Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Day 35 - Upland CA

Day 35 at my cousin Mike’s place in Upland CA, the same place I was fortunate to stay 8 years ago when I did my 49 state tour and I’m sure happy to be back in the states. Things feel back to normal with my phone back on so I can connect with the world and it almost cost me, as a US citizen $5000 to get back into the states; more on that later. 

I and a great time staying with Rolando and family last night and Rolando and Santiago were going to take me to the border that I knew it’d be a fun and faster trip than on my way down now that I know how to ride the Mexican roads, thanks to Rolando so we got a fairly early start. At least early for me since it’ll only be about a 4 hour trip here. We did make great time to and the road seemed so different to me than when I road down almost 30 days ago on my first trip deep into Mexico, ok, at least Baja California Mexico. On my way down the first day I maybe hit 70 mph a couple of times but today with the speed demon in front of me, there were times we were actually hitting 80 and it seemed so much like much of Highway 1 that I’ve already been riding that it wasn’t very different for me. There were some curvy windy mountain roads that I’m wondering why I don’t remember them as well as some of the other roads in BC, but I guess since it’s been as long as it has since I’ve ridden this road and for as slow as I road it the first time, the road didn’t seem that curvy to me the first time.

I knew one of the things I was really looking forward to today was just getting back to the states and being reconnected that with a quicker trip to the border, that’s just what the doctored ordered that I should make Upland by lunch time. Well, you guessed it, that’s where my plans eventually went south back into Mexico, not me riding, but my time was blown away because of my border crossing.

Rolando eventually pulled over where he couldn’t go any further since him and Santiago didn’t have visa’s to get into the states that based on the signs he told me if I head straight the opposite way than him I should get to the border crossing and he reminded me that since I’m on a motorcycle I should just be able to work my way to the front of the line. We said our goodbyes and I was on my way just as an officer was approaching Rolando which I’m thinking he might’ve had some explaining to do, but I didn’t look back and continued on my way to the border. Well, I must’ve taken the wrong turn because I seemed to be going the opposite way than the rest of the traffic that just as one of the Mexican officials were closing a couple of lanes for them to move ahead before letting more cars through I asked where I could get thru on my motorcycle where he pointed to another lane that said Solo and told me to take that. 

I thought I followed the instructions pretty good especially since they were in English, but I must’ve still been in my Spanish verse that I ended up by the bus terminal somehow and didn’t see any lane for Solo any more, to my fortune or at least I thought a taxi driver honked me down and asked where I was going to where I replied the US border that to help me, he said follow me which I did and pointed me to the Solo lane that I’m sure to get across quick now, especially since the only thing in front of me was a bus. Well, once again I don’t know if I missed a sign or turn again, but the Mexican border patrol asked why I was in the bus lane where my response was I thought it was the Solo lane but I guess not the kind of Solo lane for guys like me on a motorcycle. According to their directions I had to go between the cars as far to the left as I could that I started doing just that closer to the front of the line that this should be easy and I’ll be ahead of all the cars like Rolando told me to do. Oh, and the other thing was they instructed me to shutoff my camera that instead of it shutting off I think I finally turned it on to capture my crossing that it was a good thing I finally noticed and shut if off since there were plenty of signs for not picture of video taking while crossing.

So, now what happened is I didn’t continue heading left because when I saw a motorcycle in one of the lanes I was crossing I figured this must be the spot for me that I pulled behind the car in that lane so I could make a quick trip through which was the case because I was up to the border patrol in no time. The guy asked me where my card was after I gave him my passport and drivers license and I had no idea what he was talking about until he told me I was in the Sentra lane and I need a card to cross or pay a $5000 fine for using the lane. He asked if it was my first time in Mexico which I responded yes that he said we’ll wave it this time, but I would have to go through the secondary check after he put a sticker on my bike to explain to them why I used the lane that I did. Well, this is where they make you wait. Even though there were a number of officers and a lot of vehicles sitting there waiting I finally found a spot where I was to the front of the line that I figured this would go quick but I was mistaken. I think they like making people wait that I took off my jacket and helmet and must of waited a good half hour until a couple of officers approached me, one taking my sticker and the other I started talking to saying I guess I didn’t pick the right place to cross where he said the lane I was in requires a special pass for those that have already had background checks done and cross the border quite a bit that yes, using one of these lanes could result in a $5000 penalty. He said they have the same as the Canadian border, but I can say I’ve never had much of a problem crossing back into the states from Canada than I am with this. The first is finding the right road and the second apparently is finding the right lane. He told me here I need to go as far left as I can where the normal traffic is and it would’ve of made for a quiver crossing. Thankfully the officer with my sticker told me the same and fortunately sent me on my way with a warning to not use one of these lanes again, otherwise I will pay the fine.

Finally, I’m back in the states, yeehaa and on my way to the first exit in San Ysidor to see about selling a guy the gas I bought for my trip through Mexico since I got that gas there and hadn’t used it for my entire trip. The same guy wasn’t there that instead I finally turned on my phone made a call to my cousin and said according to my GPS or iPhone in this case I’m about 2 hours away so can come straight to his place using my guide now that I can finally use my phone for another purpose while in the states. It was a pretty quick trip there, because remember in California you can white line it which means cutting between slow vehicles on the white line, but maybe not at the speed I was going that I didn’t try it at all and didn’t need to. I usually had a least 4 lanes, sometimes up to 6 and even others with no less than 3 that it didn’t take me long to get here that what a relief back in the states and safely at a familiar place that I can finally relax.

