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Old 07-29-2013, 07:54 PM   #661
Whatdayisit?
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Wicked F'in A bros where's an update? I know your already in Mexico!

Come'on!
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Old 07-29-2013, 09:13 PM   #662
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Baja does not have free wifi every where.%99 of baja has no cell service.But the food is good-I like fresh lobster and fish tacos.
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Old 07-29-2013, 09:43 PM   #663
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WE MADE IT! Right now I'm drinking a cold one with a view of the water from our $41 motel in Bahia de Los Angeles, Baja. Passed through Coco's Corner and shared a beer with him earlier today. Life is BUENO!

Like the guy above said, there's not shit for wifi down here. We've got a ride report together for you, just have to get to a place where the wifi is strong enough to upload our pics. I'm hanging onto one bar of wifi as it is here at the motel and that's the best I've gotten since we got to Mexico 3 days ago. Hope to have something good for you guys soon!
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Old 07-29-2013, 09:58 PM   #664
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If you want to ... you can ride right out of Bahia de Los Angeles and onto the Baja 1000 course heading South. It gets really good at that point. Nice Sandy tracks through awesome Cactus gardens.

Go to South end of town, turn right. Ride down road until it sort of ends, at some point you go up hill to the left and hopefully hook up with main trail South. Locals can direct you. I'm going from dim memories.

I recommend hitting Punta San Francisquito. Just a Fish Camp but they sometimes have food .... and you can camp there. About 65 from Bahia de Los Angeles. One of the more remote sections of Baja. The race hasn't gone through that way in several years.

Have fun, try not to pay too much for things ... just makes it harder for the next guys. BARGAIN for everything ... it's customary there. Only suckers (and Gringos) pay the first quoted price for anything.
que le via muy bien!
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Old 07-30-2013, 01:01 AM   #665
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Hola Amigos!

...yeah, thats about all I've got in my bag of Spanish.


Anyway, Last time we left off, I had just got my bike running again, after the machine shop broke my balance gear, and wouldn't buy a new crank. I ended up buying my own, and got the bike running.

What your countershaft looks like after Supermoto abuse, and plenty of thrashing on the TAT.


It was time to leave what has felt like my second family. The Robertsons have been absolutely great to me. Here's Dan, one of my best buds and definitely one of the most up-beat, inspirational people I know. I think I've got him convinced to take a trip with me on a Spyder in 2-3 years from now.

Last night on the houseboat in Nevada city.

I left Nevada City two days later, after putting about 50 miles on the bike. All seems good. After seeing just how loud the balancer assembly is when spinning the crank by hand, it's no wonder these engines sound god-awful.

Anyway, the next few days are a complete blur. I met Austin, threw his engine in his bike, and ran into some trouble. It's an older engine, into a new-style KLR. The stator assemblies are different. So the 09 stator had to go into the 96 engine. Also, the 09 had some sort of emissions that was ported into the head; also not on the 96 so it had to be removed and blocked off. After a quick test ride we realized the drain plug was dripping, which was due to the threads being MIA. Also, it appears to be running quite lean, which is causing it to run very hot, and also fuel economy is down by nearly 10mpg. Very troublesome.

Said test ride...




One handed, behind the back picture taking mid-switchbacks? Brownie points for knowing the oh-so-famous road.


Dead give-away....



Rethreading the drain plug, and moving on, the bike is still lean. Too lean to be safe. We still need to find a cure.

Heading south, oddly enough we stumble into some greenery..



just for a second though...back to the yellow death that is socal


Leaving SF at 5pm? We must have done 20 miles of lane splitting...


We were striving for San Diego, but after more KLR trouble in the form of a very dirty fuel bowl, (probably leftover from the TAT), we were not going to make it, and roll into Austin's friends place in LA at 3am.



OK now to the real update. I've given up on total day count. So we'll start this as Mexico Day 1; MX1. Up and at'em early again, we head to use my computer to load the track Crashmaster had made for us, (probably should have done this earlier...). Upon attempting to load them over breakfast, the worst happens. The laptop turns on, but the screen does not. Not again! I've been using ultra-precautionary measures to save this laptop, and it appears to be dead again. In a fury, I break out the big dogs...


