Friday, June 06, 2014

SoCal TT 2014

700 miles on the back roads of Southern California

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Mexico - June 30th

Los Angeles to San Quintin

I left Los Angeles early on Sunday morning, June 30th. I crossed the border in Tijuana. At 9:30 Sunday morning it was deserted, three or four other vehicles. I parked the bike in Mexican customs and walked over to get my tourist card, I was the only one around and it took about 5 minutes. I had taken care of the vehicle import on line the week before. A friendly wave from the customs guy and I was in Mexico. I rode along the "fence" out to the beach and got on the toll road. 60 pesos later I was in Ensenada, on the beach, weaving between tourists. The ride along the coast was cool and foggy. None of the extreme heat hitting Mexicalli and points inland. 335 miles from L.A. I stopped for the night in San Quintin. The dirt road out to The Old Mill had a few sand traps (I'd rather be held up by banditos then ride my old R100R in the sand) but the destination was worth it. A mello spot right on the harbor with a very nice restaurant, "The Molino Viejo" next door.  Great sleep, quiet and cool.

Mexico - July 1st

San Quintin to Guerrero Negro

I left The Old Mill Hotel early and headed south. Again, the weather was cool and foggy. I stopped at Mama Espinoza's in El Rosario for breakfast. All the stickers in the US wind-up in Baja (Cool graphics advertising Trucks, Boats, Bikes.....) stuck to every window in the state. The road headed inland and the temperature climbed higher, but not uncomfortably so. The desert landscape filled with cacti is spectacular here. I found gas in Catavina and continued south. I stopped for the night in Guerrero Negro. This feels like a wild west town with it's one main street and everything covered in dust. Another great seafood diner and a comfortable room at the Hotel Malarrimo.

Mexico July 2nd

Guerrero Negro to Mulege

The day started cool on the west coast. By the time I arrived in San Ignacio it was warming up, Santa Rosalia was hot, and Mulege hotter.

San Ignacio is an oasis surrounded by desert. The river rises out of the sand, gives the town fish and shady trees, then disappears back under the sand. The central square is covered by huge shade trees. At one end of the square is the mission, with it's beautiful, cool, interior.

Just before the coast, going south east, the road passes through the mountains before dropping down to the sea at Santa Rosalia. This road is road bike riding heaven. New, super smooth asphalt, tight and steep uphill and downhill sweepers, and a whitewashed verge to set off the jet black road surface against the grey desert.

Santa Rosalia was a french mining town. There are huge, disused, industrial revolution, mining machines, wood houses, and french style municipal buildings.
There is also a church by Gustave Eiffel, fabricated in france and shipped to Mexico.

Mulege seems to be a laid back little town. It also is an oasis, inland from the coast, and filled with palm trees. The Las Casitas hotel is an oasis in the oasis with a spot for the motorcycle in the courtyard.

Mexico - July 3rd

Mulege to La Paz

300 miles in the sun. Lots of desert and cacti between Mulege and La Paz. Found some delicious shade, water, and consume soup at a roadside loncheria in Ciudad Constitucion. And a bed at the Pension California in La Paz.

Mexico - July 4th

La Paz to Mazatlan

Pension California
The coast of Baja

The hilarious cerveza school of spanish
My cabina

Manta reys jumping in the Sea of Cortez at sunset

Mexico - July 5th


I'm sitting in the Hotel Belmar. The sun is setting, the Mazatlan Malecon is getting crowded. There is a brass band playing somewhere nearby, radios are blasting, people are getting drunk and starting to shout. Guys with guitars are arriving, and it's really windy. 

Mexico - July 6th

Mazatlan to Durango

"Espinazo Del Diablo". Tight and twisted, up through the mountains and into the fog. Narrow as it follows the contours. It kinks and curls around the new, fast and smooth, "cuota" road.


Took some time to find the hotel, circled for a while, then stopped in the middle of an intersection to chat with a friendly female traffic cop. Saturday night and the streets are filled with musicians and the Cathedral is full with parishioners.  The priest is preaching, everyone in their best clothes.....and you can't buy a drink in this town because Sunday is election day. Durango!