Friday, July 22, 2011

Baja Trip Pictures

You can find the photos we took at:

Part Deux of our journey can be found here:
Birch Bay Bikes Sierra Nevada

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Baja Trip day 11 and 12

Day 11

We woke up in Ensenada well rested. A hard day's ride the previous day had us pretty low-key for our last night in Mexico and we hit the beds early and got a good night's sleep.

We took care of a few things we needed to do. I made a service reservation at the BMW Motorcycle dealer in San Diego and was very pleased when they agreed to store our bikes for a couple of months very affordably. We plan on returning around then and completing our trip home (or, who knows where).

The trip from Ensenada was uneventful and allowed a little time to reflect. This has been a fantastic adventure that many people can only casually dream about. It, first of all, wouldn't have been possible without the loving support of our wives. From both of us, thank you, love you and missed you.

You see a number on a map that says how far it is to where you want to go. A thousand and something to Cabo. Piece of cake! You don't really realize how far that is until you experience each of those miles. I think a motorcycle provides a very close coupling between your experience and those miles. That gives you memories that a car window can never provide. This has been very outside of the box for both of us to venture out on something this haphazard and adventurous, but what a cool trip. Would I do it again? Yes, but first I'd need a little time for the “romance” in the thought to return and the thoughts of the road wariness to dissipate.

We're approaching Tijuana. Ah, 50 feet after the sign that says “San Diego” and shows that familiar I-5 badge, is the exit. We, of course are two lanes over. Off we go on another “event”! Tijuana is one of the most chaotic places I have ever been to. We exited the highway and dropped into town to see if we could get back on the roadway and catch that exit. Not possible. Though we notice that the highway seems to continue north so it can only run into the U.S. Back on we go.

It's all kind of a blur after that. Peter and I end up in a line that looks like we'll be there forever. Somehow, we get separated. Peter is up ahead a few places and I loose sight of him. A little while later, a guy comes back to me and says he showed my buddy how to get through the line faster and my buddy send him back to show me too. All it would cost me is a few pesos for a soda. He shows be a gap in the barrier that separates another lane that is moving along fast. I go through, don't have a change to reach into my pocket for pesos so what the hell, I take off. Up a short distance, the road “Y's” into a couple of choices with undecipherable signs above each. Just as I approach the seemingly obvious route choice, a guard places a barricade across it. I am forced to make another loop through a different part of town and I get lost. I did have the luck to meet the Mexican Danny Devito while trying to ask directions however. Couldn't understand what he was saying but he sure was excited! An associate of his did finally help me with directions. A police officer even tried to help me at one point. He had me follow him for a bit then he stopped and gave me the remaining directions on how go get to the border. I immediately went the wrong way...

Just as I was about to give up and go back to the simplicity of Ensenada, I found my way. Peter had managed to arrive at customs and crossed far ahead of me. I finally made it back into the U.S. and found Peter resting along the freeway shoulder.

The GPS suddenly sprang to life as I crossed. It now offered all sorts of information and maps of roads both major and minor. It sure would have been handy in Tijuana!

It was an easy matter to find the BMW motorcycle dealer in San Diego using the GPS. Both bikes were dropped off there and arrangements were made for mine to be repaired. Dirty, smelly clothes and belongings were gathered and a cab was hailed. Off to the airport we go.

We had no idea of what flights might be available but my phone did show that there are a few airlines heading in our desired direction. First stop at the Alaska counter we met Sara. An english accented employee who said that indeed, there were two seats available on the last flight to Seattle of the day. One seat was available from there to Bellingham. That could work! Peter could continue on to Bellingham and I could return home to Seattle and retrieve my car later. Book it!

As Peter's paperwork was being completed, Sara commented with an “oh dear!”. (It kind if reminded me of the housekeeper on Fraser.) The other available seat had been sold. After scouring the airport, looking for any other airline headed north, it looks like I'm spending the night in San Diego...

