ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Ride reports
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 01-11-2013, 05:19 PM   #1
BrianF OP
Immoral & Immature
 
BrianF's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2012
Location: Napa Valley, CA
Oddometer: 40
Wicked Baja Humbug - Christmas in "California"

Disclaimer - I don't know if this qualifies as an "epic ride," a ride report, or even a ride for that matter. Please have patience…the first 3 days don’t include almost any riding. Skip to the second post if all you want is motorbikes and no backstory.

Since I’ve posted very little on ADV, a quick bit about me first. I’m 29, live in a vineyard in the middle of the Napa Valley, work in the wine industry, and essentially do nothing but work and ride motorcycles. I’ve been riding and traveling my whole life, but it’s been about 8 years since I owned any kind of dirt machine. I bought a brand-new WR250R in early December with the intention of crashing back into my sandy, rock-strewn, single track roots.

My grand plan was to do this Baja trip in early spring, and I certainly wasn’t ready to go on short notice. When I left on 12/22, the WR had only 200 miles on it, and was still missing the requisite 4.7 gallon IMS tank needed to survive in Baja (or anywhere, for that matter). My original plan was to ride all the way to Cabo, super-light camping style. But, being a corporate pawn, things change, and I found myself with only 10 days at the end of December. When my wife had to go back to Seattle for a family emergency, I called an audible: load the bike into my truck, toss in some ramps/firewood/beer, and be off to the tropics. Use the truck as a mother ship, ride to some interesting places, and wake up every morning with a hangover under a cactus.

Then I stumbled onto a problem: I don’t own a truck. Nor does anyone I know willing to let me drop 3,000 miles on it in a foreign country. So I did what any financially-conscious 29 year-old would: I bought a truck. No research, no shopping around, just a quick run to Marin for a chariot to drive me to my desert dreams. No need to bother checking if the WR would fit in the bed…right???

No hyperbole here—I bought the Ranger 48 hours before I was planning to leave at 4am. That afternoon I had ramps, a Coleman stove, a 5 gallon gas can, and some maps overnighted to me. I spent almost 3 hours of the first night getting the bike in, the tailgate closed, and the ramps to fit. It’s literally a by-a-millimeter proposal. I knew right away it would cause fits once I was “out there,” and brought a hacksaw just in case. I could've used the Dremel while I was still home but hey, all adventure is built on uncertainty, so caution to the wind. Cooler packed, will signed, credit cards ready—we’re off to the races.


At 3am on 12/22, I was startled awake by my entire house shaking. This is earthquake country, and in my sleepy haze I figured the whole thing would crumble and I’d die before I had the chance to get murdered. I jumped up, only to see a flash of lightning and hear the crack of thunder about a half second later. Those of you in other parts of the world will laugh at this, but I’ve lived here 3 years and never even seen lightning. It was never mentioned on the weather report the previous night, so it was a bit surprising. Satisfied with the knowledge I’d gained, I hopped back in bed, turned up the heat, and listened to the rain pounding against the window. Then I made the worst mistake possible: I thought, “I should just leave now.” So I did.




Day 1: Oakville to Ensenada


To say this was a boring day would be a disservice to the word itself. I drove through the Valley in the gnarliest rainstorm I’ve ever seen, cruised I-5 to San Diego, saw a Bentley being towed, drank a record five Amps, and ate 3 bags of sunflower seeds. I saw two accidents, crossed the border in Tecate (absolutely brilliant), and got a Tourista card I wouldn’t need, ever. Stopped at a bar and grabbed a (what else?) Tecate to celebrate my arrival in Meh-hee-coe. Dashed on through “Mexican Wine Country” (LOL) and into Ensenada, further into Baja than I’d ever been. Despite Ensenada being a complete and utter dump, don’t listen to Greenpeace because you really can’t ruin the ocean:





I pressed on into the darkness, eventually pulling into a seemingly abandoned waterpark/massive campground. Maybe I missed the rapture? I drove through hundreds of sites, and eventually just pulled into one and hopped out. Brewskie open, stove lit, beef stew for dinner. I was immediately shocked by two things: how cold it was (shoulda brought that jacket…), and how luxurious it was to camp out of an actual vehicle. It’s been about 20 years since I’ve done that, the rest has been backpacking and motorcycle camping. I drank about half a bottle of tequila to celebrate. Contemplating the best way to write a shitty ride report when I got back:





Oh yeah, and one of the accidents from earlier in the day:



Day 2: Ensenada to Bahia Concepcion


This was "the big one." I wanted to make it all the way to La Paz..in one day. Oh, to be naïve. Then I discovered that MEX 1 is not I-10. Other than the shoulders being covered in trash, they have nothing in common. I drove like a maniac all day, tires squealing, body rolling, tail sliding…aka I fit right in. Who knew Mexico was a giant raceway? I gave a local a 30 mile ride in the bed of the truck since his Ranger (ominously) had broken down. He lay down on the roof at one point, while we were going about 50 mph. Gotta love third world countries!