Mike must’ve read my mind or maybe my last blog where I said I could really go for a good pizza when I’m back in the states that he mentioned a place with a good pizza buffet we could go to if I was hungry after taking a shower and some relaxation which was just what I needed. I got my bike quickly unpacked showered and enjoyed some catch up with Mike since it’s been quite awhile since my last visit. I got in some phone calls I hadn’t made, like my dad who was happy to hear I was back, but thought it was earlier than I had planned. Maybe a little, but after 2 weeks in Cabo and dusty Mexico, I was ready to come home. Ok off to buy a bulb for a burnt out taillight that I had and onward for pizza that it was great finally being able to have salad again and not worrying about they water they may have used to rinse the lettuce. That and so much more such as wiping my ass and not worrying about dropping something in the toilet which you get the picture the conveniences of living in the states that you soon learn to miss when yo’ve been away for awhile.

I did tell Mike that I had some stitches to get taken out that what luck but his wife Jane is a doctor. No, not specializing in stitches or anything like that but when she gets home from work later she can take them out for me which was just the case. Ok, now I’m relaxed, the stitches that I brought back from Mexico out that now I have to work on my plan for getting home, which I’ve already found out means no riding my bike home. You’ll have to wait for that story later because now that I’ve gone on as long as I have with my border crossing its time to do some relaxing. Stay tuned!

Upland CA pics

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Day 34 - Ensenada B.C.

Day 34 relaxing at Rolando’s la casa in Ensenada, yep you read it right, I’m back in Ensenada. Today was a short trip and I had plans on spending at least one more night here on my way back that when Rolando offered me a place to stay when I left for Cabo, I thought I’d take him up on that offer. That and his family served up a great dinner and have welcomed me into there home and for Rolando, he has someone to ride with for another day. You’ll eventually see pictures of his wife Yorgelina and the 2 boys, Leonardo and Santiago who you’ve met before since he’s also been on the rides with me.  

Today was one of the short rides I’ll have on this trip, but maybe the hardest among the roads that I’ve taken that. Some of that thinking may have started because I remembered his road from riding it in the rain when I started to head to Cabo and I was really looking forward to riding it on a warm sunny day for a change. Since it was a short ride I slept in even though it turned out to be a later night than I thought it was going to be because I ended up meeting a bunch of bikers from the Netherlands that are riding rented bikes form Los Angeles to Cabo. They’ll ride them there, fly home and then another group of riders from the Netherlands will fly in to Cabo and ride them back. After I got done with dinner last night, which I was able to scrap enough cash for, once I got back to the hotel there was another 8 bikes parked next to mine and a group of guys sitting in the lounge area that I figured it must be there bikes, which yes it was. Not all of them spoke English, but the trail boss and at least 2 others enough that we were able to have some communication and they were asking how the roads were which I was able to give them a pretty accurate review. Their rides aren’t as far each day, but I suppose when you’re paying for a trip like this, getting fed at least 3 times a day is probably a good thing. I did catch them before they left this morning around 9 so started to get ready for my trip.

As I was saying, although a short ride the reason why it seems like the hardest is because it is pretty intimidating right off the bat out of El Rosario with winding curvy mountain roads and more semi trailers on this road than most of the others I’ve been on. Not only is the start a bit intimidating, but most of the ride between El Rosario and Ensenada seem to be that way because if it isn’t the windy curvy roads, its that small dusty towns that you have to try to navigate through. At least I had the teachings of how to ride these roads from Rolando that there were a few times passing semis and other cars on the mountain roads that I would never have thought to ride them this way hadn’t it been for Rolando teaching me what you can get away with on this roads. No he’s never told me what I can’t get away with and I hope not to find out. There was one instance right from the get go that I tried a little too soon to pass with a truck coming that I didn’t see. You’ll see form the pic that it was a close call, but he pulled over to give me enough room to get back behind the vehicle that I was trying to pass. I decided it might be a good idea to wait a little before passing, but it was quickly after.

I did know that I had to make at least one more gas stop to have enough gas to get me to Ensenada, but there were too many times I kept putting it off even when I did see a good Pemex to stop at and that was because I had just passed a number of trucks and other slow moving vehicles in the mountains, I didn’t want to get behind them again to do it all over that I waited as long as I could and I think just long enough that I found a spot that didn’t put me behind any coming very fast behind me. After that it was clear sailing to Ensenada and now the only thing that slowed me up were the small towns and topes that I and to avoid. Fortunately none of these were as bad as Guerrero Negro that my kickstand will survive another day.

I did get to Ensenada early and since I hadn’t made contact with Rolando yet and wasn’t sure what to do, I figured I’d go to the one safe spot that I know in Ensenada and that was Salu, Lou’s bar in downtown Ensenada and I hit it at a good time because the boaters were still there. All of the other days I visited, by the time I got there after my Spanish school most of the people had already headed back to their ship that today I was wishing that they would have done the same because too many of them were Arizona fans so Lou had that game on instead of the Packers. It wasn’t until until late into the 3rd quarter that the last bitch that was an Atlanta fan finally left that we switched the game over, even though she was outnumbered for those who wanted to watch the Pack, but that’s how it works downtown Ensenada, the boaters get great service. Oh, and wouldn’t you know it shortly after we switch the game over, the station we were watching decided to do the same, switch it to what they said was a more competitive game, the Arizona game.  

Ok, the other safe place I could’ve gone to in Ensenada was the host family that I stayed with for 2 weeks, but I was hungry and still didn’t know enough Spanish to really have a good conversation with them about my travels that I figured I’d fill my empty stomach with another one of Lou’s burgers and have a few cervezas to wash it down. No not too many since I still have to ride the bike and good for me, I got a hold of Rolando as soon as I got there and he said he’d call me in a few hours after running some choirs. I did have a good time talking to Steve and Lou again as well as the bartender Jenny, but will miss the place and hope to be back sometime soon. Now that I feel a little more comfortable riding the Mexican highways, maybe a trip to Ensenada a few times wouldn’t be too bad because I’m not sure how much of all the other that I’ve had to make sure I have, motorcycle insurance and a tourist card I would need, maybe just the motorcycle insurance even though it’s only about an hour and a half from the border. 

