BMW Adventure Motorcycle Road Trip – Chapter 1 – Introduction (My Colorado Continental Divide Trip)

Let me start by thanking some of you reading this blog for the encouragement to keep writing and sharing my stories.  On occasion the blog sends me reminders that someone actually read or “liked” a story.  If you feel the same way the “LIKE” button is located at the bottom of each story.  Hence.  The encouragement to write, share and continue putting more effort into keeping the blog current.

Preparation time has now come and gone, i.e. the time taken to read about adventure riding; prepare my 2009 BMW F650GS with the correct equipment and take care of all maintenance related items.  As an aside, I also took the time to do local and overnight road trips to road test the bare essentials that I will carry.  In the military world the natural progression of things goes from Planning to Preparation to final Execution.

Before getting too far ahead of the story, here is how I ended up purchasing an adventure motorcycle.  First, the word Adventure/Dual Sport motorcycle to me roughly equates to the same thing, i.e. suited for on or off road travel.

Earlier this year when the baja weather gets hot!!!! Most smart and able boat people summer in La Paz, Baja California head north to cooler beach like weather like the kind we enjoy in California. Before long I find myself searching for a new outdoor hobby.  The thoughts of a good used sports car around the 5-10k price range sounds plausible to me. For various reasons the Porsche Boxster S model makes the final cut and the search is on. Naturally all of this occurs during Patti’s television watching episodes where my role is to be nearby keeping her company.

This same sports car search eventually morphs its way into an adventure motorcycle search; that now sounds more exciting.  Thank you my friend “Dan” for the great on-line motorcycle information you shared with me as to the type of motorcycle I wanted.  No, to those still wondering if this is my first motorcycle purchase.  I’ve ridden both street and off road for years in most any type of environment except for LA freeways.

Most motorcycle books you read start you out with an introduction of some sorts before the rider sets out to talk about his/her ride across town,  end of the city, county line, end of the state, or across country.   Sort of Forrest Gump, as in the “Run, Forrest Run” way.

In the 1994 movie, Gump wakes up one day and decides to start running across the USA.  Eventually he stops running 3 years, 2 months, 14 days and 16 hours.  The very huge difference is that I only plan on riding for exactly one week, before starting home.  Upon arrival at the Four Corners National monument, the borders of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado I officially start my ride.  From this location I make my way to Dolores, Colorado before switching from paved road to all dirt roads.  Telluride, Colorado is the next major town before making my way towards Bridal Veil Falls and some amazing views into valley floors thousands of feet below.

The first day I intend on riding over 100 miles.  Day two starts Section 2 known as Telluride to Lake City.  This area is the heart of Southern Colorado’s San Juan Mountains.  Most of the information I am now sharing with you is also available on line in hiking, biking, and motorcycle blogs.  Awesome mountain passes, ghost towns and beautiful scenic vistas is why we are here.  Our first challenge is Ophir Pass, just outside the town of Telluride.  The rocky road is replete with tight switchback trails that require total concentration for the novice.  The charming town of Ouray, Colorado is our end point for the evening.  It took three passes to get here (Corkscrew Pass, California Pass and Cinnamon Pass).  Although there are lots of area devoted to camping, a warm motel room with plenty of hot water and a good meal is what this tired rider needs.

Section 3 of this Continental Divide Trail is known as a much different experience a a result of wider and faster roads with fuel stops in lake city and Taylor Park.  Two small mining towns are Tincup and Pitkin.  Cottonwood Pass is our next pass.  Here we experience some of our first water crossings before hitting the blacktop surfaces of Cottonwood Pass.  Finally, the town of Buena Vista and end of the days ride.

Section 4 takes us from Buena Vista to Gypsum.  We now continue our ride north towards three major alpine passes on the way to the high desert landscape of Gypsum.  Weston Pass is our first pass as we head towards food and fuel at Leadville, a historic mining town and one-time front runner for Colorado’s state capitol.  Hagerman Pass is our next pass that offers up stunning views of the rugged alpine tundra.  After descending back down to the Fryingpan River Valley for a short stint on blacktop, the road heads back up north again and over to Crooked Creek Pass.  If all goes as planned by now we would’ve crossed the Continental divide. The Continental Dive is where the Americas begin.  The Divide crosses the United States in northwestern Montana.  The Divide crosses Wyoming into Yellowstone national park and continues southeast into Colorado.  This is where it reaches its highest point at Gray’s peak, 14,278 feet above sea level.

Only two more sections to this trip remain.  Section 5 is Gypsum to Steamboat Springs that start on a dirt road past the towns Gypsum mine north of town.  Low sage and black dirt offer quite a contrast to the recent alpine settings.  Highlights of this part of the trip include the Colorado River, Stagecoach reservoir, historic downtown Steamboat Springs.

And now for the final section.  Section 6 Steamboat Springs to the Wyoming Border.  And now for some mellow riding that winds it way across acres of lush farmland.  The small towns of Clark and Columbine offer a few amenities and a great rest and lunch stop.

Enough said.  This is the adventure planned and I’m sticking to it.  Perhaps others will join me?  Not planning on giving you anymore before the start of this adventure in just a few days!

