If you read my post about getting down to Baja you might recall two instances where I said the engine barked a bit from altitude and being loaded. Well I can’t maintain that was the reason really. Over the course of ride down and trips I took through Mexico the motor started burning more and more oil. It was burning 1qt every 300 miles while loaded and a little less with just me. Not good, I knew it was broken and I wasn’t able to find a shop in La Paz that I could take it to. I bought four quarts before heading out just to make sure I could make it back without running into some serious issues.
I left El Sargento at 0430 on March 3rd. still dark, a little chilly and discovered that the low beam light was out. Using the cheap LED flood lamps and and the high beam I rode through the desert, over the mountains and through La Paz before it was light enough that the high beam wouldn’t bother on coming traffic. Switching it off was sketchy with all the pot holes and cows that appear out of nowhere on the Mexican roads. I didn’t waste any time though, I was ready to get back home, I wanted to get the bike back to the US as fast as possible to get the bike looked and and I had winter damage on my trailer that needed fixing.
With the early start I was able to make it to Santa Rosalia while it was still day light. I kept the RPMS to around 3800 and that averaged my cruising speed to 55 mph. Still even taking it easy I had to add oil. I checked in to the Las Casitas Hotel, a great, affordable seaside hotel perched on the cliff over looking the Sea of Cortez. In the morning I loaded the bike and hit the road just after the sun was up.
Again I kept it at 3800 / 55 almost the whole time. Leaving the east coast and crossing over to the west I was able to see things I missed on the way down.
I passed through several checkpoints – none of them took long nor did any of them go through my bags or boxes. I was making good time, with plenty of day light to go – My destination today was San Felipe, and in order to get there I had to cut over from MX 1 to MX 5 at Chapalla Lake. The first section of 5 is still under construction but very passable. I took my time crossing paths with other bikes and lots of construction equipment. Reaching Cocos Corner I stopped in for a beer and to say hello. What a character!
From there it wasn’t long before getting back on the slab and a gas station (yup and more oil) making the push to San Felipe. I made it with daylight to spare, found a cheap motel, ate dinner, put oil in the bike and called it a night.
On the last day and a few miles shy of Mexicali I filled up on oil, made sure all my papers were in order, set my GPS Phone and rode to the boarder crossing. I had seen in some videos where motorcycles had their “own” lane for crossing the border. I didn’t see it so I made my way to the back of the line. Several street vendors walking the traffic kept telling me to go around through the local and medical lane until I came to the motorcycle entrance, that I could cut over just before the wall cutting two hours off the wait.
I don’t like sketchy new things so I stayed in line. After ten minutes of other vendors telling me I could go around I was finally approached by local Mexican medics soliciting donations who told me (with more certainty) that I could go through the local / medical lane which puts me right up front and just before the wall there is a cut through for motorcycles. (not my video but you get the idea)
They assured me that even with my kite gear and board I would fit through. At this point I was ready to go for it. I rode in the medical lane past hundreds of cars and sure enough, just before the final dividing wall was a sign that says motorcycle access and a 8 foot break in the cement barricade that let me in two cars behind the BCP check points. AWESOME!
Crossing through was fast and just like that I was back in the USA. I stopped for fuel, added some more oil bought a snack and took a moment to reflect on the the adventure as a whole. I’m happy I made it, I’m happy I did it and I want to do it again. I can’t explain the feeling just then but it is the same one that drives me to find the next adventure.
I had one stop left before continuing towards Henderson where I would pickup a Penske truck to haul the bike back to Oregon. Slab City! I didn’t have any specific reason to visit other than ever since seeing it in a movie I’ve wanted to check it out. It was on the way – why not right? I went there, I saw (very little of) it. I think I needed to be in a different state of mind in order to take it all in and appreciate it properly. I’ll have to go back.