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Old 02-12-2009, 02:00 PM   #61
pdedse OP
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Tue Feb 3 continuted...

After breakfast in La Paz, started heading N on HI 1 around 10:00am. Didn't really have any expectations as to how far I would get today. I had along my camping gear (Marc and I camped out two nights on the way to Vallarta) and simply had in mind to camp another two nights. Extra gear to drag along, but I wanted to be able to stop wherever, and not necessarily in a town.

Got tired of the main hiway and found a little gravel / dirt section that paralleled it for a few hundred's a start.

I like the roadside memorials / shrines, abundant out here.

After Insurgentes, heading east towards Loreto.

Road that leads to Puerta Agua Verde...
Must return sometime with about 3-4 weeks just to explore as many of these as I can. As it was, I told my wife and children that I would be gone for only two weeks and wanted to adhere to that as much as possible.

Nearing the Sea of Cortez as HI 1 heads N towards Loreto...

Scoping out a possible camp site...

I rode on for a few mile more and around Nopoló met up with the BMW group of 4 (and 1 KTM) and they were half way through lunch at a roadside restaurante. It was around 4:00pm, and they suggested heading for Mulegé for camping, that there was still light. But I knew I would need some extra time to set up so I headed back S to the spot I checked out 12 miles before, near Puerto Escondido. There was a dirt road turnoff toward the beach, nobody around, about a mile ride and voilá...a perfect campsite with fire wood all laid out. Hmmmm. I didn't see anybody around to ask, so I figured why not.

Kind of spooky all alone, but the fire helped. I had a couple of freeze dried backpacking meals, but my water got to boiling and then tipped into the fire. Was too hungry to try again so I dumped two cups of cold water into the package. Tasted pretty good. Got the fire going again and no noisy neighbors this evening, slept great!

243 miles; 6 hours

pdedse screwed with this post 02-12-2009 at 10:13 PM
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Old 02-12-2009, 10:52 PM   #62
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Wed, Feb 4

Beautiful morning!

I didn't have any breakfast food, so it was off for Loreto. Just a short ride planned today, try to make it near Mulegé and look for another camp site. Having never been to Baja before, everything is new, but somewhat familiar in an Arizona sort of way.

Trail leading away from campsite:

After breakfast the day started warming up.

1000 leftovers?

My guide book mentioned a petroglyph area near Playa El Burro and I asked about it here to see if they couldn't help me with directions:

The gal at the counter gave me a funny look and uttered what I took to be the Spanish equivalent of "geez, another one". Her husband overheard my question, and said "look, we don't give that information". Allrighty, then. I didn't really press it, just that my book mentioned the site and I didn't mean to be bothering them. I think he liked hearing that because then he went on to explain that everyday, scores of people ask him where the petroglyph entry is, but they never buy anything from him. Only the Mexicans buy stuff he says. All the foreigners want is to know where to find the stones. I joke that he should put up a huge sign saying "Petroglyph Info; Ask Here! 10 Pesos" and he really likes that idea. He asks the name of my guidebook (Moon, Baja) and pulls out his laptop and immediately starts an email of protest that he says he's going to send them and tell them to quit mentioning the site, or give better directions. Then he continues by pointing out the yellow sign which "clearly" shows where to go. I pull out 10 pesos and tell him "Muchísimas gracias, quiesiera ser tu primer cliente!" And that really got him and his wife laughing.

Anyway, if you go looking for the rock art, don't inquire here:

Or at least buy something first or offer 10 pesos! Or you could just look for this yellow sign about 100 meters NE of this minisuper.

The petroglyphs were interesting, but not spectacular either. Just start walking towards the desert at the sign and you'll start seeing the art...

Another few kilometers and I found the entrance for Playa Escondida. About a kilimoter off the main road along a hilly gravel / rock road. Just a few palapas here and only a handful of campers. I choose the most rustic one--actually it was the only one left of about 6 or 7. Kind of steep at 70 pesos.

A fisherman preparing Trigger fish...

I'm next to two Americans to my right and a Canadian couple to my left. They both offer me food, some fruit, they cook up some fish and we have a great time talking the evening away.

97 miles; 3 hours riding.

pdedse screwed with this post 02-12-2009 at 10:58 PM
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Old 02-13-2009, 08:29 AM   #63
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Location: Ensenada, Baja California
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Originally Posted by pdedse
Wed, Feb 4

97 miles; 3 hours riding.
your average is about TOO SLOW!!!! you are having too much fun! lol!!! keep it coming and your trip is making me really want to go south... wanna come in April?

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Old 02-13-2009, 08:44 AM   #64
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Thur Feb 5

It's easy to get up early when you have something like this to look at...

