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Old 01-23-2013, 12:23 PM   #31
Tesla314 OP
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Day 8, 10/6/12: Vegas -> Tijuana

We did it! Two borders in a week!

This is it, Tijuana, the southern point of our epic adventure! We set out a week ago to ride our motorcycles from Canada to Mexico, and we did it!

I can't tell you how accomplished and triumphant I feel right now. I'm occasionally in tears, I'm so proud. A week ago, I had only ridden my motorcycle 500 miles, and while I've done about 5000 miles on my scooters, this is my first big, "real", clutched, heavy! motorcycle. In a week I've gone almost 2000 miles, through terrible conditions and gorgeous scenery. I've been miserable and I've been grinning like a loon inside my helmet. I've wanted to quit, and I've wanted to just keep on riding forever.

Tomorrow we'll turn, find our ocean, and keep it in our left hand all the way home.

I'm so lucky to have married someone who also loves adventures and pushing the limits of what we think we can do. The inscription inside my engagement/adventuring ring says: "Let's have an adventure." There's no one I'd rather have done this with.

Viva adventura!


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Old 01-23-2013, 12:26 PM   #32
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Looking good- I'm watching from northeast USA

Went through Reno years ago....in July
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:35 PM   #33
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Day 8, 10/6/12: Vegas -> Tijuana

[By Scalpel]
Buenos Tardes!

Good evening from sunny Tijuana, Mexico!

As Natalie just pointed out to me, it's not just that we've reached the halfway point. With our arrival here we have done what we set out to do, which was to ride our motorcycles from Canada to Mexico, crossing both borders and the entire length of America in-between.

The ride from Las Vegas was blustery but fast, and the wait at the border turned out to be 30 seconds. We entered Mexico, promptly got lost, and then wandered through downtown for a bit before arriving at the very nice Hotel Ticuan. There we were directed to park directly on the polished marble portico at the entrance, where our bikes will be watched 24/7. The hotel itself-

You know what? Never mind, screw the details.

¡WE MADE IT TO MEXICO!


They had us park on the patio where they could keep an eye on them from the desk. Great service, cheap rooms, we recommend Hotel Ticuan!

-----------------------------------------

[More from Scalpel:]
Ceviche, Cigars, and Bikes: Nighttime in Tijuana

We made it to our hotel in Tijuana with daylight to spare, even after getting lost in the suburbs of town. After cleaning up, we went downstairs to grab a bite to eat in the hotel's "diner".

It turned out that the diner was in fact a small, classy restaurant with a wildly ambitious chef. We tried ceviche for the first time, and were blown away by the dish they delivered. Natalie had Steak Tampiqueños, and I had a very nice steak with pepper sauce and steamed vegetables. To top it off, Natalie had an amazingly good margarita with a very heavy pour of good tequila, and I had a very nice gin & tonic. It was quite probably the best meal we've had the whole trip, and that includes the dinner at LAVO in Las Vegas that cost twice as much. During the whole meal we kept the waiters amused by how intently we were watching a local Mexico League soccer game on one TV, while ignoring the NFL game on the other.


Yes mom, we are trying to give you a heart attack.

After dinner we decided to risk venturing out onto Revolucion Street, the local night life area. It turned out that we were some of the only gringos I could see, with the rest of the street packed with locals. We walked about a mile, just people-watching, and I got to fulfill a promise I made to myself in Seattle: If I made it this far, to smoke a cigar in Tijuana. I didn't even finish half of it. I guess I'm not much of a smoker...



As we headed back to the hotel, we noticed a bunch of motorcycles parked on the sidewalk in front of El Fronton Palacio, the local jai alai stadium. How could we resist checking them out? We ended up chatting with the the members of one of the local Tijuana motorcycle crews about bikes, our trip, and the merits of this bike or that. They were nice guys, with a few really unique bike builds!


Our new friend's bike. Function over looks, I can appreciate that.

We're back in our room now, munching on Mexican candy from the corner Oxxo and chilling out. I know that Tijuana has its problems, but from what I saw, it also has a great night life, amazing food, and some pretty cool locals.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:36 PM   #34
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This trip seems like a great idea.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:39 PM   #35
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great trip, looking forward to more!

how did the Dryspec D38 perform, what are your thoughts on it?



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Old 01-23-2013, 12:45 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by DC2wheels View Post
Looking good- I'm watching from northeast USA

Went through Reno years ago....in July


July, bet that was hot!
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:49 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by BcDano View Post
Have fun we did. We spent 10 weeks in Mexico and had a hard time leaving. We look forward to your posts.
Hi Sara, we really enjoyed our too-brief stay, and we met some awesome people there. I'm sure we'll be back! The CEO of my company has been pressuringencouraging me to ride the length of Baja. Maybe I can convince him to explore opening an office down there and send me on a paidfact-finding trip
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:04 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by mouthfulloflake View Post
how did the Dryspec D38 perform, what are your thoughts on it?
I was very happy with it.

I ran it through the full gamut of [on-road] stresses, from 100mph desert runs to the deluge of a Washington freeway in rainy season. It came through bone dry and in great repair.

