ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Ride reports
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 03-19-2013, 06:43 AM   #16
McRuss
Gnarly Adventurer
 
McRuss's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2008
Location: Texas Hill Country
Oddometer: 238
Enjoyed your RR! I lived in AZ for several years and made it to Baja every year but never any farther south than a visit to Loretto while staying in Muleje (my favorite place in Baja Sur.) It has been 11 years since I moved to TX and I don't remember names of places but we stayed at a Campo south of Muleje with a little cafe/bar and palapas. What great times, thanks for the memory jog! (I'm taking my Wee to AK in June, third and probably last trip to AK, maybe I'll try Baja again one of these days!)
McRuss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2013, 09:12 PM   #17
Oblio OP
Stop Saying "Farkle"
 
Oblio's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Oddometer: 20
Update

I'm sorry for the delay. After my girlfriend joined me I haven't had time for updates. A lot has happened and I can't wait to write about it and post pics. I dropped Erika off at the airport this morning and am heading home. I'm staying in Santa Rosalia tonight. As I stated previously, this is a cool little town. I'd like to make it to the border tomorrow and spend the night in Mexicali. Hopefully I can resolve my past vehicle permit issue before I enter the U.S.
__________________
Nevada Montagu
Denver, CO
2008 Suzuki V-Strom 650
Oblio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2013, 12:26 AM   #18
BRUTSQD
2 scoops of stupid
 
BRUTSQD's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Sacramento, CA
Oddometer: 199
Awesome

Great RR and great pictures. I have always put off a baja run out of safety concerns, maybe it's time I reconsider. Keep up the good work and if you ever need a riding partner in CO gimme a yell, I'm moving there next week. Subscribed.
-T
__________________
2012 F800gs triple black "Shocolate Mooossse"
Ride Reports: COLORADO IRELAND CO to CA CA to CO
ASS-book
"I never drive faster then I can see and besides that it's all in the reflexes." -JB
BRUTSQD is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2013, 04:43 PM   #19
Oblio OP
Stop Saying "Farkle"
 
Oblio's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Oddometer: 20
Days 13 -17, The Cabo's

In the morning I walked around the neighborhood away from the malecon and found a cafe. I had huevos de la padron. After breakfast I walked down to the malecon and took some photos of the waterfront. The sandy beaches right in town are pretty nice. I packed and wheeled the bike out of the courtyard into the street.

The ride to Cabo Pulmo was easy. It was hot in La Paz. It warmed up a little more as I got into the hills and mountains. I road without my jacket the entire ride. The mountain section passed through a couple cute little towns and had great twisties.

Less than two hours later I turned off Highway 1 and headed east toward the coast. The road was paved up until 5 miles from Cabo Pulmo. There it turned to washboard sand and gravel. Most of it was rideable at 30 mph. A few sandy sections required a crawl in first gear. Riding with Erika on the back tomorrow was totally doable. I was relieved.

I rolled into town and did a lap to get my bearings. There's only one main road so it was a short tour. I road down a side road toward the water. That was a mistake since it turned to soft sand immediately. I tried to turn around and dug in. Luckily, hard pack lurked a few inches below the sand. It took about 10 minutes but I eventually got the bike turned around by digging little trenches and moving the bike in increments. As long as I kept my speed up the bike would float on the surface.

I rolled up to Baja Bungalows and was almost immediately greeted by Veronica, a cute tattooed woman from Mexico City. She showed me my room and gave the rules for the solar powered property. The place consists of a main house, guest houses, and my little bunk house ($45 US). My room was next to the kitchen palapa. It's thatched roof heaven on a sandy lot with beautiful landscaping. Included in the price is use of their kayaks, snorkeling gear, boogies boards, beach chairs, and umbrellas.

I grabbed snorkeling gear and a wet suit and headed to the beach. The main beach is a five minute walk. A closer beach where the kayaks are kept is two minutes. I had seafood tacos and a couple modelos at the restaurant on the water. After lunch I walked down the beach 100 meters or so. The reef is 25 meters off the beach. The water was warmer than Loreto. With the shortie wetsuit I was totally comfortable.

It was a little breezy so the water was cloudy. I still saw a lot of fish. Back on the beach I talked to a guy who had been snorkeling too. He said one of the local beaches always has good visibility no matter the conditions since they all face different directions. He gave me the low down on all the spots. He pointed to a group of boulders down the beach where all the reef sharks congregate. I guess it's birthing season and that is where it happens. He said there are dozens of sharks you can clearly see when standing on the rocks. I'll check that out tomorrow when Erika and I return from the airport.

