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Old 03-08-2013, 03:27 PM   #151
HardWorkingDog OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandsman View Post
Really enjoying the RR...
Thanks!! All I can say is...just do it. If there's anything I can do to help (or not help?) just let me know. I love to talk about Baja, and trip planning, and maps, and...well, you get the idea.

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Old 03-09-2013, 02:01 PM   #152
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Day 25, 1/24/13
Laguna San Ignacio to Puerto Lopez Mateos



Along with the whales snoring all night long we had a few drops of rain overnight and we got up to a
heavy gray sky.






Thoughts of rain + dirt = mud were in the back of our minds but we were feeling a lot more confident now
about our ability to assess and survive out here. We headed for the showers and were at first
disappointed---------the "shower" consisted of a nice clean tiled room, with a bucket on the floor.

No plumbing.

We were surprised though how effective it was. There is a solar water heater just outside the baños;





you fill the bucket with hot water, dip with the supplied cup and provide your own shower. It was far
more refreshing than we expected, and uses much less water in the process. Well done, Kuyima.

The plan today was to ride south through the desert along the Pacific coast, possibly staying at
Scorpion Bay/San Juanico or traveling further south towards Ciudad Insurgentes. I didn't have a great
plan for where we'd stay...





Bryn & I got along great during this trip except for that part--he relied on me for navigation and
wasn't real happy when I'd say "not sure" in answer to where we'd be staying that night...He wanted
a PLAN, dammit!

But for now we were all smiles as we headed south out of Laguna San Ignacio. The road was mostly
sand--a lot more fun than rocks--and cactus forest.








There was one section of very deep fine sand that took a lot of throttle and a fair amount of
wheel spin just to keep momentum. The DR650 started to heat up--it's air-cooled and that kind
of riding just creates more heat than the air movement can transfer out. We started to
notice the unmistakeable odor of melting plastic...





We readjusted the saddlebag loads and position and continued on.





Somewhere along this track we crossed paths with a group of 4 KTM riders haulin' the mail northward as
we were going south. They were spaced out about a quarter mile apart to try and avoid each other's dust,
the first 3 were on rally-looking bikes and the 4th rider was on a non-faired enduro bike. I think it might have
been Neduro and company but not sure...


Quote:
Originally Posted by warp9man View Post

Neduro, Chris and the gang at breakfast.

The enduro rider didn't look like he was having nearly as much fun as the guys on the rally bikes.






Along this stretch we had an almost sorta disaster--not an injury or anything--but somehow as
we were ripping along the rocky washboarded road





my tent and water bladder fell off and I never noticed.


Thankfully Bryn had been trailing me and all I could tell was that he'd stopped. I was chagrined--for some
reason that morning---maybe the threat of rain, just kind of weary, I don't know exactly--I'd changed the way
I lashed the tent and bladder on my bike. Baja is pretty unforgiving that way, there's no "do-overs" here.
If you make a mistake, you'll get caught and there's no easy fixes.


We both managed to lose some gear on this trip, the longer the trip the more your opportunity for mistakes,
I guess; the grand total of lost gear over the 6 weeks: 3 pairs of shoes, 1 nalgene bottle, 1 hat, and 1 water
bladder (not this time, though).


How do you lose 3 pairs of shoes? Well, 2 pairs melted against the DR's exhaust, and 1 pair-----actually
1 shoe-----just plain disappeared off my carabiner, somehow. Still puzzled about that one, I'm guessing
the strap broke? Quien sabe?


Anyway, today we got lucky. A few holes in the tent bag and a punctured water bladder, but nothing lost.
We did learn something from this besides remembering to pack carefully-------3M electrical tape makes
an excellent patch for punctured camelbak water bladders. Tried duct tape at first--the water just dissolves
the adhesive. The next day I put on some good quality black vinyl electrical tape and it's still holding.




You can see the punctures behind the tape...



