|01-07-2015, 07:50 PM||#1|
Joined: Apr 2012
Christmas in Baja 2014
2014 was an amazing year of riding with the highlight being a three week ride up to Deadhorse from Sacramento. That ride report can be seen here. After coming home I felt like I just needed to get another epic ride in so I asked my riding buddy Rich if he would be down for a street ride down to Baja for Christmas. His response was a resounding, “hell yes”, so the planning began in earnest a few months before Christmas. We only had two weeks to ride to Cabo San Lucas so we knew the schedule would be fairly tight and we’d have a few days of brutal slabbing to contend with.
Bikes: 2009 Wee Strom and a 2008 FZ1 (BADASSADVFZWON)
In preparation I designed some stickers for the trip incorporating our local riding groups logo (Sacramento Crotch Rockets) and the all iconic Tecate logo.
We also purchased some cheap travel insurance in case one of us took an unexpected asphalt nap or was unexpectedly swooped away by a Mexican eagle. I purchased a $32 dollar comp plan through Nationwide (prime plan) with medical, dental and evacuation coverage. We were also required to obtain insurance for the bikes while driving in Mexico. A plan from ABA Saguaros with 300k liability. 300k is now the minimum required for driving in Baja and most or not all of Mexico.
In addition, Rich and I decided that our super slab from Sacramento to San Diego should be done in classic holiday style so we dropped by a local party store and outfitted ourselves with Christmas gear.
Dec. 20: Replace Your Valve Stems
Both bikes were at my place, packed and ready to go. Rich showed up around 6am and we promptly jumped on the bikes and headed out. We both have SENA SMH10s to communicate and decided to stop at the closest gas station to add some air to Rich’s rear tire. As we added air, we noticed the tire wasn’t keeping pressure and we could hear a slight hiss from the valves stem. As Rich fiddled with the valve stem it popped off and flew into the air. Goodbye valve stem. Hello flat tire. F@*$!!! Now what?
Since the gas station was only a few blocks from my house Rich hobbled back to my place where we woke up our buddy Brandon. He was willing to save the day and help us spoon off the tire. We headed over to Brandon’s where we spooned the 190 rear off and replaced the valve stem. While Rich and Brandon man handled the massive rear tire I wondered off and chased Brandon’s chickens around his yard. An hour or so later we had the tire back on the bike and headed out. Crisis averted. Major shout out to Brandon!
The first leg of the day included riding down Highway 99 to just south of Bakersfield where we turned off on Lockwood Valley Road and then connect to Highway 33 through Los Padres National Forest. There was some light rain on the way down and an endless number of drivers giving us thumbs up or taking pictures of us in our riding gear. We stopped for gas in Merced where a guy was buying a 6-pack of Steel Reserve. He approached us and told us, “the best thing about Christmas is you can tell women, hohoho and not get slapped.” After an awkward laugh or two we were back on the road. Highway 33 brought us the first twistsies of the day and very low temperatures. There were also a handful of washed out corners with lots of dirt on the road. We stopped at a nice lookout and snapped a few quick pictures.
Highway 33 dropped us out into Ventura where the plan was to ride down Highway 1 through Malibu and make our way towards San Diego for the night. Unfortunately, there was a detour around Malibu due to a mud slide so we were forced to detour through Thousand Oaks and eventually got dumped out onto the 405. I cannot describe the massive cluster F*@% that awaited us. We lane split for what seemed like hours until we hooked up with I-5 near San Clemente. We shot straight through to San Diego where we had booked a room with Hostel International. Being Saturday night downtown San Diego was a giant party. Rich and I were dead tired and knew the next day would also be another long one with a border cross first thing in the morning. We got a beer and went to bed.
