Monthly Archives: October 2012

Ride to the Observatory in the National Park Sierra de San Pedro Martir


Vasile:

After a few days on the beach with nothing else but food and cervezas, it was time for me to jump back on the bike.

I talked to Kiki, the camp’s owner, and he showed me on the map some nice places to go ride. Since I was by myself, I asked him how technical the road was, and mostly how sandy, since a big 500 lbs pig can get stuck very easily. He told me that I shouldn’t have any problems going to all those places with a big bike. But I later realized that this was coming from a former Baja racer.

I woke up around 6 o’clock on Monday morning and did the regular routine: pushed the bike out of the camp, went to OXXO (the Mexican 7eleven), had coffee, sandwich and a bag of peanuts, which would be the meal for the day.

As I was riding out of town I could see to the East the sun almost rising and to the West, just above the mountains, the full moon was bright orange.

The only directions I had for the day was a map I had from Kiki, and my notes. I had no Mexican maps on the GPS, so I was using the GPS just to track places I was going, so I can find my way back in case I got lost.

Outside San Felipe, at the storage place, I left the highway and went on the gravel road. Right away I was charged by 5 dogs. I was in a playful mood and I was going slow, so the dogs could catch up with me. Once they got close enough, I pinned the throttle, started fishtailing the bike, and left the dogs with a mouth full of sand.

I rode out into the desert until the first crossroads. Kiki told me that when I would see a dead cow at the crossroad, I should turn right. So there it was (the first Mexican road sign that helps).

Now I was heading towards Laguna Diablo (Dry Lake). Soon enough the sand started to be deeper and deeper. I shortly realized that when the locals mention sand, they have a different meaning for it than we do. I thought I knew sand and that I could ride it no problem. But this one was a totally different definition of it. I made it through without a crash, and then I found myself in this big opening called Laguna Diablo. This is where my racing hormones kicked in. And before I knew it, I looked down and I was doing 130 km/ hr.

Got back to Hwy 3 into San Matias, and then back on the gravel towards Mike’s Sky Ranch. The road elevates to about 4000 ft (about 1300 m) and the scenery changes dramatically, with lots of vegetation and nice ranches on both sides of the road. The ride is a lot of fun, twisty, not too sandy and rocky, up through the mountain (recommended to intermediate riders). Then I went through a water crossing, and right after that I was at Mike’s Sky Ranch. Looks like a nice place, but I didn’t see anyone around. Finally a lady came out and I confirmed with her that the road to El Coyote Ranch was the one that I was looking at, just behind Mike’s Sky Ranch. I asked her for “gasoline”, she said no, and I was on my way. From this point everything changed from a good road to a really technical climb, a lot of washouts, big rocks, not something that I would recommend doing by yourself on a big bike.

Within 10 minutes after leaving Mike’s the road climbs from the bottom of the valley to the very top of the mountain, and drops down just as fast on the other side. I started to hear Kiki’s words in my head “Be careful, there’s two roads that you can take from Mike’s to El Coyote, and one of them is washed out”. When I saw a six foot drop in front of me, I realised I had taken the washed out one. I stopped my bike and started walking to look for a spot down in the ravine and up on the other side. First one that I came across was doable, but if I had to come back the same way it would have been too steep to climb. I walked a little bit more and I found a safer place to take my bike down through the water and up to the other side. From that point until I hit El Coyote Ranch, the road was just as bad, lots of washouts, sand, big boulders, to sum it up a lot of fun for a guy like me.

El Coyote Ranch is a very nice place, scenic and “muy tranquilo”. I met three American guys riding their bikes there, and they were really surprised to see me riding there on a big bike. Alfredo, the owner of El Coyote, is a very nice and friendly guy. I bought some gas from him, and I asked him if he can contact Camelia in San Felipe if I decided to stay there over night.

I hit the road towards the Observatory, through The National Park Sierra de San Pedro Martir. This is a really nice twisty paved road climbing from sea level to almost 3000m in the National Park. It was the first part of the trip where I could just lay back and enjoy the view and the music in my helmet.

