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Old 05-09-2008, 12:26 PM   #1
crazyrussian
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crazyrussian's solo Baja trip (LONG)

Hey all

Well, finally I am writing this up :-) So in the end of March I set off on a solo Baja trip with the trusty Wee. (Setup: Pat Walsh crash bar and belly pan, SWMotech centerstand, madstadt, SWMotech racks, Hepco Becker AluBoxes, Zumo 550, TKC80's, extra gas, amplirider for tunes and GPS directions, and most important, a rented Spot locator from http://www.trackme360.com/. Those guys rock. Other farkles are abound, but these are the ones I'll talk about). The first day was boring- Superslab from bay area to Orange county. Second day I crossed the border at Tecate (great road to get there from the San Diego Area) and headed towards Mexicali. Can I just say that the paid road from Tecate to Mexicali is a dream! Twisty, beautiful views, great all around! Highly recommended. The pavement is fresh, it's truly one of the best roads I've ever ridden. All along the trip I was sending SPOT ok messages to my girlfriend, which made her very happy.

By the way, Rich from Cycle Imports helped me out A LOT for this trip, so if you're in Santa Cruz, and you need your bike worked on, check him out

Right before Mexicali I turned off to head south toward San Felipe, since I was planning on crashing somewhere on the beach south of there for the night. It got dark, and as I'm riding along I see a bike on the side of the road, blinking. I was told I shouldn't stop anywhere close to the border, but I saw a fellow rider in trouble, so I did. It was a young guy on an R1, brand new rider, scared out of his whits, who needed to get to San Felipe. (In his defense, it was the end of Semana Santa, and everyone on the road was trashed). So I took him under my wing, and we putted to San Felipe at a blistering 80kph. He probably didn't even get out of first gear, he was so scared.

We get to San Felipe, and the town is going crazy. I stick around to have some tacos with him and his drunk buddies, and ride off. It's about midnight, and the Zumo gets me out of town super fast, props to Garmin. I decide to turn off and sleep, but end up ona sandy road, tired, with tires pumped up for the highway.... you guess what happens next. Two drops within 100 yards. Takes me 20 minutes to get the bike up both times (had to take off all the gear). I say screw it, and turn around, getting back to the highway, and turning off on the next road (gravel), and ending up at the beach to fall asleep. This is what I wake up to, after I unpack the bike



Ocean, beach, heaven!

So I repack for the unpaved roads, and set off for Bahia Gonzaga, through Puertecitos (80km of hellish unpaved trail). This is what it looks like all throughout the ride, on the left



There I meet another rider, on a 1200gs, who's doing the same ride. Luke is a canadian, who ends up saving my ass on the trip several times, so this was truly a godsend. In any case, we ride the hellroad together. I'll spare all the gory details, but this is what it looks like,



and this is what happened quite frequently (4 times) to my Wee (the SWmotech racks couldn't hold onto the hepco beckers, dropped them on each jump (resulting in a drop for me), all because the previous owner (now I know the damn reason) didn't bother to get the right adapter kit. bastard.) once I dropped it because I suck as an offroad rider :-) Props to the Pat Walsh setup, saved the bike. The bike has NO damage (aside from broken blinkers ans slight scratches on the top of the fairing).



When we got to Gonzaga, it was heaven. Here's a moonrise shot for ya'll



After Gonzaga we set off to Bahia de Los Angeles, via Coco's corner. The road was crappy, but not as bad as it was the day before. Here's me pulling into Cocos. Notice the ropes around the luggage- that was compensation for the SWMotech racks.



it's 90 in the shade!



By the way, the whole time I was bottoming out on the SW motech centerstand.: damn thing went into my chain a couple of times. It's off the bike and in the garbage now.

Last edited by crazyrussian; 05-09-2008 at 12:30 PM..
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Old 05-09-2008, 12:27 PM   #2
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Here's Bahia de los Angeles



and a dead parrot fish I found



After Bahia de Los Angeles, we set off for Guerrero Negro, on the Pacific side, because we wanted to hit the other coast (heard the roads were even more insane). And here's where I get screwed. In the middle of the peninsula my clutch starts slipping, hard. After a while, it is completely burned (as I found out later, the chain threw a rock into the linkage of the pushrod, not allowing it to disengage) here's me when I figured out my trip is over

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Old 05-09-2008, 12:28 PM   #3
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well, shit. This is where Luke saves the day. We hop onto his GS and ride back to town, finding a really nice guy Juan (wherever you are, I hope all the best for you, man!) who comes out with his truck and gets me to Guerrero Negro



There he drops me off at a mechanic.... well, imagine my dismay when I see that the shop looks like this...