When I got back to the bungalows, I grabbed my iPad and walked over to the office. The wifi signal only works there. I checked email and then talked to Veronica for a while. She's been in Pulmo for 11 years. She gave me information on fun things to do too. She knew the expat couple I'd talked to on the beach. She shared her shark story from the spot with the boulders. She also told me you can't rent kayaks since Pulmo is located in a national marine park. She knew I was staying the next three nights at another place that didn't have kayaks. She said I could use theirs if I was discreet.

I bought an eight pack of Modelos down the street and hung out in the garden next to my room. I took a shower and shaved for the first time in a week. I walked to Caballeros for dinner. I had a huge fish filet and beers. It was so cheap and delicious. Too bad I sat next to the most obnoxious four top of Americans. They were in their late fifties, drunk and making fools of themselves. I ate quickly and left. I finished the evening drinking beers, listening to music and updating my trip report in the garden. I went to bed really looking forward to seeing Erika tomorrow.

In the morning, Veronica let me keep my gear in the office while I went to the airport. That was a huge help since I couldn't check into my new place until 4:00. I had a fun ride south to the airport in San Jose Del Cabo. I stopped for gas in Santiago. This is a cool town with lots to do in the nearby mountains. Too bad we didn't have time to explore it. Next time.

Erika's flight was supposed to arrive in the newly built Terminal 2. After paying for parking I learned it was in Terminal 1, contrary to all signage saying otherwise. I rode to the other terminal and met Erika as she came out of customs. She had my ex-sister-in-law's helmet and gloves I gave her and a mesh jacket she borrowed from a friend. Her backpack fit perfectly in my trunk. It was pretty exciting. Erika had never ridden on a full size motorcycle. Plus, we'd only been on three dates and now we were heading off on my bike to a remote beach in Mexico!

On the ride, we stopped for quick photos at the Tropic of Cancer monument. 30 minutes later we were on the beach road. I was instantly relieved when I realized the sandy road was no problem with Erika on the back. In fact, the bike seemed to handle better. I think the extra weight on the rear took weight off the front wheel. I rode it just as fast as before and in no time we were back at Baja Bungalows.

I had a few beers in the fridge still. We sat under the kitchen palapa, drank Medelos, and laughed about how crazy and fun it was that we were in Mexico. We had a couple hours to kill, so we walked down the beach looking for the sharks I'd heard about. We didn't see any. We walked back to town and ate a late lunch at Tito's. We checked into our little house - The Jewel of Pulmo, around 4:00. Later we ate dinner across the street at Caballero's.

The next two days were like that, but even better. We had breakfast, lunch, and dinner at every restaurant in town. We snorkeled, swam with sea lions, lounged on the beach, happy houred, and chilled in our garden casita. The wildlife was incredible. We saw sharks, whales, huge sting rays, needle and trumpet fish, and tons of colorful birds. We even took in the primavera parade which ended at the town's elementary school where last year's queen passed her crown to the new queen. Veronica kept the invitation open to borrow her kayaks, but every time we tried they were in use. In what seemed like a flash, it was time to ride to Cabo San Lucas for our last night together.

I had a little cultue shock riding into the San Jose Del Cabo/Cabo San Lucas area. I was only in Cabo Pulmo for four days but succumbed completely to its laid back attitude and undeveloped natural beauty. All of a sudden we were in what felt like a big city. There was traffic, people, pollution...Walmart. I didn't mind it, I was just caught off guard. Still, I was surprised how beautiful the main bay in Cabo San Lucas was. You see it at a distance from the highway as you descend into town. It's instantly obvious why they built resorts here.

We met our condo owner in the marina, checked in, and then headed straight for Playa Medano. This is the main beach in Cabo. Spring break was in full effect! The bay was absolutely full of multimillion dollar yachts, para sailers, jet skis, kayaks, sailboats, etc. The beach was lined with one bar after another, each with umbrellas and chairs on the perfect tan sand. The place was crawling with partying American teens. It was hilarious and great. We grabbed front row seats and had lunch and drinks. Then we rented a double kayak and paddled to Playa Del Amor (Lovers Beach) and the famous Arch. It was a fun day and seeing these sights completed my Must See list.