It’s been a great trip so far and I’ll have Rolando and Santiago delivering me to the border tomorrow that one I’ll be happy to be back in the states and the second thing I’ll feel a lot more comfortable riding with Rolando and Santiago through Tijuana. Oh, the other thing with the big dog in the house I know my bike and myself will be plenty safe too. Still more riding to do and more places to visit, some places that I’ve already been too, but stay tune to see what other kind of trouble I can stir up. 

Pics to come later when I have faster wifi and can load pictures quicker. At this point it just might be photoshop that is failing me and I definitely need to find a better service next time.

Day 34 Ensenada pics

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Day 33 - El Rosario B.C.

Day 33 and I’m at Mama’s restaurant next to the motel I’ll be spending the night in El Rosario, B.C. Yep, the ’S’ is gone and I’m now in Baja California about 3 hours south of Ensenada. I got another early start since I set my alarm to catch the sunrise over the Gulf of California instead of the Pacific, which who ever heard of the sun rising over the Pacific, that is unless you live in Cabo. I thought about going back to bed since I only had about a 6 hour ride ahead of me, but figured I’d start the day with a warm shower and hitting the road early. 

Well, even though it was a cold shower last night after a full days ride, I thought for sure I’d get hot water this morning, but was once again proven wrong. My 2 weeks of cold showers just keeps going and once I told the front desk, the guy who could speak English said I should’ve of let it run for 15 minutes or longer because of where the room is located it takes even longer for hot water to get there. He did offer me to try again, but now that I’m packed and have a cold shower in, I’m ready for a days ride. 

I did capture a number of pictures on my way out of Santa Rosalia, the copper town and it took longer than I remember the drive in. I don’t know how they do it with one Baja Peninsula highway when it runs through as many small towns as it does. I eventually escaped the towns grip and after getting the feel for a few curves got back into the swing of things so I could up the speed and start hitting it hard. Now that I’m riding the same road backwards I think I have a pretty good handle on what section of curves to worry about and those that I can’t take a little faster. I’ve also figured out the stretches that I’ve upped my speed by at least 5 mph and am now even using the cruise control a lot more than I did on the trip down. 

I’d like to say I have the curves memorized and must be dreaming about them at night that once I start riding them, it’s like I’ve ridden this road hundreds of times. Yeah, it’s not that, but I have been spending a little more time on the signs on curves coming up and at least understand that much Spanish, when there are curves coming up and I need lower my speed. Also, the section of ride from Santa Rosalia to Guerrero Negro and even past is a pretty flat straight ride. It was only leaving Santa Rosalia and entering El Rosario that I had the curvy mountain roads to navigate, which made for a quick trip.

There was the usual military stops along the way, 2 which for some reason they are checking things out a lot more than what they did on the way down. Not sure if it has anything to do with the Baja 1000 which is in the Baja area, but there are a lot more vehicles to worry about and the thing I do worry about and make sure I use the right side of the lane is making sure someone sees me coming and doesn’t decide to pull out in front of me. Since no one pays attention to passing or no passing signs, which there really aren’t many of either, people are passing anywhere they think they can get by which is also an advantage to me since I can get up to a passing speed a lot quicker than most vehicles even up the mountains. The military stops were pretty harmless just having me open the bikes side bags so they could to through them, so the drugs are still safe in the travel bags that I’ve been using that hopefully I’ll make the border without any problems. Right, like I’m dumb enough to try something like that to get thrown in a Mexican jail.

There was something else different about this ride that I might have mentioned about for the ride down, but not only did I gain an hour since I moved into Pacific time, but I did that by crossing what seems to be it’s own border crossing from Baja California Sur to Baja California. I did learn since I was hoping to have something shipped down while I was in Cabo that it is the case and I would’ve had to pay an extra tax not only to get the item into Mexico, but also to get it to B.C.S. that I decided against it. I do think Dave at the Harley shopped mentioned the something if they have to have something shipped from Milwaukee where usually they’ll find another Harley shop, only in the mainland of Mexico and have them ship the parts that they need. That was probably why he was able to give me the deal on the gear plate that he did. Not stops at the border crossing, but I do know the time at least changed that now I am way ahead of schedule since it is only about a 3 hour ride left ahead of me.

I did have the section from the last gas station just north of Guerrero Negro to worry about since I know it’s a stretch my bike can’t make on one tank of gas so I debated and tried doing the math of miles to kilometers so I could figure out just how many miles I really had to worry about and whether I can skip gas and depend on the gallon of gas from the states that I’m still carrying. Well, I found that trying to not only watch the road and avoid potholes and keep the bike on the road that it made it that much more difficult to figure out the miles when I saw the sign that said 242 to the next gas stop and I already had 50 miles on the tank I was using. By the way, you do realize I meant 242 clicks that I’d have to calculate pretty quick how many miles that was. I was able to figure just by the click markers they had along the road the each click was about 8 tenths of a mile, but figured I’d be safe and get gas in Catavina like I did on the way down. I only got dos and I’m hoping it was gallons instead of liters, but it almost gave me a tank full that for the cost I know I can make El Rosario, even with my reserved gallon on the back. 

That wasn’t an issue because the ride in was pretty smooth, that is other than the road and being able to pass traffic that I got here plenty early that I could keep going since I only have 3 hours ahead of me, which I guess you can tell, I decided not to go for it. Now I know that if I really had to I could make it from Cabo to Ensenada in 2 days, if I really had to with the longest ride out of the way the first day. The other reason for not going for it was Rolando wasn’t expecting me until mañana and since I tried calling him and couldn’t get a hold of him decided I might as well spend the night that a hotel that the group from Canada that did a Baja trip recommended which is next door to the gas station and this restaurant.

