The Trip - The road north...leaving Cabo San Lucas
After a two days I had my fill of Cabo. While I was contemplating going back to ride the dunes, my clothes were now washed, I was well fed and rested, the route back was planned out, and it was time to go.
Repacking the bags I noticed that sand had gotten into the left case. If you look carefully you will se that there is a gap between the bottom of the case and the side of the case. While I did hit the sand a bit while riding I didn't think that it was hard enough to cause this damage. I quickly deduced from further observation that this happened in the more serious crash from Bahia de Los Angeles to San Francisquito.
Photo - Sand in case
I decided to do a more thorough inspection and notices that the plastic rear mud guard and chain guard had broken as well.
Photo - Chain and mud guard - easily broken
This however didn't bother me as I had planned to replace it anyways with a Touratech part and knew from the beginning that it was likely to break. With no other significant damage I packed up, gassed up, and was on my way.
For the road out of town I chose Mex 19. This meant that I had completed the southern loop of the Cabos and was headed back to La Paz. Stopping for a fish taco right after the first speed bump (topes) at Todos Santos I met two older Americans who had just crewed on the Baja 2000.
One of them warned me that as I was leaving San Juanico and going along the salt flats to stick to the mountains as the silt beds were very deep and had completely stopped many racers from competing. He said that the composition of the silt was like fine talcum powder and that when it was wet that it turned to a slippery muck which had stuck many a bike and car.
Since I was travelling solo he said that it was imperative that I avoid this stuff lest I be there for several days. He also re-iterated what the books said to stay off of the high road due to the very deep sand drifts and lack of normal traffic in this region to assist should I get stuck.
I put this information in my mental notes and trucked on into to La Paz where I planned to stop for a coffee and some gas.
La Paz is a city that I'd like to spend more time in as I heard that it has some of the benefits of being in the Southern Cape but without the hype and problems of Cabo San Lucas. But for now it served it's purpose as a gas stop on the way north. (kinda, read on)
Entering La Paz I encountered only the second group of motorcyclists my entire trip. From the back I could see that they were riding BMW's and I was overcome with joy! Right there in the middle of the road we found a place to pull over and talk for a bit. Shown in the picture below are Adam Jones, Mike Jones, and Lee Garrett of Engle Motors a BMW/Triumph motorcycle dealership in Kansas City, Missouri.
Photo - Fellow BMW riders on the road in La Paz, BCS
They were about to head south and were looping out of town while I was heading north. In their group was an F650, an F650GS Dakar with BMW cases, and an R1100GS. So far they had done mostly highway and the occassional dirt road but again they had come many more miles from KC!
Unfortunately the R1100GS had a broken/damaged shock so riding it must have been unpleasant. We only got the chance to speak for a while and I told them about the magical sand dunes and part of my trip so far. After we exchanged e-mails and took a few more photos I wheelied away happy that these kindred souls were enjoying the Baja as much as I was,
After meeting up with Adam, Mike, and Lee - I checked my mileage driven and decided that I could make it to El Cien where my map showed a Pemex station. El Cien (The One Hundred) is thus named because it is exactly 100 km north of La Paz. According to my calculations even at top highway speed (burning more fuel), I could make it to El Cien with gas to spare.
Warmed up from the coffee the first 70km to El Cien were uneventful but then the fuel warning indicator went on. It was only the second time in this trip that I had encountered it. The tank holds 4.5 Gallons including a .5 gallon reserve so I figured that I would have enough to make to El Cien.
Being cautious I asked a traveller stopped by the side of the road exactly how much further it was to El Cien and it the Pemex was open. He replied that it was 30 km more but that they had closed the Pemex some time ago and that there was no gas.
Damn! Another mental mistake this one possibly a bad one. I had driven this same route and noticed that the Pemex was closed yet on my return trip I was depending on the range of the bike and for supplies being there instead of doing the safe thing and refueling more frequently in La Paz.
Without much option to return to La Paz as it was now out of range I crept on slowly to El Cien hoping that one of the locals would be selling gas from a 55 gallon drum. Between La Paz and Ciudad Constitucion there is a whole lot of nothing except El Cien so I hoped that some enterprising person had decided to open up a personal gas station to serve wayward travellers.
I was in luck as the second house from the left had the usual gas in 55 gallon drums. He asked how much I needed and I replied "between 15 and 17 Liters" which was about the maximum capacity of the bike.
Photo - Gas station at El Cien
He first filled the gas into a bucket that was marked with various levels by starting the suction through a hose (with his breath). I was glad that he did this instead of me as gas fumes can make you quite sick.
Relieved to get gas I happily paid the 40% surcharge as otherwise I was stuck. One other benefit to this sideshow was that I actually see how much gas in total the bike took and how much it weighed.
Photo - 17 Liters of gas
From El Cien to the north it was a great big straight road with nothing going on except for a great sunset. The sky this night was rather pretty turning all kinds of colors and making the desert a surreal landscape.
Photo - Mex 1 from El Cien northward
Photo - Sunset along Mex 1
That night I was able to make it all the way to Ciudad Constitucion where I refilled from the Pemex so as to be ready to go the next day and stayed the night at a local hotel that was nice enough to let me put the bike in the lobby for safekeeping (no that is not your Christmas present!)..
Photo - Bike in Lobby
For the most part I was never really concerned about anyone stealing the bike as it is quite heavy and hard to move but I did carry a disc lock and flexible lock (seen in photo as red thing on bag). These didn't add too much weight and were for piece of mind most likely rather than actual security.
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