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Old 07-24-2014, 08:33 AM   #1
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San Francisco to San Felipe – Dualsporting in Baja on Multistrada 1200 & DR650

Hi everyone, this is my first ride report on ADVrider, and my first real adventure ride. I wanted to share this report as an appreciation to this site, since I did 99% of my research and got 100% of my inspiration here. So after posting this up over on ducati.ms, I took more time to compile a “director’s cut” version of the ride report here.


Noob Alert: Coming from many years of riding street bikes only, I had exactly zero dirt riding experience prior to this trip, but did my best to take some dual sport clinics (thanks DocWong), watch DVDs, and practice offroad riding (and practice picking up my bike).


Here’s the bike BEFORE joining ADVrider:



Here’s the bike AFTER joining ADVrider.

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Old 07-24-2014, 08:33 AM   #2
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So my buddy joined me on his DR650 and we did an 8-day, 2,000-mile trip from the Bay Area California down to Baja. The plan was to ride down, cross the border at Tecate, hit up some of the dirt roads on the way down to Gonzaga Bay, and camp along the way. I planned the route while studying various Baja posts here.


I prepped the bike with offroad riding in mind, which included crash and engine protection, soft luggage, extra fuel, and dirt-worthy tires. I’ll list the specific mods at the end for reference.


Swapped new TKCs for the start of the trip.



This is the last time the bike would look this clean…



DeLorme inReach test, working well, also researched on ADVrider. Liked the flexibility of 2-way communication.

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Old 07-24-2014, 08:34 AM   #3
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The ride down from SF was pretty uneventful, as we just slabbed it down Highway 5 to get to the border as quickly as possible. Parked at the Walmart near Riverside, CA picking up last minute supplies. The bike was super heavy with the extra fuel and luggage. I noticed that I had to brake earlier and harder.






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Old 07-24-2014, 08:35 AM   #4
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Being Memorial Day weekend and trying to wing it, we found out all the campsites and motels in the area were all booked, and we ended up at a small town near the San Diego area called Julian and stayed the night.


Taking a break at a gas station near Harrah’s.


In the Cleveland National Forest Area, striking out at all the campsites, trying to find a place to stay…





Downtown Julian, CA.

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Old 07-24-2014, 08:36 AM   #5
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Well, let’s just say the first night of our big adventure was not that adventurous…our first dirt on the trip was the driveway of a very quaint bed & breakfast. Our dreams of roughing it, camping under the stars, and eating freeze-dried food were shattered with the harsh reality of a temperfoam bed and breakfast buffet. (And decorated plates…in case of a dinnerware emergency?)












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Old 07-24-2014, 08:37 AM   #6
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We crossed the border with no drama at all. We had gotten our paperwork ready including passports, Mexican insurance, and were prepared to get our tourist cards and everything, and no one even checked our stuff, and in fact didn’t even stop us as we crossed! This was pretty much the same for all the military checkpoints as well.

It went so smooth we didn’t even have time to get our bearings after crossing, so we stopped to make sure we were on the right track to Santa Veronica. First stop in Baja was just across the Tecate border on some random street.






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Old 07-24-2014, 08:38 AM   #7
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Hitting the dirt in Baja was a huge eye opener. We made it to Hacienda Santa Veronica intending to find the Compadre Trail going down to Ojos Negros. We trained on dirt trails but never rode on sand before. Quickly found out that riding in sand on heavy bikes is not very easy…



The off road riding we did in Baja could be summarized in 2 words: Sandy Washboard. Sometimes we had deep sand, sometimes wide washboard, and then sometimes both. It was the most challenging riding that I’ve personally done in 15 years of street riding.


“Oh crap” pretty much summed it up after getting on this road.



Sandy, washboardy goodness as far as the eye can see.

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Old 07-24-2014, 08:39 AM   #8
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It was on this road where my buddy hit the deck pretty hard on his DR650. The back wheel just spun and he took a pretty hard fall. But he cowboyed up and got back on the bike and did the rest of the trip, although he had some pretty bad chest pains after.


We got the bike up…basically our very first leg of the trip, and a pretty bad fall. Sh*t just got real…







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Old 07-24-2014, 08:39 AM   #9
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Further down the trail.


Sandy road.










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Old 07-24-2014, 08:40 AM   #10
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On the way to Ojos Negros. Yes, more sand.







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Old 07-24-2014, 08:41 AM   #11
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Bad idea - don’t park in deep sand! haha. Taking a dirt nap.








Finally got it upright with the help of my buddy. Really helps to ride with someone in these conditions.



You can see how deep the sand was where I tried to park. Bad choice on my part but was looking for a shady area to take a break.



[

Large kickstand foot came in handy (if you can find it).


Back on the road, finally.




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Old 07-24-2014, 08:42 AM   #12
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Getting onto the hard pack was a joy.


Mixture of emotions seeing power poles leading to civilization - and yet the washboard sand road almost rattled the MTS to death.






Now I know why some riders cheer when they see asphalt.

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Old 07-24-2014, 08:43 AM   #13
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We found our first Pemex station but they were out of fuel (as members have mentioned). At the station we met the Temecula Motorsports race team, pre-running for the Baja 500. Great group and appreciated their time in talking with us.







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Old 07-24-2014, 08:43 AM   #14
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Because our progress was so slow, we ran out of daylight and had to book it to Ensenada the first night. The highway was actually a great twisty road, but once it got dark it was a bit treacherous. We broke the first rule of Baja - don’t ride at night.



We were exhausted but managed to go into town for some food and drink. After stumbling out of Papas&Beer we found a little hot dog stand – best meal ever.

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Old 07-24-2014, 08:44 AM   #15
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The next morning I took some photos of the area. Not very adventurous staying at a hotel again, but we had great parking.








Baja has decals.

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