October 12, 2012 by cleanwatt
Let’s start this post off the right way, with a glory shot of my bike.
Gonna throw out a disclaimer here: I’m still working on my approach to this blog. I’ve never used the backspace button so much trying to find a balance of producing interesting fodder for readers, and accurately recording all of my actions.
Leaving the comfort of Jon and Whitney’s in Hermosa Beach Monday (10/8) morning, I began my Southerly route properly. Had a couple last minute things to take care of that day before crossing the next morning, chief of which was having my new set of tires spooned on the bike for the roads ahead.
I had made the decision long ago to start my trip via the Baja for a couple reasons. First was simply my desire to tackle a bit of the course that comprised the famous Baja 1000 and that this area is famous for its warm, friendly people. Avoiding the historically dodgy Tijuana area, I chose the Mexicali border crossing as my point of entry for Tuesday morning.
I had been corresponding with a guy from an online forum I frequent who was also planning on riding the Baja starting in Yuma, and had made plans to meet up with him in San Felipe Tuesday night.
Crossing into Mexico was mostly painless. Probably took about an hour of miming out my intentions to ride through the country to the border officials, plus running back and forth between the immigration office and the bank to sort out my tourist visa/vehicle import documents.
Heading South from Mexicali towards San Felipe it didn’t take long for the untamed nature of the Baja to show itself. Right from the start, heading towards San Felipe I was thrown a stretch of about 60 miles of barren desert road that offered no services. A length of tarmac, that in my native country would warrant a sign warning one of the situation. To be fair though, there very well may have been a sign of warning, I probably just stopped to take a picture of it as a curious road sign in a foreign language.
San Felipe had seen its day as a prosperous tourist village with a healthy side of local fishing populous. The Sea of Cortez is the warmest body of water I’ve ever been in, and produces some fantastic fish tacos. Having arranged to meet the fellow rider Dave, at a hotel I discovered to be closed down recently, I luckily walked across the street to find him riding in my direction. We “got a room” for the night, agreeing to rise early to beat the heat and get some dirty riding in.
From San Felipe we aimed for Bahia de Los Angeles. We chased the Sea of Cortez.
Worth mentioning, stumbled upon this wee shack in the middle of nowhere where we decided on grabbing some brunch. With its Eastern wall open to the sea, I tasted my first authentic chroizo and huevos. Best meal yet.
The sidewalk ended soon, and we took on our first taste of the Baja’s back roads. “Pre-running” some of the Baja 1000 we rode through Coco’s Corner. An oasis run by a dual amputee named Coco that is often frequented by the racers and others running the same stretch of treacherous trail. We signed one of his famous logbooks before carrying on for the day.
A motorcycle is a brilliant way to travel. You’re see, smell, feel, and hear more of any given place you pass through than by any other means besides maybe on foot. I see everything from a constantly changing perspective.
Camped in Bahia de Los Angeles that night with a free plot offered by a couple we met at Coco’s corner.
This morning, following a recommendation from a former Baja racer, we took the road less traveled again towards Mission San Borja. We arrived to piles of crushed Tecate cans surrounding the mission.
Somewhat understandably? we soon found out that the mission had just finished celebrating its 250th anniversary. Roughly 2,000 locals had come out to the middle of nowhere to celebrate the longstanding mission by imbibing mass quantities of cerveza and other forms of debauchery I’m sure. And I only missed it by one day…
Here’s a couple shots from the roads we took out there. I found that it’s possible to fog up my helmets visor in 80 degree heat from cursing all the sand. You don’t really steer a 500lb bike in the sand. The best I could do was to pick a line, and hope my bowels held up.
I happily found 6th gear on the pavement en-route to refuel ourselves in Guerrero Negro.
Needing a good scrubbing after earning the funk my body now possessed, we are currently at a hotel in San Ignacio called “Rice and Beans”. Fish Tacos now conquered, I will end this post.
Tomorrow holds more Cortez coastal roads, beaches, fish tacos, and Dante defying heat. Tentatively hopping the ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan the 15th/16th.
Trip Odometer: 3,467 miles