Here's my buddy in the bed of the truck:





Back to the Pacific near El Rosario:







My first boojum sighting:





Now this is Baja:





Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should???





An outrageous sunset near La Joya:







I once again discovered that sunsets are immediately followed by darkness. Very, very darkness. I drove on and on in the pitch black, wishing nothing more than to have high beams that were actually brighter than the low beams. They say don’t drive at night in Baja, and they mean it (more on this later). When I finally spotted a little cove called Playa Santispac, I was ready to drive into the ocean just to end the madness. I could see immediately that this would be an epic campsite. I was right, and went right to work on boozing and playing with longer exposures:











At some point I “went to sleep.” In my tent, surprisingly.


Day 3: Bahia Concepcion to Playa Conjeo.

Despite my consumption habits, when I’m on the road I waste no time and always wake up before sunrise:





I was shocked by how peaceful and pretty the bay was. Absolute silence in the early morning calm:





Wait, screw the early morning calm! I’m supposed to be in La Paz. Throw everything in the truck (so much easier than packing a bike!) and hit the road. To Conejo by noon, facing my first experience with Baja’s specialty: the washboard. 10 miles of juddering and creaking to make it to the beach. I had to stop and check on my poor truck:





I had crazy cabin fever at this point and immediately unloaded the WR and fired it up. Well, not before I drank an Air, met some other campers, and took a nap. Nice place to do that:







I woke up feeling refreshed, and the moment had finally come. Time to rip. Slithering through deep sand to get out of my campsite, I had to stop a half dozen times to regain my composure and relax my sphincter. And since I hate sand so much, off to the beach itself! To get stuck. About 10 times. One of the rare moments when I had actually been moving:





Exhausted, I went back to camp and gave great consideration to whether this trip was a good idea. I didn’t feel unsafe at all (apparently Mexico is violent?), but my off-road skills were nothing like riding a bicycle—I couldn’t seem to tell my ass from my elbow. Given the adventurous plans I had, I could only hope I’d survive. Or at least hope I didn't get a flat that I wasn’t sure I remembered how to change. Then I discovered something: Mezcal heals all wounds! Sipped on a little while watching the sun set:





Then sipped on some more while chilling by the fire:





That new WR whip, under a Van Gogh:






That's a "Starry Night" reference, by the way. Stay tuned.


__________________
"Wanted by Interpol in several countries for unpaid speeding tickets, accidental wheelies, passing tour buses at the speed of light, and other crimes of gusto." -Egan
'12 WR250R, '10 VFR1200F. Past: '07 DL650, '04 DRZ400, '03 VFR800, '03 FXDL, '84 GL1200 (RIP)
VFRD, BARF, wr250rforum: BrianF
BrianF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2013, 05:37 PM   #2
BrianF OP
Immoral & Immature
 
BrianF's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2012
Location: Napa Valley, CA
Oddometer: 40
Day 4: Playa Conejo to Cabo San Lucas.

When I woke up at 5am on Christmas morning, I realized I’d made three big mistakes: 1) not bringing my winter sleeping bag. 2) not buying a Baja Sur map. 3) drinking almost all the Mezcal. Whoa boy. Where’s Santa?

I stumbled out of my tent and soaked in the sunrise. Oh wait, no I didn’t, I took a leak and went back to sleep.

When I finally did wake up, I was ready to roll. Destination: Cabo, to consume a smokestack-sized margarita that comes out of a gun. Nothing says Christmas like puking in an alley. I picked some random roads from the preloaded maps on my phone and took off for La Paz. The road to the campground was much easier on the WR and I was on MEX 1 in a flash. I almost ran out of gas (47 miles on reserve!) on the way to La Paz, then got lost. Good place to get lost though:




The WR fails miserably as a highway cruiser, so I picked a smaller “road” off the map and headed for the coast:




I was not at all prepared for what lay ahead. Just because a road is on a map, does not mean it’s a “road.” I made it about
half way up the ridge, all the while trying to avoid basketball-size boulders, razor sharp rocks, and enormous rain ruts:




At one point I discovered it was easier to just crash instead of pressing on, so I did. Good thing I added the Cycras, because when I picked the bike up I couldn’t find a single spot that showed any damage at all. Not a scratch. Amazing.