Near the settlement of Ballena del Raymundo we passed some interesting looking structures--it didn't seem
like the typical Baja construction vernacular, stone bases and wood upper walls and roof. It got me curious,
and I stopped for some photos.










We pulled in to Scorpion Bay and just plain didn't get a great feeling there. We rode out to the campo at the
point and I walked in hoping to get lunch but there was a group sitting behind the counter playing
dominoes and they weren't eager to do anything else. We split a clif bar while sitting on our bikes and
headed out.

Oh, and despite what the AAA map shows, there's no Pemex station at San Juanico.

We headed for La Purisima to get gas, but somehow I got confused--there are some new roads in
this area not shown on the AAA map--and we wound up heading south for Las Barrancas.
We pulled in to Las Barrancas just about out of fuel. The day was quickly turning pear shaped----we got
the stink eye at Scorpion Bay, took the wrong road, and now we're out of gas in a 1 horse town with
not even a gasolina barrel to be found.



My son was not very impressed with his old man at this point.



We stop on the edge of town after making a complete circumnavigation and I see a man
walking to his car up ahead at a warehouse-looking structure. I ride up to him and in my
best phrase-book Spanish say "Hola, por favor--donde hay una gasolinera???" He looks
across the street and points to a non-descript little tienda not 50 meters from
where my son had parked.

"Alli." He says.

OK...we walk in, nobody there. "Hola!" A man finally appears. "Tienes gasolinera?" Si, si!
He walks around the side, opens a small garage door, and there's a full size electric gas pump
inside his shop. Woo-hoo! We fill up our bikes--only a peso or two more per liter than Pemex, a
bargain at that point--and while we're filling our bikes a line forms behind us from the townspeople
waiting to fill their vehicles as well.



That was a big lesson of our trip--when you really need help, simply talk to the locals and
they will find a way to make good things happen. Thanks, Baja.




We decide to head further south and then west out to the Pacific to find a place to camp at Puerto
Lopez Mateos. I've never heard of it before, don't have any reports of places to stay, but I'm
confident we'll find something.


My confidence was rewarded. While we didn't find a place to camp we did find an inexpensive motel.








Clean, hot showers (as long as you limited your time, I think the water tank held 8 gallons!) and soft
beds. The owner was very friendly--the cuartos were adjacent to his house--and he directed us to
a little restaurant where we had one of the best meals of the trip.

Restaurant Baja Mar is a small family-run place. We walked in along with a couple from France and
sat while the family around us did what families do--homework, chat about he days activities,
laughed at the kids admiring our motos outside--while they prepared our meals in the kitchen.


No menu, Lauro explained to us the dish of the day that was available. We said, Si, dos por favor,
still not quite sure what we'd just ordered, but it sounded like some kind of seafood combination plate.
We talked with the couple from France--they both spoke English and Spanish as well, Bryn conversed
a bit with them in French mostly to see if he could still do it--he could, and we sipped Tecates and ate
chips and enjoyed trying to converse with the family in Spanish.


Our meals arrived--we were starving--and we just about passed out when we saw what they'd
prepared:





Lobster, fish, mariscos of some sort, shrimp, all the fixins, beautifully arranged and prepared...we didn't come up
for air until our plates were clean. Awesome.



I reminded myself about how hopeless the day had seemed when we'd stopped at Scorpion Bay,
not sure where we'd end up-------in fact, almost every day had ended like this--------



Yep, we were living like kings.




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HardWorkingDog screwed with this post 03-10-2013 at 09:50 AM Reason: gracias, Baja
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:03 AM   #153
oldxr
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Awesome RR.I have been reading all the posts sitting at my desk with my aaa baja map out using your intel to put notes on it.Have not been to baja since 2007.I will be looking for a riding buddy soon.Many thumbs up for riding to baja.Most people set their bike up at home and haul it there.