Just before I entered the park I was surprised to see a sign saying that you are not allowed with a motorcycle in the park. But you can drive a car in the park. I just ignored the sign and kept going. When I reached the office, after a little debate with the ranger, he let me ride my bike in the park, with the promise that I would stick to the road.

Two km before the Observatory, there was a closed gate. Few minutes later, a local worker drove by in an old Beetle, and he was so nice to give me a ride. His English was just as good as my Spanish, but that didn’t stop us to have a good conversation and a good laugh on the way to the Observatory.

On the way back, I was considering stopping at El Coyote for the night, but I was having too much fun riding my motorcycle, so I decided to return to San Felipe. This time I took a different route back to avoid the big wash out I went through in the morning. It was still very technical, but not too bad. As my fuel was going low in my tanks, I started to feel that the bike was lacking power (which is the first sign that the fuel filters get clogged from the bad gas). At some point, going down the hill, my bike stalled and I knew it was time to take some pictures and let the bike cool off, because my fuel was probably close to the boiling point. But after a short brake, everything was fine and I had no problem all the way back to San Felipe.

Overall, this was a 10 hours’ ride. Once I got to San Felipe, I must have had 1000 tacos!

All day riding I was thinking about my friend Matt and how he would have enjoyed this ride with me. I was also thinking about my friend Cristan, but then I said to myself “No, I would’ve had to pick up his bike way too many times” J

I realized how much I missed riding after a few days’ break. A big thanks to Kiki for telling me about this spectacular trail!

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Categories: Mexico | 7 Comments

Dias flojos en San Felipe – Lazy days in San Felipe


Sometimes one needs to slow down. Sometimes one needs to stop, breath, look around, smell, hear and feel the quintessence of nature. Nada mas. I am a strong believer in “everything happens with a reason”. I now have time to wake up early in the morning and go for a walk on the beautiful beach with water lapping upon the shore, feel the soft golden sand among my toes and let the playful sun rays and the breeze tangle my hair.

…or walk on the beach after a strong wind and see our footprints only in the sand.

I can go and walk among the hundreds of seagulls and pelicans that are not even trying to run away. I guess humans are familiar to them. It’s like a little fauna paradise. And I am actually not surprised, since Mar de Cortez (Sea of Cortes) is one of the most diverse seas in the world, home to more than 5,000 species of fish, plus lots of other species of birds and other creatures. And that’s why it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

I can see all the exotic fish washed on the shore after the tide. We even saw a fairly large sting fish washed ashore.

This might just be sea creatures that are out of luck and get stuck in the fishermen’s net, and that are just thrown back into the water, since they’re not edible. Locals say sometimes they even see huge whales that wash ashore, and they have to call the military to blow them up, so they can decompose faster, since in this heat, a dead creature that size, it’s nothing pleasant.

I have time to talk to all the people in the campsite and hear the local stories. Like the one about the hospital that was closed, and that apparently has $2,000,000 USD worth of medical equipment, but it’s all locked up for political reasons; meanwhile the current clinic here does not even have an x-ray.

Every day we walk to town and back on the beach. And sometimes this is how we get around:

People are very friendly and chatty. And they are all willing to help you improve your Spanish:) They say hi to you on the streets, even if they don’t know you. It’s like a small family community, very nice and cozy.

We go and eat at Rositas, a little restaurant on the seawall, that has the best food in San Felipe, at very decent prices. We try every day something new: Huevos Rancheros, Huevos Divorciados, Caldo 7 Mares (Soup 7 Seas), Pollo en BBQ (BBQ Chicken), Camarones al ajo (Garlic Prawns), Almejas (Mussels) and we never went wrong so far. Of course, las cervezas and las margaritas were present too.

Caldo 7 Mares

Los famosos nachos:

Pollo en BBQ y huevos a la mexicana, cerveza y margarita:)

Vasile can go fishing in the sea and catch and release a diversity of fish, or sometimes a crab that will fight back. It’s an incredible lesson that we can learn from this little creature. It doesn’t matter that they are a thousand times smaller than us; they would still fight back with no fear.

And then we can watch the famous Baja sunset with its amazing colours, wrapped in the warm air like a soft silk, while re-winding in my mind the song that has been our song of the season here:

“You only need the light when it’s burning low,

Only miss the sun when it starts to snow,

Only know you love her when you let her go.

Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low,

Only hate the road when you’re missing home,

Only know you love her when you let her go,

And you let her go…”

(Passenger – Let Her Go)

Categories: Mexico | 4 Comments

Puertecitos hot springs


I know, it sounds funny, no? Hot springs, in the desert of Baja? Like they need hot water in this temperature!

Well, it looks like they do have hot springs, in Puertecitos, about 90 km from San Felipe. Peter, one of the friends we made here at Kiki’s, asked us if we wated to join him there today. First I though: “No, sorry, I can’t take a day off tomorrow”. But then I thought “Oh, wait, I don’t have to go to work tomorrow”. Actually, right now, I don’t have to go anywhere. So in the morning we went first to the Saturday market at Golden Ranch here, by San Felipe, where we had a delicious burrito and a freshly squeezed orange juice. And then we walked around and saw all the beautiful traditional stuff that people were selling.

 

 

Then we headed to Puertecitos. On the way there, we stopped by a beach with a big whale skeleton. I can only imagine the smell while that big animal decomposed!

 

Just to clarify: this was NOT our lunch, as some friends insinuated already. Vasile might eat a lot, but still:)

Once we got to Puertecitos, we were told that the tide is too high, and the water covers the hot springs, so we would have to wait until 6pm when the tide is low.

Puertecito looks like a cute little village, that once a year is probably host to a lot of people. But now it was so quiet, there was hardly anyone there. It almost looked to us like a ghost village.

 

 

 

 

As we were getting hungry, we started to look for a restaurant. Turned out the only restaurant open this time of the year was Caw Patty, about 3 km out of Puertecitos. Very interesting restaurant, worth stopping by:

The Menu: Hot dogs and beer. After a short debate wether we should have hot dogs and beer, or hot dogs and beer, we decided to have some hot dogs and beer!!! Good hot dog though.

I would like to come back here in the peak season sometime, just to see how the village revives. I am sure it’s a lot of fun!

 

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Fixing the bike


Vasile:

The day Camelia had the little stunt, after putting my heart back in its place and making sure she was alright, I realized the bike needed some work. As we were standing on the side of the road waiting for the guy with the truck to come back, I was scanning the area for parts that came off the bike, and that I could puzzle back together. So I stuffed my pockets with everything I thought I could still use.

After a quick scan, the right hand turn signal was completely gone, windshield was shattered, the front headlights sub-frame was broken into 5-6 pieces, the tachometer was broken and the headlight was smashed. Plus some other plastic parts had various cracks.

At this point I didn’t know if Camelia was willing to continue the trip or not, so fixing the bike was not a priority. Once we got to San Felipe and she got checked by the doctors, and she told me that she definitely wants to carry on, I started fixing the bike.

Our friend Matt immediately started checking online prices for the parts that needed to be replaced, and he came to the conclusion that the total cost would be around $900.

I started doing one thing at a time, fixing things, to see how far I could go without replacing parts.

First was the turn signal indicator. I put all the pieces together, super-glued them, and a little bit of electrical tape, it made it as good as new.

Next was the dashboard. I took off the cover and removed all the broken parts. Then I started shaping a new lens from pieces of the leftover windshield. Once I got to the shape I wanted, I super-glued it in place and then put silicone around the edges so no water can get in.

Then I started working on the sub-frame. Over the next two days I j-b welded the sub-frame together, as it takes 24 hours for the j-b weld to cure.

The headlight was smashed, so I cleaned up all the remaining of the old glass. Then I went to town to a glass repair shop and I had them cut a new piece of glass ($10 bill). In order to glue and silicone the glass in place, I had to trim down the edges of the headlight until both the high beam and the low beam lights were leveled. Thanks to Eugene’s tools (an old marine colonel from El Centro, California, who lives here now in a motor home), it made my job much easier.

Before:

And after:

During this time Camelia was resting and as she was feeling better, Matt and I went for a day ride to Coco’s corner. We got there and we told Coco the story and that I am fixing the bike, and he immediately said that he had a windshield for me. My first thought was “it’s not gonna work”. But then I thought “I’ve got to make it work; this is a piece of history”.