I had so much fun crashing, I decided to do it again right away. And one more time for good measure. Feliz Navidad, inexperienced dumbass. It’s a lot further to the ground on a grown-up bike.
Eventually I made it to the top, tires intact, suspension still functioning-ish. But what goes up, must come down:



When I finally reached the beautiful blue waters of the Gulf of California, I decided to take a nice long break and gather myself. Actually, mostly to consider how stupid I was to have brought no food. There was absolutely nothing out here:



Can you eat a cactus?



“Thumbs up if you’re ruining your street boots!”



Why I made this trek in the first place:



The road along the coast was absolutely brilliant. It rises to the shoulder of each ridge, then dips back into creek beds buried in the canyons. Technical enough to keep me busy/scared, but beautiful enough to repeatedly consider driving off the cliff into that emerald green water. Sprinkle in a little starvation, and you have the recipe for a good afternoon of DS’ing. As the road flattened out and peeled away from the coast, I experienced the strangest moment of the entire trip. I had been on Los Barilles - Santa Theresa road for almost 3 hours, and had seen absolutely no one, and no living thing for that matter. Approaching a small “village” (of dilapidated cinderblock buildings and abandoned lots) called Boca de Alamo, I saw a tall, white, brunette girl walking down the street in a bikini. Now, I’m a dude with eyes, so as she approached I gave her the once/twice/three-times over. I shit you not, she was one of the best looking women I have seen in my entire life. White bottoms, red top, toned, lightly tanned, unbelievably perfect uh…“parts”…absolutely stunning. I instantly considered stopping and asking if she was a hostage or if she might need "a ride" (haha), but I really thought it had to be a trap. Would she explode? Would banditos fly out of the bushes with AKs? I took a long look over my shoulder as I passed her, just in time for a rusted-out pickup to pull off a side street without stopping and almost take me out. Time to focus, smart guy. That would’ve been a tough one to explain to my wife.

I finally got back on some pavement and hustled (68mph!) toward San Jose del Cabo. Made a requisite stop at the Tropic of Cancer, which, when you’re as white as I am, is a major concern in these parts:



I will not bore you with the rest of the details of the evening. Oh wait, yeah I will. I made it to Cabo just as it got dark, checked in to some Marriott hotel thingy, and hit the streets. Fish tacos, Pacifico, tequila, Corona, tequila, shrimp ceviche, tequila, margaritas, fish tacos…that’s pretty much the gist of it. I was wildly disappointed by Cabo, though I did end up back at my hotel room unraped and in possession of all my money. Can’t be disappointed by that.






Day 5: Cabo San Lucas back to Playa Conejo

Headache. Nausea. Room spinning. Cure? Continental breakfast. Five mini-boxes of Frosted Flakes (Zucaritas!) and we’re outro. At this point I was desperate for a map and had heard about a little outfit called Baja Books & Maps in San Jose del Cabo. I spent an hour looking for it, and when I finally found it, it was (of course) closed. Everything you need to know about my life can be summed up in that small anecdote. I seriously considered throwing a rock through the window in frustration. Instead, I got back on the road and immediately got lost. I used my 8th grade Spanish to ask a construction worker how to get to the Los Frailes road:

“Donde esta el camino de Los Frailes?”

“Estecalleestaestedecaminoavenuedecentenariodesanj osedelcabo.”

“What the fuck does that mean????”

And so on.

I managed to find it using my [non-existent] sense of direction, and followed the coast. Thinking I may have gotten really lost and ended up in Greece somehow:



Tangent: I actually do have an excellent sense of direction and sharp land-nav skills. But for some reason, I get to other countries and immediately lose my mind. I hit that nation-sized dead zone of confusion, like being able to lean over at a 45-degree angle at the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz. Anyway, I was in the zone that morning, and roared up the coast like I was Johnny Campbell. Lunch time called for a cerveza and some fish tacos and a beautiful little spot in…I don’t remember where, called…I don’t remember. Please forgive my extreme attention to detail. Cold one:



Best fish tacos of the trip:



