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Old 12-15-2010, 11:24 AM   #1
ShaftEd OP
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Joined: Nov 2001
Location: San Diego, CA USA
Oddometer: 3,357
Mike's Sky Rancho Baja Weekend Ride

Here's an email I received from Escondido BMW some weeks back:

Join the crew of BMW Motorcycles of Escondido on a GS ride to Mike's Sky Ranch, December 11th & 12th. This ride will start at the store Saturday morning, kickstands up by 7AM, and take us down across the Mexican border in Tecate. From there we will head to Rancho Santa Veronica for a nice breakfast in preparation for the dirt ride to Ojos Negros. We'll pass through Ojos Negros and stop for lunch in Valle de Trinidad. After lunch, it's up the dirt road to Mike's Sky Ranch where we're planning to stay the night and do it all in reverse the next morning.
The ride is open to all makes of motorcycle and is designed for adventure bikes with knobby tires. Your bike will need to be capable of going at least 80 miles on a tank of fuel. Side cases are not recommended because of the injury potential should you fall and your foot become wedged under the case. We will have a chase vehicle which will be capable of carrying one medium size soft case for each person on the ride.
BMW Motorcycles of Escondido is not charging anything for this ride but you will be responsible for all of your own costs including the $60 per person stay at Mike's Sky Ranch. Space is limited so please RSVP with Rick before December 4th.

Well, I haven't been to Mexico for three years now. This looks like the perfect opportunity to get back there. With a chase truck, the safety margin is greatly increased. I called the shop and signed up. I'd be riding my R1200GS and my buddy Eric who also signed up, would be riding his recently revived ATK605 dualsport (see they really didn't care if you had a BMW or not, although he does ride an R1200RT).

Eric and I met the group at the border crossing in Tecate. Ummm, where's the 20+ riders we were expecting? It seems many who signed up, did not show. We had a total of 11 bikes that should have been 20. At this point I'll refrain from making Starbucks jokes, but it sure was strange so many dropped out last minute? Group consists of 2 12GS's, 1 12GSA, 3 800GS's, HP2, F650GS (single), and our two leaders on cr450f's and the ATK. A quick riders meeting, explaining every rider was responsible for the rider behind to make sure they were not left at any turns, then we were off crossing the border and heading for our dirt launch point at Santa Veronica. We had breakfast at SV (Huevos Rancheros of course), then we hit the Compadre Trail that would lead us to Ojos Negros and pavement at Hwy 3. The Compadre Trail is about as open and easy as you are going to find in Baja. Mostly hard pack with a light sand on top. Perfect for the Adv type bikes. About 3/4 the way thru, we took a rest break. After a few minutes here comes the chase truck, full of cold refreshments for all (I'm kinda liking this chase truck thing).

We did the last few miles into Ojos, got fuel and headed down south on Mex 3 to Valle de Trinidad. Gas again for those with small tanks and a quick lunch at a taco stand. Heading a few more miles south on the pavement, we found the start of dirt to Mike's. Road was in pretty good shape. They had graded it smoother, but did use a nice layer of sand, so that in some spots, the sand kept your attention, but everyone made it through.

Pulling into Mike's is an interesting ritual. Ride into the covered pool area and it's party time! Especially since another group of 42 riders were there. It was by far the most crowded I have ever seen Mike's. OK, rooms secured, cervesa in hand. As we're plowing through the Pacifico's, the sun setting, temps really cool down in the Baja mountains. No problem as the Escondido BMW guys start dispersing ride event long sleeve t-shirts to all the riders. Pretty cool, considering we haven't paid a dime for this ride! Dinner time and Steak for all, then it's lights out at 10:00 (generator turned off) and most head for their rooms.

Sunday morning, has coffee and machaca con huevos ready to go for everyone. Pack up the bike and let's discuss the route home. We decided it would be a bit boring to completely reverse the trip, so we decided to take the Laguna Hanson route to La Rumorosa. This get's us on the dirt faster than going back all the way to Ojos Negros. while the Laguna route is a bit more sandy and technical than the Compadre trail, it is still quite big bike friendly and way more scenic. First we have to get back to Mex 3 from Mike's the way we came. Seems easier today when you've had a chance to sleep on it.

