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Old 02-05-2009, 11:33 PM   #1
CockyRooster
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Thumbs up Baja - ride report to Cabo...and back!

The journey.

Today is the exact 1 year mark of the beginning of an epic adventure for me to ride from the SF peninsula to Cabo San Lucas, and back on an XR650L.

It's time to re-live the experience, and thought I'd share a few details.

The plan - Survive. It is Feb.5 Super Tuesday 2008 and I need to get my boogie woogie on as my GF is flying down to Cabo to meet me on Sunday. San Diego is 600mi +/- with Cabo another 1000mi +/- past the border. Noooo problem. I wanted to leave on Sunday, but I felt that it was super important to get my vote in this time around, so now I've voted and it's time to get a move on!

The bike - Honda Xr650L w/7500mi. on the ticker. Bought it with 7400mi. on the ticker. Yep - traversing Mexico on a bike that I've only ridden 100mi. I figured I'd keep a close eye on things until I got to San Diego. If it's going to break then it will break then, otherwise prevention is the only other thing that can be done.
The mods: As stock as possible with the exception of a new WBE2 muffler, Edelbrock carb, 4g tank, saddle bags, lots of loctite, new tires, and some black paint.

The equipment (camping/survival) I will cover later.

The (hopefully) trusty steed loaded up and ready to go. It's 3pm, and the sun is disappearing. I thought of holding off one more day, but every hour I can pass pavement under my rubber is a good thing.
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My Baja adventure

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Old 02-05-2009, 11:52 PM   #2
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Hell yes! Sounds like and awesome trip! I have been planning to do a big trip this year, I just need to save money Everyday I feel like saying screw it, and just going. Props to you.
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Old 02-06-2009, 12:15 AM   #3
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Everyday I feel like saying screw it, and just going. Props to you.
That's just kinda what you have to do. I had no idea what I was in for, and you can never really afford these things, right?


So the first few hours of the ride were rather pleasant (bike still running; check) until the sun set while riding through the mountains before San Luis Obispo. The temp got cold and found that by tucking in behind a semi I could stay in a stable pocket of air. It's amazing how every little bit helps.

I was very happy to find the Motel 6 in Pismo.

I'm not sure if I just didn't trust leaving my bike outside, or just wanted to snuggle up with something warm.
"Come on, Baby - how about a little sugar for Daddy?"
"Back off, Buddy - I'm watching the discovery channel."
*Sigh*
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Old 02-06-2009, 01:19 AM   #4
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Yeah thats a Motel 6. The bed spread with all the different cars on it gave it away
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Old 02-06-2009, 08:11 AM   #5
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How many miles per day did you ride? Pismo is less than 300, right?

I need more inspiration for what to do on my XR650L.
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Old 02-06-2009, 08:16 AM   #6
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I have done this ride a couple of times. One word of advise, if you decide to ride at night in Baja, slow down. It is really hard to see a black cow on a black road with a dark background (cows are free roaming in Baja).
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Old 02-06-2009, 08:19 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by CockyRooster View Post
I'm not sure if I just didn't trust leaving my bike outside, or just wanted to snuggle up with something warm.
"Come on, Baby - how about a little sugar for Daddy?"
"Back off, Buddy - I'm watching the discovery channel."
*Sigh*


dood, looking forward to the rest of the story!
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Old 02-06-2009, 03:24 PM   #8
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A smattering of some of the equipment loaded on the bike.

A tube for each tire.
Air compressor.
Slime.
Tire irons.
Self igniting cook stove.
Rain poncho.
Emergency blanket.
Camping bottles - 2 for gas, and 1 for oil.

(Not in pic.)
Folding buck knife to keep on person at all times.
Tools, and more tools.
Maps.
Tent.
Mattress.
Rope.
Bungee cords.
1 gallon of water (enough for two days.)
Food for two days (camping dinners, power bars, etc.)
A cable lock to keep the honest people from stealing the bike.
and don't forget an extra pair of underwear or two
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Old 02-06-2009, 03:27 PM   #9
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Sasquatch and I are planning on a Baja trip later this year.
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Old 02-06-2009, 03:28 PM   #10
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Just curious as to how safe it is once you get in the boonies in Mexico.
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Old 02-06-2009, 03:38 PM   #11
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Rolled out of the Pismo Beach motel and headed South. I thought about hitting the dunes first, but remembered the time constraint. Perhaps on the way back

Bike check:

Tires -
Gas -
Oil -
Chain -adj. less then halfway back and still holding

Lunch in Carlsbad at a little surf shack type of place before motoring to San Isidro for the night. Across the border manana!
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Old 02-06-2009, 03:48 PM   #12
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Old 02-07-2009, 02:24 PM   #13
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Just curious as to how safe it is once you get in the boonies in Mexico.
Hey Ant - is the golden in your avatar the one who plays chess?

It's a mixed bag that I will detail as I go on, but in general I found the people to be the most generous, helpful, and kind spirited on the planet, and the bad are few, but super bad. A spectrum of extremes between the oppressed, renegades, corrupt, and the privileged. (The last two usually being the same.)



So as I flip though my notes I realized that a problem developed with mounting the tires where I could not leave until the next day after Super Tuesday. So I left on Wednesday late afternoon, stop over in Pismo, and it is now Thursday night as I sit in the Best Western (recommend) in San Isidro. I meet the gf in Cabo in how many days??? I sure hope that nothing goes wrong.

So after checking in and dumping the bags inside the hotel room I go over the bike and make sure everything is up to spec. Gas=full. Oil=good. Tires=holding up well, but the rear is squaring off a little. Understandable. Chain=hmmmm...looking a little flaccid. The 6hrs. of highway riding heated up the links in a way that ordinary riding can't, and it looks as though the O-rings melted out and spat the lubricant out of the rollers. I adj. it back and there's plenty of room for more so I decide to keep an eye on it rather than spend a day finding a new one. Time's a burnin'!

I use the computer at the Hotel to do some final emails, etc., and make all of the phone calls that I can as I expect to be out of communication until I arrive within spitting distance of Cabo 1000mi later. The gf checked Verizon's network area for me and confirmed that pretty much communication does not exist for most of the Baja peninsula.

It's now 7am and time to get . I step outside and realize how brisk even the SoCal air is that time in the morning. It's now time for coffee and a donut instead.
It's 8am and a quick check and loading of the bike and off I go across the border!
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Old 02-07-2009, 02:52 PM   #14
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The area between the border and Ensenada is the most dangerous. Not just hazardous, but so serious that you don't even stop for cops, dangerous. I avoid TJ and take the new toll road down the coast. Once I confirmed that I was on the right track I just pinned it for all she was worth (all 33hp) and never let any vehicles come close to me while keeping an eye out for any potential situation forming on the side of the road. Even some of the local Mexicans were telling me that they had to pull over once on that road and freaky people would just emerge from the bushes.

Unfortunately I realized about halfway through the trip that the most beautiful moments and events happen while your riding. This makes for a great experience, but a lacking in the picture department. I starting making an effort to stop for the best pics, but I also had to be aware of being exposed and distracted for safety reasons as I was by myself.

Ensenada is the last place that you can get your tourist card before traveling further South, so a stop is planned for the tourist office and a bank.

You should already have your insurance at this point.

Coming down the toll road along the coast over the city is an absolutely breath taking view of the Ensenada bay. I didn't stop for a photo for aforementioned reasons, but here is one from nearly the same point of view. The photo doesn't do it justice as it is mostly of the city.

Check out that flag! Gotta love the Mexican pride
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Old 02-07-2009, 05:29 PM   #15
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