Rain Adventure

Adventure. From Dictionary.com
noun
1. an exciting or very unusual experience.
2. participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises:
the spirit of adventure.
3. a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome.

Adventure motorcycle riding is one of the fastest growing segments in the motorcycle industry. If you’re new to this phenomenon check out www.ADVrider.com and spend time with the home screen slide show to get a better idea of this sport.  True, most ADV riders search out the toughest, rockiest, remote back country tracks to explore with their giant adventure bikes that have been outfitted with armor to protect against the inevitable crashes.  Deby and I have done that plenty of times, it’s fun and challenging. Below is a picture I took of Deby on the 2010 Sasquatch ride, one of her first adventure rides when she started riding 5 years ago. Since then we’ve ridden crazy routes including Moab, Colorado, Death Valley, the Continental Divide Route, Baja and multiple sections of Backcountry Discovery Routes in WA, ID, CO and UT. Deby is on her second motorcycle which now has over 30,000 well earned miles on it.

Yesterday was just as big an adventure, well inline with the definition above. According to my GPS we rode 310 miles with a moving time of 5 hours.

The day started in Kingman Arizona, a historic place on the famous route 66 that is actually one of the cities called out in the lyrics of the popular song. A quick early morning look out of the window at the Holiday Inn confirmed what I suspected by the sounds through the curtains, it was still raining. I turned on the TV which by some strange twist of technology failure only got one channel, Fox News 10.

The big headline news was RAIN! I love it, “Weather Alert” in a red rotating banner. They had live coverage with reporters driving the local roads reporting on what seems to be one biggest stories of the day.

Well, we are Seattleites after all so what’s a little rain right? We donned our rain gear and braved whatever adventure (3. a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome.) would come our way. Interesting side note, two years ago Deby and I rode 16,000 miles to Patagonia and I only put my rain gear on one time, for a short shower that only lasted about an hour. Deby decided to chance it without rain gear and as usual she was right, we didn’t really need it. The drumming rain out the window convinced us both that we better put on every bit of Goretex we brought since we would be in for a wet one.

Here is a picture from the gas station in front of the hotel, my thermometer said 40 degrees F.

According to my GPS I-40 east from Kingman started at 3500 feet and the interstate startes climbing from there. We merged onto the 70 mph super slab between semi-trucks and associated spray and joined the fun on our unprotected motorcycles. As we gained elevation the temperature started dropping. At 40 degrees a light starts flashing on my dashboard indicating possible ice conditions. At 34 degrees with over 4,000 feet in elevation it starts snowing. I was counting the miles before our turnoff to the south on US 93 where I hoped we would descend and the snow would turn back into rain. In our helmet to helmet communicators Deby and I were actually laughing at the craziness of what we were doing. We had been to our destination, Tucson, around 10 years ago on motorcycles and we were discussing in our helmets what was worse, the blistering 100 degree heat we had then or this rain and cold.

Here is a picture from the second gas stop:

 

We went inside for some warm coffee and someone took our picture.

We were laughing because the whole thing was just too crazy. At this gas stop we met a half dozen Harley riders who didn’t look as happy as us. They were riding from LA to Florida for Daytona Bike Week and were hoping to ride 1000 miles a day and get there in time for the rally. They seemed to have decent rain gear but the open face helmets didn’t protect them from the stinging rain pellets. We chatted about rain, bikes and routes and they left before I was sufficiently caffeinated and ready to go.

I have to make a small confession here…. our motivation to press on in the driving rain and cold was our destination in Tucson, a 4 star Marriott resort. We’ve stayed there before and it has become one of our favorite destinations. It is super indulgent and luxurious. Somehow over the course business travel with stays in the Marriott system I had enough points for a nearly free stay, how cool was that?

We arrived on the mountain side resort in a driving hailstorm and parked right in front, next to the Valet-only parking stand. Deby and I walked into the elegant lobby looking like a couple of drowned rats, which we were. Literally, we left a significant trail of water on the elegantly polished floor leading to the reception desk.