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Old 03-10-2013, 07:47 AM   #154
HardWorkingDog OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldxr View Post
...I have been reading all the posts sitting at my desk with my aaa baja map out using your intel to put notes on it....
Thanks oldxr, I would like to have had better images of our route--the digital maps I'm using aren't very good as I've mentioned--and I'm hoping there's enough there for you to make sense of our route. I'm really glad we could take the time for the Long Way.

Hope you can make it happen to get back there soon!
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:45 AM   #155
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Day 26, 1/25/13
Puerto Lopez Mateos to Punto el Mechudo



While our cuarto was clean and the beds were comfortable, I just had to take a photo of the unique...design.
A simple cube, with an aluminum and plastic walled frame to enclose the bathroom. Simple, inexpensive,
and uhhh, let's say intimate. Everything that happened in there was shared closely...






We made our in-room breakfast of oatmeal/trek mix and coffee, packed up in the flower filled courtyard





and headed out.






Today we were crossing the peninsula again aiming east for the Sea of Cortez at San Evaristo. This was
going to be the kind of off-road day we'd dreamed of when planning this trip--only about 10 miles of pavement
and 140 miles of dirt. At least, that was the plan...






We cut across farm fields on roads that were thankfully on my gps. Saw a good sized rattler in the middle of
one road, and waved to the farm workers as we passed by. Fun riding, this part of Baja seems very
prosperous. There's water, farming, greenhouses everywhere, very similar to parts of California's Imperial
Valley, though a lot warmer. We had all our vents open and it was perfect riding weather.

Made it to Ciudad Constitucion (sorry, my map has a typo!) where the road was paved, filled up the tanks and
stocked up on water and groceries. We continued on east past the airstrip and turned off the pavement for
good----but this first stretch went right through the town dump! i hate dump roads, not only for the smell but
I'm paranoid we're going to pick up a nail or a screw or a something sharp...made it through unscathed and
eventually the stink subsided....

I'm not the first to discover this, but the route from Constitucion to San Evaristo is just amazing. This was one of
the most memorable days of our trip.

It was pretty warm and dusty,





and we decided not to stop at the Mision as we knew we had a long day ahead of us.



We had no idea.




The road snakes through beautiful rock canyons,








there is water everywhere (for a desert, at least)








and some amazing little ranchos along the way--they were a series of oases--that made you wonder who
was lucky enough to live there.






The road began to get rougher.





The recent hurricane really tore this area up, there were massive washouts, loose rock, ruts, gullies.





We got a workout and it took us a lot longer to get through this then we'd expected.



Of course, the best part of this photo is what you can't see--there's no way I wanted to stop and
take a photo until we'd gotten out of that rocky rutty mess. If you follow the track up in the photo,
it turns to the right and disappears pretty much straight up the slope...


By the time we made it out of the mountains I was beat.




Yeah, a little bit of hamming it up, but it felt like quite an accomplishment to get through that in one piece. The view out to the Sea of Cortez was spectacular.







But it's going to be dark soon, were miles from anything, and I don't know where we're going to spend the night.









OK, let's head for San Evaristo, again, no idea what we'll find there, it's just a dot on a map. We work our way
down to the sand road running along the sea and-------the batteries on my gps die, and once the indecision
in my head calms down I realize I've just followed my front tire and we're heading south, while San Evaristo
is north. It seemed too much effort to turn around and backtrack; we're tired, in a completely unknown
landscape...let's see what's up ahead.

I spot a spur road that looks like it heads toward the water, let's see what's down here. About a quarter mile down
this rocky spur we're dumped out on a beautiful little bay, deserted except for a small panga with a couple fishermen
cleaning the day's catch, and hundreds of birds.








I went up to talk to the fishermen, they were friendly, sure, you can camp here if you want they said, we're leaving soon
to take our catch to La Paz. In about 30 minutes they were gone. Wow, we've found ourselves an amazing little site,
lucky again.

Pitch our tents, while the Buzzard King watched our every move.






Just as we're thinking that it's going to be a quiet night we hear a car jostling down a road, and our deserted bay's
population has just doubled.





