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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all, I'm currently based near Loreto, Baja, Mexico with as many toys as I could bring down. My TW, Orbit, is sporting a 230cc 6 speed; this was to be the first long ride for the engine in Mexico.

This ride was the 1st overnight tour through the mountains that loom above Loreto: the Sierra Giganta, a spectacular, rugged desert mountain mass. The steep side faces East, above the Sea of Cortez. The west slope is more gradual, but deeply indented by canyons and cliffs. Roads are marginal, some little better than washouts. Traffic is nearly zero. Keeping in mind that this is early December, there is a little bit of water in the streams, and the desert is greener than it will be in a month or so.

The trip was to be a circle loop of some sort. Maps and Google Earth showed a number of options, long, mid, and short lengths, and varying amounts of pavement vs dirt. The route I ended up using looked like this, taking the southern leg first and travelling clockwise.
Sierra Giganta loop.jpg


I hit Loreto for gas in mid morning and turned West, going to Mission San Javier, a beautiful historic mountain mission. The road is paved that far except for a few washouts and repairs, and has some fun twisties. Unfortunately a couple of pix refuse to upload.

Immediately outside of San Javier the road turns to a rough but well traveled dirt track. It crosses Rio San Javier many times. Each crossing includes a drop down into the very rocky river bed, some distance among big rocks, and a water crossing. None of the water crossings were big- got water over the boots in one. Very unusual to see water flowing in this arid desert. This particular section of river had needed pavement, complete with roadside chapel. Couldn't be certain whether prayers were that the river not rise- or that the vehicle stay in one piece long enough to get the passengers home!!


P1031255.JPG P1031253.JPG

Finally the track left the river- and turned into a 1 lane dusty washboard section lasting for about 30 miles. TW managed 30-35 mph over the bumps. Only 3 other vehicles from San Javier to Highway 53. That was the east to west crossing of the Baja Peninsula. I was somewhat surprised to find Hwy 53 to be paved with only a couple of sections under repair. It's not a bad road by Mexican standards. The pavement is a little rough, and cattle are always a concern, often right beside the road. Drivers were super friendly, a few with bikes in the back of pickups, waving and flashing lights to warn me of cows. As the Google Earth picture shows, 53 is straight for nearly ever. I turned in to visit both Santo Domingo and Villa Fransisco, but didn't stop. Both were very small communities. Santo Domingo probably had gas but I was carrying plenty.

With the Pacific Ocean in mind, I decided to make for Barranca to camp- it's a little-known surfer spot with a beach that stretches forever. Only the fishermen were there, pangas dragged up above the tide line. The monster tires were in their element in the soft sand, sometimes sinking in several inches in water saturated areas. Never a problem.
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I found only one location with dry sand above the tide line. Everywhere else, the tide line came right to the base of the low sand bluffs, leaving no safe place to camp. This spot had a few small palm thatched shelters.
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The night was spent against the backdrop of the roar of crashing surf, punctuated (for irony) by the roar of 2 or 3 big fishing vessels perhaps a mile off shore, probably dragging trawl nets at very low speeds. The only traffic along the beach was a couple of policia driving past and waving.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Camp cooking this trip was towards the quick side, so after coffee and hot cereal, I packed everything up and headed into Barranca for fuel. That was found at a little store, and pumped from barrels. Back on the pavement, next destination Mision La Purisima. The road begins it's Northeasterly bend there and becomes a little more interesting. Here the highway arrives at the edge of the canyon.
P1041264.JPG

Wherever you find brand spanking new road work in Mexico, it means you are coming to the end of it. The asphalt was getting fresher and fresher as I came to La Purisima, so the end had to be near.
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By San Isidro, another 4 kilometers, the "road" had degenerated into a rough, heavily traveled, one lane village track. In testimony to the poor roads in Mexico, a recent model truck was broken down- and had stopped right where the front axle fell out from under it- right in the middle of the road. Orbit just zipped on by.

A few kilometers further on came an important intersection- and the beginning of the slowest part of the trip. One road led south down the back side of the Sierra Giganta and would complete the loop at San Javier. The other route (shown as Highway 53) would take me on a longer trip, returning to the East side of the peninsula, and Highway 1 to Loreto. Also at that junction, the road turned to a single lane of rocks and dirt. Mostly rocks. I chose the longer route, and immediately climbed a steep switchback series to look down over the valley.
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This quickly proved to be the world's worst "highway". No typical automobile would be able to traverse it, and most SUV's would be forced to turn back at some point. The through trip is strictly for very serious off road machines. It's long, the route is difficult to follow, and the road barely exists in many places. The most interesting, fun sections were the worst ones, such as this downhill section that has eroded away to nothing but boulders.
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Of course, the TW handled it easily. Most of the long section was extremely rocky and rough. The center of the single track was a foot deep pile of fist-to-skull sized rocks, both sharp and rounded. In many places the road had been taken over by large flash floods. "Patches" and "repairs" had been done by a bulldozer operated by a blind fellow with both hands tied behind his back. Even down towards the junction with Highway 1, the flat stretches were too rough to make better than 20 mph.

At long last, the reward for all that work was hitting tarmac again, where #53 unceremoniously meets Highway 1. From there an easy ride back to Loreto. The GPS says the trip was 256 miles in length, and average speed was 20.5 mph. The main price I paid was sore shoulders and legs from standing on the pegs- all the while being pounded by those rocks!!

The bike handled it beautifully. My rear bag carried almost all the gear, weighed around 40 lbs with tent, sleeping bag and air mattress, food, stove & pot, tools and air pump, a small folding chair, netbook, map, some extra clothes. On rides where I'm not familiar with the territory I carry 2 gallons of gas on the front rack. The 230 6 speed used 4.25 gallons of gas for the trip for an average of 60 mpg.

