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Old 11-18-2013, 09:00 AM   #1
Ratman OP
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Spectating the Baja 1000, 2013

This years Baja 1000 had special meaning to me as I had just lost a good friend to old age. OMB (Old Man Bud Wright) at 93 succumbed to emergency surgery the Monday before the race. Bud was a giant in the off road world of the past, from winning the Popocatepetl Hill climb in 1950 on a Horax to being a co-driver with Jim Loomis's Stroppe built Bronco of the '70s.

OMB and my last bike ride was the year that he turned 90. If you interested here's his story. http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=605496

It was with eagerness that I took to the road the Thursday before the 'Baja 1000'. I'd loaded up my DR350 with a minimalists supply of camp gear and left Oceanside for the 4 hour ride to Baja's outback where I'd watch the racers go by.

From 1 Baja 2013


Being alone on this ride would give me a chance to say goodbye to Bud in the land that he so loved. So it was with a somber heart that I went out to the bike and hit the starter for the trip.

I got about 3 good cranks before the battery failed. Crap, what a way to start a trip. The bike had sat since my last ride of the Continental Divide Trail more than a year ago. I keep a Harbor Freight solar charger on it, but a week ago when I looked the connection to that charger had failed and the battery was completely dead, and we all know that's not good for a battery.

So I'd charged the battery and got the bike running last week, and ridden it around town a couple days. The battery seemed fine, but apparently it wasn't fine, but I figured that if I jump started the bike and rode it to Mexico the battery would charge up, and I'd get by....so that's what I did.

With a happy heart and a large dose of optimism I left the house at about 9am. I'd need to gas up soon, and that would be a good test of the restart ability of the bike not to far from home. At 17 miles I stopped for gas, and the bike started up, I was encouraged to go ahead with the trip.

There's not much to tell about the 70 mile ride to Tecate except that the day bordered on being too hot at 85, and the 25 twistie miles of hwy 94 to the border is always enjoyable.

Oh,....on the section of 94 there was some construction with a traffic tie up, and I was at the back of a couple hundred yards of stopped traffic. I went up the shoulder to the front of the line. I sure didn't want to be behind all that traffic when we got the go signal.

At the front I pulled along side of a pair of prerun trucks, and since we were waiting, I asked where they were going. I found out they were going my way....then traffic cut loose, and I was gone, only behind one slow SUV...that's better. Once I got past Mrs SUV it was clear sailing for the best part of the road. I was enjoying myself now, well, who am I kidding, all morning really.

I made the obligatory gas stop on the US side of the border. There were 2 KLR riders inside the convenience store do some last minute purchases. Of course I can't remember their names, but they were also going to watch the race on a weekend ride. One of them was from the South Rim area of the Grand Canyon, and he had to be at work on Monday so they were making a quick trip.

I asked them where they were going to watch and they told me Ojos Negros (about 25 east of the race start in Ensenada). They said they were going to go there on a dirt road from Guadaloupe. Hummmm, I thought. The last time I was on that road was some 15 years ago and it was kinda a tough road and little known.

So I offered to show them the route from Tecate down the Condor trail past Ranch Veronica. No they wanted to do the Guadaloupe route. It's always a good idea to stick with your original plan. Hell, for all I knew maybe they had put a much better road in to there from Ojos. If anyone know about this road from recent experience I'd like to hear from you.

I crossed the border....usually you go straight for about 5 blocks and turn left on the main road in town and head toward Mexicali. Well, now you go 1 block and there's a sign board arrow that says Mexicali left turn, so I did that. Luckily this isn't a very complicated street area, because that was the last arrow I saw about how to get further to the main road east out of town. Gotta love the Mexican way of doing things.

It's 17 miles to the Rancho Veronica turn off bast some nice scenery...

From 1 Baja 2013


I took the free road as the toll road is way too expensive for my blood, and the free road is more interesting anyway, and traffic isn't bad. There used to be a huge Santa Veronica sign at the turnoff, but now there on a small sign among many...kinda hard to Pick out the SV sign. Here's a photo of the turn off.

From 1 Baja 2013


Finally I was off the pavement. I'd stopped and visited a friend in San Diego on the way, so it was about 12:30pm by now, and this road was about 60 miles long. I might average 30 mph, but with stops it could take me 3 hours to make the junction of the the road to Laguna Hansen.

I headed into the sparsely populated Baja. I've always like this area, but the road system is changing all the time. I see a lot more signs on the way south.

