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Other notable things.
The grocery store we buy some food at. Along with s. And even tequila.
The fish market. We’ll save cooking some fish for later. It’ll never be too far away.
After we hit the beach, we had our bikes washed for 40pesos at the local car wash. It was less than $4.00. The value in the states? At least $20. These guys spent 20 minutes on each bike. It was seriously long enough to get us to tell them that it was good enough, and in fact, cleaner then when we bought them. It was totally awesome. The bikes are shiny!
They were cleaning under the fenders, around the spokes, the wheels, the hubs/spokes, the side covers, the windshields, the mirrors, the tire sidewalls. Everything. The Jefe (boss man) stood alongside the others and pointed at dirt. They obeyed. It disappeared. Muchas Gracias amigos.
Ciao for now. Next update sometime next week!
Love potion number nine my ass...
Ugh, Day 9!
Dia Nueve. You F’ed me hard Number 9. Love potion number nine my ass. F’ed Hard. Hard enough to nearly rip my right pelican case pannier from its mount. Hard enough to crack my pannier mount. Hard enough to grind an edge off my pelican case. Son of a bitch. And to think that Tom and I wondered how our gear would hold up in case we laid down our bikes. Well. Today, day nine. DAY NINE! Day nine gives us an answer.
Here goes day nine.
Oh sunny Ensenada. We shall leave you today. Where are we going? South. To somewhere below where we are now. On the map we see, La Bahia de Las Angeles. Let’s go half way there. Sounds good. Well, that’s about Rosario. Sweet.
Onward! Sarah on the fly. I was chasing her (at 55mph) so she was the photo subject at the time.
I buzzed ahead of everyone and snagged a couple photo’s as they rolled on by. First Tom, and then Sarah again.
Time for some good. Hambureguesas and papas for 40 pesos. Add a coca, 12 pesos. Less than 5 bucks. Can’t beat this shit. Gets cheaper as we head further south into Mexico. Awesome.
Ahhhh, what’s that I hear? A bit of Mexican advertisement? Bet your ass it is.
Ahhh, the roads were good, and the traffic was light. But what is that I see? A road alongside the road? Yes it is! Let’s ride it! How fast? Fassssst enough. Charlie took his turn.
Getting down to the road was an exercise in caution. Gotta make sure you leave the road correctly, and hit the gravel / hard pack dirt at the right speed/angle. That was the easy part. The hard part? Going slow.
Why should we go slow you ask? Ahhhhh. Because things like this jump up to bite you in the ASS!!!
Gnarly ruts. COMBINED WITH MUD!
And ending with MORE RUTS! DAMMIT!
SON OF A BITCH!!!
Oh by the way. Half of those ruts and smear marks? Those were my tires. And my ASS. And my pelican case. Yea. You heard me. Kiss my ass dirt!
My bike was loving this shit.
And my bike (Klous) kicked that muds ass. NOT the other way around.
Me? I got dirty THROUGH my helmet. Hell yes. Love this!
However, my pelican case didn’t enjoy the tryst we had with the dirt. In fact, it hated it. Damn dirt bent the hell out of my luggage rack. And cracked it in two places.
And the other side of the damage.
And what it SHOULD look like.
The next gas station was literally across the street from the crash site. Best part, and the part I didn’t photograph was the little boy that ran across the street and unabashedly starting hawking his wares. A cooler full of tamales. I didn’t buy any buy Sarah did. He got some gum off of Charlie and Tom, and laughed when they took a picture of my dirty pants. He was a goofy little kid, probably about 7 years old. Loving life when we 4 gringos slid into town. Pun intended. Damn kids do the darndest things.
Well, after that, I rode slow(er) as the bottom of my right side pelican case mount is now nonexistent, and my rack is bent to all hell. And we rode to Rosario, which apparently is the last gas before we are able to ride to La Bahia de Los Angeles. So we stopped for the night.
Ugh. My shit is all wacked out now.
But it doesn’t matter, because it won’t cost much to fix the problem, and it won’t be hard either. But dammit. It’s a pain in the rear for sure.
Soooo. How did it happen? I’ll start at the beginning.
I was hauling along the road, cruising safely at about 60-65 mph. Not an issue. Well that road along the side of the road looked fun. So I wanted to ride on it. It was great fun for the first mile or so. But it was a bit gnarly too. So I got back on the road. Well. Charlie thought it was a good idea too. So he hopped on the road too. You saw the photos above. Well, I thought I’d better get back on that dirt.
And so I did. And shortly thereafter, I was moving along at a good clip. Until I saw the mud, and it was too late. I didn’t slow down. I simply chose what I thought would be the best route. And I think it was. I was going about 60mph, if not a bit faster. And suddenly I was sliding along quite nicely on my right side. My front tire hit the ruts, but my back tire slid up above it. I went down fast, low siding it. Getting very dirty along the way. Grinding an edge into my pelican case. Letting my Rev’it Sand pants take the abrasion out of my ass.
My Pelican case saved my bike. No damage to the bike whatsoever. I slid about 250 feet before I hit a very small stump at about 5mph. The damn stump is what did the damage to my pannier rack. I had slid free and clear for quite a while, and it wasn’t until the stump that anything major happened. I hit the stump, and was knocked loose from my bike. I had been riding it out the entire time until I hit the stump. The bike went down, and I slid perpendicular to the road. About ¾ of the way into it, I began to spin clockwise until my bike had spun 180 degrees, at which point the stump inserted itself into the equation, and I let go/was removed from my bike. My head hit the ground in a very MINOR way, and I was instantly up to lift my bike off the ground.
The bike started and ran well. Nothing besides the pannier mount was bent. My helmet, jacket, pants, gloves, and boots were intact. I was fine. Even now, even 6 hours later, I am not even sore. Excellent. Tom and I had discussed who would be first. I was first. Success.
Mom and Dad. I’m not coming home soon. The bike still runs. I am physically well. The bike needs little fixing. Don’t be scared/worried. It was fun. Enjoy it with me! That’s why we ride ATGATT (All The Gear, All The Time).
