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Old 04-04-2014, 01:51 PM   #1
catfish OP
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Just Another Baja Adventure, March 2014!

Just Another Baja Adventure, March 2014!

After years of everyone else's Baja rides & reports, a few of us decided it was finally our turn. We wanted the usual cool Baja places to see, but we craved some Baja singletrack also.

MORE ride reports read, searches for Baja tracks, and PMs to those who might share ... yielded an adventure we hoped to be ready for.

13-14 folks were exchanging emails in the beginning, but we dwindled down to only 4 for this adventure; Anders, Catfish, Jim, & Ken. 10 days & 9 nights in Baja.


Anders & Jim


Ken & Catfish (Mike)



Heading to Ken's to stage in El Cajon.


Ms.Beta (2011 Beta 520RS) & I headed south on Friday (21st) to visit friends in Escondido;


SunFire it is called.


Last place on top, with the guard flamingos.


Smoooooooth Tequila on hand ...


Friends with poodles ...


Friends with pasta ...


And friends who make sawdust.

It was a nice evening of stories. Them hearing about our's about to start. & Mark tell's me of his next adventure in April. Sailing a 120ft. sailboat around Baja. I was envious, but I don't think it would do well on singletrack.

Up the next morning for a wonderful breakfast & visit, followed by a drive down to Ken's. I was the first to arrive on Saturday, but the others rolled in soon afterwards.


Final setup & prep in Ken's backyard. Jim & Anders on 530s & Ken on an older RFS 525.




We cruised in the Studebaker over to Lido's

for some great Italian food Saturday night.

The Rite Aid was next door, so we went inside for the last travel item we needed; Imodium. A 12-pack, an 18-pack, and a bottle of 36.

TEAM IMODIUM was Ready! Little did we know ...

It was hard to sleep that night!

More later,

Catfish ...

catfish screwed with this post 04-07-2014 at 05:32 PM Reason: added stuff ...
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Old 04-04-2014, 08:55 PM   #2
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Old 04-04-2014, 09:20 PM   #3
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Day 1 - El Cajon to Mike's Sky Ranch


Excitement was in the air before the sun was up. Breakfast, last packing, get dressed, and hit the road. Ken was going to lead us down to Tecate & the border, but he would not cross & join us in Baja until Monday evening in San Felipe.

Took the backway across town via Mt. Helix & down 94 towards Tecate. I remember that curvy piece of pavement from the last time I was down here.

We got green lights at the border & pulled over to get the FMM tourist visa. The guy in the office was the first to ask me if I was Santa Claus. I smiled, and whispered to him, "they make me use my real name, shhh!" he smiled and sent me to the bank window.

Paperwork completed, we headed east towards Rancho Ojai & the last Pemex station before dirt.

South past Santa Veronica, we turned east on the Compadre trail towards Laguna Hanson. Passed thru many ranchos with closed gates, but none were locked.

Turning south past a large bush, we hit the first section of racecourse whoops. Big, DEEP ones. I tried to go right towards the less-deep side and plowed the front tire into the next whoop in a cloud of dust. Oops.

I had a couple of bruised spots from me smashing my rearview mirror & knocking my GPS loose. Mirror mount & stem were OK, but no shiny part left. Ripped the locking pin off the back of the GPS (Garmin 60Cx) and zip-tied it to its holder. There was more GPS damage than I noticed, but was not apparent yet.


Nice roads to Laguna Hanson and stopped for the view.





Stopped at the Sawmill area afterwards for a break & a snack. Continued down to Kurt Caselli's Memorial next.





Pretty easy roads so far and very few baby-heads. Stopped for gas in Valle-T and then south to the back way into Mike's. Nice, fast route until the last section. The last part appeared to be little traveled, with much rain erosion & a few technical spots.

One curve-to-the-right hillclimb pointed me towards the sun, and I thought I had reached the top. Stopped with the right foot on the brake pedal and went to put my left foot down to steady Ms.Beta.

Nothing but air under my left foot and over we fell. The front lower corner on the tank had fallen to a large rock, but I didn't see any fuel leak. Shut off the fuel & lifted Ms.Beta to her feet.


Kinda like this, but about 6 ft further up where the left foot was a dangler. Cameras pointed downhill sure take the steepness away.

It was then that I noticed the SMASHED left radiator behind the tank & its new coolant fountain!

As I was frantically thinking of how I was going to nurse it in to the Mike's with camelbak water & a few cooling-off breaks; Anders walks up and sez, "I have some stop leak."

My entire mood changed for the better. He pulled it out & read the instructions. Meant for car radiator, so we only added about 1/4 of container & topped off the water. Ran the motor & the leak appeared to be slowing quickly.