And better yet, my shower after a long days ride was actually a nice hot shower which I’ve been waiting weeks for. It felt so good I just stood there and soaked as much of it up as I could. With that I decided to walk the streets, well, I guess you’d call them the shoulder of the Baja Highway 1 through a little more of town and it definitely isn’t the thing to do, I’d say probably not even for those that live here. You’ll see it in some of the pics once I get them loaded, but the only thing the residents have to walk is a very small dirty shoulder of the road and there was one section I just missed getting hit by a passing vehicle. It felt close enough that I was happy that not even the side mirror missed me. At least it’s a short walk to the hotel which I’ll likely head to soon since my visa is no good at this restaurant so I have to scrap together enough cash, hopefully they’ll take US so I can pay for my stay.

There’s not much else to report from today’s travels, and now only being like I’ve said at least twice, 3 hours from Ensenada I get to sleep in and only have to worry about being out of my room by noon that I can sleep in. Now that thing to do would be to see how many more beers can I actually afford, that is if US is good enough to use. More to come and I’ve already decided one thing I wouldn’t mind having when I get back to the states, a good pizza. And something else that I just realized because I have one buzzing me right now, the mosquitos were bad not only in Santa Rosalia, but they are also bad here in El Rosario. I can’t complain about the weather however even though Rolando said it is getting cold that even though it is only the low 70’s, sure colder than the Sur, it’s still warmer than home. 

No pics yet since another night of bad wifi. They'll be coming. Pics are finally here and plenty of them.
El Rosario pics

Friday, November 14, 2014

Day 32 - Santa Rosalia B.C.S.

Day 1 on my way home sitting at the only cantina I could find in this town with 3 guys at the table next to me from Georgia. I’m in Santa Rosalia even though I had planned on spending the night at Loreto, but I’ll get to that later. Last night was a  great night with my hosts Jess and Michael and a quiet one at that compared to most of our nights. All of us including me had an early morning and I think the drinking from the last couple of weeks finally caught up to all of us, well, maybe just Michael and I. For my last night we decided to try another local Mexican restaurant that was suppose to be pretty popular by the locals and a close 4 block walk and it was sure as great as they advertise it as. Even though I only had order enchiladas, the order was way more than I could eat that I did my best and topped it off with a few beers before calling it an early night. Sorry, no drunk fest.

Today started out with an alarm to try and catch the sunrise over the Pacific ocean. Yep, believe it or not, but you can’t see the sunset over the Pacific where we are at, but you’ll see it rising. I tried to capture that the other day with some pics, but it wasn’t nearly as good as todays. I wanted to get an early start because I knew I’d still be running into road construction between La Paz and Loreto that I also wanted to make a stop in Todos Santos Playa to get some pictures of the Hotel California which was only about an hour drive. A good an early start on the bike at 7:30 with an amigo bro hug from Michael to set me on my way and the Austrian hug from Jess. No different than any hug, but you know guys and girls hug each other differently, right?

Well, once I had checked out where Hotel California was and thought I had already passed it I still took the exit off from 19 into Todos and stopped at my first Pemex and asked where the hotel was, which I finally understood what the guy told me in Spanish. Una Mas and then dos blocks to the right. Ok, so I don’t remember the works for blocks or right, but I did understood what he meant which put me right in front of the place. It was an interesting place and instead of me going into the stories having to do with the Eagles and their song Hotel California, you can read the history yourself if you Google it.

From there I knew it wasn’t going to be long before I’d get to La Paz and sure enough, maybe another hour trip and I was there filling up with gas and trying to get directions for the bypass around La Paz to get me to Loreto. Well, this time I thought I understood the directions in Spanish and seemed to be heading in the right direction, but Mexico doesn’t do a very good job on marking exits or entrances for or off some of there highways. I saw a sign pointing for the next city I needed as well as La Paz Centro, both straight ahead that it became pretty evident to me quick that I had already missed the bypass and was in downtown La Paz. A few more stops, well, more than just a few more to find my way back to where I wanted to go and now to throw another wrench into the directions everyone was giving me there are detours since the Baja 1000 race is in town so parts of Hwy 1 are already closed. Ok, one more stop to talk to a policia (even though someone did tell me to avoid them while in Mexico) and I think I found what I was looking for. No, I couldn’t tell you how long it took running around La Paz, but I was finally happy to run into my first construction zone because then I knew I was definitely on the right track.

The constructions zones didn’t seem so bad today and it might have been a little less traffic, but I think I had just missed the watering down to cut down on the dust which also makes it as slick as ice since a lot of it is clay, that it was a better ride than I and through it a few weeks ago. I still and the same 3 construction zones, but with being able to open up a little bit and let more loose than I have since Sturgis this year, I think I got my dirt riding back down and can still hit a little hard. Don’t tense and let the bike take you where it wants and hopefully not too far off from track than straight and it’ll work all the time. 

Sure there’s a lot more I could say about the ride like how beautiful the scenery is, but it’s pretty much the same as what I wrote for my ride down, but just from a different direction that I was able to get some more videos and pics with the water on my left to start when traveling the Pacific from Cabo and then on my right once I got closer to Loreto. They have some pretty awesome stranded beaches that I had thought had I had my tent along and found a place with a bar and restaurant by the beach I could’ve spent at least on night there. There were some straw hutches that I saw, but none close to a restaurant on the beach otherwise you’d be hearing from me there. 

I was making pretty good time even with my La Paz detour because it made Loreto by 2:00 this afternoon and with plenty of sun and only about a 2 hour ride pushing it a little, I could easily make Santa Rosalia before it gets dark and I think it might have better hotels than what I saw in Mulege, that and I do have a plan for tomorrow which I’ll get to. No problems getting to Santa Rosalia even before 4 that it gave me plenty of time to drive the streets and didn’t see too much for hotels that I choose one of the better ones just coming into town and it wasn’t bad for 500 pesos that I might as well spend the night there. Well, maybe not the best choice since I couldn’t walk to downtown and will have to take a taxi, but that can’t be that bad can it? 

