How far to Mike's?
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  Northern Baja Expedition, Cont'd.

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March 29th - April 3rd, 2010

Dual Sport Motorcycles   --6 Days--   Intermediate Difficulty

Continued from Page 1

Day 3-- Gonzaga Bay to Cataviña

Gonzaga Bay 180 Degree Panorama
Sunrise over the Sea of Cortez

Wake before sunrise, and you are in for a real treat here, as they don't get any better than this. After breakfast, we'll mount up and head south to Coco's corner, where we'll stop for a cool beverage while enjoying the company of this Baja icon. After chatting for a bit and signing his book, we'll head to the beautiful and wet Arroyo Calamajué to take an "off the beaten path" route out to paved Highway 1, and as Coco says, "go swimming".

Group shot with Coco, a true Baja icon

Road To Calamajue

One of several water crossings in the arroyo

Some of the water is deep!

Standing on sediment left by the Fountain of Youth

Some of that water causes a little mud here and there

Bighorn sheep, the "Fountain of Youth", ruins of an old Spanish mission, and a large vein of green slate cut by the arroyo are but some of the things we'll likely see in this, one of the most difficult bits of terrain on our trip. After a bit of a workout negotiating the arroyo, we'll turn north onto Highway 1 for just a couple of miles before turning east on a rustic road that's not on the maps, and ride out to the Pacific.

Take a lap or two on a dry lakebed

The Cacti Grow Thick

Once reaching the coast, we'll ride barely-used two-tracks up the coast a ways, passing the occasional fish camp, where the locals make their living. We'll get a chance here and there to jump onto the beach and roost some sand.

Perfect beach on the Pacific

You can let 'er rip on this beautiful stretch if you like.

Once the route turns back inland, we'll pass through some incredibly scenic stands of the fabled cirio trees of Baja, nicknamed "Boojums". The Boojum is the strangest tree you'll ever lay eyes on, some growing into all kinds of stange and comical contortions... and looking like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.

Truly something from a Dr Seuss book

Desert scenery at it's best.

As we approach Cataviña, we'll encounter enormous boulders scattered about the land as if by the hand of a giant, -some in large piles forming small mountains- while growing everywhere in between are myriads of cactus and other desert flora.

Boulder and cacti everywhere

Passing by an occasional spring, we'll even see the rare "blue palms" of Baja. Time permitting, we'll stroll up an arroyo near Cataviña to the site of some indian petroglyphs, and some pretty pools of water as well.

Is there anyplace you'd rather be??

Our destination for the night is The Desert Inn motel right in the heart of Cataviña. The Desert Inn is the only "chain" motel in Baja, and got it's start with the completion of the transpeninsular highway in the '70's under the original name of "La Pinta".

Hotel Desert Sands and Catavina

Day 4-- Cataviña to Camalu

The Cardon cactus can reach pretty high

Today is going to be a big day. We'll start out traveling up the paved highway a bit before hitting the dirt.

Views from the paved road

Once off the pavement, we'll be heading into extremely remote territory, and will ride most of the rest of the day with nary a sign of civilization. The terrain will vary often, and the riding will be challenging in places and require all of your concentration at times.

Talk about scenic riding...

And challenging, too.

Some sections more so than others.

However, we'll be passing by some of the most beautiful vistas and riding through some of the most interesting and awesome terrain to be found in Baja's interior.

The real valley of the cirios.

The vistas are outrageous.

Insert your tire tracks here.

Check out the winding road in the distant mountains.

Once returning to the pavement, it's just a few minutes to our destination... a great motel right on a bluff overlooking the Pacific ocean. A hearty seafood or traditional dinner and some drinks inevitably leads to some of the best bench racing, but the fresh ocean air and the roar of the surf will soon be lulling you to sleep...

The Cueva del Pirata motel will one day be 3 stories high.

Roomside parking at the Cueva del Pirata.

Day 5-- Camalu to Laguna Hanson

After a delicious breakfast, we'll head right up and along the coast, as we've got some ground to cover today. As has been much of our route at one time or another, we're riding on routes used in the Baja 1000 races. Today's route is one of the most popular sections, so it's likely we'll see other bikes or buggies along the way. The views of the ocean are fantastic in places, and it's easy to imagine this desolate coastline being lined one day with expensive gringo homes as has happened in other parts of Baja. We'll pass by a famous shipwreck, and if the tide is high, we'll even take in the spray of a blowhole along the way.