Dec. 21: Bum piss and Baja Calling
We woke up at 5am and I was greeted with the smell of piss near my bike. Nothing like bum piss to wake you up. Coming into Mexico at the San Isidro crossing was no problem. We parked the bikes and headed into the Immigration office to purchase out Tourist Cards. From what I had read, the Tourist Card is payed at the bank located in the Immigration Office but the Immigration officer took our cash and stamped our cards. As soon as we crossed into Tijuana it felt different. It felt the beginning of the adventure. We had decided to blast through Tijuana and get as far from the border as possible that first day. We took Highway 1D along the coast and encountered three tolls along the way. I believe they were 2.25 (U.S. dollars) for each vehicle. There were abandoned high-rise apartments scattered all along the coast. As soon as we got out of Tijuana we were met by beautiful wine country and some nice twisties. Day two would have us end in Guerrero Negro and we knew that El Rosario was the last Pemex before Guerrero Negro with about 225 miles in between. We each had a 2-gallon Roto Pax. Rich’s thirsty FZ1 would need a few gallons to reach the next gas stop. Once Rich was close to empty we stopped on the side of the road to empty the Roto Pax. As I jumped on the Strom it wouldn’t start. Fuel pump came on but nothing when I hit the switch. I couldn’t figure out what the problem was so we bumped started my bike and blasted to the Hotel Malarrimo in Guerrero Negro. As sunset was approaching many cows started appearing on the road to soak up the heat. I began to understand why people say driving in Baja at night is dangerous. We rolled in just as the sun was coming down. We ate the Hotel which had excellent food and chatted with some guys from L.A. Some other highlights of the day included three military checkpoints where we were just waived through. No issues there. After downing a few Tecates we zoned out and hit the sack.
Dec. 22: Time Zones? What Time Zones?
The plan was to wake up at 6am, get some food and head out. Since we are idiots and didn’t realize there was a time change we woke up and didn’t know what time it was. We waited until the Hotel opened and filled our bellies with Huevos Rancheros and coffee. I will note that at this point Rich has become obsessed with Huevos Rancheros. OBSESSED! The Strom fired right up but wouldn’t start after we filled up with gas. As I diagnosed the problem I remembered that the small connector below the clutch lever has a tendency to come loose. Sure enough the connector had become unplugged. I plugged it back in and we were on our way. Around 11am we dropped down the coast in Santa Rosalia. The ride in was gorgeous with an amazing coastal view and geologic formations. The town is a port city and home to the Boleo Copper Mine. Around lunch time we rolled into Meluge. We were searching for Tacos and found exactly what we wanted at Asadero Dannys We met and chatted with an expat from Fresno who now lives in Meluge. Tough life. As we headed South we crested the hill and were met by the beautiful Bahia Conception. We stopped in Loreto for gas and beer. We camped at Juancilito Beach and brappped around the beach. There were amazing mountains behind us and the beach was deserted. No one but us. We explored a little and found two abandoned outhouses and used the wood for a campfire. No adventure is complete without an proper fire and we did it right! After killing the twelve pack of Tecate we realized we didn’t even have a buzz. What gives?
Best quotes of the day: Rich saw a hummingbird for the first time and said with much enthusiasm, “Wow, look at that.”
While discussing elevations, I said, “I don’t know what elevation we’re at.” Rich: We’re on the beach.” Well played.
This should win top prize on the FZ1 forums.
When there are things to burn you burn them. All of them.
Dec. 23 Cabo or Bust!
We woke up with the sun, packed up camp and headed out. We stopped in Cuidad Insurgentes for breakfast at a tiny joint. Rich devoured his Huevos Rancheros and I opted for scrambled eggs and tea. The food was simply amazing. A good part of the day was straight roads with some great coastal twisties. There was major road construction heading into La Paz. Although we didn’t head into La Paz proper, it is not a place I would want to stop. We rolled into Cabo San Lucas in the afternoon where we checked into the Cabo Inn which is two blocks from the waterfront. Great location. Amazing and friendly staff and very, very decent rooms at a great price ($40 U.S. per night). On our fist stroll, we headed up a street where I was offered some Mamacitas. No gracias mi amigo. Wrong street. We walked down to the waterfront where all the tourist action happens and were meet repeatedly by the “cigar pushers” who offer cigars but when you say no they offer you “weed, coke, anything else.” That night we found a nice spot and drank some beer and ate delicious civeche. We dropped by a mini mart and grabbed some more beer but upon return realized it was Sol with Clamato. No bueno. Rich did not approve.