Finally after 2 weeks of cold showers I’m finally going to get a nice warm shower which sorry to say, was Not the case. I couldn’t believe it, no hot water and it wasn’t even luke warm that it was just like Cabo that thankfully I was sweaty, dirty and hot enough that I really didn’t care. I did say something to the front desk, but I doubt that will make any difference. If I really new my Spanish and probably a few swear words I could get my point across and have them reduce my rate that right now I’m just trying to figure out how to hail a taxi to get me back. The taxi that brought me to the first place I though twas a cantina/restaurant didn’t speak any English that right now it’s a good thing I have a card for the hotel so I can give it to the driver and tell him to take me home.

So now to how I ended up at this cantina with the guys from Georgia. After I and the taxi driver drop me off what I thought was a cantina/restaurant only to find out it was a Chinese restaurant I started walking toward downtown and stopped into a liquor store and asked some guys directions to a close cantina with good food. They pointed me Centro which is only a few blocks that I started my walk before a couple of guys with uniforms pulled up in their vehicle next to me and asked what I was looking for. Fortunately they weren’t policia uniforms that I didn’t have to run, but some construction or something like that, that I told them I was looking for a good place for a beer and some good food which they pointed was a few more blocks away and even better yet, so i don’t get lost they’ll deliver me there which is just what they did. Although it didn’t look like a cantina to me, I could use some food since I was starving that I might as well eat first which is just what I did and my eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach. I thought this being a water port I better get something with seafood in it so got the seafood soup, but that and a combination Mexican dinner turned out to new too much. At least there was an English movie on that I was watching and an American couple that when passing me said I choose the best restaurant in town and yes, it was very good. 

Ok, now I need a cantina and that’s how I ended up here “Obre5”, yep that’s what the sign says from my view. The guys at the restaurant said it was only 4 blocks into town and next to a el Banco, that I think I can find that. Traffic all along the street on my walk here was backed up that I was hoping they were all coming here, but not the case. Not sure where they are all going, but that’s how I ended up here. Now for the guys from Georgia, they just got into town and this was their first place out that they are here to see the copper mine. I didn’t know that’s what Santa Rosalia was known for, but that might answer the question about the bad highway 1 through town and a large old gutted out building that may have been used for that at least once. We talked for awhile before the guys had to get going and so there you have the story. Oh, and for wanting to get to Santa Rosalia instead of spending the night in Loreto, I’d like to get to El Rosario which puts me closer to Ensenada tomorrow and I heard of a hotel there that I should really checkout. I also get to avoid the large topes in Guerrero Negro that got me the first time.

And, as a side note I really avoided the topes and saw most of them soon enough to go over slow, that and I avoided the downtown I got lost in on my way for Loreto to Cabo that as long as I didn’t go downtown to hit the big topes, my kickstand is find and still kicking. I know, a good one. There was one I almost hit too hard, but that’s the other thing I’ve found with all the work they did on my bike which included new brakes that they work really well that I even got a little skid out of them. 

That’s a whole other story I could get into, but for the short version, my bike has a fixed kickstand with a new spring (and a spare they gave me just in case), I got new brakes, a new oil pump, cam plate which is the thing that took so long to get in, a tire patched, (found out I had a nail in my back tire) and a new idle sensor that this bike should last me quite a few more miles. To be honest I am definitely ready for a new bike, but we’ll see, maybe I’ll way until my next large bill. One fortunate thing about having the work done in Cabo is their service charges are quite a bit less and Dave did give me a deal on the cam plate since it took so long that although I was planning on at least a $2000 bill, it cam in under $1500 and that was with 2 shirts to boot. Not a bad deal for a bike with 133,000 and counting miles on it. 

Bad internet connect so you'll have to wait on pics. Pics are finally here. I know you might be getting sick of pics of the road, but eventually there will be videos to watch.
Santa Rosalia pics

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Day 27 plus - Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S.

I didn’t cover as many nights as I had hoped to with my Day 23 plus blog that I’ll try to condense some of the days with this one. It does follow along with the pictures too of what I’ve been doing each day in Cabo. Saturday was another relaxing day which of course took me to the Harley shop to see what was up and found that I should really have a new plate ordered for my bike. I was hoping to just have it thrown together and fixed with only a new oil pump, but I think I may have already covered that yesterday and am hoping they’ll have my bike done this afternoon so I can hit the road early tomorrow morning. 

Saturday afternoon was hitting a local bar, Happy Endings once again for a couple of beers and food and we’d eventually be back later in the day for even more. You can see the sign ‘IITYWIMWYBMAD?’ that it took us a while to get it even though the bartender kept telling us, even for free. We’ll see if anyone can figure it out but it has to do with buying a drink. Later that day Michael, Jess and I decided to go to Alan’s restaurant for some good Mexican food and it was a very good place to eat. We thought bringing Jess along might get us the meal for free since her and Alan are great buds, but getting drinks covered isn’t too bad a deal. From there it was back to Happy Endings to end our night.

Sunday was my day in the sun so I went to the beach where Mauricio was working to join Bianca, Mauricio’s cousin and his GF. Sorry I didn’t catch there names, but I might get them later to add. As part of our fun it was taking a boat to the arch that everyone talks about seeing so we did that, saw lover’s beach and did some snorkeling as well as diving off some rocks in the area. Now hadn’t I had stitches in the back of my head I might’ve tried the rock jumping, but the last thing I needed was a another gash in the head. It was a beautiful day on the beach and nice warm water to swim in. Sure they told me no swimming with stitches, but I have to have some fun and some do say the ocean water probably helps heal more than harm. 

Sunday night I was on my own and that was to go to the local sports bar, Cabo Cantina to watch the Packers playing the Bears. I had a great dinner which we reasonably priced including a shrimp cocktail with was great and you can see I did get pictures of some other tail that was in the cantina. There was a wedding group from California that came in and although I spent more time talking to the guys, I did get permission to get a pic to show everyone just how warm it was here watching the game and wondered if it looked any better than back home. There were more from the group I would’ve liked to have gotten pics of, but some of the guys were carrying the women out by that point. Needless to say, it was a great night with the Packers crushing the Bears.

