Oct 15, 2014

Viva Baja Part III

A nice foggy morning on the beach. A good lesson in sand if you ever find yourself in the dunes. Sand tends to be more dense with moisture in the mornings making it heavier and easier to drive on. Being right on the ocean makes for an extreme example, but it's good to take notice since it isn't always so visible, but it's always happening in one quantity or another. Sandy Beach in the afternoon:  photo IMG_4427.jpg Sandy Beach in the early morning.  photo IMG_4515.jpg Another good spot to wake up. The fog was thick! It made for some great sleep.  photo IMG_4512.jpg Everyone all packed up and ready to head out!  photo IMG_4519.jpg We headed north to San Quintin for some lunch at the Old Mill. It's a great spot down an unassuming dirt road from Highway 1. Just as we were headed down the dirt road we saw a truck dragging something across a side street ahead of us. My first instinct was that it was a bunch of tires to smooth out the sandy roadway... No, upon further inspection it was a dead cow. A massive, bloated dead cow. You just don't see that every day. Gotta love Baja. Once you get there you are reminded why it's a worthy side trip.  photo IMG_4522.jpg The tidal swing in this inlet is massive. Boats floating now will be sitting in the mud in a few hours.  photo IMG_4524.jpg  photo IMG_4525.jpg It's a good stop for the Baja motorcycle and buggy tours alike. Lots of locals and tourists heading out fishing.  photo IMG_4523.jpg A word of warning. If you have a soft spot for animals, Baja may not be the place for you. Unless you've always wanted 10 or 15 puppies. You see them all over the place and they all look this cute.  photo IMG_4526.jpg Well, if we were going to leave the Ocean and head inland we'd better get some elevation under our feet. It was hot out! We decided to take the long way to Mike's Sky Rancho up the notorious Simpson's Hill. This hill is a pain in the ass in a 2wd buggy, but with some slow going and a decent 4x4 it's not too bad. (Especially if the road has had a bit of time to recover from the last race) This section pictured is nice and mellow except for the 2 to 3 foot tall whoops along the road. The local ranchers avoid this road since it get so "whooped out" after each race. It was slow, bumpy going. I was wishing I was on a motorcycle about now. Any vehicle could traverse it, but only something with a couple feet of wheel travel and enough power to carry it at speed could knock this section out quickly.  photo IMG_4530.jpg  photo IMG_4531.jpg Heading up through El Coyote which is another popular stop in these mountains. It's also right on the racecourse like Mike's Sky Ranch so it sees a fair amount of Gringo's. Everywhere you look there is a lot of left over signs of the Baja 500 or 1000.  photo IMG_4532.jpg Dreaming of cold beer and a cold pool ahead I may have gotten a lead right food. I took off ahead of everyone else for Mike's. We stay in touch via HAM Radio's so whether it's 1 mile or 20 miles we can usually stay in close communication. Mike's at last!!  photo IMG_4534.jpg Mike junior, son of the long passed original Mike, was in town getting supplies so except for some cleaning and kitchen staff it was deserted. All except for one lady who'd come up here on her own to get away. She handed Kelsey and I a Tecate, as is the custom anytime you see a weary traveler in Baja. I may have savored that Tecate an extra bit knowing that I wasn't still bouncing around on Simpson hill with the rest of the guys. Maybe.  photo IMG_4536.jpg If it's the right time of year the area under the awning at the far end of the pool is filled with dirt bikes. You simply ride into the entrance and park next to the pool. That way your bike is safe and you can get down to the business of food and beer.  photo IMG_4545.jpg The windows and walls of this place are filled with Baja Racing gold. So many past teams, support crews and legends of baja have left their mark here. Every one of these shots has as least one company I used to work for or a team I've been involved with. It was a flashback in time for me and I loved it. Don't ever get a baja racer started on telling stories or the night will be lost in tall tales of past adventures.  photo IMG_4540.jpg  photo IMG_4542.jpg  photo IMG_4543.jpg Woohoo! They made it! We were all back together again. On a bike, the price of Mike's is worth every penny for the chance to relax, swim and sit down.  photo IMG_4547.jpg In our trucks we were all so happy to stay in them that we decided to take Mike's camp spot on the creek next to the resort.  photo IMG_4549.jpg This is the point in the trip where you start to relive and reminisce the adventures and mistakes you've made so far. You don't want it to end. You're ready for another 5 or 6 days at least.  photo IMG_4550.jpg The next morning we enjoyed running fence line all the way down to Highway 3. It was fun to think back to being in a racecar flying along this road.  photo IMG_4553.jpg We happened to stop to air up next to some power lines. It reminded me of the time I was waiting for the teams Trophy Truck when a couple hundred yards away we heard a loud crack. A helicopter following a race car clipped these very same power lines and went down. Turns out it was a Cartel big man and his body was stolen from the morgue the next day by armed gunman. See what I mean about getting me going on stories. Okay, back on topic.  photo IMG_4556.jpg On this final epic day of driving home we were stopped at 2 Federale check points and 1 American Border Patrol checkpoint with a 2+ hour stop waiting in a border line. It was a rough day, but by the time we all stopped for In-N-Out in Yuma, we were all floating on the cloud that only a week in Baja can give you. So,with that, I can only look to the next trip and hope it lives up to the last one. Somehow, it always does.  photo IMG_4557.jpg

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