The washboard really does seem to go on forever. I actually grew tired of it, despite riding it all the time growing up in Washington. Maybe I’m getting old?:



At some point I came upon a small village which, I hope you’re sitting down, I don’t remember the name of. A bunch of ex-pats reside there, and I talked to some dude from Colorado about how living down there works. All I remember is that it’s cheap. And that the crazy storms wash houses off the beach. Maybe Napa isn’t so bad. Some of those houses to the left that are about to get pwned by Mamma Nature:



I looped back off the East Cape Road and hit Mex 1 again. As I was exploring, I constantly forgot two things: going is slow when you’re on dirt, and going is even slower when you’re on pavement. When it’s cold. And windy. I wore my mesh jacket for the whole trip, and there was never one time I was glad I did. Why wouldn’t I bring the liner you ask? Because I forgot it on the back of one of the kitchen chairs. Something about being in a hurry. But hey, I made it back before dark:



Upon return to my campsite, I set about the important things in life: making a fire, roasting Polish dogs, and drankin! I know someone will read this and think “this guy’s an alcoholic!” I only do this on the road, somewhat like waking up before sunrise. I work around alcohol every single day, and usually have one glass of wine when I get home, if any. Something about being out there makes me wanna party and smoke weed. So I just party, and leave the reefer madness to the future heroin users (please note my sarcasm there, don’t want any angry PMs). Plus, I don’t inhale.
Apparently I was having too much fun on this particular evening, because at one point I sat down in my beloved Seahawks chair and one of the legs snapped off. I have a long and illustrious history of breaking lawn furniture and throwing it into the fire, so that’s what I did. Once again, I was just trying to fit in with the local culture.



With nowhere to sit, I decided to sleep. And also decided it would be a good idea to drive 600 miles to Bahia Los Angeles the following day. The best decisions are always made under the influence.

That’s all I have time for today, but I’ll continue at a later date. Thanks for sticking with me (if anyone actually did).
__________________
"Wanted by Interpol in several countries for unpaid speeding tickets, accidental wheelies, passing tour buses at the speed of light, and other crimes of gusto." -Egan
'12 WR250R, '10 VFR1200F. Past: '07 DL650, '04 DRZ400, '03 VFR800, '03 FXDL, '84 GL1200 (RIP)
VFRD, BARF, wr250rforum: BrianF
BrianF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2013, 06:44 PM   #3
atravlr
Gnarly Adventurer
 
atravlr's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Arizona Desert
Oddometer: 201
Thumb

At least you had fun, and that's what really counts, besides the cold Pacificos and fish tacos.
atravlr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2013, 07:49 PM   #4
TooTallRacing
Gnarly Adventurer
 
TooTallRacing's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Lanesville, IN
Oddometer: 159
Looks like you found some great roads and nice camping spots.
I'm marking them on my map. Good looking Yamaha, how did that small tank work out?
TooTallRacing is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2013, 07:47 AM   #5
29andSingle
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Baja, CO
Oddometer: 351
I'm worn out just from reading the report. Nice work. Looks like you had a blast.
29andSingle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2013, 10:53 AM   #6
BrianF OP
Immoral & Immature
 
BrianF's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2012
Location: Napa Valley, CA
Oddometer: 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by TooTallRacing View Post
Looks like you found some great roads and nice camping spots.
I'm marking them on my map. Good looking Yamaha, how did that small tank work out?
Poorly, to put it lightly. I never actually ran out of gas, but there were a half-dozen times I was pretty sure I would. Without a gas can, the WR is absolutely worthless. I had it go on reserve at 50 miles!

Final post should be coming in the next few days.
__________________
"Wanted by Interpol in several countries for unpaid speeding tickets, accidental wheelies, passing tour buses at the speed of light, and other crimes of gusto." -Egan
'12 WR250R, '10 VFR1200F. Past: '07 DL650, '04 DRZ400, '03 VFR800, '03 FXDL, '84 GL1200 (RIP)
VFRD, BARF, wr250rforum: BrianF
BrianF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2013, 05:38 PM   #7
DaFoole
Lewddite at large...
 
DaFoole's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2004
Location: BFE, SW Oregon/SF BayO'rea
Oddometer: 4,080
Great stuff so far!!


Keep it comin'!!

