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During the next couple of months I'm taking a month off from work to ride from British Columbia down through Wasington, Oregon, California, then ride the length of the Baja and back.
- Is there a web-site that outlines all the paperwork for taking a motorcycle across the border into the Baja? It has been 6 years since I last visited Mexico so I want to make sure I have all the necessary paperwork before I go.
To avoid icy weather I am planning on sticking to Highway 101 all the way down through the coast of Washington/Oregon. I have rode this section of road before to the California border and enjoyed it.
I'm wondering how far south into California I should stick to the coast. I'm wondering whether I should stick to the coast through LA all the way to San Diego, or whether I should cut east at say Eureka, San Francisco or Monterey, then go south down through central California to avoid LA's traffic?
(I've rode a rental in the stretch of coast between Monterey and Malibu, and found that quite pleasant, but I would like to avoid heavy traffic through LA - I have no idea what the road along the coast through LA is like.)
Paperwork for Mexico is very easy - just take along the usual Canadian documents for Registration and Drivers Licence and that will be all you need. If you're worried take along your original Bill of Sale/Invoice. Doubt you'll need it.
Don't even think of taking the coast road through LA. It's a days ride
The coast road through Wash and Oregon goes away from the coast somewhere in Northern California, but there are plenty of options then for good routes, and it's warm enough you won't have to worry about snow unless you head for the mountains - which of course is where the really good roads are!
We just returned last night from a trip down Baja,ferried to Mazatlan and up through Alamos and home to Arizona. Baja requires a tourist permit that is filled at the border and Grant is correct registration and a drivers license is all that is needed. Takes about 15 minutes at Tecate. Enjoy, the weather was great even in January. Snow on our return thru Nogales!
I went there last March. The route is pretty much dictated by the geography as you probably already know. Unless you want to cover long off-road distances, you don't need to worry about finding challenges in Baja. They are everywhere. Most roads other than the trans-peninsular highway are still dirt tracks full of sand and washboards. It's fun. I almost broke my shoulder.
The places we enjoyed most were Concepcion, Gonzaga and Tortugas...We camped in all three of these bays. Coming from North, Old Mill is a great place to spend the night on your first day. It's in San Quintin. You'll probably meet other riders there. Mike's Sky Ranch is another popular motorcycling destination. There are some cave paintings in Viscaino you may find interesting. i recommend Hotel Kadekaman in Viscaino. Nice owner and cook. We enjoyed their friendship.
If you want to see whales, (live ones not just the bones,) you may need to go a bit earlier as the season was already over in March.
Coming from England, you can read a Lonely Planet book on the plane... There are also Baja Specific sites you can search.
But the most important thing to do in Baja is to take it easy and relax. It's more of an experience than a bunch of POI's to visit. It can be disappointing if your expectations are high. It's better to be surprised.
I'm also from England and went over to ride Baja last November. Don't worry about off road, it's everywhere!
From my notes:
Crossed border at Tijuana, bit of a scary place for a lonesome traveler, down to Ensanada on the highway and then though the wine district over to San Felipe on the Gulf of California where the tarmac ends for a couple of hundred klicks. Ok road to Puertecitos, camping, hot springs, sulphur bath. Dirt track road to Alfonsina bay. Bar in middle of desert on a beutifull bay. Camp on beach or bar owner lets you sleep in his palapa. He will take you fishing and then cook your fish for you for a minimal sum. Fantastic dirt road to main highway. Bahia de los Angeles, good beach camping or hire a palapa at the turtle sanctary. There is a dirt road south which eventually joins the main highway if you have lots of time, which I didn't. Back to highway. Heading south, climate change, from hot and dry to hot and wet, rock paintings bofore at San Ingnacio ( get your permit before you visit in San Ignacio), mine ruins, metal church Santa Rosalia. Beach camping, whale watching in season Bahia Conception. Cross over to the Pacific,have alook bact of Bay of Cortes. Capital La Paz, watch sea eagles diving för fish from a bar on the prom. Mad dash to the Cabos. Cabos are like Spains Costa del Sol, mass tourism, if you like that sort of thing, you might catch a spring breaker! Most of all enjoy the desert, every 50 ks gives another shape, form, colour, tone, lonley cactus or forests of them. And the is great, try a Bohemia ! I slept out under the stars on the beach mostly or hired a palapa for a few of pesos. Three weeks was not enough !
Now I've started to think about it I might go back next year !
i am in ensenada and planning (sort of anyways) my trip through
Baja. i'm recovering from a cold (donno where i got that from around here...) which gives me time to do some research and trip planning. good thing i stumbled upon this thread!
a question though: what is the condition of the dirt roads? doable with all kinds of bikes ? i have a yamaha tt600r with about 30kg of luggage and nobby tires.
The roads vary a lot. I tried to follow the route of the Baja 1000 for the "off road "part of my trip. These dirt roads well worn by off road bikes and buggys are doable on your bike. They can be a bit scary at times but you can always count on at least a couple of pick ups a day passing. There are hundreds of smaller tracks that are marked, but I wouldn't try them alone myself. A break down out there in the middle of the desert with nobody around for hundreds of miles is not reccomended.
You can't get thru L.A. without running into some kind of traffic. Pacific Coast Hway (Hway 1) is a joke from Santa Monica to San Diego. Very slow, traffic, stop signs. The freeways all throughout L.A. are very good, but not at traffic time. Simply don't travel on them from 6:30 am to 9:30 am or 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm. They will get tangled. Riding a motorcycle you are allowed to ride in the car pool lanes which is a big help. And it is legal (acctually not illegal) to lane share (split traffic). However I don't suggest it to a novice, it is an acquired skill, and there are lots of do's and don't you should consider before attempting it.
If you just want to blow thru LA to San Diego do it very early in the morning or at night and it is a piece of cake.
I did another more "dual sport" oriented trip earlier in the year where I rode my DR650 and did fine .... but I did not tackle too many technical tracks.
Have fun, Speak Spanish.
Thanks for the info am thinking of changeing trip to start with going through the copper Canyon. down to ferry across Sea of Cortez and back up the Baja to San Diego. Would you know the best starting point from the states to leave for the journey to the Canyon,or any other info
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