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Baja Exploring with #33



After my last Goose Egg gulch ride with my daredevil buddy Mark, I swapped buddies and headed to Baja.  Enter the new buddy “Recon” Don, which was very appropriate considering our trip was to meet up with another group of 4 for a 2-week recon ride to map out a path for a 2019 group ride.

Recon and I decided to go a few days early to ride the northern section of Baja on our way down to meet up in Loreto 5 days later with my 4 buddies that were driving down from the Bay Area. Recon has been to Baja to pre run with me and got to participate in the Baja 250 in 2017, but has never gone any further south. So this was a first for him every day!

We had a great time exploring on our way to meet the group and covered some ground pretty quickly considering Recon is a pretty good rider and there was only two of us. We made Bahia de Los Angeles fairly early even throwing in the Window Rock trail along the way. This is one of the must do trails in Baja and has become very well-known and established. The scenery is fantastic and the trail, when you get to the single track, is challenging and fun. I thought it was great because I never had any dust!  I could have let Recon lead but then I would have to ride in the dust……..uhhhhhh, No!  Recon never complained and I was having a great time not being the chase rider for a change.

We continued our next few days heading south and made stops along the way to meet people and see sights that were all new to Recon. We stopped to visit with Pancho, I know you think I am making this up, but his name is REALLY Pancho! He welcomed us and offered us drinks, coffee and something to eat. This guy has lived in a shack with a camper shell as an addition in a small cove on the gulf for over 30 years! I always bring Pancho a pack of cigarettes and he is thrilled. You could not live a simpler life than Pancho and he always seems happy.

We continued on and stopped at a Rancho that offers sodas, snacks and gasolina for sale. They also have a couple of cabins to rent for the night. I have stayed there once before just to see what it is like and thoroughly enjoyed myself. They have a kitchen and will make you something for dinner and desayunos (breakfast). I think Recon was liking the place but wondering how the hell would you find this place since we had been riding for hours through the desert. We drank our sodas and moved on.

Next stop was Fong’s little hole in the wall motel in San Ignacio. Most riders stay at a bigger place known as “Rice and Beans” when they come to San Ignacio. I liked Fong’s because it was a true Mexican motel experience, not Americanized. It is a small room with stone and mortar construction. Recon noted that there was not a square or even corner in the whole place. PERFECT!  Just like being in Mexico! Although I think Recon was wondering about the plastic PVC pipe sticking out of the wall in the shower. I had to convince him it was from the container on the roof that held the water supply for the showers. I usually just wash up in the sink.

Our ride the next day took us down the Pacific side of the Peninsula through a fishing village where we bought gasoline before heading on to our crossover to Mulege. It goes from Pacific coast to the gulf using a riverbed drainage through the mountains that has a few rocks, lol.  A few hours of that and Recon was wondering when it was going to end. That may have been Recon’s least favorite part of the ride. I always like this part of the ride, but my SBB suspension is Awesome!  We arrived in Mulege and met a trio of Canadians at the motel on their way back north. Those guys had already logged a couple thousand miles. Our next stop would be Loreto to meet up with the Bay area group. We arrived a day early and checked into some deluxe accommodation for $57 a night! It really is a nicer place than where we usually stay and we had time to go out exploring. Are we lucky or what!

We headed out to see a place I had never been to called Comundu. Boy oh boy, not much there, no gasolina, no store available to outsiders and not many people around to ask. Even when we stopped to walk through the old Historic Church that was still obviously still in use we never spoke to anyone. Took some pictures ate snacks out of our packs and moved on. We found a new gas facility near San Ysidro, it looked like about a 5000-gallon tank above ground and was very new looking.  It was our lucky day. A good day of exploring and we made our way back to Loreto and our Deluxe accommodations.  Of course then we had to head out to find an ice cream shop that could make Milk Shakes, since Recon requires a Milk Shake every other day, at least! It was particularly funny when Recon asks for a Milk Shake and is met with a blank stare from the Mexican ice cream girl.  Recon has now expanded his vocabulary in Spanish to include ‘Malteada’ in order to get a Milk Shake in Mexico.  The boy catches on quick when it includes food ordering.

The next day we will meet up with the group comprised of Doug, Rocky, Marshal and Senor Hawk (Dean).  Then the trip continues south with our new riding partners. So more players always means more action!  I can hardly wait.

The ride continues, headed first to San Javier, a stop with another very old Mission Church that is open for visitors. Then on to try a road we had heard had been repaired after a hurricane. We passed through several canyons I had never been through so it was now a new ride to me! I always enjoy riding somewhere for the first time. The newly repaired road turned out to be almost impassable but since Marshall, who looks just like Sasquatch on a motorcycle, had bike problems we decided to go back and not risk it. This turned our final part of the ride into a road ride since we did not have an abundance of gas or daylight left with the back tracking.  One of our group, Senor Hawk (Dean) looked at the clock and reminded us it was already 3pm and he didn’t have a headlight. He reminded us a couple of times, I think Senor Hawk is afraid of the dark! I know he is not too good on rocky hill climbs, but that is another story……………. he talks a lot of smack and I always crack up. But now I know just where to take him when he gets a little too big for his britches!

We made our way back to Cuidad Constitution and checked into the motel. We proceeded to walk down the main street to a taco stand I had eaten at before. Recon ordered up a couple of tacos and a beverage. A big grin came over his face after the first taco and I saw him motion to the Mexican chef he wanted 4 more!  If the taco stand had been open for breakfast I think Recon would have had tacos!