__________________
"...when I handed the 40 ouncer to him, he got that far off stare that a cat gets when it just gets done licking its ass for the last 15". Yeah, THAT stare." -WTF-Over
"Don't come in here with your thoughtfulness, empathy, and reason... this is shit, up with which, I shall not put." -Boondoggle
DaFoole is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2013, 06:19 PM   #8
Humunn
Moto Prozac
 
Humunn's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Sunny Central Oregon
Oddometer: 1,055
OK, this is one of the better RRs I've read lately. I've been to Baja several times and know the area but your narration is actually making me laugh out loud! Great job!
__________________
High Desert Adventures
Backcountry Motorcycle Tours
www.highdesertadventures.net
2009 KTM 450 EXC The Citrus Mistress - 2010 Yamaha FZ1 The Black Pearl
Humunn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2013, 11:20 AM   #9
BrianF OP
Immoral & Immature
 
BrianF's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2012
Location: Napa Valley, CA
Oddometer: 40
Day 6: Playa Conejo to Bahia de Los Angeles

Knowing how daunting a task lay ahead, I decided to wake up as late as possible and get ready slowly. Hangovers and ratchet tie downs don’t mix. Eventually I crawled back up the washboard to Mex 1 and pounded pavement. I’d gotten a good laugh out of the military checkpoints on the way down (“I don’t speak Spanish”) and hadn’t been bothered at all. Not the case on the way North. Here’s how it goes: get out of truck. Stand by kid who looks 14 but has machine gun. Show documents to his superior who looks at least 18. Watch bored-looking soldiers search everything you own, focusing mostly on protein powder (cocaina?). Couple minutes later you’re on your way, but your passenger door isn’t shut so you put electrical tape over the “door ajar” warning and take out the dome light fuse. Pretty soon it’s dark and you can’t find the charger for your phone. Always good to plan ahead!

By nightfall I still had 200 miles to go. I had a hunch that the Bahia would be the nice, so I pressed on in my usual fashion: no meals, Amps, sunflower seeds (at this point, before I forget, note that I ate 12 bags of David BBQ seeds on this trip. My dentist will be thrilled). From the point that Mex 1 forks east toward the bay, I drove 65km in the pitch black without seeing a living thing. At one point I stopped the truck in the middle of the road, climbed out, and simply admired the heavens. No word on why I didn’t take a picture. Long story short, I made it to a nice little campground called Dagget’s at about 9, ate some Polish dogs, showered, and fell asleep in the absolute silence. Par for the course…except you’ll notice that there is one element missing: alcohol. I’d run out, or so I thought. When I got home I found a 1/3 full bottle of tequila in my riding gear bag. Hmmmm….

Day 7: Bahia de Los Angeles, La Gringa

Hangover-free for once, I woke up at the crack of fuck and watched the sun rise. My camera battery was dead, so I cannot actually prove that the sun rose, but the odds are good that I’m telling the truth. I’d originally planned to use this day for a snorkeling expedition, but upon touching the water I changed my mind. Not as warm as I’d hoped. Instead, I did something completely outrageous: I rode the WR! Who’da thunk? My only goal was to explore the Bay. If you’ve made it this far, you’ll be rewarded with a gold nugget of advice: ride north from BdLA to La Gringa. It’s a primitive beach camping area, and the surrounding hills are crisscrossed by miles and miles of dirt trails. Very few are technical, but it would be outrageous fun on an adventure tourer. Loose rock, sand, beach stones, and views views views. Stopping in awe when I first got there:

\

My little slice of paradise for the day:



A perfect day of off-roading, in every sense of the word:



About as far north as you can go:



The little engine that could (its rider not so much):



Live and direct from the top of the world:



A parting shot:



I have to reiterate how good of a day this was. It was the first time I felt really comfortable on the dirt, like your second day of skiing after being off the slopes for a couple years. I pushed my limits and had an absolute blast. I dropped the bike in a sandy creekbed while trying to wheelie in first gear, but other than that it was problem free. It was nice to finally feel the joy I remembered from dirt riding in my childhood. I felt like a kid again.

