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Baja Autentica - June '15

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Andreas (Edelweys) and I are headed to Baja tomorrow for a few days of some more authentic Baja destinations most people never see.  We got some good intel from Scotty Breauxman (Baja Rally)  and Christian Parker (Rottweiler Performance).

 

It's getting warmer so we are sticking to the Pacific side where the cooler water keeps the temps down a bit.

 

Our route:

BajaAutentica

 

Our plan is to slab it to Ensenada for lunch then pick up these dirt trails out to the coast near Santo Tomas and then down to Coyote Cal's for the night.

 

Day 2 will be further south along the coast to check out some beach riding, sea caves, shipwreck then staying at El Coyote. 

 

Day 3 will be more beach riding with a stop at our southernmost point, La Lobera.

 

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I'd way rather be doing that than the touratech rally, I'd love to hit Baja sometime. Are you taking the new 990?

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Just uploaded some pics to the Baja album. Yesterday was great. Lunch in Puerto Nuevo (lobster) then dirt trails out to la Bocana. Did a sweet stretch of beach then up a steep sandy hill. I was THAT close! Video Sunday.

Dinner and massage at Coyote Cal's then today coastal diet south and found new trails.

Flat tire in Colonet but right in front of a llanteria so got it fixed up right!

Lunch in Colonet where we met these adv riders from Argentina and Spain on their way to Alaska. Marcelo and Fabian.

Got to El Coyote now for a dip in the pool and a stogie :)

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What a great trip!  Andreas and I had a blast.  We found some great new trails, had great food and just generally a great time.

 

Day 1 had us leaving Irvine from my house just a bit after 8:00 am.  Our plan given our "late" start and our ambitious dirt plans later that day had us slabbing it all the way down to Ensenada for lunch.  However, we were coming up on Puerto Nuevo (just north of Ensenada) and I'd heard the lobster there is legendary, so we got off the toll road there for lunch around 11:30.  It seems each restaurant had a guy outside whose job it is to convince you to eat there.  I like competition!  We settled on a place that looked like it had a good view, Angel del Mar, but the lobster was kind of dry and I thought it was a bit overpriced, even for Mexico.  Won't be going back to that place again, for sure.

 

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After lunch we headed south through Ensenada and on our way down to Santo Tomas.  We exited right off a road that takes you west to the coast to a beach called "La Bocana."  Once at the beach, we thought of taking the road north a bit to the next beach but it was already later in the afternoon and I didn't want us to get to Coyote Cal's too late.  Since I couldn't find my GPS holder, I wasn't really looking at it but thought we could keep going south.  I saw the road resume on the other side of a stretch of beach so I set off over the soft sand and up this steep sandy hill.  I almost made it all the way up but stopped about 10 feet short!  Doh!  I couldn't get it the rest of the way up and it looked like Andreas was struggling in the sand below, so I turned the bike around and headed back down to help him.  We backtracked a bit and found a crossover point to the road south and then kept going, only be stopped at a gate!  So we backtracked all the way back to the highway and then down a bit to Santo Tomas and then up the hill on a dirt road to Coyote Cal's that I've been on many times before.
 
Here's a look at our tracks at La Bocana that show our aborted trip across the beach, a short but failed attempt across a farmer's field, a successful try to get across the wash and then where we were turned back at the gate.  This trip was, for me at least, all about exploring and finding new trails, so I didn't mind having to turn back that much.  This screenshot is from the Rever app

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We got to Coyote Cal's around 5:30 or 6:00 I think.  Just in time to enjoy happy hour.  Dinner was a surprise:  chicken!  It was so delicious.  Ta did a baked chicken on top a bed of potatoes, so all the juices dripped down on the potatoes.  Mmmmm.  They usually do fish of some kind there which is always good but this was a good departure.

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A cigar...

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Beautiful view of the ocean there

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Day 2's journey had us setting out south on dirt towards the highway.  For some reason the track didn't get loaded so it was all on memory.  You can see from the overview on Rever that we turned left too early and had to circle back to the coast.  All  part of the adventure!

