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Dirt Bikes, Off-Road, Mexico, Baja, Mike's Sky Ranch, Rancho Santa Veronica,
Mexican Tour, Ride Report, Trip Report

[Dirt Bikes]
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Date: May, 1997
Location: Baja, Mexico
Riders: Brad, Bryce, Jay & Paul
Guides: Richard & Howard

Pre-Trip Planning…
This was not our ordinary Baja trip. We’d gone before, but this was different. Usually, we’d find someplace to stay and then spend several days riding in that general vicinity. This time the plan was different. We planned to abandon the trucks for the week. We had the idea that we’d just ride until we needed to sleep. Wherever we stopped, we’d spend the night. We planned this trip for months. After much fiasco over selecting dates that we could all take off, we finally settled on one. Well, I thought we had settled on a date. As it turns out, we had settled on different dates. We ended up getting that worked out. I’ll save you the details. Suffice it to say, all future dates will be documented on paper and conformed via registered mail.

Anyway, I had a brand new bike, and it was time to concentrate on planning. We decided to start in Tecate and ride to Mike’s Sky Ranch. After spending the night at Mike’s, we’d ride over to the coast and spend the night, then head back to Tecate. I thought we could follow the SCORE Baja 500 route, from last year. I contacted SCORE to try to get maps. They informed me that this year’s course would be laid out by then and suggested that we pre-run this year's course. Cool!

We made reservations at Mike’s. Brad and Bryce had met Howard at Mike’s the year before and he had offered to be our guide for this year’s trip. As it turned out Howard couldn’t get out of work in the middle of the week. However, he suggested we call Richard, a friend of his, to see if he was available. Sure enough, he was. Well I had reservations, I really didn’t think we needed a guide. Hell, we had maps. With water on two sides of us, how lost could we get? Well, everyone else was counting on a guide, so what the heck. Richard suggested that we meet at Rancho Santa Veronica (just south of Tecate), so we made reservations for the first and last nights there.

Day One (sort of)…
Finally, the day we had all been waiting for had arrived. It was finally time to hit the road. As it turned out, we hit the road long after work (not unusal when Brad’s involved) and spent the night in Mission Viejo at my sister-in-law’s house. This way we were able to get some sleep and get to the border crossing fairly early. This is usually a boring drive after dark (during the day too) and this was no exception.

Day Two…
Brad rode with Bryce, and I rode with Paul. Well, Paul is a cop magnet. He has a long history of attracting cops in the middle of nowhere. Sure enough, we followed Bryce and Brad across the border. Wait, what do I hear, whistles? I look behind us to see several border guards chasing behind us. I promptly suggest to Paul that we pull over. He finally catches a clue and did. We got the usual, "where’s the guns, drugs, and alcohol?" As it turns out, Paul had just bought Brad’s extra XR500 and Brad still had the paperwork with him.We ended up trying to explain to the border police that Brad had all of the paperwork in the other truck and they were long gone. Finally, we make progress. The cop noticed we were from the S.F. Bay Area. He’s a huge Joe Montana fan. We didn’t mention Joe had left the Niners years ago. Yeah, we’re back on the road, of course with no idea where we're going. Bryce had the directions with him. Meanwhile, Bryce figured out that we weren’t behind him any longer and did every illegal U-turn he could, finally finding us.

A few miles out of town we were stopped at a military checkpoint. Same drill, this time Bryce stopped just passed the checkpoint, knowing that we’d get stopped. This stop didn’t take nearly as long. While they did search our stuff, they didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak Spanish. This actually proved beneficial in expediting the stop. The rest of the day was rather uneventful.

Day01.gif (14534 bytes)We got to our destination reasonably early. We checked in and unloaded. The rooms were great (huge). Each room had two queen beds. We planned on spending the day doing some small warm-up rides, then meeting Richard in the morning for breakfast. That evening we were all stoked to be there and anxious for the up-coming days of riding. After several margaritas, Paul and Bryce got into a pepper-eating contest that ended in Bryce catching an eyeful of pepper juice. With that, we called it an evening.

Day Three…
BigSeat.gif (32549 bytes)In the morning we all gathered for breakfast. Richard showed up right on time. We had been told that he was an older guy, but that was an understatement. He was in his mid sixties and looked like he had plenty of experience. We all had concerns that we’d be in for some slow riding. Boy were we in for a surprise. This guy could ride. He had an XR250 with the thickest seat padding we’ve ever seen.

(stay tuned more to come…)