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Above is the converted Seadoo trailer and my 2009 BMW F650GS

Questions:  Why go now?  Much of the road is not passable in the winter months so, June on to as late as September is the ideal time to go.  Who else is going with you?  For right now I know I can count on Russ and Ed.  More to follow.  Gear and Packing.  I opted to not take my panniers (those big heavy metal side cases you see on adventure motorcycles) I am storing everything in my ULA backpack, also carrying an Osprey bright orange mountain bike hydro pack, plus a Rotopak took bag holder.  Fuel:  This bike is a twin cylinder 798 cc engine however, it gets 70 mpg.  How to get there:  Reachable from anywhere in the Western US within a day or two ride.  I am planning on leaving my vehicle and trailer at a storage facility.

How to plan your own trip.  Purchase a butler map at http://www.butlermaps.com and for navigation purchase a garmin and go to http://www.backcountrydiscoveryroutes.com

Stay tuned for the story as it develops.

Trawlercat

 

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ULA Backpack Repurposed

Subject: Trawlercat Zero Days Update

There is this opening scene on a television travel show called Globe Trekker whereby this long-haired, tanned and barefoot guy, walking by the ocean surf finds a rather large stick. He then draws a large circle engulfing him into the travels and peoples of the world. I like that scene; it sort of reminds me of the adventures that now seem to be playing out for me.

Today, on my fourth of many zero days (i.e. no hiking days) my friend Ken and I rode our powerful personal watercrafts (PWC’s) twenty-six miles across the sea to Two Harbors, Catalina Island. It wasn’t much effort as the launch ramp is about a five minute drive away. Today also, not even thirty minutes after arriving to Two Harbors, Catalina Island I run across a 2010 PCT thru-hiker.

Talk about a small world.

In 1958, The Four Preps wrote a song “Twenty-six Miles Across the Sea, Santa Catalina is a-waiting for me,” which became a top hit of the fifties. In 2011, while waiting for an order of “biscuits and gravy” I spot a couple each carrying backpacks.

One of the packs is very much familiar to me, the U-L-A, in its traditional tablecloth checkerboard green. I could not spot that pack a mile away as they were selling like hotcakes at the Lake Morena kick off.

I instantly yell out – is that a U-L-A? Yes it is! Ken and his wife Kathy then join us and I quickly find out that in 2010 he hiked the PCT. He is still hiking, only this year he is what they call section hiking – doing a piece at a time.

Today, they both completed the 34 mile Catalina crest trail and are waiting for a bus to take them back to Avalon – the populated part of the island. An hour later we are still talking hiking, getting caught up on snow levels, current thru-hikers and the amazing country yet to come after Kennedy Meadows.

Twenty- six miles across the sea
Santa Catalina is a-waiting’ for me
Water all around it everywhere
Tropical trees and the salty air
But for me the thing that’s a-waiting’ there-romance

No romance on this island for Ken and I; but then of course the day is still early and the weekend young. Just kidding! What we did get is some great PWC ocean riding workout as we pounded our way across the open sea. A little rougher than we wanted but not cold.

We saw at least two separate pods of common dolphins that engulfed is and raced with us for as long as we wanted. We each took lots of video – the quality not that great but the narration is fair.

I posted my video on Face Book so you can either watch it there or ask me to Friend you (Ralph H. Perez) or you can watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjFCk3Z3k5Q on common dolphins on the way to Catalina.

PCT Kennedy Meadows 024Here is Trawlercat’s schedule until it again changes.
Next week I drive to Reno and take Ned’s four day snow course on the PCT.

On or about mid-July the snow should’ve cleaned itself up quite a bit and the raging rivers should’ve also somewhat subsided; that’s when I’ll get back on the trail. I’ll be reaching out to Structure to see if he wants to join me at Mile 702 – Kennedy Meadows that is a waiting for me!

See you on the trail!

Update: 07/2016 – Just a mere five years later:

Yesterday I packed my Adventure bike (BMW F650GS) panniers with the various life necessities that I now find necessary for a one week motorcycle trip.  With the velcroed waistband firmly removed from the ULA backpack; it is now more like repurposed luggage.

As I ride my adventure bike, the ULA backpack will lay right behind me; sort of like a one up motorcycle rider. It sort of reminds me of a Barbie doll figure, minus the legs once I removed the velcroed waist strap.

In the backpack is more safety and security for surviving a one week Colorado outback adventure.  The ULA pack can still take a whole lot more.

Two trips to West Marine allowed me to purchase a fresh set of red rubberized bungies.  I criss cross both from the top and also through the rear waist strap opening.  Now we’re ready.

The first trip to West Marine was to purchase additional stainless steel bolts to fasten through the panniers.  My way of ensuring they don’t come off in the event of a heavy spill.

I don’t yet have any emotional connection to my Beemer; maybe time will change things from an “it” to a trusty steed.

If “it” breaks down beyond repair in the outback or if the situation warrants, my plan is to strap the ULA on my back and make my way back out.  On the PCT I survived for weeks at a time carrying the ULA.  No, hiking now is not my first choice.

It is the thrill of the ride that keeps me going.

