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Old 12-28-2014, 08:55 PM   #1
huzar OP
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A quick run down and back up the Baja

Preparations:

The idea for this trip came together very quickly. As usual, I was going to be driving down to the San Francisco Bay Area to spend Christmas at my sister’s house. Normally, I spend a week there, and drive back. However, this past year one of my best friends has relocated to San Diego. She and her husband used to watch my dog, Oso, for me when I would go away. In a flash of genius, I had the idea to leave my dog with them, freeing me up to go play for a couple of weeks in Baja. The icing on the cake was that another pair of my friends were going to be down in Baja on their sailboat, before embarking on their Pacific voyage, so I would get to see them before they took off.

Arrangements were quickly made, vacation time was booked, and my good friend Jay (c208guy on ADV) decided to come along. I was going to trailer both our bikes down (his is a 2014 R1200GSW, mine is my trusty 2009 DL650) from the PNW to San Diego. Jay would fly in to LAX and I would pick him up on the way. From San Diego, we would head south, aiming to meet up with my sailing friends somewhere around Bahia de los Muertos. We would spend NYE and another day or two there, and ride back. Departing on the 28th of December, this meant that we would have about 3 days to buzz all the day down Baja. We would take about six days to head back, returning to San Diego on January 8, and Jay would help me with the drive back to the PNW, as we both have to be at work on the morning of January 12th.

The drive down was mostly uneventful, though I spent a lot of time gazing into my rear view mirror with trepidation as the two bikes rocked back and forth on my little three-rail trailer. Arriving in the Bay Area, I noticed that the clutch on Jay’s bike was not working. I trailered the bike up to BMW Motorrad of San Francisco, where they figured out that the hook from the tie down strap had poked o hole in the master clutch cylinder. D’oh! Fortunately they were able to replace it, and Jay doesn’t seem to be too upset about it.

Day 1 – La Mesa to San Vincente

We took our time rolling out. After a leisurely, delicious breakfast, Jay and I spent a bit of time procuring Mexican insurance for our bikes. We got ours through Baja Bound. After some last minute fiddling with trying to stabilize the front end of my bike (my headlight and control cluster seems to wobble), we were on our way, heading from La Mesa towards the border crossing at Tecate via the lovely Highway 94. Unless Jay got some pics or video, I got nothing today, as I forgot to turn on the time lapse on my GoPro . The hills were nicely green, and dotted with a myriad of granite boulders. The border crossing was a piece of cake – the Mexicans asked where we were going, if we were only staying in Baja, and then waved us through. No passport check, no tourist cards, nothing.

We then spent almost two hours procuring Telcel SIM cards for our phones. The Oxxo stores do not carry Telcel nano SIMs, so we had to find a genuine Telcel location. There, you would think we were getting mortgages or something. Signing forms in triplicate, calling managers over, disappearing into the back of the store for long stretches of time. It took me an hour, and once they knew what was needed, it still took 30 minutes for Jay to get the exact same deal.

We rolled out of Tecate around 2, taking the Mex 3 to Ensenada. It passes through some pretty wine country, and is mostly an enjoyable road. The same could not be said for Ensenada. Fumes, traffic, tourons... the works. We tried to hustle through it, but the lights were timed and set by a drunken three year old. Once out of Ensenada, we headed south on Mex 1, aiming for San Quintin. Sunset caught us just outside of San Vincente, 100km south of Ensenada, however, and we decided to spend the night there. The one hotel we could find looked to be closed, but my horribly mangled Spanish must have convinced the local police to take pity on us and guide us to another one. Hotel Valentina has No internet access, but clean, comfy beds and hot water are to be had, and there’s reasonably secure bike parking. San Vincente is a bump along Mex 1. Being inland, it does not look to have any tourism. A bunch of stores and stalls line the highway, and trucks blast through town all day and all night. Dinner was some tacos from a couple of street stalls, and some champurrado. We finished the day with a Dos Equis Ambar back at the hotel.



Tomorrow will be a long day as we try and push to Mulege. And I need to make sure my camera is working.
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Old 12-28-2014, 10:38 PM   #2
BillUA
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Ixm in my friend.. Hope to do this within the next year...

Have a great ride!
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Old 12-29-2014, 11:35 PM   #3
huzar OP
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Day 2 – San Vincente to Santa Rosalía

We hit the road early, putting off breakfast and rolling out before 8am. We had a long day planned. It was barely above freezing, so we were glad to have our heated gear. The temperature rose rapidly, however, and by the time we stopped for breakfast in San Quintin, the heated gear came off. After a tasty breakfast and some coffee, we headed south.