When I got back with the windshield I was surprised to see that it only needed four holes to be installed. In order to make the handlebar go from side to side without hitting the windshield, it needed some adjustments. So I started trimming on the sides of the windshield, a little bit at a time, until I could turn the handlebar all the way in both sides.

 

The windshield came with two aluminium brackets that were too short for this bike. So I went to town and I had a guy welding and adjusting the brackets so it would fit the bike. This was a $25 bill.

The handlebar was a bit bent from the crash, so I went to the same guys at the welding shop and they straightened it for me. This would complete the list of repairs for the bike. The total bill was $35!

The bracket that holds the rear luggage was cracked. So I had to manufacture a new one and I decided to install it on my bike. For $30, same guys from the welding shop made me a new bracket, and that way I was able to swap my rotopax jerycan with Camelia’s rear luggage.

I am really impressed with how well the Givi plastic panniers hold up!

Overall it was a really good experience fixing the bike with minimal resources. It made me realize how used we are to replacing rather than repairing.

 

 

Categories: Mexico | 10 Comments

Coco’s Corner ride – post edited by Matt Edwards


The little” incident” Cami had on the gravel road changed the loosely planned adventure we had been planning. There was no thought of where we were going next  or what road to try out, it was all about making sure Cami was ok. She needed time to allow the sore muscles and bumps and bruises to heal. Vasile’s focus was on making sure Cami was as comfortable as possible. His next challenge was fixing the bike. I thought I could help. I looked up the costs on line for all the broken parts…..$900!! Vasile  said ok, but thought he would just start fixing what he could one part at a time. First the turn indicator light, next the glass for the tach was replaced using a broken piece of the plexi windshield, carefully cut and sanded, crazy glued in place and siliconed  Next the JB weld epoxy and an artists keen eye had the five broken pieces of the plastic front panel carrier back  into one solid bracket. Piece by piece I watched with amazement as Vasile reconstructed the bike, but I kept saying “you need to order that windshield as soon as possible”…
Two days after Camelia’s swan dive onto the gravel she was starting to feel better and said that Vasile and I should go for a day ride together on Saturday. The hotel room at the campground was booked for Saturday night so we would need to be back by one or two pm to move from the room to a tent site. We wanted to leave San Felipe and ride to Coco’s corner then on to Mex hwy 1 and come back down the same gravel road to San Felipe (over 400km and 5 hours of riding ) so we agreed to get up at 5am. I was so excited I barely slept. I woke every hour but missed 5am. It was 5:30 when I got up and squeezed Vasile’s toe in the next bed who was up and ready to go in minutes. We pulled out of the campground at 6am and headed off to find breakfast in the dark. The local corner store had coffee and a sandwich and we picked up a light snack for the day. We hit the road at 6:45 as the sun was just starting to rise.
I prayed right away for safety and for a great day and that we wouldn’t be too crazy. By 6:55 Vasile was stuck up to his axles in soft soft sand while playing on the trails beside the road out of town.
I could hear him on the intercom whooping and laughing as he plowed through the sand, then I heard the grunting, panting and groaning as he wrestled the stuck bike back to the road. All he heard was me killing myself laughing at his misfortune. The sun cast  a fun shadow of us and the bikes on the desert around us as we headed south.
The first part of the ride was on pavement but we were both stoked when we finally hit the sand and gravel. The gas station we had planned to get gas from greeted us with a sign saying they were out of gas! No worries… lets go. We passed a gas station that had been closed when we went passed the last time with Cami. We stopped and checked they would be open on the way back. They would be open till 2pm. Vasile said we would be back by 1. And away we went. Me in the lead and Vasile close behind. We rode fast on the unburdened, light KTM steeds.
Flying over small humps in the road, the occasional tank slapping through sandy areas and picking our way though the rocky sections. Off in the distance we saw a vehicle leaving a dust cloud behind them. It was the first we had seen since leaving the gas station. As we caught up to them we saw it was an army truck with about 15 gun toting soldiers standing in the back.
The dust was so thick I could hardly see ahead,but after a few minutes he pulled over a little to the right. Perfect…I hit the gas to pass. Vasile had a better view. Through the dust he saw that there was a right turn coming up. He was surprised and impressed that I was going to attempt to pass in the corner. As the truck started into the corner he swerved to the left forcing me off the road into the deep soft sand over a six foot drop off through bushes. Thanks to the newly installed steering stabilizer I opened my eyes and was surprised to see I was still on the bike and upright. I spotted a little goat trail alongside the road and managed to follow it about 200 meters before finding a spot to climb back onto the road ahead of the now startled truck driver. Vasile thought I had crashed when I disappeared off the side of the road and was as shocked as I was to see me still up and riding, pulling ahead of the truck. I am sure my guardian angle was working feverishly for a few minutes moving rocks, trees and pushing the bike up when it almost went down!!
Somehow we made it to Cocos corner.
Coco greeted us and offered us an ice cold drink from his solar powered fridge. Coco lost both his legs at the knee from diabetes and has been greeting travelers and getting them to sign his guest book in the middle of the desert for 22 years.
He entertained us with stories including tales of the Baja 1000 passing by and going through the lake close to MX1.
We told Camilias sad tail and I said that Vasile had single handidly rebuilt the bike except we needed  to order a new windshield. Coco said that a guy had come through a while back and had taken his windshield off his big BMW as it was giving too much air turbulence. We could have it if we wanted it …..for free!
Coco gave us directions to the lake that was now dried up telling us we have to go there. It was only a mile off the road and well worth the effort. We ripped around the lake bed and had a blast.
Passing through Cocos corner we picked up the windshield. Vasile strapped it  to the bike. When we tried it on the bike when we got back to camp, all it needed was 6 holes drilled and Vasile would be done. I now believe nothing is too far broken that can’t be saved by a master creator. About 20 minutes after leaving Cocos Vasile got a flat in his front tire. He had it changed in 30 minutes and we were back to flying down the bumpy, sandy, hilly crazy awesome trail. We eventually reached the gas station as the clock struck 1. Vasile figured we didn’t need much gas and put in 5 liters. There was only one pump and a truck had pulled up between us and it looked like it would be a while.Vasile is usually the one to push gas… but this time  I figured I could make it with the gas I had so we blasted off again. My low fuel light came on 65km earlier than normal due to the fast crazy riding and I figured I was going to run out about 15-20km short of San Felipe.Vasile was looking forward to humiliating me by towing me into town…. but my angel was pushing and my engine quit 100mtrs before the gas station and I managed to coast into the pump. 93km with the low fuel light on and 23.4ltrs to fill up the tank!
Now that was a true ADVENTURE ride. And I got to ride side by side and share an awesome experience with a great friend.
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Unplanned adventures in Baja