Our original plan was to leave the next day for Mexico but neither of us thought we would be anywhere nearly dried out enough so I asked for another night which we got and I even had enough points to cover the stay. Oh yea! Adding the extra night took some time at the reception desk and the dripping continued off both of us until we had a significant puddle under our feet making for a dangerously slippery condition. As we walked to the elevator we saw housekeeping arriving with mops and a “danger wet floor” sign. Perfect.

We had a small “gear explosion” in the room.

So are we having an Adventure? No, we didn’t ride offroad climbing a boulder strewn mountain on a single wide track but we did survive relentless rain, cold, wind and even some snow. We tested our bikes, gear and fortitude. Our reward? Two nights at a 4 star resort. Tomorrow we cross into Mexico at the Nogalas crossing, a place of some notoriety………hopefully, not too much adventure.

Thanks for following and we love the comments even if we can’t answer them all we read each one, they make our day.

Donn and Deby

Wind, Snow, Ice, Rain

I hear it’s been sunny and warm in Seattle the last few days. Not true in the desert southwest. We left sunny Seattle on Friday with the bikes firmly loaded in the trailer.

We chose to blast via Interstate highways south towards Vegas where we would park and ride to Tucson AZ.

We drove into Salt Lake city around 5:00 PM on Saturday and the snow started coming down. Finally after driving for miles in the dark in near blizzard conditions we decided to get a hotel room in Fillmore UT. We managed to get one of the last two rooms available and were glad to settle in for the night. The only restaurant was connect to the gas station next to the hotel.

Dinner……

At least the gas station sold our favorite Utah beer, I love the tag line… “why just have one.”

And here is something strange that was at the hotel…

A Complementary (paper) Guest Towel. In small print it says “Take this towel with you on your travels and use it however you like.” Wow, however I like? Imagine the possibilities for a paper towel. This is coming with me to Mexico.

We arrive in Vegas around noon under overcast but dry skies. It took us about an hour to unload the bikes and get some riding in before dark, hoping to make great progress towards Tucson AZ where we have reservations at my favorite hotel on Monday night. As soon as we left the RV storage center with the truck and trailer safely tucked in, it started raining. Harder, harder and harder…..

Fun, (not) we tested our gear on the first day. I will report that we stayed mostly dry but it’s just not that much fun riding in traffic, in the rain when it’s 42 degrees.

We ended up going only about 100 miles to Kingman, AZ where we found a warm hotel to warm our bodies and dry our gear.

There was a restaurant across the street with decent food and beer, it was the type of place with huge TV’s blasting all around us. We glanced up at one point and saw Terry, Sandy and Jack Borden on the news. We met them last summer at the Touratech Rally in Washington. They are a family riding motorcycles to South America. (Link here: http://adventuretrio.com/)

 

How strange that we should randomly look up at the news and see someone we know and then in the same day get a free paper towel that I can use for whatever I want. This should be a fun trip.

Some housekeeping… I updated the tab above that says “Follow Us”, the links actually work and I managed to embed a map if you want to check on our progress.

Thanks for following,

Donn and Deby

 

 

5 Days before we leave

Whew! It’s been crazy getting the bikes ready and making arrangements at home and work. I’ve been trying to ride the KTM as often as possible to make sure there are no gremlins lurking in the Austrian workmanship. On Monday it wouldn’t start! Yikes! Nothing including  giving it  a jump would bring it to life. I loaded the KTM into the trailer and dropped it off at the dealer. Great. I returned home and rode my trusty BMW to work, I’m glad I haven’t sold it yet (sorry Ted). I was ready to plan on riding the Beemer when the dealership called and said the problem was a faulty Power Distribution Module (PDM60, for those in the know). I replaced that and upgraded to a AGM battery and hope that solves the problem. I did learn that the KTM will crank fine at 10V but that’s not enough voltage for the fuel injectors and computer, bummer, but good to know.

Oh, I learned something new…. how to embed a video from YouTube into my blog. I’ll try it here for the first time. On this trip I’m bringing my GoPro so we’ll see what comes of that. Here is a video I made of me replacing the airbox on the KTM with a new Rottweiler system. I hope you like it.

Donn and Deby

Countdown to Mexico

We leave in less than a month. I’ve been busy getting the bikes ready, oil, tires, chains, the usual stuff.  I’ve completely dismantled my KTM not only to make some upgrades but just to see where everything is.