Later, we walked the marina boardwalk and surrounding areas. It too was a scene. We had sushi and then drinks with a bunch of kids at an open air bar with a Mexican band covering Rolling Stones songs. That is when the novelty of spring break started to wear off. I love going out, drinking, partying, and music. But doing so with the retarded masses of SE American college campuses isn't really how I role.

I took Erika to the airport in the morning. We hung out and had breakfast until it was time for her to go through security. We said goodbye and each began our journey back to Denver. Hers would take three hours. Mine would take five days.

I rode the rest of the afternoon to Santa Rosalia. This is the town on the east coast with the French colonial influence and the church designed by Eiffel. Most hotels were booked but I found a room at Hotel El Industrial. It's next to the old foundry I'd climbed around in the week before. I walked around town that evening and ate at a taqueria in the 'French Quarter' that didnt sell tacos. They only served burritos and they were so good! I did my best to talk to the owner, her daughter and a customer in Spanish. The daughter was really cute. She was all business until I stepped back and took a photo of the restaurant. She ducked behind the counter. I guess the risk of us having mutual Facebook friends and not looking her best was a concern. I went back to the hotel and drank beers in the parking lot with Bill, an ex-marine/expat married to a Mexican woman in La Paz and doing three month stints at sea cooking for SEAL teams off the coast of Somalia.

In the morning I'd need to make up for my late start today and try to make the border.


Sign in Baja Bungalows' parking lot



My Bungalow



Updating ADVR Trip Report outside my bungalow



On the beach with Erika



Spring Fest!



Swimming with Sea Lions (found out later Tiger Sharks like to hang out here too)





Black Tip Reef Sharks eerily close to the beach



View of Cabo Pulmo from our roof



Leaving Pulmo, heading to Cabo San Lucas



View from the road above Pulmo



Tropic of Cancer



Cabo San Lucas!



We paddled out to the famous Arch



Walking around Cabo we found this place -- Do your banking and buy a couch and motorcycle!



On the way back, I stopped for one last view and pic of Bahia de Concepcion - my new favorite place on Earth



Quick lunch in Loreto



Dinner in Santa Rosalia - note girl ducking behind counter

__________________
Nevada Montagu
Denver, CO
2008 Suzuki V-Strom 650

Oblio screwed with this post 04-01-2013 at 06:42 PM
Oblio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2013, 07:14 PM   #20
805gregg
Just Stroming along
 
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Ojai, Ca
Oddometer: 1,450
Santa Rosalia to the border will be a very long run, maybe stop in San Quintin, makes for an easy morning border crossing. Just a thought
805gregg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2013, 08:50 AM   #21
tilliejacques
Gnarly Adventurer
 
tilliejacques's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: northern New Mexico
Oddometer: 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oblio View Post
Plus, we'd only been on three dates and now we were heading off on my bike to a remote beach in Mexico!
pretty darn awesome 4th date! Glad it all worked out for you both.

cheers
__________________
13 Honda CRF250L
11 Husky TE250
11 Honda CBR250R
08 Beta Rev3 125
tilliejacques is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2013, 11:38 AM   #22
Kawikazi
Loose Cannon
 
Kawikazi's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
Oddometer: 346
Trip Down Baja

I live in Virginia, but my son lives in Denver. I have been thinking about trucking my KLR out to Denver and heading south to do Baja to La Paz. I would like to stay in La Paz for maybe a week, then head back home. The only reservations I have are safety in Mexico, as I really would like to get home alive. Having read a number of ride reports, my sense is that concerns about safety for americans in Mexico are all hype and in reality it is probably safer to travel the baja coast than to visit most urban areas of the US. Can you comment on this subject? Other then petty theft, I am not reading any horror stories about traveling in Mexico.
Kawikazi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2013, 12:16 PM   #23
motoged
Studly Adventurer
 
motoged's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Kamloops, BC
Oddometer: 829
Kawikazi,
My experience of riding in Baja as well as the majority of mainland Mexico is you are safe. Avoid flashing money around, especially after dark in drinking establishments or where prostitution is happening (strip bars, clubs) and don't travel after dark (riding conditions and more bad guys out).

Don't brag about your riding exploits/destinations. Don't be a loud and "ugly American" type traveler. Be respectful to locals serving you and don't complain unduly about service, food, etc.