The driver was an American who lives most of the time in Baja near Cabo San Jose,
and while he thought they'd have the place to himself as well, he was pretty excited to share his knowledge of Baja,
his campfire, his coffee and his kayaks with us. He was a feisty, hilarious and generous character, and before we'd
pulled out the next day had encouraged us to stay several more days there with him and his Thai girlfriend.

In the morning I managed to get a photo of a school of dolphin. They were leaping and rolling, playing in the quiet water
lazily herding a bait ball. No, those aren't rocks, look closely....





We both paddled out into the bay,








Bryn and our host caught some fish, we roasted them over a fire
for breakfast, complete with a fresh Thai salsa.



Another amazing chapter.



I think we'd finally accepted that each day was simply going to work out, despite the unknown. There's a fine line when
planning a trip like this, I think......there's a certain minimum amount you've got to work out ahead of time--clearly I could
have done better in some aspects--but at the same time we'd have missed out on some amazing experiences if I planned
each and every day down to the smallest detail. And even if I had done that level of planning, there are times when conditions
have changed enough that plans have to be ditched anyway. I guess a lot has to do with the comfort level and trust in who
you're traveling with.





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Next Trip: Divide & Conquer...


"it's a dog's life.............and I love it"

HardWorkingDog screwed with this post 03-10-2013 at 10:58 AM Reason: a or an, hmm now, which is it?
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:04 AM   #156
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Baja Packing tip: If you want to keep it, don't attach it outside of main bags with bungees or 'biners....Baja will just shake it off and smirk.

Pack it ALL inside your system.....and have it there when you want it....nalgenes, shoes, flip-flops, ....and protect your water with your life....ya never know when you will be stuck someplace in the middle of "somewhere"...


However, my experience in Baja (and other parts of outback Mexico) is that just when you think no one is around for miles, before long a Mexican will show up

Tip for GPS....hardwire it to battery, and have 3 sets of battery backups.

Tip for Map....AAA is basic backup for main roads that is outdated by a few decades.


But we all love it.
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Old 03-10-2013, 12:57 PM   #157
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motoged View Post
Baja Packing tip: If you want to keep it, don't attach it outside of main bags with bungees or 'biners....Baja will just shake it off and smirk.

Pack it ALL inside your system.....and have it there when you want it....nalgenes, shoes, flip-flops, ....and protect your water with your life....ya never know when you will be stuck someplace in the middle of "somewhere"...
No argument there---learned that lesson. That's why next time I'm going with racks and saddlebags
that will contain everything. Although the water bladder we lost is still a mystery. It was
always packed in son's saddlebag, and then at the end of one day it just wasn't there. Obviously,
it didn't get packed somewhere along the day's route, probably when we stopped for lunch and
took some food out. Still hard to figure how we both managed to ride off without seeing it on the
ground somewhere.

Quote:
However, my experience in Baja (and other parts of outback Mexico) is that just when you think no one is around for miles, before long a Mexican will show up
Yup. Except in the middle of Laguna Salada, after a rain.

Quote:
Tip for GPS....hardwire it to battery, and have 3 sets of battery backups.
I brought plenty of spare batteries and a charger that kept them topped off at night (using my WRR's battery).
I could normally go 2 days on one set of batteries. When my gps died the spares were buried deep inside the
duffel and in the moment it seemed too much trouble to dig them out. From that day on I carried a spare battery
pack in one of the many pockets of my jacket.

Quote:
Tip for Map....AAA is basic backup for main roads that is outdated by a few decades.


But we all love it.
I don't know if I'd agree with the decades part It's definitely behind, but mostly along the lines of showing a
road as unpaved when it's actually been paved in the last couple years. It still shows the location accurately.


The Nat Geo maps...not worth the paper they're printed on. I've used many Nat Geo maps--their Death Valley
map is very good. But map-making is an art as well as science. Benchmark understands this very well, and once
you've got good data the key to making a good map is to organize and present the data in a way that is graphically
understandable. The Nat Geo Baja map fails both ways: they have faulty data, and their presentation is a jumble of
un-qualified, un-organized blotches of lines and colors.