Next, we left from San Felipe to go to Guerrero Negro, even though the weather forecast showed hurricane Paul was still there. Our friends Traian and Razvan had left the day before, straight through the hurricane. In their own words “The next day we were surprised to see our truck still had wheels”.

The road in between was about 110 km paved and about 100 km of gravel. The paved one was a lot of fun on the bike. Lots of washouts and great scenery.

And then we hit the gravel ,which was fun too….for a while. There was a lot of sand and loose gravel, which made it quite technical.

Here we passed a military check point, where they searched our panniers, apparently for guns and drugs.

And then not very long after that, about half way in our journey, the sand and I had a little disagreement, and I lost. I went a bit too far to the side of the road, and I caught a very deep loose gravel and sand patch. I was used by now to the bike dancing on this gravel road, but this time it just went crazy, and I lost control of it and I high-sided at about 40-50  km/ hour. After I landed, I could not move or talk for a few minutes (almost giving Vasile and Matt a heart attack) since I could not breath, but then I recovered and I could stand up.

Initially I thought I was absolutely fine, just a bit shaken, and we were making plans as to how to get out of there, since my bike had a bit of a makeover:)

But as the adrenaline wore off, I started feeling a sharp pain in my chest, so riding the bike out of there was out of question. As we were making plans how to ride two up or something to the closest community, we saw a truck driving by.