Did I mention I left my footwear behind, over a week ago on a houseboat in Nevada City, after a few too many. I finally splurge for some flipflops, and we are off to perform the .22 cent mod on the KLR (which does not fix things), and I go to work doing some laptop surgery.Turns out the connector to the screen has come unplugged, and is a simple fix.

Soon enough, we load the tracks, make some last minute preparations, an next thing I know we are looking at the border crossing. We're here! This is happening! Baja man....freakin' Baja!


Austin gets excited and looks like he's making a break for the border.... He seems to forgot we have no pesos, no insurance, and not a full tank of fuel. Getting him reeled back in, we take care of things on the US side, and now it is time to cross.

Now, I have never crossed the border. I was expecting some sort of formality. It was literally as simple as driving through a gate. They did not look twice at the bikes. It all happened so fast, infact, we drove right past the Auduana and Banjercito. We had to double back, and ask around to get things straight. 114$ for 30 days insurance, and around 35$ for the 180day visa and we were through (already took care of the TVIP's via the mail).

We've been in the country for about 7 1/2 minutes of ride time, when I make a mistake. I'm trying to concentrate on Crashmaster's track, while being a little overwhelmed by the fact I'm completely useless with my extreme ignorance of spanish language. Next thing I know, I'm passing a sign that says Cuota. No Bueno! Pulling off to the side of the road, I see a gap in the gaurdrail where we can get back to the road we need. There is an 10-12" V concrete drainage between the two road surfaces. I square up and hit it without issue. Austin gets a little off from perpendicular, and between passing cars I see the KLR take a spill. Instead of playing Frogger to go help him pick the bike up, I do the proper thing, and photo-document our first crash of Baja!

Moving on, we find some dirt and sand. It's a blast for me, even on crappy enduro tires that are aptly named "Golden Boy". Even with less than desireable tread, the King of Baja truly tears it up. Even weighted down, the bike just wants to step the back end out and slide for days around each corner. However, there is noone out here to help you if you biff it. There is no getting a Uhaul and driving the battered bike to town for parts. As ya'll have said, this is truly the "Land of self-responsibility", and noone is going to be along to help pick up the pieces.

If in some parallel universe you could have taken my actions, removed the bike, the helmet, and the gear, sat me in a chair, and watched my facial expressions over the course of the next hour or so, I am entirely certain I would be admitted to an institute. Only maniacs and the truly twisted howl like that. Well, and those lucky enough to ride the King of Baja, offroad, in Baja. Grinning ear to ear, I probably sampled plenty of the local soil, but that's just fine. As I mentioned in the beginning of this RR, I grew up on dirt. I remember browsing pictures of the 1000 in an old moto-mag, and then years later seeing Dust to Glory. I remember being young, seeing this mythical monster they were calling the XR650R. What the heck is that?! It's a complete giant! 'It's way too big to be a motocross bike, why would you even want that?' I thought to myself.

Here I am, God knows how many years later, aboard the very same beast, in it's finest element, with a first full of throttle, and a wide open stretch of Baja sand to till up the best I can. How many people truly get to do this sort of thing in life? Lately, it has become a realization that the funds have dwindled to the near-ends which means the trip will soon be over. It is truly a depressing feeling. One I knew and accepted at the start, aware that it would come one day, sooner or later. But this simple stretch of sand has breathed new life into my mind. A new perspective. This trip has gone INTERNATIONAL. I used to spend every weekend riding on a less than 2 acre flat field in Maine, bouncing around on a 1980s 2 stroke Suzuki. And now here I am, in freakin' Baja, getting the bars crossed up! Noone's around to see it. Nor would anyone else understand even if they did see the Gringo on the dirty, beatup moto. For me, it's just one of those short fleeting moments that will be forever etched into memory.

Cruisin, Easy Rider style!


