Tag Archives: Gear Reviews and Tips

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…

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…

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 ;-)

The Arctic Circle, a SPA-day, Top of the World Highway (TOW) and historical Dawson City

It was time go further north – the most northern part we wanted to visit on this journey is the Arctic Circle. The Dalton Highway was pretty ok and Sascha said it is a trip of about 350km from Healy to the Arctic Circle. After being about 6 hours on the road we reached the point he entered in the GPS but we could not even see a sign. A car came towards us and we asked where the Arctic Circle is and they told us it is another 90 miles (150km) to go and the road will be really muddy and slippery. So what to do – we continued, got coffee and fuel (not really cheap up here) at the Yukon River Roadhouse and finally reached the Arctic Circle. A great place, much warmer than expected and we settled at the free camp site and lightened a fire to fight the monster mosquito’s (the only bad thing at this beautiful place). On the way back we proudly picked our “I crossed the Arctic Circle Certificate” and decided we deserved a SPA-day at the Chena Hot Springs. What a good feeling to bath and hang around in this hot water again and again after all these long riding days. And additional we had time to check the bikes and doing the laundry.
Now it was time to check out the real gold rush area! In Tok we had a nice chat with two gold miners at the liquor shop (where else ;) and settled at “Thompson´s Eagle´s Claw”, a motorcycle camp. A really nice place done by heard. As we are early in the season we stayed alone for that night. The next morning we enjoyed our coffee in the sun and planned to ride the “Top of the world highway” TOW later. But suddenly a thunderstorm with (3 to 4cm) hail appeared and covered everything in white. Unfortunately it continued hail/raining for about 3-4 hours. So we decided to stay one more night. Therefore we enjoyed the great company of 4 other motorcyclists (greetings to Jaakko, Alf, Jep and Philip) this night at the fireplace. They did the TOW that day and did not even see a drop of rain the whole day.
So the next day we went for it. First we had a look at Chicken, an old little gold miming settlement when dark clouds came across the mountains. Kerstin became a little bit nervous as everybody was saying the TOW is awesome but the road will become narrow and winding, with steep dips and can be very slippery when it rains. Nevertheless we went for it. In the end it was a great ride on a well graded wide gravel road. The scenery was nice, the sun was shining and we arrived at the Canadian Border. Just shortly before Dawson we could see the Thunderstorm in the Rocky’s and caught a little rain. We took the ferry over the Yukon and arrived in the famous Dawson City. It is a really nice place with open minded and friendly people and it is a lot of fun to straw around and catching the spirit of this historical gold mining place. We joined the yearly Commissioner´s Tea (who personally welcomed us to Dawson!) at the Commissioner´s Residence and enjoyed speeches, music, tea and homemade dainties. For sure we will have a great evening before we leave tomorrow. See you soon! – Oh wow we just had an earth quake… everything was tumbling but nothing to worry…

The question is: Will it fit?

The D-day is coming closer, day by day… We have to get the crates ready for the transport of the bikes to the USofA. The frames we got nearly for free from a friend working at the BMW dealership here in Hamburg. Now we have to fit the bikes inside the crates and build the walls arround – and hey: IT FITS! HURRAAAAAAAAAY… Manama NA ti ti ti ti    tiiiiiii…… and we care!  ;)