Saturday, May 28, 2016

Old times, good times!

Riding the backbone of Baja CA

PRIOR to moving from Calgary, my home of twenty years, I had amassed a very large magazine collection.  Mostly Motorcycles of course but some airplane mags as well.  Although in my cross country move I gave away thousands of those books ranging from the late 60's to current times.  A box of print could easily weigh in at 40 pounds and I simply did not have the room to move them, so heartbroken... they were disposed of one way or the other.

1990 XT 600 near Mike's Sky Ranch

I did however keep perhaps 500 various issues at random, this at least gives me a cross section of street, dirt, atv, snowmobile and aircraft reading and every now and again I will pull out a couple to read over lunch or late night in bed.

Yesterday as per usual, I brought up a handful of mags and this morning I'm, engrossed in  a Cycle World dated September 1975.  Among other articles I am reading a track test of the then new Can-Am 125 MX2, a motorcycle I raced during that year under the sponsorship of J.A. Mutton's bulk fuel business in Fort Mac Murray, who were then Ski-Doo snowmobile dealers up in the great white north.  Can-Am of course were the short lived motorcycle division of Bombardier Inc.  Yes it's true, Ski-Doo did make bikes before trikes!

Taking a break to catch up on some light reading. "Now where am I...?"

Re reading this test brings back many memories for me.  I had been involved with the MDRA, MacMurray Dirt Riders since their inception in '72, first as a competitor and ultimately as it's president.

My racing began to take a back seat to organizing as the club matured.  In the early years we rarely had a venue obtaining permits to run races here and there on unused land.  Finally in the late '70's I had through the Forest Service been able to lease a small parcel of land a few miles south of town, when the gun club moved to a new facility.  Now you'd think that in all that wilderness it would be easy to find, say... 10 acres on which to build a permanent race track but of course as I found out first hand, pretty much everything in any direction for a hundred miles was leased to the large oil conglomerates.

Lanti on her DR 650 and Rock on his old XT 500 helmetless no less! near Vallee de Trinidad

Drawing on my very good connections with Keyano College's ( by this time I had been teaching the CSC National Motorcycle Training program successfully in FM at the heavy equipment campus for several years) administrative personnel, I had been successful in having their heavy equipment training division build us a track at no cost.  They graciously hauled out equipment and personnel for a 5 day working week to the track site and moved tons of earth, cleared trees and leveled ground for grandstands and a massive starting line in addition to manually building jumps on the 6 acre facility.

To my knowledge even after leaving FM for the first time in '81 the track (since Named 'Gil Valiant Memorial park,' after a competitor that died in his mid 20's of some fatal disease, and for all I know is now a burnt out chunk of timber!

ALSO in the magazine I came across an interesting article by D. Randy Riggs about a ride he and Editor Bob Atkinson, riding a Kawasaki KZ 400 equipped for touring, (yes boys and girls, in them OLD days, we did in fact ride small displacement motorcycles pretty much everywhere) took south into Baja Mexico before crossing the Gulf of California/Sea of Cortez returning to SO Cal via the mainland. The bike Riggs was riding was not some large tank Husky or Penton (KTM) or even a Honda SL 350, but of all things, a Suzuki RE-5 Rotary!  The RE-5 proved durable, not needing many of the spares Randy had gathered for the trip and even though the ride was on the recently completed and paved Trans Peninsular highway number 1, and not off road brought back memories of my various Baja rides, twelve in total, most alone.

Familiar?  XT 225 above and DT 50 below.

Baja, as I quoted in one of my adventure articles (CB April 2005) was "mesmerizing and addictive, fascinating and unforgiving, dangerous and tranquil..." and judging by the amount of spare parts Randy carried, he knew that well enough.

Just another beautiful day in Baja Sur...

I remember riding much of the Baja Mille race course that trip, passing the SCORE mileage markers for the upcoming race and being passed by buggies and big dirt bikes pre running the 1000, finally dropping down from the Sierra Giganta's into Loreto where I fuel up my 225 Serow next to a group of Americans riding massive, traveling equipped KLR 650's with aluminum hard luggage, camping gear and spares. When I mentioned to one of the riders that it was worth a ride into the mountains for a look at the second oldest mission on the peninsula at San Javier, he says...  

"yeah but that's a dirt road right?"

I, somewhat puzzled answered that it was indeed but compared to some of the roads I had been riding it was like a highway!  He in turn tells me that the furthest they had been off road was at the various Pemex gas stations en route!

Doesn't get much better than this... a 4X4, a trail bike and a kayak and Baja CA

I had a great meal at El Nido ("dos cerveza's por favor senor... mucho fria!") later hauling the Serow into my motel room and having a fabulous mucho caliente shower that pummeled me from head to toe, the first such shower that hadn't been from a sun heated bag in the previous 6 weeks!

Laundry doesn't do itself, even in Baja
You meet the strangest people on the beach, three French girls traveling the world.

Now that I live on the far east coast of this huge country, I sometimes wonder if I'll ever be back to Playa Los Cocos or Mulege or San Felipe?

Like I say, 'does it get better than this...'

SUCH fabulous memories!

I sometimes go back to the first installments of this blog which I began writing upon a suggestion from my daughter Holly, a world traveler if there ever was one, as a means of keeping in touch from distant lands with family and friends and I see by the latest numbers, it's been viewed well over 40,000 times!

I've thought about ending it but if I miss a follow-up or update every now and again... I get emails from readers wondering if I'm"okay"?!

Maybe when readership hits 100,000 or I reach a thousand issues, I'll stop.

Then again... maybe not!

Yeah... it's only 110 degrees...

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