Charlie was the only person to witness the slide, and had just turned off his helmet cam. What a shame. He admitted later that he was worried that his day was about to get a bit more intense then he had planned it to be. However, I had other plans. Back on the road!
A quote from Charlie, “I reckon that’ll be the best Stack of the entire trip! Stacking it up at 60mph hardly ever ends in a result like that. Well done! I thought for sure it’d be worse than that!”
Off the road again. This time not on purpose.
Mom and Dad, check your email.
I went off the road again yesterday. And I honestly can't tell you why. Because I don't know.
It happened around a curve in the road, less then 6 miles from our departure date yesterday, just south of Rosario, Baja California Mexico. I don't think I was going too fast, but I can't remember. I went off the road at an angle, and missed the curve entirely. I was probably going 50mph. Maybe a little faster, but most likely not slower.
I was riding last in line, but Sarah happened to be in front of me and by chance, saw it in her rear view mirror. She turned around to help me. Also by chance, Charlie's right hand mirror broke off just down the road. An American guy had just driven past Sarah, who waved him down, and he took off to catch Charlie and Tom who'd had luckily stopped at the side of the road to find Charlie's mirror. Tom and Charlie came back to meet up with Sarah and I.
Tom then went to get a truck for my bike. Tom asked the closest people he could find for help and found the local volunteer medics. No shit. They pulled out stethescopes, a neck brace, and ace bandages right there on the spot. My front wheel is f'ed, as is my rear wheel. My frame is slightly bent, but not too bad, and my forks are bent backwards just a little as well. I was wearing all of my gear. Helmet, Jacket, Pants, Boots and Gloves. The pants were zipped into my jacket to prevent them from separating in a crash. THe zipper held up perfectly. The truck took my bike an hour north to a town called San Cuintin where I am now. I was loaded onto a stretcher ( I was dazed but coherent the entire time) The stretcher and I were placed in a truck, and driven north, met by an ambulance, and I was then switched over and taken to the hospital. I had x-rays of my chest and right arm, and hips. Nothing in my body is damaged/broken. Only bruised. I had an ultrasound taken of my guts. Nothing wrong with them, no bleeding other then in the skin where my bruises were. Literally, I am perfectly fine. And apparently, I speak fluent spanish when I am dazed and semi-concious. Hahaha.
Tom and I bought insurance the day after we entered Mexico. My deductible is $500. I didn't need my deductible. The ambulance ride was $200. The hospital bill, for a night in the hospital (I left this afternoon), x-rays, an ultra sound, a Saline/Pain medication/Anti-inflamatory IV drip, and two meals was $290. To get my bike to the motorcycle shop where it is now was $250. My insurance covers only my health, and not the bike. So I won't be making a claim. My insurance company was contacted by Tom, very soon thereafter, and everything is ok. They contacted me via email, and because my cost of health care was below my deductible, everything is fine. No problems there.
I am buying new/used wheels from the motorcycle shop, they are going to straighten my forks, front axel, and frame, and I will be on the road again the day after tomorrow or the next day. Maybe more. The cost of brand new equipment from the States would exceed $1500. I will spend MUCH less this way.
Tom and Charlie and Sarah rode back to the hotel that we stayed at the day before last, and are headed south to Guerrero Negro in the morning. I will be traveling solo until I catch up with them. Don't worry, I won't haul ass. Just slow and steady.
All is well for now. Pictures to come tomorrow!
Since the last time you heard from me, I had just cracked my right side pannier frame. It wasn’t bad, and I soon had it fixed the next day. It was easy, fast, and cost me $25. Not bad for over an hour’s worth of work. Check out the patch job.
And the other side
Charlie said, “I reckon that will be the best stack of the entire trip.” I say, “FALSE!!!”
Well, as I just said. I had my pannier frame fixed the next day. It was a nice job, and we were able to leave that afternoon around 1pm. It was a nice easy day. Not too far to go, the direction of course, South.
Well, that was the way of things for the first couple of hours. And as we moved along, we saw a few things. Like cacti, and large rocks, and lots of sand.
Check out the sand.
And check out the Cacti.
And rocks and cacti at the same time. Remember the rocks…
We stopped at a boulder field to take a few photos. Here we are in front of a big ass cactus.
Shortly thereafter, as we’d been on the road for about 70 miles, it was time to get gas, because we didn’t know when the next gas station would be. There were to be no “REAL” gas stations from Rosario, south to Guerrero Negro. About 220 miles. Tom and I can’t make it that far comfortably on one tank of gas. Sarah definitely can, and Charlie would be pushing it. Tom and I get about 42 mph when we ride at 65 mph, a little more when we go slower. We have 5 gallon tanks. Charlie’s fuel economy is near the same but with a 6 gallon tank. Sarah has a 4 gallon tank and can ride nearly 280+ miles. Chalk one up for the XT225. Better gas mileage for sure.
We bought gas out of 5 gallon gas cans, and it was quite the experience, and sure to be repeated. Then we stopped for some food and ate some tacos. Lots of tacos here in Baja, and they are damn good. We eat them all the time, and I’ve eaten a taco or five every day since I’ve been south of the border. Well that was about the time that everything went SOUTH.
It was 6 miles after our gas stop (I checked my odometer because I don’t actually remember), that I left the road. This time unintentionally, and for a reason that I can’t remember. The only thing I can remember just before the crash is “I’m not going to make this corner.” At which point I grabbed the clutch, dropped a gear, and slammed the throttle. Why? Because we were just south of that boulder field I mentioned, and the side of the road… Why, it was full of motorcycle size rocks. And there was one of them directly in front of me. And I didn’t want to hit it head on. I got the front wheel off the ground, and that is the last thing I remember untilllllll…
I woke up on the ground.
And then a nice young lady gave me a neck brace.
But, I was ok. If only bruised a bit. It hurt to lie down, and to sit up. I hurt, my ribs hurt, the right side of my butt hurt, and my elbow hurt.
Then they loaded me up!
And herded me into a pig truck.
I was hauled off to the hospital, where they gave me an x-ray, and an ultra sound, and an IV full of saline solution, anti inflammatory, and a minor pain killer. Then they put me to bed. Tom would come to see me in the morning. After a look at my helmet, it would seem that I took a little wack to the head, but I’m not sure.