Broke camp reluctantly and headed N on HI 1. I had in mind to turn off at Chapala and head for Bahía S.L. Gonzaga, but was a little aprehensive of doing that somewhat isolated stretch solo. Then I would make my way N on the east coast and enter the US at Mexicali.

Just a few miles N of where I camped I ran across this...

The day before the Canadian couple told me about the accident. I had seen a huge plume of thick, black smoke before stopping at Playa Escondida, not knowing what it was. They told me the fuel tanker had tipped over followed by a huge explosion. They were heading S from Mulegé back to the camp area and were barely able to make it through. Sadly, they were quite sure the driver died in the accident.

It was cooler this morning, more so than what I thought would be usual. But I was riding along the coast towards Santa Rosalía and expected it to warm up once I turned inland towards Guerrero Negro.

The temps were most decidedly not rising and a strong, chilly head wind was developing. Stopped on the outskirts of Guerrero Negro around 1:30 and the sun felt warm as I ate, but the chill was still in the air. Started adding more layers of clothing, stowed my fingerless gloves that I had been given and broke out my winter ones. Seemed strange to feel so cold in the middle of Baja. Filled the tank, checking mpg and it was only 37 if my calculations were right, normally the KLR gets around 50. The wind and weight were having their effect. I knew the gas options were limited and I wanted to fill again before Chapala. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that Villa Jesús María came so soon after Guerrero Negro. Since I had just filled, I wasn't even thinking about gas as I passed through J. María.

At Punta Prieta I had read that they have barril gas, and I asked at 4 different locales. No hay, no hay, no hay, no hay! At the last place I asked I pulled my key out and it dropped from my hands and....? Where did it go?

Somewhere between the gas tank and the dash. Couldn't see it. It wasn't on the ground. I shook the bike, leaning it back and forth as best I could, but it was loaded down with the luggage and I couldn't lean it too far for fear of dropping it. No key dropped out. I had a spare, but I didn't want to leav a key "down in there".

I pull off all the luggage, remove the side covers, the seat, disconnect the petcock tube, remove the tank, and there sits my key, underneath where the tank had been.

I look across the street and about 1/4 mile away a pick-up truck is selling gas to some folks at a house!!

I quickly slap the tank on, seat and side covers, ask a boy to "watch my things" as I go after gas! As soon as I pull out, the gas truck does so too, and I'm waving at the guys sitting in the back, trying to get their attention and pointing to my tank. They knock on the window and talk to the driver as we're starting to speed up leaving town, and I give them a pull over, thumbs up sign, but they signal back thumbs down! Arg! I follow another 1/2 mile hoping but now they're ignoring me!

All my luggage is with the little boy back where I stopped, so I head back, with my tank still at 1/2 full, maybe more or less. I look at my watch and it was past 4:00 now. Got loaded up again, checked the miles to ride to Gonzaga, and while I might have been able to make it, I didn't like the idea of trying the Chapala road solo, with diminishing daylight, noticeably colder still, and maybe not having enough gas. I decide to head for Cataviña where I'm told there will be gas and a hotel. Thankfully, there was both. 40 pesos per gallon. Two hotels, one nice looking, the other not so, but a $40 difference between the two, so I opt for the cheaper one. Looks like rain was heading in my direction and that put a damper on my mood simply because I wasn't expecting any. Maybe N California, definetly Oregon, but here? What is, is. Dinner sandwiched around two hot showers helped considerably and I decided to let the weather speak to me the following morning about which direction to take: N on HI 1 through Ensenada, or, if the cold, windy (rainy?) conditions lessened, I'd return S to Chapala and over to the east side like I planned.

332 miles; 8 hours riding
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Old 02-13-2009, 10:40 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by pdedse
Ready to dock. I gather my bags and waited for them to announce it was unloading time. Said goodbye to Alex and was itching to get going...
Did you perchance offer him some chain lube?!
South America: Until our Luck or Money Runs Out
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Old 02-14-2009, 07:24 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by damasovi
your average is about TOO SLOW!!!! you are having too much fun! lol!!! keep it coming and your trip is making me really want to go south... wanna come in April?

Yep, slow as they go, stopping often to take it all in! Does it have to be April?

Originally Posted by Charles Seguin
Did you perchance offer him some chain lube?!
It does look a bit rusty in the photo, but he looked like he knew what he was doing.
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Old 02-14-2009, 08:26 AM   #67
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Fri, Feb 6

Woke up to grey skies, chilly winds and the threat of rain.

My motel and room...

I asked around and folks seemed to think this was going to last awhile and cover all N Baja, no matter which way I took. N on HI 1 to Ensenada or backtrack to Chapala and head for the east coast?

