worked on the bike & had some beers in the afternoon, but it appeared to be a valve problem due to no compression (hey, we even added 2 whole cans of compression with no result!), and we didn't tear into it there (still haven't!). At dinner, a nice guy who rides with Lizard Lady, who we all got to meet, offered to take the bike & me up to San Felipe the next morning, gratis!!! Will Bailey, as it turns out, super nice dude, who lives in Baja. Spent Saturday evening on the Malecon having tacos & brews, always a nice way to end a trip to Baja.

So, that's my story for 2013's big Baja Ride. We had an uneventful return back to SLC on 2/23-24.

Such a better week than 2 years back when we had weather, I was with a very slow rider (my brother), and we just had struggles everyday--I look forward to riding down there again in 2014!!

I plan to have some pics linked, but I'm not very good w/that, so it might take me another day or so.

GREGRIDES screwed with this post 03-14-2013 at 04:42 PM Reason: loose ends . . .
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Old 03-14-2013, 05:04 PM   #2
AteamNM
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Subscribed, or a subscriber, maybe previously prescribed? Okay, how about those pictures?
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:21 AM   #3
jerdog53
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yes!

This thread is useless with out pictures...
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Old 03-15-2013, 03:29 PM   #4
burque magoo
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subscribed! we met Will and Kacey Smith aka: Lizard Lady at Coco's, and had dinner with them at Alphonsina's later that night----cool people!
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