Trawlercat

PCT Kennedy Meadows 027

 

 

© 2011 Ralph Perez

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California Delta – West Coast PWC Club Ride Report 06102016

West Coast PWC Club Ride Report – California Delta Adventure Day 1

Our West Coast PWC Club Delta River ride is now another one for the books.  The eighteen riders that showed should all be safe and home by now.  I for one feel totally spent and recharged at the same time – in a good sort of way.  To say we partook in two days of pure unadulterated joy of world-class PWC riding adventure is possibly an understatement.  Final tally for two days of river riding fun is well over 250 waterway miles; day one is 133 miles, followed by day two at just over 134 miles.

GROUP PHOTO HERE – Please forward to me!

So how does this ride compare to say any of my other PWC (personal watercraft adventures)?  Let’s just say that riding the California delta for hundreds of miles on one day and riding San Francisco Bay on the same trip up to Northern California qualifies as possibly the greatest PWC riding adventure around.  And not for bragging but, for comparison purposes let me add that I’ve jet skiied Alaska!

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Yes, since 2009 my personal watercraft adventures include riding down the Kenai peninsula from the port of Anchorage, Alaska to Homer, across to Kodiak Island (with friends John Lang, Petr, Ron and Gina).  On the USA east coast I have also jet skiied my way from Key Biscayne, Florida down the Florida Keys to Key West (with thirteen friends who I never met till the start of the ride); and back to our west coast, from Los Angeles around Catalina Island and down the coast into San Diego bay (also with friends).  There seems to be a common theme here!

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Group photo above – 2009 – Down the Kenai peninsula – Alaska

Once again YES, the best riding and racing waters hands down in my opinion is now the California delta!  And if you feel like exploring a little further to confirm if I know what I’m talking about then just google PWC and trawlercat or Wet Dog race and trawlercat or Bahamas PWC ride and trawlercat.   Those aforementioned rides were all thoroughly discussed before hand on PWC rider forums.  Someone on the forum may start the conversation with possibly their vision of a future PWC adventure ride.  Others contribute.  Soon it takes a life of it’s own.  People like John Lang conceived a 2,000 mile jet ski ride around Alaskan waters.  Another friend Brad Rice asked the question, is it possible to jet ski from the US mainland to the Bahamas?

Add to the above West Coast Club President Lewis who with the last two California Delta rides just placed the California Delta and Golden Gate bridge ride on everyone’s PWC riding bucket list.  If you have yet to ride Catalina island then stay local.

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To do what we just did this past weekend you and your friends need to trailer your personal watercrafts about 400 miles north on the five freeway to a friendly and historic town called Brentwood, California.  One of our members (West Coast PWC club) came from as far away as San Diego for this ride.  Him and I both truck pooled our way up to our meet up location at Orwood Resort where some of the club members camped while the rest stayed at the Hampton Inn,  Brentwood, California.  This hotel is a perfect home base from which to start your California delta riding adventure and Orwood Resort is the perfect launch, dine and camp location.  Their signature steak and lobster at $21.95 is their claim to fame.  Now that we’re done exploring the delta waterways I just may return soon to do a motorcycle adventure by also exploring the beautiful area by road.

Eighteen riders showed up for this ride, most from Southern California.  The best question posed to the club’s leadership?

We trailered our watercraft about 400 miles, is this ride really worth the drive?

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West Coast Club President Lewis once again totally delivered.  No, not by personally guiding any part of the ride but, by setting the stage for us adventure thrill seekers of the water world.  The kind where half the fun, like in the mountain climbing world is summitting and in the snow skiing world is spotting that red diamond snow ski run and saying the hell with the risk of avalanches or moguls and going for it.

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Most of what we got served up on this ride we honestly can’t find back home.  Several of us in the group are current and former racers.  We know and have possibly already ridden the best offshore and inshore waters around.

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Hector, son and Jay

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Fadi

 

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Lewis, Club President

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Ninja Turtle

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Riding towards the Mothballed Fleet – former site of the USS Iowa.

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Everyone in this group on this trip got to ride their own ride.  No compromises were made based on the wide range of watercraft riding experiences and abilities.

Either by design or fault, Lewis seems to find a key person or persons in the area willing and able to provide the resident expert guiding service that our riders are looking for when traveling to a new area.

Our day one guide on this trip is Chris on a flawless and fast Honda Turbo.  Chris starts his ride briefings the way any briefing should be started.  First by orienting riders to the area by actually using a boating chart of the area we intend to ride.  Chris then randomly shares local knowledge while underway to anyone willing to listen like for example, the town of Locke, California is just two blocks from where we are now enjoying our waffle cones.  This town was built at a time when Chinese people were not allowed to own land in America.

This town is a perfect example of a historic Chinese American rural community.  Only one person (Tony) chose to walk the two blocks to actually see the two block long town.  The rest of us stayed in an air-conditioned ice cream parlor munching down home-made waffle cones loaded with locally grown fruits like bing cherry.

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If you think that waters back home (SoCal and Catalina) are great then you should ride the California delta and Golden Gate bridge to see what real river and bay riding is all about.  Possibly because of all the offshore riding some of us have done, we love the rough stuff.  The nastier the better.  We got that!  Some in our group did not but, after this ride you could see it in their proud smiling faces.  They came, they endured, they conquered.  Most are now better riders for it.

