Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Flashback Baja on 49cc per day!

It don't get much better than this...

SINCE my first time in Baja California way back in '98... I have spent many a mile in the saddle of various trail bikes I've had.  That first foray into the peninsula was on my then fairly new Yamaha XT 600.  I was accompanied at the time by my live in G/F, Deb, on her own identical bike.


WE rode from Phx to Cabo and detoured into So Cal on the return route, for a grand total of nearly 7000 km.  The two of us spent about 20 percent of our time on gradual, casual off road trails and the rest on the Trans Peninsular highway number 1. 

El Requeson at high tide.

DURING the years, I was back about a dozen times.  A few with friends Lantie and Rock from Long Beach, including a trip to San Felipe one New Years with Holly riding an old TS 250 two stroke Suzuki ring dinger! Mostly I travel by myself.  I find that when I ride with someone else, invariably there are disagreements about where to eat, sleep, pee... and other variables.  On top of that, typically I have the most experience and feel responsible for any companions.

Been here, done that... Gonna do it again someday.
 MY Spanish is pretty crude, I can say the usual... "where is the bathroom, (donde esta banos)  how are you doing, (como estas) I'm from Canada, (soy de Canada)  yes it is cold there, (si, mucho fria)  and two cold Pacifico's/Tecates/Corona's please senor, (dos cervezas, mucho fria por favor, senor)" 

You really don't want to rely on me to translate for you... I may order you ham and eggs and you get squid with refried beans!

On my first trip I asked a local woman in Mulege, "Hablo Espanol?"  Doh!

Baja Mexicano's don't seem to mind, many speak very good if basic English and Spanglish is common.

Tiny stream.

I'VE ridden my 225, a DR 650, my XT 600, Rock's XT 600, and even my Passport!
It really doesn't matter a whole heck of lot what you ride down there.  As long as you can do 80kph or better on the pavement, you're not likely to end up as roadkill!

Off road, speed is irrelevant.  The faster you go, the more likely you will be feeding the buzzards with your innards!!

No stream.

FUEL is rarely a problem, only on the rather longish stretch between El Rosario and Villa Jesus Maria, a distance of about 350km are there no Pemex stations.  Catavina will have several pick up trucks with drums of fuel and wily entrepreneurs brandishing siphon hoses, parked in front of the abandoned Pemex.  For a slight premium (get it) they will fill your tank.  Not a problem when I drive thru, but if your riding the TP #1, you will likely stop here for a fill.

Catavina is always a good overnight (or longer) stop, in either the sparse but very nice RV park in town, or one of several small hotels.  It is known for it's massive boulder field where you can wander (take a compass) or ride or bike.

Jeep trail along the Cortez coast.

THIS particular trip in the fall of 2006, I had my Chevy Blazer 4X4, my Waldon kayak on the roof rack and the DT 50 LC (Elsie) on the MC rack.  I had about 3 weeks plus the road time, and leaving from Penticton with Sister (No... she's not a Nun) and BoL driving their massive Bounder MH (at least I didn't have to sleep in a tent) along for the drive, we got to the beach in 4 days. 

Ain't this friggin hideous?

ONCE sorted out, setting up camp (and I use this term loosely) I was able to get some riding done.  I say 'camp' because although Marg and John (not their real names) pull up next to a palm frond palapa, between the MH and the palapa, they made quite the winter nest, even complete with Satellite TV!!!  Having gotten up with the crack (or at least the creak) of dawn, geared up, fired up the diminutive little eensy weensy DT, guess what... flat rear tire!

Rocky Road, but can't eat this one, well unless you endo!

Hurriedly removing clothing in the gathering heat, I had the rear tire off in less than 10 minutes with hand tools, and the tube patched and replaced on the bike in less than 30 minutes.  By this time I could leave behind some clothing, that I would have ultimately stowed later on anyway, and headed towards a coastal Jeep trail I had ridden several years before.  On that  trip, with my Serow I found the going very easy, the Elsie with it's sewing machine sized engine would be slower and a little more cramped but no less fun!

That's the Sea of Cortez/Gulf of California
 LEAVING Playa Las Cocos, I turned south and followed the TP around the stunningly beautiful Bahia Conception.  Oops... did I say Beautiful and stunning?  I meant to say, butt ugly and not worth visiting... nothing to see here folks, keep away...

Butt ugly scenery!  Don't come here...

ELSIE is good for a steady 80 kph cruise in 6th gear at 8500 rpm (redline is at 10 grand) but is happier (much happier) at 75k.  By the time I reached the end of the Bay, on a dream ride, umm... horror ride... I had climbed high and dropped low along magnificent bends and incredible beauty.  The only reason this place isn't crawling with hotels and mega buck resorts is the lack of power and fresh water.  THANK GOD!

Much photographed, El Requeson at low tide.

I pulled into the entrance road to San Isidro and La Purisima to take a photo of the road sign I have in my Crossing Giganta story featured in the April 2005 issue of Canadian Biker.  A story I very nearly had a cover page with...

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