Tag Archives: Bike

Baja Sur – the land of saguaros and endless surfing beaches presents us with lovely new friends

As we could work out a great deal with Bonny and Paul and helping them we were able to stay 4 nights in San Ignacio (thank you both again for that opportunity!). The last day we discovered the spring of the river with the kayak, we were visiting the Chaa Creek Natural History Museum (don’t miss that if you are around – just knock the door if it is not open) and had a great dinner together.

During our stay there we had the great pleasure to meet Pam and Maria. They are friends for 36 years and have been on a road trip bringing down Pam´s car from California to Todos Santos. Maria is from Tijuana so it was easy to pick her up on the way down. They are both lovely persons with big hearts and great humor and Pam invited us to pass by her place when we come to Todos Santos – so that´s where we are at the moment!A really beautiful spot and we love to spend the time here together with Pam. Even now in the off season the town has a really nice spirit and as Pam is living here since 25 years. She knows the place, people and the surrounding very well. Pam is running an exclusive cloth shop here in Todos Santos, “El Taller” (@el_taller_todos_santos) which is right in the center on the plaza. They sell unique clothing out of handmade/ woven fabrics from tribes of India, Vietnam and Mexico. She takes us around to gorgeous beaches, hidden fishing spots and places where you get the best food. She knows not only where to get the best fresh fish but as well how to cook it – so yummi!!! Unfortunately Maria had to leave but we do have the best teacher from now on chatting with her in Spanish all the time; even though it is still challenging us (muchas gracias Maria Maria jajaja ;)
With the arrival here in Todos Santos we tried to find out which ferry is going when to the mainland. Not as easy as Baja Ferry seems to have an issue with maintaining their boats and therefore currently not going to Mazatlán. The other option would be Topolobampo which is nearly 500km to the north. But we found out that TMC is running a cargo ferry to Mazatlán. It will take about 17 hours, they do not have cabins but that´s actually the one we reserved with Pam´s help via phone for Monday the 27th. We will see if it will works out when we get there…

So long Pam hosts us in her very nice guesthouse and we try to give her a helping hand wherever is needed. She is such a great person and knows many interesting stories to tell… With her it never becomes boring! For sure it is a real great pleasure meeting her and as well Maria. Aside we practice our Spanish in the tacorias or with her gardener Ricardo (a real character!).
The summer time here is the season of hurricanes and thunderstorms. So far we were lucky more or less. On the way down here we recognized many times that it is off season; places look like ghost towns, camps are closed and beaches are empty except some locals to have a cooling jump into the water. The desert looks fantastic with the uncountable giant saguaros cactus and a high variety of succulents. But it is incredible HOT and the weather can change in a minute. In Loreto the camp which is usually visited by overlanders just closed down for the season and on the other campsite we have been the only guests. At least we did not need to worry to bother anyone while just sleeping on the tables.
The original plan was to stay on one of the beaches at the famous Bahia Conception. But there an sudden upcoming thunderstorm made us leaving the place after a refreshing swim. One of these days we headed direction east coast with the plan to stay at the the El Chorro Hot Springs. On the way we stopped in El Triunfo, a little old mining pueblo (village) where we bought real good sourdough bread with walnuts and cranberries. Marc, from California is famous for his bread and imported even a professional oven from Italy to enhance his business further. When we left the highway and drove down the gravel road direction mountains we could see the first lightnings already. But we continued and shortly and before we reached El Chorro the road became a river and a real thunderstorm came up. After an hour waiting in the pouring rain it still looked not like it will end soon and the thunder and lightning did not stop.So we decided to get back and skip the springs. At least we got delicious bread and had a nice day riding. Inland we can see nearly every day the dark clouds and can hear the rumbling of the thunder storms. Cross fingers we will not have one of these storms when we take the ferry as they do not have cabins and we have to sleep on the open deck…

VIVA MeXico – Baja California in the heat

If you are on a long-term journey you are not able to be in all places at the best season of the year. That’s how it is and you have to make the best out of it. So far we crossed the Baja North and entered Baja Sur already and we stranded in an real oasis in this desert terrain: San Ignacio. It is a large grove of lush green date palms by the river and village next to an eighteenth-century Jesuit mission. We stay at `Ignacio Springs Bed & Breakfast´ (https://www.ignaciosprings.com/) run by the Canadian couple Bonny and Paul. They just took over this place in May this year and looking after it very well. The yurts are airy, clean and cozy and the breakfast is one of the bests we ever had on our journeys. We do feel like in paradise here in this big palm-garden, kayaking with the sunrise and jumping into the river for a swim. The village has a charming plaza with huge shady trees, little cozy restaurants, bars and cafes. This is definitely a place to settle back; especially after riding in the summer heat through the desert of Baja California.

