Monday, December 17, 2007

Baja Tip to Tip Motorcycle Adventure

Fifteen trips to Baja and I still hadn't ridden "Tip to Tip" (Border to Cabo). Turning 65 in October was good enough reason for me to head out on an EPIC 2,800 mile adventure ride down Baja.

Driving on ice for six hours was a cool (pun intended) way to kick off two weeks of fun in the sun on MC's. A Suzuki DL 650 VStrom and Yamaha FJ1300 would be our trusty steeds for this mission.

Tom and I drove to Tucson to meet our friend Tim and start the adventure.

We met Tim and his beautiful Harley looked ready.

Tim was very excited and said he'd always dreamed of riding his bike down the Baja and now was the time.

That's me in the middle.

Our first breakfast was a very clean looking "street" taco stand and we loved it.

We decided we'd turn away no food.

We didn't drink the tap water (we did rinse our toothbrushes in it) but we always cleaned our plates.

I'm always amazed at how many people think that fish tacos sound unappetizing.


Unless you don't like fish in general, you'll love them. Our crew agreed that you must do the Baja to experience the best fish tacos.

Cool taco stand is in Guerrero Negro!

Surely they didn't mean us when they put up this sign?

While most people think of Baja as a dry, flat, desert kind of place, it has five mountain ranges with peaks as high as 10,000 feet.

A national park with an observatory sits at 9,000 feet elevation and the paved road up to it is full of tight/ fun turns for a motorcycle.
Once you enter the park, the road turns to dirt and we wanted to see the observatory.

Of course we decided the sign was meant for dirt-bikes and we rode on. Within a few miles we encountered the security patrol who flagged us down and wasn't amused when I explained the dirt-bike theory.

An abundance of plant life exists in Baja and in the Spring the desert is filled with blooming cactus.

These Boojum trees provide an eerie look and are only found in a narrow latitude band.

San Ignacio is one of my favorite places to hang out in Baja.

The mission is one of the most beautiful and the plaza is very relaxing.

This is the place to book whale (Grey's) watching with the most friendly (it's very common to pet them) whales in Baja.

You can also arrange multi-day mule trips to visit the prehistoric cave paintings in canyon San Francisco.

San Ignacio Mission

I'm planning to climb Kilimanjaro in 2/08 and thought climbing the Tres Virgenes volcano would help my conditioning and offset a few of those fish tacos.

From the altitude where our bikes are parked to the top is about a 4,000 foot climb.

The peak is around 6,000 feet.
We tried to get close enough for a quick climb but the road was closed and we didn't have the necessary permission to go in.

There's a thermo-electric generating plant near the trail-head.

We made it!

San Lucas and it's famous marina. We were impressed but decided it was way too touristy for us and headed for San Jose del Cabo and then Los Barilles for some Baja Times.

We were looking for a couple of parts at the Cabo Harley Davidson dealership and met Dave, the owner. What a nice guy! He put our bikes in his shop ahead of all other jobs, checked some things out for us, and then insisted on a complete clean-up for our bikes. They looked new after that. We couldn't believe it when Dave said we could park our bikes in front of his shop (it fronts on the marina). We were so excited to ride the bikes in and pose for this photo OP.

Los Barilles on the East Cape is quite the place. Sandie (my wife) and I had camped there a couple of years ago in our RV. Quite a few Hi-Wind windsurfer and kite-boarder people hang there for the winter. Almost every day the windsurfers are hitting 30 MPH or so (the record is above 50 MPH and the kite-boarders are jumping the waves and defying gravity.

This place is what Baja is all about.

Next on our list of tickets to be punched was the 18 hour ferry ride from La Paz to Mazatlan. My buddy Harry lives there from November till April and invited us to visit. After a two hour wait in the line to board (the six guys with clipboards that all seemed to be making note of each tractor-trailer that drove on board said we'd board last but we'd get off first) we finally rode down the ramp and watched with trepidation as the "hands" lashed our bikes down with not much more than tomato twine.

Mine had real straps but the others looked shaky.

We made it to Mazatlan on time but I'd strongly advise not having a cup of Joe and a snickers bar immediately after embarking when you're going to experience 6 - 8 foot seas. Harry knows his way around and took us on a great day of site-seeing (cool breakfast place and town - tequila factory - old hacienda). After visiting the tequila factory (not a bad idea) and then discovering that Harry's bike needed gas, we thought maybe we should have just poured in some tequila?

We weren't too sure what was in the jugs of "gas".

The Hacienda! Nice! A great place for lunch!

We ate breakfast at this place. Wow, it was nice!

Kickin' at Harry's place in Mazatlan was soooo' ____________ everything. I went kayaking with Harry and managed to fall out of the kayak.

Last dinner on the road. We rode the tollways from Mazatlan to Nogales on our way back to Tucson and stopped in Navajoa for the night.

I found this "fun" street taco stand and had a wonderful time. Great tacos!

Fifteen days, 2,800 miles, lots of tacos.
We Max'ed out the Ol' Fun Meter on this one.
Go for it!

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