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Old 02-16-2007, 06:47 AM   #106
Teeds
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Great adventures!

Many places to add to my list of "must see local haunts" in Baja.

Did you feel like having your truck hindered your explorations, or was having it a plus?
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Old 02-16-2007, 10:07 AM   #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teeds
Great adventures!

Many places to add to my list of "must see local haunts" in Baja.

Did you feel like having your truck hindered your explorations, or was having it a plus?
Teed,
Good question !!

We took the truck for the following reasons:
1) We needed spare tires, UHD Bridgestone tubes, oil;
2) We needed transportation for broken bike if mechanical issues arose anywhere south of Puertocitos (friends just returned paid $500 US for bike to be transported from Laguna San Ignacio to San Felipe....my insurance for 4 weeks was only $300....);
3) We had 4 weeks of ride time...we wanted to have more "stuff" than what is needed for a one-week bike-only ride which is what most dirtbikers seem to do there....

The truck allowed us to have more "creature comfort factor" and peace of mind in case of the unexpected....

It was not a parking security problem for the times and places we parked it....

Next time????? I will park in San Felipe and ride the northern Rancho Veronica-Laguna Hanson-Guadalupe Canyon- Valle Trinidad stuff as I have not done that yet.....


Truck again.?????...you bet, but only if spending more than 3 weeks and 2000 kms

And....next time will commit to the unexplored more....no need to ride south of Ciudad Constitucion....best riding tends to be north of there....except for San Jose-Rancho Naranja-Todos Santos ride.

Ged
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Old 02-16-2007, 12:45 PM   #108
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Teed,

Some more thoughts....the size and type of bike makes a great amount of difference....a dirtbike is not usually able to carry much "luggage" beyond what you can carry on your back in a pack....this forum displays a range of solutions some people have developed....

My '05 set up carried more crap than my setup this year...as the 25 liter tank was put on too late to set up pack system...
The '05 setup:


Larger bike like KLR, BMW, KTM adventures, etc have the capacity to carry lots of crap, but suffer in the whoops and soft sand....you have a trade-off....

I prefer the 450-650 dirtbike solutions these days and don't attempt to carry camp gear....just a change of clothes, water pack (3 litres), tubes, tool kit, camera, patch kit and hand pump (co2 cartridges are a waste of space), and shoes "to walk out in", headlamp, lighter.....all of which fits inside a pack with a volume of about 30 litres....

Bigger bikes allow camp gear and even a spare tire (Ricardo at San Ignacio Rice and Beans usually has a few tires for sale if you ask him nicely)...

You need to figure what kind of ride/trip you are looking for....a truck w/ bikes that can carry a load is overkill if you are just there for a week or so....

I like the "I am self-contained minimalist" thinking, but rarely pull it off as I even carry a bit more stuff when trailriding for a day than do most of my ride buddies.....but I am on medication for that
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Old 02-18-2007, 01:48 PM   #109
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Ensenada is not the best way to end a chunk of time in Baja...

It offers the tourist hustle that I much prefer to avoid...









yet, it offers a place of transition....the urban pace, the last or first chance to do a bit of souvenir shopping, and the transformation from being an aficionado to another tourist on the trail...and just another FF on a ride...












We were up and ready to roll by 8:00 but the buffet breakfast wasn't ready around the corner, so we paced the sidewalks for a while and then settled into a buffet that, like the other "Cowboy Specials", was not quite what it claimed to be.

Rules for eating in Baja:
1) If you have to venture beyond a small family-run taco stand , look for a small family-run eatery that has few gringos gracing the table or two they have set up;









....some exceptions to the rules...




2) If #1 is not possible, stay away from places that "remind you of home", as they will tend to be overpriced and of questionable quality;
3) Don't always eat the beans if lard doesn't agree with your guts;
4) corn tortillas are not made with lard, as are the flour tortillas....but the corn tortillas tend to "disintegrate" quicker when rolled up into a gustatory delight;




5) Eat fish tacos whenever you can;



6) Stay away from the mayonaise at the hot dog carts;
7) Eat at at least one hot dog cart, especially the ones with lots of locals crowded around;
8) Eat fish tacos;



9) When eating beef tacos, be brave and order the toungue or the head
(Lengua o cabeza) as that is the tenderest and sweetest bovine fare;
10) Pork tacos rival beef tacos;






11) Eat fish tacos....





