After sleeping under the stars in Mulege, Ben and I try to beat the heat and get an early start on the day. The only problem is, it’s already 90 degrees F at 8:30 in the morning. The deep sand we parked the bikes in is impossible to ride through. I try to make it with my off-road tire and immediately sink into the sand. Ben and I strip our gear off and start pushing the bikes instead.
After getting my bike onto the road, we go back to Ben’s bike. The woman who’s restaurant we camped outside of comes outside and suggests that we grab a piece of corrugated metal to push the bikes on instead. Great idea! Here’s a video of Ben and I getting his bike out of the sand.
Already hot, sweaty, and exhausted from pushing 2 500lb motorcycles through the sand, Ben and I pick up water in town and start heading south. Our destination is La Paz, a larger city on the ocean where we plan on spending a few days in a hostel with internet, catching up on life and relaxing after exhausting ourselves in the desert heat.
The road from Mulege to La Paz is flat, boring, and (guess…) hot. The most interesting thing along the road are the horses, donkeys, and cows grazing along the shoulder. I have a little fun by honking my horn after we pass, watching the animals scatter. Cruel? Maybe, but entertaining. At one point, Ben pulls off the road and starts stripping off his riding gear. I pull off along side him and he tells me he’s been stung by a bee. I’m allergic to bee stings, and my aunt has given me an interesting suggestion to try and get the stinger out – taping a penny to the skin where the sting happened. I bust out the few pennies that I’m carrying with me and some Gorilla Tape and perform roadside surgery on Ben.
The scenery we ride through all day long.
After riding all day, we arrive in La Paz. We stop at a hotel suggested to us in the Lonely Planet guide book for Mexico, but they don’t have any secure parking for our bikes. They suggest another hostel, Hotel California. The rooms are cheap at $250 pesos per night total (or about $10US each) with secure parking in the lobby. We drive through the entrance and park near the front desk. Isn’t Mexico great?
My feet are in incredible pain after the long days ride. I am wearing Sidi Adventure Rain Boots, which I love and have been great for my trip so far. One of the main reasons I purchased these boots was because they are waterproof. If you’ve ever ridden a bike in the rain, you know the uncomfortable (and often dangerous in the cold) feeling of having wet feet all day long. I figured with waterproof boots this wouldn’t be a problem. The only problem is if you get water INSIDE the boots – it can’t escape. Well, I got water in my boots earlier in the morning as I hopped in the shower after pushing our bikes through the sand. My feet sat inside my boots in the water all day long, getting raw from the vibrations of my KLR. I take my boots off and sit in my bed, waiting for the pain to go away.
The bottom of my feet after being vibrated raw by my bike.
I do some laundry in the sink and try to find a place for it to hang dry. I have a clothesline, but nowhere to hang it up. The only place in the room is the rafters of the ceiling. I carefully climb up the cement furniture and make it work, while Ben cracks jokes about the only injury I get on the trip being from falling in a hotel room.
Ben and Armando are hungry. Who’s Armando? He’s my stomach. I named him while I was in LA, as I love to eat, and most of the time during this trip, my stomach has controlled where I end up going.
Anyways, Ben, Armando and I head to the beach, as we’ve heard there’s some music and some sort of festival going on. We get to the festivities and see that it’s a race entry party for Baja trucks.
These trucks are huge, loud, and incredibly expensive – between $300,000 and up to a cool $1,000,000. We hang out with the crowds and grab some food – hot dogs, wrapped in bacon, topped with anything and everything.
Armando thanks me after this delicious meal
Over the next couple days, Ben and I run errands. We both need to get some maintenance done on our bikes, catch up on writing and communicating with friends and family, and some other random chores that we couldn’t do while elsewhere in Baja. Plus, we’re ready to relax in relative comfort.
The best fish tacos in Baja, just 10’ outside our hostels door. $1US a piece
We make friends with a couple other people staying in the hostel. Sarah and Carl met up while hitchhiking through Baja, and are going to continue to travel together for a bit. We cook up a wonderful stir fry together, listen to music, swap stories, and drink way too much wine.
Posing with Carl and the national pharmacy mascot. It dances around everywhere in Mexico
Sarah, Carl, myself and Ben
We are all craving veggies, so we cook up a tomato and cucumber salad and some veggie stirfry.
Too much wine for 4 people? Nah… we polished them off.
Most important order of business – the bikes. We head to a shop suggested to us by a friend at AdvRider, Motos Baja (Southwest of downtown on Malecon, 2 blocks past the Honda dealership). Lagi greets us in English and we get down to business. Ben has a small oil leak, his front wheel bearing is loose, and his bike sputters occasionally. I have a bigger oil leak from the top of my engine that has been going on for a month since Arizona. We both need new front tires and an oil change.
Lagi let’s us know that we’re out of luck on the tires, but he can take care of everything else. Typically, I would watch and help the mechanic work on my bike. However, Lagi comes highly recommended and we don’t have any concerns for the bike, so we leave them at the shop and pick them up the next day. The price for all the work? Ben – 900 pesos ($70) and 1000 pesos ($80) for me. That’s only an hour of shop time in the states! To fix my oil leak, they had to disassemble half of the bike and remove my starter. We thank Lagi and his mechanics, snap a picture with him and our freshly washed bikes (talk about service – Oscar hasn’t been clean in 4 months) and head to the ferry terminal to get our tickets and legally import our bikes to Mexico.
Outside Motos Baja with Lagi – highly recommended if you need work done in Baja
The Temporary Vehicle Import Permit, or TVIP, isn’t necessary to for Baja, but we need it before we head over to mainland Mexico. The process is simple – go to the Banjercito’s office at the ferry terminal, bring your passport, vehicle title, and money. Ben has a great breakdown of the different ways you can get your TVIP in his Ride Report.
After getting our TVIPs, we purchase ferry tickets to Mazatlan for that night. Again, breakdown of the cost in Ben’s Ride Report. We hurry back to town, packup, and get back to the ferry. Along the ride back to the ferry, we see another overland motorcyclist riding along. Brian, from the UK, is also getting catching the ferry and heading South… eventually.
Ben and I opt to get a cabin on the ferry, since the thought of sleeping on airplane-style seats for the 14 hour ferry ride isn’t too appealing. We check out of cabin for the night – it’s nice, and there’s more than enough room for Brian to join us. He happily accepts the invitation and we make a new friend.
Up next – the ferry ride and Mazatlan