Monday I don’t remember too much of what happened other than going dinner myself and watching some Monday night football since Michael was still sick so Jess and him stayed in. I did hit the local brew pub that makes their own beer and had some good beers to start the night out with, but missed the first part of the game. My bartender Roberto who I have seen every day in this bar said its as on the right station, but when I left and saw the score was already 10 - 7, I think I must’ve of missed something. Monday night was to finally have a little Italian which I did downtown in the tourist zone, but I guess every day has been in the tourist zone more or less. Again, I finished the night at Happy Endings and I’m still waiting for that Happy ending. 

Tuesday was a an entire day of drinking because now that Michael was feeling better we opted for some beers to start out our morning. Yes it turned out to be a long day finishing at the brew pub, but Michael eventually got that dreaded bug again that he had to head home early while Jess and I tried the buffalo wings with some good beers. Yeah, we eventually did get home to find Michael trying to see if a beer would make a difference, but I don’t think he had such a good night and was suppose to leave early the next day to go diving to clean a dolphin pool which he happened to miss. Good for me though because now I have someone to drink with again, but not the case, no alcohol for him. 

Wednesday put me back on the beach after a trip to the Harley shop and emergency room once again that it was a day to relax with some sun, sand and surf. Yep, you read it right the emergency room, but it was only to have the stitches pulled out which the new doctor suggested leaving them in for 10 days or more. He said because of a ragged cut it’d be better to let it heal more that I can wait until the weekend which I just may wait until I get back to the states since I’ll have a helmet on anyway and there isn’t a problem with it covering the stitches. We’ll see, but I have all the time in the world to get back.

That did give me an idea though when I say I have all the time in the world to get back and that was trying to extend this trip to Central America after all. I’ve found out that Michael has to get back there to get his work visa before he can start working on a boat and he does know how to ride a motorcycle (his own) that he could be my Spanish guide for such a trip. I thought that would be a great idea and at that point I’m not riding by myself which some have said is not a good idea. I’d at least have someone who speaks more Spanish than me that it would be a great trip. No, it’s not going to happen but I had to at least come up with the idea, right?

So today is Thursday and I hope to find out later today that my bike is done that I’ll leave you with this and possibly more about my last night in Cabo, if it is in fact my last night. I’ll go to exchange some more US for Peso’s for my ride home and see about buying some tokens to bring home for my adventures that who knows what tonight will bring. Stay tune because it’s a long ride home.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Day 23 plus - Cabo Sam Lucas B.C.S.

I have a lot of catching up to do, but while in Cabo, I’ve just been enjoying myself relaxing and drinking so figured now, my second to last night here might be just the right time to get caught up. Sure there have been plenty of nights that have been a blur, but isn’t that what vacation is all about, let loose and live care free? That’s pretty easy to do around here when every vendor trying to sell you something also has weed to sell.  

So as I’ve already mentioned my second night, after my first full day with no water and stitches was a night of drinking at the la casa (house) since I was just getting the lay of the land and had stitches in my head that what better way to kill any kind of pain than alcohol. It turned out to be a night with a few runs to the Oxxo a block away after we kept running out of beers and decided we could use more. That was just for that night.

The second full day I didn’t have a lot planned so figured I’d head to the Harley shop to see what the’d by had to say about my bike which was no problems fixing the kickstand and other things that I needed fixed, but it’d be a few days before they had it done. Like I told them keeping my bike there, especially with stitches and no planned ride was probably a safer place than at the house that they can keep it as long as they want, which has turned out to be pretty much the entire stay, more about that later. I did make it down to the beach to see what that was all about and although I didn’t go into the water, remember the stitches, did enjoy some water and sand as well as one of the beach bars which have the usual 2 for 1. That must be the thing to bring back the customers that all of the bars seem to be offering the same thing, the only difference is the bar on the beach charges $6 US dollars a beer, that I’ll likely be able to find a place to drink cheaper, which you bet I did. 

So my second night staying, Michael had invited me to join them for a cookout with his kiwi diving buddy (from New Zealand) that I thought there’s nothing better than a cookout. Well, it was quite the cookout and nothing like I and expected. I knew we were being picked up for a ride there which is on the other side of the hill out the back door, but quite the few of the city. You’ll see it in the photos, the lights of the city, a full moon and the van that kiwi dude and his girlfriend Stephanie live in with her cousin Jonathan who is a Mexican bato (gang member) that trust me his stories were pretty interesting and most of us really didn’t believe. To me, I think he was definitely more talk that fact especially when telling a story of a gun pointed at his head and he tells the guy, go a head f***, I’m not afraid to die. I think any kind of talk like that would likely get you killed that for a gringo like me, nothing like that coming from me. The cookout was great though, with fresh made guacamole, salsa, grilled steaks, pork and steak that we had some awesome cooked food. Oh, and the reason for kiwi dude and Stephanie living in a van, they are building a house on the property so are staying there until at least a living section is finished. I would love to see the view during the day because just imagining what it might be like higher in the hills overlooking the ocean is I’m sure quite the view.
Needles to stay we had more than enough to drink with a late night at that, that as long as I’m on vacation, I’m sleeping in. Day 3, if I start numbering my days in Cabo that way.

Day 3 was another trip to the Harley shop to see what else they found with my bike, which wasn’t much at that point. I did check it out and most everything seemed to be on schedule according to the mechanic who was working on it, but there was a bit of a language barrier. He understood very little English, and I didn’t understand much Spanish  especially when it comes to the bike. No worries because it’ll be a while before I get back on the bike and have no need to ride right now. I did a little more site seeing and eventually back to the house for a little siesta before Michael and I headed downtown with Jess to have a few drinks while she went to school. Remember, she’s from Australia and is trying to learn and become fluent in Spanish, that while she goes to school, Michael and I will go drinking. He took me to some of his favorite hangouts and I took him to the brew pub in town which serves real beers, because I’m kind of with him that after a while the Mexican beers are hard to drink. For me I don’t like to taste too much other than Corona’s, but you can’t find Corona’s at very many Mexican bars because they don’t like the beer and it’s more of an export than anything. That means Dos XX, Decatea and Sole beers are pretty much the stable. The cool thing with the brew pub is not only is a 2 for one, but when the beers only cost roughly $2 US dollars we can drink plenty and get a free appetizer of bread to soak it up. Yeah, we stayed for a awhile before meeting Jess downtown. 