12) Eat ice cream whenever you can...





The cooler weather was upon us, but the sun was shining.



It was a Sunday and the traffic out of Ensenada was light....we had a relatively short day of driving ahead of us and the only real point of interest along the drive to the border was a semi-truck wreck up in the hills....half the town must have been there waiting for the "salvaging" to begin...most were dressed in their Sunday best....nothing wrong with opportunistic scavenging on the way to church....


Our plans were to get to Palm Springs where Darren was going to visit his mother, so we crossed the border at Tecate, wormed our way through the labyrinth of the new US customs barriers (Yep, THAT will keep the terrorists out ), and then drove # 94 to Jacumba and then #8 to El Centro...

The twisty #94 had a good representation of canyon carvers worrying the corners...Portreros offered a spot for a brief reprieve and road warrior preparation...



The boulder-studded countryside already had me jonesing for Catavina...

....maybe Bill Nichols has a trail through this part......




Onward through El Centro, north past Salton Sea, and into the Palm Springs strip. I dropped Darren at his Mom's, drove around Desert Hot Springs where she lived and picked a motel that had some parking close to the room as the "Unload" ritual. The pool and hot spring thing was appealing, but I drove around exploring the outskirts of DHS in the golden light of the late afternoon...this was the last day in the desert for a lengthy period of time so I was trying to savour it...

Two bars were evident on the mainstrip going up the hill...one had a few HD's parked outside, loud music pouring from the inside, and a few tattoos hanging around ......the other was a little less fancy and had to old desert rats having a smoke on the porch....so I pulled up.

Before getting to th door, the two DRs were welcoming and the conversation started with "Geezuz, how big is that tank???"...



My reply was lost in the shadows of their refelective joking...
"Geezuz, that would slow you down out there....when we used to ride out there......"




... and we all enjoyed exagerating our ride stories over a cigarette before heading into the bowels of their watering hole...

The dozen or so locals inside were lined up along the bar like the gulls and pelicans at the shoreline at Bahia de los Angeles....mostly men, and a few women .... the crowd gave me a cursory once-over before returning to their football game trance on the tv's above the bar.

I ordered a double scotch ...J&B was the best they had and it tasted a little thin....but she poured a good three fingers on top of the "only a few cubes"
I had specified...

One of the guys from the porch approached and we entered into a brief review of his life history....his Dad's generousity in the 60's after a hurricane hit San Felipe seemed to have placed his dad in a position of grace as "everytime we would go down there after that, the mayor said everything was covered....we never paid for a room, meals, or booze...."

I figured that this guy would have cashed in that ticket a number of times over the years as San Felipe was only about 4 hours away....a short drive for that kind of privilege....

"When was the last time you were down there?", I asked....and the rueful look in his eye forewarned of his reply...."Geezuz, it must have been about '67 or so".....

That's a lot of lost opportunity, I thought....



After the scotch warmed my belly, I decided to try the local mexican restaurant that seemed to be the busiest place in town...

I sat down and decided on a chicken burrito or something like that....or maybe it was a chimichanga....something I order rarely and only to order something that sounds like Walt Disney named it...

In my ordering process, I applied some of my rudimentary Spanish and recognized one of my linguistic errors soon into the conversation....the waiter noticed my error, smugly repeated my error, and had the same fukkin arrogant air about him that Darren's Cowboy Special Steak waiter had when he asked what the soup of the day was....

I had just spent a month with local folks who helpfully corrected my language mistakes and who smiled when I explained I had a basic vocabulary but no verb conjugation skills....

And this guy pulls attitude I felt stupid and out of place.....

The food wasn't that good but a waitress was offering some kindness as my waiter guy wasn't caring much about my presence.....

I didn't eat the beans The waiter lost any dreams of a tip when I left...

I made it back to the motel with a reminder of the cultural differences that such travelling makes evident. I don't think that I overly romanticize the openess and friendliness I have encountered in Mexico and Central America during my travels there, but I sure as hell prefer it to North American travel encounters ....on the average....