Rode about half a mile & checked again. Fan was running, but it turned off after a few seconds. There was no water under the radiator!!!

We continued down to Mikes and got in before dark! YaHOOOOO!!!



We were all smiles, except Anders. He said for the first of many times this trip; "no cell service here!"

Beers, showers, more beers, and dinner. The cool bar is closed on Sunday nights.



During dinner, the other Sunday-night group rode in with Chilly White. Hellsickle (Jeff) & other Colorado friends were in Chilly's group also. Their ride report is lurking over here.

Nice talking to Jeff again and he gave me some special dessert to try. THANKS Jeff!

Day 1: 220 miles, no flats, one smashed mirror, one GPS mount clip, and a smashed-but-sealed left radiator.

There should be more photos as the others start posting soon.

Catfish ...

PS: I hate it when I realize I have not taken photos of crash damage yet. Fresh from the kitchen counter top & the garage ...


Threads removed & not exactly waterproof any more. If fact, many small rocks and sand found their way in ...


The dust is behind the top layer.




OOPS!

Catfish ...

catfish screwed with this post 04-05-2014 at 01:34 PM
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Old 04-04-2014, 10:00 PM   #4
OldTriumphRider
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Baja

I'm in ,takin your place at reading others Baja reports... maybe someday!
love the pix
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:08 PM   #5
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Can't wait to read more, love Baja adventures. Was with a group of 6 a while back taking the Simpson trail to Mike's. Before taking the road heading off the back way, we let a local go by us in a beat up 4runner. We all said "how bad could it be." Fantastic track until that right turn up the hill. We had a drz650 and two 950 super enduros that had a lot of work ahead of them the next hour. Was really glad to be on my 525.
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:32 PM   #6
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More pics!!!!!!!
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Old 04-05-2014, 01:09 PM   #7
catfish OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigtodd View Post
Can't wait to read more, love Baja adventures. Was with a group of 6 a while back taking the Simpson trail to Mike's. Before taking the road heading off the back way, we let a local go by us in a beat up 4runner. We all said "how bad could it be." Fantastic track until that right turn up the hill. We had a drz650 and two 950 super enduros that had a lot of work ahead of them the next hour. Was really glad to be on my 525.

Same hill I suspect. It is a fun route. I was expecting more at the water crossings, but its been dry down there too.


Here is the first day's route down to Mike's;



Catfish ...
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Old 04-05-2014, 01:36 PM   #8
NSFW
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another good baja ride.

subscribed.
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Old 04-05-2014, 04:57 PM   #9
catfish OP
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Day 2 : Mike's, Mtn loop, & on to San Felipe!


It was cool Monday morning, and I wandered around to take some photos. Some of Jim's photos here too.












Jeff (behind the chrome dome) & Chilly's group getting ready to ride north to Tecate for their last day in Baja.

Breakfast was better than last night's steak. Checked the bikes over, and Ms.Beta only needed a few drops of water to full again.


Jim & Anders almost ready to ride.


Ms.Beta warms up for the ride

Today, I was planning to explore the gnarly back way up to the Observatory, maybe loop over to El Coyote, and then back to 3 and over to San Felipe to meet Ken for the night.

We headed SE from Mike's and climber further into the mountains. Got to the last intersection (to El Coyote) and continued up the rocky shelf road to the Nat. Park.

Parts of this 2-track flowed and moved well, but the higher we went, the rocky-er & ledge-i-er it got. Exposed to the sun and no wind, I needed a break.



Got thru the next sections OK, but I'm going too slow. Overheating again in the sun & thin air. We get around to a side that has a little shade and we take a food break. Looked at the time. We'd been climbing for 1.5 hours and had only gone 12 miles.



I decided this was going to take _me_ too long to climb this & still get to S.F. at a decent hour. So, I announced we're heading back down. Jim smiled & agreed! Anders seemed to be bewildered that his cell phone still had no connection?!?

Riding DOWN this shelf road was completely different than climbing it. The flow & mojo returned. We were back to Mike's in no time. Hmmm... This is the return route FROM the observatory, but go up an easier way from the El Coyote side to make it a loop. Hmmm... next time.

We FLEW up the easy road from Mike's to the pavement. Until I spotted singletrack! WHOOOOOOOOA!!! I spun around and darted off on a cow trail thru the cactus.



It faded after a half mile and we were surrounded by deadly cactus! We slowly found our way back to the road and hauled ass again!

East on Hwy-3, we stopped in the little town of Francisco R. Serrano looking for gas & some lunch. After a few "gasolina?" on our part & finger pointing with who-knows-what in Spanish on their part, we wandered to the right place. So, coming into town from the west, its the 1st place on the left.


