CSC Motorcycles is a well know name associated with the industry leaders like Harley Davidson spare parts and high-quality accessories in 1989 and designed the updated version of the famous Mustang Scooter.
Yesterday was a long day. We covered over 400 miles, running from Santa Rosalia to San Quintin, passing through more than a few places named for other saints, and finally staying in the Santa Maria Mision Inn. Wow, it was a long day. Folks, there’s a whole of riding in Baja, and we covered a good portion of it yesterday.
Yesterday started early in Santa Rosalia, with a quick continental breakfast in the Frances Hotel, and then a climb up through La Cuesta del Infierno. Then it was miles and miles and miles of open desert, rolling through a valley dominated by the Las Tres Virgenes volcano, with a stop for lunch at Malarimmo’s in Guerrero Negro. Then it was more miles along the Pacific coastal plains, and a stop for fuel in Catavina. Another 50 miles or so took us back into the Valle de los Cirios, where we stopped on a cold and windy mountain top in the late afternoon to grab the lead photo in this blog. We topped off the tanks in El Rosario, and then it was another 35 miles along the Pacific to the Santa Maria Mision Inn. It was so cold I almost felt as if I was getting a touch of hypothermia. A great dinner in the hotel’s restaurant took care of that, but I was so tired I didn’t feel like writing a blog entry last night. Thankfully, the hotel’s shower had plenty of hot water (not all of them do), and after a steaming shower I crawled into bed and called it a day.
It’s staying cold here in Baja. When we left San Quintin this morning, we were all feeling it. We stopped after about 40 minutes for a cup of coffee, hoping the day would get warmer as the sun continued to climb. The sun moved along like it was supposed to, but the day never warmed. The ride this morning and yesterday may well have been the coldest and toughest miles I’ve done in Baja on any of our CSC rides. I don’t mind admitting I’m feeling it.
Our good buddy and fellow rider Joaquin is from Ensenada, and his family has a neat place along the Ruta del Vino to Tecate (that’s Mexico Highway 3). Joaguin’s brother-in-law is an artist and a sculptor, and they built this place with the intent of renting it for events. They had a great Mexican style dinner for us there today, and it was awesome.
Joaquin’s family’s chalet. It’s awesome.
A poster Joaquin’s family prepared for our arrival.
Great food and incredible hospitality.
We had a fantastic lunch.
It’s supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow, and the temperatures are supposed to range from the high 30’s to the low 50’s. We just came back from having tacos for dinner here in Tecate, and there’s a damp chill in the air. I can’t remember ever turning on the heater in a Baja hotel room, but I sure have the one in this room cranking right now. It’s cold. Here’s hoping for a warmer and mostly dry run back to Azusa tomorrow!
Jim and I decided to spend a little more time in Mulege after a great breakfast at the Las Casitas Hotel this morning while the rest of the group buzzed down to Loreto. There’s a lot to see in this town and Jim wanted to take it all in. I’ve been to Loreto plenty of times, and I was up for exploring Mulege in more detail.
The Mulege Mission is an amazing place with incredible photo ops, and we had a good time there this morning…
Brother Jim in front of the Mulege Mission.
The Mulege Mission interior. It’s beautiful.
A Mulege Mission alcove.
Looking out one of the Mission’s doors.
Jim in the Mulege Mission.
Another exterior scene framed by a Mulege Mission door.
We had an easy and very scenic ride along the Sea of Cortez back up to Santa Rosalia and the first order of business there was to visit another church. Santa Rosalia’s all-steel church has quite a story behind it. It’s another beautiful church and it is a fun place to photograph…
The Santa Barbara church in Santa Rosalia.
My RX3 parked in front of the Santa Rosalia church.
Wow. You can see the difference in architecture here. Gustav Eiffel, the same guy who designed the Eiffel Tower, designed this church.
Stained glass in the Santa Rosalia church. My Nikon did a great job here.
The story behind the Santa Rosalia church.
Santa Rosalia started life as a fishing village and a mining town. The French Boleo mining company built this town, and its architecture is unique in Baja. All the buildings are constructed of wood, including the Frances Hotel where we are staying tonight.
Heading into downtown Santa Rosalia.
El Boleo bakery in el centro Santa Rosalia.
One of Santa Rosalia’s fixer uppers. I’ll bet this house has an interesting history.
An old locomotive in front of our hotel.
My bike is a blog hog.
The mining museum, another amazing old wooden building.
That last photo above is of the Santa Rosalia’s mining museum. We stopped in there for a bit and it is a very interesting place.
Tough work, back in the day. I hurt just looking at that photo.
Mining tools. Nah, it’s a motorcycle tool kit. There’s a joke in there somewhere.
Inside the mining museum. It was an interesting place.
A porch ran all the way around the mining museum. This is looking out over the Sea of Cortez.
A friendly Mexican pup, whose nap I disturbed when I took this photo. He was stretched out in front of the mining museum.