Stay away from resort areas or at least the bar scene.....if you want to get drunk, do it at your hotel/ motel rather than at local bars.....you become such an easy target in those circumstances.

A current ride report re: Copper Canyon points out that some areas have Citizen Patrols that are armed locals keeping a watchful eye for strangers passing through.....you may not notice them, but they sure have noticed you (not Baja so much....more mainland).

Baja outback rancheros keep in touch frequently and actively by cell phone and 2-way radio.....they are your friends....they know you are there. While the kids like stickers, gifts that are useful might be a better idea if you feel the need to "hand out trinkets to the natives".

If you buy gas from an outback location (barrel gas), pay whatever they ask and don't try to "get a deal"....they may not accept payment sometimes, nor a tip (propina)....in which case you DO offer them some money "por los ninos", a gesture they will likely appreciate.

Do NOT expect US dollars to be the currency you use....you are in Mexico....use their money.....you local 7-11 doesn't accept pesos, so realize you are in THEIR country....be respectful.

If you are 4:20 friendly, be VERY careful who you enjoy that with.

Get south of the US/Mex border by 2-300 miles as quickly as possible....more bad guys and desperate folks in the northern part of Mexico.

Learn some Spanish....be respectful....have a great time....ignore the State Dep't....it is an instrument of fear mongering.
__________________
Ged Schwartz
Kamloops , BC


Baja '05 , Baja 06/07 , Baja 08/09 , BC Alpine Single Track




motoged is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2013, 12:53 PM   #24
DetourJournal
DetourJournal.com
 
DetourJournal's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2009
Location: Provo, Utah
Oddometer: 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by tilliejacques View Post
pretty darn awesome 4th date! Glad it all worked out for you both.

cheers
Ya that freaking awesome! This is a great ride report. I'm loving the pictures. Keep them coming.
__________________
DetourJournal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2013, 04:59 PM   #25
Kawikazi
Loose Cannon
 
Kawikazi's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
Oddometer: 346
Thank You

[QUOTE=motoged;21039437]Kawikazi,
My experience of riding in Baja as well as the majority of mainland Mexico is you are safe. Avoid flashing money around, especially after dark in drinking establishments or where prostitution is happening (strip bars, clubs) and don't travel after dark (riding conditions and more bad guys out).

Don't brag about your riding exploits/destinations. Don't be a loud and "ugly American" type traveler. Be respectful to locals serving you and don't complain unduly about service, food, etc.

Stay away from resort areas or at least the bar scene.....if you want to get drunk, do it at your hotel/ motel rather than at local bars.....you become such an easy target in those circumstances.

A current ride report re: Copper Canyon points out that some areas have Citizen Patrols that are armed locals keeping a watchful eye for strangers passing through.....you may not notice them, but they sure have noticed you (not Baja so much....more mainland).

Baja outback rancheros keep in touch frequently and actively by cell phone and 2-way radio.....they are your friends....they know you are there. While the kids like stickers, gifts that are useful might be a better idea if you feel the need to "hand out trinkets to the natives".

If you buy gas from an outback location (barrel gas), pay whatever they ask and don't try to "get a deal"....they may not accept payment sometimes, nor a tip (propina)....in which case you DO offer them some money "por los ninos", a gesture they will likely appreciate.

Do NOT expect US dollars to be the currency you use....you are in Mexico....use their money.....you local 7-11 doesn't accept pesos, so realize you are in THEIR country....be respectful.

If you are 4:20 friendly, be VERY careful who you enjoy that with.

Get south of the US/Mex border by 2-300 miles as quickly as possible....more bad guys and desperate folks in the northern part of Mexico.

Learn some Spanish....be respectful....have a great time....ignore the State Dep't....it is an instrument of fear mongering.[/QUOT

Not to hi-jack this RR for our own self interests, but I am sure others like me are thinking the same thing, but perhaps afraid to raise the issue for fear of looking like a wimp. I very much appreciate your suggestions and perspective as I am seriously planning the trip and you have given me confirmation of my own suspicions. I would rather be traveling Mexico with a Canadian passport, but your advice is not hard to follow as I am not wealthy or flashy, not a bar person and will most likely stick to the most remote path possible making a beeline for La Paz where I do have ex-pat friends. Presently studying spanish and hope to have a reasonable handle on the language before my trip. I really think speaking the language is critical to smooth sailing and do appreciate your insights.
Kawikazi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2013, 07:24 PM   #26
Oblio OP
Stop Saying "Farkle"
 
Oblio's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Oddometer: 20
Back in Denver!

