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Old 03-10-2011, 04:11 PM   #31
TallRob
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That bus reminds me of the famous Santa Monica Big Blue Buses in socal.
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Old 03-10-2011, 04:34 PM   #32
BajaDave
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Yeah, that bus is very thoughtfully set up. Love the utiliitarian design in stainless. Purpose built... I like it.

Really looking forward to this ride report Ged!
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Old 03-10-2011, 05:36 PM   #33
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The bus rolled into Sandy Eggo around midnight and we wormed our way to the immigration...quite the scene on a Friday night.

As the sensible planning of buying Mexican vehicle insurance was not done on-line as suggested by some brilliant guy, looking for an open agent office at midnight only lasted a half-hour....and then the wizard in charge of that task decided to only pay for two days of insurance....one for the drive from the border to San Ignacio on the way down...and one for the "one-day" return trip to the border....again, common sense was sleeping in one of the bunks.

We managed to escape a Houdini parking lot with a simple 21-point turn of the 40' bus-beast and proceeded to the crossing. As I had solicited wisdom from the Baja Nomads forum as to which lane, etc was best...we managed to get to the correct line-up and crossed easily with a minimum of questions. I encouraged folks to buy the $25 tourist visa despite some serious flack from a seasoned rider who is proud to say he has never been asked for it over the years....but we all got our permits stamped and paid for after going back and forth between offices, booths, and wickets...each contradicting the info provided by the previous.

At the actual Immigracion office, there was a line-up of about twenty Mexican men, each frantically pulling possessions out of a large paper bag with numbers on them. The scene was sort of like watching a bunch of women stashing and putting on new purchases at some border town after a shopping spree...but each of them were putting belts on and putting laces in their shoes (most which looked brand new)....and were trying to organize papers and what looked like identification documents.

My best guess was that they had been popped by US officials, had been incarcerated, and were shipped back south of the border until their next effort to get into the US....

We managed to get some pesos and Ross piloted the bus down to Ensenada where he claimed to know of a campground/RV place...."I was there some years ago...it's a good place just south of Centro...and we can have showers...".... I pulled my sleeping bag over my head and was lulled into a broken sleep by the topes, corners, and abrupt stops...


YEEHAWWWW !!!!!! We are in Baja

So after about an hour of driving around Ensenada, his fatigue won out and he parked the bus beside the main street leading south out of town at about 2:30 AM. Wayne . as the 8th guy, volunteered to sleep on the floor....

Remember...only 7 bunks for 8 guys?

We woke up at about 6:00 and looked for coffee...Ross, Murray and I were the first out...Gracias Dios por EXTRA



El Mur took a while as he got a fresh pot brewed up....another reason to know him as Mr. Happy




Ross was .....well, you fill in the blanks "________________":






Reid and Randall were opening one eye at a time...




And a small kaffe klatch became the Happening...







Fueled by caffeine, we decide we could wait until San Quintin por desayunos....the first place was new but had no soul:




Health Notice: El Mur says. "Floss before each meal!"




However, our second choice was the winner:




Randall, Reid, and El Mur (L-R)"





A good breakfast and good service....too bad the taco stand next door wasn't open....




although the playground was...




So, with a belly full of good food, we had our buzz on....San Ignacio, here we come:
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motoged screwed with this post 03-10-2011 at 05:42 PM
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:06 PM   #34
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Woohooo!

I met Murray and Ross and their crew at Kikis in February 2008 during my first Baja trip. Those guys are awesome! Hanging with them at Kikis are some of our best memories of the trip. They also are the cause of us buying a bus this year. Murray was the only person in camp up before me everyday:
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:32 PM   #35
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Hey Ged,

Great report so far and a great area to play. I rode down there last year at almost this time. Lots of fun. Not so free of snow this year.


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Old 03-10-2011, 08:54 PM   #36
lslucas
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Yahoo...

Looks like its going to be a good one.....
Lucky buggers, wish I was down there....
Sure beats the crappy weather back home....

Have a safe ride!
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:29 PM   #37
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Howdy, Chris...how did the GS like Baja?



Quote:
Originally Posted by beemer67 View Post
Hey Ged,
Great report so far and a great area to play. I rode down there last year at almost this time. Lots of fun. Not so free of snow this year.
Chris
'81 R80G/S
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:52 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motoged View Post






San Fransiscito... What a beautiful place! Especially after blowing up a motor.
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Old 03-11-2011, 03:09 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motoged View Post
Howdy, Chris...how did the GS like Baja?
Great except for shearing off the rear shock mount to swingarm just north of Cocos. That is one rough road. Anyway, Coco helped us out, I pulled off swingarm, had it welded and reassembled in 3 hours, then camped at his compound. Great guy.

First hardware failure in 30 years of ownership so can't complain.

Enjoy your ride, still crappy up here.

