Tag Archives: Holiday

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…

Quest for help before we enter the Baja California and Mexico

Crossing back to the west on the Tioga Pass Road we had a much clearer view today unless the fire was ongoing. But at the same time it became much more crowded as it was Friday and we hurried to leave the park.  Due to the fire we had to make a little detour to reach the Big Basin Redwoods State Park south of San Francisco. And again it was a loooong and hot drive through endless plantation areas with no camping options. Just with the dawn we arrived at the park when they told us everything is full and booked out… Suddenly there was a voice behind me, explaining to the woman behind the counter that his camp site would easily fit another tent. I could have kissed Roy!

This is how we met Roy and Rosy from UK who travelled a month through USA on bike they bought here. (Thank you for sharing this place with us! It was a pleasure meeting you and we wish you a save trip home and crossing fingers that you can sell the bike for a good price again!) They as well recommended a place at the coast road to us. As we were queuing in the traffic yam half of the day we started early to watch out for any camping opportunity. But it seemed hopeless. Everywhere we saw the signs FULL and BOOKED. Exactly at the camp which was recommended by Roy and Rosy we were lucky again. Emily and Arron shared their camp spot with us – thank you folks!

We were thinking of staying another night as we liked the cliffs and smell of the sea. But we were restless as we had some issues with the bikes since the couple of days. The AT seems to leak oil somewhere at the cylinder head; the TA was suddenly drinking water like a camel after a marathon and still having some power hiccups… so we continued in the mist along the coastline. A little bit further south we had a stop at the elephant seal view point. So funny to watch them; they scratch there bally or there forehead while bathing in the sun and rolling over the beach. And impressing to see them fighting and listening to their balking. We started a chat with Cam from the `Friends of The Elephant Seal´ and after a while it turned out that she and her husband are motorcyclists as well; so we were sharing travel experiences and they found out about our issues as well. Spontaneously we were invited to stay with them, using their garage to find out more details and which spare parts we might need – overwhelmed of their hospitality we agreed to meet later at their house in Cambria. We used the time and enjoyed the seaside and watching the seals and did even some more sightseeing. Indescribably how lucky and happy we are. We started immediately the research on the bikes and trying now to find any place south of here where we can order the parts to and can work on the issues. We would not like to cross over to Mexico/ Baja California before the defects are repaired. Cambria has a bracing climate; you always have a fresh breeze from the sea, it is green and we do hope to see a whale in one of these days. We are incredible thankful to Cam and Phil! These `rest´ gave us the opportunity to find solutions for our troubles with the bikes. Finally we had the chance to calm down…

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)