Roy
 

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and our forecast tonight, is 1deg (yes 1) and four inches of snow
 

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Interesting ride report and some great photos!... Timely, too.
Mrs Trip and I are in Douglas, Az tonite. Tomorrow we head south into Mexico!

Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk 2
 

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Thanks for the great pic and report my friend. Wish I was with you. Good to hear the 230 6 speed is as great as we know it is!

any fish?

Ronnydog
 

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Great job Vagabond! You seem really comfortable down there! I can only dream about being so relaxed. Maybe someday soon I will get on-board and go down there with you and Ronnydog and quit missing out! Thank You for sharing.
Ride Well!
Jimbo
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks to everyone for all the GREAT comments. Have some further rides to write up, no moss growing on this rolling stone!! I'm taking off again tomorrow morning to a remote hotsprings, though will wait till the day cools off to jump in. Baja is excellent for the TW. Huge open spaces, few rules (I could have ridden miles up that beach with no problems) and tons to explore.

I have a few rules for exploring Mexico: First, keep your stuff low key. Don't flash expensive gear, try to avoid shiny anything. Let your bike get really dirty! Set up the fancy tent later in the evening.

Second: Be friendly, enjoy the locals, let them get to know you. Ask them where to camp. Mexicans are 99.999% the nicest folks in the world. That last millionth percent are just so impoverished they can't resist temptation. If you act like you belong, your chances of having trouble are pretty near zero.

Third: when in deep backcountry: Don't go down a "road" that isn't on a good map. I'm using National Geographic's maps of Baja, 4 very detailed sides. I also pre-load Google Earth into a netbook which I can interface with GPS; I keep careful track of where I am at all times. (Should do a separate post about that excellent little trick) Anyhow, there ARE folks living and perhaps...er farming? way back in the desert. If the map shows it as a road, they'll be expecting guests like me. If not, consider it a long private driveway!

Anyone who is interested, email or PM me and lets get together for a ride down here!! It's very relaxed, fun, and easy.

Roy
 

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Hi Roy, Mrs. Trip and I landed in La Paz this morning. We're riding north on Friday. Probably not going north of Santa Rosalia this trip. Whereabouts are you in Baja? I know of a new TW owner in Ensensda
On edit, I see you are in Loreto! That's on the way! I will pm you later on today. I have some route questions for you.

Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk 2
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hey Rhodetrip, PM sent. GREAT to hear from another T-dubber in Baja! -- R.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ronnydog, got a 9 lb mahi mahi (dorado) last week. Yummy. Havin a turrible time choosing between sail & bike. Life's little problems. C'mon down!! -- R
 

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I caught a cold!
Are you aware of this????

TEMPORARY BOAT IMPORTATION LAWS HAVE CHANGED FOR BAJA

Be aware that the temporary boat importation laws have changed for Baja and now every boat that will be going down to Baja needs to have a temporary boat import permit. Inflatable boats that can collapse and fit into a bag are the only boats that are exempt from this law.

To get your temporary boat importation you will need to stop at the border on your way into Baja and have your paperwork in order. You can go into the Aduanas (customs) building at the border and they will direct you to the Banjercito where you will pay and get your permit.

You will need to cross at the Otay Mesa or Tecate border crossings (you are NOT able to get your permit at the San Ysidro, El Chaparral, port of entry).

You will need to have the following paperwork with you:

-Boat registration
-Motor serial number
-Copy of the title
-If there is a lienholder on the boat, you will need to have a letter from the lienholder granting permission to take the vessel to Mexico

The fee is about $50 and can be paid in pesos, dollars or by Visa or Mastercard. The permit is good for 10 years.

If your boat is already in Baja, you will need to go to Pichilingue in La Paz to complete this process. Only the owner of the boat can complete this process for the boat at Pichilingue (they will not allow a power of attorney).


Most marinas also require on-the-water boat liability insurance, which Discover Baja can provide.


FMM PORT OF ENTRY

If you are getting a prepaid FMM, tourist permit, from Discover Baja, please be aware that it is now mandatory for us to know the border crossing you will be using to drive into Baja (If crossing at Mexicali, you must specify east or west). The price for prepaid FMMs is $35.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Much rather catch fish than colds!! Can't imagine what bait you were using, but avoid it in the future if possible.

That rule is only new for trailerable power boats entering by road. Boats arriving by water have needed TIP's for a long time, and it carries some significant advantages. The temporary import permit lasts 10 years and allows you to bring parts, supplies, & materials "for your boat" into Mexico duty free.

I also understand that personal automobiles must now (enacted January 1) get a TIP for stays over 3 days. Baja used to be a 'free zone' but no longer is. I have been told if your vehicle was already in Baja on Jan 1, you do not need to get a permit. Goodness knows no one checks for these permits as you move around Mexico- or re-enter the US. I entered on December 12 '13 at the Tecate border crossing- with a car load of stuff including the TW. The crossing guys first asked to see registration for the TW, which I presented. They began to look around the stuff inside the car- which was very packed. Last thing I wanted was to get into all that gear. I handed them the TIP for the boat. "what's that for" "this allows me to bring in materials, parts, & supplies for my boat". Questions ended immediately and they sent me on. It was very early in the morning and all the offices at Tecate were still closed, so I continued to Ensenada where all the government offices are in one location. I got my Tourist Visa renewed there.
 

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hey Vagabond!

I like your rr, and I see you have done many chages to your tw. Now that I have one, I am dreaming of driving down the peninsula, take a pic and return.. on the tw of course. Do you have build tread somewhere here or there that you can put a link to? Or you will be getting some pms from me.

Like it!

If you need something I am in Ensenada!

Damasovi
 

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