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Old 03-11-2011, 01:20 PM   #40
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So, a bit of a brief recap: Five of us (Ross [Trail Boss a la Google Earth], Reid, Brian, Murray, Wayne, and myself) left Kamloops on Thursday, Feb 10th at noon and drove to Vancouver where we picked up Lev and Randall. We crossed into the US at about supper time and drove nonstop (aside from fuel stops and a breakfast stop in California) until we got to San Diego at about 11:30 PM Friday. Our border crossing at Tijuana was relatively smooth and we slept for three hours roadside in Ensenada. Breakfast in San Quintin and a good drive on the Highway sin Shoulders...




Murray drove the 1.5 hour whiteknuckle section from Guererro Negro to San Ignacio in the dark ...a task no one would enjoy driving.

For those of you who have never been there, the highways in Baja are greatly improving over the years, but there tends to be NO SHOULDERS as the pavement drops off dangerously an inch from the white line....leaving absolutely no room for error !!!!!

The "Penalty for Failure" is something you don't want to experience...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsDjh7oAAP0

(Rumarosa Grade bike trail).

All the bus drivers did a heroic job despite the passenger comments throughout the trip, especially in Baja...

Passengers were occasionally reminded that they should just sit back and...

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Old 03-11-2011, 02:25 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelRain View Post
San Fransiscito... What a beautiful place! Especially after blowing up a motor.
SR,
Bahia San Francisquito....One of my favourite places in all of Baja....in 2002 I spent 5 days there doing ABSOLUTELY nothing except eating smoked yellowtail, fish tacos, and sipping beer....never even walked farther than the ends of the beach/

Some say it is run down these days....I say it is simply "rustic"...













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Old 03-12-2011, 01:12 PM   #42
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So, after about 56 hours on the bus, we stepped out at Rice and Beans in San Ignacio

My first task was to get to the office and rent a room...once that was done, I lugged my bags to the room and collected my bike from its lair....in the midst of that, David approached me and introduced himself. David had heard of this ride through the Baja Nomads forum and asked if he could hook up with our ride.

Through previous correspondence, I had explained to David that I was planning a different route for most of my 10 riding days and he had seemed agreeable to that. He would frequently respond to my occasional queries of "Where do you want to go today?" with the usual "I am on permanent vacation and am just following you around on your holiday!" That seemed like a low-pressure response and I figured I could "trust his judgement" and go with his easy-going manner.

Unloading from the bus, my first goal was to get the bike over to the room, settle for a moment or two, and then join the group in the restaurant for dinner. Once I unwound a bit, I joined the group for dinner as it was close to 8:00 pm by this time. Hooking up with David was the first time I had ever had such an encounter of riding with someone I had never met before and had no sense of what that experience was like.

I tend to be a solo rider but am learning how to play well with others as my years pile up. I started riding street in 1976 at the age of 25; my riding experience soon included riding on gravel and dirt roads a fair amount as those were the roads that took me to the "Can we get there from here?" places that held interest for me. I didn't get my first dirt bike until 2000...

Over the years I had come to accept that BMW GS's were NOT true adventure bikes, no matter how cool their ads were. I treated them as such but have come to realize that the Bavarian Beast is just too heavy a pig for most of the places I want to ride... and I was getting tired of beating the 1100GS up in places that deserved a different bike....a better tool for the job.

Don't get me wrong....I LOVE the GS as it has and will continue to serve me well for years to come...














But I digress......back to Baja

Supper was good (Pescado con mojo de ajo) and the group spirit was
one of excitement and anticipation. A few beers, a few margs, and lots of eager-to-ride folks.....off to bed by 10:00 or so.

Up early and getting packed for departure Sunday, Feb 13th....

The bus was empty... (Thanks for these pics, Dave):





Packing was underway...







David ready to go...




and his ride....




I took a quick ride into town before the group start and took a few pics of one of the local race teams"






With their electric road racer....just dial it in....



Back to R&B for the cluster start....and we were 9 guys headed southwest to the lagoon for our first leg of the trip....to Mulege The Hard Way...over a route I have been wanting to do for the past 5 years....
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Old 03-13-2011, 07:59 AM   #43
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MORE!
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Old 03-13-2011, 06:08 PM   #44
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Okay........

Day One: San Ignacio to Mulege The Hard Way

Our gang rode out of Rice and Beans at the crack of 10 AM or thereabouts.
Nine of us snaked through the village and south-westerly out on to the road to the lagoon. We rode a spirited ride on the pavement for the first 10 miles and then the riders spaced out a bit once on the rough gravel road that took over on the way out to the lagoon. The dust welcomed us to the ride and somewhat determined different riding styles. I, for one, REFUSE to ride in somebody's dust ...I just don't see the point unless racing or something .

Some guys like to ride side-by-side in these conditions, some guys like to wait until the dust has only begun to settle, while guys like me like to wait until the dust has dissipated and to stay out of it until the next corner route-change rendezvous. After about a half hour of riding, we came to the junction where a road turned south towards El Paraje where David caught me rinsing some dust off my bike:



David and I rode the sweep position for a while as the other guys were ripping it up ahead. Several of our group had done this day's route the year before and were on the pipe. At significant junctions, the "last rider" usually waited for the next one to appear and acknowledge him with a wave before continuing...the standard etiquette that is always promised at the beginning of most group rides ...and is sometimes even implemented.

