I left for California on Wednesday June 1st 2011. The plan for the trip is to head over to watch the BJJ World championships in Long Beach, then head South to Cabo meet my girlfriend-Erin and our daughter there spend 3 nights hanging out on the beach then they jump a plane home and I take the ferry across to the main land work my way back north on my cbr 1000. Trip should take 2 weeks. I would have liked to brought Jourdan but Dina would not let him go on the plane with Erin to meet me. I planned on leaving at 6:00am Wednesday the 1st of June, but as things usually go I left around 1:00pm. I originally planned to take my 2004 zx10r but ended up taking my 2008 CBR1000 because the brakes for the ZX10r didn’t make it in that had been ordered, and I figured it would be best to at least have brakes for the trip. I spent Tuesday night after class until about 3:00am prepping the CBR since I was taking it last minute I needed to make some modification to it before I left. The CBR1000 is my track bike but it will have to due for a touring bike for the next two weeks. I had a few things come up that I had to deal with in the morning but I ended up covering just at 500 miles that day. Met a guy in Texas on the road traveling from Alaska to Arizona on a Honda Shadow. Said it takes him about 3 weeks round trip to Alaska and back. That would be a fun trip to do! Stayed in Lovington NM at a small hotel that night. Put the bike in the room for the night. Not a bad first day.
Thursday June 2nd. Back on the road this morning. I left early hitting the road at 7:00am was to cold to leave at 6:00am or maybe I am just not tough enough anymore. I was heading West thru NM. I stopped and put new tires on the bike in ShoLow Arizona. The race tires I had on it were not looking the best and were definitely not really up to the trip this far so I decided it would be best to put some sport touring rubber on the bike. I stayed in Payson Arizona at the nicest super 8, I have ever been in. I went across the rode and ate at a nice steak house. I slept with the bike safely tucked away in the room. I ended up killing about 650 miles that day. That is with a few hours spent in a dealership putting on tires!
On Friday June3rd in the morning I set out around 9:00am. Going thru the mountains in Arizona is great amazing roads, great scenery. A really cool little town I drove thru was Jerome Arizona. It is right on the side of a mountain. The streets wind up the side of the mountain while going thru the heart of the town. I had lunch in Prescott Arizona on a street called Wiskey Row. The locals said it use to be bar after bar on this street. The ones that have survived are from the 1800s. Very nice town with a great town square. As I was ridding out in the middle of the dessert I stopped to try and help a couple of Harley riders stranded on the side of the road . It turned out the were from Holand and had just spent the last 12 days ridding around the US on rented Harley’s. One of the Harleys had developed some sort of electrical problem. I tried to find it but I was unsuccessful so we pushed the Harley off the rode and they rode off two up. I had tried to call the rental company because there phones didn’t have service but nobody would pick up. A unfortunate end to there 2 week trip around the US for them. On a side note this is one of the reason I love to ride motorcycles across the country. I always meet interesting people, because when you are by yourself people are so much more receptive to talk they see a lone motorcyclist and are curious why are you here by yourself! Everything was going great for me when I stopped for ice-cream around Palm Springs Cali late in the afternoon. I parked the bike on the sidewalk near the window I planed to sit at not 10 feet away inside. Ordered my snack when I came back my tank bag was gone. Along with about $1000 worth of stuff that was in it. This was frustrating but a good lesson. Don’t keep expensive stuff in the tank bag or always take it with you. If this would have happened in Mexico I wouldn’t have been able to replace some of the stuff until I made it back to the States.
Stayed right on the edge of LA that night. Couldn’t keep the bike in my room so that made me a little nervous especially after the afternoons happening.But I talked with the security guy they had cameras pointed at it, so I figured it was ok.
I spent Saturday until about 3:00pm chasing stuff down to replace my stolen items from the day before. (I also had the oil changed at the Honda shop) But the major difference now with my stuff is I keep the expensive stuff in a locked givi bag on the back instead of the tank bag. The tank bag has almost nothing in it and only stuff that can be replaced easily. After that I went to the BJJ World Championships in Long Beach to coach/support some of the guys from the gym.