I always mourn my return home from such travel.....

The next morning I picked Darren up at 9:00 as planned and headed past the wind turbines to the winter ahead...




We found ourselves looking for a room somewhere in the northern outskirts of Sacramento that evening....security was the issue and motel-finding was task devoid of pleasure.....the place was cold, had a bar with comedians but by the time we got there the last act was performing for one table....and the biggest woman sitting there was also the loudest....laughing hysterically at even the stupidest of his jokes...

Darren and I figured it was his girlfriend....or somebody wanting to be...

We returned to our rooms and planned on an early start the next morning...

By the time we were getting north of Redding towards Shasta, winter was making itself evident....by Grant's Pass area the freeways were sheets of ice with a wet layer of slush lubricating our way.....




I have never been in highway trafffic stopped for hours on end this much before....




Entusiasm for being "On The Road" was waning with the delays....




Butt......there was some entertainment while waiting for traffic to move...







Some folks were walking....this guy had golf shoes in the bag....and was slipping badly every second step with the footwear he had on....it occured to me he was mis-shod....




Our plans were to hopefully make it to southern Washington that day....we pulled into Albany, Oregon by about 8:00 pm....foggy, wet and ready for the comfort of a room.


Dreaming of a better place and time...









But more about that later....
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Old 02-18-2007, 03:10 PM   #110
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Sweet dreams are made of these....

http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=6460062653771893778







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Old 02-19-2007, 09:43 AM   #111
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Execllent report and pictures!
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Old 02-22-2007, 08:55 PM   #112
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BUTT.....



We weren't home yet

Our evening in Albany offered some entertainment....

....first at the motel search as, at one place Darren went into to ask for room prices, he was delayed somewhat by a porcine mother weaving a tale to the desk clerk about how some guy at the nearby Walmart (your source for cheap plastic crap) had apparently been stalking her teenage daughter....and was going to be following them to the motel....

Now, by looking at her daughter and the rest of the family, there may have been some question about genetic overlapping and banjo-picking, but there was little question as to the mental health status of anyone wanting to stalk her daughter....this woman was flattering herself with her allegations....

"That motel" was not as good as the Best Western next door....so we gave up the opportunity to see how the melodrama ended.

After settling into our rooms and doing the "unload routine", Darren and I walked across the parking lot to what looked like a sensible reataurant/bar. Darren was always optimistic that we would walk into a place that had a bar that would be miraculously overrun with buxom young women who would find us irresistably attractive....

Now, he presented this optimism with an alarming frequency and was not deterred at all by the consistency of the denoument that frequently followed our footsteps into each such establishment

The small lounge area was infested with travelling salesmen, a few locals, and ....yes... a small sampling of women that were obviously NOT part of the Swedish Women's Volleyball Team.

We chose to have dinner in the restaurant dining area.

Walking through the small lobby to the dining room, we both noticed a guy sitting in the foyer talking with a waitress....and this guy had one of those ear-phone things with a coiled wire running down into a pocket.

I thought that this guy was either security or a wannabe secret service type and made some wisecrack to Darren to that effect. The jokes took the form of talking into our cuffs for a minute or two....cuz we know about that spy stuff

The waitress soon approached our table and presented as a friendly person who took the time to have a conversation...

We mentioned the bad weather and our road fatigue and she laughed, gesturing to the several other solo male customers indicating they had all gone through the same bad weather ritual....

"Except for that guy", she pointed, "He's a local". I tried to include him in the conversation out of a sense of mutual comraderie, but the effort fell flat....

The cultural slap was back....people seemed uncomfortable with that form of openness...

Darren and I sure missed better restaurant company...

The spirit sure was there before...





When placing our order I took the liberty of asking the waitress if the guy with the ear-jack phone was security or secret service....she seemed a bit shy or reticent to just indicate that he was not and that it was just his phone....a few comments into our cuffs didn't go over too well after the joke wore thin.

She asked where we were from and guessed it was California as she had overheard something we had said about Sacramento that morning...and also asked if we were a father & son team...something that amused Darren and me from time to time when others asked that....