Sometimes just a roost track indicated which direction the previous rider had taken .

Somewhere between El Paraje, David and I stopped for a momentary break when he noticed he had lost a lower mounting bolt on his Touratech luggage rack (smartly complimented by Wolfman dry bags). He found a replacement and we continued south to Tres Palmas before heading easterly towards El Patrocino. The terrain so far was mixed alto plano desert and the road was fast, with little soft sand, but rough with exposed rocks and occasional washout gullies. Nothing really of a technical challenge, but the kind of stuff you sometimes want to be on the pegs for if you want your eyes to focus on the road. One thing about Baja riding: if you take your eyes off the road for a second, THAT is when you are most likely to hit a rock or a rut that hits your front wheel with a KRANG that wakes you up with a pucker clinch .

As we rode out of El Patrocino we could see the mountains far off to the east. The road was still fast and offered some enjoyable riding.
Every once and a while we would pass through an established rancho where often one or several people would be roadside pointing out the directions we wanted to take. We would usually stop and confirm our navigational wherewithall with the ranchers...they were friendly and helpful.

The ranchos in Baja are a world unto themselves. They come from and continue to sustain a rich culture. These days they use hand-held radio communication and keep in frequent contact with one another. I assumed that they knew a group of riders were headed their way far in advance of the sound of our motors...

A great insight to their life may be gained by finding and watching a great documentary called Corazon Vaquero

http://www.corazonvaquero.com/cvj/in...d=20&Itemid=32


The sparse desert flora began to become more dense as we approached the foothills ...



And, coming down a hill into a rancho before Los Pilares, we came onto a cement-paved downhill section (an occurance with increasing frequency these days in parts of Baja mountain terrain)...




David's hawk eye captured an old fixer-upper...






I think it was somewhere past Los Pilares and El Datil where the road got rougher and was much more rocky riverbed than sandy double-track.

We were headed up and over some challenging rough mountain roads towards Mission Guadalupe. Most of us managed to negotiate a hairpin in the route at the bottom of the mountain section by a rancho....Reid, Brian, and Lev missed that turn only to end up in a box canyon for a time-consuming detour back to that missed junction.

The ride into that junction was spectacular as the road was totally a riverbed with rocks as a roadbed and frequent water-crossings and slimey green sections sandwiched between towering canyon walls on both sides.

This is where the terrain started to tell us that the adventure had started. We followed the road peppered with switchbacks, loose rock, and some steep uphills...

Rounding one switchback, my rear tire slipped out and I did the splits as my bike went down. It was picked up quickly but wouldn't start.

Before I realized it wouldn't start, Wayne and Murray came up around the corner, saw me picking up the bike. Murray said, "No one saw it happen!" ....which I took as a joke meaning "No witness-no failure". He then asked if I was okay and I replied "Yes", as I had not been injured but had my first bike-drop of the trip .

They motored on and I caught my breath while stabbing the e-button.

ALL my pre-trip fears of fuel pump/fuel line kinks claimed centre-stage in my mind... (690 guys might know about this issue for some bikes....especially after removing the 690 fuel pump housing when installing filters or after-market auxiliary fuel tanks). After a dozen unsuccessful tries, I took my helmet off, turned off the helmet cam (unfortunately, I did not turn it on for the rest of the day....losing hours of killer riding footage ) and thought my trip was over for the day and I would have to do major fuel system surgery and sleep there overnight....(yeah, I know....my worrying can surface as worst-case scenario predictions...).

I gathered my wits and turned the ignition key off as it remained on after the fall and engine stalling. When I turned the key on I heard the fuel pump prime....GOOD NEWS I thought !!! With a bit of a prayer, I hit the button and the bike started....Boy, was I glad for that . After about 20-30 minutes bouncing up the road, I came upon my gang at a pass, patiently waiting for me and the others (Reid, Brian, and Lev)...



David caught Murray approaching the first pass ...



Then Wayne...



And finally me rocketing up the road...






I was pooped at that point

The riding was not really that challenging for the other guys, but I am overweight and under-fit. Some might say that I am not in shape, but I sometimes need to remind them that "round is a shape".

I got off my bike and waited with the rest for Reid, Brian, and Lev.
We waited for about 20-30 minutes and entertained a variety of options.
We eventually decided to continue forwards as we determined:
1) Reid had a good GPS topo map and had done the ride the year before;
2) Reid had a 5 gallon tank, so he could supply fuel to the smaller tanks if needed;
3) The GPS topo map indicated that they had likely continued past the hairpin junction at the bottom of the mountain and that road would eventually reconnect to where we were headed within 10 miles or less...

Views from the pass #1:

From whence we came...







Lounging around...





Examining a map...




Wayne and I were the last to head down from the pass once we decided we could trust the Tres Amigos Perdidos to find their way to Mulege

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Old 03-13-2011, 07:42 PM   #45
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Laugh

Sweet !
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