The Trip - Guerro Negro back to the border
Photo - bike at the end of the trip
With the left saddlebag completely destroyed and the bike much harder to ride due to the weight imbalance - my trip was basically over.
I had done most of what I set out to do. Test the bike and my skills, find some peace and quiet places to relax, and meet some new and interesting people.
I hightailed it on the highway making it to Guerro Negro after dark. Guerro Negro is the first town south of the border which denotes Baja California North (BCN) from Baja California South (BCS). A company town with the world's largest evaporative saltworks it is also a popular tourist destination in the winter for whale watching at nearby Scammon's Lagoon.
Guerro Negro also has the only ATM in Baja between Ensenada and La Paz. Being a holiday weekend though it was out of pesos and therefore not in order. Changing dollars for pesos by buying a can of peanut butter at the local supermarket, I managed to get a great room and dinner at Malarrimos hotel and restaurant.
There I met Zane & Maria Bailey of Carlsbad who were among the nicest people that I had met the whole trip. Both were experienced Baja travellers so after dinner we exchanged stories and tips about which were the coolest roads to take.
In the morning we left at about the same time headed back for the border at Tijuana about 450 miles away. This ride was basically all Mex 1 at about 60 mph.
I stopped for breakfast and gas at Catavina then took gas again in Ensenada. I really wanted to cross over from west to east again to see Coco's and ride the Puerticitos road stopping at Alfonsina's but with the bike in the shape that it was in and with my vacation days ending I felt it best to hightail it back to the States.
Nothing exceptional happened on this day except that I pushed my endurance to the limit. It was a very long day of unconfortable riding with crosswinds of 40 mph which pushed the unbalanced bike all over the road. I was crushed between the tank hump and the broken bag which was lashed onto the back of the bike.
Everytime a semi or a bus went by on the other side I braced for the wind impact. Stopping was no fun either as I had to do a sidesaddle dismount so as not to drop the bike the way that it was weighted.
From Ensenada to Tijuana I took the paid toll road which was very picturesque but extremely windy in the late afternoon. I could see 6-8 foot breaking waves all along the coast with the wind blowing the tops off of other waves.
I arrived in Tijuana and threaded the line through the cars to the front of the line crossing the border. Stopping to talk to the US customs agent he asked me "citizenship" and I repled "US" to which he said "go ahead". That was it. I was back in the US.
I collected my trailer from a local gas station where I had it serviced, my car from the Volvo dealership (also serviced while I was away), and some personal effects from my good friend Henry Kasindorf's house.
After a few hours, I was back on the road trailering up to San Francisco having started the morning in Guerro Negro, BCS. A long day of motorcycling was done. for the whole trip I clocked 2,700 miles in just over two weeks time. There was a 50/50 mix of road from highway to dirt. When I got back I had just about no tread left on the rear MT21 from pounding it on the highway in one day from Guerro Negro to San Diego but overall on the trip it lasted very well.
Other impressions was that the bike was great overall. The things that I broke deserved to be broken or one would expect that they would be broken due to the wear and tear. Lots of things came loose (including the subframe bolts) due to the constant vibration from the roads.
I'm planning the futher modifications to the bike based on my hard gathered knowledge and having experienced the Baja I'm raring to go again!
When I took the bike off the trailer at CalBMW Triumph we noticed that the rear rim lock was very loose and that a few of the bolts/screws for the rear sub-frame were loose as well. Just a last and additional note to remind everyone to take the time to check out their bikes thoroughly when riding off-road as the vibrations can do wonders to loosen up screws.
If you made it this far and are looking for another good story about the Baja try this story from Motorcycle Online which covers the Loreto 2000. I went on just about the same trails that they did - you'll see that the concerns for traveling in the Baja are not to be taken lightly - but that's what adventures are all about, right?
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