From 1 Baja 2013


.... I better post this report before summat happens and I lose it .....

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Old 11-18-2013, 09:03 AM   #2
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Old 11-18-2013, 10:16 AM   #3
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My bike and equipment

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalacticGS View Post
Thanks for the bump, Larry. I'm going to look for that 'lurk' emoticon.

So as not to waste a post...I'll talk about my beloved DR350. I got it around the turn of the century maybe, 97 or 98. It had 3000 miles on it (got close to 50000 now). I'd just finished a run with XR Hondas, and the DR had an electric start...that's about all I knew about the bike.

After destroying my right knee kick starting my recalcitrant XR600 one morning. My knee wasn't right for a year. I went electric start.

Anyway the DR has been so reliable. It's still on the same sparkplug. The only thing that has gone wrong with it is a couple electrical problems that were caused by the salt that I've gotten into on the beach, and again at the Bonneville Salt flats a couple times.

It's all about reliability with me. At 70+ years I don't run the bike hard. All I ask is that it will start and run 60mph on the street.

I've been experimenting with running the poor mans tubeless tire set up, and after a couple year, have decided that that's the way to go for me. I carry a tube with me for emergencies, but have yet to need it...or for that matter, I can't remember a flat that I've had where I couldn't have fixed it with a tubeless plug if I'd been running tubeless.

This trip I'm carrying a sleeping bag in the right webbed carrier, and I have an inner tube, 1/2 gallon of water, cook stove, electric shirt, air pump, and Ramen noodles in the left webbing. Maps and flashlight go in the tank Panniers. I have 2 PVC tool holders inside the rear rack, and I carry a empty back pack and gas can, If I should need them for anything.

...... Forgot, and I have a 1 man tent and a blue tarp for emergencies as well.....

The above should keep me out of trouble in most situations. It's important to stay as light as you can....and to keep the weight down low. This trip is the lightest that I've traveled, and there was one time that I thought I was going to drop it in a turn-around maneuver while in some whoops, but being so light I was able to hold the bike up till I got sorted out.

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Old 11-19-2013, 11:31 AM   #4
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Prerun trucks

..... so I left off starting down the Condor Trail toward Ojos Negros. I always stop at this well kept, little marble orchard. It so invites a couple photos....wait, I hear engines.

Here come the 2 prerunners that I'd stopped beside at the road construction back on hwy 94. Snap, snap, went the camera.

From 1 Baja 2013


From 1 Baja 2013


They were traveling a good bit faster than I was, but the 'Tortoise and the Hare' story comes into play, as I passed them a couple more times in the next 30 miles while they were looking over their trucks.

The second time I found them stopped, I stopped as well to take a break, and see what these trucks were made of. Off roading and the prep that can be done to a truck is limitless. It can be expensive but limitless.

...there they go again...

From 1 Baja 2013


.....off into the distance.....see those 2 dust clouds way out there?

From 1 Baja 2013


Here are the prerun perps in person. Do you think that there are a couple brothers on the left?

From 1 Baja 2013


That's ADVrider 'Slappy' in the middle. He rides KTMs in the moto world, and is in the process of converting his truck now into a serious off road truck.

He just put the tubing framework in his truck bed for the shock system back there, and was here testing his design out. That was the reason for so many stops.

The black truck was finished, and is a few years old. A few years is a lifetime for off road trucks, although this one was still performing well. Here's some of the work that goes into a prerunner.

From 1 Baja 2013


From 1 Baja 2013


From 1 Baja 2013


From 1 Baja 2013


Further down the road there is some pine tree country, although the center of the piney tree mtns is 20 miles off to the east in the Laguna Hansen area.

From 1 Baja 2013


I caught them again at a serine little water crossing later.

From 1 Baja 2013


By the time that I hit the Lagna Hansen road (at 'C') it was 3pm. I was going to ride that road east for 15 miles and watch the race from there as well as spend the night. But after a few miles in that direction (at 'E') I couldn't see any signs of pre-running so they must be running a different route this year.

I'm a little embarrassed that I didn't have a race map with me. I made an assumption that wasn't the case, so I had to make a new plan. I decided to ride down to Mex hwy 3 (at 'F') and pick up the race where it crossed hwy 3.
Here's a map of my first days ride starting in Tecate. http://goo.gl/maps/ZgMPk Bu

But in picture form of where I was having to make this decision, this is it, with Ojos Negros being 10 miles off to the left of 'C'

From 1 Baja 2013


...and here's a rough picture of where the race course went in Black. I never saw that first road crossing just east of 'F', so I continued on to Valle De Trinidad (at 'G'), and gassed up. I headed on out to find the next road crossing way out there on the right near the San Felipe road.