That night after the tournament I headed South wanting to cross the border into Mexico early Sunday and make it inland before dark. I stayed in the San Diago area. The girl at the hotel went on one of the Internet sites for hotels and booked me at that hotel saving me $40 which was nice of her. She asked me all about my bike and said her and her husband both ride. She has a 2005 R1. I stayed in the nicest hotel of the trip a holiday inn express. I have a hard time paying to much for a hotel if it is just me in it when I am out ridding I show up late and leave early so if I spend to much I just feel like it is a waist.
Sunday morning I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of hassle it was going thru Tiauna. Even getting the permit for the mainland was relatively easy. Driving in Mexico so far has been great, drivers are curtious and the people very friendly. I took the toll rode around Tijuana very pretty ride. Beautiful houses right on the ocean. Had lunch at a resort buffet. I over heard a American family talking about the upcoming wedding I wasn’t sure if it was that day or another. Talked to the waiter who said he was from mainland Mexico but he comes here for the money. Asked him where he prefered to be, he said he prefers where is from but the money is so much better here. Saw two other sportbikes in Baja both with passengers on the back headed North. One of them was on a newer R1 the other a VFR800. Ended up putting in a little over 600 miles with the border crossing. Ridding a sportbike has it’s plusses and minuses. On the plus side alot of great mountain roads that wind around and are great fun. Also a few really straight sections that you can run triple digit speeds. Most of the time you have the road to your self. Occasionally passing trucks and cars but they make room for you to go around. Downside is sometimes the roads are a little rough, and you could really get lost if you went down some of the dirt paths down here. A PLUS for some people who want to get lost. Haven’t had phone service for the last 250 miles hopefully nobody is worring back home since I had no way of checking in. Staying in a really small village off the 1. Not sure of the name. Drove up to the hotel and a kid who is about 12 years old walks up and ask me with a combination of broken English and hand jesters if I want a room. I pay about $30 for the night to stay there. It is clean and simple but I am happy to have a full tank of gas and a place to spend the night. Came very close to running out of gas on this last stretch. Still had my back up fuel canisters but I was a little nervous I stopped at the first guy selling gas by the road where there use to be a gas station. But I went past the second one thinking well he said it was only 130 miles. So lesson learned if you see a guy selling gas out of the back of his truck in baja stop and get it if you are on a sport bike. This experience has me thinking about camping on a trip like this. Dont love the idea of carrying all the camping gear but the idea of camping on the beach in a few of the spots I saw sounds great! Maybe just skip the tent get a sleeping bag and sleep outside weather permitting of course.
The place I ate my first meal in Mexico at.
Tuesday Morning I left the unknown name of the village I stayed at the night before. I ended up finding phone service shortly after getting on the bike and was able to let everyone know I am ok. My helmet Splug ear speaker on the right stopped working the night before. So at the first gas stop I asked and they pointed across the street to a phone place and said there. This being done in mostly sign language because of my lack of Spanish. That really hasn’t hurt me finding what I need or want with mostly sign language and a few key words known on both sides. He had it fixed after about 45 minutes it cost me about $1.00! I rode on for few hours until I came to spot where I slammed on the brakes to take some pics. The land was in the shape of a u with a perfect beach and few tents set up. I made my way down to the shore once I found the road to the beach. Once I arrived I struck up a conversation with one of the guys camped there. We talked for a bit when he asked me if I fight. I explained yes I did he called his son over and it turned out his sons and friends are huge UFC fans. They knew all about me, who I had fought ect… They invited me to stay for lunch. I ended up staying and talking with the family for a few hours eating with them and having a great time. They have been coming to this beach for over 30 years. Mulege is the name of the town. Santiapac is the name of the beach. The guys dad spent 10 years here living in a kind of thatch house from about the age of 63 to 73. But the government came in and made him leave but they still come down and camp during the summer. Now this isn’t for everyone there isn’t a bathroom or showers here. But I do think it would be great to bring my kids here sometime and camp and stay on the beach. That is the great thing about most of baja they say it hasn’t changed in the last 30-50 years. No interstate and all the things that come with it. Hopefully it stays this way for a few more years. After I left there I continued heading south down the 1. I eventually made it to Laredo where I grabbed a bite and a room for the night. Not on the beach but a very nice place. The sea of Cortez is only about a half mile away but this place had a laundry facility I could use.
