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Old 05-13-2010, 09:45 PM   #1
lstzephyr OP
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I WAS afraid of crashing in Baja.

"Do what scares you." Somebody told me that, I can't remember who but I took it to heart. I was afraid of heights so I went skydiving, I was nervous around people so I took a job that put me in a position that I was forced to talk to 500-1000 people a day. I was afraid of drowning so I learned to scuba dive. I also tend to be a bit reckless at times.

Taking off to baja fascinated me, but I was afraid of crashing and screwing up myself or my bike. It no longer scares me.

lstzephyr screwed with this post 05-13-2010 at 10:51 PM
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Old 05-13-2010, 09:59 PM   #2
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Old 05-13-2010, 10:45 PM   #3
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A few months ago I went to Mexico(San Carlos) to do some scuba diving with my sister. It was a very nice place, but we pretty much just hung out at the hotel, and on the boat. Everything was in english, and it was very touristy. So I started wondering what mexico was really like, what the people were really like. I couldn't get mexico off my mind though, and I spent most of my time reading and dreaming about baja.

I saw a post in the western region from a guy I had never heard of(and now I call a friend) saying that he was looking for somebody to ride down to mexico with him. It was midnight, I had been drinking so of course I said I would go.

A few days later I figured out that yes I could do this, I had time, and I would have enough money so its on!

His bike needed some work and it looked as if it was going to rain so I got up early hopped in the truck and went to pick him up. This is day 1, we are planning to leave on day 2.



We were supposed to get back around noon, but it didn't happen. We drove around a bit trying to find some footwear/food and parts. Eventually we get back and get to work. (let me introduce you to Judoka)



His bike turned out to be a royal whore, and stuff just kept taking longer than it should. We kept at it but at times it looked like it just wasn't going to happen.



But we got more creative, made some tools to fix stupid stuff(like dropped bits in the forks) and got a bit more violent with the bike with the hammer.(don't even start on my ugly greasy tired mug!)



Finally after days of trying the bikes were together and everything seemed to be ready. This is day 3.


We grabbed a couple last minute things and promptly...got lost.

lstzephyr screwed with this post 05-21-2010 at 10:11 PM
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Old 05-13-2010, 11:07 PM   #4
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Now tucson isn't that big, and I've lived here off and on for around 6 months. I thought I knew where the highway out of town was(ajo way). I was wrong.

We got stuck in traffic for a bit but eventually we doubled back to the interstate, lane split through some traffic(yeah its illegal in arizona, it was in a controlled environment by trained space monkeys on pitbikes so shut it!) and finally we got out of town!

Mexico!



We crossed over at Lukesville. Pretty much within a couple miles we were stopped in the middle of the highway by the Cruz Roja. Eh what the hell, might as well give them some money. A guy slapped a sticker on my airbox, and away we went.

Everybody always says the cops will mess with you in mexico, "watch out for those federales!". Not twenty miles into Mexico and I got my first run in with the infamous men. We were cruising down the highway and I saw a car off to the side of the highway. Next thing I know there is a federale coming after me, but their lights aren't on. This is a bit confusing and lots of things are going through my head when they pull along side in the opposite lane on a 2 lane highway. I couldn't hear what they were saying on the loudspeaker through the helmet, the wind noise at 60 mph and my ipod. I was thinking that this is going to suck. They roll down their window, and both of them have an ear to ear grin, wave, and pulled over to help a guy broken down on the side of the road! Welcome to Mexico!


lstzephyr screwed with this post 05-13-2010 at 11:16 PM
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:04 PM   #5
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:19 PM   #6
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:29 PM   #7
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At this point the sun is starting to set, the road has straightened out and I'm just cruising. Sweet home alabama comes up on my Ipod and since I am originally from Alabama I can't help but laugh and start singing along. I always joked with my friends that I have heard that song everywhere.

A little while later and we got to Puerto Panasco, we headed down a dusty street and started looking for some tacos. We found a place, but there was no parking. No problem! The owner moved a couple tables and told us to come on in, bikes and all!



