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Old 11-16-2014, 10:19 AM   #1
Ratman OP
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Spectating the 2014 Baja 1000

Another year has come (and now gone) since I went to Baja for 2013's race. That race's report is here .

This year I was scheduled to go soft with a ride in a fairly late model Baja pickup.. You know the type, 35" wheels, double shocks, sterero, air conditioning.....on and on...the type PU that desert nymphs can't resist.
But that wasn't to be. My Good friend Mike Daugherty (he owns the truck) has to have a good job in order to pay for the truck, let alone the gasoline, and that good job threw a wrench into the works.

Seems his boss just sold a multimillion dollar building and Mike has to scramble to find a place to put the money in 10 days or less for tax purposes. I thought about canceling the trip....but hell, The '1000' only comes once a year.

So I dragged the old DR350 out and aired up the well used tubeless tires, and gave it a good once over. It hadn't run since last years race. It is a sight to see....surely won't win any bragging rights for being in good shape. Several of the engine seals are leaking, The clutch release shaft, a kick starter plug in the clutch housing, oh, and the alternator cover has a pin hole from a welded up hole. Those thing just add to the bikes charm. The front rotor is bent and stutters when that brake is applied. And I found out that the tail light and brake light don't work.....Seems that the bike is just right for a few days in Baja.

I had a week, and it could be ready to ride with a days TLC, but for me a couple hours is all I can muster in a day, so if all went well, I could be ready in time for the race.

I had drained the carb when I was done last year, and it had been hooked up to a Harbor Freight solar charger for the year. But I noticed that the solar charger had lost it's connection so I didn't know where I was battery wise. ....but the short of all this is that the Battery took a charge, and with new gas in it, it fired right up and ran good. That was a good sign.

It took me till the Tuesday before the race (on Thursday) to get packed up and ready for the road. So around 10am on Wednesday I was ready to leave.

From Baja 1000 2014


I hit the road....

From Baja 1000 2014


....but before I got out the condo gate I realized that something didn't feel right. Oh shit I had forgot to get my Dualsport Touring Seat out for the journey.

I may have the tenderest ass in motorcycledom, but within 4 hours on my DR's seat I'm in serious pain, and at 8 hours, I am dreading riding the next day. To remedy this I use a homade seat pad. It's nothing more that a heat formed piece of 1/4" ABS plastic with a cushion Gorilla taped to it

From Baja 1000 2014


The seat takes this position when you stand on the pegs and is right where I want it when I sit back down....and the ropes attach it to my belt.
From Baja 1000 2014


Not recommended for hard riding...but I don't do that anymore. I lift it out of the way if I have to sit on the seat.

From Baja 1000 2014


Oh....as far as the bike goes (in the first pic)...that is good for geezers, I have raised the bars about 8 inches so that I can stand straight legged on the pegs without needing to bend my knees to reach the bars. I can only ride bent kneed for about 10 seconds before I get tired. Getting old sucks.

One other geezer aid is the Throttle lock....as my hand will go to sleep if I am clamped on the throttle too long. ) You can spend money or go the cheap route. As you have guessed I went the cheap way. (can also be done with a heavy duty tie wrap)

From Baja 1000 2014


A short post on supplies next....
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Old 11-16-2014, 02:18 PM   #2
Culcune
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I was planning to ride my trusty Chinese 200cc enduro from Yuma, meet up with a Mexican guy from a Chinese-bike forum I belong to, Chinariders.net, who lives in Tijuana in Tecate, and head southwest to Ensenada...but, alas, 3 weeks ago a woman hit me in her SUV leaving me with a broken collarbone and a hairline fracture in my arm I guess I'll have to wait until '15

Where do you live? Your place almost looks like my in-laws condo complex in Camarillo, Cal., but I can tell, is not.

Also, a lifetime ago (ok, early 90's) when I lived in Northridge in the L.A. area, I had a DR250s (I can't remember if it was a '90 or '91!)...the model without electric start. My favorite bike out of the few I have owned over the years...

Culcune screwed with this post 11-16-2014 at 02:26 PM
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Old 11-16-2014, 03:04 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Culcune View Post
I was planning to ride my trusty Chinese 200cc enduro from Yuma, meet up with a Mexican guy from a ........

Where do you live?