The guys I met on the beach in Mulege.
Baja 1000 race car!!
Baja Baseball game I stopped at!
Beach in Mulege
Tuesday the 7th of June. I left at about 7:00am to finish my trek to Los Barlilso. Find a hotel, rent a car to pick Hayden and Erin up at the airport in the am. Shouldn’t be to hard only have about 300 miles to go for the day. I take off ridding some of the most picture perfect country. Today was the first time I saw a police officer on the highway. I came up on him doing about 90mph followed until I had a passing zone went around him waved and didn’t slow down. Crazy down here the signs seem to be more of a guide line then a rule. I am sure they thought nothing of it, other then crazy American. There have been a couple of sections of road construction but today’s detour was crazy. They are waving for me to go to the right I am the only vehicle so I go right but I can’t find the trail. It is way further then I anticipated out in the desert. So I end up in I guess a farmers yard. Him and his son act like no big deal and point my towards the actual trail I should be on. They open a gate I drive thru and wave. And now I am basically off roading my CBR. I was kind of shocked how far out into the desert they had this trail.
I pulled into Los Barilos drove up to a place to try to rent a room on the beach but they had a sign that said out until 2:30. So I wondered over to the atv rental guy and ask him how much to rent a 4 wheeler for a few days. As we were discussing it I mentioned I was looking for a room on the beach. He said My friend has a hotel with a pool $40 a night so we go to look at it. But it wasn’t on the beach I explain that it is nice but I want to stay on the beach. He says I will make a call. So we go to look at one on the beach for $80 a night. No tv no wifi with amazing view and a pool. So I end up taking it. Then I meantion that I want to rent a jeep he says I will call. So he calls a rental company for a jeep for in the morning. He gets all this lined up and then I try to pay him and he says no. Crazy nice guy by the name Israel. I finish off the day going to the store for snacks, then going to dinner later. I have yet to see another guest at Rancho Buena Vista the hotel I am staying at, it is a little ways out of town but very nice. Los barilos is a fishing village. I personally like the views and the seclusion. But at the same time having places to go eat that are good and not to far. I was a little surprised I didn’t meet more people touring on bikes down here in Baja. But Baja is big place and it is easy to miss people.
View from our room.
Hayden and I in the pool in Baja!
Our room in Los Barilos
The Jeep we rented while in Baja!
Los Barilos has been hit by the recession since the last time I was here. The Hotel we stay at is crazy nice we have a room on the beach, pool, crazy nice and we are the only ones staying here. I rent a jeep to pick them up in giving the Honda a few days off. The 3 nights Erin and Hayden stay go by really quickly. We end up eating at a Italian place twice and a few other places. Erin and Hayden fell in love with the pizza at the Italian place. For breakfast we eat at the roadrunner cafe. This is first time to mexico for Erin and is surprised how much she likes it. We go swimming in the ocean play with Hayden on the beach swim in the pool. And do some driving around looking at some of the scenery. I wish Jourdan could have come with. Having Erin and Hayden here and him not makes me miss him even more. But as soon as it starts it is over and they are getting ready to fly home. I wish they could go with me but I am also excited to continue my adventure ridding thru mainland Mexico.
Saturday June 11th. I drop Erin and Hayden off at the airport at 1:15 and go to meet the rental car people at the hotel. Saying goodbye was harder then I thought it would be Hayden was upset making it hard to leave her. I end up getting out of Los Barales at about 2:45PM. I head towards La Paz to try to figure out the ferry. I find the ferry (thank you garmin) make it thru the check out process and book my self a one way ticket to Mazatlan. All this with no one speaking any English. Once we are underway for the main land I am talking with one of the passengers that speaks English. He says the route I have planned is very dangerous. So now I am a little confused on if I should go with the original plan or go with my 2nd route I had planned. Going thru Guadalajara I am almost guaranteed to get wet. But going thru Durango people act like it is suicide. So I decide I will fight the weather going thru Guadalajara. The ferry is going to take longer then I originally thought it would, 18 hours they say. I am not really a boat guy and the ferry reminds me why. The ferry is different then I imagined. No rooms just some chairs. I laid down on the deck and slept for a hour and a half in the shade before it got dark. Now it is 9:00pm we have 12 more hours to go. No tv, no books, or magazines reminds me of being in the house on the ultimate fighter. Since I don’t speak Spanish and I am not that social unless I know you. It is similar feeling. But you can move around, there is a nice breeze blowing thru so it isn’t as hot. I would guess come morning I am going to be exhausted. It is pretty and if I was driving the boat I really think I might like it. But I have never been a good passenger. The trip at this point has been going on for 11 days. Crazy how when you are doing something different everyday, last week seems like forever ago.
