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Old 04-22-2007, 02:22 PM   #16
GB
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Awesome!!

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Old 04-22-2007, 03:16 PM   #17
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Definitely enjoying it Johnny. Thanks.

Waiting for more...
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Old 04-23-2007, 12:12 AM   #18
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Good Stuff!!

JD,

Nice report so far. Looking forward to reading more.



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Old 04-23-2007, 01:48 AM   #19
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Here's a pic of the little resort we stumbled upon...from space.

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Old 04-23-2007, 08:14 AM   #20
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Most excellent! Standing by for the next installment.
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Old 04-23-2007, 09:39 AM   #21
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Day 2 - Ensenada to San Quintín - 144 Miles - Monday, March 19th




THE SOUNDS OF THE SEA

Good bed, good sheets, good sleep. May be our last night in a decent bed for a while—I sure appreciated it. Good ocean air, too—we kept the door open a bit for that and for the sound of the water. Unfortunately, that led to me be awakened in the middle of the night—twice—by the sound of a woman um…en flagrante delectosomewhere in the hotel. Apparently someone else had left their window open too. Clay wisely popped in his earplugs and slept right through it. This morning, there were only four other people in the huge dining room for breakfast—an older couple, and…what appeared to be a marine--and his girlfriend.

She looked tired, she was wearing sunglasses, but she couldn’t wipe that grin off her face.

I saw her try--a couple of times.


THE FAT OF THE LAND



Ah…breakfast...lovely, fresh chorizo and eggs, beans, and chilaquiles…
orange juice, coffee...



...and some fresh hot flour tortillas to make sure you can mop up every last delicious little bit.



It ain't Kaneman's thumb, but you get the idea. Damn. Some kid from Texas has given me "thumb envy." I'm a therapist's dream come true.


THE RUSH OF THE WIND

Packed the bikes and hit the road.



Clay puts his tank bag behind himself. I'm not sure why. Maybe that makes it an ass bag (nyuck, nyuck, nyuck)



My GOD I'm in love with my bike. Perfect weather. Fantastic to leave in the morning, not in a hurry, after a good night's sleep, and a lovely fresh breakfast with wait staff instead of Subway fueling me. Mmmm....

I'd go back to sleep--except I have to ride the Baja Peninsula on my motorcycle today, thanks.

The plan was to get back on the highway, head south to Santo Tomás, head over the mountains and ride dirt twenty miles south to Punta Cabras and Eréndira, hit the asphalt back to the 1, then south to San Quintín, winding up in a room at the legendary Old Mill.



Weather's cleared up. Estero Beach even smells a bit better.



Fantastic, beautiful ride down the Mex 1 to Santo Tomás…stopped at Pemex. Since there was a line of mountains between us and the ocean, it was warm. Perfect, gorgeous weather as we entered the hilly, green Santo Tomás vineyard country.




Got gas, Clay’s chain was sagging and he thought it might be loose, so he cursed the name of Rocket Motorcycles’ owner for “screwing it up.” He broke out his toolkit and began to loosen the rear axle. He was pissed.



I took the opportunity to leave the first “breadcrumb” along our path.




Just then a truck with three guys pulled up for gas. "Nice bikes," the driver said as he got out and approached. "Where you guys headed?"

"Cabo," I said. "You?"

"Aw, we gotta be back in San Diego tonight."

"Been fishing?" Clay asked, gesturing to the fishing rods sticking out of the back of his SUV.

"Yeah...it's been pretty good...."

"Yeah? What you been catching?"

"Hmmm...let's see...yellowtail, red snapper..."

Clay used to live in Houston and New Orleans. He did a lot of deep sea fishing, and he loved it. Personally, I'd never done it. Clay couldn't stop gathering information. It was good to see him excited again.

"What's the best place to fish in Baja?"

"Hell, there's lots--L.A. Bay, Loreto, Los Cabos, La Paz..."

"Hey John," Clay said, turning to me, "we should see if we can do some fishing while we're down here."

I was game. "Sure. Sounds like fun."

The pump shut off. "You guys have a safe trip--have fun," he said.

"You too man. Thanks."

So far the trip had been fantastic, but we’d both been expressing a lot of anxiety. Me yesterday in Tecate—now Clay about the chain on his bike…once he’d got it sorted, I suggested we take a moment and just relax. Remind ourselves we’re on vacation. Hydrate. We sat down in the shade and took in the view and the quiet. Clay lasted about thirty seconds—I think he was anxious to get into some real Mexican dirt for the first time. He got up and hit the head. I had a chance to work on my Spanish conversing with the gas station attendant. He told me of the excellent goat and sheep hunting in a valley on the other side of the vineyards…how many Mexicans and Americans took their rifles in and came out with very large trophies. Clay came back out and chatted with a couple from Canada…I walked over, met them (and completely forgot their names). Then we parted ways with them and headed back to our bikes.