I made it home this afternoon! I will finish my trip report and add lots more photos.

Regarding our 4th date: that is exactly what Erika said when we were getting on the bike at the airport!

Regarding safety: Baja is as safe as a big bike trip in the less populated parts of the states - maybe safer. The dangers are the same as the states - the usual motorcycle risks, having mechanical issues far from home, wildlife/nature, petty crime, stupidity. Unfortunately, a lot of the hype is true in parts of Mexico. The only parts in Baja this hype pertains to is the border. That being said, the border areas I saw in Mexicali and Tecate were nice, friendly, and inviting.

The biggest danger I was aware of on my travels was Highway 1. It has new pavement in many areas, but it can change to crap with little warning. The lanes are narrower than an average two-lane highway in the States and there is only a single yellow line dividing the lanes. There are often no guardrails or shoulders, and the road usually drops off into gnarly terrain on the sides. Going off the road because you're looking at the scenery could be fatal. Finally, some people drive like lunatics. Big trucks usually have skilled drivers, but even they like to swing wide before right-hand turns. I noticed a lot of men in SUVs did this too. I had a few "Oh Shit" moments because of this.

But the bottom line is if you're thinking about a moto trip to Baja, absolutely go!
__________________
Nevada Montagu
Denver, CO
2008 Suzuki V-Strom 650

Oblio screwed with this post 03-30-2013 at 12:26 AM
Oblio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2013, 11:05 AM   #27
kitesurfer
Beastly Adventurer
 
kitesurfer's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: JAX, FL
Oddometer: 1,445
THIRD DATE!!! My wife and i had our first date-- a 12 hour canoe trip. our second date was a 4 day motorcycle/camping/white water trip up in the smokey mountains, 4 days later. i've been showing her these mexican rr's for a couple years now. may be a fly and ride for her.
__________________
2012 VSTROM ADV 650
US NAVY RETIRED
kitesurfer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2013, 12:24 AM   #28
Oblio OP
Stop Saying "Farkle"
 
Oblio's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Oddometer: 20
Days 18 - 22

I got an early start and enjoyed the cool morning air. The highway starts climbing into the central highlands just north of town. I glanced over my left shoulder passing the pullout high above Santa Rosalia where I'd stopped for a pic of the city and ocean almost two weeks before. It would be my last view of the Sea of Cortez.

I rode through San Ignacio and started preparing myself for the bland, boring emptiness of the Desierto de Vizcaino. 20 minutes later it was in full effect. I stopped for gas at the same Pemex in the town of Vizcaino I'd filled up in on the way down. I also used the same ATM across the street to get a little more money for one more day's gas, lunches, dinner, and hotel. I was hungry but wanted to keep moving.

I stopped for a late breakfast in Guerro Negro. I'd eaten at Don Gus previously and it was on the highway side of town. I was happy to see the friendly waitstaff again and sit in their cheerful dining room. My phone still had their wifi info and connected automatically.

I could have sat there all morning drinking coffee and messing around on the internet. I wasn't particularly looking forward to the rest of the day's ride. But I pushed on. I needed gas and was going to fill up in town, but I remembered passing a gas station north of Guerro Negro. I also remembered there weren't anymore on the way to the turn off to Coco's - a couple hours ride. That was where I first got on Highway 1 on my way down. It never occurred to me there may not be gas stations north of that intersection. That chance conversation I had with Bill last night in the parking lot turned out to be very serendipitous. Had he not asked me about my bike's fuel range for that area, I'd never given it a second thought. Since he had, I didn't fill up in Guerro Negro, but Villa Jesus Maria - 10 miles north. My National Geographic maps show no gas for 200 miles between Villa Jesus Maria and Rosario de Arriba.

The 115 miles from Guerro Negro to Chapala (Coco's turnoff) is so boring. I passed the intersection that leads to Coco's Corner and Gonzaga Bay and kept going north on Highway 1. I thought to myself I would at least see all new terrain, even if it was boring. It was, for a while. In less than hour the scenery started to change. Greener vegetation returned and huge boulders started to appear everywhere. Soon after I dipped into a beautiful boulder and cactus strewn wash and then up a small hill into the tiny town of Catavina. I guy was selling gas from a drum on the side of the road. I did the math and thought I could probably make Rosario de Arriba, but I bought two gallons anyway. Plus, I thought it was cool buying gas from a guy on the side of the road.

