Monthly Archives: March 2015

Bahia de Concepción

Riding quickly to the coast the anticipation continued to build as the five bikes twist and turn like a giant snake, in unison on narrow, perfect black asphalt waiting for the first glimpse of the crystal clear blue water. The miles continue to tick off when suddenly, exiting a turn as the elevation is decreasing, heading to the coast, the blue shimmering bay comes into view just minutes north of Santa Rosalia.

image

We make the turn at the coast and continue our southbound route riding through Santa Rosalia as the sun continues to fall in the western sky. Our timing is perfect as we skirt the coast catching glimpses of the water and then turning inland and then back to the coast as the colors of the mountains and water change with each minute. As we come around one last corner we have our breath taken away from the beauty of the bay at Coyote Beach, our home for the next couple days.

image

We pull up and park our bikes in front of Carla and Jonathan’s casa, just shaking our heads to be able to stay, even briefly, along this stretch of the Bahia de Concepcíon, what Jacques Cousteau probably considered an Eighth Wonder of the World. With sunset minutes away, we unpack the bikes and walk mere steps to the water’s edge to take in the beauty as the setting sun casts a multitude of colors and shadows across the waters onto the 4,000 foot mountains on the other side of the bay.

image

image

 

Over the next couple days we went kayaking, swimming and relaxed enjoying the beauty of the bay.

image

Locals stopped by delivering fresh fish, shrimp, lobster and vegetables out of the back of their vans for just pennies of what you would normally pay. Let me tell you, lobster and eggs for breakfast is indeed a treat.

image

image

On our last day there, Randy, a neighbor, took the lot of us out on his boat for a tour, some swimming and alcohol consumption. On the boat was our captain, Randy and his nephew, Kurt and Martha Forget of Black Dog Cycle Works, who have their winter home here also, some riders from Rawhyde adventures, Dusty Wessels and Jeff Camacho, editor of Overland — Scott Brady, and our motley crew. The area is even more beautiful from the water.

image

image

image

image

These next two pictures were taken after we left, of our friend, Kurt Forget, Black Dog, swimming with a Whale Shark.

image

image

Our day ended with a cookout at Randy’s place (have you ever seen charcoal started with a blower?) and hosted by Black Dog Cycle Works. It was great end to a fantastic day spent with friends. Thanks guys!

image

image

Special Black Dog sticker

The next day we had to say our goodbyes and head back to work. Riding south along the bay we enjoyed more fantastic views, got in a little water crossing and had breakfast at Los Mandiles de Santa Lucia on the Gulf of California in Loreto. The food was good but too many gringo tourists. Much better to eat down the street at the Sea-Coffee Cafe with free WiFi.

image

image

image

Here is a YouTube video of our ride north along the bay.

After breakfast we rode back north spending the night in San Ignacio again.

image

During the night the rain moved in and the cold with it. Riding though the mountains we stopped for breakfast at one of the Baja 500 checkpoints, the El Palomar, in Santo Tomás. The El Palomar has a restaurant, bar, hotel, curiosity shop and fuel. This is a must stop on the way just to see the history here. A brick fireplace was the centerpiece of this unique establishment and I had a fantastic breakfast, Huevos Rancheros.

image

image

image

image

After breakfast, having warmed up and with full stomachs, we rode north and crossed in Tecatè again.

Till next time…Cheers 

2WANDRRs

Categories: 2-up motorcycle travel, 2WANDRRs, adventure travel, Baja, BMW, Mexico, VStrom | Leave a comment

Whale of a Kiss

image

What an incredible, humbling and spiritually fulfilling day.

We all woke pre-dawn and were out packing the bikes in anticipation of an up close and personal whale experience. Today happened to be Sharon’s birthday so I gave her a happy birthday wish and, luckily, she was feeling good enough today to go out with the whales. We hopped on the loaded bikes riding back over to the Ignacio Springs B and B and a fantastic American family style breakfast that Mary had prepared for us. They had also offered to watch our bikes for our group while we were out with the whales.

image

– Melanie, Greg, Sharon, Carla, Jonathan and Paul

Our van arrived on time and right after our second cup of coffee. Piling into the van, except Paul who had work to do, we set off on our slow, bumpy ride down the recently reconstructed road to the lagoon.