Cool new Rottweiler Intake system

New for 2015, Deby’s motorcycle gets a new seat.

I decided to try my hand at custom seat building using a Seat Concepts kit. I carved the foam using an electric turkey carving knife and inserted a gel pad I bought on eBay. Less than half the cost of buying a custom seat and every bit as good.

Yesterday we braved the Pacific Northwest cold and damp an went on a 260 mile shakedown cruise.

The temperature hovered around 40 degrees all day with mostly cloudy skies. It was a good test of our gear and motorcycles. No problems with either and we had a fun ride. Here are a few pictures. Check out Deby’s new soft panniers from Mosko Moto these things are really cool, I’m really looking forward to trying them out.

The roads were wet with some slick spots but the new tires hooked up just fine. Just the refresher course we needed after limited riding for the last few months.

We eventually ended up at the High Steel Bridge. Click the link to learn more about bridge that is on a forest road in the Olympic National Forest.

It was a Long Way Down (wait, wasn’t that a motorcycle documentary?)

View down from the bridge.

Another reason for the ride is this Blog post. WordPress had a number of updates ready for me to install and I really need to familiarize myself with the process of re-sizing and linking pictures. I did a little cleanup on some of the other tabs and will try to do more in the coming weeks. So far, so good.

As I’ve said before, we would love it if you followed along but don’t feel obligated. You can subscribe or un-subscribe using the links on the right (you may need to scroll down a little). If you do follow along send us a comment once in a while. It’s great fun to hear from friends while we are travelling. We might not always be able to respond but rest assured a friendly hello is nice to hear at the end of a day riding.

Donn and Deby

Yes, we made it home

Almost one year ago to the day I made the last post to this blog. I’ve been reminded a few times by friends that I never mentioned that we actually made it home safe and sound. Yes we did.

From San Ignacio and Ignacio Springs B&B we rode to El Rosario for a quick overnight and then off to San Diego to retrieve our truck and trailer at Jock’s house.

Glad to be back in the US we loaded up and prepared for 2,000 miles of superslab back home. We were home in two days with no speeding tickets this time.

That trip marked the beginning of what was to be a very eventful year. Our summer riding plans were preempted by the sudden passing of Deby’s dad in August and my mother in September. Deby’s 93 year old mother now lives with us and it has taken until now for us to get comfortable enough with her live-in care situation to plan another trip.

In March we leave for Mexico. Central Mexico this time to visit friends in San Miguel de Allende. I’ll be firing up the SPOT for those who want to follow.

A bit of housekeeping. There are pretty many subscribers to this blog and I know many of you subscribed to follow our South America trip. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking on the link on the right side, towards the bottom. Or send me an e-mail and I will manually unsubscribe you. If you decide to stay, thanks and I hope you enjoy the ride.

Donn and Deby

San Ignacio to El Rosario

Seriously, we couldn’t have had a better time at Ignacio Springs B&B. 

Indeed, “An Oasis of Hospitality!”. Sunday evening we watched the Seahawks WIN eating a fantastic homemade dinner of lightly breaded Yellow Fin Tuna, homemade rye bread, fresh beats, mashed potatoes and salad. Just as the Hawks WON our host, Terry brought out homemade date ice cream to help in the celebration. Wow.

I have to comment on my friend Joe Smith’s comment on the last post about “Glamping.”

Here is what I read from www.glamping.com:

“Recently, a global trend has caught fire that offers outdoor enthusiasts an upgrade on rest and recreation. It’s called glamping, a new word for a new kind of travel, defined as glamorous camping. When you’re glamping, there’s no tent to pitch, no sleeping bag to unroll, no fire to build. Whether in a tent, yurt, airstream, hut, villa or treehouse, glamping is a way to experience the great outdoors without sacrificing luxury.”

Thanks for sharing this Joe, Yes, we were Glamping and I hope to do more!

Here are a few more pictures from our glamping, the outside dining area. 

Drinks are on the honor system, write what you took on the white board. 

Monday morning it was time to go so after some more homemade sausage, scrambled eggs, homemade rye bread toast with homemade jam and fresh squeezed orange juice we said goodbye and pointed the bikes north, towards home.

We rode about 300 miles through some boring straight sections

And some nice twisty sections through cactus forests. 