From 1 Baja 2013


I never got that far before I ran out of Daylight, So I camped at 'I' along side of the road some 50 yards south of the road. I started a fire and thru my sleeping bag on the ground and settled in for the night. It get's dead dark at 5pm so it was going to be a long night.

From 1 Baja 2013


This year we have a new race organizer who has made some racing structure changes. One being that the motorcycles and quads were going to start tonight at 11pm so that there would be a lot of hours between the bikes and the cars which start the next morning at 9am.

So I didn't feel bad about not finding the race course tonight, because I wouldn't likely to be up when the bikes started to come thru at 3am. I also wasn't going to wait at this next road crossing for the cars to come thru at 3 or 4 pm. this new race arrangement made actually spectating the event a bit of a PIA.

None of that mattered to me as I was here to enjoy getting away and being in Baja for a few days. To me the clear/clean air, the bright moon and stars, and a camp fire were what it was all about.

New equipment for me this trip was a cheap AM radio. Listening to the 'skip' was a big help to while the hours away during the night. I also wondered if Old Man Bud knew what I was up to. In another time, Bud would have been here with me sleeping on the sand.

.....Wait till you see this next sunrise.

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Old 11-19-2013, 01:49 PM   #5
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Fireworks

The night went well. I woke a few time. It gave me time to wonder if the bike would start when it was time to go. The engine started easily all day yesterday, but would it when it was dead cold from an overnight at 50?

I'd been asleep on and off since 7pm, by 4am I was ready to ride. At least I was mostly awake, maybe snoozing a little waiting for light. Clouds had come in around 1am. It takes clouds to make a beautiful sunrise.

As the sun comes up the sun has to be able to shine on the undersides of the clouds. When it began to get light there was a bit of color, but the clouds seemed too low to let much sun in underneath.

From 1 Baja 2013


I started a fire to cut the cold while I waited for more light. I kept an eye on the sky. It doesn't take much to miss the pinnacle of a sunrise. The sky looked kinda fierce and extremely dark. The sunrise was likely to be a bust or something spectacular. It was building....

From 1 Baja 2013


I boiled myself up some coffee with my homade alcohol stove. Then I turned around and saw this.... some things money can't buy.

From 1 Baja 2013


That color didn't last more than 30 seconds before it began to fade. I watched till it was gone, then went about packing up for the day's ride.

See that clear sky between the mtn and the clouds on the right? That's pointing south. It would follow me.

From 1 Baja 2013


You get yet another scene as the sunrise fades.

From 1 Baja 2013


The fireworks were over, so as soon as I finished my coffee It was time for the moment of truth. The engine lit up right away with very little grinding. It was time to ride.

From 1 Baja 2013
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Ratman screwed with this post 11-20-2013 at 12:04 PM
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Old 11-19-2013, 02:05 PM   #6
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im in!
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Old 11-19-2013, 02:35 PM   #7
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nice, subscribed

Curious as to what webbing you used to fab up the "saddlebags"? I'm looking at some expensive options for my KTM that I doubt do as well as yours. I'm trying to get my hands around trying to mount some common small dry bags exactly like your mount Thanks!
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Old 11-19-2013, 03:43 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by bobfab View Post
im in!
Glad to have you along, Bobfab.

From moto trailer
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Old 11-19-2013, 04:14 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by steveWFL View Post
nice, subscribed

Curious as to what webbing you used to fab up the "saddlebags"? I'm looking at some expensive options for my KTM that I doubt do as well as yours. I'm trying to get my hands around trying to mount some common small dry bags exactly like your mount Thanks!
I used a 100' piece of nylon fabric fish tape (electrical pull tape) that I found on the sidewalk where some eletricl work was being done on a street where I live.
It's about a 1/2 X 1/8" matl. I bolted it together with 10/32 bolts and washers. Works pretty good, and won't break your leg when the bike falls on you. The fibres will move sideways when you screw the screw thru the strap.

Good luck, Steve

From moto trailer
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Old 11-19-2013, 04:46 PM   #10
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Thinking back

I had time to ruminate last night before I went to sleep. I thought about my old Baja racing days. I went crazy about off roading when I was in my late twenties as many of you can relate to. You'll probably enjoy this story from the old days.

