How far to Mike's?
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  The Ultimate Baja Loop

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April 16th-21st, 2018

1,100 miles   --6 Days--   Intermediate+ Difficulty

$1,299 double occupancy

We'll transport your gear so you can ride light!

This six day dual sport adventure begins in Tecate, CA, and will see us riding to and through many landmark locations, including Mike's Sky Ranch, Gonzaga Bay, Coco's Corner, Laguna Hanson, Arroyo Calamajué and so much more.

Six full days of riding on both coasts and the land in between, making a grand loop of northern Baja.  A large variety of riding terrain awaits you on this tour.  From the cool pine forests of the mountainous  regions of the north... to arrid, cactus strewn deserts, dry sandy lakebeds and arroyos, and best of all... to the beautiful beaches of both the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific ocean. There's even some good ol' Mexican asphalt thrown in for good measure.  This is a supported and guided trip. Meals and beverages are paid by you, but we take care of the accommodations (double occupancy) and  transport your gear to each night's destination.  Here's an overview of our itinerary:



Day 1-- The border to Mike's Sky Ranch

Note: Move your cursor onto photos for a description.

The adventure begins in the morning as we cross the border together in Tecate and head east just a few miles on pavement before turning south onto dirt and heading up into the mountains.  We'll spend the rest of our day making our way towards Mike's Sky Ranch, the legendary off-roader's oasis perched high in the mountains by a beautiful stream.

 

Who says a graded dirt road can't be fun?

Getting some air

Your tour guide

 

We'll travel through the Constitution National Park, where the high altitude brings cooler temps and beautiful pine forests, then head southeast towards the fertile Valle de Trinidad via tracks frequently used in the SCORE Baja races. After refueling, we'll head up to Mike's on more Baja race course routes. A nice size water crossing marks our arrival at Mike's.

A section of the road into Mike's that's in good shape.

On the way to Rancho Mike's

Cross this, and you're there

The Courtyard at Rancho Mike's

Seemingly in the middle of nowhere, you'll marvel at the swimming pool in the manicured courtyard while dining on a huge BBQ steak dinner, followed by some bench racing with new friends over a drink or two in their unique bar before hitting the sack.

Enjoying a cold one while the BBQ warms up.

Dinner at Mikes... Mmm Mmm Good!

If it's a clear night (and it usually is), you'll want to take some time out to stare up at the beautiful Baja sky for a truly awe inspiring moment.


Day 2-- Mike's to Gonzaga Bay

We'll depart early from Mike's, making our way out the long dirt road to the highway. Time and conditions permitting, a contingent may take the "back way" out of Mike's, rejoining the group at the highway.
A water crossing going out the back way from Mike's.

On the way out of Rancho Mike's

It's quite tricky going in places

Then we'll head east for the seaside town of San Felipe and the Sea of Cortez. We'll take the "back way" into San Felipe through Laguna Diablo, where you can let your inner "Baja racer" come out to play for a while on the huge dry lakebed.

A group pic on Laguna Diablo

Cruising along at speed

Moving right along.

Cruising along at speed

In San Felipe, rapid new land developments have been spurred on by Americans who've discovered that a warm, beachside getaway is available for less than half of what they'd spend in California. We'll gas up and grab lunch at one of it's restaurants on the "malecon", or boardwalk before continuing south.

Yum Yum Yum! Lunch with a view.

At one time, the road leading to the sleepy coastal village of Puertecitos was one of the most horrible "paved" roads in the world, with man eating potholes and sharp edges impossible to avoid.  Now, this stretch has been repaved. However, the new "vados", or dips in the roadbed are so steep and abrupt that careful attention must be paid so as not to hit one at high speed unprepared for it. On the other hand, if you are prepared... they can be utilized as motorcycle launching pads! Quite a few American expatriates call Puertecitos home.

Puertecitos

Until very recently, the road to Gonzaga Bay was an extremely harsh and winding two-track, with huge rim bending rocks sticking out of the roadbed everywhere and occasional stints of long straightaways with washboard so stiff and tall you'd forget you were on a "highway". Back then, the road was just meant for a motorcycle!

The Beautiful Sea of Cortez

However, the government has undertaken a huge project to pave this route all the way down past Gonzaga bay to where it meets up with paved Highway 1. Kilometer by kilometer, with each passing month a new section of this once rough and tumble "road" is being turned into a scenic route suitable for any vehicle. But for now, we'll enjoy what's left of the old route and take in the views from the new "improved" section, as the views of the Sea of Cortez meeting the desert along this stretch are simply spectacular. When you next return, the dirt sections will likely be just distant, fond memories.

