Posted by: caryandjohn | March 19, 2009

Camping with Coco …

Hi All,

John here … well, the Coco thing is just a teaser. You’ll have to look to the bottom to find out how that went.

Sean, Kalle, Ryan and I rode one day from our palapa in Mulege, down south around the Bahia de Concepcion, and then back north up the peninsula that makes the bay … it was great to ride the ol’ KLR sans sixty pounds of luggage. The ride down the bay is paved, but super beautiful, and the ride up the east shore of the bay was a bunch harder than anything I’ve done in Baja so far, but it was so remote and picturesqe that it was well worth the effort … sort of. For some of us … hmmm.

Anyway, we met Tegan, Chuck, Cary and Cousin Liz, who had ridden the boat across to meet us, as planned. We had a nice lunch [thanks Cary and Tegan!] and after some excellent beach combing, the gang loaded up the boat, and the riders began the trip back. Easy, right? So I was enjoying the new rear tire, clean oil and oil filter, clean air filter and riding a bit faster than usual with the guys.

We were about three miles from the highway, and Sean, Ryan and Kalle were well ahead of me, when I came across a motorcycle yardsale in the middle of the playa-style road. Kalle had hit an unmarked vado going about fifty, and Ryan had t-boned Kalle’s bike, which was furiously dumping gas on the ground from the rend Ryan’s bike put in the tank. Woe.

I was mostly concerned about Kalle, but it turned out he only had the wind knocked out of him. Ryan, on the other hand, was hurting from a compressed fracture of his lower arm. My first thought was that one of them had hit a cow, because there were several observing Kalle and Ryan when I pulled up to pick up their bikes. But no, just riding in Mexico … never a dull moment.

We [well, Chuck and Tegan and Ryan] spent the next few days in clinics and hospitals and on the phone with Ryan’s travel insurance to buy him a plane ticket back to the States to have his arm set. What is up with the SFMC and emergency plane rides from Baja? Just the nature of the sport, I suppose, but I was ready to call it quits when I came across Kalle and Ryan. These motorcycle things are dangerous down here in Baja. Not for Cary and Liz,  of course. Set the boys loose, and watch out, though.

So, after seeing Ryan, Sean and Kalle, and Chuck and Tegan [and cousin Liz] off, Cary and I rode north to San Ignacio once again, where La Posada was full! So we found a room right off the Plaza, that was back behind a store, through a dining room and kitchen and out the back door to the back yard. After we swept out the spiders and reminded them to turn on the agua caliente it was charming. Ha.

The next day, after provisioning ourselves with sugar, chicken feed, dog food, Delicados and tequila, we were ready to ride north to see Pancho in Campo San Rafael. We had a long paved slog before we turned off road just south of Guerro Negro. When I went to let the air pressure in Cary’s bike down, it turned out there was about 8 lbs in the rear tire. Which I had changed recently, and so I was likely the problem. But the tire had been holding 20 lbs of air pressure. Would there be more flat fixin in my future? Woe.

In any event, the tire held air, and we spent a relaxed evening with our pal Pancho, who enjoyed our treats, as did the chickens and dogs.

After saying goodbye to Pancho, we were off to see if Coco would be home. It was a hot day, and at one point we [OK, I …] pulled under an octello tree for some shade. Cary pulled up and said: “Hey, maybe we should not be stopping near this thorny tree!” John: “Hmmm. What could possibly go wrong?” Of course, when I went to let out her front tire pressure when we turned off for Coco’s, Cary’s front tire now had no pressure. Joy.

I’ve missed Coco every time I’ve been by there in the past, but the third time was the charm, and he was sitting in his ’84 AMC Eagle when we drove up. He remembered our club colors, and told us to look at the two vintage panoramic photos he has. He showed us Cathy’s bra she left there in 2007. Ha. We stayed in one of his campers, which Cary designated as officially “scary.” Seemed OK to me … So, I spent the evening fixing the DR’s front flat, and Coco got to regale Cary with his stories. Grr.

We had a tough day the following day, riding 28 miles to the palapas at Gonzaga Bay. We paid $130 pesos, and enjoyed a splendid evening with no wind, lots of stars, a fire, and dinner at Alfonsina’s. [$350 pesos] Coco says that Campo Baluga has palapas with flush toilets and showers. Maybe next year?

So, finally today. A long, tough slog up to the paved road, which now starts several miles south of Puertocitos. Rocky. Silty. Sandy. Cary zooms along on the DR, and I slog along on the poor KLR. The truth is we are both more confident now and made short work of the road, but it still beats you up.

We got into San Felipe, where it turns out it is “Spring Break” so we had to hunt around for a decent hotel because the one I like to say in wanted $500 pasos. We found a room (@ don ramonas?) for $350 pesos after looking at about five hotels.

The plan now is to head north up to Rt 3, hand a left to Ojo Negros, and follow the “Milk Run” up to Santa Veronica or El Hongo. So, maybe one more night in Mexico. It will be about 60 miles of dirt, with plenty of opportunity to get lost. Joy.



  1. Hey folks,
    Thanks for your excellent and well written posts. I’m almost breathing the dirt and feeling the dry salty air. Yum.

    Glad to hear the vado jumping has been limited so far. Too bad about giant thorns and inner tubes, and hurray for agua caliente. Eric at BMW asked about you guys the other day, when back; he had to do the organizing and herding job for the urban dualsport event in SF last weekend, (which Cary might usually be involved in.)

    Sheet iron coming up with signup 4/1. Going this year. After what you’re riding through now this would probably seem a world away.

    Have a great ride a el Norte!


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