Boots in Baja
My strategy for this trip was to recreate our first motorcycle trip to Mexico thirty years ago. Back then, Karen had never been on a motorcycle, so we didn’t take any freeways south to avoid going over 50mph. It’s been a while since we were both on the bike so I wanted to ease us into it. Karen had been giving me the “I don’t really want to go, but I’m not letting you go by yourself” vibes for the prior two weeks. She didn’t start packing for this trip until the morning we left. As she pulled on her helmet, she wasn’t a happy camper.
It was probably a blessing that it took me three full days to figure out how to operate our helmet intercoms, hence there was no f___ you’s”coming through the speakers. Technology hasn’t always been my friend, but in this case silence was golden.
I’ll cut to the chase: twelve days and 1,700 miles down Baja to Loreto (about 2/3rds of the way down) and then back. It didn’t take us long to find our groove, both good and bad. On Day Two we took our obligatory low speed spill, this time in soft gravel as we entered a Pemex station. Neither one of us felt anything. NVII just got a few more scratches and we were off.
The road (Mex Hwy 1) has pretty much been transformed into a smooth, Two-Laner snaking through the desert and mountains, with only a few car-eating pot holes. Even a Prius could make it: ) I used an incredible amount of restraint in our pace, not going over 80 (OK 85) but once. Most of the time, I let everyone pass us as we sauntered down the road. Not too long down the road and I heard my all time favorite sound — Karen “chirping” in the intercom and having a great time talking while seeing the sights. We had found our Rhythm of the Road. Perhaps it was a bit slower and the days were shorter, but everything else felt exactly the same.
One of the great things when traveling by m/c is the daily routine. Get up early, have a cup of coffee while packing up, carry all the stuff to the bike and strap it on, and shove off for the day’s sights. Breakfast is about two hours out and lunch is later. We typically rolled into our last stop and revered the process. Unpack the bike, unpack our stuff, get cleaned up, and head out to see the sights and find a Corona. Rinse and repeat.
Both times we crossed the Border at Tijuana, which is usually the THE border crossing to avoid. No papers or Temporary Tourist Visa necessary, but I did buy a week’s worth of m/c insurance. Going down we went through the border and never stopped, probably not going slower than 20 mph as the border to TJ was empty. Coming north, border traffic was pretty normal, which is to say daunting. Various Apps were predicting 2-3 hour crossing times. We did it in 20 minutes from start to finish by splitting lanes and dodging hawkers, cutting back into the line right before the guard stations. The most difficult thing was not tipping over as the road was greasy and tough to get a grip with my “compact” stems.
We made it to Loreto which is 700+ish miles below the border, after a fairly grueling ride. No chirping in the helmet on this leg as KR was Done going south:) We stayed at a very nice hotel, Posada de Las Flores, in the center of town. We decided to spend a second night here as its so nice and I have a bunch of work to get done. It’s very expensive at…. $103/night US.
The next day we made a U-Turn and headed back up. We had some really great nights, a few not so great riding segments, and perfect weather for the entire twelve days. This would be classified as a short trip for us, but I think we’ll look back on it with fondness with the realization we’re still young enough to be doing this kind of stuff: )
Here’s what things looked like so far.
Ah….to be young again!!!
Sounds like a great trip! Miss talking to my favorite uncle <3
Another great F&K episode…….just wondering if you forgot that we live in San Diego……… 🙂
Hi F & K,
A few months ago—or was it a year—we also revisited memories of Baja. Could we still camp on a beach, catch fish, and live like we did in 1977??? Back then our total weekly expenses were about $25. Of course, fuel for The Turtle I, our 1967 Land Rover, was about 24 cents a gallon. Oysters, clams, lobster, and plenty of fish were all still waiting for us. Hussong’s Cantina was still waiting for us. Beaches were the same. An article in the next issue of Overland Journal will tell more of the story. Our question, could we still do it in The Turtle V??? Yes, but many for a bit more than $25 a week. Diesel was now $4.00 a gallon! Tecate is a much better crossing going South or North. Most of what we expected was just like old times. For a look in the past—https://turtleexpedition.com/adventures/mexico/baja-california/baja-backroad-adventures/ We now have a time-share just south of Loreto! Are we getting soft or smart?
we’re all getting soft: )) We were always wimps compared to you and Gary:) Perfect example of wimpyness. KR and I are riding a m/c for a month in Africa. We’re taking a motorcycle TOUR : )) We would never in a million years have done that back in the day. fw