Maybe a compliment in that question, we assumed....

Dinner was prime rib and okay....back to the motel after a while and a chance to watch the weather reports and David Letterman.
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Old 02-22-2007, 10:23 PM   #113
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We got up early and went downstairs to the "Free Breakfast" of make-yer-own waffles, toated carbs, coffee and a ragged group of loud young men who looked like they were either travelling with a carnival, a state highway litter-picking crew without orange overalls, or a crack-head car-theft ring.

Their bragging about being drunk fools the night before drowned out the tv up in the corner of the dining area.

My waffles were soggy because I didn't turn the make-yer-own-waffles gril the right way....Darren settled for a light snack out of earshot of the punks...


The early morning fog escorted us out of Albany before the sun woke up the following morning. Our drive north was industrial and at a good pace.

Entering Washington proved to us we were on our way home....

The traffic was moving faster as the morning woke up.

Somewhere south of Tacoma Darren pointed out the state trooper pursuing a speeder in the southbound lane and we made some forgettable comments about that. I thought to myself that in the 10,000+ kms of truck driving we had done the past month, we had no problems with police despite opportunities and reasons...

I generally have found that on such Kamloops-San Diego blasts, the truck ends up pacing with the traffic and that 75-85 mph is de rigeur....

As I was mulling this over and enjoying my good fortune, I notice a state trooper car under the overpass ahead just in time to also notice that my speedometer reads 75 mph.....and I am reassured by the thought that I am keeping the pack pace....and take my foot off the gas but keep it off the red light pedal....

Sure as hell I also notice in my side mirror that Smokey is pulling out of his lair and has the lights flashing....my gut tells me that I am his ....

I tell Darren that we are a target and that I am going to play dumb until this guy makes it real clear that WE are the terrorists in his sights....and by that time his headlight wigwags are doing a lightshow that would send an epileptic into deep conniptions....

We reassure one another that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself....and I recognize that that's enough in itself....and pull over through three lanes of recently reformed drivers to the gravel shoulder.

Now, I have seen enough COPS , America's Stupidest Criminals, and Car Chases and Stunts You Should Not Try At Home programs to know what I should and should not do at that point in time.


The Trooper approaches on the passenger side (he has obviously seen enough Cops-Being-Hit-By-Drunk-Motorists-While-Writing-Tickets videos) and presented himself in a polite manner.

As I knew my nuts were in the vice, I didn't try to wriggle loose. He pointed out that I was speeding and that the speed limit had decreased from 70 mph to 60 mph three inches before the spot where he parked his rig....I tried to reason that I was going the same speed as the rest of the pace cars....and with a gentle smile, he pointed out that I was 4 mph faster than the other road maniacs....thus earning his attention.

His kindness overwhelmed me when he indicated that he was going to write a less expensive ticket and lie about my rate of compressing time and space...so I only had to pay just under $100 for the pleasure of his attentiveness.

We motored on and it was approaching 11:00 am and Tacoma. A GS buddy works at the Tacoma BMW motorcycle shop and I wondered if it would be close to a lunch, gas, and pee stop. Before that riddle addled my brain, I saw the SouthSound BMW sign right there beside the freeway

http://www.southsoundbmw.com/

Before Darren knew what I was doing, I was negotiating the off ramp and explained my intentions of a visit, a desire to eat (hopefully Barbeque, I said), and a pit stop. While Darren was programmed to get home PFQ, he agreed to the gesture, at least because he was somewhat captive.

We found the motorcycle shop and walked inside the HUGE and somewhat newly relocated establishment.

The place was littered with the most excellent collection of old, interesting, and new toys...












The showroom was a mixture of the old bikes as well as new models.

As Darren was snapping these pics, I asked if my friend, Wayne, was working that day....and was very glad to be told that he was "over there..."

Wayne is a fellow I met about seven years ago on one of the BC Canyons Rally tours that I had run in BC...a week-long tour of southern BC. A fellow with incredible spirit, Wayne is one of a fine group of American GSers that I have had the privilege of meeting and becoming friends with through the several tours that I had run.