Shiny new pavement... bummer!

Machinery at work on the new road

Machinery at work on the new road

Enjoying the dirt road beyond the pavement

The Beautiful Sea of Cortez

Reaching our destination, we'll enjoy one of the tastiest seafood dinners anywhere in Baja as we look out across beautiful crescent shaped Gonzaga Bay towards Punta Final from Alfonsina's, a fly-in restaurant and motel that's popular with private pilots from the US.

Looking towards Alfonsinas from the highway

View from your room at Alfonsinas

View down the beach from Alfonsinas

Moonlit view of Gonzaga bay from your room at Alfonsinas

Looking across the bay to Punta Final at sunset.

Looking towards Puntafinal from Alfonsina's




Day 3-- Gonzaga Bay to Cataviña

Sunrise over the Sea of Cortez

Wake before sunrise, and you are in for a real treat here, as they don't get any better than this. After a hearty breakfast, we'll mount up and head south to Coco's corner, where we'll stop for a cool beverage while enjoying the company of this Baja icon. After chatting for a bit and signing his book, we'll head to the beautiful and wet Arroyo Calamajué to take an "off the beaten path" route out to paved Highway 1, and as Coco says, "go swimming".

Group shot with Coco, a true Baja icon

Road To Calamajue

One of several water crossings in the arroyo

Some of the water is deep!

Standing on sediment left by the Fountain of Youth

Some of that water causes a little mud here and there

Bighorn sheep, the "Fountain of Youth", ruins of an old Spanish mission, and a large vein of green slate cut by the arroyo are but some of the things we'll likely see in this, one of the most difficult bits of terrain on our trip. After a bit of a workout negotiating the arroyo, we'll turn north onto Highway 1 for just a couple of miles before turning east on a rustic road that's not on the maps, and ride out to the Pacific.

Take a lap or two on a dry lakebed

The Cacti Grow Thick

Once reaching the coast, we'll ride barely-used two-tracks up the coast a ways, passing the occasional fish camp, where the locals make their living. We'll get a chance here and there to jump onto the beach and roost some sand.

Perfect beach on the Pacific

You can let 'er rip on this beautiful stretch if you like.

Once the route turns back inland, we'll pass through some incredibly scenic stands of the fabled cirio trees of Baja, nicknamed "Boojums". The Boojum is the strangest tree you'll ever lay eyes on, some growing into all kinds of strange and comical contortions... and looking like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.

Truly something from a Dr Seuss book

Desert scenery at it's best.

As we approach Cataviña, we'll encounter enormous boulders scattered about the land as if by the hand of a giant, -some in large piles forming small mountains- while growing everywhere in between are myriads of cactus and other desert flora.

Boulder and cacti everywhere

Passing by an occasional spring, we'll even see the rare "blue palms" of Baja. Time permitting, we'll stroll up an arroyo near Cataviña to the site of some indian petroglyphs, and some pretty pools of water as well.

Is there anyplace you'd rather be??

Our destination for the night is hotel Los Misiones Catavi˝a right in the heart of Cataviña. The hotel started life as one of Baja's only chain motels, the "La Pinta", and got it's start with the completion of the trans-peninsular highway in the 1970's.  It is a beautiful oasis in the heart of this little desert town that sits in the middle of the longest and remotest stretches of highway between fuel stations in Baja.  The rooms and grounds are gorgeous, and it blends in perfectly with the beautiful desert scenery of the region.

Hotel Desert Sands and Catavina



Day 4-- Cataviña to El Rosario

We've recently changed our route for Day 4 to include some epic singletrack.  Please check back as we work on getting some pictures posted up.

The Cardon cactus can reach pretty high

Day 5-- El Rosario to Camal˙

 

Today is going to be a big day. We'll start out traveling down the paved highway a bit before hitting the dirt.

Views from the paved road

Once off the pavement, we'll be heading into extremely remote territory, and will ride most of the rest of the day with nary a sign of civilization. The terrain will vary often, and the riding will be challenging in places and require all of your concentration at all times.

Talk about scenic riding...

And challenging, too.

Some sections more so than others.