Also, a lifetime ago (ok, early 90's) when I lived in Northridge in the L.A. area, I had a DR250s (
There's some great value China 250 enduros. We have a place in riverside selling them for 1300$ but not st legal in Ca, but it would be a snap in Az.

i LIVE IN OCEANSIDE. I'm sad to hear about the collar bone...ouch.

I love the DRs because they are so damned reliable. Mines a '94 (estart) aND I'VE put 35 or 40 thousand miles on it....never even adjusted the valves. Fingers crossed....
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:22 AM   #4
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So I was off to gas up for the 2 hr ride to Tecate where I'd cross the border. I have the Dr geared low for the highway. I cruise at 60mph at 6400rpm.
that just fast enough to not be a hazard on the freeway, and slow enough so that I can communicate with the voices in my head.

I enjoy our little talks. We talked about the old days when time began. That was in 1969 when I went down to Catavinia to watch the first Baja 1000 that I was involved with.

I remembered with a smile the 2 guys that had bought a turn key (ready to race) Wampuskitty buggy. They came from Wisconsin, flew into LA and picked up the racer, and went to the race. They had never been to Baja....they broke down about 50 miles before where I was, and got a ride with a Mexican into Santa Inez where I was.

You won't believe this. They didn't have their wallets on them. The driver had raced sprint cars, and they didn't carry their wallets in their race suits, so why would you need wallets in Baja? They had a AAA map of Baja and you could see that there were towns all over the place down there.

We went looking for their car with my PU, but never did find it. They were the first to have their race cars stolen in Baja....quite a distinction.

I was a dumb kid of 29. I went home and built a race car. Hell, I knew I could win this kind of racing after having watched one.

In 1970 I was on my way to La Paz in this car. The whole front end fell off the car about 40 miles south of San Ignacio.
From Bio photos


I'd been dreaming about a new car anyway so in 71 I fielded this all aluminum car.
From Bio photos


You be surprised at how fast a couple hour can go by when having these conversations.

The DR had gotten me to the 20 mile twisty section of road just north of the border. I was having to relearn how the Dr handled. Every time I turn into a corner it would be too far and I'd have to correct mid corner. I stopped to gas at the border, and called home to tell Dee that I'd made it that far. The next miles would be in Baja.

I never saw a border guard as I went into Baja. That's about normal for the Tecate crossing. I'd head east of Tecate 17 miles, and catch the
El Compadre trail (Dirt road) south the 60 miles to Ojos Negros nearby where I'd watch the race go by me as they headed 1275 mile to La Paz.

Let the adventure begin. As I rode east, I tried to figure out why I come to Baja to watch these races. You can watch far better footage of fast race vehicles on the internet any day of the week.
East of Tecate
From Baja 1000 2014


Well, the answer is it's to be with the race folks on race week. 90% of anyone you talk to during that week will be race crazy just like I am. I spend all year at home with people that don't know squat about the race mind. So down there I'm with my peeps be it Mexican or gringo.

I made the turn off to the dirt road that heads south. Now to get some sand in my teeth....
From Baja 1000 2014


It was 12:30, and I could average 30mph on this road. That'd put me in Ojos N at 3ish. with stops. I was in no hurry, as is the usual for me these days. Besides, I needed to see want had been going on since I was here last year.

A mile south of the paved road there's a new concrete works going on now. They specialize in the 2' sq X 6' decorated pillars that go on each side of a driveway entrance. Mexicans are big on announcing entrances. In fact there are thousands of well announced entrances that are as far as the project ever got. Cussing myself for not getting a picture.

A little further on is this new house that's not quite finished. There's a good chance that that's how this house will look next year.
From Baja 1000 2014


I passed the old cemetery that I always take a picture of, but I skipped that this year. I skipped Rancho Veronica for lunch as I had some hard boil eggs with me with instruction from home to eat them.

This looked like a good place to eat.
From Baja 1000 2014


Lunch...
From Baja 1000 2014


I walked to the edge of the trees and took a look see.... Did I mention that it was a beautiful day???
From Baja 1000 2014


I got down to business and put in a solid ride to Ojos N, but at a small village east of Ojos, I stopped for a picture of a fine looking animal.
From Baja 1000 2014


There's a new place in Ojos to eat at which I partook of.
From Baja 1000 2014


Pork Al Pastor tacos. Just what I was looking for to compliment those few eggs.
From Baja 1000 2014


The cucumbers and radishes are normal along with the tacos.
From Baja 1000 2014

My mouth is watering just writing about these tacos.
From Baja 1000 2014


I rode around town a bit looking for anyone selling gas out of one gallon milk bottle as I'd just as soon not deal with the hassle with the checkpoint outside town on the main road near the Pemex station, but there weren't any local gas venders.
Here's the town Square/park
From Baja 1000 2014


A man and his best fried...
From Baja 1000 2014


As I was headed for the Pemex station, KLR rider Dave from Cathedral City (near Palm Springs), rode by. I tracked him down for a short chat. ...Where you going to watch the race sort of chat? My plan was to go south of Ojos on the race course to the first bump or ditch and watch from there. Dave felt that he's be trapped in there (a valid point) till the race was over if he camped in there with me.

