Baja on bikes

Thoughts from Mexico

I rode 2,000 miles on a motorcycle through Baja Mexico. Here are a few of my thoughts.

Aqui esta” the waiter said as he placed 3 bowls of hot soup in front of us.

We hadn’t ordered any soup.

He was smart though, he knew we would like it. And he was right.

The three of us had been riding through incredibly cold desert temperatures and strong winds that tilted our bikes over at 15% angles as we battled to move forward. I had put on three jackets to deal with the biting cold and the free soup was a welcome gift from the waiter. It was as if he knew what we needed even before we did.

Suited up on my Suzuki DRZ-400

We started the trip in Tecate, one of the border towns that bumps up against California. Five of us headed south on our 400 and 650 cc dirtbikes. It was an amazing experience getting a chance to ride motorcycles about 2,150 miles through Baja Mexico.

Valle de Guadeloupe, in the north of Baja, Mexico

There were some incredible areas we passed through. Right at the befinning of the trip we got a chance to see the beautiful Valle de Guadeloupe wine country. Rolling green hills and vineyards few by as we navigated the twists and turns of the many hills in this region. It was a great part of the trip and we would get an opportunity to pass through it again when we returned over a week and a half later.

We also had some lows. We would be stuck on the bikes for hours on end as we drove straight and flat through the hundreds of miles of desert. Some days were long. We rode over 425 miles one day to reach a hotel that we had booked. That was too much. We should have broken the project down into a few more shorter stops.

One of the guys had spent countless hours building up his Honda XR650 and was dismayed when about half way through the trip the motor began to malfunction. He was adamant about not trying to mess up the flow of the trip, so he actually rented a car, broke his bike down into pieces and loaded the main section into the trunk. He ended up paying $700 for the one way car rental (those return fees are very expensive).

We made it all the way down to Cabo in just a few days. One of the impressive beach resorts is called La Hacienda. Here is what it looks like.

La Hacienda

Honestly though, I never even got a chance to really see that resort or grab a limonda- our favorite drink of lemonade and mineral water. I spent a good part of that day stuck deep 45 minutes away in the dusty part of town. I didn’t want to abandon my buddy Adam as he was getting his clutch repaired at a dark garage filled to the brim with old dirt bikes, many that had participated in Baja races.

Mulege was a simple, quiet town about 3/4 of the way down the peninsula that we stopped at on the way down. It quickly became one of our favorite stops as we were able to score a hotel room for about $12 a person and there were great beaches just 20 minutes away.

In Mulege we rented a boat and headed out to search for whale sharks. The minutes ticked by as we crisscrossed the bay. We didn’t think we were going to see any that day. But then the captain of the little boat shouted that he saw one up ahead. It was a large beautiful 20 foot long whale shark that was swimming in shallow water by the shore. We jumped in the water and swam along side it for a while. Turns out fish are better swimmers than humans. With one small movement of his tail the shark could easily speed up ahead of us. We headed over to snorkel and a nearby island and then returned again a second time to spend more time with the massive peaceful shark. It was quite an experience.

Whale Sharks = awesome
Awesome easy going beaches just 20 minutes south of Mulege. Lots of RV camping

The trip was two weeks long and really helped me reset. In typical fashion I didn’t use the internet for the entire duration of the adventure. It was good to disconnect. Very much needed.

One of the recurring thoughts I had on the Mexico trip was that going on a trip is actually analogous to the journey of our lives. Our whole life is basically just one big trip. There are ups and downs, high points and low points, and an interesting cast of characters. Not everything works as you originally plan. That’s OK. Some of the most memorable things that happen are completely unexpected. You never really know what you’re going to get.

I think one of the most important things is to simply have a proactive and compassionate approach to a two week trips and also an 80 year life. Not everything is gonna fall in the place perfectly, and being flexible is a very important thing. Kindness is crucial.

The rolling hills of the Guadeloupe wine region in the north of Baja

Additional Information

Start point: We started from the us side of the border town of Tecate. The parking lot cost $5 a day to park our vehicles there.

Total mileage: Over 2,150 miles

Road conditions: Pretty good. Traffic in the towns was difficult. And there there were some large potholes that you need to keep a close eye on.

Cost per day: About $40 if you want to stay in basic hotels and share the cost with a roommate.

Difficulty Level: Intermediate. Any riding you do in Latin America will come with some decent challenges. The traffic, potholes, and stray animals are reasons to stay vigilant at all times.

Plan each hotel or wing it? This is a hard one. If you are the adventurous type of person I would say wing it. However your might end up with some real dives of hotels. Many of the towns only have one or two hotels in them and are hundreds of miles from each other.

Or you could try to plan out all your hotels on Tripadvisor, Airbnb, ahead of time. The downside to this is that often Mexico gets in the way. Also technical problems with the bikes can easily end up conflicting with this schedule. (We had a flat tire one day that took over 4 hours to get fixed)

How long does it take: We took two weeks, but I don’t feel this was enough time. We didn’t have much free time at all. I would budget at least 3 weeks or more to do this trip properly so you could take the time to stop, talk to the locals and take more pictures.

For any additional questions just drop me a tweet

Thanks for reading, have fun and stay safe out there.

Lots of gas stops with my stock tank on our way down and back up the penninsula
Baja, Mexico