Also in our group of eighteen today are personal watercraft riders with not even a dozen hours; a father and son; boyfriend/girlfriend; amateur riders.  Our group can easily compare in range from a recreational runner to an Olympic marathoner.  Once again, everyone in the group got to ride their own ride.  No ones watercraft was sunk, blown up and no one was lost or hurt.

Well, let me quantify.  One person that shall remain nameless did strike a bridge with the bridge not sustaining any permanent damage.  No damage done to the bridge and yes, his brand new watercraft may now qualify for a salvage title.  Another rider somehow managed to snag a fishing line at 60+ mph and lure that nearly ripped off his spandex top starting from his left bicep.  And yet another was feeling so overcome with the adventure of riding the California delta that he simply rode out into the sunset almost never to return.  Thanks to google maps and a smart phone he was able to return to civilization.

So, once again to recap:  Why drive so far to ride those waters when we’ve got great water just down the street?  1)  To join our like-minded friends.  2)  Because NorCal does have possibly some of the best PWC riding waters in the world.  3)  No other place in the world can possibly compare to the California Delta.

Also, the waters inside and outside the Golden Gate Bridge offer up the best possible chance of possibly getting killed in a good sort of way; similar to climbing Mt. Everest.  Only more people have climbed Everest than done what we’ve just done in the past two days!!

You want to risk the chance of icy crevasses, or killer moguls, or risks of avalanches coming down on you, in a water world sort of way?  For some of our riders, this is now half the fun.  Sort of like riding off into the sunset and not knowing where the next fuel stop is.  We really don’t get that feeling back home unless we’re on say, the 405 freeway during rush hour.

Yes, there really is something magical about riding out the Golden Gate bridge and coming back on ay an ebbing tide and running on fumes; and conquering the ride.  Yeah, we done that.  So, what is all the fuss about going out as a club?

To non personal watercraft owners or just plain boaters the idea of hauling butt across some wild and crazy windy wavy waters at warp speed may not be what some people have coursing through their veins.  For some of us riding today, it’s sort of why we ride.  If someone today placed a buoy out on the water with a black diamond gnarly looking sign on it, you can bet your television remote control that Tam, Tony, Darrell or Fadi will fight to be the first to round it.  You want locally scary?  How about the backside of Catalina on a not too pleasant of a day.

How about getting a late run back from San Diego bay to your launch ramp at either Los Angeles or Long Beach.  Yes, all in one riding day, of course.  More scary?  How about waiting for your jet ski buddies just outside the Oceanside breakwater while they finish fueling up and having a big old whale come up and take a good hard look at you.  Been there, done that!  Or how about flying off your ski just past Dana Point, in the area known for it’s great white sharks.  Wait!  You haven’t yet experienced any of these PWC riding adventures?  Then maybe you really are better suited to staying within eye sight of that television remote or tablet.

That personal watercraft of yours is more than capable of taking you places that you didn’t think possible?  Once again, this is why we ride.  These little boats can go the distance and now we’re also finding out that so can we.

No, we don’t have avalanches to worry about. And unlike other sports that take their crafts to other countries to race, we don’t really do that sort of thing.  I’m now thinking more like the Iron Dog, Baja 1000 or Dakar Rally done on specialty machines like snowmobiles, trucks or motorcycles.  Besides us getting lost or maybe running out of fuel before our next fuel stop it’s really not that bad for some of us weekend warriors.  Also, no avalanche gear or any of the other required equipment needed.  Just don’t forget to put a whistle on it.

Riding our personal watercraft also ranks up there with family time.  Besides the cost of the fuel, lodging, food and other unforeseen events like say a blown engine; it’s actually cheaper than going to Disneyland or taking a cruise.  And you also get way more exercise and lose weight at the same time.  Just ask some of those on this ride.  Your back may not enjoy it as much on the ocean as on the delta but, if that is what is being served up then, just take it and ride.  Tomorrow is another PWC day and there are plenty of pain pills around the group to keep you going.

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Delta PWC Adventure Day 2 – The sign said, “Eat at Joe’s” and so we did!  But first we had to ride there.  Hector on a 310 Kawasaki Ultra and his 11-year-old son became our Day 2 ride leaders.  With local knowledge available and most of our group from SoCal; we had no clue as to what direction Sacramento lay but, like they say, it is always easier to follow than lead.

And so Hector takes off like a rocket.  Pretty soon the group keeps spreading further and further out for miles and miles and miles.  One, two, or three riders soon caught up to Hector and quickly told him to slow it down!  I on the other hand witnessed the small admonishment; rode over to Hector and further informed him that we were behind schedule and to speed it up.  We both laughed it up a bit and continued counting up the rest of the miles to downtown Sacramento.  The rest of the miles were pleasant and enjoyable as we snaked our way up the California river delta for miles and miles; until finally reaching the rather large open part of the delta where the wind whips up the water consistently to a froth, developing four to five foot waves that totally drench everyone.  Some of our watercraft now became near submersibles.  Bet you didn’t know this hidden feature?