I got back to camp in mid-afternoon and decided to take the rest of the day off. I talked to a nice gentleman named Eric for a while, ate some Polish dogs, and made a store run for gas, beer, ice, and…tequila. I never learn my lesson. I spent the rest of the day sipping brews, relaxing, and taking the occasional pull off the bottle. I went to sleep around 10, which makes the next part of the story that much stranger.
__________________
"Wanted by Interpol in several countries for unpaid speeding tickets, accidental wheelies, passing tour buses at the speed of light, and other crimes of gusto." -Egan
'12 WR250R, '10 VFR1200F. Past: '07 DL650, '04 DRZ400, '03 VFR800, '03 FXDL, '84 GL1200 (RIP)
VFRD, BARF, wr250rforum: BrianF
BrianF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2013, 01:30 PM   #10
BrianF OP
Immoral & Immature
 
BrianF's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2012
Location: Napa Valley, CA
Oddometer: 40
Day 8: Bahia de Los Angeles, Mision San Francisco de Borja

I couldn’t believe how hot I was when I woke up. I’d been cold pretty much every night, but I was curled up in my sleeping bag with a beanie over my eyes, sweating, and wildly disoriented (or disorientated, as the Brits might say. Aluminium!). I immediately thought I had the flu, but I didn’t really feel sick, nor did I feel like I’d been asleep for that long. When I grabbed my phone it was 11am! That’s the latest I’ve slept in as long as I can remember. I guess I must’ve been worn out, and I was still worried that I was sick. I got up, made some tea, ate some breakfast and felt fine. So what to do?

As I sipped my tea I talked to Eric (an intrepid surfer/sailor/writer/photographer/naturalist) for a while and he told me there was a cool mision to visit up in the hills. Great high desert scenery, and probably a blast on my little motorbike he said. That’s all the suggestion I needed. Filled the WR with gasolina, and we’re off like Marie Antoinette’s cabeza. Eric wasn’t kidding, the ride was beautiful. For whatever reason, I just can’t get enough of the boojum tree. It’s a constant reminder of where you are; that it and its habitat are unlike anything else in the world. I’d plant one in my front yard if I could, just to remind me to live in the moment. A particularly good example of one, on the lower part of the road to de Borja:



When I came around the next corner, there was a white Mazda MPV with an 8-person family standing around it. I saw the problem immediately: one wheel facing forward, the other all the way to the left. Now, I don’t know much about fixing cars, but that’s a broken tie rod. They (of course) spoke no English, so I used my useless Spanish to tell them what was up:

Esto es una…tie rod…es broke.”

“Tienes un telefono?”

Nope, lo siento.”

*sad face*

“Mexican Donner Party!”

After laughing at them for a while (who takes a minivan 17 miles up a Jeep trail???), I saw the problem (warning, here comes some technical terms!): the nut that held the tie rod to the wheel thingy es gone. It fell off, but the bolt itself wasn’t broken. Using a quick visual measurement, I figured the wheel lugs were the same size as the other bolt. Tire iron from van, chain lube to loosen it, and 15 minutes later they’re on their way. Finally a non-native had showed up on a horse and done something useful. They gave me a cerveza for my trouble, which I stashed in the tankbag and sprayed everywhere upon arrival at the mision. Before I did that, I rode through some epic desert scenery:



Who would be stupid enough to not use the manual focus??? Oh, there he is:



I was feeling crazy confident at this point, and was roostertailing through corners like Ricky Carmichael. I further vindicated my handguard purchase by going wide in a right-hander, braking hard, and instead of looking up the road, running into a cactus. By that point it was a low speed impact and I didn’t dump it, but still left some good scratches that I can laugh about later. Humbled, I cruised to the mision. The WR at de Borja, right after my Stone Cold Steve Austin beer spraying moment:



I’m an atheist, so you might find it odd that I like churches, but there’s something amazing about the human will. The things we’ll do for faith, love, or purpose…it never ceases to boggle the mind. The misions of South and Central America, the cathedrals of France, the Taj Mahal…all places I love because they represent what people can do when the put their minds to things. Makes you feel like someday we might actually have alternative fuels, a cure for cancer, or world peace. Anything seems possible when you see what these guys accomplished 100’s of years ago for an invisible being. Imagine what you can do for something that’s real!

Another quick tangent that’s related to churches/cathedrals: we, as a civilization, have forgotten how to build a proper set of stairs. I first noticed this in the Loire, and have had it cemented in various parts of the world since. Another perfect example of it right there in Baja:





A very nice woman gave me a quick tour of the mision, and I split time between marveling at the architecture and effort required and being angry at religious people for wasting all that effort. Anyway, I realized it was getting late and got back on the road. It was getting chilly, and I didn’t want to get stuck out in the desert in the dark. Seems easy, right? The road back toward the road:



Spending some more quality time with my boojum friends:



Australian-looking sunset, right before things got hairy:



I’ll try to keep this short, but I was about to have my requisite run-in with some poorly-equipped banditos. There were about a dozen hikers on the road as I headed back down, and two of them stopped me and asked if I could ride ahead to the rest of their group (including that MPV we’d fixed earlier) and grab some sweaters. They were wearing only shorts and t-shirts. Being a nice guy, I figured I would. How far away could the vans be? They weren’t far, but by the time I got to them, we were seriously into dusk. I rode as fast as I could back to them with a sweater tied around my neck and a jacket bungeed to the tail of the bike. So where are the banditos you ask?