Mmmm, I love Mexican breakfast

Porwit-20141229-2116-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

One of several military checkpoints. We were waved through at all of them:

Porwit-20141229-2117-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Traffic soon thinned out, and the ride was rather pretty. Lots of farming in the valleys up north, especially strawberries. We then headed into the mountains, towards Cataviña. We saw gas for sale by the side of the road there, but pressed on. We figured there would be more available ahead. That was soon to come close to biting us in the ass. At some point, as we were aiming for Guerrero Negro, we saw a sign saying gas 130km ahead. We checked our fuel, realized we wouldn’t make it that far, and hoped the sign was lying. Turns out it wasn’t. With my bike flashing reserve for a while, we came upon Rosarito, and asked around if there was any gas to be had. We were pointed towards a pickup truck, where, sure enough, there was gas in 1 gallon Chlorox jugs for 80 pesos. That was enough to get us to Guerrero Negro.

Quick stop to stretch our legs:

Porwit-20141229-2119-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Hey, is this thing on?

Porwit-20141229-1898-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Pretty much the whole day looked like this:

Porwit-20141229-1893-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Couple of guys from Ohio we encountered on the way to Guerrero Negro:

Porwit-20141229-1957-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Roadside gas:

Porwit-20141229-2120-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

I suggested we push on, as sunset was still two hours away, and the road to Santa Rosalía looked to be straight and fast. It was, mostly. We were able to haul ass through there. Darkness caught up to us about 60km west of Santa Rosalía. It was there that I discovered that my headlights were out. I had noticed that the front fairing and instrument cluster on my V-Strom was a little wobbly. I could not figure out why, however, so I let it be. Seems that shaking was making the HID lights unhappy. A big bump might turn them off. Another big bump would turn them back on. Not the way to be riding at night. Thankfully, my LED auxiliary lights worked.

Last of the checkpoints for the day:

Porwit-20141229-2098-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Racing the sunset:

Porwit-20141229-2115-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Once in Santa Rosalía, we were surprised how big the town was. Jay had spotted a hotel on TripAdvisor called La Bufadora, but the location seemed suspicious to me. It was high up in the hills, away from the main part of town. I suggested we head towards the town center, and look for things there. We looked, but found nothing, so we headed towards the hotel that Jay had spotted earlier. The roads climbed higher into the residential neighborhood, and the quality got worse and worse. The pavement stopped and we were on dirt. At one point I was facing a steep, rutted out slope covered in rocks. Google maps insisted this was the way. Google maps was wrong. We finally got to where the hotel was supposed to be, only to find houses. Asking around resulted in some confused shrugs. We headed back towards the town square, this time a little closer to the water, and found a place. Unfortunately, no secured parking, but the bikes are on the street just outside the hotel watchman’s office, so hopefully that’s ok.

Bouncy castle and outdoor foosball tables in the plaza in Santa Rosalia:

Porwit-20141229-2121-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

huzar screwed with this post 12-30-2014 at 10:27 PM
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Old 12-30-2014, 04:06 AM   #4
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So far looking amazing! Have a great time with Arek and Iwona!!



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Old 12-30-2014, 02:54 PM   #5
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Damn you Marcin, really jealous. Carry on my friend.
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Old 12-30-2014, 04:14 PM   #6
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Subscribed. You kids have fun!
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Old 12-30-2014, 07:44 PM   #7
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Hey I know you guys, cool I'm in for the ride. Vrrrooooooom
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Old 12-30-2014, 10:29 PM   #8
huzar OP
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Day 3 – Santa Rosalía to Loreto

We had more ambitious plans for the day. We were going to get up early, and head for Adolfo Lopez Mateos, a town on the Pacific side. On the way we were going to stop by Playa Coyote, to see Roel and Azure of mytickettoride.com. Jay had met them this past summer in Alaska, and had been following their travels since. They were supposed to see him when they passed through Vancouver, but somehow missed each other, so this was an opportunity.