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Our start point for day 2 was also the Orwood Resort.  A mere 134 river miles down from downtown Sacramento, California.  Along the way we experienced periods of calm flat water intermixed with grand canyon type rapids, tidal inflow, outflow, ocean type five footers, fast and slow flowing river water and some amazing scenery.  Off in the distance we could see beautiful golden brown wheat fields, groups of happy cows and white picket fenced windmills atop hilltops.

If you are reading this story and  do not yet fully comprehend what riding 100 miles on a watercraft is then I can’t help you.  For the rest of us our arms probably still ache.  The good, the bad and the ugly of the group are all better riders for the experience.  No whiners!  Not much in the way of time separated the racers in the group to the recreational newbie riders.  I would say about the time it takes to eat an ice cream scoop or possibly two.

Once fueled up after eating at Joe’s Crab Shack the faster of the two riding groups parted ways.  We headed downstream for about 25 miles for dessert.  Of course it was for some home-made ice cream.  The way it’s done on the river is you tie up to the floating dock, walk up several floors of steps, cross the country road just up from Locke, California and enter historic Mel’s Ice Cream parlor.  Original and old-fashioned.  Hurry before it all changes.

Trawlercat

“I’m into the law of attraction and quantum physics.  Like cosmic ordering.  It’s all about thinking lovely things that you would like in life, and feeling good about them before they manifest, so that by the time they do, you don’t want them because by then, you’re onto your next desire.”

– Julia Sawalha

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Baja Road Trip Pictures

2004 Toyota 4Runner, looking good with a brand new paint job, new carpet, custom front push bar and led light bar.  Looks and runs better than new.

The early bird catches the worm.  For those like me that miss details like (time change) an early start is justifiable.  The desert in the early hours can be awe-inspiring.

Once cannot say all of Baja is this way or that way.  The condition of the road is constantly changing as is the various forms of desert ecosystem.

Trees!  The further north on Baja one goes the less topes.  Topes are speed bumps that can dramatically alter your vehicles suspension system if they catch you by surprise.  On this particular day, all of the towns passed must’ve coordinated a fund-raising for the local fire department.  Fire fighters and their supporters were standing by for any loose coins.

109 degrees outside and it is not yet noon.  The truck in the picture broke down on the way up the hill.  The area, usually on the outskirts of many town seem to be the chosen spot for wrecking yards.  Llanteras (tire repairs) are usually designated by one tire balanced atop another tire.  Mexicans do not seem to easily discard a tire that has achieved its manufacturers life expectancy.  A good portion of Mexican drivers seem to not carry a spare, jack or repair kits.  But, get in trouble on the road and a road angel will almost magically appear to help.

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View towards Ensenada, vicinity or Marina Coral.  Roundabouts are common as are four-way stops, known as Altos. Mexican city drivers do appear to be more vigilant than US drivers.

 

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Baja Road Trip – Trip Report 6202016

Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan led the first round-the-world expedition, setting off from Seville, Spain, in 1519. Today, you and your buddies can almost do the same thing – except be the first to do it.  All one needs today are two things; major credit card/cash and a smart phone.  What I figured out by personally seeing/experiencing it:  Hardest way to travel is on foot (can you say PCT hiking); next hardest is bicycle (saw a guy with a death wish pedaling through the Viscaina dessert); next is motorcycle (met up with one intrepid rider from Las Vegas on a Kawasaki); next car/truck towing something.  Towing anything, unless it’s a Seadoo/Kawasaki/Yamaha is not fun! Without A/C?  Don’t try it this time of year (June/July) unless in a climate controlled anything.

My preference for a baja road trip is a well-built and dependable truck. Do yourself a favor by also purchasing the high-octane fuel (known as Mega red) for all the hill work involved.

By contrast my 2016 exploration road from Los Angeles to La Paz, Baja California and back, required minimal planning and is hardly worth recording except for possibly old age re-reading or your perusal.  Purchase a Garmin Mexico chip for your Nuvi.  Well worth the $60.00.  It now feels like a week-long trip, but, realistically it was closer to three.  Basic drive details:  First day work for an afternoon border crossing; spend the night in Ensenada and enjoy the wine country; second day, early morning drive from Ensenada to Guerrero Negro; arriving around late afternoon, plan on spending the night.  Always think taking care of your vehicle before taking care of your needs.  Top off the fuel tank – always!  Next morning early morning travel due to the one hour time change, arrive La Paz, at about late afternoon.  The most expensive cost before crossing the border is a month long Mexico car insurance rider for about $130.00   To make it easy exchange your dollars for pesos at the same location.  About $400 US should put a good wad of pesos in your wallet or glove compartment.  I don’t yet think metrics so the temperature and exchange rate is what it is.  Both always sound like a good deal to me.  This breakfast meal was 75 pesos and it was great.  The breakfast burrito at the Pemex gas station, purchased from a guy carrying a cooler for 10 pesos was a great deal; should’ve bought two. Now you have your basis for comparison.  It either gets better or worse, you can’t have it both ways!  