I rode by the mining museum on my prior visits to Santa Rosalia, but I had never stopped to see it. It was pretty cool. And while I was taking photos in front of the museum, a guy came over to talk about cameras. It turns out Oswaldo is a Nikon man, too. We had a good discussion and I made a new friend.
Good buddy Oswaldo, a fellow photography enthusiast.
The French stopped mining copper in Santa Rosalia before I first visited this town in 1994 because the ore had played out, but I guess the price of copper has increased enough to make mining economically viable again. They are back at it, and it’s the same Boleo company.
That’s it for today, folks. The rest of the guys are due in from Loreto any time now, and we’ll be going to dinner at El Muelle. Tomorrow is a big day for us…we’ll be headed 400 miles north to San Quintin. Good times. Stay tuned, and you’ll be able to read all about it right here on the CSC blog!
The crew at the Las Casitas in Mulege this morning…from left to right it’s Joaquin, Javier, Joe, J, Tim, Buffalo, Dave, Jim, Pete, Mike, and Dan.
We are having an amazing ride. It’s been one of the best ever, and this is a fantastic group of guys. That photo above? It’s the group and our host for last night (Javier) at the Las Casitas Hotel in Mulege, Baja California Sur. If it conveys a great group having a great time in a great place, my Nikon is doing its job well.
Yesterday we rolled out of foggy Guerrero Negro after a wonderful day of whale watching the day before. We rode roughly 60 miles south on the Transpeninsular Highway to the road that lead to the Sierra San Francisco cave paintings, deep in the mountains along the eastern edge of the Baja peninsula. It was 25 miles of a delightful road through the Vizcaino Desert floor, and then fantastic twisties in the mountains until the paved road ended. From there it was another 10 gnarly miles on a very rough dirt road, but the ride was worth it. The cave paintings were spectacular. They always are.
Joaquin on the road to the cave paintings.
J, Dave, Buffalo, Tim, and Dan in front of the entrance to the cave paintings.
Captain Dave, lost in thought.
Our guides yesterday are Baja royalty. They are direct descendants of the Arce and Buenaventura families, the folks who have lived in this extremely remote area for a century or more. Their parents were the ones who guided Earl Stanley Gardner so he could “discover” Baja’s cave paintings, and we all had a good laugh about that.
Joaquin with the royal family, our cave painting guides.
The area is so remote that the folks make many of their own items, such as shoes and knife sheaths. Cool stuff, this was.
A handmade knife sheath.
One of the stars of this ride is Joaquin, who speaks Spanish fluently. We’ve been lucky on our CSC Baja expeditions in many regards, one being always having a Spanish speaker. Joaquin, a genuine good guy, has made the ride a lot easier for me. On past trips it’s been Willie and Carlos. We are indeed fortunate to have such great friends.
Joaquin, a great guy and wonderful travel companion.
And speaking of great friends, we picked up a rider along the way. Meet Mike, a fellow we met while refueling at an impromptu roadside fuel stop in Catavina a couple of days ago.
BMW Mike, who really wants an RX3.
Mike rides a BMW GS1200. We were chatting in Catavina when I noticed the jump wings on his GS. I asked, and yep, he’s a former US Army paratrooper. That makes three of us on this ride (with me and Tim being the other two). We’ve had a lot of fun with Mike. We told him we wanted to ride along with us so it would be easier to find the Starbucks coffee shops.
As it turns out, we have several former military guys on this ride, and one active duty fire captain. And, one exceptional artist. Our good buddy Buffalo (christened on this trip as Baja Buffalo) is the real deal…an artist of exceptional talent. If you don’t believe that, here’s a link to Buffalo’s website. Check it out…I did and I enjoyed perusing his paintings.
Buffalo, Pete, Dan, and Jim at the cave paintings.
The Las Casitas Hotel is perhaps my most favorite place to stay in all of Baja. Javier prepared a special chile relleno dinner for us last night, and it was exceptional. We are in great spirits and we are having a great ride.
Dinner at the Las Casitas Hotel…it was awesome!
Chile relleno…my favorite!
Grand times, folks. It’s down to Bahia de Concepcion today, a U-turn, and then back to Santa Rosalia’s Frances Hotel for tonight. We are having a fantastic time.
We left Ensenada at 7:00 a.m. sharp after a good soaking on Sunday, and the weather was kind to us on the way down to Guerrero Negro. It was overcast for the first 150 miles or so as we rode through Baja’s wine country, and it was awesome. Everyone was in high spirits and several of the guys were excited about how beautiful this part of the world is. Hey, folks, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Wait until we get past El Rosario!
The CSC RX3 Baja 2018 crew on the Transpeninsular Highway!
We rolled into El Rosario around noon, topped off the tanks, and had a great lunch at Mama Espinosa’s.
Turning in to Mama Espinosa’s…
It took a little longer than usual, as a busload of Canadians got in just before we did, but the crew at Mama Espinosa’s told us they would have our food out within 30 minutes of serving the folks on the bus, and that’s what they did. Most of the guys ordered lobster burritos (a Mama Espinosa specialty), a couple of the guys had chile rellenos (one of my all time favorite dishes), and I had chicken burritos. It was all great.