Anyway we split up after a brief bike smelling conversation, so it was on to the Pemex. As I gassed up I noticed a rider at the edge of the road who was waiting for someone/something. I went over to palaver a bit. Chris Parr, I learned, was from Co Springs, and was here to 'Ironman' the race. That means ride the 1275 miles by himself in under 48 hours that was allowed for finishing. A really nice guy...and as I find out later he did finish the race with about a half hour to spare. There were 8 or nine Ironbutters and only 3 finished.

A side note is that one of the faster ironbutters is a hopeful to run Dakar this year. He was in the lead about halfway down when he learned that his chase truck/SUV, with his wife in it, had been in a roll over accident with injuries. He pulled out of the race to go to the accident scene. How's that for a kick in the nuts?

That's Baja for you...read this post that describe the race hazards during race week.
http://advrider.com/forums/showpost....75&postcount=3

Back to my ride....It was 4 pm. It'd be dark by 5. That meant I had an hour to find a camp site some 6 or seven miles out of town so I headed south. Traffic was light.

Normally there'd be no traffic but on race week there will be thousands of, mostly Mexican, SUVs out to watch the race and play loud Mexican music....oh, and drink beer. It's all good down there race week. So there was traffic, and there would be traffic all night long coming in to pick out a good spot.

I found a spot up out of the way about 50 yards away from the course and 50 feet higher. I had enough time to pick up some fire wood and pitch my tent before the lights went out.

I started my fire at about 5:30, and had enough wood that lasted till 7pm. It was time to set a spell with a glass of wine.
From Baja 1000 2014

From Baja 1000 2014


I watched the goings on as a dozen groups filtered into the open area below next to the course. Many groups went on past our area. It went on all night long.
From Baja 1000 2014


This is what I could see...and hear. They were a 100 yards away, and louder than I'd ever heard down there. They cut it off at about 10:30 which surprised me. None of that bothered me, in fact, I liked it. Those are my racing peeps.
From Baja 1000 2014
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Old 11-17-2014, 11:17 AM   #5
ramon
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Good story
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Old 11-17-2014, 11:50 AM   #6
Gaston Gagne
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Please keep it coming.
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Old 11-17-2014, 12:28 PM   #7
MrPulldown
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Awesome read. Keep that DR rolling!!
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Old 11-17-2014, 01:25 PM   #8
Ratman OP
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I ought to talk a little about what kit works for me. As you might imagine, I figure that less is more when it comes to moto travel.... it hasn't always been that way. There was a time when I tried to include the kitchen sink on my trips. For instance

From moto trailer


Although I still tow my DR around when it's appropriate, but those big saddle bags were a bit much.

...but when I'm on the DR and away from home. I need a tarp, a down sleeping bag, an innertube, two 12" pieces of foam carpet pad, my Alcohol stove with metal cups, and a 1/2 gal of water as well as my tools. That was need, but on this trip (three days) I also brought a one man tent, a self inflating pad, and a bottle of wine.

For food I usually have a couple cans of tuna and a couple packages of Ramen noodles, and a few power bars. For instance I ate 2 power bars with my eggs, and one noodle with meat mix for dinner the second night. The rest of the time I ate out. Those tacos and a coke in Ojos cost me 2.50$

The bike carries a scroll chart and GPS mt (no need for a GPS on this trip), and a Bicycle trip computer plus a rack to keep the rear travel slings off the sides of the bike. As you can see the travel slings are home built

From Bag rack


Whole build album of photos
https://picasaweb.google.com/1051334...eat=directlink

Those slings are made from Mule Tape and bolted together with flat head screws (Flatheads on the inside). Mule tape... http://tinyurl.com/l8tsg6e is a loosely woven nylon that will separate enough to get a screw right through anywhere you want (no loss of strength from drilling). Anyway they work pretty good as a forgiving way of packing stuff, and it survives well in minor get offs.

