Monday, September 24, 2012

Shit out of Luck....Not yet

Before any stories begin, it is important that the world knows that my neice Heather gave birth to a beautiful baby boy  today.  Thanks to FB, I understand thta Keenan has entered the world.  I understand  that Mom and baby are doing fine.  That was wonderful news to hear, and I am very happy for  a very special family.  My neice  just keeps growing those riding partners.  I figure by the time Liam and Keenan are riding, I will have this business nailed down....maybe

I stopped in Guerro Negro for the night.  There is a full blown whale skeleton at the beginning of the local naval base.  As I am stopping to take the pic, the whole base goes into high alert...a little hyperbole there, but a guy with a gun finally establishs that I can only take one picture of the whale skeleton: not two, but only one, so there you go, taken at great risk to the stability of the Mexican nation, as well as my status in it.   Guerro Negro is where all?  of the Pacific Grey Whales calve.  There is a lagoon nearby that was discovered by an American whaler in the 1700's, and this lagoon is the mother-load of for all whalers.  Now of course, we just whale watch.  I was thinking how it was the early risk takers, whether they be after gold, ambergris, or ivory, who were the explorers of this world.  The downside to this exploration is of course that it was driven by the need for more stuff, whether it be  beaver hats, or corsets.  I can't be too hard on the whalers, as it was not too long ago when the last whaling station shut down on Vancouver Island.

 Down the road aways, another military inspection point.  This would be about the 10th that I have gone through, and I was getting pretty used to being passed right on.  This on, for whatever reason, was  manned by a very anal officer, and he was insisting on full searches of vehciles heading south, which to me was strange, when la druga would seem to me to be heading north.  What do I know.  Of course, with my earplugs in and helmet on, I had zero chance of understanding what he wanted to know, not that I knew anything anyways.  He was satisfied that he figured out my name from my passport.  Never  asked for tourist visa or moto insurance, which shows to go that the more beaureaucratic a system becomes, it will fail at the tentacles,  even though the head still believes the system is working and in order.  Sigh...

 Some date palms in a bit of an oasis...

This mission was built and working before anybody discovered Yuquot, and Chief Maquinna was peacefully unaware of the impending storm over otter pelts..There was a notation over the door indicating 1677, I believe.   You have to give the builders credit, although I suspect that the builders were the local indians that the priests had convinced that there was a bigger God than their local beliefs.    There are missions, and remains of missions that are out in the middle of god awful nowhere, some being so isolated that the stories go that the Spanish solidiers accompanying these zealots (too strong a word for my religious friends?)  refused to go any further.  It is hard to comprehend the drive, determination and single-mindedness which sent these priests out into the New World.  They were after  gold of a different kind I guess.  

This is the mission at Mulege, which is a popular spot with Canucks, I understand. Again, the mission is impressive and well built, dating back into the 1600's

I wanted to see the ocean and the beaches nearby.  I took a side road which follows the river? to the sea, about 2 km from Mulege proper.  

 Whereever you have water, you have fish.  When you mix men and fish, you will always find a group of guys hanging around telling fish stories and drinking beer.  Sure enough, I ran into another bunch of charter guys.  This is the off season, so they get to drink more beer and tell bigger stories about the ones that get away.  I had a good bs with them, and ran into a ex-pat Yanqui who told me about rescuing an English couple on an older BMW yesterday.  He also warned me about going directly to Mazatalan on the ferry, as there is a lot of "Mexican shit" going down.  One thing for sure, I am always going to run into ex pats who have a bit of local knowledge, and certainly have the creds to tell all sorts of stories, true or false...He was a nice enough guy and offered me a place to crash, but I had already found a place.   He was simply happy to have a box full of beer and to have caught the biggest dorado of the season.

I rode the sand out to the lighthouse, and nearly got Blondie stuck.  She was down to her rear axle, and rootsing like she has never down before.  Lesson #46: stay out of the sand, dammit!

The poor young fellow at the local liquor store was trying to sell his 72 Honda.  He started it up for me, and jeez it was loud.  He only had 5200 kilometers on it (come to think about it, maybe second time around) and he wanted 2 grand.  A bargoon...

I got up early because I finally had a good nights rest.  I found my ibuprofin, and that stopped the leg aches.  I was greeted by these guys as the sun rose.

I wonder if they are the same birds that arrive in Tahsis every year?

South of Mulege, I began to understand why the Sea of Cortez, and the beaches are so attractive to folks.