At that point we were hungry, that next stop was Michael’s favorite rib place a few blocks away which was pretty good. I had the ribs and chicken and even though it was different that was I’m use to since they were a dry rubbed bbq, they were still pretty good. The ribs better than the chicken, but you have to try both to see which you prefer and there’s plenty of chicken and pork to be had in Mexico. I thought we’d be on our way home from there for a few more beers at home, but that’s when the party really started. Michael got a call from another diving buddy of his that was at a local Mexican restaurant with his latest crew of divers on vacation that we joined them at the restaurant. Well, it turns out that the room I’m staying in is this divers room that since he’ll be gone for a few weeks, that’s why I get it. The other thing is Jess and Michael know the manager of the restaurant, Alan really well that we get free drinks to boot so I’m getting me a margarita. Again, more than what we need to drink, but it didn’t stop there because after Alan closed the restaurant he was at the house to party with use for the night. 

There’s another Mexican couple in the room downstairs in the house that are moving out into an apartment building with Alan, that they are all really good friends. The couple is Marisio and Bianca and it turns out I’ll be having some fun with them throughout my stay. Nothing like a late night of drinking back to back that there’s no way I’m getting up early the next day which wasn’t the case. I had gotten a call later in the day from the Harley shop saying that there was a problem with the oil pressure that I might want to come down early to figure out what needs to be done to the engine to make sure I can make it home. Yea, it was a 10:00 meeting, but I sure didn’t get much sleep after a late night that Day 4, back to the Harley shop.

What they have found was there seemed to be a problem with my oil pump that I should have that replaced, but on top of that the plate which holds my gear cams was scrapped more than what it should be that I can either have them see if the old will work or they might have another old one on hand that will work. So to make the long story short, the other plate wasn’t going to work that they had to order another which could be an additional $500 dollars on replacing the oil pump to replacing the cam plate with a similar one. This trip is definitely turning out to be pretty expensive, but than I guess I should expect that on a bike that already has over 140,000 miles on it at only 8 years old. 

After that meeting even though I told Marisio I’d probably see him at the beach, I needed some rest that it was back to the house for more than a siesta, but some well needed sleep.  Michael wasn’t feeling good at all so was already down for the count since he wasn’t able to sleep for the night or keep anything down. Yep, could’ve been something that he at, but who knows that tonight I’m on my own for heading out that tonight was my time to try the langosta (lobster) that I really wanted to see these no-claw animals and see what they really taste like. I ended up at the marina where the Harley shop is and had my eye on a place that I had coupon for, the Baja Lobster company that it should be the place to visit. Well, no one told me that they are still handing out old tour guides that have all of these things in Cabo to do, but some of them aren’t even open that there might not be any lobster for me. Of course one of the vendors trying to talk me into a fishing trip or weed had just the place that I followed him to another restaurant where I’m sure to get great lobster. First off, I’m gonna get a margarita because I could use something other than  a beer and after seeing their menu and a wedge salad, there was something I saw that I’d like. I did ask how much a full langosta was and when the guy told me $95 US, well you can see from the pictures that sure enough, I decided to get it anyway. Maybe not a great choice but it was pretty good and hell, I’m on vacation that what’s a little money for some great grub. I did find lobster as good cheaper, but it wasn’t a full one and is for later in the story. Not as late a night that I could use hitting the sack a little earlier. 

Now, even though the days are closer than a week ago there isn’t too much more with daily stories other that a trip to the Harley shop on a daily basis and waiting for parts to come in that since I found out I’m only good until Friday morning the 14th, I’m just concerned about the bike being ready. Sure I could stay if I have to for another day, but I am getting ready to start heading home and at least get back to some normalcy when it comes to my phone and being connected to people from home. My only connection is to those who have an Apple product that I can iMessage and FaceTime, and I do have the internet so have been able to stay in touch with email that it isn’t too bad. 

With that, I’ve decided that I’m done drinking for tonight that I will pick up more of the daily stories tomorrow and let you in on the continued journey. Attached are pics of the cookout, full moon, night out on the town, the house I’m staying in as well as some of the bars I’ve been visiting and of course that expensive lobster that I devoured. No comparison to Maine, but I’m use to a lobster with claws as well as better tasting.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Day 22 - Cabo San Lucas B.C.S.

My first full day in Cabo and I should’ve noticed that it was going to be that kind of day. It started out with no water in the house, and I mean none so no toilets being flushed and no showers that it will take a few hours for the tank to get filled which likely means no water for the day which was pretty much the case. It did finally come back on after dinner, but after a hot sweaty day I just made sure I had enough beers in me not to worry about it. I also needed the beers for another reason which I’ll eventually get to. 

I figured for my first day and since it looked like a storm coming in, or at least rain that I should see about getting my bike into the Harley shop so they could start working on it incase they needed to order some parts. I checked the internet for the shop and it looked easy enough to get to downtown Cabo where all the action is that I set out on my way there only not to be able to find the place. I don’t remember how many people I stopped to ask, but at least I knew how to ask where, ‘donde’ that I had people pointing me in the general direction but no luck finding it. Now where I come from most of the Harley shops have a big sign out front that you can’t possibly miss them, but this shop isn’t one of those kind of shops. I finally was heading down the right street but there was nothing other than the parking ramp to the shopping center that I asked another guy where the Harley shop was and he pointed me into the parking ramp. Ok, I guess I’ll take a chance and sure enough I did find the service area in the ramp. I pulled my bike in and talked to the service guys and asked for Dave the owner so I could run through what I needed done to my bike and they eventually pointed me to the mall to try and find my way around. I did eventually find the small store in the mall, but it still took some doing and once there asked for Dave who wasn’t in and probably wouldn’t be for at least an hour or more. 