He stopped and he asked us (hoping, for sure, that the answer would be no) if we needed any help. Here was our saviour! An American guy from Phoenix, Arizona, driving through the desert, having a margarita, looking for something fun to do (well, I don’t know if he found exactly what he was looking for).

Turned out he had a pick up truck too (and a ramp for the bike!), so he went back to his place (about 10 minutes drive from there) and brought the pick up truck, we put the bike in the truck, and with me in the passenger seat, we headed back to San Felipe, to the hospital.

Until then, I did not realize how long the ride had been on the gravel road. But on the way back, it definitely felt like forever, since it was really bumpy and I was in a lot of pain. But we managed to get back to San Felipe, a couple of hours later (thank you, Jacob!)

just to find out that the hospital had closed, and they only had a small clinic. We went to emergency, they gave me an IV for pain, took my blood pressure and my pulse, and they told me I was good to go, since I was stable, even though I was in a lot of pain and I could barely breath. I asked them if I had anything broken, and the answer was “I am sorry, we do not have any kind of scans here, all we can tell you is that you are stable”. Despite this, I have to admit I was very pleasantly surprised though of how nice and careful they were, and how preoccupied for my pain . But unfortunately they do not have the right equipment to do more. And one more thing: the clinic did not charge me a penny, even though I went back the next day for another IV. Absolutely free! In BC, if you are not a BC resident, you pay a few hundred dollars just for being admitted into the clinic, before you even see a doctor!

Eventually they sent me to a private doctor’s office to have an x-ray done ($30 for an x-ray!!! We could not believe it. I do not want to imagine how much this would have costed in US or Canada). Took the x-ray back to the clinic the next day, and after a small debate between the doctors there (broken ribs – no broken ribs) they decided I had no broken ribs. Just bruised bones and muscles from the shock, so I need at least 15 days of rest before I start feeling normal, according to them. Later, a friend of mine who’s a nurse looked at the x-rays and told me that I did have one broken rib, which explains the sharp pain in my chest when breathing.

So here I am, like a good girl, spending my time on the beach or in bed resting all day (we had to take a hotel room, since palapas were not good enough for me anymore), eating delicious Mexican food and enjoying the sun . The pain is getting better each day, so hopefully soon I can jump in the saddle again.

In the meantime, Vasile almost finished fixing the bike! So far, the repair costs $10.  And his labor, of course, that I will pay for in installments for the rest of my life:) Or I’ll counter charge him for translating services.

More news to come. Stay tuned.

Categories: Mexico | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

San Felipe


In San Felipe we stayed until late, singing Romanian folk, accompanied by Traian’s guitar. We probably kept the whole campground awake:)

And this is what I saw from the “window” of my palapa when I woke up this morning:

Then we went to the beach for another short session of folk singing and a swim. The water is incredibly warm and nice.

Then we realized that in order for us to cross from La Paz to Mazatlan, we need import permits, which apprently are issued at the border. And we do not have them. So here we are riding back through the desert back to the border. We rode again by this white field of salt flats.

We get to the border just so they can tell us that that’s not the right place to go, we have to ride about 10 km to Garita 2. We get there and we spend about 2 hours walking from an office to the other, as they send us, to get our papers. Happy to finally have them (and sad to be a few hundred dollars lighter), around 5 pm we start riding back to San Felipe. It is a 2-3 hours ride, so half of it (parts of it gravel road) was in the dark (against all the advices we’ve got not to ride in the dark). But we got to San Felipe safe and sound, we had some delicious tacos, and now we get hydrated with some beer (it was again 38 Celsius today, so we all got very dehydrated riding; I have never felt so hot in my life, and those of you who know me, it will probably be hard for you to believe that I complained about being too hot!!)

Robin decided to return to the states and then back to Canada. So we rode together to the border, said good bye, and parted ways. Thanks for the awesome ride together Robin. We will miss you! Matt will keep going with us for a little while.

Categories: Mexico | 4 Comments

Crossing the Mexican border


Today we woke up at 6:30 am, to leave early for the border. Our friends Traian and Razvan came to Palm Springs (at 7 am sharp!) to meet us, so we can cross the border together and spend a few days with us.