About 1971 I built an all Aluminum Open class VW powered single seater.

From 1 Baja 2013


We were getting ready for it's maiden run in that year's Baja 1000 which went all the way to La Paz. Pre running was a problem, but we thought that we could cut down on the time by flying low over the course in a light plane.

I had 2 drivers, Tom and Jim Buckley, for the Aluminum Car, and I would co-drive one of the Baja Bugs with the second doctor that I built the Baja Bug for.

Tom, Jim, and I decided to pre-run the race course in Toms airplane. We didn't know just how that would work. There are 2 reasons to pre-run. First is that you want to know about killer obstacles like a washout, or tight corner with a cliff on the outside. Or 2nd would be for slight short cuts and to not get lost. We figured we could do both those things at about 200 ft above ground level in the airplane.....and besides the airplane would be fun, and a whole bunch quicker.

I remember that flight well. We got an early start on Saturday morning. We cleared Mexican Customs by 10 am to start the actual Pre-run. It was a little nervous flying that close to the ground because if there was any sort of engine trouble, the ground would come up to meet us in a hurry.

Gas was going to be a problem. We decided to go with the theoretical MPG of the airplane. First you run one tank out of gas, or until the fuel pump pressure starts to drop. That way the engine wont stop before the other tank takes over, and then we could calculate the hours per gallon that we would get on the other tank. Its a pretty exact science.

We knew we could fly as far south as we wanted to go, and still make it back north to San Ignacio. There we would land on their dirt strip, running on fumes, and gas up for the return trip. We accomplished all that with about a half hrs fuel to spare. Well, not all that, San Ignacio had no airplane fuel for us.... and it could be several days before they would have any.

Oh dear, what to do now? We surely weren't prepared for this situation. The smart thing to do would be to put 10 gallons of car gas in the empty tank, then do take offs with the av gas, and cruise at low power with the car gas. But we didn't think of that.

Our situation was that we could fly 50 miles to the mining town of Santa Rosalia for gas. They had a company airport that we heard that we could buy emergency gas if we needed it. Or we could fly a 100 miles to LA Bay for gas. We knew that we might make Santa Rosalia. Wed never make it to LA Bay.

The stupid thing was even considering to We might make it. In an airplane you dont go anywhere with a might make it mentality. Jim and I were advocating that we take off for Santa Rosalia. There was 24 mile of straight pavement at 3000 ft below our flight path, and then the next 15 miles was down a mountain to the airport at sea level.

It was simple enough. If we didnt have enough gas for the first 25 miles, we would simple land on the paved road. If we made it to the edge of the mtn, then we could glide to the airport. Worst case scenario, we could ditch in the water of the bay.

We actually talked Tom into that. Its a wonder that Im alive today to tell this story, with thinking like that. But isnt everyone invincible at that age?

It was about 4pm when we took off. We were following the road. Tom told us to watch the fuel pressure gage. When it started to fluctuate we needed to get down on the hwy, post haste, while we still had some power.

We got out there about 20 miles before the pressure gage began to bounce around. It was time. There was a good straight, flat section of pavement down there with no traffic. Cool! We were losing altitude on final when we noticed that there was a cut in a 15 foot high hill on that piece of road. We had no idea if our wings would fit through that cut. Oh shit!

As soon as Tom touched down he was on the binders hard. We rolled to a stop in that cut before the wings hit anything. In fact Jim and I had to lift the wing tips to roll the plane on through the cut to a flat spot off the side of the road. Wed dodged a bullet that day. .....but we were still a long way from home.

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Old 11-19-2013, 05:23 PM   #11
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Great stories old dog...
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Old 11-19-2013, 05:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
I used a 100' piece of nylon fabric fish tape (electrical pull tape) that I found on the sidewalk where some eletricl work was being done on a street where I live.
It's about a 1/2 X 1/8" matl. I bolted it together with 10/32 bolts and washers. Works pretty good, and won't break your leg when the bike falls on you. The fibres will move sideways when you screw the screw thru the strap.

Good luck, Steve

From moto trailer
Thanks for the info and luck
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Old 11-19-2013, 05:53 PM   #13
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Wow!

In!
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Old 11-19-2013, 07:05 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by torags View Post
Great stories old dog...
Thanks, Torags. Ha ha, can you believe anyone being that stupid???
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Old 11-19-2013, 07:12 PM   #15
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In!
Glad to have you along, olderxxxiam. Thanks for the feedback.
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