“We’re here, man,” I said.

“Yeeeeuup.”

“All that’s happened, from the wedding, to me getting a bike, and now here we are in Baja. I guess I should say thanks.”

Not long on sentimentality, Clay changed the subject: “You ready to go?”

“Sure.”

“I don’t mind chilling out a little longer, I’m just asking.”

“No dude, let’s hit it. Good to go.”

Now I’ve been riding for a little over a year, trying to get ready for this trip, knowing Clay was a lifelong athlete and an aggressive dirt rider. I never expected to rise to his level in such a short period, but I was determined to do my best.

I’d bought good gear, I’d scratched up my shiny BMW all over San Diego county, I’d learned that “dumping it in the dirt didn’t count,” I’d learned how to bend my handlebars back into shape with an 8’ steel fencepost from Home Depot, I’d been drilled in the basics by Jim Hyde at RawHyde Adventures, I’d been out on rides with--and picked the brains of-- the veterans at the San Diego BMW Owners’ Club, I’d learned first hand the value of zip ties, duct tape, hoseclamps, and JB Kwikweld—they’re all in my tankbag today. I’d bent up my brake levers and busted off a clutch lever in the middle of nowhere. I’d made a second home on ADVRider, and sifted all the information I could from it. I’d learned a lot. But I’d been injured early on (separated shoulder), and again (a whack in the ribs, a small fracture in my ankle), and I kept on training whenever I could, but my caution level had gone through the roof. That, combined with the aforementioned Mortal Fear of Motorcycles instilled by my mom, made me an overly-cautious, rather tense dirt rider. I was fine on asphalt, but in the dirt, everything stiffened up a bit. So I took things slower than most...

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy myself—I did. I was here, wasn’t I—and glad of it. I’d had a lot of help and encouragement, especially from Clutch, Surfphoto, my buddy Graham, and primarily from Sandiegoland (sup, Craig—Thanks!). They’d taught me several things: ride your own ride, take your time, slow is fast…mental and emotional training…these guys kept me reminded of the importance of being patient with myself—and not to forget to enjoy the ride. Keep a positive attitude and keep riding, and progress would be made.

I loved the exploration. But to be honest, I still had a lot to learn about riding in the dirt. It had yet to become a fluid, joyful experience for me. It was work. But like I said, that wasn’t stopping me. Really all I lacked was experience, and this trip was sure to change that.

“Dónde está el camino por el mar?” I asked the Pemex attendant, just to make sure we were reading the map right.

He pointed down the road. “Hace ciento metres, y derecha.”

Not very far at all.

Then we rode up and over the mountains…








...to the sea. What a great road going over. I was thrilled. It was broad, packed dirt—gravelly, but with clean, wide tracks in it where you could really open it up.

So I'm riding along, and the road's in great shape, and I remind myself: Hey--you're supposed to be having fun, John. So I relax a little, and out of nowhere, I've got the first verse of the theme song from Charley Boorman's Race to Dakar playing in my head...

Don't let my senses desert me
Nothing to divert me
I'm setting my sights on you

And in the far off distance
I'm afraid of wishin'
I could be at home with you

It's just a Race to Dakar
Doesn't really matter
I've got to see it through
See it through

Thank God I enjoyed the song, because it just got stuck in my head. Helped me relax a bit too.



It was actually a really great road. It was my limited experience that kept me from knowing it.



Ah....El Mar.



Sup, mah ADV bruthaz...?



We rode closer. My god, the landscape was so vast...so beautiful...



...so...undeveloped!



So we stopped for a break, and a snack.



My, but don't I look a bit surly.

THE BITE OF THE DUST

You’d think it’d be as easy as just riding west toward it.

We tried one way, and realized we would wind up heading north. Then we’d turn around and try another way, and the road would end at a gate. Then we’d try another way, and the road would simply vanish. There was nothing left for it save to follow a narrow, silty trail…

The trail wound around some mountains, and I had my first experience with silt…and consequently, our first drop of the trip. This must’ve been a real eye-opener for Clay. I was thrashed. I was sweating and red-faced. Not so much from working so hard, but from the anxiety generated trying to control my bike in this loose stuff. I simply hadn’t reached a point in my offroad riding career where I was comfortable enough to hit the throttle and let the bike slide around under me. Clay, god bless him, was next in a line of experienced dirt riders who’d told me, “Give ‘er a little gas,” or, “the bike wants to stand up,” or simply, “just try to relax, willya?” Intellectually, I knew all this was true, intellectually—it was just a matter of my inexperience.






That's not the proper attitude...



There we go.