On the way back toward the main highway, it got dark. At the last junction before the highway I inexplicably took a right instead of a left, and unbeknownst to me, began a huge loop through the high desert. It took me about 30 minutes to realize I wasn’t heading toward the main road anymore, and a stop and a look at my phone’s GPS confirmed it. No problem I figured, just turn around and head back. Haven’t gone on reserve yet, so gas shouldn’t be a problem. Going was slow in the dark, but I kept the GPS on until my phone died, and by then all I needed to do was take a right at the next junction to get to pavement. I did, but right after the turn a truck came up the road toward me. I slowed to first gear to creep by, but as I did it turned left at a 45 degree angle and blocked the road. A quick survey of the situation showed 3 guys in a beat-up pickup (one in the bed), with no visible weapons. No indication that they were threatening, other than blocking the road. Seeing no weapons, I figured that unless they had guns somewhere, I could fly by behind the truck and get the hell out of there. They all three walked toward me (about 25 feet between us), and I pulled to the right side of the road to draw them over. When they were about 10 feet out I gassed it and swerved hard left, slipping by the tail of the truck and immediately swerving back into the middle of the road so even if they had guns, they’d have to get back to the truck to shoot around it. In a stroke of genius I had taken the mirrors off two mornings prior, so I had no way to be distracted by what they were doing behind me. I quickly glanced over my shoulder to see them executing a 10-point turn, presumably to follow me. Good luck with that, los douchebagos.

The adrenaline wore off about the time I got back to the highway, and I realized I was freezing cold. I had no choice but to keep going, and that’s what I did. I finally pulled off onto a small dirt road and shut off the bike. I was shivering like crazy, and had to get some heat in me. I did about 200 jumping jacks, some pushups, and ran in place. It was such a strange situation. A crazy combo of vulnerability, helplessness, cold, and darkness made me feel like I was losing my mind. At one point I simply shouted “FOCUS!” into the darkness. I finally calmed down and got back on the road, getting back to camp right as the moon rose:



It was a beautiful, peaceful night, but my brain was racing. I sat down with a cold brew, feeling utterly confused. What am I doing out here? How long am I going to keep going on these trips? What if I’d been left for dead out there? Is the joy of adventure really worth the risk? I eventually settled down (and drank) enough that I got confident/angry and thought, “FUCK THAT. I’LL NEVER STOP. THIS IS WHAT LIFE IS ABOUT.” That was satisfying enough, and I walked to the town’s restaurant (and what was the name you ask? How would I know???) and ordered three people’s worth of food:



I also called my wife to let her know I was okay. Like she knew what had just happened. I also reached that critical point in every trip where being back home sounds okay. As soon as that fuse is lit, there’s no turning back…the trip already felt like it was over. I finished my food, walked back to camp, loaded up the WR, and went to sleep. My GPS said it was 946 miles to my house. Nothing your super-motivated dumbass author can’t handle.
__________________
"Wanted by Interpol in several countries for unpaid speeding tickets, accidental wheelies, passing tour buses at the speed of light, and other crimes of gusto." -Egan
'12 WR250R, '10 VFR1200F. Past: '07 DL650, '04 DRZ400, '03 VFR800, '03 FXDL, '84 GL1200 (RIP)
VFRD, BARF, wr250rforum: BrianF
BrianF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2013, 01:44 PM   #11
BrianF OP
Immoral & Immature
 
BrianF's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2012
Location: Napa Valley, CA
Oddometer: 40
Day 9 & 10: Bahia de Los Angeles to Oakville, CA via Coco’s Corner

Homing instinct burning in my soul, I awoke long before sunrise (3:30am to be exact). I was packed and gone by the time there was even the slightest pink painting the inky-black sky. As I drove, I felt that conflicted sense of accomplishment and disappointment that the last day of any trip brings. Then I remembered something: Coco! I’d heard before I left that he wasn’t doing well, and he’s a legendary figure in my (and many others) mind. I made the split-second decision that I wasn’t going to miss the chance to meet this famous man and see his corner, and that’s what I did. I pulled off the highway at Chapala, unloaded the bike, geared up, and rode like a way-above-my-skill-level bat out of hell. Basking in the early morning sun:



Remarkably I didn’t crash, despite quite a few close calls. Arriving there felt like I’d made it to Mecca:



While hanging around with some bicyclists from San Francisco I found out Coco was in the hospital, but was set to return that afternoon. I made a decision that I’ll probably regret forever, since I doubt I’ll be back to Baja before the inevitable happens. I took off, and I’m pretty sure the black Chevy Silverado I saw on the way back to Chapala had the man in it. Even typing this I feel a lingering sense of regret. I was bummed, but now the clock was really ticking, and I vowed to stop only for gas. Home or bust.

And that was that. The border crossing only took about 1/2 hour, I hit I-5, and got home at 4am. I popped a bottle of sparkling wine (not Champagne, but it was free!), and had a glass to celebrate. I fell asleep in my clothes.

Final thoughts: Baja is beautiful, wild, and unique. Don’t let your mother-in-law convince you that you’ll be killed as soon as you cross the border. The whole “mothership” thing doesn’t work as well as I’d hoped. It’s a crutch that you can lean on to avoid tough situations, and not only that it gets shitty gas mileage. Despite the fun I had on this trip, I doubt I’ll go back. I adored Bahia de Los Angeles, but I can’t see myself going all the way there again. The peninsula had all the magic I expected it to, but I feel satisfied; like I finally made it to Disneyland. Then again, that’s what I said about Colorado last summer, and I’m planning a DS trip there for next year. The good news is I survived, and the exploration will continue. Adios.
__________________
"Wanted by Interpol in several countries for unpaid speeding tickets, accidental wheelies, passing tour buses at the speed of light, and other crimes of gusto." -Egan
'12 WR250R, '10 VFR1200F. Past: '07 DL650, '04 DRZ400, '03 VFR800, '03 FXDL, '84 GL1200 (RIP)
VFRD, BARF, wr250rforum: BrianF
BrianF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2013, 05:14 PM   #12
mcnut
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Apr 2006
Location: Bakersfield CA & Sammamish WA
Oddometer: 1,364
Love your style, thanks for the RR!
Not quite sure what to make of your episode returning from the Mission. My wife and I have been down and back to the Mission San Borja 3X without incident and I have never heard of a problem there. I understand they do have some problems with Tweekers in the BoLA though.
The optimist in me would like to think the situation was not as threating as it seemed, but who knows? The main road and another off it to the east (leading to the petroglyphs) are traveled daily by tourists in the winter. I know the are looks devoid of habitation but perhaps you ventured onto someones property/space and they didn't appreciate it.
And excellent job lending a hand with the minivan repair.

Bruce
mcnut is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2013, 06:58 PM   #13
BrianF OP
Immoral & Immature
 
BrianF's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2012
Location: Napa Valley, CA
Oddometer: 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnut View Post
Love your style, thanks for the RR!
Not quite sure what to make of your episode returning from the Mission. My wife and I have been down and back to the Mission San Borja 3X without incident and I have never heard of a problem there. I understand they do have some problems with Tweekers in the BoLA though.
The optimist in me would like to think the situation was not as threating as it seemed, but who knows? The main road and another off it to the east (leading to the petroglyphs) are traveled daily by tourists in the winter. I know the are looks devoid of habitation but perhaps you ventured onto someones property/space and they didn't appreciate it.
And excellent job lending a hand with the minivan repair.

Bruce
Bruce, glad you enjoyed my "RR." I've thought the whole incident over in my head many times and I'd like to think you're right. I just can't figure out why they'd pull across the road like that. The fact that it was three young guys makes me suspicious too. They didn't present a threatening posture or fan out across the road, so who knows. Never thought of the property thing, that's possible I suppose. Their reaction to me hightailing it would have been telling, but I didn't see it in the dark. I sure felt like they got back to the truck quickly though. Either way, whatever, all part of the adventure.
__________________
"Wanted by Interpol in several countries for unpaid speeding tickets, accidental wheelies, passing tour buses at the speed of light, and other crimes of gusto." -Egan
'12 WR250R, '10 VFR1200F. Past: '07 DL650, '04 DRZ400, '03 VFR800, '03 FXDL, '84 GL1200 (RIP)
VFRD, BARF, wr250rforum: BrianF
BrianF is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 02:40 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014