The Road of Bones
Trip Start Jun 21, 2008
35Trip End Sep 03, 2008
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
By the time we had the bike packed up, gassed up, and on the road, it was 7:00am, and about 90 degrees. I was pouring sweat!
Our original destination called for about 50 miles of asphalt south to the town of Puertocitos, where the asphalt would give way to a dirt road that winds down the coast to Bahia Gonzaga, a small fishing village that has one motel - Alfonsina's, where we would stay the night.
Well, our first departure from our 11 week schedule was happening on Day 2...a bartender in San Felipe told us that Alfonsina's had closed for the season...therefore we would have to be ready to pull double-duty...on the dirt...to get all the way to Bahia de Los Angeles (Bay of LA for short), another 50 miles of dirt and 75 miles of pavement past Alfonsina's
So we gnawed some bananas and Gatorade for breakfast...and headed south. Arriving in Puertocitos around 8:30am...I'm glad we gassed up in San Felipe, because the PEMEX station was closed, and the town looked abandoned. Now for the fun part...the road less traveled! Immediately past the town, the road went to complete dirt...large construction vehicles were working to pave the road, so it was a special feeling knowing that we were riding ahead of the eventual modernization on our two-wheeled time machine!
We pulled over for a bio break and aired the tires down to about 25 pounds of pressure each...I was afraid to go any lower with the weight of the bike and all of the exposed rocks...a flat tire was the last thing we needed...especially in 110 degree heat. But pressure any higher than that would make the bike handle terribly in the dirt.
We made our way - cautiously at first - the road was rocky and several sections were definitely 4x4 only. But the grip was good with Metzler Tourance tires (no commercial plugs here, just info for the moto-heads), which are rated 90% street, 10% dirt, and we cruised along in second gear, about 25 miles an hour, taking in the breathtaking views and watching the temp gauge on the motor hover around 6 bars...pretty high
The sense of human isolation was awe-inspiring...no boats, no planes, no cars, no people...we didn't see a single soul for miles...save for a smiling Mexican guy riding on a Honda ATC, who defiantly had his share of tequila that morning. He gave us the thumbs-up sign and grinned even wider...I had no idea where he came from, or where he was going...and I have a feeling, neither did he. Viva la Baja!
We arrived at Alfonsina's in Gonzaga Bay, and sure enough, it was closed. But we did relax at Rancho Grande, a small airstrip and road house where we could pick up some aborrotes (supplies)...here we possibly ate the best ice cream sandwiches and Coke Lights we've ever tasted!..all the while watching Mexican MTV beamed from a neighboring galaxy. We even bought ice to throw into our Camelbacks to help cool us down from the inside. I was a little worried about drinking ice-melt, but we needed to cool down, and a little diarrhea might help me lose that pesky five pounds of beer gut - hey, you need to think positive when you're on the road!
We remounted the Latitude Land Speeder (the bike) and set coordinates for another 50 miles of dirt and isolation...a little less scenic now as we cut inland...and it started to get sandy...really sandy, and right when I was mid-sentence, telling Malin about my superior dirt riding skills, the front tire washed out in the sand, and we were down
Unfortunately, with a passenger and the bike fully loaded, it's nearly impossible to change your body position to regain grip with the front end, so you just gotta hang on and enjoy the wild ride! And we did...a few miles down the road, we got the bike stuck up to the swing-arm in soft sand. I should have taken photos, but it was just too hot to mess around, so we took the luggage off the bike to reduce the weight, and we rocked the bike side to side, and walked next to it while engaging the engine in first gear...Malin helped with her Herculean strength (think of the image of grandma lifting the school bus in an emergency situation, completely hopped-up on adrenaline:) After about 5 minutes, which seemed like an eternity in the heat, we freed the bike and were back on the road...and now I was thinking...what else does the Baja got for us??...bring it on! You can't stop us! Like the Energizer Bunny....like the Timex watch....like the Everlasting Gobstopper...you get the picture!...any how, we passed the test...and we were getting to Bay of LA...no matter what
Then just up around the bend, Coco's Corner! Many of you Baja aficionados are familiar with this oasis in the middle of the desert, but it felt so good to get there! Once again, the entire place was closed and devoid of any signs of life, but we conveniently wedged ourselves under the gate to take a peek, and gain a little respite from the sun...what a place! With all the women's underwear stapled to the wall, I thought we should leave a pair too, but Malin refused...and stapling a pair of mine up there would violate the feng sui of the place, so I refrained. Then we spotted the spray-painted sign for Chapala, only twelve more miles until we're back on the pavement!
On the tarmac, we pulled over to air-up the tires back to 36 and 42 psi respectively, and began cruising at 70 miles an hour - comfortably! Only 75 miles to Bay of LA!
The desert scenery was becoming more and more spectacular....cactus over 60 feet tall!...and huge Dr. Seuss bajoom trees...and then, after sensory overload had been surpassed some 20 or 30 miles previous, we crested the hill and set our gaze on the Bay of LA...it was so gorgeous I though I was going to vomit!...or succumb to some other involuntary physical reaction, anyhow, you get the picture. Looking back on the day, coasting downhill through the ocean breeze to paradise, we had done it...we had survived the Road of Bones...and we made it!!! I was so proud of Malin, proud that all of our preparation and patience had paid off...and we were being rewarded handsomely! Our perspectives were changing, doors were opening for us...we passed the challenge...and we had earned a little downtime in paradise.