As I am having the time of my life, I realize it has been a long, long time since I have seen Austin's light poke through the dust. I wait. And wait. And play with junk I find in the road. And take pictures of the wash outs that the locals have decided are a good place to park cinder blocks...
...god, what those would do to a bike, or a body if you got tangled up in that mess....... And back to the wait. Eventually I backtrack, and find Austin taking pictures, looking quite upset. He says that he is taking pictures of where his trip ends. He's sure the clutch in his bike grenaded and this is it. Quickly, I notice the chain has jumped off the rear sprocket and wedged itself between the cush drive and hub. Sure enough, this is his god-awful noise. He had been meaning to tighten the chain for days, and it almost bit him hard. Luckily, it jumped off the rear, not the front. Soon enough we are on our way again, when he stalls. His vacuum line to his petcock is now the trouble. (Dang KLR's!!!)

Finally, we hit pavement, and head due west. Cruising along in traffic, we get stuck behind a bit of a convoy. Next thing I know, mid-corner, a Nissan Frontier pulls along side me in the lane, at 60km/h, as if I'm not even there! Baja man....freakin' Baja! We make it to Ensenada. Our first true taste of Baja. It's quite a sight, really. We hole up in a hotel, and enjoy a night of Tecate at the bar for a wallet-thumping price of 18 pesos a pop. I like it! I can do this! Baja man....freakin' Baja!

Outside the hotel...


MX2:

Upon waking, the first news I get from Austin is "hey be sure to shake out your helmet...the shelf you put it on is crawling with ants. Fantastic. That's just what I want. Baja man....freakin' Baja! Heading out, we make our way toward San Felipe. Austin's bike is still running hot, and decide maybe the thermostat is sticking. That will be our next plan of attack. Anyway, we decide to ride mostly pavement. Austin has very street-oriented tires, and with his bike running hot, we can't risk the load and extra heat that offroad will make it endur. When we reach Mex-5, there is another military checkpoint. I forgot that I had been filming earlier, and they are less than impressed with my GoPro. Oops. Now I know.

Somewhere in Baja, somewhere in the desert...just somewhere. About the same somewhere that I thought it would be funny to take a 'sitting on a catcus picture', misjudge my footing and really do get cactus thorns in my rump, and have to dig them out of my RevIt! pants. Can cacti get the Montezuma? If that's the case, I'm afraid my ass might fall off.







Pretting hoppin' place for a Sunday.




Soon we are in San Felipe, and it's gorgeous. We stop at a place called the Taco Factory, right on the malecon. We sit down, and start chatting with two women, one of which ends up being the owner. She offers us a room as well, and our dinner turns into our place to stay. Our waiter into our bellhop. Not bad! I'm not a fish person, at all. But somehow I got convinced to try the stingray tacos. Actually, they weren't bad at all!

We step into the room to offload gear, and within moment of hitting the bed, I'm questioning whether my translator has offed himself via-Tecate consumption.


He starts to snore too much, and after enough of my thrashing around, he begins to stir and we go to walk to Malecon.

I admire this equal length setup. Pretty ingenuitive really. Terrifying steering though. But hey, it's Baja...


And it's not THAT big of a deal... it's only the Pina e Coco truck. Oh, did I mention that it was a ZJ that they have cut the roof off of, and turned into a pickup? So... unibody, no roof, one off 'long travel' suspension, nearly no gussets, and lets load it full of crap we want to sell... I LOVE this place!


There are a few live bands playing, lots of street vendors, and it's a curious sight to just sit and take in. Just like at home, there is a 7-11 on the corner, complete with a questionably male/female hooker outside the door. Some things never change I guess. We grab some snacks, and sit on the Malecon wall and watch the sun extinguish itself.


Anything goes here..


Some of these boats had 250 Yamaha 4 strokes on them!



So there you have it, an up-to-date report. Tomorrow we will hit Gonzaga Bay. I'm not sure how much further we will go, as I don't know what lies after that. Coco's corner is a must for me. This trip will include much pavement, simply for the sake of the longevity of the bikes. It's one thing to come down and thrash Baja offroad and tear it up, and go home. It's another thing to put 7500miles on the bikes, 5000 of which was offroad, prior to starting Baja, and then planning another 1500-2500miles of return mileage after Baja to get home. Some day I'll be back, on a fresh (and perhaps even the very same) bike to really tear it up.

