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Old 04-17-2009, 08:04 AM   #31
mommer
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man, looks like a great trip.. im jealous..ill be watching.. keep havin fun
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Old 04-17-2009, 10:26 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xymotic
Chicks dig em See, having a penis sized penis, instead of that turtle hiding in the shell thing you have gives me the self assurance to order a foo-foo drink in security, and also that's how come I was on the sand dune, and you wuz on the pavement.

And... like a 'regular' margarita is so fuckin manly?
If you were drinkin Scotch or Gin like a real englishman, then MAYBE you could trash talk.
Sounds like you two got very close on this trip. :ymca
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Old 04-17-2009, 11:55 AM   #33
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What happens in pinkham canyon, stays in pinkham canyon.
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Old 04-17-2009, 12:14 PM   #34
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^^^ wtf?

Crazy inmates on the loose in Baja! I'm enjoying this report. Have fun guys!
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Old 04-17-2009, 12:45 PM   #35
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Old 04-17-2009, 02:13 PM   #36
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I must have hit my head pretty hard?
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Old 04-17-2009, 04:29 PM   #37
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I hope you guys are reading this with a British accent....it's super funny if you give Andy an accent in your head.



Keep it coming, Andy!!!
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Old 04-17-2009, 05:51 PM   #38
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All I know is, end of the second day, there I was picking my bike up all by myself. no kiss on the cheek or nothin. I guess the Honeymoon's over already.
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Old 04-20-2009, 08:50 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SenorPeligro
Some drama. 71 miles travelled.

(or Plans A, B and C already?)

I left Fremont this morning, aimed for work at Redwood City to finish some work for a next release, before heading down to Monterey so I could get a head-start on tomorrow's long day, destination Santa Barbara.

I was really happy with how the bike was loaded and was handling. I've learned a little about packing by now.

Gassed up in RWC (clue: this bit is important) then took the plunge on 101 South to escape the grinding traffic of the Bay Area rush hour(s). 5 miles later my XR started to loose power a few times before stalling. I pulled over onto the "shoulder" just at an on-ramp before pushing the bike across the ramp in between speeding commuters. After some messing around, it started up as if nothing happened... less than a thousand miles... too early for the CDI to give up right?

In denial, I took-off for 85 hoping that maybe it would just get better by itself...

Then at Stevens Creek it died on me again and I pulled up the exit ramp, toggling the starter button to keep it rolling. Deciding not to mess with it too much in the precarious position I found myself, instead I rolled the bike between the mass of cars to get to the safety of the sidewalk. A friendly biker spotted my predicament and asked I needed any help. I explained my mess and he escorted me along the street with hazards blinking while I got out on the sea of hungry cars. I took refuge in a nearby gas station while I pondered my next move.

Plan B: Fortunately my Crackberry was able to supply a list of nearby Honda Dealerships and I wasn't far from Los Gatos. Once again, after a pause the bike started up again. Off we go!

Somehow nothing bad happened on the way to Los Gatos. I pulled off at the first exit and pulled into a Starbucks lot to get more detailed directions. At this point I noticed that my Shangri-La was in fact a car dealership



Plan C. Call some dealers. The service guy at Mountain View was a total tool (him: what do you expect me to do about it?.... me: uh thanks ) so I called my local shop in Fremont who where totally amenable. I decided to make my way back, at least I'd be close to home at this point. On the way, it died three more times. The third time, some dude pulled up in a pick-up just behind me and stopped to see if I was okay. Nice guy. This was getting old.

After firing it back up I was rolling again and had the forethought to check underneath my handy dandy Cycoactive barpack (best invention ever) and noticed that the line from my vented fuel tank to the California evap junk was all twisted up and kinked. I did a little emergency repair at 65mph (ish :wink) and everything was good in the hood.

I stopped by my local honda place in Fremont and smooth talked my way into talking a tech for a couple minutes just as they were shutting up. I explained my problem and what I thought I had done to fix it and the wise-man nodded sagely. He suggested a few other things to check as well but I think I fixed the problem "on-the-road". They'll be getting more of my business in the future.

I contemplated making a dash for Monterey though the waning rush hour traffic but decided against it simply because it's less fun being stopped at the side of the road in the dark.

Sorry, no photos. Use your imagination.

Tomorrow is a seven hour sprint to Santa Barbara.