Big  boulders were everywhere including this boulder mountain. 

There is about a 200 mile stretch between Pemex stations going into El Rosario, to be safe we bought a gallon for each bike at the Gasolina roadside stand in Catavina. 

We got into El Rosario about 3:00 PM and we debated continuing on but we already had nearly 300 miles in for the day and we knew from experience there weren’t many good places to stay in the next 100 miles. We ended up at the Cactus Hotel on the north end of town near the Pemex. This hotel was highly rated in the Moon travel book and only cost $35, wow. The room was fantastic and is a mainstay stop for motorcycle riders. Right next door was Mama Espinoza’s diner which is a world famous stop for the Baja 1000 race. We went in for dinner and the walls are covered with signed pictures and jerseys from Baja racers.

We hung out for a while with some other bikers at the hotel, a Wee Strom, a honda 650 thumper and a guy on an 510 Husky trading Baja stories and getting caught up on the latest rumors and half truths about road and trail conditions.

So…. tomorrow we will cross the border back into the US and I’ll be wrapping up the blog until the next adventure. If I have time I’ll write a final post but unless something happens this will pretty much be it.

I hope you enjoyed the 2014 Baja adventure, it was different from some of our other trips but now that I’m hip to this glamping thing maybe we might try it again.

Thanks for following.

Donn and Deby

San Ignacio Springs

Here is how to spend a day at Terry and Gary’s place. Start by reading another vacation novel at the patio along the river. 

Get on a kayak and paddle down the river. 

Take pictures of birds…. 

I don’t know what a lot of them were and Deby had some idea. We’re pretty sure this is a night heron. 

Egrets

Pelicans were everywhere. 

It’s amazing how well these pictures turned out. Deby took them with my small Nikon AW100 point and shoot camera while I paddled. 

Not sure what this was. 

M R Ducks….

Did you ever wonder where dates came from? Not THOSE kind of dates, the kind you eat…. palm trees. They were everywhere. 

That about summed up the day, paddle, read, nap hang out. In the evening we went with another couple staying at San Ignacio Springs into El Centro San Ignacio to have dinner at Tootsie’s Bar and Grill which is run by Tony, Terry and Gary’s daughter. The food was excellent and we had a great evening hanging out with a couple on their honeymoon.

The next morning after an excellent breakfast that included homemade sausage, eggs, special pancakes and plenty of coffee we saddled up the bikes for the 35 mile ride to Laguna San Ignacio to go whale watching.

Deby and I rode this road two years ago, it had some pretty nasty sand back then. That particular part has since been “improved” and we made the trip without any dirt-naps.

I grabbed a couple of pictures from my GoPro camera of the new road.

Still a few tricky parts, especially around the road construction. 

On the recommendation of Terry and Gary we had reservations for a boat from Antonio’s fish camp along the Laguna so we suited up and went out on the boat. 

First we saw dolphins swimming around us. 

Then finally……thar she blows!

Suddenly we were surrounded, Deby was in charge of the camera so she gets full credit for all the pictures. Here are a few.

They do this thing called “spy eye” where they stick their head up and look around. 

Then they dive in and show us their tail fins. 

Otherwise they just hung around 

I could have stayed longer but time was up so we pointed back towards shore. They have these little cabins for rent. 

And a nice restaurant where they fed us lunch…. fish and pasta, yum. 

The local welcoming committee was waiting for us when we got off the boat. 

After an amazing visit we changed into our riding gear and got ready for a road back.

But wait… what’s this? 

Piles and piles of big shells along the road, what are these? 

Not sure but a couple of them ended up in Deby’s pannier.

Big smile in that helmet. 

With a fun day behind us we easily traversed the tricky parts of the road and were back to the yurt well before dark.

Let’s see… should we stay another day? Hmmmm, “Gary – do you have satellite TV?”, “Yes”. “Do you have a really big TV?”. “Yes”. “Do you think you can tune in the Seahawks game?”. “Of course!”. That did it, we reserved for another night…….. what could be better.

