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Old 11-02-2012, 05:57 PM   #1
nomad5326 OP
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Joined: Feb 2012
Location: San Diego, Ca
Oddometer: 305
4-Day Explore Baja Norte 26-30 OCT 2012

Ride Report from Xplore Baja 26-30 OCT 2012
2001 BMW F650GS Dakar
2003 BMW F650GS Dakar

Started with 6 and the list dwindled down to just my brother and I, which was great as we don't get much time together as it is. He drove from East Tennessee to Nashville to find his flight cancelled and was rerouted. Supposed to be here at 230pm and finally flew in at 1030 (a long day of flying for an East Coaster). Prepped bikes, drank beer and ate pizza until 1 and crashed hard. Woke at 630 to get my daughter to school and he and I were out the door by 0900 (with no-one else but else I dropped the 0830 wheels up at the border thing!). Headed down the fwy (I had to constantly tell him it's OK to ride 80 on the fwy, he was killing me but reluctantly kept up. By the end of the trip I couldn't keep up w/him ;-)
Didn't take many pics while moving, which sucks as it was gorgeous. Seems like we only took photos when we stopped which means either we fell, got stuck or were eating!

Fri: Hit the Tecate border, rolled through and headed East to the turnoff for Compadre Trail. Stopped for a quick taco or 2 and to look at the map.

Was initially going to take Laguna Hansen near La Rummarosa but with a late start and shortened daylight hours we took the closer route.

Loved the route, we could go fast, slow and didn't see a person (this would be the theme for the weekend) for over 3 hours until we hit a Federale Checkpoint. Brian was up front and since I knew he would be a little freaked out to see armed guys in the middle of no-where I backed off to enjoy the show of them opening his pockets, bags and asking him questions while he mumbled in TN Spanglish words that even he couldn't understand…
Were having fun and got a bit sidetracked and followed the route back up into Constitution Nat Park/Laguna Hansen for about an hour before I realized we bypassed our turn. Turned south and hit HWY3 just before dark. Found a lady selling gasoline from her place, rolled in, honked and filled up w/3gal each (we had a gal in reserve) and headed west another 30 miles to Mikes turnoff. Pitch black by the time we hit the turnoff and w/no aux lighting the 22mi road to Mikes was a bit slower than we thought but we rolled in at 7. Mike met us at the front and told us he'd get our room and dinner rolling (why can't I get this service at home?!). Dropped gear, showered and rolled into the bar for a beer and dinner. Bruce and his boys from GoBajaRiding were there w/a 8 man group from LA and ATL and one additional guy from LA (INHO - B4thenite on ADV) headed to South America.Inho said that he 's new to riding dirt- 4months now- and riding solo. What a great group of guys and wish we had time to join INHO on part of his journey. Anyway, ate dinner, drank a few more Tecate's and
was in bed and asleep by 1000pm when the generator shut off. Man I must be getting old….

Sat: Awesome breakfast at Mikes then headed west on dirt to hwy 3 to VDT for gas and a Red Bull and then south on dirt to HWY1. We missed our connector road in VDT so just took a parallel road (I have this thing with going backwards) that ended up being SAND/SILT for close to 2-3 miles. I paid the man for that decision ;-)

Took some sand lessons and then found a perpendicular route to link us up with our initial track.

Headed through the hills on a beautiful road to HWY 1 where we headed south to Camalu. Hit Camalu and went straight to the coast and road coastal up until is was getting a bit dark.

I wanted to be in Erindira by dark so we played as long as we could then worked our way towards the fwy and raced up to the turnoff to Erindira.

Found Coyote Cals by 730ish and was rushed to rooms (I lucked up with the Crows Nest) and dinner which was already being cooked by Ricks wife (Thai = Delicious Curries). Met three guys on 1200GS"s from LA who where there to fish and a younger guy (Gerald or Jarod?) from NZ on a really cool '84 650XL. KInda an artists' bike w/a leather jacket seat, old Triumph headlight, and some other really artistic touches. He was headed south to SA but was nursing a sprained ankle. Sat by the fire and drank beers till 10ish and was again out cold. Beautiful place in a really cool place. Get the Thai massage if you go. Worked out all the aches and pains even if it's forced yoga!

Sun: Left Coyote Cals at 9am and headed North along the coast enroute to Punta Santo Tomas. This was some of the most beautiful traveling other than the route from Camalu. The first hour found us in some thick sand trying to link up with our route that had Brian up to his axle (this is a theme, he drills down to the axles and I just throw my bike down) in sand.

Tide was coming in so we had to ride over the shore rocks to some harder sand before we linked up to our route. Climbed up in the hills then back to the coast where we were flying down beautiful roads with ice whoops and turns.

Probably our best riding and really pushed the bikes hard with speed, climbs and jumps this day - but grinned ear to ear all day. Met back up at Santo Thomas on HWY 1, had like 4 hand made tacos each and then pushed up to Ensenada.

Culture shock in Ensenada (not used to cars and people by now as we skipped the toll road) but got through there as fast as we could. Hit the coast again and pressed on to La Mission where we had a few at La Fonda's then rolled around the hillside until we rolled into Puerto Nuevo. Rolled into town and got the usual swarm of restaurateurs throwing prices at you but went to our old favorite Chelas where we used to take our family and friends (been 6 years since I've been back to Baja). 8 ½'s for $16 and they were small. Restaurant was empty, service kinda sucked but we ate, drank a bit and then rolled next too to the Grand Baja for a room ($60). Unpacked, showered and rolled back into PN this time going to Ortegas for a beer where Brian ordered another batch of Lobsters 8 ½'s for $14 and they were MED/LG and way better!