Pete and his red RX3…Pete bought his bike specifically so he could ride Baja with us!
The cousins…Baja Buffalo and Tim. The are convinced orange is the fastest color.
A sea of orange…
Chile Relleno Jim, as he is now known…
From there, it was a dash into the Valle de Cirios, with magnificent scenery and near complete desolation. Yesterday was a 400-mile day, and El Rosario was at about the halfway point. We still had another 221 miles in front of us. The drill was to beat sundown, and we did (just barely). We’re staying at Don Gus hotel and we had a super dinner there. And a few drinks. Tecate. Tequila. The bikes were away for the night, and it was time to relax.
J and the Captain sipping Tequila…
Tomorrow we’re off the see the whales and have a few fish tacos. Stay tuned!
Dual sports? We don’t need no stinking dual sports! A scene in downtown Ensenada a short while ago…
Before my involvement with CSC, I had never had a motorcycle ride through Baja where I didn’t get rain. Since my involvement with CSC, we were never rained on during any of our Baja rides, and that was four rides through Baja without feeling even one drop. All that changed today. Although the forecast was for rain to roll into Azusa at 10:00 a.m. today, we were hoping we would miss it on our trek south. You know what they say about hoping for things, though…you can hope in one hand, and…well, you know the rest.
We had only left the CSC plant for maybe 20 minutes, just enough to pick up the 57 south, and then it rained the entire way down to Ensenada. We had a few instances where it rained less hard, but it was wet pretty much for the entire 200 miles. The RX3s did just fine, though, as did all of the intrepid souls on this ride…
The Baja Boys (2018 Edition) taking a break on the way to Ensenada…
Everyone was in good spirits (a few raindrops wouldn’t kill that), and we had an awesome lunch at a restaurant Tim knew. It was incredible, with servings of carne asada, pork, and goat. Throw in a few corn and flour tortillas, guacamole, fresh chopped onions, cilantro, a few beers, a few Margaritas, and it made for a grand dinner…
Fine dining at the Guadalajara restaurant in Ensenada…
I didn’t take too many photos today because of the rain, but I grabbed a few that I thought I would share with you…
The fastest color…
Big Tim, who was caught trying to sneak out without paying for dinner…
It’s cold down here in Ensenada, but it’s not too bad. Tomorrow is a big day…we’re riding all the way to Guerrero Negro, and we’re hoping it doesn’t rain. We’re leaving early, and with the time change tonight, it means we’re leaving even earlier than we thought we would be.
So here we are, the afternoon before our departure for Baja. The guys who are riding with us are filtering in from Colorado, Iowa, northern California, Nevada, and elsewhere. It’s cool. It may literally be the calm before the storm, as we’re due for some rain tomorrow (I’m betting we’ll miss it, but we’ll see). We always have a dinner the night before, and we always have a pre-ride briefing with dinner. You know, there’s a lot that’s involved in getting a group of guys all pointed in the same direction and having a safe international multi-day motorcycle ride. A big part of it is the pre-ride briefing. We’ve been doing this for three years now, and I thought I might share that briefing with those of you who aren’t traveling with us…
So that’s it, folks. Keep an eye on the blog (we’ll be posting daily), and you’ll keep up with one hell of a motorcycle ride!
You guys and gals have heard me talk about TK before, a good friend here at CSC. TK and I go back about 9 years, ever since I became associated with the company. We’ve covered a lot of miles together, including a 400-mile, 1-day circumnavigation of Death Valley on the CSC 150 scooters during the Hell’s Loop Rally (you can read that story here). People sometimes ask what TK stands for, and the story I hear is that it’s “Tommy Knives.” I don’t know if that’s true, but what is true is TK is a serious knife collector, and he has some incredibly beautiful ones. He showed me his latest acquisition on Monday, along with an earlier personal letter from Ed Fowler, the knifemaker and author….
The knife you see in the photo above is an original Ed Fowler knife, and to give you an idea of what these custom creations sell for, I’ll tell you that a Fowler knife is in the same range as a new RX3 motorcycle. Yep, these knives are the real deal, folks.
It’s a beautiful knife, TK, and thanks for sharing the photos with us here on the CSC blog.
We leave for Baja in less than 48 hours, and I am looking forward to the trip. The forecast is for rain on the first day or two. Hey, that’s not a big deal for me. In fact, on one of my very first Baja rides, Welker and I rode into Baja during one of the El Nino storms. A good 30% of the China ride was done in the rain. Like I said, no big deal.
I put a lot of miles on my RX3 this week, partly just to make sure everything is in working order, and partly because the weather was too nice not to ride. I grabbed this photo by the Wigwam Motel on Route 66 a little bit west of San Bernardino…and then I changed it to black and white because I like the way it looks.
We’re having our safety briefing and dinner tomorrow night, and then Saturday morning we are pointing the bikes south. It’s going to be grand!