Again, we've only been here two days, but for anyone else that is quasi-interested in Baja, a couple things I've noted:

The peso/usd exchange is tricky to do in your head sometimes. I wish I would have brought one of those 99 cent walmart calculators. It'd make me feel better than pulling out my Garmin Montana or cellphone to do math.

I know next to zero Spanish. If I had been certain we were going to Mexico, I would have taken the time to learn enough to converse. I feel incredibly ignorant to the language, and it's frustrating to not be able to even make simple transactions on my own. Instead I have to get Austin to take care of things, whilst I stand there in the background. However, this may be to our advantage. As I stand there trying not to drool on myself, the locals are probably thinking "Boy, look at this guy. He is kind enough to take his special-ed friend on a vacation, and even brave enough to let him ride a motorcycle all by himself! We better help them!"

Everyone said that things closest to the border were the worst. That said, It's been great! Everyone is friendly. I would definitely consider camping next time around, and when it isn't the hottest time of the year.


Scratch that, one more day...

MX3: We get a late start today. Austin tried to give me hypothermia last night. The rarity of A/C down here, he insists on pegging everyone he finds at a temperature that rivals the polar ice caps.

Up and at'em at the crack of 11:00, we stumble out to look for food. The Malecon sure is lazy on a Monday. We finally get some grub, and head back to pack the bikes up. Somewhere in the night it dawned on me to recommend pulling Austin's thermostat, so I explain the process and he gets to work while I do something productive.



By productive I mean wander around and take pictures of things that crack me up... like this stellar plumbing solution.


After spilling only enough ethylene glycol to kill seven Baja dogs, we are off and running. Soon we are on what must surely be the Baja course. It's incredibly whooped out, and the KLR gets swallowed up a few times. The XR loves it, although I did do one impressively sideways speed-scrub over what is apparently someones driveway that caught me by surprise. We find our way back to Mex-5. The sand is just too deep for the KLR, and it's probably in my best interest to stop pretending I'm running the 1000 before I hurt myself.

This would be true bliss with no weight on the XR, better riding gear, and desert tires.


It's sad to see so many projects like this one halfway finished, and then abandoned...


Eventually, Mex-5 ends. Just like that. Just gone. No mas. We run into Puertocitos (maybe thats how it's spelled?), and then into Bahia San Luis Gonzaga.




We contemplate staying at Alfonsinas, but the day is still young and we choose to throttle on. Chef Shrimpy and his hat crack me up.

The 'highway' is now a rocky, packed 2 lane, and a single, sometimes smooth, sometimes whooped out sand trail beside. Austin runs the hardpack, I choose to play side by side in the sand. Just as I really throttle down in 5th and get into a truly epic groove, skipping just the tops of some whoops, it smooths out and Coco's comes into sight.

As I pull in, he insists I bring the bike inside, to keep the seat cool.


My spanish is absolutely god-awful, as mentioned before, but his first words are some spanglish that come across as "You crazy bastard", and while waiting for Austin to arrive, he proceeds to tell me how 'loco' it is to ride a moto this time of year.



Naturally, beers are in order, and over a few Pacificos the book comes out and he says another moto has not passed through since early in May! I guess we are truly at the bad time of the year. After signing, we spend the next hour or so learning about Coco's stories, about the corner, the races, the people, and anything else you can talk about with a Baja desert hermit. More Pacifico is in order, and just as I go to close the freezer, I hear a terrible thud. Coco apparently had a little too much of the hard stuff and had done a barrel roll out of his chair, and is laying nearly underneath my XR when I come from the backroom. Crazy fella, that one.



And tough too... His bunk, under the stars... no mattress.


No Fumar Espanol? Crashmaster, is this yours?


As much as I'd like to hang out and hear all the stories (I've got a soft spot for old timer's stories), we must press on before dark comes. We crank out the next 20km of dirt to pavement...