It was bigger than I needed it to be, but I'm glad I used it rather than the next smaller one: I'd rather have room to rummage around in and pack souvenirs than to have exactly the space needed and have to pull everything out to find stuff. I used it for a couple changes of clothes, toiletries, camping pillow, anything that I wanted to have with me in the hotel/tent. Everything else was in the panniers (tools, camping gear, food).

I especially liked the attachment system and the billion tie-points. The mounting straps detach super easily, so you loop them around something convenient on the bike, then clip them to the bag and cinch it down, easy peasy and fast. You can see the accessory tie-points in good use in the pic

My only complaint is that the removable handle is pretty useless (unless I was putting it on all wrong, though I tried multiple configurations and couldn't get it to work). It's just velcro and shears itself open/off in no time while you're trying to carry it. This is the only handle, so without it you just wrap your arms around it and lift, not real convenient. I eventually stole the shoulder strap from Scalpel's bag.

tldr: Get it, but buy a shoulder strap to clip on when you need to carry it.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:40 PM   #39
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Very well written. Really enjoying your trip! The next time you head down there (and I'm sure there will be a next time) consider crossing at Tecate. Very easy, less traffic and a nicer ride south. If you have the chance to ride to Cabo, do it, you'll love the roads, people and experiences you'll have along the way.Don't forget to eat at the roadside stands. I've been doing it for years and haven't been sick once! Because hotels are so cheap down there, consider not carrying the camping gear, travel light, more fun
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:08 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by GoinPostal View Post
Very well written. Really enjoying your trip! The next time you head down there (and I'm sure there will be a next time) consider crossing at Tecate. Very easy, less traffic and a nicer ride south. If you have the chance to ride to Cabo, do it, you'll love the roads, people and experiences you'll have along the way.Don't forget to eat at the roadside stands. I've been doing it for years and haven't been sick once! Because hotels are so cheap down there, consider not carrying the camping gear, travel light, more fun
Thanks! Cabo's on the someday-list, I keep hearing how pretty it is!

We love eating at roadside stands and other local places, it's often the best food! One of our favorite things from our time in Thailand was snacking our way down the street every afternoon. The hipster food trucks back home just don't compare!

Thanks for the heads-up re. the hotel prices.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:32 AM   #41
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Day 9, 10/7/12: Tijuana - > Hollywood

[Sorry for the break, been swamped at work! So, I left us in Tijuana...]

Day 9, 10/7/12: Tijuana - > Hollywood: Run for the Border

I'll give a bigger update tonight, but here's a quick summary of our morning:
- We left Tijuana via a secret shortcut a local Triumph owner explained to us
- My jacket now has drug-sniffer dog drool on it
- We're in the U.S.A. again and headed to Hollywood!

Secret Shortcuts, Drug Dogs & Beer Pong

(By Scalpel)

We woke up early in Tijuana, knowing that the border crossing into the U.S. would be a long, painful wait. We set out from Hotel Ticuan, got in line about a mile from the border, and prepared for a brutal, sweaty morning...

Thank god for Natalie's Triumph.

After fifteen minutes of going nowhere, a local in a car next to us said something in Spanish, and after we looked apologetically confused, followed up with perfect English.

"You don't have to sit in line, you know."

It turned out that he owned an old Triumph, and often rode it up into southern California. He explained that when he was on his motorcycle, he took a back route to the border that skipped most of the line, and that lane splitting was just fine in Mexico. Yeah, I know, this sounds like the setup for us to get mugged, but we were getting zero negative vibes from the guy; he just seemed like a fellow rider trying to help us out.

We made sure we had his directions memorized, thanked him profusely, took off, and promptly got lost.

What followed was a ten minute freeway ride to the West along the U.S. border fence, a seriously grim structure. We turned around, came back into town, and with some frantic back-and-forth on the headsets, managed to find the right road the second time around. We rode up the lane he told us to use, and then slid past the empty police checkpoint booth he said might or might not be staffed.

At that point we found ourselves a half mile from the border in what appeared to be a pedestrian walkway. We sat there for a second, trying to decide what to do, when a lady on foot looked over her shoulder at us and motioned for us to come on through. Okay, I guess it's for pedestrians... and motorcycles. We eased forward in first gear, and continued riding past rolling drink carts, windshield-wiper vendors, and little kids running around. It felt like there was the border, and then there was the "backstage" area full of locals heading out on stage to peddle their wares to the line of cars. We were the only U.S. license plates backstage.

Finally we came to a line of cars about a hundred yards long waiting for the border, which was now in sight. We once again came to a stop, and as we did I noticed a legless beggar on a little palette with castors on the bottom wheeling toward me. I got ready to give him the "no thank you" gesture, when I noticed that he wasn't begging, he was gesturing for us to keep easing up the side of the road. I thanked him as he rolled out of the way, and like an idiot didn't bother to fish out some change to pay for his advice. We rolled even farther up the even narrower sidewalk, until we finally cut back in line six cars from the border. Not bad at all!

