Saturday, November 6, 2010

Updated: Baja California

For my internationnal audience, and because I don't have a French keyboard, I've decided to post in English.
(Traduit de l'anglais par: donnez votre nom si vous voulez etre volontaire)

In San Diego, I've bumped into Tim and Cory at the BMW dealer, 2 guys from Calgary. And they've bumped into Neal and Troy earlier that day.

 At the hotel, time to prep the bikes.
 We had fun that night, the hotel was next to a marina and had a nice pool. We ordered pizza, and drank beer.

 We had to stay one more night because we we were not ready. I had time to replace my iphone screen before heading further South.
 And here we go to cross into Mexico. We were a bit scared, because every American we met though we were crazy to go into Mexico, we'll have our head cut off, etc. The guy at the hotel wanted to show me videos. Not a nice thing to think about.
Bike registration in Tijuana. It's like a drive tru, it was nice, smooth, nothing to worry about.

 As soon as we crossed the border, and said goodbye to my group and decided to just go by myself. I wanted an adventure my way. The highway was along the beach.
 In Ensenada you have Wal-Mart, Mcdonald, Home Depot, Burger King, etc,

I met a guy at the border. Tommy. He's a surfer from Vermont and was ridding his bike with his surf board, he said he'll go camp near a beach in Punta San Jose. That's were I wanted to go! There are no signs indicating that little village, you need to ask the locals. It's about one hour of dirt road, and the sunset was there, not much time left before total dark.

And I've found him! Just in time. He was in the sea surfing. Quite a nice place!

 Here's Tommy. A very cool guy. We had good conversation about the way we prefer to travel. I didn't have time to buy food, he said, I'll make you dinner I have lots of food! And he shared his beer with me.
 He made an excellent burrito with cheese, avocado, salsa, and I can't remember what else, but it was good. He said to me to travel properly I need to carry food with me! So right!! My new Rule #1: Always have food with you. 

 He showed me new things about how to use my camera.
 There were a little fisherman village right next to us.

 They are living in tittle houses and trailers, but they have satellite tv hooked up.
 That's where we slept, the beach on the left side.

While he was surfing, I went over the village, I wanted to go on a boat fish with them, but my Spanish was too bad to communicate properly, and I think they were done fishing. Anyway I've bought 2 fish for bout $2. I could have bouht a lobster for $1 but had no way to cook it.

Little dirt road to Punta San Jose.

 In Santo Tomas, the dog came to say Hi! Many dogs here habe big scars on their head, probably hit by cars.
 Tommy told me about Punta Baja, another very nice place for camping near the ocean. I had to stop to a ATM, and we lost each other. Then I stopped for too long to a Internet Cafe and got cought up by dark. I could not find Punta Baja, took the wrong way into a mountain very steep, and I've burned my clutch out. The bike would not go any further and it's dark, might as well sleep right there. The next day I could just let the bike go downhill all the way to El Rosario, the little town we can see there. Rule #2; never drive at night!

 The next morning, the bike cooled down, the clutch was gripping a little bit, I could see the road I should have taken and decided to go see Tommy. I've realized the clutch cable was super tight. When I've loosen it up a little bit it was gripping enough to get me going. I thought maybe it was a little of my fault; as the clutch breaks in and did not give the loose it needed, plus climbing a mountain didn't help either. Like driving a car keeping your foot on the clutch at all time, not good.

 I've finally found Punta Baja.

 And found Tommy. He showed me on the map the good camping spots in Baja.

 The road to Punta Baja:

I stopped to that little restaurent in El Rosario, famous for the good food, every Baja1000 racer stop there, almost. Met a mechanic, he said my clutch is toasted and I won't make it to La Paz. Then I met a German BMW mechanic, how lucky I am! He said" Not good". By the look on his face, he would not have bet I'll make it back to San Diego. He told me I need to give as much slack on my clucth cable, somehow.