Dec. 24 I’m on a boat!!! El Arco de Cabo San Lucas
Since we now had no plans we slept in and I started the day with a Calmato. Rich devoured yet another Huevos Racheros and I an omelet. I cannot express how good the food is in Baja. Mostly all fresh, very little fried food. Simple and delicious. We chatted with a guy named Brandon who’s from Humbolt and in town with his girlfriend who is a member of the U.S. Kayaking team. Rich and I decided to pay for a water taxi out to El Arco de Cabo San Lucas, were the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez. The taxi was $30 per person and we learned later that we could have walked. With beers in hand we chilled on the beach and did some swimming. Once back to the Hotel we chatted with Jeremy from Illinois. Jeremy drove and had planned to ride his DR200 but had some carb issues and just loaded it in the back of his truck. Not sure what Jeremy was thinking but he had one of his panniers stolen one day and the rest of his stuff (clothes and GPS) jacked the next. Poor guy. We spent the rest of the day eating tacos and drinking beer. Hard life. Many shops were closed that night but we did find a 24-hour taco shop and ate with two girls from L.A. The night was also full of fireworks.
Dec. 25 Goat Trails and Baby Jebus
We had originally planned to rent jet skis for an hour but the high price and not so stellar reviews of the rental companies persuaded us to pass. Instead we donned our riding gear and set off towards San Jose del Cabo in search of some dirt roads. Camino Cabo Este was a nice goaty road with major damage to the shoulder and many small sections of dirt and sand. We rode as far as the road would allow us where it became just too washed out. In an effort to push father east we headed down what looked like a driveway and were met by a gate and a security guard. After looking at maps later I think it is possible to ride east and then north to hook up with La Paz but we just couldn’t find the right road. We found some more dirt roads that ran along the coast and came to Zachs, a restaurant along the coast but they were closed for Christmas. Major bummer! We had our hopes set on tacos and beer. We did stop in San Jose del Cabo for food and rode back to the Hostel. Back at the Hostel we were informed that there would be a Christmas dinner for $7 with food prepared by some at the Hostel and other guests. We were in! The dinner was amazing with the full trimmings. After dinner we decided to head over to the Cabo Wabo with Brian and Rachel from Denver and Nick and his girlfriend from Calgary. The Cabo Wabo was pretty empty but the Mexican 80s rock band was hilarious. Very good, but super loud. It’s worth stopping into the Cabo Wabo but not a place I would hang out. We ended the night with some beer pong and I stubbed my toe on the way back to the hostel. This would end up being a source of endless harassment directed at Rich as I told him each day, “I think my toe nail is going to fall off.” He was not amused. Not even once!
We eventually found food, but…Zach’s is open everyday except Christmas! Faaak!!!
After our little Christmas rip our chains needed a little holiday love lube.
This little guy was totally content playing with ornaments.
I’m attempting to play air guitar but I just look like a dumbass.
This is what happens when you play Christmas beer pong.
Rich! My toenail is going to fall off!
