Baja One More Time

7 replies to this topic
  • Moredesert

Posted December 31, 2001 - 09:26 PM


Getting ready for another Baja trip. 2/7 I'll be riding with a tour group. This is a 3 day Mike's sky ranch ride, about 450 miles.

Has anyone else ridden in Baja? My top speed on my 600 was 93MPH on the sandy road to Mike's.

[ January 01, 2002: Message edited by: Moredesert ]

  • greg_mcconville

Posted January 01, 2002 - 08:36 PM


I visited Mike's about 30 years ago. I don't remember much because I used to drink. We (my collection of friends and I) lived on the border, and we would be blind drunk when we crossed the line 15 minutes after starting out. I report to you that these trips were more of a religious experience than was a Jefferson Airplane concert at the Filmore Auditorium, except our sacrament was beer, not LSD and weed. And there were no narcs or "bad trips" in the Baja.

What a breakfast at Mike's, eh? Do they still do it that way? That was my first experience with not ordering. You want breakfast, you show up, whereupon eggs and bacon and ham and tortillas are piled on platters in the middle of your table. And you ate what you wanted. How much you wanted. And the waitress was a Mexican girl whose hips flared her peasant dress in such a way to suggest that sex with her would be as good and natural as it could possibly be. I can still smell her. And because we were eating al fresco in the cool of the summer morning, in the pines, in the mountains, and (very importantly) not in the United States (free spirits), breakfast too, was a sacrament to the times. It would not have meant more had the pope joined us. He would have been just another angel in our midst. We would have called him by his first name, and he would have felt blessed. (He would have returned to the Vatican and spent days boring cardinals with stories of the Baja and Mike’s Sky Ranch.)

We were total animals by any other standard. Free to drink when and how much we wanted, say what we wanted, and the Mexican woman were all goddesses because, in part, we were sure that they thought our drunken, obnoxious American asses were special. By god, we were.

There was not then nor is there now anything like the Mexican state of Baja Norte in the '60's to early '70's. Not for me. The contrast of the seemingly plain, brown mountains as they came down from the pines and into the desert and the Laguna Salada, became incredibly wonderful when their escarpment poured into the blue-green of the Sea of Cortez.

Ocotillo fences corralling small herds of goats grew back into the earth and bloomed their distinct red blossoms which lined the sandy roads from San Felipe to Puertocitos. We were surrounded by these and other indescribably beautiful things as we reached into the "survival kit" for another Miller Lite. Communion.

Alas, I no longer drink, but I have never been happier than when I was drunk in the Baja.

Sober, raising a second litter of children who are currently in their teens, my fantasy (one I will never share with another) is that someday I will return to her- the Baja- and start and finish the Baja 1000 on a stock motorcycle. Completely stock, buying gas and tires where I can.

When I cross the finish line, I will not have memories of "big air" or rooster tails over vast expanses of open desert. But that I went back to the place that I loved and thanked her just for being there forty years earlier. That she let me "trip out" one more time.

Getting back to your trip, "MoreDesert". You did 93 mph on the dirt road going into Mike's, really? Have you gone down on a gravel road, winding through pines at 93 mph before? I’m not discouraging you. I’m jealous. Some day I will do 93 on my bike and roost like a mother for 3 or 4 seconds, I hope, just very carefully, and then probably only once.

Do they still talk about native trout in the streams around Mike's?

If ever you come across a fat old guy on a relatively new and nice dirt bike down there, eating tacos and flirting with the girls, please slow down enough so as not to dust us.

Say hey to everyone at Mike's. (I was the real drunk American guy in 1971 with the blue Chevy 4X4 and the trout rod who could never find the stream.)

Have a good trip,


  • Moredesert

Posted January 02, 2002 - 04:25 PM


Ya the good old times. No I never went down thank god. I've ridden to Mikes about 10 times in the last 3 years. Now I'm riding a DRZ and doesn't go as fast yet. I changed the front sprocket for this trip maybe 90 top speed.

Now Mike Junior runs the place. Mike died some years back, got hit by a car. That pretty young waitress is now old and has a teen age daughter. I think her name is Blonka, something like that.

Your right about the food, its still the bomb. People still fish in the stream but I haven't seen any.

Last year I rode the Baja 2000 course the day after and ended up in Cabo. MY 600 was spent after that trip. I have pictures of the red wood size cactus next to my bike. Going into La Paz was nasty. We had about 12 " of silt with rocks under it. I was riding a 650 that day and I holed the radiator on a cactus. (Hey dude your bike is broken give me mine back) I love Baja, can't wait.

  • greg_mcconville

Posted January 02, 2002 - 05:06 PM


Sorry to hear about Mike.

It is uncanny how many people are killed in passenger cars driving on the border mountain roads up there. Like around Tecate (USA and Mexico). Something about those secondary roads up there in those realitively low mountains is very dangerous. They seem to invite death.

Of the many people I know, personally, who crashed up there (some dying), the sadest involved a friend's young son. He was the pride of the family. About 10 years-old, as I recall. He was not seat-belted in when mom did a relatively low speed head-on with another car. When his head went through the windshield, he was okay. It was the reverse reaction, cutting his throat on the jagged glass as the momentum took him back into the car that did him in.

The funeral filled the Catholic church in Tecate USA, with people from both sides of the border.

Buckle up, or be careful up there. I'm amazed I've got to ad Mike to the list.


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  • 352vchss

Posted January 04, 2002 - 06:44 PM


i've prerun and raced the baja the last three years and love every part of it. in 2000 got to stay entire month. being from va. makes me appreciate it more i feel. plan on going back this year hopefully with new bike after racing 650 the 600 doesn't impress me much except for lasting forever. not many people on the wr250 site talk about the baja. let me know the days you'll be there prerunning maybe we can ride some
talk to later.

  • pvxr400

Posted January 04, 2002 - 08:31 PM



I'm planning to go to Baja during next Fall.
I'm in need of some adventure again.

Can you give me other tips about riding over there? What should I bring? The food? ...

I live in Canada and I'm wondering if I should go there from home with my CB750 with dual-purpose tires or ship my XR400 to San Diego.

How are the road for a CB750? I know it would be better with a XR but shipping the bike is expensive.



  • Moredesert

Posted January 06, 2002 - 02:44 PM


What roads? You have HWY 1 and the rest are rock and sand. Some of the dirt roads are smooth enough for a good dual sport bike but the rest are very sandy. We had one guy bring a BMW 650 De-car and got so beat up after the first day he rode in the truck the rest of the trip.

If I were you I would hook up with a tour group or drive a truck with the XR down to Tacate and base camp out of Rancho Santa Veronica.

Bring your own water. The food is great if you like tacos and Mexican food.

Its 165 miles from Santa Veronica to Mike's Sky Ranch. One day up and one day back makes a good ride.

Reservations at Mike's
011 (526) 6 81-55-14 Tijuana Office

  • LC4Ryan2

Posted January 06, 2002 - 08:55 PM


The Baja 1000 is going to La Paz this year gentlemen. Start planning to get the vacation time now. Should be a really fun pre run. I did most of the Baja 2000 (Catavina to Cabo). These Baja trips are the best, as you all have described.

I can see gearing up (higher ratios) so as not to burn up your engine, but Im always so worried about getting off at high speed down there I try not to ride more than 75% of my ability. Ive got a bike that will do damn near 100mph stock now,(like the XR 650) and I get freaked doing that on a super smooth powerline road here in the deserts of So Cal. Be careful, in Mex things can go wrong in a hurry. But most of all have fun!

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