Baja Trip Winter 2008 – Part 3

Day 3 – Santo Tomas to Mikes Sky Ranch

Today we start the day with a light drizzle. Our clothes had somewhat dried off but not completely. The night before the owner of the place kindly let me setup shop under a covered fire pit area that was well lit. I got to work on my dads bike lowering the idle and fiddling with the fuel mixture screw to see if I could find the sweet spot, alas with the lack of proper tools (I was using a single-edge blade to turn the pilot!) and the cooling trend of that night I decided to call it a day and hope for the best the next day. I finish entering the last of the way points into the GPS that morning and we were on our way. We head down the highway a bit and turn off into the little town and make our way into the hills. The road is fairly dry, not too much mud. It’s also quite smooth which is a great thing….(smooth = fast riding!) As we head towards the beach on this dirt road I notice that the rain is starting to stop and the clouds are beginning to disperse….awesome! As each hill top passes I can see the ocean gettinv ever more close. It is a beautifully deep blue with clear skies above. I come around a corner with a cliff on one side that goes down to the ocean. Perfect photo stop!

The road is a little muddy, but still firm. This is great because my beast of a bike isn’t sinking in! (That makes it easier to handle woohoo!) Here’s a little shot of the muddy footing =D

We proceed down the coast towards Erendria, the views of the ocean are breathtaking. I didn’t stop for too many more photo’s down the way, but believe me when I tell you it’s AWESOME! A few miles before we hit Erendria the road starts to turn into a muddy muck, I feel the bike losing power as I hit the deep spots of mud and my goggles are quickly filling up with mud spots. Trying very hard to resist the temptation to wipe them with my glove I continue down the road. I could only imagine how messy it was for my dad who was behind me. I must have been kicking up mud like no bodies business! We pull into Erendria and I make a wrong turn in the town (right instead of left, doh!) The GPS says I’m going in the right direction but lest I forget, the GPS is “as the crow flies”. I stopped to adjust my route chart (a paper in a plastic bag zip tied to my handlebars woo!) While we were waiting for my to finish my adjustments an old man walks out of his house to greet us. I say hi and he responds with “It’s a hell of a time to be riding…..best of luck with all that mud!” Well, I sure as heck didn’t realize what he meant right then and there, but I would soon enough! We pull out of Erendria and start heading south along the coast line again. The farther south we go the more the road turns into a muddy mess. I’m fighting REAL hard to keep my beast going straight and hammering the throttle to keep my speed up and the back tire out of the mud. Later in the day my dad reported that my back tire was always chain depth into the road…..wow! We come to a mesa area in the path that cuts out into the ocean and we stop. I needed a break and it looked like a good place for some photos:

I thought it was pretty bad there trying to control the bike and that was just a flat road! The real test was soon to come…. We started to head farther inland and we hit a section of deep whoops, all utterly and completely covered in mud. Now i’m not the fastest rider or the craziest so I usually slow down a bit when I get to the whoops. Bad move…..the bike wouldn’t handle worth a crap. The front end went one way and the rear tracked a different direction, and poor old me is stuck in between the two! I went down 3 or 4 times in that small stretch of road. Let me tell you, it ain’t easy lifting up a 300+ lb fully loaded bike in the mud….. With the lack of movement and rain I was starting to heat up in all my gear….I could feel myself sweating like crazy and my camel back was getting a workout. My dad faired better than I did with no falls, but inevitably stalled his bike out in the middle of going slow and trying not to run me over since I kept falling. It took us a good 15 minutes of blood, sweat and tears to start that damn bike up again. This time I could not for the life of me figure out what was causing it to not want to start….choke..check, gas..check, spark..check what gives!? We were both drained, sitting on a few rocks in the area taking a rest. Dad got up one more time and as luck would have it the freaking bike kicked over and we were on our way again (Thank God!)

We come to our T-off and head left going straight inland with a destination of San Vicente. We pull in and there is a slight drizzle again. As we fill up our bikes I tell my dad to pull out some Windex wipes I had sitting in my backpack. I wiped the goggles and we were on our way. We hopped on the highway and proceeded south to the Valle Trinidad turnoff. Once we get off the highway I make another wrong turn (as the crow flies….arg…) However I managed to correct and get us back to the main road. However there was a slight snafu, a ranchers barbed wire fence stood between us and the main road we needed to be on. Luckily I drove down a ways and the barbed wire fence ended and we jumped on the road. As we proceeded to Valle De Trinidad I felt the air getting colder as we ascended into the mountains. The rain was also starting to pick up, not good. So there we are, two crazy dudes riding our motorcycles on God knows how cold, soaking wet mountain roads. A lot of shivering, cursing and rain later we ended up in Valley Trinidad. We stop and ask a local if there are any hotels there (a 30 mile ride to Mikes Sky Ranch did NOT seem fun at that point!), much to our dismay he said the closest public place to stay was Mikes or to ask a local for housing in their home. We decided to head to Mikes in the cold rain. Already half frozen we start the windy road to Mikes. Well, it was a road….beneath the mud, rocks, puddles and everything that wanted to impede our path to a warm room. 2 puddles into the route my boots were soaked…..I could feel the water swishing around what I *think* were my toes…..not too sure too cold to tell where my extremities really were. Puddle after puddle, turn after turn, we fought our way to Mikes. We got to a little rink-a-dink town and yet again the GPS kicked my ass. Luckily there was an old man sitting outside his house enjoying the rain, I asked him for directions and we were back on track. I saw some motorcycle tracks on the road which got my hopes up, maybe there would be some other crazy riders at Mikes?! That got me motivated and I started riding faster. We eventually got to Mikes (after crossing that damn near frozen river at the entrance!) and the doors are locked. Great….here we are in the middle of freaking no where, cold to the bone, wet from head to toe and there is no one here……now what the hell are we going to do?! The sun was about ready to set and the rain was still coming down and I was NOT about to go back down that poor excuse for a road to get back to a town! I walk around to the back of the ranch and look in the windows. A girl appears and I wave, she sees me and I could instantly tell she was scared to see me. I’m sure she was thinking “WTF?! Who is this? What do they want and what are they doing here?!” An older woman walks into view and runs over towards the door and asks me if I needed help. Between all my shivering and clattering teeth I asked her if she had a place to stay. She responded with an “Of course, just park your bikes inside” I told her the doors were locked, so she quickly ran out and opened the front. She then ran and turned on the heater to our room and said dinner would be ready in 1 hour…hell yes! Dad and I hobble over to the room half frozen and we strip off all of our heavy, cold, soaked clothing. Thankfully the heater here was the best out of ALL the places we stayed….that thing was cookin’! We clean up and head over to go get some food and the woman asked if we had been riding all day. We responded with a yes and she said we were certifiably crazy, hmm not the first time we’d heard that on this trip! They served quite possibly one of the best steaks I’d ever had in my entire life. That meal gave me some grade A food coma and I wasn’t about to fight it! Went back to the room and knocked out….what a day…

Let Stats:

  • Arrival – 12/16/08 @ 3:00pm PST
  • Time Elapsed – 5:54:10
  • Length – 138 mi
  • Avg Speed – 23 mph

Unfortunately I have no more photo’s of the trip, in fear of ruining the camera due to mud and the torrents of rain.

  • Esther Park

    To drive this point home- you are certifiably crazy! :). But I think that’s why we are friends.