A road trip that is going to be fun and is not a time to bother with car/truck mechanical issues such as well used tires, old coolant, not too recent oil change, A/C needing recharge etc. Details such as trying to pinch pesos or the exchange rate should be left at home.  

Everything south of the border is always going to be cheaper, more wholesome for you to eat and tastes better too.  Weak stomachs or picky eaters stay home, this is not a trip for your liking.  Yes, everyone including animals like the roads.  Possibly why you might want to leave that tin can Prius at home and drive something quick and agile.  

At great effort I took this picture.  First, stop 4runner on road.  Next chase down small cow.  Position small cow next to diamond yellow bull crossing sign.  Get small cow to stand still. Take picture. Now if you believe this story then I’ve also got some baja real estate for sale.

Accomplished:  4runner:  Fresh paint job on the 4runner; inside carpet cleaning and detail; front LED light bar; ME:  teeth cleaning; WESTERN FLYER; prepped for hurricane season; FRIENDS: Farewell to Jim and Amy; Jeff and Deanne; David & Kenyon; and Sean too!         

Magellan’s Armada de Molucca was made up of five ships and 270 men — but only 18 men and one vessel, the Victoria, made it back to Spain three years later.

Magellan himself died on the Philippine island of Mactan in 1521.  And as for me, it’s harder to hit a moving target so, only time will tell.

http://www.trawlercat.com

 

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Boredom Explored and the Cruising Life

Boredom Explored and the Cruising Life

Someone I know recently told me they were bored.  At first I thought, what?  Why?  Then I looked internally, then externally, and without judging this one person tried to wrap my head around the boredom issue.  Does daydreaming qualify?  I came to the conclusion that it did not however, daydreaming does tend to be a way of relieving boredom.  Sort of like fooling the mind into thinking that it is occupied.  A quick internet search revealed that bored people also tend to overeat.

Earlier it was hot, I got up, walked to the nearby hotel infinity pool, swam for some exercise, got out of the water, dried off and now here I am writing.  If that wandering waiter would’ve just come a little closer, then the hardest part about my decision would be to either have a margarita or beer.  An appetizer?  Si Senor!

So, what I just figured out is that if my energy level is such that I need to get up and move, then I move.    This energy then needs to go someplace.  Were you ever bored as a kid?  Toys.  Yes, those wood, plastic or things with lots of pieces.  Do you have toys now?  Ahhhhhahhhh!  Maybe lack of toys is your problem.  Or, maybe the wrong toys or missing pieces to those toys or ?

If you are reading and enjoying a book you keep reading till you get bored.  If you are like me and on Kindle, you are probably reading more than one book at a time.  If one book gets boring then you can easily switch to another book.  The problem I see is when you have internet problems.  Boredom happens when you are unable to change the situation.  You want to open, purchase, or even open that new book but, you can’t get it to upload.  Am I now bored or frustrated?

What ever happened to shopping to relieve boredom?  Say what; you’ve got no money to spend.  Then go waste some gas.  Take a car ride anywhere?  Or be like Ethel and drop in on Lucy.  Or visit or call a friend.  Or join a group.  Or going outside and look for something out-of-place in the yard or boat?

Change your environment and you change your boredom situation.  Are you now less or more bored?  If less bored, then repeat the process.  Those that served time in the military can easily relate to the statement “hurry up and wait”.  Today, we just reach down, grab that smart phone and quickly zone out.  Back then?  Maybe tell a joke or two, push, shove, play grab ass with one another or just engage in conversation about cars, girls, beer, or most anything mechanical.

Be productive.  Be in the zone!  If all else fails then take a nap.  Nothing around you is happening so, go, get moving and make it happen.

Bored.  Go for a walk or a run.  Don’t think about it.  Move.  Now that everyone has got a dog; dog is either taking a nap so he or she is not bored or looking for an excuse to go out on a walk.

The question that still remains is, shall I make that margarita or open up a cold Indio beer?  Hey, I don’t get bored.  What gives?  So, if you do, then I think you can also make yourself not bored.

Too many toys and not enough time to play with them, may not be a bad thing.

Finally, here is how I seem to be doing it right.  Planning ahead.  By planning ahead I mean try to keep looking to the future as to what new and exciting things you are going to do next.  Strive to be adventurous and develop a let’s try something new sort of attitude.  Just don’t buy a boat, you’ll really never be bored.

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Goodbye M/V Costa Bonita – Mazatlan

“It requires more thought to give a boat a good name, than it does a child”

Possibly as a result of my Spanish language communicating skills or take charge attitude; recently, I managed to hang out with the ships passengers of the M/V Costa Bonita.  She is a large beautiful motor yacht from across the Sea of Cortez – Mazatlan.  Mazatlan a most beautiful place known as the Pearl of the Pacific.  Miracousely, sometime during the night this ship managed to limp in and tie up at our end tie on Dock F on one running engine.  A crew of three, the Captain, mechanic and cook or deckhand and four Mexican nationals.

Somewhere mid Sea of Cortez crossing the diesels sort of gulped their last sip of fuel, then perished from lack of diesel.  There she floated and drifted in a not too calm sort of corumel Sea of Cortez weather.  Three hours of pure hell is how one passenger described the time soon after their engines quit.