When we left San Diego and said good bye to Randy & Doc we reached the border at Tecate in the late morning. (By the way – if you do love travel, dogs and or motorbikes please support Rad ‘n Doc Travel the World´ and like their Facebook page so they might get a sponsor for dog-food on their future travels). We almost entered Mexico, when we recognized we haven’t done the checkout of the US and we turned the bikes. This action was not really liked by the border police of the US and they seriously censured us. We had a little dispute that we were looking for the US border and that they do not have any sign there where or when you are leaving the country and as well that we would need an exit stamp that we left their country with our bikes. In the end we left the States without any proof by them and we crossed over to Mexico. There they just waved us through and suddenly we were in the middle of the town…??? Nobody wants to see our passport? Nobody wants to know who we are and what we are doing here? A little bit confused we turned back once more and parked in front of a little shop. While Sascha was walking to the customs with our papers I stayed with the bikes and started a chat with the family who runs the shop. I bridged the time refreshing my memories of Spanish with the kids and the family invited me to stay inside the shop to escape the heat while waiting. After about 1 1/2 hours Sascha was done and I had to go to finish the import of my motorcycle. Everybody was friendly and polite but it took a pretty loooong time; all together it took nearly 3.5 hours and we were completely sweaty.

The scenery of Baja is rough. The desert, the sand dunes, the cactus and the beaches are having its own spirit; but at this time of the year it is incredible HOT and unfortunately not the right time to see any whales. We mostly remained on the coastal roads if possible. As well we do not go on long sandy off road trails with this heat. We will need to come back one day to explore the Baja more intensely for sure. Inland of Baja had quite a lot of rain within the last days and we had some flooded roads to cross as the dried earth cannot absorb the water quickly.

The Mexican foot is just after our fancy as we do love spicy food and our first Margaritas cooled our dusty throats. We try to work on our Spanish and we are curious to see more of this big country rich in history and culture…

 

 

 

Outstanding reactions to our `Call for Help´ and meeting the probably best people of California!

The hospitality of Cam and Phil from Cambria is beyond words! They picked us up from the road and made us feel home from the beginning. We spent a lovely time together and they provided the opportunity to us to organize our required fixing of the bikes. The last day Cam took us to a great walk to the sea elephants and to the lighthouse (unfortunately Phil had to go to LA for business that day). And you won’t believe how incredible positive our `call for help´ within the Californian ADV-Rider scene was. What we needed most was a place where we could send the required parts to and a workshop to work on the bikes.  Dave in Escondido offered immediately to use his workshop and we were able to start the shipping of the parts. How fabulous!

So we knew we do have some days to bridge until we get here… and we had the chance to meet and spend time with some incredible lovely people!!! Our first stop was Ventura and there we were invited to stay with Rick. We did not only share riding and travel experiences but also we were invited to ride with the BMW Club of Southern California, where I was taking part as the `steam lock´ (pouring out my coolant all the time). Boys – thank you for your patience and it was a great day and a pleasure to meet you all! By the way, Ventura is a little town at the coast with a bracing atmosphere, with little bars, coffee places and art craft shops without any snobby attitude – worth a visit for sure. Rick was taking us around everywhere, as well to the famous McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream shop – yummi!

We said good bye after lunch at the arrow lake and continued to the Big Bear Lake. Here we had the great pleasure to meet Berndt and stay with him. He traveled a lot already as well through Europe. So we had a beautiful time together sharing stories, cooking, riding around the lake. Unfortunately he crashed a few days ago with the bike so he was still in pain caused of a broken rip. We hope you are getting better soon Berndt!

Not far away from San Diego and the boarder to Mexico we stopped at Escondido. Most of the parts arrived until we arrived (1st August) and we could start to work on the bikes. At the AT the cylinder head cover gasket is changed, the coolant, oil and the tires are new now. The Transalp from Kerstin got the long desired new radiator cap and that should have solved the overheating issue. Kai from the German AT Forum send us a parcel with the parts which have been still missing (petcock, chain guard and the speedometer cable for the AT) arrived just in time… Dave gave us a hand fixing /and pimping the bikes, he had some LED light which he didn’t use anymore so he gave them to me, great improvement,,, THERE WILL BE LIGHT! For Kerstin he produced, welded an new fixation for her bash plate and lifted the Side stand a bit so she has it easier to lift the bike. Great stuff, now we are ready to go!)

Anyhow! At this point we would like to say AN BIG THANK YOU to ALL of you!!! You all were an incredible help to fix our bikes and getting prepared for the next chapter of our journey: Central America. And honestly we hope to see you again; don´t forget to let us know whenever you come to Germany/Europe!!!