Soon we headed off to find a beer and a place to camp. Little did we know it was Semana santa and people, parties and beer was everywhere! After a bit we decided they weren't going to quiet down so we might as well join in! It was a good night, met some new friends, hung out at some bars, and generally screwed around on the beach.



The next morning I awoke with a bit of a headache. After stumbling around and grabbing all the water in sight it was pack the tent up and head out.



Since there had been so many people on the beach it wasn't surprising when pretty soon car after cars started passing us everywhere. Two at a time, 90 mph, just hauling. I never once felt unsafe though as they all gave us plenty of room and would hang back if there wasn't space. Only a couple got a bit sketchy but it was still nerve racking as half the state of sonora passed on that road.

So we pulled off and took a break.



Eventually we got to El golfo and found our host for the night. She was a funny woman and really cool person.



After ditching the stuff and moving in we took off for some food! We were waiting around thinking that it was taking our waitress a long time when the table started moving.

I was a bit rough still so I figured somebody was messing with me and told Judoka to cut it out! After a minute we both realised that we were on a concrete slab and everything around us was moving! Poles are shaking around and everybody is going nuts! Terra moto!

I wasn't too phased by it at first, more shocked than anything but after a while I decided that it really needed to stop! I wanted off that ride.

Pretty soon it stopped and ambulances, military, and cops are running everywhere. Turns out they were telling everybody to get off the beach because of tsunamis. We decided to drop down to another place and kick it for awhile. I did get my shark taco though, eventually. It tasted like fish.

In other news, the whole town is trying to leave. We aren't going anywhere for a while.
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Old 05-20-2010, 03:40 AM   #8
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Old 05-20-2010, 11:28 PM   #9
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We hang around the little shop for awhile, just watching the world go by. A whole lot of world runs by in fact as the town is running away! Oh well we can't leave so might as well just hang out. We stay around so long they start putting us to work!



After it all calms down we take off and do a bit of running around on the beach. We find a sand hill a bunch of guys are dragracing up. My riding buddy wants a vid, and I'm curious what it would be like so up I go.





We hung around here for awhile, and I made a few runs at the hill. It was fun running up and down it but there were a ton of people still around. Afterwards we took off looking for a beer or two and stumbled upon a joint owned by an american expat. It was pretty funny as there were only a couple of gringos hanging around and other than that the whole place was empty. A few beers later and the sun started setting. The power in the town is out because of the earthquake, so of course its dark as hell. Is this a problem? Of course not, just grab the quad and light it up!



Later on we headed back to camp, hung around talking to our host for a few hours, and passed out. It was a good day!


lstzephyr screwed with this post 05-21-2010 at 10:33 PM
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Old 05-21-2010, 10:37 AM   #10
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:49 PM   #11
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I wake up the next morning to my own awful smell. Seriously its bad in the tent. Unfortunately the water/elec/everything is still out from the earthquake so I will just have to still smell awful later. No importante.

So we pack up and head out. My riding buddy decides we must have the normal adv pic so here it is.



Our host sends us off.



And with that we are headed to San Felipe, but first we are out of cash so we will hop across the border to grab some cash. We head to San Luis Rio Colorado and dash across. Lane splitting makes quick work of the lines and the crossing goes quickly. I got searched at every crossing/checkpoint/stop so it wasn't surprising to have to pull open my stuff. It was surprising how amazingly beautiful the senorita was that checked my stuff though! I would have been happy to hang out there a bit actually.

So now we just have to figure our way out of here! It takes a few tries and asking a couple locals but eventually we find the road out. We get to mexicala pretty soon after and start looking around for gas. Remember that earthquake? None of the pumps work! No wonder everyone was off the road. It doesn't matter who we ask, nothing is happening today.



We head south looking for gas holding the throttle open the tiniest amount. We both have a couple gallons left but it won't be much fun if that is the only gas for a few days but what the hell, we are going to San Felipe one way or another. It will work.