Instead of these ambitious plans, today was a day of meetings, all chance ones. It started this morning with me trying to figure out why my headlight cluster and console were shaking so much. Turns out that both bolts that attach the cowling frame to the bike were missing… so first thing this morning was spent trying to find a place that sells M8x1.25 20mm hardened flange head bolts. The specialty shop was closed, so some regular bolts have to do for now. In our wanderings around Santa Rosalía this morning, we stumbled across a rider in a red AeroStich suit and a brand new FJ-09. Turns out it was Carrie (puddles on ADV), slowly working her way back home to the Bay Area after taking her new bike on a shakedown cruise to Baja. We chatted for a while, I had the opportunity to take the FJ-09 for a quick spin (me likey), and I think she may have gotten a couple of pics of me fondling and licking her bike.

Carrie and me and her lovely new bike:

Porwit-20141230-2306-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

After breakfast and some repairs to my V-Strom (the headlight cluster no longer wobbles, but the main headlights are still out), we headed south towards Playa Coyote. We stopped for gas along the way, and were soon joined by a guy on a loaded down Ruckus. It was Mike, from lostwithmike.com. He too was heading north. We got some good beta on road conditions down south from him, chatted a bit, and were on our way.

Porwit-20141230-2307-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The playas around Bahia Concepcion are spectacular. We knew that Roel and Azure were staying at Playa Coyote, so we headed there. Riding on the beach, we soon spotted Roel’s Africa Twin and Azure’s TransAlp. Unfortunately, they were nowhere to be found. Chatting with some of the snowbirds hanging out there, we were told they left on a panga and might be back in an hour or so. We decided to wait for them. I went for a swim, Jay read. We soon heard the sound of motorcycles, and saw two KLRs pull up. It turned out to be Les and Catherine, six months into their No Agenda world tour. They too were looking for Roel and Azure. More conversations ensued, but Roel and Azure were not coming back anytime soon, and we had to get on our way.

Playa Santispac:

Porwit-20141230-2282-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Riding on Playa Coyote:

Porwit-20141230-2194-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Bikes on the Playa:

Porwit-20141230-2286-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Jay catching some sun waiting for Roel and Azure:

Porwit-20141230-2288-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Beautiful Playa Coyote:

Porwit-20141230-2304-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Les and Catherine, and us:

Porwit-20141230-2297-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The next stop was Loreto. The ride there was a mixture of nice twisties and some boring straights, pretty typical. Loreto itself has changed tremendously. I was last here 12 years ago, and it was a sleepy little town. Now it has multi-story hotels on the Malecon, and a lot more polish. The prices are also much, much higher. Wanting a rest day after a long day’s ride, we decided to stay in Loreto. Got a room, grabbed a couple of beers, hung out by the pool. It was very touristy. The nice surprise was finding a decent brewery in town (El Zopilote Brewing). Their beers, including a solid IPA, can be had at 1697 Restaurant, right off the main square. Slow service, and a disappointing tortilla soup took a bit of shine off that.

The old mission:

Porwit-20141230-2298-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Nicely shaded pedestrian section:

Porwit-20141230-2300-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The plaza at night, full of Mexican families:

Porwit-20141230-2302-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Small street-facing altar outside someone's home:

Porwit-20141230-2303-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Tomorrow the alarm clock is set for 6am. We need to be in Cabo Pulmo in time to arrange safe parking for the bikes, and for my friends to grab their dinghy and come pick us up from shore.

huzar screwed with this post 12-30-2014 at 10:43 PM
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Old 01-01-2015, 11:14 AM   #9
Ramanonos
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Awesome stuff. Stay safe bud
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Old 01-01-2015, 11:41 AM   #10
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I miss Mexico!!! xo have fun
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Old 01-02-2015, 09:42 PM   #11
huzar OP
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Awesome stuff. Stay safe bud
Hiya Andrew
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:01 PM   #12
huzar OP
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Days 4-6 – Loreto to Cabo Pulmo to Todos Santos

We left Loreto later than we planned. We got up early enough, but we spent a bit of time looking for coffee. Tripadvisor had pointed us towards a place called El Corazon, which had, unbeknownst to us, relocated from Loreto to Loreto Bay. Once we figured that out, and rode out there, we also found out their hours had changed, and they opened at 8, not at 7. Anyway, no coffee.

Beautiful sunrise in Loreto:

Porwit-20141231-2375-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The road out of Loreto was a blast. At least the first part of it. We ride down along the coast, up and down through mountain ranges. Things cloud over a bit, which gives us a little relief from the heat as we ride into the middle of the peninsula. Then the road gets straight. And flat. And boring. Fortunately, we can blow through Ciudad Insurgentes and its larger cousin, Ciudad Constitucion, relatively quickly. It isn’t until just before La Paz that we get some minor excitement, when we hit road construction that forces us onto several kilometers of washboard. After La Paz we aim towards Los Barilles, with the goal of picking up the Camino Cabo Este towards Cabo Pulmo. After a quick trip to buy provisions for the next couple of days on the boat, we pick up the dirt road and head south.