Peter decided to cancel his flight for that evening and return with me the following morning. What a bud! While purchasing tickets for the following day's flight we are again presented with the fact that spontaneous travel is not the most economical way to go. I begin thinking that it wouldn't, or couldn't cost too much more to book a round trip. After all, we do need to get back down here to recover our stored bikes before they are sold as abandoned. Sure enough. It costs almost nothing to set the groundwork for the next phase of our adventure. September 15, 2011. A Thursday.

We booked a room at a hotel close to the airport. Getting to the hotel was a little interesting too.

There was an abandoned luggage cart that we borrowed for our search for flights. We can see our hotel destination from the airport, now how to get there? Peter starts pushing the cart in that general direction. As the crow flies, it looks to be an easy walk. The actual route however is not as obvious. He is determined to walk there and off he goes. I decide he's been in the sun too long and I go back to grab a cab. I hop in a cab and tell the driver where I'd like to go. He gives me a curious look and asks why I don't take the free hotel shuttle? Okay, sounds good. Back out of the cab and I stand at the island and wait for a shuttle. Peter texts me asking where I am because he's waiting for me in the lobby. Guess not too much sun after all!
A couple slices of pizza in the Little Italy district, a couple of beers and a glass of wine and we head back to our room for the night.

Day 12

We're up at what seems way too early so we can catch the 4:45 AM, first shuttle to the airport. On the plane and headed back to where we started.   2392 miles on the bikes trip odometers.

Going to have to be careful what I say in a bar from now on....or maybe not.

Happy Trails!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Baja Trip Day 10 (Diez)

This morning, early, we packed up and hit the road. Our goal was to be back in Ensenada this evening. According to some other travelers that had just come from there, it is about a 10 hour trip. Long day but nothing we haven't already done. Off we go!

The weather is cool in the mornings and that makes those first couple to 300 miles easier than the blazing deserts in the afternoon. We start our in shorts and shirts I had my jacket on. A little chilly at speed, early in the day but the temperature climbs rapidly. We stopped for liquid (okay, I had a taco too) a few hours in and a store owner said to me that I made her laugh because I'm wearing shorts and a sweater. Peter explains to her that it is just that I am loco!

From Mulege we head up through the last few towns that Highway 1 passes through before beginning our crossing across Baja back to the Pacific side. We're looking forward to the cooler temperatures off of the Pacific.

The temperature climbs as we leave the coastline and begin our inland crossing. When it reaches what must have been about 112 degrees (f), we stop so I can stow my jacket.

At the top of the mountain range that separates the coasts, the wind hits us. It is very strong and gusty which makes travel difficult. You are constantly getting blown around in the lane and oncoming semi-trucks can pack some tremendous wind buffet as they pass by. This slows us down but we press onwards.

Finally back on the Pacific coast, it is quite cold to us. We stop for fuel and to put long pants and jackets on. Ensenada to Guerrero Negro was a long trip coming down and it looks to be about the same in the other direction...

We pass through a few small towns that we didn't really recognize from before. It could be because they are all teaming with people and cars and families doing whatever they do on a Sunday. Families are very close and important here. Life is simple but very hard and everyone in the family contributes towards life's goals. It's nice.

We finally arrive in Ensenada and luckily Peter remembers the way back to the hotel we stayed at before. As we pull into the hotel's driveway, the proprietor recognizes us and shows us to our same parking spaces. We have an “amigo” at the hotel now and we chat like old friends. Nice.

The trip odometer reads 2293. That means we burned up 547 miles of pavement, dirt and gravel and sand roadways. It took about 11-1/2 hours and every part of my body knows it.

An easy night and California is our destination for Monday.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Baja Trip Day 9

This evening, we are in Mulege, Baja Sur, Mexico. This town is the little Oasis I mentioned in an earlier post. By the time we got here, we were too tired to go out and explore our surroundings. I'll try to get some pictures posted of the town later on.