The road is all sorts of messed up and there are huge cracks everywhere. Some of the sections have been kicked up more than a foot! I'm very happy to be on something with a bunch of suspension travel as there are a couple times I get caught out and thrown in the air. I kept thinking how badly everyone here must have been messed up by the earthquakes if the road is this bad. There is flooding everywhere and no one on the roads. Its spooky. We do eventually find some gas though and everything begins to look a bit more normal.

Pretty soon we start getting into Baja and the scenery turns to open desert and dry lakes. We pass a huge crack in the lake and the true force of the earthquake hits home. Its beautiful out here though.





We get to San felipe as the sun sets and start looking for a taco stand. We find a cool little place down in the center of town. Its staffed by the whole family, three generations even! They are very nice to us, and appear to be having as much fun as we are. After we finish eating we promise to come back in the morning to get some breakfast as well.

I do always wonder what they think when a couple dirty bikes show up and in walk a couple americans covered in body armor and dust. It must seem like a couple aliens showing up, but then maybe not, maybe we just seem like normal people wearing funny clothes.



We head off in search of a place to sleep and a beer, stumble upon a local liquor store, grab some beer and find the coolest little palapa thing on stilts. Its awesome not to have to put up the tent and to just sleep out under the stars. We joke and laugh as we drink the beers and eventually I drift to sleep with the sound of the waves and the cool ocean breeze on my face. I could get used to this.

lstzephyr screwed with this post 05-21-2010 at 11:27 PM
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Old 05-21-2010, 10:28 PM   #12
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Now at this point it had been a pretty whirlwind few days for me so I was thinking it would be pretty calm from here on out. I have never been more wrong.

They had showers at the little campground place we were at so I finally got to clean off some of Sonora. I'm in a new state so its time to clean myself dammit!

Our place for the night.



We head through town over to the taco joint from the night before but our hosts aren't around yet and the place is closed. So I take off and go grab some pictures of the main drag.





Some of you might recognize this place.



I get back and they still haven't showed. No importante, its time for laundry for Judoka. I just space out and relax leaning up against a tree.



Time passes.



Eventually they show up. Its a few hours late but no worries, nobody is in a hurry. Breakfast is awesome, eventually though we say goodbye, and we head out in search of the Baja 250/500/1000 courses.

The family.



As usual we get lost. The Xrl had sprung a leak as well. At our last fuel stop the little rubber gasket for the fuel cap must have fallen off. Good thing we got lost and didn't make it out of town!

So we find a tire shop and get something whipped up.



As usual I wander off and go find somebody to assault with my spanglish. I loved just talking to random people, even if they didn't know what I was saying. The people in Mexico were awesome and probably my favorite part of the trip. Everyone was very nice, open and friendly. I had a lot of people teach me spanish and I got used to asking everyone how to say different things.

The tire shop repair for the gas cap worked great so we took off into the desert in search of some fun. The road we took was awesome! It was dirt biker heaven with huge whoops, twisting turns, jumps, hills and seemingly no direction what so ever! It would split in random places, sometimes the two trails would converge again, sometimes one would take off in a random direction, sometimes they would split off again. it made no sense at all!

I loved it!


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Old 05-21-2010, 11:56 PM   #13
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We were always getting lost so I wasn't overly surprised when Judoka suddenly started taking off in random directions. Sometimes he would double back on the road he had just been on. I figured he lost his mind and was trying to find it!

After about 20-30 turns he took off back the way we had been coming. Up to this point I hadn't been having any trouble keeping up or passing him if I wanted to, but I noticed he had really kicked up the speed. I was really starting to wonder what the hell was going on. I was even considering heat exhaustion or dehydration to explain this wierdness.

When we got back to the cattle gaurd he suddenly stopped. He told me we were riding for our life and he saw someone pop up from a hill. He figured they were either drug runners or cops and either way we didn't want to be there. With that he started up and took off.