The Baja Atlas is much more detailed and updated, but the scale is so large that it's hard to use for on-the-bike
navigating. The AAA map is often more useful as a tank bag map because of its smaller scale.
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:10 PM   #158
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Adventure...

Its more than just a motorcycle trip...You 2 are all about the Adventure, Thanks for sharing, I just ordered the sleeping bag liners!
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Old 03-10-2013, 05:37 PM   #159
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HardWorkingDog View Post
We started to
notice the unmistakeable odor of melting plastic...
Put a couple of hose clamps around the pipe with the screw housing between the plastics and the pipe. It'll maintain an air gap and avoid the melted plastics.

And that dinner... daaaayum, that looks good!

Nice report!
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:06 AM   #160
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Butcho View Post
Its more than just a motorcycle trip...You 2 are all about the Adventure, Thanks for sharing, I just ordered the sleeping bag liners!
I am really lucky to have been able to do this trip. I'm glad you're enjoying the report-----it's
sometimes a chore, but I want to get it all down before I've forgotten any more. Hope the
liners work out for you--did you go backcountry.com? They've got a pretty good system, but
sometimes it's worth it to pay REI's price just for the no-hassle return policy.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadracer_Al View Post
Put a couple of hose clamps around the pipe with the screw housing between the plastics and the pipe. It'll maintain an air gap and avoid the melted plastics.

And that dinner... daaaayum, that looks good!...
Hey, the clamp idea sounds good. We'd already added a home-made steel hold-off strap that
helped--you can see it in the photo, but finally the cover pushed in from above. The clamps
would've allowed us to adjust the stand off positions. Cool!

Yeah, that was a great meal. The funny thing I didn't mention is that while we were waiting
for our food another gringo couple came in, determined to have---------fish tacos.
When the owner patiently explained they only had the seafood combination tonight, the
couple declined and walked out in a huff. They had no idea what they'd missed.


__________________
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Next Trip: Divide & Conquer...


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Old 03-11-2013, 09:56 AM   #161
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Im in central komifornia too and also looking for buddies to do Baja, send a PM if your interested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldxr View Post
Awesome RR.I have been reading all the posts sitting at my desk with my aaa baja map out using your intel to put notes on it.Have not been to baja since 2007.I will be looking for a riding buddy soon.Many thumbs up for riding to baja.Most people set their bike up at home and haul it there.
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:13 AM   #162
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Day 27, 1/26/13
Punto el Mechudo to Playa El Tecolote



Woke up that morning to the typical glorious Baja sunrise.







After spending the morning kayaking and having a late breakfast, our goal was to get to La Paz--only about 75 miles
away--stock up on food & water and then head for somewhere to camp north of La Paz. Our map showed a network
of dirt roads on the tip of the peninsula that forms Bahia de La Paz and our kayaking neighbor thought there was a road
that went all the way around the western edge we'd be able to use to continue south.





Sounded good to us...



The road still had a few challenges that morning that made it enjoyable as we wound through a small mountain pass
and then finally dropped back down to the coast.





The coastline along here is just fantastic.











All too soon we're back on asphalt; the road is paved just south of Punta Tarabillas where there's a mine and from
there we quickly made our way to La Paz.

Wow--La Paz is a big city, kind of a shock from what we'd been traveling in, but it's an enjoyable
place. Lots of tourism, hotels, a pretty marina and of course it's a ferry port to get to the mainland of Mexico. Just before
we approached the Malecon I spot a big shiny new--------Walmart! We're in. It was like Disneyland in there, the biggest
most well-stocked store I'd seen since leaving the US. We stocked up on all kinds of fresh fruit and vegetables,
discovered ultra-pasteurized milk (no refrigeration!), and they had a bakery with about 4 million varieties of pan dulce.
We kinda went wild...bread, cookies, tortillas. We stuffed our bags out in the parking lot and headed north through the
city.