 At the restaurent, I've met those 2 great guys: Patrick, from USA, and Pete, from Switzerland.
They were also camping in Punta Baja in a westfalia van, and were going on a sail boat at the bay.
 Removed my adjustment bolt completely, to give some slack.
 My touratech panniers after one small drop.
 From El Rosarito, headed back to Santo Tomas. Could not go offroad no more, slep at the hotel there. Safe place
 Not much holding this pannier together.
 Had to attach a piece of wire, to give more slack, hoping I'll make it back to San Diego. To save my clutch I was passing in front of everybody, even at the military check point. People were honking at me, the guy with the machine gun was making signs to go back in line. Told him about my cltuch, he said ok, go to inspection. At the inspection, the guy looked at me. Americano? No Canadience! Looked at my bike, ok you can go!  Most of the time the military just let you go or just ask to open one or 2 luggages.
Drive tru construction zone: cars and trucks goes very slow, road being very bad.

Drive into Tijuana:

When  I drove back into Tijuana, same thing. I drove between car and cut in front of everybody. Between the cars their were people selling stuff, and US police with sniffing dogs, I was asking them to get out of my way! Very funny, got at the border, covered of dust from the construction zones, with straps holding my panniers together. The guy looked at me and said looks like I had a hell of a trip. Told him about my clutch and how I was happy to get that far. He made judgement to just let me go, without inspection or anything, nice!

 Back in San Diego.

 Changing the clutch in the street near the dealer.

 At the hotel, some people were super loud, walls were shaking, police came. And I met Katrina, next door at the hotel. She was curious about my bike and my trip. Had a beer and a chat. After quitting her job and moving to San Diego her boyfriend broke up with her and she was wandering what to do. I've convinced her to just come into Mexico with me with her Harley. She did it!! It was so refreshing to see her so excited about going into Mexico.

Ben, a nice guy from Mexico city came over to chat with us. He was an painter, artist. He really like Katrina's bike! 
 And we took the same road I've previously taken. 
 We saw a nice hotel near the ocean just before Ensenada. We checked in, and went to the beach just in time for sunset.

 I usually don't enjoy Hotels too much, but this one was awesome, top floor with Ocean view. Katrina's threat!
 It could not be any closer to the sea, the waves were almost splashing into the pool and jaccuzi.

 And we could park our bikes right at the front door for safety.
 And we decided to go at the same beach I've previously went, in Punta San Jose, off Santo Tomas. We checked into Santo Tamas' hotel to park the Harley and drop some stuff off.
 We had a great time, looking at the stars, we saw many shooting stars, it was great. The next morning she had to go back to San Diego. I really enjoyed my time with her, what a great gal! She did teach me very important lessons that I will remember! She've found me as a very good inspiration and it was very nice to hear. Thank you so much Katrina for what you've given me!

 I decided to go to Punta Baja, now that I know where it is. I'm not burning another clutch this time! Along the way I've met with Edmund, a cool German traveler, also going to South America, on a Kasawaki Tengai.

Their were a few fisherman, working hard collecting muscles (des moules en francais).

 The fisherman were very friendly, they came over and talk to us.
 And we exchanged infos.
 Set up camp.
 Drank beers, and had a fire, what else could you wish for?
 The fisherman were still working, preparing their muscles. Edmund wanted to go over and help them, why not? I've brought my little dictionnary. One of them was speaking a little English, we had fun with them, communicating the best we could under their little ombrella, and light powered by the truck battery.
Edmund, Frederico, Jushua and me. 
 And we headed back to El Rosario, to go at the very same little restaurant. The food is great, and they have free internet. So I go there to update my blog.

I've found this landscape very similar to Jushua Tree.
Between El Rosarito and Guerrero Negro there is a long stretch without gas station, so we stopped at those little gas stand to buy a gallon, just to be safe as we are planning a little of offroad adventure.

And one more time, from water containers, self service this time. And I need an haircut. 

We were trying to go to the beach in Punta Rosarito. Those small remote places are not easy to find, got lost, it was almost dark, got the right place, and Edmund got a flat tire. We could hear the waves, we could see a little of the ocean, we were almost there. Since Edmund had a flat we decided to just camp right there in that nice spot with palms.

The camping spot was a little under cover. We realized that night not so much as we could see the cars from far on the highway, just before the military checkpoint. And I think the place was a cow toilet. Poo everywhere.