Chilled, told stories and drank till 930 and back to our room where we were both snoring by 10.

Mon: Original route had us back to Ojos Negros and Laguna Hansen home but wanted Brian to have some time w/my family so w chose to do the Lobster Run to Tecate.

Beautiful fast and rolling route and it started off really fast with open terrain and beautiful hills. Slowly turned into the little rocks and then some baby head sized rocks that slowed us
down a bit.

I dropped my bike a couple of times (and they were really small drops) until the last time my crash guard bolt head sheared off and pushed the guard into the radiator. Patched it w/some JB weld while Brian went scouting. Ran into a farm just shy of Ponchos' where we got a new route out through Otay Mesa. Brian came back and we met another rider (Kevin from Rosarito), chatted a bit and decided the bike was fine to ride as long as we could keep air moving over it. So we followed Kevin through some really beautiful roads as we made our way to the Otay linkup.


Hit some hi RPM stuff but temps stayed down. Beautiful and fast route out to the fwy where we were met again w/culture shock of the ugliness of TJ and surrounding area.

Sped to the border, worked our way up front, and were through in 15min. Pressed to Imperial Beach, grabbed some Radiator Sealant (not sure why I didn't have it welded in Mx...still wondering that...) and headed to Coronado to my local bar (Danny's) for a beer, then home to my GF in Del Mar and the kiddos. Ate dinner, drank beer and was again in bed by 10!

Tues: Woke up, rode to Carlsbad, unpacked the bikes, showered, helped Brian repack, his cloud 9 shuttle came and I trailed him south and waved by as I headed back south to Coronado to go to work. No time to sit around and tell stories and bit lies for us. Brian had the camera most of the time but rest assured he dropped his bike too!

What would I change: Not much.
Route: Nothing, completely adaptable. Winter hours limited our daylight but we had Niterider lamps in case we had to go longer at night.
Bikes: We packed to camp but didn't. Could've gone lighter but whats a tent, stove food and bags weigh? Still would've brought rotopax gas/water. Radiator stop leak would've helped but so would've checking my bolts every morning. Everything else on the bikes held up very well except for two turn signals and my radiator.
Tires: TKC's on mine, and I put Kenda Big Blocks on my spare (Brians). The BB's are now at less than 25% usuable. They wore fast. my TKC's are at 50% or more usuable. Both were brand new. I swear by the TKC's and will never purchase Big Blocks again unless it's just to get home. Not worth it.
Suspension: Awesome on both bikes. Never blew a seal, bottomed out (both are resprung/heavier oil), never got a flat (but had all to change if necessary). If just for this trip I would just use 606's again.
Comms: Picked up some cheap Midland GMRS/FRS radios which made the trip easier if not more humorous. On CH15 they work on race radio freq's so are adaptable for those running other radios. Couldn't hear crap on the fwy w/open helmets but on the trail were awesome. Well worth the purchase.
NAV: A borrowed Etrex 30 because my Rino 130 wouldn't synch w/my Mac was doable but SMALL! I really hate updating tech, I like what I like. But may move to the new Montana.
Bags: My Wolfman Dry Expeditions took a beating and not a tear. Same for the racks and rotopax. Brians bungies came loose and he let his rear wheel eat my tent, but thats HIM! Shoulda packed him into a GL Coyote but he didn't want the xtra side bags....
Gear: standard but I cannot say enough about my Ogio Flight vest. Didn't run a tank bag so the vest as usual made everything easy and all accessable.

Great trip, thanks to all (esp Eric and Sondra) for the tracks and will definitely do again with some longer legs and deviations! Cheers.

nomad5326 screwed with this post 11-05-2012 at 02:33 PM
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Old 11-02-2012, 06:09 PM   #2
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Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Oddometer: 232
Great overall ride report!!

Hey Guys,

Great overall report. I'm headed down in January from Phoenix. Just sseeing your pics and reading your update helps out...Thanks so much!
"I think it’s fair to say — with no scientific evidence — that deathbed wishes rarely include, 'If only I had put another twenty hours a week in at the office!
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:24 PM   #3
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Thomasville, GA USA
Oddometer: 3
Terrific Write-Up

Hey Guys-This is Jody from Georgia. It was great hanging with you guys at Mike's. Nice job on those Black 650's,
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:29 PM   #4
nomad5326 OP
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Location: San Diego, Ca
Oddometer: 305
Hey Jody, great meeting you guys and hope you had a great remainder of the trip! Cheers, Michael!
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:40 PM   #5
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Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Salinas, Santa Elena, Ecuador
Oddometer: 896
Did you see a ball sack shaped impression on the last step before entering the crow's nest? I will never forget Richard's dad showing my that with pride shortly after he finished the Crow's nest. Back then there used to be a big jar of pot on the kitchen counter for all the guests and there were some WILD parties!
Team Mojados Spearfishing
Originally Posted by OnandOff
I'd rather be riding a 200 in Ecuador than any dream bike here.
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:54 PM   #6
nomad5326 OP
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Location: San Diego, Ca
Oddometer: 305
Originally Posted by miguelitro View Post
Did you see a ball sack shaped impression on the last step before entering the crow's nest?
No, I didn't! Not that I was looking for ball sac impressions though I can see that place being used in a girls gone wild video or two...
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