Approximately three hours later someone discovered that the day tank of fuel had run dry.  Now, all needed was the turning of a valve, the bleeding of her engines and finally steerage way.  Someone had to pay so, they drew straws as to who would be flogged.  The obvious choice?  They thought about it for a while, then moved on to more adventurous sort of conversation and discussions of the world.

No, obviously not the flogging of the Captain.  They needed him to get back home.  With the engines now running, though not perfectly, off again they headed, towards La Paz, though not their intended destination.

Death once again now cheated these four arrived ready to do what their now aged and well lived for educated bodies could do.  More eating, more drinking and more merry making. Too much good food, women, drink and cigars over the years sort of rounded out their bodies.

Days later, as if it just happened I laughed so hard hearing the same story told umteen times I also felt like I was there.  Added to the story by now was also how the good Doctor spilled his cookies repeatedly.  He claimed he chummed 100 marlins.  The good tequilla now ran back out my nose.  Perhaps as a result of the severe hot weather I looked down and all I saw was a shot glass in one hand and a modello blue in the other.

Today, all I can say is, I didn’t know Modello beer made three different types of beers?

The fact that I exited the Western Flyer at the precise time as their mechanic possibly caused a chain reaction in the time continuum of the boat project world or maybeit was the “on with the adventure” contagious attitude of these four heroes.

Me, sweat profusely pouring from a hairless scalp as I was in the middle of installing my water tank lines.  Their mechanic covered in grease from head to toe as a result of the part he was now holding – the top end of a double racor secondary filter.

We looked at each others project for a second.  Soon, somehow his leaky fuel issue problem became my problem to solve.  The mechanic told me all he now needed to get her running was a spare gasket.  Before long we were off to find this errant spare part.  No, not the mechanic or crew but, the ships owner, doctor, two other rotoundly professionals and me.   Why they chose to all venture together I know not but, guys are pack like in many ways, sort of like the movie Hangover.

In this movie three buddies wake up in Las Vegas with no recollection of last nights bachelor party.  They make their way around the city (together – pack like) in order to find their friend before his wedding.  Now, translate (finding their friend) for finding a missing boat part and you begin to live in my La Paz world.  Where every boat project becomes an adventure.

We searched and searched possibly in every boat dealer, parts outfit or wrong place for this part.  No, not the gasket that I was told was the missing part but, somehow this missing part now morphed into the entire top fuel filter engine part.  Three of the four disagreed as to the correct part the ship’s mechanic had told him was needed.  While almost at the end of the line I saw some guys hanging around a boat and decided to solicit their assistance.

Soon we were now following this guys truck around town.  Finally, we made it Terry’s shop.  This gringo of the diesel mechanic world resembles more a homeless on the streets of LA than a mechanic.  His shirt said LUIS but, his name I was told is Terry.  His shop if you wish to call it that resembles the outcome of Sanford and Sons Salvage yard were they on crack cocaine back in the 70s when this series was filmed.  These two characters made us laugh as they involve themselves in schemes, usually as a way of making extra cash, in order to pay off other debts.

What I presumed was the guard dog stunk so bad the smell alone was enough to make you leave the premises.  Soon, I was wanting for more cigar smoke, blowing from one of these four, as a way to overcome my near nirvana experience.

Soon, Terry was tearing at this part, removing this piece, now adding a rubber washer, then voila.  No, not voila.  The owner now stated the problem was not air injestion but, that it was spraying a fuel like mist out the bottom.  Why did you not bring me the entire part Terry demanded!  Bowing down to his most mechanical wisdom these four and I quickly loaded ourselves back up in the rental car to retrieve the missing parts so that he could pressure test the system.  But, not before another round of shots and Modello beer.  The last thing I heard before bedtime was a smooth running diesel engines.

This morning she was gone to parts unknown.

 

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Boat Pictures

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The Venus.  While fueling up the dinghy at Marina Costa Baja we sort of drifted into the front of this big guy.  For a moment I thought about shaving, while viewing my facial hair on that front end mirror finish.  For those not familar, this is the yacht that Steve Jobs commissioned.  Sad but true, he never saw it completed.

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Note the transom – KOREA.  This boat made it across the Pacific.

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Another big yacht.

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Pangas and RV’s up the coast towards Loreto.

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Western Flyer – 1989 Defever 41′ Trawler

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Fiddler’s Cove – sailing a Catalina 22

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Some crazy rental boats

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Memories from our first boat – a 1985 Hunter 40

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Start of a sailboat race with no wind.

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Cal 22 – Wounded Warrior Training – Fiddler’s Cove – San Diego Bay

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37′ Fisher – An osprey built a nest aboard this boat and as a result the owner could not remove it.

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A 2007 Seadoo GTX LTD – On one of our many Ironman type rides, Los Angeles to San Diego and back on a Sunday.

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Tom at age 75.  Smallest boat in the fleet to sail down and get trailered back up.

 

 

 

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Baja Bash and the Crazy Guy

Note:  I lost track; perhaps I posted this story on Facebook and not my WordPress blog at trawlercat.com   If so, then here is the newly converted draft story.  Background: Around May of 2016, seems so long ago now.  I helped a friend in need baja bash his 450 Lagoon catamaran from La Paz to Los Angeles.