Chilaquiles for breakfast... Mmmmm.

The famous Shipwreck

To the beach!

Baja is fun in a buggy, too!

Feel the cool breeze.

Blowhole doing it's thing

We'll grab a taco lunch in Erendira before continuing up the coast. Test your skills on the famous "Calavera Hillclimb", where our route turns inland as we make our way towards Santo Tomas, one of Baja's "wine regions".

Kids LOVE the motos!!

And they LOVE to get stickers, too.

Give the Calavera hillclimb a try.

The Santo Tomas valley

Just a few miles on pavement after gassing up, and we're gaining some serious altitude quickly, as our route meanders the "backway" towards the Constitution National Park once again.

Heading through the mountains.

Some sections are quite steep and rough

Really steep and rough

The increasingly thick pine forests are an indication of our altitude as well as our proximity to our last night's destination. We'll do a little sight-seeing from our bikes as we drive through the National Park that surrounds Laguna Hanson, with it's nice campgrounds at the "lake's" edge before heading to the nearby rustic lodge we're staying at tonight.

Laguna Hanson in the summer.

Laguna Hanson with just a bit of water in it.

A precariously placed boulder.

Lots of cool boulder fields like this.

Rancho Rodeo del Rey

A fitting dinner of venison, if you like, awaits you at the day's end. A soft bed combined with the fresh mountain air should be all you need to combat the thoughts rushing through your head of the good times and great riding you've enjoyed over the last 4 days that threaten to keep you awake all night.

Dinner at the lodge

Day 6-- Laguna Hanson to San Diego

We'll enjoy a hearty breakfast at the lodge before heading north through mountain two-tracks towards the paved highway that mean the end of our trip is nearing.

Mountain Roads

Last day photo

Last day photo

It's a good bet we'll see other off-road riders on our way out, as the mountains in this area are loaded with good riding of the single track variety as well. Approaching the border, a brief stint on a high-speed tollway gets us to Tecate, where you'll enjoy all the tacos you can eat as we take our last meal together as a group. We'll cross the border in Tecate and enjoy the winding road through the California countryside back to San Diego and the staging area before saying goodbye and exchanging contact info with new friends.

$2249 All Inclusive*

Contact us if you are interested in this ride-- it is going to fill up quickly!

*Includes all meals, beverages (excluding alcoholic), accomodations (double occupancy), fuel for your bike (reg. grade), and round-trip transport of your bike and riding gear to the staging area in San Diego from Western Washington.  Optional ground transportation for yourself to and from the staging area (includes lodging and breakfasts) is available at an additional cost of $225.   If you do not require or desire the transport of your bike and gear to/from the staging area in San Diego, the cost for the tour is $1,999.

A $500 deposit reserves your place, with the remaining fee due not less than 30 days prior to the tour.  If you cancel 60 days or more prior to the tour date,  you will be refunded all monies paid.  Cancellations less than 60 days but more than 30 days from the ride date will forfeit the deposit.  No refunds will be given for cancellations less than 31 days prior to the tour. Once you have paid your deposit, you'll be granted access to the participant's section of the website, where additional information about travelling in Mexico on motorcycles, as well as info on insurance, exchanging money, etc. and a bulletin board where you can get specific questions answered is available to you.

Please note that this ride is rated intermediate+ and above. It is not suited for beginner or novice riders-- you must have solid intermediate off-road skills. This means you are a competent rider in rough and/or loose surfaces, on grades varying from flat to quite steep. Additionally, our itinerary is on the aggressive side with regards to daily distances, because we like to get in a full day of good riding... which is what this tour is all about. If you like to be at the daily destination by 3:00 PM to relax... then honestly this is not the ride for you. If, however, you have a real hunger for a serious dose of some awesome riding... then you've come to the right place. Let's ride!

If you have any questions about any aspect of the tour, please don't hesitate to call us toll free. We're always happy to talk about riding Baja! You'll find the number (as well as email link, if you prefer) by clicking the link below.

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If you have any questions about this tour, please EMAIL