I remember at Bodi, you whipped out your tool kit and fixed that f650 in a flash too. You figured out the problem in no time. You that good on the computer too? You're hired!
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Old 04-20-2009, 08:55 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Suz
I remember at Bodi, you whipped out your tool kit and fixed that f650 in a flash too. You figured out the problem in no time. You that good on the computer too? You're hired!
I also fixed Crashy's radiator boil-over problem. I have experience with user mangled radiator caps... DAMHIK...

Bodi... White Mountain... that was good times
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Old 04-20-2009, 09:01 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SenorPeligro
I also fixed Crashy's radiator boil-over problem. I have experience with user mangled radiator caps... DAMHIK...

Bodi... White Mountain... that was good times
Good thing I found your tool kit in the dirt I guess eh?
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Old 04-20-2009, 09:03 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xymotic
Good thing I found your tool kit in the dirt I guess eh?
Seriously! I would have missed my sleep pad too. We made a pretty good team dammit!

(I'm working on Day 6 right now).
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Old 04-20-2009, 09:08 PM   #43
Super Suz
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Patiently waiting for more...

I'm going to check back for day 6 and more. Sorry I forgot your phone number while on my trip. It would have been fun to meet in in the middle somewhere. But most of the time, I had no cell phone coverage in the desert anyway.

And yeah, it is more funny with a British accent while reading.
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Old 04-20-2009, 09:10 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Suz
I'm going to check back for day 6 and more. Sorry I forgot your phone number while on my trip. It would have been fun to meet in in the middle somewhere. But most of the time, I had no cell phone coverage in the desert anyway.

And yeah, it is more funny with a British accent while reading.
I didn't have any cell signal in Mexico at all... stupid Verizon. Are you going to make a ride report?
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Old 04-20-2009, 10:45 PM   #45
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Day Seven: Part One... San Felipe to Alfonsina's (almost)

Are you ready for some more yet...?

The mission for the day was to get to Alfonsina's at Bahia San Luis Gonzaga. Crashy wanted to get an early start in case we had to compete with guys we'd met on the way into San Felipe. So we jumped out of bed before the sun was up and sprinted to our bikes for a rolling start out of the gate.

Alright... it wasn't *that* energetic. We decided that breakfast was for wimps but our bikes needed gasolina and our camelbacks demanded drinkable agua so we raided the closest Pemex before heading south towards Puertocitos.

The road was nicely paved and decorated with helpful signs about how it was very important to wear your seat belt and travel at the speed limit of 40kmh. Fortunately neither of these things applied to us I kept seeing something about "vado". Fortunately I didn't know what that word meant so it couldn't hurt us right? Somebody smarter than me once said "Experience is the worst teacher; it gives the test before presenting the lesson."

So, it as it happens, a vado is sort of a dip in the road, like where the foundation of the road has been washed out, like you might get in a desert, like in Baja. Did I mention the speed limit was 40kmh?

The first time something interesting happened there was a white circle in the road with the mysterious words "Dip Shit Oh" stacked above each other. And then the front wheel disappeared into some kind of trench with paved sides. Reflexively I was up on the pegs just before the suspension fully compressed and my XR sort of giggled and jumped out of the hole. This carried on for a for a while, with some of the vados being kind of hard to spot until just to add a little hard braking practice in to the fast ride. Apart from the vado death traps, I'd say it might safe to ride a three times the speed limit. DAMHIK

Two days later I realized that the writing before the white circle actually said "Oh Shit Dip!". That makes more sense right?

We survived the roller coaster ride to Puertocitos and left the paved highway as we rolled into "Main St". The first thing we noticed that the Pemex was closed. When I say closed, I mean pumps covered up, saloon doors swinging in the breeze, tumbleweed rolling around closed. I'd read that the gas station was closed and Gaspipe wasn't kidding. I felt very far from home for the first time on this trip.

Knowing that it was all dirt from here to Alfonsina's, we aired down to about 20psi and lubed our chains with ATF. There's kind of a cult on the Chain Gang about using ATF for chain lube. I'd always been a degreaser and spray-on chain wax kind of guy but Crashy had converted me. ATF is much cleaner and works very nicely. Welcome to the cult!

I was diverted from futzing with my bike by the dulcet tones of a stock Honda pipe. A gringo, who we would later learn to be named Dean, had pulled-up on his quad to thoughtfully check on us. We shot the breeze with our new road buddy for a while and enquired about the road conditions to the south. We also learned that the new paved road had brought problems as well as opportunities, as Dean put it, "Good roads bring bad people and bad roads bring good people". I could see how that could work out down there. We also asked about gas at Gonzaga Bay and Dean told us to get gas as soon as it is available. As it turned out, this was great advice...