My doctor, even though I was still a little out of it, tried to show me an x-ray of my chest and tell me that I had a tumor, that hung from a necklace and was perfectly round…. My Saint Christopher pendant given to me by my Mom before I left.
The lovely bed that I slept in and was woken up in every 4 hours to be given a new IV bag.
I’m feeling better now after a good night’s sleep, in a bed that wasn’t long enough for my 6’6” frame.
Apparently my hand took a good wack too, as my ring was squished into an oval, instead of a circle. I still can’t take it off, and I’ve already tried to form it back into a circle with a pair of vice grips. I’ll have to try again soon.
About noon the day after I spent the night in the hospital, I caught a ride to San Quintin, where Tom had had my bike transported at the advice of the owner of the hotel we stayed at in Rosario. Her name was Donna Betty.
After we arrived at my new home for the night, The Three Kings hotel, I hoped on the back of Tom’s bike, and Sarah on the back of Charlie’s and we headed to El Cliente. The home of some awesome fish and shrimp tacos. And yes, it’s some sort of whale skeleton hanging over the top of the restaurant sign.
We ordered some fish and shrimp tacos, and had 2 of each of them each, along with 4 coke’s, for 200 pesos. Less than 18 dollars, and I covered the tab. The least I could do for the guys that took care of my affairs when I didn’t know what the hell was going on.
The tacos were freaking awesome by the way.
Ahhh, I get to see my bike finally. My wheels are F’ED!!! First the front wheel.
And my rear wheel
And the place that promised that they could fix my motorcycle. Tato’s Motorcycles.
I was inclined to believe the man, Tato, when he told me he could fix it. He had quite the pileup of motorcycles in the back. Hopefully a 21” and 17” wheel? Success!!!
Watching the whole episode were the boys of the shop, who could all ride wheelies. On anything.
The kids around the shop liked to throw rocks at the hornet’s nest. Literally. I only got stung once. And it was because I couldn’t run as fast as the rest of them after my minor accident slowed me down. Dammit.
And witness the Mexican version of Captain America.
And the 1970’s era BMW R75/? Tato bought it off the road cleaning crew who had received it for free when a German guy touring baja 7 months ago flew off the road just like me. The German guy however, broke his leg, and both arms, and a few ribs, and a collarbone. He gave his bike away and flew home. Tato bought it for $700 off the road crew, and it was on the road soon after. He can’t obtain an original title for it, but he can get one in Mexico. Good for him! Too bad for the German guy. Ugh.
Meet the nice 3 legged dog that got hit by a car. She was very friendly.
And of course, Tato, the mechanic, owner, and business man.
And, my bruises. A bit of swelling in my right arm, and a bit in my rear lower right back.
And more in my front right hip.
And now, I’m waiting in my hotel room. I should have my bike on the road in the next few days, and I’ll be able to catch up to Tom and Sarah and Charlie. Sore, yes, tired, of course, and bruised, but ok. Much better than my motorcycle, that’s for sure.
See you from the road soon!
And why I flew off the road.
Often times, it takes time to remember things. Here is what I now know happened.
I hadn't drunk any alcohol for the past 20 hours, and before that, 2 s.
I wasn't going too fast.
My motorcycle's rear tire slid out on sand in the road.
The slip of the motorcycle took me wide in the corner.
I realized instantly that I would not make the turn.
So I straightened the motorcycle. And I saw the terrain in front of me. Lots of big car sized boulders. Remember the rocks...No bueno.
I dropped a gear, and smashed the throttle, leaned back, raised the front wheel of the bike off the ground, cleared the first large rock and let go of the bike. I aimed for clear "soft" ground and found it well. I cleared the next rock before landing on the ground. My bike did not. My bike was the least of my worries. It will be ok eventually.
I AM OK.
I was coherent, and not tired. I was not in a hurry, and wasn't going too fast. I was paying attention. Both eyes on the road. It saved me from what could have been a worse incident. Instead, it was relatively minor. Considering I rode off the road.
Until next time. Next photos will be of a fixed bike. If I'm lucky, in about 2-3 weeks!
We're all back together again and in Loreto, Baja California Sur. It's a decent place, full of retired white folk, few travelers, and not much else. We head to La Paz tomorrow, April 18th. Onward!
Ahhh, San Quintin, oh how I don't miss you. I spent $28/night for a decent/clean room with Hot water and 80+ tv channels (mostly in Spanish)
Here was my home for 4 days.
And where I ate my food. Closest place, no long walking involved.
So, remember those damn kids, throwing rocks at the bees? Well, Tato, the motorcycle mechanic claims ownership of the bees. And collects the honey as well!!
And all the kids, along with Tato, picked up previously powerwashed bees (still alive), and purposefully place the hornets stinger into the backs of their hands. As many as 10 in a row. All in the name of bee sting immunity, and easier/less painful honey snatching.
JESOOS CHRISTO. All of their hands are swollen.
On a side note. Doctor visit X-Rays. All is well minus serious, non painful bruising, and minor swelling.
4 days, and my bike was fixed!!!
Oh, right, my permanently guaranteed for life pelican case is f'ed....
Tato and the guys that fixed my bike.
It's back on the road for me! Awesome.
Ride till dusk. Pull over, Sleep. Easy,
Nice sunset over Baja, Mexico.
Pull out emergency stash of Tuna, and eat with Pepsi. Lay out sleeping pad. Dinner. Bed. Booyah.
Wake up with the sun rise, and realize you can get 5.5 hours riding in before the others will even think of riding? Priceless.
Haul ass all day and finally arrive in Loreto. Smell the garbage dump just outside of town first, notice the hundred+ vultures second, see the dump at last.
As you guys all know, were in Loreto. The town is nice enough. But were on our way south tomorrow morning, Monday the 18th of April. Last minute things are past, Charlie patched his thorn studded front tire, and we're ready to roll.
Keep us infomed.