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After we got over the coastal mountain range and down into the San Vicente area, I decided I wanted to go right this time and explore a different way out to the highway.  I'd seen from the map there are a few ways back to the highway in that valley.  We ended up at the end of the road south at an olive orchard so we headed back north and took the first road on the right.  That turned out to be really cool!  It wound its way back over a few hills and around some really great ranchos and sure enough, we found ourselves back at the highway just north of the military checkpoint.  These roads are super big-bike friendly too.
 

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We got down to Colonet pretty quick and instead of eating lunch there first and then doing some beach riding to the sea cave, we decided to do lunch later.  Getting out on the beach was a lot easier this time in 2nd gear than it was in first gear last time!  We then rode north on the beach for a few miles until it ended at the sea cave and checked that out.

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We get back to Colonet to gas up and find some lunch and I find my rear tire is flat!  I have all the stuff to fix it but we happened to be right next to a llantera or tire shop, so I just had them fix it.  I thought it would make for some good video at least.  They patched the tube (incredibly well) for 100 pesos, or about $6.50.
 
We stopped at this little place for some tacos and met these guys, Marcelo and Fabian, who are riding from S. America all the way up to Alaska!  They were very nice and we shared a drink before they had to get going.

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After that we headed south until we got to the road that leads east up into the mountains to Rancho El Coyote Meling.  It got quite hot too, about 94.  But that made a dip in the pool all that much better!

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El Coyote is actually quite close to Mike's Sky Rancho but the road in between them is definitely NOT big bike friendly!  I did like the staff, pool, rooms and food much better than at Mike's.  I was able to make reservations very easily on their Facebook page.  Alfredo was our main host and he is a super nice guy and took really good care of us.

 

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The food there will knock your socks off!  It was easily the best meal I've ever had in all of Mexico!  Their chef is Paola and she is amazing.  We had chicken Cordon Bleu and it still makes my mouth water.  There was a LOT of food too.  I ate like a field hand, which was easy since we were so hungry.  The whole thing from soup to nuts (and beers) was $65, a bargain.  I would like to plan a Baja trip w/camping and have at least one night be there.  They have a large grassy area for tents with showers, etc...
 
Here's that food.  Breakfast the next morning was equally impressive.

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We also met this gringo named Michael.  He's really cool.  He does a lot of solar power work there at the ranch and elsewhere in Baja.  Here he is getting ready to go single track riding on his 125.  Note the lopping shears.  He's a sprightly 70 years old!

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Day 3 we left El Coyote and it was already 92 degrees at about 8:00 am!  But by the time we got to the coast, it was down to a cool 68.  That is why you want to stick to the Pacific side in Baja in the summer!

 

We road some nice dirt trails along the coast south to Camalu but then just slabbed it all the way to La Lobera near El Rosario.  We were going to ride some more beach just south of San Quintin near the Mission Resort but Andreas had his fill of sand I think :)

 

Our route

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Stopped at the shipwreck

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Andreas posing

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La Lobera is this collapsed sea cave/inlet where sea lions and seals take refuge.  There is some kind of marine research station there too.

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It's very close to El Rosario so we headed over there next to check in at the Baja Cactus Inn and then over to Mama Espinoza's for a late lunch.  We met this crew of geologists from Aberdeen University (Scotland) who were  doing a month long study a bit south of El Rosario.  It was Gui, Dugmar and Amanda.  Gui and Amanda are Brazilian and Dugmar is Venezuelan.  I've heard Venezuela has the most beautiful women in the world and Dugmar proved that :)  They had some trouble with their Nissan Pathfinder and came back later that night luckily with everything resolved.  We had a late dinner together and then breakfast again the next morning.
 
This turned out to be kind of a rest day for us.  We didn't do a lot of dirt; did a lot of pavement and got done early.  We took advantage of that by taking a nap after lunch and just hanging around El Rosario.  We ended up buying some really good tequila (100% agave, reposado) and enjoyed that as well.
 

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So in case you haven't noticed by now, Andreas is a professional photographer.  He just posted the rest of his photos on his own blog, which I'd highly recommend you check out.  I've been lucky to have ridden with photographers before like Tolga Basol and Alfonse "Fonzie" Palaima.

 

I will post some of the most stunning, but the are all in the gallery album for this trip.  Just click on the gallery link at the top and you'll see the "Baja Autentica" album.

 

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