About 10 hours of seat time and do our behinds know it! 1742 miles traveled so far After a night in Cabo, we decided to start our journey North. To be honest, this wasn't our first choice.

Our first choice turned out to be a hugh “event”. While still in La Paz, Peter and I had decided we had seen about enough small and big Mexican towns. Although this entire trip has been fantastic, I think the relentless heat was starting to get to us. After sufficient quantities of alcohol we had decided that 70 degrees sounded pretty “damn” good.

From La Paz, we had a few options. During our sight seeing efforts in town, we did manage to find the ferry terminal. Two different ferry's leave this location. One to Mazatlan and the other to Topolobampo. From Topolobampo, a train is a short distance away that travels through the Copper Canyon to Chihuahua. From there, it is a fairly short distance to El Paso, TX and Las Cruces, NM. (USA!) The train trip is supposed to be spectular and we were told that the train can haul cars, motorhomes and motorcycles! What a sweet way to not have to double back on the same roads we had already traveled.. Additionally, we could be close to the U.S. Border with less cruising time than would otherwise be necessary.

The next morning (Friday), Peter and I set out to make the necessary arrangements. I first get on the phone and manage to make reservations on the ferry for us and our motorcycles. No problem. We had heard that is was necessary to acquire some sort of permit for “touring gringo's” to take motor vehicles to mainland Mexico. According to all of the authorities and people in the know, they didn't know much about it. They did suggest that we check at the ferry terminal and it should be no problem. Sounds good. The lady that I exchanged butchered Spanish to her butchered English with, while making reservations, said that we should be at the ferry terminal at 12:00 for the 2:00 final boarding and 2:30 sailing. No problem.

Peter and I arrive at the ferry terminal at 11:30 just in case there is a line up to get this permit that no one really knows much about. We find the place that sells these and wait for our turn. Up to the window we go. We had previously grabbed our motorcycle registration, proof of Mexican insurance and of course we had our passports. We should be good.

The very pleasant young lady at the window accepts our documents as we “try” to explain why we are here and what we think we need, to accomplish what we have planned. She seems to understand and agree that we do indeed need this permit. After careful and approving examination she asks where are our travel visa's? Que? What visa's, we ask. She explains that they are the visa's that were issued to us when we entered Mexico. We explain to her, that it when we crossed the border in Tijuana, we were lucky enough to receive a “green light” and men with guns told us to move along. Which is what we did. She gives a knowing nod and explains that it doesn't matter, we need the travel visa's.

You know that sinking feeling you sometimes get. It occurs when something doesn't meet expectations that you had high hopes for... Peter and I are far more optimistic than that! We ask how we go about getting the travel visa's. She explains that there is an immigration office, just upstairs from where we are. She is even willing to go up there for us and inquire about us acquiring the necessary visa. We follow her up.

It seems that the immigration official that normally, periodically, staffs this space has left for the day. Heck, why not. It's hot out. It's 12:00 by now. And, his space is only cooled my a small fan. Hardly sufficient for an official of such stature!

Alas, all is not lost. There is an immigration office in La Paz that is always staffed during business hours. It's only 20 minutes away.

Off we dash to solve our visa dilemma. Once we finally find the immigration office and park illegally, Peter dashes in and grabs a number for better service.

Time is ticking away but it could still happen. It's finally our turn. We dash up to the window and explain why we are here. We tell the clerk about the green light and men with guns telling us to move along. She takes our information and starts typing on the computer.

Time is ticking away but it could still happen.

Before way too long, she prints out two forms for each of us. She then proceeds to inform us that there is a fine involved for us not getting the permits in the first place. Troupers that we are, we are determined that what ever it takes. Out come our wallets. “How much?”, we ask. Oh, it's about $126 US, each but we can't pay it here. We have to go to a bank. It doesn't matter which bank, apparently; all of them are equipped to accept our money.

“Where is the nearest bank?”, we ask. “About 4 blocks”, she replies in a non specific manner.

