The Baja Norte
Met a rider, Mike, from Scotland in Masatlan and who had broke a toe hitting a rock that was knocked into his lane by a truck passing. He is retired and has traveled much of the world and looking now to rest up a bit then head to Africa. He was sure that I would be disappointed in the Baja and did not think it offered much for good riding but then the other options for going north were about the same, flat desert.
There are two ferries running from Masatlan to La Pas, Baja. The Baja ferry was 1000 pasos more so I took the TMC ferry which is mainly for truck traffic and no frills. We loaded at 4:00 PM and were on the way by 5:00. Arrived at La Pas at 9:00 AM. After dinner (included in price) they put on a couple of movies then everyone found a spot on the floor or spread out on seats and tried to sleep. Got almost as much sleep as one might on an overnight air flight. Got up to eat breakfast about 6:30 then waited. Ship was moving at 25 to 27 kph (as per my GPS) so total trip must have been close to 400 k.
Waiting to load ferry
Loaded on ferry, almost can make out moto on right center.
Was an interesting ferry as it had two decks with an lift to move vehicles to top level. When came time to unload I put bike on lift behind trailer with little room between me and edge, but we made it.
From La Pas I turned South as I wanted to check out Cabo San Lucas Harley dealer to see if he had rear brake pads and could hook up computer to check out "check engine light". Cabo is a strange place, high priced (35 pasos for a beer), playground for rich gringos. Even out of town a way prices were higher than I have been paying.
This guy has been following me like forever!
Dealer was able to fix light, loose wire to fan, and had brake pads so I moved on north again. The road north seems to zig zag back and forth from east side to west side. Contrary to Mike gloomy estimate of riding the Baja, I found it enjoyable had some good sections and the flat straight roads allowed for the mind to wander a bit. Even had one section where I got up to 700 meters high, not the Andes by still twisted and turned a bit.
Hotels have been very accommodating, if they did not have off street parking they would have me bring moto right into hotel.
Funny birds on cactus
One two hundred mile stretch without any Pemex gas stations. With out this supply I would have been in trouble as I did not know stations were closed and would have run dry.
Made it to Ensenada after dark and checked into a hotel south of town, was m/l 100k south of the border. Asked where a place to eat was and was told one block down and a little left. Recommended I ride there not walk, so I thought it best to order pizza delivered. The closer I got to the border the more it became obvious that people were concerned about security. Gas station attendants would take money to caged window for change instead of carrying money in pocket as done in most of Mexico. This may be just due to "big city" or the increased crime along the boarder.
The next morning I had the plan of hitting the road early and going straight up through Tijuana hoping the border is not too packed early. On the road by 5:30 but it took till 7:20 to reach the lineup waiting to cross. Stayed in line and made it up to the check point, was US boarder didn't pass anywhere that I could check moto and me out of Mexico. So had to return to Mexico and start asking questions. There are 16 entry booths at this border fed by a four (north) road and most I asked had no idea where to check out moto as there is no requirement for temp import if only going down the Baja. After being sent to four different sites I finally found what I needed several blocks from the border and cleared moto. Then back in the line (at least a mile long) to get to the border, this time I did not stay in line but took every chance to split the lanes and move up. Cleared the border at 10:30, I think that is the longest it has taken out of 27 border crossings. It had been recommended to go east to a different crossing but I could not see it worth traveling 50 miles in the wrong direction, but may have been worth it.
By traveling to other countries one learns more about there own country by what is different. Once in California the roads were so good it was hard to keep it down to 80 mph. In California it is legal to split lanes, So when traffic slowed down around Las Angles I just followed other motorcycles between the slow moving cars. Was a little hard to get use to trusting the cars not to turn in but they seemed to be use to it and kept the slot open.
Stopped in San Diego and had a new rear tire put on. This is the third new tire for the trip. The first two I was only able to get 6000 miles out of due to softer rubber on the sides and many corners. This one had all most 9000 on it and was wore out in the center section.
From a little way north of Las Angles were I had stopped for the night I made it to Weed (50 miles south of Oregon border). After traveling south of the border it seems amazing how many miles one can go on these roads even with a late start and it getting dark early.
Made it home Friday the 18th, 3:30 PM.
139 days, (not enough)
Buell XB12X repairs
Kick stand bolts (broke twice)
Drive belt in NW Argentina
Electrical problem in Peru (plug pulled apart)
Valve cover leak in Mexico
New front break pads San Salvador
New rear break pads Cabo San Lucas
Three rear tires one front tire
Fall downs 4
Twice in mud (twisted right knee first time just got muddy second)
Twice on gravel (broken rib first time and left knee wacked good the second)
Now the planning begins for the next adventure. Martha has decided that three months is too long for me to be away from the business, so will limit to six weeks and will work on getting Martha to come with me for 4 weeks of that. Australia is looking good right now.
Posted by Robert Thode at December 20, 2009 08:08 PM GMT