Gasolina is around the right side in the back. Anders spun a donut after his gas up and the old guy looked around and said "Loco!" I said, "Si, Gringo Loco!" One of the guard dogs chased & bit Mr. Loco's boot!

The owner was recommending burritos for lunch, and we were thinking tacos. He REALLY recommended the burritos, so we trying some carne burritos for lunch. OMG, those were the best carne burritos in the world! Served with bean & rice, a nice spicy salsa. Then out came the sliced tomatoes & home-made cheese. What a feast for lunch! BUUUURP!

Waddled outside to find this little guy guarding Ms.Beta from any wayward banditos.



Heading east again, we start looking for back ways into Laguna Diablo. Nothing but fences until the last road we did turned on.

The dry lake bed was a BLAST! I really like carving BIG ESSES at stupid lean angles back & forth. I noticed Anders sneak up to my left and we nailed them! We stayed pretty even until I topped out maybe 1-2 mph slower than his 530.

Next came some sand roads & washes towards San Felipe. We modified the route a couple of times to avoid nasty big-ass whoops.

On the last section over to the pavement, we noticed 2 quads heading west towards us. As they go closer, we could tell they were without helmets & appeared to be 2 on each.

Then all I could see was this bouncy BRIGHT GREEN bikini top driving the 1st quad, and a similar BRIGHT PINK? bikini top driving the second. I secretly hoped Anders had the GoPro going when we met them!

Into San Felipe we ride, straight to the center of the Malecon, and turned right along the beach ... Wait a minute ... this looks wierd ... like we've going the wrong way on a one-way street. We ARE going the wrong way! So, I turn around and head North slowly looking at the people & places to eat.

Next thing I know I'm being passed by the LARGEST Police Officer in Baja on a 250 dual-sport. I waved! Back towards the El Capitan, I spot Ken walking towards the malecon & we talked. He said the others headed to the motel & so did I.

We checked in and got to the showers. Washed some riding gear set 'em out to dry.





Hey look at the adv-bikes on the end! From Washington? We would meet them later ...

Next came a visit to the liquor store for several bottles of Ken's favorite Baja vodka; Oso Negro! Walked thru the t-shirt & tourist traps until we found a place that said margs & fish tacos on the signs.

Ordered Margs & fish tacos, except me; I tried the big-ass shrimp tacos. The margs were kinda sweet & weak. Out came the Oso Negro to fix that!

We were stuffed with pretty-good food. Then we ordered the next round of Margs. And emptied 2 bottles of Oso Negro to fix these margs!

We swaggarted back to the motel to find our new adv friends outside, and it was a BIG PARTY! Then someone noticed the KLR had a loose foot peg. And a twisted handlebars/forks. Whether they wanted it or not, the drunks were here to HELP! Out came the tools, tall tales of adventure, and more Oso Negro!

We learned they are headed to Brazil for the World Cup Finals. Like 4-5 months OFF! Neither had any dirt experience to speak of. Their ride report is over here. Good luck guys!




Hey what's that on the fairing?


YIKES! Not the first moto I've signed while feeling NO pain!

Day 2: 110 miles, no flats, no moto damage as I recall, & too much Oso Negro!





Catfish ...

catfish screwed with this post 04-05-2014 at 06:27 PM
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Old 04-05-2014, 05:03 PM   #10
ktmnate
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Oh yea! One more week and I'll be on my way.
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Old 04-05-2014, 06:36 PM   #11
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Old 04-05-2014, 07:52 PM   #12
mikefletcher24
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How was the road thru the dry lake bed from mikes to San Felipe? Thnks
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:44 AM   #13
advrockrider
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Yep, one more week buddy and its beer and tacos! I will be watching this one for sure, keep it coming. Did I miss the pics of the girls on the quads?
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:50 AM   #14
catfish OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktmnate View Post
Oh yea! One more week and I'll be on my way.

I understand the excitement. Its hard to concentrate on things I should be doing. She has a list & checking it twice. My head is dancing thru the rocks & cactus on the 22-day trail.

Taxes? Now?!? Grrr...


Quote:
Originally Posted by mikefletcher24 View Post
How was the road thru the dry lake bed from mikes to San Felipe? Thnks

Smooth, fast, & dry! The south end of the lake bed was softer & required a bit more throttle if you got off the road/2-track down the middle.

The roads after the lake bed are deep sand and require some speed to stay on top.


Catfish ...
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Old 04-06-2014, 12:30 PM   #15
YetiGS
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When we were down there in October, we really wanted to ride the lake bed, but the rains from the week before had turned it into a mud bog. Gee, I guess that means we'll have to go back. Darn.


So, any shots of the pink and green bikinis??
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