We hop on our bikes and dash off in whatever direction we were already pointed. A few minutes later, we find a bank. We park illegally and dash into the bank.

The place is full of people; waiting. Seemingly, their second home. Above each teller's window is a sign written in a foreign language. Unsure as to how to proceed, we start asking official looking people. We discover that we first need to have a “number”. Ah, there is a bunch of people getting numbers, over there! We find that there are several options for numbers based, seemingly, on what sort of transaction you require. All of those options are written in a foreign language on the dispensing machine.

We each finally manage to get to a teller window and each is willing to accept our money. We are issued receipts for each of the fines on each of the two pieces of paper. These serve as proof that we regret disobeying the armed border guards in Tijuana.

Time is ticking away but it could still happen. It is starting to get uncomfortably close however.

Back to the immigration office! Parked illegally again, we dash inside; paperwork in hand. The place is remarkably empty compared to earlier. New customer service numbers have us at the window in short order. Proudly, we display our completed forms. We are informed that the Federal Computer System, that is required so one additional form can be printed for each of us, showing that we have met the obligations thus far, is down, kaput, not functioning. There is apparently not another way to create this form. No way! Manual methods that probably used to exist are not even an option.

Things aren't looking too bright for our immediate travel plans. It seems that we will have to wait until Monday. They expect the Federal Computer System “should” be fixed by then and people that require Visa's can once again enter and leave Mexico.

Somewhere along the way, we also learned that the train that can supposedly carry all of those vehicles and passengers, only carries passengers, at lease during the off-tourist season.

Oh well, off to Cabo!

Now on our return trip, we will probably burn plenty of miles each day.

Baja Trip Day 8

Today we traveled from La Paz to Cabo San Lucas. A fairly short distance of around 200km. That puts us at a little over 1300 miles traveled so far. The road is better, in most places, than almost any of the other roads so far. We did hit some some construction however. Easily 10 miles or so.

At least in Baja, when road work takes place, it seems rather major. Sections of roadway are closed, torn up and repaired without much consideration for the traveler, be it commercial vehicle, car, truck or, of course, motorcycle. A dirt or gravel path is dozed next to the section of roadway being worked on and vehicles must use this to bypass the construction. Well, it's hot and dusty and the loose material you are riding on can be a real challenge at times. Peter and I have each been stuck in some of the loose, graded dirt. Today's construction wasn't too bad but it sure can slow you down.

Our first stop was in Todos Santos to have a beer in what is supposed to be the “Hotel California” sung about in the Eagles song. Cute little town. Not spoiled by a lot of tourist stuff and not really typically “Mexican looking”.

After the short break we head on to Cabo. Wow, has this place grown! It is unrecognizable from the first I was here, 4 years ago. We did find a nice little hotel to stay at. After checking we took a walk around and had a heck of a time even trying to access the beach. Shopping malls, shops, villas and resorts line the waterfront and make access hard to find. The marina seems to a at least tripled in size from what I remember.

Dinner was at an off-the-beaten-path Argentinean steak house that was recommended to us. Excellent food!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Baja Trip Day 6 & 7

Day 6

Today was an easy day. We spent most of it looking around La Paz on motorcycle and on foot. Quite a nice town. You need to be careful when traveling around town and the surrounding area. At one point we did get stuck at a Sand Bar.

One of our missions today was to find a guided fishing trip We scoured the town and finally ran into Hector. He's a talker. A good salesperson too. Before we knew it, we were all signed up for a fishing trip the following day. We also met his sidekick, Poncho. Poncho speaks pretty good english that he learned while working in the U.S, until immigration changed his address. Hector explained that Poncho loved to speak english to americans and wondered if it it would be okay if Poncho tagged along to help out if any translation was necessary. Sounded like a good plan.

Dinner was a few beers, a few tequilas and a couple of margaritas along with some fresh made Chili Poppers.