When you eventually get to Australia, and if you decide to visit Melbourne. Send me an Email and we can organise something
shaun stephenson at iinetdotnetdotau ( all one word )
The Days of Alliteration. Loreto to La Paz to La Ventana
The last destination showed Charlie patching his front tire tube. Since then we have ridden from Loreto, arrived in La Paz, and continued on to La Ventana, a wind swept beach 47km south of La Paz. Our new location is 330 pesos between 4 of us, and we brought a bicycling amigo (from San Fran, riding to Arg) we met while in La Paz. He hope don the back of Charlie’s bike, Sarah and Tom carried his minimal gear, and we’re all hanging out on the beach right now.
As we left Loreto, all was well with the world. The sun was shining, we were all overheating, and there was roughly 240 miles of Baja roads between us and La Paz. We all cruised along quite nicely, enjoying the oven like desert, and cursing the heat. I rode behind with Sarah as Tom surged ahead with Charlie. We made it 30 miles down the road before….
Tom was lucky enough to have his clutch cable break off just before the clutch lever, rendering it useless, and stranding him on a desolate but convenient road side turn out. Since my crash, my Sena SMH10 bluetooth comm setup has been out of commission, it’s mouting tab is broken. I’ll fix it soon, but currently we rely on hand signals. It’s been good.
As Sarah and I rode by, Tom gave me the, “I NEED YOU” hand singnal, which consisted of a semi frantic direct finger point in my direction, and another at his bike. He said with no words, “I need my mechanic, NOW.”
Sarah and I stopped, and between the three of us, sent Sarah ahead to meet up with Charlie while I stuck it out with Tom. Easy.
Our solution didn’t present itself instantly, but was decided upon and implemented inside of an hour. We carry a 6’ length of steel wire braided cable and some cable stops, and presto, we make it work. Mostly. Here it is.
And the other side.
Tom made it 210 more miles to La Paz on the same repair, and we had a clutch cable made for him the day after we arrive. No problemo.
We changed our oil in La Paz. 2800 miles showed on the odometer for Tom and I. A little less for Sarah, and even less for Charlie. Oil was 40 pesos for a quart of 20w50, and Tom and I bought 5 quarts between us. 20w50 should serve us well until our next oil change 3000ish miles from now.
We found our way to the Pension California when we arrived in La Paz. The owner was care free, easy going, and let us park our motorcycles inside the inner court yard, and the day we left, he even let us change our oil as mentioned above, and volunteered to take our used oil and recycle it. Most excellent. 4 queen sized beds and a pr�*vate bathroom to share between us was 400 pesos for the group.
Then it was people meeting time. This week is Semana Santa (Saint Week) and it is the local holiday week for all of Mexico. It also serves as Spring Break for most, if nota ll schools. La Paz serves as a holiday destination for these students and holiday travelers. So, here are all the foreign Exchange students who also found a home in Pension California.
These kids all started early in the night, and finished early in the morning. They were going crazy.
But I was hungry too, so I showed them the best damn burrito stand in all of La Paz, and quite possibly in all of Baja California. Meet the “Burro” man!
Mid report interuption for ass bruising update
Well, La Paz was fun, and we met some cool people, and we saw the streets, and we bought some oil at the Wal Mart, and changed our oil, and ate some burritos. BUT the beach of La Ventana, 47km south, was calling out our names. So after 3 nights spent at the Pension California we headed out of La Paz, destination La Ventana.
We had a tag-a-long as well. A 32 year old ex landscaping guru from San Diego who is riding his bicycle from San Francisco to Argentina. He stashed some things at the hostel in La Paz, and we packed his other things on our bikes, tossed him on Charlies bike, and headed south. Meet Eric!
Well La Ventana was easy to find, and white english speaking people are in abundance. This place is meant to be one of the best places in the world to Kite Surf. Soooo, hundreds of gringos flock here for 3-6 months a year and do just that. A local business owner (kite surfing fiend) rented us the room in the back of his business for 330pesos/night. A King sized bed that Tom and I split, a single bed that Charlie sleeps on, a huge couch that Sarah claims, and a mattress on the floor that Eric calls home. Can’t beat the price.
We parked our bikes in his old retrofitted shrimp factory of a home, and called it a day.
Did I mention we now live on a beach front property?
Well, we were getting hungry by then, so we crossed the street to the local restaurant, andCharlie met the infamous Chaz!
He invited us to his home away from home. A toy hauling tráiler parked behind his friends magnificent home, ½ a mile from where we were staying.
He offered us Margaritas, and cranked up his 10’ 1080P High definition projector, and we played Grand Tourismo 5 in technicolor with polk monitors blasting hi-rev sounds all night long. It was intense! Fort he record. I beat Tom in a 4 lap, 12 minute Snow Cross/Rally Race by 2/100ths of a second. He’ll be glad that you know.
It was a good time for everyone, and Chaz was quite the host.
After all was said and done, we walked back to our beds, and promptly fell asleep at 1am. The moon over the bay looked like this after all of our technicolor racing. It was a good day!
Chaz Michael Michaels!
Chaz Michael Michaels!
After the night before, having been introduced to Chaz, he offered to take us all to a resort called Bahia de los Suenos (Bay of Dreams) to have a look around, and to see some things that aren’t part of our normal daily life. Well, the night before, all of us thought that would be cool, and told him so.
Well, the next day at 1pm when Chaz showed up in his 2011 Toyota Tundra pickup truck to take us all to this place, only Tom and I were around to go. Charlie was swimming somewhere down the beach, and Eric and Sarah were on a walk. Chaz left and came back 30 minutes later, but we still couldn’t find the others, and thus Tom and I witnessed the splendor of this resort first hand and had a private tour of the place from one of Chaz’s numerous contacts within the La Ventana area.
We arrived to Valet parking and hopped into a 6 seat golf cart for a cruise into the resort.
These kinds of places are foreign to Tom and I, but Chaz new the deal. Keep on talking, enjoy the ride, and let everyone else do their Job.
Well, let’s have a seat at the poolside table, and enjoy some free cocktails courtesy of Chaz’s friend the waiter. Sounds nice, thank you.
Let’s take a dip in the pool. Sounds nice, thank you.
