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.
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.
– VStrom on the coast
– Melanie on the cliffs
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
– Greg, Melanie, Sharon, Carla, Jonathan and Paul
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