November 2, 2015
Rice & Beans in San Felipe is a mandatory breakfast stop for off-roaders.
We walked down to the water's edge and enjoyed the daybreak. Then we packed up and rode into town, back to the ATM for more cash, stocking up on a 8-day supply, we hoped. Back on the malecon most of the taco shops were still closed. Apparently the restaurant/taco shops do not open until 8 am. Fortunately Beans & Rice was open, so we went in and ordered Huevos Rancheros and coffee. We were the only customers at that early hour, but the tv blared loudly anyway. At least it was an mtv station, so it was just disco music.
At the roundabout we gassed up at the Pemex. Here they wanted us to pay first at the outside kiosk, and then pump our own gas. We then checked our tire pressure and oiled the chains.
Finally leaving San Felipe at 9 am, we putted along the narrow, two-lane Highway 5 at 50 mph, enjoying the views. We passed by a lone woman on a bicycle, headed south to who knows were. Much later, we passed by Fina's, 10 miles before the turnoff to Alphonsina's. There was one pickup truck and one moto parked in front, but the morning was still early so we didn't stop.
At the turnoff to Alphonsina's we pulled up to the Pemex and gased up, then we turned east onto the dirt road leading to Alphonsina's. Ray drove right on past a Security Guard without stopping. I thought Ray had simply not seen the guard. The security guard was waving his arms and yelling at Ray, then when he saw me he motioned me to stop. He simply wanted us to sign in. He had a checklist of people with reservations, but I explained that we were not on his list, but were just going in to have lunch, and were not planning on staying overnight.
We drove the short distance to the cluster of homes, bungalows and finally the motel and restaurant at the beach, but we did not care much for the ambiance. It felt claustrophobic; and besides, the only parking was behind the building, where we could not keep an eye on the motos while inside the restaurant. So we turned around. Back at the guard station, guard raised the gate to let us leave. Strange place. The restaurant at the highway intersection, where we had just filled up with gas, looked good and had several cars and trucks parked out front, but again we didn't stop.
The new highway construction thus far was splendid. Each time we drive this route, we are pleased to see how much more of the old dirt road has been graded and paved. Even the old, rocky and rutted dirt road had been nicely graded. Apparently there is a great deal more heavy construction work traffic using the road now. We reached the dirt section and stopped to air down (let some air out of the tires, to 23 pounds). The graded dirt road was still rather rocky, but much more compacted, and we did not find any of the sandy washes that used to be there. It looked like the washes had been filled in and graded. The new bridge under construction at the north end was amazing.
We had a fast ride to Coco's Corner. It was nice to see him again. We bought 2 sodas at 20 pesos each and also gave Coco 100 pesos as a donation. Coco was convivial as ever, and asked about our route. We said that we planned to ride to Bahia De LA this afternoon, and then points south. Coco advised to skip Bahia De LA, and also to not get gas at Guerrero Negro because of water in the gas. He said to stop at the station 10 miles north. He also said to watch the gas meter and be sure it is zeroed out before the attendant pumps gas.
No motorcycle trip in Baja is complete without a stop at Coco's Corner
Coco said the new paved road would miss his place, but good riddance because he does not like cars and trucks because they drive too fast, and throw littler everyplace. He loves the motorcyclists and thinks that they will stop at his place anyway. We agreed.
We didn't stay long because we were still anxious to get to Bahia De LA that evening. The graded dirt road over the mountain pass was easy riding. I (Jenny) thought this entire dirt road section 100 times easier than three years ago when we rode it northbound. Ray thought the dirt road was in a little bit better shape, but not much. He thought that my skills have improved, especially after our practice sessions at home, out in the desert, which is why I found it much easier.
We reached paved Highway 1 and stopped to air-up the tires, then back on the Highway headed south we made a couple stops to look at the vegetation. At one stop, a car pulled in and stopped right in front of the bikes, and half a minute later a truck pulled in and stopped right behind. We had a feeling they were scoping out the bikes. Once they saw us walking toward the bikes, they both sped away.
We reached to the LA junction, and Ray was concerned about our gas, so we looked for the fellow selling barrel gas. The guy wasn't there, so Ray checked his notes and read that the gas guy is not always there.
We turned left onto the paved road to Bahia de Los Angeles and drove at a moderate speed, 50 mph, to conserve gas. Much later he asked me what my gas log showed - much less than his - so he then realized that he had forgotten to reset his log at the last fill-up. No worries about gas.
This road had much less traffic, not too many potholes, and the afternoon sun was behind us. Along the way we passed through an amazing Boojum forest. The trees were all sizes, and one was 60 feet tall. It looked like a telephone pole, standing way above the rest. It was Boojum on steroids. In Baja they call them Cirios, and we were traveling through a very large Natural Protected Area called the Valle de Los Cirios.
We also saw a lot of Elephant trees. And we saw one coyote. It was a very pretty area and the riding was very pleasant. We stopped at the viewpoint above B LA, and the view of the Sea of Cortez was grand. I noticed my motorcycle clock said 3:30 but the sky looked later than that. Must be close to a time zone change.
Bahía de los Ángeles
We drove on down into town and stopped at the first Pemex (there are two) to get gas. Then proceeded along the main street. The town still looked somewhat ramshackle, but there were stores and motels. We drove to the pier at the end of the main street. And we had a look at Guillermo's motel, but it didn't look appealing to us - at all. So we backtracked to the Villa Vitta motel. We had also driven past the Casa del Sol and in retrospect we should have chosen the Casa del Sol.
We pulled in to the Villa Vitta. They had really small rooms for 750 peso, or large rooms for 995 pesos. The manager showed us both. The small room was tiny, so we got a large room. The rooms are expensive mainly because of the out-of-the-way location and the lack of business. The fellow running the place let us ride our bikes up the steep ramp in order to park right in front of our room. Inside, the room was large, but nothing special. There were a few mosquitos outside, so we kept the door closed. We didn't have any mosquito problems at night in the room.
We cleaned up then went to their restaurant for dinner. The same fellow was there, now working as cook. We ordered shrimp tacos, and it seemed to take forever, but they were pretty good. In retrospect, there were a couple of outdoor restaurants down the street, to the north, that looked much better.