What’s that Chaz? We should check out the beach while you hang out with a prospective lady friend? Yes, we’ll do that. Sounds nice, thank you.
After swimming, let’s hop back in the swimming pool to rinse off. Sounds nice, thank you.
Oh hey Chaz. You’re back, what’s that you say? Private tour? Sounds nice, thank you.
Private golf course, all 18 holes.
Wedding Chapel for those so inclined.
Horse corral for one show a year.
Private guest house for the ultra posh lifestyle. Circular bricked domed ceiling.
Infinity pool for fun.
Posh dining area.
Exit onto the Veranda. This place was unbelievable.
Ahhhh, back to the beach. Time to relax again. Hammock time.
Back to the main resort restaurant for dinner. Tortilla Soup please. Thank you. The main place had a huge 3 level train set all the way around the circumference of the entire upper floor. It was pretty incredible, and according to the waiter took 2 years to complete at the tune of over $1million. The intricacy of the ordeal was outrageous.
The trains themselves .
We arrived at the resort at nearly 2pm, and didn’t leave until about 9:30. It was a great time to be had. Chaz was a great host, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks Chaz!
We spent a couple more hours shooting the shit with the locals while listening to their rampant music, blasting their music from vehicle subwoofers, all four doors open.
The moon rise was incredible.
Days 21-26, La Ventana to La Paz to Topolobampo to Mazatlan, chasing Aussies!
Last you heard, we were hanging out with Chaz in La Ventana, in the past week or so, we’ve enjoyed a relaxed but progressive lifestyle. We’re inherently on Mexico time.
I had mentioned before that we all changed our oil when we first left La Paz for La Ventana. Well, I couldn’t get my damn oil drain plug out, and henceforth never changed my oil until the third day that we were in La Ventana.
You see, the 17mm socket slipped when I was wrenching on it, and stripped the bolt. It really turned into quite the job. First I had to take off my bash plate. Then I walked 3 blocks to the local Ferreteria (hardware store) and bought a cheap $3.00 file, walked back the hostel and proceeded to get my groove on and file the hell out of my sump plug. 30 minutes later, my 17mm sump plug bolt no longer fit a socket and instead fit a 16mm wrench.
Well that didn’t work very well, so Charlie and I teamed up, found a hammer, smacked the hell out of the sump plug a bit to loosen things up, and took a 8” pair of Vise Grips to it. That worked quite well.
But, we had to find a drain bucket. On the side of the road was a grimy, greasy, gummed up 5 gallon bucket. That’ll do the trick. Cut the top 2/3 off, and we’re good to go.
Well, we still had to file the plug down to a decent size, so I held the plug in the vise grips, and Charlie tore into it like he had a job to do. We used Tom’s rear rack as a work bench, and we were down in no time at all.
The result? A 5/8th nut that fit extremely well into my spark plug socket. Great success!
Later that morning, the daughter of the owner of the building we were staying in, named Vivian, clued us in on the local Scallop population, and told us how we should go about hunting/harvesting Scallops. She even had a couple of pairs of masks/snorkels for us to borrow. Sarah and Eric had the first go of it, and an hour later came back with a gigantic scallop. But, alas, just the one. Scallops are quite tasty, but even the biggest ones don’t yield much meat. So Tom and I had the second go at it.
Now, some of you must know this already, but harvesting scallops isn’t the easiest thing to do.
Step One, Find the Scallop: The ones we were hunting made their home in about 6-8 feet of water. But of course the first 3 feet are a bit murky so you have to swim down, have a good look around, see if you can find one, and then mostly likely come back up for some air.
Step Two, secure the Scallop: This requires you to swim down and slide a barbed hook into the scallop, perpendicular to the opening of its shell. Once that is done, the barbed hook is turn perpendicular to the shell to secure it like an anchor.
Step Three, pull the damn Scallop from the Sea Floor: Now the barbed hook (called a Devil’s Tail) is secure in the Scallop (the scallop doesn’t like the intrusion and closed up on the hook when it’s inserted). All you have to do now is pull the scallop out of its home. This often requires planting your feet on the sea floor, grabbing said hook with both hands, and slowly but with continual pressure, pulling the scallop out of the ground.
Step Four, Use Charlie’s mesh laundry bag as a holding cell: Tie the bag to a gallon jug full of air, and the bag won’t sink. Put your scallops in the bag and tow along with you.
Apparently we found the farm, because an hour and a half later, we returned with….
Tom and I felt like heroes when we arrived back at the room. To get an idea of the size of some of the Scallops, the biggest one is closest to me (Alex) with a bottle next to it. It was close to 10-11 inches long and about 7-8 inches across the top. Awesome.
Well later that night, we had a smashing good time down the road a bit with a bunch of other white people, and had a barbeque complete with 3kilos of beef, the scallops Tom and I harvested, a bunch of grilled onions, chorizo, and .
I was delegated the duty of hauler, and the cooler (borrowed from the hostel owner) went on my top rack, full of 30 s.
It wasn’t long thereafter before Sarah seasoned the meet, slapped the first of it on the grill, and I manned my station cooking meat for the rest of the afternoon, thereby ensuring myself the nicest pieces of meat (It was all good).
That was our last night in La Ventana, and before we knew it, the next day we were heading back to La Paz with the intent to catch the ferry the next day to Topolobampo. We got arrived back at our familiar Pension California, and was put straight back into the same room we had 4 nights before. We went straight to the ferry ticket office and bought ourselves some ferry tickets to Topolobampo. The price tag for bike and passenger? 1600 pesos. $136.50 for a 6 hour ferry ride. Meal included. It was another $100 to take the ferry to Mazatlan instead (250 miles south of Topolobampo), and the next ferry would have been May 5th. We quickly decided against that.
Here come the Australians. Eddy and Lizzy, backpacking for a year, “Around the World”, USA down to Brazil, flight to Europe, flight to Asia, and home again to Oz. They running the same schedule as ours, and being that the ferry was 27 km away, Charlie and I offered to take them to the ferry terminal in the morning with all their shit. They were happy for the opportunity, and that’s just what we did the next morning.