We were tired, Edmund was a little upset of his flat tire, he've traveled a lot and never had one. I think he was lucky; it took me 2 weeks to figure out how to change a tire, took me 3 tubes to stop having leaks, and I've been travelling for only one month. Anyway, we decided to just relax and fix the tire at day light the next day. Found a poo free spot to set up the tent and we had a fire, made of poo. It was easier to find than wood.
Got the tire fixed, next to the poo fire. Edmund realized his rear brake pads were worn out. He was not happy of that. And then he burnt out his 12v plug on his bike after using his 12v pump to fix his tire.
After a breakfast, we tried to fing that beach place we were looking for. 

And we've found were we should have slept the night before. Only things missing: long chairs, Corona's and hot chicks. Maybe next time I'll bring my own. 
Very cool beach with soft sand. 

And we headed back. 
Went tru the military checkpoint: 

And Edmund had another leaky tire, dam! I was ready to go back to USA and cancel his trip. I've convinced him to try to go to Santa Rosalia, not too far from there, near the bay shore and have a nice meal. When you stop to a small place like we were, where there is nobody, food is usually crap. You need to go where the locals go, when it's full of Mexican it means it's good food, Santa Rosalia is big enough to find those places.

And back on the road. 

We made it to Santa Rosalia in total dark, yeah I know I should not drive at night but it was a short drive. We've found a nice little mexican hotdog stand, with nice Mexican musixc in the background, and people means food is good. It was Excellent!!! The best hotdog ever! Sausage wrapped with bacon, and they had a whole bunch of different sauces of different color.  I had no idea what it was, but it was good. By the time the lady at the stand finished preparing my 2nd hotdog, I've eaten mine already and was ready for one more.
Good music, good vibes coming from this town. 
We stoped at the first hotel we've found. Checked in. And we've met a nice retired guy named David, he bought us beer, and Edmund was so happy, he paid us wiskey.
Had breakfast the next morning with Edmund and David. It was my last meal with Edmund, unfortunately. I think he was homesick, and didn't trust his bike no more after his misadventure with his tube. I thought it was unfortunate that happened, he would have made a great travel companion, now I'm back solo. 

David is travelling on a sail boat. He's been on his boat for months already, for what I remember. He told me a ferry is leaving the next day to mainland, and I've decided to take it. 
We had a good hotel spot, everything is walking distance from there. Santa Rosalita was an old copper mining town. You can see holes everywhere. I wanted to see David's boat and we had a walk to the marina.

Davis showed me where I can get free wifi from the marina; it's an unlocked, empty building with A/C, table and chairs, nice!

And that's David's boat: 
He told me how he could be self sufficient on the sea for months, making his own bread, he and a water making machine, making drinkable water from the ocean, etc. I'd love to do that some day!

David showed me where I can get my ferry tickets, and suggested to visit the old copper smelter, the museum and the church, might as well! 
This is where I'll take the ferry: 
We see lots of Army trucks driving into town for some reason, with men in the back and their big machine guns. 
Edmund suggested to go see the church, it was just 2 blocks off the hotel. 
So far in Mexico, you can see lots of Tecate signs everywhere, even in small town you'll have a few, little corner store selling that Mexican beer, EVERYWHERE! It's about $1,50 for the big bottle.
You also see lots of little mobile stands selling fruits. It's very good, they add some spice and lemon juice. I always stop for them anywhere I can.
The famous Church, apprently designed by Eiffel himseld, from the Eiffel tower you know! First church made of steel that I've seen. 

Say Goodbye to Edmund, I wish he'd never had flat tires, I might still be travelling with him a bit longer. He asked me to sign his bike. I was honored, nobody ever ask me that ever before. Wow! He did the same for me! Edmund, it was a great honor and pleasure to meet with you. I hope to see you again!
Then I've visited the museum. 
Telling a bit of history about the town

View of the little marina: 

The falling apart Copper Smelter: No stinky fence preventing the children from falling off. I know I would have killed myself right there being child. 

I headed back to the marina, using the empty building with fast wifi internet, updating my blog and keeping in touch.

This is my ferry ticket to mainland, where I'll be tomorrow. I have to go, I don't where I'll sleep tonight, I don't know where I'll be tomorrow. It's always a surprise, and I've been travelling enough to know great things will happen to me!

1 comment:

  1. Allô Simon,
    Tu fais bcp de belles rencontres...Cou don fait tjrs beau. Chanceux.