We needed to run to the store, just a couple of doors away, to pick up beer for the next day's activities. Beer, apparently, isn't sold until 9:00 in the morning and we would be long gone by then. The store, being a 24 hour facility, would be open in the morning so we could pick up ice, water, food and what not, necessary for our trip. At 10:30, we leave the restaurant and head over to the store to buy the beer. No one mentioned to us, that they stop selling beer at 10:00 in the evening! What to do...?

We had become friendly with the guy at the restaurant, Xavier, who was bartending and hailing customers in off of the street (since we had fallen prey to his tactics earlier). Back to the restaurant we go and express our desperation to our “buddy”. A couple more tequilas, and he comes up with solution! He will sell us the beer we need, at a small but “has us over a barrel” profit. Give us a cooler for a not quite so small deposit; and make our trip the experience we had been anticipating. Perfect!

Day 7

Up and all ready for fishing at about 6:15 AM. I dash off to the store, while Peter lugs the heavy metal Corona cooler, fully laden with beer, across the street to the water's edge.

The store, being a 24 hour store, locks it's doors at night to prevent robberies and such. Okay. They do have a small window in one of the doors, that allows you to communicate with the clerk and make the necessary transactions. Okay. My spanish has allowed us to stumble our was through Baja thus far but now it was being put to a test. What are the words for 2-coffees, a bag of ice, some sandwiches, miscellaneous snacks and a couple of large waters? Hell, I don't know either! Using the translator app. on my phone as fluently as possible, I finally manage to get 2-coffees, a bag of ice and a couple of sandwiches. I forgot about the water and I gave up on the snacks.

Off across the street I go to meet Peter.

The gang, Hector and Poncho, shows up the there is a fishing boat idling just off shore in the low tide. We'll have to use the pier to get on board. Hector knows a short-cut. Under the pier we go, ducking to avoid all of the concrete structure. We then climb up onto some of this structure to finally arrive at the walk way. Still hauling the cooler full of beer, hot coffees, sandwiches and ice, while climbing, Poncho decides to help me by dumping my hot coffee on me. This lightens the load considerably and makes access to the walk way a breeze.

Hector collects our money, we hop on the boat. Peter, myself, Poncho and our guide and captain Raul Martinez Castro a.k.a. Chito, are off on our adventure!

A short ways out but still in the harbor area, Chito sets up a couple of fishing poles with multiple hooks rigs with a weight at the bottom and we start fishing for our bait. Mackrel in this case. This is a little bit fun but our goal was larger varieties of fish. We finally have a few in the bait well and we head out. 

Poncho cracks open a beer.

Our next stop is along side a small local fisherman's boat 15-20 minutes down the shoreline. This boat is carrying two locals with fishing nets and a live well full of sardines. It seems we were expected to pay these two and additional 200 pesos for all of the sardines we need. Since we paid Hector handsomely, and there was no mention of paying for bait in addition to the fishing trip, we decline and Poncho actually helps us in convincing Chito to take it up with Hector, later. 

Poncho cracks open a beer.

The boat now fully loaded with all of the bait we need, Chito gives some of our mackrel to another guide boat. Did we upset matters by not paying for the sardines? Off to the fishing grounds we go! 

Poncho cracks open a beer.

A while later we reach the fishing grounds. Three poles are rigged with some huge colorful squid jigs and we start trolling at a pretty good clip. 

Poncho cracks open a beer.

It wasn't too much later, while Peter and I are kidding each other about who's better at the art of having someone else rig poles for us, bait our hooks and take us to the promised fishing land so a fish can jump onto the hook owned by the captain/boat, that Peter's fishing pole doubles over and suddenly it's game on!

About 15 minutes of a gigantic tug of war, through shear relentless determination, Peter lands a 6 foot Marlin! Big fish! There is no denying Peter is the lucky, highly skilled, bugger of the day.

Poncho cracks open a beer. In fact, Peter and I crack open a beer and Peter's efforts are fully christened. We aren't sure of the weight of the boated trophy, but it's big.