Dec. 26 Hard Life Day
We were considering leaving Cabo San Lucas the day after Christmas but instead headed about an hour north with Brian and Rachel to Playa Los Cerritos where there is a small surfer colony. The boys rented boogie boards while Rachel read a book and drank daiquiri after daiquiri . We spent pretty much the whole day playing in the waves and started the long walk back to the road to flag down the bus back the Cabo. A truck pulled up and offered a ride to the road so we jumped on in and Brian and I just held on the tail gate. Within a few minutes a taxi van pulled up and offered a rate of $15 each for the hour ride back to Cabo. We gladly accepted. On the ride back to Cabo Brian asked the driver what they do with all the stray dogs. In the most serious voice, the driver responded, “tacos.” Brain took the bait until the driver exploded in laughter. It was hilarious. Rich had wanted to go all out on a seafood dinner our last night so we decided to go to Mariscos Mazatlan where we ordered the Seafood Annihilator Platter. Two lobsters, crab, shrimp, octopus and fish for $60. We split it of course. I also ordered a plate of oysters. Oysters are so cheap. I think they were less than a $1 each. We put a good dent in the platter but couldn’t finish it. Now that we were in total food coma we headed back to the hostel and called it a night. This was our last night in Cabo San Lucas.
Hostel room snack.
Dec. 27 My bad Spanish + Your Bad English = Talk
We packed up early at the Hostel before anyone else was up. Brian came down to wish us safe travels. On the way into Cabo we took Highway 19 but wanted to ride Highway 1 out and it wasn’t until we were almost out of Cabo that we realized we were headed the wrong way so we turned around and got back on course. We stopped in Loreto for gas and a tamales. While we were waiting a small boy was just hanging out around the bikes completely intrigued. I used my poor Spanish skills to ask him his name and if he spoke any English. He said yeah, a little and told him I spoke poor Spanish. His name was Carlos and he was 10. We gave him a sticker and snapped a quick photo. There are the kinds of encounters that make moto-adventuring totally worth it!
Goodbye Cabo Inn :(
I’m so stoked Rich composed the f*@$ out of this picture. It came out great.
Supermarket tamales are delicious!
We pushed on to Bahia de Conception where we rolled into camp just around dusk. There were mostly RVs and other campers. Luckily there was also food on the beach and we were the last customers of the night. We headed back to our tents and were in bed by 8:30.
Super tasty food on the beach.
Dec. 28 Dead Meat & Pucker Moments
We broke camp with the light and took off early in order to get the long stretch between Guererro Negro and Santa Rosalia. Along the way there were many dead cows and horses with swarms of vultures eating the remains. Along the way I had a close call as I rounded a corner about to get into full lean. A small truck was veering into my lane and it looked like he was going to hit me head on. In a brief second I decided to take the bike off the tarmac at about 50 mph and hope I could keep it up on the small amount of dirt available to me. Luckily the truck swerved back into their lane while I fought to keep the bike straight. It’s strange that in those very brief moments all our riding experience and do’s and don’ts just kick it instinctively. I didn’t touch the brakes and tried to keep the bike upright as much as I could. I began to get tank slap and the from t felt like it was about to wash out but it didn’t I managed to get back on the tarmac. Rich called me on the Sena and couldn’t believe I managed to keep it together. Dirt nap averted! We arrived in Vicente Guererro before dark and stayed at the Hotel Mission Inn. For $60 U.S. we got a super nice room with crazy hot water. The Hotel also had a restaurant where I order enchiladas and one chili relleno but instead I got two full meals. Not a problem. Rich and I devoured all three of the dinners and spent the night watching bad James Bond movies on TV.
Dec. 29. Mexico - U.S. Mexico - U.S. Rinse and Repeat
We were up early again and hit the border crossing at Tecate with no problem. We stopped in Villa de Juarez for breakfast. This area along Highway 3 is Baja’s wine country. We didn’t see a lot of grapes but the roads and scenery was beautiful There was a HUGE line of cars waiting to cross back into the U.S. but we split up the middle and went to the front of the line. Both of us got through in about 1 minute. Since we hadn’t returned our tourist card before entering back into the U.S. each of us walked back into Mexico to the Immigration office and walked back into the U.S. This didn’t take too long but was longer than riding back in. After crossing the border we took Highway 94 to the 805 and started heading North. We stopped in Malibu and ate at the Fish Grill. Due to the land slide we were once again detoured up through the Mountains and dumped in Thousand Oaks where were got a room and called it a night.
I could barely finish this beast of a breakfast.
Welcome back to Merica!