The area north of Catavina is seriously beautiful. It is quintessential Baja 1000 promo photo landscape. There are millions of giant white boulders in the sand with giant cacti growing everywhere. Between it all are dozens of criss-crossing two tracks leading to who knows where. The Canadian couple on the KLR I'd met in Guerro Negro two weeks prior said they were camping in an area full of boulders. I'm sure this was the place. I wanted to stop for a pic but just kept riding. This would be the theme for the rest of the trip. I should have stopped.

The boulders disappeared but eventually I was on top of this ridge line with killer views. The highway pretty much follows the ridge for miles of twisty fun but the usual lack of shoulder or guardrails. I took in what I could but kept up my quick pace. This is another spot I should have taken a photo or two.

I finally rode into Rosario de Arriba and got gas. A military convoy was fueling when I arrived. At first I didn't know if I could enter. The gas station was guarded on all sides by about a dozen soldiers with machine guns. I saw other cars so proceeded. I saw that a Suburban was just finishing filling up and an officer signaled to his men to mount up. He got in the SUV and the men jumped into the back of the Hummer-type troop transport vehicles and they drove away. I wondered who else must have been in that Suburban.

The highway hugged the Pacific Coast for a while after Rosario. Unfortunately, it also went through several towns. Traffic and stop lights made progress painfully slow. After 30 minutes or so it finally opens up and you get some nice views of the coastal plain, farms, the oceans, surfers, and beautiful fields covered in millions of tiny red flowers. It looks like they're carpeted. The whole area looks like southern California and felt a lot more modern than the rest of Baja. I felt like I was already back in the States. The highway winds through some pretty hills and then descends into Ensenada. Ensenada is a good size city and it too was very American-like. I detoured through the tourist district and was surprised to see a beautiful waterfront and a giant cruise ship docked in the harbor. It was sunset so I rode to the north side of town and found a cheap motel close to food, gas, and an Oxxo. Had it been earlier, I would have ridden around a little more and found a motel on the beach-side of the highway. Mine was fine though and cost $450 pesos.

I unpacked and rode up a few blocks to the taco stand on the corner. It was hopping and I ate awesome tacos standing at the counter. I ordered seconds. I went to the Oxxo next door and bought tequila for my house/dog sitter and five pack of Faros. Finally, I filled up at the Pemex across from my hotel. This was the only time I was aware of someone trying to rip me off on my trip. Someone whistled as I rode in which I don't know had any significance. My attendant was pretty friendly in a "Hey Bro!" sort of way. He made way too big a deal showing me the pump was zeroed before he started pumping. Then, when he gave me change for my 500 note, he short changed me 50 pesos. Having gotten into the habit of counting my change when using 500 and 200 pesos bills, I paused and counted a couple more times. I looked up and before I said anything he said, "Oh, yeah, I owe you one more 50." He pulled a 50 out of his wad which was also full of dozens of 100s. He could have easily given me a 100 initially instead of the eventual two 50 notes I ended up with. It was such an obvious ploy. I didn't tip him like I did most Pemex attendants and we looked at each other as I rode out. His look seemed to say, "I don't care if you know I tried to rip you off." Dick.

The lessons and upside to this incident were: 1) It was the only time I felt someone tried to cheat me on the whole trip, 2) The border areas and maybe downtown Cabo are the places you're most likely to be taken advantage of, 3) $5 (less, actually) is hardly going to ruin anyones trip, 4) Baja is honest and you should readily tip and pay asking price in almost all circumstances.

The next morning I was riding by 8:00. I wasn't in too big a hurry since I knew I could ride to the front of the line at the border and it didn't matter too much how far I made it that night. I could ride any distance the next day required to make Denver since riding at night was not a big deal.