Lines back in the water, off we go at about the same trolling speed.

Poncho cracks open a beer.

Not all that much longer, Poncho cracks open a beer. About the same time my pole develops a similar arc to that of Peters hard fought meal in waiting. This time I'm fighting a sailfish! A scrappy rascal he is. My forearms screaming, the fish is finally boated. 6 and about ½ feet of sleek water breathing missile. Not as big a girth of the marlin but a fighter just the same.

Poncho cracks open a beer.

As Chito changes our lures to live bait and slows the troll down considerably, we notice that Poncho hasn't been attempting to be helpful in the same manner that was never of any real benefit in the first place. His unsuccessful attempts are even more so now. In addition, his never ending terrible “songs” and relentless babble are even more difficult to try to understand or ignore. Poncho cracks open a beer.

Before long we are boating Durado. Throughout the rest of the afternoon, a total of 8 Durado are captured. Good fighters and they seem to bite in waves. Often there were two or three on the lines at the same time.

Poncho cracks open beer after beer. His symptoms do not improve.

Needlefish are also hitting the bait but if hooked, are shaken loose. It's fun to watch them skim along the surface for extremely long distances before disappearing below again.

We spot an Orca or two, rare in these parts, while trolling. We also spot the odd Durado jumping and shark finning.

Around 2:00 in the afternoon we call it a day and decide it's time to vamanos. Poncho cracks open a beer.

On the return trip, we spot a sea turtle and watch flying fish gliding just above the water.

The temperature has been well over 100 degrees since shortly after the sun came up and we are fully baked, tired, thirsty due to the lack of water and probably a little hungry because our sandwiches had been consumed well over 7 hours before.

Poncho cracks open a beer.

It occurs to us that Poncho has consumed most of our beer and the signs are quite apparent. As we motor on he tries to add wondering around the boat in addition to what he thinks are songs and the loud, incomprehensible mumble that has become his sermon.

Poncho cracks open a beer. After repeatedly telling him to sit down, shut up and no mas cerveza, Poncho cracks open a beer. This time, it is grabbed from his hand and tossed into the water. He either gets it or his will power has become waterlogged.

Back to shore and off of the boat. We drag our virtually empty cooler and the part our catch we decide to have for dinner over to Catrina's Cocina Mexicana and Bar. Later that evening they prepared an absolutely fabulous meal presenting the different fish species cooked in three or four different ways. Far too much but terrific.

A couple more beers and I'm sure we'll be done for the evening...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Baja Trip Day Cinco

Today was a long ride. 448 miles of mostly desert interrupted by the occasional town. Some very pretty towns. One in particular was a true oasis. As we come around a corner, we drop down to a very pretty place, thick with palm trees rather than the familiar cactus. For a while we followed the coastline and saw many beautiful sandy bays. Almost all with either a resort and/or campground or even just a row of 3-sided grass huts, just waiting for the snowbirds motor homes to pull up along side and spend the winter.

We left Santa Rosalia at 7:30 A.M. and ended up in La Paz a long time later with very sore “donkeys”. Hot! Wow, was it hot. You don't feel like you're sweating when you're cruising at 80 +/- but when you stop, a litre or two of cold water or juice disappears fast.

A mexican Hot Dog vendor took care of our dinner needs and the cerveza was mighty good!

Day 6

We are going to stay in La Paz for the next day, maybe two. Today we're off to explore the town and check out the fishing scene. More as it unfolds.....

Monday, July 11, 2011

Baja Trip Day Quatro

Today we find ourselves in Santa Rosalia on the Sea of Cortez. Since this is on the other side of Baja from the Pacific, the cooling Pacific Ocean winds don't exist. The temperature is much hotter and more humid but the cerveza is just as fria (cold)!