Predictably, our luck was about to end. Apparently crossing the Canadian border and the Mexican border in the same week raises serious alarm bells someplace, because we both got pulled aside for further questioning. An hour later after standing around waiting for the drug-sniffer dogs to get off their lunch break, they drooled all over our stuff and we were cleared to go.

We headed back into the U.S.A., made quick work of San Diego and soon cut East onto the Otega Highway. If I'm lucky there's some video of our ride through there that I'll post once we're back home, but to summarize, it's known as a prime destination for motorcycle riding for a reason.

Flash forward to the present: lounging around at the Vibe Hotel / Banana Bungalow, a backpacker's hostel on Hollywood Boulevard. We arrived to find a free BBQ and 80s music night going on, and after a hotdog and drinks, we finished the night by watching the beer pong game between some Australians and some European girls while dubstep music boomed from the DJ booth. The "party bus" shuttle showed up to take them all away to a local pub, and I ended up in a long philosophy discussion with Simon, the lone remaining Australian, while we sipped some leftover beers from the party. I think we may be staying in more hostels from now on...

The events of today reminded me very forcefully of an old adage: There are two types of people in this world, those who think that the world is a bad place full of bad people out to victimize them, and those who think that the world is generally a good place full of generally nice people just trying to get by. Appropriately, because of how those two types of people approach the world and interact with its residents, they are both right.


Our flag collection: all the countries we've ridden in!
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:37 AM   #42
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Day 9, 10/7/12: Tijuana - > Hollywood

Day 9, 10/7/12: Tijuana - > Hollywood

"First" of the day: first hostel

(By Tesla)

I know not all hostels are repurposed 50s courtyard motels with free food, a tv lounge, a dance room, a tiki lounge, and everyone hanging out in the courtyard playing ping pong, foosball, and basketball while listening to the thumping sound system and trying to not knock over the rental bicycles, but if they're even half way like this, I suspect we'll be staying at more of them!


I don't think they understood the "green lighting" concept correctly.


BBQ party in the courtyard/parking lot/party zone.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:50 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Tesla314 View Post
(written by Scalpel)

Complications

Our first day of the trip was supposed to be a quick jaunt up to Vancouver, B.C., to camp for the night. Instead we ended up waiting in line at the border for an hour and a half, arriving at the campground after it closed, and striking out at several hotels. Flash forward to the present, as I stand outside the majestic Motel Hollywood, trying to sip from its meager Wi-Fi signal. The room is dingy, the carpet is torn, and it is by far the worst hotel I have ever been in.
At the end of Day One, this "adventure" is not doing so hot.

You actually stayed there? I found myself there last April and promptly left. Your a tough crew! Anyways, you know about the "Tent Space List" right? If not go here: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=776925 and here: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=149585
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:49 PM   #44
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Day 9, 10/7/12: Tijuana - > Hollywood

The Ortega Highway and the Lake Elsinore hills
(By Tesla)

The Ortega

We have family in the Lake Elsinore area, so we were familiar with the Ortega and had put it on our Riding Bucket List before we even got bikes!

The Ortega is 3900 feet of elevation change in 33 miles of twisties through the Cleveland Mountains. Once out of the San Juan Capistrano residential areas there are few driveways or even intersections, and it's just great uninterrupted canyon riding. We went eastbound on this trip, but I think it would be nearly as fun westbound.

There are one or two switchbacks on the east side of the pass, coming down into Lake Elsinore, that are difficult more for the psych-out rather than the road itself. You've been cruising along in canyons and plateaus for a few minutes, then come around a corner and you're suddenly suspended like a mountain goat waaaaay up above the lake. Before you can wrap your head around that you're into a downhill switchback. (I just StreetView-rode it again and it's not that bad, just be careful if you're afraid of heights :) )

The other thing to watch out for is the cops, especially on weekends. We didn't see any, but apparently they know it's a popular ride and will sometimes set up roadblocks where they make every motorcyclist stop to show their papers and be inspected for non-DOT bits. (I know. Last I heard, the AMA or the ACLU or someone was fighting it.)


The Lake Elsinore hills

If you've watched On Any Sunday (and if you haven't, why not?), you've seen the hills of Lake Elsinore. When they leave downtown and go up into hills with crazy roads hanging onto sides of rocks and blind corners past driveways, that's them. They're paved now, kinda, but still just as many blind corner single-lane turns, sand-filled intersections, and steep runs into said corners and intersections. Challenging riding, and we did it twice, including at sunset with sharp shadows and wayward laser sunrays. But it was all worth it, and good practice for Mulholland...


After all these twisties, joining LA freeway traffic was nothing!
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:53 PM   #45
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You actually stayed there? I found myself there last April and promptly left. Your a tough crew! Anyways, you know about the "Tent Space List" right? If not go here: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=776925 and here: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=149585
Yup, we stayed there. Quite the way to start a trip! There was a marathon in town that weekend, so everyplace we tried was full. Except the Hollywood, strangely enough! We don't have internet on our phones when we're in Canada, so we were literally stopping at every hotel we passed.

We'll keep the Tent List in mind for next trip, it would have been handy more than once. Thanks!
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