Clay suggested he’d ride ahead a few miles, and then stop and wait for me. Perfect, I thought—he could get some good riding in, and I’d feel less guilty.



Then there was sand:



That Baja 250 Wrong Way sign seemed like a small joke. The sand was almost a foot deep, so wee dabbed up and over the hill to find a road--any road-- to get us south.



Greeeeeaaaaat...a rutted, loose, sandy trail, going down the side of a mountain. Seriously—ask anyone who’s ridden with me offroad, and they’ll tell you: Johnny D. seizes up descending steep, loose hills.

But this was just a trail. Surely we’d pick up the road again soon? That lovely hard dirt I could open up my throttle and hit fourth gear on? This was packed, rutted sand.

But somehow, I knew I’d be on it for the next 15 miles.

Then along came a rusty, beat-to-shit Toyota pickup truck with four Mexican fishermen in it.

I pointed at the road and asked them if this was the road to Eréndira. They said yes. The good news was, we’d finally found the right road, and we only had ten miles to go. The bad news was, I’m a dirt noob with hill descent phobia, and we’re on a sand road that goes up and down the coast.

God bless Clay and his patience, because I was moving slowly. We’d hit some sections, and I’d hear Sandiegoland’s voice in my head: there have been times when I’ve just shut down the engine and descended using my clutch. You do what you have to do. Take your time. Ride your own ride. It was an objective, outside opinion that kept my self-loathing at bay.

Gorgeous ride though:

















But by the time we hit Eréndira, it was getting late in the day, and fatigue and impatience had us both a bit anxious. Traveling at night in Mexico can be dangerous for the usual reasons: a) animals looking for warm asphalt, b) no streetlights, c) no shoulder, d) drunk drivers, but Clay had lousy night vision, and a weak headlight. Plus, his bike vibrated so badly on the road that it put his hands and feet asleep. He bought us snacks while I quickly refilled the air in my tires. The sun was setting, the temperature was dropping, and we still had eighty miles to go to get to San Quintín.

Johnny Dakar screwed with this post 04-24-2007 at 12:30 AM
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Old 04-23-2007, 10:39 AM   #22
Drybones
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"5 star" reporting and photography, JD! Enjoy your adventure and keep loose on that machine in the tricky stuff...I'm learning along with you.
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Old 04-23-2007, 10:49 AM   #23
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This is serious.


I'll read it tonight.
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Old 04-23-2007, 11:02 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lobby
This is serious.


I'll read it tonight.
Naw, it is serious enough to screw work and catch up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost Rider
I'm looking forward to the rest of the story, but please do us low res guys a favor and shortin up the title so we don't have to scroll. I'm stuck in 1024/768. :(

Cheers!
I'm running 1920 x 1200 and post 22 isn't fitting on my screen, so I can only imagine what others are getting. There are two photos side by side.

JD - Great report and great story about the behinds the scenes stuff that brought you to where you are.

I'm gonna have to subscribe to this one, so there goes work ...
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Old 04-23-2007, 11:12 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teeds

I'm running 1920 x 1200 and post 22 isn't fitting on my screen, so I can only imagine what others are getting. There are two photos side by side.
Glad you're enjoying it, Teeds, thanks.

You're not the first person to mention width problems...I reduced the width of the chapter headings from 1280 pixels to 1024, then from 1024 to 800. I can't find any side-by-side photos...can you describe which one?

Bear with me, everyone--this is my first serious ride report. Thanks!
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Old 04-23-2007, 11:37 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Dakar




On my screen, these show up side by side.

I always put a hard space between the image tags myself.

I dont know if that is the problem, but don't see the space between photos that I always get.

BTW - I really like your writing style.
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we are NOT human beings having a spiritual experience, rather we ARE spiritual BEINGS having a human experience - johnjen

Teeds screwed with this post 04-23-2007 at 11:58 AM
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Old 04-23-2007, 11:49 AM   #27
Johnny Dakar OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teeds
On my screen, these show up side by side.

I always put a hard space between the image tags myself.

I dont know if that is the problem, but don't see the space between photos that I always get.

BTW - I really like your writing style.
Oh STOP IT!!!

I think I've fixed it. Let me know if I haven't. I'll watch that in the future, because it looks fine on my monitor.
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Old 04-23-2007, 11:50 AM   #28
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no problem here.
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Old 04-23-2007, 11:57 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Johnny Dakar
Oh STOP IT!!!

I think I've fixed it. Let me know if I haven't. I'll watch that in the future, because it looks fine on my monitor.
Stop what?

The griping or the complements?

Deal with it! I like your style, it is generally the same I try and use. I'm not as good though, so there!!!!

Now I will go back and fix my quote of your post, as it is the one messing things up!!
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Old 04-23-2007, 12:46 PM   #30
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fixed........continue, please
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