Our day started out in search for the famous Salt Harvesting operation in Guerrero Negro. We first found the general office and were told that motorcycles were not allowed on the grounds, but there were tours available. Off to the tour office we go. There, they arranged for Victor to show us around. Victor was a great guy who was not only fun to talk to but really knew the operation.

What a fantastic operation it is! There are roughly 54 ponds of various sizes, but all are huge. Each are flooded at various time with salt water and a brine of salt water. Then they sit for 4 to 5 months until the water evaporates. At some point thereafter, the harvest takes place. The top 25-30 centimeters is dozed into a hill and a special harvester comes along and scarfs the mound and conveys it into a 3 trailered truck capable of hauling 360 tons of salt. The product is then taken to a washing station and then off to barges holding 7000-10,000 tones. This is then taken off shore to an island there the port is deep enough to load into big ships for shipping world wide. We found salt, Peter.....

Because of the high salt content of the surround water, thousands of wales come here to calf.   The high salt content naturally in the water is boyant and allows the wale calfs to surface, float, learn to breathe and swim.  Without an area like this, it would be impossible for the wales to survive.

We hit the road and headed to Santa Rosalia! (But of course, not without “Events”.) The first stop was for a bite to eat. Peter with Huevos en Chorizo. It looked fantastic and he enjoyed it. I tried a Mexican hamburger. Pretty darned good! Avocado and jalipinos on the burger...good stuff!

There are a number of “security stations” that exist along the way. What their true function is, is unclear. However, they are equipped with enough firepower to take out a couple of motorcycles, a few watermelons and who knows what else. Well, Peter decides to get us killed!   Out comes his camera at one of these stops and he starts snapping pictures of the guards, the weapons and probably all sorts of secret stuff that keeps us “safe” 100km down the road... The guards are on him like flys in a cow pasture. Of course, my “amigo” tries to talk me into snapping a couple of pictures of the rapidly approaching guards!  ...I declined.

His bike surrounded, he relinquishes his camera and all of those pictures are deleted. Mercifully, they let us leave. A block or so later, I notice a flock of Turkey Vultures who can only be after those who refused to relinquish their camera......

We “luckily” arrive in Santa Rosilia without bullet wounds. Santa Rosilia was founded by the French and they found copper and  established mines. When it became impractical to profit from, it was given back to Mexico. The town has tremendous potential but looks to be in somewhat scattered disrepair. Some places are fantastic, some haven't seen that status in some time. In the morning, off to the next stop (cerveza time!)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Baja Trip Day 3

Every day that we have been on the bikes, it has been a little easier riding. The first day we were just being introduced to motorcycles and although it eventually was a success, we had to be sharp (imagine that!) to learn the bikes and our place on the highway food chain. The second day went a little easier, although we didn't burn up too many miles of pavement.

Ahhh, on to the third day! Today we burned up some miles. From Ensenada to Guerrero Negro, about 400 miles South and about half way to Los Cabos (the end of Baja). We were well behaved in Ensenada and had a good night's sleep. On the road at 7:30 A.M. and cruising until we stopped for a taco along side the road around 9:00 AM.

From there we headed lots of slow twisty roads and on to mile, upon mile, upon mile....upon mile of desert and twisty roads. Some very beautiful country. Once away from the coastline, the temperature shot up as expected and the barren countryside made us pay attention to our fuel.

We had a challenging time trying to keep our place on the map. The GPS seems only to know that we are on a road and is unwilling to divulge any more information about our actual location. Many of what must have been towns seem far too small and deserted to deserve a dot on the map. Asking locals about our location was surprisingly inaccurate, hard to understand and of little help. We finally arrived at Guerrero Negro which was much farther than I thought we'd be, but we are here only because we didn't really know where we were.....

Tomorrow, we will be searching for the salt mines before moving on to tomorrow's destination (where ever that might be).

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Baja Trip Days 1 and 2

We are finally under way. At this particular moment, we are in Ensenada and the trip has been as eventful.  Events happen.   Oh by the way, Peter's bike is not the one pictured. His is blue. Nice bike, seems comfortable and he seems happy with it.