Now I hadn't seen anyone, and didn't really get the adrenaline rush he did so he was way out in front of me and pretty soon he was gone. I knew where I was going so I wasn't too concerned about losing site of him. I wasn't sure I believed him but I wasn't going to hang around to find out either!

After running back out we eventually met up at a gas station, topped up and decided to head over to mikes sky ranch instead. We had been chatting with a bunch of other riders and they said it was a fun ride.



The road up to Mike's sky ranch turned out to be amazing! Probably the most fun bit of riding I have ever done!

Of course, we got lost. At this point I didn't even care if I had any clue where we were going.



After riding around in a couple circles I ran into this chase rig and started following it figuring that they knew where they were going. It was amazing watching a 2wd towing a trailer running that road. It was also slow! So I got past as soon as possible.



About half way down the road we stopped for a bit and not 30 seconds later this comes hauling ass past!



There was a whole crew of them, probably 20-30 people with bikes, buggies and a prerunner! It was amazing watching them go past, and I was very happy they had caught us on the side of the road and not while running it. Judoka figured we were running about the same pace, I'm not so sure on that. These guys were fast!





Right before I got to mike's there was a water crossing. I couldn't tell how deep it was so I pulled off and waited around for Judoka to catch up. He motored on through so I popped a u-turn but didn't quite make the turn. I thought I would just ride up a rock, roll back off it instead of pushing the bike back. Well when I went to do that, I dug the back wheel in and got myself stuck halfway up the rock. Of course right then was when a bunch of riders went past. I bet they were wondering what the hell I was doing, I know I was!

When we got up to mike's sky ranch the party had already begun. There were people everywhere and more bikes than you could count. Also, the xrl is leaking again!

Oh well we have beer, so we bummed some cork off the chase truck and he got to work. I was too busy taking pictures of stuff and talking to people about their rigs.







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Old 05-22-2010, 12:06 AM   #14
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After he got it fixed Judoka wanted me to run across the water crossing so he could get a video. Normally I try not to do stuff like that because I tend to do something stupid when a camera is around but I agreed anyway.

Probably wasn't the best idea.

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Old 05-22-2010, 12:18 AM   #15
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Remember how my biggest fear of this trip was that I would crash enough to mess up the bike or hurt myself? Well it just happened. The bike is bent badly, I got winded pretty bad but mostly I'm fine just a couple bruises. I quickly check over the bike and decide to ride it out. Honestly I am a bit embarassed and I just want to get out of there. 90% of the "injury" from this wreck is mental as it is occuring to me that I am basically out in the middle of nowhere, in mexico, and my bike may not make it home. Basically I am freaking out!

I should have gone back and asked for help from the chase truck. The front wheel is out of whack, the back wheel is knocked out of alignment, steering is all sorts of wrong and the bar starts moving around in my hands! By the time I get to the road I am wigging out and start yelling at nothing. Eventually I get it together and as the sun is setting we ride back to San felipe. It wasn't easy, and I was not enjoying it. I realized I should have just fixed it at Mike's but at this point I can't sleep here so I might as well not even stop.

We get back to san felipe but we realize we are out of cash. We plead our case with the place we stayed the night before but they aren't willing to let us stay for the tiny amount we can spare.

We head back to the liquor store we were at the night before. After asking around for somewhere we could camp for free the guy at the desk says we are welcome to just sleep there. After a bit more discussion thought the guy says he will take us up to a hotel. I'm still dazed and stressed out of my mind so Judoka is taking care of everything at this point so off we go.

Our new friend says we can just camp next to the lot behind the security hut. We ask the security guy if this is a problem, afterall we don't want to cause any trouble. The security guard says that he can't really say anything as the guy that brought us there is the owner!

I was constantly amazed how nice people were and that everyone was so accomidating and would help us. I was floored that this guy just let us stay at his hotel for free!

We grab something to eat and I pass out early. My bike and I are beat!

Tomorrow will be interesting!
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