Last September the Baja got hit with a hurricane that left much of this area in near ruins. The road out to San Ignacio Lagoon runs through a tidal flats. This road washed out and has been replaced with a very rough dirt road, which our van load of riders would like to ride next time we go out. The Bed and Breakfast also was damaged badly and with many months of intense work is up and running and about 80%.

As we near the lagoon we pass a Osprey nest built on a sign on the edge of the road. Poking it’s head out of the nest of twigs and bits of paper is a baby Osprey. Mama put on a show flapping her wings and flying around in tight circles.

image

image

Arriving at the beach we receive our safety briefing and talk about how to act and respond to the whales “if” they happen to come by the boat. With lifejackets on we walk down to the waters edge and climb aboard our 20ft boats, or pongas, for our ride out to San Ignacio Lagoon. Watch and see what happened during our time with the Eastern Pacific grey whales. You can also check out our YouTube video

image

– Melanie and Carla

image

image

image

image

– Sharon

image

– Carla

image

image

image

image

image

– Melanie and Carla

image

– Mama and her baby

image

– Melanie

image

– Carla

image

– the baby blew out several times, this one creating a rainbow

The whales, it seems, enjoyed our company as much as we enjoyed their presence. The 60 foot mama kept pushing her 20 foot baby to the girls for maybe 45 minutes. At times she would swim under our boats scratching her back on the the bottom of our boat and lifting us several inches out of the water. The interaction that we had with these mammals was an incredible experience for all of us. The boat ride back to the shore was, at times, quiet with the reflection of what we had all just experienced, a truly spiritual moment.

Back on shore or hosts had prepared a fresh caught seafood stew served over rice. I pared that with a 15 peso beer for an incredible lunch. Since it was Sharon’s birthday the staff surprised her with a cake and a rendition of Happy Birthday with several singers and a guitar player.

image

image

image

I also had to assume the “Lost For a Reason” pose on the shoreline. Check this charity out doing good things for people in the places we like to ride.

image

After driving back to the bikes, we high tailed it to the coast, the town of Mulege` and then south following the coastline of the crystal clear waters of the Bahia Concepción, to our hosts’ house on a bit of paradise called Coyote Beach, just in time for a brilliant sunset as the colors faded into the bay.

image

image
Greg “WANDRR” and Melanie

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Headed to Whale Territory

As dawn approaches, the anticipation of the next several days wakes me out of a sound sleep. Today our group will continue riding south with our stop being San Ignacio with whale “touching and interaction” tomorrow.

image

Walking down to the waterfront of the Old Mill Hotel led us past many pieces of the old machinery that the English had used around the turn of the century. Some of the old jetties were also visible along the waters edge of San Quintin Bay.

image

image

The restaurant opened for breakfast and from traditional Mexican to American, the dishes delighted all palettes (the fresh squeezed OJ is fantastic).

image

A bike photo is always a “must do” so we rode our bikes through the walkways and onto the dock in front of the restaurant, the Molino Vieto.

image

A sea lion was just beyond us on the dock in the bay, curious as to what all the commotion disrupting his sunbathing was.

image

Back on the road riding south with our next stop being the Baja Cactus fuel stop in El Rosario and the iconic Mama Espinoza’s, open since 1930 when Anna Grossa Pena opened the doors of her home to business. This restaurant is where many Baja racers stop, was the first checkpoint of the 1st Baja 1000 and is on the turn where the road heads inland to the mountains and the next “real” fuel stop in almost 500 kms.

image

Heading south from this point on the “Devil’s Backbone” to Guerrero Negro there is a small town called Cataviña. This section of Highway 1 and is a great section of asphalt with twist, turns and elevation changes. Be on the lookout for slow moving or stalled vehicles on the steep sections as the road is a narrow two-lane without shoulders in areas. Cataviña has a nice hotel, the state run Hotel Mission Cataviña, and restaurant. Gasoline is available out of a 1 gallon can in the back of a pickup truck. We all stop to look around the hotel and get a gallon of gas.

image

image

     – Carla and Paul getting gas

There was also a neat little park out in the back of the hotel.

image

     – Carla, Sharon and Melanie

We crossed the border into Baja Sur, crossed into Mountain time and headed to San Ignacio, where we will be staying the night. Our first choice, the Ignacio Springs Bed and Breakfast, which is a yurt village on a natural hot springs, is full. The people who run it, Terrie and Gary, are super hosts and find accommodations for us up on the main road, for about 300 pesos a night, set up our whale watching excursion for us and invite us back in the morning for a fantastic family style breakfast.