It took us most of Friday to get out of California and we only started in Woodland Hills. The whole day racked up a mere 215 miles and it wasn't until about 7:30 that we stopped for the night in Rosarito. (did I mention that my foot is nicely bruised after my bike fell on it?)

The first order of business (after getting a room) was to find a much needed cerveza. As luck would have it, the bar/night club “Papa's and Beer” was just a short walk across the street and down to the beach. After a couple of cerveza's, it was time for a little food (since we had only eaten a small breakfast much earlier in the day). A fish taco from a small vendor met the requirements. It was then time to explore our surroundings. Surprisingly, we soon found ourselves having a couple more beers! A couple beef tacos later, it was time to do some more exploring. This time, we happened to run into Mark.
Mark makes “Los Valientes” tequila and sponsors Baja racing vehicles. Well, this guy is a character and makes some pretty fine tequila to boot! We hit it off pretty well. Not only did we sample his taquila, but he decided we were good enough gringo's to try his extra special reserve anejo taquila! We ended up partying the rest of the night. Peter was smart enough to call it quits at about 1:30 AM and I followed him a couple hours later. Mark, it seems, wants to learn to brew beer and make something that compliments his taquila. He wants me to teach him. Who knows where that will go.....

The next morning we got a rather late start.... (who would have thought?) It's only about 50 miles to Ensenada from Rosarito. A very scenic ride. Upon entering town, we stopped for a couple of tacos each, for breakfast (noon).

I noticed brake fluid leaking from my front brake master cylinder when we stopped for gas. I bought a bottle of fluid to top off the reservoir and cleaned up signs of the leak. A few miles later the leak seemed to be worse. We asked if anyone knew of a BMW bike dealer around and were told that there was one back in Ensenada, so back we go. Oddly, the information was incorrect... We did find a motorcycle repair shop in town and they were able to take a look at it. After 2 hours of dismantling and reassembling, they verified that indeed, there is a leak. Of course, no parts are available, but the leak, at this point, seems to have subsided somewhat so I'll keep and eye on it. It was late enough by this time, that we got a room.

Dinner was a shrimp cocktail, some unique Ceasar's and a few beers. Tomorrow, early, we will hit the road and put on some real miles. No, really! (unless, of course, “events” happen.....)

Monday, June 27, 2011

These are the bikes we believe we have purchased.  Since we haven't seen them yet, it's hard to say for sure.  Now we have to get comfortable riding them...

Peter's 1992 Honda Goldwing 1500cc
(I have just learned that, although this picture is very similar to what Peter purchased, his bike is actually blue.  We will see soon enough as we are heading off to California tomorrow AM!)

Ken's 1998 BMW K1200 RS

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Birch Bay Bikes Baja

Bars can be dangerous places. There can be scuffles, dancing, bragging, drinking and even karaoke. On this particular night, I happened to say to my friend, Peter, that we should buy a couple of motorcycles in Florida and ride them back here to Birch Bay.

To be honest, it is something that sounds like fun to me. I'd love to see a lot of the towns along the eastern seaboard and there is much that I haven't yet seen between the two coasts. But after mentioning my “I'd like to do that someday” trip to Peter, I just let it slide.

I can't remember how much later it was, but he finally said to me “Florida to Birch Bay would be a pretty long trip. Especially for a first time long trip. Maybe we should buy bikes in California.”

That's where it all started. A fair bit of time has passed since the seed of the trip was planted, but we have both found and purchased bikes. As of this posting, titles are being transferred and a date to begin our journey has been set. Neither of us has seen more than pictures of our bikes nor have we had experience riding more than Mopeds or scooters for quite some time. This promises to be an interesting adventure.

The plan is, to pick up our bikes from our friend, Troy, in Malibu and head to the southern reaches of Baja California.  If all goes according to plan, our adventure should begin on 07/07/11.