The next day the mechanic, Eugenio, (by the way, best mechanic I've ever encountered, I can give you his GPS coordinates) tells me he needs three friction plates..... which he ain't got. After trying to get them shipped (15 days) I go back and ask him if he can figure something out. He says- sure, but there are no guarantees. But he says it'll get me back home. So he pulls out clutch plates, old and rusty, from a Honda 650, and says- I can make these fit. In one hour, he does a victory lap with his dog, because he's done, and the Wee is running again!



I go repack everything, and the following morning ride 600 miles from Guerrero Negro to Orange county. The clutch makes it just shy of 300 miles to my home (traffic in LA killed it), and a friend comes to pick me up. The end :-)
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Old 05-09-2008, 12:29 PM   #4
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So, quick summary: Baja people rock. All of them from federales to militares to regular people were the example of friendliness (probably helped I spoke spanish, and was not a jerk). Luke the Crazy Canadian rocks... just because he does. The Spot locator was a godsend, gave me a sense of security, and the people at TrackMe360 have the best customer service I've seen EVER (and no, they didn't pay me to say that). The Wee rocks, except for the exposed linkage to the pushrod for the clutch. Make sure to check it if you're riding offroad. Zumo is awesome, although some of the maps had errors. Pat walsh stuff is first rate.

SW Motech overall gets a thumbs down from me, although some of the issues were a problem of previous owner's installation, but still. I am now having issueswith the topcase mount, also made by them, and in that case it's a design flaw.

Oh, and big thumbs down to the border people on the US side. You should be a little more human, and a lot less asshole.


Lessons Learned
1. Pack light. I didn't end up using half the stuff I brought.
2. Know your bike inside and out. Check loose bolts all the time, check cables, etc.
3. Have a good friend with you. Even if you just met them
4. Treat locals with respect, and you will be handsomely rewarded
5. If you're going to Mexico, don't be an asshole Gringo, learn spanish, and you will be rewarded twice over.
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Old 05-09-2008, 12:40 PM   #5
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Nice pics, heck of a trip. :thumbsup And good on you for learning the local language. I bet you wouldn't have gotten half as good 'customer service' without it!

A good lesson on never doing a trip alone, too.
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Old 05-09-2008, 12:46 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Roadstergal View Post
Nice pics, heck of a trip. :thumbsup And good on you for learning the local language. I bet you wouldn't have gotten half as good 'customer service' without it!

A good lesson on never doing a trip alone, too.
you know, I'm glad I did. I was loosing faith in people, and this trip showed me that there are so many good people and riders out there, that I don't have to worry :-) and if all else failed, I had the SPOT with me.
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Old 05-09-2008, 12:51 PM   #7
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woah... déjà vu, I just saw something exactly like this over at stromtrooper.com.

But seriously, great ride & pix! I hope to do something like that someday.
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Old 05-09-2008, 12:54 PM   #8
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Awesome write-up, thanks for sharing!
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Old 05-09-2008, 12:57 PM   #9
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That is soooo rad. Welcome home.
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:02 PM   #10
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woah... déjà vu, I just saw something exactly like this over at stromtrooper.com.

But seriously, great ride & pix! I hope to do something like that someday.

:-) yeah, I know, but I added some local flavor as well.
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:22 PM   #11
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Well done! Thanks for sharing
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Old 05-09-2008, 03:18 PM   #12
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Killer trip and great write up

Wish I was there!



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Old 05-09-2008, 03:19 PM   #13
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AWESOME trip report!!!!

I hope to do that (minus the problems) someday!!!
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Old 05-09-2008, 08:36 PM   #14
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AWESOME trip report!!!!

I hope to do that (minus the problems) someday!!!
actually, the problems were the best part, I think....
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Old 05-09-2008, 09:09 PM   #15
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Great ride post it on ADV.
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