As we rode past the ferry we both had thoughts of...........what might be, getting on that ferry and crossing. Too bad
we were running short on money & time. Money mostly. Another trip.

We made our way to the end of the pavement at a little beach resort called Playa El Tecolote and tried to navigate
further but we got caught in a confusing maze of sand roads and private property. Not sure of what was up ahead, we
decided to go back to El Tecolote and camp. There were a number of RV's obviously set up for the long term and being
as close as we were to...civilization...figured the smart thing to do was camp near other campers.

We found a nice soft spot in the sand and set up. We were right in the middle of BCS. Not Baja California Sur, but
British Columbia South. In the words of Holden Caulfield, the place was lousy with Canadians. It's funny, when planning
this trip I'd assumed we'd see Americans all over the place, but the reality is that most of the visitors to Baja are from
Canada. We met some really great Canadians, and they didn't even mind that we are Sharks fans. Too much.

We were starving and started dinner right away with all our newly purchased groceries.





We enjoyed our meal and our good fortune again. The day ended calm and peaceful, and we watched the sun
go down from our camp on the edge of the bay.








The neighbors invited us over for a campfire, and we couldn't turn them down. Great stories that evening, these folks
come down every winter and spend several months. They've met and become friends with the locals, it's a second
home for them even though they have to tow their fifth wheels back to Canada every spring.

At one point as we're laughing and talking one of the women said shhh! did you hear something? We all sat in silence
for a minute...nothing. Oh well, but that did bring out a story of how someone had decided to camp by himself a quarter
mile down the beach and had come back one afternoon to find his camper had been broken into and stripped. We
were glad to be camped right in the middle of the Canadians tonight. They probably all had double-barrelled hockey
sticks hanging over their doors.



Litlle did we know.......that sound she'd heard was----------El Chupacabra.



And he'd been in our now deserted camp.






We were tired and excused ourselves from the festivities--the scorpions had started heading out of the wood pile and
every few minutes someone would scream as the little bugger would try to climb up a bare foot--and made our way in
the moonlight back to our tents.


WHAT!!???


Our saddlebags had been left open and EVERY piece of bread, tortilla and, worst of all, all of our pan dulce
was GONE. NOoooooooooo. We'd been robbed! There were shredded bags and tracks leading away from our bikes, we
picked up the bags hoping something had been missed, but no, he was too clever (and hungry).


Darn that Chupacabra.


I waited that night with my camera and sure enough he came sneaking back and I got a photo of the beast. It's pretty
dark, but I think I got him in the act.





The next morning I looked at the tracks. The sand was pretty soft, they were about the size and shape of a dog from what
I could tell, but I think they're pretty good at disguising themselves.



At least that's what I've heard.






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Next Trip: Divide & Conquer...


"it's a dog's life.............and I love it"
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:55 AM   #163
LittleWan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HardWorkingDog View Post

Aw, I was hoping for pics of the good stuff (washouts)!

This is a great shot, though. It's such a pretty coastline.
It's really nice that you guys did this father/son trip.
What a perfect bonding experience.
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:57 AM   #164
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Words from CoCo

I'll never forget those words from CoCo years ago.

While in Chupacobra country---------never sleep on your back

El Chupacobra can dive in and you'll be very unhappy.

BigDog
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WR250R 2008
KTM EXC 450 2006
Husqvarna TR650 Terra 2013
KTM 690 Enduro 2014
If your bike weighs more than 400lbs. You might not make it.
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Old 03-11-2013, 02:24 PM   #165
Butcho
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Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Wisconsin SE
Oddometer: 268
Beach Camping is so cool

Ordered the liners on e bay...$100 for 2 out of Atlanta Ga. unique outfitters is the store...Check out these saddlebag racks I bought for my Dr 650....bolt on in 5 min. and cheap. http://www.ebay.com/itm/DR650-Side-L...item27cdb33371
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