Hot tip for your Mexico travels:...
Hot tip for your Mexico travels: Crossing at Tecate is far less crowded than at Tijuana. However, the border doesn't open until 6 a.m.
My mount for this trip was...
My mount for this trip was one of ATV Baja Tours' stock Honda 400EXs. The EX was a solid mount for the voyage, handling the whoops very well, always predictable and with just enough power to be interesting. Modifications included skid plates, an oversize IMS gas tank and Pure Sports Bandit tires that had a lot of miles on them but worked great and never got a flat.
One minute you're riding through...
One minute you're riding through the woods, the next you're popping into a little log-cabin restaurant for some tasty tacos.
Greg Row filled 'er up, B...
Greg Row filled 'er up, Baja-style.
I could go sterile. Show you the pretty photos, tell you a story of adventure and derring-do in the wilds of that ever-so-close slice of auténtico Third-World, Baja California. Then explain how you could do the same thingfor the right price. But I won't.
What I just did deserves more than that. More than quaint little towns with gasolina dispensed from used gallon milk jugs. More than the repetition of "carne asada con frijoles y arroz" because that's the only thing we know how to order and feel safe eating (and is damn good, by the way). More than Pacifico and Corona with enough alcohol to be a Long Island Iced Tea. More than the stink of twice-used socks (because we thought the tour was only two days long). More, more, more ... mas!
I took my first trip to Europe with my wife and then seven-month-old son. We saw a friend get hitched in Monte Carlo, drove on the autobahn at 250 kph (155 mph) and saw five countries in three days. I walked Paris from the Moulin Rouge to the Tour Eiffelwith said wife and infant in towand did it all on the company dime to cover a big event in France at the end of the week. That's the sort of event that sticks to your heart like a pacemaker. That's what a Baja tour, or at least this one, is like. The Real Deal.
The 18 Colorado wahoos (actually, two are from Missouri) hail from the Colorado Quad Runners ATV Club (CQR)a large, mobile, socially responsible enthusiast-activist group. They put out a call to their membership: The time of your lives for only $600! More than 30 of them replied, "Hell yes, that's for us!" These 18 actually showed.
ATV Baja Tours proprietor Greg Row admitted both glee and apprehension greeted this strong response from the CQR membership. On one hand that's a lot of dough; on the other, Row and company had never handled a group of that magnitude. Lots of chasers and unproven temporary staff would have to be called in. In fact, contact the media, this is the ride we've been waiting for. I'd been talking to Row for months about doing a tour with his firm, and he was waiting for the right ride to come along. The tour season, running in the cool months from fall to spring, was almost over when we took our 475 miles of fun in late April.
Yes, I did say 475 miles. In three days of riding, we never covered less than 150 miles on a given day. OK, on day two, if I hadn't blown right past a turnoff and taken a 10-mile detour through nothing but deep sand whoops, my total would have been less. But think about it for a minute. What we did in three days, racers in the Baja 500 do in one.
(Wouldn't you know it, I almost launched into your typical travelogue-style piece with a day-by-day account of the whole damn thing! Instead, let me tell the story with pictures.)
Thanks to Row and his crew, especially Moe, who retrieved me from a wrong turn by traversing 10 miles of solid whoops, and to the Colorado Quad Runners, without whom the whole enchilada wouldn't have been possible.
See the complete photo gallery