What follows is possibly the first story that came out of the trip.  Somehow it was still in draft mode on my blog.  Initially one blogging has greater aspirations to write but, somehow the four (4) hours on and four (4) hours off watches got in the way.  Yes, two of us so for every twenty-four hours x seven days a week x 17 days to reach our final destination, we kept our watch system going.  An incredibly slow trip best done on a powerboat.  Before the bash I attended a baja bashing seminar put on by Club Cruceros in La Paz.  Yes, go to seminars, purchase any and all baja bash books out there, talk to others who have gone.  Best of all get your boat and yourself 100% ready for this very much dooable trip.  As of today, I still don’t see what the big deal is if you at least set out with a proper weather window, time your arrivals (Mag Bay, Turtle Bay) and delay as required (we held back for three days at Turtle Bay) waiting out an expected blow.

Subject:  Baja Bash and the Crazy Guy:  Right now I clearly see him, duct taped, possibly spread eagle, to the ship’s mast or the rooftop cabin, or perhaps behind this catamarans navigation station.  Please don’t ask which nav station, these crazy cats only come equipped with one.  The crazy French guys expect you up top, in all kinds of weather.  (Later I found out a remote control option was available however, the skipper was too cheap to purchase one)

Some crazy guy whom I’ve never met, approximately nine months ago suggested to Skipper Brian that he should baja bash his way from Cabo to Los Angeles via the clipper route.  For those reading this story and not familiar with the baja bash – it’s an annual migration of cruisers and their boats back up the baja coastline and into US waters. Sometimes only the boats get to bash up as the skipper may have delegated his responsibility to a paid or unpaid skipper.

Crazy Guy:  Just shoot straight out and away from land, for say about 200 miles, minimum, then catch those trade winds that are sure to show.

Then about as crazy as a game of golf, slice right back towards land, like in  the old clipper ship days, before the invention of those twin Yanmars now housed in our stern quarter with those pods below that propel our propellers.

Sure says Skipper Brian we can do the clipper route.  The short answer is a skipper may say anything to get a live coherent human being on board; and assign him/her the dreaded dog watch.

Intermission while bashing up the baja coast:  The phone I’m now texting on, needs recharging.  I’m also hungry.  This is how we do it shipboard mate!

Plug in the ☎  and reach into the refer for a pair of hardboiled eggs.

Now back to the crazy guy story.  (Written on my Dog Watch)  Crazy guy not only suggests to Brian this route that he has never done before but, the real story is that just three days before he is set to show, the guy cancels. Just like that.

Something about a depressive personality mood kicking in. And according to Skipper Brian he, also didn’t like the idea of anyone else coming aboard.  What, he’s doing the baja bash for fun?  Hey, maybe the guy is right and I’m the real crazy guy?

“Possessing at least five times his strength, I turned to escape, but with a roar like a wild beast, he sprang for me.  I managed to reach the nav station but, our skipper was not so lucky.

My god! He’s starting to smash everything! If he gets to us he’ll take over the catamaran, unsinkable or not.  We need to confine him.  Quick, where’s the strait jacket or duct tape?  Even bound he still tries to reach for anything near his hands and feet.

“Ocean life in the old sailing ship days”

Written at about midnight while on my dog watch – midnight to four a.m. shift

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Mulege Prison Museum Artist Picture

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Mulege Prison, Torture room, ball and chain.

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Road Trip Baja – Mulege Prison

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“A special feature of the town is the old prison. It was erected without bars. The prisoners could freely walk around town and establish or maintain families here. They just had to return to the prison in the evening. Escapes were rare because of the remoteness of Mulegé. Until Mex 1 was paved, the area was surrounded by harsh desert for many miles. All prisoners had to agree to assist in tracking any escapist and assist in their capture. Today, the old prison is operated as a museum.”  ….. and there was hell to pay if an escaped prisoner was brought back.  Picture this:  A twenty-five pound metal ball connected to your left foot by a chain and shackled onto bare skin.  Then to add insult to injury a small drip of water fell from high up above directly onto your skull.  This is the torture room that awaited escapees or other murderers that again murdered while in captivity.  The womens prison room had doors; they were stacked three to a room; the same space, men had single cells.  The mosquitoes were horrendous but, with hard work, the sleep of the dead comes easily.

Strange what catches the eye while on a road trip.  And yet, I passed many photo opportunities not taken, on this short road trip from Guerrero Negro to La Paz.  One on the pacific side, the other on the Sea of Cortez.

The happy and not so happy cows I keep a sharp lookout for. The free range roaming ones, the baby cows.  The road kill cows – today I saw one; or at least the hamburger part.  Mexican highways use the bull on a diamond yellow triangle to warn.  Gringos over the course of todays travel have also taken the time to add a pecker to this bull; also him peeing, pooping, puking and other creative sign art.  This sign warns of the free range livestock that may include but, not limited to horses, donkeys, goat, dogs and even birds.  The trees you see in the pictures above can also be considered free range.  Several have absolutely taken over the house.

 

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