The adventure begins in the morning as we cross the border together in Tecate and head east just a few miles on pavement before turning south onto dirt and heading up into the mountains. We'll spend the rest of our day making our way towards Mike's Sky Ranch, the legendary off-roader's oasis perched high in the mountains by a beautiful stream.
Seemingly in the middle of nowhere, you'll marvel at the swimming pool in the manicured courtyard while dining on a huge BBQ steak dinner, followed by some bench racing with new friends over a drink or two in their unique bar before hitting the sack.
If it's a clear night (and it usually is), you'll want to take some time out to stare up at the beautiful Baja sky for a truly awe inspiring moment.
In San Felipe, rapid new land developments have been spurred on by Americans who've discovered that a warm, beachside getaway is available for less than half of what they'd spend in California. We'll gas up and grab lunch at one of it's restaurants on the "malecon", or boardwalk before continuing south.
At one time, the road leading to the sleepy coastal village of Puertecitos was one of the most horrible "paved" roads in the world, with man eating potholes and sharp edges impossible to avoid. Now, this stretch has been repaved. However, the new "vados", or dips in the roadbed are so steep and abrupt that careful attention must be paid so as not to hit one at high speed unprepared for it. On the other hand, if you are prepared... they can be utilized as motorcycle launching pads! Quite a few American expatriates call Puertecitos home.
Until very recently, the road to Gonzaga Bay was an extremely harsh and winding two-track, with huge rim bending rocks sticking out of the roadbed everywhere and occasional stints of long straightaways with washboard so stiff and tall you'd forget you were on a "highway". Back then, the road was just meant for a motorcycle!
However, the government has undertaken a huge project to pave this route all the way down past Gonzaga bay to where it meets up with paved Highway 1. Kilometer by kilometer, with each passing month a new section of this once rough and tumble "road" is being turned into a scenic route suitable for any vehicle. But for now, we'll enjoy what's left of the old route and take in the views from the new "improved" section, as the views of the Sea of Cortez meeting the desert along this stretch are simply spectacular. When you next return, the dirt sections will likely be just distant, fond memories.
Reaching our destination, we'll enjoy one of the tastiest seafood dinners anywhere in Baja as we look out across beautiful crescent shaped Gonzaga Bay towards Punta Final from Alfonsina's, a fly-in restaurant and motel that's popular with private pilots from the US.
Wake before sunrise, and you are in for a real treat here, as they don't get any better than this. After a hearty 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".
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.
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.
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 strange and comical contortions... and looking like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.
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.
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.
A complete description of this day will be available shortly. Please check back.
Today is going to be a big day. We'll start out traveling down the paved highway a bit before hitting the dirt.
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 all times.
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. As this is such a remote section of the tour, we will be taking our lunch "picnic style" under a shade tree along the trail today.
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...
We'll grab a taco lunch in Erendira before continuing up the coast. Test your skills on the famous "Calavera hill-climb", where our route turns inland as we make our way towards Santo Tomas, one of Baja's "wine regions".
Just a few miles on pavement after gassing up, and we're gaining some serious altitude quickly, as our route meanders the "back-way" towards the Constitution National Park once again.
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 continuing on through the forest towards the border.
We'll continue north through mountain two-tracks towards the paved highway that mean the end of our trip is nearing.
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.
A $500 deposit reserves your place, with the remaining fee due not less than 60 days prior to the tour. If you cancel more than 60 days before the start of the ride, your deposit will be credited towards a future tour with us. If you cancel less than 60 days before the start date, your deposit will be forfeited.
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 by the pool... then honestly this is probably 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.