Small little things here and there need to be done, but nothing really serious anymore (touch wood!!!). After having all done at Dave’s Garage we continued our trip towards San Diego where we met Randy and his dog Doc. Randy is the creator of the SADAR (San Diego Adventure Rider) Forum. He took us out for some sightseeing, beers and pizza and we had a great evening together in downtown SD… And will have tonight as well. And tomorrow we are going to the boarder and into Baja, MeXico! So stay tuned and you will get some more news the next time we get internet…

Two month on the road already – the miracle of the nature, first fire and wonderful accommodating people everywhere

In these first two month of our journey from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego we do have seen so many impressive places and met plenty of interesting and helpful people… Sometimes it is hard to capture all these moments and impressions as we are moving on nearly every day, meeting new people and seeing new places. Finally we are back at the ocean which we have seen the last time in Anchorage. It was a particular moment to smell, feel and see the open endless blue water again. We skipped driving through the Death Valley as it is just the wrong season with around 50°+C; and you always need a reason to come back to a place ;) Therefore we changed our route and just drove a part of the famous Coastal Highway No 1 in California which just opened again after being closed for 1 ½ year cause an landslide.

Visiting all the national parks became more and more a gamble as the holiday season started and most of the campsites are booked out many months in advance. And of course you are not allowed to camp wild (boondocking how it is called here) inside of any park. On the way to the ocean we had a little detour back to the north visiting Sequoia NP and Kings Canyon NP. Giant sequoia trees are the world’s largest single trees and they are really impressive. Kings Canyon is a rugged glacier-carved valley more than 1600 m deep. It includes multiple 4300 m peaks, high mountain meadows, swift-flowing rivers with waterfalls, and as well some of the world’s largest stands of giant sequoia trees. Luckily we always snatched a camp spot and enjoyed a couple of days with hiking and swimming in the rivers and the waterfall pools.

A little bit further north located western in the Sierra Nevada of California is the Yosemite NP. Everybody is saying it is a must see with its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, meadows and glaciers. But as well it is one of the most visited parks in the US. We doubt that we would find any spot there but we gave it a try. As soon as we left the cooling heights of the Kings Canyon it turned immediately to HOT HOT HOT. South of Yosemite we had a stop at the Visitor Centre of Oakhurst. We were informed that there is a big fire ongoing just at the south-western edge of the park and that many people left the park or cancelled their reservation. The ladies were extremely helpful to find a cool place for us aside a river inside the park. So we went. Arriving at the Wawona camping it was pretty smoky and it was snowing ash. But soon it cleared up a little bit and we were spying at the red-orange sun behind the damp while having a refreshing bath in the river. The rangers told us that they will probably close the glacier point road the following day to establish a fire-fighter-camp. So we woke up at 5am the next morning to drive up there. We were not having the usual breathtaking view into the valley and to the Half Dome but we had a very special spirit… Together with an old local guy we loved this dazed view in the early morning where usually queuing hundreds of people. The ride towards the east end of the pass on the Tioga Pass Road was nice but as well pretty covered in smoke that day and later on we were surprised by a thunder storm with lightening’s all around us, pretty close too… and cached again one of the last camp sites. East of the park the Mono Lake is situated which we visited in the early morning; it is a large shallow saline soda lake which has natural limestone “tufa tower” formations. (We just heard they had to close Yosemite because of the fire – how lucky we have been, even though we had a different view than most of the people)

Escalante to Vegas – Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon, Route 66 and viva Las Vegas

 

The photo-gallery of the last post were missing and now added – sorry for that ;) Las Vegas we left without gambling or visiting any Casino – probably we saved a lot of money ;) Therefore we had a nice evening together with Brit, Jacob and some friends of them at the old strip of Vegas and we explored the colorful `Valley of Fire´ together with Jacob on the motorbikes on our last day.

Breathtaking, gorgeous, magnificent, striking, amazing… whatever word you use it will not explain how you feel in these sceneries of the National Parks. Following more or less the Colorado River we visited parts of the Escalante NP, went through the Capitol Reef NP, spent a full day at the Bryce NP, drove through Zion and up to the Kolob Reservoir and finally we explored the north and the south rim of the Grand Canyon. We hope we can transfer an idea off all this impressive beauty we saw with the pictures we selected.

On the way to Las Vegas, where we are now, we drove a part of the famous Route 66. The road on its own was pretty boring except the stops where they display all the oddities of the old times; nevertheless a good alternative to the Highway and probably it helped us to escape the thunderstorm. Actually we have been lucky all these days with the weather. Pretty often we could see a black wall, heard the thunder rolling, saw the lightning but except strong winds and a few drops of rain we never were caught by one of these storms. Cross finger it stays like that!

Las Vegas is HOT! And we are lucky that we found a place at Brittany’s and Jacob´s home to stay. Sascha’s AT seems to drink a little bit too much oil and sometimes I can see a dark cloud coming out of the exhaust. As well he has misfires continuously. He just has an eye on it at the garage. For the evening we plan to investigate Las Vegas and its famous Strip. Sascha is keen to gamble a bit – I will think of the budget to release for that ;-)