After dropping them off, Charlie and I headed back to the hostel, loaded up all our gear with Tom and Sarah ready to go, and headed off to the ferry terminal ourselves to catch the boat. We made it on schedule, and drove directly onto the 6 level, 300 foot long ferry.
Charlie had the bright idea to buy some rope at the hardware store to use to tie down the bikes. It was a good idea, and Tom and I had followed suit. Sarah already had some rope. We tied down our bikes, and Sarah and Charlie promptly found the Aussies on the boat. Charlie booked a cabin on the boat and we all chucked out stuff in there for the 6 hour ride over. Meet the gang!
The ferry was just like any other big ass ferry, complete with life rafts etc.
As the sun set over the horizon near the end of our journey, we had quite the view across the Sea of Cortez.
But, though the sun was setting on the horizon, everyone else was having a grand ‘ole time in the bar! Charlie had his groove on. Well done Charlie.
Before it got too Crazy, we made plans with Eddy and Lizzy to stay at the Hotel Marina in Topolobampo when we arrived. It turned out to be a good success, and everyone found their way there. Secure motorcycle parking inside the courtyard was nice, and we had hot showers, and cheap REALLY GOOD tacos around the corner. Our motorcycle posse is still going strong.
After growing up with Tom for 16 year, camping in the boy scouts sharing tents, living and working together for 2 months last winter in Juneau Alaska, a queen sized bed does the trick and saves us money. Ed and Liz shared the other.
Alright. Well here comes the exciting part! Ed and Liz caught the bus to Mazatlan the next morning. We’d likely see them there within the next few days. No problem. Tom, Sarah, Charlie and I were headed for Culiacan. Why only halfway to Mazatlan? Tom met a girl on the boat….
Well, the road from Topolobampo to Culiacan is full of toll roads, about 19-25 pesos each. The benefits: less traffic, a more direct line, faster speed limits, less time in the 90 degree sun. The first toll road was unannounced, but the second one was clear. Charlie and I had been blazing the trail at about 60-65 mph. Tom hung back with 55mph Sarah, no problem. Until of course, Charlie and I took the second toll road.
We stopped just after the entrance to the toll road and got ready to sit down for some Tacos when Tom arrived. Alone. Why you ask? Well, Tom had been behind Sarah, and when Sarah came to the intersection of the Toll/Free road she waited for Tom. When she saw Tom, she took the free road assuming Tom would follow. Tom didn’t follow, and was soon on the other side of the toll counter, parked next to us…..
Well, we know where she went at least, and she knows where Tom went.… Eat a taco. Wait for her. Eat another Taco. Wait for her. “She knows where you went, right Tom?” “Right.” Eat a third Taco. Wait a little longer. Make the correct decision that she must have kept going down the free road and didn’t turn around to find us. Ergo all ye’ men of the internet, we didn’t lose the girl this time. She was somewhere on the other side….
Well, the original plan was to stop in Culiacan to find Tom’s “friend”, but the place sucked. So we kept going. Mazatlan here we come. Onward. 230km later we were at the outskirts of Mazatlan. Why the hell are all these motorcycles coming from? They are everywhere! What’s that you said Charlie? Flat tire?! Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.
It turns out that one of the thorns that had given him a flat tire in Loreto had bad been lodged in his tire, and eventually 750 or so miles later had flattened his front tire again. So while he tore into that with Tom helping, I took off into the city to find a place to stay. Unsuccessful, I returned to find Charlie and Tom nearly ready to go.
Woah! What’s that I see? That’s a sweet chopper/VW/trike! Awesome. Wave at the guy. Cool. What’s that other bike behind him that I see in the middle of the dusky 8 o’clock night? A small Yamaha XT225 with a girl on the back, wearing a day glow yellow jacket? Really? Well isn’t she a lucky girl. “HEY! SARAH!”
Yea, you heard it right, Charlie got a flat tire, pulled over between a small shop and a house and Sarah just happened to roll on by while I was staring at something else. Reunited once again!
Next, we found a place for good, got free wifi, checked our facebook, found Ed and Liz, got them the next morning (today, April 28th), brought them back to our sweet 2 bedroom 5 bed apartment for 800 pesos/night ($11.37 after split 6 ways), and now we’re getting ready for the weekend.
Oh yeah, I nearly forgot. Apparently this weekend is the culmination of Semana de los Motos. Or in English, Motorcycle week. Tomorrow or the next day on Friday/Saturday afternoon, a massive parade of motorcycles 10,000-20,000 strong, will fill the Malecon (boardwalk) and cruise through New Mazatlan to Old Mazatlan, and probably back again. We expect many drunken motorcyclists riding anything from a Harleys baggers to BMW R1000SS’s, VW trike’s to Yamaha R1’s. Nearly every motorcycle rider has a passenger, no matter if it’s a girl or guy, sister or brother, girlfriend or random friend. T-shirts, shorts, sandals and no helmet is the norm. Will we be in this parade? YES. Will we wear shoes instead of Sandals? Most likely. Will we wear Helmets? Probably! Will we be drunk? I won’t be. Is it going to be fun. Without a doubt! More photos to come!
4 week Re-Cap
April 29th marks the end of our 4th week on the road. Having covered nearly 3500 miles, staying nearly within our budget, escaping near adventure ending accidents, all while having a great time; we feel great about our adventure so far. A recap of the last 4 weeks follows below; for those of you just now joining the adventure, or lost in the events thus far, I hope this serves as a welcome addition to the ride report. Enjoy at will J
We left the Seattle area on Tom’s 24th birthday, April 2nd, 2011 riding our 2007 and 2008 Dr650’s and made it to Eugene, Oregon on Day 1 where we stayed with Tom’s dad’s friend, Tom. Day 2 brought us to Northern California where we camped just north of Big Sur on Highway 101. Highway 101 brought us south on Day three to San Francisco to meet up with Tom’s college friend Brady. On Day 4 we made it to L.A where we were introduced to Charlie the Australian, riding a 2010 Yamaha Tenere. Day 5 landed us in San Diego, couch surfing at our mutual high school friend, Chad’s apartment. Day 6 marked an uneventful crossing of the Mexican border, stopping in Ensenada where we met Sarah, the Colorado native riding a 2005 Yamaha XT225. The end of the week was spent resting in the same place.