However, we'll be passing by some of the most beautiful vistas and riding through some of the most interesting and awesome terrain to be found in Baja's interior.  As this is such a remote section of the tour, we will be taking a picnic style lunch trail-side under a shade tree today.

The real valley of the cirios.

The vistas are outrageous.

Insert your tire tracks here.

Check out the winding road in the distant mountains.

Once returning to the pavement, it's just a few minutes to our destination... a great motel right on a bluff overlooking the Pacific ocean. A hearty seafood or traditional dinner and some drinks inevitably leads to some of the best bench racing, but the fresh ocean air and the roar of the surf will soon be lulling you to sleep...

The Cueva del Pirata motel will one day be 3 stories high.

Roomside parking at the Cueva del Pirata.




Day 6-- Camal˙ to San Diego

After a delicious breakfast, we'll head right up and along the coast, as we've got some ground to cover today. As has been much of our route at one time or another, we're riding on routes used in the Baja 1000 races. Today's route is one of the most popular sections, so it's likely we'll see other bikes or buggies along the way. The views of the ocean are fantastic in places, and it's easy to imagine this desolate coastline being lined one day with expensive gringo homes as has happened in other parts of Baja. We'll pass by a famous shipwreck, and if the tide is high, we'll even take in the spray of a blowhole along the way.

Chilaquiles for breakfast... Mmmmm.

The famous Shipwreck

To the beach!

Baja is fun in a buggy, too!

Feel the cool breeze.

Blowhole doing it's thing

We'll grab a taco lunch in Erendira before continuing up the coast. Test your skills on the famous "Calavera hill-climb", where our route turns inland as we make our way towards Santo Tomas, one of Baja's "wine regions".

Kids LOVE the motos!!

And they LOVE to get stickers, too.

Give the Calavera hillclimb a try.

The Santo Tomas valley

Just a few miles on pavement after gassing up, and we're gaining some serious altitude quickly, as our route meanders the "back-way" towards the Constitution National Park once again.

Heading through the mountains.

Some sections are quite steep and rough

Really steep and rough

The increasingly thick pine forests are an indication of our altitude as well as our proximity to our last night's destination. We'll do a little sight-seeing from our bikes as we drive through the National Park that surrounds Laguna Hanson, with it's nice campgrounds at the "lake's" edge before continuing on through the forest towards the border.

Laguna Hanson in the summer.

Laguna Hanson with just a bit of water in it.

A precariously placed boulder.

Lots of cool boulder fields like this.


We'll continue north through mountain two-tracks towards the paved highway that mean the end of our trip is nearing.

Mountain Roads

Last day photo

Last day photo

It's a good bet we'll see other off-road riders on our way out, as the mountains in this area are loaded with good riding of the single track variety as well. Approaching the border, a brief stint on a high-speed tollway gets us to Tecate, where you'll enjoy all the tacos you can eat as we take our last meal together as a group. We'll cross the border in Tecate and enjoy the winding road through the California countryside back to San Diego and the staging area before saying goodbye and exchanging contact info with new friends.

$1,299*

Contact us if you are interested in this ride-- it is going to fill up quickly!

*Includes lead and sweep guides, all accommodations (double occupancy), daily transport of your gear to the nightly destinations, and a "sag wagon" for you and/or your bike if you should break down.  You are responsible for transport to the staging area in Tecate, CA,  meals, beverages and fuel. 

A $500 deposit reserves your place, with the remaining fee due not less than 60 days prior to the tour.  If you cancel more than 60 days before the start of the ride, your deposit will be credited towards a future tour with us.  If you cancel less than 60 days before the start date, your deposit will be forfeited. 

Please note that this ride is rated intermediate+ and above. It is not suited for beginner or novice riders-- you must have solid intermediate off-road skills. This means you are a competent rider in rough and/or loose surfaces, on grades varying from flat to quite steep. Additionally, our itinerary is on the aggressive side with regards to daily distances, because we like to get in a full day of good riding... which is what this tour is all about. If you like to be at the daily destination by 3:00 PM to relax by the pool... then honestly this is probably not the ride for you. If, however, you have a real hunger for a serious dose of some awesome riding... then you've come to the right place. Let's ride!

If you have any questions about any aspect of the tour, please don't hesitate to call us toll free. We're always happy to talk about riding Baja! You'll find the number (as well as email link, if you prefer) by clicking the link below.

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If you have any questions about this tour, please EMAIL