Donn and Deby

Bahia Concepcion to San Ignacio

Barking dogs………… that’s what filtered in my mind as I slowly regained consciousness in our tent on the beach. This wasn’t exactly the remote, peaceful camping experience I half expected when we packed our tent, but then again, we purposely picked a spot with a restaurant that attracted the dozen or so giant RVs. The main highway ran directly behind the beach and all night long the truckers used compression brakes through the twisty mountain road keeping us (me) from a solid night’s sleep. Still, it was a beautiful morning with warm temperatures and the sun glistening on the smooth water. The first (second) order of business was preparation of instant Starbucks coffee to kick start the day. Deby and I eased into the morning drinking coffee at the shoreline watching the shore birds scavenge for their morning breakfast.

Eventually we decided to pack up the tent and move on. We had an easy travel day ahead of us since we only wanted to go as far as San Ignacio. On the way we stopped in Mulege and rode to the mission. 

A little bit about the mission here from Wikipedia:

Mission Santa Rosalía de Mulegé was founded in 1705 by the Jesuit missionary Juan Manuel de Basaldúa at a ranchería of the local Cochimí which was known as Mulegé, in Baja California Sur, Mexico. The site lies near the entrance of Bahía de Concepción, on the Gulf of California coast.

A few odd details of the mission’s history are known. A hurricane in 1717 devastated the agricultural fields that supported the settlement. Construction of a stone church was begun in 1766. In 1768, when the Franciscans took over responsibility for Baja California from the Jesuits, there were reportedly still some 300 Indian neophytes at Mulegé. However, by 1770, the mission was virtually deserted. The Dominicans, who succeeded the Franciscans in 1773, began rebuilding, but the population remained less than 100. The mission ceased to function in 1828. The present church buildings have been extensively restored.

We liked it because of it’s wonderful stone construction. The door was open so we wandered in and took a few pictures.

A nice stop, I think Mulege is kind of growing on me. 

Back on the road we continued north and made a random turnoff into a small fishing village along the Sea of Cortez, San Bruno? It seemed like a spot that didn’t get many touristas but we continued to the marina and hung out and watched some of the fishermen and their catch.

Catch of the day.

Back on Mex 1 north we stopped in Santa Rosalia for lunch and gas. The highway runs perpendicular to the main road into town. In the past we’ve always just rode past but this time we needed to run into town to extract some money from the only ATM before San Ignacio. On the way through town we passed the metal church that is supposed to have been designed by Gustave Eiffel of the Eiffel Tower fame. It’s a working town that supports the huge copper mine that literally surrounds the city. There were old mine shafts exiting along the highway and the remains of a huge smelter still stands along the highway out of town. Traffic was crazy so I didn’t take any pictures but have some good GoPro footage I’ll have to sort through. Here is a link to the Wikipedia page on Santa Rosalia and the controversy about the church. Santa Rosalia. I did like the picture they had of the working waterfront. 

With replenished fuel for our bodies, motorcycles and wallet’s we settled in for the 45 mile ride to San Ignacio. The road weaved east from the Sea of Cortez into the Sierra San Pedro mountains. On our right we watched the Volcan las Tres Virgenes the local 6,300 foot volcano of three virgins. In the background were two more volcanos explaining the miles of old lava flow that followed the road.

San Ignacio is a small town roughly midway between the Pacific and Cotez side of the Baja peninsula, I had heard of a popular stopping point for travelers called the Ignacio Springs resort so we decided to check it out.

Yes, that looks like a tent to me, and I would say it qualifies as camping! As you may recall I had a problem with my sleeping pad…. not a problem here. 

Oh wait…. is that a bano with a shower and hot water?

Private outdoor patio? 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do like camping and getting away from it all in a secluded camp site but this looked like some luxury camping that we couldn’t pass up. Oh, did I mention breakfast included? Free use of the kayaks? Our hosts Terry and Gary who moved here from Canada 12 years ago couldn’t be better. Here is a link to their web site: http://ignaciosprings.com/

We just might have to stay a few days…..

Preview of what’s to come and I promise more pictures and less blah blah….

Donn and Deby

 

 

Puerto Escondido to Bahia Concepcion

Sipping morning coffee at the poolside restaurant at the Tripui resort we discussed…. camping. For over two weeks we’ve been hauling a tent, pads, sleeping bag (one dual Big Agnes – nothing like it), coffee making equipment and extra water. We mulled over a map and decided we should camp. Less than 100 miles away was Bahia Concepcion where we were told are some of the best beaches to camp in all of Baja. 