On the Ferry to mainland Mexico!
The Tug boat pushing the Ferry in!
Sunday the 12th. Last night I slept ok considering. I found a place to sleep on the floor using my tank bag as a pillow. About midnight i tried sleeping on a row of chairs in a room. Decided the was probably more comfortable. I was up and about around 7:00 watching the ferry cut through the sea. We docked at 10:00. As we approached Mazatlan it was beautiful. I was on the road by 10:15. Mazatlan was different then I expected it had a much different feel then Baja. It didn’t feel near as safe so I decided to take shortest way possible out of town. I saw a lot of fully armed soldiers for the first 2 hours on the road, and then it started to relax in feel. After Guadalajara I was still ridding along in really nice country. I couldn’t believe the variations in the day. Coming off the ocean, to mountains, to desert, cowboy country, so a little bit of everything. No one speaks English that I met on the road today. I think it would add alot to the trip to be able to speak Spanish. Crazy Toll roads also today, people drive very fast but yet very safe and courteous. If you come up on someone in the fast lane they get over as soon as possible. I spend some sections following a car running about 135-140 mph for around 50 miles. The tolls do suck more because you have to stop and pay them. And the cost add up over the course of the day. I have covered more miles then I had anticipated once I hit the mainland. Road quality is great and apparently no speed limits or traffic cops to worry about!
Monday the 13th I hit the road today at 7:00. When I started the day I looked at the GPS it said 973 miles to home. I thought maybe in back of my head let’s see how the roads are, and how the border crossing goes maybe I will try. Last nights hotel was interesting but I survived. Definitely the low point for accommodations. I couldn’t put the bike in my room but they did allow me to keep it in the dinning room. That morning I start wearing a leather jacket. In the middle of the day blistering heat. 107 switching to a mesh jacket with a under armor shirt then at dusk switching back to the leather jacket. My longest day before this was 750 miles on a zx12r. Basically a luxury touring bike in comparison to my cbr1000. Today’s ride was a reminder that Mexico is a land of extremes. Yesterday I grove thru Guadalajara, it was a clean, nice modern city with nice cars ect… Today I am driving along and am a little surprised when I see a guy herding his goats in the median inbetween the lanes. I was surprised until I rode for a few more hours and saw another guy doing the same thing. You also see shacks along the road that I assume people live in. You see some of the poorest people I have ever saw and then the next minute you see people with tremendous wealth. Great ride, mountains. Nice people wish I new what they are saying.
I hit the border at about 3:00. The temperature was 107 out. Thank goodness the border was relatively quick and easy. At this point I am over 500miles (I forget the exact amount) in and thinking I can make it home. I stop at a gas station and a guy returning from this weekends ROT rally in Austin has bike problems. I look at it for awhile but can’t figure it out. He has a buddy coming to get him. I wish him well and continue my journey. I try to ride in 100 mile bursts. With the main problem once I stop it is getting back on the bike. I stopped for gas and ended up eating and people watching for 2 hours before I could get myself back on the bike. My butt is sore but the main problem is the heat. The last 350 miles end up taking me until 1:00am. I am tired but happy to be home. I was a little wrong. I made it home almost 48 hours faster then I thought possible.
Conclusion: Great trip, if I had it to do over I would ride a Busa. Having a bigger fairings to keep a little more wind off of me would have made a huge difference. I also probably won’t do the ferry again. It saves alot of miles but I love Baja. Putting in a 973 mile day was fun not the best way to meet people or engulf yourself in the culture. But I was ready to be home and wanted to see if I could do it! It also made me aware that I wouldn’t be nervous to go to the pyramids in Mexico. That would be a great motorcycle trip!!!