We bade adios to Dean and started the much anticipated dirt ride south. We were doing it. Baja Ride Report legends in the making! The construction crews were already busy grading the road south and we sort of got lost amongst the various paths through the construction. Using the force, I found a way out of the maze and we were finally rolling along rocky, wash-boarded, old-school Baja roads. We were doing-it, to-it.


(xymotic)

Crashy, using his targeting computer. Use the force dude!



We sort of leapfrogged each other along the way, stopping for photos and water. I think this one of my favorite shots of the whole trip.



Here's me:


(xymotic)

Here's a nice one of Crashy trying to get onto the front page.


(xymotic)

I don't think Geico towing insurance would have covered me here...





Once we got out of the hilly section, the occasional rock gardens gave way to fast, straight, washboard.



I opened up the XR and let it rip. It's perfect for this stuff. We flew along this road as the sun climbed higher in the sky. I unzipped my jacket and opened all the vents and was starting to run low on water again.

At one of our catch-up stops, Crashy jumped off his Dakar and gestured to the back of his bike. I walked up and he showed me where his rear tire had eaten part of his plate. The rear-mudguard and license plate assembly on the F650GS is a piece of junk. It's easy to compress the shock a little too much while running knobby tires and have the wheel take out the mudguard. It happened to me on the way down from White Mountain and it yanked the stupid thing so hard it severed the wires to the brake light. I was lucky, RollingRob lost his whole rear mud-flap and taillight mess that day. It's just a bad design (you're not actually supposed to ride an F65GS off-road apparently). Fortunately, Touratech sell an incredibly expensive piece of CNC milled unobtainium to reinforce the assembly which Crashy had installed... thus saving the whole piece from oblivion.

We rode on a little further and into some gentle vados and I could hear his bike eat some more plate. I honked my horn a few times and Crashy stopped again to asses the damage. Aaron looked concerned and was checking his shock. He found oil on it.... this was bad news. He had blown a seal and was boinging around on the spring without any damping.

I was still having fun.


(xymotic)


(xymotic)

We discussed our options, including turning around right then and heading up to San Diego to get it fixed. Bravely, in a display of stoicism worthy of a 19th Century British army officer, Crashy resolved to carry on. While we were scattered across both sides of the road, a couple of white pick-up trucks stopped by us and asked if we were OK. People don't mess around in the desert, apparently.

After about half a mile, we passed a little road-side tienda offering sodas and cerveza. This oasis sounded like the perfect place to consider our options so I u-turned and headed back with Crashy in tow.

It was little more than a shack with a shaded picnic table and I dismounted with some apprehension. We were well off the beaten track here, far from "help", and hell this was Mexico. The very country Anderson Cooper told me was in the grip of a vicious drug war, complete with corrupt generals and execution style killings. What was I thinking?

I walked up to the door and with my best turista Spanish asked if they had any water... "Buenos dias, Sr. Tiene agua, por favor?"

The proprietor was a gentlemen of the highest order and proceeded to pour us two glasses of the finest water known to mankind. And he wouldn't charge me for it either. Crashy was getting into the lifestyle south of the border and ordered a Tecate. We sat down at the table in the shade and all my fears melted away.

Here we were, at a freeway rest-stop. Except on a dirt road. In Mexico. It all made sense. I realized at that point, that I had been subconsciously afraid of the language barrier, the cultural gulf, maybe just self-conscious of my bad Spanish, but kind of uncomfortable. But here we were and it was OK. Dammit it was better than OK. It felt great. At our table was a gentleman named Mario. I greeted him in Spanish and tried to make polite small-talk for a while before he started to converse in English with us.

He told us that he was from San Felipe and that this year had been tough. American tourists were just not coming, even the spring breakers in any numbers and the town needed a good year. I explained that every day on the news for two weeks prior there had been stories about the drug war. We talked about the economy and how that was hurting everybody and he asked if we had passed a jeep on our way down; he was waiting for a ride to Gonzaga Bay. It occurred to me that the mini-convoy of white pickups had been piloted by gringos and the Mexicanos we passed had been riding in the back of more beaten-up pickups. We talked about the Baja Mil and he told he had watched the Baja 250 around San Felipe many times.

I learned a few things that day:
  • Not everybody in Baja owns a vehicle
  • Time is less meaningful; Mario knew that his ride would show up when it did
  • People look after each other out there in the desert
Mario gave me a plastic bottle and explained that I could fill it with water and take it with me. Humbled by the kindness and friendliness of the people we met, Crashy and I saddled up and started the last twenty-five miles, or so, to Alfonsina's .

Skip to Next Day
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