You can read more about it by clicking HERE.

We were coming from the south so we checked out the locations one by one. The entrance to El Coyote didn’t seem too appealing so we continued on…

We finally came to Santispac beach located on the northern edge of the beaches. Our Moon guide book said it was the most protected from the wind and had a small restaurant, sounded promising. Santispac, like most of the beaches along Bahia Concepcion was a strip of sand between the highway and the Sea of Cortez dirt or gravel roads run down to the beach and people camp along the water. We turned onto the playa and found an unused plapa. 

Setup our tent, yes we really did, and decided to call it home for the night. 

Nice and protected laguna. 

I wasn’t too sure about the neighborhood though…. 

These guys were “camping” near us and we hung out most of the night. They live there most of the year and don’t really seem to need to work.

Before dark we walked to another section of the beach where a caravan of huge RVs had pulled in for the night. There must have been 20 or 30 parked in a row. As luck would have it we were just in time for happy hour at the beach restaurant. 

Everybody was there… the place was packed with RV people and their dogs. I’m totally bummed I forgot to carry my camera, it was an amazing scene. There was one woman with a short skirt and spike heels walking on the sand floor in the bar. The margarita’s were flowing, two for one and slowly the place was getting pretty rowdy. Everyone was friendly and talked to each other, we joined in too easily and began to wonder if an RV was a better mode of transportation than a motorcycle! That was the clue that we had enough and we ambled back to the tent where our neighbors has a ginormous bon fire waiting for us. We sat around swapping lies and stories well into the night before dragging our sorry bodies into the tent and collapsing into our sleeping bag. Ten minutes later I realized I didn’t pack the new inflatable sleeping pad but the old one with a leak. Oh, well, it didn’t really matter too much and we drifted off with the sound of the surf and the soft sand under our bags.

Tomorrow…. more camping.

Donn and Deby

Buena Vista to Puerto Escondido

Even thought there wasn’t a restaurant we talked the bartender into having a coffee pot going for us in the morning. We met Ricardo at the prearranged time of 7:00AM and watched the sun rise over the bay drinking fine Folgers drip coffee. By 7:30 we were itching to leave so we skipped showers and decided to get some breakfast on the way. We knew of a great roadside breakfast place in the small town of San Bartolo on Mex 1 so we headed there. In less than an hour of nice twisty two lane riding through the Sierra de la Laguna mountains we were seated on plastic chairs eating huevos rancheros and drinking more coffee. Somehow I forgot to take some pictures….

We decided we would try to put in a few hundred miles through the flat, long and straight sections from La Paz to Ciudad Constitucion, Ciudad Insurgentes and finally back east over the mountains towards Loreto. If we weren’t too tired we would try to make it to Bahia Concepcion to camp on the famous beaches.

It was windy through the desert and we were in full “blast” mode on the bikes, just putting in miles through the most boring part of Baja. As we approached the Sea of Cortez the road became more interesting as we wound along the coast line over the cliffs. About 3:00 in the afternoon I saw a sign for Puerto Escondido and a small road the dropped to the east towards the water. Wanting to explore somewhere I’ve never been we turned off and rode down to a pretty big marina full of boats that seemed to be waiting out the high wind in the protected harbor. We explored for a while then on the way out I noticed a sign for Tripui Resort. We circled in and checked it out, restaurant – check, pool – check, clean and modern – check. Hungry, we stopped and decided to have lunch at the poolside restaurant. By the time we were done we decided to ditch camping for the night and book a room.

Nice room with a patio. 

Clean and spacious. 

Secure parking. 

And….. actual FAST WiFi right in our room. A perfect chance to catch up on e-mails, download some more books and upload some pictures for the blog which is the most bandwidth intensive thing. After dinner we even had enough bandwidth to watch a short show on Netflix. A night and day different experience from Rancho BV, we really liked this place and they said they had a special rate for motorcycle travelers (yea, right).

Tripui Resort: http://www.tripui.com/

Ok, so batteries recharged – literally and figuratively – maybe tomorrow we camp….

Donn and Deby