Jay rides through the mountains south of Loreto:

Porwit-20141231-2327-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Porwit-20141231-2330-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Turns out we picked up the dirt prematurely. The road is wide, a little washboardy, with sporadic deep sandy spots, but it is enjoyable. We ride through ranches, and wind up in a little village where they tell us, oh, just head right for a couple of blocks and pick up pavement. We’d been riding sand too early. Jay had managed to dump his bike in a deep spot, but I was too slow to get a picture. We pick the pavement up again, for about 10 miles, until we enter the national park. The road turns to dirt again. Great views of little bays along the Sea of Cortez greet us as we crest over each ridgeline. We finally arrive at Bahia Los Frailes. The beach is full of deep sand – too deep for our big bikes, so we stash them with a vacationing couple from Canmore, Alberta, in the campground next door. The campground is free, 50’ from the beach, and has a good logistics chain in the form of local fishermen selling their catch and a couple of regular pickups making the rounds selling water and produce.

We radio for my friends and they come get us in their dingy. Their 53’ sailboat seems palatial, and we spend the next couple of days enjoying it and their hospitality. We spend New Years Eve with several other cruisers, who have all gathered on a 42’ catamaran anchored in Bahia Los Frailes. Turns out several of the cruisers have also done extensive motorcycle traveling. I spend a good amount of time talking with an Austrian couple, Juergen and Claudia, who have been sailing for the last five or six years, who have previously done a lot of exploring on his AfricaTwin.

NYE on the "Fifth Season II":

Porwit-20141231-2331-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

New Years day finds us on the boat, doing nothing. It is great. We relax, eat a late breakfast, then an early lunch, then play some cards, and drink a few margaritas. Life is good.

Jay and Iwona:

Porwit-20150101-2333-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Life on a sailboat sure is rough:

Porwit-20150101-2336-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Bahia Los Frailes is a beautiful anchorage:

Porwit-20150101-2337-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Arek and Iwona, my dear friends, our hosts on the "Bella Vita":

Porwit-20150101-2339-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Pouring margaritas is serious business:

Porwit-20150101-2343-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

A little singing:

Porwit-20150101-2345-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Motorcycles are great, but sailboats are pretty cool too:

Porwit-20150101-2348-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

A little before noon on the 2nd, we hit the road again. The weather is cloudy, with a slight drizzle. Keeps the dust down. We ride south on the Camino Cabo Este. Jay drops his bike a couple more times in the deep sand, but I somehow manage not to do so. After several miles the road improves, and continues to do so as we get closer to San Jose del Cabo. We briefly pay a visit to a friend of Jay’s while we’re there, and then press on to Todos Santos. We’re now on a four-lane paved road. I don’t like what I see in Cabo San Lucas – too many condos, vacation homes, and gringos, but the vibe of Todos Santos is much more pleasant. A small town, it is home to THE Hotel California, the one from the Eagles Song. Unfortunately, there is not plenty of room at the Hotel California, and, frankly, it is a massively overpriced tourist trap.

Gail and Martin, from Cranmore, AB, who watched our bikes. Martin used to ride a 2007 GSA:

Porwit-20150102-2351-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Riding the Camina Cabo Este:

Porwit-20150102-2352-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Jay lifts his bike again:

Porwit-20150102-2355-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Instead, we stay around the corner in a crappy little motel, with smelly rooms and a commercial laundry next door. The pool is an unpleasant shade of green. It is, however, in the middle of town, within easy walking distance to everywhere. It’ll do for the night. Oh, did I mention thast the WiFi sucks?

Sunset in Todos Santos:

Porwit-20150102-2362-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Tomorrow we head north to Puerto San Carlos. Maybe we’ll catch a whale watching tour?

huzar screwed with this post 01-02-2015 at 10:20 PM
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Old 01-03-2015, 04:19 PM   #13
Apple Jam
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Excellent RR, Marcin !
Your pictures are GREAT and most fun to follow !
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Old 01-03-2015, 07:27 PM   #14
Roland44
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Originally Posted by Saralou View Post
I miss Mexico!!! xo have fun
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Same here...

Great report OP
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Old 01-03-2015, 09:26 PM   #15
BRUTSQD
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I've stayed in that same crappy motel! Great RR!!
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