The ride to Tecate is gorgeous (again, no pics). It's mountainous and perfect (wide!) pavement. It even has shoulders. The road winds through the wine country and some pretty nice homes. I passed numerous cyclists, some on teams with support vehicles, as I rode through the mountains. I was happy my last hour of riding in Baja was pretty. Tecate came too soon and it too was a cute little town. I rode up to the border area and stopped at a nice town park surrounded by dozens of shops and businesses. You could see the 20 foot border fences two blocks away. I changed my pesos to dollars and should have had one last Mexican breakfast. Instead, I rode to the back of the line of cars waiting to cross into the U.S. They were in a single line in the far right lane for at least a mile. Traffic attendants and peddlers walked up and down the middle lane. I didn't even hesitate and rode up the left lane, dodging a peddler here and there. Cutting in line worked on my last trip to Mexico and I hoped it would work again. I confidently rode up to and stopped at a row of red cones and three Federales with H&K assault rifles. Before I could say anything, one of the soldiers moved a cone out of the way and waved me to the back of the shortest of two lanes leading to the U.S. Customs booths. Within three minutes I was talking to the Customs officer and then riding off. Motorcycles are great!

I parked a couple blocks north of the border, stowed my stuff, and walked back across the border. I returned my tourist card at the Oficina de Imigracion and got another stamp in my passport. I was feeling confident about finally returning my previous vehicle permit which would allow me to again travel by bike in mainland Mexico. I was directed to another building and handed the man at the counter my old permit. He didn't speak English and I described very generally what I wanted in Spanish. He said someone in the back could help me and disappeared. I waited and was feeling great. I guy finally came out who spoke English and asked to see my bike. I told him I sold that bike but I had proof it was sold in the U.S. He said again he needed to see the bike. I told him it was gone. He handed back my paperwork and said I could not cancel the permit. I said there must be a way. He said no. I asked if I could speak to someone else. He said there was no else I could talk to. I told him I would find a way. He laughed and said, "You do whatever you want." I said, "Thanks for your help, asshole," and walked away. I was bummed. I crossed back to the U.S. and started my ride home dejected.

Within an hour I felt better. It was still a great trip and the weather in southern California was perfect. I rode the rest of the day to Phoenix and finally ended up in Flagstaff. The only tough part of that ride was going from riding in a t-shirt in Phoenix rush hour to 35 degree weather just south of Flagstaff. The temperature went from 85 degree to 35 degrees in half an hour once the sun set and I started ascending toward Flagstaff. I should have stayed on the low road through Tucson - I-10.

The next two days kind of sucked. I froze riding across Arizona on I-40 to Albuquerque. I stopped for the night in Santa Fe. I had doubts the current weather system that was dumping snow on Colorado was going to blow east by tomorrow. I was right. CDOT said I-25 was snowy or icy starting at the southern border with New Mexico. My guess was I probably could have made it, but I wasn't willing to risk ending my trip with a crash. I walked around the historic part of Santa Fe all afternoon. It was Monday, so the three museums I really wanted to go to were closed. I went to the Georgia O'Keefe museum instead, ate lunch, and hung out at the library reading magazines.

The next day was chilly but the roads were dry. A couple hours later I was in Colorado. Even at the truck stop in Trinidad, CO, people still approached me curious about the bike and where I'd been. When I said I was riding home from Cabo they were stunned. I think it never occurs to most people that there is continuous road from the Arctic Ocean to the Panama Canal - 10 countries.

Three hours later my big Baja trip was over. I was happy to be home but sad my adventure had come to an end. But it was so perfect: I'd returned to the mountains from the tropics. There was snow on the ground, but it was 55 degrees and sunny. In a way, it was Colorado's first day of Spring!

My final thoughts of Baja and my equipment to come in my Trip Post Mortem.

One of the longer military checkpoints



Buying gas in Catavina



Last dinner - Ensenada

__________________
Nevada Montagu
Denver, CO
2008 Suzuki V-Strom 650

Oblio screwed with this post 04-01-2013 at 06:49 PM
Oblio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2013, 07:32 AM   #29
tilliejacques
Gnarly Adventurer
 
tilliejacques's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: northern New Mexico
Oddometer: 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oblio View Post
... I'm sure this was the place. I wanted to stop for a pic but just kept riding. This would be the theme for the rest of the trip. I should have stopped.

This is another spot I should have taken a photo or two.
...

Guess you'll have to go back and make another trip sometime to get the pictures!

nice to have the details about the border crossing etc

cheers
__________________
13 Honda CRF250L
11 Husky TE250
11 Honda CBR250R
08 Beta Rev3 125
tilliejacques is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-04-2013, 08:29 PM   #30
Truetorch
Adventurer
 
Truetorch's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2012
Oddometer: 11
Thanks for the ride report, Sat here for the past hour reading and checking out your photos. Makes me dream of doing that trip myself.
Good luck at the new job.
John
Truetorch is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 05:28 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014