Dinner for the evening will be at a restaurant just off the main square of town, Tootsies. The meal is good, but pricey, more than most meals in the Baja. For another option, try the street vendor on the square near the church. She cooks excellent food for a very inexpensive price. Grab a beer from the other corner and sip while munching on your carne asada tacos.

image

     – view from the street vendor

Greg “WANDRR” and Melanie

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Baja

The cold and rain has just ended and the sun is out.

Yesterday a front moved into SoCal and with it the cold temps, wind and snow at the higher elevations. Being that we are camped at 3400 feet we are lucky enough to only have to look at the snow just above us at 4500 feet up to the 8500 foot levels. But, this morning we are on our way to Baja, Mexico with a group of really cool people. A cup of coffee, bags strapped on the VStrom and we are heading first east into the Cajon pass and snow with temps near freezing on our way to San Diego.

image

Dropping out of the pass on interstate 15 the weather continues to improve and we decide to take some of the great roads in the area crossing west at Lake Elsinore on highway 74, which is a great motorcycle road up and over the mountains to the coast. With very little traffic and perfect sweeping asphalt we twist and turn on our ride to the coast to turn south, following the views of the Pacific ocean under blue skies into San Diego.

Checking into the La Quinta Inn at Old Town we hop back on the unloaded bike and ride to the great viewpoints for sunset at Sunset Point.

image

     – VStrom on the coast

image

     – Melanie on the cliffs

image

image

The crowd continued to gather as the tripods are placed facing west in anticipation of a brilliant sunset which didn’t disappoint. The conditions must have been perfect for when the last of the setting sun dipped below the horizon the much talked about “green flash” appeared for a split second as bright as I have ever seen while the surfers patiently waited on their boards for the next perfect wave.

image

Back into town for a meal at the Shakespeare British Pub and an ESB ale. Tomorrow we will be up and out early meeting the riding crew for the start of our adventure.

Morning dawn breaks to blue skies and what looks to be perfect riding weather.

image

We meet up with Sharon from FL at her hotel and wait for the rest of the group, Paul, Jonathan and Carla to arrive. They pull in shortly after and we all head east on California Route 94, the Campo Road, and to our Tecatè border crossing. Just as we are leaving the hotel a guy walked up to Jonathan asking where we are headed. After telling him Baja, the man actually questions him about the availability of gasoline in the Baja. Jonathan laughs and tells him that when there is no gas available we use dehydrated gas pellets to get us through. You never know.

image

The crossing is as easy as ever with the Mexican officials being very helpful and friendly making the paperwork go quickly and smoothly. A guard posts himself by our bikes and protects the five bikes and gear until we return.

Papers in hand and on the bikes again, we have to zig and zag on back roads to avoid the parade running through town. The ride out of Tecatè on highway 3, the Ruta Del Vino, or Wine Road, twists and turns on decent roads and past many beautiful wine fields as it drops to the coast at Ensenada, where it connects with Highway 1, which runs from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas. Nearing lunch time we come across a small food stand serving chicken and pork tacos and man are they good.

image

image

We hit Ensenada and the traffic is horrible. We are halfway through town and one of the bikes just cuts off. Luckily, there is a small bike shop just down the street about 500 yards. Pushing it down the street we manage the language barrier and get the diagnosis, failed clutch switch. After the quick fix by disabling the switch, we continue on with our stop for the night being dependent on sunset and hotel availability.

Arriving in San Quintin at sunset we opt for the Old Mill Hotel about five miles down a sandy, rocky road just as dark was settling in. Following Carla, I see her bike light squirming as she rides through the soft sand illuminated in her headlight. After a couple pucker moments we all arrived at the inn to be greeted at the entrance by the manager with a beer in hand. OK, we’ll stay. Parking the bikes and relaxing for a few minutes we wander over to the restaurant attached to the hotel, the Molino Viejo. This place has been here since 1887 and was built using old boat parts and timbers from old ships.

image

image

Our meals were served by an attentive staff and were as fresh as if I had just pulled them from the Pacific waters. I had a serving of oysters on the half shell that were out of this world delicious, a taste of fresh seafood and what was to come this entire week.

image

    – Greg, Melanie, Sharon, Carla, Jonathan and Paul

image

Relaxing in a common area by the fireplace, we cut up some wood to finish the evening chatting by a wonderful fire.

Greg “WANDRR” and Melanie

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.