Day 8 was the beach in Ensenada. Day 9 brought out the big guns and landed me on my ass sliding through the mud on our way south to Rosario. Day 10 was worse, and I survived a serious crash. My motorcycle was bent out of shape but fixable, wheels bent, spokes broken, forks bent, luggage case broken. I was bruised but well and truly alive, and not bent or broken. Tom, Charlie and Sarah forged ahead while I fixed my bike. Day 11, 12, 13 and 14 were spent in San Quintin, north of where I crashed, where Tato the motorcycle mechanic fixed my motorcycle to the tune of $900. Cheap by comparable standards, and the bike was nearly back up to par. End of week 2, but back on the road.
Day 15 turned me back on the road headed south again where I camped on the side of the road north of Guerrero Negro. Day 16 brought me back in the group when I found Tom and Charlie on the side of the road in Loreto. Sarah had been lost but was found that night. Once again we were a group of 4. Day 17 was spent in Loreto again, enjoying an easy day. Day 18 took the 4 of us south to La Paz at the beginning of Mexico’s holy week, Semana Santa. We stayed through Day 19 and had a good time at the Pension California where we changed our oil having covered 2800+ miles thus far. We also met Eric, a bicyclist from San Fran who is riding to Argentina over the course of a year. Day 20 took all 5 (Eric on Charlie’s bike) of us an hour south to La Ventana, a world renown hotspot for Kite borders and wind surfers, where the wind wasn’t blowing to Tom’s disgust. We stayed through Day 23, and met many wonderful people. Chaz, an American traveler, Dan the owner of Playa Central where we stayed top the list and many others as well. This carries us part way into week 4.
After our days in La ventana, Day 24 took us back north to La Paz in preparation for taking the ferry from La Paz, Baja California to Topolobambo, on the Mainland of Mexico. On this day we also met Eddy and Lizzy, two Australian backpackers travelling around the world for a year. Day 25 had 6 of us (Eddy, Lizzy, Tom, Sarah, Charlie and I) on the ferry across the Sea of Cortez where we spent the night in Topolobampo, mainland Mexico had been realized. Day 26 landed us in Mazatlan. After a slight mishap, where Sarah was lost again, we reunited and found ourselves smack dab in the middle of Semana de los Motos; or Motorcycle Week. A festival of 10-15,000 motorcycles from all over the world. Day 27 was spent finding Eddy and Lizzy who bussed down from Topolobampo, and was finalized with a fiesta at Joes Oyster bar. Day 28, today April 29th, marks the end of Week 4 on the road.
Nothing negative can be found in this trip. Everything has been wonderful. Many learning experiences, ample eventful nights, wonderful, generous people, excellent travelling companions, and mile churning days were in abundance. It has been fantastic through and through and I am very happy to be on the road, traveling via motorcycle, living a dream and experiencing life first hand.
Thanks to all who have been following along on Advrider and the Hubb, and to those of you at home supporting me along the way. My Dad and Mom, Gary and Louise couldn’t have done a better job, my Girlfriend Kristi is top notch and kicking ass in school while I travel, my prego on round two Sister Lorraine always has my back, and all my friends at home are awesome.
Month number one has come and gone, 2-9 are yet to come.
Round Two, “The Month of May in Mainland Mexico.”
Today will be the last day in Mazatlan for the four of us. Charlie, Sarah, Tom and I will be leaving tomorrow morning to head deeper into Mainland Mexico. It’s been nearly a month of traveling together thus far, and new plans are on the horizon. Charlie and Sarah are heading off on a path of their own, most likely headed to Durango to ride the famous Dragon’s Tail. Tom and I will probably be headed the same direction, but with different plans in mind. Cheap accommodation, camping at will, tasty tacos, and days/nights spent in the wilderness should all come into play. We’re about to turn this party into a major fiesta.
Having started this trip together, Tom and I share a loyalty to each other. We enjoy spending time with Charlie and Sarah, but that is where our connection ends. We are all traveling together, yet separate, with different agendas, budgets, and goals. Charlie is keen to see the mountains as is Sarah, Tom and I will travel to Tom’s college stomping grounds in Cuernavaca, and everyone will get a taste of what they set off to do originally.
Our current traveling partners, the backpackers Eddy and Lizzy, are heading off on bus tonight, destination Guadalajara with Mexico City in the days following. They’ll be found again no doubt, as they travel the same parallel routes as we do. Facebook is the standard means of communication, and we all stay connected somehow, someway.
Both Tom’s and my Dr650’s are still kicking ass and taking names. It’s quite the experience, considering when we bought these particular motorcycles, both were bought from out of state, one off Craigslist and one off Advrider’s flea market, we’d never ridden a Dr650 before, didn’t see the bikes in person pre-purchase as they were delivered to us, and didn’t know much else about them except for their wide acceptance as a great dual sport touring bike. We’re more than happy with our decision, and are pleased to announce that their rugged construction, durability, reliable motors, and cheap maintenance have helped us keep strong, and moving over the past month and 3500+ miles. Of course the true test of time will be the next 8 months and 20,000+ miles to come.
As a side note, since my crash, my Trail Tech Vapor computer has not been functioning as planned. The speedometer is no longer working, nor is the odometer keeping track of miles. This is due to a misplaced magnet that I later found on my busted rim. I’ve yet to take off the front wheel to replace the magnet as the tachometer works well, and a constant speed of 60’ish mph reads 4500rpm’s in 5th gear. I’ll put it back in place sooner than later, as knowing my miles driven since last fuel up can be essential at times, and keeping track of oil changes is made easier.
All in all, Mazatlan has proven to be a nice rest stop before the beginning of what Tom and I feel will be the real adventure. Mainland Mexico, varying terrain, local food stands, wild camping, and everything else in between will be on our menus, and we plan to feast from every item in turn until we are stuffed to the gills. Adventure calls out our names and we feel the urge to escape the cities, meet new people, and find the hotspots and hidden gems. We can’t wait for Round Two, “The Month of May in Mainland Mexico.”