Run 30 miles north on Mex 3 and there is the dirt turn off for Laguna Hanson. Route is a little rougher than the last time I've done this, as in more sand and a couple of washouts with some ruts and rocks. Looks like winter rains have taken their toll. Everyone get's through though with some slight tip overs here and there (scratches look good on a GS). It's a darn long run to La Rumorosa and we are all pretty beat by the time we hit pavement that leads to the border. At this point Escondido BMW guys need to pick up a trailer the was left in Santa Veronica, so we say our thanks and good bye's, then head for the border. In no time, we're back in U.S. and heading for home just around dusk.

I really can't thank Escondido BMW and their team enough. They put on a amazing ride, provided many benefits gratis, and most importantly got us all safely through the trip and home. I'll admit I was definitely concerned about the riders/bikes that might show on a trip like this as it was open to all, but while the skill levels varied, no one bitched or moaned. Adittude can do wonders when you're in over your head in the sand or a rocky trail. All riders on this trip have my respect and earned their stripes. How about Mexican bandits? Didn't see a one, just good ol dirty Baja fun!

Pics: (yes, I forgot my real camera, so took pics with phone camera, Oh well)

Start point Rancho Santa Veronica with bikes and chase truck:

Rest stop on the Compadre Trail:

Mike's Poolside: Blurry so I must have been trying not to spill my beer.

Mike's Parking area Sunday morning: I'm telling you, it was packed with bikes and quads.

Mike's Entrance:

Laguna Hanson Sand: Here one of our intrepid 1200GS riders has a tip over in the sand, Chase truck support crew helping out. (This pic courtesy of San Diego Adventure Riders)

"Big Bird" at Laguna Hanson:
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Old 12-15-2010, 11:30 AM   #2
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Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Wandering
Oddometer: 1,081
it was a year ago today I was leaving the frozen north here in Canada to meet my bike in Tucson for 5 weeks in Baja.

I hate all you guys that can do this for a weekend jaunt! Ok, I don't really hate you but I'm extremely fuckin jealous.

Looks like agreat weekend!
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:24 PM   #3
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Location: San Diego, CA
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Well dammit I'm sorry I missed it! How did you ever make without my GPS Shafted ?
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:07 PM   #4
Joined: Oct 2004
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Originally Posted by Desmofan View Post
Well dammit I'm sorry I missed it! How did you ever make without my GPS Shafted ?
That's how he made it home in time. Your GPS is for over-nighters that you want turned into 5 day trips
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Old 12-15-2010, 06:24 PM   #5
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A chase truck? How gay.
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:38 PM   #6
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Don't you guy know Mexico is dangerous? I got a chance to ride that area last year. I need to go back next year. Ben
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:38 PM   #7
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Location: Escondido Ca .USA
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"Never let the Situation affect you Emotionally. If you do it will have an adverse affect on your ability to make the correct decisions.
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:45 PM   #8
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Joined: Jan 2004
Location: SD, CA.
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Originally Posted by velcrometer View Post
That's how he made it home in time. Your GPS is for over-nighters that you want turned into 5 day trips
+2 to that (Survivor)
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Old 12-16-2010, 07:38 AM   #9
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Joined: Mar 2004
Location: San Diego, CA
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Originally Posted by 805gregg View Post
A chase truck? How gay.
I agree with you. Yep. However, the truck earned its keep by bringin' the beer. And, it was kinda cool to know that my recently rebuilt ATK had a ride out if I proved to be retarded when I fixed the engine.

I think the truck was also carrying a shovel or two to help clean up any BMW yard sales!! You know how messy THOSE can be.
-Sticks and stones, love.
-Insurmountable problems exist in the imaginations of the less traveled.

2011 BMW R1200GS, 2004 KTM 950, 1996 ATK 605 ESDS
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:24 AM   #10
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Joined: Feb 2010
Location: beautiful San Diego
Oddometer: 52
Originally Posted by Ben99r1 View Post
Don't you guy know Mexico is dangerous? I got a chance to ride that area last year. I need to go back next year. Ben
I agree it's dangerous but only for those that look for trouble, most of us don't go to big cities like TJ and Ensenada or Mexicali. I believe that it's dangerous everywhere but if you don't go where usually they would be trouble (big bars, nice restaurants) keep it low when I am in the big cities is my Moto and you will be fine.
On this trip the we where in the city of Tecate only while crossing the border 2 minutes going in to Baja and 3 minutes crossing back to the USA.
Now let's talk about the trip it was a blast and a total success everything went smooth and as planned, no bitching or moaning from anyone and the chase truck did it's JOB which is carrying the beer.
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