Well, as long as I have my bike here I might as well wait that next door there was a pretty nice restaurant that I figured I might as well treat myself to a nice breakfast so sat down and order some french toast and sausages along with a glass of orange juice and ice water. I’m one of those type that like ice in my juice, but when he delivered the water that is when I finally realized not a good idea to get a glass of water and I probably should worry about the ice because if they haven’t used purified water, gringo’s like me could get sick that I pushed it away and drank the juice just the way it was. It turned out to be a great breakfast and as of today while writing this, I am still safe from the dreaded problems tourist sometimes have in Mexico, lets just hope it stays that way.

Back to the Harley shop and Dave was close by that he’ll stop by the service shop first and then up to the store that I figured I’d try to catch him by the shop that I walked back down, finding my way pretty easy this time, but no Dave so I must of missed him so hoofed it back to the store where sure enough, he was in his office and eventually came down. I went through the list of things I needed done and he did mention maybe ordering a kickstand from another dealer to get it back to spec, but once he found out it was over a 200 dollar item he checked with the mechanic who said they could easily wield it correct and get a new spring put on it which would be much cheaper. Apparently the wield job that Jesus did wasn’t quite up to snuff which is why he had to drill another hole in my frame just to get it to work. Dave wasn’t too happy hearing that, but hey I needed something done to get me on the road and I said for what this bikes been through, another hole in the frame hopefully won’t make any difference. Dave also mentioned there was a chance that the category 2 hurricane was going to hit Cabo that he did suggest my best bet is to leave the bike even if they couldn’t get to it right away because if it does hit the streets and the dirt road that I’m staying at will definitely not be something you’ll want to be riding on that I’m ok doing without my bike for a few days that I might as well has home and do some relaxing which is just what I headed home to do.

It was definitely a hot humid day that I took my time on the walk back and it was a long one that I was sweaty and remember no water so no shower for me. I figured I’d see about relaxing on the deck and Jess and Michael had an old string hammock laying on the deck that they said the old tenants left and they had never used it that I figured, maybe if I get it tied up between the rails, I could definitely sleep in it so I started untying a side so I could string it between the rail. I did get it secured and opened it up looking at how battered it was that I did think for a second that I wonder if it’d hold me that I’ll give it a try and slowly started sitting in it ever so slowly added a little more weight that wouldn’t you know it, it broke and there I go slamming my head into the patio wall and Michael yelling out if I was ok where I just sat somewhat stunned and sure enough, had a hand full of blood from the back of my head that he eventually got me a towel and said we should really make a trip to the emergency room because it looked pretty bad. He tried to show me with the mirrors and I was just going to let it go, but I figured better safe than sorry that he was going to take me there because I could definitely use someone who can speak Spanish that it’s a good thing he did come along. If you look really close to the picture of the patio wall, you can see where my head hit, the round spot right in the middle.

We walked to the local OXXO where we’ve been getting our beers to try to see about calling a taxi and the workers didn’t have a number for one, but a lady overheard Michael asking for one in Spanish that she gave him a number that we tried calling, but no luck. Eventually she called and I don’t know what she said or found out that the next thing I knew, she was going to give us both a ride there. At least that’s what Michael told me that we piled into her small car, me hitting my head once again, but no more damage this time that we were on our way and her and Michael talking it up in Spanish that I’m sure some of it was about me and my stupid stunt of trying to use a hammock that was sure not to hold me. Well we get to the emergency room and at least the girl at the front speaks enough English that they give me forms to fill out and they must get a number of American’s here because it was in English and Spanish that it was pretty easy for me to fill out. We waited until the nurse came to pick me up and Michael was going to come with, until the nurse and girl at the front said the doctors and nurses speak Spanish, English and even French so I’d be ok on my own and Michael was free to go home. 

What a way to relax in the emergency room getting stitched up which took 8 stitches in the back of the head which almost matched the 12 I had on the front of my head yeas ago when my head met the curling ice. It wasn’t much relaxation because it hurt and now according to the doctors orders no swimming in a pool or the ocean for at least 7 to 10 days when I have to come back to get the stitches taken out that it pretty much spoils me spending too much time on the beach, maybe. I’m sure I also had a little of a concussion from the hit too and my neck sure hurt that probably a little whiplash to go along with it all. No instructions to have someone keep waking me up every few hours that I started the long walk home once again on a hot humid day where I sweated just as much and remember, no water in the house at all. 

Once home this time I decided I might as well relax in the lounge chair on the deck that I really wished I had thought better and just used that instead of thinking about a hammock, which sure enough is still laying on the patio waiting for the next victim to try the same. Yes, it really does need to be tossed. As for the rest of the day, that meant drinking a few beers for the pain because me, I don’t like taking aspirin or pain pills and would much rather numb it with beers that Jess, Michael and I did just that. They did take me to their favorite local taco shop and they were pretty good tacos for only 10 pesos a taco which is less than a buck per that I had to try one of each and a different sauce on each that one of them was pretty hot, spicy, but they were all good. Back to the house and I think we still made another couple of runs to the OXXO a block away for beers that we definitely had our share and eventually, water in the house that it was a good thing too so we could finally flush the toilets. 

Oh, and now that I have a few stitches in the head (which you’ll see the pictures of), that means no riding for at least a few days when I’ll be able to put a helmet on, but they are still working on my bike and wouldn’t you know it, finding more things that have to be taken care of on it. More about that with tomorrow’s story which I could probably go into since some of the pics are from the beach that I walked to on my second full day in Cabo, but I will save that story for tomorrow. Enjoy the pics and stay tuned for what could possibly go wrong next. I do like the tequila pic and there are already pics of the beach which you'll hear about later.