Our trip continued south toward La Paz and a lot of miles that crossed open plains, endless dirt roads and finally into some beautiful canyons that reminded me of miniature Grand Canyon.  The canyon finally dumped us out on the east side of the peninsula at the Gulf almost 80 miles north of La Paz. A long coastal dirt road with great scenery and it led us to La Paz. From La Paz we visited Las Barillas, San Jose del Cabo and Todo Santos. It was in Todo Santos that we ran into a snag with rooms. While part of our group was able to check into the ‘Hotel California’ we were a bit too late and it was booked up, which was ok because it was a little out of our price range.  Recon and I are cheap!  So Recon and I went looking for accommodations. We finally discovered one that had a laundry service in front and the Motel in the back. Mostly because Recon’s butt was hurting and he was ready to pull in anywhere!

This turned into Recons worst nightmare and my best night on the whole trip! I have not laughed so hard throughout the whole evening in a long time! But the room was cheap so what would you expect.  The ladies working in the laundry told us we could put our bikes up in the courtyard by the front door of our room. Excellent since we carry a lock they should be fairly secure. As we parked and took our gear into the room we noticed the two guys in the room next to us with the door open. As I observed them I was trying to figure them out. Maybe they are just down on their luck, maybe they are homeless and the nice laundry lady took them in or maybe they are overflow from the local prison sent out because of overcrowding.  We didn’t have much conversation but I attributed that to us speaking English and them speaking Spanish. Good enough for me so I went into the room. Not bad, it had 2 beds, a TV and a bathroom, scored. So Recon wants to jump in the shower and wash off the trail dust. I am thinking, great he will let me know if there is any hot water. So Recon turns on the TV as he preps to shower and it has a picture and sound! The picture is a bit fuzzy but we find an English speaking channel and leave it there. I start to work on my gear for tomorrow and as Recon finishes his shower I hear him holler out, “Hey there is dirt on this floor mat!” I asked him why didn’t you wipe your feet off before you went to shower. He said he did. So naturally I ask him where did the dirt come from. He says it came with the room! I have no idea why but this struck me as hilarious and I started laughing and was hoping there was no extra charge for it! I went in to look and sure enough there was a perfect size 10-foot print on the white mat where he stepped out of the shower. Impressive, I could see every toe imprint.  I should have brought my thongs.  No problem, I will just wipe my feet good when I get out. Besides, it was a distraction from the water stains on the ceiling and walls. But at least the water was hot!

 I shower so we can head out to find something to eat, Recon lays down on his bed for a cat nap. When I come out he is waking up and complaining that he can feel the springs in his mattress poking him in the back. He says he is sure he has spring impressions on his back. So I look and tell him, just barely and they will be gone in a few minutes. So I make a note to myself, sleep with my riding jacket on. Recon says the prison guys next door probably have a mattress Chrono/note from the doctor and have our good mattresses. He may be right.

As I begin to dress for dinner Recon goes back in to use the toilet. A few minutes later I hear a scream, kinda like a girl panicking and Recon is yelling there is a cockroach in there. He comes rushing out telling me that as he picked up the toilet paper the roach came out of the roll and started to run up his arm!  Startled, he jumped up and was flailing his arm to get it off. He said it was over in the corner behind the toilet. I looked and saw what I would refer to as a Water Bug, but then I am not an entomologist, so it could have been a roach.  I told Recon to go smash it and he refused saying he thought if it got hold of his leg it would put a UFC twist on his leg until it broke or he yelled UNCLE!  Since he did not know how to say Uncle in Spanish he was not taking any chances and I would have to do it. I got my camera and went in to document the incident cause only one of us was coming out of that bathroom alive!

By the time we were dressed and ready to go meet the rest of the crew for dinner I had been laughing so hard and for so long since we checked in my sides were hurting! Riding in Baja is almost always an adventure!

Our group decided on different kinds of food so we split off with Senor Hawk, Sp Ed, Recon and I and walked to a small place Senor Hawk liked. Good meal with good friends then it was time for bed. Recon and I were about to head home as the rest of the crew was staying a few days to rest and do a few more days of poking around places on their way home.

Since Recon and I had ridden down 5 days ahead of them we hit the road and made our way back toward the border.  Recon and I did one exceptionally long day, around 230 miles with some awesome scenery along the way. Since we knew where the new fueling stop was in La Purisima we stretched it out a bit that day.  We rode river beds, miles of soft sand and 17 miles down the beach where we came across a baby whale washed up on the shore. We stopped to take pictures thinking it was dead, but Recon looked closely and said it was just barely alive. It was sad but there was not a thing we could do for it. I got a picture of Recon with it and I am pretty sure he was saying a prayer, although he will never admit it!  We made one last stop at a fishing village for a rest break and a soda. Recon asks if we should get fuel. I thought we only had about 50 0r 60 miles to go so I looked at our tanks which were still about half full and said we should be alright. Recon reminded me of something I had told him earlier, never pass up gas in Baja. I thought, good thinking and got the kid to split 4 liters between our bikes. Good call Recon. As we were riding into San Ignacio Recon had to stop and lay his bike on its side to get fuel on the petcock side since it had quit a few miles back. My KTM low fuel light had been on for about 12 miles and I stopped to do the same in order to get fuel on the fuel pump side. Turns out the 60 miles I thought we had was more like 80 miles. That’s funny, I didn’t remember it being that far. Doh!  Thanks Recon for saving me from pushing for who knows how many miles at the end of a long day!!