After a somewhat interesting ride, in that there are more twisties per mile on this stretch than anywhere I have seen, I arrived at Lorretto, and that is when my luck started going sideways.

I like checking out thses old churches, and as the sign said, this mission at Loretto was the mother of all churches...  The wood ceilings had beams at least a foot square..I wonder where they got the wood?

Blondie was overdue for an oil change, and so I spent some time looking for a shop that would carry oil.  A fruitless and hot hour or more was cumulated when my not so fancy but damn expensive sun glasses with a name fell off of me, and onto the traffic.  I rolled to a stop, and went looking for them, but I could not find these over priced prescription lenses.  Considering that I had just stepped on my regular glasses yesterday, I was beginning to think I need to spend more time in Churches, or something.  Mau Jim and I bid adea, not that I liked them that much, but when a crackhead busted into my car last winter and stole my GPS and glasses, these were all that I could get.  I knew then that it was just a matter of time before they were gone: anyone that buys and wears $700 prescription sunglasses needs to have his head examined, or have a good set of keepers, at least.

Blondie, lighter by a pair of sunglasses, a pair of shoes and about 5 kilos of me, heading out for La Paz and an oil change.   I stopped for a chicken dinner (drum roll...) and rolled on.

About an hour or so later, after some very interesting riding through twisties that would not stop and curces that kept on going, I realized that something was not right with my gut, and I knew that I needed to get off the road.  These roads do not have any shoulders, and turnouts are few and far between.  I was beginning to get clear indicatins from below that if I didnt get off the bike and drop my pants, there was going to be extra laundry tonite.  I found what I thought would do, a "vado", which is where the natuaral runoffs are bridged over so that the highway can be kept open.  In this part of the world, there seemed to be a lot of vados and bridges (puentess).  I dropped below road level, dropped my pants and managed to just about beat natures' return of the chicken to the world.  Shit....Mad at myself, and thankful that I had lifted a roll of toilet paper from the last motel.  Well, what is done is done, at least my guts felt better now.

To get out of here... Rule Number 45: always check that you have an out, ALWAYS..  Well I thought that I had an out, but the bad news is that with no glasses to speak off, I did not see that my out also had about a 3 fout drop to the dry river bed.. Shit....I had committed, and could not turn Blonie around.  Damn glasses, damn shits,,,damn chickens...Damn.

I was able to lean Blonding agianst the sied of  the cut.  I knew that if she went over, I was hooped. I was overheated again, and I did not have the strength to pick her up loaded.  I looked at my options: unload Blondie complietly: 1 hour,  drop her and spin her around: 1 hour   Pick her up unloaded?? and ride out: another hour.... it was 3:30 and I knew that i had at least 200Km before dark at 7:00 pm.  The other option was to try and ride her out.

I decided to dig away a cut in the bank as much as I was able to with a piece of wood that I found in the wash, and hope like hell that I could rider her out without dropping her, with me on her and thinking about broken feet and stuff.

The dry wash that started it all, or rather where I tried to get to to save my underwear...

Blondie leaning aginst the cut, with my feeble attempt to increase my odds of not going titters...

I set out my helmet  as an aiming mark, I knew once I started down the slope, if I looked at the wrong places, I was going to be in a world of hurt.  I used my helmet as an aiming mark, and guess what: it worked!!
 This was what I was looking at, going into it.  There was crap to the left, and nothing on the right, and not much of a line in between.  Once I committed, I  knew that I had to use power and hope that Blondie and her upgraded suspension and rims would take the beating...

This is me doing my best imitation of a happy dance.  I was very happy to be out of that little shit storm, and I will never eat chicken again!

After that workout, the ride into La Paz was one of quiet contemplation, and a lot of head talking about how to stay out of crap storms like that ever again.  Lucky, Luck...

Speaking of luck, i spotted the BMW sign as I rolled into La Paz.  I thought what the hell, I am overdue for water, and Blondie is beginning to sound terrible with that old oil.

 The guys took me in right away.  5 guys sitting around watching one guy change the oil, but that is the way it goes.  They had some cool Harleys in the shop, as well as a Police Bike

Baja Designs, with a Canadian Flag.  One of the shop guys had been to Canada, and knew his bikes.  I was done and done in less than an hour.  I was happy, and Blondie was certainly feeling better.  We wondered around La Paz until I was able to find a store that had some cheaters, otherwise this blog would not be written.  So I was lucky to get out of the shithole, lucky to find the BMW dealers so quickly, and lucky to be  in La Paz  Mexico.