Way too many motorcycles (is there such a thing?), many, many, many people drinking and riding, lots of crazy music, shitty traffic, lane splitting, illegal U-turns galore, cheap food and , crazy men and women cat calling each other and riding with sandals, shorts, and a t-shirt ruled the weekend.
There is too much to say, so I’ll let the photos tell the story. 15k+ motorcycles in miles long parade. Stunt riders, choppers, trikes, sidecars, ONE Yamaha Tenere 660, and numerous sport bikes were the name of the game.
Here we go!
A couple of awesome Choppers
A VW powered trike.
Custom Paint Job
Lunch break for Tom and Charlie
While this guy flew around checking it out from the sky.
We saw Jim on his R1200GSA
The crowds gathered to cheer us on
And watched from their balconies
And this guy brought his dog!
Meet Gary and Marilynn Smith. Riding a custom made Ural 750 sidecar unit, two wheel drive, 4 speed with Reverse. He’s been from Dead Horse to Ushuaia and back.
This girl paused the show for a quick bump and grind on her busted up bike. The Polaris vehicle behind her was bumping the tunes.
And finally, this guy brought the whole family!
Tom ran out of gas mid parade and nearly had heat exhaustion. Only he, I and maybe 3 other people of the entire 15k wore helmets. We may have been the only ones wearing pants, and we were sure as hell the only ones wearing boots. Did I mention the gloves? Or that it was 90 degrees? Hahah.
It was a goodtime for all!
Meet Jim and Cindy!
Saturday night, April 30th marked a turning point for Tom, Charlie, Sarah and I. We’d be parting ways the next morning. Tom and I had nothing planned. Charlie and Sarah were heading west. The Devil’s backbone was on their horizon. Where we’d all end up was uncertain. We just knew we we’re all prepared to take care of ourselves, and it was time to meet new people. So, that night, the other Aussies hit the road south, headed for Guadalajara and Mexico, City. They are moving pretty fast. Not quite sure we’ll catch up with them until maybe South America.
And the next morning, Sunday May 1st, Charlie, Tom, Sarah and I had a pleasant if not slightly nostalgic group photo to signify 3 weeks together.
That, my friends, is where things go awry! Jim, (Going South) met us first in the event area for Moto Week, and then again the next day during the Parade. I rode the entire parade route with him, and afterwards before parting ways he told us it was a shame that we were moving on so early, and that if we needed any help in Mazatlan to give him a shout. Well Tom and I liked Jim’s easy going nature, the relative calmness after the storm that was Moto Week, and the idea of taking care of random business over the next two or three days. So, we used our local shout out, and presto! Jim arrived at our doorstep the next morning! Meet Jim and his wonderful wife Cindy!
Jim and Cindy offered us a place to stay, and Jim offered to show us around town. We accepted, as any place is a good place for us, made even better with good company. And good company we had! Jim is a veteran Alaska fisherman, while Cindy is a restaurant manager. Both are Ballard, Washington residents (part of the year) and took care of business early with 5 kids. When Tom and I rolled into town, they had 2 more! Here is a view from the beach front condo Tom and I stayed in for the last two days. We’d be staying longer, but we have plans to move south west to Cuernavaca. More people call our names.
Tom apologizes to all of the ladies for shaving his ‘stache, but it was time! Here in Mazatlan, especially in a beach front condo, there is little need to wear much else then board shorts and sandals. That was our basic attire for the past 48 hours. We never left the compound, as we had bought food in the first 120 minutes. Steak, tortillas, apples, bread, corn, beans, ‘yoghurt’, , tequila, and limes all came into play. The sun was hot, the water was warm, the was cold, the people were good, and the past 48 hours have been some of the best that we’ve had all trip long. Meeting Jim was a boon for Tom and I, and are grateful as can be for the opportunity to have met such great people and to have had the opportunity to spend time with them as well! As soon as we had seen the beach, ogled the scenery, body surfed the waves, and met the local expats, Jim took us up to the 7th floor to show us his place for 10 minutes. Ha. HAHAH! 10 minutes turned into 3 hours, and the fiesta began! Tom had much to talk about, and his suave manner really pulled in the attention. You tell it how it is Tom.
Only Tom sat on that couch all night. He really liked that couch.
Yea Tom, I see you over there.
Oh, no… Where did that come from!
The bottle was full. The other bottle was not. Cindy didn’t help us. Jim, Tom and I make up 19’, and over 700lbs of man. But…. The Tequila (pronounced Tu-kill-yah) won. Cindy made us some delicious cheese, tomato, and jalapeno tortilla wraps.
But Tom mistook the habanero picante sauce for the jalapeno picante sauce. It looked like gravy on his plate.
Oh my god. OH MY GOOD! My mouth! I need Water! I need WATER! Please. Please! Please!!!Give me water!
And hence forth, Tom drank much water, and showered his face with the help of a cup, thoroughly washing his entire head.
That’s when we heard that Osama Bin Laden had been brought to justice. Tom is very patriotic, and most definitely drunk. As was I. Tom demanded high-fives from Jim and I. He damned shots. He was obliged dutifully. And then, with much ado we began our migration from the 7th floor to the 2nd, and Tom proceeded to tell me that he most definitely was not going on a ride tomorrow. He couldn’t possibly. How could he? It would be impossible. Not possible. “Alex. No puedo montar manana. Esta imposible.” Yes Tom, you speak wonderful Spanish when you are drunk. Yes Tom, I realize we can’t go for a ride tomorrow. Ok Tom, here is your water.
Oh, you need to sit up? Ok. Do it here Tom.
Oh, you’re tired Tom. Ok. Oh. Yes. That’ll do for now.
What you have just witnessed. Was a giant success!!!
That was yesterday. Today we spent the day lounging, planning our next few days en route to Cuernavaca to find Tom’s long lost friend “Cyntia”, and swimming in the ocean while eating the rest of the food we had bought. We’re heading out tomorrow. It should be great! Thanks to Jim and Cindy for their gracious hospitality, welcome companionship, and excellent tequila! It’s been a highlight of our trip!
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