Three Bikes Enter, Two Bikes Leave (The Return Trip to Baja)
My second experience adventure touring through Baja was quite a bit different from the first. While the initial excursion included a lot of highway miles and relaxing with cold cervesas (not a bad way to go, mind you), the follow-up visit included equal amounts of on- and off-road riding, with the latter being some of the best times I've had on a bike in a long time. Little did I know that of the three bikes that went down, only two would be ridden out...
The trip started with a leisurely jaunt from Phoenix to Yuma on a Friday evening. The plan was to spend the night there and hop across the border first thing Saturday morning. The crossing was fairly uneventful, and we quickly found highway five en route to San Felipe.
Having arrived in San Felipe, we were surprised to see the normally sleepy little town bustling with people. It was the weekend before Cinco de Mayo, so the crowds were already building. After revitalizing ourselves with fish tacos and cervesas, we headed out for the destination of the day -- Mike's Sky Ranch. After blasting up the great dirt road to Mike's, I was happy to see that we weren't the only bikers planning to stay there that night. In fact, the place was packed to the gills with bikers from all over. (This was the Mike's I'd heard so much about...) One thing's for sure -- those two 950s really stood out among all the "little" bikes in attendance. In fact, quite a few of the guys there commented on how surprised they were at the capabilities of the big twin (especially as we were passing some of the thumpers on the way up).
After a night of great food, beer and conversation, the generator shut down and we all headed for bed. We had a big day of riding ahead, as we were dirt bound for the Pacific Ocean.
I'm not sure what it was about the dirt road up the back way to Mike's, but I was having the time of my life pushing the 950 off road. There were several instances on that stretch where I caught myself saying, "you know... there is no better place to be on the entire planet than right here, right now." I love it when the state of amazement hits you like that. This is why we ride.
After shooting across the rest of the peninsula via dirt roads, we made it as far west as possible -- the Pacific. With a nice cool breeze shooting off the ocean, it was just about perfect. We played around on the beach for while, then continued exploring more dirt roads up the coast. It seemed endless.
The fuel gauges were getting a bit low, so we jumped back on the highway and made our way up to Ensinada for a nice lunch. Not the nicest city in Mexico, but it served as a pit stop. After a quick jaunt back on highway three, we cut up north through Oso Negro and once again found some incredible dirt roads. (But not before stopping for one last cold cervesa.)
It went from semi-wilderness to absolute middle-of-nowhere in the blink of eye, and we were quickly reminded of how vast this land really is. We had a lot of fun making our way up the dirt, and found a great little camp site nestled in some higher elevation pines. After a relaxing night around the fire, we turned in early and planned on heading up to the border in the morning.
Day three came to an abrupt halt, however, when Carl's KTM decided it didn't want to produce any spark a couple of miles into the trail. We tore it apart and tried to find the problem, but we were stumped. It was about then we realized that we had to leave the bike here and return later with a trailer. (Needless to say, Carl wasn't thrilled with this solution, but we really didn't have a choice.) We towed the bike a little further up the trail to a point where a little side road would provide some additional cover for would-be poachers. But despite our best efforts, we know that it was only a matter of time before the banditos would find a lovely motorcycle sitting there for the taking. We did have a steel cable and a Xena lock to secure it to a tree, but we knew it was still a crap shoot.
So we loaded up extra gear on my 950, and Carl jumped on the back of Paul's for the long ride back to Phoenix. The long, long, hot ride back to Phoenix.
Fortunately, this ride report has a happy ending. We all made it back to Phoenix safely, and Carl shot back down the next day with his trailer to find the bike and his duffel bag sitting there untouched.
A pretty decent ending to an outstanding adventure.