I'm not trying to put Jessy Bags out of bidness as they are good too.

....and about the innertube that I carry, well, I've been running self sealed spoke rims for a couple years now. That's a little over 5000 miles of riding. I had one puncture from a horseshoe nail up in Idaho, while running the CDT, that I plugged in an instant. I don't know how long I'll continue to carry that Tube with me.

I have to say that me and tubeless tires are the answer, but that's because I'm on a light bike and am not running hard. Bent rims are the biggest hazard to a tubeless tire, and that's not likely to happen to me. At any rate the tube I carry could come in handy if I bent a rim or if the tire was off the bead for some reason, and I couldn't get the bead to seal enough to get air pressure started.

Anyway that's my setup.

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Old 11-17-2014, 01:45 PM   #9
Scubalong
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Thumb

Thanks for sharing Pete
Cool report and photos
Those tacos look good
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Old 11-17-2014, 02:50 PM   #10
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feedback

i LOVE THE REPLYS, RAMON AND GASTON, THANKS

Quote:
Scubalong:
Thanks for sharing Pete
Cool report and photos
Those tacos look good
thanks, Scubalong, I feel that I know you from reading your replies on Lalo's report.
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Old 11-17-2014, 03:03 PM   #11
Culcune
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Glad to see you made it ok!

I will have to do some rides out that way once my collarbone is better...I have had minimal bike in Mexico experience even though I live right here on the border. My next plan, assuming I am healthy at that time, is to watch some of the Baja 250 in San Felipe. Don't know if you are planning on coming out again for that one?
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Old 11-17-2014, 04:10 PM   #12
Scubalong
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Hello Pete
I have chat with you in the past...
and Lalo report as well, I am also from Oceanside
Currently in OC and hate it, I will swing by and have a beer with you sometime.
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thanks, Scubalong, I feel that I know you from reading your replies on Lalo's report.
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Old 11-17-2014, 07:42 PM   #13
MufflerBearings
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It was a pleasure chatting with you in Ojos Negros, Ratman. I wussed out on camping and instead stayed at the youth hostel in Ensenada to see the bikes leave the line in the morning. But I wish I had camped with you so I could hear some more about your experiences racing Baja during the golden age of VW-powered race cars. Sweet rides:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

In 1970 I was on my way to La Paz in this car. The whole front end fell off the car about 40 miles south of San Ignacio.
From Bio photos


I'd been dreaming about a new car anyway so in 71 I fielded this all aluminum car.
From Bio photos
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Old 11-18-2014, 08:45 AM   #14
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Parnelli story

Quote:
Originally Posted by MufflerBearings View Post
It was a pleasure chatting with you in Ojos Negros, Ratman. I wussed out on camping and instead stayed at the youth hostel in Ensenada to see the bikes leave the line in the morning. But I wish I had camped with you so I could hear some more about your experiences racing Baja during the golden age of VW-powered race cars. Sweet rides:
One day we'll camp together, Dave. We're young guys.

There are some good stories to be told, Dave. Like the one Parnelli told at the Off Road Hall of Fame induction early this month in Vegas. I was there supporting my driver, Bill Sander, (editor of 'Four Wheeler Mag' for 19 years) who was inducted, and Parnelli sat at our table.

...anyway Parnelli said that he was gassing up in Villa Construcion during the race in 70. That was when gas was supplied by NORRA with your entrance fee, and you just got gas at designated gas stations along the route, and they billed NORRA.

So a normal Mexican pumped your gas for you. Well, Parnelli's Bronco was quite exotic to anything the gas jockey had ever seen, and he filled Parnelli's igloo water cooler with gas instead of his gas tank.

Parnelli ran out of gas about 20 miles later and bought a spectator's Tequila bottle, and emptied it on the ground, and used the bottle to transfer about 15 fifths if gasoline into the Bronco to finish the race on. He was far enough ahead that he still won the race.
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Old 11-18-2014, 08:55 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
Parnelli ran out of gas about 20 miles later and bought a spectator's Tequila bottle, and emptied it on the ground, and used the bottle to transfer about 15 fifths if gasoline into the Bronco to finish the race on. He was far enough ahead that he still won the race.
That is a cool story - made me go look up the Bronco.
Here it is: (and apparently they still have the bottle on display too)
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