We stopped at San Onofre for a pee in the bushes
Drufiddy screwed with this post 01-07-2015 at 08:04 PM
|01-07-2015, 07:50 PM||#2|
Joined: Apr 2012
Dec. 30 Traffic and Epic Roads
From Thousand Oaks were headed East along the 101 to 1 and made a slight detour to hit up Old Creek Road near Cayucos. This hooked up with Santa Rosa Creek Road where it terminates in Cambria. We headed up Highway 1 where the traffic was total crap so we made an impromptu decision to rip up Nacimiento-Ferguson Road through Los Padres Nation Forest. This was one of the best Roads of the trip. The road winds through the forest and through an Army training camp. We stopped in King City to refuel and headed back to Highway 1 through Carmel Valley Road and eventually back onto 1 in Carmel. Traffic was pretty heavy so we decided to have the GPS route us to San Jose on side streets. As we headed North the wind picked up and the temperature dropped. By the time we rolled into San Jose I was beat and wanted to sleep. We found a hotel in East San Jose which is not the best part of town but we didnít care. Once everything was unpacked we headed to Dennyís to get our gross on and and inhale milkshakes. Nothing makes a long day of riding better than a stop at Dennyís.
Morning beard! Baja has made my beard soft like a magic pony.
Stopped for a quick snack in Cambria.
This the most tired you will ever see an Australian. Ever.
I was also tired but not as tired as the day we did the entire Dalton to Deadhorse.
We started the morning hitting up Mt. Hamilton Road up to Lick Observatory, San Antonio Valley Road and Mines Road. It was about 34 degrees and we took it easy because of the visible frozen water on the side of the road. We stopped in Livermore for a quick coffee and chocolate milk and then blasted through Tracy and up I-5 and home. We here home by noon. Epic adventure over :(
Now thatís itís been a few days since Iíe been home and Iíve had time to reflect on this trip Iím going to say that although Alaska was an amazing mind blowing experience, riding through Baja was more meaningful for me. The scenery, the roads and especially the people were amazing. Oh, and the food. The food blew my mind. I donít know if Iíll ever be able to eat Mexican food here in Sacramento again. Everything was so fresh and so, so delicious. All the people we met, from locals to fellow travelers really made this trip. Being able to share stories and spend the day with people you donít know is what traveling is all about.
For all the people who want to ride Baja but havenít because others have told you itís not safe or dangerous; donít listen to them! That was not our experience at all! I could not have felt safer or more welcomed. The people who say donít go are generally those who have never been. Those who say go are usually the ones that have. As with anything, there were parts of towns I would not have stopped in or didnít feel fully comfortable riding through. Trust your gut and listen to that little mini moto rider in your head. This will definitely not be the last time I visit Baja. Cheers and safe travels!
|01-08-2015, 08:23 AM||#8|
Joined: Jul 2001
Location: Sonoma, CA - USA
Great trip, glad to hear you had an adventure
'97 BMW R1100 GSA "RED BULL" - Sonoma, CA
'Where ever you go, there you are" - Buckaroo Bonzai
|01-08-2015, 08:43 AM||#9|
Joined: May 2008
Location: Lwr Mi
So how is Cabo now in your opinion? Would you say it is about 80% restored to pre-hurricane conditions? (That is the number I gave my wife-she thinks there is still looting going on.)
Thanks for posting that RR. I love me some South of the Border RR's.
-you never see a motorcycle parked outside of a psychiatrist's office.
|01-08-2015, 09:05 AM||#10|
Joined: Apr 2012
|01-08-2015, 09:06 AM||#11|
Joined: Apr 2012
|01-08-2015, 09:41 PM||#14|
Guzzi Guzzi Guzzi
Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Grover Beach, Ca
Here is my bike on the road to Coco's
Fun place to ride and I also recommend people give it a try, I had zero hassles. Oh and the 1D tolls were 15 pesos for bikes, half of what cars pay so about $1.15 each time.
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