Wayne offered us a tour of the business and took us into the great expansive repair department, storeage area, and gave us the lowdown on the dealership's development. He had previously been a sales guy at Seattle's Ride West BMW dealership for a handful of years before taking the job at South Sound.

The guy rides his GS over 100 miles each day to work regardless of weather....."Ride Fast....Take Chances" seems to be one of his mottos....and he follows it in his respectful way....




Wayne has some great travel stories and has ridden with Helge Pederson's
international touring Globe Riders:

http://www.globeriders.com/

But Helge and his crew are a whole other story

Sometime during our time in Baja, I had passed on to Darren one of Wayne's stories regarding riding in South Africa with Helge, the values of water buffalo horns as utensils (or some such beast), sloppy bike preparations, and close calls....and I thought that Darren wasn't quite believeing my tale.

It was with great pleasure that I asked Wayne to recount that adventure to Darren, just to confirm that our lives are truly that interesting, and that we don't have to make shit like that up...cuz it REALLY happens

Now, one of the material objects that I covet is an HP2....and I had to sign up for the draw to win one....I am still waiting for them to call me to let me know when to pick it up...




I noticed one in the repair department and asked about it...






It seems that it belongs to a fellow, Aaron, that I had met a few years earlier at "Snowcamp"....a weekend campout at a Mt Rainier campground held each Martin Luther King holiday... (the campground had unfortunately been washed away this year)....and Aaron at that time had a stealth sidecar rig attached to some big Japanese bike ...

Aaron is seated/ Eric w/leathers:


And Aaron, as it goes, had recently danced with a deer and did some cosmetic damage to the HP2. I remember reading about it on the "NW-GSers" Yahoo forum just before we left for Baja...everybody was cooing over Aaron and expressing concerns about any injuries he sustained in that dance...I just was concerned with how the bike was

Here are the owies...






Evidently Aaron is OK....the bugger just got a job at South Sound BMW as a Parts guy

Where the hell can I sign up for a job like that



Darren did a bit of shopping and graced me with a South sound T shirt and key lanyard....and pimped himself with a BMW cap...
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Old 02-23-2007, 07:10 AM   #114
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Ged-

Always excellent to read you ride reports! I am still recovering from the F*cking forest rat experience, but rest assured I'll be riding soon...gotta say surfing a deer is NOT the way to end a weekend!

As Wayne would say, "Ride fast. Take chances..."
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Old 02-25-2007, 09:34 AM   #115
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JED, now that's how to tell a story!!I've only been back from our baja trip for about a week now, and i can feel the gears grinding out a new plan for next year.coinsidently our group covered a lot of the same ground that you and darren did. your fine photo-journalistic skills are apparant, in this thread. thks again. cactusreid (page #6 fame in this articule- shame less plug for myself. yuk yuk )
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Old 02-25-2007, 05:06 PM   #116
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Cactus,

It doesn't take long at home before the next ride starts to unfold

Where are you on page 6?

Ged
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Old 02-26-2007, 06:57 AM   #117
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jed: my cameo is your last sunpeaks photo/concerned look/helmet off,dreaming of the upcoming section. and your so right,the baja bug doesn't seem to take long to sink in and take another bite of you. thks again Reid
ps : thanks for the lend of the fuel jugs.
important things in baja
1-fuel
2-water
3 cervesa/food is pretty near a wash!!
4 everything else you can improvise!
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Old 02-26-2007, 03:37 PM   #118
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Reid,


Duh....I didn't make the connection...THAT Reid....!!!!

Now that you are another world famous dirtbiker....

Ged
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Old 02-26-2007, 04:26 PM   #119
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Your So Kind- And Did I Mention A Bit Of A Story Teller!!
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Old 02-26-2007, 07:30 PM   #120
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"Muchas gracias mi amigo"!

Ged,
Your yarn spinnin' kept me away from my evening chores.I did get a couple extra ron y coca's in the process. One of the best threads ever! I'm sittin' here in Kelowna lamenting the end of our two week Costa Rica dual sport trip.I'm coming down easier thanks to your great story tellin' and pics.A Baja experience is a must por proxima ano.Spring is 'round the corner and my ole' KLR will be banging around Kamloops coutry soon.Hope we cross paths one day!
Brian
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