Around noon, we were at the Mexican border. We didn’t even have to stop, they just waived us through (“Ande, ande”). I did not have to take my helmet off (can you believe that! that’s what I hate the most each time I cross the border on my motorbike), I did not even have to show them my passport! We passed the border in less than a minute, which was great.

Then we crossed through the desert heading to San Felipe, where we were planning to stay for the night. Incredibly hot! I cannot believe I got to miss the rain in Vancouver! After a few hours of riding through the scorching desert, I was quite ready for a cold shower and a good beer.

And yes, we got to San Felipe, and we found the beer place, a little shop on the seawall!

We asked the locals about a good “campo”, and they recommended us Kiki’s, on the beach. Went there, liked it, decided to stay.

We pitched the tents in a palapa (except Traian and Razvan, they had their tent on top of their truck), we had a great dinner, and now we are having a good time and XX beer with our friends:)

I am loving it! Hopefully soon we can convince Traian to get the guitar and play some good songs.

Categories: Mexico | 2 Comments

Fun in the sand pit


Vasile:

Matt told me that he was going to take me riding in the desert today. A lot of you that know me will know that I get pretty excited about things like this.

We started off around noon going toward Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert. My day changed as soon as I turned my ABS off.

Once off the pavement, we hit some really nice sandy parts with a lot of big boulders, some paved patches, crossing the San Andreas fault. It took me only a few seconds to warm up in the sand, and then I realized I had to be on the throttle in order to keep the smile round:)

We went through a canyon, which was the most technical part of the way.

Then we got up on a ridge, on more sandy and flowy stuff. That’s where Matt kicked it in high gear.

All in all, it was a really beautiful, scenic landscape, with Joshua Trees on both sides of the road. The temperature was just right for riding in the desert (87 F).

We stopped after a pretty fast sandy section for lunch and we met three guys from New York on BMWs 1200 GS. The only time a BMW rider doesn’t brag about their bikes, it’s in the sand:) It was probably hard for them, but they complimented our bikes.

We took the highway out of the park and rushed back to our time share to hit the well deserved swimming pool.

We had a really, really great day, and now we are having stake dinner with our girls, and preparing to cross the Mexican border tomorrow, early in the morning.

Categories: USA | 2 Comments

San Jose to Palm Springs


We left San Jose the next morning, and we hit again the twisties, to cross Mount Hamilton.

Beautiful road, and lots of deers and squirrels on the side of the road (everywhere, not just here), which is cute, but also made us be a lot more careful, since they can jump in front of you anytime. Especially the squirrels, those little things love to cross the street right when you are speeding towards them – crazy adrenaline junkies!

We stopped at the University of California Observatory, on top of the hill, to take pictures.

Then we rode through the desert all the way to San Luis Obispo.

We camped at Avila Beach Hotsprings and we watched a movie while in the hot pool (that was a first, and it was awesome!)

The next day we woke up in the pouring rain, and we decided we didn’t like to be wet, so why not ride to Palm Springs, where it was nice and sunny. The plan was to get going, and get out of the rain as soon as possible. Well, turned out “soon” was 8:30 PM, when we got to Palm Spring. We rode a whole day in the pouring rain! I think someone up there figured our gear needed a good wash.

When we got to Palm Springs, the wind gusts were so strong there were dunes of sand on the highway!!! I was the lucky one, I did not hit too much sand, but Vasile and Robin danced big time on their bikes. We thought the ride through storms and dark was hard, but hitting the sand in the middle of the highway at 50 miles an hour made that look like a piece of cake.

But in the end all the efforts were so well worth it! We had a great time by the pool today, and then walking around downtown Palm Springs with Robin.

In the meantime Matt and Vasile went to have the new tires for Matt’s bike installed. They were all excited about this huge biking store in San Bernadino that had anything a biker would ever need, all sizes, all colours etc.

Tomorrow, another lazy day for me and Robin (this is my idea of adventure – just kidding, but I needed a rest), while the guys are going to play a bit in the sands of the Mojave desert – Joshua Tree State Park.