The thought of a flat or some other breakdown between Chapala and Gonzaga Bay in the cold and wind wasn't appealing, particularly because I'm painfully aware of my limited mechanical abilities. So I reluctantly head N. Generally, I like riding solo, but I think at a time like this it would have been nice to have a riding partner, someone to push me a little (Marc, where are you?).

After 25 miles, the drops started falling and it was time to break out my extra rain jacket I bought for my trip. Had on extra clothing today and was at least mentally prepared for the cold. It would rain 15-20 minutes, skies would clear for a while, then start raining again, a pattern that would go on all day long.

N of Cataviña, some sun at least...

Lived in the Phoenix area for 9 years and I love the desert. The aroma of wet creosote is one of my favorites.

Because it was wet on and off all day, I didn't pull out my camera as much today. Rolled through Lázaro Cárdenas, Colonet, San Vicente and by 1:30 I was already on the outskirts of Ensenada. Since I was that close, decided to go ahead and make for the border and spend the night stateside. I didn't want to mess with the SD / TJ crossing so I headed for Tecate. The sporadic rain turned steady and my wet feet began to feel the effects (my catepillar boots were the weak link in my cold weather / rain gear getup). By 3:30 I was nearing Tecate, found the crossing and almost before I knew it, I was across! Was able to use pesos on the US side of Tecate to eat, changed my socks and wrapped my feet in plastic bags and took off to find a hotel, finally finding one off HI 8 in Pine Valley.

Started pulling the contents out of my mc jacket pockets, and found my passport and vehicle import permit from Mexico. Ah crap! Wasn't I supposed to take this to a bank before crossing back into the US? I started this trip back in September, knew that I had it, but kind of spaced it off. The warning on the back of the permit states:

" is an obligation to register with Banjercitos employees the reutrn of the vehicle....The registry of the return is ONLY possible in the border region or border crossing points and in case of omission to do so, I'm not entitled to receive another Temporary Import Permit for a vehicle."

Anybody have any experience with trying a second time? I think I remember some advriders getting denied access to Mexico once they went back after failing to register the bike upon leaving Mexico. What happens? Am I banned for life? Nothing? Exhausted, I quit thinking about it and fall asleep.

336 miles; 11 hours riding; crossed border
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Old 02-14-2009, 10:28 AM   #68
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Sat Feb 7

Time to finish this report off...

235 miles of drenching rain while trying to locate friends from the past, no luck. The plastic bags weren't working for my feet. News reports reporting possible snow in the Grapevine pass for HI 5, so I stayed in Burbank.

In the evening, went looking for a drier solution for my feet. Suran wrap?

Sun Feb 8
Naturally, after wrapping my feet and socks up in Suran wrap, it doesn't rain at all between Burbank until an hour before Redding where I stay the night. Long windy ride on unspectacular HI 5, but finally, gratefully, dry.

458 miles (a new one day high for me).

Mon Feb 9
The cold hits me at Redding. I have on three pairs of socks, covered in Suran wrap, boots on, Suran wrap on top of them, and when I hit Mt. Shasta area, I'm freezing. 4 long sleeve shirts, two mc jackets and a rain jacket covering everything. Two pairs of gloves, covered by my rain mits. Balaclava, neck wrap, scarf and I've never been so cold! Met another rider and she and I warm up over coffee at a Burger King. I have those heat packets and take off my boots and stick them in the toe area. I give a few to the lady rider who accepts gladly. I think they help a bit.

Huge relief to lose altitude after Mt. Shasta but the Siskiyoui Pass is just as cold and there's a car that slid off the road. Maybe the morning was icy, but now (1:00pm) the roads are more wet than anything. Still I slow way down and follow some traffic, feels safer. I feel lucky though because it is bright and sunny, no chance of more rain / snow for the moment. That changes at Grants Pass and I run into a mini blizzard of snow that lasts 15 minutes. Nearly pull over for the night, but I can see the clouds braking up ahead. Light drizzle and some sun breaks and I stop several times to warm up and arrive at Eugene at 5:00. I'm spent. Only two hours from home, but I just don't want to ride anymore.

388 miles; 9.5 hours riding

Tues Feb
I leave by 8:00am with a few snow flurries, but the roads are dry. Within a half hour, I'm riding through some pretty good snow, now it's wet, but not slick. When I hit Portland, visibility is reduced quite a bit, but ty 10:00 I'm home! View outside my home after I arrive:

122 miles. Done.
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:44 PM   #69
Joined: Sep 2011
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Yeah!!! Well done, sir!
Originally Posted by kbasa View Post
If you're wearing Crocs, chances are that you're not smart enough to tie your shoes.
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Old 04-02-2013, 06:33 AM   #70
Mr. Fisherman
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Great trip, thanks for sharing.
I had thought about doing this trip in reverse but never pulled it together, at least not yet.
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