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my girlfriend will be here in 30 minutes, haven't seen her for two weeks, so please pardon the brevity. :)

last year, i had a one-week vacation to be take in early april. i wanted to ride, it had to be in a southerly direction and baja was on my list. i ended up in San Felipe, but did not find what i was looking for, which was a quiet beach and some quiet towns. well, this year, i had two weeks and it was late april/early may. i figured i could make a deeper penetration and have a better trip, so off i went. i was also hoping of some twisted, as i have done precious little riding in the mountains or canyons since i've owned the versys. i was hoping a long trip and some once curves would help me to bond with this bike.

i crossed at Tecate and headed for Ensenada, where i stayed the first night to formulate a fairly vague plan. the next day ended in Bahia de Los Angeles, which is a sleepy as a town can be. i underestimated how much it would cost to get a room and had to get more pesos from the grocer, but ended up in a nice little spot with friendly staff. there was lots of relaxing and reading of book. i met some dirtbikers on the second day. they left their truck at the hotel a few days before and were returning from an offroad escapade. if dirtbikers would say anything to me, it would always include the question "are you alone?" tinged some amount of disbelief. yes, i am a streetrider on a streetbike, we can go solo, it's okay. anyway, one of them recommended a place run by transplanted Canadians located in San Ignacio, so there i went the next day. "Springs" is great place to stay. the lodgings are quite nice yurts, the owners are friendly and they serve fantastic meals. from there, it was on to Loreto and at this point i was thinking of souvenirs that i could stow safely for the ride home. after i had some lovely enchiladas and found a room, i strolled thru the plaza and worked a couple of deals. cool little town, nice waterfront, nice beach at the north end. probably should have stayed anther day, but i bailed in the morning, stopped for break at a place called Loreto Bay. this is some sort of community development, also headed by Canucks, very expensive living for well-monied expats. had a nice chat with one of the guys who works there over a fine meal at Pepelingas. on to Mulege, met a adv guy who lives there part-time with his wife, they were quite nice. everyone in Baja is nice. they were entertaining another Yank couple who live part of the year in Mulege and the rest 30 miles from me in NV, small world. i was planning to go to town to get a room, but there are some beautiful beaches nearby at Bahia Conception and i was dying to camp. alas, no camping gear, i figured it would be too hot. i was wrong about the heat and i was in luck. i accepted an offer of camping gear for the night, so i got that night at the beach that i was looking for last year. stayed in town the next night, had some more good food and good company. the next day in Santa Rosalia was less awesome that town is all business, though i did find a nice place to eat with great service. i had so many fish tacos, but i could not get enough. moved out in the morning, stopped in San Ignacio for break at Springs then pressed on to El Rosario. i pushed the limits of tank range for the first time and could have paid for it between Guererro Negro and Catavina. but i'm a lucky guy and asked just the right guy where i might find some petrol. his neighbor is an enterprising woman and sells gas from huge drums in the back of her truck. she pumped ten liters and i was back on track. when i arrived at El Rosario, it was still early, so i filled my belly with excellent garlic halibut and made for Ensenada. rummaged around for more souvenirs that night and set the clock for an early wakeup. i was hoping to make it back to Reno and still though i might, in spite of the delay in getting out thru Tijuana, i had to pay a cabbie to lead me to the right customs checkpoint. but alas, the weather was against me. after passing thru Bishop, the precip began,. i figured CHP would close the road if conditions were warranted; last year, there were signs indicating chains were required and i had to take a long detour to the east. but yesterday, there were no signs, no warnings, the road was open and i headed up the the pass. rain changed to light snow then to heavy snow. the road eventually became covered and i could barely see in the whiteout. lucky for me, the road was not frozen, traction was good, even when i was limited to riding in wheel tracks. the ride felt like interminable but eventually i pulled into Lee Vinings and i saw a VACANCY sign. i holed up there overnight and the roads were much better today. i shoveled a pathway out of the parking lot and that was that.

overall, it was a great trip, even with that sketchy ending. the versys and i saw lots of nice curves. though we were obviously not at full tilt on foreign soil, it was fun and the bike did well. you guys know how it handles, it's so easy, so neutral, and that motor is a peach.

tat said, i am at a decision point with this bike. my needs have changed since i bought it. all i needed back then was a commuter, road trips were few and far between back then. now i need something more adv-ish for an upcoming trip and i have to either convert this bike or by something more appropriate. so hopefully the miles it gets this year will help me decide. i will be headed to Glacier and Jasper this summer, versys will have new tires, chain and sprockets by then. maybe a new seat and windscreen, as well. also the gf will get a lot of saddle time this year, that will factor in as well. we will see how it goes....

i have pics from the trip, i will post some later. thanks for reading.
 

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Awesome to read your accounts of one of my favorite destinations south of the boarder. Doing it on the V makes me envious. Maybe I'll plan something similar in the not-too-distant future. Incidentally, shouldn't your map have Baja colored in too now? :thumb:
 

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Great travelogue. Bring on the pics. Love Baja.

Given your raves for the Versys what is it you are looking for in a new bike? Will the majority of your up coming riding be two up? Always touring? Are there any ADV rides that really work for rider AND passenger?

Don't forget the pics.

Out
West
 

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Incidentally, shouldn't your map have Baja colored in too now? :thumb:
good point! now, to remember how i did that....


Given your raves for the Versys what is it you are looking for in a new bike? Will the majority of your up coming riding be two up? Always touring? Are there any ADV rides that really work for rider AND passenger?
when i bought the versys, i really only needed a commuter that could handle a random blast across one or two states, with a lot of interstate riding. solo. i have recently met my future wife and she wants to ride, so yes, 2up is a big factor. we are a combined naked weight of 290#, i think versys will handle us just fine. but i am also planning to trip to South America soon and for me, versys is the wrong tool for the job. i was going to buy one of those cyclone RX3 chinabikes, but future wife insists that she will be riding south with me, so i need more motor.

my options are to ADV the versys or, if making a move today, sell the versys and buy a weeXT. i have a hard time with the XT and it's price, i think an ADV'd versys would be the same bike for less cash outlay. but i will not buy a bike today, maybe a year from now (departure is fall 2017). so i will wait for this new Honda and keep my fingers crossed for a new Yamaha, then figure it out.

now that i'm starting to bond with versys, i really want to start making it better (saddle!) but it's hard to throw money at it when i'm not sure i'm keeping it for the trip. decisions, decisions....
 

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Great pics Kevin. Thanks for posting up the link. Especially like the churches, you and the cactus and the snow. Dang, riding in that snow must have maxed your pucker meter. I would have for me.

All in all it looks like a fantastic adventure. Lots of contrasting weather and topo, wonderful food and you met some terrific people. It doesn't get better than that. I appreciate you sharing the experience.

Out
West
 

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... i will be headed to Glacier and Jasper this summer, versys will have new tires, chain and sprockets by then. maybe a new seat and windscreen, as well. also the gf will get a lot of saddle time this year, that will factor in as well. we will see how it goes....

i have pics from the trip, i will post some later. thanks for reading.
You'll enjoy the "hills" up in MT and AB! Here's pics of an ADV V, somewhere up North....









:goodluck:
 
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