To be continued

Categories: USA | 4 Comments

Riding on the coast of California


After a great night at Clarice and Karl’s place, we hit the road again, heading to Douglas City. We had a last camping night with our friend Cristian; the next day Cristian and us parted ways. He turned around to go back to Vancouver (and I heard he got there pretty early, he must have flown back or that bike has more horse power than we think it does).

We took some really scenic routes (Hwy 3 and Hwy 36) and then into some back roads, coming out into Hwy 101 to Garberwille. We stopped to gas up in that little town, where everyone seemed to be very happy. We met a guy at the gas station, and after a little chat about our trip, Vasile asks him “So, what are you doing in this little town?” And the answer comes very honest: “I grow weed, just like everyone else in this town” Now this explains a lot:)

Robin, Mat, Vasile and I took the Hwy 1 towards the coast, a beautiful twisty road; we had a lot of fun!

Then we found a nice place to camp on the beach, and celebrated Robin and Mat’s wedding anniversary with some cheap wine and expensive cheese.

And this is what we woke up to the next day:

Next day we got to San Francisco, where I spent a couple of days of quality time with family, and Vasile fixed his leaking rear suspension at Superplush Suspension

and went to KTM twins to put a face to the voice with the KTM Twins owner (who is an awesome guy).

Tuesday we left San Francisco, and I dropped the fully loaded bike right in front of my sister’s house, before we left, leaving my sister and mom pretty worried, I think:)

We got to San Jose, where we were planning to camp up on the hill, but it got dark, so we had to turn around and find a motel. This is San Jose viewed from up the hills:

Categories: USA | 9 Comments

Good people still exist


Yesterday we had a nice surprise: Cristian, a very good friend of ours, came to join us in Lavenworth. He will be riding with us for 4 days (Chris, I hope you didn’t quit your job at the bank againJ ). He got here in the middle of the night, making Vasile believe someone stole his bike (Chris is riding the same bike, a KTM 990).

In the morning, at breakfast, we met this little nice lady, Clarice, who offered us to stay at her cabin, close to Bend, called La Pine. For FREE!!!! We could not believe how generous she was!

So we hit the road (zero degrees Celsius outside) and we kept riding through these really nice winding roads all the way to Bend. We found Clarice’s husband, Karl, who was more than welcoming and he invited us inside. The cabin was more than we would have ever expected. This cute little thing with a really old TV, stove and fridge, it reminded me of my grand parents’ house. A really nice cosy little place where we cooked some sausages and we had dinner and a glass of wine. Thank you Clarice and Karl!

Categories: USA | 7 Comments

The first couple of days


So we left Vancouver yesterday morning, heading to the misterious South America.

It took us about an hour and a half to cross the border. And then another 2 hours to wait for our good friends, Traian and Razvan, who are pretty much going to do the same trip as us, but on a G-Wagon, and in half the time. We saw them right behind us, but it turned out they had the truck searched at the border, so it took a while.

We finally reunited, so we can part ways again. We will head to San Fran, for a couple of days, and they will head to  Yellowstone National Park.

We will most likely meet again in Los Angeles, and cross the border together.

We had a great ride the first day. Nice twisties, beautiful weather, until we hit the mountains. It all changed in the evening, so the first night we camped in the pouring rain, at New Haven. We enjoyed it though: some Grand Marnier and Cyder warmed us up, and good friendship and company made a great evening.

Next day the weather looked a lot better, so we got up after very little sleep (too cold for me, so I could not really sleep much), and back in the saddle. Beautiful ride through Winthrop, and then we decided to stop in this little gorgeous Bavarian town called Leavenworth.

After having a delicious Bavarian sausage, and a very good glass of wine, we are ready for a good sleep, and then the next ride:)

And you know what? I realized I didn’t come all the way here for nothing. Suddenly, when I saw this little thing, it dawned on me:)

So this is not just a ride, it’s free therapy (well, free might not be the right word).

As we got back to our time share (I know, we got fancy this time:) Mat and Robin have “relations”) we just found an email from Razvan that they got stuck with the G-Wagon in Missoula. Something wrong with their transmission. They are waiting for parts to come from Vancouver. Hopefully they will still catch up so we can meet in Los Angeles.

Categories: USA | 10 Comments

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