And blast down to Bahia de Los Angeles.


We wind up with a nice room with a view, and do a quick tour of the town down to the boat launch and watch some fishermen head out. I also notice a Baja dog is stalking us as we drive by from the rooftops. Very odd.

After some tacos, and more Pacificos, it is time to retire. I believe tomorrow is going to be a long day. Perhaps we will throw down some long pavement miles and try to make it to Loreto. Who knows. Sadly, we will not make it to Francisquitos, or Pancho's this trip. Funds are dwindling, and we are still going to attempt the mainland.

Cheers everyone. Baja has it's very own holy war against my liver.

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Old 07-30-2013, 01:09 AM   #666
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And a few more...







The land of personal responsibility. Exposed wire nuts just above the shower, opposite of the shower head.

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Old 07-30-2013, 04:03 AM   #667
speedmonkey7
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Awesome that you guys made it! Nevada City and all that surrounding area is just awesome. We used to spend lots of time in the south yuba river down off 49 towards Downeyville, beautiful country.
Have you checked Austin's jetting? If the klrs are like XR600s at all, the older motors were actually higher compression, etc. That might make it run lean and hot. Especially since they make them run lean from the factory anyway. You probably already checked but I figured I'd throw it out there in case.

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Old 07-30-2013, 07:02 AM   #668
Jettn Jim
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Yea a KLX needle will throw more fuel at the beast with the same jetting (narrower taper gooood thing)... I run a 140 main in a stock 650 with that needle. and a 142-145 with a big bore.

If ya guys take paypal i'll throw a couple hen at ya ta keep heading south!!! Just got the visa topped off sooo I can help.

Oooh and GREAT update!!!
Peace,
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:12 AM   #669
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glad to see you guys back on the road. I hope your fundage doesn't stop for a while. Excellent writing skills.
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:08 AM   #670
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Keep on trucking......

I have read your RR in 2 sittings, not wanting to jump ahead to see where you are at. Baja......I have been wanting to do a ride down there for a long time. Watch the whales in the Sea of Cortez.......maybe next year, if I don't go to Glacier NP. Soak it up guys, once you start doing the family thing, you have to wait alot of years before you can do this again. Being on a fixed income.....looks like I will be selling something to finance my next long ride.
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:29 AM   #671
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Dude you are hilarious... awesome ride! Love the "land of personal responsibility" phrase!

Keep on!
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:46 AM   #672
Adv Grifter
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Any updates on the KLR? Can't imagine riding middle of Baja on a bike that's overheating and getting 10 MPG! YIKES! Super Cajones, no?
I don't know of any KLR specialist's down there ... hope you guys find the problem ... and SOON! There are a couple decent MC shops in La Paz ... they can even get hold of parts ... takes a while though. (2 weeks)

I'm amazed you're doing deep sand tracks with street tires! But Kudos for going for it! I rode Baja years OK on a stock KLR, original tires.... I could not make it far in the deep sand, but I suck at sand riding.

I had to stay on pavement for the most part. On that ride, me and the KLR made it to Guatemala ... and back! After that 7 week ride ... I was no longer a fan of the KLR ... but mine was bone stock with NO mods. KLR really really needs ALL THE MODS! A modded one is like a different bike. (KLR owners know this! )

Good luck y suerte
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Old 07-30-2013, 12:17 PM   #673
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Stuntheavy it is Lombardi Street. It has got to be HOTTER than HELL down there right now you guys are Nuts. But love the ride report. Keep it coming.

Someday I am going to get the XR to Baja
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Old 07-30-2013, 12:39 PM   #674
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Glad to see you got the new engine. Keep up the great adventure and reports.
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Old 07-30-2013, 12:43 PM   #675
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Glad to see you guys made it and are staying well hydrated. Too bad problems kept you from all the nice routes, but you got a taste, and thats good. There will be some nice camping spots along Bahia Concepcion just south of Mulege but you guys may be much further now.

The twisty mountain roads on the mainland are not to be missed. Mex 16!

buen viaje!
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